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Step Into the Traveller Universe with Fate of the Kinunir

Saturday, August 17th, 2013 | Posted by John ONeill

Fate of the KinunirbyIf, like me, you have fond memories of mustering out after a few tours of duty and becoming a ship captain plying the Spinward Marches, guided only by a trio of slim black volumes with the Traveller logo, then you’ll be very pleased to hear that there’s a line of promising tie-in novels headed your way.

The first one, Robert E. Vardeman’s Fate of the Kinunir, was published in multiple e-book formats on August 1. Vardeman is the author of the Cenotaph Road series, as well as the Swords of Raemllyn books and the Demon Crown Trilogy, among many others.

The books are being packaged by Athans & Associates Creative Consulting, under license from Marc Miller’s Far Future Enterprises, who have overseen the Traveller product line for the last decade or so — including the superb First Edition reprints, and the entire 5th Edition line.

Personally, I’m very pleased to see some fiction set in the Traveller universe. I was never a very serious Traveller player; but for that brief period I did play, I had a great deal of fun running my little merchant ship between outlying systems, selling whatever I could find to trade. Traveller was the only role playing game I knew that had a complete little economic mini-game buried in its trading charts, and for years after we played, I still daydreamed about being a merchant in the stars.

According to Athans & Associates, Fate of the Kinunir will be followed by a new book every month for the next year, including novels by Tim Waggoner, Erik Scott de Bie, Martin J. Dougherty, Darrin Drader, and others. The fiction line will be managed by Philip Athans, the founding partner of Athans & Associates, who was the senior managing editor at Wizards of the Coast, overseeing the novel lines for the Dungeons & Dragons settings Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, and many others.

Fate of the Kinunir was published by Far Future Enterprises on August 1st. It is 212 pages, priced at $5.99 for the Kindle edition.

[Thanks to John DeNardo at SF Signal for the tip].

24 Comments »

  1. Double bonus credit for keeping the classic layout for the cover.

    Comment by Joe H. - August 18, 2013 12:28 am

  2. Wow I feel like this came out of nowhere. Traveller has always intrigued me but I’ve never had a chance to play a game of it. That’s a pretty good list of authors there. Phil Athans, Tim Waggoner, and Erik Scott de Bie all have some pretty good novels out there already.

    I ll be keeping an eye out for these.

    Comment by Glenn - August 18, 2013 7:05 am

  3. Are all of these going to be ebooks? Or will we see some print material.

    Comment by Glenn - August 18, 2013 7:10 am

  4. What would be those “three slim black volumes”? A collegue gave me two german traveler rulebooks(labeled Traveler I and Traveller II: mercenaries and merchant princes) from the early 80s as a present but i wouldn’t describe those as slim at 160 and 190 pages.

    Comment by Oliver.Klages - August 18, 2013 7:29 am

  5. Props to a game that kills you during character gen.

    Comment by eeknight - August 18, 2013 8:18 am

  6. The “three slim black volumes” would have been the English language first edition. Traveller was first published as a small box containing three slim digest-sized (5.5″ x 8.5″ or thereabouts) rulebooks, a format they stuck with for the next several years before shifting over to full-sized volumes.

    http://www.waynesbooks.com/CTLittleBlackBooks.html

    Comment by Joe H. - August 18, 2013 9:28 am

  7. > Double bonus credit for keeping the classic layout for the cover.

    Joe,

    Indeed! That design is so distinctive, and it immediately brought back great memories for me.

    Comment by John ONeill - August 18, 2013 11:42 am

  8. > That’s a pretty good list of authors there. Phil Athans, Tim Waggoner, and Erik Scott de Bie all have some pretty good novels out there already.

    Glenn,

    Yup. I think this is going to be a fun line up. The price is right too — just $5.99 each.

    Comment by John ONeill - August 18, 2013 11:43 am

  9. > Are all of these going to be ebooks? Or will we see some print material.

    Glenn,

    Print only for now. I shot a note to Philip Athans this morning; if he shares any additional info I’ll let you know.

    Comment by John ONeill - August 18, 2013 11:44 am

  10. > What would be those “three slim black volumes”?

    Oliver,

    What Joe said. The first edition of Traveller mimicked the packaging for original D&D, with three slim volumes in a small box. They all had black covers with a red line and minimal text, a very distinctive look.

    Comment by John ONeill - August 18, 2013 11:50 am

  11. > Props to a game that kills you during character gen.

    Eric,

    Holy cats, I forgot all about that!

    Yeah, the temptation was always there to do another tour of duty with your blockbuster character, stay in the military long enough to acquire more skills and connections — the equivalent of bumping up your stats in D&D and other games — before you “mustered out” and finished generating your character. However, since there was a very real chance of death during each tour of military service, that option came with real risk!

    I still remember the fun I had with my friends, just generating Traveller characters in the trailer in my back yard in Ottawa. Character generation was practically a complete game in itself.

    Comment by John ONeill - August 18, 2013 11:54 am

  12. I played only one game of Traveller, way back in the day.
    The gamemaster led a handful of friends and myself through the opening phases of the Judge’s Guild module Drakn’e Station.
    I will never forget it, and have no idea why we never played again.

    John H

    Comment by John Hocking - August 18, 2013 12:17 pm

  13. One of my all-time favorite classic metal bands, SLOUGH FEG, dig a concept album called Traveler as well. It’s suitably awesome.

    http://www.metalblade.com/us/releases/the-lord-weird-slough-feg-traveller/

    Comment by chrislatray - August 18, 2013 1:18 pm

  14. I should also point out that Erol Otus did the album art on a couple of Slough Feg’s records as well. Heh.

    Comment by chrislatray - August 18, 2013 1:20 pm

  15. I never did a lot of actual playing (story of my life) but I spent hours and hours making ships using the High Guard rules.

    Comment by Joe H. - August 18, 2013 1:35 pm

  16. I m five chapter in today. It’s good so far, but I think it hurts that I have almost no knowledge of traveller. I have the T4 core rulebook. I need to dig it out and look up some stuff.

    Comment by Glenn - August 18, 2013 6:16 pm

  17. John,

    > The gamemaster led a handful of friends and myself through the opening phases of the Judge’s Guild module Drakn’e Station.
    > I will never forget it, and have no idea why we never played again.

    I always wondered about those Judge’s Guild TRAVELLER modules… the production values seemed even lower than usual (and for JG, that’s saying something), and they just had no visual appeal to me.

    I know that’s a terrible way to judge though, so I was always on the hunt for someone who could share the experience.

    I take it you give it a thumbs up?

    Comment by John ONeill - August 19, 2013 2:17 pm

  18. > One of my all-time favorite classic metal bands, SLOUGH FEG, dig a concept album called Traveler as well. It’s suitably awesome.

    Chris,

    Holy cow! I never knew this existed.

    I first discovered SLOUGH FEG through the videogame BRUTAL LEGEND, believe it or not. My sons played the game together, and when they finished it they’d leave it on so they could browse the music catalog.

    Weird to think my sons have a much deeper appreciation of 80s metal bands than I do, but there you go.

    Comment by John ONeill - August 19, 2013 2:22 pm

  19. > I should also point out that Erol Otus did the album art on a couple of Slough Feg’s records as well. Heh.

    I probably should be surprised… but for some reason I’m not.

    This weekend I was in my Cave of Wonders, moving boxes around, and I discovered a cache of old DRAGON magazines from the late 70s (issues 26 through 31, I think). They published the results of an art contest in one… and there was a (very!) early sketch by one Erol Otus (in third place, no less.) Ah, history.

    Comment by John ONeill - August 19, 2013 2:27 pm

  20. > I never did a lot of actual playing (story of my life) but I spent hours and hours making ships using the High Guard rules.

    Joe — that story’s probably not as unusual as you think. I’m pretty sure I spent nearly as much time generating Traveller characters as I spent playing!

    Did you ever try AZHANTI HIGH LIGHTNING? Boy, did I ever want a copy of that game. Over a dozen huge deck plans for a giant starship, all in full color! Ah, what a treasure. Never did track it down.

    Comment by John ONeill - August 19, 2013 2:35 pm

  21. > I m five chapter in today. It’s good so far, but I think it hurts that I have almost no knowledge of traveller.
    > I have the T4 core rulebook. I need to dig it out and look up some stuff.

    Thanks Glenn!

    Hmmm… that’s a little disappointing. Most science fiction novels don’t require you to do homework before you can enjoy them. I hope that’s not representative of the entire line.

    Comment by John ONeill - August 19, 2013 2:37 pm

  22. John — Never had AHL (it was just too expensive back when I was in high school) but a friend did, so I did get to drool over the deck plans and the supplement. Occasionally I look for copies online (or alternately, copies of Snapshot, the predecessor to AHL) but haven’t been willing or able to spend the money on those rare occasions when I do see something listed.

    And I had pretty much a complete collection of the Traveller LBBs once upon a time. Before the water came into the basement in the summer of 1993. Sigh. I did get the big reprints from FFE, but they’re not quite the same.

    Comment by Joe H. - August 19, 2013 3:26 pm

  23. > Never had AHL (it was just too expensive back when I was in high school)

    I know what you mean. It never got any cheaper, either!

    > I did get the big reprints from FFE, but they’re not quite the same.

    Sadly, no. The FFE reprints are a marvel, and I’m really glad I have them. But the game isn’t exactly playable, with everything shrunk down and bound into a big book.

    Comment by John ONeill - August 21, 2013 11:09 am

  24. I will end up with AZHANTI HIGH LIGHTNING some day, even if it is just to get the Supplement 5 Little Black Book. The Judges Guild Traveller booklets are really low production values but some of them have decent content. The new e-books triggered my Ebay purchase this week of Issues 2 through 10 of Journal of the Travellers’ Aid Society. I’m gradually filling out my classic Traveller collection explaining to my wife that I will eventually get around to playing again. She is usually sighing and shaking her head at that point.

    Rich

    Comment by sfdespatch - September 10, 2013 7:12 am


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