The first roleplaying game I played was Traveller. This was the 1977 edition of the boxed set containing those iconic Little Black Books. My friend, Daniel, had it and I remember vividly rolling up my first characters in a post-school session. We were in Middle School and I was younger than 11.
Fast-forward 40 years and I am still excited about the game called Traveller. Of course, it’s no longer just one game: I own every edition since 1977 and have collected the game throughout the years since. Unlike many gamers, however, I have always been most fascinated by the Third Imperium – the “official” Traveller Universe (OTU).
The weird thing is that since leaving High School in 1989, I’ve not really played Traveller again. I have abortively tried to Referee games, of course, and I have also dabbled with short stints of solo play to learn the various editions. Generally, however, these dabblings rarely get much traction.
As I recover from my self-enforced imprisonment behind the bars of restrictive mental habits, I realise that one of the activities that truly brings me joy is to crack open a Traveller tome and start reading. In fact, the last time I did this, I felt a lurch and rush of interest that I rarely experience with other games.
There is something primal within me that responds to the details of that universe first described in the 1981 and 1983 Traveller products that we dig deeper into as players in our high school years.
My collection of Mongoose Traveller books is something that I dearly want to explore. I find the rules of the game acceptable and the presentation of that universe compelling. Stepping beyond the mixed bag of artwork, I enjoy the ideas that are encapsulated in the OTU.
In the week past, I have become aware of the fears I hold around “canon” and come to realise that My Traveller Universe, based upon the OTU, can happily rest upon it as loosely or as faithfully as I choose. Yet, to be able to choose the degree of fidelity to this original source, I need to go and read those books.
That’s the project I would like to embrace. It’s a private immersion into the written materials of the game that I’ve been hooked on since before I was a teen. It seems to me that visiting those ten thousand worlds of Known Space is a worthy pastime. Who knows, it might even turn into something I choose to play again too.