Friday, May 13, 2011

Interstellar treasure

Last week I had some time to kill in San Antonio, so I went to check out a Half-Price Books location.  Like my trip to one of those stores a few months ago, this latest excursion also proved fruitful:
I found a compilation of the first nine volumes of the original Traveller rules.  That's right, the game that launched a thousand starships: classic Traveller.  Although I think I still have my original ruleset, I have no idea where it might be, so it was cool to stumble across this.

This book reprints the first three booklets from the original Traveller boxed set (the one with the "Free Trader Beowulf" quote on the lid):  Characters and Combat, Starships, and Worlds and Adventures.  It also includes the first five supplements--mercenaries, interstellar navies, scouts, merchants, and robots--and "Book 0," an introduction to Traveller and role-playing.  This volume came out in 2000.  It has a $28 cover price brand-new, but look how much I ended up paying for it:
plus tax.
I was a little concerned, however, when I flipped through the pages and noticed someone had written inside the book:
A closer look showed just who had taken a pen to the frontspiece: the game's creator, Marc Miller!
OK, I don't know if it's actually his autograph, but I bought this book as a reader, not a collector, so the signed page was just a bonus. 

These rules are what the kids call crunchy--with a lot of detailed mechanics on building characters, vehicles, ships, worlds, economic systems and even star systems.  My favorite quote?  This passage from Book 3:
The referee has the responsibility for mapping the universe before actual game play begins.  The entire universe is not necessary immediately, however, as on a a small portion can be used at any one time.
I don't know if I'll ever get around to playing this, but there are plenty of ideas useful for other science fiction games.  Stand by, Free Trader Beowulf--help is on the way!


ckutalik said...

The real question is why someone-- presumably in the know enough to care to get the autograph of Miller--would dump it at Half Price. They only give nominal amounts back, so it couldn't be even for the $ when it gets down to it.

Still your gain and an awesome find.

A Paladin In Citadel said...


Maj. Dizaster said...

When you get a Traveller game going please let me know. Traveller was my all time favorite game growing up and I'd love to get in on a campaign.

Maj. Dizaster
a.k.a. Spartan 117

maxmike said...

Traveler is the reason I became a professional game designer. (Partially because I needed to rewrite several of the rules (LOL)). Years later, I finally met Marc Miller and teased him about the rules hole I found--he groaned and then laughed and handing me a copy of the most current edition, said, "Here Mike. Take this. It has the fixes you wanted." And yes, dammit, I insisted he sign it! It's one of my prize game possessions to this day.I love that game so much I insisted on adding it to the Best 100 Games book!