Traveller Art


Traveller is an old science-fiction roleplaying game released soon after D&D, making it about my age... uh, I just called myself old (u._.). Initially it was more of a generic rule system without much in the way of illustrations, but over the years a vast fleshed outsetting was developed for it, and the lore now covers multiple time periods which means you'll have to pick a time period to play, weighing what bits you like or feel were a lore mistake. I much prefer to have a single well defined, trusty, immutable "Now" era myself.

An open gaming license Traveller System Reference Document (just the mechanics) was released at some point, resulting in offshoots like the Cepheus system.

Illustration-wise, there's some colour stuff in the newer Moongoose material. The Japanese localization of MegaTraveller メガトラベラー had some custom art but I'm not sure if there are some unique interior pieces as well. Some of the covers (e.g. トラベラー handbook) looks like they could've been done by Naoyuki Katoh but that's just a wild guess.

What follows here under is just some random Traveller fan art I've done.

Triplanetary was the first book (1934, Doc E.E.Smith) in the Lensman series. It was turned into a board game some time in the '70s. It features a round ship design, which also kinda appears in Traveller.

Elite was probably inspired by Traveller. It had hull sizes, trading, fuel scooping, Cmdr Jameson, and Frontier had the realistic trajectory physics. I wonder if some of the hull shapes were inspired by Traveller, but Elite ships were of course very polygonally constrained.

I also drew a Zhodani armour, with the insectoid Greedo helmet, ribbed/segmented torso, and side pauldrons. The Zhodani developed from selected human stock taken (by the Ancients) from Earth at some point in the very distant past. They're (generally) tall, swarthy in complexion and sometimes wear turbans, but any likeness to later Earth cultures would have to be a coincidence given that they were transplanted perhaps 300.000 years ago. Might not even look much like Terrans, but let's pretend there's some convergent evolution. Now, turbans are pretty common in many countries but it's possible the writer was referencing snake charmers since the Zhodani are ruled by nobles with great psionic powers (kinda like Asimov's Mule). They are very nice guys, totally friendly and very pleasant. All Zhodani are happy. One big happy family.

The Zhodani can be turned into something unique but the Sword Worlds space vikings don't work for me at all. They don't have an excuse to be culturally coherent or mimic vikings. Their whole lore instead reads like some wish-insert... heinlein hard-on shonk rather than fun creative writing or a logical consequence, and that kinda poops on immersion. There was some pulp sci-fi novel I read about space vikings, maybe that was partially the source. Anyways, would replace with generic space dwarfs. To make up for the Squats being wronged.

Scout ship. Using the Elite Viper shape rather than Star Destroyer wedge.

Aslan (Female). The Aslan may look like lions/cats but they are genuine aliens. The Vargr however are actual wolf people (engineered from wolves). The name Vargr feels like one reference too many. Wolves = Vargar in Swedish, and Aslan is the Narnia lion of course. Too blatant for my taste. I also think... either go full furry or just the incidental one. Either let them be a natural emergence in the universe, or let some ancients engineer them all. Two kinda similar designs (cat and dog) for different reasons feels strange. Unsure what I would replace Vargr with. One of the minor alien designs that I enjoy perhaps. Maybe there's an adjacent one which could sweep in... perhaps something similarly chaotic and weird, but clearly different. Something like Starflight's Spemin. Or the Hhkar. But sexy. Sexy lizards? Referencing V? They eat live animals. K'kree wouldn't like em.

Well, upon seeing the illustration of the Vargr in the grav car, I kinda like the idea of silly dogs in space. Palladium's Rifts have the Coalition dog boys which are more dog-like in shape (sometimes, depends on illustrator), and a design like that conflicts less with the erect humanoid Aslan. I wonder if the Vargr were taken from that story... was it the Arcot & Wade series?

Beowulf ship, random characters, Hhkar, and Aslan warrior (Male). And Space Dwarfs, Hhkar, and Vargr... I'd change that name since it kinda sounds like "Wolff" does to an English speaker. The Hhkar hatch as male but become large (upwards 250kg) and female later on (but can oscillate for a while). Older Hhkar (female I'm guessing) cull and tend to the young (like the Martian Tharks?). Perhaps the male form isn't far from the female, but more of a "mode". Anyways, this is why mine got big bazongas, in case you wonder. (What? Alien lizards can have bazongas!)

Traveller Communicator based on the one in the Grand Census supplement. Unsure what the second screen is. Maybe readable monochrome, for displaying settings and such. Or a persistent e-paper display? Slide-out top screen could be used for Augmented Reality HUD stuff as it's clear. The device is probably about the size of the original Game Boy. Nowadays we wouldn't design a clunky device like this, with specialized tactile knobs and stuff. But it might make sense in the field.

Vegan, Droyne, K'kree and G'naak. While the latter are extinct and not talked about, I thought it would be fun if they looked similar to their prey, the K'kree. The K'kree didn't much like being foodstock and that's why there are no more G'naak. Starflight featured a similar relationship with the Elowan and Thrynn. Starflight also had a Terrain Vehicle and randomly generated creatures.

Traveller Denaar - wonky little flea people or something. Terrible drivers, if one of the few available illustrations is any indicator. Traveller doesn't have any iconic armour like Space Marines or Storm Troopers, though the Zhodani one is quite recognisable. The MegaTraveller covers feature some decent armour designs, which I'm copying here. I might use this design as a common/standard base for armour.

Hivers seem like they might be a fun bunch. The Daryen/Darrian are possibly similar to elves. Low G worlds, so mine might be slightly too muscular and short but could be from a higher G world or just an athlete/warrior. Human offshoots.

Llellewyloly and Gonzan.

Suerrat & Geonee. Since the Ancients abducted and scattered humans some 300K years ago, it'd leave a lot of time for adaptation (the Ancients might have tampered with genes as well). I'm unsure how these isolated factions spent their time though. They seemingly didn't get tech twinked. Also, one of them could've shot ahead really far, technologically... but I suppose if that happened, they wouldn't be part of some shoddy imperium.

Perhaps the Geonee was intended as Dwarfs (tho they're 1.50m). But since I'm turning the Sword Worlders into dorfs, I instead made the Geonee blocky gray men. Durable Dullards? Suerrat sounds too much like Sewer Rat (could be a play on suricate, or just random gen), but if I give them a serrated mohawk, Serrat fits. Drawn fur is kinda serrated too. These humans are closer to apes in form than the other transplants. Mine look a bit Monkey-King-like perhaps.

Clotho, Drakaran, Evantha, Jgd-ll-jagd... *fake cough* *gets sucked into a necronomicon* Anyways, these are minor races from the GURPS aliens books. Not-trap-spiders... I made mine more bug-like as I didn't like the fleshy variant. One-eyed dinos in fancy chromatic armour. Low-g birds with flexible arm-legs. Gas-giant tentacled balloon.


Chasch, Dirdir, Pnume, DirDir, Wankh. The Space Gamer #40 features some rules for the inhabitants of Jack Vance's planet Tschai. Not canon in Traveller, but the novels likely influenced the world building. There's also a GURPS product for the setting.

Art by Arne Niklas Jansson