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  #71  
Old October 9th, 2008, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Baron Saarthuran View Post
Lower tech alien industrial age stuff must be cool. Aslan stuff id image as horizontal pull rings on rod actuators with the lever releases inside the ring, instead of the human "steam locomotive" style mechanical lever. hmm..
Exactly! And the controls on modern starships would be easy for an Aslan but really difficult for non-Aslan. In game turns, DMs for piloting and what have you. Or an adventure simply to find replacement parts of your salvaged Aslan craft. All sorts of interesting ramifications from a simply differently actuated hand.

And don't forget warm mittens, to go with the fluffy slippers...

(and don't start on the old 'Kitten has lost her mittens' song...)
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  #72  
Old October 10th, 2008, 05:40 PM
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but what if our 1 example where the only such case, and all the other intelligent life out there has central thumbs? Or tentacles? Or very expressive/manipulative tails/snouts/wings/whatever? We may be the exception. With 1 sample, and one currently living evolutionary path*, we can't say what is best necessarily. Heck - that's the point of SF - to play with possibilities. Of course it seems the most efficient way - it is the way we evolved. But that does not make it the only way, nor even the best: just the best for our planet (so far...).

I can see a central thumb as a better mechanism for fine motor control/manipulation - a much wider range to grasp little things.

*suppose the dinosaurs had not died out, and from this reading apparently they would have had a central thumb. If they became intelligent, well, then that would have been the standard. Or read authors like Hal Clement - life on a neutron star? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hal_Clement). The universe, to quote Douglas Adams (I think) is big. Very big. Or Aliens, in space no one can hear you scream...sorry - I think that 4th cup of coffee kicked in!
These are all good points I will concede but the fact is we have and had the central thumb here on earth in numbers but the human hand won the evolutionary race. Consider the raccoon and monkeys. both are very successful and adaptable and the monkey is a warm blooded arboreal creature very similar to the proto-aslan.

Unless there is earlier data released on the Aslan we have to accept that at some point say 1984 the aslan went from having human like hands with three fingers retractable claws and an opposable thumb to the silly central fixed thumb set up we have today.

The earliest entry I have available for Aslan is library data for Twilight's peak which was 1980 and describes Aslan as having retractable claws and shows a aslan with clearly human type hands holding a dagger.

Next you have library data in 1981 which mentions the jack knife style thumb claw.

Then we have Aliens module 1 Aslan with the silly bird feet for hands Aslan.

I like the earlier more feline Aslan based on that one beautiful paragraph. I don't need weird and unbelievable biology to make an alien seem alien, That is just shallow. It is cultural and societal norms that make our favorite big cats uniques and interesting. The aslan are alien because of their strange and extreme segregation of duties based on sex and their adherence to an honor code most humans would have a hard time fathoming let alone living by. All the weird hands do is staple a plate to the fore head of a man painted green (star trek reference).
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  #73  
Old October 10th, 2008, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
I don't necessarily object to plagiarism, but I do object to such lame and cut-rate plagiarism. I think it speaks volumes about the cluelessness (and aimlessness) of MGT when its military supplement contains crap like shuriken catapults...

And the sad fact is that there's no reason to play MGT if you want a WH40K style game. You could simply play Dark Heresy...
So you don't allow battle dress in your games? That was pretty much stolen from Starship Troopers. But I guess that's different, since Mongoose didn't publish it. My hypocrisy detector is pinging...
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  #74  
Old October 10th, 2008, 10:57 PM
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So you don't allow battle dress in your games? That was pretty much stolen from Starship Troopers. But I guess that's different, since Mongoose didn't publish it. My hypocrisy detector is pinging...
Then you need to get it fixed. You seem unable to make meaningful distinctions, but maybe I can help by restating the post that you replied to.

As I noted, I don't necessarily object to all plagiarism. But do object to lame and cut-rate plagiarism. Can't wait for lightsabers and dustbuster phasers...

There's also the little problem that things like shuriken catapults are ridiculous weapons. Their presence seems to validate the worst fears many Traveller players had about MGT -- that it would be a poorly conceived, amateurish, cliched, wholly derivative (of inappropriate source material), shallow and mediocre product that would be Traveller in name only. Of course, few of us actually thought it would wind up plagiarizing WH40K--about as different a science fiction universe as you can get from Traveller's universe. So in some sense, it's actually worse than feared...quite a feat, really.

<shrug>

Let's see...poorly conceived <check>, amateurish <check>, cliched <check>, wholly derivative <check>, shallow <check>, mediocre <check>...

Anything unclear here?

And by the way--AFAIK powered armor first appeared in E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series (starting in 1937). Conceptually, HG Wells' Martians arguably had powered armor.

And Traveller battledress has nothing like the capabilities of Starship Troopers powered armor.

Last edited by tbeard1999; October 10th, 2008 at 11:38 PM..
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  #75  
Old October 11th, 2008, 12:09 AM
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Actually, I see a lot of similarities in early 40K and early traveller, sufficient to think of 40K as "what became of the GW ATU"... The GW written modules fit very nicely in Traveller, but also fit very nicely in the early (40K Rogue Trader) universe before it grew.

Also, a 100 man drop company is about as big as you can deploy at TL16 under Bk2...

But I agree, pulling from it now is a bad idea, if only due to GW's known and noted litigiousness (not as bad as Palladium Games, but still).
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  #76  
Old October 11th, 2008, 02:27 PM
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That's always the problem with trying to make a game too real. It may also be the problem with calling an Alien species by its human name, rather than its alien name. Aslan = Lion man, and always will, but they're not.

If you want to give the creator some liscence, and understand that the creation of aliens, convincing, cool aliens, is hard, The basic principle is being able to present aliens in terms that the reader can understand and relate to. Especially if its 1981, and you've got a few pages to get your point across. It was only until later that the Aslan species was developed more detail, like getting its own language, ship designs, etc.

It's been my experience as a player and Ref that most of the griping about aliens and the like has more to do with not being able to make the effort for whatever reason to envision what a possible alien culture would be about, or like. That's a pretty hard part of a hard science fiction game. routinely, its "Darrians are Space Elves" or "Vargr are Dog-Headed People" or "Aslan are Lion Samurais".

These comparisons are good because they allow a casual player to get some quick idea about what an alien is like, but they do a great disservice to any work put into to making them not just a set of stats with a funny head structure.
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  #77  
Old October 11th, 2008, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron Saarthuran View Post
That's always the problem with trying to make a game too real. It may also be the problem with calling an Alien species by its human name, rather than its alien name. Aslan = Lion man, and always will, but they're not.
You think giving the Aslan a weird hand structure somehow makes them more real than a more believable human like hand structure? Aslan were named thus because they were lion men for the first couple of years traveller was around. then the powers that be decided to change them up and make them more alien.. I guess.

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It's been my experience as a player and Ref that most of the griping about aliens and the like has more to do with not being able to make the effort for whatever reason to envision what a possible alien culture would be about, or like.
I have no issue with wrapping my mind around Aslan culture. I like Aslan culture. What I don't like is a unworkable hand tacked on three years on to what is basically a pride of chanur rip off. I do take note of your snide and underhanded insult. Some of you people with the attitude of superiority you exude need to reexamine yourselves. Because I like the original Aslan I am somehow to stupid to wrap my mind around Aslan culture? weak.
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Old October 11th, 2008, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Jamus View Post
You think giving the Aslan a weird hand structure somehow makes them more real than a more believable human like hand structure? Aslan were named thus because they were lion men for the first couple of years traveller was around. then the powers that be decided to change them up and make them more alien.. I guess.
The first official detailed mention of Aslan (AFAIK) was in JTAS #7 in the "Contact!" feature (1981). This article does not appear to support your contentions.

1. They were not merely "lion men":

"The earliest Terran explorers saw in them a vague resemblance to the terran lion and they have been described as lion-like ever since, although there is very little resemblance."

2. The middle thumb was part of the description from the beginning:

"Aslan have a single highly specialized claw under each thumb (see illo, p. 26) which folds back jacknife fashion into a horny covering in the base of the thumb and palm. Three fingers oppose a medially placed thumb, all sporting more ordinary retractable claws."

The illustration on page 26 very clearly shows this middle thumb.

This article was summarized and repeated in Library Data A-M (1981), as was the illustration on page 25.

Anyhow, FYI.

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What I don't like is a unworkable hand tacked on three years on...
The only earlier mention of Aslan I can find is in Twilight's Peak (1980)*, which has a short Library Data entry on the Aslan. The illustration is rather crude and is, indeed, little more than a "lion man". No mention is made of the middle thumb, but I don't think that the crude illustration clearly shows human-like hands. The right hand of the Aslan *could* be a human-like thumb, but could also be an extended middle thumb.

"Aslan: Intelligent major race evolved from carnivore/pouncers on the world Kuzu, situated 135 parsecs rimward from Capital. Physically, the typical adult Aslan mases 100 kilograms, stands upright to a height of 2 meters, and is similar in needs and preferences to humaniti. They have good night vision, a heightened sense of smell, and retractable claws (vestiges of earlier days) which can still prove useful in brawls." --Library Data, Twilight's Peak

In any case, GDW appears to have finalized the design of the Aslan pretty quickly, as the two products above were published less than a year apart (JTAS #7 came in the first quarter of 1981).

*The "Aslanic Heirate" appears in the wargame "Dark Nebula" (1980), which is basically an Imperium clone with fewer units and random map layouts. No details are given of the Aslan, however.

Last edited by tbeard1999; October 11th, 2008 at 11:43 PM..
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  #79  
Old October 12th, 2008, 01:05 AM
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That's the exact picture that I am thinking of when we're talking Aslan. The one with the Leader type with both arms out, with the claws out. I think its a Kieth.

It was no slight, just an observation that there is a tendency to mentally construct and deconstruct and reconstruct these sorts of things in athro pomorphic or humanocentric terms based on that being all that we know. Understandable, considering that we haven't met any lion-like aliens yet in real life. I'm sure having a thumb to the side would be unbelievable to an Aslan for the first time as well.

I am not sure why this is so contentious a subject, or why interest in it makes me some kind of Traveller Snob. I'd love to see some kind of machine or tech made for non human hands, how the instrumentality and craftsmanship is handled. Anthropometrics (or Ergonomics) is a part of my job requirement, and I find myself thinking often of that kind of stuff. Sorry to offend.
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Old October 12th, 2008, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
"Aslan: Intelligent major race evolved from carnivore/pouncers on the world Kuzu, situated 135 parsecs rimward from Capital. Physically, the typical adult Aslan mases 100 kilograms, stands upright to a height of 2 meters, and is similar in needs and preferences to humaniti. They have good night vision, a heightened sense of smell, and retractable claws (vestiges of earlier days) which can still prove useful in brawls." --Library Data, Twilight's Peak

In any case, GDW appears to have finalized the design of the Aslan pretty quickly, as the two products above were published less than a year apart (JTAS #7 came in the first quarter of 1981).
So we can all agree that the earliest mention of Aslan depicts them with human like hands and mentions retractable claws instead of jack knife style folding claws? I am not debating that Aslan got changed I am stating that I find the lion man Aslan, human hands and all, more believable than the later incarnation.

By your logic shouldn't you be loving on MGT instead of bashing it non-stop. It may have took awhile but looks like CT has finally been finalized by mongoose games.

The question becomes why change the hand? It does not help the story or make the species more believable. I think it was change for the sake of change which I am not a fan of.
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Last edited by Jamus; October 12th, 2008 at 01:39 PM.. Reason: snarkiness
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