Tuesday, 1 August 2017

RPG a Day 2017: Day One

It's #RPGaDAY time again. I participated once before by covering all the topics in one giant omni-post. This time I'm going to try to do the challenge as written. One RPG topic a day, every day, for all of August.

Day One is the question: "What Published RPG do you wish you were playing right now?"


At the moment my gaming life is pretty rich. I play in a regular 5e D&D game. I'm playing good old Marvel FASERIP with my longtime group. I'm also running a streamlined version of the Black Hack for my kids and some of their friends. There's not much missing, but I do have a game I'd love to be playing right now: Classic Traveller.

I blogged about Classic Traveller once before. Since then the game has grown on me. It is a brilliant bit of design! It's a simple, skills-based system that makes science fiction adventure easy to do.

I like the way the loose, implied setting can be adapted to any idea the group has for the kind of game they want. It's easy to take inspiration from so much of the genre to build your setting or add detail to the implied setting until it feels right. That's why I love the original three little black books. In them, the galaxy represents infinite possibility. Anything can happen out in the vastness of space! There are dangers, opportunities and adventure out there with no reason to ever stop.

Traveller characters are experienced adventurers with the right stuff. That means the Traveller character generation is a process of creating a past for each character. This approach is brilliant for science fiction where character knowledge and experience are the tools used to overcome obstacles.

A lot of chaff is thrown at the possibility of Traveller characters dying during character generation, but it turns the process into a game in itself. A gamble with the highest of stakes! Push things too far, and that character that you are starting to like might wind up dead! Don't go far enough and you won't have the skills you need to survive in play! It's also fast enough that starting over is no huge burden. There are even some great online random character generators out there that allow you to make a character (sometimes even a dead one) in seconds.

There are piles of classic books available, but the game I want to play is in the 3 LBBs, Charts and Tables, Citizens of the Imperium and 76 Patrons. That's my dream set for the long Traveller campaign I haven't played yet.

That is why I want to play it so bad! I found Traveller only a few years ago, when I bought the charity bundle. So far I've only had short runs and one-shots with the game. Just enough to let me know how much I like it and what I want to do with it. I know I want a crumbling galactic empire, like in the Foundation Series, mixed with the oppressive regime desperately clinging to the remains of power like Blake's 7, mixed with the wild sci-fi adventure tourism of Doctor Who, all held together with the cynical opportunism of FireFly. The Traveller umbrella can cover it all and more!

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