The story goes that Warren Buffet, billionaire investor, gave his personal pilot some advice: Make a list of your top 25 goals, and circle the top five. Where this story diverges from what you might expect is the followup statement that “everything you didn’t circle just became your Avoid-At-All-Costs List”; whatever happens, those 20 items get no attention until the top five are finished. They are distractions; tempting distractions, but distractions nonetheless.
When I tried this at home, it quickly became apparent that although most of my free time and effort goes into gaming, that is not where most of my priority goals are. (There’s also the undeniable fact that I’m not 25 any more, and it’s getting harder to run or even play multiple games in parallel.)
So, I’ve decided to limit myself to one set of rules, running no more than two campaigns at a time (reducing to one within the next two years), and running at most one session per week. Henceforth, all gaming activity and purchases must serve those decisions. (As you’ll see, those campaigns are the Dracula Dossier and the Trojan Reach – I hesitate to call it the Pirates of Drinax now since the PCs have gone off-piste.)
This means one of the regular groups needs to go, and for various reasons I reluctantly decided to drop Team Harrier; but they have started their own Mongoose Traveller campaign on the side now, so they will still get their Traveller fix, thus assuaging my guilt.
Is Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition a good game? Yes, absolutely; in my opinion, the best version of Traveller since the original classic edition of 1977, and I like that A LOT. Is it good enough for me to discard Savage Worlds? Not for the kind of games I want to run these days, no.
Firstly, there’s a thematic difference. Traveller is space noir; characters are ordinary people who get caught up in adventures and intrigues almost by accident, and have no mechanical advantage over NPC mooks. Savage Worlds characters are pulp heroes who get drawn into action-adventure movies and gun down mooks by the dozen. At my table, we prefer the latter.
Secondly, we’ve spent years learning Savage Worlds, and there’s no real advantage in switching to another system, so no real reason to change. I can’t see anything in Traveller that I couldn’t do in Savage Worlds faster and with less record-keeping; YMMV of course.
I will continue to use the starships and worlds from Traveller, as I like them better than the Savage Worlds equivalents – this is probably just because I’ve been using them all my adult life and I’m more comfortable with them. If you remember the Little Black Books, essentially I have replaced Book 1 with the Savage Worlds core rulebook.