#22: Welcome to Traveller!
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2016 issue.
It’s fair to say that I enthuse about Traveller an awful lot. To family, to friends, to colleagues at work. Perhaps I tell them about a new book that’s caught my imagination, a convention I’ve returned from, or a piece of writing I’m working on, or maybe even my excitement over something being published. I hope it’s not to the point of utter boredom.
Some of those I know have even tried out an adventure or two just to see what the fuss is about, but one colleague at the university library I work in has gone a step further and signed up for TravCon in March. I think it was a staff room mention of the miniatures side of things that caught this particular cataloguer’s interest. Or maybe it was having to catalogue and classify the Mongoose Core Rulebook and the adventure Into the Unknown that our Creative and Cultural Industries librarian bought for the game design students. (As an aside, it’s weird seeing these two items nestled on the shelves between Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks and Sean Patrick Fannon’s interesting, if somewhat dated nowadays, The Fantasy Roleplaying Gamer’s Bible).
Fortunately, there was still a place at TravCon and now, with just a few weeks to go, reality is hitting that a complete newbie to the game is going to be thrown in at the deep end. I’m confident that those attending will be just as warm-hearted and welcoming as they were to me eight years ago, but I also recall the whole experience being relatively daunting the first year when everything and everyone was unknown.
As an introduction for J, she thought she’d try her hand at generating a character. Armed with the core rules, a print out of the checklist (page 5), and some newly bought dice, we took over the staff room table one lunchtime and set about creating “Fred”.
Her first roll, for Strength, was of course a 2. But undaunted we debated the merits of rolling three sets of characteristics and choosing one which seemed a little more playable. Eventually we had someone who was not very bright, for whom education seemed to have been almost non-existent, but who was a bit of a bruiser (Strength now 11). The army seemed like just the ticket. Soon it was onto Fred’s first survival roll. A complete failure of course! Welcome to Traveller. At least under Mongoose rules rather than classic rules that was a mishap rather than death but on the day my FFE t-shirt “I died in character generation” turned up in the post, it seemed entirely appropriate.
I think J is getting the hang of it – some of her rationales for particular events or rolls were wonderful – although we’ve yet not moved on to tasks or combat. At least a pre-generated character sheet at the convention won’t be quite so mysterious. As for me, I rather enjoyed seeing the whole process through a newbie’s eyes. I should do it more often.