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*Freelance Traveller

The Electronic Fan-Supported Traveller® Resource

September 2013


September 2013 Department Article Title Author
From the Editor   Jeff Zeitlin
Featured Article
Critics’ Corner Buch 0: Eine Einführung Timothy Collinson
Career Book 1 Jeff Zeitlin
Shipbook: Mirador “kafka”
The Shipyard Type S(b) Fast and S(k) Deep Scouts Scott Diamond
Mongoose Traveller Designs: Lepus-class Rim Trader (Type A4R) Keith Timms
Raconteurs’ Rest Funny Fish: For Luck (Part 4) Andrea Vallance
Doing It My Way Trivial Skills: Adding Color to Your Game Michael Hughes
Character Generation Rules: Psionic Guardians: An Expanded Career for Classic Traveller James Ramsay
Confessions of a Newbie Referee #3: The Game That Was Timothy Collinson
Active Measures The Frozen Fire Michael Brown
In A Store Near You The Showroom: Watson-class Air/Raft Ewan Quibell

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From the Editor

Last month, I briefly discussed the character generation process in Traveller as a way to have the player ‘bond’ with the character, and care about the character. I also mentioned the greater level of lethality as an impetus for the player to explore non-combat characters, options, and scenarios. I don’t think that mere lethality necessarily provides enough of an impetus; in some systems, a character could operate at his full potential, right up until the minute that the last point of allowable damage disappeared, because expending those points didn’t actually affect the character’s innate abilities, the way that lowering str, dex, or end does in most versions of Traveller. That difference made an impression on me—it meant that just like in real life, if I got hurt, I was less able to do things (anything—not just continue the fight), which made it harder to accomplish my aims until I recovered. And recovery would take time; there was no other character around who could wield eldritch power and make me instantly hale by chanting some arcane invocation while I chugged a horrible-tasting beer. Knowing that, I tended to think along the lines of “I’ll get in a firefight if I have to—but is there a better way?” I suspect I wasn’t the only one.

Traveller actually caters to that mindset. While few careers will actually leave a character with no combat skills, there are certainly careers that emphasize other skills, and most careers provide characters with other tools to solve problems with. With the right combination of players and referee, it isn’t particularly surprising to have a campaign where if the characters get into a firefight, it’s because something obviously went badly wrong—and its entirely possible that a campaign could be interesting, exciting, entertaining, etc., without having a single combat episode. Perhaps that’s not so odd, given the type of SF that has clearly influenced Traveller. Next month, I’ll discuss that in a bit more depth.