The Past of Science Fiction

I’ve always been a huge fan of science fiction role playing games. The first one I ever played was the original “little black book” version of Traveller. Traveller really set the bar, in good ways and bad. The depth of the background, the core mechanic if 2D6+, the comprehensive yet simple starship creation, using, and combat systems are just some of the elements Traveller shone like a star. Unfortunately, the weird idea that your character can die during character creation both amazed and confused me. It seemed a bit pointless at the time. Of course, back when I was a teenager, I had the time to sit and create character after character after character, so it was just a neat circumstance. Nowadays, however, I rarely have even an hour to sit and even read a rule book or source book. I don’t want to waste my precious time, even though I still absolutely love Traveller.

And then along came a Mongoose. Mongoose Publishing, to be specific. I missed their first edition of their version of Traveller, but have begun reading the new (to me) second edition, and I feel like this is what the Original should have been. It’s just as comprehensive, easy to use, and consistent, but it’s also laid out in a very, very straight forward way that lends itself to comprehending the rules on the first go. The chapters take you along in a way that explains and examples the rules and ideas so smoothly that even someone with zero TTRPG experience could get into and play very easily.

The layout and the art is also first rate. It still has that original feeling of Traveller without having too many contemporary science fiction ideas mixed in. There are elements that are more current, like cyber (which I don’t believe I ever saw in the first version), but they are treated well, and fit the system and the background very well. It’s also such a robust system that you could very easily incorporate your own ideas of what science fiction includes. Are you a big fan of Star Frontiers? Throw out the Aslan and the Vargr, and add the Dralasites and the Vrusk (my all-time favorite sci-fi species, by the way), and the Yazirians! Heck, add in the Sathar as a playable race. It’s your game!

Want Mechs? The vehicle and starship creation and play rules can be very easily be tweaked to include them.

Once you really get into the veggie-meat-and-cow-potatoes, you’ll see how grand an adventure you can have with Mongoose’s newest version of Traveller. I highly recommend it, ESPECIALLY to the old school guys that grew up on Traveller. This game will not only not disappoint, it’ll flare back up those cold fires of fusion space travel you still have in your heart!

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