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Old May 15th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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Default First Impressions from MGT

I've received MGT today. I'm going to read through it for the first time and post my comments here like I did back in 2006 with T4 and TNE.

Pre-Read Impressions
I've just thumbed through the book for the first time without reading much. The cover is high-quality hardback. It is a black cover with red text and without much decorations, but still feels very cool-looking and clean. Because of the quality cover materials it still looks very, very attractive as a book. Binding is good; the paper used is similar to standard A4 printer paper. The interior is 100% black-and white.

The interior font is very readable and the tables are mostly in a very readable size as far as I can tell. Internal illustrations are a mixed bag: on one hand, the ship pictures ROCK BIG TIME, and on the other hand a few illustrations weren't so good; the majority of art falls in between these two extremes: adequate, appropriate to their context, good flavor/atmosphere but nothing breathtaking.

If this was the first time I had a Traveller book in my hands, I might have guessed from the illustrations that Traveller is similar in look and feel to a cross between Alien/Aliens and Starcraft (some illustrations were similar to the Starcraft manual's art). Most guns feel like the Pulse Rifle from Aliens.

A minor gripe: some of the career's art doesn't come in the correct order: for example, for Citizen, the sub-careers are Corporate, Worker and Colonist while the illustrations look like Worker, Corporate and Colonist (and the Colonist looks a bit paramilitary).

Now, on to reading the book itself

Last edited by Golan2072; May 16th, 2008 at 06:40 AM..
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Old May 15th, 2008, 12:43 PM
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Thanks Gruffy. Art is very important for the newbie who picks up the game for the first time. One of the things that turned me on to Traveller was the Keith illustrations (while those are now dated). Certainly, Challenge produced some lovely interiors...hopefully the Art Director over at Mongoose has these artists on his rolodex. As I am quite happy with what I see for Conan & Runequest not to mention some of their earlier releases...this is one area that I don't think Mongoose will screw up...they just have to remember that Paranoia has a different vibe than Traveller.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 03:06 PM
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I don't think the 'poor' illos are bad art, just very unfinished. It's like they said to the artist, "We got 50; can you produce illustrations for us for 36 different careers?". That's 5 hours work, max. So about 8 mins per illo. By that standard, they're not bad. If he'd had time to finish them I'd say they could look pretty good: you can actually still see the pencil marks where his hurried erasing has left a bit. Rush job.

Contrast that with the 'colour' art. Well it's obviously originally in colour, and they paid for for colour art, but then couldn't afford to have colour pages.

This being one of the first books to use their new printers it may have been a case of time and cash flow.

Not going to hang them for it. The 'quick' art has a Brit vibe, a 2000AD sensibility to it. I like that, in theory; just pay the guy to finish them off properly for the next edition.. !
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Old May 15th, 2008, 03:55 PM
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Impressions from the Introduction
The introduction is fine and more or less what you'd expect from such a book. The exception to this is the fact that, while there are paragraphs describing referees, players, and game types, there is no paragraph saying what an RPG is. I guess that MGT is aimed at people with at least a passing familiarity with RPGs.

On the other hand, the example of play is good and relevant. This is a good RPG core-book practice: every RPG core-book should have one. This lets a new player understand what Traveller is all about and how playing it should feel.

The four archetypal Traveller campaign types - trade, warfare, exploration and odds'n'ends - are given, along with a nice feature: sci-fi media examples (TV, movies and computer games) for each of the first three styles. Again, this gives new players a feel for these campaign types, which is a great thing.

The Imperium is mentioned as the default setting, but the book gives very little information about the Imperium. A page or two of introductionary material about the OTU would've been nice. As a general note, the core-book isn't instantly playable "as-is" (but neither was CT) - no default subsector and background are given, and no starting adventure, though Signs and Portents (the Mongoose E-Zine available for free from their site) issue 55 contains a free Traveller adventure. For players familiar with Traveller (and having existing Traveller setting material and adventures at hand) this isn't much of a problem, but for a new player that would mean building the default setting from scratch or purchasing additional setting material before beginning play. But, again, the same was true for CT as well...

At the end of the introduction there is a nice overview of Tech Levels, including some interesting information and changes as well: Jump Drives are now late TL9 (instead of just TL9), real starfaring starts at TL10 (or late TL9 for the very least), Jump Drives use gravitic technology and true AIs are TL11 instead of TL16+ (which is a good thing IMHO - modernizing the game a bit; if you want to limit AIs in your game, you could still add cultural/historical limitations to their use).

It should be noted that the text in some text boxes at the bottom of pages, such as in the bottom of p.4, is quite small and a bit difficult to read. But it is still readable.

Last edited by Golan2072; May 16th, 2008 at 02:41 AM..
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Old May 15th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Impression from the Character Generation System, part 1
Characteristics are generated by rolling 2d6 six times and arranging as desired (which I've done as a house-rule for a few years already ). This means that characters are usually close to the average in their overall characteristics, but the players still have some control on which score their character would have in each characteristic. I like this that way.

Characteristics give DMs to task throws (among other things) according to a table, not unlike the way abilities are used in D20 games.

A funny point: the sample character sheet on p.7 has a Free Trader listed under "Equipment" with a mass of "plenty"...

MGT characters receive level-0 background skills before starting their careers, based on their Education and partially dependent on their homeworlds. These rules are simple, straightforward and elegant. Their only weakness is that they lack a quick-generation system for homeworlds, so a homeworld has to be either pre-generated, or generated on the fly using the WorldGen rules.

An interesting note: According to p.6, a character with Medic-2 could be considered a doctor, as opposed to CT's Medic-3...

Last edited by Golan2072; May 16th, 2008 at 02:42 AM..
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Old May 15th, 2008, 05:21 PM
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Thanks for the commentary, Omer. I'll be reading all of your posts on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golan2072 View Post
Characteristics are generated by rolling 2d6 six times and arranging as desired (which I've done as a house-rule for a few years already ). This means that characters are usually close to the average in their overall characteristics, but the players still have some control on which score their character would have in each characteristic. I like this that way.
Hmm. I actually dislike that, much preferring CT's way of "you get the STR you roll". I find, what you get if you let players arrange stats to their taste, almost no one has a low STR/DEX, and almost no one has a high SOC (the throw away stat, unless you've got a 11+ throw to use as a noble).

So, for me, that's actually another strike against MGT (in the long line of things I've read about it so far that don't strike me as "great").

Is there an optional rule for chargen?
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Old May 15th, 2008, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Supplement Four View Post
Is there an optional rule for chargen?
There is no optional rule in this regard, but it'll be very easy to create a house-rule to this effect
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Old May 15th, 2008, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supplement Four View Post
Thanks for the commentary, Omer. I'll be reading all of your posts on this.



Hmm. I actually dislike that, much preferring CT's way of "you get the STR you roll". I find, what you get if you let players arrange stats to their taste, almost no one has a low STR/DEX, and almost no one has a high SOC (the throw away stat, unless you've got a 11+ throw to use as a noble).

So, for me, that's actually another strike against MGT (in the long line of things I've read about it so far that don't strike me as "great").

Is there an optional rule for chargen?
Well, the option to roll up in strict characteristic order if you want, is pretty much a no-brainer isn't it?

In my experience the people who tend to put high rolls in physical stats are those people who like playing combatant characters. There are others, however, that prefer playing sneaky, or intelligent, or well educated, or socially advantaged characters. Why is giving players a degree of choice in the matter such a bad thing?
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Old May 15th, 2008, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klaus View Post

Contrast that with the 'colour' art. Well it's obviously originally in colour, and they paid for for colour art, but then couldn't afford to have colour pages.
Nope, the ship pics were all black and white and were ordered as such. IF the artist did them in colour we certainly never saw any colour version (or ever asked for one).

Personally I just think Carlos is incredibly good (he's done some of the art for the Spinward MArches as well, you might be glad to hear).
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Old May 15th, 2008, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Echo View Post
Well, the option to roll up in strict characteristic order if you want, is pretty much a no-brainer isn't it?
Well, sure. But, it also speaks to the design of the game, too. The choices the designer made. I've seen so much that disappoints me about MGT in this regard, and reading that was another "nail in the coffin", so to speak.

But, I'm not trying to turn this into a MGT bashing thread. We've had enough of those. Don't read my comments that way. It's just my reaction to reading that part of Omer's comments on the rules.

The reason I'm reading Omer's comments, btw, is to see if I can find enough about MGT I like to actually buy it. So far, the answer to that question is "no". But...we'll see. Omer's got a lot more of the book to get through.



Quote:
In my experience the people who tend to put high rolls in physical stats are those people who like playing combatant characters. There are others, however, that prefer playing sneaky, or intelligent, or well educated, or socially advantaged characters. Why is giving players a degree of choice in the matter such a bad thing?
Depends on the game. Depends on the player. IMO, if we're talking Star Wars (I'm a big fan of D6 Star Wars), then larger than life heroes is the name of the game. Same goes for D&D.

But, Traveller is about real people, imo. That's what made it different from other rpgs back in the day. So, yeah, allowing a player to min/max his stats is a bit of a munchkin move.
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