So what is this?
I’ve been a Traveller fan for a long time. I started playing when I was in college back in 1977/1978 and it quickly became my favorite game. I continued playing it for years, even decades.
Eventually however my campaign faded out. I had been playing about once or twice a year with my old players when we would get together, but a couple of years ago we started playing Eclipse Phase instead, and the campaign finally ended.
But I missed Traveller. I had occasionally thought of ways to continue it, but never did.
Then I realized it was 2017. This in and of itself didn’t mean anything (beyond the fact that when I first started playing Traveller 2017 seemed as far away as the Imperial year 1117) but then I thought…
The Rebellion, as defined in MegaTraveller, pretty much got going in 1117.
So I started thinking about Traveller again. And I thought about an article that had appeared in the Journal of the Travellers’ Aid Society.
It was in issue 13, back in 1982, and was titled Real Time Traveller by Steven Sowards.
There was always a lot of empty time in Traveller. Time spent with your ship in port, time spent in Jumpspace, time spent looking for cargo or passengers, time that was pretty much glossed over in play.
Sowards’ article suggested playing Traveller a different way. He suggested playing one day of game time in one day of real time. This wouldn’t take long, just the occasional die-roll or two on the days you happened to need to worry about something, but he felt that it would allow players to experience Traveller, even in a solo campaign, in something like the scale our characters would be experiencing it.
And I thought… “Let’s try this.”
So I set up a campaign. It would be in the Hinterworlds, because that was where my last campaign had been set, and it would start in 1117. While I know that some of my fellow players never particularly cared for the Rebellion, I had always liked the idea. I felt it added a sense of urgency and conflict that was somehow missing from the original game.
((Don’t ask me about Virus. The collapse could have happened even without it and I never really liked The New Era because of it. But I won’t have to worry about that for a while. Hard Times runs through 1125 or later, after all…))
Anyway, I did a bit of research and found that news of Strephon’s assassination would have reached the edge of the Hinterworlds on 258-1116 by Imperial/Naval channels and on 321-1116 by X-Boat. That’s November 17th in our more familiar calendar. So on January 1, when I decided to set the start the campaign, they would know about the assassination but the details and the extent of the Rebellion would not have sunk in yet.
The Solomani don’t even know. Yet.
So I figured it would be a good start for a campaign. I started with a Free Trader, since I have always felt that was the classic Traveller campaign. I created a set of characters, came up with a basic structure, and started running it how I thought it would go.
Yeah, a solo campaign has its own difficulties (in that you know where everything is going) but RPGs have changed a lot since Traveller first came out. Back then they were still, in many ways, adversarial. The Referee was working against the players.
Now, of course, things are different. RPGs are exercises in collaborative storytelling and Referees are encouraged to say “Yes, but…” instead of “No!” to player actions. Plus, I have been getting more into writing lately and this seemed like a good way to encourage some creativity. And so a campaign was born.
And so, welcome aboard the Grayswandir! We’re happy to have you. It’s going to be an interesting voyage. Glad to have you with us.