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  #21  
Old May 12th, 2016, 02:02 PM
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Chatting with Cryton, and remembered the metric for "ProtoTraveller" for us...
The "4-4-4" plan.
Books 1-4
Supplements 1-4
Adventures 1-4
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  #22  
Old May 12th, 2016, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramis View Post
Chatting with Cryton, and remembered the metric for "ProtoTraveller" for us...
The "4-4-4" plan.
Books 1-4
Supplements 1-4
Adventures 1-4
Whats this "Us" Kimosabe...I include B5 definitions without the systems. (ie. I use the B2 ['77 edition] ship design and ignore ship design from B5).
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  #23  
Old May 12th, 2016, 02:56 PM
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I include S6 purely because the patron encounters are much like the double adventures - you can run most of them anywhere and in any OTU setting.

S7 could be included at a stretch, but there is a bit too much HG creeping into ship designs for it to be pure pT.
I still wish an official LBB2 military components supplement had been produced either through JTAS special or as a separate book.

Similarly I don't often include A4 as a pT book because it is verging on too much HG too.
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  #24  
Old May 13th, 2016, 11:06 AM
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Proto Traveller is not necessarily a time period - as High Guard came in 1979, before the accepted 1980 "cut-off" point - and not necessarily a "tight" set of rules. It is an attitude, a style if you will. It is Traveller in the spirit of the first three books of the original boxed set, as well as early adventures, JTAS articles, and supplements. That is: small ship, small setting, simple rules. I'd also argue that it has a focus on civilian or quasi-civilian (ex-military) play rather than strictly military settings and plots as suggested by the weapon list in Book 1 and as opposed to the mercenary unit play of Book 4, the huge-combatant naval play of Book 5, and the strict military fleet-building play of Trillion Credits Squadron.

This Proto-Traveller attitude resists the Three Creeps - Complexity Creep, Modifier Creep, and Scale Creep.

Complexity Creep was introduced by Book 4 with its Advanced Character Generation system. Book 1 character generation was very simple and straightforward - and incredibly quick. Book 4 introduced a much more complex system for generating characters, and books 5-7 continued this trend. Book 5 put forth a ship design system which was far more complex than the one in Book 2. Book 8 suggested a highly complex robot design system similar to the similarly complex Striker wargame rules. The Proto-Traveller attitude resists this complexity and desires a return to the simplicity of Book 1/Supplement 4 character generation and of Book 2 ship design.

Modifier Creep began with Book 4 as well. The 2D curve used by Traveller is highly sensitive to modifiers, and hence the strictly limited skill acquisition in Book 1 character generation, as well as the moderate to-hit modifiers of most (though not all) Book 1 weapons. Book 4 introduced characters with much more skills and much higher skills. It also introduced advanced weaponry bearing massive to-hit modifiers guaranteeing auto-hits - and usually also auto-kills - on almost all targets. Books 5-7 continued this trend with their Advanced Character Generation systems. The Proto-Traveller attitude prefers smaller modifiers and more limited skills.

Scale Creep began with Book 5. Suddenly, instead of small, relatively affordable ships - you have massive dreadnoughts. Such vessels are monstrously expensive and thus require a similarly massive polity to support them. They are also far beyond the scale of player-centered starships, unless, of course, the players are Big Navy captains or admirals. Book 5 focuses on major naval engagements, not the affairs of merchants, scouts, and corsairs - or at most a mercenary company or a local small-scale naval patrol, as in Book 2. This soon escalated into a huge Imperium many Sectors across, supporting similarly huge navies. The Proto-Traveller attitude prefers smaller ships, smaller empires - and a greater focus on a small group of characters rather than on wider affairs of state and navy.
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  #25  
Old May 13th, 2016, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golan2072 View Post
Proto Traveller is not necessarily a time period - as High Guard came in 1979, before the accepted 1980 "cut-off" point - and not necessarily a "tight" set of rules. It is an attitude, a style if you will. It is Traveller in the spirit of the first three books of the original boxed set, as well as early adventures, JTAS articles, and supplements. That is: small ship, small setting, simple rules. I'd also argue that it has a focus on civilian or quasi-civilian (ex-military) play rather than strictly military settings and plots as suggested by the weapon list in Book 1 and as opposed to the mercenary unit play of Book 4, the huge-combatant naval play of Book 5, and the strict military fleet-building play of Trillion Credits Squadron.

This Proto-Traveller attitude resists the Three Creeps - Complexity Creep, Modifier Creep, and Scale Creep.

Complexity Creep was introduced by Book 4 with its Advanced Character Generation system. Book 1 character generation was very simple and straightforward - and incredibly quick. Book 4 introduced a much more complex system for generating characters, and books 5-7 continued this trend. Book 5 put forth a ship design system which was far more complex than the one in Book 2. Book 8 suggested a highly complex robot design system similar to the similarly complex Striker wargame rules. The Proto-Traveller attitude resists this complexity and desires a return to the simplicity of Book 1/Supplement 4 character generation and of Book 2 ship design.

Modifier Creep began with Book 4 as well. The 2D curve used by Traveller is highly sensitive to modifiers, and hence the strictly limited skill acquisition in Book 1 character generation, as well as the moderate to-hit modifiers of most (though not all) Book 1 weapons. Book 4 introduced characters with much more skills and much higher skills. It also introduced advanced weaponry bearing massive to-hit modifiers guaranteeing auto-hits - and usually also auto-kills - on almost all targets. Books 5-7 continued this trend with their Advanced Character Generation systems. The Proto-Traveller attitude prefers smaller modifiers and more limited skills.

Scale Creep began with Book 5. Suddenly, instead of small, relatively affordable ships - you have massive dreadnoughts. Such vessels are monstrously expensive and thus require a similarly massive polity to support them. They are also far beyond the scale of player-centered starships, unless, of course, the players are Big Navy captains or admirals. Book 5 focuses on major naval engagements, not the affairs of merchants, scouts, and corsairs - or at most a mercenary company or a local small-scale naval patrol, as in Book 2. This soon escalated into a huge Imperium many Sectors across, supporting similarly huge navies. The Proto-Traveller attitude prefers smaller ships, smaller empires - and a greater focus on a small group of characters rather than on wider affairs of state and navy.
I agree with all of this so much.

I was trying to write a post about Proro-Traveller, for me, being as much about the design/aesthetics of play as much as it is about specific sourcebooks, if not moreso. But Golan's post nails everything down precisely and much better than I would have said.
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  #26  
Old May 13th, 2016, 11:31 AM
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Thank you for your kind words!
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  #27  
Old May 13th, 2016, 12:02 PM
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I remember reading through Supplement 6: The Spinward Marches and Adventure 1: The Kinunir and being quite swept up in the possibilities of the (still lightly sketched) setting. Both in terms of building out a cool setting and in terms of offering plenty of fun RPG play for Players.

The early source material focused on the needs and energy of solid PC-focused, RPG gaming: worlds the PCs could explore, politics and situations the PCs could get involved with.

I think the setting materials of Proto-Traveller (published adventures on worlds that the Referee can skin and use as he wants as he builds out his setting; focus on PC scaled events and conflicts) all aid the Referee and Players in RPG play.

With this in mind, I think Mike's reminder that the Library Data in Supplement 3 tells us that the Imperium "does not have the strength nor the power which it once had" is vital. A flagging political entity is twitchy, prone to rash moves, cannot cover all its bases as it once did. If we assume that there is a need for a large tax base and revenue to support the Third Imperium (and everyone around here assumes that) a weakened Imperium means that there are fewer ships, a shorter reach, a slower reaction time... especially in the distant and difficult to reach Spinward Marches.

Thus, there is an implied vacuum in the Imperial power in the Spinward Marches. Even as it expanded into the region, its power was failing.

There are worlds in the Spinward Marches from the first two failed empires... and this might be the third to fail.

The citizens of the Spinward Marches know this. Citizens of these worlds claimed by the Third Imperium might not be as eager to hitch their wagon to this possible third failure. People might be scrambling to secure what local power they can right now. Local politics, between Imperial nobility and local worlds, are up for grabs. "lmperial protection is available to the worlds and peoples" of District 268... but how much is that offer worth when the Imperium's power is on the wane even as it is trying to expand?

Into all this steps the PCs. Into this faltering Imperial power and high stakes game of power and politics, resources and pride, worlds and empire, are characters trained to handle violent situations, to think fast, improvise, and do what must be done to get the job done.

In this early material there is not only room for PCs... there is a need for the PCs. And this is the point of play and the focus of the gaming materials.

This is why I love the Proto-Traveller version of the OTU. It offers so much in terms of premise, situation, and potential crisis... while still standing back enough to let the Referee have room to create his or her own version of the setting (What is on those worlds! What kind of science-fiction weirdness!) as well as politics (How do the Imperium and the worlds interact? How does the Referee want them to! How do nobles work in this setting? What is going to provide more situation for the PCs?)

Golan said it all above, and better. I'm typing all the above to make it clear... I really did love those early GDW setting materials. Not only for the setting material itself, but for the kind of PC-focused play that it supported.
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Last edited by creativehum; May 13th, 2016 at 12:25 PM..
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  #28  
Old May 13th, 2016, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timerover51 View Post
I still prefer the Classic Little Black Books/Starter Traveller/The Traveller Book over all of the other editions, and it is what I am working on for my own sector.

However, I still argue that it is not a small-ship universe, as a 5,000 Traveller Displacement Ton ship still equates to a Real World nautical ship of circe 25,000 Gross Register Tons, or 60,000 measurement tons, or circa 67,500 displacement tons.
"Small Ship" is as much a state of mind as it is a hard number, but traditionally it stops where Book 2 stops.

From a design element point of view, "Small Ship" means one very important thing: NO SPINALS. Bays exist in potentia, but are used in Book 2 only as small craft and cargo tonnage. Using Bk5 but not increasing the maximum hull size from Bk2 gives military ships some edges that don't require that they always be bigger, which Bk2 does require. The Gazelle is really nasty despite not being all that large because it has what amounts to five turrets, two of which are carrying weapons that are not available to civies, while the fifth can motor around on its own and reduce an enemy's vector options in a running fight.

Without Book 5 the universe is limited to Lasers, Missiles, and Sand, and "armor" only on drives. Military ships *need* to be larger just to carry more firepower, which starts the arms race that ultimately leads to Big Ships.
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Old May 13th, 2016, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
the arms race that ultimately leads to Big Ships.
yeah, I've always wondered where this "small ship universe" meme came from. what exactly limits ship size? 5k? why not 6k? what exactly prevents a 10k ship? 50k? 100k?

there's nothing to prevent a small ship _game_. player characters are limited to what they can afford and that's unlikely to exceed 400 dtons, niche encounters would be police boats and pirate ships that are unlikely to exceed 1000 dtons why would they? but a small ship _universe_ seems untenable.
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Old May 13th, 2016, 02:06 PM
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The limitation on ship size in LBB2 is due to maximum hull a drive can support and the limitation that multiple drives can not be installed to improve performance (allowed in T5)
A Z drive produces performance of 2 in a 5000t hull. There is a possible fudge available in that the Z drive in a 4000t hull is performance 3 - so technically a Z drive could produce performance 1 in a 12000t hull, the theoretical fudge limit to drive size.

Note that TNE returned to a pseudo-small ship setting that allowed spinals on any sized ship.

My proposed LBB2 military add on supplement would include:
armour
nuclear dampers
particle accelerators
EW
CIC
heavy turrets/barbettes
bays
spinals
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