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CT-ST-Starter Traveller $9.99
Average Rating:4.4 / 5
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/09/2022 13:11:58

Note. This review has been updated.

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/05/review-traveller-starter-edition-1983.html

If there was a "Golden Year" of classic RPGs then I am willing to put my nomination in for 1983.

By now what I considered to be the "Big 3" were well established; AD&D/D&D, Call of Cthulhu, and Traveller. Indeed there were even alternatives to these that were very good games in their own right; Runequest, Chill, and Star Frontiers respectively. While Edition and System Wars have always been with us, it was a great time to be a gamer.

1983 also gave us a "new" version of Traveller. Well, not really new at all, but certainly reorganized and edited again. To keep up my analogy of Classic Traveller = Original D&D and The Traveller Book = Holmes Basic D&D (although with the inclusion of The Traveller Adventure a better one is Moldvay Basic/Cook & Marsh Expert D&D) then the 1983 Traveller Starter Edition is Mentzer BECMI D&D.

The Traveller Starter Edition was the version I saw the most in the pages of Dragon Magazine. No surprise. My prime Dragon reading years were 1982 to roughly 1991 and then not again until the 2000s. Until Mega Traveller came onto the scene this was the Traveller book that GDW was pushing. Easy to see why. The cover of the Traveller Book, despite how much I love it, was always more "sci-fi novel" cover. The new cover? That's Star Wars meets Dune meets Battlestar Galactica. This was a cinematic cover, even if the rules were the same. I could not tell then, and in fact it was only today I noticed, but that ship looks like the Azhanti High Lightning from below. Or maybe it isn't. Either way that cover says Space Adventure. The Traveller Book says "Space is Dangerous and I got bills to pay!" to me. Both are perfect.

Traveller Starter Edition (1983)

For this review, I am considering the PDF I bought from DriveThruRPG split into three separate files. The front cover and the back cover of the original book are not preserved here.

Book 1: Core Rules

This PDF is 68 pages and features black & white interior art with black & white covers with red accents. They look very much like the classic Traveller covers.

This book features all the rules from the Classic Traveller system. It is largely the Traveller Book but reorganized and edited for clarity. Some sections read a little differently, but for the most part, it felt the same. There is some new art here, but a lot of art from previous editions remains. The new art is, as expected, better and gives more detail. The red accents to some of the art have been removed. Character creation reads faster, but it could also be that I have read this section many times now in one form or one book or another that I am "getting it."

A trained or expert eye could spot the rule differences, but that is not me. This largely feels the same. This is not a bad thing mind you. The difference feels the same as that between Moldvay Basic and BECMI Basic. Two books for the same game are designed to do the same thing only in slightly different ways.

Book 2: Charts and Tables

This 28-page PDF covers all the charts and tables. References to the charts are in Book 1.

Book 3: Adventures

This is a 23-page PDF with two adventures; Mission on Mithril (from Double Adventure 2) and Shadows (Double Adventure 1).

Thoughts

When it comes to learning how to play Classic Traveller then either this version or the Traveller Book would be fine since they cover the same ground. The analogy of The Traveller Book = B/X D&D and Traveller Starter Set = BECMI D&D extends here. The trade dress of all future Traveller books will follow the Start Set design. This will hold until Mega Traveller and 2300 later in 1987.

Which one should YOU buy? That is entirely up to you. The Traveller Book has the advantage of also being out in POD format and this one does not. But this version is a little more friendly to newcomers.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by Ben N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/26/2021 18:15:39

Its a classic product and it holds up better than most of its peers of the time. The line is well supported and yeah the art and presentation is of the time but its still really usable.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by CD F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/20/2021 11:54:06

Not just nostalgia! The basis for later Sci-Fi RPGs like Stars Without Number and also those RPGs that embrace deep backstories. It also flies the banner for embracing the randomness of RPGs and "failing forward". To deal with what cards Fate deals you and then building a game out of it.

The 2D6 basis of this game points for a bell curve of outcomes rather than a flat 1D20. It also shows a game as it developed over these three books.

If your serious about RPGs and serious about the types of fun different RPGs can bring this is a must have.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/10/2020 07:01:56

This is where my Traveller adventure began.

The system has more than the essential elements needed for combat and adventuring in a future with interstellar travel, additionally providing for starship combat and interstellar trade. The players can one day be in a wilderness fighting for survival and the next in a city avoiding the local authorities or fighting in a space battle.

The scans are satisfactory and do not include searchable text, some pages are wonky and one page is missing. Also it is disappointing that a scan of the front cover of the box is not included.

The scan of the double adventure does not capture the clever upsidedown printing of the second adventure, and back to back printing of the player handouts and maps. The only references to the Imperial calender comes from the last patron encounter and the serial numbers of the atmosphere testers in the ship's locker of the Central Axis. The description of the patron as a raggedly old man could give an incorrect estimate of the current Imperial year.

Adventures has an enlarged picture of the animal counters from page 8 that is not in the original and is missing page 9, which includes the Referee's Notes and Library data which explains the behaviour of one the atmosphere testers in location 23 in the adventure.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by Pierre S [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/30/2019 15:19:16

The classic edition of Traveller is a great game, and no game has yet touched its fame for science fiction tabletop RPGs. Traveller covered all the "space" things in a detailed setting called the Third Imperium, a unified star community ruled by an Emperor. Traveller spawned an extensive series of supplements, which you can take or leave as needed for the emphasis of your particular game, whether star merchants or space mercenaries or explorer scouts.

Star sector maps are laid down in hexagons, each is a parsec (3.26 light-years), and starships have Jump Drives which depending on the engine rating of the ship can Jump from 1 to 6 of those parsecs but each Jump takes a week. There is no faster way to get news or goods across the stars, so the political feel resembles 18th-century sailing. The Imperium is held together but its size is causing strain. The Imperium also borders on alien empires which range from coldly neutral to hostile.

The Traveller Starter edition (1982) did some reorganization of the original LBBs (Little Black Books) of 1977 and presents all the tables of the game in the second booklet, cross-referenced to the pages of the rulebook. A third booklet presents two short adventures.

Traveller is "old school" and the best way to learn it is to take its systems one at a time. Randomly generating star-maps is particularly fun, a kind of mini-game within the game, with the main world in each system defined as to size, atmosphere, population, and government with rolls of six-sided dice (only). Nowadays the fans offer web-based computer utilities to instantly generate vast tracts of space, or use the huge, defined Imperium map already available online at travellermap.com.

Characters are generated by taking an unformed 18-year-old and choosing one of six military or other careers which are determined in 4-year Terms that you must survive. First you roll 2d6 six times to establish Characteristics by the names of Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education and Social Standing. High or low values of these traits may give you a Dice Modifier on Skill Rolls (in the most basic dice-rolling rules, you must roll 8 or more, "8+" by rolling 2d6+ a Skill Level). Characters without a Skill in something are penalized at -3, so even 0-Level Skills are useful to avoid this Unskilled penalty. Gain Skill levels and promotions each Term, but also run a chance of character death or dropping out of the career. Physical Characteristics have a chance to decline each Term starting at age 34, and even mental Characteristics may decline for seniors, an incentive to voluntarily "muster out" instead of collecting yet more skill-levels by being as old as you can be. Once your old career is done, you roll randomly for Mustering Out (cash or final benefits based on number of Terms). This leaves you with an older, more seasoned character ready to adventure. However, you can never directly pick your skills! You can place yourself in the desired career, and choose to roll on one of several skill tables but at the end of a term one or more d6 rolls determines what skill is granted! Again, as a game-within-a-game this activity can be fun for some. Characters who are failed or not-quite-right spacers can populate your universe as NPCs!

The personal combat system, in basic Traveller, is NOT on a grid-map but more abstractly defined with "bands" similar to a football field! There are also rules for trade (buy low, sell high of course), which is easy to do as you note the characteristics of the world you're going to (Trade Codes like INdustrial or Non-Industrial, Agricultural, etc.) which give bonuses or penalties to the negotiated price of cargo when it is bought at the source or sold at destination. Nothing is a sure thing, however, providing yet another system that is a fun economic mini-game within the larger RPG story! Use profits to fuel up (ships have fusion engines that will run on ANY source of water or hydrogen such as from a planet or gas giant, preferably refined to keep out impurities), maintain your ship, for life-support, for crew salaries (we love R&R) and pay off the expensive monthly mortgage on your ship. The starship combat, in the original version, is not gridded either, but takes note of what you have for weapon turrets and rolls the damage to the other ship and what sub-system was damaged.

Definitely a solid science fiction experience.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by Frederic H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/06/2018 07:01:15

Unfortunately the PDFs consist of skewed scanned pages without OCR or table of contents. So full text searches are not possible. Would have been easy to add in the process.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/06/2013 12:21:44

Got my son started on Traveller with these - the same I played with when I was a kid! Sometime later we'll trade up to a more recent version.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by Anthony H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/22/2013 12:22:04

Wow way cool this brings me back to my early days of gaming. everything I hope for and more.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by Roy L. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/13/2013 22:15:50

star ship construction tonnage & cost classic5/5.see space opera7/10 .



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by Eric M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/23/2013 12:17:26

This is an excellent publication, both now and when I first bought it back in the eighties. Fairly much everything from the first three LBBs and a bit more with the adventures. Worth the download to see what a great game this is from the efficient rule set to the understated yet elegant layout.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by John M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/23/2012 12:44:07

Of the three books, only the Adventure book has been OCR'd. The others are just scanned images, so you can't search them. :(



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2011 10:23:22

I started playing Traveller with the "Little Black Books", but picked up "The Traveller Book" when my old LBB's started to fall apart.

Starter Traveller is almost exactly the same contents as The Traveller Book, minus the (admittedly confusing) vector-based space combat system and one or two other minor rule sections. What it DOES have is the seeds for countless hours of fun.

The product is organized into multiple books, but unlike the classic "Little Black Books", the breakdown is functional, not by topic. The first book contains all of the written rules of basic Traveller. The text of this book is extremely close to the wording in The Traveller Book with no inconsistencies that I could find on a cursory side-by-side comparison.

The second book contains all of the tables and charts that the first book refers to, and is my favorite part of this package. This book serves as a GM's screen and play reference, and the layout of the information makes it easy to open the book (or print out a pair of pages) that will cover one particular topic completely. This is a really fantastic way to collect the important parts of the rules for easy access, and I wish more RPGs would do something like this.

The last book contains two adventures, Mission on Mithril (an overland exploration adventure) and Shadows (a dungeon crawl). The version of "Mission on Mithril" is reworked a bit from the one in Double Adventure 2, but seems substantially the same. Shadows appears to be the same version found in The Traveller Book. Both adventures can give a new play group a few evenings of entertainment, and give the GM tools to use in future adventures.

All in all, if you already have one or more Classic Traveller rule sets, Starter Traveller may not give you anything new (except the charts book - that's pretty useful in its own right), but for someone looking to get into Classic Traveller, or who just wants to get a feel for what the original Traveller game was all about, at $6us, you can't beat this package.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by Arkham D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/01/2011 17:25:46

I may have been introduced to D&D first, but Traveller's always been my favorite system - SciFi wins out over Fantasy for me... Traveller is an awesome game, and a PDF copy of the base rules rocks - I keep it on my smartphone for a quick "fix" when I need one... Great stuff...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by colin t. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/19/2010 13:11:01

I heartily recommend picking this up. Most of the info is good enough to be used with later versions (with some alteration depending on "which" type of traveller you're using) but it makes a very useful introduction to the Traveller universe. This is a three part download, one makes a good option for players with the second a more in depth explanation of the traveller system even if its classic inclined (2d6) and the third deals with some adventures always a good option if you're running the game for others or would like an example of how a scenario can be developed. All in all a good buy.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Far Future Enterprises - Traveller
by Billiam B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/17/2010 11:04:12

A wonderful nostalgia purchase. I got mine for free as a promotional offer but I heartily recommend this to anyone interested in the history of role-playing and has a few credits to spare.

Playing this version of Traveller today:

In fact the 2d6 system is delightfully simple. The planet generation and trading tables are will remind retro-gamers of the Elite computer game (which may have or may not have been influenced by Traveller). The two books are easy to play with, but can be awkward to navigate in PDF form since the charts and tables are in a different book to the rules book - which is only a problem when learning, but once the basics are learnt the tables and charts book enables very rapid access to the right matrices. At least print out the tables book!

(Good quality PDF and illustrations reproduction, by the way)

Traveller has a strange flavour to it which may baffle newcomers. Spaceship computers are massive, with clunky "programs", most people are armed with rifles and blades. Humans prevail in Starter Traveller, but other races are described in supplements. In a way, it’s hard sci-fi, but the laser guns with back packs seemed dated even in the 80s. For more advance tech weaponry supplements must be sought (Mercenary), but the system is very adaptable for an inventive Referee.

Archivist, collector, gamer or just curious – this is a fascinating game – all you need to play is here, but you may find yourself will craving ship plans supplements, scenarios – loads of which are free on the web, not to mention later versions of Traveller.

It’s the late 70’s, it’s the far future! Pile into that Type-S Scout ship and power up the Jump Drive…



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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