What’s Traveller? An introduction to the sci-fi tabletop RPG that inspired Starfield

March 17, 2023
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From Baldur’s Gate 3’s revival of the legendary Dungeons & Dragons series to Warhammer’s fantasy football spin-off returning in Blood Bowl 3, 2023 looks to be a year defined by video games rooted in classic tabletop games both explicitly and more indirectly – and Bethesda’s sci-fi adventure Starfield will be no different.

Starfield creative director Todd Howard openly cited the influence of tabletop RPG Traveller on the hotly-anticipated release last October, saying that the upcoming video game is “hearkening back to those old roleplaying games that we loved”. There’s an especially personal connection for Howard too, as he recalled programming a Traveller game for the Apple II computer as one of his earliest coding projects.

When it comes to old roleplaying games, there are few older than Traveller. Released in 1977, only a few years after Dungeons & Dragons revolutionised tabletop roleplaying, the sci-fi RPG has evolved over no fewer than a dozen editions in the last 40-plus years, changing hands along the way from original creator Game Designers’ Workshop to current-day studio Mongoose Publishing.

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