New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby dmccoy1693 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:21 am

h1ro wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:43 am
Dale, how do you think the production quality compares between Traveller (both MgT and T5) and Starfinder?
As funny as this is: I can't give a solid answer on this. I never saw the T5 book and I have mostly seen playtest word docs for Starfinder. I did get a copy of the final rules, but not the final book. What I've seen lacks any artwork and certain parts of the book that will not be OGL.

However, the artwork I have seen online for SFRPG , like everyone else, makes me prefer Starfinder's, generally. This is just personal preference on artists. However, when I comes ship art, I'll still take Ian's work.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:18 am

dmccoy, you just described Dragonstar and other attempts to put elves in space. Traveller is still here as popular as ever and very few people know or remember Dragonstar.

Starfinder is just another D&D game and the crowd it will cater to is the Pathfinder fanatics who grab anything that smells like Pathfinder. At least Shadowrun made magic and elves in a modern setting unique to be interesting not just a space paint job.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby middenface » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:38 am

dmccoy1693 wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:21 am
However, the artwork I have seen online for SFRPG , like everyone else, makes me prefer Starfinder's, generally. This is just personal preference on artists. However, when I comes ship art, I'll still take Ian's work.

Thanks Dale!

From what I have seen of Paizo's work is that it is lightyears ahead of Mongoose (they are getting better, just not yet)
Curious thing I was at Art College with one of the Artist who has done a lot of work for Paizo...

And a fair and easy SRD as well. Not like that TAS effort.. I might just have to get Starfinder.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Sigtrygg » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:18 pm

So how much science is in this science fantasy game?

Ships - how do they move STL, FTL, what powers them, what weapons systems do they have, what defensive systems?

How is ship combat handled?

(Already downloaded their ship sheet - I'm thinking of adapting it to Traveller)

How is system generation and world construction handled?
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby dmccoy1693 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:18 pm

Reynard wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:18 am
dmccoy, you just described Dragonstar and other attempts to put elves in space. Traveller is still here as popular as ever and very few people know or remember Dragonstar.

Starfinder is just another D&D game and the crowd it will cater to is the Pathfinder fanatics who grab anything that smells like Pathfinder. At least Shadowrun made magic and elves in a modern setting unique to be interesting not just a space paint job.
You are vastly underestimating Starfinder. Starfinder is being put out by Paizo, one of two of the biggest RPG companies in the business right now. They have their own development team inside the company, made up of some of the best names in the industry right now. Contrast that with Dragonstar which was put out by Fantasy Flight, which was a notable 3.5 compatible publisher back in the day, but they weren't even one of the top 5 3rd party publishers back when the 3.5=>4e transition happened (history reminder: WotC tried to get the top 5 3PP onboard with 4e about 7-8 months before its launch. Those were Paizo, Green Ronin, Mongoose, Goodman Games, and Necromancer.) Plus there wasn't a dedicated Dragonstar development team. Those that worked on it split their time between Dragonstar and other FFG projects. It was just one of their projects they had to work on.

There are also three other things that Starfinder has going for it that Dragonstar did not: third party publishers, organized play, and mass Gen Con sales. Starfinder has a compatible license for the game so any other company can make their own supplements for it, increasing available content and breadth of options. Organized play means Paizo is making serious cash off each game played at Gen Con. And the game is selling like crazy. Paizo has said they brought more copies of Starfinder than any other book to the convention. They sold out. On the first day of Gen Con. At the largest Gen Con in history.

Add to that that 10-15 years ago, SF wasn't as popular in pop culture as it is right now. Between Star Wars, Star Trek, and Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Science Fiction/Fantasy is holding its own these days. 15 years ago, the 3rd LotR movie was just coming out and the Harry Potter movies weren't even half way done.

Don't get me wrong. Starfinder is not going to "destroy" Traveller. However, it is aiming for the same space (pun not intended) as Traveller and it has things going for it that Traveller does not which will help it attract an audience that Traveller does not attract. Like I said, Traveller has flirted with science fantasy, but has never really embraced it. It has always gone for, "you're an ordinary truck driver, but in space," feel, aiming for what it calls "hard sf." Someone that wants to have a more fantastic view of the future has found little support for it in the game. It doesn't have "technology so advanced that it might as well be magic" as a playable character option. While religions are present in Traveller, there is little to distinguish someone that makes religion their life profession and someone that reads alot of relgion books.

Starfinder is not "elves in space." While the book does have elves, it makes it clean that elves, dwarves, etc are not one of the core races; they are shoved into a back chapter. Their core races are an android, a reptile-like race that will please klingon fans, a ratfolk race that targets fans of rocket raccoon, an ancient four-armed race, a human-like race with antennae (like mantis from GotG), a bug-like race (not unlike the droynes, but not sequestered to their own planets), and of course humans.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby dmccoy1693 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:21 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:18 pm
So how much science is in this science fantasy game?
I can't answer that since I have not seen much of the setting.
Sigtrygg wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:18 pm
Ships - how do they move STL, FTL, what powers them, what weapons systems do they have, what defensive systems?
They move by the power of your imagination (they call it "thrusters," but it is all just movement, as far as I am concerned). Their FTL is closer to Babylon 5's hyperspace than anything else.

Weapons: coil guns, rail gun, lasers, missiles, torps, particle beam cannons. You know, the standard array of SF weapon terminology.

Defenses: Star Trek-like shields.
Sigtrygg wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:18 pm
How is ship combat handled?
Hex grid fashion. Not unlike Star Fleet Battles.
Sigtrygg wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:18 pm
How is system generation and world construction handled?
Again, I haven't seen the setting yet.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby tytalan » Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:59 pm

I have to say that is one way Traveller has always disappoint me we have Coil Guns i.e. Gauss guns but no Rail guns other than starships weapons. I always thought that Rail Guns would be used as heavy sniper rifles and as crew served anti armor weapons like the old bazookas. But than I never thought Gauss Guns should have a higher tech level than lasers.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:35 pm

Had a chance today to get to my local game store and sit for a couple hours and peruse the Starfinder core book. No really, it is elves in space. It is Pathfinder (Same star system as the Pathfinder campaign world but the world is gone and replaced with the Absalom Station) meets Star Wars with a veneer of Shadowrun. And yes, elves and dwarves are in the book but not the main races.

It is in no way a 'Traveller killer' because it may have sci-fi concepts such as spaceships, zap guns and aliens but after that it is a Space Fantasy (their words) whereas Traveller is in the same room with Hard sci-fi, soft sci-fi, speculative sci-fi and others with emphasis on the Science. The oh so pretty artwork reminds me of scenes from Star Wars and Shadowrun. Some things in the rules remind me about Star Wars SAGA. Whereas the only magic in Traveller is ' Technology sufficiently high enough can be perceived as magic', Starfinder science is magic. It's a different game.

They often run sanctioned Pathfinder games at the shop. I asked the store associate if that will happen for Starfinder. He said he's heard nothing. So far there's no interest. Pathfinder exists by those sanctioned game events. When the game event Is over, the gamers go home and put the books away. When people aren't in Traveller games they still find lots to do with the Traveller books. That's a big difference. That's what fuels these forums.

My verdict so far: It's an interesting game. It's nothing new or original and might have rivaled Dragonstar. It could rival Shadowrun as they are much more similar in scope. People who are fans of Pathfinder could be interested because the mechanics and, marginally, the settings are very familiar. I'm not saying Traveller fans would have no interest just won't be burning their books and racing to play just because there are rats and elves in space.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby twodsix » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:52 pm

So, I'd like to briefly mention that I'm one of those new-fangled never read the actual inspirations for Traveller young people who apparently aren't interested in Traveller because it isn't hard science fiction. I adore Traveller because it's a toolkit, I recently got the MgT1e book for my birthday (I wanted 2e, but it's good enough) and plan to buy the various supplements in pdf for more options. I also want to pick up 2300AD because it's much more my style, but I find core Traveller is the kind of science fiction those who don't read a lot are able to like.

I mean I'm picking up High Guard just for reaction engines and small craft design. Because a spaceship isn't a spaceship without a rocket exhaust, and it's amazing that Traveller gives me the option to have them if I want (serious, 'where are reaction engines' was the first thing I looked for).

On the thread's topic, while I can see how Starfinder is going for a similar thing as Traveller, it doesn't feel like it's going for the exact same market. I look at Starfinder and I see D&D in space, partially because of the d20 system and magic using classes. I've also heard that the fluff relies on gods to make it's FTL dimension.

On the other hand, while I can see how the core Traveller book is optimised for a specific type of science fiction, it's flexible I see little fantasy. Sure there's psionics, but they're minor compared to most systems with them and easily ignored. Yes the basic ships use reactionless drives (for a certain value), but there are rules to solve that. The Mongoose 1e book includes 3 alternative FTL drives that seem to represent different types of science fiction (although I don't like how Hyperspace requires constant thrust, I might houserule that if I use it with reaction engines). The game has changed, I've read the 1e corebook and it doesn't even seem to acknowledge augmentation, neither do the LBB.

So while Starfinder has it's audience, and goes for a similar thing to Traveller, I'd say they're different enough to have mainly separate audiences. I mean if I want to run something inspired by Lensman I won't pick up Pathfinder because I just need to houserule Traveller some (change energy weapons slightly, add Bergenholms instead of Jump Drives, restrict psionics to Telepathy, and you're mainly there*).

* Okay, you can't exactly roll up Kim Kinnision, who seems to have squeezed three or more terms into one, but you don't have to focus on those characters or could just reduce term lengths.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:50 pm

I saw a third party has created a companion book featuring other Pathfinder races including catfolk and Kitsune.

My first thought was they added Aslan and Vargr. Darn, no centaurs for K'kree. Would grippli count for Bwapts?
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Linwood » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:56 pm

Looked like Starfinder was drawing a lot of interest at Gencon this year - long line at the special booth set up to sell the core rule book. So at present it looks like a success in the marketplace.

I can't speak to the content because I haven't looked at it. But I'm having trouble considering "elves in space" as a direct competitor to Traveller except in the sense that all RPGs are competing for a share of the same overall market.

A couple of contrarian thoughts:
- I keep hearing from my friends in the D20 gaming community that there's a bit of Pathfinder fatigue out there, at least in some regions. Seems like some discontent w/ the Pathfinder Society of late as well. Now this could be specific to one area of the US but if it's true on a broader scale it could limit sales a bit. And it might signal an opportunity to reach disenchanted players w/ a nonPathfinder alternative.
- I have one friend who bought Starfinder just for the setting - he's planning to adapt to a different rules set. (Cypher system, I think.) I doubt that a large percentage of buyers are doing that, but I am curious as to how many people are thinking along those lines.
- There are other competitors in the sci-fi RPG segment that may be more of a threat, if for no other reason than they're playing to the popularity of shows like The Expanse. Eclipse Phase and the new Alternity (Protostar) both seemed to be generating some interest. I think Traveller is stronger for space combat than either (the GM for the Eclipse Phase session I played in described space combat in that game as "Don't. Just don't.") but they both have unique strengths in other areas. And they both have history to build on - although in Alternity's case that history is tied up in copyright ownership issues.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:57 pm

Yeah, there are several games, including sci-fi themed, that hawk they are not combat oriented. I've tried (and playtested) a few and they, like similar movies and TV shows, get old and boring real fast unless you're an English major or really love the drama genres.

I saw they're selling the PDF for $10 to get people buying it. You think people wouldn't need such enticement if it sells itself. And is GenCon representative of the general buying market? There were 3-4 copies at my local game store which has hosted Pathfinder Society events. None gone the day I went. I'll check again soon now that a couple weekly gaming days have gone by.

"And it might signal an opportunity to reach disenchanted players w/ a nonPathfinder alternative."

If they have Pathfinder fatigue, Starfinder is an alternative only in they changed a few game mechanics and added sci-fi stuff to their fantasy world. It's Pathfinder with a paint job. Maybe that's all it needs to be different for a group who want a change of pace and scenery without walking away from their favorite game system.

I'm not saying Starfinder is a bad game. I like Pathfinder because I've been a D&D fan a few weeks longer than I became a Traveller fan. I'm also a big Shadowrun fan. I may buy Starfinder as casual reading material because I probably won't ever get a chance to play as I can't play most RPGs for my demanding job. Being familiar with these games and looking over Starfinder for a couple hours, I will say Shadowrun would have more concern as they share way far more.

The Ysoki caught my eye as I looked the book over. A ratfolk race a meter tall, agile and smart but not terrible strong, can see in bad lighting, aaaaand they carry stuff in their cheeks. I must say I was converting them to Traveller immediately!
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:25 am

Linwood wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:56 pm
I can't speak to the content because I haven't looked at it. But I'm having trouble considering "elves in space" as a direct competitor to Traveller except in the sense that all RPGs are competing for a share of the same overall market.
Starfinder is a different genre. Totally different mechanic. For the one-track minded gamers out there that only think "character death during chargen" when they hear "Traveller", they will see Starfinder as being direct competition if it too has chargen death.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby paltrysum » Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:05 pm

I don't think the two games compete at all. Traveller fans, by and large, like that their game pays at least some obeisance to the laws of physics and attempts to imagine a world 3,600 years in our future. Star Finder is pure fantasy with space ships and laser guns added in. I don't think there will be any metric to measure whether or not it eats into Traveller's market share, but I doubt it'll make much difference.

The art looks terrific, but you gotta give me more than pretty pictures to get me on board.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:20 pm

The iconic characters for Starfinder have outfits they're wearing that just look way too busy. Like their artwork was really meant to be printed on magic cards for a CCG. Some sort of edgy-looking Pokemon characters, that come with a stick of gum or some pogs.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby TrippyHippy » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:51 am

It'll around for about three years, then fizzle out. It's really a case of Paizo trying to find ways of keeping Pathfinder in the mind of fans, but I don't really see it as a game changer.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby middenface » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:06 pm

SF $10 for the PDf vs $29.99 for the 2E PDF
SF $59.99 for the hard copy vs $49.99 for the 2E hard copy
SF has something very novel called an 'index'
SF 532 pages vs 241 pages

Just saying....
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby TrippyHippy » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:14 pm

middenface wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:06 pm
SF $10 for the PDf vs $29.99 for the 2E PDF
SF $59.99 for the hard copy vs $49.99 for the 2E hard copy
SF has something very novel called an 'index'
SF 532 pages vs 241 pages

Just saying....
I couldn't give a **** about any of that though. Just saying'.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:16 pm

middenface wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:06 pm
SF $10 for the PDf vs $29.99 for the 2E PDF
SF $59.99 for the hard copy vs $49.99 for the 2E hard copy
SF has something very novel called an 'index'
SF 532 pages vs 241 pages

Just saying....
Most Pathfinder players don't care about price or page-count. They have all the add-on books for their game. They are Pathfinder players. They are not even thinking about Traveller. Different demographic. They will buy Starfinder without question, if they feel an SF urge. Again, not thinking about Traveller as they buy up all the Starfinder books.

There are the Traveller players that don't think about Pathfinder or Starfinder. Some of them probably think a lot about CE though.

All the FFG Star Wars players... buying up all the books because in-print and Star Wars. It uses the funky dice and game mechanic, and no one cares how clunky the game runs. It's Star Wars.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby twodsix » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:05 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:16 pm
Most Pathfinder players don't care about price or page-count. They have all the add-on books for their game. They are Pathfinder players. They are not even thinking about Traveller. Different demographic. They will buy Starfinder without question, if they feel an SF urge. Again, not thinking about Traveller as they buy up all the Starfinder books.

There are the Traveller players that don't think about Pathfinder or Starfinder. Some of them probably think a lot about CE though.

All the FFG Star Wars players... buying up all the books because in-print and Star Wars. It uses the funky dice and game mechanic, and no one cares how clunky the game runs. It's Star Wars.
Yes. Let's be honest here, a good chunk of the market exclusively plays D&D or Pathfinder. I don't like it, but that's how it is. I remember seeing adverts for Starfinder that basically went 'Starfinder is finally doing for science fiction what D&D did for fantasy', and realised that this wasn't being aimed at people who know that Traveller exists (it was on Facebook and I wasn't the only person commenting 'so it'll do for science fiction what Traveller did for science fiction?').

It's also why I don't think Starfinder will have a significant impact on Traveller. Most of the people playing Traveller already either don't play D&D or Pathfinder, or are the kind who'll collect and play more than one game. I've personally got many games on my shelf and in storage (not in a position to fit all of them on my shelf) from various companies, mainly corebooks and supplements for the few ones I really like.

Traveller players won't stop buying Traveller because Starfinder is out. Either they bought the corebook and nothing else (so they weren't buying Traveller anyway), or they like Traveller enough that they'll still buy the products. Most of them anyway, I suspect there will be a handful who will jump ship, but I suspect that's more likely for those who are currently playing Star Wars d20/Saga or d20 Future. In general I've found those who like to play non-d20 games do so because they legitimately prefer them and sought them out.

I do see Traveller fans maybe not spending as much money on Traveller RIGHT NOW, because that print book is expensive (£50!) and it's easier to sell a group currently playing a d20 game on another d20 game than a completely different system (even if that system is generally better). But I don't see Traveller fans completely jumping ship.

For Starfinder players, they probably weren't interested in Traveller anyway. Starfinder will be more comfortable to them (and honestly, for science fantasy it's not exactly bad from all the descriptions I've had, I'm half considering it myself. Not overly sold on their version of hyperspace, but that's what houserules are for).

As it is, if I want d20 science fiction I'm more likely to try to find the old Babylon 5 game, although I'm also considering getting the Traveller version. I like the universe, and think Traveller might be the better fit, I've just heard it's difficult to read.

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