New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
rust2
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby rust2 » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:02 pm

Lysander wrote:
Hopefully, that's not you...
No, that's certainly not me - at least not any longer, as I have to admit that I once spent a lot of time with the GURPS technology supplements ... :oops:

As for Traveller, I will certainly return to this game sooner or later, it is a habit that is difficult to get rid of after almost fourty years of addiction, and I can get this
favourite drug of mine just as well without wasting some of my precious spare time on this forum's version of an eternal verbal civil war. :roll:
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Tenacious-Techhunter
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:34 pm

Apparently Roll20 releases an “Industry Report” about games being played on its service: http://blog.roll20.net/post/14349328173 ... rt-q1-2016

“Traveller (Any Edition)” is listed as having just under 0.3% of played games on the service. “Stars Without Number” has 1.3% of games played, over 4 times what Traveller does. Various editions of “Star Wars” are collected at around 3.43%, as you would expect. Disregarding “Science Fiction/Fantasy Settings Backed by a Major Media Powerhouse” for a moment, “Traveller” comes in second to “Stars Without Number”.

Obviously, failing to actually address concerns like these are a problem for people who play their Tabletop RPG games online; for those who failed to read the full problem initially, and instead resorted to “outright attack mode”, he was asking, “How does a GM share his rulebooks with people he plays with over the internet, rather than in person, without unintentionally redistributing copies, as if he was allowing someone to borrow the book in real life? How does he do that without having to give away his personal, private name, that is currently unavoidably embedded within the watermark?”; honestly, putting a serial number there linked to customer records with a warning about illegal distribution, and keeping the individual’s name private, would have been just as good.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:50 pm

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:You’re trying to argue that simulationism only empowers the GM, or only empowers the smartest person at the table... but that isn’t true. By implementing a realistic version of something, players can use the regular every-day assumptions about how the world works and use them in the game. Every obscure little scientific fact they’ve ever known becomes a potential solution to an in-game problem. The world isn’t merely immersive... it’s also responsive; which means that creative solutions can be applied!

Lack of responsiveness can also lead to failure to suspend disbelief, just like lack of immersiveness can: “The MacGuffin is trapped inside an ordinary rubber ball... and you only have moments to get it out.” “Oh! I open a crack in the Liquid Nitrogen feed to the Life Support System, stick the ball in the stream, and freeze it! Then, I smash it open!” “You can’t smash it open, it’s rubber.” “Yeah, and that freezes in liquid nitrogen, and can then be smashed.” “It’s... not ordinary rubber after all... it’s... I dunno, it’s magic space rubber. You can’t shatter it that way.” “Ugh, fine; what do you want me to do with it? No, you know what? Forget it; let someone else play conductor on your railroad.”

By constraining the physics within the game, you constrain the actions of your players into the predictable. And while that can be important if your game is confined to a published adventure, or module, or whatever, it sucks the life out of games. It also means that every solution the players come up with will have to be predictable, and they’ll become bored, because they can’t apply their creativity.

Simulationism is something everyone gets to use; not just the GM, and not just the smartest, but also the creative, and even those who merely have a specialized knowledge in some obscure area. It can be a powerful tool for keeping people involved in their games, as opposed to waiting out for the resolution dictated by GM fiat.
Handwaves like this aren’t any better if they’re done before the fact, either; the player is just as limited, either way. Whether it’s by the book, or the GM, using “handwavium” is telling the players that those things are unactionable; players can’t bring those things into their gameplay, because common sense can’t be applied to explain what will or won’t happen.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby fusor » Mon Jun 20, 2016 7:15 pm

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:Handwaves like this aren’t any better if they’re done before the fact, either; the player is just as limited, either way. Whether it’s by the book, or the GM, using “handwavium” is telling the players that those things are unactionable; players can’t bring those things into their gameplay, because common sense can’t be applied to explain what will or won’t happen.
Just as a general comment, can you do us all a favour and not italicise every other word that you write? I'm pretty sure we're smart enough to figure out where the emphasis should be without it, and it makes it a lot more readable too. e.g.

"Handwaves like this aren’t any better if they’re done before the fact, either; the player is just as limited, either way. Whether it’s by the book, or the GM, using “handwavium” is telling the players that those things are unactionable; players can’t bring those things into their gameplay, because common sense can’t be applied to explain what will or won’t happen."
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Jame Rowe » Mon Jun 20, 2016 7:52 pm

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:Apparently Roll20 releases an “Industry Report” about games being played on its service: http://blog.roll20.net/post/14349328173 ... rt-q1-2016

“Traveller (Any Edition)” is listed as having just under 0.3% of played games on the service. “Stars Without Number” has 1.3% of games played, over 4 times what Traveller does. Various editions of “Star Wars” are collected at around 3.43%, as you would expect. Disregarding “Science Fiction/Fantasy Settings Backed by a Major Media Powerhouse” for a moment, “Traveller” comes in second to “Stars Without Number”.

Obviously, failing to actually address concerns like these are a problem for people who play their Tabletop RPG games online; for those who failed to read the full problem initially, and instead resorted to “outright attack mode”, he was asking, “How does a GM share his rulebooks with people he plays with over the internet, rather than in person, without unintentionally redistributing copies, as if he was allowing someone to borrow the book in real life? How does he do that without having to give away his personal, private name, that is currently unavoidably embedded within the watermark?”; honestly, putting a serial number there linked to customer records with a warning about illegal distribution, and keeping the individual’s name private, would have been just as good.
Sounds like you should be playing another game other than Traveller, then. Since you like to point out Traveller's flaws instead of enjoying other people using them as opportunity to improvise.
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legozhodani
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby legozhodani » Mon Jun 20, 2016 7:59 pm

T-T seems to love to hate Traveller.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby fusor » Mon Jun 20, 2016 8:09 pm

Jame Rowe wrote:Sounds like you should be playing another game other than Traveller, then. Since you like to point out Traveller's flaws instead of enjoying other people using them as opportunity to improvise.
Pretending that flaws in a system are "opportunities to improvise" doesn't change the fact that they're flaws though. The way that most people (in any other situation) would approach a flaw is to fix it, not to carry on using it and manufacture a justification for its existence (and by "flaws" I mean things that are objectively broken - if a table churns out nonsensical results then that's a "flaw").
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby fusor » Mon Jun 20, 2016 8:31 pm

legozhodani wrote:T-T seems to love to hate Traveller.
How is pointing out that Traveller isn't popular on an online gaming site "hating traveller", exactly? At least there's actual numbers to go by there, instead of unsupported claims without evidence (which most people here are making). Stars Without Number, Star Wars, and Shadowrun are all scifi games with more people there (and at least Stars Without Number is a game that is very similar to Traveller in a lot of ways too, and people prefer to play that there rather than Traveller).
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby legozhodani » Mon Jun 20, 2016 8:48 pm

Never said his stats were wrong. Not argued with any of his points on the whole. Just the attitude that come across is one someone who seems to love to hate Traveller. No comment on how good or bad it is as a game from my part. Just an observation...
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:17 pm

I also notice how many inhabit this game forum who have a distinct dislike if not hatred for Traveller. They make it clear how absolutely horrible it's been for forty years never getting better edition after edition by monitoring all posts here and replying very regularly 24/7. Some say "oh, I like the game but it's so broken and I'm here to point out all flaws so someday someone will get it right like all those other better SFRPGs." The game has enough gamers who like it enough to keep the producer solvent enough keep putting it on the market but we hear every other game is better even the ones that died off in those forty years.

Is any of this making sense?
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:40 pm

I tell people to blog/vlog about Traveller if they want to introduce players to the game. I've met all kinds of new players to Mongoose that way.

The problem though is that a lot of the players that wish Traveller was more popular, are really bigger fans and players of D&D and Pathfinder. So their creative energy is placed there when given the choice.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby fusor » Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:09 pm

Reynard wrote:I also notice how many inhabit this game forum who have a distinct dislike if not hatred for Traveller. They make it clear how absolutely horrible it's been for forty years never getting better edition after edition by monitoring all posts here and replying very regularly 24/7. Some say "oh, I like the game but it's so broken and I'm here to point out all flaws so someday someone will get it right like all those other better SFRPGs." The game has enough gamers who like it enough to keep the producer solvent enough keep putting it on the market but we hear every other game is better even the ones that died off in those forty years.

Is any of this making sense?
I think the people who criticise Traveller (myself included) are doing so because they wish it could be better - those flaws that people pointed out in the game were there from the start, and are still there almost 40 years later. One of the biggest issues is that Traveller was touted as a generic SFRPG but it rapidly became obvious that it wasn't generic at all. But people who point this out and express a desire for additions to the game that would make it more generic or more up-to-date get shouted down by others who don't seem to want those to happen, even though those additions wouldn't get in the way of how they play their games in the slightest. Why should anyone care if there were more realistic options added to the game for those people if they're happy playing with the default space opera rules and setting?

Traveller's longevity isn't really that significant. Its initial popularity was because it was one of the first SF games on the block. While GDW was around it got two new editions (MT and TNE) because they had an idea for where it was going. Then GDW folded (so evidently it wasn't enough to keep its producer solvent). Then we had T4, GURPS Traveller, T20, HERO Traveller and Mongoose Traveller because those people wanted to license it. And then Marc finally published T5 (albeit in an unfinished form which is apparently still being worked on). But either way, the sales numbers show that Traveller simply isn't a very popular RPG compared to others on the market today. It's just another scifi RPG now - albeit one with its own peculiar retro-scifi feel to it - though many of its fans refuse to accept that.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby legozhodani » Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:18 pm

Agree with a lot of that, and yes Traveller does have a retro vibe, can't escape that. Not a problem though. Only other sci-fi I've seen down the club was Starwars.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:25 am

legozhodani wrote:... and yes Traveller does have a retro vibe, can't escape that.
Why the hell not??? That is an unnecessarily defeatist point of view! The only thing preventing Traveller from being a modern, Hard Science Fiction RPG is the will required to make that choice! The research required in modernizing a game like Traveller to realistic standards isn’t any different than researching old folktales for novel dungeon critters...
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:41 am

Considering no other game is a modern, Hard Science Fiction RPG, Traveller doesn't need to compete that way except it did when it expanded to including 2300. There's your hard stuff. A lot better than any other I've experienced. Keep Traveller retro and fun.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:54 am

Reynard wrote:I also notice how many inhabit this game forum who have a distinct dislike if not hatred for Traveller. They make it clear how absolutely horrible it's been for forty years never getting better edition after edition by monitoring all posts here and replying very regularly 24/7. Some say "oh, I like the game but it's so broken and I'm here to point out all flaws so someday someone will get it right like all those other better SFRPGs." The game has enough gamers who like it enough to keep the producer solvent enough keep putting it on the market but we hear every other game is better even the ones that died off in those forty years.

Is any of this making sense?
It’s easy to love, say, the setting of Traveller, or the simulationist character creation process, or the Hard Science Fiction Realism baked into the original Little Black Books... but when the parts around those things are broken, like when the combat systems at different scales refuse to mesh, or when the berthing space of vehicles is utterly inconsistent, or when supposedly futuristic communications devices don’t even reach modern levels of performance, “Traveller” as a product is ruining “Traveller” as an experience. It’s all well and good to say that Traveller as an experience is great. I don’t think any of us would be here if we thought otherwise. But as a modern Tabletop RPG product, it’s crap.

Rather than look at developments in real-world spaceflight, information technology, or, heaven forbid, every-day life, and extrapolate from there, it re-stats up the same old tired junk that was obsolete decades ago. Rather than integrate disparate combat systems that were broken in the old edition, so they can work this time in the new edition, they toss in a fad game mechanic. Rather than deliver us a carefully crafted steak, they toss the wolves some bones, and when we complain how we ordered steak, the wolves snap at us.

It’s easy to love the play experiences you make with your friends when playing an RPG, Traveller or not. And it’s certainly easy to like the parts of a whole that are in good working order. But if the parts that are broken are never fixed, you wind up with the Microsoft Zune. :P
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:57 am

Reynard wrote:Considering no other game is a modern, Hard Science Fiction RPG, Traveller doesn't need to compete that way except it did when it expanded to including 2300. There's your hard stuff. A lot better than any other I've experienced. Keep Traveller retro and fun.
That’s exactly why it does need to compete that way; because no one else is. But, more to the point, Hard Science Fiction lies at Traveller’s very roots, in the Little Black Books. Better to go back there and do it again from the ground up than to become another also-ran Space Opera with no media to back it up.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:25 am

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:
Reynard wrote:Considering no other game is a modern, Hard Science Fiction RPG, Traveller doesn't need to compete that way except it did when it expanded to including 2300. There's your hard stuff. A lot better than any other I've experienced. Keep Traveller retro and fun.
That’s exactly why it does need to compete that way; because no one else is. But, more to the point, Hard Science Fiction lies at Traveller’s very roots, in the Little Black Books. Better to go back there and do it again from the ground up than to become another also-ran Space Opera with no media to back it up.
How about you go do that. And find players for your new game. Then come back and report on it. Bring YouTube video with.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby fusor » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:40 am

Reynard wrote:Considering no other game is a modern, Hard Science Fiction RPG
You mean other than Eclipse Phase, or 2300AD, or Transhuman Space, or Blue Planet, or even Jovian Chronicles (if you take out the robots)...? I don't really get why you're trying to misrepresent the hobby so much. :?

The thing here is that the OTU is retro scifi. Great. If you like that then keep playing it.

We're not talking about the OTU though - we're talking about Traveller as a set of rules, and as a set of rules it is incomplete and even broken in many ways. e.g. Why shouldn't publishers provide rules for smaller, more realistic computers? Or enhanced prosthetic limbs/cyberware? Or genetic engineering? Why not change the worldbuilding to reflect what we know about the universe now instead of what the publishers though we knew in the 1970s? Why not provide rules for alternate FTL drives? Or even alternate realistic maneuver drives? None of these would "get in the way" of current games or GMs who like the game as it is - they can carry on as they've always done. But adding this sort of thing would provide more options, and make Traveller a much more well-rounded system that everyone can be happy with.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:51 am

fusor wrote:Why shouldn't publishers provide rules for smaller, more realistic computers? Or enhanced prosthetic limbs/cyberware? Or genetic engineering? Why not change the worldbuilding to reflect what we know about the universe now instead of what the publishers though we knew in the 1970s? Why not provide rules for alternate FTL drives? Or even alternate realistic maneuver drives? None of these would "get in the way" of current games or GMs who like the game as it is - they can carry on as they've always done. But adding this sort of thing would provide more options, and make Traveller a much more well-rounded system that everyone can be happy with.
If a book for such options was produced, players would still find something to hate about it. That's why Referees are told to change whatever they want in the game. No one is stopping Referees from playing in their imagined hard-sci-fi setting game.

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