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MegaTraveller Discuss of the MegaTraveller ruleset and the Rebellion Milieu

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Old October 25th, 2004, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Perhaps this particular discussion (i.e., aspects of the Rebellion Era that snap people's disbelief suspenders) could fork off onto a separate thread, preserving this one for Joe to answer the other questions?

John
Pursuant to John Appel's excellent suggestion I've reposted my response to Joe Fugate in the '10 qustions...' thread here. Please respond (if you want to respond) here instead of there.

[Begin Topic]


First of all, let me add my welcomes to those of the others and apologise in advance for the roasting I'm about to give you, but I'm afraid you've touched on a nerve here .

I will try to keep this civil. No, really. I promise. To try.

Quote:
Originally posted by JoeFugate:
It's actually more akin to 50% of all the nations on earth suddenly showing up on the borders of Canada and Mexico and then marching across. Set this in the mid 1800s ...
I'm afraid we'll never agree on that. You see, I happen to believe that no society can afford to build enough starships to transport ihatei in the numbers you imply. (Much less an Aslan society, since they must perpetually spend most of their substance guarding against their neighbors). Remember, an ihatei fleet is essentially a one-way expedition. That means each of it's members costs hundreds of thousands of credits to 'outfit'.

(And you're overlooking that part of the analogy where the US Navy may be overseas but the Army and the national guards (and the forest rangers and policemen and firefighters) are still home.)

Then the ihatei has to spend a large part of whatever funds the clan lord can spare them on transports rather than fighting ships.

Then those ihatei get oufitted with obsolescent ships, ensuring that they're several TLs below the Imperial ships that they will face if they go that way. A difference of several TLs translates as a massive force multiplier.

Quote:
And have many of our troops busy in central Asia ... that's a close analogy, although still not perfect.
Indeed not. Don't get me wrong, I can totally see Norris rush the entire regular fleet and most of the reserves to Vilis to guard against the expected Zhodani invasion.

But after that I also see the suddenly denuded border duchies start reactivating mothballed ships and building new ships at the shipyards that suddenly don't have any ships to maintain.

And I can see the non-jump-capable system defenses of worlds like Tobia, Glisten, and, yes, even Aki, kick the snot out of any ihatei incautious enough to poke a snout into the system.

And if I can't see the billions living on Tobia and Aki kick the snot out of whatever few tens of thousands Aslans that set foot on the surface, it is only because I can't see them getting that far in the first place.

And I can see a point where the forces at the border facing the Zhodani can't be further augmented because the local shipyards can't maintain any more.

What I can't see is Norris accepting the loss of any world like Tobia or Glisten or Aki, since each of them represent the industrial support of a lot of those warships that he really need.

And as the months go by and the Aslans and Vargr make trouble at his other borders while the Zhodani stay away month after month - I really, really can't see him keep stripping his other borders of each new ship activated or built.

Quote:
The Imperium does not have enough troops to defend all its borders all at once.
I have to disagree. According to the figures in MT:Rebellion sourcebook the Domain of Deneb should have a peacetime complement of several thousand combat vessels (cruisers and above) and a corresponding number of lesser ships. (That's not counting the reserve fleets or the system navies.)

I emphasize the 'peacetime', because the high-population worlds of the Domain are capable of supporting far more than a paltry two thousand combat vessels (plus auxiliaries) if they want to.

Quote:
Many of the races outside the Imperium decided to move quickly once they got the news (which still took time to reach everyone ... hence the mid 1800s analogy ... it could be months before our troops in central Asia even knew we had a problem back home).
The Domain of Deneb has considerably shorter lines of communication than the Aslans.

Quote:
Similar thing here. Plus it makes for more adventure, and that never hurts an adventure game.
Well, I'm all for adventure, but I do want a modicum of plausibility with it. I.e. any adventure set on a Tobia under the iron heel of Aslan invaders would do a world[*] of hurt to my willing suspension of disbelief.
[*] A high-population world

Now, if you had had the ihatei swarm all over the band of neutral worlds just outside the Domain's border, then I would have been with you 100%. But the moment you made the Aslan ihatei strong enough to invade the Imperium, you lost me.

Quote:
Of course, the Aslan are basically land squatters at heart, and the Vargr always like an excuse for a good scrap. Mess up the Imperial chain of command and set it into disarray
But there's no disarray. The Zhodani never show up. There's no chaos. Just an orderly transfer of fleet assets.

Quote:
...and it's likely all you will have to face for a while is the local system forces.
System forces that, in the case of Tobia and Glisten and several other worlds, are TL 15. Against obsolescent TL 13 ships. Ouch! [img]graemlins/toast.gif[/img]

Quote:
Once the Imperials sort things out, there's a good chance you could be entrenched and be able to defend your position.
Oh, I daresay a few ihatei would be able to sneak in and settle down on some of the low-pop worlds, but once the Imperial Navy show up it would be a choice of swearing fealthy to the Emperor (or the Archduke) or die. And if they do swear fealthy, they cease to be part of the problem and become part of the solution, don't they? ("How would you guys like some prime real estate in Gvurrdon sector?" )


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Old October 25th, 2004, 08:07 PM
RainOfSteel RainOfSteel is offline
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My lack of MegaTraveller materials will probably show pretty quickly here, nevertheless . . .


Quote:
Originally posted by ranke:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by JoeFugate:
It's actually more akin to 50% of all the nations on earth suddenly showing up on the borders of Canada and Mexico and then marching across. Set this in the mid 1800s ...
I'm afraid we'll never agree on that. You see, I happen to believe that no society can afford to build enough starships to transport ihatei in the numbers you imply. (Much less an Aslan society, since they must perpetually spend most of their substance guarding against their neighbors). Remember, an ihatei fleet is essentially a one-way expedition. That means each of it's members costs hundreds of thousands of credits to 'outfit'.
</font>[/QUOTE]That’s an interesting view. I guess I never thought of the Ihatei fleets of starships as purpose built for the task. I always thought of them as composed of people who were recruited from among a combination of pent-up volunteers who’ve been simmering to go for a long time, and the economically disadvantaged who see it as a way out of various difficulties. They would be packed up aboard older transports (hundreds of older and probably recently recommisioned vessels), with passengers shot-up with Fast Drug, and would come in behind the military fleets. It would have been the Aslan combined clan regular naval fleets (from the area) that smashed into IN forces, followed by Ihatei transports.

As for taking over high-pop worlds (as discussed below), yeah, even a few million Aslan regular soldiers (and bringing them in would take fleets of purpose built ships) would have great difficulty in taking over a well defended world (which is not to say that all Imperial worlds are necessarily well-defended). A civilian population disgorged with minimal (or even maximal) colonization equipment could never hope to win. Even gorilla warfare would be tough, because the Aslan would have great difficulty in hiding among the local human populations (except on Aslan Imperial worlds), and the NAS makes hiding in the bush pretty difficult. That’s assuming any military or civilian Aslans reach the ground in an assault on a high-pop world.


Quote:
Originally posted by rancke:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by JoeFugate:
The Imperium does not have enough troops to defend all its borders all at once.
I have to disagree. According to the figures in MT:Rebellion sourcebook the Domain of Deneb should have a peacetime complement of several thousand combat vessels (cruisers and above) and a corresponding number of lesser ships. (That's not counting the reserve fleets or the system navies.)
</font>[/QUOTE]My own economic analysis tends to indicate that the subsectors of the Imperium, can, in many cases, provide huge fleets of their own. Even poor subsectors (like, Lanth, for example) will likely receive subsector navy subsidies from the sector level.


Quote:
Originally posted by rancke:
I emphasize the 'peacetime', because the high-population worlds of the Domain are capable of supporting far more than a paltry two thousand combat vessels (plus auxiliaries) if they want to.
Yeah, the size of the local navy and army that a world like Glisten, Mora, Rhylanor, or Trin can put out is truly stunning. They could each get away with over a hundred major dreadnought-sized monitors, and the army could sport 10-50 million without trouble (yes, factional-c weaponry can take out the world, but the Aslan, IMO, would never use such tactics, it would make their whole quest pointless).


Quote:
Originally posted by rancke:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by JoeFugate:
Many of the races outside the Imperium decided to move quickly once they got the news (which still took time to reach everyone ... hence the mid 1800s analogy ... it could be months before our troops in central Asia even knew we had a problem back home).
The Domain of Deneb has considerably shorter lines of communication than the Aslans.

Well, I'm all for adventure, but I do want a modicum of plausibility with it. I.e. any adventure set on a Tobia under the iron heel of Aslan invaders would do a world[*] of hurt to my willing suspension of disbelief.
[*] A high-population world
</font>[/QUOTE]Hmmm, the timing would be important. But in the case of the Deneb Domain, they had not only all their own sector reserves, but the untouched reserves of the Deneb Depot (which was not tapped by Lucan).

And yes, once the Zhodani were found to not attack, the hammer would have fallen down on top of whatever worlds the Aslan had success against.


Quote:
Originally posted by rancke:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by JoeFugate:
...and it's likely all you will have to face for a while is the local system forces.
System forces that, in the case of Tobia and Glisten and several other worlds, are TL 15. Against obsolescent TL 13 ships. Ouch! [img]graemlins/toast.gif[/img]
</font>[/QUOTE]I grab your toast, butter, and eat! [img]graemlins/file_22.gif[/img]


Quote:
Originally posted by rancke:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by JoeFugate:
Once the Imperials sort things out, there's a good chance you could be entrenched and be able to defend your position.
Oh, I daresay a few ihatei would be able to sneak in and settle down on some of the low-pop worlds, but once the Imperial Navy show up it would be a choice of swearing fealthy to the Emperor (or the Archduke) or die. And if they do swear fealthy, they cease to be part of the problem and become part of the solution, don't they? ("How would you guys like some prime real estate in Gvurrdon sector?" )
</font>[/QUOTE]Yeah, this sounds reasonable, and seems to have been, historically what the Imperium has done . . . coopt Aslan invaders into the “sytsem”.


Quote:
Originally posted by rancke:
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Old October 25th, 2004, 08:43 PM
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The Assassination.

Heh.

Ok, I flatly assert that johny-come lately Dulinor could never, not in the six-odd years he could possibly have been plotting this have overcome the inherent security forces protecting the Emperor.

Throne Room Defenses.

•Dulinor reaches for his gun, begins lifting it clear of his holster. The TL-15 (and quite possiblly TL-16, given the Emperor has direct unrestricted access to the best of the best, or, otherwise, where did Virus itself come from; but that's another story) semi-AI computers continually monitoring the throne room immediately note this hostile act. They monitor the event, one millionth of second at a time, until the gun barrel reaches above about 30 degrees.

•At this point, a couple of things can happen. Two doors of ten-centimeter thick bonded superdense, from above and below, slam into place, rammed by explosive bolts, in less than a 1/1000th of a second, separating the Emperor from the suplicant (Dulinor, in this case), and from the Imperial Guard, as well. Or, fusion guns pop out from behind the walls and toast him (and any Imperial Guardsman who is having a bad hair day and decides he's going to "off" the Emperor to get fifteen weeks of fame) in approximately the same amount of time.

•I guess a lot of this has to do with mention of the Imperial Guard being "in on it". The idea is that when they took over the Avionics Torus, that they suddenly had control of the Palace. I call this baloney. I can see no way in which it would have happened (ok, incompetence from the top, yes; but the Imperium, I think, would have shattered far earlier in that case). Arbellatra certainly wouldn't have set up a praetorian guard right after the Civil War.

•IMHO, the Imperial Guard would have been the military right-hand of the Emperor, and would have done a lot of Palace security detail duty.

•But their personnel would not have been the ones defending the final doors to the Emperor's quarters, nor be the ones in charge of the actual Palace Security systems. It would have been tantamount to giving the Imperial Guard the keys to deciding who became Emperor, and with plenty of historical evidence to suggest that this would be so, I personally believe that Cleon I would have set up "brilliant" safeguards to insure that his realm did not fall to such a trap the moment after his death. Such a safeguard would have to be one of many, of course (but those are other stories).

-----
IMTU . . . .
(Or, my version of the voice of sweet reason.)

Personally, I came to the above conclusions around 1985 or so, after reading a big Dragon Magazine article on the world's intelligence agencies (which, I later discovered, was remarkably accurate given the available information of the day), and after studying some of the history of Rome and its Emperors and the Praetorian Guard.

I invented two agencies, Imperial Interstellar Intelligence, I3, (the main covert agency of the Imperium). And had Arbellatra create, during her own reign, the Imperial Secret Service (the Emperor's personal hatchet-men) in order to bring to heel the massive and then-corrupt I3 (the very corruption of which is what led to Plankwell's success against Jaqueline, who, along with her military subordinates, just didn't have the right information to combat Plankwell . . . I'd think the succeeding Emperors would learn a bit).

1)Never let the intelligence agency's grow lax. Always keep them in as fit a fighting trim as the military itself.

2)Don't let the Imperial Guard dictate final security, because in the end, it can't win against the might of an army group of IMs; and it might become a praetorian guard if given too much power.

---------

Anyway, the topic is, "that which shatters the suspension of disbelief" that is inherent in the Rebellion Timeline. Strephon's assassination as described just doens't make sense. If it were that easy, it would have been done before. Oh, hey, it was done before, more than once, and then a bunch of times during the Civil War . . . I think they'd have been on perpetual watch for it, but that's just me.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 08:51 PM
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I'll now enter in that I believe the GT alternate version of events where Dulinor's ships "explodes" (i.e whichever Imperial intelligence agency "disposes" of him at the most opportune momemnt) is by far the more logical case.

Dulinor, with freshly renewed Archducal powers reserrected from the pre-Civil War era, heady, arrogant, and not a little stupid, having lived a full life already with no powers of any consequence and having been of no real importance that whole time . . . and all the forces at his side, couldn't possibly hope, in just 6 years (1110, when it all started, to 1116) to come up with any plan which wouldn't be hopelessly transparent to the Emperor's vastly more experienced forces.

It just clicks that Dulinor would have been found out, and then eliminated in favor of Iolanthe's best friend, Dulinor's daughter. How's that for enhancing the security of the realm?
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Old October 25th, 2004, 08:51 PM
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I. Don't. Care.

At least not enough to waste time in a discussion that quickly meanders into statements of 'fact' that are as much based on assumptions/faith as anything else. I mean have you ever stood off an ihatei invasion force, or gone up against an interstellar rebellion navy?

{Unless of course you have wargamed the whole thing, in which case by all means tell us how you set it up, what rules you used, what assumptions you made and what the results were (the one time you did it), so we can discuss it on its merits. Or at least, did you ever actually roleplay in the game, or do you just armchair critique it?}

I mean it's about as useful as discussing space piracy, or why the 3rd Imperium should never have existed, or why artificial grav is a crock of b$, or how the exact numbers of troops in the Ramshackle Empire have to be identified before one can discuss whether the 4th Imperium has a snowball's chance in a red dwarf of surviving.

For crying out loud, you manage to pretend that a 2D map accurately represents 3D space, why not take the author's word that Aslan could cause a rebellion wracked empire trouble???
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Old October 25th, 2004, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Falkayn:
I. Don't. Care.
Well: You cared enough to post.

and . . .

Well: I. Do. Care.

Which is why I posted.

&lt;snip&gt;

Quote:
Originally posted by Falkayn:
For crying out loud, you manage to pretend that a 2D map accurately represents 3D space, why not take the author's word that Aslan could cause a rebellion wracked empire trouble???
Some few particular things must be accepted in order for it all to work. Every single thing that is possessed of this status works against the overall believeability of the OTU. Therefore, we must allow as few of them as possible to exist.

Jump Drives. Without them, everything slows down far to much to be fun in role-playing.

Thruster Plates. Elminates reaction-mass fuel and the problems inherent in calculating its use.

2D-Map. Because printing a 3D map useable by gamers in the context of the game is still impossible. Even if such a thing could be printed, I don't think the human visual system could ever comprehend it.

Jump Masking. Whoops. There's a whomping big load of trouble.

Gas Giant Skimming. Well, it seemed like a cool idea when they invented it.

Aslan Ihatei. Fleets of Aslan ships come out of nowhere and beat IN fleets of superior TL? And then successfully invade High-Pop worlds? Doesn't Tobia have a population of 20 Billion? How did the Aslan get the 100-200 million+ troops there that they would need, minimum, to occupy it? How did they transport them there? How did they pay them? What about Glisten, and it's billions? How did they operate successfully over the approx 15-20 parsec gap between the Imperial and Aslan borders? When such a thing as this is entered into the overall equation, we ask ourselves, does the whole OTU fall apart if it isn't there. Since the answer is, no, the OTU does not fall apart of it isn't there, then I must state that I'd prefer such such things not to be there at all.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Perhaps this particular discussion (i.e., aspects of the Rebellion Era that snap people's disbelief suspenders) could fork off onto a separate thread,
Fork off?!? Hey! Fork you, buddy!

C'mon, I'm just forkin' kiddin'

Scout
P.S. It's been one of those days - I just had to.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 10:31 PM
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Well, like my father-in-law used to say, "what a bunch of mumbo jumbo" when I used to tell him about Traveller.

I finally left the business because I started to agree with him. And I saw SF in general moving away from space opera into a more gritty realism mixed with horror.

Nope, sorry, not for me.

And for every concept and idea, there's a counter idea that makes perfect sense. And then there's a counter idea that pulls it back the other way.

Since it's all thought game mumbo jumbo anyway, back to the real world where things really matter.

That's the real reason why I got rid of DGP in the first place and I'm even more certain than ever these days that I made the right decision!

If the Rebellion irks you, then go back to Classic Traveller. In my heart of hearts, that's my favorite version of Traveller as well. The rebellion was a ploy to try and increase the possiblity of adventure ...

History is full of things that shouldn't have happened yet they did. You can take any genre, Star Wars or Star Trek, and pick it apart from any direction you chose and you will be right. You can take any genre and justify it till the cows come home and you will be right.

(Psst: Here's a hint. None of it really exists.)

Such are the ways of us humans trying to invent things that don't really exist. It will have holes. Welcome to the reality of being a fallible human!

In short, you are right. But were I to think about it long enough, I could probably come up with reasons to counter many of your arugments. But hey, I'm not in gaming any more and life's too short.

Don't take this all too seriously. I'm grinning as I write it ... brings back the days of the debates we'd have at game conventions with gamers. Nothing's perfect, including us.

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Old October 25th, 2004, 10:32 PM
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[quote]Originally posted by RainOfSteel:
Quote:
Some few particular things must be accepted in order for it all to work. Every single thing that is possessed of this status works against the overall believeability of the OTU. Therefore, we must allow as few of them as possible to exist.
Some things you can say are just axioms of the setting (like the fact that psi powers or jump travel or thruster plates exist, or piracy is viable in the OTU). Just accept them - and if you can't accept them, change them or play something else.

Quote:
2D-Map. Because printing a 3D map useable by gamers in the context of the game is still impossible. Even if such a thing could be printed, I don't think the human visual system could ever comprehend it.
This, I feel, is a somewhat large snapper of believability. It's a restriction caused by (a) the complexity of a 3D map and (b) the medium in which the map is presented in. Plus, it's only ever going to be accurate to a certain degree (even today, we're still finding new stars within 6 pc of Sol).

Nowadays of course, we can easily represent a 3D universe with specific computer programs like Galactic, or Astrosynthesis or even Celestia.


Quote:
Jump Masking. Whoops. There's a whomping big load of trouble.
Jump masking itself is somewhat odd. It's based on radius, which in itself is an strange thing to base it on. Personally, I think the only way for it to work is to be based on local density of material. Even a the rarefied atmosphere of a distended supergiant is denser than a nebula or interplanetary space, which is why all stars have 100D limits and nebulae don't.

Other than that though, I can't see how this is necessarily a "whomping big load of trouble".
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Old October 26th, 2004, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by JoeFugate:
Well, like my father-in-law used to say, "what a bunch of mumbo jumbo" when I used to tell him about Traveller.
[snip]
(Psst: Here's a hint. None of it really exists.)
Beautifully put! This is something I have believed for a long time, that the decisions that were made about the story arc were simply made to make things more FUN!

(Y'all remember "fun", don't you?)

Quote:
Don't take this all too seriously. I'm grinning as I write it ... brings back the days of the debates we'd have at game conventions with gamers. Nothing's perfect, including us.

Thank goodness - I was hoping you're not taking all this "chewing the fat" and "I don't like xxx..." hot air too seriously. Not good for the blood pressure, y'know.

(One of my more minor q's would be: Did you find that Trav fans were more vehement/passionate/one-eyed/obstinate/nit-picky than fans of other game systems? [img]graemlins/file_22.gif[/img] )
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