06 October 2009

Venturer: Post Cataclysm Science Fantasy Traveller

As much as I love Basic Roleplaying (both for Elfquest, my intro to the hobby, and Call of Cthulhu, the BRP masterwork), I have been continually sidelining my BRP projects in favor Mongoose Publishing's new Traveller ruleset since I first aquired it, doubly so since I started running a Traveller campaign.

The new MGT rules approach the conceptual simplicity of the little black books, but with a unified system that doesn't require a separate sub system for every skill. It also blows away most versions after the LBBs due to comparatively tight editing and the aforementioned simplicity. Contrary to the closely held shibboleths of greybeard Traveller Grognards(tm), the great weight of Third Imperium Cannon was strangling Traveller, not defining it.

The MGT rules return us to a sense of wonder and wide open setting material with only a few essential assumptions penciled in, rather like early D&D and the neo-classical retro-clone movement. Even better, the new ruleset was released under an Open Gaming License, indeed, The OGL. which means that all those that want to develope for traveller, or even games inspired by Traveller are free to do so. Awesome! I truly believe that MGT has within it the potential to become the D20/D&D of SF roleplay, the baseline that it was always meant to be.

What does this mean for me? Well the 'Nemesis Gates' material I was working on for Chaosum's new BRP release will find a new home under Mongoose's Traveller, and I may just be able to sell it. Now that's something I wasn't expecting. This all became clear to me when I realized that in the MGT campaign I was running (it is on hiatus now) WAS the background story for the Nemesis Gate campaign. With the redirection of focus I need a new working title/codename, so now I am working on Venturer: Post Cataclysmic Releplaying, in a Science Fantasy vein.

So things in MGT that are awesome and must be included:

-careers and lifepath chargen.
-dynamic initiative
-stats as hitpoints
-quality of success adding to damage!!
-skill system encourages teamwork to solve problems
-connections between characters and party campaign skill packages
-social and education stats

Stuff that isn't in MGT that must be added:

-critical damage a-la WHFRP (love those bloody charts) 'head flies off 2d6' in a random direction'
-character advancement beyond trading down-time for skills
-coolness under fire or 'bottle'
-situational awareness
-suppressive fire as area of effect attack not get driven back involuntarily
-mutations, corruption, and Lovecraftian stuff
-'gold' as experience (which ties into #2 above)

Watch this space, this is going to get interesting.