Leaning Into Classic Traveller

Yesterday, I outlined my project to learn how to play Traveller. This post is an update after the first 24 hours of reading and thinking. As with most projects, I find there is an initial flurry of activity before I settle into the slower pace of doing the things I aim to do.

First, I Read Cepheus

Because I was expecting to be focused on learning to play Traveller with half an eye on writing a supplement outlining what I perceive to be the missing game structures needed to have a really good game, I decided to read Cepheus. That was, by and large, a red herring.

First, I read Faster Than Light! and, while it’s a fine and very light restatement in the general vicinity of early Traveller, I basically hated it. The booklet lacks the very game structure content I am looking for. Of course, the upside was that I clarified what I am looking to achieve.

I then read Cepheus Light and, finally, Cepheus itself. These are fine enough products and worthy of your attention… but they are not Classic Traveller.

Once I realised that I actually want to learn how to play Traveller, I put these books down. For now, at least.

Digging Into Classic Traveller

This morning, having woken up in the wee hours realising that I own everything there is for Traveller, I started to gather my stuff.

As noted in yesterday’s article, my plan initially involves getting my head around the following:

  • Running Combat Encounters
  • Running a Location Exploration Adventure
  • Running a Planetary Exploration Adventure
  • Running Subsector Travel

It seemed fairly obvious once I opened my Traveller boxed set, but I need to (re)learn how to make characters before I can do any of the above.

Digging around in my archive of books and .PDF files (I own all the FarFuture.net Digital Resources, including the excellent collection of Classic Traveller stuff you can still get on CD-ROM), I then came across what has turned out to be a genuine jewel that I had previously not noticed: Loren Wiseman’s Book 0: An Introduction to Traveller:

Book 0 is a genuinely useful read. Originally part of the Deluxe Traveller boxed set (which I only own digitally), this book aims to plug quite a lot of the ground that I am aiming to cover. Inevitably, however, the book does not give us the much-needed game structures I am seeking.

What I learned in these pages, however, helped to shape my next steps with a great deal of precision. If you’ve not read Book 0, you really owe it to yourself to give it a go.

The neophyte may be intimidated by the mountain of Traveller material available. It is best to break it into small, easily understood sections, studying one and practicing it until the system is fully understood before proceeding to another. Start off with the basic rules, Books 1, 2, and 3, and skim through them lightly, stopping to study in depth any section which seems interesting, but don’t try for complete comprehension at this stage.

Introduction To Traveller: Traveller Book 0; GDW 1981, page 12

Breaking it all down, I now have a more detailed plan of action. It begins today. It looks something like this, at least in the beginning phases:

  • Read Traveller Book 1: Characters and Combat
  • Roll up some characters (and keep them as NPCs for later)
  • Run a combat (perhaps the bar fight suggested in the “Imperial Fringe” Introductory Adventure)
  • Read Traveller Book 3: Worlds and Adventures
  • Read Double Adventure 1
  • Draw on the Book 0 NPC advice to flesh out my ideas
  • Read Traveller Book 2: Starships
  • Put it all together and run some games

And that’s where I am up to right now. Excited, curious, and very much ready to dive in deep. Anyone coming with me?

Dive into Learning Traveller 1: Making Characters

Game on!

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