Monday, May 22, 2006


Largely because I'm sick of constantly typing in my ID in responding to other Traveller Blogs, I'm setting up my own here.

I'm working up an old-school, Little Black Book 1-3 based Traveller universe.

Assumptions I'm going with:

Play will be governed by LBB123, 2nd edition. Fudges will be kept to a minimum: the goal is to find and use rationales that work within the structure of the LBB rules, rather than to make significant changes to those rules.

Where there are gaps in the rules (and oh yes, there are gaps!) I'll take ideas from the supplements and the other LBBs ; but again, the goal is to keep this all to a minimum.

On the other hand, where there's no ruling at all, that's an area where the Referee was always expected to extemporize: so extemporize I shall.

I will NOT be relying on the Official Traveller Universe. Since I'll be hewing to the LBB 123 rules, there are certain assumptions that will make the Festrian Empire somewhat familiar to those who know the Third Imperium, but there will be divergences.

So hey, Welcome. I think that Ken's the only guy likely to be reading this right off, Hi Ken, but maybe more will join in.


Blogger KenHR said...

Hey, James!

Can't wait to see your material. It'd be nice to see how someone familiar with the game actually approaches it.

We seem to have a very similar attitude toward RPG rulesets; they provide the gameworld's "physics" and also suggest avenues of play. Rarely are the latter points spelled out (unfortunately), but you can divine a game's intent by studying what's included in the rules, what gets the most attention, etc.

I've always been of the opinion that you should try to play a game using the rules as written as much as possible until you get a feel for what the writer was trying to accomplish. (Ignore those posts on my blog monkeying with the econ rules...ahem.) Assuming the game was playtested, you should be able to divine the rationalizations for various systems.

That seems like what you're going for now...I look forward to seeing it all in glorious digital!

9:57 AM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...


It's been a really fun exercize so far, this regressing to the basic rules. Sort of an RPG Fundamentalism, going back to the original text.

There's something Talmudic about Traveller.

Our discussion so far is leading me more and more on this route: I'd initially thought to make more use of the other books and supplements, and I've been looking at them for some inspiration, but more and more it's sending me back to the first three books, especially as I've been cobbling together the 9 subsectors themselves. And as far as backstory is concerned, the rolls have been determining a lot of that. Like I say, I only "fixed" the capital world: I figured it had to be pop. A, had to be tech 15, and had to be government 5 (because the basic government of the Imperium seems to be a feudal technocracy) but beyond that I haven't fudged any of the planetary rolls.

I could have done it with an automated system (I like the one on but I wanted to be more familiar with the worlds as I rolled them up, and wanted to go through the process of rolling each one so that I could develop a feel for the whole. That's where MTU's backstory is coming from.

10:23 AM  
Blogger KenHR said...

Talmudic...a great way to describe it! Not just CT, but a lot of those old-school, just a cut above wargame, RPGs.

Back to basics has been my watchword since wrapping up 2 RoleMaster 2nd edition fantasy campaigns last year. I'm finding that most of my fun comes from what you do while you're playing, not from what bonuses you get on your character sheet. CT has that ethos in spades, even moreso than pre-AD&D. You really don't need more than a handful of skills and some pointers for what to do when things get serious!

It's funny, but those "basic" games of old seem more fit for "advanced" players, who've played RPGs for a while and aren't afraid of making of "just making it up" when there aren't any rules there to support you. While I'm a Trav newbie, I've GM'd and played enough in other systems to have a feel for what works in a game, how probabilities work, etc.

Only Trav seems to make us of a far more "wide open" model than others of its time (there isn't much analagous to a mis-jump in D&D, for example).

11:28 AM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...

Somewhere early along the line I rebelled from D&D, and went with Tunnels And Trolls instead. Traveller always grabbed me: when I looked at the Megatraveller rules I was tremendously disappointed - they seemed to gravitate towards a sort of D&Dism that I couldn't muster the patience for.

It's the same thing that's driving me away from books 4+, actually, and makes me nervous when I start coming up with too-detailed houserules.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Dan "far-trader" Burns said...

Greetings Lord of the Festrian Empire :)

Well you've done it now, started me down the path to blogdom. It's been building for a while and you pushed me over the edge. As you say "EVERYBODY's Doing It."

Mostly I was tired of posting comments to blogs as Anonymous :) It may be a while before I actually start blogging.

So, to the comments...

I'm starting all the way back here at your beginning just to set the whole scene in my mind properly. Some of it will be familiar to me since I have been reading your posts on CotI.

I agree with your friend Ken about the Talmudic comment and there has been a sort of fundamentalist revivial on CotI, as you're beginning to discover. Welcome to the one true path ;)

And your comment, "It's the same thing that's driving me away from books 4+, actually, and makes me nervous when I start coming up with too-detailed houserules." stikes a chord with me too.

WJP on CotI has had some interesting ideas for modding CT but for my taste they go too far. Simplistic elegance is more what I look for and I think that's where you're headed too. Now I must find time to puruse the rest of your blog. Signing off, far-trader out.

7:46 PM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...

Welcome, Dan!

I agree RE WJP: Loads and loads of good ideas - and I suspect that in *his* practice with everything well in mind, he can probably make it work. But from the standpoint of trying to digest the mods, I think that fine level of detail would get in the way of play for me.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Craig A. Glesner said...

Greetings to His Imperial Majesty of the Empire of Fester and its Domains.

Much like Far-Trader, decided to stop in and read this from the beginning. And also thanks to you am thinking of posting my own ATU here (well not here, in my blog actually. :D.)

While I am using T5 for my rules, I am still enjoying the mechanics aspect of this Empire of yours. I also am digging on the historical and socio-economic background.

Keep up the good work.


7:48 PM  
Blogger Festeria said...

Welcome, Craig. You'll see it's full of fits, starts, and false-starts, and big gaps where I do nothing at all... but enjoy! I generally respond well to comments. I'm like Mike Mulligan's Steam Shovel that way.

9:50 AM  

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