Journal of the Travellers Aid Society
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In 1979 Game Designers' Workshop decided to start publishing a magazine to support Traveller, which resulted in The Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society (JTAS), which would be edited by Loren Wiseman over its history.:55 J. Andrew Keith's writing for JTAS was so extensive that he had to take the pseudonyms John Marshal and Keith Douglass (he was later 'caught' when a reader did a word-use analysis of his articles and determined that they were all written by the same person).:56 Marc Miller decided that, rather than using modern dates for the magazine, each issue would instead be based on the in-game Imperium's calendar, and the calendar advanced about 90 days every quarterly issue.:55 JTAS #2 (1979) began printing excerpts from the 'Traveller News Service', which provided information on 'current' events in the Imperium; that issue, dated 274-1105, offered two news excerpts from Regina sector, dated 097-1105 and 101-1105.:55 JTAS #9 (1981) GDW developed their metaplot for Traveller by describing the start of a war with an alien species named the Zhodani.:55 GDW's original magazine ended with The Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #24 (1984); it was soon replaced with a new magazine, Challenge, which continued JTAS' numbering with issue #25 (1986) but covered all of GDW's games, not just Traveller.:58
Imperium Games published Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #25 in 1996, and published their second and final issue of the Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society in 1997.:333 The magazine was revived by Imperium Games after GDW closed its doors, and JTAS 25 and 26 were published before that publisher ceased operations.
After Steve Jackson Games licensed the Traveller setting, Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society was resurrected as an online magazine in 2000.:111 JTAS was revived once again as a weekly, then bi-weekly subscriber-supported web magazine in February, 2000.
The Journal of the Travellers Aid Society takes its name from the fictional Travellers' Aid Society (TAS) that was first mentioned in the original incarnation of the Traveller game published by Game Designers Workshop [GDW]. In the original Traveller game, it was not too uncommon for characters to obtain membership in the TAS during character creation. The idea of the TAS is that it is an organization that exists to support what are basically 'transients,' or 'wanderers' ['Travellers' in the game's terminology] around the galaxy. It does so by maintaining low-cost hostels at many of the large starports, and, most importantly, by maintaining its 'rating system,' which warns of the dangers inherent in visiting certain worlds. Under this system, a world which should be approached with caution is denoted an 'Amber Zone,' and a world that should not be approached at all is denoted a 'Red Zone.'