Campaign Guide now on PDF

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
BP
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby BP » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:59 pm

I think a bunch of this should lay at the author's door you know.
If the author was publishing the material - that would seem reasonable. The publishing market as a whole has long had expectations that things like editors and proof readers are part of the production chain. Publishers are largely responsible for gaffs. We don't buy from the author. :wink:
I am amazed Mongoose are not in administration by now. I know many firms a lot better than Mongoose who have gone down in this recession. Recessions are great for killing off the dead wood.
I'm not.

And I'm not sure how one would define 'a lot better than Mongoose' in a general sense...

Mongoose aims to make products people want to play - they have a passion for generally the same stuff as their players. They also make quite the effort to address issues post sale. They have these critical parts nailed down - and I believe it assures a certain level of success when other companies would fail.

Their customer service, at least from my perspective, is far better than most companies in the market. I also don't believe they set out with the intent to make a low quality product just to make a buck - I think its more lack of know how, lack of best practice processes, and being too enthusiastic and close to their own products to undertake qualified, unbiased, proofing.

Reasonably, far less than 10% of the market shares my buying practices... but Mongoose has lost not only that small market share, they have spent money that would not have had to been spent, given a better showing pre-production.

For example, I have every confidence Matt and company would have addressed, the best they reasonably could, my dissatisfaction with the material quality of my books - re: their peeled covers and broken backs - if I emailed a complaint about it.

But, I would rather he and his company spend their time and other resources on making additional and better products.
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby Stainless » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:15 am

I'll reiterate the point that, IMHO, Mongoose need to slow down their publication rate (if they can and still remain a viable business). I've heard directly from more than one of their past authors that their deadlines are very pressurizing. That, I suspect, leads to some of the poor quality manuscripts which gets confounded by the often equally poor quality editing/proofing. I wonder if one way to help this issue would be for Mongoose to abandon their masochistic announcement of publication dates; It serves no purpose that I can see other than painting themselves into a corner and leading to the kind of rushed production that cuts those corners. If they have a longer publication timeline for each item, they should be able to maintain their overall volume of output by a larger volume of commissions (more in the pipeline).

Further up thread there was a comment about Mongoose being a game company that publishes. Interestingly, some years ago, when there was a similar situation to this, Matt explicitly wrote (I think it may have been in a State of Mongoose address) that Mongoose was a publishing company that happened to publish games as opposed to the other way around. I think many of us (most?) would suggest to him that it is most definitely the other way around. I'm sure he aspires to being a publisher first, but perhaps legacies need to be overcome first; employee abilities/competence & process design.
IanBruntlett
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby IanBruntlett » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:22 pm

BP wrote:
IanBruntlett wrote:I read the key parts of Animal Encounters last night. And created a forest-dwelling vampire killer bird. I spotted some errors and e-mailed them to Mongoose last night. In a nutshell - its not perfect but it is a fun expansion to games I hope to run using MgT.
That is great. It tells me I can expect to be able to create a forest-dwelling bird to kill vampires in my games. ;)

It also tells me Mongoose produced a book with errors in key parts that I would have to overlook, or go out of my way to edit for them.
OK... these are the things I spotted...

1. Mg website needs a PDF of the Animal Behaviour Sheet (ABS) found at the back of the book.
2. p6 Determine Behaviour Model fails to list Terran equivalents- they can be found on p71 of the CRB except for Intimidator or Killer.
3. As 2 - missing Terran equivalents on table on p21
4. p21 Column "Size", Row "6" has 4d6 Dex where it should be 3d6 Dex. That error also occurs on p71 CRB
5. Animal Behaviour Sheet is missing entries for Size, Weight.

I have some Terran equivalents pencilled into my CRB and Animal Encounters and can pass them on if required.

HTH,


Ian
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BP
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby BP » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:43 pm

I'll reiterate the point that, IMHO, Mongoose need to slow down their publication rate (if they can and still remain a viable business). I've heard directly from more than one of their past authors that their deadlines are very pressurizing.

Mo Time! (Mo Money!) - the standard fallback excuse for failure. :roll:

Obviously those writers either agreed to the deadlines, or could have walked away. A book is an Author's baby - if most had their way it would never be finished... [reference T5 ;)]

More importantly - if you look back, the Campaign Guide was delayed numerous times - more so than any other, I expect. With the explanation being a desire to 'get it right'. Expect that is in reference to playability and feel - and most likely either because Mongoose wasn't happy with what was submitted, or, more likely, the Author failed to meet his deadlines...

Numerous of the other books were also delayed with the same reasoning expounded upon. Wonder how many of those times were due to the Author failing to meet a commitment - but Matt and company would take the fall instead.

Mongoose could never financially succeed as a gaming company nor a publishing company if it didn't set deadlines - publicly announcing them give the onus of a commitment. That appeases fans who want to know that the company is serious, and it helps drive Mongoose and its writers.
Stainless wrote:Matt explicitly wrote (I think it may have been in a State of Mongoose address) that Mongoose was a publishing company that happened to publish games as opposed to the other way around.
I believe you have that backwards.
The one I read, Matt wrote to the effect that Mongoose is a game company that publishes - in the context that he and the staff at Mongoose are gamers first! ;)
IanBruntlett wrote:OK... these are the things I spotted...
..I have some Terran equivalents pencilled into my CRB and Animal Encounters and can pass them on if required.
Some of those sound like enhancements, not so much errors - but still would require some effort on the part of Mongoose that might have been avoided by better editing. Which has been the point of my posts and a major theme of this thread.

Seems like you have some things you could share in another thread (so folks not interested in this one could find it easy...).
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby IanBruntlett » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:26 pm

Seems like you have some things you could share in another thread (so folks not interested in this one could find it easy...).
OK so I posted my reply to the "Example animals to help with creature creation" thread.

HTH


Ian
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Stainless
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby Stainless » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:58 pm

BP wrote:Mo Time! (Mo Money!) - the standard fallback excuse for failure. :roll:
I was not arguing for no deadlines at all.
BP wrote:I believe you have that backwards.
I may have mis-remembered it, but I don't think so. That's because I distinctly remember my jaw dropping to the floor when I read it.
BP
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby BP » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:51 pm

Stainless wrote:...
I was not arguing for no deadlines at all.
Didn't say you were - addressed that you were implying author deadline 'pressure' had an impact on editing quality. In reference to the Campaign Guide with its extensive delays - that reasoning doesn't hold up. And plenty of other products were delayed to 'get them right'.

Editing is not ultimately (nor should it directly be) the responsibility of the author. While their style, game mechanic implementations, integration with existing product line, etc. can certainly impact the content quality and reception of a product - correcting grammar, spelling, TOCs, page and table references, etc. is ultimately the responsibility of the editor, not the author.

Game errata and flavor is quite a separate issue from language and publishing errors (though can result from such). A good line editor will be sensitive to this and work with higher levels to help maintain the integrity of the product line - but that is more subjective than things like grammar, spelling and making sure all the content created gets to the final medium.

Authors who push the production deadlines can certainly impact the editor's available time - then it is up to the editor to control that time (put the kibosh on author content changes, put in more hours, beg for production delays...) - and the person in charge to ultimately make the call. But the person in charge can only effect quality if the editor makes them aware of difficulties...

In the majority of the most glaring issues - the time it would have taken for quality editing should have been pretty insignificant and certainly worth the minimal financial and time expenses. I gave several examples of simple solutions in prior posts - mostly it boils down to knowledge and process.
  • I would add that the actual mechanics of editing does require a certain level of skill and/or the right software to be most effective. MS Word has excellent support for tracking and implementing revisions and edits from multiple parties. It, however, is not really designed as a 'page layout' program, so not exceptionally geared for controlling the re-flow results - without a good knowledge of the software and good planning skills. The biggest gotcha being that graphics anchor to text by default. Good use of a template file with predefined styles can make this pretty painless (after the initial learning curve for the publisher) - not only for maintaining layout, but for automatic content creation (TOC, index).

    It should also be noted that traditionally MS Word is professionally used for text content, but then fed into a page layout program (such as FrameMaker, PageMaker (now part of InDesign last I knew), QuarkXPress, etc.). Microsoft, at one point at least, mandated MS Word for all its internal technical documents - then switched to InDesign because MS Word still wasn't good enough. IIRC, it still lacks support for CMYK - an issue not only at print time (for offset printing, etc.), but with Adobe Photoshop and the like if one doesn't properly convert from CMYK to RGB (which can result in color related issues regardless). For B&W this can mean that images often appear too dark.

    Today, MS Word is powerful enough to be used for most projects of the nature that Mongoose produces (even supporting kerning to a decent degree), IMO - but still requires knowledge and good process. An example of the later would be the common approach of expecting to see and work with a 'what you will get' page layout style while the document is still being written and proofed. Word is not designed for this - its best to do this as a final step in the process, automated via good setup of templates and styles. Such a workflow also better supports targeting different final media - i.e books in various sizes, PDFs and e-books - without introducing more errors or significant effort.
Bottom line - Mongoose is a professional gaming company, and there is very little stopping them from at least having the appearance of a professional publishing company.
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:06 pm

IanBruntlett wrote: 4. p21 Column "Size", Row "6" has 4d6 Dex where it should be 3d6 Dex. That error also occurs on p71 CRB
Ian, are you sure this is an error? The Dex characteristic increase up to size 6, then decreases as Str and End increase.

Egil
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby IanBruntlett » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:14 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:
IanBruntlett wrote: 4. p21 Column "Size", Row "6" has 4d6 Dex where it should be 3d6 Dex. That error also occurs on p71 CRB
Ian, are you sure this is an error? The Dex characteristic increase up to size 6, then decreases as Str and End increase.

Egil
Why is there a bump? it goes:-
Dexterity
1d6
1d6
2d6
2d6
3d6
4d6 <- Unexpected bump here
3d6
3d6
2d6
2d6
etc

I'm open to suggestions that it is deliberate.

HTH,



Ian
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby BP » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:31 am

Bump looks more like an intentional peak. At 50 kg max Dex peaks, then goes down while Str and End keep rising (as Egil stated)- like becoming muscle bound, the stronger harder to take out (End related to combat) creature is less dexterous...
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:46 pm

IanBruntlett wrote:
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:
IanBruntlett wrote: 4. p21 Column "Size", Row "6" has 4d6 Dex where it should be 3d6 Dex. That error also occurs on p71 CRB
Ian, are you sure this is an error? The Dex characteristic increase up to size 6, then decreases as Str and End increase.

Egil
Why is there a bump? it goes:-
Dexterity
1d6
1d6
2d6
2d6
3d6
4d6 <- Unexpected bump here
3d6
3d6
2d6
2d6
etc

I'm open to suggestions that it is deliberate.

HTH,



Ian
I think the idea is that very small animals have limited dex, which improves as they get a big bigger, but beyond size 6 dex gradually reduces, but end and str carry on increasing. Note that in all cases the total dice for physical characteristics increases with size, but the distribution betwee dex and the other two changes.

Can the author of the core rules please speak up?

Egil
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby 8thseadog » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:23 am

The way I see it the CG is an interesting read, but it is not without its issues. The main problem I have had with Uri Kurlianchik's traveller books is that he doesn't seem to let the core book inform the structure of a lot of the mechanical aspects. The ideas in robot were not especially bad I didn't think but the problems began to occur from an assumption that the robots being designed were for players to play, and that technological levels ad costs involved with his conceptions of robots did not align well with the main book. The CG is kind of the same in that respect; to me it really isn't a problem that sort of really strange and unlikely things occur in the tables, but that you can't really have an auto campaign without extremely crazy events occuring. This is especially true of the "zombies". I have rolled up a few autocampaign adventures and zombies in one form or another happen as an event in just about every adventure I have rolled up. The odd thing is that there isn't a lot of middle ground, events are either extremely exotic or a bit generic (by which I mean they could be part of any genre rpg adventure). It does mean you have to modify things to your setting, but some settings just can't handle the contortions that you would have to do to make a number of the events and hooks work. Other minor gripes I have is that a lot of tables involved with the rural encounters equate rural with medieval, and that city generation is a bit uneven.
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby G. K. Zhukov » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:13 am

Ewan wrote: Personally I would rather see a slow down in releases and better quality products coming out.
Absolutely. :(
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:17 am

My review of the Campaign Guide. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRJkLQStMWg
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby Lord High Munchkin » Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:57 am

I watched your YouTube review, however, you have such a laconic style of delivery... I'm not sure I got whether you actually liked it.

I got that it is a lot of random tables, but beyond that, do you actually find it something that you refer to often?
The desire for a "definitive, ultimate answer" is, in fact, classified by modern psychiatric medicine as a mental illness.
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:21 pm

Lord High Munchkin wrote:I watched your YouTube review, however, you have such a laconic style of delivery... I'm not sure I got whether you actually liked it.

I got that it is a lot of random tables, but beyond that, do you actually find it something that you refer to often?
Yes, the d66 tables are random. And there are lots of them.
Yes, some of the tables are not canon Traveller.
No, you're not supposed to take the d66 results literally as they are written. They are plot/event/idea seeds that you then (as a referee) apply to your specific Traveller adventure's setting/storyline.

Yes, I like the supplement a lot. I thought I said that at the end of the video? I do mention the Eureka 501 Adventure Plots book, which I compared the Campaign Guide to. The Campaign Guide is more robust. It can be used for creating a Traveller campaign, creating a patron's job offer for the Traveller players to perform, or creating a miss-jump event and a uncharted world to go with it (on the fly) for the players to discover. The book has a section for making something epic as it is played out. And it has a section (the Appendix) containing abridged d66 tables to roll from for "at this moment" use.

If you are a diehard Traveller canonite, and expect every item of info in supplement 9 to already fit into its proper place of what you believe canon is, you will only become a paralized referee (or player) unless you have the imagination required to use the results from the book in your setting. If you are Leon from Bladerunner, this book will not help you. He had trouble with the use of the word "tortoise" and so could not role-play his action.

I had to look up laconic. It's rare that I see that word used. As in never.
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:02 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Lord High Munchkin wrote:I watched your YouTube review, however, you have such a laconic style of delivery... I'm not sure I got whether you actually liked it.

I got that it is a lot of random tables, but beyond that, do you actually find it something that you refer to often?
Yes, the d66 tables are random. And there are lots of them.
Yes, some of the tables are not canon Traveller.
No, you're not supposed to take the d66 results literally as they are written. They are plot/event/idea seeds that you then (as a referee) apply to your specific Traveller adventure's setting/storyline.

Yes, I like the supplement a lot. I thought I said that at the end of the video? I do mention the Eureka 501 Adventure Plots book, which I compared the Campaign Guide to. The Campaign Guide is more robust. It can be used for creating a Traveller campaign, creating a patron's job offer for the Traveller players to perform, or creating a miss-jump event and a uncharted world to go with it (on the fly) for the players to discover. The book has a section for making something epic as it is played out. And it has a section (the Appendix) containing abridged d66 tables to roll from for "at this moment" use.

If you are a diehard Traveller canonite, and expect every item of info in supplement 9 to already fit into its proper place of what you believe canon is, you will only become a paralized referee (or player) unless you have the imagination required to use the results from the book in your setting. If you are Leon from Bladerunner, this book will not help you. He had trouble with the use of the word "tortoise" and so could not role-play his action.

I had to look up laconic. It's rare that I see that word used. As in never.
I wouldn't have described your review as "laconic", certainly not at 10 minutes plus! Perhaps LHM should check "laconic" in the dictionary as well.

However, I did wonder if you were being a bit sarcastic (all the, to paraphrase, "and now there are 36 options on this table, and on this one, and on this one"), so skipped to the end, and, yes, you clearly liked CG a lot, the "best book since the core rules".

Fair enough, it is a point of view, and though not one I share (personally, I would put much of the MgT output of the last 3 years ahead of the CG), I am not so negative about the CG as many other reviewers have been (see my post above), and can see its use in some campaigns (zombies, goblins and all).

I still think that this book is mis-titled, "xyz adventure plots" would be much more accurate.

Egil
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:48 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:I still think that this book is mis-titled, "xyz adventure plots" would be much more accurate.

Egil
I know there will be times when using the book might result in a Zhodani event being rolled when your campaign is actually taking place on a frontier world in Hiver territory. The book probably should not be used at all if you are running a canon Hiver campaign.

If you are new to Traveller and own just the Traveller core rulebook and the Campaign Guide, and do not know anything about any pre-established Traveller universes, I can see players having a good ol' time just going by whatever adventure path the Campaign Guide leads them.

Now about Zombies. The Campaign Guide does state that the word "zombies" is a generic term used for the more specific situations the book generates. "Zombie" describes more the kind of actions the players are performing rather than what the players are facing. A zombie scenario involves a very close group of players that cannot ever be separated, and whose goal is to get from their current location to another one that is fairly close by (within walking distance) without getting killed. The NPCs are not necessarily zombies. For instance, the NPCs could all be dead and simply by just walking past one, that's lying dead on the floor, triggers an egg in its brain to hatch and something horrific cracks out of its skull and jumps out at the players. Some people will grown and still say, "Zombies are not Traveller." And they will also say, "Well, even if they aren't zombies, players being attacked by things with sharp teeth popping out of peoples heads isn't Traveller either." Such people that think that way will not like the Campaign Guide. They will, of course, still buy the book so they can be the one guy that complains all the time about how "bad" or "not canon" supplement 9 is to every newcomer on this forum asking about the book.
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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby far-trader » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:30 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote: Now about Zombies. The Campaign Guide does state that the word "zombies" is a generic term used for the more specific situations the book generates. "Zombie" describes more the kind of actions the players are performing rather than what the players are facing. A zombie scenario involves a very close group of players that cannot ever be separated, and whose goal is to get from their current location to another one that is fairly close by (within walking distance) without getting killed...
So... a roll of "zombies" on the table could be "Your group has to all get from the Starport bar to the warehouse to make your appointment to pick up some freight." and the NPCs could be a group of ordinary thugs intent on robbery. Or a loose gargoyle fallling off a building into the alley the group uses as a shortcut. Or a drunk driver that runs the stop light while the PCs are crossing in the crosswalk with the walk light. Or... I'm sorry, that just sounds silly. Why call it "zombies" in the first place then? Why not lable it "survive" or something more generic than "zombies" with all its inherent definition?
ShawnDriscoll wrote:Some people will groan and still say, "Zombies are not Traveller." ... Such people that think that way will not like the Campaign Guide. They will, of course, still buy the book so they can be the one guy that complains all the time about how "bad" or "not canon" supplement 9 is to every newcomer on this forum asking about the book.
That's a bit insulting.
Dan "far-trader" Burns

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Re: Campaign Guide now on PDF

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:44 pm

I forgot to mention the horror part involved. Otherwise, you're right that calling it zombie is just meh.

Oh what the heck, I'll say you're right anyway. I failed at my argument.

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