Tuesday, October 05, 2010

2300 AD is coming back...and it's Traveller!

Back in the '70s and especially the '80s, Game Designers' Workshop (GDW) was a big player in the tabletop rpg and wargame business. They had some major successes, most notably Traveller, and some stinkers (anyone remember Dangerous Journeys?). They introduced the steampunk genre to gaming with Space: 1889 and played on our worst Cold War fears of nuclear annihilation with Twilight: 2000. Since the group I played with throughout the '80s was not interested in playing anything except AD&D, I never had much of an opportunity to try out any GDW games until years after their initial release. The only one that really caught my attention was MegaTraveller. My reaction to that game was lukewarm and with so many other games to try, such as GURPS and Call of Cthulhu, I never really went back to GDW.

Well, recently I have rediscovered Traveller, thanks to the new coat of paint it has received from Mongoose. The folks from Swindon have really breathed new life into the Traveller game engine by adapting the rules to a number of IPs including Babylon 5 and Judge Dredd. Later this month, Traveller will meet Lovecraft with the release of Chthonian Stars and I have just learned that next year, Mongoose intends to revive another GDW classic with the release of 2300 AD, again using the Traveller game system.

I never tried the original back in the '80s, but the setting intrigued me. It takes place a few centuries after the Twilight War (the nuclear war described in the Twilight: 2000 game). France, which chose to sit out the war (insert cheese-eating surrender monkey joke here), is now the most powerful country on earth and has created a sizable interstellar empire. The Americans and the Chinese, having had to rebuild after the war, also have interstellar empires, though smaller than that of the French. In addition to their own mutual hostilities, the human space empires have to deal with an alien race which has a biological imperative to make war. All of this takes place in a much smaller milieu than the Third Imperium setting of Traveller, something I much appreciate. I will be watching closely for this one.

-Rognar-

9 comments:

A Paladin In Citadel said...

I was a big fan of 2300, mostly because of the use of a real near-star map, with attendant jump-lines.

Rognar said...

It will be interesting to see if the author incorporates some of the new information we have on nearby exoplanets like the recent discovery of Gliese 581g. It would be in keeping with the hard sci-fi thinking that went into the original to include the most up-to-date science.

John said...

I am surprised to hear this. The Traveller community over at Citizens of the Imperium actually did release an update for 2300 a few years ago, 2320 AD. I'm not sure if they modified the original rules to be compatible with Traveller20, their version of Traveller in the d20 format.

I've been playing around with the new Mongoose traveller, and have been itching to run the new Secrets of the Ancients campaign, but haven't had much luck in finding a group willing to play.

Rognar said...

I hear that, John. My current group plays Pathfinder exclusively. A couple of us are interested in trying Traveller, but the others are not. I'd love to run a Traveller campaign of some sort, but majority rules.

Andreas Davour said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andreas Davour said...

I bought and read all the old stuff.I didn't like that the only hard core sf game out there had to be about military sf, but it was still a game I really wanted to play.

Oddly, considering the focus it got, I thought the combat rules was kind of obscure. It would be interesting to see what MGP can do with that.

Rognar said...

Well, they will be using the Traveller rules, so there will be no surprises as far as rules are concerned.

By the way Andreas, nice blog. I check it out fairly regularly.

Andreas Davour said...

Thanks!

Colin Dunn said...

The new version will indeed use Mongoose rules. Since I also wrote 2320AD, there will be things from there that are incorporated into the new version. The intention is to use as much current star data as possible.