Monday, June 22, 2015

Special Supplement Four - The Lost Rules

I recently finished some paid online writing work, not Traveller related, and decided to treat myself with my earnings to this curious little volume I saw for sale at DriveThruRPG. The back cover text says in part “This . . . examines various lost rules tucked away and forgotten in various Traveller sources”. This intrigued me, and as it was reasonably priced (the writing gig didn't pay that well) I picked it up.
The clean, simple look of the LBBs never gets old.

What Did I Get?
A 28-page booklet, detailing the additions, edits and deletions over the 1977 & 1981 LBBs, the Starter edition, the Traveller Book (TTB) and a few bits from other canon sources. Over the years I've collected the '81 LBBs, Starter rules and TTB.

What's In it?
All of the major sections of the LBBs/TTB get some treatment:
  • Characters
  • Combat (many, many rules here)
  • Travelling
  • Starships (many here also)
  • Computers
  • Space Combat
  • Programming
  • Experience
  • Worlds
  • Encounters
  • Animals
Some rules are clarified, some are mentioned as being dropped as of (x) edition, and differences between editions are explained.
Curiously, the Psionics rules are not mentioned. It seems that this is one section that remained the same through all the incarnations of the CT rules.

What was the best part?
There is one thing that's puzzled me ever since I first opened the Starter Set rules back in 1983. Why was there a skill for Forward Observer, but nothing anywhere else in the rules about artillery? Well, now I know. There was a paragraph about Orbital Defense Fire in the Worlds section, that mentions spotters on the ground to direct fire against ground-based weapons. Not much of a description, but enough to make that skill make sense.

I am also glad that the Jump Routes rules from LBB 3 were included. This table randomly assigned established trade routes in the subsector. Worlds on the routes are the main worlds, the ones served by the large merchant lines. The rest of them are the backwaters, the natural domain of the Free Trader and the adventurer. Maybe I will work up some modifications to the passenger, freight and trade tables to reflect the presence or absence of trade routes.

What was the worst part?
That very few of the rules were new to me. I've found lots of rules & rulings spread throughout the CT supplements and adventures. My hope was that this booklet would have more material that I wasn't already familiar with. In some cases, I could not tell whether the '77 or the '81 rule or table entry was the 'correct' or 'official' version.

Was it worth getting?
Maybe. If I had only one copy of the Classic Traveller rules, I might have found this more useful. As it is, it was worth what I paid for it, in terms of completeness of my collection. Otherwise, if you are happy with whatever version of the rules you've got, this Special Supplement will not add very much to your game.


  1. As the editor (I can't be considered the author, I didn't create the material), the idea behind the book was not to select an 'official' version, but to put in the hands of the buyer the set of rules that appeared in '77/'81/TTB/ST that wasn't in the specific edition the buyer had originally.

  2. I've found this a nice document, however, I didn't have to pay extra for it since it's included on the Classic Traveller CD-ROM. That CD-ROM is well worth the price since it has every single GDW Classic Traveller rule book and supplement.

  3. Classic Traveller is a wonderful thing.