LBB 9 ADVENTURER ! Traveller, Original D&D and What if.


Cosmic Mongoose
Hello all. I've been less active on the boards partly becuase of work, and partly becuase I decided to dedicate posting time to writing time on a pet project. For years the traveller community has tossed around the possibility of using the traveller engine for a fantasy (or at least sword age tech) RPG, and some great variants have resulted - (Mercator, Wanderer, Flynn’s guide to magic, Golans modifications, Jaime's Mace ;) )
I hesitate to mention any for fear of missing some, butI've been inspired by all of them, so thanks !

It’s a simple premise that started this attempt: that Gygax and Arneson had different inspirations than the one(s) that became D&D. From this premise (so far) has come at least two variants I really like: Mazes and Minotaurs and Xplorers ; these ask “what if the font of inspiration for original three little brown book D&D was Greek myths, or Science fiction and a different miniatures campaign was being run in those fateful years by the authors and contributiors." Really well done, check em out.

This, then, is that, but spun thusly: what if the first ever RPG wasn’t D&D at all, but rather Traveler ? I’m not even going to get into the possibility of this actually having happened, I hasten to add, but rather just follow it up. Specifically, what if, as a result of TSR never having been formed or successfully launched, the so called “the fantasy game” languished in a box in a garage for many years, and in the fullness of time, it’s designers ended up at GDW – which IIRC, predates TSR.

For a variety of reasons, we suppose that the RPG genre was born with Traveller (probably via Star Wars to popularize it), and is all about SF; Fantasy becomes the red-headed stepchild of the industry . Adventure Simulations Games (as they are called) cater to an endless variety of SF settings and adventures all ultimately derived from Traveler.

Assume then that Gygax and Arneson finally convince GDW to try a new approach to travelling: something like that Robert E. Howard/Lovecraft genre , but the swords and sorcery version more than the pulp horror of Seeker (by Chaosium games); like in Fritz Leiber's stuff ? or, heck, Anderson's fantasy stuff...... Low tech, ya' know ? C'mon Marc, pleeeeeeze ?

And so, in 1977, following the phenomenal success of book 8 (Droidbots), The Adventure game is dragged out, dusted off, and months later, Book 9 Adventurer is released. What might that look like ?

My goals: as some people here know, I’m always flirting with low tech traveler. Ironically, I’ve also been on the “lets just not use D&D mechanisms and call it traveler” train, but it got me wondering –what if the mechanisms and design of Traveller were applied to the style and sensibilities of D&D ? And not just any D&D, but original three little books in a brown or white box edition D&D ?

Well, yes, it’ll probably suck……but that’s never stopped me, has it ?

So far, its been developed at a slow but constant pace on other sites, mainly those with free storage for files. I''ve got a distribution point now, so since I've freely worked from the SRD for Mongoose traveller, I thought I should give y'all a look at it, and solicit comments.

Next post, I'll have the download URL.

EDIT: moved here by request
The seperate magic section for Adventurer has been updated to add clerical magic spells and rules.

I haven't added these changes to the main .pdf yet.
The main file "Adventurer" is here, along with a second file giving a sort of equiptment list.

Its till not really at Beta yet. Sort of half way there -Alphabeta, perhaps.

Note that one or two of the spell types are yet to be definied, and clerics/priests/theurists still are being worked on. The animals and encounters section is from the SRD with minimal fantasy aadapting at this point. I'll get there, trust me. Player species are currently just human, but do look for the Fey, Svartalfar, Vargnolls, lizardkin, Crinoid ones and (yes) Lionmen, coming to a version near you !
hdan said:
Is this based on the stuff you had posted on COTI? (If I'm remembering correctly)

Yeah, its the updated and reworked combined version of the 11 or so files. I hesitated to mention where it was cause I didn't want to start a......discussion.....about the merits of various sites, as occasionally happens.

Plus you need to register there to access the threads in question.
I have read through these files and they are quite good. It DOES feel like D&D but from a Traveller starting point. 6 levels, no hit points etc.

My kids are hard-core D&D and I have had minimal luck getting them into Traveller. ONE big campaign was all that I managed and then they all went back to D&D.

So, I might try this. They will recognize all, or most, of the spells etc. I will see if I can get them to use it this summer.
I've commented over on CotI, so you know how I feel. It's good stuff. Though I haven't looked at the updated magic...
Do you have a magic system? Strontium Dog has one, and there is the Samardan Press book. Just wondering how yours compares.
It's basically a variation of the D&D system. There are four "levels" of spells. You gain a certain number of spells for your spellbook each time you get the skill and then you memorize a number of spells based on level and intelligence.

A nice variation of the standard D&D spell methodology.
Captain Brann said:
Based on?
Not Mongoose I would quess.

However it looks interesting.

Well, actually, it is based solidly upon the mongoose SRD (and several D&D SRD's also); see the OGL declaration at the end for attributions.

And yes, it is interesting. I think so..... ;)
Rikki Tikki Traveller said:
So, I might try this. They will recognize all, or most, of the spells etc. I will see if I can get them to use it this summer.

This would make my day ! If I can help lure your kids into the Traveller lifestyle......well, heck, that would wonderful*. Maybe it'll work for mine, who seem to feel that traveller is what grownups play......even if we do use legos for props, sets and minis......

*on rereading, I'd like to note that this was not intended to sound creepy, just enthusiastic....
rust said:
for whenever I will return to
pure fantasy settings. :wink:

Pure fantasy ? flying ships and radium cannon, man ...FLYING SHIPS AND RADIUM CANNON !!!!!! !!!!!!!! ;) ;) ;)

Seriously, thanks for the kind word, and all your input.
Nathan Brazil said:
Do you have a magic system? Strontium Dog has one, and there is the Samardan Press book. Just wondering how yours compares.

RTT has a good summation of it (thanks).

My goal was to see if I could keep the Vancian feel of D&D magic passed thru a traveller mechanism. Its not the magic system I'd design de novo, but it seems to be surprisingly able to capture the feel of both sides of the RPG divide ("country AND western" as it were)

If I get time I'll upload just the magic system to the same folder, as there seems to be a fair amount of interest in it by itself. Do keep in mind, its still being developed.....and needs clerics, especially.
Quick update:

I’ve reposted the main rules as a PDF, a general introduction (from the rules) and the magic section from the rules, as it’s generated its own interest.

Thanks !
The seperate magic section for my take on Adventurer has been updated to add clerical magic spells and rules.

I haven't added these changes to the main .pdf yet.<edit. yes I have. And more>
Posting the actual writeups was way too big a bolus of blather, so I'm rolling the detailed descriptions into the main files, and presenting a quick preview below

Some species for Adventurer

Humans, Near Humans and Subhumans.
In many, if not all S&S stories, humans and human variants are the the main inhabitants, allies, heores and villains. While the various human varieties are often distinguished by skin color (generally very bright primary ones: Green, Blood red, chrome yellow, dead white, midnight black) most of their differences are cultural. Most sword and Sorcery humans can be defined along three axes: Culture, technology and society.

Culture is defined as Barbarian, Civilized or Decadent; Technology as Physical, Intellectual or Magical, and society as tribal, Urban or Solitary.

Thus, Cimmerians would be Barbarian/Physical/Tribal, Aquilonians as Civilized/Physical/Urban, Modern man as Civilized/Intellectual/urban, and Melniboneans as Decadent/Magical/Solitary.

More to come

A sword and sorcery world can be human centric, and indeed, the classic ones follow this path. However, there are quite a few examples of worlds that present with numerous fantastic species. These can take a wild variety of forms, easily the equal of any Traveller style SF aliens. Indeed, many of the examoples below are blatantly adapted from Traveller or various earthly mythologies.

Vargnolls area race created by powerful sorcery rather than the gods. Vargs are generally a bit smaller than the typical humans of the world, and resemble upright wolves with four fingered hands (one of which is opposable) on their upper limbs. Some are furred, some are not, but while all are warm-blooded, the females, once fertilized, lay a clutch of soft shelled egg like sacks in which the young mature in about six months.

Leonids are a deity created race, using a variety of predatory cats, spirits and humans as raw material. Unlike standard traveler, Leonids are explicitly lion-like, although a variety of subspecies exist, with similarity to various cat species. It is conjectured that they were originally normal large felines used to embody particular servants of the god or gods in some prediluvian conflict..

Crinoids are strange creatures from ages past, some of whom survived to the present. They are either evolved from very early sea life or are an alien species stranded on the current world. They are highly intelligent and have access to fantastic technology and magic, and have across the ages, blended biology, technology and magic to create their tools and servants.

More to come !
The fey are typified as long-lived, highly intelligent, magically proficient humanoids, often more slender and sometimes taller or shorter than mundane men. While it may be simply Fey propaganda, they are usually more intelligent graceful and beautiful than mundane man, often having much higher technology (or magic) than is available to mankind. They tend to be aggressively secretive, dwelling in magically hidden refuges from the grubby, human infested world.

Also known as Gnomes, Dwarves, or Kobolds, Svartalfar are the descendents of earth spirits that have traded much of their power for the ability to remain free-willed and active on the material plane. They have retained some of their ancestors’ resilience and endurance, and all, if not more, of their lust for wealth and craftsmanship. They are still attuned to the deep earth in ways that are mystical and amazing, and are always more comfortable living underground as did their forefathers.

more to come !
Kentaurii are intelligent creatures that combine the body of a horse (or Pony) and the torso and upper parts of a human. Kentaur is both a generic name, and the name of one of the two branches of the species: these are civilized and agricultural Kentaurs and the barbaric and nomadic Lapyths, whom humans usually believe to be wild animals of a different species.

All are of the same species, are biologically unable to eat any form of flesh, are very vulnerable to the effect of intoxicating beverages, and extremely phobic of predators, and made nervous by any creature that eats meat. Settled kentaurs tend to obsessively “harmonize’ their lands, actively exterminating all predatory species and pests, and manicuring the land; wheras a typical Lapyth response to a human hunter accidentally shooting a young Lapyth is a stampede of drunken, enraged relatives and related clans destroying all local human settlements.