Thread: Canon?
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Old October 19th, 2011, 10:15 PM
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Canon means "List" and refers by conventions of English to lists of approved materials or lists of members. In fandom, it's almost always "the list of approved sources for the official setting"... and

For Traveller authors, designers and playtesters, there are 4 basic grades of canon:
  • 3I setting Canon - stuff that's true across all editions. Not the least of which is MWM's writing standards, which, while not setting materials, are a severe constraint on what is canon.
  • Forbidden Canon - Stuff that's true, but you can't quote it directly. Most specific material is DGP's stuff - it's Copyright by DPG, not MWM, and so Marc can't let you use their text directly, but most of what they wrote Marc has permitted to be presumed true for later works, and their ideas are part of the fabric of the setting.
  • Edition Specific Canon - Stuff that was/is true only for one specific edition. Either it's been changed, overwritten, is irrelevant to the edition's timeframe, or is not part of the official timeline. EG: Anything in GT set after 1115, and quite possibly some of the stuff from 1114 on. EG#2: Virus in a T4 Milieux 0 game - it won't exist for 1000 years. EG#3: Striker implies VERY strongly that the Imperium has an army; MT COACC says it doesn't, but when it needs one, forms one by drafting units from imperial member worlds.
  • Rules Canon - The official rules. They are ALWAYS edition specific, but are a special subset. If you're writing edition specific stuff, you HAVE to take it into account, if nothing else, to explain in the design notes why you've deviated. If writing edition independent stuff, you'll need to account for the differences if you include vehicles or spacecraft.

Canon is a tool. It's also a bit of a straightjacket. You can't have the 3I electing high nobles in the 1100's in the OTU - canon says they are appointed by the Emperor, and most are appointed by either primogeniture or tercogeniture (1st child or 3rd child), based upon the ethnic background of the noble line in question.

Lots of stuff is of dubious authority; a few things are specifically decanonized. The A5:TCS method of calculating naval budgets, for example, has been specifically excluded from figuring the 3I naval budget. When there are conflicts in the canon, people tend to resolve it in various methods. Me, I first look to CT sources and see the nature of the conflict... In some cases, it looks like timeline advancement brought setting changes, as with Subsector Navies in CT vs Reserve Fleets in MT, where it looks like a post-5FW change in organizational structures. In others, it is clear that one is right and another is wrong, as with the MT definition of Small Craft - MT has a logic flaw which is best resolved simply by using the CT definition.

Also note that the Canibilani/Vegibilani and Lesbian Aslan debates, fun as they are, are at best fanon, and at worst, violate Marc's writing guidelines.

Note that only one edition really makes much distinction between rules canon and setting: MGT. MGT makes it clear that the rules canon includes materials not part of the 3I setting canon.
~ Aramis /trav
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Last edited by aramis; October 19th, 2011 at 10:20 PM..
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