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  #1  
Old October 26th, 2010, 11:36 AM
Andrew Boulton Andrew Boulton is offline
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Default 10 Questions For Marc W. Miller - Answers

10 Questions For Marc W. Miller

Part 1



"Why did CT retain the Bk2/Bk5 design system dichotomy?"
- Aramis

Close readers may notice that on the true CT first edition, characters received one skill per term during career resolution. That level of skill quickly proved unacceptable. In the 1981 edition, we made a general change to one skill per year instead. But before then, the forces for change produced (in Mercenary) the more extensive Mercenary Character Generation system. I thought each had its place in the game: the Book 1 system for casual players and for less well defined careers, the Mercenary system for the expanded rules books like High Guard and Scouts.

Um..

Oh? You meant the ship design system?

The same idea roughly applies. There’s the simpler system for the more casual players, and then the deeper system for more involved players. I think it’s a good differentiation: In Traveller5 we have the ACS Adventure Class System for ships up to 2000 tons, and then BCS Battle Class Ships for greater sizes. One is for player-oriented activity, and one is for big battles.



"Why wasn't CT 2E (post 1981) marked clearly as a 2nd edition?"
- Aramis

We didn’t consider the 1981 revision a new edition; it was just fixing the cumulative suggestions and errata that we thought important. In the broad spectrum of editions today, I think it would be labeled edition 1.3 or so.



"Back in 1983, as a young lad I received the Traveller Box set via mail order from GDW. For many years I held onto hand-written order fulfillment form and envelop, wondering which now-well known GDW personality was most likely to have written it. Any ideas?"
- Pmbnss

Send me a scan, and I’ll identify the handwriting.


"If you had the chance to rewrite it from the start, what would you have changed, knowing what you know now?"
- HiverLord

Actually, I have a chance to rewrite from the start, knowing everything I know now, and we’re calling it T5. But I don’t think that T5 would have flown back then… its built on the backs of several editions and the feedback from thousands of players

So I’ll brainstorm a version that should have existed, if I had known then what I know now. I would have made the system more self-explanatory. I would have created a true introductory system (as we’re working on in Traveller8) that would have allowed adventures without knowing a lot about role-playing… more than just a subset of Traveller: an explained subset with specific milestones that the players would learn so they could advance to real Traveller.

Finally, I would have devoted more of GDW’s resources to making Traveller an even more widely played game. At the time, GDW was also publishing a wide range of board wargames that used a lot of our resources to much less effect.



"Of all the available options, what is your favorite setting?"
- HiverLord

The Golden Age has to be my favorite. I know it like I had lived through it, several times.

But there’s another I want to explore: the era of the Ancients and their interaction with their Human and Vargr servant/slaves. To me it seems very Barsoomian: human heroes swashbuckling around major parts of the galaxy doing errands for Grandfather and his Sons; sometimes in conflict with other Humans and Vargr who are on errands with conflicting priorities. Recently, we think we have defined how we can bring this era into the playable span of History within T5, and I am excited about the prospect.


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  #2  
Old October 26th, 2010, 11:38 AM
Andrew Boulton Andrew Boulton is offline
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10 Questions For Marc W. Miller

Part 2



"Marc (if I may), was the CT LBB2 trade system with it's per jump rates and the rest supposed to apply for any and all trade in the game, or was it really meant to be just for player characters operating a jump-1 Free Trader?"
- far-trader

Although I want the systems to define how the whole world works, I also understand that they can’t. The trade system was intended to define what a typical Free Trader could expect to make, and skewed slightly hard, to encourage supplemental activity to make up for the losses that Trade seemed to generate.



"What impact did Star Wars and the whole slew of Science Fiction films have on your perceptions of Traveller as the game evolved beyond the Little Black Books?"
- kafka47

Loren Wiseman and I drove to suburban Chicago to see Star Wars in the interval between when we sent Traveller to the printer and when it came back. We were both riveted to our seats, seeing this aspect of Traveller and that aspect of Traveller in scene. Making Star Wars stuff possible in Traveller seemed obvious to us: clearly there were players looking for that potential.

Remember that the original concept for Traveller was very GURPS-ish: a generic system that could emulate every possible part of SF. And in the first year, we did very little support beyond the basic rules. It was only after we started writing adventures that the Imperium started taking shape as a real background.



"Would you consider hiring a writer for the Junior edition of Traveller that you play with your Grandkids through the Mongoose OGL?"
- kafka47



I would consider a port of Traveller8 to MGT once T8 is in its advanced stages.



"In light of some of the changes of how RPGs are constructed...why not adopt some of those innovations into Traveller? If they have influenced your thinking what might we see reflected in T5 or the OGL?"
- kafka47

I have indeed paid a lot of attention to the evolution of role-playing technology, sometimes with heartburn as a result. Traveller invented skills in role-playing, and then invented tasks as a specific process in game play. It went from a D&D like system to a well-stated, state of the art system over the course of several editions.

The heartburn I refer to is the switch from roll-over to roll-under. It still causes arguments, but it is clearly a response to a reasoned, rational analysis of how role-playing games can best be presented.

We’re always open to adopting new technology.



"What was the logic behind closing off the bulk of the OTU to the OGL?"
- kafka47


The bulk of the OTU is closed to publishing within the OGL. Imagine a published adventure that killed off Strephon and started a Rebellion and... OK, bad example. But imagine a published adventure under OGL that redefined Vland, or defined the Barracks Emperors in some what that had great unforeseen consequences. I wanted to avoid that.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 07:01 PM
Keklas Rekobah Keklas Rekobah is offline
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Excellent. Thank you, Marc and Andrew.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Boulton View Post
10 Questions For Marc W. Miller

Part 2

<snip>
I would consider a port of Traveller8 to MGT once T8 is in its advanced stages.
<snip>
What is Traveller8? When I Bing it I just get some light.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 08:40 PM
far-trader far-trader is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Space Hamster View Post
What is Traveller8? When I Bing it I just get some light.
As I understand it Traveller 8 is a beginner, introductory, or light Traveller game designed for the very young. Pre-teen is the vibe I was getting. But I've not seen anything specific as far as game play or whatever.

EDIT: Also a thank you to Marc for taking the time to answer some questions. Very cool
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Old October 28th, 2010, 10:12 AM
Andrew Boulton Andrew Boulton is offline
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Yup, that about covers it.

BTW, there are more answers to come...
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Old October 29th, 2010, 04:07 PM
JLockett JLockett is offline
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"I would have created a true introductory system (as we’re working on in Traveller8) that would have allowed adventures without knowing a lot about role-playing…"

To this day, I fondly remember CT Book 0, An Introduction to Traveller, and its "Appendix I: Session." I consider it one of the finest introductions to role-playing ever to have appeared, giving both external and internal dialogue for players and referee, showing both pre-determined and improvised portions of a scenario.

I hope that material would be the guide for some of the explanatory text currently under development. Humans learn best through stories and examples.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 12:10 PM
Andrew Boulton Andrew Boulton is offline
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I've just posted a bonus question in the Moot.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 03:19 AM
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Wow, awsome stuff.
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Old November 27th, 2010, 10:15 AM
MJD MJD is offline
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These questions are mainly about the past of the game, which is obviously of great interest to many readers.

It would be interesting to pose 10 questions about the future and current plans.

A few that leap to mind are:

1. What format will T5 use (eg, a core book and supplements for various things, or a giant volume with everything in it)?
2. Will there be an 'official' setting as the 3rd Imperium was to various other incarnations?
3. What will that setting be?
4. Are there any plans for utility software tie-ins, (eg star system generator, ship designer and so forth)?
5. What sort of time frame are we looking at before T5 is commercially available, and then how long until enough supplements appear to make people want to switch to its setting?
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