The question’s been raised as to precisely which books I’ll be using for our upcoming Traveller campaign. The following are what’s being counted on as of now.
Traveller Core Rulebook OR Pocket Rulebook (Mongoose Publishing): The material in both is really the same. It’s matter of if you want to trade a smaller-sized book for bigger print. I like the Pocket Rulebook, tiny font and all, because it’s a) a bit handier of a size to port about, b) it reminds me more of the Classic Traveller Little Black Books (LBBs), and c) you can find it online for about $20 cheaper, if not more.
Book 2: High Guard (Mongoose Publishing): Since we’re running an Imperial Navy campaign, the careers in this book will be very handy and help diversify character generation a bit.
And that’s it, for now. I’m probably using some charts from the most-excellent Jon Brazer Enterprises, and eventually look at Spica Publishing’s Career Books. Traveller is in many respects the biggest stellar sandbox ever created, but it’s also important when running first-timers through it that you don’t bite off more than they can chew. A few links to the background of the Third Imperium and some recent history of the area of (non-canon) space we’ll be adventuring in should be enough for now.
Of course, I wouldn’t enjoy or run Mongoose Traveller if they hadn’t come so close to the mark of Classic Traveller. They kept it close in design and spirit, while cleaning some things up, adding some new rules without making things too complex (such as the Connections rules), and generally did a pretty nice job keeping the legacy of Traveller intact. Plus, although Mongoose is often faulted for their editing, the original Traveller book was pretty good (except for some issues with multiplication signs, though I hear several supplements had some issues in places). It’s accessible, it’s easily available, and it’s close enough to Classic Traveller where I can use ideas from modern and classic supplements if I so choose. I also like the fact that Mongoose plans on keeping the system the same for their ten-year run of the license. Planned (systemic) obsolescence is no fun if you want support for a game.
I was resistant as anyone to change in Traveller when Mongoose announced the license, but they’ve done well here.