Versions of Traveller

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'Traveller' has been published in many different editions.

  • Some games tied directly into the RPG system, others were more loosely based on systems from the Traveller Universe.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

Traveller was originally designed as a generic science fiction RPG system (one of if not the first), and the original setting was just one the designers favored out of the various settings which were available. While referees were encouraged to use the parts they wanted and change what they did not like, the wealth of background material made the Charted Space setting ubiquitous.

Major Traveller Versions[edit]

Each of the versions of Traveller used a slightly different setting from the traveller universe. Classic Traveller takes place during the Third Imperium, Megatraveller during the Rebellion. The New Era takes place after a computer Virus ended the rebellion period, during a time of exploration/reconstruction. GURPS Traveller takes place in an alternate timeline where many of the events from MegaTraveller and The New Era never occurred. Traveller 4 takes place in the early days of the Third Imperium.

  • Some of the various versions are related to one another in terms of rules. Classic Traveller, MegaTraveller, T4, T5 and Mongoose Traveller use similar rule systems, with MegaTraveller being the most "variant" of the group. TNE uses the second edition Twilight rules system, 2300AD uses a variation of the first edition Twilight rules, T20 is based on the D20 license game system, and obviously, the GURPS versions and Hero versions use GURPS and HERO System respectively.
  • While characters can usually move from related system to system with little or no effort, other creations such as ship designs may or may not, though deck plans (often loosely based on the underlying ship designs) are often used across versions.
Major Traveller Game Publishers & Versions
Pub. Date Edition Game Primary Publisher Description Other Publishers
1977 1st Edition Classic Traveller (T1) Game Designers Workshop 1977-1986 Original Rules. Set in the years 1100-1116 Imperial calendar, around the time of the Fifth Frontier War. There were a number of supplements based on Classic Traveller - notably Merchant Prince, High Guard, and Mercenary, which extended the character generation system , as well as adding to the core rules. A later GDW product, Striker added very detailed ground combat and mercenary unit rules as well as detailed vehicle design rules which in parts became incorporated into the core rules for future editions. Besides Game Designers Workshop (GDW), a number of other companies created popular supplements as well. These other publishers included:
1986 2nd Edition MegaTraveller Game Designers Workshop 1986-1991 Task-based system. Set in the years 1116-1124 Imperial, during the time of the Rebellion. This was published as a boxed set, covering the core rules, a setting encyclopedia, and rules covering what was previously expansion material (such as character generation options similar to High Guard and Mercenary). Please see MegaTraveller article for more information.
1992 3rd Edition Traveller: The New Era (TNE) Game Designers Workshop 1992-1995 Twilight2000 rules. Set after the year 1200 Imperial, post Virus timeline. Please see Traveller: The New Era article for more information.
1996 4th Edition Marc Miller's Traveller (T4) Imperium Games 1996-1998 Set just after Year Zero, in the early days of the Third Imperium. Please see the Marc Miller's Traveller article for more information.
1998 5th edition GURPS Traveller (GT) Steve Jackson Games 1998-2004 GURPS 3rd Edition Rules. Set in the years 1116-1124 Imperial, in an alternate timeline which differs principally in that the Rebellion of 1116 never happened. Please see the GURPS Traveller article for more information.
2002 6th Edition Traveller D20 (T20) QuikLink Interactive 2002-2008 D20 Rules. Set around the year 1000 Imperial, about 100 years before Classic Traveller. Please see the Traveller D20 article for more information.
2006 7th Edition Traveller Hero (TH) ComStar Games 2006-2008 A version of Traveller using the Hero Games Star Hero rules and covering several previous milieus including Milieu 0, the T20 milieu 1000, and the New Era. Please see the Traveller Hero article for more information.
2008 8th Edition Mongoose Traveller (MGT) Mongoose Publishing 2008-Present. A new set of rules, updating and streamlining the Classic Traveller rules. The setting is largely not covered in the core rules book, however supplements, set in 1105 and centered largely on the Spinward Marches are available. The core rules are available as open content. Previews of the core rules are now available on the Mongoose Publishing Website, as a downloadable PDF file. Updated in a new edition in 2016. Besides Mongoose, the following groups have been publishing or distributing materials for Mongoose Traveller:
2013 9th edition Traveller 5 (T5) Far Future Enterprises 2013-Present. Traveller5 or T5. A new addition to the Traveller universe, vastly expanding character creation possibilities, adding a wealth of new additional rules and enhancments and providing a basis for the future of Traveller, eg what happens after the TNE years. T5 was written with the sole purpose of becoming the ultimate edition of Traveller. A system for allowing gaming in any of the previous ages or core systems of Traveller (That is Classic Traveller, MegaTraveller, The New Era and T4), while also paving the way for the new era of Traveller which is 'The Galaxiad', a FAR FAR FUTURE of Traveller (1902 IC). Please see T-5 Progress Report for more information.

Version Terminology[edit]

Over the years, GDW employees as well as the associated Traveller community developed a number of terms and codes to signify what sort of Traveller universe they preferred.

These terms include:

  • OTU: "Official Traveller Universe." Traveller as published. due to the number of alternate timelines now available, this term now tends to refer tot he original Third Imperium setting from the years (1100 to 1117) . Please see Setting and OTU for more information.
  • IMTU: "In My Traveller Universe". A reference to the particular customized game setting/rule mechanics used by any particular Traveller fan/player. Please see the pages for Traveller Mailing List, and Traveller Mailing List/FAQ for more information.
  • Traveller Geek Code: There is a special code for a player's IMTU (In My Traveller Universe) called the "Traveller Geek Code". It's a way of describing how your own Traveller universe is constructed (...and how it might vary from the 'official' OTU universe). Please see External Link Traveller IMTU Geek Code for more information.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Related Traveller Products: The Traveller 2300 series is set in a different background than the Traveller RPG, but is related by being published by the same company, GDW. Both are science fiction RPG games with complex, well-developed backgrounds.

Traveller: 2300 / 2300 AD / 2320 AD[edit]

1986 - Originally published as Traveller 2300, this harder science-fiction RPG is set 300 years after the Third World War from GDW's Twilight:2000 game system and uses a variation of the first-edition Twilight:2000 ruleset.

  • GDW later changed the name of the game to 2300AD to avoid confusion with the Traveller RPG.
  • The two major components of the 2300AD ruleset were the original boxed set, and the tactical space combat/starship construction system Star Cruiser.
  • Unlike the Traveller game itself (Traveller: The New Era, in particular), 2300AD was not converted to the second-edition Twilight:2000 ruleset, before GDW closed its doors in 1996. However, the stutterwarp and other core 2300AD technologies were covered extensively in the TNE edition of Fire, Fusion, and Steel(FF&S), the Traveller technical architecture, so one can only assume GDW intended for the TNE ruleset to be used along with the information given in FF&S for campaigns set in the 2300AD era.
  • Recently, QuikLink Interactive released the 2320AD supplement for their T20 rules system. This version of the game modified the timeline in that a less devastating Twilight War took place, and the timeline is advanced by 20 years.
  • Mongoose Publishing appear to have the rights to the 2300AD now and have brought out several books which rely on their version of the Traveller Rules.

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.