Traveller was the second game I actually owned. I loved the Doc Smith feel.
I have played in some great Traveller campaigns, all Classic Traveller rules, and I have run a few games. I have been working on a campaign off and on for 12 years. here is the outline.
- The Terran Confederation is so long collapsed no one in the sectors of space near the game setting is certain in which *direction* Man's homeworld may be found.
- No intelligent aliens, at all.
- 80% or so of inhabited worlds are 'stand alone' and have no interstellar government
- Interstellar trade is almost ubiquitous and mainly of three sorts
a- run by local planets out 1-3 parsecs
b- trade guilds and co-ops on runs between 3-8 worlds
c- independent freighters running either their own routes or wandering about
- General tech level for independent worlds is 7-9 with 9 a pretty hard ceiling and 7 a soft floor
- There are scattered interstellar nations of 2-7 inhabited worlds. Almost all are Tech 9
- Although most planets have a Dorsai universe median (meaning that while some worlds are heavy into farming, others into manufacturing, some into arts and soft science, etc. they all are still close enough to each other culturally for it to interfere with communications and trade) some worlds have gotten very strange.
-Players start in the Lanxing Comity, an alliance of 3 inhabited worlds all within Jump 1 of each other. The worlds have a mixed Chinese/Spanish heritage with a relatively strong class structure and their economy and culture based upon a Manorial system. The blending of Catholic religion and Confucian social ideas led to them weathering the long centuries the Cycles of Collapse with a strong social cohesion, positive outlook, and a commitment to charity and justice.
-Nearby is Marduk, a kingdom that has 7 inhabited worlds (in 5 systems) and close alliances with 3 more. In the dim past Marduk held a Confederation Navy Shipyard that was not destroyed in the Long War or the Cycles of Collapse. A series of computer systems that had been hidden away were rediscovered just a few centuries ago and have helped Marduk advance: allied planets are TL 8, all others but the throneworld are TL 9, and the throneworld is TL 10. Some elements of their navy are actually TL 12! Marduk's navy is small in number of hulls but pack a real punch.
-Throughout this region of space are the members of the Order of Our Lady the Queen of the Stars, called the Starmen because of their shoulder patches. They provide transport and protection to religious pilgrims and maintain communications with a number of worlds that do not have FTL.
Most of the Order are workers, pilots, techs, etc. About 10% of them (still a large number) are highly-trained soldiers. And the elite among them are the full Knights of the order; extremely well-trained commandos that use unique gravity weapons in the form of swords and shields, and have psionic powers.
-The Polity is a TL 9 interstellar government of 38 worlds. New leadership and economic pressures have made the Polity very aggressively expansionistic. They are looking for excuses to expand into surrounding space.
- The Lanxing Comity is smack dab between the Polity and Marduk.
One of these days, I'll run it!