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T4 - Marc Miller's Traveller Discussion of T4 - Marc Miller's Traveller from Imperium Games and the Milieu 0 setting.

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Old April 15th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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I've downloaded T4 from DTRPG when it was free; I'm now going to read through it seriously for the first time (I've read it once, but only in a very causual way) and post my comments here. I'm probably going to use it as a resource for CT and as a source of inspiration for house-rules instead of playing it directly.

So, let's start.

First I must say that I like the illustrated scenes (such as on p.6 saying "The future of the Imperium rests on the shoulders of capable, trustworthy individuals....". These convey the spirit of the setting in words as well as in graphics. This is a very good idea about introducing the OTU - I think that it offers one potential (and very good) answer to the question raised by this thread.

The following overview of Traveller (basic game assumptions and themes, as well as OTU timeline overview) on pp.7-9 is also a very good attempt at such a thing - it conveys the important things in a nutshell and in merely two and a half pages. Sure, it's a recap of LBB0 and the "what is traveller" booklet in most part, but it's quite good nonetheless.

More later.
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Old April 15th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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I've downloaded T4 from DTRPG when it was free; I'm now going to read through it seriously for the first time (I've read it once, but only in a very causual way) and post my comments here. I'm probably going to use it as a resource for CT and as a source of inspiration for house-rules instead of playing it directly.

So, let's start.

First I must say that I like the illustrated scenes (such as on p.6 saying "The future of the Imperium rests on the shoulders of capable, trustworthy individuals....". These convey the spirit of the setting in words as well as in graphics. This is a very good idea about introducing the OTU - I think that it offers one potential (and very good) answer to the question raised by this thread.

The following overview of Traveller (basic game assumptions and themes, as well as OTU timeline overview) on pp.7-9 is also a very good attempt at such a thing - it conveys the important things in a nutshell and in merely two and a half pages. Sure, it's a recap of LBB0 and the "what is traveller" booklet in most part, but it's quite good nonetheless.

More later.
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Old April 15th, 2006, 12:52 PM
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Hmm... So that summary is from LBB0? Interesting. I really liked it as well, and have copied it for showing potential players.
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Old April 15th, 2006, 12:52 PM
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Hmm... So that summary is from LBB0? Interesting. I really liked it as well, and have copied it for showing potential players.
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Old April 15th, 2006, 03:48 PM
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It's a combination of LBB0 material with the "Introduction to Traveller"/"What is Traveller" pamphlet with some historical data added on.
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Old April 15th, 2006, 03:48 PM
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It's a combination of LBB0 material with the "Introduction to Traveller"/"What is Traveller" pamphlet with some historical data added on.
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Old April 15th, 2006, 06:30 PM
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Comments about the T4 CharGen system - Part 1

First and foremost, it seems that Mark Miller has decided to somewhat "demilitarize" Traveller - instead of 50% of the basic careers being military ones (as in CT), T4 has 30% - without going to the vast amount of careers available in MT.

Hmmm... No mention of getting the Referee's permission when choosing between the three characteristic-generation methods? My favorite is the second one (some choice, but not much room for serious minmaxing); however, each system generates characters with a different power level, so it's probably the referee's call.

Endurance includes determination (i.e. willpower) as well? An interesting idea!

It seems from the tables that any character from amy homeworld may receive skills of any tech level (i.e. the roll of 1D to select the Background Skill table); I'd prefer the table to be chosen instead according to the homeworld's TL.

Wait... You get a Computer skill for free at TL5+? TL7+ seems more appropriate.

The "Breathing Life into your Character" box is a very good idea - it shows new players how to convert the semi-random CharGen results into a character's background.

The pre-enlistment system is probably one of T4's strong points; it is (relatively) simple, flexible and quasi-realistic. I'll probably get some inspiration from it to my own preenlistment house-rules (though I won't steal anything - just apply a few - not all - of the basic concepts to the systems presented in CT's LBBs 5-7). I also like their formatting as "cards" on pp.27-28.

The "Preferential Enrollment" rule is also a good idea by itself - and is quite realistic.

Hmmm... It seems that the pre-enlistment options give alot to the Army and Navy and ignore the Marines

Wait! Why roll (in the preenlistment phase) BELOW numbers rather than ABOVE them? I know, statistics could be similar, but it somehow violates my Traveller logic. Oh no! It applies to all "Target Numbers"!
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Old April 15th, 2006, 06:30 PM
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Comments about the T4 CharGen system - Part 1

First and foremost, it seems that Mark Miller has decided to somewhat "demilitarize" Traveller - instead of 50% of the basic careers being military ones (as in CT), T4 has 30% - without going to the vast amount of careers available in MT.

Hmmm... No mention of getting the Referee's permission when choosing between the three characteristic-generation methods? My favorite is the second one (some choice, but not much room for serious minmaxing); however, each system generates characters with a different power level, so it's probably the referee's call.

Endurance includes determination (i.e. willpower) as well? An interesting idea!

It seems from the tables that any character from amy homeworld may receive skills of any tech level (i.e. the roll of 1D to select the Background Skill table); I'd prefer the table to be chosen instead according to the homeworld's TL.

Wait... You get a Computer skill for free at TL5+? TL7+ seems more appropriate.

The "Breathing Life into your Character" box is a very good idea - it shows new players how to convert the semi-random CharGen results into a character's background.

The pre-enlistment system is probably one of T4's strong points; it is (relatively) simple, flexible and quasi-realistic. I'll probably get some inspiration from it to my own preenlistment house-rules (though I won't steal anything - just apply a few - not all - of the basic concepts to the systems presented in CT's LBBs 5-7). I also like their formatting as "cards" on pp.27-28.

The "Preferential Enrollment" rule is also a good idea by itself - and is quite realistic.

Hmmm... It seems that the pre-enlistment options give alot to the Army and Navy and ignore the Marines

Wait! Why roll (in the preenlistment phase) BELOW numbers rather than ABOVE them? I know, statistics could be similar, but it somehow violates my Traveller logic. Oh no! It applies to all "Target Numbers"!
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Old April 16th, 2006, 11:26 AM
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Comments about the T4 CharGen system - Part 2

Again, the "roll below the Difficulty Number" method rather than rolling the target number or above, is quite contradictory to the standard practice of many RPGs - and it might confuse newcomers.

And why change the terminology from the CT/MT conventions (i.e. "Injury" rather than "Survival", "Continuance" rather than "Re-Enlistment" and so on)? It confuses the old fans...

Once again, "preferential enlistment" is a good idea - it speeds up the chargen system, allows players to choose (within limits) a career by arranging their charaacteristics in a desired way (using characteristic generation methods 2 or 3), and it sometimes highlights the in-game theme of "haves" vs. "have nots".

Automatic Draft if you roll EXTACTLY 12 on your Enlistment throw - a good idea to keep things interesting (in the more standard Traveller "roll below" mechanic, that'll be 2, not 12).

The Injury (i.e. Survival) rule is well-made and well defined and follows the CT optional rule quite closely.

The way Enlisted Ranks are handled is quite logical (is it realistic?); it also gives something to all those non-comissioned men to put in their resume's.

Is freely selecting skills from tables such a good idea for PCs? I mean, it speeds up NPC generation, but it might lead to a certain degree of minmaxing.

Changing between careers is a great idea, which I already incorporate in my CT CharGen variant (it was inpired by my previous and less thorough reading of T4).

Aging (p.22) is somewhat reduced in severity when compared to CT - now the chances to suffer from characteristic losses in the 30's and 40's of ones life are very slim. But still, why isn't aging and life expectancy dependant on TL? even now (TL7-8) we start aging seriously at a far later age than in the Dark Ages (TL1-3), but I guess this was omitted for the sake of simplicity. And i don't like the fact that aging goes in 5-year intervals - it doesn't fit too well with the Terms of Service (CT's aging is checked in 4-year intervals IIRC).

Scouts (and non-military personnel?) do not receive Retirement Pay (p.24)? It seems that the Milieu-Zero Imperium had quite a "flexible labor market" (read: good conditions for the employers, life sucks for the employee)... For the Scout it's probably replaced in some cases by a Type-S, but still...

Common Skills (p.26): Grav Craft at TL7 and Computer at TL5? Isn't it a bit too low?

Oh, and I see there IS some effect of TL on Background Skills; but it seems that this effect is only partial, so it probably assumes that the low-TL world has some outside contact.

Equestrian listed as a high-tech skill (p.26)???

And it looks as if T4 characters have far more skills than their CT (even expanded system) counterparts - they recieve 4 skills per term AUTOMATICALLY, which CT characters (using LBB4-7 Expanded systems) have to roll each year to see if they recieve a skill.

The description of each career (pp.29-34) and the "Routine Tasks" are good ideas - they help the player develop a background for her character and get a "feel" for her.
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  #10  
Old April 16th, 2006, 11:26 AM
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Comments about the T4 CharGen system - Part 2

Again, the "roll below the Difficulty Number" method rather than rolling the target number or above, is quite contradictory to the standard practice of many RPGs - and it might confuse newcomers.

And why change the terminology from the CT/MT conventions (i.e. "Injury" rather than "Survival", "Continuance" rather than "Re-Enlistment" and so on)? It confuses the old fans...

Once again, "preferential enlistment" is a good idea - it speeds up the chargen system, allows players to choose (within limits) a career by arranging their charaacteristics in a desired way (using characteristic generation methods 2 or 3), and it sometimes highlights the in-game theme of "haves" vs. "have nots".

Automatic Draft if you roll EXTACTLY 12 on your Enlistment throw - a good idea to keep things interesting (in the more standard Traveller "roll below" mechanic, that'll be 2, not 12).

The Injury (i.e. Survival) rule is well-made and well defined and follows the CT optional rule quite closely.

The way Enlisted Ranks are handled is quite logical (is it realistic?); it also gives something to all those non-comissioned men to put in their resume's.

Is freely selecting skills from tables such a good idea for PCs? I mean, it speeds up NPC generation, but it might lead to a certain degree of minmaxing.

Changing between careers is a great idea, which I already incorporate in my CT CharGen variant (it was inpired by my previous and less thorough reading of T4).

Aging (p.22) is somewhat reduced in severity when compared to CT - now the chances to suffer from characteristic losses in the 30's and 40's of ones life are very slim. But still, why isn't aging and life expectancy dependant on TL? even now (TL7-8) we start aging seriously at a far later age than in the Dark Ages (TL1-3), but I guess this was omitted for the sake of simplicity. And i don't like the fact that aging goes in 5-year intervals - it doesn't fit too well with the Terms of Service (CT's aging is checked in 4-year intervals IIRC).

Scouts (and non-military personnel?) do not receive Retirement Pay (p.24)? It seems that the Milieu-Zero Imperium had quite a "flexible labor market" (read: good conditions for the employers, life sucks for the employee)... For the Scout it's probably replaced in some cases by a Type-S, but still...

Common Skills (p.26): Grav Craft at TL7 and Computer at TL5? Isn't it a bit too low?

Oh, and I see there IS some effect of TL on Background Skills; but it seems that this effect is only partial, so it probably assumes that the low-TL world has some outside contact.

Equestrian listed as a high-tech skill (p.26)???

And it looks as if T4 characters have far more skills than their CT (even expanded system) counterparts - they recieve 4 skills per term AUTOMATICALLY, which CT characters (using LBB4-7 Expanded systems) have to roll each year to see if they recieve a skill.

The description of each career (pp.29-34) and the "Routine Tasks" are good ideas - they help the player develop a background for her character and get a "feel" for her.
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