Thursday, November 21, 2013
The Freetrader Conventions become STARSLUGS and some thoughts on homebrew Traveller settings
At the suggestion of Zak, the Freetrader Conventions will hereafter be known as the Simple Translation Agreement Rules Simulating Lastingly Unified Galactic Sectors, or STARSLUGS for short. I've also been made aware of this handy document which should help in converting characters from other versions of Traveller if anyone wanting to run GT or MT decides they want in on this whole STARSLUGS thing.
On a tangentially related note, in a comment on my initial Boom Worlds/Galaxy of Fear post, Greg stated that "whenever I have seen different settings using Traveller, my mind refuses to accept it," which is a sentiment that seems to be common, even if it is not universal. It is also a sentiment that I have a hard time understanding. Looking at Classic Traveller, and even at the more recent Mongoose edition which I'm reading, I see a game that almost demands that you make your own setting. It provides the referee with the tools to generate the sectors, worlds, and even the ships in which the game takes place.
Now this is not to say that there isn't a setting implied by the rules. The most notable example of this in both CT and Mongoose Traveller is the presence of the Scout Service; however, the underfunded Star Fleet character of the scouts makes them something I'd include in a setting anyway, and I see that as little different than keeping beholders in a D&D game.
And I think that's really the key of what I'm saying: I view the implied setting of Traveller the same way I view the implied setting of D&D. They are both a set of elements borrowed from various pieces of source fiction that have been combined to make the game feel a certain way, but that are malleable and subject to the desires and inspirations of the referee. Traveller, at least as presented in the LBBs and the Mongoose corebook, is a toolbox for making your own science-fiction adventures in the far future.
For some neat examples of this philosophy from the early days of Traveller, check out Freelance Traveller's Other Roads. Particularly interesting to me are these two campaigns, run by two different referees at the same time in different parts of the galaxy. They are what finally convinced me that STARSLUGS would be a good idea.