Behind the Claw (1998) is the GURPS Traveller sourcebook for the Spinward Marches, the region of frontier space that has essentially acted as the main setting of Traveller since the release of Supplement 3 in 1979. While the setting was expanded considerably in MegaTraveller and New Era, I feel like this fairly slender book contains more info than all the Classic Traveller Spinward Marches material combined.

The interesting thing to me here is that the design exercise isn’t just sort of gently projecting or maintaining the slow stasis of Classic Traveller a decade and a half into the future as if Mega and TNE never happened. It is also an exercise in examining Mega and NTE, stripping out the “bad” stuff and retrofitting the good stuff. Those systems defined A LOT of the Traveller Galaxy, even if those details were deployed in a divisive way, they still, in some ways, contribute to the broad understanding of the setting, and so need to be reckoned with.

The result is neat, a distinctly new version of a recognizably older galaxy. There are new details, but the feel somehwhat familiar because they echo out of Mega and NTE while still maintaining the comfortable status quo of the galaxy. It’s quite the accomplishment!

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