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"Does Traveller Satisfy You?" Topic


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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian22 Dec 2011 11:12 a.m. PST

One reviewer of a recent sci-fi RPG writes:

…the setting, while workable, is sub-par compared to the standard Traveller setting, the main competitor and inspiration of this RPG. I admit, the comparison is unfair Traveller has been under constant development for decades now, with multiple rulesets to suit your taste but it's exactly the comparison most interested buyers will make.

Is there any reason to create new sci-fi space RPGs, or has Traveller already done it so well there is no sense trying any more?

skippy000122 Dec 2011 11:24 a.m. PST

I love Traveller! It's a great series-it' NOT the only one.

The same statement could be made about GURPS,

I want new sfrpg's and if the system and premise is intriguing I will buy them.

'sub-par' is relative.

Farstar Inactive Member22 Dec 2011 11:27 a.m. PST

Traveller hasn't so much "done it so well" as "done it so often". I can say this as a Traveller fan from roughly JTAS #2. The different rule sets Traveller has either created or been converted to handle most of the Space Opera tropes between them.

Of course, for a number of fans "Traveller" is the setting and not the rules. The idea that Traveller is generic is an insult to these fans (and is why this particular group has nothing to do with the current edition).

SFRPG efforts post-Traveller tend to one of two results: They either try hard to not appear as Traveller rips (homages, retreads, etc)… and fail, or they go down a particular path heavily that Traveller touches only lightly (being generic, after all) and explore the cliches of SF under the umbrella of that choice. The cyberpunk and giant robot branches are the most obvious, but not the only ones.

kyoteblue Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2011 11:35 a.m. PST

Not so much.

The G Dog Fezian22 Dec 2011 11:36 a.m. PST

As a Traveller fan from as far back as JTAS # 8, I can say there is room for more games than just Traveller. Yes, you can do 'generic' games with Traveller, and yes, the official background is also what I think of as Traveller. But the 'jump drive' mechanics and vector movement system give a game that has its own unique flavor.

Having said that, *I* wouldn't dream of playing Star Trek or Star Wars with Traveller. Your milage may vary.

There is always room for a new game system/setting.

Space Monkey Inactive Member22 Dec 2011 11:44 a.m. PST

The idea that Traveller is generic is an insult to these fans (and is why this particular group has nothing to do with the current edition).
Despite the fact that the original LBBs had no official setting at all? (Except for what was implied in the equipment and character generation… but still, nothing in any detail).
I've never played a game of Traveller set in the OTU… though I bought sourcebooks and adventures that were set there.

Classic Traveller still does satisfy me for the 'feel' of the style of game it provides. It's a pretty much rules-lite and doesn't try to adjudicate ever possible circumstance.
I'll happily play other scifi games though…
I was in a short campaign of Eclipse Phase last year and it was a real mind-bender… a setting where the player is often more horrified than the PC. I'd happily play that again.
Now we're starting up with D6 Star Wars and I expect to have fun with that as well…
There are lots of others I'd like to try.

Farstar Inactive Member22 Dec 2011 11:59 a.m. PST

Despite the fact that the original LBBs had no official setting at all?

Yup. Kinda boggling.

Mongoose's stated purpose of making the game generic again and presenting the Third Imperium as a conscious and seperable addition provoked an amazing response from a number of rather vocal people. It took quite a bit of yelling to figure out why, but firm adherence to "Traveller is the setting" proved to be at the base of it for several people.

Subsets of the Traveller fanbase have built quite a number of ivory towers over the years. It is actually a strong reason for SF games that are NOT Traveller to continue to be written and released, as nothing new with the Traveller name will ever interest some of these folks, who have all the Traveller they think they need.

Never mind that the problems they go on and on about were solved by a later edition they won't admit exists or will tell you was horrid (then admit they never read). A mailing list for Classic Traveller was having a tail-chasing discussion on mass tonnage vs displacement tonnage just last week, refusing any references outside of their edition…

*I* wouldn't dream of playing Star Trek or Star Wars with Traveller

Those styles of game are both quite possible, though I would pick editions of Traveller carefully in both cases. Playing the specific universes might be a bit more work.

punkrabbitt returns22 Dec 2011 12:23 p.m. PST

Traveller is like sex, only better. Traveller OTU is like married sex, full of love and commitment, always there for you. Generic Traveller is like dating, sometimes you score, sometimes you don't, but it slways feels like there's something lacking.

The G Dog Fezian22 Dec 2011 12:34 p.m. PST

Those styles of game are both quite possible, though I would pick editions of Traveller carefully in both cases. Playing the specific universes might be a bit more work.

I don't disagree, Farstar. Just expressing my own mindset that I'd prefer a dedicated game for each over a common rules set for both. It all comes down to seasoning and flavor.

Bryan Stroup Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2011 12:45 p.m. PST

Classic Traveller FTW

…though I would be happy to use Savage Worlds with the Traveller background

RTJEBADIA22 Dec 2011 1:05 p.m. PST

I'm kinda running into this… I think for a setting, Traveller is cool, but not the only setting I play (I like to play my own settings too).

As a game (Mostly original traveller, here, though sometimes I'll use one of the more recent ones that is very similar to original traveller in mechanics) I find it to be great, maybe not the best, theoretically, but as good as anything I'm likely to ever play…

But for other 'levels' of play, for a similar style or even the same universe, I'd play different rules. Striker was never that great, IMO, so I play 5150. I'm currently developing a space game to go with New Beginnings, and those will combine to be my psuedo RPG 'warband' Traveller, where each player would be a crew instead of one man in a crew… similar, but slightly different feel.

Interesting conversation.

Cornelius Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2011 1:17 p.m. PST

Traveller never satisfied me (in the two versions I have played).

john lacour Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2011 1:21 p.m. PST

i was into traveller from the beginning. i never liked it. my group wanted to play a space game and that was the first, so i bought it and was like Bleeped text? and it amazes me to this day that its considered the be all, end all of sci fi rpging. latter, i thought "space master" was much better. and just before we broke up and stopped role playing, i bought "battlelords of the 23rd century", and i thought that was pretty cool. i think that would have been fun to play. i may have to dig that out and have a read. for old times sake…

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2011 2:49 p.m. PST

Traveller does it for me!

Personal logo Goober Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2011 3:06 p.m. PST

Standard Traveller setting – how amusing. Show me three Traveller players and I'll show you 5 opinions on what the standar Traveller setting is.

Farstar Inactive Member22 Dec 2011 3:59 p.m. PST

i thought "space master" was much better. and just before we broke up and stopped role playing, i bought "battlelords of the 23rd century", and i thought that was pretty cool.

Well sure. Traveller has generally not done well at gonzo silliness, four-hour pointless combats, and mind-wrenchingly tedious death scenes.

And for a short list of why I'll take Traveller over either of those two games, see the above. I've played Spacemaster's parent game Rolemaster, as well as it's "simplified" form in Lord of the Rings. I would not choose that option for a space game, though the setting for SpaceMaster held promise (being the basis for both editions of Silent Death).
Battlelords, on the other hand, really looked like it was trying too hard.

Personal logo Dropship Horizon Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2011 4:06 p.m. PST

Traveller harnessed my imagination post Star Wars and subsequently most of my Sci Fi gaming over the past 30-35 years has had a Traveller accent.

I think part of it's endearing nature is the fact that the background was solid enough to pull you in regardless of the completely random nature of character generation.eg combat veterans walking around with cutlasses and having a Blade 3 skill but no firearms skills, not even picked up during basic training.

Whilst the rules were leaky with an astounding lack of futuristic anything, you could easily plug the holes with the contents from your favourite Sci Fi books, TV, film or imagination.

Book 4: Mercenary really started harnessing the latent power of Traveller.

I hold my hand up and say that I skirted the edge of T20 Traveller and bought some of the GURPS books, but that was it. I just wanted to keep the fun memories of an imperfect past that could add colour to my games in the present.

Cheers
Mark

Gloreindl Inactive Member22 Dec 2011 4:39 p.m. PST

I started playing Traveller back in 1982, and have been playing it off & on since. Mongoose's version is my preferred version, as I find it the most logical of all the Traveller iterations, as well as the most fun. I feel it is the best of the SF RPGs out on the market.

SonofThor22 Dec 2011 4:55 p.m. PST

Traveller is great! The setting has it's ups and downs. I really don't like the alien races though, too many furries.

But Thousand Suns is looking like a pretty good alternative! link

picture

TGerritsen Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2011 6:34 p.m. PST

Traveller used to satisfy me several times a week, but over time we grew apart and it went down to once a week, then once a month, then once on my birthday or Christmas. Now it doesn't satisfy me anymore at all, despite my asking, then begging, and finally cajoling. I've come to accept it.

Stern Rake Studio Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2011 8:35 p.m. PST

I've been a Traveller fan since the early '80s, although I don't always have, or make, the opportunity to play. What I've done is use the material I have for references, ideas and scenario generators for the sci-fi games I do play.

Ted

Kristof65 Inactive Member22 Dec 2011 9:45 p.m. PST

Traveller, for me, is the D&D or 40k of Sci-Fi role-playing. It may not be the greatest game ever, but you can always find someone to play it with. And like D&D, it can come in multiple flavors, depending on GM, rules version and the setting.

I've played and GMd Traveller off and on since I first discovered the LBBs back in 79. I like almost all the editions in one degree or another, and own quite a bit of most of them. But the attitudes of some of the die hard "fans" really puts me off. If I find anything unsatisfying about Traveller, it's that.

RTJEBADIA22 Dec 2011 9:56 p.m. PST

I think the real key is that Traveller is basically required reading for a SF wargamer or RPGer… maybe even a SF anything (writer?).

Even if you don't like what it does here and there, or think its better with a different rulesset, or a different setting, or something…. its kinda the common ground from which modern SF gaming has spawned, IMO.

Mark said how his SF is all with a Traveller accent. Thats basically what it comes down to.

Reading Traveller allows one to see SF gaming through a wonderful lens… even if your setting is different, your rules are different, and you're not playing an RPG….

Little Big Wars Inactive Member22 Dec 2011 10:50 p.m. PST

I am definitely encouraged to chuck anything that Traveller says about computers… but the setting is pretty cool.

Rallynow22 Dec 2011 11:27 p.m. PST

Not just one. It sometimes takes two or more. Then I call a cab.

Personal logo Dropship Horizon Supporting Member of TMP23 Dec 2011 1:54 a.m. PST

Well put RTJEBADIA.

Cheers
Mark

corporalpat Inactive Member23 Dec 2011 9:04 a.m. PST

Does Traveller satisfy me? Yes…but then I've been tweaking, modifying, re-writing, adding to and subtracting from it since I got my first LBBs back in the 70's. IMHO Traveller is a solid system with a number of flaws that are easily overcome if you don't treat rulebooks as absolute gospel.

john lacour Supporting Member of TMP23 Dec 2011 9:37 a.m. PST

i don't think battlelords is trying too hard at all. i think it knows where it is, and its a fun ride. i like the fact it tells you its a sci fi game. traveller, on the other hand, at least with the first lbb"s, does'nt really grab you and say, this is a wild ride of a space game.

infojunky24 Dec 2011 3:00 a.m. PST

Traveller was the 1st gearhead game, it allowed the players to build and play with their own creations within the rules presented. I think more has been writing about the gear of Traveller than any other specific portion of the game.

Now, Traveller has adopted a campaign based on the original rules. Which is understandable. The 3rd Imperum as a setting can be very dynamic, but is limited by the arbitrary gear/technological choices.

So, to change the technological choice is to change the campaign, not a bad thing. But in some respects when you make those changes you are basically writing an new game.

And the same can be said about changing the rules. And as we all know rules always need to be tweaked.

So, No Traveller isn't the end all be all of SF games.

Scorpio24 Dec 2011 9:45 a.m. PST

Does Traveller have light sabers and space werewolves?

Is there any reason to create new sci-fi space RPGs, or has Traveller already done it so well there is no sense trying any more?

Wow, uh, yeah, there's plenty of reasons to keep creating new ones. We didn't stop writing plays after Shakespeare, we didn't stop making scifi movies after Aliens/2001/Gattaca/etc.

billthecat Inactive Member27 Dec 2011 1:53 p.m. PST

Well said, Scorpio.

I'll pass on the lightsabers and werewolves, however.

and 'Official Traveller setting'…. bwa ha ha ha….

billthecat Inactive Member27 Dec 2011 2:38 p.m. PST

BTW, is that 'Thousand Suns' rule set D6 based, like Traveller? I'm still looking for a cleaned up version…

Der Krieg Geist27 Dec 2011 9:01 p.m. PST

I read quite a bit of Traveller, but for some reason I could never really put my finger on, it never appealed to me enough to actually play it.
I like Fading Suns and BESM for Sci- Fi RPGing. I also liked the look and feel of Alternity, though I could not quite figure out how the rules worked. I also have a copy of MetaBarons, which looks seriously cool but I have yet to play. It is based on the West End Games D6 system.
So to answer the original question posed…. I think there is always room for more cool stuff to be written, as "written so well" is not enough to get every one,example:myself, to play it.
Variety after all is the spice of life. :)

Zardoz28 Dec 2011 2:46 a.m. PST

Traveller setting – yes, it's almost perfect (for me). – I tend to prefer 'gritty' type SF with a dash of mystique.

Traveller rules – meh, most are pretty shoddy or too crunchy.

And Thousand Suns is D12 based. It's OK as a system, not great or ground breaking.

Ian

Farstar Inactive Member28 Dec 2011 10:31 a.m. PST

I also liked the look and feel of Alternity, though I could not quite figure out how the rules worked.

The setting is Traveller re-skinned with slightly more Pulp. The rules… I'm not sure the authors quite figured out how they worked either, so you're probably doing just fine.

Der Krieg Geist28 Dec 2011 8:34 p.m. PST

Farstar,
I thought Alternity had an oddly revamped Star Frontiers feel to it ( LOL). Thanks for thumbs up, as I'm no dummy, but those rules made my head spin and are quite confused and very confusing. :)

Farstar Inactive Member29 Dec 2011 11:24 a.m. PST

We played about six or seven levels of Alternity Star*Drive. With the exception of the skill cost vs skill points awarded mechanic and how that interacts with the rather brutal task system, the basic mechanics mostly work. Where it really fails is in the applications of those rules to the tech. Better to hit rolls using smaller damage dice while the armor dice never change, high end tech with color text that implies it just chews up lower tech but with no rules support, classic Traveller crew roles on a ship but a skill list that guarantees you need at least two engineers no matter how small the ship, and damage control rules that allow even a mediocre engineer to stay ahead of incoming fire (partly because of the odd damage rules, and partly because damage control rules were that bad).

It was enough of a mess that we gave up when the list of house rules started to get unwieldy.

Der Krieg Geist29 Dec 2011 8:22 p.m. PST

Kind of a shame I always thought, as the books and ideas were very attractive and evocative. I really wanted to love StarDrive snd the rest of Alternity.

Lysander29 Dec 2011 9:45 p.m. PST

"Classic Traveller FTW

…though I would be happy to use Savage Worlds with the Traveller background"

Happy with Traveller (in all its forms) but I am also considering the same. Savage Worlds would allow me to use a generic system that players would not have to "re-learn" should we cross genres.

Always liked universal systems and Gurps is just too complicated for my limited capacity (as well as those who play with me). Looking for a simple fix.

This week, the Spinward Marches next week Hyboria. Third week Marvel superheroes. Savage Worlds would seem to provide a way to play them all seamlessly.

Farstar Inactive Member30 Dec 2011 9:37 a.m. PST

This week, the Spinward Marches next week Hyboria. Third week Marvel superheroes. Savage Worlds would seem to provide a way to play them all seamlessly.

Though system fatigue can become an issue. If every game you play uses the same rules, the risk arises of the games all feeling the same with just the place names changing.

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