Friday, November 02, 2007

Mongoose Traveller

Mongoose Publishing is a British company that made a name for itself with D20 (the system used by Dungeons and Dragons) supplements, but is now as well known for miniatures games and other roleplaying game systems. Most recently they released an open gaming license version of RuneQuest, a variant of the original BRP system published by Chaosium. Yes, it is legal for you to build games based on Mongoose's version of BRP, and include the rules in the book.

The reviews of MRQ (Mongoose RuneQuest) are mixed. The rules aren't that much different from Chaosium's house system. Some of the changes, though, did not go down well. In particular, there's a weirdness involving characters with a skill over 100% versus a character with a skill under 100%. Actually "weirdness" doesn't cover it; the rule as written is broken. Still, those who like the rules point out that Mongoose has done a better job of supporting the rules than Chaosium.

Mongoose recently released a roleplaying game based on Michael Moorcock's Elric series of books. Chaosium published 5 versions of their own game (mostly just variants of the original) based on the same source material using their BRP system. Apparently Michael Moorcock was unhappy with what Chaosium was doing with it; Mongoose gained the license, basing it on their version of RuneQuest. Some folk said previous versions were better, but apparently Mongoose's Elric game is good, and has the advantage of covering stories published after the original six books.

Continuing their tradition of reproducing classic roleplaying games, Mongoose will be publishing the next version of Traveller, Marc Miller's classic science fiction roleplaying game. Traveller could be used as a generic science fiction game, but it gained its greatest acceptance with the far future universe it portrayed. Interestingly, when the Firefly TV show came out, a lot of roleplayers noticed more than a passing resemblance to Traveller.

Traveller has gone through several iterations, including four versions using Miller's original rule system, a D20 version and a GURPS version. Mongoose will produce a game based roughly on the original game system, but with a fair number of modifications.

For those of you interested in Traveller, you'll want to check out Mongoose's blog for more information. You can find it here:

There are a number of innovative game systems out there, including the One Roll Engine system created by Arc Dream. What's funny is how classic games like RQ, GURPS, and Traveller are still quite popular.


Peter M. said...

I loved Traveller in the early 80's. Didn't touch it after 1985.

I like how the new character generation system allows you to have a shared background with the other characters! That is very cool.

Unknown said...

We tried to revive a Traveller campaign 6 or 7 years ago and couldn't get any takers from our circle of acquaintances. Call of Cthulhu continues to be the accepted metaphor - I am fine with this, although a trifle puzzled. I'd like to play Traveller again, the game meant a lot to me when I was first gaming. I spent hours designing pelagic cultures, and odd planets. Of course, I have no time at all. I bought all of the GURPS Traveller titles for the Merril Collection. They aren't heavily used, but almost all of the GURPS material gets called for sooner or later.