Showing posts with label traveller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label traveller. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

What is "Traveller Envy" and why do I have it?

My memory is hazy, but my second RPG was either Traveller or Chill.  I like to say it was Chill since it gives me Horror RPG cred.  But in truth, I think it was Traveller.  No shame in that, I was a huge Sci-fi fan back then, even if I rarely got to play Sci-Fi games.

Who's Number 2? Sadly I can't recall.

While this month is dedicated to nothing but horror, I have been itching to get back into some sci-fi gaming and I have been reflecting a lot on something I call "Traveller Envy."

Growing up in the middle of Illinois had some advantages.  We were is what has been referred to as the RPG or even D&D pipeline.  We were situated between Chicago/Lake Geneva and Carbondale, IL where Tim Kask's (and my) Alma Mater SIU is.  We were also close enough to the University of Illinois.  It is only within the last couple of decades that I have come to learn how good I had it then.  Meaning, we had access to RPG products that most of the country lacked.  Judges Guild was just on the opposite side of Springfield from me.  Pacesetter was far North of us, but soon Mayfair would move into the Chicago burbs.  I regularly ordered games I could not otherwise find from The Dungeon Hobby shop/Mail Order Hobby Shop in Lake Geneva or Games Plus in Mount Prospect.


I would usually go to the AD&D/D&D material first, but it would not be long before I'd hit the other games, in particular Traveller.

D&D was great and had many worlds. Traveller had the whole universe. Literally.  

What struck me the most was not just all the RPG products Traveller had, but all the board games and other related games that all seemed to live inside the same in-game Universe.   I imagined campaigns (which always looked like a cross between Star Trek and Blake's 7) where you could role-play your characters and then turn around and have massive space battles using one of the many Traveller related board games

It was full immersion into a world universe that I just couldn't get with D&D.   Oh sure. I had the Dungeon! board game and I loved (love) it.  But a Dungeon! character is not the same as a D&D character. Even back in those earliest days.

I still love Dungeon!

I thought we might get a little closer in D&D4 with the various Dungeon & Dragon board games. But even they were both too close and too different at the same time.  Also I never really could get into those board games. I picked a couple up to try, but in the end I just ended up cannibalizing them for the minis.  IF and this is a big if, I ever rerun Ravenloft as a campaign I might pull that on in.

This feeling of wanting to expand my universe more with more varieties of games is something I have dubbed "Traveller Envy."

I suppose I could have also called this "Star Fleet Battles Envy" since they do something similar, but that doesn't roll off the tongue as easy.

Now it could be that my Traveller Envy is built on something that doesn't even exist.  The dawn of it was reading over Game Catalogs and maybe seeing stronger connections that were not really there.  I have learned that some of the board games take place in the RPG's "past." Even then if the connection is less than I suspect, it is still strong.

I have wanted to do something like this for a long, long time.  I have some ideas on how to do it and what to do, but I am nowhere near close to figuring it all out.

"Travelling" with the Witches

My goal would be to use some board games (as many as I can) in my War of the Witch Queens campaign.  While my Come Endless Darkness campaign is multi-versal that is not something the characters know until much, much later.  In War of the Witch Queens, they learn this early on.

So it makes sense to give it a multi-versal, multi-media feel.


None of these board games are even remotely compatible with my old-school D&D game.  They are also largely incompatible with each other.  Only Affliction and Witch Hunt work by covering the same historical event. But I have to give it a try.

In one respect at least Cauldron Bubble and Boil has the advantage of featuring my iconic witch Larian in it as the "Arcanist" witch. 


I have talked Wizard's QuestWitch's Caldron, and Witchcraft Ritual Kit before.  Not all of them are going to work. Not all of them will even work well, but I think I owe it to that 13-year-old version of me to at least give it a try.

Maybe I could have picked an easier batch.  Again my BlackStar game could work with StarFleet Battles (any version) and even some Cthulhu related games.  But this is where my love is.  Besides, there is no challenge in climbing hills, only mountains. 

Are there games you look at and think "man, I need to try that in my game"? 

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Basic Set at 40

Gamers of a Certain Age all know about their first Basic Set.  For some, it was light maroon with a red book.  For many it was a red box with red books.  But some of us had a different experience.  The box was blue(ish) and had a dragon on the cover, the book was blue and it changed gaming forever.



On July 22, 1977 the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set was shown at Origins Game Fair and it changed the face of RPGs.  Prior to this people learned to play from others that had been playing.  The John Eric Holmes edited Basic Set gave brand new players with no prior experience in either RPGs (which really meant D&D) or in wargames.  It gave us the Moldvay Basic set and the  Frank Mentzer Basic set. But more importantly, it opened the world of D&D to others.

Dr. Holmes took on the massive task of collecting what was then OD&D, edited it and reorganized it into a game that made sense to new players.  There is some debate as to whether this was designed as a stand alone game line (which it would become) or as an introduction to Advanced D&D (which it reads like).

A lot of blogs will talk about the history of the Holmes Basic Edition. A great post can be found over at +Wayne Rossi's Semper Initiativus Unum, Basic D&D at 40  and pretty much the entire Zenopus Archive blog by +Zach H.

My experiences with Holmes though are a little different.



My gaming began in 1979, before the Moldvay set, but after Holmes.  I had read the Monster Manual and I had a copy, badly xeroxed, of the Holmes Basic set.   Like many, my "first" D&D was a combination of Basic and Advanced. Still today that is the same experience I look for in D&D.



I will be honest, it took me a while to get the game down.  With Holmes D&D I always felt like there was something I was missing. I only learned later of the "Little Brown Books" and how "Basic" actually came about.  I also did not have a full copy.

I would later get my hands on a copy of Holmes to read in full.  It was an eye opening experience to be sure. I had been playing Moldvay Basic for a while and moving over to AD&D proper.  Holmes felt like a Rosetta Stone to me.  A product that could crossover between these two games.
When I got a hold of a copy of my own much later I would use it for 1st level characters with my adventure of choice, B1 In Search of the Unknown, before moving over to AD&D.

I became a fan of J. Eric Holmes work and even stumbled on vague references for a Witch class!


I had found some alternate evolution of D&D, one where Basic lead to Advanced and not to Expert. Where you played a magic-user in one and a wizard, illusionist or witch in the other.
It should come as no surprise then that my own witch class is heavily influenced by my time playing using the Holmes and Moldvay rule sets.

Re-reading my Holmes set over the weekend made me think about how much fun a box set really is.  The next time I start up an AD&D game, I'll be starting with Holmes.

I also feel the need to mention that along with Holmes the Traveller "Little Black Books" also celebrated 40 years.


Safe journeys to you Free Trader Beowulf. Hope you found help.



Friday, May 20, 2016

White Star Traveller

Free Trader Beowulf, this is "The Lady Lilith". We acknowledge your Mayday and have you on long range scan. Our ETA is 2 mins, 37 seconds.  Hold tight Beowulf, help is on the way.

I love White Star.  It's not groundbreaking, or 100% original (Star Wars + D&D), but it is a great representation and it is a ton of fun. +James Spahn did a kick ass job and managed to get me back into Sci-Fi RPGs.

But back in the day our Sci-Fi games were not this:



But this:



There are some things in Traveller that I think of as a "must have" in a sci-fi game. Things like skills, some more psionics, and dying in character creation...wait, maybe not that.

White Star's class system covers broad skills well, but I have not tried to do very granular or specific skills yet.

Plus there are just a lot things in Traveller I just liked that I would love to see added to the White Star.  Maybe this is something I can do for my Black Star game.

There are also some things in Star Frontiers I like too, but that is something more for blog posting I think.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Kickstart Your Weekend: We have Movie (and Book) sign!

First off, I have to repost the MST3k Kickstarter.

Lots more information including the first host and first Mad Scientist.



Yup. That is Felicia Day as the new Mad.  I was not a fan of her's originally, but after seeing her in Supernatural I have come around.


In game-realted news.

Marc Miller of Traveller fame has a Kickstarter for his Traveller novel, Agent of the Imperium.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/traveller5/agent-of-the-imperium-marc-millers-traveller-novel

I would have sucked this up back in the day.  I hope it is a great success for him!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

D&D40 Bloghop: Day 20

Day 20: First non-D&D RPG you played.

It is a toss up really.  I am not quite sure of the dates but it was either Traveller or Chill.

Of course with Chill I never played, but I managed to run a couple of sessions.
Traveller, at least how we played it, ended up being D&D in Space.

Though now that I think about it is also could have Villains & Vigilantes.   But all we did in that was use our D&D characters.

Since then I have branched off into scores of games and have a few that I regularly play.



Friday, January 4, 2013

Star Trek RPGs, Part II

I feel the need to make this "Wrath of Something" or "Into Dorkness" jokes.

Anyway, last year (snerk) I was talking about Star Trek RPGs.  Well fellow blogger, sci-fi fan, all around good guy (with a GREAT name) Tim over at Hero Press posted these gems today.
http://www.heropress.net/2013/01/fleamarket-friday-gaming-where-no-die.html

First we have the Pre-Order for the Traveller based Prime Directive.
http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/rpgs/traveller/core-rulebooks-accessories/traveller-prime-directive.html
I am not sure what you all know about Prime Directive, but it is almost a thing onto itslef.  It is based on the TOS era Star Trek, but it goes in a different direction all together.  Now the purist in me used to reject this.  Especially when the later movies and TNG began to air.  But these days I find it much more appealing.  Plus, like I said, Prime Directive is now almost a thing into itself with a rich history, while not quite as equal to Trek, it is still fun.



As many of you know from my White Dwarf Wednesday I have a history with Traveller, something I want to rectify someday.  Could Prime Directive be the game for me?  At the current exchange rate that would be $50 or so.  So I might wait to see after it out in PDF.

Another game that gets mentioned to me is Where No Man Has Gone Before.
http://www.abillionmonkeys.com/trek

I don't know much about it at all save that most people seem to like it.

Maybe this is the year I find my Sci-Fi RPG.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #27

White Dwarf #27 starts of with another great sci-fi cover.  Or rather a pulp-age inspired one. The other thing that jumped out at me (other than the transparent space suit the woman has on) is that the month/year is missing from the front cover. But those keeping track this is October/November 1981.

Ian Livinstone lets us know why, White Dwarf is going Monthly in 1982.  They also got some new, larger offices.  WD is hitting it's next big phase of growth along with the rest of the hobby.  Many would claim this period marks the end of the Golden Age, but I have a hard time with that because the popularity and growth never has been, and arguably never will be again, as high as this time.

Roger Musson is back with Part 3 of the Dungeon Architect.  This time he talks about the Populated Dungeon.  This delves into what some other Bloggers have referred to as Gygax Naturalism. Or how do these life forms get to where they are and survive there?  Steady diet of 1st levels?  If you are working out a dungeon crawl then these are good articles to find.  I guess in a way this is also a sign of the "end of the golden age".  The GA did care about dungeon ecology or why things were there, they just were.  The later Silver Age (or even, the Dragonlance Age) dungeons had a reason for being and the monsters there did something other than wait around to be killed.

Robert McMahon takes us to a new career option in Traveller, the Imperial Secret Service.

Open Box has some reviews for us.  Deluxe Edition Traveller is out, combining previous books plus Book 0, a map and 2d6s. I notice this is also one of the first uses of "role-playing game" used other than an academic or editorial context as opposed to SF/F game. I still have not seen RPG used yet.  Back on track, Andy Slack gives it 10/10 for newcomers, but 4/10 for old hands since there is not much that is new.
Chaosium has a new Runequest supplement/adventure Griffin Mountain. Actually it is more of a campaign at 200+ pages.  It gets a solid 9/10 from Murray White.  Star Fleet battles from Task Force Games is up next. I always wanted to try this game out and I know it has it's legions of fans, but it never happened.  The review is solid and John Lambshead gives it 8/10 citing it might be a bit complex for new players.  A bunch of Traveller books are up next, IIS Ship files (10/10), Traders and Gunboats (9/10) and Asteroid (8/10).  It was a great time to be a Traveller fan.

Lew Pulsipher is back with Part 5 of his An Introduction to Dungeons & Dragons. This time talking about characterisation and alignment.  Ahh, more evidence the Golden Age is nearly over if we are talking about characters. I am joking. (well, only a little). The interesting idea here is that Alignment should have an effect on role-playing your character and thus you get experience rewards accordingly.  So not an in-game mechanic, but a meta-gaming concept.

The Dungeon at the End of the Universe continues where Issue 26's The DM's Guide to the Galaxy left off. Marcus Rowland continues the D&D in space concept to combat, magic and equipment.  Though I have my doubts that a quasi-Dark Ages metalsmith can make air-tight armor.

Letters are up next.

A mini adventure for AD&D is next, Hell's Portal, fir 7-9 characters of 4th level. Fairly straightforward adventure.  I did notice that HP was constantly referred to as HTK which was common in many non-sanction D&D products.

Star Base has an article on putting Traveller weapon information on  index cards for quick reference.  Even then people were trying integrate cards and RPGs.

In what I believe is a White Dwarf first we have a female author of an article!  Penelope Hill gives us the Summoner class in Character Conjuring.  Summoners are a sub-class of Magic-User that summon monsters to do their bidding.  It looks solid, but the proof is in the playing as it were.

Fiend Factory is back with the "near misses" of the Fiend Folio.  These are the ones that didn't make it (and yet the Flumph did...) We have the Spikehead (an ape with a spike on it's head) and the Wirrn (large maggots) I suspect the Wirrn didn't make it due to a similar creature with a similar name in Doctor Who. The Greenman (a creature with green skin and four arms) and the White Ape (ape with four arms) both have their origin in the ERB's Mars books.  The last one, the Cold Beast, is something like a Lamasu or Shedu without wings and lives in a cold area.  Well that and it eats people.

Treasure chest has a bunch of new spells.

We end with a bunch of ads. The last page has the official AD&D miniatures page with the first time I recall seeing the new "man in the moon" TSR logo.

I see this issue as still a transition issue.  Obviously White Dwarf is deeply in love with D&D still, but the Traveller content is now about equal to it.  Runequest, which was always strong, gets mentioned still, but not as much.

Looking forward to 1982 and more changes!
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