On the Citizens of the Imperium forums I stumbled upon a thread about a very cool idea how to run Traveller. It’s called Proto-Traveller and refers to a campaign mostly based on the material released in the original Traveller rulebook and just a few supplements.

The OTU is huge, pretty complex, and somewhat overwhelming – especially for new players. So why not reduce it to the basics? In a Proto-Traveller campaign there are no capital starships, the various star empires (including the Imperium) are much smaller, the focus is on frontier opportunities. There are even Proto-Traveller concepts which are even more minimalistic. Some people just use stuff from the core rulebook which means there’s only the Regina subsector.

I was never someone who follows rules – especially in RPGs – that slavishly. So if I ever run a Proto-Traveller campaign I doubt I’ll follow what was written in the abovementioned thread to the letter. I would probably use Mongoose Traveller instead of Classic Traveller anyway. But the idea of a smaller Traveller universe with only small spaceships and small pocket empires is extremely tempting. Using this premise you can probably get people to play Traveller much easier than to scare them away with endless amounts of lore.

What do you think? Would you play in a Proto-Traveller-ish campaign, or do you prefer to go all out? Please share your thoughts below.

Kickstarter and Support for Multiple Systems

I’ve seen a disturbing trend in RPG-related Kickstarters for a while. A lot of stretch goals include support for multiple systems. There are quite a few games with support for various D&D editions, 13th Age, Fate Core, Pathfinder, etc.

While I understand that this might make sense in certain cases, it’s not something I am particularly happy about. One of the reasons why I withdrew my support of the Shotguns & Sorcery Kickstarter was because of this. It was advertised as a game powered by Monte Cook’s Cypher System. I love the system and was very excited about the KS at first.

But as soon as they announced support for Pathfinder as one of the stretch goals I was not that amused. I haven’t followed the KS after that anymore and I withdrew my backing. I might still pick the game up after release but I am not willing to support them upfront anymore. It’s just a risk I am not willing to take. I am not comfortable with the idea that a part of the money I contributed is going into system support for a game system I am not interested in at all.

Support for multiple systems also often means that each system gets less attention during development. Sure, they might collect more money by adding support for another system, but I doubt there will be enough money to give each system the attention it needs. In the case mentioned above I find it especially odd that someone decides to use Cypher and then adds Pathfinder support. These are two system which are very different from each other. A Pathfinder version will undoubtedly play very much different.

While I have no general issue with settings being supported by various RPG systems – Green Ronin did a great job with their Freeport setting – but especially when it comes to Kickstarters I fear that developers may either put too much on their plate, or the support for the various systems may end up too lackluster.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you agree with me, or is multiple system support something you are looking forward to? Please share your thoughts below.

My Gift to the WR&M Community

Recently a couple of people from the Stargazer’s World Google+ Community have started compiling new and old material for Warrior, Rogue & Mage and its derivatives. In order to help the community to create new stuff for my little game, I’ve decided to do two things:

First I created a handy System Reference Document for WR&M. It includes all the rules in a simple format, so that you can easily copy and paste text from it.

Secondly I decided to release this document under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license, which means you can now create WR&M derivatives and share them freely or even sell them. It’s the same open license Fate Core uses. Please note this new license only covers the SRD. Everything else I put out is still released under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 3.0 Germany license. I will get in touch with the authors of the WR&M supplements in the near future and ask them for permission to release these works under the new license as well, but I can’t promise anything at this point.

You can download the new WR&M SRD here. Enjoy!

A Roleplaying Games blog