#21: End of an Era or Start of a New?
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2016 issue.
The Steve Jackson Games GURPS Traveller licence ended when 2015 did, and with that ending comes the feeling that an era is ending. For nearly two decades they’ve been responsible for some of the highest quality Traveller books ever published. Whatever some might feel about GURPS itself—which seems to raise strong feelings on both sides—there can be no doubt that their almost thirty books, six sets of deck plans and one referee’s screen have raised the bar in terms of quality. The production values, writing, content, and artwork have been second to none. In addition, the online version of The Journal of the Travellers’ Aid Society has been regularly published, first weekly then fortnightly, for 16 years and has included some 1200 articles and nigh on 450 editorials, by nearly 150 authors, since the first issue on 1st February 2000. That’s some record and only Freelance Traveller comes close to matching it with close to 1000 articles in 73 issues across 7 years. That JTAS has been managed by a single editor who happens to be one of the founding fathers of Traveller has made it even more special. I’m proud to have contributed a tiny part of that and I only wish I could have done more. (Apparently I make the top 15 list of authors by number of contributions.)
At the time of writing it’s not clear whether Marc Miller will licence another company in the same way, or whether it will fall to just Far Future Enterprises itself and Mongoose Publishing, ably supported by a host of third party publishers, to continue to carry the Traveller flame. The second edition of the Mongoose ruleset has been published in the week I write this so there is already a new look to investigate if not quite a new direction. Sources close to Marc suggest there may be plans afoot for something else new. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any news on that front.
I’ve also heard rumours that Marc may be going to release some or all of the great JTAS content in some other format. Book? PDF? CD-ROM? If so, it will be great to see all those terrific casual encounters, short adventures, world descriptions, Contacts! and so on reissued for a wider audience.
I can’t expect things to stay the same forever, so farewell to JTAS and the last formal outpost of GURPS Traveller. I’m sure others will join me in wishing editor Loren all the best for the future. Thank you for your labours across the years. Change comes to all things. But the one constant in the Traveller universe is the wealth of enthusiastic, and often volunteer, fans that continue to play and write for and support, and, yes, sometimes argue about, a role playing game that’s entering its fourth decade. I will try and use that to spur me to play and read and write more.