Play is a series of articles we have planned about major role-playing game systems and key aspects of role playing games. As a warm-up exercise, before we move on to tackle the biggest systems such as D&D, I have a written an article on Traveller, the first and best Sci-fi role-playing game.
The Traveller Universe is set in the far future where man has spread-out across massive interstellar distances with faster-than-light travel. As the name suggests, empires have risen and collapsed twice before, leaving some distant areas of the universe cut-off and technologically backward. In humanities expanse, it has met a handful of other intelligent races, most of which it has fought in long and bitter wars but humans have always remained the dominant species.
The universe also contains evidence of ‘Ancients’. A technological advanced race or races that flourished long before man evolved. What happened to them is unknown but occasionally, on remote planets, traces of Ancient civilization will be found.
Culturally the Third Imperium is like the Roman Empire. Governors appointed by the Emperor rule areas in his name. The Imperial fleet ensures that neither governors nor independent planets get ideas above their station. The empire has a long history and well established nobility along with a diverse mix of rich traders and ambitious men / women / small blue furry creatures. These elements combine to create a complex and vivid campaign setting.