Friday, January 08, 2010

My Traveller gaming history

I first played Traveller sometime around 1979-1980, my friend and I rolled up a few characters and played the merchant game and never went anywhere.

Sometime in 1981 or later (I can't find any solid reference as to when), I decided to run an SF game at MITSGS. I took the Rune Quest rules and wrote up a star ship creation and combat system, and added some SF weapons for personal combat. Unfortunately, I had not seen Nial Shapero's Other Suns at that point. We played one session, and then decided the system was over complex and the group collapsed. The star ship build system was sort of modular, with ideas borrowed from Task Force Game's Starfire boardgame. The star map was a bunch of dots penciled onto a blank sheet of 8.5"x11" paper, using a ruler to measure distances between stars.

A week or two later, I rebooted with Traveller, though I kept the star ship system and the campaign setting with several new players. Dave Tetreault was the most consistent player in the campaign, which lasted until 1988 or so. The campaign went through several rules mods, eventually being converted to Hero System. Another campaign in the same setting was run at RPI for several sessions. The groups only interaction was the MIT group visiting an airless planet the RPI group had explored, with the MIT group trying to make sense of the trails of ATV tracks going hither and thither.

This campaign was also my first venture into computer aided gaming at the table. I had use of a Compaq suit-case computer from work. I had a program to manage fuel consumption of the ships, and used Borland Sidekick to keep game notes at the same time. I also computerized my star map, which eventually expanded to some 40 or so sectors. The group even visited "Sol/Earth" (Alpha Centauri was the only other real star to make it onto the map).

That campaign was heavily inspired by Paul Gazis, and I used his experience rules and his "generic" "spare parts" for repairs (except I ended up categorizing spare parts into several categories).

Sometime in there I also tried out Mega-Traveller at RPI though the game didn't last long. I think I also had another start at RPI, not quite sure the rules, but I wrote a nifty star map program that worked on a square grid and used a custom printer font to make nice print maps.

Since then, I have essentially only played fantasy games.

Now I'm getting a solid SF itch...

Frank

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