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Shannon Applecline’s history of the Traveller roleplaying game, This Is Free Trader Beowulf, is out in print and PDF from Mongoose Publishing. Delve behind the scenes of the highest highs and the lowest lows of the venerable science fiction RPG’s more than 45 years on the market. The 296 page hardcover (with PDF) carries an MSRP of $59.99 or grab just the PDF for $30.00 at DriveThruRPG.

About the book:

This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone … Mayday, Mayday. A box emblazoned with those words went on sale for the first time on July 22, 1977, at the Origins III Game Fair, heralding the advent of the Traveller roleplaying game from GDW. It wasn’t the first science-fiction roleplaying game, but through its innovative design and through the development of its evocative universe of Charted Space, it would become the longest running SFRPG in the industry.

However, its path would not be simple. After Traveller reached its early apogee just four years in, it would face decades of increasing problems, raising many questions. Why did GDW decided to shatter their Imperium? What led them to seek outside help to produce the second edition of the game? Why did they abandon the Traveller game system with their next revision? How could such a popular publisher face bankruptcy just two decades on? Similarly, what happened to Imperium Games, QuikLink Interactive, and others who followed in GDW’s footsteps as the inheritors of the Traveller legacy? And finally, how did Mongoose Publishing reach into the past and bring Traveller back to its position as the industry’s best-loved SFRPG?

This volume answers those questions and more. It tracks Traveller from its inspirations in the early ’70s, though its initial publication, and across seven distinct editions of its original 2d6 gaming system. It reveals the stories of Traveller’s three major publishers; GDW, Imperium Games, and Mongoose, as well many licensees. Most importantly, it tells how Traveller fell into increasing darkness before descending into a Long Night, and how it rose again as a phoenix.

From the author of Designers & Dragons, which told the story of the entire roleplaying industry, comes the intimate history of a single roleplaying game, culled from hundreds of primary sources and interviews.

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