Dark Star Index

UMP: 112E0B-0

Version 0.88: Issues 1-ish, 2-6

by Shannon Appelcline

Overview

History: 1981

Trevor Graver, the founder of the Dark Star fanzine, was already both a Games Workshop staffer and a White Dwarf author. His first published work was the "Needleman" for White Dwarf #6 (April/May 1978), which eventually made its way into the Fiend Folio (1981). However, he quickly moved onto to supporting one of Games Workshop's special games: Traveller (1981). His initial contributions were "Criminals" in White Dwarf #19 (June/July 1980) and "The Self-Made Traveller" in White Dwarf #25 (June/July 1981) — the latter a point-based system for Traveller character generation.

However, Graver soon came to the conclusion that Traveller had a major problem in the UK in the early '80s: a lack of communication. To resolve that problem he decided to create a Traveller newsletter that would tell players about the latest news and help them to contact each other: Dark Star. The news was likely easy enough for Graver to gather thanks to his position at Games Workshop, while player introductions were to occur through a player directory, where players sent in their names and addresses so that they could write each other.

Dark Star was the fourth Traveller periodical of note, following JTAS, Alien Star, and High Passage. It had some connections to Alien Star, which like Dark Star was a British periodical. In Alien Star's first incarnation, it took over Dark Star's player directory (which was never very successful) and in its second incarnation, it took over Dark Star's news, with Graver at the helm.

Unlike the other early periodicals, Dark Star was a newsletter, or if you prefer to use Graver's own terminology, a microzine. This category of periodical publication would develop as a fairly standard alternative to more traditional fanzines in Traveller fandom, especially among HIWG members. The newsletters are usually short and printed with no separate cover. Articles also tend to be shorter, less polished, and more focused on news and discussion. In Dark Star's case, the 'zine was just four pages long, and at least half of its content was news and reviews.

Dark Star published monthly across half of 1981. After six issues, Graver said he was ending the newsletter due to "lack of interest". Both Dark Star #6 (November 1981) and Alien Star claimed there was to be a seventh issue, but it's currently believed to have never been produced.

Graver was also working on an "Approved for use with Traveller" book on criminals, which he said would revise the "mess that appeared in White Dwarf #19" but that didn't appear either. Alas.

Obtaining the Magazines

Not going to happen. Dark Star was produced in limited quantities in the '80s. There has never been an official electronic distribution, though a bootleg copy of issues #2-6 has floated around.

About the Contents

The contents for issues #2-6 of Dark Star are based on said bootleg copy. The contents for #1 are instead based on the RPGGeek listing and so should be considered less reliable. If you can help with a copy or scan of Dark Star #1, please let me know.

Any image of the "cover" of Dark Star #1 would be great too!

This index is © Copyright 2022 by Shannon Appelcline. It is released under a cc-by-4.0 license, allowing reuse with attribution.

🗣️ Adventures: Patrons

Title System Era Author # Pgs
Careers, Captain
The 78th Patron1 Traveller 1e Golden Age Nelson Cunnington 3 2
Careers, Criminal
The 79th Patron1 Golden Age Gary Newcombe 5 4
Careers, Spy
77th Patron1 2 Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 1 3
  1. Continuing the counting from TRAVELLER SUPPLEMENT 6: 76 PATRONS (GDW, 1980).
  2. Likely the same article that appeared in JTAS #10 (GDW, 1981) under the same name.

🛸 Aliens: Minor Races

Title System Era Author # Pgs
Imperium Outskirts
Data/Library: Minor Race, Simahne Trevor Graver 3 4
Imperium Outskirts, Foreven Sector
Data/Library: Minor Race, Sus'Kar Trevor Graver 3 4

📚 Background: Misc

Title System Era Author # Pgs
Misc, Data/Library
Data/Library: Minor Race, Simahne Trevor Graver 3 4
Data/Library: Minor Race, Sus'Kar Trevor Graver 3 4
Organizations, Criminal
The 'Corporation' Golden Age Chris Murfin 6 4

🌌 Background: Geographic, Charted Space

Title System Era Author # Pgs
Misc
Map of the Imperium, 11051 Golden Age 4 4
  1. This was the official map of the Imperium that GDW released in 1980, most prominently in DIFFERENT WORLDS #9 (Chaosium 1980). DARK STAR used it to map out all the known land grants to date.

🌌 Background: Geographic, Imperium, Domain of Deneb1

Title System Era Author # Pgs
Spinward Marches
Rumours Trevor Graver 1 4

🛠️ Equipment: Misc

Title System Era Author # Pgs
Clothing, Vacc Suits
The Vacc Pod Nelson Cunnington 3 2
Tools
Personal Translator Nelson Cunnington 5 2-3a

⚔️ Equipment: Combat

Title System Era Author # Pgs
Armor
Battle Dress Expansion Traveller 1e Chris Murfin 6 3-4
Weapons, Melee
Electified Knucle-dusters — 'Electronux' Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 3 4
The Paralysis Rod Traveller 1e Chris Murfin 6 3
Weapons, Ranged, Lasers
X-ray Laser or Xaser Traveller 1e Nelson Cunnington 4 2

🚀 Equipment: Transport

Title System Era Author # Pgs
Starships, Accessories
The Vacc Pod Nelson Cunnington 3 2
Starships, Designs, Imperium
General Purpose Armoured Frigate [FA: 500T] Traveller 1e Eric Hunt 4 2
Starships, Designs, Imperium, SDBs
The Porcupine Class SDB [GB: 400T] Traveller 1e Golden Age Simon Beaird 2 1-2

⬆️ Meta

Title System Era Author # Pgs
Directory, Player
The Dark Star Contact Bureau1 Trevor Graver 1 2
The Dark Star Contact Bureau1 Trevor Graver 2 4
Dark Star: Contact Bureau News1 Trevor Graver 3 3
Editorial
Editorial Trevor Graver 5 1
Editorial Trevor Graver 6 1
News, Misc.
Dark Star News Trevor Graver 1 1,4
Dark Star News Trevor Graver 2 1
Dark Star News Trevor Graver 3 1
Dark Star News Trevor Graver 4 1
Dark Star News Trevor Graver 5 1
Dark Star News Trevor Graver 6 1-2
  1. Also briefly ran in ALIEN STAR #5 (1981).

📜 Rules

Title System Era Author # Pgs
Misc, Official Errata
The Self Made Traveller, Part 21 Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 5 3b
Character Creation
The Self Made Traveller, Part 21 Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 5 3b
  1. Corrections and additions for "The Self-Made Traveller" in WHITE DWARF #25 (GW, 1981)

⭐ Reviews1

Title System Era Author # Pgs
Generic, Steve Jackson Games
The Space Gamer Trevor Graver 1 2
Traveller 1e, Misc, Fanzine
Alien Star Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 1 2
Traveller 1e, FASA
ISCV King Richard [Q:3/U:3] Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 2 3
ISCV Leander [Q:3/U:2] Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 2 3
ISPMV Fenris [Q:3/U:2] Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 2 3
ISPMV Tethys [Q:2/U:2] Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 2 3
Ordeal by Eshaar [Q:4/U:3] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 6 2
Traveller 1e, Games Workshop
IISS Ship Files [Q:4/U:3] Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 2 2
Personal Data Files [Q:2/U:2] Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 3 4
Ship Layout Sheets [Q:2/U:2] Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 3 4
Traveller 1e, GDW
Adventure 5: Trillion Credit Squadron [Q:4/U:4] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 3 3
Double Adventure 4: Marooned (Alone) [Q:3/U:3] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 5 3a
Double Adventure 5: Death Station [Q:2:/U:3]
   / The Argon Gambit [Q:4/U:4]
Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 4 3
JTAS #10 [Q:3/U:3] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 6 2
Supplement 8: Library Data (A-M) [Q:4/U:4] Golden Age Trevor Graver 5 3a
Supplement 9: Fighting Ships [Q:2/U:2] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 4 3
Traveller 1e, High Passage Group
High Passage #1 [Q:3/U:2] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 3 3
Traveller 1e, Judges Guild
Doom of the Singing Star [Q:3/U:2] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 5 3b
Fifty Starbases [Q:0/U:0] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 5 3a
The Glimmerdrift Reaches [Q:2/U:3] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 3 4
Navigators Starcharts [Q:2/U:3] Trevor Graver 5 3a
Traveller 1e, Paranoia Press
The Beyond [Q:3/U:3] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 3 3
Merchants and Merchandise [Q:?/U:?] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 1 4
Scouts & Assassins [Q:?/U:?] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 1 4
Personal Data Sheets [Q:4/U:3] Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 2 2
Planetary Data Sheets [Q:2/U:3] Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 2 2
SORAG [Q:3/U:2] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 5 3b
Starship Log Entry [Q:2/U:2] Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 2 2
System Data Sheets [Q:3/U:3] Traveller 1e Trevor Graver 2 2
The Vanguard Reaches [Q:3/U:3] Traveller 1e Golden Age Trevor Graver 4 3
  1. Dark Star Reviews measured "Q"uality and "U"sefulness on 4 point scales.

Covers