TTRPG Roll 23-23 – Traveller-ing back in time for adventure ahead with a bundle of FASA

As of the time of this post, you dear readers will have around two weeks to take advantage of the FASA Traveller offering on the Bundle of Holding. Don’t wait…click over there now and make your purchase. Then come back here for some thoughts from me to ponder.

A bundle of FASA Traveller goodness

This particular Bundle of Holding offering brings me both long-forgotten Traveller roleplaying game memories as well as fresh expectations of new adventures that I missed out on so long ago. For those players of (Classic) Traveller or its modern day derivative Cepheus Engine who might not know what FASA was, the Bundle of Holding listing offers background:

This all-new FASA Traveller Bundle presents .PDF ebooks of the early 1980s Classic Traveller supplements published by FASA Corporation. Later known for BattleTech and Shadowrun, FASA started as a Traveller licensee, publishing starship deck plans and adventures, many by the prolific designer J. Andrew Keith and his brother William. Still admired today, these modules represent old-school Traveller design at its best. Now you can get .PDFs of almost the entire FASA Traveller line for an unbeatable bargain price.

FASA Traveller Bundle of Holding

Of the Starter Collection, I still have my copy of the 15mm floor plans for the Starport Hotel Complex. I can’t even start to tell you how many times player characters walked, stalked, or fought their way through these now-hallowed halls.

I also still have deckplans from the Bonus Collection, specifically Adventure Class Ships Vol. 1 and Vol. 3 – Merchants. Again, so many fond adventuring memories.

While it would be easy for me to just wax nostalgic about gaming days past, the most exciting part of this collection is actually the items I missed “back in the day,” especially the adventures.

Seven Pillars of adventure

When FASA was publishing for Traveller in the early 1980’s, I was a poor lad in junior high with a very small allowance and a little money earned from chores. As you can probably tell, I spent my few precious dollars on deckplans and the like. Small adventure books were not a priority; indeed, as a gaming group we felt fairly comfortable making up our own adventures using rules like the patron encounter system.

Looking at the FASA Traveller Collection today, I see just how much we missed out on. The one adventure that really stands out to me is Uraqyad’n of the Seven Pillars. When I first read the description, I thought I was going to see yet-another Dune rip-off:

This booklet, entitled Uraqyad’n of the Seven Pillars, is a complete adventure designed for use with Traveller, the science-fiction role-playing game by Game Designer’s Workshop. Set in the Cabala Subsector of the Far Frontiers Sector, it chronicles a guerrilla war on a desert planet held in the grip of a ruthless military dictatorship.

Uraqyad’n of the Seven Pillars, p. 1

The front piece of the adventure, however, is not dedicated to Dune author Frank Herbert but to T.E. Lawrence. That makes the cover art very interesting…

Of course, when one talks of T.E. Lawrence one must also talk about one of the greatest wartime adventure movies of all time, Lawrence of Arabia:

Uraqvad’n of the Seven Pillars says it is an adventure for two to six player characters. As befits Classic Traveller, the party is expected to be composed of ex-military types created using the character creation rules in Book 1 Characters and Combat or Book 4 Mercenary.

The adventure format of Uraqvad’n of the Seven Pillars speaks to me as a wargame player. Events are broken up into weekly “operations.” The adventure is not a classic dungeon crawl but it does draw on the wilderness travel rules and “adventure by encounter” construct found in Book 3 Worlds and Adventures. Truth be told, there are actually very few new rules in this slim 45-page adventure. Instead, the referee is pointed to existing rules sets and shown how to either bring different rules together or use them as the basis of a new free-form system.

Resolving Engagements
To streamline such actions, the following set of
rules is provided, offering a free-form combat system based on both basic Traveller
and Mercenary. For more detailed simulations, referee are encouraged to try
Striker, GDW’s new Traveller miniatures combat rules…

Uraqvad’n of the Seven Pillars, 28

No spoilers intended here, but reading the final sentences of Uraqvad’n of the Seven Pillars sums up the grand vision the Keith Brothers delivered to Traveller players over 40 years ago:

Uraqvad’n of the Seven Pillars was written to allow a handful of adventurers to enter a situation where they, alone, hold the destiny of an entire planet in their hands. It has been balanced in such a way that their presence, their military backgrounds, and their weapons will make possible nomad resistance to the Talaki invaders, and the end result – determined by their decisions and actions will [snip]. Even in the Traveller universe, individuals DO count for something.

Uraqvad’n of the Seven Pillars, p. 45

“…individuals DO count for something.” Is that not the greatest call to adventure ever?

Feature image courtesy

The opinions and views expressed in this blog are those of the author alone and are presented in a personal capacity. They do not necessarily represent the views of U.S. Navy or any other U.S government Department, Agency, Office, or employer. © 2007-2023 by Ian B is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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