Against my better judgment I decided to pick up Mongoose Publishing's 2nd edition of the Traveller science fiction tabletop RPG.
It's interesting to see how it's evolution is so different from D&D despite their both coming about in the 70s. Just from the mechanics it's easy to tell the differences in what was important to the creators of these games.
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.
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 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.