Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Play GURPS Traveller with 4th Edition

I’ve always thought it strange that Interstellar Wars was released without any weapons stats.  The suggestion of just using the standard stuff in the 4th edition core books always seemed pretty lame to me.  While the lack of any equipment in the new GURPS Space has now been fixed with the release of GURPS Ultra-Tech, GURPS Traveller still remains without any sort of conversion document to 4th Edition.  This leaves some GT fans feeling somewhat abandoned by SJG.

While GT Demigod Loren Wiseman has recently scoffed at a COTI Poll indicating that a significant portion of fans desired a return to a Classic Traveller or MegaTraveller style rulesets, it ought to be noted that his own line of PDFs are indeed dual statted for those legacy systems.  Nevertheless Loren states he is indeed negotiating several new GT products slated to come out on e23 even as we speak, so hopefully the line is firmly in the “not dead yet” department.

A gaming guru known only as “GamerGirl” on the Steve Jackson boards has done the necessary crunching to translate the weapons on armor of GURPS Traveller into the 4th edition rules.  Her tips can help frustrated GM’s make the best of this irritating situation.  She has kindly given me permission to repost her findings here: 


Well, actually, if you already have 4e, you can still implement the Traveller equipment list as presented on GT2e114-115 and the armor on the preceding page with just a few minor changes. If someone had told me what I’m about to tell you, I never would have had to switch over to G3e, but now that I understand both systems, I know what the main differences are:

1. Calculate Dodge as simply HT+DX/4, like Basic Speed, and drop the frak; that is to say, Dodge is pretty much equal to Move. The Passive Defense of any worn armor (abbreviated PD) is added to dodge or sometimes other defense rolls.

2. You can use the Accuracy as given. Holdout (Hld) is mostly applied to ‘to hit’ rolls with that gun in close combat. You might also occasionally use it to modify a concealment roll when trying to sneak past Starport customs agents, etc.

3. If the attacker’s adjusted (usually, the main modifier is for range, but there are other conditional modifiers on the Ref’s screen and in the Basic Set, but these are pretty much the same as they are in G4e) “to hit” roll is less than the SS number of the weapon, apply an additional -4 to the roll for unaimed shots- if your players crank their Gun skills up the way mine do, you usually don’t have to worry about this rule.

4. This little difference was the source of most of my headaches. For RoFs over 20 (you will experience this problem most acutely when your PCs try to use the Gauss Rifle) don’t use the normal 4e or even the 3e autofire rules. Either a) if a hit is scored on a target with a weapon of RoF 20+, and the target fails its active defense roll, simply rule that target dead, no arguments; if the target succeeds its dodge roll, he dodged the whole burst (your players will whine and gripe about this if you choose to do it this way when they are the ones attacking with the RoF 20+ weapon, I promise you!!!) or b) cut the Gauss Rifle’s RoF to 15, or something equally manageable, or c) PM me and I’ll give you the table for RoF’s of 20+ from GURPS Vehicles.


3 responses to “Play GURPS Traveller with 4th Edition

  1. Karl Gallagher March 8, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    I can see this as a problem for star merc games, but I’ve been running free trader games with pistols and rifles, one model of each. I have a long list of higher-tech gear in Basic but just haven’t needed to pull them out. What kind of games are you guys running that you need the whole arsenal?

  2. jeffro March 8, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve mostly just wanted 4e versions of the original Book 1 equipment. The flavour of the original weapons and armor are what I’m after. My campaign is set in the Bowman Arm region that’s been supported by Avenger Enterprises. I want to distill that free ranging spirit of the early days that captured so many peoples’ imaginations.

    You’re probably right that I’m blowing this out of proportion, bit it sticks in my craw that I’d have to work some of these things out after spending boocoo credits on some of this stuff, so its partly just the principle of the thing.

  3. Karl Gallagher March 8, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Fair enough. GT:Interstellar Wars is the first time I’d actually played Traveller (not counting a few games of Snapshot). I’d been using the GT books to run Firefly games so off-the-rack weapons were fine.

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