Friday, July 15, 2022

Classic Traveller: Harsh Beginnings

Image (c) MaksTRV

I wanted for some time to create a side "pet project" free/Fair Use setting using 3-book Classic Traveller. I wanted something strictly non-OTU, so this means writing something which is not Dark Nebula.

I have tried consolidating concepts for my Post-Imperial setting. Still no clear line of thought, only various ideas. Instead, I will focus on my near future/near Earth setting. Hardcore Classic Traveller at TL9, with the only deviation from the rules being using custom world generation based on colonization wave.

This should have a very different tone from my older Hard Space setting concept. Neither "true" hard science, nor chrome-focused cyberpunk. Instead, it will detail a harsh future inspired by the near-future sci-fi novels and other media I consumed in the 1990's, which was mostly from the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's.

Niven's Known Space tales set prior to Kzin contact; Arthur C. Clarke's stories; Roadside Picnic; Alien(s); Outland. This will be somewhat less industrial and less hard sci-fi than Zozer's HOSTILE, though.

Ground Rules

  • 3-book CT at strict TL9. Including gravitics; Jump-2 ships limited to 400 dtons, Jump-1 to 800 dtons; most weapons other than lasers are recognizable to early 21st century people; no Reflec (it's TL10).
  • Resist my strong cyberpunk urges. There are megacorps, who even dominate the stars, but there is less focus on technology and tech-related social alienation, or on nihilist rebellion. This is Alien, not Cyberpunk 2077 or even System Shock.
  • Science feels "hard" but isn't necessarily "hard". "Black box" alien artifacts permit gravitics, even grav vehicles. Flying cars! Expensive but possible. Adventure may take precedence over realism, as is customary in CT. 
  • No big interstellar wars. Most, or all, armed conflicts are local and small-scale. This arises from the colonies being very lightly populated and starships being small, but also from the general feel of such setting. An interesting change of pace from my TSAO/Terra Arisen milieux. It also makes small PC mercenary forces relevant.
  • No living aliens. At all. Only dead ones - the Antediluvians, who were wiped out by a hypothetical event dubbed the Deluge, and left behind incomprehensible ruins and artifacts. Again, a major change of pace from TSAO/Terra Arisen.
Some ideas from my older Hard Space setting concept would serve here, but the tone is different: unlike Hard Space, CT: Harsh Beginnings is neither cyberpunk nor strictly hard-science.

Maps coming soon.


  1. Sounds fascinating, just like all your previous work. Can't wait to read more as you bring this new setting in sharper focus - especially the customized sysgen.

  2. Liking this - looking forward to it! Rather accords with a lot of my own thinking on my preferred Traveller milieu :)

    1. That was me, Toxicpixie. For some reason almighty google doesn’t want me to log in…

  3. I've always like lower TL settings. Sounds like it will be fun.

  4. I look forward to what you create! I take it that you'll be using your Near Stars maps?
    Are you familiar with Zozer's Outworld Authority? It has some similarities but with higher tech:

    1. I am, of course, familiar with it, though Outworld Authority is higher TL than this setting.

      And yes, I will use a Near Space derivative map similar to the one used in my old Hard Space setting concept.