Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

Another RPG bundle offer - Traveller New Era

Traveller New Era is one of several versions of the classic Traveller SF RPG, this time set after an apocalyptic collapse of the interstellar Empire.

"The Third Imperium galactic empire provides the setting for Marc W. Miller's classic SFRPG Traveller (1977) and its follow-up MegaTraveller (1986). In 1992 publisher Game Designers' Workshop adapted Traveller to its House System introduced in Twilight: 2000 and Dark Conspiracy. Traveller: The New Era moves the timeline forward to show the Imperium destroyed by civil war and a deadly artificial intelligence, the Virus. Trying to rebuild civilization, explorers venture across the fallen empire, making new contact with worlds cut off for decades from interstellar trade. Most planets are graveyards; the few survivors are low-tech and xenophobic. Many are ruled by TEDs (technologically elevated dictators), elites with access to a small cache of high-tech weaponry with which they control the population. But vigorous survivors are forging a better, more vibrant history across ten thousand worlds. In the New Era, the future starts now.

This offer presents the 1993 Deluxe Edition of the TNE rules along with almost all the key GDW-era supplements. We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Human Rights Watch.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$150. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all six rulebooks and supplements in our Starter Collection (retail value $70) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • Traveller: The New Era Deluxe Edition (retail price $30): The complete 386-page rulebook plus many maps and play aids. Includes the 160-page technical sourcebook Fire, Fusion, & Steel.
  • Survival Margin, World Tamer's Handbook, and Vampire Fleets (retail $10 apiece): Three essential setting sourcebooks.
  • TNE Players' Forms (retail $10): Fourteen new sheets that let you organize all the stuff in the rising new empire.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with eight more supplements and adventures worth an additional $80:

  • Two Regency sourcebooks: Keepers of the Flame and the Regency Combat Vehicle Guide (retail $10 apiece).
  • The complete four-book set of Star Vikings (retail $10 apiece): the Path of Tears sourcebook, the adventure collection Smash & Grab, the Reformation Coalition Equipment Guide, and the Star Vikings character collection itself.
  • Aliens of the Rim (retail $10): The manipulative Hivers and their elite shock troops, the Ithklur.
  • TNE Referee's Screen (retail $10): Useful charts and a 16-page reference booklet. Includes, for the first time anywhere, a .PDF version of Lady Elise, an eight-page introductory adventure outline sold with the original hardcopy Referee's Screen in 1994."
At least one more title will be added after launch. "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early."

I like SFRPGs. I like the original Traveller setting, though it does hand-wave a lot of the problems of gigantic interstellar empires, FTL travel, etc. etc. It's probably the SF system I've played the most. I already own about half of these books in dead tree format. Having said that, I might as well be honest - I don't like Traveller: The New Era at all.

It takes nearly everything that made the Traveller universe distinctive and throws it into the bin to set up a grimdark space travel future that is pretty much indistinguishable from all of the other grimdark space travel futures out there. The reason I own so much of the T:TNE stuff isn't that I was a huge fan back in 1992 - it's because Virgin closed the RPG sections of their Oxford Street store a little later and dumped everything at a tiny fraction of the original price, and I bought quite a lot of stuff while it was available, very little of which I've ever used.

Additionally, I'm not a big fan of the revised Traveller rules (or the other systems they're derived from), since they are so heavily biased towards combat that everything else seems to be an afterthought. Their origin in a post-apocalyptic WW3 setting might have something to do with that. Original Traveller was slightly better in that respect, though far from perfect. It may not be entirely coincidental that GDW (founded in 1973) folded in 1996, having launched several increasingly unsuccessful RPGs based on this rules set, although publication of Gary Gygax's dire Dangerous Journeys fantasy system, also 1992, followed by legal battles with TSR, probably didn't help their cash flow.

I'm not saying that you should avoid this at all costs - Traveller completists will probably want it if they don't already have this material, and it can be cherry-picked for an occasional idea, and you do get a reasonable amount for the money. But it isn't a version of the game I can honestly recommend.

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