Setting

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Setting: Each of the versions of Traveller had one official setting, and others which were developed (usually by different publishers) to a lesser degree.

  • The designers set aside one sector (Foreven Sector) for no official development, so that referees could do what they wanted knowing that no future Official published product would later contradict what they had developed.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

Traveller began its 1977 existence as a universal game system with high ambitions to recreate any classic science fiction setting or theme. It was intended to empower referee-gamemasters to create what are now called ATU's or IMTU's. Traveller's first official setting, what is now called the OTU, started very modestly and grew gradually into the rich, highly detailed background that it is today.

Traveller Game Eras & Editions (1977-2019)[edit]

Traveller Game Eras & Editions (1977-2017)
Setting Dates Era Name (Milieu) Primary Setting Events Associated Game/s Pub. Date
(-2404 to -2203) Interstellar Wars First Imperium (Ziru Sirka) & Interstellar Wars GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars 2006
(-2204 to -1776) Rule of Man Collapse of First Imperium & Rule of Man (Second Imperium) GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars 2006
(-1775 to 0) Long Night Collapse of Second Imperium & Long Night Marc Miller's Traveller 1996
(-25 to 75) Milieu 0 Third Imperium Founding & Sylean Federation Marc Miller's Traveller 1996
(985 to 1002) Milieu 990 Third Imperium & Solomani Rim War Traveller D20 2002
(1100 to 1117) Milieu 1116
Milieu 1105
Third Imperium Base (Original) Setting & Fifth Frontier War Classic Traveller, Mongoose Traveller, New Traveller 1977, 2008, 2017
(1116 to 1130) Milieu 1120 GURPS Traveller: Alternate Setting (Timeline with no Rebellion) GURPS Traveller 1998
(1117 to 1130) Rebellion Collapse of Third Imperium (Rebellion) & Regency MegaTraveller 1986
(1190 to 1220) New Era Reformation Coalition & Virus/New Era Traveller: The New Era 1992
(1221 to 1300) Fourth Imperium Fourth Imperium Traveller: The New Era 1992
(1221 to 1300) Milieu 1248 Fourth Imperium Traveller: The New Era 2006
(1301 to 1500) Collapse Collapse and Interregnum Traveller 5th 2020 (Future)
(1780 to 1840) False Spring The False Spring Traveller 5th 2020 (Future)
(1900+) Galaxiad The Galaxiad Traveller 5th 2020 (Future)

Traveller Game Settings (1977-2020)[edit]

Classic Traveller
Published 1977 had the developed the first elements of the Third Imperium. Primary setting areas are
MegaTraveller
Published in 1986, the setting was the Rebellion. The published materials covered the Spinward Marches, largely untouched by the War, but described in broad details the events of the war.
  • Diaspora was introduced in the Hard Times sourcebook that described the general state of the Empire and gave rules to simulate the 11 years of war after 1117.
Traveller: The New Era
Published in 1992, the setting was the New Era, Starting with the Survival Margin sourcebook and the fall of the Third Imperium and a century of slow recovery.
Marc Miller's Traveller
Published in 1996, it establishes Milieu 0 where the Core Sector is used as its setting. Set around the time of the founding of the Third Imperium (0 to 200), the setting focused on the Sylean Federation and its attempts to conquer or absorb the worlds around it. Given the depths of the Long Night, the setting included the classic 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) gaming style in an RPG.
GURPS Traveller
Published in 1998 and set in an "alternate" Traveller Universe in which Emperor Strephon was not assassinated, thus the Rebellion and subsequent Final War never happened. GURPS Traveller added a lot of material to the classic sectors of the Traveller Universe while advancing the timeline about 15-20 years from the Classic Traveller set.
Traveller D20
Published in 2002 it introduced the Gateway Domain, one of the backyards of the Empire. A mix between {Imperial} worlds and various client states this is closer in basic feeling to the Spinward Marches while lacking the "big guys and old grudges" that are a common theme there. Set in the 900s (about 150 years before Classic Traveller) it has a lower technology level.
GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars
Published 2006 the setting covers the 200 years of war, peace, and overwhelming change as the ancient Vilani Imperium falls to the upstart Terrans. In this time of conflict, the opportunities for adventure are more exciting than ever before! Forge new trade routes within the {Imperium} itself. Defend the homeworld from invaders during the Siege of Terra. Make first contact with alien races. Help guide the Terran Confederation in its expansion from a single planet to a sector-spanning empire.
Traveller Hero
Published in 2007 it never included a milieu of its own but instead covers several previous milieus including Milieu 0, milieu 1000, milieu 1116, the Rebellion and The New Era.
Mongoose Traveller 1st edition
Published in 2008 Mongoose returns to the "Classic" era and location, i.e., 1105 and the Spinward Marches. Although the Basic Rule Book has little setting background, the first supplement released was The Spinward Marches, and published extensive campaigns in the Trojan Reaches Sector as well as several other sector books.
Traveller 5th
Published in 2013, this is a new version of Traveller rules. There are mentions of the Galaxiad era set in Milieu 1900, but no setting books.
Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition
Published in 2016, this edition continues the setting in the Classic era. In some cases this is re-publishing 1st edition books. It has also added Reft Sector and new grand adventures.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Traveller Version Terminology: 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 and codes include:

  • OTU: "Official Traveller Universe." Traveller as published. due to the number of alternate timelines now available, this term now tends to refer to the original Third Imperium setting from the years (1100 to 1117).
  • IMTU: "In My Traveller Universe". A reference to the particular customized game setting/rule mechanics used by any particular Traveller fan/player.
  • 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).

Major Traveller Publishers & Versions[edit]

Major Traveller Game Publishers & Versions (Editions)
Pub. Date Game (common abbreviation) Primary Publisher
1977 Traveller or CT Game Designers Workshop
1986 MegaTraveller or MT Game Designers Workshop
1992 Traveller: The New Era or TNE Game Designers Workshop
1996 T4: Marc Miller's Traveller or T4 Imperium Games
1998 GURPS Traveller or GT Steve Jackson Games
2002 GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars or GT:IT Steve Jackson Games
2006 Traveller D20 or T20 QuikLink Interactive
2006 Traveller: The New Era: 1248 or TNE Avenger Enterprises
2006 Traveller Hero or TH ComStar Games
2008 Mongoose Traveller or MgT Mongoose Publishing
2013 Traveller 5th or T5 Far Future Enterprises
2016 New Traveller 2nd Edition or MgT2 Mongoose Publishing

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.