You probably won't see much activity here during the beta test. The tests have their own forums over at Mongoose Publishing and there is a lot of activity going on.
I though that I would put here a quick review of what it is we are testing and some first impressions about it and how its all going.
Mongoose, with input from Marc Miller, have produced a revised "Core Rule Book" for Traveller. This book very lightly includes some Third Imperium setting but only where something is needed to give a rule some context. The rules have been rationalised and reorganised and some attention has gone in to giving a game master a bit more of an idea about what to do.
The Traveller character generation system, where your character undergoes 4 year terms in some service, remains but is much tidier. There is a fluid set of careers including some higher education options and "just hanging around" options and even a "life in jail" option. Play groups are encouraged to generate characters together so their development stories become interconnected. Finally the original Traveller "you die during char gen" rule is modified so a bad survival role results in you leaving the career, possibly with injuries, or an enemy or reputation damage, but not death. The possible outcomes are tailored to the career.
Combat rules are sound and fast play, and skills get involved at quite a few contact points such as with initiative determination. The nuts and bolts are still in flux, for example there is some debate going on about the automatic weapon rules.
A nice area is coverage of all the health issues that can assault a character other than combat, including some good rules about radiation (after all those jump drive reactor leaks are a problem).
A good collection of ships with deck plans, and weapons including AFVs are given. Tech Levels now have a bearing on weapons and vehicles by increasing the capabilities of the different types. There is no "maker" rules in this core. Ship design for example is moved out to the High Guard supplement.
Space sector design is much simplified. Roll to place planets and generate them. Then decide where the major communication routes are and the trade routes. There is a nice section on trade and the relationship between planet types to guide this.
There is also effort to include different adventure themes, military, trade and exploration being primary without much mention of corporate intrigue or social upheaval themes. These are reserved for things like the Traveller Companion supplement that is going to have many alternate career types and support for many other things. Other supplements will include the Central Supply Catalog, The Vehicle Guide and of course the setting books that Mangoose have developed including the good old Third Imperium.
Post creation character development is slightly enhanced compared to original Traveller but still mostly revolves around year long periods of study.
All in all this is still good ol' Traveller but refreshed, tidied up and made more playable and manageable. The play testers are giving pretty excellent, if sometimes terse, input and the design team are reacting quickly and positively to pretty much everything that they are presented with.
- [+] Dice rolls
I have the latest updates including High Guard (Space ship game structures and makers), Common_Spacecraft_-_2D_Deck_Plans, the updated Central Supply Catalog and the Vehicle Handbook (everything from Rickshaws to Nuke Proof Anti Grav Tanks).
Generally all good. Lots of play tester input is in evidence. Still a lot of arguing back and forth about various mechanisms.
- [+] Dice rolls
- Hoping to start DMing a campaign in the new year based on exploration. However the beta rules don't have much support for this sort of thing. I have the old book 6 : scouts but also some ideas about how to refresh the whole universe building thing. This is not really part of the play test other than to note a hole in the design, which admittedly also existed in the original system.
- [+] Dice rolls