Prime Directive...

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Galahad64
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Prime Directive...

Postby Galahad64 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:14 am

Ok..I know a lot of post probably about this already...but NOW is there a release date for Prime directive? Been waiting diligently since last November.
Hopeless
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby Hopeless » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:48 am

Any chance it will show anything other than the Constitution class starship?

Maybe a frigate ala Star Trek Online so we can start games off not necessarily as the best of the best but can have a starting point for players to aspire their characters to work towards achieving the ideal purpose for their characters?
GalagaGalaxian
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby GalagaGalaxian » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:47 pm

Well, a likely suspect would be a Kearsarge or Texas Class Light Cruiser. There is also the Burke Class Frigate, which I believe was the vessel given a lot of detail in the GURPS Prime Directive Star Fleet/Federation Supplement

The Saladin Class Destroyer/Scout is a possibility, but I'm not sure given its one of the Franz Joseph designs.
Galahad64
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby Galahad64 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:47 am

But again..no new word on the possible release date?
scoutdad
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby scoutdad » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:36 pm

Jean Sexton: the VP for RPGs at ADB (boy! That's a lot of acronyms) has been out of town/incommunicado this past weekend - visiting her mom.
I just sent her an email asking her to pop in and provide a quick update.
Jean
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby Jean » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:16 pm

Hi all,

It has been a long trip and much, much longer than we anticipated to bring you Traveller: PD.

We thought we could do the book with the ship we had. If we could have done that, then you'd probably already have that book.

We were told that the book would need to include multiple deckplans. We sent out the word, asked people to do it and ...

we got one.

Just one out of the dozen we need.

This is going to require (obviously) more time from me than I can provide part-time. I need to be in Amarillo to beg, bribe, or otherwise convince people to provide the deckplans. I move there in May where we'll be caught up in the final push for Origins products. I'll be able to start pushing T:PD at the end of June.

This isn't what anyone wanted to have happen. I just don't think I can force anyone to be creative -- and our ships are HUGE. Maybe it is proving daunting to the artists. I won't know until I have the time to dedicate to finding out why they aren't producing. :(

Yes, I am unhappy with the situation. I wish I could fix it quickly. I cannot. I am going to work on it as soon as I can.

And I apologize to you, the folks who have been so very patient. I hate to ask you to continue waiting, but I cannot think of an alternative. I'm not going to promise you the book on X date when I don't know when that date is. I don't want to promise vaporbooks.
Jean
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Hopeless
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby Hopeless » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:23 pm

Multiple deckplans?

As in 1 ship or multiple ships?

Only have 1 done... owch that must be tough, well I'll still be interested even if its a year or two from now anyway!

Thanks for the feedback at least its nice to know whats going on!
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby scoutdad » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:31 pm

Hopeless wrote:Multiple deckplans?

As in 1 ship or multiple ships?
Multiple ships.

The last number I heard bandied about was 16 ships... but that was early on. That number may have changed by now.
captainquirk
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby captainquirk » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:25 pm

I'm not too sure where ADB picked up the idea that deck plans were required. Nobody in their right mind is going to want to know every location on a Connie or a D7 - or any other ship - when it comes to roleplaying. And we were never supplied with detailed deckplans when watching the source TV shows either.

If I recall the conversations at the start of the Traveller PD development, most of us were saying that we wanted to be able to fight the ships using the Traveller RPG combat system rather than SFB/FC/ACTA.

The idea that a rolepaying game requires precise maps of every place on massive starships can only come from a preoccupation with detailed wargames. And roleplaying games are NOT wargames.

In a roleplaying game, I'm not going to stat up every crew member. I don't need to know every location. I'm going to do what they do on TV shows. The players will be the officers and decision makers. Game play will jump around to setpiece locations, just as on TV. Player characters can use turbolifts. Roleplaying isn't about timing how many seconds it takes to get from deck 2 to deck 14. It will be PLOT driven. We don't need micro-maths.

Honestly, I suspect many people will be happy to have PD ported to Traveller and to be able to run the bridge scenes during combat using the existing Traveller rules. For that, we need a dozen or so popular ships with their stats presented for Traveller.

NO deck plans. As far as I - as a potential buyer - am concerned, the deckplans are just going to be useless wasted page space.
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby Jean » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:20 pm

In the SFU, ships have many decks and one does (we were told) need to know where the bridge is, where the infirmary is, where the engine room is, where the weapons rooms are, etc. to find out how long it takes for a player character to get from spot A to spot B. We're not talking about the really detailed plans that show the beds and the desks and the tables -- just "general" locations. How many really intense shows have we seen where the power is out or the turbolifts don't work or the allamagoosa breaks? Some folks want to recreate that.

These deckplans are something that are in other Mongoose Traveller books. For me to fight the fight that they aren't wanted or needed, I need to be able to be working hands-on, full-time, with the ears of both Matthew and Steve. The deckplans decision came at the highest level and isn't something I can casually wave my hand and disregard. I will need hard evidence that it isn't happening, even with me working closely with artists.

Our opening book of the series has the Prime Trader in it (a ship that could easily be crewed by a bunch of retired people off to seek their fortunes) -- and most folks seem to want The Ship from Their Favorite Empire. That's part of the problem. Some of these empires don't even have the basic ship created, let alone one of the big ones.
Jean
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ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:21 am

I'm patient and will wait for ship plans. Mongoose Traveller has ship plans in it. I'd like to see them in Prime Directive. Not necessarily every square meter of each ship. But workstation locations of the important areas of the ships. Where spacesuits and weapons are kept. The cargo areas. How small craft fit in bigger ships. External airlocks/hatches, etc with key codes printed on the side or bottom of each page.
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby locarno24 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:13 am

Agreed. The traveller deck plans do add something to the game - it makes combat more immediate if the ship is boarded because you actually have to think your way through the tactics.

Equally, whilst I don't need to know what the turbolift code is, or how many milimetres one room is from another, I do want to know boardly where everything is. If some nanotech-posessed loon escapes from sickbay, what else is in the vicinity?

As noted, if power goes down, what are the routes from deck to deck?

I'm fine with not having too much detail on a big ship. The deck plans for the Traveller OTU Tigress dreadnought, and the Babylon 5 Victory destroyer verge on unreadable because they're so damn big. I'd have preferred a close-up on the engineering and command decks and some general location maps.

However, a Constitution cruiser isn't actually too huge. If I remember correctly, they're smaller than a White Star (albeit with more decks), which fitted in a perfectly useable complete deckplan (in Signs & Portents 69).
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: Prime Directive...

Postby crazy_cat » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:11 pm

Am I reading this right that you can't start work on even starting to push things along towards even getting close to producing a finished book until at least June or beyond? Just because of deckplans (which many of us don't want or will not use - certainly not in the entire ship mapped out format)

I think you are basically missing the opportunity here - interest in Traveller PD will be long gone at this rate by the time you have anything even approaching ready to sell. Personally I've already given up on waiting and picked up the old FASA Star Trek boxed set and ST:TNG book from LUG on eBay and will do the Traveler conversion myself rather than wait for a vapourware product.
"You should never be in the company of anyone with whom you would not want to die"
captainquirk
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby captainquirk » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:50 pm

Jean wrote: Our opening book of the series has the Prime Trader in it (a ship that could easily be crewed by a bunch of retired people off to seek their fortunes) -- and most folks seem to want The Ship from Their Favorite Empire. That's part of the problem. Some of these empires don't even have the basic ship created, let alone one of the big ones.
Yep. But that's 'cos Steve has never really got the idea that roleplayers don't care about generating characters for everyone on a major ship of the line. And that most of us DO want to play the command crew on such a vessel.

This was already discussed a lot right at the start of the project. And to be fair ADB have, I think, listened.

Traveller already handles the "tramp freighter crew" perfectly well without PD. The tramp freighter adventure party format has in fact kept Traveller going as an RPG since the 1970s. PD needs to bring something different to Traveller, which is playing the bridge crew on a SFU starship.
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby Jean » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:33 pm

I really am sorry that I cannot focus on this book until June. Much of it is complete, but we need deckplans if at all possible.

crazy_cat, I have a full-time job in a department that's been cut 30% to levels that we had back in 1994 with a $100,000 budget. The budget now tops $1.2 million. I've been working one of the missing jobs for two years and parts of my job have not been done. It is necessary for me to catch this up before I retire. I don't want folks saying I goofed off and didn't work. Also, HR policies have changed and I need to shred 20 years of records -- I don't want to leave that for someone else to explore.

I absolutely must pack my "stuff" to go to Amarillo, a trip of over 1000 miles. That includes 30 years of things I've accumulated or inherited. I have to do that on top of my work for ADB which includes proofreading, editing, writing, keeping up our blog, and maintaining the BBS and our page on FB. May is crunch time for ADB -- we must put out products for our other lines and I proofread/edit them all. I run the sales booth at Origins and that takes planning and packing. (Sometime I'd like to unpack my moved stuff beyond the essentials.)

ADB's people are stretched too thin and they know it. That is why I am going there. Then, instead of having maybe a couple of hours per day to dedicate to ADB's work, I will have at least eight and more likely ten hours.

We don't intend to do detailed deckplans down to every bed and chair, but rather ones that give you a good feeling of what is where.

Folks, this isn't what I wanted. I really wanted this out over a year ago. But I cannot tell the president of ADB that he is my personal layout assistant. I have to be there to do what needs to be done.
Jean
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adm
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby adm » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:26 am

For what it is worth, Prime Directive has been released for d20 Modern, and GURPS. As a bonus, GURPS already does a Traveller variant, so figuring out how to convert it to Mongoose should be comparatively easy.
Rockymountainnavy
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby Rockymountainnavy » Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:24 am

I fear that this obsession with deck plans, be it from ADB or Mongoose, is creating an artificial barrier to publication that is unnecessary. Deck plans are certainly nice, but not necessary to enjoy the game.

Traveller will always have the gearheads, those who want to use the game to build ships or vehicles or planets. But at its heart Traveller has been, and (hopefully) will always be a RPG. RPGs are games for the imagination. I recognize that from early times Traveller, likes many other early RPGs, had its root in wargames. It seemed like in order to play a good gamemaster had a ship/dungeon laid out for the travelers/adventurers to battle on/in. Remember CT Azhanti High Lightning with all the decks laid out? Or Snapshot? Useful for those adventures/wargames but not that great for RPG play. How about the deck plans in MgT High Guard? Useless for play...and I would argue not necessary at all. Better to have good visual representations of the ships (pictures, art, graphics....but NOT miniatures ala Traveller Babylon 5!) that evoke the imagination. Really, do you play "you are running down the corridor but given your speed you stop 4 squares short of the door...next player" or "as you run down the corridor, you are almost to the medical lab when the door opens...what do you do?"

I'm sure many of you haven noticed the evolution in RPGs that has come from the Narrativist approach to gaming. Part of this approach is to use maps as general guides or maybe not even at all. Take a look at the new Edge of the Empire Beginner Game and you find maps that use tokens to track general relative positions or Marvel Heroic Roleplaying that avoids a map and uses sticky notes in the example of play to define the area of the battle. What I'm saying here is the maps don't have to be super detailed but spurs to the imagination.

That said, as I flip through my PD collection I found the following deck plans:
Federation Burke-class Frigate
Free Trader with variants
Klingon G-1 Gunboat (both in books and has standalone deck plans)
Romulan Skyhawk Destroyer

So a few plans already exist...but are more really needed? Think of the various TV series locations. For the major ships you had the bridge, medical, engineering, crews quarters, and rec spots (holo deck, 10 Forward, Quarks Bar, etc). There are a few others but maybe one can get the sense of a ship from a few smaller maps. Since everyone seemingly wants to play a bridge crew, why not have a vast, spacious Federation Bridge, a cramped Klingon Bridge, and that interesting Romulan one where everybody stands around the center console. Don't need the whole ship; just some locations to spur the imagination.

Bottom Line (finally): I say give us the product using the deck plans that exist and let us play. If we really want deck plans those can follow.
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:01 am

I can wait another year. No prob. I have PD for other RPGs already, and the sourcebook portion is the same anyways as what Traveller's will have.
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby Jean » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:27 pm

I will certainly carry your thoughts and ideas with me to Amarillo. You have given us much to consider.
Jean
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Alric
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Re: Prime Directive...

Postby Alric » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:51 pm

One other thought. You can leverage the benefits of PDF. Release PD as a PDF book and then you can update it later when you have all the deck plans done. If you want call it a "Beta Release" or "Preview Edition".

This would give you some cash flow from the book and keep us impatient players happy. PDFs aren't expensive to update and you would just need to re-upload the file to RPGNow (for example). Mongoose already commented that for their sales PDFs are where it's at..

Once all the deck plans are done the physical book can be printed.

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