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Traveller and GDW


We have to remember that this is a game. The creators never really thought that after 20 years people will still be arguing and playing it. Even after all it's reprints and editions. So when Kiniur was created. It was seen as big enough to be a Cruiser. High Guard was most likely not even thought of at the time. So when the ships got big. It remained because of the support matierial for it. The Idea of Colonial Ships and Line ships is a good way to handle this problem. Small ships are created by colonial local navies. The local navies field by Planetary governments and Local nobels.

The colonial forces fight the "Good Wars" and hire the mercs and generally provide with adventure. The idea that there is a Imperial Navy with mucking big ships and resources to hunt you down provides the spectre that keeps my PCs from being to bad or good at their jobs.

Imperial ships IMTU are rarely seen and when they are they are either flavor or sometihng to be avoided. Colonials appear often and as true warships they should be avoided at all costs.
I agree with most you written in your post. I believe that many of us try to rationalize the incoherences found in the Imperium setting. Incoherences that are the result of a not planned development.

I really like the early version of Traveller with smaller ships. I think it recreates better the sail age feeling Traveller attempted to borrow. I am not playing Traveller right now but I am planning to forget the official setting and use my own homebred campaign, as suggested by the original books without megaships. I still enjoy reading about the official setting, but there are too many things I disagree to actually use it in my game.
For me Traveller and Star Wars have had a twinning relationship. Even though, I only started playing Traveller in around 1984. I had purchased Starter Traveller and then Fighting Ships. So it was like the beginning of a New Hope for me, there were the small and fast sailboats (or more like a Catamaran) - the Falcon, Slave I, etc & the big hunking Star Destroyers, IMTU. Except, I never really saw those hunking ships until MT and even then it took the Black War to really start churning them out.

While I respect the Traveller of the small ships, it just does not feel like 1110 or 1116, if the TU is dominated by small ships. It is as if everyone on Planet Earth has automobiles. Rather, I see the small ship the high ground of the frontier and restrict its use there but at the same time endorse the steady advance of Imperial institutions to the frontier. Hence, the need for F*ckin' Big Honky Tonky Starships (see my earlier post).

I think that was the elegant beauty of Milieu 0, was that it could accomodate both as the 3I was not yet the 3I but rather the Sylvan Federation reaching outward and getting its nose blooded in the meantime.
I started with MT in 1989 or thereabouts, but have never used the largest ships in my campaign.

AT the moment though I am running an alternate Milieu 0 campaign where the Imperium reaches out, spreads too far too fast, and realises it isn't the only one with the same idea. Unfortunately the other guy is considerably smaller but has spend a couple of hundred years maintaining it's borders and is ready for a new phase of expansion. After a year of game time blows are just about to be struck directly against each other and the larger ships are starting to emerge, but still no where near as large as the later day 3I. Largest so far is a 30,000 ton Heavy Cruiser.
To me, the smaller ships are your tramp freighters of the 1930's. Lots of them, on smaller marginal routes, and many perform a little "self help" (read smuggling) every now an then to make ends meet. They are somewhat profitable, but the big secret is the Imperium actively encourages people to own and operate them.

The Navy, and IMTU there is only one Navy has the honkin' big starships, which are seldom seen, usually somewhere for maintenence, or "showing the flag". The standard ship seen is the 400-4,000 ton sloop/corvette/frigate/destroyer. The Navy has far more of these ships than the larger ones, and never enough to adequately patrol the borders.

Remember, there is a lot of space in a system, and even more in the betweens.

Smaller starships are nice, and you see lots of them. I get the impression that my Imperium has far more traffic than the canon 3I. Rather than one or two landings a day at your average "B" or "A" starport, I see dozens of starships landing and leaving daily. The same goes for "C" and "D" starports. I have refined fuel at all starports (now the price may be more than you want to pay, but...), and dozens of ships coming and going daily, kinda like a modern airport of moderate size.

The smaller starships don't carry a lot of cargo compared to the biggies, but they carry enough, and what they do is important to the smaller markets that just would be overwhelmed by the bulk cargo carriers.