Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Legacy of Traveller

Think, for a minute, about the legacy of Traveller. Here we have a game that was one of the first few sci-fi/space RPGs released, in 1977, and it is still at the top of its RPG genre. Sure, there have been new editions, but unlike other game lines that have been updated, its original form and function is still largely followed, rules-wise. Mongoose Traveller, the latest iteration, is closer to Classic Traveller than any other version of the game, and many feel it’s close enough to be regarded as a sibling with some clean-up and tweaks. Meanwhile, Classic Traveller itself is still one of the best-supported games online, second perhaps only to all editions of D&D.

How many game lines can say they’ve stayed remarkably close to the mark over the years, especially for multiple decades? Certainly Mongoose RuneQuest veers from the original, as does the latest iteration of Dungeons & Dragons (as have the various, sometimes sorry, editions of Gamma World). Tunnels & Trolls can make this boast as well, but it’s a short list after that, especially if we only look at sci-fi and space games.

Do we have other space/sci-fi RPGs? Of course! It’s not a knock against Traveller that there are so many other space and sci-fi games out there; rather, it’s about the richness of the genre, and just how many possibilities there are therein.

No, it’s a homage to the long-lasting design, appeal, and premise of Traveller that after all these years, it’s still setting a standard for that part of the hobby. Games come and go; Traveller endures.

7 comments:

Allen Varney said...

Here's my January 2010 Escapist magazine profile of Traveller and its original designer, Marc Miller: "A Perpetual Traveller"

Oddysey said...

Aggh. Darn you. Want to run it again now. Must... suppress... urge... to derail... planned campaign.

;)

It really is a sweet little system.

Zachary The First said...

@Allen: Thanks for the link! Will read as soon as I get home.

@Odyssey: I know exactly how you feel. Be strong.

Yong Kyosunim said...

Traveller was the very first rpg that I saw being played and that turned me onto rpgs.

I own pretty much all its iterations and editions though despite my collection, I've never played a game.

tim said...

This little gem continues to be my "go to" game for science fiction. I also seem to write about it more than any other ruleset though this is largely unintentional; though I suppose it does show how much I enjoy it.

Marshall Smith said...

As a counter-note, however, I will point out Traveller's major contender for longevity: Palladium. Staying the same year after year is not always a positive trait...

Bosky said...

Mostly unchanged rulesets are rather impressive, and sure help for backwards compatibility with old content and adventures. I find Battletech to be a similar rock of stability in terms of age and core rules.