Tag Archives: traveller

Traveller iPhone MMORPG Coming

Greetings, faithful readers! It’s been quiet around here because for the last week I’ve been at SXSW Interactive, the most bad ass tech conference in the world, in the most bad ass city in the world, Austin, TX.

Most of my time was spent in Important Technology Pursuits Well Lubricated With Free Alcohol, but the geek in me came out as I wandered by a booth in the Screenburn Arcade featuring a new Traveller-based MMO for the iPhone, Traveller AR. (AR stands for Augmented Reality.) It’s got an old school hex map and both trading and combat, and is being done by a bunch of folks with fondness for the tabletop RPG.  In fact, who did I get to meet in their booth?  None other than Loren Wiseman! (Middle rear in the pic below.)


There are few people with more Traveller chops than him (really only one, Marc Miller himself). You can go sign up for the beta, but hurry, it begins in April.

Also, for some weird reason, Mayfair Games had a booth showing off Settlers of Catan and their new America version. Good to see the old school games representing in the new world!

Mongoose Publishing Doing Grand

Mongoose Publishing has posted their 2009 “State of the Mongoose Address” and it’s great to see a RPG company doing so well!

In general, they say “you have to work hard but you can still do well in RPGs.”  They’ve grown to 14 full timers and have a huge roster of games going on.


  1. A bunch of new Traveller settings and supplements.  The coolest one is Reavers – Piracy in the Sea of Stars, which in title sounds a lot like my “Reavers on the Seas of Fate” pirate campaign I’m running.  Synchronicity!  And there’s Codename Veil, which sounds a lot like Delta Green.  Plus, a new 2000AD license in the vein of Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog called “ABC Warriors,” where you play warbots!
  2. A new Runequest 2, redesigned and taken back to its roots – but without a SRD.  With a  huge campaign, Glorantha book, and more.  And variant settings, including Deus Vult, where you are a Catholic demon fighter in the 12th century, and the Eternal Champion stuff.  And they’re moving Wraith Recon over to it, they say they have no plans to do any more D&D 4e stuff.
  3. The Conan license is in limbo but they’re dropping prices on the old stuff!
  4. They are trying to expand Paranoia as a line, I get the impression they feel like they’ve tapped out the life of a Troubleshooter and have tried some “out of the mold” splatbooks and are seeing how those go to determine direction.
  5. And more Earthdawn!  And Dragon Warriors!  And Cthonian Stars, a Cthulhu setting for Traveller!  And a bunch more other stuff!

Man, hats off to these guys, they are shipping some product.  And for those who remember the “old Mongoose” and the bad editorial, they’ve tried very hard to hire up and improve quality in editorial, and claim that in 2009 “in the past few months, the number of editorial issues in the many, many books we have released can be counted on one hand.”

I’m not sure why they are stepping away from openness with RQ2 though, it seems to have paid off for them enough with Traveller.  One demerit for that.  But otherwise, they are expanding heavily despite the global economy, doing so many things that the “common wisdom” says are bad – licensed games, having a bunch of different game lines…

I have some Mongoose games (Conan, Paranoia, Traveller) but don’t play any faithfully.  The lure of large game lines and rich ecosystems, especially like the Traveller one, may just bring me over however.

Mongoose Traveller Licensing Unveiled

Mongoose Publishing, one of the recent publishers of the venerable Traveller universe, has released their “Developer’s Pack” that describes licensing terms for others to put out Traveller material.  And it’s groundbreakingly liberal!  But somewhat complicated, so let me break it down.   (Direct download link)

1.  First of all, the new Mongoose Traveller rules are released under the Open Gaming License (OGL), and a complete System Resource Document (SRD) is included.  So as far as open licensing allows – go nuts!  But wait, there’s more.

2.  There is a Fair Use Policy document – actually provided by Far Future Enterprises, who owns Traveller and licenses it out – that allows you to do stuff based on all previous (non-Mongoose) Traveller versions and publish noncommercially on a Web site or whatnot.  Make copies, write programs/spreadsheets to automate stuff, whatever.  They ask you don’t directly reproduce more than a page or two of rules straight out of previous rulebooks and that you post a FFA copyright notice somewhere.  There’s some unavoidable complication here – they note that they didn’t have all the rights to some art/maps from previous editions and so technically you need that artist’s permissions for those – sad, but unavoidable.

They don’t explicitly mention the ticky things that White Wolf did in their site policy, like not being able to take advertising.

3.  There is a Traveller logo license (TLL).  You get to use the logo but you have to agree to a bunch of lame restrictions – send a form in, can’t use “Traveller” in the title, avoid naughty content (sex/violence), they can ask you to destroy your stock, the whole litany of unpleasant restrictions in most licenses (though they do note that “It should be noted that Mongoose Publishing is committed to a strong relationship with third parties using the Traveller logo and that this instruction will only be given under extreme circumstances that threaten to bring the Traveller trademark into disrepute. If in doubt, third parties may always discuss potential projects with Mongoose Publishing first.”  I’m not sure it’s worth it.

4.  There is a “Foreven Free Sector” license.  This is an interesting one.  The other licenses are basically about rules.  This one lets you use the Original Traveller Universe (OTU) intellectual property (IP)!  I wish this wasn’t so groundbreaking but it is – you can publish stuff set in the OTU – Aslan, K’kree, the Empire, and all of it, in any time period.  You have to “keep it in the Foreven sector” – you can reference all the rightness of the OTU but can only develop/change this one “sandbox” sector.   This license has a similar set of restrictions to the TLL, but in this case it might be worth it; it’s like WotC letting anyone write a Forgotten Realms book as long as it’s set in Sembia.

All in all this is a pretty cool set of licenses.  I think things like the content clauses are 1970s leftover crap, but in general a) the rules are open and b) you can use the OTU even commercially under restriction and c) you can do whatever a normal fan would do under Fair Use.  Props to Mongoose and Fast Forward for this approach!  Any company that thinks it’s not in their best interest to be open like this is either delusional or WotC.

Mongoose Traveller at the Printer!

The new version of Traveller, which will be OGL and had an open playtest, is at the printer!  Look for it to drop in a gaming store near you soon!

Mongoose Traveller In Playtest

The venerable old sci-fi game Traveller is getting a new release soon, from Mongoose Publishing.  And since they’re planning on making the rules open, they have an open playtest!  The current version of the playtest docs are linked from their Traveller product page.

I took the opportunity to do some character generation.  Like WFRP, Traveller has a random lifepathy character generation system, but in this case it takes you well into your character’s midlife.  You can even die during character generation in the “Iron Man” (classic) version.

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