Getting Started With Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition On Fantasy Grounds

Game play recorded by Triple J Gaming

DM Greg here with an article on how to get started playing Mongoose Traveller 2e on Fantasy Grounds.

The first thing you may be asking yourself is what is Traveller 2e? Traveller is a tabletop science fiction RPG released in 1977 by Game Designer’s Workshop. The setting takes place in the Milky Way Galaxy during humanities Third Imperium. Faster than light travel has allowed the human race to travel among the stars colonizing, empire building, trading etc. There are alien species and playable races but for the most part the setting is pretty human centric.

Since its release Traveller has had a couple of different publishers. Marc Miller, the creator of Traveller holds the license under Far Future Enterprises and as it stands there are at least two licensed publisher that I am aware of; Steve Jackson Games’ GURPS Traveller and Mongoose Publishing’s Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition (MGT2). For this introduction I will be speaking directly to MGT2 as it the system that I play and is licensed on Fantasy Grounds.

To start playing on Fantasy Grounds you will need a game master, called the Referee, and a couple of players. I’d say 3 players minimum if operating a spacecraft and comfortably up to 6 to form a full crew. I play with a great group of online players at Triple J Gaming. If you don’t have a crew I’d recommend checking the Fantasy Grounds looking for group sub forum.

In the campaign that I am Refereeing we run a Trader style campaign where my players fly arounds with their ship trying to make money from trading system to system. I sprinkle in the published adventure content and weave in a story with their trade ambitions to form a story arc for my players to hopefully enjoy.

What to Start With

So what do I need to start play MGT2 on Fantasy Grounds? To start you will need:

Although not required the Central Supply Catalogue adds a TON of gear for your Travellers to use in game.

Additional Resources

Outside of the core rulebook and an adventure a Referee should have these web sources handy:

  • Traveller Map – This is a fan curated website that is a 2D map of the known galaxy. It is super useful for plotting jump routes.
  • Traveller Worlds – Another fan created website that does planet building for you.
  • Traveller Tools – A fan created website that generates trade, npc’s, and misc. planet information for your Travellers as they arrive in system.

Character Creation

If you haven’t heard character creation is absolutely legendary in Traveller. Our zero day character creation session was a little slow as it was all pretty new to us but the experience lived up to the hype. Here is the 5 hour session below if you are interested in watching:

Courtesy of Triple J Gaming

Final Thoughts

Fantasy Grounds is a great virtual tabletop with a lot of functionality/automation. When playing with their software along with the licensed Traveller products from their web store the game sessions are so much easier as you will require a lot less prep-time. If you are interested in learning the software I HIGHLY recommend taking a free class or two from the volunteers at the Fantasy Grounds College.

Feel free to leave any questions you may have down in the comments.

Cheers,

DM Greg

Fantasy Grounds: Leveled Up Part 1

A couple of years ago I purchased Fantasy Grounds Classic (formerly just Fantasy Grounds before the release of Fantasy Grounds Unity) on a summer Steam sale. I purchased the standard license with the ambition of recruiting some old gaming friends to join me in playing Dungeons and Dragons on this Virtual Tabletop (VTT) platform. That didn’t go as planned, but let me start with an overview of the software.

There are currently two versions of Fantasy Grounds released by SmiteWorks. The first now being rebranded as Fantasy Grounds Classic. It is the original version of the software with over a decade of development behind it’s belt. It is very stable and has licenses deals with over a dozen RPG systems, including Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.

There are 3 license ownership tiers for purchase from SmiteWorks; free, standard, and ultimate.

  • With a free license you can connect as a player to anyone with a standard (with limits) or ultimate license. You cannot host a session as a DM/GM.
  • With a standard license as a DM/GM you can can host 1 free licensed player but you cannot host any other player despite their license type. Or, you can host as many players as you wish with a standard license. As a player you can connect to anyone hosting as a DM/GM as long as they have a standard license.
  • With an ultimate license you can host as many free/standard license holders as you wish as a DM/GM. There is no limitation as a player as well when connecting to a standard or ultimate license hosted session.

The second and newer version of the VTT software is called Fantasy Grounds Unity. It contains the same game licensing deals as Fantasy Grounds Classic as well as the tiered ownership licensing features listed previously. Fantasy Grounds Unity is currently in “early access” funded by a robust Kickstarter campaign in 2019. The goal was to improve upon current features, introduce a “line of site” fog of war mechanic, ambient lighting/effects, and cloud hosted servers. For SmiteWorks, Fantasy Grounds Unity is the logical step forward for their software line in order to keep their aging platform competitive against newcomers such as Roll20 and Astral TableTop.

To date I have not used the Fantasy Grounds Unity software as I am waiting for the official full release. Initially there were a ton of bugs with Fantasy Grounds Unity in early access but that was the point. If you purchased the software at a current discount you were buying it with the understanding that your were essentially a test user that helped with the development process. (It wasn’t called “beta testing” because there was a price point.)

With the purchase of either Fantasy Grounds Classic or Unity you get all the tabletop tools you need but only receive System Reference Documents (SRD) for Dungeons and Dragons 5e (or any other system that has an open SRD in Fantasy Grounds). In order to have access to rules in the game such as the Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, a campaign book, etc. you MUST purchase the electronic supplements through SmiteWorks (or Steam if you enable account link). Owning the material in physical hardcover or digitally on DnD Beyond will not enable access in Fantasy Grounds. Purchased material in Fantasy Grounds is shareable among those at the hosted table, so only one person needs a copy. Smiteworks does not set the MSRP of the digital supplements that are available for purchase, the license holders do. Also, ownership of any material IS transferable between Fantasy Grounds Classic and Unity.

This does not stop you, however, from using Fantasy Grounds as a VTT in order to host a session to utilize the free SRD, player sheets, and dice tools available in the software to host a game as well as use theater of the mind, homebrew, or recreated/imported content into your sessions. Technically all officially licensed Wizards of the Coast content is optional if you just want to use the bare bones software as a supplemental tool to your games/campaigns.

I could probably write a few more paragraphs on the software but feel I will get too long winded (I probably already am). I recommend checking out the Fantasy Ground forums to help fill in the gaps or join the Fantasy Grounds Discord server to ask the community any question you have.

My next “Fantasy Grounds: Leveling Up” article will feature my initial experience, disappointments, and eureka moment that has at my computer playing on Fanatsy Grounds 2-3 times a week.

Cheers,

DM Greg