Saturday, September 1, 2012

Worlds Apart - Traveller Based RPG From Expeditious Retreat Press (Free and Pay Versions)

Joe Browning has released Worlds Apart, a Traveller "Powered" RPG. Unlike many of the games using the OGL, which are D20 based, Joe went with OGL Traveller to build his latest game's engine.

At it's simplest, its a fantasy themed pirate RPG setting, with Dwarves and Elves (no halflings or gnomes - the shame). Well, actually not pirating, but I could see privateering happening in the setting.

AS far as I know, this is the first game that isn't Traveller using the Traveller game engine, including careers and tours (and possible death) during character generation. For this reason alone I want to give it a try.

I'm working my way through the paid with art version of Worlds Apart, and I like what I see so far. I need to see how well he's integrated magic spells ("Talents") into the Traveller engine. I'm very intrigued. I'll review it when I'm through the rules, but I wanted to bring it to your attention, especially with the free version of the Worlds Apart rules being released (and practically the whole art free package being released to the OGL) alongside the paid.

From the blurb:

Four islands composed the sultry chain, floating upon a bright blue sea under a tropical sun, each island gradually decreasing size as the eye passed from north to south. They were mountainous, etched with deep valleys, and covered with lush foliage. Greysolt surveyed the chain as best he could with his spyglass, taking the longest time upon the southernmost island, covered in a hazy steam of warm clouds. The crew of The Dromedary remained silent as the Captain surveyed what no other voyagers had ever seen. Each held different thoughts in the silence: thoughts of receptive natives, thoughts of fresh water and fresh fruit, thoughts of spices unknown to the civilized world, thoughts of slaughter and pillage.

The crew was a motley sort, a dozen or so hardened men and women in their late 30’s. Each had another life behind them; some, several different lives. They were unreliable in the mainstay, but rock-solid in a clutch. They bickered and feuded as they worked, helping each other make The Dromedary move, breath, and live. Their ship was not just a thing of wood and artifice, it was a collection of elemental powers: it was a voyager ship.

Greysolt declared the all clear indicating an isolated cove to drop anchor, and the crew jumped into action. Several went into the hull to tend to the elementals bound within eldritch machinery, but most headed towards their cabins, gathering various equipment for the coming landing. The cove beckoned, the unknown called.

The Dromedary calmly pulled into the bay and slowed to drop anchor. Two dinghies plopped into the water, and their crew descended into the rocking ships. Crossbows ready, the small craft rowed to the black sand shores. Behind the shores a seemingly impenetrable wall of vegetation dazzled in a multi-colored display. Now, to heed the call…

Welcome, traveler, to Worlds Apart! Brave the Forever Sea in a fantasy game of trade and exploration. Take the role of soldier or sailor, entertainer or scholar, dweomercraefter or drifter. A thousand thousand islands populate the world and riches, adventure, and danger lurks upon every shore!


  1. Mongoose put out a couple of games using their Traveller rules, as I recall. They did a version of Judge Dredd using them, and at least one other; I'd like to say it was Strontium Dog but I'm not sure.

  2. It's an interesting approach. In some ways I can see the Traveller combat system working better for this than it does for Traveller.

    For some reason this combo makes me think they should have metal ships, though. :) Not so odd, really, any number of sailing vessels were made of iron in the 1800's.

  3. Thanks for the mention!

    @ScrivenerB: there are metal ships, but they're of a high enough tech level that most ships are still wooden.

  4. I've always loved the Traveller character generation system, and would love to see a fantasy game that generates experienced (capable) adventurers using these rules. In fact, that was to be (still is?) the subject of my next post.

  5. I believe Mongoose also wrote up Hammer's Slammers under the Traveller rules, though they didn't have to change all that much. There have also been a number of attempts at using the Traveller core for fantasy; I got through writing up careers and magic, but never got around to worldbuilding, treasure, trade, starting equipment, or playtesting.


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