New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

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

Postby l_c_jackson » Mon May 30, 2016 11:30 pm

http://paizo.com/starfinder/

Obviously Traveller has the decades of background and the massive(?) fanbase, but Pathfinder also has it's supporters. Personally the idea of a Pathfinder SF RPG does not appeal. I would much rather have a fantasy version of Traveller, for the simplicity and elegance of the mechanics.

I know that fantasy versions of Traveller exist.

https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?68 ... lack-books

Can anyone recommend any of them, and why do you think they are relatively obscure?
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Tue May 31, 2016 12:05 am

Since Traveller began there have been dozens of scifi RPG's on the market. a very few still exist but the majority have not matched Traveller's lifespan. I doubt it will make a ripple. I'm sure some people who play Traveller might pick up the new game and even play it.

My game room is lined with many, many scifi RPG's like corpses in a crypt. Traveller has a shelf in my living room with other RPG games I actively play or at least mess around with.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby TrippyHippy » Tue May 31, 2016 6:34 am

Traveller has always had lots of competition but, aside from Star Wars, some of the cyberpunk games and occasionally Star Trek when it's on release, they don't really eat much into Traveller's fanbase.

In the case of Paizo's Starfinder, let me ask is there really much more to it that Pathfinder in Space? If not, then sure, it'll appeal to a segment of Pathfinder players but it won't deliver the same experience as Traveller.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue May 31, 2016 9:58 am

Competition is a healthy thing.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue May 31, 2016 10:07 am

l_c_jackson wrote:Can anyone recommend any of them, and why do you think they are relatively obscure?
Nostalgia and curiosity would be the only reasons to take a look through fan-made rules. They remain obscure though because hit-points, XP, D&D.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby dmccoy1693 » Tue May 31, 2016 12:08 pm

Traveller has nothing to worry about Starfinder. Traveller is Science Fiction where Starfinder will be Science Fantasy.

One is centaurs in space and anthropomorphic creatures as playable alien races and a faster than light system that no one can say has any basis in reality. The other ... :shock: ... oops.

:wink: :lol:

Seriously though, one is a math game where you have to make sure everything is balanced. the other can be easily improved. One has levels; the other doesn't. One uses a d20 where rolling any particular number on the die is just as likely where the other uses 2d6 which has a weighted average of being average. The systems vary greatly and I doubt that one is really going to pull people away from the other.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Tue May 31, 2016 12:34 pm

Anyone remember the hey days of d20 OGL games especially scifi RPGs (including D20 Traveller)? How many of those are still being sold? How many here own many or any? (Note: yes, I own many)

Many were well done but none were Traveller killers. I used to run Dragonstar and often used classic Traveller adventures as general inspiration. Dragonstar was similar to Shadowrun, a blend of science fiction and high fantasy and that made it stand out on its own but didn't mean I gave up Traveller for it. Heck, how many Star Wars RPGs have come and gone while we've enjoyed Traveller even going back to a slightly modified classic? It doesn't mean it can't and won't happen but I'm very confident Traveller will always have its own fans for its unique mechanic system and story background.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Tue May 31, 2016 2:56 pm

dmccoy1693 wrote:Traveller has nothing to worry about Starfinder. Traveller is Science Fiction where Starfinder will be Science Fantasy.

One is centaurs in space and anthropomorphic creatures as playable alien races and a faster than light system that no one can say has any basis in reality. The other ... :shock: ... oops.

:wink: :lol:

Seriously though, one is a math game where you have to make sure everything is balanced. the other can be easily improved. One has levels; the other doesn't. One uses a d20 where rolling any particular number on the die is just as likely where the other uses 2d6 which has a weighted average of being average. The systems vary greatly and I doubt that one is really going to pull people away from the other.
Just to make sure we’re all on the same page...

No one can say the Traveller FTL has any basis in reality either; it relies upon a property of matter that does not exist, or is even theorized to exist; if it existed, then Traveller Jump Physics could work in real life... but it doesn’t, so they don’t. Jump Physics is Traveller’s “One Tiny Lie”. Reactionless Drives are its “One Big Lie”; any realistic assessment of them proves that it’s madness.

If we’re really going to argue about how many of what kind of dice should be used, the realistic answer is at least 3 dice to get that nice normal curve, number of sides according to system preference, and everything else is just fantasy according to preference, 2d6 and d20 included. The only thing that would be more realistic is if the dice rolling included some sort of inverse-square-law mechanic that didn’t have to be mathed out... that’s a bit of a unicorn just now, though.

I see this as a good development that has come too late. If it came earlier, it could have encouraged Mongoose to rebuild the equipment list according to the actual scientific and technological developments at our TL, filtering out everything realism has made obsolete in Traveller’s equipment so that it could appeal to a modern audience with realistic expectations of what equipment should do; which would distinguish it from softer sci-fi games like Paizo’s. Instead, we still have ship’s computers that are far bigger than the toaster-sized boxes they should be, and other absurdities that inhibit gameplay for non-fanboys. While I expect something more in the vein of Star Frontiers, if they get a realistic equipment list and shipbuilding system, that’s a very good case for me to dump Traveller, which seems determined to pander to “fanboy nostalgia for the retro-future”.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby dmccoy1693 » Tue May 31, 2016 3:38 pm

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:Just to make sure we’re all on the same page...

No one can say the Traveller FTL has any basis in reality either
That's what I am saying. I'm saying that both have centaurs in space (K'kree), both anthropomorphic aliens (lion-like race, genetically uplifted dogs), a faster than light travel ... that is well covered.

I should have used the [/sarcasm] tag somewhere in there, but I thought all the emojies covered it.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby hivemindx » Tue May 31, 2016 3:57 pm

Reynard wrote:Since Traveller began there have been dozens of scifi RPG's on the market. a very few still exist but the majority have not matched Traveller's lifespan. I doubt it will make a ripple. I'm sure some people who play Traveller might pick up the new game and even play it.
You could have said the same thing with regard to fantasy games when Pathfinder first came out. Personally I hope it does really well and I look forward to spending money on pre-painted Starfinder minis to use in my Traveller games. :)
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue May 31, 2016 6:31 pm

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:No one can say the Traveller FTL has any basis in reality either; it relies upon a property of matter that does not exist, or is even theorized to exist; if it existed, then Traveller Jump Physics could work in real life... but it doesn’t, so they don’t. Jump Physics is Traveller’s “One Tiny Lie”. Reactionless Drives are its “One Big Lie”; any realistic assessment of them proves that it’s madness.
Traveller relies on gamers that are fans of Piper, Asimov, and Bradbury. And gamers that understand and enjoy alternate far future history. Marc Miller just wrote a Traveller novel for such fans.
Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:that’s a very good case for me to dump Traveller, which seems determined to pander to “fanboy nostalgia for the retro-future”.
Start your own Realistic Traveller blog (or BBS forum). Build it and see if they come.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby fusor » Tue May 31, 2016 8:59 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:Start your own Realistic Traveller blog (or BBS forum). Build it and see if they come.
More realistic, modern scifi is pretty popular. There's even one that works under Traveller - 2300AD (though it is still out of date in some ways). And there are also other games that aren't Traveller that can cover that genre (e.g. Eclipse Phase, Transhuman Space).

I think Traveller's biggest failing (as a rules set) is that it doesn't cover modern tech very well, and its OTU setting assumptions are rather baked in to the rules and require some effort to excise from them. As such, it's not really a generic scifi ruleset. Maybe that lets it do "retro-future scifi" well, but it makes it harder to do anything else (e.g. realistic settings require a lot of rule rewrites and addition to handle them, when that could have been actually included in the main rules had they been flexible enough).
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby rust2 » Tue May 31, 2016 9:09 pm

There have been lots of d20 science fiction games, like for example TSR's Alternity, and there is already a science fiction roleplaying game using the Pathfinder system, Avalon's Infinite Futures. While Traveller has had d20 competitors for a very long time, none of this competition has seriously hurt Traveller's status as a leading science fiction roleplaying game. Starfinder will certainly have a rather large community of players, but I very much doubt that many of them will come from the current Traveller community.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby TrippyHippy » Tue May 31, 2016 11:53 pm

fusor wrote:
ShawnDriscoll wrote:Start your own Realistic Traveller blog (or BBS forum). Build it and see if they come.
I think Traveller's biggest failing (as a rules set) is that it doesn't cover modern tech very well, and its OTU setting assumptions are rather baked in to the rules and require some effort to excise from them. As such, it's not really a generic scifi ruleset. Maybe that lets it do "retro-future scifi" well, but it makes it harder to do anything else (e.g. realistic settings require a lot of rule rewrites and addition to handle them, when that could have been actually included in the main rules had they been flexible enough).
As far as I can see, the OTU is a pretty generic setting with multiple Tech levels. I've never really understood this argument about it being 'retro' in any way, aside from old publications becoming unsurprisingly out of date over time. The current Traveller game, for example can handle transhumanism well - as I'd imagine we will see from the Mindjammer setting anyway - and other aspects of the game can be emphasised over others easily enough.

On this basis, you could argue that any sci-fi game can over cover settings within narrow parameters. Fact is, people will set more limitations in their own minds than whatever ruleset is presented to them.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby fusor » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:16 am

TrippyHippy wrote:As far as I can see, the OTU is a pretty generic setting with multiple Tech levels. I've never really understood this argument about it being 'retro' in any way, aside from old publications becoming unsurprisingly out of date over time. The current Traveller game, for example can handle transhumanism well - as I'd imagine we will see from the Mindjammer setting anyway - and other aspects of the game can be emphasised over others easily enough.

On this basis, you could argue that any sci-fi game can over cover settings within narrow parameters. Fact is, people will set more limitations in their own minds than whatever ruleset is presented to them.
Multiple tech levels don't really mean it's generic on their own - the OTU is actually pretty specific. There's only one way to do FTL (Jump drive, with jumps taking a week), interstellar communications is limited by the speed of travel, it has feudal social classes baked into the Social Standing, the races are pretty specific, etc. The retro-ness comes from the computers being vastly oversized (and limited), being based more on the 70s idea of that a computer is a big mainframe-sized box which can only do a handful of things at a time. Heck, they even use jump tapes.

If you want to have a transhumanist setting where people (and bioroids and uploaded intelligences) sail the seas of hyperspace with quantum computers and can instantly communicate over lightyears, you've got a fair bit of work to do if you want to adapt Traveller's rules to that - it's not impossible, but that stuff isn't there in the rules already for a GM to springboard from. The closest Traveller got to that was TNE's "Fire Fusion and Steel" which genuinely did provide a huge number of alternative tech options, along with the possible consequences of using them on a setting.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Wed Jun 01, 2016 1:44 am

Aaaaaand that's why I like Traveller. It's obviously an ALTERNATIVE universe similar but not ours. Things work different but they work. Computers are big on starships yet they have working energy weapons and the beginning of grav tech while our Earth thinks it's all scifi. Worlds around other stars are rich and suitable for human habitation whether they already have their own life or not. Stars are closer together. There's no transhumanism which, from all the descriptions, is very, very boring. Like Star Trek, people rely more on people than ultra-robotization. It's not scifantasy like the Star Wars RPGs with anime mysticism and futuristic samurais with impossible light sabers and moon sized starships. It's not retro steampunk ships. It's simplistic as in not getting overly complicated. It doesn't try to remake itself every time someone cries it's not based on today's reality rather it tends to tweak bits of reality while retaining its iconic flavor. It presents an easy imagining of fun science fiction. That's why it's been around for 40 years and will still remain relevant to RPGs while holding its own to newcomers such as Paizo's offering.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:24 am

fusor wrote:I think Traveller's biggest failing (as a rules set) is that it doesn't cover modern tech very well, and its OTU setting assumptions are rather baked in to the rules and require some effort to excise from them. As such, it's not really a generic scifi ruleset. Maybe that lets it do "retro-future scifi" well, but it makes it harder to do anything else (e.g. realistic settings require a lot of rule rewrites and addition to handle them, when that could have been actually included in the main rules had they been flexible enough).
Give an example of what exactly that Traveller's rules get in the way with what you're trying to do.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby fusor » Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:24 am

Reynard wrote:That's why it's been around for 40 years and will still remain relevant to RPGs while holding its own to newcomers such as Paizo's offering.
I think it says something about Traveller fans that they feel threatened by a new SFRPG coming out. The language people have used in this thread is very defensive, as if they fear that a new RPG may "take Traveller's crown" or something. Whenever Traveller is compared to a new RPG, people come out and say "it was better in the old days, we weren't spoonfed everything like modern rpgs do, etc". I don't think Traveller has "held its own" so much as survived by the sheer stubbornness and bloody-mindedness of its ageing fanbase. Whether it's really "relevant" anymore is another matter - Traveller hasn't really brought anything new to the gaming table for decades (arguably not since TNE, which is still one of the few post-apocalyptic galactic-scale scifi settings), and its setting has largely fossilized.

Traveller has good points but it also has many flaws - and the OTU has many more. If you like that setting and dealing with all its idiosyncracies, then great. But Traveller isn't the be-all and end-all of science fiction roleplaying - it does its curiously anachronistic style of 1950s-1970s scifi adequately enough and it has a very loyal fanbase, but I don't think that should be confused with "relevance". Traveller will probably still be around for many years, but its glory days as one of the few major SFRPGs are long gone, and it's just another scifi RPG now.

As for Paizo's RPG - good luck to it. I don't think it'll really 'compete' much with Traveller given it seems to be more "D&D Fantasy in Space" like Dragonstar, but the more the merrier, I say.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:30 am

fusor wrote:The language people have used in this thread is very defensive, as if they fear that a new RPG may "take Traveller's crown" or something.
It may take over the d20 crown for sci-fi. That's about it.
fusor wrote:I don't think Traveller has "held its own" so much as survived by the sheer stubbornness and bloody-mindedness of its ageing fanbase.
They cling onto Classic Traveller. Not Mongoose, which is still here.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby fusor » Wed Jun 01, 2016 2:30 am

ShawnDriscoll wrote:Give an example of what exactly that Traveller's rules get in the way with what you're trying to do.
- My ship uses chemical rockets to get around and reaction mass. Tell me how to calculate travel times and reaction mass loss using Mongoose Traveller.

- I want to make a setting where ships travel using HyperDrive through another dimension that has "terrain" in that is defined by stars and planets and other masses. Show me the hyperdrive tables, advice for the effects of such a drive on a setting, and how to calculate the mass of the hyperdrive engines for a ship.

- Rules for uploaded intelligences, and how they can download into vehicles, robots or biological bodies.

(maybe these are in expansions like High Guard, I don't know. But they're not in the corebook).

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