Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
domingojs23
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Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby domingojs23 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:59 am

Dear Fellow Travellers:

Official Traveller Universe (OTU) default technology, referring to TLs-10-15, on and around Imperial Standard, are sort of less advanced than the tech of the Star Wars and Star Trek Universes - the latter have Hyperspace, Warp, Communications-faster-than-travel, Matter Transporters, etc. While the sci-fi aesthetics of OTU compare favourably with those properties, the "Age of Sail" overall ethos is significantly different from SW/ST where communications and travel is much more rapid. Is this lower tech a problem / issue when trying to attract players to your Traveller Campaigns ?

Thanks !

Gary
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby TrippyHippy » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:50 am

Does Star Wars really have tech levels? Some planets are more developed than others in terms of population levels, it seems, but they all seem to use the same technology regardless.
Outtasight!
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:31 am

save lag
Last edited by ShawnDriscoll on Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:33 am

domingojs23 wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:59 am
Dear Fellow Travellers:

Official Traveller Universe (OTU) default technology, referring to TLs-10-15, on and around Imperial Standard, are sort of less advanced than the tech of the Star Wars and Star Trek Universes - the latter have Hyperspace, Warp, Communications-faster-than-travel, Matter Transporters, etc. While the sci-fi aesthetics of OTU compare favourably with those properties, the "Age of Sail" overall ethos is significantly different from SW/ST where communications and travel is much more rapid. Is this lower tech a problem / issue when trying to attract players to your Traveller Campaigns ?

Thanks !

Gary
I don't compare Star Trek to Star Wars to Traveller. Each is its own thing. But whatever setting my players decide on, I only use Traveller's mechanic for refereeing games. If players like the Traveller mechanic, they become more interested in the Traveller setting. Because players new to tabletop RPGs think of mechanic and setting as being the same thing. Which is fine by me.
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby Reynard » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:17 pm

Both Star Wars and Star Trek feature worlds with wildly varying tech levels just like Traveller as well as the significant characters carrying more advanced gear on stone age worlds.

Thing is the technologies of Star Wars and Star Trek reflect what the storyteller needs for the story of the moment rather than what's logical or sensible and somehow the audiences accept it all. Roleplaying gamers tend to be a lot more critical and judgmental about the game worlds they participate in. If you wrote the game mechanics based on how the latest ST/SW movies behave, certain gamers would be freaking and coming up with their superior homebrew rules.
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby AndrewW » Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:57 pm

Reynard wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:17 pm
Thing is the technologies of Star Wars and Star Trek reflect what the storyteller needs for the story of the moment rather than what's logical or sensible and somehow the audiences accept it all. Roleplaying gamers tend to be a lot more critical and judgmental about the game worlds they participate in. If you wrote the game mechanics based on how the latest ST/SW movies behave, certain gamers would be freaking and coming up with their superior homebrew rules.
And if you didn't, some would be complaining that's not how it works.
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:47 pm

Reynard wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:17 pm
Roleplaying gamers tend to be a lot more critical and judgmental about the game worlds they participate in.
I don't think that is the case. Because, in general, players tend to create cliche (or trope) characters that don't belong in game settings. They just want to win, no matter the game setting. If you were talking about role-playing... real role-playing... then players would want to absorb everything they can about a game setting before starting in a session. Those players are extremely rare. They have to be made.
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby locarno24 » Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:05 am

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:47 pm

I don't think that is the case. Because, in general, players tend to create cliche (or trope) characters that don't belong in game settings. They just want to win, no matter the game setting. If you were talking about role-playing... real role-playing... then players would want to absorb everything they can about a game setting before starting in a session. Those players are extremely rare. They have to be made.
I'm not sure I fully agree, but even if the former isn't true, the latter - at least partially - is; the players want to win, and tend to be less willing to accept a 'script' than an actor in a TV series or a completely imaginary character in a novel. The key element of this relates to plot-holes and loopholes; most commonly, once you have created something, and established that it works, you then have to come up with a reason not to use it whenever anything similar happens in the future.

I don't think that RPG players are more critical than 'generic' sci-fi audiences per se - you should see the nth degree detail in which the science some star wars or star trek films are dissected when I can assure you the director's thought process basically stopped as "because it looks cool" * - but that it's more obvious; because a group is being asked to interact with the universe and make decisions according to the rules of that universe, then any plot-holes which boil down to "you can't do that in this setting because [reasons]" are basically shoved in your face.



To answer the original post, no, I don't think that's a problem. Either setting is 'higher tech' than today, but still close enough to be more-or-less comprehensible (rather than some of the extreme transhuman stuff like The Culture). To A.N.Other potential player with no real RPG experience, Traveller is less relevant simply because it's not very well known as a setting. If you play tabletop RPGs, then yes, I'd give you a good 1/3 chance or more of knowing about it, but for newer players to a gaming community it doesn't have the awareness tagged to it that 'A Star Wars game' or 'A Star Trek game' has - or, for that matter 'D&D in space' would. "Basically Firefly The RPG" is the most reliable way I've come up with to explain it.




* See, for an example, the number of warship variants and rules in Babylon 5 Wars ship designs which exist to explain away what Babylonian Productions have freely admitted were CGI errors (like "their interceptors are disabled!" "good, now fire forward batteries!" [fires beam laser not susceptible to interceptor defensive fire in the first place] or in some cases where an entirely wrong ship model was used [Centauri gunship drops out of hyperspace and takes out an undamaged Narn heavy cruiser in one pass])
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby Condottiere » Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:13 pm

I think that concept, setting and story tend to be what attracts players to a particular genre.
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby Garran » Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:22 am

I'd agree that the difference in tone is likely to be the biggest hitch: Star Wars is flashy white-hat-vs-black-hat space opera, while Star Trek tends to focus on lower-key scenarios that involve some combination of mystery and moral dilemma, as opposed to the Traveler's 'ordinary-ish people trying to make a buck', and both typically operate on much more abstract terms than Traveler does, especially when it comes to logistics and finance.

The differences in technology come down to the sort of story that each system is focused on trying to tell, and what best supports it.
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby steve98052 » Sat Nov 24, 2018 4:33 pm

Most film settings don't have to worry about any consistent rules of science or technology. The rule of cool takes precedence. The main points of consistency are using the same technobabble, continuity of characters, and general tone (good and evil in Star Wars, exploration and ethics in Star Trek).

I participated in an official play-test of GURPS Prime Directive based on the Starfleet Battles license version of Star Trek)some years ago. We discovered that personal combat was kind of broken, not so much because the rules were faulty as because the Star Trek setting didn't really allow consistent rules.

In other words, if someone shoots a phaser set to "kill" at a redshirt, he's dead, unless the plot requires him to live; then it misses. If someone shoots a phaser set to kill at a series regular, it always misses, but it's close enough to make them sweat, unless the character is getting written out,and even then they're probably going to die more dramatically than a phaser anyway.

No one shoots phasers set to "stun" at redshirts. If someone shoots at a series regular with a phaser set to "stun", it might miss, hit knocking him down for a moment, hit knocking him out for until he wakes up on his own later in the scene, or hit knocking him out until he's revived in Sick Bay, all depending on the needs of the plot.

The "needs of the plot" rule of phasers set to "stun" works with gaming, but the rule that phasers set to "kill" always miss series regulars doesn't work with gaming. The play-test rules tried to reconcile the latter dramatic rule by making phasers set to "kill" do less damage than any hit kills. But in that case, characters would be better off with a slug-thrower or a battle ax than a phaser, or a slug-thrower for killing and a phaser for stunning.

I don't know what the publishers did with our feedback; I haven't seen the game as published. But I don't see an easy reconciliation.

Under Savage Worlds rules, however, there is a reasonable fix: phasers set to "kill" will kill Extras if they hit, but they do one wound to Wild Cards, which represents dramatic tension rather than actual injury (a but like the hit points mechanism in Traveller d20).
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sat Nov 24, 2018 7:53 pm

Run Star Wars, Star Trek, and Traveller as sandboxes instead of movie stories and see how they compare.
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby Reynard » Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:56 pm

" personal combat was kind of broken, not so much because the rules were faulty as because the Star Trek setting didn't really allow consistent rules."

Problem with making an RPG from various media sources s they don't fallow consistency even if they have a bible. RPG creators must look at the material then then twist, break and shoehorn the basic properties so they have a logic you can assign numbers and actions too. I have seen games which have an apology for how they did their best to make it playable and had to add or remove things to let you play reasonably. Traveller doesn't have that problem as it first a ruleset that allows universes to by played following their logic and physicality. Other game systems did that later when they codified a single set of rules then layered other expanded rules for just about any setting (including variations of Traveller).
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby Epicenter » Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:01 pm

domingojs23 wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 3:59 am
Is this lower tech a problem / issue when trying to attract players to your Traveller Campaigns ?
No, technology has never been the issue for Traveller games. In fact, if I took a few minutes to give a sketch about the nature of the TU, many players (particularly those with an interest to historical RPGs) actually found the idea that communications are not instant to be pretty intriguing. In fact, many players I've run into have a particular beef with Traveller: Your Marine could take cutlass skill and get it pretty high ... yet swords were useless in the game and would get you laughed at by the neckbeards - they were expecting a blast-and-cutlass style sci-fi adventure.

The difficulty in finding players for me involves:

* If they're new to RPGs, nobody's ever heard of Traveller if they're not into RPGs. It's not based on a well-known sci-fi property. Many have difficulty grasping the idea technology is so "primitive" yet the game is set so far in the future - they're expecting games more like The Reach and so on which are just a few centuries into the future, not thousands. I run 2300AD more often and get many more players in those games.

* If they are RPGers, it's some variation on: "Oh, you mean that old game with the stupid character generation where you can die before the game begins?" (I should add: "haha...and that godawful art, you remember that thread on Somethingawful about how sh*t the art in Traveller is?")

* If they actually played Traveller for a little while in the past: "Oh, right the boring game you can't get into gunfights and you sit there for half of the session figuring out your trading profits. If I wanted to do something like real life, why do I game? Exactly, let's play something exciting."

* If they played Traveller for a longer period in the past: "I can't stand the neckbeard/grognards in that community. You can't play a game without one of them."
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:22 pm

TrippyHippy wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:50 am
Does Star Wars really have tech levels? Some planets are more developed than others in terms of population levels, it seems, but they all seem to use the same technology regardless.
Do the Ewoks count?
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Re: Traveller Universe vs Star Wars vs Star Trek Tech ?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:30 pm

Reynard wrote:
Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:56 pm
" personal combat was kind of broken, not so much because the rules were faulty as because the Star Trek setting didn't really allow consistent rules."

Problem with making an RPG from various media sources s they don't fallow consistency even if they have a bible. RPG creators must look at the material then then twist, break and shoehorn the basic properties so they have a logic you can assign numbers and actions too. I have seen games which have an apology for how they did their best to make it playable and had to add or remove things to let you play reasonably. Traveller doesn't have that problem as it first a ruleset that allows universes to by played following their logic and physicality. Other game systems did that later when they codified a single set of rules then layered other expanded rules for just about any setting (including variations of Traveller).
Would would you need to change in order to make Traveller Rules reflect more of a Star Wars like setting?
1) Star Wars spans a whole Galaxy, so basically what we need is a fast hyperdrive and a list of planets and their coordinates so we can calculate how long it takes the hyperdrive to travel from one location to another.
2) Star Wars has FTL communication, as shown when Darth Vader communicates with the Emperor from his Star Destroyer in the Hoth system.
3) Psionics models Force abilities fairly well, but their ranges need to be extended, and also I've never seen anyone teleport using the Force!
Some things like the Starkiller Base, we should just leave alone and not try to emulate, as it just makes no sense!

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