New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

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

Postby Galadrion » Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:36 am

h1ro wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:22 am
For those of you who visit the Starfinder forums, are they full of people bitching about typos and rules they don't understand?
Erhm... haven't seen much of that, although there is a thread entitled, "Let's Queer Up Starfinder!" (And yes, I did use the word "entitled" deliberately.) Even though there is some content to the thread, it still seems like a minor trolling exercise - I'm just not sure how humorous or serious it's intended to be.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby twodsix » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:49 am

Reynard wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:20 am
Browsing the Starfinder forums. One topic is about making SF hard SF. Seems we are not alone.
Heh. As someone trying to make a 'modern hard science fiction' setting for Traveller (I do like 2300AD, but I want something more like 2000s sci-fi), I can tell them good luck. Traveller is comparatively hackable, with different technologies being easily changed out or altered without affecting a ton.
Another topic, a person wants to build worlds which the main book doesn't address. First answer was, wait for it, the Traveller world generator.
I'm not surprised, hopefully it'll get them to turn.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:59 am

Sigtrygg wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:57 am
The Expanse is fairly hard sci fi.
It was written based on one of the author's d20Future campaign.
It's gritty dystopian sci-fi. Has spacesuits. Has airlocks. Has moments of "WTF?" in it. Vacc Suit skills and EVAs are hand-waved.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby twodsix » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:58 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:59 am
Sigtrygg wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:57 am
The Expanse is fairly hard sci fi.
It was written based on one of the author's d20Future campaign.
It's gritty dystopian sci-fi. Has spacesuits. Has airlocks. Has moments of "WTF?" in it. Vacc Suit skills and EVAs are hand-waved.
While I've not read The Expanse yet (after I finish the Commonwealth Saga I'm obliged to read a book that was a present), there is such a thing as hard science fiction. The problem is that people disagree on where the line is.

Okay, it's more true to say that some science fiction is harder than others. In this case 'hard science fiction' becomes a relative term, for Starfinder you can describe Traveller as hard science fiction (no magic, clearly defined rules to at least most of it's technology), while to Traveller (Third Imperium) you'd describe 2300AD as hard, and 2300AD might consider Revelation Space hard. Then it gets even blurrier when the same EFFECT can be viewed as making the piece of work harder or software depending on how it works (lets say a device makes what I tell it to, if it converts energy into stuff it's a soft science replicator, while if it uses nanomachines and acts as an advanced 3D printer it's a harder science fabber).

I mean, a story can even shift from hard to soft, or potentially soft to hard, based on new science. Lensman was originally relatively hard for Space Opera (although not to modern 'hard space opera' standards by my reading), but these days things like the Bergenholm (especially to allow FTL) and FTL rays and sensors are complete nonsense.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:00 pm

twodsix wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:58 pm
ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:59 am
Sigtrygg wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:57 am
The Expanse is fairly hard sci fi.
It was written based on one of the author's d20Future campaign.
It's gritty dystopian sci-fi. Has spacesuits. Has airlocks. Has moments of "WTF?" in it. Vacc Suit skills and EVAs are hand-waved.
While I've not read The Expanse yet (after I finish the Commonwealth Saga I'm obliged to read a book that was a present), there is such a thing as hard science fiction. The problem is that people disagree on where the line is.

Okay, it's more true to say that some science fiction is harder than others. In this case 'hard science fiction' becomes a relative term, for Starfinder you can describe Traveller as hard science fiction (no magic, clearly defined rules to at least most of it's technology), while to Traveller (Third Imperium) you'd describe 2300AD as hard, and 2300AD might consider Revelation Space hard. Then it gets even blurrier when the same EFFECT can be viewed as making the piece of work harder or software depending on how it works (lets say a device makes what I tell it to, if it converts energy into stuff it's a soft science replicator, while if it uses nanomachines and acts as an advanced 3D printer it's a harder science fabber).

I mean, a story can even shift from hard to soft, or potentially soft to hard, based on new science. Lensman was originally relatively hard for Space Opera (although not to modern 'hard space opera' standards by my reading), but these days things like the Bergenholm (especially to allow FTL) and FTL rays and sensors are complete nonsense.
Technically, to be "hard SF", a setting needs two things. Spacesuits and airlocks. That's it. People will come out of the woodwork everywhere to call the thing hard SF.

There's magic in Traveller. It's just technology that one can't explain is all. See Thor movies and Spiderman Homecoming. Some would argue that high lech is not hard SF. They'd be right, since there is no such thing as hard SF.

Hard SF is the lazy man's way of saying that ALIEN is gritty sci-fi. No such thing as soft SF either. Doctor Who is all just modern-day fantasy.

Traveller is speculative fiction. Starfinder is a cartoon in comparison.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby twodsix » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:52 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:00 pm
Technically, to be "hard SF", a setting needs two things. Spacesuits and airlocks. That's it. People will come out of the woodwork everywhere to call the thing hard SF.

There's magic in Traveller. It's just technology that one can't explain is all. See Thor movies and Spiderman Homecoming. Some would argue that high lech is not hard SF. They'd be right, since there is no such thing as hard SF.

Hard SF is the lazy man's way of saying that ALIEN is gritty sci-fi. No such thing as soft SF either. Doctor Who is all just modern-day fantasy.

Traveller is speculative fiction. Starfinder is a cartoon in comparison.
I'm cutting out the previous quotes to make it easier to read.

That's kind of my point, hard science fiction isn't ONE THING. I believe it is possible to write a 'true' hard science fiction story (maybe a decade into the future, if that, only visible advancement is that some cutting edge lab stuff has made it's way to the street, we follow characters who wouldn't know about new theories and cutting edge developments), but it's not what most people want because so little everyday technology will have changed, and there's certainly no FTL or major space travel.

Now my point was 'hard to soft' science fiction is a spectrum. Almost every piece of science fiction has to invent unrealistic stuff somewhere, it's just the more stuff invented the softer it is. I wasn't saying that there was such a thing as hard science fiction, I was saying that 'Revelation Space is harder than Starfinder' is a true statement. People tend to treat hard science fiction as a genre because they tend to draw a line at something, let's say Traveller for the sake of example, and say that everything harder than it is 'hard', while everything softer than it is 'soft'.

In all honesty, as soon as you've introduced FTL you can't be definitively hard for me, the only space opera I personally consider hard science fiction is Revelation Space. But that's just my opinion, in yours maybe not even 'near future, with some new tech' can count as hard even if the tools work scientifically.

I myself plan to pick up Starfinder when I have the £50, because having a Star Wars like game will help drawing people in. I'll get rid of the Solarian, because I just don't like it, but otherwise it's good enough. It's not exactly hard, but sometimes a cartoon is the best thing to play, not everyone likes novels.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby alex_greene » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:56 pm

People have written hard science fiction set in the Home Counties, but with a planet full of blind people and Triffids.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:07 pm

twodsix wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:52 pm
In all honesty, as soon as you've introduced FTL you can't be definitively hard for me, the only space opera I personally consider hard science fiction is Revelation Space. But that's just my opinion, in yours maybe not even 'near future, with some new tech' can count as hard even if the tools work scientifically.
I'll have to take a look at Revelation Space. Not familiar with that one.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby alex_greene » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:17 pm

Or you could try M-Space, and you can make your SF as hard as you like.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:30 pm

alex_greene wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:17 pm
Or you could try M-Space, and you can make your SF as hard as you like.
I don't care for D100 RPR games. MgT2 is the direction forward.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Infojunky » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:47 am

All this to-ing and Fro-ing is amusing me.

Traveller has been here before.

Star Frontiers. Need I say more?

Amusing factoid about that Star Frontiers served as a Gateway to Traveller.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:47 am

Traveller keeps chugging on.

Keep on Travellin'.

See SPI's UNIVERSE. One of SFRPG's first casualties in the tabletop RP war against the Travellerdom.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby twodsix » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:13 pm

Infojunky wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:47 am
All this to-ing and Fro-ing is amusing me.

Traveller has been here before.

Star Frontiers. Need I say more?

Amusing factoid about that Star Frontiers served as a Gateway to Traveller.
I suspect it's about how different people view Traveller as different things.

To me Traveller is on the harder end of the tabletop science fiction spectrum, while remaining a bit pulpy. No strange transhuman things, but force fields aren't a standard technology and reaction drives actually require fuel. So for me it doesn't overlap with Starfinder at all, which is more a D&D and Star Wars mix with the associated hand waving of 'where does the fuel come from'. I mean, MgT1e did forget to state that standard engines are gravity drives in the core book, but fixes that by High Guard. In fact, most tabletop science fiction games forget that reaction mass should take up a significant portion of your ship, I like that Traveller has proper reaction drive rules.

I suspect what will happen is those who try Starfinder and enjoy it, but want a simpler game will come to Traveller. Because once you decide to use M-drives spaceships aren't any more complicated, you won't have to deal with scaling weapons, and characters are much simpler without the multitude of special abilities. Plus MgT1e's point buy rules should be posted somewhere for those without the book, they are a decent alternative for those groups who don't want to risk imbalance.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:01 am

So... after a year and a half, has Starfinder completely destroyed Traveller as competition?

Bought the books. Thought with Pathfinder so popular at the local game store Starfinder would have an audience. It very infrequently goes up on the schedule and *chirp chirp*.

I put the books away because once you build a character there's not much else to do. Even when I can't get into a Traveller game, my books are opened daily because it has things to entertain akin to mini construction games which this forum is built on. Sounds like Starfinder sits next to all those other shelved and no longer published sci-fi RPGs I have.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby paltrysum » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:09 am

Woohoo! Traveller wins again! Forty one years and counting.

Tempted to post lyrics to Queen's "Princes of the Universe" just because "We Are the Champions" is so overdone, but well, let's just be satisfied with Traveller's continuing ability to somehow survive and thrive when so many others have come and gone.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby TrippyHippy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:59 am

Reynard wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:01 am
So... after a year and a half, has Starfinder completely destroyed Traveller as competition?

Bought the books. Thought with Pathfinder so popular at the local game store Starfinder would have an audience. It very infrequently goes up on the schedule and *chirp chirp*.

I put the books away because once you build a character there's not much else to do. Even when I can't get into a Traveller game, my books are opened daily because it has things to entertain akin to mini construction games which this forum is built on. Sounds like Starfinder sits next to all those other shelved and no longer published sci-fi RPGs I have.
Starfinder has a particular advantage, due it being Paizo, that they have very a strong distribution network. Traveller, has some decent distribution too, but it's not as far reaching largely because a lot of game retailers only really stock a handful of games including Pathfinder. However, in my view, Starfinder only really has a market within the Pathfinder community rather than reaching out to any other group.

Traveller remains enduringly popular because it's an iconic, archetypal roleplaying game with a multi-generational fanbase that is decades old. It's no longer a 'market leader' in sci-fi, largely because of the ascendency of various Star Wars RPGs since 1987, but it's proven it's enduring qualities nevertheless.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:44 am

Even the Star Wars RPG are publications by different companies that never really lasted too long. I know as I have all but the latest version. SFRPGs based on media franchises live and die on the popularity of the source keeping the buying public interested. Traveller has a huge official universe allowing gamers to pick and choose locations and events to stage campaigns s well as encouraging easy designing of sandbox adventures.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby paltrysum » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:07 pm

Exactly. You can use the game's rather detailed canonical universe or put together a home-grown setting with relative ease. An anecdotal observation of the various Traveller Facebook groups reveals a pretty good array of both. There are people who strive to strictly adhere to OTU canon, those who pick and choose what they like, and many who bootstrap the whole thing.

That's sort of the genius of Traveller's genesis. Marc designed it to be a simple D6 RPG with which anyone could customize their own story, shortly thereafter relenting to the pressure of the fan base to create a more detailed setting. Neither play style ever eclipsed the other and you can even do both if you like. As you mentioned, Reynard, licensed games ebb and flow with the popularity of the source material. Traveller is its own source material.

I don't know how you can evangelize the game any better but I'm really pleased that it has survived.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:01 pm

Still.... Traveller needs ratfolk. Jus sayin'.
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Re: New Paizo SF RPG: Competitor with Traveller?

Postby Old School » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:03 pm

I liked Star Frontiers. :D

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