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Old May 11th, 2016, 12:22 PM
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Default Traveller Theme 2: OTU

This discussion is to clearly spell out the rule/setting combination known as the OTU. I'll keep this OP updated as the model gets refined.

The OTU is a large-ship, traffic-agnostic universe whose setting spans the rules mechanics of Classic Traveller, MegaTraveller, Traveller 4, Mongoose Traveller, and Traveller5.

Its Library Data and Alien Data is perhaps the easiest to describe, being relatively unchanged since its consolidation into MegaTraveller's Imperial Encyclopedia. The setting information in the CT Alien Modules (plus MgT's Zhodani alien module) remains the best source of information on the major sophonts. The Traveller Adventure, the "Adventures" proper, and the Double Adventures are similarly useful - as are MT adventures such as Knightfall (for those enduring the Rebellion years), JTAS, and Challenge magazine content. The latest starcharts are freely available from Travellermap.com.

Some special-purpose books are also great supplemental material for the OTU: for example, the Sword Worlds supplement from GURPS. Other GURPS supplements work from within the OTU as well (Interstellar Wars), although some make assumptions that need not be made to be OTU (for example, Far Trader assumes a high-volume-traffic universe). Another canonical supplement is the Milieu Zero Sourcebook, a publication from the T4 rules which nevertheless is rules-agnostic and part of the OTU. T4's Pocket Empires also has some setting information in sidebars which describes some of the early conflicts in the Core sector.

The OTU's setting is the most ported of settings between rulesets. Thus the salient features of the OTU tend to be supported everywhere. Note that different rulesets tend to subtly change the way equipment works. That means we need companion discussions like those Wil has done which compare the rules mechanics between versions.

This also means that the OTU also has the largest number of variations, from ruleset to ruleset.
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Last edited by robject; May 12th, 2016 at 02:53 PM..
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Old May 11th, 2016, 01:37 PM
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The problem with this is the OTU suffered from ruleset-itis.

The ruleset redefined enough key technologies and setting elements that the OTU tied to a particular ruleset is sometimes at considerable odds to the other versions.

proto-Traveller OTU - the first version
post HG post library data suplements OTU - this changed the setting dramatically from the proto-days and is probably the default version that others (GT, HT, MgT) have tried to reimage for their rules but keep the setting
MT OTU a continuation of the above but the changes to key setting tropes (jump fuel percentage, amount of fuel used per jump) and some of the strange decisions about how to generate core sector worlds produces a different feel. You can play the earlier versions of the setting with the MT rules, and you can play the MT setting with different rules systems, but there are differing tech tropes that just bug me to hades and back.
And then the elephant in the room
TNE OTU - a deliberate attempt to reboot the rules, the setting, the technology. They did a brilliant job with the technology - never before or since has their been such a well integrated technology book. How much you like the setting and the rules is down to personal bias (I like the setting but not the rules).
T4 OTU- a failed attempt to reconcile the technology of TNE with the previous versions (FF&S2 is a great idea but how it made it to print in that form is beyond me - Mongoose would have republished a fixed version and given everyone that asked a free copy), a rules system that you either like or loath, but some excellent supporting books and quite a good setting once the hardback version of Milieu 0 hi the shelves.
T5 OTU - still waiting to see it.
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