Traveller 4: What Might Have Been...

Call this a sentimental journey into what if.

At GenCon 1997, it was my pleasure to meet with Tim Brown and Marc Miller, as well as be able to submit a product proposal of what my partner, Joe Walsh and I, would have liked to have seen published in the next 12-18 months by Imperium Games. As we know, Imperium Games defaulted on virtually all of its creditors, and this product list never happened, and indeed, never really made it past the proposal stage.

Although it wasn't obvious to me at the time, by GenCon 1997, Imperium Games was in its death throes. Payment to me for Psionic Institutes was 4-6 weeks late, and I would work on only two more volumes for IG, Imperial Squadrons, and Vilani Hypothesis (for which I was never paid, and therefore retain the rights, such as they are, since I certainly can't publish it for profit without permission of Marc Miller).

The text descriptions are excerpted from the original written proposal we submitted at GenCon. Text in brackets [] are my present comments.

This proposal is reprinted with the kind permission of Joe Walsh.

I publish this document with the hopes that it may speculate some excitement in the Traveller community about what Milieu 0 could have offered, if IG had done it right.

Adventures on the Frontier

A Milieu 0 Campaign

The Massilia sector, largely unexploited by the Imperium during the first 200 years, presents adventurers with a vast frontier that serves as a setting for daring adventure. Adventures on the Frontier details this sector, providing historical data, information about the current political climate, and detailed setting data for each of the sixteen subsectors. Also included are four 16 page adventures set in the Massilia sector, providing a sampling of the adventures possible in this frontier.

[We felt this would be a great opportunity to set up a non-Imperial campaign backdrop. The focus in Massilia sector would be to develop a number of pocket empires that would remain independent from Imperial domination long enough to develop a Balkans type feel, a number of small states warring for a domination none was truly strong enough to achieve].

Emperor's Starships

A Cross-Milieu Supplement

As an interstellar empire, the Imperium relies on a large variety of starships to keep its lifeblood flowing. Its corporations and citizens also demand a wide variety of interstellar transport. Emperor's Starships presents the broad spectrum of ships in use throughout the Imperium including those used in trade transport, piracy, and military situations. Everything from ship's boats to dreadnaughts is included, each with construction details from Fire, Fusion, and Steel.

[Obviously a ships volume along the lines of CT's Supplement 9, and MT's Fighting Ships of the Imperium. Of the two, I preferred the CT volume, in that there was actually some text about the ships, and they had a much more interesting flavor].

First Contact Handbook

A Milieu 0 Supplement

The Imperial Interstellar Scout Service is key to the young Third Imperium's expansion plans. Scouts range out beyond the Imperial borders, performing detailed analyses of the worlds and cultures encountered. Thereafter, trail-blazing Merchants follow to take advantage of the opportunities presented by these worlds -- worlds that have long been out of contact with interstellar society, and which are therefore hungry for new products and technologies. The First Contact Handbook details first contact procedures, pitfalls, and opportunities for Scouts, as well as first trading mission opportunities for Merchant characters. Also included are advanced character generation procedures for both career types.

[One of the most popular volumes from MT was the World Builder's Handbook. I liked it, and still use it extensively. We envisioned First Contact detailing the physical characteristics of worlds, along with the Scout character, where Cities and Starports would detail the social and political aspects].

Great Rift Expeditions

A Milieu 0 Campaign

Set in the Vland and Corridor sectors, the Great Rift Expeditions are a linked group of short adventures providing characters with the opportunity to participate in the historically important Great Rift Expeditions. The setting and background information highlights the chaotic nature of the predominantly Vargr-controlled Corridor sector during the first two hundred years of the Third Imperium. The Adventures place a special emphasis on the role of Scouts in exploring the Great Rift.

[I've always thought that this would be a fascinating topic, and something I'd have wanted to see as a Traveller player. Much like Columbus searching for a land round to India or China, we saw this as an ultimately doomed mission (historically, the Great Rift Expeditions failed), but one hell of a ride. Great Rift was also a concept that we envisioned as a "stealth sector sourcebook." We envisioned using a 112 page book to basically develop a sector as a campaign setting, and set one campaign in it, with plenty of outside adventure hooks. I'd have loved to see this idea work, but alas, it was not to be].

Imperial Organizations

A Milieu 0 Supplement

Imperial Organizations presents the many extra-governmental organizations operating within the Imperium, from the Travellers' Aid Society to the Society for the Abolishment of the Imperium. It emphasizes their role in creating, assisting, and opposing the many adventures possible in the Traveller Universe. Detailed profiles of the people, activities, purposes, and political intrigue of these organizations are provided, using the highly successful format first seen in the Psionic Institutes volume. One chapter of rules is presented, with subsequent chapters focusing on specific organizations, the people who make them what they are, and the organizations' interactions with society. The volume finishes with Patron Encounters, Amber Zones, and Adventures related to the Imperial Organizations.

Julian War

A Milieu 0 Campaign

This campaign sourcebook for the Antares sector contains world details, a historical overview of the sector, and information about the small governments contained therein. Julian War focuses on the small governments of the area prior to the Antares Pacification Campaigns, as well as the events leading up to, and during the Julian War. The book includes essays and maps showing the general progress of the war, plus Adventures, Patron Encounters, Amber Zones, rumors, TAS News Articles, and much more, all designed to make Antares sector a compelling campaign setting for Milieu 0.

[Another stealth sector sourcebook. Antares would make a very interesting campaign setting, particularly with the waxing and waning of powers in the area over the first 200 years. Also would present a great opportunity for a king-size moral dilemma, as the Imperium launches what amounts to a war of naked aggression against a state (the Julian Protectorate), that has managed to harmonize human and Vargr].

The Pacification Campaigns

A Milieu 0 Campaign

This campaign sourcebook contains rules essays, and library data about the many areas on which the Pacification Campaigns focused. Pacification Campaigns details the steps involved in integrating reticent pocket empires into Artemsus' Imperium. Also included is a short campaign which illustrates the principles involved in integrating one of these pocket empires. The campaign consists of a variety of diplomatic missions, with military missions being the alternative if the characters' diplomatic efforts fail. Noble characters are highlighted, with Naval characters filling out the cast.

[We envisioned this book as a 112 page adventure hook. It would devote some time to information on the various Pacification Campaigns, but the bulk of the book would have been an opportunity to create adventures against the backdrop. To me the adventures that worked best in MT and CT were those that advanced the setting in some way. This book would definitely have done that].

Sites of the Ancients

A Milieu 0 Supplement

The mysterious Ancients left behind many artifacts; some are benign, many are dangerous, and all are mysterious. Sites of the Ancients begins with a set of rules for generating the details of any given Ancient site, as well as for developing, presenting, and adventuring among the sites developed. It then provides specific, pre-generated Ancient sites, profiles of prominent individuals engaged in the study of Ancient sites, as well as many Patron Encounters, Amber Zones, and Adventures, centering on this compelling topic.

[The Ancients of CT fame were pretty much neglected after CT's release of Secret of the Ancients. Like many long time GM's, I was disappointed that all of the cat was let out of the bag, since the Ancients were one of the wonderful sources of wonder that was a thread through a lot of my early campaigns. Our intentions with this volume was to restore at least a little bit of that wonder].

The Solomani Hypothesis

A Milieu 0 Campaign

This book is a companion product, or sequel to the Vilani Hypothesis adventure. The descendant of the original scholar who developed the Vilani Hypothesis discovers the grave doubts his grandfather had about the validity of the Hypothesis. He then contacts a group of adventurers (including the Traveller historical personae) to uncover the evidence of the original cover-up, ultimately resulting in the creation of the Solomani Hypothesis.

[Vilani Hypothesis was never intended as a stand alone adventure. I actually envisioned a trilogy, set against the first three milieus, 0, 200, and 400. Solomani Hypothesis would have led to the creation of the Solomani Hypothesis. I envisioned a third title in the series entitled Solomani Hypothesis Confirmed, which would cover the expedition intended to prove the Hypothesis].

Milieu 200

Milieu 200. The Traveller that might have been as interesting as the other Milieu. This would have also been the first study of a non-Imperial centered backdrop for Traveller other than TNE ever. Centered around the Aslan Border Wars with the various Solomani pocket empires, including the Earth Union, Milieu 200 would see no Imperial presence. I do remember something else distinctive about what we wanted to do with Milieu 200. It would have scrapped the black bordered cover of T4's books to date by going with a field gray. We envisioned gray, with royal blue lettering, to make the books more eye catching, and distinctive from Milieu 0. As I recall the suggestion was well received, but the general impression was that it would be a year or more from GenCon '97 before Milieu 200. But anyways, here were the suggestions for the first rollout of Milieu 200:

Chaos in Dark Nebula Sector

A Milieu 200 Campaign

This companion adventure to Milieu 200 will be released simultaneously with that volume. It consists of a linked group of adventures detailing the struggles between the various Aslan clans and the small, pre-Imperial Solomani governments in the area. The emphasis is on diplomatic and espionage missions, rather than straight military campaigns. Twin campaigns are included, one of which is from the Solomani point of view, the other from the point of view of the Aslan.

[Dark Nebula has always been one of my favorite campaign settings. The Keith Brothers did some pioneering work on the sector, but there were so many interesting things about the blend of cultures here that we felt that more could be done].

Milieu 200

The Milieu 200 Sourcebook

This is the next step in the unfolding story of the Third Imperium, to be released at GenCon '98. This volume provides all the details necessary for running a campaign in the years 200 to 400 of the Third Imperium, Aslan Hierate, or the Solomani Pocket Empires. Milieu 200 includes sector data, and maps, historical essays, important world write-ups for the Solomani Rim, Dark Nebula Sector, and surrounding areas.

The Starlane

A Milieu 200 Campaign

The Starlane is a series of linked adventures, and further campaign hooks. The setting is a tenous trade route known as the Starlane, which links the growing Third Imperium with the worlds of the Earth Union, Easter Concord, and other Solomani governments prior to Imperial integration. The adventures focus on piracy suppression, trade, and exploration.

Cross Milieu Products

Aliens Volume 2: K'kree, Hivers, & Hresh

This volume presents the most alien of aliens. The centaur-like, herbivorous K'kree, the manipulative Hivers, and the tree-like, photosynthesizing Hresh are all presented in this one hardbound book. Aliens Volume 2 shows the way that these aliens have truly different perspectives from those of humans, Aslan, and Vargr. The format follows that of Aliens Volume 1, providing detailed information, character generation, vehicles, and histories for all three alien races.

Campaign Construction Kit

The Campaign Construction Kit is a how-to manual on designing a Traveller campaign from the ground up. The volume shows how to integrate the previously published rules from The First Contact Handbook, Cities and Starports, and the Economic Extensions from Pocket Empires with the standard Universal World Profile to build logical and cohesive worlds. Also included are an alien race design system, ecologically sound animal generation, a detailed economics syste, how to design random encouter tables, starship encounter tables, new careers, and much more. Essays on where to get campaign ideas, and how to run a campaign are included. A comprehensive example is integrated throughout the volue, culminating in a fully-detailed campaign included in the final chapters.

[Our intention was to take a lot of ideas on adventure building that have appeared over the years in a variety of sources, put them one place, and add to them. I thought this would be an invaluable resource to a new GM, and I still feel its a niche that nobody has tried to directly fill].

Cities & Starports

This highly graphical volume contains details as never seen before on the cities and starports of the Imperium. Cities & Starports includes information on generating, detailing, and adventuring in these two most frequent adventure locations. Learn how cities and starports operate, as well as the adventure opportunities available in each such location. Also included are several prominent cities and starports from around the Imperium, with details about the people, organizations, and structures of each.

[In an ironic twist of fate, this book was perhaps 30% complete at the time of IG's demise. Joe and I began work on this project shortly after the completion of the additional pages of material for the hardbound compilation known as Milieu 0 Campaign. The intention was to design starport plans, city layouts, rules for detailing cities and starports, and providing operations details on the cities and starports. We felt this was a neglected area of Traveller, and thought we could add a great deal of detail at the place where every adventure starts: the starport. Unfortunately, we were pulled off of C&S to work on Alien Volume 1: Aslan, Vargr, and Graytch, which was never published. We never got a chance to return to this project afterwards, something we both regret].

Citizens of the Imperium

This volume presents several new career opportunities for Traveller characters. Using Citizens of the Imperium, referees and players alike can create characters whose careers are chosen from among Belters, Pirates, Barbarians, Flyers, and many more. All are presented in the standard Traveller career resolution format. In addition, details about each of the relevant organizations are provided, with profiles of several prominent personalities from each background. The volume finishes with Patrons, Amber Zones, and two adventures emphasizing the role of the included careers.

[This would be a reproduction of the CT volume, although we intended for all of the Advanced Character generation systems for T4 to add a lot more chrome to enhance the background of the character].

Humaniti Volume 1: Solomani, Vilani, Tekundu

The Traveller universe does not live on aliens alone. In fact, known space is dominated by humans of many different cultures. This volume details the Solomani, Vilani, and Tekundu -- three very different branches of the human family tree. Coupled with the two Aliens volumes, this gives a good representation of the diversity in the Traveller universe.

Imperial Legions

Imperial Legions provides advanced character generation rules for Army, Navy, and Marine characters. It includes sections on the organization of space, land, and air forces for the Imperium, as well as those typical among the many pocket empires. Systems for abstracted naval, land, and air combatas well as large scale unit combat are provided. To top it off, several Patron Encounters, Amber Zones, and Adventures centering on these careers are included.

©1999, Stuart L. Dollar & Disorganization, Ink. All Rights Reserved. Portions of this document are trademarks and copyrights of Far Future Enterprises. This use is unauthorized, and is not intended to present a legal challenge to said trademarks and copyrights. Portions of this document are copyright Stuart L. Dollar and Joseph E. Walsh, and are republished with kind permission of Joseph E. Walsh.