Traveller Store CotI Features New Posts Mark Forums Read Register


Go Back TravellerRPG.com > Citizens of the Imperium > Other Versions of Traveller > Classic Traveller

Classic Traveller Discussion on the granddaddy of them all, Classic Traveller!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old March 6th, 2017, 10:52 AM
creativehum's Avatar
creativehum creativehum is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,114
Gallery : 2
creativehum Citizen+creativehum Citizen+creativehum Citizen+
Default CT 1977 and CT 1981

In a thread about Cargo Cost, aramis at one point produced this nifty chart:


It shows the ratio of Patrols vs. Pirates each edition of the boxed set of Traveller would produce using the Ships Encounter table, rolled when a ship enters a system.

Aramis notes:
Quote:
In 77, pirates are the bane of populated systems, but are absent in the backwaters. The mains are dangerous for lack of services, not hostiles...

In 81, pirates are the scourge in the fringes - desperate men choking the lifeblood out of minor trade. Meanwhile, the major ports have no pirates, but plenty of law. And patrols are EVERYWHERE.

The "empire" of 81 leaves E and X alone, and to the pirates, but patrols the A and B systems, and the pirates only match with them in the C-ports.

The "empire" of 77 patrols everywhere, but is outgunned by pirates in the systems with good ports...

One is effective; the other not...
Carlobrand adds a few posts later:
Quote:
'77 and '81 paint starkly different trade pictures, if you think about the meaning behind the numbers.

Where there's big money involved, that money will try to protect itself, and that clearly is not happening in the '77 universe. '77 is a universe of little trade between planets, with what trade occurs being the result of adventurous souls willing to take big chances to score that big hit. As Aramis points out, it's not a universe where the interstellar forces of goodness and niceness are very effective. Maybe they are more effective somewhere else, but they're not very effective where the players are. It's a universe where anarchy has the upper hand out in the airless void ...

... and as such, it is a small-ship universe. Big ships in trade mean big money and, as I noted, big money tries to protect itself.

By the '81 universe, it seems they're giving thought to an Imperium, or at least some organized effort to protect the trade lanes. There's enough economic activity going on up there to justify a planet putting up enough force to push piracy out to the hinterlands. Could be big ship, could be lots of small ships, but there's enough to warrant a real effective effort, at least where the bulk of traffic is.
I concur with the statements of aramis and Carlobrand.

Here are a few more differences between the 1977 rules and text and the 1981 rules and text:

When we look at the 1977 rules, we also find that there are Charted Space Lanes rather than Communication Routes in setting up a subsector.

Space Lanes are pre-plotted Jump plans that can be bought on cassettes that self-erase after one use. A ship with the Generate Program does not need them. But a ship without a Generate program needs them if it is going to get from one system to another. And if a Space Lane between two systems has not yet been charted at all, then the Generate program is required for a ship to get to it.

Also: The 1977 rules have no Travel Zones (Amber or Red). As one can see from the quotes above, it seems unlikely that governments that is constantly trying to swat away pirates from A starport systems (and not succeeding) will be able to interdict an entire system. Instead, all worlds, no matter how dangerous, are open to Player Character travellers if that's where they want to go. They could, of course, encounter resistance from any number of factions. But there is nothing on the books advising or warning them not to go.

Also: I recently came across this first paragraph from the section on Starship Encounters on p. 36:
Quote:
"When a ship enters a star system, there is a chance that any one of a variety of ships will be encountered. The ship encounter table is used to determine the specific type of vessel which is met. This result may, and should, be superseded by the referee in specific situations, especially if a newly entered system is in military or civil turmoil, or involves other circumstances."
This assumes a setting that will have "military or civil turmoil" in the space between worlds. Not that there has to be turmoil. That is up to the Referee and the worlds he or she builds. But it is certainly implied there can be such turmoil, and the text encourages the Referee to think in terms of offering up such turmoil. But this sensibility is in contrast to the rules of the OTU's Third Imperium which allows conflicts on worlds, but not in the space between them.

These elements alone are enough to bring me peace of mind. This is the sort of rough-and-tumble setting that I always imagined for Traveller because, of course, I bought the 1977 edition in my youth.

During the game line's development the rules changed, the OTU was developed, and the game and the setting became one thing. My view of what sort of environment the Traveller rules originally implied became erased. When I would say, "The Spinward Marches seems safer and more civilized than I want," I would be met with the reply, "How can you say that? It's on the edge of the Imperium. There's all sorts of adventure."

Which is true, by the way. There is all sorts of adventure in The Spinward Marches. Nonetheless, to me, with all its mega corporations with tendrils to the smallest and off the beaten path worlds, its empire capable of interdicting entire star systems, its vast fleet of enormous startups that utterly dwarfed the ships of the player characters, its all seemed a much different environment than those I remembered reading about when I first bought the rules. Overall, the Third Imperium enforced a law and order across the stars that wasn't in alignment with my sensibility for Science-Fiction Adventure in the Far Future. (Not that there's anything wrong with that! Traveller was always about the Referee making the setting he or she wanted to share with is players. GDW made the setting they wanted from the core rules -- and that is awesome.)

Of course, two years ago I bought a PDF of the 1977 rules when I got the CT CD-ROM and could go back to rules I originally read.

So, a thought experiment:

Let's use the rules and observations of aramis and Carlobrand above, along with rules shared with the 1981 edition:
  • no fuel purifiers
  • a cap on ship size at 5,000 tons (or so -- yes, yes, I know one can extend the table)
  • the discussions of pirates and hijackings as a threat in Book 2
  • the need for Refined Fuel (which is only found at 37% of starports) to travel without the risk of drive failures and misjumps (both of which can cause catastrophic results)
  • the fact that Refined Fuel will only be available, on average, in 37% of star systems when rolled using tables in Book 3
  • Space travel is relatively expensive:
Costs of Living per Book 3
- Ordinary Living thus costs Cr4,800 per year
- High Living is Cr10,800 per year
Costs of Space Travel Passage per Book 2
- High Passage: Cr10,000
- Middle Passage: Cr8,000
- Low Passage: Cr1,000
  • governments do not handle communication through interstellar mail, but hire independent contractors to carry the mail
  • the fact that some people who need to travel but can only scrape together the Cr1000 needed for a Low Passage ticket are willing to risk a base 15% chance of death in order to get to another world
  • the fact that the interstellar culture is clearly stratified along class in some fashion or another

First: are there any other differences between the 1977 and 1981 rules that provide interesting contrasts in terms of setting?

Second: what sort of assumptions can be made about the setting? What are the implications? What do we think the settings would be like drawn from these rules and bits of text?
__________________
TRAVELLER: Out of the Box. Lots of blog posts about original Traveller and playing with Traveller Books 1-3.
"The beauty of Classic Traveller Book 1, 2, and 3 is that the ref is free to make such decisions for themselves." -- Mike Wightman
"The beauty of Classic Traveller Book 1, 2, and is that the ref must make most of the decisions himself." -- flykiller

Last edited by creativehum; March 6th, 2017 at 12:19 PM..
Reply With Quote

Welcome!
To see more of this thread, please login or register.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
1977 LBB Ship Design timerover51 The Fleet 6 June 8th, 2016 08:43 PM
CT Only: Using 1981 Drive Potential table with 1977 rules? BlindGuy The Lone Star 3 April 27th, 2015 05:22 PM
First Edition (1977) Question leo knight Classic Traveller 4 January 10th, 2014 07:29 PM
1981 GDW Black Map of OTU? mechascorpio Classic Traveller 4 July 10th, 2012 12:44 PM

This website and its contents are copyright ©2010-2013 Far Future Enterprises. All rights reserved. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises .
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright (c) 2010-2013, Far Future Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.