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Old June 22nd, 2009, 06:25 PM
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Exclamation What is Traveller?

From the standpoint of Mongoose Publishing, Traveller is a rules set for playing Science Fiction games.

From the standpoint of many long-time players, Traveller is built on the Official (Original?) Traveller Universe, and the two are largely interchangeable.

There is something to be said for both interpretations. Traveller has, for a long time, and for good or ill, been associated with the OTU. At the same time, many have used the rules of Traveller to play something else, often influenced by the OTU, but not a part of it.

However, at this point, for the purposes of discussing the Mongoose version, Traveller means the Rules, not the OTU. It may have meant, and could still mean, something different for earlier versions. I am not going to argue that. At this time, for these discussions, that is besides the point.

You may not like it, but there it is, and that's the way it is.
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 06:47 PM
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It's both at the same time, separate and together. As the OTU can be run using other systems, so can the Traveller rules be used for other settings.

So many other settings just cry out for the Traveller treatment. B5 is a perfect match, as is Trek, and even, having poked about Psion, Star Wars could work!

Any modern action heavy sf, such as that by P F Hamilton or Richard Morgan, would also suit Traveller, as will a Mass Effect rpg, since it is in part derived from all of the above.

Given the unlimited variety of chargen, even the Culture could be possible, though I think an ultra-tech sourcebook would be needed to really make sense of it.
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 06:52 PM
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Colin,

I think it will also be helpful to remind people that Mongoose uses the term OTU differently also. In fact, they've two definitions for that term.

The first is the one we're familiar with: Official Traveller Universe. I'll refer to that as the OFTU

The second is one that Mongoose has begun using since the publication of MgT: Original Traveller Universe. I'll refer to that as the ORTU.

In Mongoose's perspective, their version of the Traveller rules and whatever they publish as a supplements for those rules are now the OFTU. Their version is now official, whatever they change is official because it is approved(1).

In Mongoose's perspective, anything published for Traveller prior to their version is part of the ORTU, the original setting.

It's this new meaning of the term OTU that creates many of the problems we've seen here. When Mongoose refers to the Official Traveller Universe they're referring to their MgT materials. When nearly everyone here refers to the Official Traveller Universe, they're referring to what Mongoose calls the Original Traveller Universe.

Thus, when we state that Aslan are psionic in the OTU and Mongoose insists that they are not, both sides are being tripped up by semantics because both sides use the term OTU to describe two very different things. We've been talking past each other because we're not using the same terms.

I know I'll be trying to keep this issue of semantics firmly in mind when posting to the Mongoose forum from now on.


Regards,
Bill

1 - What we now know about the failures of that approval process are not germane to this topic.
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 06:53 PM
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That's the whole point. In the Mongoose iteration, is it a generic system that encompasses the OTU, along with several others. While "stock" MgT does share some assumptions with the OTU, is is not the OTU.
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 06:55 PM
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Thanks Bill. That is also correct.

I am going to leave this thread open until midnight, for reactions, dissent, agreement, whatever. Then I'm closing it. If it starts to get all flame-y, I'll close it sooner.
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Last edited by Colin; June 22nd, 2009 at 06:57 PM..
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin View Post
That's the whole point. In the Mongoose iteration, is it a generic system that encompasses the OTU, along with several others. While "stock" MgT does share some assumptions with the OTU, is is not the OTU.

Colin,

Not exactly. The Mongoose OFTU is now the new approved OFTU. It supercedes and replaces what we refer to as the OFTU.

Prior to MgT the game's official setting was one thing and that setting could not encompass Hammer's Slammers, B5, and the others because of technological assumptions among many other things. Now, the OFTU is not the OFTU we assume it to be. What we think is the OFTU is actually the ORTU using Mongoose's labels.


Regards,
Bill

P.S. Sorry, I thought you were responding to me and not Klaus.

Last edited by Whipsnade; June 22nd, 2009 at 07:11 PM.. Reason: added postscript
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 07:11 PM
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I have always seen the Third Imperium setting as the "majority setting" for
the various versions of the Traveller rules, with a huge number of "minority
settings", some of them based upon the Third Imperium setting, some influ-
enced by it, and some entirely independent from it, with the Traveller rules
as the connection between all those different types of settings.

So, in my view nothing much has changed. The Third Imperium setting in its
current form most probably will become the new "majority setting" again, the-
re will be many other settings - some of them now officially supported (like
Babylon 5, Hammer's Slammers, Judge Dredd) - and the new version of the
Traveller rules will once more connect all those settings.
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 07:38 PM
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Are you saying that there is now an official COTI definition of "Traveller" (for the MGT forum) and that you will punish anyone who dares to disagree with that orthodoxy?

If so, why do we need a moderator to define that for us?

After all, thoughtcrime is so 1984...

EDIT: I'd add that I'm pretty sure that most folks get the fact that "Traveller" (as used historically) is a term used to describe both the OTU and the RPG system. I also note that your statement is flatly at odds with my printing of MGT, which mentions in the first paragraph of the core rules "A might Imperium unites thousands of star systems under a single rule...The Imperium commands the space between the stars, blah blah blah..."

<shrug>

Sounds to me like the OTU...

Last edited by tbeard1999; June 22nd, 2009 at 07:59 PM..
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin View Post
That's the whole point. In the Mongoose iteration, is it a generic system that encompasses the OTU, along with several others. While "stock" MgT does share some assumptions with the OTU, is is not the OTU.
I don't think you can reasonably imply that MGT -- as currently written -- is a truly generic system (in the same sense that, say, GURPs or Basic Roleplaying is). Assuming, of course, that this is your intention.

As I said in another thread:

[E]ven "universal" systems can imply a great deal by what they include (and what they don't). In other words, "setting-free" is not necessarily the same as "generic".

Classic Traveller is a perfect example of this. When printed, it was clearly setting-free. But it provided a great deal of information on the kind of campaign that would result from using the rules as written. For instance...

1. Feudalism, implied by the social status attribute and the titles associated with high ratings (and the fact that a high social status was an advantage in some careers).

2. Communication limited to speed of travel. Explicitely stated.

3. Interstellar travel costly -- explicit in the starship economics section and implicit in the fact that tech levels were so variable.

4. Relatively "hard" sci-fi -- implied by the absence of tropes like blaster pistols, force fields, raygus, etc. Strongly implied by the fact that firearms are the preferred weapons even into the future.

5. Plentiful energy -- fusion power.

6. Gravitic manipulation -- demonstrated by air/rafts; arguably implied by reactionless thrusters (if you accept the "grav plate" rationale).

7. Human-centric setting -- no rules for aliens.

Etc., etc.

So while the game was setting-free, it imposed a great deal of default settings on a campaign. Of course, the referee was free to deviate from those settings. But clearly, a game dramatically different from the default settings -- Star Wars or Star Trek for instance -- would require a lot of work. For instance, adding lightsabers isn't enough for a Star Wars Traveller campaign. You have to explain why any sane person would carry them in lieu of a shotgun (same is true of blasters). So you have to add better armor, or sooper dodging skills, or whatever. Kinda hard to build a Star Destroyer with LBB2, so you need a Big Darned Starships design system. Gotta add deflector shields. Escape pods. A reactionless starship combat system. Gotta add expansive rules for alien PCs. Etc.

And in another post:

MGT calls itself "Traveller". For many gamers, that term has described a certain setting, the OTU for ~30 years. For others, that term has decribed a series of RPGs with pretty consisten underlying tech assumptions -- jump drive, plausible weaponry, attention to detail on military stuff, etc. Both groups of gamers are reasonable, IMHO, if they expect a game that is (a) called "Traveller" and (b) packaged to evoke the classic edition of Traveller to, in fact, resemble what they have defined as "Traveller" for THREE DECADES.

Now, I happen to think that the decision to make MGT into a universal ruleset is sensible. Why reinvent the wheel every time? But I don't think that the MGT core rules make it clear that this is a generic rules set. Nor is it, in actuality, a generic rules set in any meaningful definition of the term.

So I don't think that is is accurate or helpful to pretend that MGT -- as shipped -- was an explicitely generic game in the same way that GURPS, Hero or Basic Roleplaying was. It may have been intended to be generic, but it didn't ship in that condition. Therefore, insinuating that Old School Traveller fans are somehow being unreasonable isn't itself very reasonable.
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
I don't think you can reasonably imply that MGT -- as currently written -- is a truly generic system (in the same sense that, say, GURPs or Basic Roleplaying is). Assuming, of course, that this is your intention.

I don't think Mongoose Traveller is a generic universal system on the level with GURPS, nor do I ever think it was supposed to be. I think they are saying they want it to be become the generic science-fiction system, or more accurately the "default" sci-fi system.

There has been occasional reference to made for using Traveller for other genres but quite frankly, I have D&D for fantasy, so I see no reason to use Traveller for that.

Allen
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