Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
wordboydave
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Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby wordboydave » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:43 pm

Honest question: how much do any of us actually USE the deckplans of all the ships we create and share? In my experience, my own attention to the arrangement of rooms vastly outweighs the amount of game time where any of it matters. (Even in occasional boarding situations, if all the bad guys are in the cargo area, there's no reason to know where the beds are facing...) I have a theory that a good percentage of Traveller fans are using it as a hobby like modeling. (Which is perfectly legitimate, I hasten to add!) Do any Traveller fans in this group never play the roleplaying portion of the game?
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby paltrysum » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:51 pm

I use the deck plans. In fact, I print 28mm color versions of the ships that see the most action in my campaign. Not every room gets used, but we do use the plans.
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
Reynard
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby Reynard » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:59 pm

Starship building and deck plans as well as world building are fun minigames Traveller provides.
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby Infojunky » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:59 pm

wordboydave wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:43 pm
Honest question: how much do any of us actually USE the deckplans of all the ships we create and share?
Quite often, though to be honest most of my layouts aren't ship's per say, but places for the player's and by extension their miniatures to run around and play in.
wordboydave wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:43 pm
I have a theory that a good percentage of Traveller fans are using it as a hobby like modeling.
That's not a theory, that is a proven fact. Borne out by 30 years of electronic discussion.
wordboydave wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:43 pm
Do any Traveller fans in this group never play the roleplaying portion of the game?
There are more than a few,,,
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby AndrewW » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:22 pm

wordboydave wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:43 pm
Do any Traveller fans in this group never play the roleplaying portion of the game?
There's a roleplaying portion to the game¿ I thought it was just a spaceship construction system...
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:29 am

I just role-play.
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby WingedCat » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:55 pm

I will admit, I have spent almost as much time making ships in Traveller as playing it. Then again, that's not much time (yet) for either, and I got inspiration for a bunch of ship designs (which I'll be posting to this forum soon); over time, I expect the "playing" side to substantially outweigh the "making ships" side.
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby Condottiere » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:23 am

Useful for remembering where the concealed doors and secret passages are at.
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby WingedCat » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:57 pm

In other science fiction settings (since I haven't played much Traveller yet), I have sometimes found ship deckplans useful for slice-of-life scenes, for campaigns where the emphasis is more on character interaction than plot (or where character interaction is a large part of the plot). In particular, knowing what is near the bridge (that being a likely location for crew to hang out), and what all is in the commons (likewise), is useful for setting the scene. (The other default location is someone's quarters, but even if they're not wanting privacy - and thus, not part of any scene to be played out - the action in those scenes tends to be entirely contained to the stateroom. Though, knowing the layout can be useful.)

Star Wars: Rebels (in the seasons not focusing on Lothal) and Firefly had many scenes of this nature: low-drama, aboard ship during flight from A to B, there's nothing near the ship to interact with (the kind of situation where autopilot will suffice, though someone may be monitoring the autopilot).
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby Linwood » Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:47 am

I’ve used existing deck plans as players explore a ship but I haven’t been creating my own. If I had a tool that made it easy to do I might but mostly my group hasn’t really needed them.
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:36 am

wordboydave wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:43 pm
Honest question: how much do any of us actually USE the deckplans of all the ships we create and share? In my experience, my own attention to the arrangement of rooms vastly outweighs the amount of game time where any of it matters. (Even in occasional boarding situations, if all the bad guys are in the cargo area, there's no reason to know where the beds are facing...) I have a theory that a good percentage of Traveller fans are using it as a hobby like modeling. (Which is perfectly legitimate, I hasten to add!) Do any Traveller fans in this group never play the roleplaying portion of the game?
I think you have noticed that what a lot of people who post on the interwebs do is play with Traveller, while a smaller number of those who post actually play/referee Traveller :)

Classic Traveller was designed specifically for solo play in mind - chracter generation, world generation, ship construction, trade, animal encounters, NPC encounters are all stuff you can do while not at the gaming table. Ship deck plans and computer models of ships came later, finally getting to the point where some people do deck plans, make computer models and then 3d print their ships :)
I know of at least two people who have scratch built Traveller starships using traditional modelling methods.
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby Epicenter » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:32 pm

I admit I've never understood the obsession that so much of the Traveller community appears to have with deckplans; so many people are always clamoring about them that I figured I was in the minority who don't have much use for them. In all the time I've run Traveller games ... I've never used them once. I've always considered them worse than useless because they're not designed with any thought to the actual needs of a vessel that has to fend for itself for long periods of time.

This distaste for deckplans comes from the fact my initial gaming groups had quite a few members who were former navy (and a few former merchant marine) and they're always ripping on how Traveller deckplans are a joke - designed for a civilian daytrip yacht at most.

Their criticisms (and mine through them):

* Where's the ship's stores? No, not cargo spaces, but the multiple spaces you need to store food, toilet paper, paper towels, those paper things you put on the toilet seat so you don't get cooties, pens, paper, lightbulbs, replacement computer equipment, spare parts for machinery, clean bedsheets, etc etc etc etc? Theft of these items is always an issue in all but the tiniest ship; they need to be in secured place where the ship's purser can keep an eye on them to make sure all the supplies listed in the manifest are actually there when needed and haven't grown legs and walked away. Ships often have multiples of these for each "section" of a ship. Apparently this was their #1 complaint, beyond all the rest below.

* Ships never have enough bulkheads, especially naval ships. They should have enough sealable doors that it's literally annoying to go any distance on a ship because of all the bulkheads you need to pass through.

* Ship plans never have enough heads (bathrooms). Do these ships seriously expect someone on bridge watch or in engineering to run all the way back to their room if they need to go #1 or #2? Haha...no. On a related note, apparently on many ships, the crew accommodations don't even have heads in them and they share a 'public' restroom and they take turns using the shower/bath.

* A lack of recreation spaces. Where's the gym? The lounge?

* Ships with a fair amount of passengers (even player-scale ships like the Merc Cruiser or Liner) will require an infirmary. Once you get to a certain size of crew, at least one crewmember (if not more) is going to be get injured or ill and a doctor is going to want an area to isolate such people for treatment or observation.

* How about food prep? Where's the galley? The kitchen? (And again, food supplies take up a lot more space than people think and these are never designed in 'naval architect guides').

* Washing machine? Dryer? This is a HUGE thing aboard any vessel but the smallest. Clothes must be washed for crew morale, linens changed and washed for both morale and sanitary reasons.

* A lack of offices for officers - on all but the smallest ships this isn't just some elitist rank thing; they actually need a private space to do things like speak with crewmembers privately, look at confidential information, keep copies of important paperwork secure, and work free of distraction. They could technically do this in their staterooms, but in something like a naval vessel, things like a male captain talking to a female crewmember in his stateroom would be quite frowned upon by naval regulations.

* Laughable layout: Broadly speaking, the ship's different departments should be sealed off from one another for safety and liability reasons. The departments might be engineering (machinery spaces), the bridge, crew accommodation, and passenger accommodation. People who don't belong in an area should have no reason to go there; you shouldn't require passengers to pass through the cargo area to get to their rooms, for instance.

There's other stuff they used to laugh at, but these are all that come to mind.
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby paltrysum » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:11 pm

Most of those are valid concerns, but on the flip side, since when is a TL 12-15 Traveller starship a TL-6 U.S. Navy ship?
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:21 pm

Epicenter wrote: Their criticisms (and mine through them):
Those are not arguments for not using deck plans, but arguments for making better deck plans.
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby Linwood » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:18 pm

Some of this could be worked into the ship design rules. Officer quarters could be designed with more space. A set volume per crew member / passenger could be required for consumables. Volumes for other services could be added.

I think this would be a far more important discussion for ships that may be in space for months at a time. A ship designed for one-week jumps starport to starport might plan on people essentially living out of their suitcases for a week at a time. Not a good idea if you’re planning to make money with passengers but maybe some would go this route to maximize cargo profits.

This could certainly be a factor in the crew morale rules too. A cramped ship designed without consideration of many of these issues might have an automatic morale penalty....
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby Epicenter » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:46 am

paltrysum wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:11 pm
Most of those are valid concerns, but on the flip side, since when is a TL 12-15 Traveller starship a TL-6 U.S. Navy ship?
From what I can tell, Traveller is very much based on a TL6 technology universe with a veneer of higher tech. It's possibly not even TL6, maybe TL5. Even by 1977 when Traveller was made, the idea of the tramp freighter was already retro - intermodal containerization by 1977 would have made the romantic indie tramp freighter a thing of the past for the most part, or pushed to the extreme margins.
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:21 pm
Those are not arguments for not using deck plans, but arguments for making better deck plans.
They are in a way. People who make ships and floorplans often expect you to pay for them. I don't want to even to spend $5 on stuff I'm never going to use. That's not because I can't afford it; it's because it bugs me on a moral level.

That said, if they were good deckplans, ones like those various "Amazing Cut-Away" books, I'd be willing to pay more, $20+ or something for certain iconic Traveller ships that the players are likely to use or play in a lot. I want deckplans where I look at them and it fires my imagination; the very plans are so atmospheric that it suggests situations, adventures, and so on to me. I understand stuff like those Amazing Cut-Away books have a large audience, thus justifying the cost and effort in making them and that such a customer base likely doesn't exist for Traveller so it's not cost-effective. It just means if I want deckplans I'll sketch them up real fast myself; it's fast to do and mine are no worse than the ones for sale.
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby Pyromancer » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:34 pm

Epicenter wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:32 pm
* Where's the ship's stores?
* Ships never have enough bulkheads, especially naval ships.
* Ship plans never have enough heads (bathrooms).
* A lack of recreation spaces.
* Ships with a fair amount of passengers (even player-scale ships like the Merc Cruiser or Liner) will require an infirmary.
* How about food prep? Where's the galley? The kitchen? (And again, food supplies take up a lot more space than people think and these are never designed in 'naval architect guides').
* Washing machine? Dryer?
* A lack of offices for officers - on all but the smallest ships this isn't just some elitist rank thing;
* Laughable layout:
Those are all things I try to keep in mind and sometimes even implement in my deckplans. But especially for smaller ships, you have to compromise. The "galley" might be a microwave and a box of ready-made meals in the common room, officers might simply have bigger staterooms that have to double as office, spare parts are stored somewhere between the engines in the engine room, and so on.

And I like deckplans in my games, even when they aren't used for miniature tactical battles. They help focus the imagination. "That's were you are! That's your surrounding."
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby paltrysum » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:36 pm

Pyromancer wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:34 pm
And I like deckplans in my games, even when they aren't used for miniature tactical battles. They help focus the imagination. "That's were you are! That's your surrounding."
When you lay that deck plan out on the table, the players often pick their rooms or select which chair is theirs on the bridge. It stirs their imaginations.

Epicenter makes some good points about inaccuracy, and I'd love to really generate some more accurate deck plans for say, a free trader, but no matter what you make there will always be someone who says, "What about x?" The current and previous Traveller deck plans work fine as a guideline. They do their job: They simulate the physical layout of the ship. Complete accuracy isn't necessary.
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:47 pm

According to High Guard, common areas have laundry and it’s not uncommon for staterooms to have food preparation units (possibly autochefs from CSC)
“High Guard p.37” wrote:ACCOMMODATIONS
Most ships utilise the humble stateroom, but other types of accommodation are possible. All accommodations listed in this book other than low berths and acceleration benches include a fresher, while all staterooms and barracks include a small food preparation unit. Laundry facilities are usually located in a common area.
So, at least smaller ships, might not even need a dedicated kitchen, and a washing machine can surely fit in a corner of the common room.

Also, the chairs and tables drawn on deckplans are rarely indicative of exact furniture placements. They’re rather icons that easily tell the reader that “this is common area”. The actual contents of the area could easily include a laundry corner, food prep area, dining tables and so on. Interior partition walls can be added as needed.

The element cruiser box set deckplans doesn’t even have “common area” designated on the plans. Instead, they’re split into galley, lounge/bar, gym, theatre and so on, so there are official examples of common areas not just being a large room with lounge chairs in it.

A smaller ship might not have enough common area to split it into various sub-units, but assign one part of the room for furniture storage and the room can easily be reconfigured at need (futuristic smart furniture surely helps too!).

Regarding storage, what’s to say an entire wall of the passenger common area isn’t devoted to storage lockers? Just because they can’t be seen doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t there.

The naval campaign sourcebook (part of the Element box set) expands upon this by introducing a concept called “supply units”:
“naval campaign sourcebook, p.30” wrote:Stores, spares and supplies are abstracted as Supply Units, or SU. A starship is assumed to carry enough spares lockers, spud bunkers, and other stowage for its normal level of supplies without needing to use cargo space for the purpose. Note that supplies are separate from expendable large ordnance such as missiles or fuel for the power plant and jump drives, and represents food for the crew as well as replacement parts for the ship.
Looking at the Element class blueprints, there are rooms labeled storage as well as lockers in some corridors.
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Re: Traveller as a Spaceship Modeling Hobby

Postby Old School » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:11 pm

At least they are addressing that point, even if the answer is just handwavium that the food and supplies are stored elsewhere and don’t take up cargo space.

Always bothered me when a capital ship has something along the lines of 1,000 crewmembers and less than 200 ton of cargo room. It still does both me, but at leas pt we can says its been addressed in the rulebooks. :?

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