29 August 2016

So, What Books Have Influenced Your Campaign?

Seeing how Appendix N from the original Dungeons and Dragons seems to be a thing, and this particular review of A Spaceship for the King, kind of got me an idea of what books are going to influence how I run this particular set of adventures. In no particular order at this point, other than what comes to mind.

  • Space Cadet, Robert A. Heinlein. It's mostly a coming of age tale, but the how and why of "groundhogs" to "spacers" is a good idea for portraying the new recruit into the space service. Also, the various skill sets an officer must have, that don't involve anything to do with operating a space craft are covered. "I will eat pie with a fork," indeed.
  • Starman Jones, Robert A. Heinlein. A workman like coming of age tale, the idea of a farmboy getting off planet and into a controlled profession is an excellent idea. The Earth described in this, with hereditary professions and high technology, could be applied to a high law level world in Traveller.
  • Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein. It's the ur-example of powered armor. IMTU, this influences how Battle Dress operates.
  • The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy. The techno-thriller postdates Traveller by several years, but this one offers a well paced story, and includes a very important enlisted man.
  • Jerry Mitchell series, Larry Bond with Chris Carlson. A series of very accurate modern techno-thrillers about a submariner, covering his career, based on various tours of duty. It's a good way to get an idea for what a navy officer's career is like.
  • Technic History, Poul Anderson. Nicholas van Rijn and David Falkayn are what your everyday group of Travellers are, while Dominic Flandry is an example of the adventures that can be had for serving officers.
  • Casino Royale, Ian Flemming. A deftly written espionage story, with little of the gadgetry from the movies. Also, both sides can have the same goal for different purposes for one mission, yet remain adversaries.
  • On Basilisk Station, David Weber. The initial outing in the long running Honor Harrington series, this first book is a good stand alone. A junior officer is shuffled off after embarassing the high and mighty, and manages to do her duty, above and beyond what is required.
  • Horatio Hornblower series, C. S. Forester. This epic series is a classic of naval literature and adventure. It could be another campaign inspiration, or a possible NPC source. Both filmed adaptations, Gregory Peck and Ioan Griffud in the title role, are good enough.
  • Foundation, Isaac Asimov. Really just the initial book and it's story. Psychohistory, a Long Night, and preserving the ideas of civilization. Does Strephon have pyschoistorians advising him? How well does pyschohistory work in my Traveller universe? Doesn't matter at the level I'm playing at, but some of the ideas on how cultures change and adapt are important, as well as who takes over when the Empire recedes.
And a bonus movie:

  • The Sand Pebbles, directed by Robert Wise. In some ways, this is how I see a lot of Imperial Navy crews on the frontier. They can live the good life because of relatively high wages, and mistreat the locals. A few manage to break out of it, but most are content with their abuses. Junior officers are often finding themselves to make fateful decisions.
Questions, comments, and flames are nice, but venting spleen about the problems of the universe at me is not welcome.


  1. Be sure to check out the stories by H. Beam Piper. Start with Uller Uprising or Little Fuzzy (not the reimagining by John Scalzi