[CLASSIC TRAVELLER] The minimum LBBs to play in the Imperium

Wart

Registered User
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What would your essentials be?
More or less what you've got there, except I don't have hard copies of the Library Data books. I would be tempted to use the MegaTraveller Imperial Encyclopedia there, since the reprinted Library Data there IIRC covers more or less everything the old one did (with some updates for the Rebellion era - which I don't mind as a thing because I think it makes the politics of the Imperium feel a bit more dynamic; the way the Rebellion pans out you can still run a very traditional Traveller game set in the Spinward Marches, with the heightened peril that the Marches can't depend on reinforcements from elsewhere, and maybe throw in some more espionage stuff too).

Likewise, I'd be tempted to use a corrected version of the extended system generation stuff from the MegaTraveller referee book (in lieu of a physical copy of Book 6: Scouts) and World Builder's Handbook if I wanted to really drill down and flesh out a star system.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
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Eh, but first of all, the Merchant Service and the Scout Service are in the mix. And IRL "military skills" can honest to god be almost anything (the US Army has MOS designations for bricklayers, dietitians and musicians). The careers in Book 1 really do cover a lot of bases, skill-wise. IIRC only two of the six careers reliably give you personal combat skills anyway.
The Scouts are still a military organization, even if they're exploration rather than combat oriented. I'll give you the Merchants. But you still aren't liable in most of those to come out with anything resembling a lot of the skills you would from the later Civilian skills.

Getting out of uniformed service is honestly sort of an obvious time to start getting into space adventure shenanigans. You see it in real life all the time--folks get out of the military with skills that may or may not immediately transfer into a civilian career, and they can kind of drift. If that happened in a world that had a high need for space ne'er-do-wells, it's really easy for me to imagine an informal but persistent direct uniformed-service-to-Traveller pipeline. The civilian careers in CotI always seemed to me to be a little shoehorned into a military career model. Not that I think civilian career backgrounds are completely inappropriate; it's just that I definitely buy the idea that they are secondary.
I don't have a problem with the military careers existing; I have an issue with them being the only source of player character backgrounds (Merchant career notwithstanding). And I agree the format they had set up for the military backgrounds wasn't ideal once you got to the non-military ones, but that's no reason not to have them (and Other should have taught them there was going to be an issue with that right out the gate).
 

Random Goblin

Esquire
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I don't have a problem with the military careers existing; I have an issue with them being the only source of player character backgrounds (Merchant career notwithstanding). And I agree the format they had set up for the military backgrounds wasn't ideal once you got to the non-military ones, but that's no reason not to have them (and Other should have taught them there was going to be an issue with that right out the gate).
Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I know a lot of people find CotI to be absolutely bedrock essential, but I'm okay with Traveller, by default, being a game that is primarily about ex-uniformed service folks mustering out and getting into trouble in a big universe, and so when I introduce people to CT for the first time, that's how I do it.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
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Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I know a lot of people find CotI to be absolutely bedrock essential, but I'm okay with Traveller, by default, being a game that is primarily about ex-uniformed service folks mustering out and getting into trouble in a big universe, and so when I introduce people to CT for the first time, that's how I do it.
You can do what you want, of course, but I thought it was excessively limiting even when I first saw it back in the day; by the time CotI came along, I'd already done my own version of three of the same backgrounds.
 

Wart

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I think it partly stems from what sort of SF you want Traveller to do. Doing without CotI means you end up leaning slightly more towards military SF, or at least a more high-action take on Traveller; including CotI steers you more towards SF with less high-action scenarios and more in the way of social and/or scientific dilemmas. Like, the difference between Larry Niven collaborating with Jerry Pournelle on something fairly military-leaning vs. Larry Niven by himself doing a story about a character who gets out of a scrape using a little-known property of black holes or something.
 

Prisoneroffantasy

Enjoying my fishbowl view
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I thought for a long time that public service, mostly military, was just one of those underlying and explicitly stated assumptions about "Traveller universes" before the Third Imperium had been dreamt up. Just like age-of-sail communications.

You've only got a 1 in 6 chance of avoiding the draft working out of book 1, after all. If everyone in society is expected to serve, then it doesn't necessarily suggest that only military skills are valued. The strange coincidence that all the characters have recently mustered out of service is the odd thing.
 

Gemini476

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I don't know that it's all that odd. It just means that your characters were part of the many that mustered out at roughly the same time. Given the scale of the setting, you might be four in a thousand.

But yes, having the characters be military veterans, out-of-work merchants and retired criminals* does lend itself well to a certain type of campaign. It gives the characters an expected baseline competency and a reason for doing this adventuring stuff rather than a proper job.

* Note the skill list for "Other".
 

Wart

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Validated User
Another virtue of Citizens of the Imperium is that you don't have to include all the professions. You can get the exact same specificity as the core set by picking out a set of professions and making those available for character gen, and presto! Suddenly you've framed your campaign accordingly.

For instance, Belter, Pirate, Navy, Marines, Scout and Pirate gives you a game based around flying around in and exploring/defending a particular star system. Diplomat, Bureaucrat, Noble, Merchant, Scientist and maybe Rogue gives you a game based around moving in high society and government. Army, Sailor, Flyer, Marines, Belter and maybe Pirate gives you a game based around being the defence force for a particular planet. Scientist, Hunter/Barbarian, Noble/Bureaucrat/Diplomat, Scout, and maybe Rogue (plus a soundtrack by Camel's 80s lineup) gives you Stationary Traveller, a game about establishing and growing a new colony on a frontier world.
 
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