Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Using Classic Traveller for Fantasy

Every so now and then when I'm re-reading some Traveller supplement (ever noticed how Trav is one of those RPGs that's so very re-readable?) and I think about adapting it for a bit of fantasy gaming. I love the simplicity of Traveller's base mechanics--I've always been sucker for the 2d6. Traveller has always seemed so flexible to me. Combat's easy, and fairly deadly, and skill resolution is a breeze. There isn't much there, but what there is, does what I want (and judging from The Bone Scroll, I'm not alone there). I think it would make a heck of a fantasy system.

And so every now and then I get an itch to port the Traveller ruleset to a fantasy game. I'm hardly the first one. I remember seeing over at Citizen of the Imperium that the original Thieves World boxed set had stats for Traveller. Somehow, another project always comes up, and it never gets done. But this time, just maybe...

I've seen several attempts at a fantasy version of Traveller over the years. If you're looking for a good start, you can check out:

-Aldreth (direct pdf link)
-Fantasy RPG Traveller Careers
-Glass and Gold

I've heard tell that Battlefield Press might be publishing a fantasy setting under the Mongoose Traveller OGL, which I'd really look forward to seeing.

Would you ever use Classic Traveller (or any Traveller system) for a fantasy RPG? What would you change about chargen or task resolution, and what would you keep?


Bonemaster said...

Hmmm, Traveller Fantasy? That could be interesting. I guess it depends on the type of fantasy. Some sort of low-level gritty fantasy sure. High-level Fantasy, I'm not so sure of.

Well for character generation, you would have to come up with a few different professions or the like. Some skills added and removed of course. I think the hardest thing would be trying to determine how magic worked.

Edsan said...

The obvious solution would be making magic as rare and hard to get as Psionics in Traveller.

Maybe the attitude of the setting towards magic could mirror the Imperium's own in regards to Psionics.

And you could have a magiocracy of turbant-wearing fiends somewhere to the north and Hyborean-type "old race" supremacists to the south... :)

Lord Kilgore said...

Back in the early 80s I tried this exact thing, deciding that I would like a skills-based fantasy game better than a class-based one. I made new careers and skills to roll characters up just like the original. One career was 'Sorcerer' and some of those skills were actually for the magic system, which was based on the psionics system. Besides Sorcerers, others could have some magic ability at about the same rate and poser as typical Travellers had psionics.

Never got the thing off the ground, and I seem to have lost all my notes from it.

I will have to look at those other ideas. To be honest, I never knew anyone else had done anything like that. I've always figured it was just some corny idea by a 13-year-old with too much time on his hands.

Anonymous said...

Now I have this horrible urge to create a Fudge/Traveller/Fantasy urge. It seems to me there's one detail that seems off about the fantasy/Traveller models. Classic Traveller starts character at the age of 18 choosing a career, with the implication that (like most modern Americans) they've had a general education up until then. For a fantasy model, that's not really appropriate. In medieval and ancient times your adult career path start much earlier - boys would be apprenticed/trained as knights/etc long before 18. So for Fantasy Traveller, it might make sense to start characters at 10 or 12, so by 18 they already have some proficiency in their careers. Conan was already sacking a major city at 15.

As for magic - may be just splice in the system from Savage Worlds or Barbarians of Lemuria.

- DW