What got me interested in Traveller was the cover art for Alien Module 3: Darrians. Art sells, that's a fact. If I ever publish an RPG I will fork out whatever money necessary to acquire a beautiful cover.
Of course I only ever flipped through Darrians a few times when I bought it, it was the Mongoose Traveller Core Rulebook that I fell in love with. It's a slim, solid black, well constructed book that encapsulates all you need to run any sci-fi game. And I mean any. I love the simplicity and elegance of this system. If it has one flaw, I'd say that flaw is a character advancement system that seems like an after-thought and also that Education and Intellect are too closely related. Character creation is all based on random rolls and I think advancement should be as well. Perhaps after so many XP or so many sessions, a player could roll on one of the career tables in their career path. Just a simple house-rule waiting to happen and something that I have incorporated in a somewhat related project of mine...
Anyhow over time I collected almost every book in the Mongoose Traveller 1st Edition Line and over the past several years designed and redesigned the character sheet. The official sheets for this game look nice and work just fine, but I'm all about space maximization and printer friendliness.
***Traveler players are a technical bunch. But, if character sheet evolution bores you, then skip to the bottom of the page for the final sheets and some thoughts on Fantasy Traveller.***
These early designs aren't too dissimilar to the official sheet. Here I was mainly concerned with how to present the skill ranks (to the left of the skill, as opposed to the right, as on the official sheet.) I also switched back and forth between lines and boxes for the bottom info. Ultimately, I would settle on lines.
At this point I became interested with cramming all the skills into 1 or 2 columns. The first sheet below doesn't even list the skills, and I quickly determined that just didn't feel like Traveller.
And here I flirted with the notion of splitting the skills into different categories, but that gets tricky in Traveller because skills can be used in different ways. I would use this idea later...
With my designs for Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog, the appearance for what would be my final format becomes apparent. Here I added in hit-point boxes, though I've never known any one who tracks hit-points on their actual character sheet. Psi has also been added as a Stat and more slots are created for the career terms.
At this point, the character sheet is formatted for Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition and it feels complete to me. The rules for 2nd Edition are basically a cleaned up, streamlined version of 1st. I love the addition of boons and banes and the Prisoner career. The layout is nice, but I have to say I prefer the 1st Edition solid black cover with black and white interior art. Just because art is in color doesn't mean it's better, or modern for that matter.
Of the two sheets below, the Redline version is my go to. I feel that the red boxes allow your stats to stand out more, where as too much black can drown out pencils. Plus, the black and red color pattern matches the Traveller theme.
And then there's this...
For years people have been craving a Fantasy version of Traveller. There is even a photo-shopped image of a box set called Wanderer
floating around the web. What a tease that is. So, on and off for a few years now, I have been designing my own. I used to call it Dungeoneer, which was the default name I tended to give any fantasy system that I worked on. Now I call it Rynath
. The gold sheets below are samples of my first design done a few years ago. Magic works similar to psionics in that each school has a subset of spells
that can be cast at varying difficulty. Dabbler means you've learned just one of those spells.
I made 12 or 13 career charts, each with the standard 3 sub-career specializations. The one thing I never did is write up all of the events and mishaps per career.
The black sheets below are a recent refinement of the project. I streamlined character creation from the usual Traveller style and changed up the skills a bit, including how armor works. There are no events or mishaps, just a benefit roll after every term and I envisioned 5 terms of 2 years to be the standard with a starting age of 15 + 1d6.
Currently, this project has evolved away from simply being Fantasy Traveller to a Traveller/OSR hybrid (Old School Renaissance
for those who don't know.) Instead of having careers, I have basic OSR style classes with their own charts (and fewer of them) to roll on with a rare occasion for a multi-class. The game mechanic is basically Traveller's 2d6 with some modifications.
I'm considering making an ongoing series of posts discussing these Fantasy Traveller and OSR projects. Until then...