I’ve been thinking about some of the recent attempts to adapt the Traveller RPG rules to a fantasy setting. The good thing about the rules set is that they provide a structure for a non-technological background which can help the referee to develop a very detailed environment, in which to create a setting for adventures in a low-tech fantasy environment. I’ve seen some very elaborate creations (Adventurer, Wanderer) which the writers have spent a great deal of time and effort on their take of the Traveller ‘FRPG’ system. Though fantastic pieces of work, for me, there is one problem; like many RPG products these days, they have a huge number of rules that make for a very complex system to use. This is fine for many people and is the way of the world for many RPG products these days, but for an old school’er like me, I don’t have the time or inclination to spend a great deal of time learning tons and tons of rules. When I did GM games, I tended to stick to systems that were simpler and easier to pick up. This allowed me to concentrate on developing the scenario’s and running the storyline, rather than worrying about missing that all-important rule that some players will argue the toss over.
Getting the creative urge, I set myself an aim with which to utilise the rules I had in Traveller and create a fantasy world which could be used as a FRPG background and method to create characters.
There were a few guidelines I would work to:
The world should be created based as closely on the Classic Traveller books by GDW.
There shouldn’t be large amounts of modification of the existing rules in order to give me my background.
It should be ‘rules-lite’ ie. not extend the rules much beyond what is already available within the existing rules/books.
After reading my supplements and rule books, I decided to use the following as my source material:-
Book 3 – Worlds and Adventures
Supplement 4 – Citizens of the Imperium
Supplement 2 – Animal Enounters
Windows application ‘Heaven and Earth’
I decided that the world should be something that could fit into the Third Imperium, therefore I went for a planet that has a race of humans that were transported to the world by the Ancients thousands of years ago. The race regressed and eventually the world became what it is today; a brutal world akin to the writings of Robert E. Howards ‘Conan the Barbarian’ and the fictional Hyborian age on Earth. Its a world that Travellers could happen across by accident, crash-land or found through adventure.
Book 3 gave me the structure with which to set up the worlds statistics. They are: X465570-1 PBG:123 Ag Po. I named the world ‘Grond’, which has one moon and orbits an F5 type star.
Once I had this data, I then fed it into the Windows utility ‘Heaven and Earth’ (H&E), where I could then generate a planetary map using the standard Traveller geodesic map format.
At this point, I had a choice – Heaven and Earth also generates lots of planetary data, such as population statistics, animal, humanoid encounter lists and trade data. At this point, I stopped using H&E – the reason being I simply wanted a quick way to generate a random planetary map, rather than draw one out. I could have created a map without H&E, but used it for a short-cut.
Now I had a world with which to populate with a race of humans and creatures. I then turned to Supplement 4: ‘Citizens of the Imperium’ to get some stats for Barbarian characters, who would be the main character type on Grond. There were plenty of pre-generated characters listed and there was a good way to create new PC’s. However, though there was a good character generation structure, there were a few skills and items listed that I needed to adjust. References in the following paragraphs can be found on pages 8-9 of Supplement 4.
I’d keep the numbers the same, instead changing the currency from the Imperial Cr to ‘groats’ as the currency of Grond. Lets assume that the character has acquired this through various means such as inheritance, gambling, work, stealing and other adventures.
Gun Cbt – replaced, see below
Mechanical – altered, see below
Gun Combat – obviously in a world that is set in a Conan-esq background won’t have guns, so I’ve replaced this with the ‘Gambling’ skill in the table.
I had a think about ‘Mechanical’ skill and decided to keep it in the table, but with the following description:
The mechanical skill covers all aspects of blacksmithing, weapon-craft, armour manufacture and maintenance.
Note on Blade Combat:
As described on page 10, the list and rule where a character has to select a weapon from the table upon receiving the skill is retained.
Note on Bow Weapons:
The bow weapons table is useful and the contents apply from pages 16 to 17 with no adjustments.
At this point, I’ll break before looking at what fantastic creatures I intend to populate Grond with, with the help of Supplement 2: Animal Encounters.