At the moment I'm most enamored with the lack of mechanical character growth in Traveller. I think this is cool for a few reasons:
* Levels are fake anyway. Supposedly the encounters are supposed to scale but you often reach a tipping point in D&D-likes where it becomes much harder for characters to be challenged.
* The game can be more deadly for PCs since you can have a narratively satisfying demise without an associated loss of mechanical investment.
I absolutely love Traveller's FTL system. No matter how far you jump, whether one parsec or six, it takes a week. Then you still have to slowboat to port to refuel, which might take another. Information is only as fast as the ships that carry it.
This means that information must depend on a decentralized infrastructure. I imagine the delayed posting and forwarding of usenet, and maybe a mail delivery system leveraging volunteer couriers and public key cryptogry.
Character creation is really interesting. I really like how most player characters will begin their adventures around age 30-40 (if they are humans). Apparently one of the game's nicknames is "mid-life crisis in space".
The whole idea of "mustering out" of your career and becoming a vagrant among the stars with your buddies scratches a thematic itch.
@ishara out of curiosity, where do you go for that week you are traveling? Like a space lane or something? Like Babylon 5. Or are still in space, but just traveling fast, like Star Trek?
@KARiley40 It's an alternate universe/dimension where the only thing protecting you is a bubble around the ship.
Resist the temptation to look outside, though. They say that just a glimpse of the incomprehensible maelstrom of jumpspace is enough to drive a traveler mad.
@ishara I thought it was a more 'push your luck' mechanic where you can stop anytime but you'll be more potential than experience, or of you stay too late you'll have the opposite problem
@thorgrit You're absolutely right. It can be tricky to decide to risk more ageing effects in an attempt to score a pension or other high rank reward. Age 30 is the last round before those aging penalties kick in.
This is one of those things where the mechanics of the minigame dovetail very well with the tone and flavor of the greater game.