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"Traveller is Best for 'Create As You Go' Campaigning" Topic

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24 Dec 2018 6:53 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian24 Dec 2018 6:52 p.m. PST

You were asked – TMP link

What RPG Set is Best for 'Create As You Go' Campaigning?

17% said "Traveller (LBB editions)"
11% (tie) said "AD&D 1st Edition" and "GURPS" and "D&D (classic versions)"

Calico Bill24 Dec 2018 11:28 p.m. PST

True. So very true. An ideal background for adventuring.

USAFpilot25 Dec 2018 7:54 a.m. PST

D&D was divided by it's different editions in the poll, whereas Traveller was not. If you look again at the poll and compare D&D verses Traveller, you will see D&D clearly wins. It's just like political polling; it's all in how you ask the question to manipulate the result you want.

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP26 Dec 2018 7:00 a.m. PST

While I agree in one sense with the D&D edition point, on the other hand various D&D editions really are different games. 1st to 2d edition changes in AD&D were negligible, but 3d, 4th, and 5th D&D are more different from one another than many other games are different from D&D or each other. Likewise, Basic/Expert D&D of the very early 1980s is not very different from BECMI D&D of the mid-1980s-on, but both are different from AD&D or any other later editions of D&D.

USAFpilot26 Dec 2018 7:52 a.m. PST

1st to 2d edition changes in AD&D were negligible,

I agree. Going back and looking at the poll results, when you combine just 1st and 2nd edition D&D there are 18 votes versus only 10 for Traveller. If you also count in votes for "classic" version D&D you get 28 votes, almost 3 times higher than Traveller.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP28 Dec 2018 12:06 p.m. PST

The 1st edition AD&D DMG had a handy "random dungeon generator" – was that also in 2nd edition?

Much as I liked Traveller the idea of it being the best "get going in 5 minutes" adventure systen doesn't gel well with my experience…

evil grin

USAFpilot03 Jan 2019 2:21 p.m. PST

Traveller required much more preparation and work from the GM than D&D.

With D&D, creating an adventure from scratch was fairly straight forward. Draw some rooms and corridors on graph paper, and then stock with monsters, treasure, and traps. It didn't even have to make sense; it was all fantasy after all. With Traveller, since there was no dungeon, there was no confined space of a dungeon crawl type of adventure. Traveller was a limitless void which needed to be filled by the imagination of the GM. Where do you even begin? At the space port? What does that even look like? With D&D, you could always begin at the entrance of a dungeon with the characters staring into the dark. No matter the game system, "create as you go campaigning" is much easier in a fantasy game than a science fiction game.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2019 9:12 a.m. PST

Traveller was much quicker get up and go, especially for solitaire RPGing just using the character creation tables!

Travellers can start their adventure just staring into a cavern on an unknown planet where they were just landed to hide out for a spell.

USAFpilot04 Jan 2019 5:51 p.m. PST

"solitaire RPGing"

What is that? How do you play an rpg by yourself?

TNE230004 Jan 2019 10:00 p.m. PST

solitaire play is explicitly mentioned in the 1977 edition of Traveller

USAFpilot05 Jan 2019 1:08 p.m. PST

I own the hardback which is a reprint of the original three soft cover books. I didn't see anything which mentions solitaire play. I can understand playing an RPG on a computer, like Baldur's Gate, by yourself; but how do you role play a game by yourself? How is that even possible?

Ed the Two Hour Wargames guy05 Jan 2019 2:29 p.m. PST



Download Chain Reaction 2018


to see how the base game mechanics work and the story building stuff is in the specific rules sets. Maybe a THW gamer can comment, don't want to seem like I'm selling anything.

TNE230005 Jan 2019 10:36 p.m. PST

I own the hardback which is a reprint of the original three soft cover books. I didn't see anything which mentions solitaire play.

page 122

USAFpilot06 Jan 2019 8:32 a.m. PST

Thanks, you're right; it does mention solitaire play in so much as those aspects of the game you can do by yourself: rolling up a character, creating an adventure, etc. IMHO games are better enjoyed with a group, especially "role playing" games which require an element of communal interaction and are much more than just rules mechanisms.

Thanks again for responding. And Ed, I wlll check out the links.

Mithmee10 Jan 2019 8:52 p.m. PST

How do you play an rpg by yourself?

Well it is what I had to do when I did:

The Tomb of Horrors

Because no one would have been dumb enough to go into there with a party.

Remember 21 went in on that run and only 4 came out.

Alan Lauder27 Jan 2019 7:00 a.m. PST

Tomb of Horrors, I still shudder to think about that one years later!

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP31 Jan 2019 9:27 a.m. PST

I played Traveller LBB's, in the early 80's. I guess you could say that generating your character's military experience and career was "playing", and that got you going immediately. For me, though, this was not really playing the game. I had many characters who had fantastic, exciting military careers, until they died, prior to mustering out, with a load of skill sets.

I guess I don't understand why voters felt Traveller LBB was a faster game, other than the character's military career. After that, it was daunting as hell! I had to create a system of neighboring stars, mapped out, with planets which were inhabited, and I had to define their tech levels! I found it overwhelming, to be honest.

Never got into the official setting materials. We just had the LBB's to go by. Frankly, I found it exciting and full of possibilities, but as the GM, it was a non-starter with no star systems mapped out for me to even use as a guide. Cheers!


Tomb of Horrors really demonstrated Gygax's early attitude of Player vs. DM. I hated that module. It was designed to utterly destroy PC's. I did not consider it "fun", at all. Did I mention that I hated it?…

RobBrennan19 Apr 2019 1:48 p.m. PST

I think Traveller works very well for a create as you go style of play since it has many generators – patrons, planets, encounters etc. Here is a good how-to on setting up a sandbox for play:
Here is another article about solo play of traveller
There are also lots of 3rd party systems for solo rpg play, one that I've had fun with is Mythic Game Master Emulator
I actually found out about it here on TMP on the solo boards as a support for running narrative wargames campaigns!

tkdguy05 May 2019 8:41 p.m. PST

I just thought about using the Classic Traveller system with the 2300 AD (aka Traveller 2300) setting.

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