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

Another RPG bundle offer - Traveller 4th Edition

This is another bundle offer based on the 4th Edition of Traveller, which was marketed as Marc Miller's Traveller:

"This Traveller4 Bundle presents the 1996 Fourth Edition of the classic Traveller SFRPG. In Designers & Dragons: The '90s, Shannon Appelcline recounts the story behind T4. After Traveller's original publisher, GDW, shut down in January 1996, rights to Traveller reverted to designer Marc W. Miller. Marc licensed the game to Imperium Games, the fourth of 21 short-lived companies started by longtime industry inhabitant Ken Whitman. Financed by Courtney Solomon's company Sweetpea Entertainment, Whitman lured GDW staffers Lester Smith and Timothy Brown, along with other Traveller stalwarts, to prepare a new edition.

GDW's MegaTraveller and Traveller: The New Era had transformed the rules and destroyed the Third Imperium interstellar empire, but the new edition, it was said, would restore the spirit of Classic Traveller and explore the Imperium's earliest days, "Milieu 0." In the event, the Traveller4 rulebook, written by diverse hands in just four months, proved a mess: sloppy editing, indifferent artwork and layout, and rules systems that each worked well enough on their own but combined oddly. For instance: (1) Traveller4's character generation system and skill list are perhaps the best in the game's long history; (2) the combat system (once you incorporate its extensive errata) works smoothly, with fine-grained difficulty ratings and a simple penetration-damage scheme adapted from Striker and MegaTraveller; but (3) the characters you made in (1) can easily achieve skill ratings that steamroll any difficulties they meet in (2).

In 1997 Imperium Games followed the T4 rulebook with 14 support titles of strikingly uneven quality. (Some of the most interesting books were created by an outside studio, the CORE Group, and by Greg Porter of BTRC, whose EABA game line we presented this past April.) In 1998 Imperium vanished as quickly as it had arrived.

Though Traveller4 never found a large following, it still has fans. Its setting, the young Third Imperium spreading from Core Sector to recover thousands of lost worlds, is unique in Traveller's long history. Despite their poor editing, which spawned 30 pages of consolidated errata, the T4 books present many good ideas and system-neutral setting descriptions that work well with any Traveller milieu. This all-new collection presents the T4 rulebook and the best supplements and adventures -- everything you need to venture out in your scout ship (or your battle squadron) to recontact the Pocket Empires lost in the Long Night. And yes, we include the errata.

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.

These .PDFs are decent image scans of the original 1990s hardcopies. Text is always clear and usually copiable, though a few books have background graphics that interfered with the OCR (optical character recognition). Illustrations are generally dark and muddy.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$140. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all six titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $70) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Marc Miller's Traveller Fourth Edition core rulebook (retail price $20) plus the Traveller4 Game Screen (retail $10); the T4 version of the venerable ship-design system Fire, Fusion, & Steel (retail $10) plus the Naval Architect's Manual for interior ship design (retail $10); the Central Supply Catalog equipment guide (retail $10); and the setting guide Milieu 0 (retail $10).

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with seven more titles worth an additional $70, including Greg Porter's weapons guide Emperor's Arsenal (retail price $10); Pocket Empires (retail price $10), which lets you own and operate your own star system; the fleet action guide Imperial Squadrons (retail $10); Psionic Institutes (retail $10); the two-part adventure Long Way Home (retail $10) and Gateway (retail $10); and the nine-scenario collection Anomalies (retail $10).

Unfortunately this is not the best version of Traveller, and as may be obvious from the description above it isn't the best presented or the best conversion to PDF. It wasn't very successful on its original release, and I can't honestly recommend it unless you are a Traveller completist. There are much better versions out there, and I'd recommend most of them in preference to this one (the exceptions are Megatraveller and Traveller: The New Era which took a game setting loved by tens of thousands of players and systematically wrecked it). Thumbs down on this one.

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Tags: rpg

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