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-   -   From whence it came... (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=33981)

jec10 February 14th, 2015 02:40 AM

From whence it came...
 
Some TNE pre-history for you, this email was when I first heard about what was to come:


From: ihlpf!zonker@ATT.ATT.COM
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 91 09:52 CDT
Subject: Traveller Revisions

What I have from the horse's mouth (Wally the Wonder, that is): Star
Viking is supposed to be a totally new game. Frank wants to do a game that
deals with looting on a planetary scale. This requires limited space travel
and to make it fun a wide diversity of planets (i.e. everything from
barbarians hoarding chickens to fairly advanced systems). The intro/set up
of which will allude to Traveller as its far past. The RPG system will be
based on Twilight 2000-2 and the combat system will be a extension of
command decision. As an aside command decision appears to be a real adaptable
system. The CITW (including myself and Frank Chadwick) have been playing
Crimean War battles with it and it works. Star Viking is supposed to be a
game mainly of looting planets so large scale combat will be the norm.
The original virus was supposed to be similar to the PC virus of the last
year or so, but I think I convinced him to do something a little more
elaborate. I told him he should assume a technological breakthrough which
causes most computers to have a common component (my suggestion was
something organic). The computer virus then attacks "life support"
processor actually causing the main processor to die of starvation or heat.
The net effect is that it appears to be a normal failure that causes
component replacement it's not until very late that they figure out it is a
virus attacking the life support system rather than a bug in design/manufacturing.
By then production is virtually at a standstill and massive component failure
is occuring. At any rate you probably won't have to go to SV unless you
want to.
Frank has also talked about redoing Traveller as the Twilight system.
He seems to understand the problems with doing this so soon after
MegaTraveller. This is not a new idea and in fact Traveller 2300 was an
attempt to do this as well with t2000-1 (in amy opinion they didn't go far
enough with 2300 and in fact made it too Travellerish). Personally I like
the Twilight system which is why I agreed to edit the Eternal Soldier
newsletter for GDW. Will it work (as a system) for Traveller? The answer
is yes (the system is extremly flexible). Will it sell? Who knows, but at
least you will have a proven/workable system to play with. Will you buy
it? Probably since many of you seem to require the background support that
the currently supported version provides. Will there be production problems
.... hard to say, but these are related to the staff and as of right now
things seem to be in good shape.
Space 1889 suffered from deployment problems caused by delays in the minitures
for Sky Galleons which was a real horror story i.e. Sky Galleons was about
9 months late and was produced off of reworked miscasts of the masters (the
masters were really hot stuff from what I was told). This caused what was
initially supposed to be a gradual introduction of products to become a flood.
What interests me the most is the raw nerve the game struck between the
extremes of the hobby the historic games have lashed out at it almost as a
corruption of history (as if what they did was the same thing under another
name) and the fanatasy RPG players have lashed out at it as being too
historical (as though the fact that you could do reasearch in a history book
made it any less fantastic). Personally having gone gaga as a pre-teen on
H.G.Wells and E. R. Burroughs I like 1889.

Non Cuniculus Est,
Tom Harris

------------

mike wightman February 14th, 2015 05:30 AM

Interesting read.

beasterbook December 30th, 2016 09:25 PM

how many issues of Eternal Soldier were there?

LeperColony January 6th, 2017 10:53 PM

I've always thought it was a little curious that putting out their new house system was such a high priority. I know it won an Origin's Award at the time, but I've tried it several times, and I invariably go back to a 2D6 resolution and combat where characters can't laugh off PMPG blasts to the face.

mike wightman January 7th, 2017 03:10 AM

I never liked it.

My favourite system they came up with was the % system for Twilight 2000 1st edition. I used it to run Twilight, MegaTraveller and T2300. It probably had something to do with playing all that RuneQuest back in the day.

Now I am more than content to just use 2d6.

aramis January 7th, 2017 07:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeperColony (Post 556513)
I've always thought it was a little curious that putting out their new house system was such a high priority. I know it won an Origin's Award at the time, but I've tried it several times, and I invariably go back to a 2D6 resolution and combat where characters can't laugh off PMPG blasts to the face.

I liked the 1d10 version (T2K 2.0)...
... and it was pretty darned good as was.

the 1d20 version (T2K 2.2) was considered by some to be much better; I personally hated the 1d20 mechanism.

Note that the 2.0 version is NOT on the T2K 2E CD, only the 2.2..

I was not happy when it became clear (in Survival Margin) that it was 2.2 based...
I was unhappy about the Virus.

The path, tho', is pretty clear...
En Garde nearly an RPG tabletop narrative wargame
CT no task system
T2K 1.0 was d%, vs skill, 3 difficulties (x1/2, x1, x2)
DGP introduces DGP task system with 5 explicit levels
Traveller 2300 uses DGP Task system with 1d10MT uses it with 2d6
T2K 2.0 was d10 vs skill, 3 difficulties (x1/2, x1, x2)
T2K 2.2 was d20 vs stat+skill, 5 difficulties (x1/4, x1/2, x1, x2, x4)
TNE used the same task system as T2K 2.2, but altered char gen somewhat


Note that the biggest complaint I heard about T2K 2.0 (both locally in Anchorage and on WWIVnet and FidoNet) was that Attributes didn't get used in Tasks. (They governed costs to raise skills, tho', and had other, non-task uses. They also could be used with, in essence, a percentile throw... 1d10 for att or less and then 1d10 for a 1... same odds as throwing 1d100 vs att).

GDW mentions the same complaint in the GM screen where the 5 levels were introduced to T2K 2.0... along with the malfunction system.

Now, Frank has mentioned in a conversation in the late 90's that Space 1889 was the first game in the House System; if so, it fits a little bit after T2300 in release, but I suspect Frank wrote it first...

T2K 2.0 is closer overall to T2300 than Space 1889, except that Space 1889 has initial term skill lists.. Frank claiming it was the leap point may be because T2300 was Tim and Marc according to the packaging...

En Garde seem odd to include, but it has the following attributes:
  • Strength
  • Expertise
  • Constitution
  • Social Level
Endurance is also present as an expendable based upon Strength and Con...
And, sure the first three attributes are 3d6...
... but it strongly appears to be the Frank, Loren, and Marc stepping stone from D&D to CT. It's almost a midpoint.. It also is the first game to make Social a main attribute, albeit figured from a pair of 1d6 rolls, and ranging 1 to 11 in play start...
And it introduces the training in service... pretty much AS the game.

Essentially, all the GDW RPGs either lead to or per part of the GDW house engine.

epicenter00 January 8th, 2017 10:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jec10 (Post 501753)
What interests me the most is the raw nerve the game struck between the
extremes of the hobby the historic games have lashed out at it almost as a
corruption of history (as if what they did was the same thing under another
name) and the fanatasy RPG players have lashed out at it as being too
historical (as though the fact that you could do reasearch in a history book
made it any less fantastic). Personally having gone gaga as a pre-teen on
H.G.Wells and E. R. Burroughs I like 1889.

Space 1889 was always sort of an awkward game for me - as a GDW product-buyer I always wished they dropped support of the line so they could concentrate on T2K, Traveller, and 2300.

Why I found Space 1889 to be so awkward was something I couldn't put into words until I was older, but I laughed out loud because you pretty much nailed it on the head in that single sentence. I always felt that GDW was a victim of two powerful forces - the historical wargamers (which GDW originally was) and the fantasy roleplayers. Sometimes this tug-of-war produced "compromise" gaming worlds like 2300 (whose background and setting in "hard" sci-fi I like a lot), other times it produced games like 1889.

1889 tried to be two things at the same time, unfortunately it ended up (imo) being "neither fish nor fowl" and couldn't do either of them. I feel GDW wanted to make the rip-roaring adventure of Barsoom, but they ended up making "The White Man's Burden In Outer Space" - the natives of Mars ended up being the colonized peoples of Earth during that period turned literally dehumanized into aliens (yet still vaguely recognizable mish-mash culturally, which was the worst part). All of this made the high-fantasy of Barsoom more or less impossible, I thought - 1889 made the fantastic mundane in the worst possible way.


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