Traveller New Era 1248: the 4th Imperium

Back in 2005 I was just getting into RPGs again after having been away for some ten years. It would be another four years before we actually got back into playing RPGs again, but between 2005 and 2010 I read a lot of RPG stuff, both in books and online. I also bought a bunch of new RPG products. I was one of those armchair gamers if you will.

The games that brought me back to gaming was Traveller and 2300AD. And in forums like Citizens of the Imperium, I discovered a larger world of Traveller gaming. One of the new publishers of Traveller materials was a small US publisher called ComStar Games who worked in conjunction with Avenger Games.

In 2006, they jointly published a book called 1248 Sourcebook 1″Out of the Darkness”. It was written by Martin J Dougherty, a then rather unknown Traveller/RPG writer. The book was a continuation of the events that transpired during the Rebellion, Hard Times, Virus and New Era periods (MegaTraveller and Traveller: The New Era respectively) and also answered questions like what happened with the mysterious Empress Wave, what became of Virus and how did the war with Lucan play out plus a ton of other details.

The books are as “system-less” as possible, being usable with whatever your Traveller edition of choice may be, but when stats are used it is Classic Traveller (remember – this is before MgT was published).

Contrary to the majority of Travellers I like what transpired during the Rebellion and Virus eras. I like the fact that the 3rd Imperium imploded and that things got even worse when Virus was introduced. In my opinion, this created vast opportunities for many different campaign styles. I also felt that neither the Rebellion nor the New Era periods was allowed to run their full courses before GDW changed directions, Rebellion was cut off when Traveller: TNE was launched and Virus was cut off when GDW folded. The 1248 books continues the story, gives the answers and presents a whole new era for Traveller play. The wars are over and people all over charted space have been rebuilding civilization for years. But all is not rebuilt or rediscovered and much is still to do. The setting supports classic style Traveller adventures as well as more TNE style adventures. The sense of discovery and mystery is back. For me, this is the optimal mix for playing Traveller.

Below is a short list of the books and what they are about:

  • 1248 Sourcebook 1: Out of the Darkness (Martin J Dougherty, 2006) is the main and best book about the TNE: 1248 setting. It contains a unified history/timeline going forward from 1116 to 1248. It also describes charted space and the new powers and groups that are important in the new age. It also contains a section on how to re-generate UWP’s for the 1248 setting.
  • 1248 Sourcebook 2Bearers of the Flame (Martin J Dougherty, 2006) details the 4th Imperium and neighboring sectors – Gushemege, Dagudashaag, Ilelish and Zarushagar sectors respectively.
  • 1248 Sourcebook 3The Spinward States (Mike West, 2008) details what became of the Regency among others and details the Spinward Marches, Deneb, Trojan Reach and Reft sectors respectively.
  • 1248 Sourcebook 4The Freedom League (Daniel Hammersley, Richard Perks & Grahame Mulliss, 2008) details Diaspora, Old Expanses, Solomani Rim and Alpha Crucis sectors respectively. The book continues the story from what was described in the Traveller: The New Era books.

Another cool thing about the New Era 1248 series was that Dougherty collaborated with Marc Miller on the timeline, making this canon Traveller material. (However, I don’t know if it is still considered that).

But alas, the New Era 1248 line would not last. The books were released between 2006 and 2008. Then, Far Future Enterprises decided to revert all rights to Traveller for a series of small publishers, transferring those rights to Mongoose for their new Mongoose Traveller game. When those news hit, Books 3 and 4 were rushed in order to get them published before the rights were gone. As a result, books 1 and 2 were published in PDF and print format, while books 3 and 4 only ever came out in PDF format. Another consequence of the rushed publishing schedule was that books 3 and 4 feel a bit unpolished, especially book 4 (my favourite), which was only available for a few months. And Martin J Dougherty ended up working with the Mongoose Traveller line instead.

If you’re interested in these books, they are still available from Far Future Enterprises CD-ROM series, on Traveller: The New Era – CD2.

As a footnote, I think it’s really sad that these cool books came and went almost unnoticed. I have seen very few discussions of them online and I wonder if anyone uses them for play anymore. I will set up a 1248 campaign however, and my next post will be about system choice and where to drop the players. 

4 thoughts on “Traveller New Era 1248: the 4th Imperium

  1. I have been wanting to play ( or GM) in the 4th Im for years now I have written 4-inch notebooks worth of stuff and had ONE person play in all my work, sad. I agree wholeheartedly with “Contrary to the majority of Travellers I like what transpired during the Rebellion and Virus eras. I like the fact that the 3rd Imperium imploded and that things got even worse when Virus was introduced. In my opinion, this created vast opportunities for many different campaign styles.”


    1. Hey Donald. That’s a bit sad, and I know the feeling – I struggle to keep my table group going but it’s hard. At the moment we are playing other games and it seems that one game at a time is about what we can manage at this point in life. Have you tried recruiting players for online play?


      1. While I understand where your coming from I LIKE gaming with people, the bad jokes the worse puns and smelly farts and all, occasionally a good home cooked meal…lol


  2. Hey since I haven’t heard (or seen for that matter) ha any thing for a while thought I would throw this line out and see if there are any bites. I am a big Andre Norton fan and am rereading for the uncountable time her Beast Master series and decided to put Arzor together as a Traveller world. what other SF worlds / multi-verse would people use as setting?


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