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  #1  
Old June 27th, 2005, 03:36 PM
Jeffr0 Jeffr0 is offline
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I picked up a copy of T4 the other day. It could have been what I've wanted in Traveller-- "everything you need in one book"-- but it has a distinct lack of zing.

What is 'zing?' Zing is evident when you pick up a game... see what's changed and what's there... and you have this feeling that this is really the way things are supposed to be. You kick yourself and wonder why gaming hasn't been like this until now. Zing! You also get this unsatiable urge to tinker with it. You end up having this "can't go home again" feeling that prevents you from looking at the old material the same way again.

(GURPS 4e has a surprising amount of zing, for instance. I especially like the limitations and modifiers. The Infinite Worlds default campaign setting is... just so GURPy. It fits.)

Anyways... in the percolation of my thoughts... it strikes me that "everything in one book" is probably not the way to go for a T5 with zing.


Here's my idea:

1) Make a Players book that includes all the major races and all the minor races you can cram in. I'm tired of being strung along with this sort of thing and having to shuffle a half dozen books if I do want get into it. Put it all in one place in such a way that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

2) Make a Ref's book that includes all the crunchy stuff for world design, trade, and starship design/combat. The basic "Travelling" concept is seperate from the usual RPG type thing. Capitalize on that by making the definitive guide to Travelling that can be used with any rpg system. GURPS, D20, Burning Wheel, whatever!

3) Give us the Imperium. I don't care what era it's set in, but give me the whole thing. Explain the map in such a way that a new person can grok it. I'm tired of the know-it-alls that keep saying how its too big for anyone to understand. Give away every UWP that you can on a central web site. Go in depth on a variety of subsectors... the goal is get across the basic feel of each major part of the Imperium. Include a Ludography explaining what's canon and what's not-so-canon so that new GM's can have an idea on which areas are well supported and which areas are dodgy. Include as-definitive-as-possible hints/tips on using the subsectors that are detailed and extending them with the online UWPs. (Sort of a "Robin's Laws" of good Traveller GMing....) Include beautiful color maps... and provide others for free online. Don't just rehash old material with this, but flesh out enough new areas so that there's a 'draw' for the old timers. Make the "11,000 star systems" bit into something more than a blurb on the back of the book.


So I'm thinking 3 full color hard bound 250+ page books. People that are already commited to one rpg system can skip the Player's Book. Traveller 'conniseurs' can skip the Ref's book if they aren't interested in new crunchy stuff. "The Compleat Imperium" should get everyone's attention. People that don't want to shuffle through the earlier editions can get everything they need from three books.
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  #2  
Old June 27th, 2005, 04:10 PM
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Personally, I think the way to get 'zing' is to include stories, fiction, and vignettes to suck players into the setting (this is one of the main reasons why I thought TNE was so awesome).

I don't really see how rules alone can do this. Sure, people can get excited about rulesets, but to really pull people in you have to connect with the imagination.

Unless I've completely missed your point...
  #3  
Old June 27th, 2005, 04:23 PM
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I like the idea of the zing back into Traveller. For me, it is art over rules because one should have the very basics of different ways to play the game and ways of looking at the game. I also like the whole idea of fiction, as this is a really selling point to make the rules come alive. I always liked how there was a preamble before chapters in some of GDW books which then set the mood for the background & rules that I was to read next. Having it organized as a story, like, it was in Hard Times would be another success.

However, I am not sure if I would want to start with the whole Imperium not because it is too big to handle (because, it is not after 30 years of developing it) but just I think the ZING would come from if we didn't have an Imperium and would talk about it in the past tense. A really exciting milieu could be spawned from just a basic understanding of the rules as many of did when we read some form of the CT rules for the first time. Supplements could highlight different eras of the Imperium in much greater detail than a single bound volume as part of the basic rules...for example a supplement dealing with the First Imperial Civil War would naturally lend itself to something on Fleet Engagements, First Contact books could be done nicely in the era of the consolidation of the ROM, etc.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Malenfant:
Personally, I think the way to get 'zing' is to include stories, fiction, and vignettes to suck players into the setting (this is one of the main reasons why I thought TNE was so awesome).
Yes... there would be room for this in my above proposal.

GURPS 4e did a good job of maximizing their use of limited space.... The "iconic characters" are all fleshed out examples Infinite Worlds agent-types. The default setting presented in Campaigns gives you a background where everything GURPS can do can be put together. Everything fits... everything works. It draws you into the system and the setting at the same time.

That sort of streamlined elagance is crucial to zing.
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  #5  
Old June 27th, 2005, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeffr0:
I picked up a copy of T4 the other day. It could have been what I've wanted in Traveller-- "everything you need in one book"-- but it has a distinct lack of zing.
The things that annoyed me most about T4 were:
fistful of dice
the default setting
the lack of TL12+ equipment
Quote:
Here's my idea:

1) Make a Players book that includes all the major races and all the minor races you can cram in. I'm tired of being strung along with this sort of thing and having to shuffle a half dozen books if I do want get into it. Put it all in one place in such a way that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
This I like [img]smile.gif[/img]

Quote:
2) Make a Ref's book that includes all the crunchy stuff for world design, trade, and starship design/combat. The basic "Travelling" concept is seperate from the usual RPG type thing. Capitalize on that by making the definitive guide to Travelling that can be used with any rpg system. GURPS, D20, Burning Wheel, whatever!
Another good idea IMHO.

Quote:
3) Give us the Imperium. I don't care what era it's set in, but give me the whole thing. Explain the map in such a way that a new person can grok it. I'm tired of the know-it-alls that keep saying how its too big for anyone to understand. Give away every UWP that you can on a central web site. Go in depth on a variety of subsectors... the goal is get across the basic feel of each major part of the Imperium. Include a Ludography explaining what's canon and what's not-so-canon so that new GM's can have an idea on which areas are well supported and which areas are dodgy. Include as-definitive-as-possible hints/tips on using the subsectors that are detailed and extending them with the online UWPs. (Sort of a "Robin's Laws" of good Traveller GMing....) Include beautiful color maps... and provide others for free online. Don't just rehash old material with this, but flesh out enough new areas so that there's a 'draw' for the old timers. Make the "11,000 star systems" bit into something more than a blurb on the back of the book.
I'd like it to detail the similarities and differences in the Imperium between the different eras, and give the referee enough details to set his game in any of them.


Quote:
So I'm thinking 3 full color hard bound 250+ page books. People that are already commited to one rpg system can skip the Player's Book. Traveller 'conniseurs' can skip the Ref's book if they aren't interested in new crunchy stuff. "The Compleat Imperium" should get everyone's attention. People that don't want to shuffle through the earlier editions can get everything they need from three books.
I like the vision, especially that the latter two books could be sold to people with other rules sets and still use the setting details.
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  #6  
Old June 27th, 2005, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kafka47:
However, I am not sure if I would want to start with the whole Imperium not because it is too big to handle (because, it is not after 30 years of developing it) but just I think the ZING would come from if we didn't have an Imperium and would talk about it in the past tense.
Maybe the goal isn't grand enough. Okay... not just cover the entire Imperium with one giant book... but also cover the entire scope of Traveller History at the same time!

Each subsector that is covered is described in detail and includes an overview of the history leading up to that point.

Instead of picking one mileau or sector and saying, "this is it," focus on showing how much depth, breadth, and variety are possible with Traveller campaigns.
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  #7  
Old June 27th, 2005, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sigg Oddra:
I'd like it to detail the similarities and differences in the Imperium between the different eras, and give the referee enough details to set his game in any of them.
Heh. You beat me to it, Sigg! Looks like you posted this while I was typing...

The whole "One Mileau to Rule them All" ain't gonna happen. The smorgasboard is the way to go... with enough material for Refs to pick up and go in any and all of them....

We can finally get some support for the long promised "Heat Death of the Universe" setting!!
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  #8  
Old June 27th, 2005, 04:54 PM
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If you write it, there will be interest...

Really, what you're asking for in the Imperium Sourcebook is a BIG, BIG task, and I'd have to say that it's good to wish for it, but if you really want to see it, you should write it. I'm sure you could find support from QLI or GURPS or even FFE if you complete the task and come up with an excellent document.

But please realize that what you are asking for is a huge undertaking, and it's hard to find someone that's willing to do it. If it's something you want to see, my advice would be to write it yourself, and sell your work when you're done.

Hope this helps,
Flynn
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Old June 27th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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The Compleat Third Imperium at year XXX would be a gigantic and probably pointless undertaking.

The "here's a taste of a dozen milieu's" approach could be much easier to implement and much more interesting.

You could even split it up between 12 authors and then edit it into shape.

...

The BIG book could contain a fleshed out subsector with an overview of the rest of the mileau for 12+ distinct settings. (Online, you can get the UWP's and maps for the rest of the sector for any of the 12+ settings.)

Then you start cranking out PDF Adventures/Supplements for all eras/mileaus/systems... and give extra support for the most popular ones! You can't lose! [img]smile.gif[/img]

It would be like starting Classic Traveller 10 to 20 times at once.
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  #10  
Old June 28th, 2005, 11:42 AM
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Focus, Jeff! Wow, I finally got to say that to you, instead of 'tother way 'round...

Malenfant's point seems to pull in the same direction with the "taste of a dozen milieux". A setting needs Story, with pushes, pulls, and enigmas. It takes hard work to make it good, I think. This is just my opinion.


It also doesn't make sense to have a dozen milieux unless there are stories that justify each setting! This is just my opinion.


Classic Traveller was essentially the Marches, with the stories of the Zhodani and Grandfather (The Fifth Frontier War, and the Battle of Two Suns. Twilight's Peak. Etc.) The stories focused the setting for us. I like that. When I think of CT, I think of those major themes more than the Darrians (for instance), or the Chamax, or Leviathan, even though I liked them all. This is just my opinion.


MegaTraveller - well, the Rebellion was a setting, not a story like it should have been. This is just my opinion.

TNE was three distinct places (I think), with compelling stories.

T4 was Milieu Zero, with maybe a hint of a story. It had the rumblings, the possibility, of a strong Story or Metaplot -- I felt a bit of it in the main book, and echoes of it in CSC and Pocket Empires. Unfortunately it didn't have any oomf. There was no true Story. This is just my opinion.
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