Sunday, March 19, 2006

Websnark on Traveller

Eric Burns gets misty eyed and Traveller for a few pages. I'm approximately his age, I think, and I discovered Traveller as a young sprout myself, and yeah, he really sums up what's outstandingly cool about it.

One thing that struck me that he didn't mention is naming in Traveller. In Traveller, exotic things always, always, always have very plain names. Names so plain they highlight the exoticism of the setting by contrast.

An antigravity-powered landing and exploration vehicle was called an "air/raft". (OK, the slash is a little sparkly, but you don't pronounce it or anything.) Space suits are "vacc suits." Faster-than-life travel happens via a "jump drive." Slower-than-light space travel happens via a "maneuver drive." A drug which speeds up your perception of time and ability to act, so that other people seem to be going in slow motion, is called "slow." Shiny armor that deflects lasers is called "reflec." Armor that ablates away the energy from a laser is called "ablat."

Long before Doom gave us the BFG-9000, Traveller gave us the "PGMP-12" and "FGMP-15," that is, "plasma gun, man-portable, available on planets with a tech level at least 12," and "fusion gun, man-portable, blah blah tech level 15."

Even the spaceship from the cover lettering was just called "Free Trader Beowulf," not "Star Trader Beowulf."

Old Traveller stuff, of which I still have piles and piles, had a powerful and unique minimalist aesthetic.

Should be sweet to see what's next.

Great Miniature Sculptor Passes On

I have never really been into roleplaying with miniatures, having started (back in the late 70s, when I was but a sprout) with Tunnels & Trolls, which was never intended to be played with miniatures.

But the're cool as hell aren't they?

And now one of the great miniature sculptors of the industry has passed on. Check out the tribute page.

Via Uncle Bear.