• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

Stars Without Number vs. Mongoose Traveller


Validated User
If you and all of your players had hardcopies of both Stars Without Number and Mongoose Traveller, what would make you choose one over the other?


RPG.net's Drug of Choice
Validated User
They have different emphases. I'd use SWN for a more classic space opera type game, and MongTrav for something more like hard sci-fi. SWN's world generator creates a lot of garden worlds with interesting socio-political dynamics, whereas MongTrav generates a lot more marginal worlds with struggling economies.

SWN's char-gen is a lot less random than Traveller's. Some people love the Traveller minigame (I'm one), but you do have minimal control. It's also easier to handle advancement in SWN, since it uses a simple class / level system. Mechanically, SWN is the simpler and lighter game, though there's not a ton of difference in most cases.

I personally think it would be easier to adapt SWN to 40K, which is the main tip in its favour for me, since both groups I'm playing with right now are fans of the 40K setting (I'm running a Deathwatch game next month and I'm playing in a Dark Heresy game right now). Getting them to switch to a more rules-light system would make it easier on me when I'm DMing.


Active member
Mongoose Traveller, because it has massive supplemental support, including multiple settings and backwards compatable award winning material that stretches back more than thirty years.

That, and it's bloody fun to play with systems that will keep you entertained when alone with a couple of dice, let alone with a bunch of gamers.

Stars Without Number..who?

Crusty One

Registered User
Validated User
Probably Stars Without Number but only because I can pretty much fit the system in my head and make a good job of running it. MongTrav is an excellent system; I have some of the books and I think that Mongoose have done a terrific job, I just don't think I could do it justice as a ref.

As for which one I'd rather play... Quite frankly I'd happily play any SF game if someone was willing to run it.

TrippyHippy, if your final comment wasn't meant as a dismissal then you should check it out. A 200+ page free download, spend five or ten minutes flicking through it and if there's nothing in there of interest to you delete it. I love it.

Maybe I'll marry MongTrav one day, but SWN smokes and drinks and is a bad, bad girl... or something.


5859B7 Age 48 7 Terms
Validated User
Sorry. I use both. Rules from Traveller, my own small setting and all the advice, the sandbox rules, the factions, alien race creation and world tags from SWN to turn my campaign into a wonderful sandbox environment.

I use both.

From a rules perspective Traveller. But if I wasn't so wedded to the game SWN has a really kick ass little system behind it familiar to every player of early D&D.

From the bat: SWN.


Suspected Unicorn
Validated User
I'll wait until I've actually had a chance to play Stars before I commit to one or the other for all time, but... Stars is definitely a contender, that's for sure. It's a surprising amount of awesome for free.
Top Bottom