The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Hakkonen
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The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy

Postby Hakkonen » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:08 pm

The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable work, containing contributions from countless numbers of Travellers and researchers. Part encyclopedia, part travel guide, the Guide contains comprehensive information on every system and world in Charted Space. Available in every Imperial starport, TAS hostel, and most of the less-reputable bookstores in the form of a specialized handheld computer with a preinstalled database, the Guide's use grants a boon to all Streetwise and Survival checks.

Cost: Cr100

Note: I can't possibly be the first person to think of this. ;)
Reynard
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Re: The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy

Postby Reynard » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:35 pm

With friendly words on the cover saying "DON'T PANIC".
Condottiere
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Re: The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy

Postby Condottiere » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:53 pm

Image

A trowel, [The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar drifter can have.
Linwood
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Re: The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy

Postby Linwood » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:50 am

Pretty cheap for an automatic Boon....

How about a Guide that’s unreliable? Given the slow transmission of information across the Imperium it’s easy to imagine the Guide might be outdated, incomplete or even flat out wrong on occasion. Maybe it gives a Bane as often as it does a Boon.

I could also see several, maybe dozens or even hundreds of different editions floating around. Maybe a different edition in every subsector, accurate in local space but increasingly inaccurate the farther away you travel.

Lots of interesting possibilities. :)
phavoc
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Re: The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy

Postby phavoc » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:50 am

Hakkonen wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:08 pm
The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable work, containing contributions from countless numbers of Travellers and researchers. Part encyclopedia, part travel guide, the Guide contains comprehensive information on every system and world in Charted Space. Available in every Imperial starport, TAS hostel, and most of the less-reputable bookstores in the form of a specialized handheld computer with a preinstalled database, the Guide's use grants a boon to all Streetwise and Survival checks.

Cost: Cr100

Note: I can't possibly be the first person to think of this. ;)
I don't think it would be like that. Porta-comps will have the ability to download data like that from any planetary data network. Keeping up that sort of book would be nigh impossible for anyone but the Imperium or perhaps the Travellers Aid Society. Basic data on every world will be available for free at any Imperial starport (think Wikipedia in space). But with the size of known space and the fact that not every world gets regular visitors, it will ALWAYS be out-dated. And, depending on where you are in the galaxy, it will be outdated for areas furthest away from you.

Raw data shouldn't give you streetwise rolls because the idea behind it (IMO) is that while you are wise to the streets, you wouldn't have 'street' data in there. Plus, that sort of thing constantly changes, so in six months your 'street' data for Toughworld could be out of synch with reality. Gangs will come and go, lingo changes like chicks digging scars, but streetwise lives forever. (forgive me Keanu...)
Hakkonen
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Re: The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy

Postby Hakkonen » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:08 am

Linwood wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:50 am
Pretty cheap for an automatic Boon....
Would DM+1 make more sense? Mathematically, a boon is equivalent to DM+2; both push the peak of the bell curve from 7 to 9. I mostly wrote this as a joke, but I would like it to be at least somewhat balanced.
phavoc wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:50 am
Raw data shouldn't give you streetwise rolls because the idea behind it (IMO) is that while you are wise to the streets, you wouldn't have 'street' data in there. Plus, that sort of thing constantly changes, so in six months your 'street' data for Toughworld could be out of synch with reality. Gangs will come and go, lingo changes like chicks digging scars, but streetwise lives forever. (forgive me Keanu...)
I'm going to go out on a limb and say you haven't read (the novel) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Street data is exactly what the Guide (Ford Prefect's employer, not the novel) contains.
Linwood
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Re: The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy

Postby Linwood » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:27 am

I think a DM+1 makes more sense.

Phavoc has two good points. It’s highly that most starports would have some free traveller’s guides, electronic or otherwise - thanks to the local tourism bureau if nothing else. (Granted at a D starport this might be a bulletin board w/ ads or business cards tacked to it.) And there’s a lot in the scope of Streetwise that’s likely to change frequently.

But you can use that. If you assume that the primary attractions of the Guide are 1) that it’s not a computer (or cheaper than one) and 2) that it’s very entertaining to read, then maybe accuracy isn’t necessarily a priority. The limited amount of text available for each world (in a paper copy) would also restrict what could be included. That would make the DM variable.

I suggest a Guide like that could be accurate for things drifters might care about - cheap places to stay, businesses hiring temporary labor, local law as it applies to travelers, etc. Maybe some info about natural hazards - animals, weather and so forth. But it won’t have much detail and it might have wrong information accidentally or purposefully included to make it more interesting to read.
phavoc
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Re: The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy

Postby phavoc » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:14 pm

Hakkonen wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:08 am
I'm going to go out on a limb and say you haven't read (the novel) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Street data is exactly what the Guide (Ford Prefect's employer, not the novel) contains.
Nope, I've read it. That setting is just different than the Imperium. If you've been on the streets then you know that things can change, sometimes quickly, sometimes over a few years.

And, an even bigger question, just how would the 'street' data get collected? People on the streets aren't exactly known for being the sharing type with authorities and/or researchers.
Epicenter
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Re: The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy

Postby Epicenter » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:35 pm

Hakkonen wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:08 pm
the Guide's use grants a boon to all Streetwise and Survival checks.
You might be the first one because IMO it has a few qualities that I don't think would make it a good fit in a game.

1) It's too good, I think. It's basically a boon for Cr100 with what appears to be like unlimited uses.

2) Human culture is vast. This doesn't even begin to include aliens. In our very own world, people mess up and make terrible first impressions even when you're a Western traveler going to another Western country, even if you're one who has done their homework and looked at some guides for the country you're going to. The likelihood of messing up increases even more if you're a Westerner going to a non-Western country where they're less familiar with the idea of tourists or travelers. Cultural norms may take a long time to change, but local conditions can briefly change rapidly. A world that was known to be open and welcoming to tourists a little as ten years ago may be a xenophobic hotbed now, whipped into a frenzy by local politicans or religious leaders; it seems unlikely that this guide could take something like that into account; even the TAS struggles to keep up with such local changes with a (unbelievable to me for some private organization) Imperium-spanning organization.

2) It lacks a certain "frission" to me that makes it believable; it seems hard to believe that something so universally useful would exist.

I would think a more "balanced" and believable (for me) item would be something like:

The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy is a remarkable work, supposedly containing contributions from countless numbers of Travellers and researchers. Part encyclopedia, part travel guide, the Guide claims to contain comprehensive information on every system and world in Charted Space. First published in somewhere in the Spinward Marches in between 980 and 1003, most researchers initially believed it written in Glisten, more recent scholarship believe it to have originated from Rhylanor due to the existence of a work with a very similar title (The Drifter's Guide to the Spinward Marches) in 980 as a work by the Rylanor Imperial University's Department of Sophont Studies studying the oral culture of the Spinward Marches free traders. This earlier work contains hundreds of stories of the Free Traders who visited Rylanor's High Port. It is perhaps the most famous for being the most widespread collection to contain a version of the epic ballad "Twilight's Peak" committed to text. Other tales range from how to operate an drinking ethanol still operational in an engineering section even on a "dry" starship, how to smuggle Tree-Squids alive and healthy in a Free Trader's hold during the infamous haul from Efate to Rylanor, and using TL6 machined components to keep a Fusion+ Reactor working.

The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy seems to be derived from this work, but instead claims to be a practical guide to all of Charted Space but for researchers, its origins are clear. For instance, the section on "Practical Advice for Repairing Fusion+ Reactors" is the old spacer's tale from the original work, distilled into a step-by-step process. Similarly, "how to deal with startown thugs" appears to have been derived from a common Vargr trader's story about his experiences with his Aslan female business partner dealing with humans on a trade run between Imperial and Zhodani space in the Jewell subsector. In many cases, the stories appear to have been entirely fabricated, such as the coordinates for a deep space refuelling cache in the Great Rift is wholly inaccurate, yet so hazardous that the Imperial Scout Service actually did establish a deep space refuelling cache to reduce the number of Traveller deaths each year by the surprising number of Travellers who still believe the Drifter's Guide to be truth when in reality it was a scam story inserted by ship-breakers operating from the Illiesh side who would periodically "collect" the stranded ships.

The Drifter's Guide to the Galaxy has been described by the Traveller's Aid Society as a "near-criminal work, responsible for the inconvenience, imprisonment, and worse of thousands of hopeful travellers." With its many out-of-date and sometimes fabricated areas, it is easy to see it as so. Most areas detailing the culture of various worlds is inaccurate, outdated (typically dated to the 980-1003 period in the Spinward Marches), or outright fabricated. Despite a number of attempts by various non-profit groups to edit and make the ubiquitous Guide less hazardous, most free copies floating around the Third Imperium are of dubious origin.

Yet, the guide is not entirely without worth. A sizable number of articles appear to be written by professional, knowledgeable authors, particularly areas detailing survival on various types of planets, methods to troubleshoot problems with Narsiika Air/Rafts and even get a non-functional one temporarily working if they suffer from a number of common problems, practical advice for diagnosing common diseases among the Major Races, and practical treasies on stabilizing injuries in the Major Races to ensure short-term survival so that the injured can be transported to get proper medical aid -- in fact this section is considered so useful it was lifted nearly verbatim and included in a Field Manual distributed to Imperial Navy Corpsmen during the Fifth Frontier War. It is that these useful articles are mixed in with articles recommending the use of ineffective or outright dangerous folk, alternative, or traditional remedies for problems that make the work problematic.

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