Traveller Store CotI Features New Posts Mark Forums Read Register


Go Back TravellerRPG.com > Citizens of the Imperium > Traveller 5 > Traveller 5 > Pre-Release Discussion

Pre-Release Discussion Archive of the pre-release T5 Public

 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old May 14th, 2001, 08:18 PM
T. Foster's Avatar
T. Foster T. Foster is offline
Citizen: SOC-13
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Posts: 708
Gallery : 0
T. Foster Citizen
Exclamation

Recent posts over on the T^20 forum by Hunter and others who've obviously thought about it have convinced me that with enough tweaking and manipulation of concepts like hit points and levels/experience points it just might be possible to craft a reasonable facsimile of the traditional 'Traveller feel' from the d20 system. Which is good, I suppose -- if d20 Traveller is inevitable, it might as well be something that's at least recognizable. And furthermore, judging by the positive response so far from d20 fans looking for a new genre to play around in, it looks like it might even be successful in drawing new players.

But one of the comments that already invariably comes up when discussing T^5 is "why bother; between GURPS and the reprints and all the old versions why do we need yet another set of rules?" and it doesn't take a great leap to predict how that sentiment will grow with the release of T^20, especially if it's relatively well-done and actually attains a significant level of popularity among the new d20 crowd.

The conventional wisdom, especially among younger and/or less-experienced players who will have only become introduced to Traveller through T^20, will run something like this (and I'm not just making this up; I'm already detecting it in some posts on the T^20 forum): "if 'Traveller' the game was so great, people would have been playing it all along, it would be as popular as D&D, and it would still be in-print, but since it's not as popular as D&D and not in-print, then it must not be as good as D&D. The game wasn't good enough to survive, and the only way they can get people to play it now is to adapt it to the (superior) D&D rules. Surely the best parts of their game are the ones they've brought over to D&D, so we have the best of both worlds: the best rules (D&D) combined with the best genre/style and setting (Traveller, 'hard' SF)."

Since the mountain has come to Mohammed, why would Mohammed then go to the mountain? Why would one of these T^20 players want to buy and learn the 'real Traveller' game system when the makers themselves have already conceded that it's not as good as the game they already know (d20/D&D) by virtue of having brought the best parts of their game (genre-feel & setting) and converted them over to the much more successful (and therefore self-evidently better) d20 system?

For these reasons, these new kids aren't likely to convert on their own from T^20 to some theoretical T^5, and are much less likely to convert to some musty old out-of-print version like CT or MT. But gradually, slowly and surely and no matter what they're saying now, old-timers WILL begin convertng over to T^20; not because they think it's better, but because it's what's being played and if they want to play 'Traveller' with new players that's what they'll have to do -- and Traveller as a game system will finally be dead.

So then what happens to the folks for whom Traveller is not just a setting or style of play, but an actual game? Those who see that the T^20 rules are just a crude approximation and that the real Traveller's rules are actually better, and have been for 20+ years; that D&D's continued and revitalized success in the marketplace has much less to do with its quality as a rules-set than brand-recognition, inertia, massive corporate backing, and (nowadays) intensely aggressive (and predatory) marketing, and that Traveller/GDW's failure was all about business and economics, not a reflection of their games' quality? Will there be enough of these die-hard grognards left over to make a viable market for T^5, to keep the dream and the game alive in hopes that someday some d20 players will realize the truth and see that it's sometimes worth the effort to learn a new game system if that game system is actually better? Or will D&D and d20 win the war through financial and numerical superiority alone, convincing an entire generation that there never has been and never can be a better rpg than D&D/d20, stifling innovation (except in certain clearly-labeled subservient 'licensee ghettoes'), trading 2+ decades of progress for a handful of conversions and compromises, and leaving the old-timers to seal themselves away with their musty old boxed-sets, dreaming of the good old days of competition, diversity, and innovation.

We must try to prevent this, and the best way to do so is to make sure that T^5, when and if it's ever released, is the best possible SFRPG -- not just an alternative to T^20 for the old-timers and grognards who aren't already too attached to their CT/MT/TNE/T4/GT, but something clearly and demonstrably superior to everything that's come before it, Traveller and non-Traveller alike. Some half-assed 'T4.1' dragging out hoary old blocks of text from 'The Traveller Book' won't cut it, and if that's the best we can come up with it's probably not worth the effort of even trying - let the kids have T^20 and all the old-timers can keep on using their homebrew systems-of-choice, content that 'Traveller' in some form or another still exists at all.

But we're capable of more than that; there's still potential out there for Traveller to rise up and become a genuine alternative to the D&D/d20 juggernaut just as it was in the 1980s, to take advantage of the resurgence of interest in SF gaming and 'the Traveller feel' that T^20 will hopefully spark and show these new players that there is another way; that there really can be something better than D&D/d20 out there. But the opportunity is fleeting -- we've got make a resolution right now to do T^5 and do it right, or else give up, declare d20 "good enough," and go home to our LBBs and GURPS books.
  #2  
Old May 15th, 2001, 12:08 AM
halofgazal halofgazal is offline
Citizen: SOC-5
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cincinnati,OH,USA
Posts: 15
Gallery : 0
halofgazal Citizen
Post

The question is not whether we, the consumers are capable of making T5 a viable enterprise, but whether the designers want to bother. Doing a full redesign of the game is a time consuming enterprise and the designers have obviously seen nothing that indicates that T5 would succeed regardless of the form it took.

The debates over rules on the T5 forum create the clear impression that current Traveller fans would be disatisfied with any set of rules that might be published. We cannot agree on the task system to be used, starship construction, or vehicles. I myself have contributed to these debates, and therefore must take some of the blame for creating this impression.

From the perspective of the designers it must simply be easier to gamble on the D20 Traveller and hope that new players can be found.

My own overall favorite system was MegaTraveller, which was very compatible with Classic Traveller, and much more comprehensive. Also valuable was the task system. By using house rules adapted from Striker, it made a very playable game.

Traveller New Era sounded like a good idea, until I had to deal with fractional penetrations, armor values of 500+, and Gauss Rifles that were less effective than Uzis. However, I still like the task system.

T4 was the most amazingly poorly done patch job I have ever seen. The task system was rejected out of hand (I've said that before) by every player I showed it to. Ground combat involved so many DMs that I failed to see why any change in task difficulty would make a difference. To add insult to injury, there was no consistancy to the game background. There was one map of Sylea and surrounds in the basic rules, another different sector map in the Milieu 0 book, and a text in the Milieu 0 book totally at odds with both. One would expect the game background of founding an empire against all odds to be exciting, but they botched that too.

Currently, I run a modified Milieu 0 campaign using a very modified version of the T4 rules. I have replaced the task system (adapting the TNE D20 system and banishing DMs wherever possible), incorporated special assignments into character generation (to give characters enough skills to make rolling less skill+attribute on 1D20 possible). Space and vehicle combat have been overhauled to eliminate having to deal with both difficulty level changes and DMs. Obviously, this has taken a lot of work on my part and the result is not perfect. My players like it, however.

I have considered tinkering with either MegaTraveller or Classic Traveller again, particularly since ordering the Classic Reprints. However, it would mean ending a campaign and starting a new one.

Despite the TNE and T4 disasters, I also wanted to see a new edition. I had sincerely hoped that T5 would be a more modern product every bit as great as the Little Black Books were. I would still like to see it.

After all, I do not want to play a Third-Level Marine.
  #3  
Old May 15th, 2001, 05:26 AM
Gallowglass Gallowglass is offline
Citizen: SOC-12
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: York, England
Posts: 289
Gallery : 0
Gallowglass Citizen
Post

I think in the short term, T20 is god for Traveller. But in the medium to long term, d20 and the OGL are irrelevant. WotC like to _think_ they are the perfect strategy to lead to market domination, but the role-playing hobby is _not_ identical to the market.

People play d20/D&D because it is easy to do so: Well supported, easy to understand, lots of material that holds the referee's hand. But RPG's stimulate the imagination and after a time, a significant percentage of players will look beyong D&D. They always have.

What Traveller needs is a new version that provides that support, that doesn't intimidate newbie referees. The current CT reprints could be marketed this way and whilst the _rules_ are an important part of that, it is presenting the setting well that is I think key.

What FFE needs to do, rather than worry about a new version of Traveller-as-Game-System is to start publishing new canon Traveller material, ideally Scenario and campaign hooks. A new 76 Patrons, new original short adventures. Stuff that a Ref can use in their games. That's what the market wants: die hard fans who have the time to waste ;-> on message boards will write their own material, but the D&D juggernaut is fuelled by the fact that as a D&D player/GM, if you have the money, playing/running the game takes little effort outside running the actual sessions.

And I have got the CT reprints, and a pool of players none of whom have have played Traveller before...
  #4  
Old May 15th, 2001, 12:43 PM
halofgazal halofgazal is offline
Citizen: SOC-5
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cincinnati,OH,USA
Posts: 15
Gallery : 0
halofgazal Citizen
Post

I agree with the previous post. One of the problems with previous editions of Traveller has been the lack of adventure support. This was particularly telling with MegaTraveller, where you had a box set that included Spinward Marches data and a map of the sector, but no published adventures for the Marches until Arrival Vengance came along. Unless you were willing to suscribe to the Traveller's Digest or the MegaTraveller Journal, there were no published adventures in the main game area.

However, the sales figures given in the various volumes of the reprint series give a hint as to why fewer advetures were published for later editons of Traveller. In Classic Traveller, rules sets sold the most, rules expansion books sold somewhat less, supplements less, and adventures even less. Note that Signal GK sold only 5100 copies. Presumably, there is considerable investment in bringing out a new product, and 5100 copies at $6.00 a piece would not justify it.
  #5  
Old May 15th, 2001, 02:34 PM
halofgazal halofgazal is offline
Citizen: SOC-5
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cincinnati,OH,USA
Posts: 15
Gallery : 0
halofgazal Citizen
Post

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by T. Foster:

We must try to prevent this, and the best way to do so is to make sure that T^5, when and if it's ever released, is the best possible SFRPG -- not just an alternative to T^20 for the old-timers and grognards who aren't already too attached to their CT/MT/TNE/T4/GT, but something clearly and demonstrably superior to everything that's come before it, Traveller and non-Traveller alike. Some half-assed 'T4.1' dragging out hoary old blocks of text from 'The Traveller Book' won't cut it, and if that's the best we can come up with it's probably not worth the effort of even trying - let the kids have T^20 and all the old-timers can keep on using their homebrew systems-of-choice, content that 'Traveller' in some form or another still exists at all.

But we're capable of more than that; there's still potential out there for Traveller to rise up and become a genuine alternative to the D&D/d20 juggernaut just as it was in the 1980s, to take advantage of the resurgence of interest in SF gaming and 'the Traveller feel' that T^20 will hopefully spark and show these new players that there is another way; that there really can be something better than D&D/d20 out there. But the opportunity is fleeting -- we've got make a resolution right now to do T^5 and do it right, or else give up, declare d20 "good enough," and go home to our LBBs and GURPS books.[/B]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Your post sounds like a clarion call to arms, and I must say that I am at least partly inspired.

Well, what about the rest of the gaming industry? Are the people at Steve Jackson Games, Far Future Enterprises, whatever is left of FASA, and others willing to do battle? Are we ready to face the WOC/TSR Dreadnaught? That is the real question. The fact is that non-level role playing has a place. There are those of us who do not want to have our character defined by a classes abilities and what level we are. We want characters defined by their experiences, and history. After all there is a difference between a Special Forces Intelligence Specialist and a Special Forces Weapons Specialist. A difference between a SEAL and a Green Beret, etc. To an eighteen year old fresh into the latest D&D game they may all be fighters or rangers, but we know better.

I must confess that I don't know much about the D20 license system (I just bought D&D third edition yesterday), but I don't know if it is possible to generate a sniper without going to say 10th level (Seven or Eight Terms in T^20 generation?). I doubt that it takes 28 years to develop a good military sniper.

What is distressing to me is that while Hunter has replied to prove me wrong about what seemed to be the impending demise of GURPS Traveller, nobody among the designers for Traveller has replied to state that T5 is still a live concern.
  #6  
Old May 15th, 2001, 04:12 PM
Uncle Bob Uncle Bob is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 1,914
Gallery : 0
Uncle Bob Citizen
Post

The shape of the dice don't matter. I can see terms and levels as being roughly equivalent. Hit points we have always had with us, and we can work around it.

I f*#*in' hate the idea of XPs.

Traveller was the first "storyteller" game, driven by narrative rather than "victory points." Success was an individual thing. Some characters succeeded by becoming wealthy. Some became nobles. Some learned more about the Origins of Man, or What Happened to Daddy? Sir Richard got to crawl back into his bottle and listen to the waves on the beach, again. That was the same in CT, MT, TNE, or T4.

Experience points change that. You have an objective, shared, measure of success, encouraging gamesmanship rather than storytelling. These XPs are awarded by the referee so, beyond creating a entertaining situation and characters, he is now a potentate, determining which chracters are Worthy and dispensing largess accordingly.
  #7  
Old May 18th, 2001, 08:16 AM
lucasdigital lucasdigital is offline
Citizen: SOC-12
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 129
Gallery : 21
lucasdigital Citizen
Post


There is much in this thread that I agree with.

My attention in RPG's and traveller was re-awakened by the impulsive purchase of the new D20 version of STAR WARS from WWC.

I was expecting it to represent almost a decade of progress since I was a regular gamer.

I was so disapointed that I only managed to fight my way through three quarters of the rules.

That game was graphically excellent, with a good written style. I considered the rules to be a form of mental punishment. Everything is so needlessly abstracted that all the reality is sucked away, leaving xp's classes, levels. The rules just went on and on, table after needless table.

I am all for running games using rules that use D20 mechanics, so long as the rules are a step forward not a disasterous attempt to create marketshare out of an association with the D&D family.

Some of you may also shudder at the word 'Mythus', an attempt by GDW to attract customers from TSR which was a kiss of death to GDW.

Mark Lucas
www.lucas-digital.com

  #8  
Old May 18th, 2001, 04:46 PM
jalberti's Avatar
jalberti jalberti is offline
Citizen: SOC-10
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Erie, PA
Posts: 78
Gallery : 0
jalberti Citizen
Question

What happened to GDW?

I was playing CT and later MT through high school and college. Once I entered the Navy back in 1994, I stopped playing because of all my time being forward deployed.

After I unpacked all my Traveller material and got back into the game in 1999, I found GDW no longer existed.

Along with the Traveller line (CT, MT, and TNE) I was fond of many of the wargames the company produced and was surprised they went under. There was obviously much talent in the company, afterall, they produced Traveller.

Was TNE part of the demise? I never liked the system and background, but the published works were of high quality.

Joe Alberti
  #9  
Old May 18th, 2001, 06:48 PM
T. Foster's Avatar
T. Foster T. Foster is offline
Citizen: SOC-13
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Posts: 708
Gallery : 0
T. Foster Citizen
Unhappy

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jalberti:
What happened to GDW?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

So far as I've been able to gather (and someone Please correct me if I'm misstating - rather than just oversimplifying - anything), various factors (including the Mythus debacle, the underwhelming success of TNE, the early 90s CCG craze which GDW wasn't a part of, and the generally sorry state of the entire rpg & wargame industry at the time) led to a series of widespread and persistent rumors of GDW's imminent and inevitable collapse. Eventually distributors (many of whom were themselves hurting, especially after the CCG-bubble began to burst) started believing these rumors and became reluctant to order and stock GDW product (not wanting to get stuck with outstanding orders and/or unsaleable product from a company on the verge of going under), which essentially closed off GDW's primary source of sales and revenue -- they had the product, but no way of getting it to customers in sufficient quantity to keep them afloat. Thus the rumors became self-fulfilling prophecy.

Surely someone who was there at the time (like Loren Wiseman or Frank Chadwick) could add more details and missing puzzle-pieces, but I suspect it's not a topic they really enjoy dredging up.

Edited for spelling and to remove excess 'surely's.


[This message has been edited by T. Foster (edited 18 May 2001).]
  #10  
Old May 18th, 2001, 06:50 PM
Uncle Bob Uncle Bob is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 1,914
Gallery : 0
Uncle Bob Citizen
Post

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jalberti:
What happened to GDW?

Joe Alberti
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

There may be more authoritarian answers, but I believe the answer is the PC. Playing against your computer is easier than collecting like-minded nerds for a board game, and the market for board games virtually disappeared. Wargamers used to drift into roleplaying, now they drift into on-line gaming.

And the problem with GDW RPGs was that they
had high (read expensive) production values,
with overly-complex rules (including the atrocius house rules) and poorly thought out settings.

A lot of us old wargamers preferred Traveller as an RPG because we were used to a game representing objective reality (We know that a Firefly can outshoot a Panther, even if it was a Sherman). Look at the D20 forum and see how often people say, "it's just a game" to defend unrealistic mechanics. These people are the future of RPGs, and I am not one of them.

[This message has been edited by Uncle Bob (edited 18 May 2001).]
 

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

This website and its contents are copyright ©2010- Far Future Enterprises. All rights reserved. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises .
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright (c) 2010-2013, Far Future Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.