The Rule System
First Campaign The March Harrier
Out of Time Campaign
Traveller is a hard Science Fiction role playing game. The basic concepts for role playing are the same as D&D, but it is very different. It uses only regular 6 sided dice and instead of magic, technology is the fantasy element.

The game has a vast galaxy the players can travel in and can provide almost any environment you can think of within its rules. I has lots of interesting alien races to play. I feel it's more suted to an episodic kind of campaign as opposed to a story based one.

My first campaign was episodic as opposed to a story based one.
This used the original Traveller small books and d6 only. The players were guns for hire and would travel from one adventure to another based on what jobs they could find on the local jobs board. I have no records of these games as I didn't have a computer at that time and used paper only for both adventurers and game notes.
Only one adventure really stands out from the first time I reffed this game. The players were hired as mercenary and cadre troops guarding a frontier outpost and training some of the backward local aliens in modern weapons. When the aliens attacked their fort with spears and clubs against their laser guns, some players rebelled! The adventure was intended to be Zulu with energy weapons.  

The next time I reffed Traveller I used the  Traveller T20, a d20 version of the rules. This used the standard set of D&D dice and a completely rewritten rule book. I like this system better than the original
I intended this to be more story based and was called Out of Time. A mistake by a mad scientist passenger testing a more efficient FTL drive sent the party thousands of years in their future to find their civilization has been destroyed. They tried to find a planet that would allow them to fix their spaceship and find a better home in the stars. This had a ton of potential for me to play around in a well defined set of stars and planets, but all that was left on most were the remains of the ancient days.
I abandon this campaign early when some of the player revolted against losing their holding from their origin setup in the transition to a universe that had no inter-system banking system.

After playing AD&D for a long time, I wanted to try role playing something with a completely different flavor. The Traveller system was very popular and a ton of material was released in its support. There was even a monthly magazine and a couple of companies who were writing adventures and rule expansions.
One of the biggest advantages of Traveller was it VAST universe that was already mapped and hundreds of detailed star systems.

The first edition used a number of small booklets rather than a monolithic books used by most other systems. This increased the complexity of running the adventurers as the necessary information could get lost easily.
Another disadvantage was it's insistence that all the characters come from a military or civil training system. Also, the muster out that gave the characters their beginning goods was wildly random creating inequality between players.

Campaign - Not so much
I never actually reffed a "campaign" in Traveller opting to just string together a series of jobs given to the group by a patron or from a space station job site. There was a armed guide assignment for a business man going to a lawless planet. There was one accompanying a biologist to catch some special zoo animals. But my fav orite was a cadre assignment on a frontier world. They were hired to train the local nearly human indigenous peoples in the ways of modern war. The fun part was when the local natives decided to move up their schedule for attack. All of a sudden the players are in a "Zulu" situation with their laser weapons killing people armed with stick short swords and wooden shields. To their credit, they screamed about the situation I Had put them in and vowed never to take another mission like that one!

The t20 rules
The next time I reffed Traveller was shortly after the new rules had been written using a heavily modified version of the D&D d20 system. It was a very different game that the one that used only 6 siders as this version used the polyhedral dice from D&D. I was interested in this system mostly because the players were already familiar with them and I had several things that I though were a problem with the old rules.

Adventure Out of TIme
In my first Traveller games I didn't like the way most of the planets seemed to be more advanced technologically and socially. I wanted to put the characters in more of a exploration mode. To this end I gave them a couple of cake walk scenarios to prep them for the "main event".

The setup was they were going to be taking passengers on trip lasting a couple of weeks. There were a number of players in the crew and several players were playing the passengers. Unknown to any of them one of their number was a highy advanced Jump Drive scientist. He had invented a device that when used alongside a standard Jump engine would reduce the elapsed time of travel by 80%. Unfortunately not only did it shorten the travel time, it also sent them 2000 years into the future. During that time the interstellar culture and organization completely disintegrated leaving planets in ruins.

It was going OK until some of the players figured out that all of the assets they had in the past were now worthless. They thought this was grossly unfair (and maybe they were right). They made continuing with this adventure impossible, so I ended it abruptly. One of the most fun things that came out of preparing for this game was the ship board computer. I game the March Harriers computer a name! I called her "Sandy" (you know like silicon). I discovered a site for a company that had a product that did text-to-speech, but with a tone of different accents.

One of them they called "Valley Girl" that mimicked the affected speech of a Los Angles area teenagers. This game the ship board computer an edgy sound that was great! I took a lot of time (and I suspect a lot of computing power from the company) to create all the phrases I could think that a computer would need A zip file of the Sandy Speaks waves

© Copyright Chip Frye - 2021