#RPGThursday – My OTR: Original #TravellerRPG Renaissance

I HAVE NOT LOOKED AT MY RPG COLLECTION IN A VERY LONG TIME. This past weekend I visited DriveThruRPG for the first time in a very long while. I was a bit surprised to see the ALIEN RPG Core Rulebook listed as the #1 bestseller.

Now, I really like the movies ALIEN and ALIENS but I am not so sure I want to plop down $24.99 for a pdf (although it is 392 pages!). Especially since I already own Hostile from Zozer Games.

So maybe Hostile is not as comprehensive as the ALIEN RPG Core Rulebook but does that make it less playable? In some ways I have soured on ‘comprehensive’ RPG settings – I feel so hemmed in by them. The worst is some ‘known’ setting like Star Wars – don’t get me started on canon!

While looking around DTRPG I picked up, for free, Outworld Authority, also from Zozer Games. Here is how the ad copy for Outworld Authority reads:

Chris Kubasik in his wonderful  blog called Classic Traveller: Out of the Box, has brought Traveller back to its beginnings, as a simple but flexible set of three ‘Little Black Books’ that can be used to create stories in the sci-fi setting of your own imagination.

OUTWORLD is a short and simple setting, inspired by the movies Alien, Aliens, Outland and Silent Running (amongst others) and it uses only the tools and rules of Traveller Books 1, 2 and 3 to help build a rough facsimile of those movies. The setting is entirely original, and not connected to the settings of Ridley Scott’s Alien or Blade Runner movies, but it is inspired by his films, by the others in my list above and by later movies (the Alien sequels for a start).  It is not connected to my game HOSTILE, either.

In the spirit of Chris Kubasik’s Traveller blog, let’s stick to the rules as written if we can, and keep our game setting small, manageable and bursting with adventure opportunities.

I picked up my Little Black Books of Traveller over 40 years ago. I always enjoyed the wonder those three books opened up. I am ashamed to say it, but it took me 40 years to realize that I do not love Classic Traveller or the modern Cepheus Engine incarnation as much as Original Traveller – Traveller Books 1-3 ‘without a setting.’

Original Traveller describes my style of Traveller best. I don’t ignore the Third Imperium setting but I like making my own using elements from the LBBs.  Form here on out I am going to use Original Traveller to describe this style of Traveller RPG play – a setting that is ‘small, manageable, and bursting with adventure opportunities.’

Sadly, I see that Chris has not updated his blog since August 2019. Hopefully he get some new content going. I certainly am going to try and do the same!


Writing this blog made me remember I pledged on Kickstarter for Cortex Prime: A Multi-Genre Modular Roleplaying Game by Can Banks. The campaign took my money in May 2017 with delivery originally scheduled for April 2018. Here we are, nearly a complete two years and 55 updates later and the STILL NO PRODUCT! In the meantime, Cam up and moved his family to New Zealand (I’m ‘sure’ none of the $84K in this Kickstarter was used, eh?) and the project has taken a much different turn by joining Fandom (see the press announcement here).  At some point lat year I tried to reach out to Cam and cancel my pledge for a refund. Unsurprisingly, I heard nothing back and never got a refund. So forgive me if I have also soured on ‘big’ RPG publishers – to say I am disappointed with the likes of Mr. Banks is an understatement.


Feature image courtesy Zozer Games via DriveThruRPG

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