Saturday, 2 June 2012

T5 now in Kickstarter

A link popped up on Facebook yesterday that took me through to this Kickstarter page. After over a decade in development, it looks as if Traveller 5, or T5, is almost complete. From the blurb:
“This is Traveller’s 35th year, and Marc has worked for several years on what he calls the Ultimate Edition: Traveller5. It includes so many things that players have asked for, or that have been imperfectly handled previously. In fact, Marc recently said there are now systems and chapters that he didn’t know how to design way back then. But he does now, and they are included. T5 has technology beyond TL 15, clones, robots, computers, artificial intelligence, QREBS (!), alien senses, Flux. It has a whole series of easy-to-use Makers: GunMaker, VehicleMaker, ArmorMaker, RobotMaker, SophontMaker, ThingMaker. It includes mapping of star systems and worlds; there's ever the MOARN caveat: Map Only As Really Necessary, or referees would spend all their time just making maps of worlds and systems. There's a rationalized section on Psionics, and more, much more.”
Now, I was initially a bit sceptical about the final coming of T5. I still have all my Classic Traveller books, so being required to pledge $US140 (including postage to West Auckland) for a new, 600-page hardback version of the rules seemed a little steep. And while I like Mongoose Traveller, and have a lot of the MongTraveller supplements, I have yet to play it – so, again, is $US140 for a new version of the game really worth it to me?

Having watched Marc Miller’s pitch video on the Kickstarter page, I’m now in two minds about T5 – the Maker systems sound very interesting; like taking the design systems from High Guard, Striker, and Fire, Fusion and Steel and expanding them to cover all sorts of systems. The expansion of Tech Levels beyond TL 15 allows for items of Godtech to exist within your game, on a rational basis with other systems.

Part of me says, “we always just sketched it and winged it, because you do not need to count all the rivets to tell a story”, and part of me would really like some decent design tables.

I may very well end up taking the $US51 support option and get the rules on CD-ROM, or wait until they come out in print. Panzerboy Discontent is the only other blogger, I am aware of, to have mentioned the T5 Kickstarter, though there is a topic on the Mongoose Traveller Forum and on the Steve Jackson Games GURPs: Traveller forum.


  1. What do you think the relationship will be between Mongoose Traveller and T5? It seems that the two will be directly competing which cant be good. I too have a number of versions of the game and what I really want is new material, not just another hash at the rules.

    Thanks for the news though!

    1. Hard to say what the relationship between T5 and Mongoose Traveller will be. On the GURPs: Traveller forum, it was stated that Mongoose is half way through their 10 year license period - I have no other information on this.

      I get the feeling that Marc has basically said, "Sod it! I want this in print before I die." - hence the Kickstarter. Means he can write "The End" under 30-odd years of basic rules development and have the set he always wanted to write.

      Whether there will be supplements and adventure books? - well, there's a lot of 3rd party stuff out there now, plus 30 years of adventures available through Drivethru RPG or from FFE on CD. Though if Kickstarter T5 goes as insane as the Ogre one did for Steve Jackson, then Marc may actually be able to afford to write/have written new, T5 material.

      But I'm just speculating here.

  2. I really do hope that T5 is a rollicking success, because I think Traveller is a Force For Good and Marc seems to be a fine chap, but $140 is way too much for me to pay for a rewrite of stuff I already own plus a bunch of somebody else's campaign notes. Apart from anything else, Traveller is supposed to be a bunch of little black-covered A5 booklets — a giant A4 hardback textbook is agin' nature!

  3. I had to spread the word on this, I also hope this is highly successful!

  4. I do like Traveller but $150+ for a hard-copy of the a rewrite of an existing game!?!

    1. To be fair, I don't think it's a rewrite of an existing game, per se. There seem to be new ways of doing things, like the Maker systems I mentioned above, that are extensions and refinements of systems that have gone before. And I think that this is a good thing.

      I understand that the Task Resolution system that appeared in MegaTraveller is still a part of the game, which is something I don't like.

      Having said that, I do hope T5 succeeds - I'll probably pick up the CD, and maybe buy the book if it ever comes out on general release.

  5. I see this as a sterling opportunity for those of us without a legitimate copy, or one that is far too gone to be worth it. It is a shame they didn't keep the aesthetic of little black books however.

    1. It has been suggested that they should have gone for three x 200-page black books, rather than 1 x 600-page one, though the Traveller book that came out in 1980/81-ish did republish Books 1 - 3 under one cover, with an additional adventure thrown in.

      Opinion seems split on T5 - there's the "shuddup and take my money" camp who basically funded the project in just over a day or so; and then there's the grumpy brigade who are basically predicting the end of the world, wailing, and gnashing of teeth as T5 catches fire, burns to the water line and sinks under the weight of collective expectations.

      And somewhere in the middle are a bunch of us, slightly bemused by all the shouting, who are just wondering if it is any good :)

      And, yes, it will probably be a good opportunity to pick up a fresh copy of the rules if you no longer have a functioning copy.

  6. .."and then there's the grumpy brigade who are basically predicting the end of the world, wailing, and gnashing of teeth as T5 catches fire, burns to the water line and sinks under the weight of collective expectations."

    Well said sir. Well said indeed. The Grumpy brigade. Heh. Full of secret joy that it may give them more to complain about.

    1. I may be being a little harsh, but an entire thread devoted to "nyah, nyah, this sux, I hope it dies and anyone who supports it is a mindless zombie-fan-boy" gets a little depressing to read, especially when the forum in question was set up to get away from the negativity so often encountered on CoTI.

      I suppose that it's threads like the one I've hinted at that make me want to throw a few bucks in the pot, just to prove them wrong, which is hardly a mature way of deciding the merits or otherwise of a project.

    2. Ranting crud posts in that style are imbecilic in any case - make a choice and move one, either way.

      I personally wish T5 every possible success, but just think I can spend my gaming dollar more wisely when I have a whole moving box filled with Traveller material from various editions. I have, however, just forked out for the new Traveller 2300AD and can't wait to see some new material out for that line.

  7. Hi,

    Apologies for the off-topic comment, but the email I sent you bounced back.

    A while ago I put out an ebook of my writing, called The New Death and others. It's mostly short stories, with some obvious gamer-interest material. For example I have a story inspired by OD&D elves, as well as poems which retell Robert E Howard's King Kull story The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune and HP Lovecraft's Under the Pyramids.

    I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on your blog (either a normal book review, or a review of its suitability as gaming inspiration).

    If so, please let me know your email, and what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy. You can email me ( or reply to this thread.

    You can download a sample from Smashwords:

    I'll also link to your review from my blog.


    1. Hi James,

      Could you email me at daveDOTbillATxtraDOTcoDOTnz, please?


  8. Hi - got onto your blog from The Zhodani Base blogroll, and as a Traveller fan and participating in the T5 forums, I was drawn to this post.

    I'll say this up front: I'm a backer, at $US140, and a 'true believer'.

    I just wanted to offer some encouragement about T5. Firstly, at $100, you aren't purchasing the product, you're donating to the print run; the actual retail price will be cheaper!

    Secondly, this system is much more than a re-hash of previous incarnations of Traveller. The "design every rivet" from MegaTraveller and TNE? Gone. The "account for every bullet" from TNE combat? Gone. Instead, the 'maker' systems are designed to abstract design into strategic choices, replacing long lists of equipment and rules, and (I hope!) giving gamers more time using their imaginations to create stories.

    Lastly, I think the technological imagination in the new version has been liberated. The previous design systems, while detailed, had assumptions built into them that were proved too conservative over time (e.g. electronics miniaturised to a much greater extent than forseen in Traveller). There is a lot more scope to fit the rules to our imagination rather than be limited by rules.

    Yet for all this, somehow this is still Traveller. There are familiar things throughout the rules (UPPs, UWPs, etc), and conversion between rulesets will be easy.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Ojno, you are the first person I have encountered with recent experience of the T5 development group so it is great to get a bit of a preview of what the new version of the rules is likely to contain.

      As it so happens, after much dithering I have actually signed up for the book (plus the overseas postage), and even kicked in an extra $10 to get the Jump Drive rather than the CD. Your comments help confirm that I did make the right decision.

  9. well done ! And thanks, too to Ojno for his summary. Made me want to kick in twice.