Lots of Dice and a little Cepheus Engine, too

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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby FreeTrav » Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:50 pm

fusor wrote:I think T20 failed more because it was simply a bad implementation of d20 rules with Traveller - possibly because it came out rather early in the d20 era, before D20 Modern was released, and it was trying to fit D&D-style rules into Traveller when it could have been a lot more original about it (as later games that came out for the OGL d20 rules were). That and the fact that its main architect was incapable of running his company and couldn't be bothered to pay his authors or fulfil his other obligations.
Actually, it didn't predate d20 Modern; in fact, as I recall, that was one of the recommended core books to use. But the "fitting D&D-style rules into Traveller" was the problem - I didn't say it so succinctly, but the comparison I made before, where I spoke about the "ethos" mismatch, amounted to the same thing.

But even d20 Modern was more-or-less "D&D in the 20th Century". And the general perception - and principal market - for d20 still seems to be Epic Fantasy, even if a little better developed than the dungeon crawls of 30 years ago.

And the bad blood regarding QLI's business practices... didn't help.
fusor wrote:TNE also was based around a d20 system, I might add.
And was another more-or-less failure. But there were more reasons than ruleset for that. There's still quite a bit of bad feeling about it.
fusor wrote:GURPS Traveller is one of the best implementations of Traveller ever IMO, in terms of the quality of work and the thought put into it. Unfortunately the old guard were mostly offended by its system changes (using GURPS TLs etc) so they largely either ignored it or spent a lot of time slagging it off.

I think it'd be rather oversimplistic to put any edition's success or failure down to what kind of dice they used.
GURPS Traveller wasn't taken up en masse by the "old guard", but as I see it, it was less because of system differences than it was the "Really Stupid Stuff" like insisting on English units (feet, pounds, etc.) because America (GURPS overseas pubs did use SI), in spite of it having been pointed out that Traveller's principal market was America, and yet SI didn't hurt there... Lots of the "old guard" would mine the GURPS Traveller sourcebooks for use in their 2d6 Traveller games. But after a flurry of initial releases, it appeared that SJG lost interest in it - maybe it didn't meet their sales expectations, but it seems that once SJG decided that there was going to be a GURPS 4e, they stopped work on Traveller - all that GURPS Traveller 4e ever got was Yet Another Era Sourcebook (Interstellar Wars), and no support past that.

I won't attribute the death of GURPS Traveller to system difference issues. When the idea was first floated, the Traveller community said "Hell yes!". There's still quite a lot of support in the community for GURPS Traveller. What wasn't there - or what wasn't perceived to be there - was the support from SJG. And that's what any game community is going to want from the publisher - ongoing support.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby fusor » Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:58 pm

FreeTrav wrote:Actually, it didn't predate d20 Modern; in fact, as I recall, that was one of the recommended core books to use. But the "fitting D&D-style rules into Traveller" was the problem - I didn't say it so succinctly, but the comparison I made before, where I spoke about the "ethos" mismatch, amounted to the same thing.
T20 came out in October 2002. D20 Modern was released in November 2002. So, OK, T20 didn't pre-date d20M by much, but they were so close together that they didn't influence eachother and I don't believe QLI had any access to what d20M was presenting before publication. T20 was definitely hewing pretty close to D&D in terms of its mechanics anyway.
But even d20 Modern was more-or-less "D&D in the 20th Century". And the general perception - and principal market - for d20 still seems to be Epic Fantasy, even if a little better developed than the dungeon crawls of 30 years ago.
There were some pretty big differences between the base D&D rules and what d20M presented. It wasn't just "D&D in the 20th century". I can't remember the details of what was different but I think advancement and feats had changed at the very least. And then later games (Spycraft, Mutants and Masterminds) really broke off and use the d20 OGL as a base for something totally different - which ideally is what T20 should have done.

fusor wrote:
TNE also was based around a d20 system, I might add.
And was another more-or-less failure. But there were more reasons than ruleset for that. There's still quite a bit of bad feeling about it.
People like to claim TNE was a failure, but it actually wasn't - it did pretty well. They also like to claim it destroyed GDW when it didn't (CCGs and some bad business decisions with their Desert Storm wargames were what brought the company down).
Yes, the old guard didn't like it and some were incredibly loud and overdramatic about that - but it still led to the publication of the 1248 setting years later which is one of the best Traveller products ever IMO. So anyone who still has "bad feelings" about it at this stage really needs to get over it.

fusor wrote:GURPS Traveller is one of the best implementations of Traveller ever IMO, in terms of the quality of work and the thought put into it. Unfortunately the old guard were mostly offended by its system changes (using GURPS TLs etc) so they largely either ignored it or spent a lot of time slagging it off.

I think it'd be rather oversimplistic to put any edition's success or failure down to what kind of dice they used.
But after a flurry of initial releases, it appeared that SJG lost interest in it - maybe it didn't meet their sales expectations, but it seems that once SJG decided that there was going to be a GURPS 4e, they stopped work on Traveller - all that GURPS Traveller 4e ever got was Yet Another Era Sourcebook (Interstellar Wars), and no support past that.
I think by the time Gurps 4e came out SJG had pretty much released all that they really wanted to release for GURPS Traveller. I mean, it really is a very complete line of books by that point and it had a lot of support til then. Sure, after the IW sourcebook for 4e pretty much nothing else was released, and that was a shame, but I don't think you can really say that the game "died" - it just ran its course. Ideally they should have just actually said "OK, we're done" at an earlier point but I guess they just wanted to be able to keep selling their Traveller products rather than quite the licence.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:10 pm

I thought d20 Future was a little light in the physics department, in that starships didn't accelerate, they just flew at a certain movement rate. Traveller was a bit more realistic, and didn't just handwave ship movement, though some people have trouble wrapping their heads around acceleration, and keeping track of velocity vectors in their movement rules.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby FreeTrav » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:21 pm

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:Jeff, maybe you haven’t noticed, but I actually have been making my case; you just never bothered to read; that, or maybe you just don’t know your dice distributions.
I don't make it a practice to memorize distributions; when I need specifics, I can look them up. Generally, for gaming, I don't need specifics of distribution. What I need is something that will serve the purpose of adjudicating the occasional task, but otherwise stands out of the way and lets me get on with the Story and the Drama. If you're at all familiar with GNS theory (I think it's called something else, now), I place Traveller into the Simulationist/Narrativist camp - the rules are designed to more-or-less give results that look not-out-of-line for the Real World, and they're also designed not to get in the way of Telling The Story. Any system that I'm going to use is going to have to support that style of play at least as well as the core 2d6 mechanic that's persisted from CT through MT, T4, RTT (both editions), and T5.
Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:Any dice bigger than those would require drastic changes to the rules, and be a bit out-of-bounds without some canonists weighing in on what would be appropriate.
So now you're worried about the "canonists"? It was pointed out that the community is supporting the 2d6 that you've been arguing against without making a case.
Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:I’m not advocating for any specific change. But my assertion is, the expectation that people would be more comfortable with one type of dice or another is just plain not validated by any serious numbers posted anywhere, and when availability becomes “anything that can be printed”, designers of game systems like Traveller should either reconsider whether 2d6 is the most appropriate dice to be rolled for a game of Traveller, and build the next version of Traveller around those results, or should be prepared with some serious answers as to why, out of all the dice available, 2d6 with those particular faces are the best solution to what dice should be rolled for a Traveller game.
No. If you want the status quo to change, you're the one that has to be prepared with some serious answers. And you've got to have those answers before the change will be made, or even considered. And you've got to have the support for those answers. The status quo works. It isn't generally considered broken, so there's no perceived need to fix it - and where there has been a perceived need to fix it, we have - for example - things like the "Doing It My Way" section of Freelance Traveller.

You haven't been making a case. If you want to make a case, a good way would be to follow the outline below:
  1. "I feel that a Traveller ruleset needs to accomplish «list of goals»"
  2. "The current 2d6 mechanism fails to accomplish «failed goals» because «reasons»"
  3. "I propose «mechanism, or class of mechanisms». This accomplishes «goals» because «reasons»"
Once you've made that basic case, people are going to challenge it. They'll disagree that «reason» equates to «failure of goal», or they'll disagree that «goal» needs to be accomplished at all, or they'll disagree that «mechanism» accomplishes «goal». And they'll make their case. You need to prepared to answer each of those challenges, or concede the point. And answering those challenges isn't just restating your thesis; you need to answer the specific objection to the challenge. This is what happens in a defense of a dissertation when you're standing for a doctoral-level degree. This is also what happens in debates (and I don't consider political "debates" on TV to be debates; they've become all about showmanship rather than substance. Go look at the local college or high school debate team instead). And however much you might not want to admit it, things like economics or convenience are going to be perceived of as factors, and you, as the one attempting to upset the status quo, are not allowed to rule them out.
Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:I mean, in theory, we could be assigning different sided dice to different races, or to each stat for those races, or even come up with completely custom dice, complete with custom faces, per race. The options are literally endless now. Dice companies have built business models around buying dice blanks and laser cutting the faces with whatever a customer wants. So hell yeah, I think a little introspection is called for on what is best for Traveller as a game, and not merely as a set of published material.
What is best for Traveller as a game is what sells enough to keep the publisher in business, and keeps the fan community from abandoning it. That may not be an answer that you like, but it's the reality.

Monopoly was never intended to be a "popular" game; its main predecessor was invented to make a sociopolitical point. As a game, it's crap. It takes too long to come to a conclusion, it has too many disparate themes, its rules aren't even internally consistent, it allows elimination of players one-by-one without speeding up the game... yeah, Monopoly desperately needs to be rethought from the ground up - and yet there's no question that it's one of the all-time best-selling board games.
Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:If you want to call that Trolling, well, I feel bad for you for not recognizing the age we live in, and the state of the industry.
The thing is, commerce is never state-of-the-art. Commerce is all about what's tried and proven to work. State-of-the-art - also called "bleeding edge" (and there's a reason for that) - is always a niche market, with the early adopters being more-or-less classifiable as "fanatics" on the subject. They're the ones that will put up with higher costs and lower reliability to make a point. And companies that cater to that niche generally don't cater only to that niche; they have more conventional lines of business to support the company while the SotA stuff proves itself. When Honda came out with the first Insights, they didn't abandon their gas-engine vehicles; neither did Toyota when the learned from the mistakes of the original Insight and created the Prius. Hybrids are now fairly common - but still a fraction of the market for gas engines, for quite valid reasons. Out of all the automotive companies out there, only Tesla doesn't have a conventional-tech line - and their survival is by no means assured. Their market is an even smaller niche than the Prius commands; a Tesla ain't cheap, it doesn't quite have the range of a gas-engine or hybrid, and there isn't wide infrastructure to support it. They're an attempt at proof-of-concept - but how often does that turn out to mean "It can be done, but the economics don't work, yet"?

Just because the technology allows us to do something doesn't mean that it should be done. It may be unsustainable from a political, social, or economic point of view, or it may violate ethics, or it may just be that nobody cares enough to actually invest the time and effort.

I will spell it out, since you apparently haven't understood it from context: Advocating for change is not itself trolling. It is implicitly saying "the status quo is not the best way to do it". Being told that you haven't made a case is implicitly asking "why is the status quo not the best way to do it?", and that, in turn, is implicitly telling you "we do not have a problem with the status quo". Ignoring that, and continuing to proclaim that the status quo is not the best way to do it, is what is trolling - you generate the perception that you are posting merely for the sake of arguing, or to get attention, not to generate honest debate. If you want to generate honest debate, make your case.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby fusor » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:27 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote:I thought d20 Future was a little light in the physics department, in that starships didn't accelerate, they just flew at a certain movement rate. Traveller was a bit more realistic, and didn't just handwave ship movement, though some people have trouble wrapping their heads around acceleration, and keeping track of velocity vectors in their movement rules.
D20 Future had green stars, for crying out loud. It didn't even have a "physics department". :p
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:20 pm

theodis wrote:Actually, Jeff made _the_ only point that mattes in this question - taking the state of the industry into account: "But it's still 2d6 that has proven to have the staying power."
Let’s examine this statement in the following context: Has 2d6 kept Traveller at the top of the Sci Fi Tabletop RPG heap? In a word, no. “Stars Without Number” easily trumps it in terms sheer number of players and GMs. By that definition, that is not staying power.
theodis wrote:There is a slim chance that you might draw a small number of new customers into the game with a new mechanic, but a very good chance of aggravating a large number of long time customers.
...
In such an environment, "backward compatibility" and "economics and convenience" are '800-pound-gorilla' arguments.
I don’t disagree in principle, but this means that the correct argument to make is that 2d6 is the mechanic we’re stuck with, as opposed to the best possible mechanic to use. That was not the argument posed.

Additionally, I’m not keen on the idea that Traveller couldn’t be doing better if it respected the modern RPG audience more. Why is it that, when people wanted a Sci Fi Tabletop RPG, they turned to Stars Without Number in droves, instead of Traveller, if the game is genuinely superior somehow? With all the different competing versions of Traveller out there, I’m not convinced that holding fast to 2d6 without some justification that it produces a more desirable gameplay feature set is a wise choice.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:43 pm

FreeTrav wrote:But after a flurry of initial releases, it appeared that SJG lost interest in it - maybe it didn't meet their sales expectations, but it seems that once SJG decided that there was going to be a GURPS 4e, they stopped work on Traveller - all that GURPS Traveller 4e ever got was Yet Another Era Sourcebook (Interstellar Wars), and no support past that.
From my reading, “Interstellar Wars”, as an addition to the Basic Set, was every bit the book that Mongoose Traveller 1E was for Traveller purposes, albeit for a different era. If you want a GURPS 4E Traveller game, I recommend it.

I suspect that the issues with GURPS: Traveller had more to do with the canonist Traveller ethos and the GURPS player ethos not mixing too well. While the original LBBs were very Hard Science Fiction, the canon that grew up around that foundation became very... not. People who valued that canon above a Hard Science Fiction game system found GURPS’s divergence from canon expectations off-putting; by that same token, GURPS players, expecting consistency between source books, found Traveller’s dated expectations about space travel and technology obsolete. Now, if the Traveller canon had undergone some regular updating to modern developments in science and technology, and stayed current, this wouldn’t be a problem... but that largely hasn’t happened. And with recent developments like HabCat (something Steve Jackson, a man with a solid physics background, was surely aware of) making Traveller’s setting itself obsolete, well, the writing was clearly on the wall that Traveller would be simply unviable after a few years, without someone to actually redevelop it.

Hence, my posts in this thread. Traveller needs to be redeveloped from the ground up. So maybe we should take that seriously for a while, before the divide is simply too large to bridge.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:53 pm

FreeTrav wrote:I will spell it out, since you apparently haven't understood it from context: Advocating for change is not itself trolling. It is implicitly saying "the status quo is not the best way to do it". Being told that you haven't made a case is implicitly asking "why is the status quo not the best way to do it?", and that, in turn, is implicitly telling you "we do not have a problem with the status quo". Ignoring that, and continuing to proclaim that the status quo is not the best way to do it, is what is trolling - you generate the perception that you are posting merely for the sake of arguing, or to get attention, not to generate honest debate. If you want to generate honest debate, make your case.
I was asking, “Does anything continue to justify standard 2d6 as the best possible dice to roll in the face of modern alternatives?”. But I guess you don’t understand why that question is important.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby fusor » Sun Jul 10, 2016 1:53 am

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:Hence, my posts in this thread. Traveller needs to be redeveloped from the ground up. So maybe we should take that seriously for a while, before the divide is simply too large to bridge.
That should probably be the subject for another thread (which will probably end up being swamped by people saying "if you don't like Traveller as it is, then why are you here"). As it is we've diverged rather far from the original topic here.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:27 am

It was Jeff who wanted to argue the point that the ubiquity of d6es had relevance to a modern audience, and he chose to make that point here. He then also tried to make the point that using some other type of dice was less advantageous somehow. I don’t think his arguments hold up at all when taking the matter seriously, and I’ve tried to make those cases pretty clear. If he doesn’t want to back up his point, well, that’s his problem. I think I’ve done a well enough job with mine, presenting more than a few options in which Traveller might be improved from here, with a few custom dice. But yes, I suppose this thread has been derailed for far too long...
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:38 am

So out of curiosity which modern system would you adapt to run Traveller?

GDW experimented with another resolution mechanic for its sci-fi rpgs, namelyT:2300. This was basically the DGP task system (invented for CT and adapted to MT) converted to the roll of a d10 rather then 2d6.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Sun Jul 10, 2016 6:48 pm

What I’m trying to get at here is the whole thing needs to be re-thought from the ground up:

2d6 no longer provides any meaningful convenience factor, and in the face of significant competition, the best mechanics for the desired style of gameplay should rule, regardless of whatever they may be. So Traveller’s gameplay should be reinvented around this premise.

Traveller’s canon is rapidly being made obsolete by progressing scientific discovery. Databases like HabCat are only going to get larger and more detailed from this point on, and will inevitably negate even the remotest possibility of Traveller’s canon; better to define a new canon based on legitimate science that can survive scientific development.

Given these two facts, there are really only two options for Traveller as most of us know it... to be reinvented, or to call it quits.


Personally, I’ve always been a big GURPS fan, but if you’re playing GURPS without the Traveller canon, is that still Traveller? I’m not sure that counts. But, what can be taken from my having said that is that I think a normal-ish curve would be best for the Hard Science Fiction purposes the original Little Black Books started from; and, from there, it’s just a matter of adapting Traveller flavor to that distribution. Maybe do 3d8 marked 0-7; that way, 0 and 1 are your crit fails, 20 and 21 are your crit successes (and easy for those D&D noobs to understand), and we have a nice normal-ish distribution curve. This doesn’t eliminate the phantom subtraction of the default difficulty, but at least it will sucker D&D fans in.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby theodis » Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:50 pm

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote: 2d6 no longer provides any meaningful convenience factor, and in the face of significant competition, the best mechanics for the desired style of gameplay should rule, regardless of whatever they may be. So Traveller’s gameplay should be reinvented around this premise.
Actually, no. The best mechanic is the one the target audience is most comfortable with. 2d6 won throughout CT, MT, TNE, T4, T5, GT, T20 and MgT and several decades. That in itself is worth a lot.
Traveller’s canon is rapidly being made obsolete by progressing scientific discovery. Databases like HabCat are only going to get larger and more detailed from this point on, and will inevitably negate even the remotest possibility of Traveller’s canon; better to define a new canon based on legitimate science that can survive scientific development.
Again, no. Traveller's canon is not and never was meant to be hard SciFi. It stems from 1960s and 1970s SciFi, specifically E.C. Tubbs Dumarest of Terra. It is timeless.
Given these two facts, there are really only two options for Traveller as most of us know it... to be reinvented, or to call it quits.
Or to carry on and ignore naysayers that really want to play another game. There are plenty out there.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby fusor » Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:48 pm

theodis wrote:Again, no. Traveller's canon is not and never was meant to be hard SciFi. It stems from 1960s and 1970s SciFi, specifically E.C. Tubbs Dumarest of Terra. It is timeless.
I agree, the OTU canon certainly isn't hard scifi. That's not to say that the rules can't support hard scifi though. In fact there have been several attempts in Traveller's history to add realism to the game - half of Book 6: Scouts was an attempt at a realistic, detailed world and star generation system. World Builders Handbook in MT was another. Fire Fusion and Steel in TNE was a tech design manual focussed on realism. GURPS Traveller First In and Far Trader presented realistic worldgen and economics. All of those were presented as extensions to Traveller in supplements for the game - though arguably even the character generation was designed to be "realistic" in the sense that characters age and get new skills over time.

All of that clearly shows that Traveller can handle a hard scifi setting. The existing OTU canon is clearly more an unrealistic space opera (since it runs primarily on the default less realistic settings of the game), but an alternate setting could easily be harder SF - and that exists to an extent in 2300AD, though that still has some issues with realism stemming from its continued use of an outdated star list. It could be quite possible in theory to make a setting that was more realistic given what we know today using the Traveller rules and some extra 'hard scifi' modules to cover a different - more realistic - set of technological, economic, social, and physical assumptions.

However, I'd disagree that the stories that Traveller canon is based on are "timeless" - they're not. They're actually incredibly dated, and most modern sci-fi has moved quite far beyond that and they're not really relevant anymore. They're clearly important from a "history of the genre" perspective, but that doesn't make them "timeless".
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby rust2 » Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:30 pm

fusor wrote: All of that clearly shows that Traveller can handle a hard scifi setting. The existing OTU canon is clearly more an unrealistic space opera (since it runs primarily on the default less realistic settings of the game), but an alternate setting could easily be harder SF - and that exists to an extent in 2300AD, though that still has some issues with realism stemming from its continued use of an outdated star list. It could be quite possible in theory to make a setting that was more realistic given what we know today using the Traveller rules and some extra 'hard scifi' modules to cover a different - more realistic - set of technological, economic, social, and physical assumptions.
This may well be true, but it is also like claiming that the D&D rules could be altered with the aim to play realistic historical settings instead of fantasy ones like Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk. :lol:

The majority of the Traveller community, which is the majority of those people whose money enables Mongoose to publish Traveller material, obviously likes the Third Imperium setting well enough to keep Traveller going in that direction and shows no sign whatsoever that it would do the same for another, more realistic hard science fiction setting. As a result of this it would be rather unwise for Mongoose to take a financial risk by creating such a hard sf setting instead of continuing to support the Third Imperium setting. There is therefore a high probability that the question concerning the possibility of a Traveller hard sf game and setting will remain a rather academic one for the foreseeable future.

Whether the literary sources of Traveller are timeless or outdated is very much a matter of personal opinion and taste, there are still many good science fiction authors who write what could be called "Imperial SF" and enjoy quite some success with their novels.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby fusor » Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:38 pm

rust2 wrote:This may well be true, but it is also like claiming that the D&D rules could be altered with the aim to play realistic historical settings instead of fantasy ones like Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk. :lol:
Not at all. The point is that those more realistic rules were present to some extent but certainly added later to Traveller by the people who published Traveller. With D&D it'd be more a case of "take out magic and monsters" and then you'd have a more realistic setting - TSR didn't publish "realistic fantasy options for D&D" expansions.

People can rightly claim that D&D wasn't really designed to handle realistic fantasy because its publishers didn't design it that way or add anything to support that style. But people can't justifiably claim that Traveller wasn't designed to handle realistic scifi though - because its publishers did explicitly add support for a more realistic setting. Granted they didn't integrate any of that into the default setting, but it doesn't change the fact that it is there in the ruleset.

The majority of the Traveller community, which is the majority of those people whose money enables Mongoose to publish Traveller material, obviously likes the Third Imperium setting well enough to keep Traveller going in that direction and shows no sign whatsoever that it would do the same for another, more realistic hard science fiction setting.
Except for 2300AD...
There is a therefore a high probability that the question concerning the possibility of a Traveller hard sf game and setting will remain a rather academic one for the foreseeable future.
Mongoose don't have to publish it. Third party publishers can and have published more realistic settings that aren't clones of the OTU.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby rust2 » Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:46 pm

fusor wrote: TSR didn't publish "realistic fantasy options for D&D" expansions.
They did, an entire series of AD&D supplements covering ancient Greece, ancient Rome, Celts, Vikings, the time of Charlemagne and even the time of the Thirty Years War. It just was not even remotely as successful as the traditional fantasy settings.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby fusor » Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:51 pm

rust2 wrote:They did, an entire series of AD&D supplements covering ancient Greece, ancient Rome, Celts, Vikings, the time of Charlemagne and even the time of the Thirty Years War. It just was not even remotely as successful as the traditional fantasy settings.
Historical supplements aren't the same thing though - those were alternate settings for the game. The Traveller supplements I listed weren't "alternate settings", they were extra rules options to allow GMs to use the Traveller ruleset with different assumptions either for their own settings or to extend the OTU (in the case of the world building and economics).
Last edited by fusor on Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sigtrygg
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:52 pm

Traveller is not The Third Imperium Role Playing Game.
Rather the Third Imperium was a setting that GDW made to show what their rules could be used to do.
GDW didn't even stick to the CT rules for their setting, and slowly over time the setting re-wrote the rules.
LBB4 mentions a remote empire called the Imperium, as does LBB5. LBB:6-8 are all tied directly to the Third Imperium setting.
By the time MT came along the rules and the setting were intrinsically linked.

GURPS Traveller likewise was really The Third Imperium rpg powered by GURPS.

TNE (the one MWM had nothing to do with) tried to give rules for alternate settings in FF&S.

One of the things I applaud about MgT is that it has tried to go back to CT roots in offering choices for referees to make up their own settings once again - and there have been a couple of third party efforts that are really good, including a hard science solar system based game.
Prime_Evil
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Prime_Evil » Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:56 pm

theodis wrote:
Tenacious-Techhunter wrote: 2d6 no longer provides any meaningful convenience factor, and in the face of significant competition, the best mechanics for the desired style of gameplay should rule, regardless of whatever they may be. So Traveller’s gameplay should be reinvented around this premise.
Actually, no. The best mechanic is the one the target audience is most comfortable with. 2d6 won throughout CT, MT, TNE, T4, T5, GT, T20 and MgT and several decades. That in itself is worth a lot.
And the elegance of the 2d6 system is what attracts a lot of people to the system. I've met people who aren't particularly invested in the OTU, but like the Traveller game system itself. Some of them create their own settings that are closer to their taste based upon their personal preferences, whilst continuing to use the underlying Traveller game mechanics. While others take the OTU and alter it to suit their needs - there are iterations of the Third Imperium out there that depart from canon in a variety of dramatic ways...
theodis wrote:
Tenacious-Techhunter wrote: Traveller’s canon is rapidly being made obsolete by progressing scientific discovery. Databases like HabCat are only going to get larger and more detailed from this point on, and will inevitably negate even the remotest possibility of Traveller’s canon; better to define a new canon based on legitimate science that can survive scientific development.
Again, no. Traveller's canon is not and never was meant to be hard SciFi. It stems from 1960s and 1970s SciFi, specifically E.C. Tubbs Dumarest of Terra. It is timeless.
Even if you don't agree that the depiction of the future provided by Traveller is "realistic" (and I think it's pretty clear that it is unlikely to say the least), it is still possible to enjoy the game as "retro-SF", treating it as a depiction of a future that never was drawn from Golden Age SF. If you like E.C. Tubb's Dumarest stories, Poul Anderson's Ensign Flandry series, Andre Norton's Solar Queen series, and A. Bertram Chandler's Commodore Grimes series, you'll feel right at home. Plus there are plenty of modern space opera that still mines this vein - especially in the area of military SF - which builds upon material drawn from classic SF sources. These things are fun and should be encouraged.
theodis wrote:
Tenacious-Techhunter wrote: Given these two facts, there are really only two options for Traveller as most of us know it... to be reinvented, or to call it quits.
Or to carry on and ignore naysayers that really want to play another game. There are plenty out there.
The Traveller system can support a wide range of potential futures. You may need to tweak the game extensively to get it to work exactly the way you want it to, but it can be done. And you will know that under the hood your universe will be built on a proven game system that's rock solid. This is why conversions such as the upcoming Traveller Mindjammer are so interesting - they will provide examples of how to adapt the system to alternative SF genres (in this case Transhuman Space Opera inspired by Iain Banks).


Now...getting back to the topic at hand, do we know when the editable version of the editable version of the Cepheus Engine SRD will be available? I'm itching to play around with it :)

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