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Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
captainquirk
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Postby captainquirk » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:05 am

Prime Directive is the name of an RPG within the Star Fleet Universe - currently there are two D20 and a GURPS product in print. Amarillo Design Bureau (publishers of Star Fleet Battles and Federation Commander as their main products) have a licence in perpetuity to produce games based on The Animated Series. The Star Fleet Universe is more militaristic than the Trek one, and has fewer logic and continuity errors.

Recently ADB have been looking for synergy products and have already jointly published MJ12's Starmada space combat rules repackaged for Star Fleet Universe.

What you WON'T get - EVER - is motion picture era, TNG, DS9, Voyager. Inclusion of those would invalid the licence and destroy ADB. What you WILL get is original series technology "Trekalike" in a more consistent universe with a huge history, geography and supporting product list. And the stability that ADB have been in business for decades with this licence, whereas everyone else who has tackled Trek has come and gone...

And Prime Directive allows you to play bridge officers or embedded "commando teams" for those who don't like the bridge crew taking on that job.

Stainless wrote:
AKAmra wrote:Thanks, the post there is pretty definitive. It's Prime Directive: Traveller; not Star Trek. I wonder why Mongoose didn't just say so in the teaser?

I'd prefer Star Trek, but I understand where this might make better sense financially for Mongoose.
I'm unfamiliar with Prime Directive. So are we seeing Mongoose getting a license from someone who has a license from Star Trek? A case of transitive licensing!?
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Postby rust » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:14 am

captainquirk wrote:
What you WON'T get - EVER - is motion picture era, TNG, DS9, Voyager.
I have the impression that FASA's Star Trek RPG was exactly this, even
including stats for the main characters of the series ?
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Postby Greg Smith » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:18 am

AKAmra wrote:I'd prefer Star Trek, but I understand where this might make better sense financially for Mongoose.
Also Wizkids have the licence for Star Trek.
Stainless wrote: I'm unfamiliar with Prime Directive. So are we seeing Mongoose getting a license from someone who has a license from Star Trek? A case of transitive licensing!?
Star Fleet Battles was originally created in the 70's, based on the original series and in particular, the Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual, by Franz Joseph. I believe the original licence was from Joseph rather than Desilu. They currently have a very limited licence from Paramount, that does not include any of the characters or events from the series, pretty much just the spaceship designs; and nothing at all from TNG and beyond. (I could be wrong, I'm only going by memory and what I've read on the net).

The SFB universe differs quite a bit from 'real' Trek.

So yes, it is a licence of a licence.

There are already several versions of Prime Directive - original, GURPS, D20 and D20 Modern. So Traveller grognards will feel quite at home arguing about which version is the best one. :D
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Postby Greg Smith » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:21 am

rust wrote:
captainquirk wrote:
What you WON'T get - EVER - is motion picture era, TNG, DS9, Voyager.
I have the impression that FASA's Star Trek RPG was exactly this, even
including stats for the main characters of the series ?
FASA did, Last Unicorn did, and Decipher did.

What Captainquirk means is that they won't come from the SFB/Prime Directive: Traveller line.
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Postby captainquirk » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:21 am

Sure. And where are FASA now? Or Last Unicorn Games? Or Decipher?

Other licences may be granted by Paramount for other versions of Trek, though the licence seems to get pulled quickly or becomes unaffordable. Anyone taking it on needs to be sure of selling a LOT of product.

The point is that under the terms of THIS licence, it will be Star Fleet Universe based off the The Animated Series. Which essentially means Kirk-era classic Trek with some of the anomalies ironed out.


rust wrote:
captainquirk wrote:
What you WON'T get - EVER - is motion picture era, TNG, DS9, Voyager.
I have the impression that FASA's Star Trek RPG was exactly this, even
including stats for the main characters of the series ?
Last edited by captainquirk on Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Greg Smith » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:23 am

Wow, the posts are coming thick and fast this morning. By the time I've answered one, someone else has too. :D
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Postby captainquirk » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:28 am

A good sign. If Mongoose get this right, particularly with a Traveller product,
it could be the biggest thing they've ever had. People have been waiting for a truly playable Trek-type game for a long time, and Traveller could be exactly the right game engine.

Greg Smith wrote:Wow, the posts are coming thick and fast this morning. By the time I've answered one, someone else has too. :D
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Postby MongooseMatt » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:51 am

captainquirk wrote:A good sign. If Mongoose get this right, particularly with a Traveller product,
it could be the biggest thing they've ever had. People have been waiting for a truly playable Trek-type game for a long time, and Traveller could be exactly the right game engine.
Well, we know how B5 did, for both RPGs and miniatures. The question we have asking ourselves is 'Is Trek bigger than B5?'

So, we are not making hard assumptions, but cautiously preparing for a larger game than normal.
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Postby locarno24 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:15 pm

The question we have asking ourselves is 'Is Trek bigger than B5?'
Oh dear. You had to ask that on an internet forum, didn't you?
:)
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Sarcastic comments aside - I hope it does well. It's certainly 'trek enough' for me, if that makes sense. I have a copy of the Doomsday Edition* of Star Fleet Battles in our local club's rulebook library which is used soley to illustrate to people what a fun-to-use rules-set does not look like.

Given that the functional bits of Noble Armada, critical tables and traits included, can fit on a two sided A4 cheat sheet, I look forward to seeing the results.

A shame, as noted, that there's no possibility of later era stuff - it would be perfect to be able to do Fortune Favours The Bold - but rather this than a potentially unstable license (see the unfortunate winding up of B5)

Traveller and A Call To Arms are simple, clean rules-sets. They're easy to understand (good because any star trek franchise draws in people with no gaming/rpg experience) and easy to modify.



* For those who've not encountered it, think something the thickness of all three of the 2nd Edition A Call To Arms books (rulebook, fleet lists, Powers & Principalities) which contains virtually no background and no fleet lists - it's all just rules. Any rulebook which has two pages of 'advanced power management' options for the sixteen-plus phases of each turn is not a game.
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Postby captainquirk » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:53 pm

msprange wrote: The question we have asking ourselves is 'Is Trek bigger than B5?'.
No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive...


Oops, wrong movie! But yeah, 30 years of Trek plus 11 cinema movies. B5 struggled for six, however good the story arc.

The big question is whether SFU rather than Trek will really sell for Mongoose. I for one really hope this works out.
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Postby rust » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:03 pm

locarno24 wrote:
They're easy to understand (good because any star trek franchise draws in people with no gaming/rpg experience) and easy to modify.
I tend to be sceptical.

By far "the greatest thing in science fiction" over here is the Perry Rhodan
series, with a novelette each week (currently about 80,000 copies), with-
out interruption since 1961. There have been lots of spin-offs, successful
novelette series as well as books and even a (bad) movie.

The publisher who produced Germany's oldest fantasy roleplaying game
thought that a license for a Perry Rhodan RPG would be a sure way to
sell many copies, despite the fact that another publisher went out of bu-
siness after trying this a few decades earlier.

The same thing happened. Those who liked the series did not show much
interest in the roleplaying game, the sales hardly covered the expenses,
and the game had to be discontinued soon after the core rules had been
published.

And, as has already been asked, what happened to FASA's, Last Unicorn's
and Decipher's attempts to sell a Star Trek game. The fans of the series
obviously also did not exactly queue up to buy the games.

So, while I think that it will be possible to win many Traveller gamers who
like Star Trek as customers, I doubt that many of the Star Trek fans who
did not show any interest in roleplaying games until now will buy the ga-
me. This is a kind of hope which has been shattered many times before.
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Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:32 pm

I think this license has a HUGE potential. There are so many rabid ST fans out there. I have a friend who works the big ST convention each year in Vegas and there are TENS OF THOUSANDS of fans that show up.

Now, imagine getting a few gaming rooms to play MPD (Mongoose Prime Directive).
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Postby locarno24 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:41 pm

So, while I think that it will be possible to win many Traveller gamers who like Star Trek as customers, I doubt that many of the Star Trek fans who did not show any interest in roleplaying games until now will buy the game. This is a kind of hope which has been shattered many times before.
I don't doubt it. On the other hand, this is part of the reason I think Mongoose Traveller/A Call To Arms/Battlefield Evolution* are a good trinary of rules sets to own - they are sufficiently generic that you can create a sourcebook very quickly - the equivalent - Traveller B5 - consists of Universe of Babylon 5, Warships of Babylon 5 and Legacies of War and I don't imagine the three of them actually cost Mongoose that much to produce.

I'm not claiming we'll see an unending flood of obsessive trekkies - only that you're more likely to get a star trek fan with no RPG background interested in a Starfleet Battles RPG than Traveller or Fading Suns (which without an RPG background you can lay good odds they'd never have heard of), for the same reason I know a lot of people who tried traveller because the B5 RPG was updated to that system.

All I was really claiming is that if you're likely to have new players, Mongoose Traveller is a very good system - it only really has four mechanics in total (damage to characteristics, hit/double hit/triple hit to vehicles and ships, the 'target number' check and the 'opposed' check) and that's it**.


* It may not have it's own section but it's still available through Mongooses' out of print section and it's a damn good rules-set.

** Yes, there's the trade codes and world building and mission/patron generation but your players don't need to deal with that stuff!
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Postby Grazelander » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:11 pm

This was exciting news although I hope Mongoose can produce more books, better and faster than ADB have managed in decades.

I have the ADB and GURPS versions of PD and they are really pretty much the same except for the system crunch.

My personal feel is that the books contain too much poor fiction and mediocre art in both editions. So far they have produced the Klingon, Federation and Romulan source-books and then re-license and reproduce the same three source-books for the new game system, three times now. It would be nice to see some new material.

I keep my fingers crossed that Mongoose will up the ante :D
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Postby Treebore » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:00 pm

Is Trek BIGGER than B5? People without brains can answer that one!
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Postby daryen » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:40 pm

msprange wrote:Well, we know how B5 did, for both RPGs and miniatures. The question we have asking ourselves is 'Is Trek bigger than B5?'
That answer is easy: Trek. In fact, I believe JMS has effective (if not directly) stated that before. Trek is way, way, way bigger than B5. (This is not a slam on B5. It is just an objective acceptance of which is bigger.)

But that is the wrong question (in my opinion).

The real question is "Is the 'Star Fleet Universe' version of Trek is close enough to entice enough Trek fans to embrace it?"
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Postby kashre » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:27 am

I'm kind of curious how some of the "cross-over" elements of the SFU would work as far as licensing.

Specifically I'm thinking about the Kzinti. As far as I know they're ripped straight out of Niven's Ringworld universe... I always assumed that they must have shown up in the animated series, which seems odd enough to me.

Do you have to license them from Larry Niven or his publishers or whatever, or do they come included in the license for the Star Fleet Universe?
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Postby daryen » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:49 am

The Kzinti did appear in an episode of the Animated Series, which is how they appeared in the Star Fleet Universe. I don't know how that whole licensing thing worked out, quite frankly, but they should be included in Prime Directive Traveller.

Also, please be aware that the ADB-Kzintis are different from the Niven-Kzin.
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Postby captainquirk » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:12 am

Larry Niven re-wrote his Known Space story "The Slaver Weapon" as an Animated Series episode.

ADB have made the Kzinti a more comfortable fit within the SFU than they were in the cartoon episode which allows their inclusion.
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Postby ShadowDave » Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:09 am

Oh god...
The first party of PCs' will be a vulcan, 2 Kzin and a hydran, i just know it :?
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