Thursday 3 February 2022


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

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Okay, this is probably my last post on Classic Traveller for a bit. After the last two editorials covered my initial reaction and further thoughts on the game's crunchier elements, I think we all knew it was going to end with me kludging together a summary of how I'd run the game.

Now the boring answer is that I could just use bits of the book for worldbuilding and character creation, then use some ultralite system like Ask the Stars, 2400, or Any Planet is Earth. But as an experiment, I tried to trim things down as much as I could while maintaining a closer feel to the mechanics of the original. 

Of course I'm 40 years late to the party on this, and there will be much more thoroughly thought-out CT hacks floating around online, but here's mine. 

So here's the core, focused on the nitty gritty of personal combat. Anything not mentioned is carried out as noted in Classic Traveller.


Character Creation - Death as Disaster

When you would die during a term of service, Complete the term, but lose d6 from a random attribute (to a minimum of 1) and immediately muster out.


Roll 8+ on 2d6 to succeed.

Die Modifiers (DMs) are typically 1, or 3 in extreme cases.

Get positive DMs from:

  • Skills (each point grants +1)
  • High Stat (9 or more grants +1, C(12) or more +3)
  • Help from allies or situation (typically 1, 3 if major or multiple)
  • Weapon

Negative DMs from:

  • Lack of Skill if it's something specialist (1, or 3 if highly specialist)
  • Low Stat (5 or less grants-1, 2 or less -3)
  • Hindrance from situation (typically 1, 3 if major)
  • Shooting at Long (-1) or Very Long (-3) Range
  • Armour

Ignore basically anything else that grants DMs, rolling things like Cover into the situational DM of +/-1 in general or +/-3 in major cases. 


Entries are formatted as: Max Range, Damage, Universal DM (if any), Situational DM (if any). Universal and Situational DMs do not stack. 

Hands: S1D, +1 Close (i.e. Short max range, 1D damage, +1DM at Close range)

Beast: S2D, +1 Close

Dagger/Club: S2D, +1 Close

Sword: S2D, +1 Short

Polearm: S3D, -1 Close

Pistol: M2D, +1 Short

Shotgun: M4D, -3 Close

Rifle: V3D, -3 Close


Heavy:+1D, -1 to all attacks (this stacks with the weapon's DM)

Energy: +1D

Auto: Fire at a close group of 3 targets at -1. Consume more ammo.


Entries are formatted as: Universal DM, Specialist DM. These do not stack.

Mesh: -1, -3 vs melee (i.e. -1 Universal DM or -3 vs melee attacks)

Ballistic: -1, -3 vs non-energy guns

Reflec: -1, -3 vs energy weapons

Combat: -3


As you'd expect, this changes the effectiveness of certain weapons in certain situations compared to the original book, but it's a price I'm willing to pay to keep things more transparent and fast-moving. 



  1. I think you may have just invented Mongoose Traveller ;-)

    Thanks for posting about Traveller, and for your video on 2400. Really interesting to read your take on those.

    1. That was what I was going to say! You did a sort of reverse proof of their version of CT. That 2d6 roll 8+ for success mechanic is pretty great and very flexible in practice. One thing from that game (or at least what I interpreted when I ran it) was for certain tasks you could increase the bonuses to the roll by utilizing allied skills from multiple characters (I think you have a version of this above) - which can lead to some creative group problem solving.

  2. This seems like a very reasonable take. I've pretty much decided that if I run more Traveller-style sci fi in the future, I'm going to either apply Whitehack 3e to the Third Imperium, or just run with something ultra-lite like Primeval 2d6.
    Although Whitehack 3e is a fantasy game (and Suldokar's Wake is sci fi) it has elegant rules, like the rule for bases, which could be applied to ships, and the character generation system could sit really nicely with Traveller archetypes, including psionics.

  3. Some thoughts.

    1st: As a player of Traveller since 1979, I found this set of posts quite interesting and entertaining. I like the 2d6 1970 retro rules myself. Though for Cepheus Engine, they’re very similar in take to what you’ve posted. I quite like your shorter take on things.

    2nd: The ‘weapon cards’ that were posted about on Talestoastound make classic traveller combat a lot quicker & simpler to resolve. It just needs some up front work.

    3rd: Before the term FKR came into existence, I think Traveller inspired so many cut down ‘off the cuff’ versions for imprompu play that were very FKR-ish.