Traveller, sometimes referred to as Classic Traveller, is the original edition and was published between 1977 and 1986. This edition is known for its "little black books"; most of the rules and supplements came as mostly black with a single offset color. The Adventures and supplements for this edition start in 1105 and advance through 1115.
This article refers to specific information about this edition, for information about the game in general please refer to the Versions of Traveller.
The game system introduced a unique character generation system that helped it to stand out from other Role-playing games of the time. Players took their characters through a career development path (usually in the military) where the character rolled for different assignments and gained extra skills, rank and retirement benefits. Leaving a character in service for longer before the game would lead to more skills and beginning cash but could also mean that basic attributes (such as strength) would begin to degrade with old age.
The game became known for its character generation system in which characters could die or be injured before a player finished rolling them up.
The Classic Traveller core rules actually exist in three different rulesets. Logic would suggest using the most recent released edition; but in this case, there are rules elements of interest to the collector which would not be included.
The original 1977 release of Traveller contained three books – Characters and Combat, Starships, and Worlds and Adventures. This set of rules contains everything needed to play Traveller. However, in 1981, GDW took advantage of a need to reprint the core rules to also address and clean up the rules. This "second edition" actually adds quite a bit to the rules, but there are also some items dropped from the rules. This second edition also incorporated errata printed in Mercenary for the original 1977 edition.
This cleaned up "second edition" would be used for producing The Traveller Book in 1982, along with some additional material, including a special introduction for new players, two adventures, and additional details on what was becoming the Official Traveller Universe (OTU). Some additional rules did slip into The Traveller Book that appear nowhere else.
Finally, in 1983, GDW released Starter Traveller, intended at giving a younger audience a streamlined and simpler set of Traveller rules. This release dropped some of the more complicated rules, but added a different starship combat system (using range bands, much like the personal combat system, as opposed to vector movement) which many consider a great improvement on the original. Except where noted, Starter Traveller uses the 1981 edition rules. This final version includes yet a few more rules changes or clarifications as well as one major change in the form of a simplified star ship combat system that uses range bands instead of 2D vectors.
Popular Artists & Authors
Classic Traveller was replaced in 1986 by a new version called MegaTraveller which not only radically revised the mechanics of the game (notably a task based system) but also the format of publication (now in books) and the background setting (the timeline was advanced several years with a shattered Third Imperium fighting a Civil War).
Meta-history & Background
Etymology: The word Traveler and its British English orthographic variation Traveller refer to individuals who travel. In practice this refers to tourists, nomads, gypsies, exiled or expatriate peoples, and the like. In the Traveller RPG universe, it refers to sophonts who travel the stars, a special group of beings with an adventurous spirit.
At the beginning there was only some very basic background material as to the Traveller universe. It appeared that like most other RPG games of the time that individual game masters would develop their own universe to adventure in. It was originally intended to be a flexible, multi-purpose, general ruleset. As more adventures and supplements were developed the rich character of the standard Traveller universe began to evolve.
Most of the Classic Traveller books are available in compendium volumes from www.farfuture.net - Marc Miller's Far Future company, who are the current copyright and trademark holder of all forms of the Traveller game.
Bibliography-Ludography (Published Products)
This edition is best known for the following products:
Here are some additional links:
- Classic Traveller Bibliography
- Wayne's "The Little Black Books" - Classic Traveller
- "Traveller Section by Section Comparison"
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