Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
delrom5
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby delrom5 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:43 pm

[quote="msprange"][quote="delrom5"]So my hunch is that book sales are in the region of 5 000 - 8 000 books. [/quote]

!!!

If _only_. Ten years ago, you would have been right on the money. These days, if an RPG book sells a _tenth_ of the figures you quote (and I am not just talking about Mongoose here, this goes for most of the 'big' names in the market), then it is considered a good seller. Not poor, not even average, but _good_.

That might put the discussion on Deneb, Solomani Rim and other titles into perspective...[/quote]

This is part of the big white elephant that we're all dancing around. The persepective that most of us have is looking into the (games) shop through the window. We're have no role in the games business other than as consumers, so we don't have access to information such as this. Although Dragonmeet seminars (being the next game con planned) often touch on the state of gaming, perhaps Matt along with Cubicle 7 and Pelgrane Press staffers should get together and do a state of the RolePlay industry seminar.
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby delrom5 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:47 pm

[quote="Greg Smith"][quote="Prime_Evil"]
My impression is that the RPG hobby has been in a slow decline ever since the d20 wave crested and that the premature announcement of D&D 4e was the final nail in the coffin, .[/quote]

That's about right.

4e split the D&D part of the hobby, killed the third party market but did wonders for Paizo.[/quote]

Yet Traveller faces a similar split between T5 and MgT...
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby GypsyComet » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:29 pm

delrom5 wrote:
Greg Smith wrote:
Prime_Evil wrote: My impression is that the RPG hobby has been in a slow decline ever since the d20 wave crested and that the premature announcement of D&D 4e was the final nail in the coffin, .
That's about right.

4e split the D&D part of the hobby, killed the third party market but did wonders for Paizo.
Yet Traveller faces a similar split between T5 and MgT...
Not even close. Traveller is already fragmented along multiple edition lines and has been for 20 years. The subset who will buy into T5 are already defined, and most of them have never been Mongoose customers past the CRB (if that). T5 is also not envisioned as an extensive product line, as far as I can tell. That role remains with Mongoose.
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby dragoner » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:37 pm

Plenty of us have bought both T5 and mong, so what? Business follows specific rules, such as it is not enough to satisfy a customer, but they want to be delighted; such is the jargon, it's really impossible to distill tens of thousands of dollars of a degree into a simple sentence. But really, make good stuff, follow your four p's or whatever (product, price, place, promotion), get it out here.
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby Galadrion » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:08 pm

GypsyComet wrote:The subset who will buy into T5 are already defined, and most of them have never been Mongoose customers past the CRB (if that).
*Ahem* Now, I wouldn't necessarily say that. Granted, there is a vociferous segment of the T5 client base who would vow upon their firstborn's parents' graves never to touch a Mongoose product, but there's also a fair segment (nowhere near as loud about it - but isn't that usually the case with the reasonable?) who likely will form a crossover population. (I am one such, and I am quite well aware of others from seeing names crossing over between here and the restricted T5 board.)

Look, any time you have a new version of anything introduced, you're going to have some who think it's the Second Coming, some who think it's the epitome of blasphemy and heresy, and some who are willing to take a look to see what there is there that's worthwhile... and how much work it's going to take to get that worthwhile portion without having to take too much garbage along with it. This is no different. Me, I've already seen a number of things I'm going to be using, in both systems. To be honest, I've almost never played any game or system strictly by the Rules As Written, beyond the first couple of times while I'm feeling out the basics. After all, the game is mine, yes? (Did I just hear the Hasbro Secret Police pull up outside?)
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby GypsyComet » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:28 pm

Galadrion wrote:Me, I've already seen a number of things I'm going to be using, in both systems.
Then you are the intended audience for T5. Those who are looking forward to running T5 exclusively are probably in for a shock. Like all prior editions of Traveller, T5 is a big toolbox. Like some prior editions, it is setting generic with only hints of the 3Imp bias (much like the Mongoose CRB). That endears it to some and makes it anathema to others.

My impression is also that it will have the fewest edition-specific products of any edition save Traveller Hero, which had only one. Marc already has editorial approval over the 3Imp setting materials published by Mongoose; he doesn't need to publish his own.
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby Prime_Evil » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:21 am

GypsyComet wrote:Then you are the intended audience for T5. Those who are looking forward to running T5 exclusively are probably in for a shock. Like all prior editions of Traveller, T5 is a big toolbox. Like some prior editions, it is setting generic with only hints of the 3Imp bias (much like the Mongoose CRB). That endears it to some and makes it anathema to others.
My impression is also that it will have the fewest edition-specific products of any edition save Traveller Hero, which had only one. Marc already has editorial approval over the 3Imp setting materials published by Mongoose; he doesn't need to publish his own.
I almost think that OTU products should be system neutral wherever possible and should focus on the setting rather than game mechanics. Obviously, OTU products will need to include some crunchy stats in places but the emphasis should be more on the fluff.

Personally, I love the idea of a dedicated Third Imperium setting book to sit alongside the core rulebook, although my own preference would be to see a book that provides an overview of the entire sweep of the future history outlined in the OTU from the interstellar wars period right through to the dawn of the Fourth Imperium. I don't think a product of that scope has ever been attempted before. Ideally each chapter would outline a specific era and the kind of games that that particular time period is suited for. Ideally, the book would also contain a chapter on divergence points that discusses options for changing the canonical timeline at critical points - including the variant timeline established by GURPS Traveller. (This might even be an appropriate place to drop hints about how to incorporate SF tropes such as time travel and alternate universes into the Traveller system).

One of the issues that the OTU faces is that there is a high barrier to entry for newcomers - unless you are familiar with the history of the game system it's hard to know where to start. A solid introductory book would go a long way towards addressing this issue, especially if it focuses on providing GMs with options rather than a metaplot that is set in stone. And the grandiose sweep of Traveller's future history has echoes of SF classics such as Asimov's original Foundation trilogy and Poul Anderson's Poleseotechnic League.
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby dragoner » Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:06 pm

IMO splat books should be somewhat generic, and when in doubt, lean more towards hardish sci-fi. A compendium of minor alien species, should be generic, though could be linked with developed territory. Source books I can use are what sells me: vehicles, aliens, spacecraft, tech, weapons, ad infinitum. Though charnging the paradigm at established TL's should be avoided, it makes everything an outlier.

Though following successful older adventure modules like twilight's peak or the sky raider's trilogy, where you get both the adventure material and source book material is something that would sell me.
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby delrom5 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:54 pm

[quote="GypsyComet"][quote="delrom5"][quote="Greg Smith"][quote="Prime_Evil"]
My impression is that the RPG hobby has been in a slow decline ever since the d20 wave crested and that the premature announcement of D&D 4e was the final nail in the coffin, .[/quote]

That's about right.

4e split the D&D part of the hobby, killed the third party market but did wonders for Paizo.[/quote]

Yet Traveller faces a similar split between T5 and MgT...[/quote]

Not even close. Traveller is already fragmented along multiple edition lines and has been for 20 years. The subset who will buy into T5 are already defined, and most of them have never been Mongoose customers past the CRB (if that). T5 is also not envisioned as an extensive product line, as far as I can tell. That role remains with Mongoose.[/quote]

Whilst there was a period (about 5-10 years ago) when there were three overlapping rulesets; GURPS, T20 and Traveller Hero, they were all so different that the rules were incompatable. However, MgT and T5 will share a ruleset with many similarities but enough differences to trip up unwary gamers; Caveat Ludius
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby GypsyComet » Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:41 am

delrom5 wrote:
Whilst there was a period (about 5-10 years ago) when there were three overlapping rulesets; GURPS, T20 and Traveller Hero, they were all so different that the rules were incompatable. However, MgT and T5 will share a ruleset with many similarities but enough differences to trip up unwary gamers; Caveat Ludius
While that will be the case with the newest buyers, the Traveller fanbase as a whole is divided between *all* prior editions, still in print or not. Yes, even T4. If you've ever encountered an AD&D2e purist, it is just like that, but several times more divided.

Fortunately, quite a few of those editions use similar language to describe tasks, weaponry, and several of the sub-systems Traveller is so well known for, so they aren't as completely at odds as, say 2e vs 3e D&D.. Doesn't mean there won't be confusion, but it should be down to a level that can be handled.
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby Golan2072 » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:49 am

I can get about 99% of the 15mm (classic Traveller scale) minis I need for Traveller from various retailers such as 15mm.co.uk, Khurasan Miniatures, Critical Mass Games, Ground Zero Games and Rebel Minis. That said, I'd really like you to sell an official Traveller license to one of these companies, especially for aliens such as Droyne and Hivers, which are less common on the market (I can get at least 3 versions of "Aslan" and 2 versions of "Vargr" as well as Imperial marines very easily).
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:23 pm

Prime_Evil wrote:Ok...a couple of related questions....

Should a new edition of the core rulebook spend expand upon the current exploration of alternative technological paths such as warp drives and stargates / artificial wormholes? Or should it stick as close as possible to technological paradigm of the OTU?

What about settings where portable energy weapons are more common than they are in the OTU (blasters, disruptors, etc)? Should Traveller offer stats for these weapons in settings where they are available?

And how should Traveller tackle potentially game-changing technologies such as cybernetics, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology? In a technologically conservative setting of the OTU these technologies either don't exist or are heavily regulated by the Imperium, but they are of great importance in other SF settings.
The core book does have rules for alternatives to jump drive, and surely cybernetics has its own supplement. Some of the other TL16+ tech is raised in the CSC.

To be honest, the CRB is very good, it is all you need to get a sci-fi game off the ground, and can be expanded with whatever supplements you want (or DIY). If you start adding lots of cybernetics, nanotech etc to the core rules it will quickly become unwieldly, save all that for the supplements.

The only book that is really crying out, I'll say that again, CRYING OUT for a second edition, is, and I will CRY OUT again, the huge wasted opportunity that is the ....wait for it

CENTRAL SUPPLY CATALOGUE

Oh, I might have mentioned that before on some other posts.

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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:34 pm

Prime_Evil wrote: One of the issues that the OTU faces is that there is a high barrier to entry for newcomers - unless you are familiar with the history of the game system it's hard to know where to start. A solid introductory book would go a long way towards addressing this issue, especially if it focuses on providing GMs with options rather than a metaplot that is set in stone. And the grandiose sweep of Traveller's future history has echoes of SF classics such as Asimov's original Foundation trilogy and Poul Anderson's Poleseotechnic League.
Yes, I can see the arguement for a OTU supplement, but, as someone who only started playing Traveller a few years ago, and was initially perplexed by 3I, I found that the introductionary sections in MgT Spinward Marches was all I really needed to get up to speed on what I needed to know, there after a bit of digging around on forums, and a few questions (mainly on this board) completed all the details, and threw up other ideas.

The thing is, would an OTU supplement actually sell very many copies? Would those who know bother with it, and why would those who don't know care? Without becoming too heavy in detail, would there be enough original material to justify a whole book (perhaps throwing in a sector, Core?, would fill it out).

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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby Nathan Brazil » Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:32 am

The sheer volume of material written for the OTU lends itself to the ability to possibly writing a say "Handbook to the Third Imperium" ala D&D 3E books. I say possibly, because despite the volume of material, there would be the issue of what to write applicability to an intended audience. In looking at the other Mongoose "campaign" books (2300, Judge Dredd, Universe of Babylon 5, Strontium Dog, Hammer's Slammers), each shows or explains how the campaign ignores or changes the Core rules to get a better feel. In part, the 3I uses most if not all of the Core Rules without variant. So perhaps not as much to write about there. That leaves the volumes of flavor text. To me that's where the difficulty in writing such a book begins.

The 3I is vast (11000 worlds anyone?) and during the year 1105 is fairly static as a whole. Fifth Frontier War and the Rebellion is in the future, Solomani Rim War in the past. Characters are not the "movers and shakers". So to write about the 3I as a whole distances PC's (and thus players) from a general writeup? On the other hand, Milleu 0 for T4 did a great job of integrating the nascent 3I with how PC's could get involved in the 3I and for the size the Imperium at the time, actually make a difference. I would buy anything being a Traveller junkie, but I feel that if a combination between the scale difference can be found, then such a book would have more value to newcomers.
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby Nathan Brazil » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:18 am

One neat thing that can be done though is if you do regions or areas, you can write them in such a way as to say for example Solomani Rim:

"If you want to know more about this area, pick up Solomani Rim, Alien Module 5 - Solomani, Book 5: Agent" or whatever is suitable to expand player/referee knowledge or options (and it plugs for selling more books!)
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby dragoner » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:07 pm

A 3I book would mostly cannibalize sales of the library data and be non specific, better just to include relevant facts in other pubs, such as 'so and so sector in relation to the Imperium' because their situation, geographically would make them far different; some frontier like, others long settled. Much of what the Imperium is can already be gleened from DonM's integrated timeline.
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby Bravesteel » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:53 am

I'd love miniatures! I also wouldn't mind a 2nd edition. That being said I'd like for there to be more extensive art in it but I understand that art makes the price rise. Perhaps a separate "The Art of Traveller" would be in order?
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby Prime_Evil » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:25 pm

dragoner wrote:A 3I book would mostly cannibalize sales of the library data and be non specific, better just to include relevant facts in other pubs, such as 'so and so sector in relation to the Imperium' because their situation, geographically would make them far different; some frontier like, others long settled. Much of what the Imperium is can already be gleened from DonM's integrated timeline.
I respectfully disagree - the Library Data book is useful, but it isn't really targeted at newcomers and it doesn't provide much guidance on how to USE the information contained within it in play. I'm thinking of a book that provides high-level advice on how to adapt different campaign models (free traders, mercenaries, military personnel, pirates, secret agents, bounty hunters, explorers, etc) in different periods of history (e.g. Milieu 0, The Classic Era, the Civil War / Hard Times Era, the New Era, the Fourth Imperium, etc). I don't think that something like this has ever been attempted - it's like the introduction to the Spinward Marches book on steroids. Ideally, it would focus on practical advice intended to help GMs answer the question "how do I kick off my first campaign in the OTU?".

DonM's integrated timeline is an impressive work that I've been known to consult on occasion, but it would be very intimidating to anybody who isn't already somewhat familiar with the OTU. It actually contains too much detail for newbies - it would be hard for a newbie to work out which events listed in the timeline have importance and which are merely incidental detail.
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby dragoner » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:34 am

Prime_Evil wrote: I respectfully disagree - the Library Data book is useful, but it isn't really targeted at newcomers and it doesn't provide much guidance on how to USE the information contained within it in play. I'm thinking of a book that provides high-level advice on how to adapt different campaign models (free traders, mercenaries, military personnel, pirates, secret agents, bounty hunters, explorers, etc) in different periods of history (e.g. Milieu 0, The Classic Era, the Civil War / Hard Times Era, the New Era, the Fourth Imperium, etc). I don't think that something like this has ever been attempted - it's like the introduction to the Spinward Marches book on steroids. Ideally, it would focus on practical advice intended to help GMs answer the question "how do I kick off my first campaign in the OTU?".

DonM's integrated timeline is an impressive work that I've been known to consult on occasion, but it would be very intimidating to anybody who isn't already somewhat familiar with the OTU. It actually contains too much detail for newbies - it would be hard for a newbie to work out which events listed in the timeline have importance and which are merely incidental detail.

The best thing for newcomers is us the community, taking the time to help. My experience with the OTU is, to paraphrase Clausewitz on battle plans, it doesn't survive contact with the game table; just about every OTU I've played in has subtle tweaks by the GM and with how the players that are playing it, changes it.

Considering the breadth of the Imperium in time and size, that is a multi-volume history at least, and the only authoritative writer to write it would be Marc. Otherwise it's a minefield, which I'll bet Matt has little desire to open himself up for a rasher of abuse that would come from even attempting such a project.

Giving it some thought and looking at some of the newer games in the works that seem to have people excited like Nova Praxis or Eclipse Phase, a Trans-humanist supplement would probably sell well and is uncharted territory considering past Traveller work. I have some in my campaign, trans-droyneist actually, it is an interesting subject, throws a nice curveball in there.

Another subject I see come up quite a bit lately are mercenary campaigns, so maybe a supplement with a few mercenary tickets might be popular as well.
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Re: Future Traveller - Testing the Waters

Postby Dunia » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:08 pm

I think that Mongoose needs to finish with what they have started before going towards miniatures and 2nd Edition.

*First we need to have all the Alien Modules that we are missing: Hivers, Kkree, Vilani etc

*Then we still miss a book about some careers: Civilians, Drifters, Scholars

*Other sectors and places to play in. You said you wanted to map the ThirdImperium. Please do continue with that.

*Lastly: Books that can help the players actually understand the vast size and how to RP in the Third Imperium (I have said this many times) so we need a Players Guide to the Third Imperium.

Thanks

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