I’ve been prepping for actually getting in to the meat of this blog and start talking games, but little things keep coming up on which I feel compelled to speak.

I also intended to present a little of my take on GenCon before it gets too stale for people, but that’ll all come in time. 🙂 What’s bothering me now is reimmersing myself in the hobby.

In the 90’s I was quite in tune with the hobby. I knew most any move my favorite companies made often as they made it. Of course, then the life of a parent with a very active kid happened as well as a stressful series of jobs and BOOM! No more easy tracking of the gaming industry. I also had a spouse who was none to pleased with the “hobby” as it were and well these combine into the tragedy that is getting unplugged from your meth (er..I mean RPG) addiction.

As I return to empty rooms that used to be bustling offices, I’m finding that a lot can happen in a few years. Take Traveller: The New Era, for example. I’ll certainly speak on this game system at a later date in greater detail. Traveller: TNE was one of GDW’s last (and most divisive) game systems. Game Designer’s Workshop sought, mostly through the hard work of one man, to redesign the venerable Traveller universe and turn it on its ear. A staid, static Imperium was replaced first with a Rebellion and a splintering of the Imperium into many factions (MegaTraveller) and then an apocalyptic throwback  that wiped out most life in known space and left the rest of it regressed technologically to an extreme.

Now this didn’t sit well with many Trav fans who liked their static Imperium and even less with people who’d come to like the Rebellion Era. So we TNE’ers were a particular subset of Traveller fandom. Me, I liked all the eras, but TNE was pretty cool.

After GDW folded, Trav lingered for a long time and those of us TNE fans formed up on one of the old list-serv’s of the mid-90’s, the tne-rces list. An intrepid pioneer, followed shortly by the rest of us schlubs started the definitive online resource for TNE, the BARD pages (now found at DOWNPORT).

Everyone from authors like MJ Dougherty to absoulte visionaries like Chris Griffen were there and coming up with a whole slew of ideas to keep the universe we loved alive. Your own not-so-humble author also contributed a bit to the fray. Then…nothing.

Well, not nothing. Trav did rise from the ashes,  but it now only existed in a classic form, courtesy of one of its prinicple authors, Marc Miller, and through GURPS under the primary direction of Loren Wiseman. Neither of these sources acknowledged that the TNE canon ever happened in their new material. They would talk about it a little, but it sort of felt like a “Bobby in the Shower” Dallas do-over (points if you even know what the hell Dallas was).

We heard from varying sources that there was a desire to get new material into print, but not the means. So, we just contented ourselves with our little online resources and let the game rest…at least I did (for reasons mentioned above). I sort of felt orphaned.

Here I find almost ten years after some made plans, some made promises and some even threatened, that one of those guys actually got something published. MJ Dougherty, a first class gamer in the British Isles managed to parlay his prior relationship with GDW into work for GURPS Trav and also some original material for TNE. His license only lasted two years, though and at the end of that two years he couldn’t even sell what he’d created. Guess when I found out about this. You guessed it, after the license expired.

Damn the luck, but I was surprisingly able to find Mr. Dougherty and confirm that all is not lost and that through current channels and negotiations with the Trav designers, there may yet be hope that we could see the material again someday (and maybe even other stuff?). A man can dream can’t he? The current run of Traveller is through Mongoose, who puts out some very high quality books (Their Babylon 5 and Conan lines grace my stacks). Maybe they’ll think of something. I suppose if the original sci-fi RPG has to be anywhere, it should be with them.

So, the point to this long ramble is, you never know what you might miss if you step away from the computer too long. And I did, and I missed the big news. I think we’ll just say “NEVER AGAIN!” See ya.