Traveller Store CotI Features New Posts Mark Forums Read Register


Go Back TravellerRPG.com > Citizens of the Imperium > Cepheus Engine > Cepheus General

Cepheus General General discussion of Cepheus Engine products.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old July 26th, 2017, 03:20 PM
Chaos Chaos is offline
Citizen: SOC-12
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Posts: 492
Gallery : 0
Chaos Citizen
Default Rules for Historical Settings

I assume many of you are aware of the CT conversion Mercator; it proves, in my opinion, that it is feasible to use Traveller as the ruleset for historical settings. With that in mind, and my own fascination for various historical eras, I have decided that Iīm going to try and create a unified ruleset for use with such historical settings, based on the Cepheus Engine. Given that what unifies all these settings is that they revolve around sailing ships, I decided to call that ruleset the Zephyr Engine.

Right now I can think of a variety of backgrounds for campaigns in the same spirit as Traveller:
- Ancient Greece, especially in the classical period around the time of the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars, or even the earlier Archaic period
- Ancient Rome, in other periods than Mercator, and including other regions as well (arguably, Britain is closer in atmosphere to the Spinward Marches than the Eastern Med), perhaps around the time of the first two Punic Wars (for those who like major non-Roman powers) or the civil strife of the 1st century BC
- the Viking Age, with the player characters as Norse raiders, explorers and traders
- the North Sea and Baltic in the heydays of the Hanseatic League, with the conflicts between the Hanseatic cities and noble rulers, and the threat of the Victual Brothers
- the Age of Discovery, particularly the conquest of the Americas; between the campaigns against the Aztecs, Inca and Maya, the search for the Fountain of Youth, El Dorado and the Seven Cities of Cibola, and attempts to establish colonies in the Americas, there should be plenty of potential for adventure
- the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean, with the political intrigue, wars in Europe spilling over to the colonies, and the scourge of piracy (or the opportunity for the player characters to become pirates themselves)
Iīm sure others, with greater knowledge in other areas of history can come up with other eras of interest - for example, the seas of East and Southeast Asia, with the various Chinese dynasties, European explorers and traders, and numerous pirate bands, would certainly provide fertile ground for adventures in the hands of someone who knows more about it than I do.

Rather than adapt the Cepheus Engine separately to each possible setting, I think it is much more practical to create one unified historical RPG ruleset, Zephyr, that can be used across eras and settings with only minor alterations. That would also make it easier to include low fantasy elements in the setting according to what people tended to believe in the respective times and places - a campaign in Ancient Greeks could include nymphs and centaurs and satyrs, potentially even as player characters, or involve the characters fighting of sea monsters, an Age of Piracy campaign might revolve around an actual Fountain of Youth, or around undead pirates seeking to recover all pieces of a cursed Aztec treasure.

So then, Iīd like to hear whatever praise, critism, suggestions and whatnot you all have to offer for my ideas as I outline my adaptations of the Cepheus Engine rules.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old July 26th, 2017, 05:38 PM
kilemall kilemall is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 3,730
Gallery : 0
kilemall Respected Citizenkilemall Respected Citizenkilemall Respected Citizenkilemall Respected Citizenkilemall Respected Citizenkilemall Respected Citizen
Default

I'm not sure why a separate rulebase, this is TL 0-4, specialized milieu/setting rules then done.
__________________
YUMV- Your Universe May Vary.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old July 26th, 2017, 11:27 PM
Nathan Brazil's Avatar
Nathan Brazil Nathan Brazil is offline
Citizen: SOC-13
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Chicago
Posts: 989
Gallery : 0
Nathan Brazil Citizen+Nathan Brazil Citizen+
Default

There are a few reasons I can see, seeing as I have already done this. Not with Cepheus, but my first work with MgT 1e.

If in a full-on low-tech setting comparing to RAW:
-- All the characters are likely to come from the same planet, so everyone is going to have the same background skills based on the Trade Codes UNLESS you decide to make regional background skills for a desert dweller vs an islander vs a urban person and so on to provide variations.
-- The TL scale of 0-4 is too compressed when dealing ONLY with low-tech. An alternate scale is needed. Worlds Apart, the Traveller based fantasy ruleset took the traditional TL 0-4 and broke it up into a more granular scale. Once you have done that then there is the task of assigning TL to existing items within the new scale. TNE introduced the concept in thier World Builder book and T5 introduces decimal Tech Levels, so it is not a new concept.
-- Careers need assessment to see if they are valid in low tech settings as well as skills. For example what Vechicle skill can a Surface Defense choose at TL3? at TL2? Netherell shows a variety of low tech careers.
-- Communities and/or regions are not planets. So a new profile is needed. I designed one similar to the Universal Colony Profile found in MgT 2300AD. This can serve to help with backgrounds. and not have every community on the low tech planet will use the same government and law level. In addition, using alternate rolls for governments. Changing the Dice Roll for government was already done in TNE and 1248. In those rulesets the codes remain the same, but the roll itself get you a different result to reflect those campaigns. Example: rolling and totalling 9 gets you "D - Religious Dictatorship" not the standard total of 13.
__________________
"I am bound by canon" - Marc W Miller at Gamerhole Con 2016
IMTU tc+ tm tn++ t4+ tg t20++ ru ge++ 3i+ c+ jt-- au- ls pi+ ta he+ hi++ as va ith-- vr+ ne- so+
Nathan Brazil 0401 X55A670-A S he+ hi++ as va ith-- vr+ ne- so+ 733
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old July 26th, 2017, 11:52 PM
Nathan Brazil's Avatar
Nathan Brazil Nathan Brazil is offline
Citizen: SOC-13
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Chicago
Posts: 989
Gallery : 0
Nathan Brazil Citizen+Nathan Brazil Citizen+
Default

-- Finally there is the issue of scaling things together within a whole.

Like if you are the Emperor of an entire world in a low tech single planet game sure SOC H is appropriate, But if you open up other planets in a non-OTU sort of setting and you meet another world Emperor, or worse an Emperor of several worlds?
The MgT Dilettante book addressed SOC and scaling it across different ranges from region, continental, world, system and so on.

There is also the using of skills across huge differences in TL. Can you use your TL 4 Electronics skill on TL 15 equipment without penalty?
The MgT Scoundrel book used the groupings found in the Cepheus TL Chart (Primitive, Pre-Stellar, etc) to define familiarities and penalties for these differences.
__________________
"I am bound by canon" - Marc W Miller at Gamerhole Con 2016
IMTU tc+ tm tn++ t4+ tg t20++ ru ge++ 3i+ c+ jt-- au- ls pi+ ta he+ hi++ as va ith-- vr+ ne- so+
Nathan Brazil 0401 X55A670-A S he+ hi++ as va ith-- vr+ ne- so+ 733
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old July 27th, 2017, 05:17 AM
Chaos Chaos is offline
Citizen: SOC-12
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Posts: 492
Gallery : 0
Chaos Citizen
Default

Oh, wow... that is just what I had hoped for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Brazil View Post
There are a few reasons I can see, seeing as I have already done this. Not with Cepheus, but my first work with MgT 1e.

If in a full-on low-tech setting comparing to RAW:
-- All the characters are likely to come from the same planet, so everyone is going to have the same background skills based on the Trade Codes UNLESS you decide to make regional background skills for a desert dweller vs an islander vs a urban person and so on to provide variations.
My idea was to have a list of background skills, some of which are restricted to certain kinds of background - not just environments but also cultures and Social Standing. A character born a thrall in Norse society wonīt get any combat skills as background skills, for example.

Quote:
-- The TL scale of 0-4 is too compressed when dealing ONLY with low-tech. An alternate scale is needed. Worlds Apart, the Traveller based fantasy ruleset took the traditional TL 0-4 and broke it up into a more granular scale. Once you have done that then there is the task of assigning TL to existing items within the new scale. TNE introduced the concept in thier World Builder book and T5 introduces decimal Tech Levels, so it is not a new concept.
Iīve seen a "pure" fantasy RPG use tech levels of sorts - Primitive, Nomadic, Barbarian and Civilized.

Iīm thinking of using the tech levels Stone Age, Copper Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Steel Age (i.e. the Middle Ages), Gunpowder Age (the Renaissance) and Coal Age, the last being cutting edge technology at the very end of the timespan covered by the Zephyr Engine. The first four would be subdivided into "regular" and "civilized" levels, for TLs ranging from 0 (regular Stone Age) to 10 (Industrial Age). For example, the Aztecs at the time of their conquest by the Spanish are at the Civilized Stone Age TL - they donīt really use better materials than anyone else in the Americas, they just know how to do a lot more with those materials.

(And I know that steel was already used in what I term the Iron Age - I just find the "Material Age" theme naming too appealing to not go with this)

Quote:
-- Careers need assessment to see if they are valid in low tech settings as well as skills. For example what Vechicle skill can a Surface Defense choose at TL3? at TL2? Netherell shows a variety of low tech careers.
Iīm going to completely replace the careers with new ones. Sure, they had athletes, diplomats and hunters in Ancient Greece, but none of them could hope to learn how to use a computer, right? Careers will be specific to settings, although I assume some of them, such as the sailor, will be fairly similar across settings.

Quote:
-- Communities and/or regions are not planets. So a new profile is needed. I designed one similar to the Universal Colony Profile found in MgT 2300AD. This can serve to help with backgrounds. and not have every community on the low tech planet will use the same government and law level. In addition, using alternate rolls for governments. Changing the Dice Roll for government was already done in TNE and 1248. In those rulesets the codes remain the same, but the roll itself get you a different result to reflect those campaigns. Example: rolling and totalling 9 gets you "D - Religious Dictatorship" not the standard total of 13.
Mmh... I hadnīt thought that far yet. Some sort of UCP - Unified City Profile) would be very useful.
The Population, Government, Law Level, Tech Level and Port Facilities parts can be adapted, but the planetary properties are inappropriate. What could take their place? What relevant data could they convey?
Climate?
Nature of port? (with digits denoting "good natural port, protected by the elements" or "port lies upriver, can only be reached by shallow draft vessels")
Relative location? (with digits ranging from "isolated settlement in the middle of nowhere" to "hub of the trade network")

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Brazil View Post
-- Finally there is the issue of scaling things together within a whole.

Like if you are the Emperor of an entire world in a low tech single planet game sure SOC H is appropriate, But if you open up other planets in a non-OTU sort of setting and you meet another world Emperor, or worse an Emperor of several worlds?
The MgT Dilettante book addressed SOC and scaling it across different ranges from region, continental, world, system and so on.

There is also the using of skills across huge differences in TL. Can you use your TL 4 Electronics skill on TL 15 equipment without penalty?
The MgT Scoundrel book used the groupings found in the Cepheus TL Chart (Primitive, Pre-Stellar, etc) to define familiarities and penalties for these differences.
Those are also good questions, that I donīt currently have answers for.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old July 27th, 2017, 05:47 AM
Nathan Brazil's Avatar
Nathan Brazil Nathan Brazil is offline
Citizen: SOC-13
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Chicago
Posts: 989
Gallery : 0
Nathan Brazil Citizen+Nathan Brazil Citizen+
Default

The 2300AD Universal Nation/Colony Profile
ABCDEFG-H J K 1 2

consisted of PsuedoHex codes representing
A Interface transport commonly available (Beanstalk, Space Plane, etc)
B Area of Nation/Colony (a range of km2)
C Transportation Infrastructure (roads/rails in % coverage)
D Telecommunications Infrastructure (internet coverage)
E Population Value, as an exponent of 10
F Government Type (standard)
G Law Level (standard)
H Technology Level (standard)
J Trade Code 1 (standard)
K Trade Code 2 (standard)
1 Population Code multiplier
2 Number of Extra-solar colonies

Trade Codes did not always seem consistent, but I assumed the the planet's atmo and hydro. You could just as easily scale down the standard UWP and do something similar.
__________________
"I am bound by canon" - Marc W Miller at Gamerhole Con 2016
IMTU tc+ tm tn++ t4+ tg t20++ ru ge++ 3i+ c+ jt-- au- ls pi+ ta he+ hi++ as va ith-- vr+ ne- so+
Nathan Brazil 0401 X55A670-A S he+ hi++ as va ith-- vr+ ne- so+ 733
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old July 27th, 2017, 06:49 AM
Chaos Chaos is offline
Citizen: SOC-12
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Posts: 492
Gallery : 0
Chaos Citizen
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Brazil View Post
The 2300AD Universal Nation/Colony Profile
ABCDEFG-H J K 1 2

consisted of PsuedoHex codes representing
A Interface transport commonly available (Beanstalk, Space Plane, etc)
B Area of Nation/Colony (a range of km2)
C Transportation Infrastructure (roads/rails in % coverage)
D Telecommunications Infrastructure (internet coverage)
E Population Value, as an exponent of 10
F Government Type (standard)
G Law Level (standard)
H Technology Level (standard)
J Trade Code 1 (standard)
K Trade Code 2 (standard)
1 Population Code multiplier
2 Number of Extra-solar colonies

Trade Codes did not always seem consistent, but I assumed the the planet's atmo and hydro. You could just as easily scale down the standard UWP and do something similar.
A and D donīt really apply to a pre-industrial setting. C applies to a degree, in that there are road networks that a port might be connected to. And Iīm not sure how relevant B would be to describe, say, a port that is part of the Roman Empire.

So we could replace ABCD with:
- a Port Rating, similar to the Starport Rating (A through E plus X) in Traveller
- a Reach level (using elements of 2300īs Area and Transportation codes) representing how far around the port it can draw resources and products of outlying settlements, farms, mines etc, and how easy it is to travel overland from the port
- a Position level representing the position, or lack thereof, of the port in the long-distance trade network, to reflect how easy it is to find products of far-away places (or a supply of resources from far-away places to make local products with) in the port
... and what else?

Iīm starting to think things like having a great natural port or only being reachable by shallow-draft ships, or being icebound in winter or whatever would be better handled by trade codes.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old July 27th, 2017, 11:14 AM
Chaos Chaos is offline
Citizen: SOC-12
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Posts: 492
Gallery : 0
Chaos Citizen
Default

Looking at the basic mechanics, I am going to include two additional characteristics to Zephyr: Charisma and Faith.

Charisma measures a characterīs charme and personal magnetism. Iīve always considered it something of a shortcoming of Traveller that it (other than T20) doesnīt provide a characteristic for this; it just feels awkward to base Carousing or Streetwise skill checks on Intelligence or Social Standing (if anything, the Social Standing modifier shoud be deducted from rather than added to Streetwise checks). When not dealing with nobility and other upper classes, Charisma becomes the default characteristic for social interactions, with other (particularly Social Standing and Intelligence) substituted as appropriate.

Faith measures a characterīs relationship to the supernatural and divine, much like their Social Standing measures their relationship to the rest of society; it shows how familiar and comfortable they are with belief systems and realities beyond the purely rational, in the way Education shows how familiar and comfortable they are with the sciences and technology. Faith will be considerably more important in fantasy setting variants where the supernatural and divine is very much real, and will be the basis of at least some kinds of magic. However, it does have its applications in a purely historical setting - a firebrand preacher might use a Faith/Leadership skill check to sway his flock, for example. Nevertheless, I foresee being somewhat marginal in a setting without supernatural elements, and I might end up not including it in such settings.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old July 27th, 2017, 12:28 PM
MichaelSTee's Avatar
MichaelSTee MichaelSTee is offline
Citizen: SOC-11
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Peachtree Corners, GA
Posts: 96
Gallery : 0
Visit MichaelSTee's Blog
MichaelSTee has disabled reputation
Default

I also wondered for many years if Traveller should have a Charisma score to measure attractiveness.
I finally accepted that worlds/societies with different backgrounds (and even genetic drift or high/low gravity) would very easily have different standards of "beauty" - this applies even today, where someone considered attractive in a country like Thailand may not be considered attractive in other country, like say Argentina. (Just picking two countries at random here.)
As far as charm and likeability goes, I feel the same applies, if to a smaller amount.
So a Charisma characteristic should have negative modifiers for larger distances from the home of the character.

I look forward to seeing what you do with Zephyr Engine! I noted in another thread that I thought the Barbarian career should be removed and replaced with a number of low-tech careers, as "Barbarian" to me means a nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle, like the Mongols or the Indians of North America, not like Aztecs, Incas, or the Pharaohs' Egyptians.
__________________
Michael
Count Ishiri (Dene 1429), Baronet Jae (Jae Tellona/Spin 2814), Baronet Ambossa (Reft 0410), Knight of the Iridium Throne (Seku/Core 2312), Sir Michael (Lir/Core 2720), Accidentally made Knight of the 3I (Efate/Spin 1705), MCG for Conspicuous Gallantry
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old July 27th, 2017, 12:55 PM
Chaos Chaos is offline
Citizen: SOC-12
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Posts: 492
Gallery : 0
Chaos Citizen
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelSTee View Post
I also wondered for many years if Traveller should have a Charisma score to measure attractiveness.
I finally accepted that worlds/societies with different backgrounds (and even genetic drift or high/low gravity) would very easily have different standards of "beauty" - this applies even today, where someone considered attractive in a country like Thailand may not be considered attractive in other country, like say Argentina. (Just picking two countries at random here.)
As far as charm and likeability goes, I feel the same applies, if to a smaller amount.
So a Charisma characteristic should have negative modifiers for larger distances from the home of the character.
Not necessarily distance, as such, but cultural groups. Iīm not sure I want to reflect this in game mechanics, though. Someone who travels for a living and meets people from strange cultures all the time, as player characters tend to do, would get the hang of bridging that sort of cultural gap quickly enough.
Besides, there is such a thing as a fascination for the exotic that might actually improve peopleīs reactions to someone from far away.

Quote:
I look forward to seeing what you do with Zephyr Engine! I noted in another thread that I thought the Barbarian career should be removed and replaced with a number of low-tech careers, as "Barbarian" to me means a nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle, like the Mongols or the Indians of North America, not like Aztecs, Incas, or the Pharaohs' Egyptians.
"Barbarian" is a very malleable term. The Greeks invented it, and considered everyone not Greek - even the Egyptians, whose culture was a lot older and at least as advanced - "barbarians", because they didnīt speak Greek as their native language.
From a less ethnocentric point of view, it makes sense to distinguish between barbarian cultures and more civilized cultures. Barbarian cultures are organized, at best, on a level of tribes or tribal confederations, and while they are sedentary, they are far less rigidly structured and less technologically advanced overall - although like the Norse and their longships, they might have some technologies more advanced than their civilized neighbors.
So it would make sense to distinguish between civilized Romans and barbarian Celts, or between civilized Anglo-Saxons and Franks and barbarian Norse. The Aztec, Maya and Inca may have been much less technologically advanced, but they were sufficiently highly organized to consider them civilized.
Reply With Quote
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
Historical IN fleet figures? rancke The Fleet 13 March 17th, 2014 02:27 PM
Adventures from historical incidents Dragoner The Lone Star 21 September 26th, 2012 11:37 PM
Question for the rules and Traveller historical Gurus about Hull costs in MT JRDavis The Fleet 3 August 17th, 2010 01:26 AM
Historical Striker? jrients Traveller Wargames 6 May 13th, 2006 10:54 AM

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 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright (c) 2010-2013, Far Future Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.