Mayday, Mayday…we are under attack

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Clark is an anarchocapitalist, a reader, and a man of mystery. He's not a neoreactionary, but he is Nrx-curious 'til graduation. All he wants for Christmas is for everyone involved in the police state to get a fair trial and a free hanging. Follow him at @clarkhat

52 Responses

  1. Ken White says:

    I LOVED THIS GAME. What a blast from the past.

  2. Kirk Taylor says:

    Sigh. Nobody plays the cool games anymore. Thanks for reminding me.

  3. Kirk Taylor says:

    With modern attention spans I'm lucky if I can find someone to play We Didn't Playtest This at All with me.

  4. Lizard says:

    Hmm…. I paid for the CD when it was scheduled to be released in 2008… I ought to be seeing mine, except for the whole "Moved since then" thing. Time to write the good folks at FFE…

  5. Icon says:

    A few beers, some good friends and a couple of hours spent rolling up a Traveller character only to see it die at the end of character generation. You can't buy that kind of RPG nostalgia.

  6. eigenperson says:

    At first I thought this post was from Ken, and immediately assumed that some clever opposing counsel had sent it to ensure that he would devote his next N days to something other than the case at hand.

  7. Clark says:

    a couple of hours spent rolling up a Traveller character only to see it die at the end of character generation

    Worst. Character-gen system. EVAR.

  8. Wick says:

    I see someone beat me to making a character dying while being generated reference.

    I had such fun role playing the ship admin expert.

  9. Cassius says:

    Ha, that character generation system inspired me to program it in BASIC on my Commodore-64.

  10. raybiker73 says:

    I still have my original set of Traveller books, they're on the shelf right next to my 1st edition AD&D books. Unfortunately, they've all been gathering dust for far too long as there are no other gamers (or even interested non-gamers) around here. :(

  11. Chris says:

    Awesome game!

  12. Doug says:

    Star Frontiers was better.

  13. tweell says:

    Say, I just happen to have a similar box lying around. My gaming group played it for a year or so, then we latched on to Space Opera. Hey, Star Wars was big then.

  14. TTC says:

    How do you guys manage to get a gaming group together? I'm jealous!

  15. George William Herbert says:

    Oh, dude.

    GDW shut down owing me a few bucks for Challenge articles, and it was OK….

  16. George William Herbert says:

    a couple of hours spent rolling up a Traveller character only to see it die at the end of character generation

    Worst. Character-gen system. EVAR.

    worst… OR BEST???!

    Also, check the religious thread, you still owe us a Popehat Blogger character generation career … And an explanation for what happens if you fail your survival roll…

    (prescient, I get to be, once in a great while)

  17. Wayne Borean says:

    I used to play that game. Used to play Star Frontiers, Dungeons and Dragons, Star Fleet Battles, Trade Wars 2002, and a whole bunch of other decent games.

    Now I write Horror stories.

    Times change.


  18. Jonathan says:

    Eh. I have Mongoose Traveller myself…

  19. Docrailgun says:

    I'm sorry. I am a constant lurker on the Steve Jackson Games site forums – there is a sub-forum dedicated to Traveller (mostly-run by a GDW designer from those days). There are LOTS of old Traveller fanatics there and they are very displeased with the new FFE Traveller. The consensus there seems to be that the Mongoose (another game company) Traveller is much superior, even though Mark Miller is involved with the FFE release (obviously, since that's his company).

  20. William says:

    (Fellow) NEERRRDDDD!

    We're meandering between 2E AD&D, GURPS Dead Lands, and d100 Call of Cthulhu campaigns. If you're ever in St. Louis, I'd love to have you at my table for a throw-away game.

  21. Clark says:

    If you're ever in St. Louis, I'd love to have you at my table for a throw-away game.

    Sounds awesome! I don't think it's likely, but if it happens, rest assured I will!

  22. BaronLurk says:

    Footnote 3 is borked.

  23. Clark says:

    Footnote 3 is borked.

    Footnote 3 really never had a chance after it supported a state's right to enforce a poll tax.

    A new candidate for footnote 3 has been nominated.

  24. Treeguy says:


    I miss the Spinward Marches.

    Nostalgia for the win!

  25. wumpus says:

    All those items need are the article text printed on them where it belongs.

    Anyone know the difference between traveler 5 and what I am assuming are my old school traveler [1] books? Can still you fill a graveyard trying to get that elusive shuttle retirement bonus? The one you needed to start the adventure provided in my old boxed edition (basically a map of the quadrant and a list of planets with the instructions: "boldly go where our information may be out of date!"

  26. Pete says:

    Back in the 80s/90s we alternated 2nd edition DnD with a Traveller Mercenary campaign.

    My reputation was made when I chose to save a veteran NPC over a newly minted PC in a copter crash. What tipped the balance is the PC caused the crash.

  27. whheydt says:

    Hmmm… Anyone else out there ever play "Villains & Vigilantes"?

    Seriously…if any of you are within shouting distance of Northern California, I'm on the committee that runs an annual tabletop gaming convention. Odds are pretty good that you can find your favorite games being run at the con…and if not, you could submit to run a game.

    Just hunt up DunDraCon. We are the oldest continuing RPG con. Next year will be DunDraCon 38. (I am not including a link on the grounds that that really would be a shameless plug.)

  28. Steven H. says:

    I played Traveller a lot back in the day.
    Liked Megatraveller the most (what can I say, I like designing ships), then dropped it like a hot rock after TNE came out.
    Alas, TNE decided that the best way to continue the evolution of the game was to introduce new STL drive mechanics that made everything that had gone before (and everything actually introduced by the Game Designers) completely worthless – Gas Giant refueling with a reaction drive makes absolutely no sense unless you're just passing through the system on the way elsewhere. Or motorcycles with fusion-rocket propulsion…

    Bah! I need to stop here, or I'll be bitching about TNE wrecking my youth for the next week….

  29. wgering says:

    I inherited a disc with all the FFE Traveller material going back to about 1970 on it. I have yet to plumb its depths (not entirely true; I did read and print out the Starship Operations Handbook), but I also have about $300 in Mongoose Traveller books.

    I also enjoyed the shit out of Traveller 2300. And B5 Traveller.

    I just recently ended a campaign in the Sword Worlds in which the PCs survived being nuked from orbit only to be slaughtered by velociraptors. Fun times.

  30. Orville says:

    I loved Traveller back in the day (as well as Villains and Vigilantes). Someday, when the kids are old enough to play, I will dig my old games out of the basement and start a new campaign.

  31. wgering says:

    @whheydt: Thanks for the heads-up. I knew I moved to the Bay Area for a reason! I've been looking for something to fill the void where GenCon used to be.

  32. Gary says:

    Ha, that character generation system inspired me to program it in BASIC on my Commodore-64.
    I did the same on a TI994/A. With the program stored on a cassette tape.

  33. Josh C says:

    Human Occupied Landfill's expansion, Buttery Wholesomeness, has a decent send-up of Traveller's character creation.

  34. Rusty says:

    I have a handful of old Traveler's Aid Society magazines in a box in the attic, along with a few rulebooks of different vintages (including MegaTraveler). Those were the days.

    And, Christ, Star Frontiers! That was the first RPG I ever played. I haven't heard that name in a long time.

    Enjoy, Clark.

  35. spindizzy says:

    Must have!

    Does the retiring scout still get to keep his scout ship?

  36. wumpus says:

    I played a bit. Actually, it might have been my longest running RPG campaign (I tended to play one adventure and switch DMs), but only as player and I never looked at the rulebook (real old school RPG gaming). Also I'm clear over on the East Coast.

    Good gaming system. Of course, I'm not sure how much was my incredibly imaginative GM and what really was part of the system.

  37. Bill Sides says:

    Yeah, baby! My all time favorite RPG and the first I ever ran as a GM.

  38. Deon Lasini says:

    is there a way to hate you in a nice way because I'm still waiting for mine to turn up :-)

    enjoy a whimsical past present in the future to come

  39. John says:

    Wow, talk about memories. I never actually managed to DM or play in a traveller campaign, it was mostly D&D first or second edition. But being a die hard SciFi guy, I loved Traveller and getting the books and designing ships and reading about the Spinward Marches. Great great fun. I've also got all my old Gamma World stuff sitting around somewhere too. Maybe I can get my 10 year old interested, assuming I can pry him off Minecraft.

    How many others just read the books and designed ships or tried to write character/ship generation tools? For a while I was helping (barely!) a guy trying to write an entire suite of tools for generating sectors, star systems, worlds, trade maps, etc. Never got too far with it unfortunately.

    Fun times, especially since I just pulled all my old traveller stuff down from the shelf two weekends ago and starting looking through it all again. I miss that stuff.


  40. andyinsdca says:

    Oh. Hell. Yes.

  41. Jono says:

    As a fellow old-time Traveller player you fans may be interested in Diaspora, a game developed by some people I used to game with. It has its roots in Traveller.

  42. He really said that...?!? says:

    @Clark. Thanks for the post. Brings back memories of my Air Force days. Weekends were usually reserved for RPGs. Usually AD&D, Car Wars, Champions or Role Master. We never did Traveler. Think I'll pick up a set.

  43. Tadhg says:

    Long-time reader, this might be my first comment; I just wanted to give kudos for the old-school RPG goodness. Traveller was the game I used for my first campaign that was actually good, way back when.

    I didn't know about the Kickstarter and am sorry I didn't get a chance to contribute!

    Have fun with it!

  44. Clark says:

    Have fun with it!

    Sadly, I'm a middle-aged geek with far too many responsibilities and other hobbies to actually have a standing RPG group.

    If a group of middle aged white collar geeks in the suburbs grabbed me by the collar and forced me to game, I'd enjoy every second of it, but until then, I'll continue to buy one RPG per year or so and live game vicariously.

  45. Canonical says:

    "Old school"? All…cubed…dice? *ponders why she's suddenly started talking like William Shatner. clutches small leather draw-string pouch containing dice of numerous shapes and colors and cries. just a little.*

    I need to wander over and check this game out, methinks. They're totally, whacked on the whole dice thing, though. Hmmm…

  46. Incongruent says:

    Lucky bastard. I just missed getting in on that one.

  47. David Golden says:

    *Sniff* … best game ever. I still have several crates of CT, MT, TNE, and T4 materials in my basement gathering mouse droppings … too bad life, wife, kids, and work interfere with remaining a basement-dwelling RPG geek

  48. John Fast says:

    @Clark (and anyone else): How about an online Old Skool RPG via Skype or IM?

    @whheydt: V&V? Nice, and Champions is better.

  49. Clark says:


    How about an online Old Skool RPG via Skype or IM?

    I dearly love the idea, but I don't remotely have time. :-(

    Let's talk again in 6 or 12 months.

  50. Stessy says:

    I played D&D in college and an odd Three Muskateers thing the Dungeon Master made up. I ended up being Lady de Winter. Got to watch who you marry in these things. I'm not currently playing, but my brother and sister-in-law started playing again when the Dungeon Master said he'd accept kids and so my 11 year old nephew and his best friend are being indoctrinated. I stay home with my 14 year old niece who's not interested. I'm not sure what "dungeon" they're playing (sorry for the old terminology), but they've gone from the old west to edwardian England, and there is a tardis involved.

  51. MrSpkr says:

    This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone…Mayday, Mayday…we are under attack…main drive is gone…turret number one not responding…Mayday…losing cabin pressure fast…calling anyone…please help…This is Free Trader Beowulf…Mayday…

    Wow. That was a blast from the past. I remember playing this and the original Dungeons and Dragons way back in the day… Thanks for the stroll down Amnesia Lane.