Prime Directive Traveller

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
SteveCole
Shrew
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:32 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Postby SteveCole » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:38 am

SFU does not have holodecks.
President of ADB,Inc. Designer of SFB, FedComm, F&E, etc.
User avatar
captainjack23
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2269
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:22 pm

Postby captainjack23 » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:53 am

SteveCole wrote:SFU does not have holodecks.

Yay.


Well, to nitpick......the cartoon series that gave us Kzinti (part of the SFU) also had the first holodecks. (cf Practical Joker)
Captainjack23, KOD
Marquis d'Remulak, Sol 1833
My blog of obsessive rules writing & Design
http://docgrognard.blogspot.com/
BP
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2802
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:40 am

Postby BP » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:11 am

The tech in ST generally got more extreme as time went on... holodecks being a whole magnitude of over-the-top ;)

Not familiar with SFU (that acronym, er, never mind...) - but keeping holodecks out of an RPG would be a good thing, IMO.

Transporters opened the pandora's box... i.e. replicating humans, recovering past copies, etc... that requires fancier footwork to hold up various 'suspenders of disbelief' (like pattern buffer limitations). Holodecks take that to a whole other level - adding sentient artificial life extrapolated from fictional works, etc. that seem to even outclass Data...

Of course, SF fanbase's have a tendency to want to classify their favorites as 'hard science fiction', perhaps to make it more 'possible'. Despite protests to the contrary, aside from Impulse engines (ION space drives exist - though not on the scale/efficiency of ST) - most of the 'futuristic' tech in Trek is really pure fantasy. Not that there is anything wrong with that - it is fiction and I've always enjoyed it - especially the classical ST.
User avatar
Jean
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 828
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:28 am

Postby Jean » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:21 am

Hello to you all.

I'm Jean, the RPG Line Editor for ADB, Inc. I wanted to introduce myself to you. :) It is obvious that you care passionately about Traveller and I do think it is important that you know who is going to be working on this joint venture between Mongoose and ADB.

This is of necessity brief (in a Victorian sort of way, which means not really brief at all) as I'm sort of swamped with proofreading ISC War which needs to be out before the Origins Game Fair.

I have played Traveller, back in the days when it was comprised of little black books -- I know I wore out my copy of High Guard. :) (And I've played a fair assortment of RPGs from Runequest (one of my favorites) to D&D-style to GURPS.) So I'm not completely ignorant of Traveller or the needs and desires of RPGers. At Origins, I'll be picking up the Mongoose Traveller version of the game so I can wrap my head around it and immerse myself in the writing style and content.

I see my job as working with my author to make sure his vision is presented clearly, but within the framework of what exists in the Star Fleet Universe and our license. I'm also the buffer between him and the publisher (usually ADB, but this is a joint venture, so I expect I shall be working closely with Mongoose as well).

It is also my job to make sure the players of the game see what they expect, within the restrictions of ADB's license. We want Traveller players to have fun with the game, but we cannot include things that are not within our license. No Next Generation, no holodecks, no "just replicate it," no Borgs, Cardassians, or other non-TOS species. We do have a lot to offer besides the Klingons, Romulans, and Federation as we have the "Subject Races" that work for the Klingons, the various members of the Federation, and a host of other species in the Alpha Octant. We have exciting places to visit and "unknown" worlds to be discovered and colonized (and they'll need all sorts of things that merchants could provide).

Be assured that I do listen to everyone. I think that most of the people from the ADB Forum and BBS will tell you that I am fair. Do be aware that some things that people want, we cannot provide within the terms of our license. Some things would be really neat to have, but we didn't have them and they are firmly "Trek-based." Sometimes, I have to say no.

As for SVC not "getting RPGs," as he said that is why he has me! :D We have an excellent working relationship and he knows that I want our books to be successful. I have every expectation that we can do this book well and that you'll have a strong entry in the line.

Another thing you should know is that this will take a bit of time. I have a RL job that isn't gaming and I still need to proofread the rest of ADB's books, news releases, and publicity; maintain our StarBlog; keep up our page on Facebook; do moderator and sys admin stuff for the BBS; do a bit of writing now and again; and I think eating and sleeping are in there somewhere! However, the project has priority with me, so it will go as fast as I am able to shepherd it along. I won't make promises about when this will be out, but neither Mike nor I tend to dilly-dally around. It will be out just as soon as Mike, SVC, Matthew, and I agree it is ready for prime time.

The last thing you need to know is I'm a bit of a perfectionist. SVC sometimes calls me "Jean 'But it's Wrong' Sexton." It can mean that I demand a great deal from the people on the Prime Directive team (and I know that Mike West is as hard on himself as I am on myself), but I think the end result is something that we can be proud of. I'll bring my best to this project. At the end, I hope you will be clamoring for the next book.

Jean
AKAmra
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 269
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 1:30 am

Postby AKAmra » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:46 am

Hello Jean, thanks for the introduction and welcome to the Traveller forum. I'm certainly very impressed with the ADB presence here so soon after the Prime Directive: Traveller announcement.

I'm looking forward to seeing this product, I think it has great potential.
BP
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2802
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:40 am

Postby BP » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:06 am

Jean wrote:...we cannot include things that are not within our license. No Next Generation, no holodecks, no "just replicate it," no Borgs, Cardassians, or other non-TOS species. ...
So mostly TOS... that is good for an RPG. For players that means no official Q for the Ref to inflict on them! :D
User avatar
dreamingbadger
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 399
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:12 am

Postby dreamingbadger » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:40 am

Jean wrote:Hello to you all.

I'm Jean...
Hi Jean, just wanted say really glad to see such a strong forum commitment from ADB, I would expect nothing less, really looking forward to this being the "best ever" Prime Directive :)
"Look out behind you!"

"I wouldn't fall for that ol...dahhhhh!"
User avatar
dreamingbadger
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 399
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:12 am

Postby dreamingbadger » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:44 am

People might want to check out:

http://www.starfleetgames.com/documents/Timeline.pdf

and

http://www.starfleetgames.com/sfb/sfin/general_war.htm

if you are not familiar with the SFU
"Look out behind you!"

"I wouldn't fall for that ol...dahhhhh!"
nerfherder
Weasel
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Newcastle, UK

Postby nerfherder » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:50 am

AKAmra wrote:Hello Jean, thanks for the introduction and welcome to the Traveller forum. I'm certainly very impressed with the ADB presence here so soon after the Prime Directive: Traveller announcement.
Ditto. I see it as a very good sign that the ADB people are coming here, providing information, and listening to concerns.
I'm looking forward to seeing this product, I think it has great potential.
Me too. I was a SFB player about 20 years ago, and recently tried out the free Federation Commander PDF with my RPG group. That got me thinking that it might be fun to run a SFU RPG at some point, but I didn't fancy D20 or GURPS, so this announcement is very timely.

But, even as someone who has played and enjoyed SFB and FC, I have to echo all the other comments that PDT needs a non-boardgame system for resolving ship to ship action. I think ADB have got that message now :)
zero
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 728
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:21 am
Location: Wales, UK

Postby zero » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:01 pm

I am very happy that the PD: Trav just covers the Original Series (its my fave), I liked TNG but it jumped the shark for me with Wesley, Q and some other things, the first few episodes I enjoyed however.
I didnt like anything after that (excluding some of the films) until they brought it back to Enterprise. I didnt like the new Star Trek film.

Maybe that'll get the zealots out, but its how I feel :)

Anyway, if this PD: Trav is a supplement for MGT in one book, or a standalone book, I will get it. No question about that :) If I cant play the game "out of the box" so to speak and will have to wait for a spaceship supplement, I'm out.
Thanks to Barnest2 for designing my Stubby 1.0 and for GJD in doing a model also!
Thanks to AndrewW and far-trader for deckplanning my new Darrian ship and Barnest2 for renders!
SteveCole
Shrew
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:32 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Postby SteveCole » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:28 pm

SFU (Star Fleet Universe, comprising a lot of games using a common knowledgebase) started with TOS but has gone far beyond it, in a different direction from TNG, DS9, STV, and STE. Now, if you WANT to play the STOS you saw on screen, the rulebooks we have let you do that (and I promise not to personally barge into your home and tell you that you're doing it all wrong). The background of the SFU is frankly more consistent and logical than the TV show, which was... a TV show. Remember that TV shows are written not just by Hollywood people who don't really grok reality, but are written for an audience that wants the relatively small cast to do just about anything, from fly the ship to get in a bar fight to explore a planet to negotiate a treaty to spy on the enemy. The real world doesn't have ship captains who suddenly leave the bridge to go arm wrestle a warlord on shore, and while SFU regards the idea as king of silly, you can still do it in your RPG if that's what you want to do. (Warning: A character with the full set of naval officer skills AND the full set of ground combat warrior skills AND the full set of business diplomatic skills AND the card-playing skills of a riverboat gambler is going to cost a LOT of points in ANY system.

I might comment that you can go download some really cheap sample adventures using GURPS and PD20M rules from e23. Look for the code word "aldo" and you'll find two of them (and a third within a two weeks). The third one (Starship Aldo) may be very much "Travelleresque" in its set up (a bunch of ex-military types in a post-war galaxy driving around in a war surplus ship looking for enough salvage to keep the ship going until a really big score let's them all retire).

SFU is very big (probably as much total material as trek itself), and you can find a lot of things in it.

SFU is often said to be "very military" which isn't really true. We have certainly published a LOT wargames and the military parts of SFU are widely covered in those games, but the military is no greater percentage of SFU than it is of the world we live in. The RPGs cover the military but spend more pages on civilian stuff, culture, history, legal systems, political systems, medical systems, and so forth.

If you want to be a military officer, you certainly can be one in our published RPGs and in this one. If you want to do Bridge Crew Adventures (which I personally find silly and unrealistic) the rulebooks show you how to do it. If you want to be a prime team you can be, but you obviously don't have to be. You can be anything, from a petty criminal to a millionaire playboy.
President of ADB,Inc. Designer of SFB, FedComm, F&E, etc.
GypsyComet
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2185
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:09 am

Postby GypsyComet » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:42 pm

zero wrote: Anyway, if this PD: Trav is a supplement for MGT in one book, or a standalone book, I will get it. No question about that :) If I cant play the game "out of the box" so to speak and will have to wait for a spaceship supplement, I'm out.
That is a mighty tall order, to be blunt. Traveller ship combat is all sublight by default, while Trek in general and SFU specifically are translight, with fights ranging from Kirk-style visual range Mexican Standoffs through whirling 2 light-second knife-fights to staid 10 light-second stand-off barrages. And any fight can switch from one mode to another *very* quickly.

As it lacks any boardgames in this incarnation, Traveller is at both an advantage and a disadvantage in dealing with that type of combat environment. Taking the TOS Trek experience literally, a ship deals with combat through its sensors. They are amazing sensors, but there is no special effects budget to show us the fight from the bleachers in many cases. So it is down to Spock or Sulu telling you it was a direct hit or that your shields are down to 45%. As an RPG, Traveller can handle that, but the Ref has a lot of overhead in anything but a duel. At some point, your players want that God's Eye View, and if there are more than three ships involved, the Ref will probably want that view, too.

This being a hobby with many participants, both the RPG sensor-and-control-panel style and the miniatures-on-the-table style are going to be desirable by *someone*.

TLDR:
Even core MGT had to put the whole thing into two books, and it wasn't handling setting info in those books, either.
BP
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2802
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:40 am

Postby BP » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:47 pm

SteveCole wrote:...Warning: A character with the full set of naval officer skills AND the full set of ground combat warrior skills AND the full set of business diplomatic skills AND the card-playing skills of a riverboat gambler is going to cost a LOT of points in ANY system. ...
MgT does provide an optional alternate point buy rule for chargen - but the above would normally be handled by just having an older character (and some luck on chargen rolls)... with potential aging effects. ;)

[So rolling up a Picard is quite doable!]
User avatar
daryen
Mongoose
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 10:48 pm

Postby daryen » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:23 pm

Well a couple points on the ships.

Again, it looks like the combat system provided in the Traveller core book will work well enough. All of the details will have to change, but the system should work just fine. (Range, for one, is radically different in the SFU. The moment you get into the extremely long range position where your Traveller-tech ship can just start to scratch the opponent's paint, the SFU-tech ship is beaming his marines onto your ship. But that's just because he is being nice. He could have smoked you twice as far out.)

As for ships, the ships included in the core book are going to have to be extremely limited. The reason for this is twofold. 1) Ships in the Star Fleet Universe are big. The absolutely smallest warship (not including armed shuttles) is the gunboat. It is about 1000 dton and carries a crew of 20-40. There is no Gazelle or Type T. Actually, the equivalent of those to is the Federation Police Cutter, which is a few thousand dton and carries a crew of well more than 100. 2) Mongoose is committed to providing deckplans for every ship published. Providing a full deckplan for a Constitution-class heavy cruiser would be several pages long. Even the deckplans for the Klingon G1 gunboat will cover 2-4 pages (depending on how many variations are covered). The Federation police cutter would be more. Even the SFU Free Trader takes 2 pages itself (It is probably in the 800-1000 dton range).
captainquirk
Stoat
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:03 pm

Postby captainquirk » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:20 pm

Mike,

Not sure how the rest feel about it, though I'm sure people will add opinions.

Using the MGT combat system would certainly work for me. Though I'd massively prefer that it be simply rescaled as necessary to work well with SFU cruiser sized ships. If that means saying that it has Armour(shields) 10 and Hull 20 and that phasers do 2d6, whatever. I don't think we necessarily need a literal ton by ton conversion of a Constitution being 190,000 tons and an equivalent hull point total. Change the range bands, change the hull points to total mass ratio, just make it work for decent sized (e.g cruiser) ships!

The idea is for dramatic storytelling combat within the RPG. A few firing passes in a TV episode are usually decisive. In fact a few firing passes in SFB or FC are usually decisive too. That's what we need the PDT system to do, but with the addition that the character skills and participation drive the story along.

Personally I'm NOT AT ALL interested in tiny little ships. I can do those using the MGT core rules anyway. I don't care about not having deck plans for a Connie or a D7. What I do care about is having the stats and a combat system to let me use the classic ships (Constitution, D7, Warbird etc) during roleplaying.

Having a series of deck plans as supplements might be a cool idea. But I'd rather have a workable PD book that together with the MGT core rules gives me a whole system for running games with a cruiser right from the start. If I see that boring freighter and gunboat in the PD Traveller version, there's a good chance it stays on the store shelf - sick of seeing them. They are NOT the level I want to game at. And they never have been. That's one of the reasons I've never taken PD particularly seriously in previous incarnations.

And at this stage I don't need the entire deckplan for the Constitution - I'm not going to be measuring exact distances or how many seconds it takes for a turbolift to move around, I'm playing a roleplaying game, not a military tactical simulation.

I understand what SVC was saying about it not being realistic for bridge crew to behave as they do on TV. But then it's not realistic to have a 190,000 ton starship capable of 516x C either. But a good number of us have already posted that that's the game we really want! (And OK, yes I know SVC has heard us on that one).

PLEASE let this version of PD be the one which really meets the market's wants! Traveller is a great game engine, please let's use it to the maximum.
zero
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 728
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:21 am
Location: Wales, UK

Postby zero » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:51 pm

Ok, I'm going on a "wait and see" viewpoint before voicing further opinions. The way I see it, I'll either like it and buy it, or I'll like its been done but not find it for me, and not buy it.

*Sits on a seat and awaits further development news* 8)

(Also whilst I wouldnt normally use them in my games, I understand Star Trek has huge ships. Guess I'll look into Capitol Ship building in High Guard :wink: )
Thanks to Barnest2 for designing my Stubby 1.0 and for GJD in doing a model also!
Thanks to AndrewW and far-trader for deckplanning my new Darrian ship and Barnest2 for renders!
BP
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2802
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:40 am

Postby BP » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:29 am

The Enterprise (Constitution A) comes in a bit over 15k dtons... if the volumes here are used: http://www.st-v-sw.net/STSWvolumetrics.html
AKAmra
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 269
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 1:30 am

Postby AKAmra » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:19 am

daryen wrote:Well, one of the nice things about combining SFU ships with the Traveller combat system from the basic game is that there are relatively few weapons on an SFU starship. Even the Connie has only six-ten phasers, four photons, and possibly a drone/missile rack.
Very true, even big ship engagements should be manageable for fast and fun combats. I think that this also lends itself to the classic "Star Trek" feel for starship combat.
AKAmra
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 269
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 1:30 am

Postby AKAmra » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:25 am

zero wrote:Ok, I'm going on a "wait and see" viewpoint before voicing further opinions. The way I see it, I'll either like it and buy it, or I'll like its been done but not find it for me, and not buy it.

*Sits on a seat and awaits further development news* 8)

(Also whilst I wouldnt normally use them in my games, I understand Star Trek has huge ships. Guess I'll look into Capitol Ship building in High Guard :wink: )
I don't think Star Trek ships are all that huge compared to Traveller ships, comparing apples to apples, but I could be wrong of course.

Somebody with some "art+math" ability should add Traveller ships to something like this:
http://www.chrisabraham.com/StarshipCom ... hart1.html

Also, in response to Daryen's post above regarding limited ships in the books due to deckplans - I think Mongoose may want to modify its policy for this line. Including the iconic ships is important for this setting. I'd rather not get full deckplans for the ships than not get them at all because of page count. Maybe more artistic "deck layouts" with deckplans only of the bridge, sample crew quarters, etc?

Full blown deckplans for some of these ships may be better offered as specialty one-off items. I had deckplans for the Enterprise back in college, beautiful set of plans that I picked up along with the FASA Star Trek box set (I don't remember the publisher); it disappeared somehow - I suspect one of my college roommates.
User avatar
Scarecrow
Weasel
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:11 am
Contact:

Postby Scarecrow » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:31 am

AKAmra wrote:I don't think Star Trek ships are all that huge compared to Traveller ships, comparing apples to apples, but I could be wrong of course.
The biggest Traveller ships tend to end where the Star Trek ships start. That said, we're only talking about the TOS era and The Constitution Class is one of the largest ships of that era. Even then, though, at over 15,000 dTons it's still a pretty sizeable capital ship in Traveller terms. There will need to be some noticeable changes to the Traveller ship rules to make PD work but that shouldn't be an insurmountable barrier or any great hardship for players of the game

In a roleplaying game, much as in the TV series, the ships are so huge, they're really just scenery. The background between adventures, but even then, I agree with those who say we don't need deckplans, not of the entire ship anyway. Specific locations (like the Bridge, sick bay and a corridor section) might be nice, but again, not essential (how hard is it to draw a curved section of corridor with a couple of rooms leading off?) and besides they're already available from a number of sources anyway.
This is also why I feel a miniature-less bridge-based starship combat system is essential so that the focus remains on the players even on a capital ship shootout. You're not replicating the actions of 400+ crewmembers, just the half a dozen bridge officers (player characters) who who are in control, like in the TV series.
AKAmra wrote: Somebody with some "art+math" ability should add Traveller ships to something like this:
http://www.chrisabraham.com/StarshipCom ... hart1.html
Like this you mean?

http://www.traveller3d.com/sizechart/index.htm

Courtesy of Andrew Boulton

Crow

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 30 guests