I was contacted by email and through this blog earlier this week by Will Shade who was looking for some advice in how to get back into Traveller, having last played the game back in the 70’s. Will had read my review of ‘The Traveller Book’ and wondered if this would be a good starting point to start playing?
I responded to Will via email and afterwards thought this would form the basis of a blog post that others may find useful. So, to set the scene; you may be someone who has previously played Traveller and may remember it from the early height of RPGs in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s? If thats the game that you are looking to get back into, then there is a wealth of material available at reasonable prices.
The Traveller Book
For those who like a physical copy of the rules, you can purchase a print-on-demand hardback copy of The Traveller Book. This contains all the rules from the original Classic Traveller boxed set (books 1, 2 and 3) repoduced from the revised 1981 edition, plus a few additions and two scenarios. This is available from DriveThru RPG and is a really nice way to get into Classic Traveller, whether you have played it before or have never played before.
My full review of The Traveller Book can be found here: The Traveller Book Print on Demand
The Classic Traveller CDROMs
For those that want to expand beyond the basic rules into the supplements and scenarios originally published by Game Designers’ Workshop (GDW), you have two sources to pick up PDF copies; DriveThru RPG is probably the easiest if you want to select and pick up individual copies of the ‘Little Black Books’, of which all of the supplements, rules and scenario’s are available to purchase from GDW. However, if you want to buy all of them, this could work out quite expensive. Marc Miller’s FarFuture.net sells CDROMs with the complete collection of the Classic Traveller PDFs which considering the number of files and books contained on the disc, is incredible value. In addition, Marc also sells a CDROM with the Journal of the Traveller’s Aid Society magazines (JTAS) and a number of other discs with PDFs of third-party publishers material from FASA and Judges Guild.
Print Copies of the Classic Traveller Books
Unfortunately it isn’t possible to buy new copies of the CT books any more (other than The Traveller Book mentioned above). If you want copies of the original books, you’ll have to look at aftermarket resellers such as eBay or AbeBooks.
What is Actually Available?
If you’re unsure what books and editions of Classic Traveller were has produced, a helpful ‘Guide to Classic Traveller’ is available to download for free from DriveThru RPG. This has been updated over time and is a very interesting and useful resource.
Scenario Ideas on a Budget
If you’re just dipping your toes into trying out Classic Traveller and have perhaps just picked up a copy of The Traveller Book, where can you get some inspiration from for scenario and adventure ideas? A couple of really good resources that have over the years have collected a number of scenario ideas with contributions from the Traveller community (including submissions from yours truly) in two formats: ‘76 Patrons’ and ‘Amber Zones’. For those that aren’t familiar with the two styles, ‘76 Patrons’ is named after the CT supplement 6 which is a book containing a number of scenario ideas, with six possible outcomes. The ‘Amber Zone’ style is named after the JTAS articles of the same name. These tend to be more detailed scenarios for the referee to develop the possible outcomes naturally during gameplay.
The Amber Zones and 76 Patrons adventures can be found via the Amber Zone and Zhodani Base websites:
I would like to note that the Amber Zones are primarily aimed for use with the grandchild of the Classic Traveller rules, the Cepheus Engine. However only a minimal set of game-specific statistics are provided in the scenarios so these will be easy to adapt whatever set of 2D6 gaming rules you wish to use.
Another very useful resource is the ‘Freelance Traveller’ magazine, which is free to download. Thanks to @timpaa Timothy Collision for reminding me; FT can be found at: https://www.freelancetraveller.com
You may also find this blog post useful: New Classic Traveller Resources and News which contains details of fanzines and material supporting Classic Traveller.
I would like to thank Will for getting in touch and asking my advice and I hope you find this article useful if you are thinking of getting into Classic Traveller, whether as a new player or revisiting veteran.