Scholar - A New Book

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
HornaxIII
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Scholar - A New Book

Postby HornaxIII » Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:20 am

Hello,

As everyone knows, Traveller is a science fiction RPG set in the far future. Mongoose has published many Books and Supplements exploring many different aspects of this genre. There are books about those that have created or work within great merchant empires, those that protect the spacelanes, and those that steal, con, and hoodwink. There are supplements about the vehicles, ships, and equipment that are used by everyone in this vast universe, and supplements about the people you can meet inside that universe. There are many, many more things already published than can be summarized here. There is, however, one very important thing missing in all of this, and that is the science part of this science fiction.

What my gaming group and I seek is a book that explores the role of the Scholar in as much detail as High Guard explored the role and setup of the Navy or any of the other books expanded upon their role. Topics that we would like expanded upon include: reexamine the science skills, an expanded career selection, rules governing how scientific investigation and advancement happen, scientific equipment, universities and the academic machine, getting research grants, and other things that are pertinent to explore the science of the genre.

We hope to get support for this idea, because we would really like to see this happen. If you think of anything that you think should be apart of this, please reply. The more people that think about this, the better this will be.

Thanks for your time.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby Jame Rowe » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:28 pm

I fully support this.

I would actually also fully support a book about Citizens too.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby GypsyComet » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:55 pm

Requests are all well and good, but let's look at the numbers.

High Guard is roughly 150 pages. The next page count down is roughly 100 pages (Psion, among others).

If you follow the normal pattern and expand just Scholar, you turn each of its three specialties into full careers with specialties of their own. Each one will take 4 pages. Add in a couple pages of general intro. Thats 14.

Assuming a short book, you still have 86 pages to fill.

I can't see variant lab ships filling more than another 10 pages, and other field and lab equipment another four or so. 72 pages to go.

Rules for research? Maybe two pages. 70.

Four pages of adventure seeds. 66.

Rules for weird prototypes are already in Agent.

Rules for being a lab rat, in some form at least, are in Psion.

Hmm.

Add the Citizens career to this and you can repeat some of the above, but you are probably still looking at "mystery contents" for 40-some pages.

This is not intended to be sour grapes. This is an invitation to brainstorm.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby Condottiere » Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:10 pm

This could be a multi-part article that could be submitted to Mongoose.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby Lord High Munchkin » Tue Dec 31, 2013 10:38 pm

Or it could be done as a 'Special Supplement'. That way the shorter page-count wouldn't matter.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby phavoc » Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:47 pm

You could fill up a number of pages if you looked at certain lines of tech, say jump drives, the physics behind why there are only 100 ton weaponry, astrogation, even system-to-system economics and broke down how trade can actually be economical. It's all scholarly, and properly done could be quite interesting and provide a good underlying reasoning for the Traveller universe.

But I'd only buy it if the production values were high (i.e. it wasn't some thrown-together schlock).

Though like some others have said it may be better to do under a special supplement banner so you are free to work with it as you please.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby Lord High Munchkin » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:33 am

Also useful would be advice as to setting up alternate Tech Level scales and the various developments that would/have arisen from each technological breakthrough.

More examples of variant technology paths (beyond the limited examples, such as warp drives). FTL communications.

Super-science and more SO paths (not that I think 'Traveller' is in anyway "hard" at the moment).

Higher TL items.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:32 am

Scholars and citizens need books. What are the various careers like in the 57th century? Hopefully there will be books about it.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby alex_greene » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:18 pm

It sounds like a difficult proposition, making the Scholar career sound glamorous if you're used to less cerebral career choices, all running around and shooting things that look as if they're about to start trouble - especially if your villains all tend to be the cerebral types, always plotting and scheming, using their vast, unsympathetic intellects to stir up problems and sending in waves of minions who are as equally unencumberted by morals and ethics as they are ungifted with brains.

In a lot of modern campaigns, the brainy type is not only ignored in favour of gun-happy tanks: he is positively distrusted.

But a lot of the great warriors of written science fiction are as gifted intellectually as physically. The legendary James T Kirk could talk a computer into self-destructing. As a freshman, in his class, you either think - or sink. It's only in the reboot that he was incarnated as an uncouth, barely-educated slacker (and I'm well prepared to consider Star Trek 2009 and STID as entirely apocryphal accordingly).

The Scholarly Campaign is one of the more traditional Science Fiction campaign settings, with such SF greats as Asimov, Clarke, Niven, van Vogt and Ellison contributing to the genre.

Try the following skills package:-

Scholarly Skills Package: The emphasis of this skill package is the resolution of curious enigmas through reason, engineering and scientific skills, with an emphasis on working out what is going on and coming up with a logical solution.
Engineering (any) 1, Sensors 1, Comms 1, Computer 1, Gun Combat (any) 1, any three Sciences OR two Sciences and Medic.

The article really needs a section for Refereeing puzzling enigmas and moderating characters' research efforts. Characters need to have a good head on their shoulders, Survival and possible Streetwise skill - but by far the most important skills in their arsenal would have to be Science (any speciality), possibly Medic - and Citizens should have just as great a variety of Engineering (any) and Mechanic skills. Think "Starfleet Corps of Engineers."

Think of the genius-level scientists who stand out as much for their intellect as for other skills. Colonel Samantha Carter is an astrophysicist. Dr Rodney McKay is another physicist and legend. Both like to blow up solar systems for fun. It's like making rockets from Diet Coke and Mentos for them. There's a certain Gallifreyan scientist who enjoys solving intellectual problems - he once burned up a sun to send his lover a phone call.

It's not just the astrophysicists and ship's engineers who get to have all the fun. Indiana Jones was an archaeologist. Dr Daniel Jackson of Stargate SG-1 is a linguist. Charlie Epps in the TV procedural Numb3rs was a mathematician. Gil Grissom in CSI was an entomologist.

And medics get to have loads of fun. Think of Simon Tam, and Dr Bashir in Deep Space Nine playing spy games with Garak. Molly Hooper in Sherlock is a coroner, and her line of humour begins with "I see dead people." Come to think of it, there is also Dr John Watson; a medic, discharged from frontline duties in Afghanistan. He may be a Doctor, but he is also a former soldier and he had bad days.

Your campaigns could be hilariously expansive if you have high-intellect, overeducated player characters. Your campaigns could run the gamut from trying to keep the Universe from falling apart to uncovering God's signature written into the number pi.

The Referee could have a section on the kinds of character quirks that overstrung topnote IQ boffins could be saddled with. Intense Asperger's; OCD; antisocial behaviour; keeping odd hours; a tendency to be seen in front of his chalkboard stark naked, still dripping from the bath he's only half-finished. Imagine Dr Sheldon Cooper Sheldon as a Traveller character.

Yeah, you could fill a book with Scholar and Citizen career options, Referee options, ships, tools and possible campaigns.

And by "you," I mean to use the pronoun "me."
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:42 pm

Kirk was also the only one to solve the no-win scenario, by rewriting computer code and hacking what you'd have supposed was a very high security computer network; in the revisioned one, by a little social engineering (probably would have moved on to the nekomimi twins in any case).
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby rust » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:45 pm

There have been science fiction roleplaying games where the
science was as important as the weapons catalogue. My per-
sonal favourite is the Ringworld RPG with its excellent rules
for research, including how to connect research projects with
adventuring, how to gain experience and improve skills with
research projects, and so on. In fact, I am currently using the
Ringworld RPG for my newest setting, exactly because the sy-
stem puts the science back into science fiction. Something si-
milar for Mongoose Traveller would certainly be useful for ma-
ny campaigns.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby alex_greene » Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:09 pm

rust wrote:Ringworld RPG
I loved that game, even if I couldn't generate any interest in playing it for toffee. :( That's a game that needs porting over to Legend. :)

And the Scholars book is definitely the best place for campaigns themed around Science!
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby Bardicheart » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:58 pm

I agree, a Scholar book would be a good place not only to offer some scientific careers, but also to discuss and expand on technology and tech levels. I'd like to see maybe some examples of xeno-archaeologist, dealing with advanced civilizations (both extinct and those still very much alive), TL 16-18 in as much detail as possible with some info and guidelines for Tech 19-20 (that's about as high as I might include in my games, anything above that is so advanced its "magical"). Maybe more info on the roles of scientist in Scout survey teams. Also a "college" career path would probably be a good addition to such a book (why yes, I would like to work on my 3rd PhD...). Research rules for new gadgets, modifying technology, reverse engineering higher tech, etc. would be nice.

Throw in some science ships, maybe a long range "science cruiser" of some sort. Scientific vehicles. Gear and gadgets.

Just some general thoughts.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby alex_greene » Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:06 pm

Bardicheart wrote:maybe a long range "science cruiser" of some sort. Scientific vehicles. Gear and gadgets.
ImageYup.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby Bardicheart » Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:13 pm

LOL... lil bigger than what I had in mind, but I could see using a light cruiser class vessel (say 10,000 to 20,000 dT).
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby IanBruntlett » Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:43 pm

Idea for a Scholar/Science campaign...
The players are on a research moon in some remote solar system, employed by a suitable mega-corp. Almost everyone working there believes they are looking for a cure for the common cold. A select few know that the mega-corp is looking to weaponise the research. Also, all the systems are controlled by SCHOLAR (System Controller Hardware Observation Latent Accident Reduction), an evil A.I. that controls, observes and maintains all the systems on the research moon.

Then one day, Things Go Wrong...
* Deliberate sabotage leading to all the researchers being exposed to the weaponised virus. People become Zombies leading to an adventure that needs a mix of scientists and military types. Think the Resident Evil films.

* Declaration of Independence.
Scientists discover the aim of weaponising their work. Decide to put their intelligence to work. Taking over control of mega-corp craft within the solar system, getting into local system politics for mutual aid. Then the mega-corp comes knocking, asking for their toys back. Think "The moon is a harsh mistress" by R Heinlein.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby Infojunky » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:01 pm

I would like to point out that two arms of the Scout service, the Exploration and Survey are both based around scientific endeavors.

Might I also note that many Scout ships have been designed with all the basics for large range of research in the form of improved sensors room for installed laboratory space and robust operational parameters of the ship as well as low overhead in terms of operational crew....

A lot of Scientific Research and Exploration also has taken place under the aegis of the Navy with Science missions being part of the ship's company and equipement (think Darwin, Cook, etc. etc...)

Mostly here I am pointing out that a lot of Basic Research takes place alongside other missions. Often when the word Science comes up visions of the hard Laboratory Sciences come up in peoples heads whereas lots of scientists are out there getting their hands dirty.... (GypsyComet's wildlife encounter while he was at field camp comes to mind.... :) )

I am really pointing out possible "Scientific" extensions for some of the other books/careers here.

Think of Specialities for the Scouts, Navy, Marines for terms where the grunts support a science mission in the field. Maybe a military option for Scholar where field work was done under fire or with really insistent wildlife.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby Bardicheart » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:20 pm

Also wouldn't mind seeing expanded options / descriptions for different types of lab space aboard ships, uses and bonuses for each, etc.

Maybe some scientific robots to assist our scientists and scholars.

Again, just throwing out ideas.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby Lord High Munchkin » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:26 am

Perhaps some advice and guidance on what living and working in an TL 17+ society is like.

Super-science devices for everyday and large-scale technologies like creating worm-holes, Dyson spheres and ring habitats.

Transhumansism and the effects of technology.
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Re: Scholar - A New Book

Postby DickTurpin » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:09 am

I would like to see such a book myself. There are seventeen science skills, in four categories, there should be room to expand the CharGen possibilities beyond the three career paths mentioned in the Core Rule Book. I would also add some info the Engineer's, since the eggheads need someone to figure out haw to actually build all the nifty new gadgets they come up with. Computers and software could use a revisit as well, that would fit well within a Scholar themed book.

Other information I would be interested in would be research rules: How is technology improved? What is needed to advance a tech level? More detail of the types of advancements that are required to reach/maintain a certain tech level could be helpful. What about higher Education? The Naval College from High Guard missed the mark for a four year college; I would like to see the idea expanded into something useful. It might be possible to make college a career path all its own; I know a couple "professional students" that have racked up several advanced degrees with no desire to leave school for the “real world”.

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