Better known as Traveller: The New Era, TNE was the last edition of Traveller to be published (1993-1995) by Game Designer`s Workshop (GDW) before they were forced to close shop due to financial difficulties. TNE integrated the ruleset into their house system, which included the Dark Conspiracy and Twilight: 2000 games, forwarded the timeline by 70 years and effectively destroyed the Imperial background that defined Traveller and MegaTraveller.

The storyline begins in the last years of the Rebellion (MegaTraveller), when Archduke Dulinor accidentally releases a not-yet-completed doomsday weapon that Emperor Lucan's scientist were working in. This weapon, a self-aware computer virus spread through the Third Imperium like wildfire, making almost all technology unuseable, and therefore wiping the slate clean. Only the former Domain of Deneb survived to become the Regency, because of their remote position by closing it's borders completely, and stopping/destroying any ships at the borders. Truly depressing for all those who loved the setting of old Traveller.

But "The New Era" is more than just adventuring in the corpse of the Shattered Third Imperium as many critics said at the time and still say. It's about rebirth and exploration and reclaiming civilization. Although the slate has been wiped clean, he technical foundations of the setting remain. But it has become darker, wilder. Apart from the Regency, there were other settings as well, first and foremost the Reformation Coalition, or Star Vikings, which is na league of worlds trying to gain access to lost technology and push back Virus. And there were various small Pocket Empires, small groups of worlds struggling for survival. And there are the Wilds the large area in between, where virus-infected starships still roam and threaten civilization.

All in all, TNE made for interesting gaming in a fascinating setting, but to me it just didn't feel right. It was not the Traveller of High Science Fiction anymore, moving ever onward. Another problem, caused by the bankrupcy of GDW, was that many of the secrets set up as part of the ongoing storyline were never solved. So the nature of the Empress Wave, the secrets of the Black Curtain, the mysterious movements of the Vampire Fleets and many many more will never be solved, especially since those in the know at GDW such als Loren Wiseman were sworn to secrecy.

But, as always, the last word has not been written. At this point Martin J. Dougherty of Quicklink Interactive, publishers of Traveller 20, is working on an official TNE sourcebook, which will finally answer those questions, and thus provide closure. The answers he will be given will be his answers, not necessarily the ones envisioned at GDW, but anything is better than nothing:


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