Traveller has gone through many incarnations since the original version's publication in 1977.
- Each version has a vociferous, hardcore of fans who are active on the internet and on mailing lists.
- This article is not intended to prove or disprove that any one version of Traveller is better than any other.
- It is simply a summary of the major changes between each edition.
Game Editions & Rules Mechanisms:
|Game Editions & Rules Mechanisms|
|A.||Traveller (1977-1986)||The original Traveller, aka Classic Traveller, rules are the standard to which all others are compared. Character creation starts by rolling 6 primary characteristics (Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, Social Status/Standing). CT assumes you are starting as a young person (generally, about 18 standard years old) with essentially no skills. Unique to Traveller at the time was the prior history system, where characters are developed through a career (via dice rolls), gaining skills, money and equipment.
|B.||MegaTraveller (1986-1991)||MegaTraveller made no fundamental changes to the character generation and core CT system but introduced two significant additions. First, was the Task System, created by DGP. This was a systematic approach to determining and noting which skills and attributes were used for a given task, and created a regularized system of determining success or failure. The mechanics of this system continued to emulate the CT roll high system but provided a method of rating the difficulty of a task, whereas in CT this was left very much up to the Referee's discretion.
|C.||Traveller: New Era (1992-1995)||With TNE the game system was switched to an enhanced version of GDW's Twilight V2.2 engine for both the character generation and the task system. The enhancements were two additional attributes (Psionics and Social Standing) and a number of additional career paths. The switch was part of GDW's policy to switch all systems (2300, T2K, Twilight, Dark Conspiracy, Cadillacs&Dinosaurs, Space:1889) to the House System.
|D.||Traveller 4th Edition (1996-1998)||T4: Marc Miller's Traveller, published by Imperium Games, returned to the simpler, D6-only based mechanic of CT (as opposed to TNE's D6/D20 system). The inclusion of a task system within the T4 core rules imitated MT; however, the mechanic itself is a "roll under" system with both skills and characteristics used in the T4 task system when determining the target number, and the difficulty of the task determines how many dice need to be thrown (fewer for easier tasks, more for harder tasks). T4's roll under task system has both its critics and supporters; indeed, the system itself underwent a revision to remove the use of .5D within the task system.
|E.||GURPS Traveller (1998-2004)||GURPS Traveller, published by Steve Jackson Games (SJG), uses the long-established GURPS 3rd edition rules. GURPS uses a point system to buy characteristics, advantages, skills, and disadvantages. There are no random rolls for character creation. There are only four primary attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Health). Some of the game mechanics captured in attributes in the previous version (e.g. Social Status) are represented in GURPS Traveller via "advantages".
|F.||Traveller D20 (2002-2008)||T20 uses the D20 rules established by Wizards of the Coast in their System Reference Document. D20 has a set of 6 primary attributes (T20 expands this to 8). Characters select a class that defines access to skills and advantages (called feats). T20 does have a prior history system based upon the CT model, but rolls give experience points to allow advancement through the class system.
|G.||GURPS Interstellar Wars (2006-2015)||Interstellar Wars, published by Steve Jackson Games (SJG), updates GURPS Traveller to the newer GURPS 4th edition. The GURPS 4th edition rules use the same core mechanics as the 3rd edition rules, but make changes to details of every part of the system.|
|H.||Traveller Hero (2006-2008)||Traveller Hero, published by ComStar Games, uses the Hero System 5th Edition. Similar to GURPS, Hero is a generic point buy RPG system, where players are given a pool of points to buy statistics, advantages and skills. There is no random chance to creating Hero characters (though optional, randomly rolled lifepath systems do exist to add variety and provide additional ideas).
|I.||Traveller: The New Era: 1248 (2006-2008)||A rules system free update to The New Era, including the founding of the Fourth Imperium.|
|J.||Mongoose Traveller by Mongoose Publishing (2008-2017)||Mongoose Publishing, a UK-based games company, successfully negotiated publishing rights for yet another version of Traveller with Marc Miller in 2007. The core rule book was released in May 2008.
|K.||Traveller5 (2013-Present)||A new addition to the Traveller universe, vastly expanding character creation possibilities, adding a wealth of new additional rules and enhancements, and providing a basis for the future of Traveller, e.g. what happens after the TNE years! (Galaxiad). Unlike previous editions of Traveller where players had to start with a military background and draft out, T5 now allows for much greater flexibility.|
|L.||New Traveller by Mongoose Publishing (2017-Present)||Mongoose 2nd. No information is yet available.|
Traveller is known for its many unique rules innovations over the years... Over the many editions, rules have not been consistent and a vast variety of rules mechanics have been experimented with over the years. The story has, more or less, remained the same since the establishment of the OTU, but much of the rest of it has been very mutable or changing.