Jump to content

Ian Cooper and Classic Traveller

Recommended Posts

My experience of Traveller was formed by the group with whom I played - a group of Physicists and Astrophysicists half of whom were associated with the military or the defence industries.  It was brutal, and espionage/combat heavy.  After a while, you get a bit tired of it all.😬 

Oh yeah - massively heavy on the requirement to solve abstruse physics problems.  I was the only non-physicist.

Edited by Ali the Helering
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, wbcreighton said:

Not sure if anyone mentioned this or not but by the time I purchased Traveller in 1979/1980 ish there was a lot of stuff published for fantasy games, and the one of the biggest differences to me is the lack of illustrations in those LBB.  

D&D had really established a euro centric medieval style game with Tolkien inspired elements.  You could page through the books looking at the illustrations and get a good feel for the settings. 

The lack of illustrations, and more importantly a set of standardized norms for a sci-fi setting was a big detriment to running the game. The problem with the wide range of technology that I could imagine was that every single activity that the players undertook took explanation.  Was this Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.  Were there transporters, photon torpedoes, fighters, laser swords ?  What did the bridge of the starship look like ?  What are the procedures to land a ship ?  What do the different types of weapons and armour look like ?   What do the star ships look like ?

The big advantage that Star Wars rpg and Star Trek rpg have is that to understand the look and feel of the setting takes one viewing of a movie or a couple of episodes of a TV show.  Those games are also lavishly illustrated.

Any time a Traveller book was published with an actual illustration was a big deal to me.  I can still remember most of those illustrations.

To me it felt like the GM had to literally invent every aspect of everything the players were going to do.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  Without those illustrations the GM had to come up with those thousands of words of description for the most mundane activity.


The Traveller Little Black Books were designed to be generic, a toolkit to run science-fiction games, like the Big Gold Book for BRP. I think many of us here struggled with what to do with them. I did love the occasional black and white pictures though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Questbird said:

I did love the occasional black and white pictures though.

Hee!  If I recall correctly, there was exactly one illustration in the original three LBBs -- the portrait of Jamieson, the Merchant captain.  Damns, there weren't even any example deck plans.  Yeah, there was plenty of room for the imagination to roam free, and I don't blame anyone for getting lost in the void.


  • Haha 1

carbon copy logo smallest.jpg  ...developer of White Rabbit Green

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...