This is a review of the core rulebook for Traveller RPG. Available in both print and PDF format from Mongoose Publishing.
First Glance: If you’re familiar with the GDW (Game Design Workshop) version of Traveller of the past, you instantly recognize the simple black trade dress with the red TRAVELLER logo. It’s a 181 page hardbound book with black and white interior artwork.
Main Review: The rules are pretty simple, based upon 2d6, or the d66 variation, the rules are updated but mostly the same as the old rules from GDW. Character creation is fun, with the ability to choose and change careers, your character’s life is in your own hands, random rolls determine what happens as your proceed through the different terms, for good or ill, nothing is set in stone, not your stats or skills during creation, you could easily start as a dirt farmer and end up a Duke.
Artwork: Decent, some of the figures have a bit of a proportion issue. The old ship artwork appears to be recycled into the new edition, which forges yet another bridge to the past.
Replay Value: Excellent, as any RPG, there’s always good replay value. With Traveller it’s even more so, as it’s a core ruleset, around which nearly anything could be emulated. The character creation is so randomized that no character should be exactly the same.
Comprehension Level: Excellent, The rules for Traveller are pretty simple as I’ve already stated, by using d6s, That automatically makes it simpler for some, since everyone is familiar with a 6 sided die. Combat isn’t too complex, easily picked up in 1 or 2 sessions.
Humor: This is a stripped down basic rulebook, not a lot of humor, or humour as the Brits say, involved.
Game Mastering: Gamemastering can be challenging, not for the sake of complicated rules, but the fact that they game spans galaxies and each session may see two or three different worlds. Though there are various settings based in Traveller, most notably, is the Judge Dredd Campaign Setting. No matter what you want to do, you can probably find a place to do it here, you could recreate other settings, from movies or anime, perhaps an exiting RPG doesn’t quite fit your vision of how the game should run. This is an easy system to convert it to. If you can find old adventurers, conversion should be simple as the stats are the same, just a few minor tweaks and you’re done. Plenty of online support exists for adventures as well. Including articles in the Free Signs & Portent eZines that Mongoose publishes (available on their site or on DriveThruRPG).
Family Rating: 10+, it’s a dangerous world out there, violence is sure to happen. However it is a simple system compared to many of the systems out there, but when you have a simple game system, it’s easier to focus on good gaming.
Price Tag: $39.95 or $23.97 for the PDF on DrivethruRPG.
Value: Pretty Good. For the Basic system you’re getting a 181 page book that covers everything from Character Creation, to World Creation to Game Mastering, it’s a bit pricey for the number of pages, but it is on par with other comparable systems, and this one you don’t need to buy a Game Masters Guide. There are plenty of supplements already published if you wish to go deeper down the rabbit hole. Earthdawn was the same price, but it was a much larger book.
Overall Rating: Mostly Epic! As a core setting it lacks an in depth setting, and for the price it could have been a bit meatier.