In Designers & Dragons: The ’90s, Shannon Appelcline recounts the story behind T4. After Traveller‘s original publisher, GDW, shut down in January 1996, rights to Traveller reverted to designer Marc W. Miller. Marc licensed the game to Imperium Games, the fourth of 21 short-lived companies started by longtime industry inhabitant Ken Whitman. Financed by Courtney Solomon‘s company Sweetpea Entertainment, Whitman lured GDW staffers Lester Smith and Timothy Brown, along with other Traveller stalwarts, to prepare a new edition.
GDW’s MegaTraveller and Traveller: The New Era had transformed the rules and destroyed the Third Imperium interstellar empire, but the new edition, it was said, would restore the spirit of Classic Traveller and explore the Imperium’s earliest days, “Milieu 0.” In the event, the Traveller4 rulebook, written by diverse hands in just four months, proved a mess: sloppy editing, indifferent artwork and layout, and rules systems that each worked well enough on their own but combined oddly. For instance: (1) Traveller4‘s character generation system and skill list are perhaps the best in the game’s long history; (2) the combat system (once you incorporate its extensive errata) works smoothly, with fine-grained difficulty ratings and a simple penetration-damage scheme adapted from Striker and MegaTraveller; but (3) the characters you made in (1) can easily achieve skill ratings that steamroll any difficulties they meet in (2).
Though Traveller4 never found a large following, it still has fans. Its setting, the young Third Imperium spreading from Core Sector to recover thousands of lost worlds is unique in Traveller‘s long history. Despite their poor editing, which spawned 30 pages of consolidated errata, the T4 books present many good ideas and system-neutral setting descriptions that work well with any Traveller milieu. This all-new collection presents the T4 rulebook and the best supplements and adventures — everything you need to venture out in your scout ship (or your battle squadron) to recontact the Pocket Empires lost in the Long Night. And yes, we include the errata.
These .PDFs are decent image scans of the original 1990s hardcopies. Text is always clear and usually copiable, though a few books have background graphics that interfered with the OCR (optical character recognition). Illustrations are generally dark and muddy.
Ten percent of your payment (after gateway fees) goes to this offer’s designated charity, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.