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Old May 11th, 2016, 11:55 AM
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Default Traveller Theme 1: Proto-Traveller

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

Proto-Traveller is a small ship, low traffic Traveller Universe, typically focusing on civilian or quasi-civilian (ex-military) play rather than strictly military science-fiction. It tends to prefer the simpler rules over the more complex ones: basic chargen over advanced chargen; weapons from Book 1 over the ironmongery of Book 4; and so on.

It is therefore closely aligned with Traveller key concepts, embodied in this post: What is Traveller?


I. RULESETS

Proto-Traveller is a subset of the Traveller rules, typically including LBBs 1-4, Supplements 1-4, Adventures 1-4 and all of the Double Adventures. Adventures 10 and 12 are sometimes included, as are other booklets.

What little setting information is contained in Proto-Traveller is inconsequential enough to be safely ignored or replaced without harm. This pretty much includes any OTU proper noun except perhaps Psionics Institutes and TAS.

Alternately, Proto-Traveller (almost completely sans setting) is completely described by the Traveller5 Core Rules.

Exclusion List

Here is material which is typically excluded from basic Proto-Traveller, only to be brought in as desired by the referee:
  • Advanced Character Generation
  • OTU Starcharts and background material
  • High Guard 2 (HG2 or just HG) and related material
  • Megacorporations
  • Merchant Prince
  • Striker

JTAS and Challenge

A number of articles in JTAS and Challenge are useful to Proto-Traveller. JTAS Nos. 1-6 generally is completely acceptable. Nos. 7 and up, and all Challenge issues, have good material, subject to the exclusion list above.



II. STARSHIPS

Ships are designed using "Book 2 Plus" (click here for an example of a B2+ design system): a system which included add-ons from a prototype of High Guard 1 when needed (examples: small craft drives and fuel use, armor, hull configurations, and particle accelerator barbettes). The size limitations of Book 2 are honored -- but note that Book 2's drive potential table implicitly permits slow and ponderous ships up to 12,000 tons. That's 120 hardpoints, folks. The implication is clear: dreadnoughts are slow but thick with armor and bristling with firepower. There's one more implication: virtual battery rules must be used when fighting with the larger ships.

There are also hints of a wide array of non-standard components which exist at various places in or near Charted Space. For example, the unique drive design of the ANNIC NOVA, the military jump drives of the Scout/Courier, the integrated Jump/Power drive of the Xboat, and Black Globe artifact caches.

The Kinunir is considered a true battle cruiser. Book 2 starship combat tends to be preferred -- although Book 2 has no rules for dealing with armored hulls.



III. SETTING

Setting assumptions for Proto-Traveller are baked into the game's rules (see What is Traveller?). Beyond that, there is sparse support for an early form of the Third Imperium. Since this material is relatively easily ignored, Proto-Traveller is a way to run Traveller with some setting other than the OTU. Typically a "golden age of SF" setting, or a home-brewed one.


The Third Imperium

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supplement 3
The lmperium is a strong interstellar government encompassing 281 subsectors and approximately 11,000 worlds.

Approximately 1100 years old, it is the third human empire to control this area, the oldest, and the strongest.

Nevertheless, it is under strong pressure from its neighboring interstellar governments, and does not have the strength nor the power which it once had.
The Third Imperium is significantly darker than what is later portrayed, and is specifically labelled as declining. Capital physically controls the only known narrow crossing of a Rift that cuts through the local galactic arm. The Spinward Marches could be an actual frontier -- although the Imperium has neighboring interstellar empires which put strong pressure on it.

The Spinward Marches

A flagging political entity such as this Third Imperium is twitchy, prone to rash moves, cannot cover all its bases as it once did. A weakened Imperium means that there are few ships, a short reach, a slow reaction time... especially in the distant and difficult to reach Spinward Marches. Thus, there is an implied vacuum in the Imperial power in the Spinward Marches. Even as it expanded into the region, its power was failing.

The True Frontier

Though the borders of the Proto-Imperium aren't known, what IS known is that the Imperium has open borders. Instead of being hemmed in on every side by client, rival, and sophont empires, the Imperium has unexplored space at its back door.
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Last edited by robject; September 22nd, 2016 at 12:24 PM..
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Old May 11th, 2016, 12:52 PM
Condottiere Condottiere is offline
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Sounds Dumarestish.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 01:04 PM
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Starter edition and Merchant Prince are way beyond the 1980 cut off point.

The proto-OTU:
77 rules
LBB4
S1-4, 6
especially this quote from S3:
Quote:
Imperium:
The lmperium is a strong interstellar government encompassing 281 subsectors and approximately 11,000 worlds.
Approximately 1100 years old, it is the third human empire to control this area, the oldest, and the strongest.
Nevertheless, it is under strong pressure from its neighbouring interstellar governments,
and does not have the strength nor the power which it once had.
A1-3, especially their library data and rumour matrices
Just about any of the double adventures, even those written post 1980.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Condottiere View Post
Sounds Dumarestish.
It is very Dumarestish in many ways.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 05:15 PM
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It does feel more Dumarest-like than the later development of Charted Space.

Thanks Mike - updated.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robject View Post
This discussion is to clearly spell out the rule/setting combination known as Proto-Traveller. I'll keep this OP updated as the model gets refined.

Proto-Traveller is a small ship, low traffic Traveller Universe which uses only the booklets produced before 1980.
It's still big ship universe, you have Book 5 (1979 printing)...

Frank
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Old May 11th, 2016, 05:21 PM
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I have a question:

Do the later interpretations of the UWP stand?

Or, at this point, are the only worlds defined those defined in S03 and Library Data in the Adventures.

That is, are the worlds a "blank slate" for the Referee to interpret.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank View Post
It's still big ship universe, you have Book 5 (1979 printing)...
Yes, and I have a copy of HG1, Frank. Despite that, most of the publications at this point leaned heavily on Book 2 (e.g. Leviathan). I think we all agree that this was an actual transition point, which probably implies a "we'll deal with large ships later" attitude, as well as a very clear "big ships are not for adventuring" vibe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by creativehum View Post
Do the later interpretations of the UWP stand?

Or, at this point, are the only worlds defined those defined in S03 and Library Data in the Adventures.

That is, are the worlds a "blank slate" for the Referee to interpret.
I'd say we have a blank slate, but I could be wrong.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robject View Post
I'd say we have a blank slate, but I could be wrong.
I would assume so as well. Since for a couple of years it was just those UWPs.

This also means the Referee can postulate a more Dumarest/pulp-like setting of weirder and stranger worlds, societies, and creatures if he wishes.
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Old May 11th, 2016, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robject View Post
Yes, and I have a copy of HG1, Frank. Despite that, most of the publications at this point leaned heavily on Book 2 (e.g. Leviathan). I think we all agree that this was an actual transition point, which implies a change away from an early assumption (small ships) to a replacement assumption (big ships).




I'd say we have a blank slate, but I could be wrong.
Rob, Leviathan is a hybrid design.
  • It has Armor, which Bk2 does not.
  • It has a configuration, which Bk2 does not.
  • It implies subtly Bk 2 drives

Like the Kinunir, the module was done by the guys at Games Workshop, then purchased by GDW. GDW designs of the era immediately went big ship with Bk 5; the draft of Bk 5 apparently did not inform the users, and both Kinunir and Leviathan are hybrids that appear to be built from a prototype of Bk 5, and match no known design system fully. Since they were released prior to Bk 5 79, and then reprinted after as GDW products...

This is another way of saying, "They do not reflect GDW, but do reflect GW's interpretation of the OTU based upon drafts of Bk 5"... a small ship book 5-79 universe.
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