Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
msprange
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Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby msprange » Tue May 06, 2014 8:58 am

Want to get in on the playtesting of the new starter Traveller: Liftoff rules? Follow this link...

http://www.13mann.com/index.php/en/trav ... tarter-set
Matthew Sprange

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DivineWrath
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby DivineWrath » Tue May 06, 2014 7:07 pm

Interesting. Are these rules for a new edition of traveller? (I have to ask since I'm still new around these parts). They look like they have been given more care in the writing than the current core rulebook. It seems to clean up more loose ends and tries to explain things better.

Some of my impressions from a quick read through:

I do like the changing of the name characteristics to attributes (didn't like how characters and characteristics looked so similar), and the greater focus on xp character improvement (even on attributes).

Some of the rules for ship operation and combat seems to be better. There does appear to be some mention that some damaged systems can't be repaired in combat. I wonder if that should be emphasized more in the rules (like saying, unless otherwise noted, all system regardless of damage can be repaired in combat).

There doesn't appear to be any rules for designing ships. That might be a good thing. It caused some problems having the rules for designing ships being scattered around many books. Designing ships (as of right now) requires the core rulebook, High Guard, Trillion Credit Squadron, plus other books that might have a handful of potential useful ship parts. Ship designing really ought to get its own proper book, not have all the rules and various updates scattered throughout many books. Without it, it seems that the ships listed can now be listed using less space to cover important details (and include notes for optional weapons and different load outs, such as the light fighter).

----

I'll give the stuff a more thorough read through later, and figure out how I can best help in the development of these new rules.
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby Prime_Evil » Wed May 07, 2014 6:05 am

I have to agree that the clarity of the playtest documents is very good so far - even though the system is slimmed down, it's a considerable improvement on the core rulebook in terms of presentation and organisation. Hopefully the lessons learned during this project will feed into any future revision of the core rules.

I quite like the fiction that opens each chapter - it's got enough of a cinematic feel to appeal to those with only a casual familiarity with SF but remains true to the 'feel' of Traveller. You've got to keep in mind that the target audience may be more familiar with the way that SF is depicted in Hollywood blockbusters and video games than in the kind of literary SF that inspired Mark Miller & co.

I'm not sure about using the Vargr as the sample alien race though - it feels like a slightly odd choice as they are one of the more difficult alien species for newcomers to play correctly. Personally I'd go for Aslan instead as it is easier to for newbies to play them as the 'generic proud warrior race' that regularly turns up in cinematic SF. There's no easy way to summarize the Vargr in this manner...
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed May 07, 2014 12:23 pm

Prime_Evil wrote:I'm not sure about using the Vargr as the sample alien race though - it feels like a slightly odd choice as they are one of the more difficult alien species for newcomers to play correctly. Personally I'd go for Aslan instead as it is easier to for newbies to play them as the 'generic proud warrior race' that regularly turns up in cinematic SF. There's no easy way to summarize the Vargr in this manner...
Which would be easier for a 12-year-old to role-play though?
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby Burocrate » Thu May 08, 2014 6:21 pm

I introduced Traveller to my kids early;ages 6 and 11. I simplified everything almost to a flat two dimensional explanation so that they could get a general idea and then flesh out details as they become important in the game.

I searched this site's archives and on other sites to pull quick one line themes for the various races. For Vargr I said "think Pirate Wolves in space" and Aslan as "Samuari Lions who are looking to fight over Insults to thier Honor". The other races didn't interest them too much...maybe because there was not an easy point of reference for them to latch on to. Thier eyes glazed over when I described the Virushi as "living bulldozers with the mind of a very independent Peace Corp worker."

Ship building was not even worth mentioning at that point. Just set up a Star Wars influenced party and run a Traveller dungeon crawl.
Travellers: they'll break you ship and then ruin your best laid plans.
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby JRoss » Fri May 09, 2014 1:10 am

I've contributed some comments. Overall I really like this system.
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby sideranautae » Fri May 09, 2014 1:57 pm

For some reason while calculating travel time in our solar system you have shrunk it. By as much as 50%. Neptune AT ITS CLOSEST is 15 days from Earth at 1 G. If you'd like I can side check the whole chart. Let's not start out this project with sloppy work as an example for the children.

The format, presentation and organization of these books are top notch. Awesome work Mongoose.
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby CosmicGamer » Fri May 09, 2014 3:28 pm

sideranautae wrote:For some reason while calculating travel time in our solar system you have shrunk it. By as much as 50%.
Not taking into consideration deceleration?
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby sideranautae » Fri May 09, 2014 3:30 pm

CosmicGamer wrote:
sideranautae wrote:For some reason while calculating travel time in our solar system you have shrunk it. By as much as 50%.
Not taking into consideration deceleration?
I have no idea how they screwed up the math so badly. I ran the calc like that but didn't come up with the same numbers.
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby JRoss » Sun May 11, 2014 5:08 pm

I would like to see some more differentiation between the Career Options. One thing would be adding a Trick to each Option. A Trick would outline one special action that the character with that Career Option could do well. While this might fall under what Skills already do, since this game is for children it would help to make the Career Options stand out to young ones and have their roles more defined. A child would be more likely to understand the difference between Options if they had a Trick showing an example of what that Option does rather than only an abstract list of skills.
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby TrippyHippy » Mon May 12, 2014 6:31 am

Most of the sub-systems (Combat, etc) seem well explained in a concise way - but the graphic layout may well be important for a beginner's game.

I do have a few criticism of the character generation, or at least some queries. Firstly, there isn't many options I feel - in particular I'm not sure why both Army and Navy careers appear to be omitted. To me, they are pretty iconic to the Traveller game but, beyond this, who's going to steer the spacecraft without a Navy trained pilot? There are other templates (like Scouts) that deal with space travel too, but it's such a fundamental aspect of the game, having a Navy career provides more options.

Secondly, some of the sub-classes seem a bit too similar (Explorers and Wanderers, for example) while other types of career seem totally neglected and unavailable. Finally, by using a template system rather than a progressive career system, how do you know the relative level of experience or age of each character?
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby Infojunky » Mon May 12, 2014 6:36 am

Is it me or should be commenting on the 13Mann Forums with stuff we notice or would like to comment on?

Here: http://forum.13mann.de/wbb/index.php?pa ... 89375f17af
Evyn
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby Easterner » Thu May 22, 2014 12:53 pm

I hit the forums this morning to launch a diatribe on skills. A Munchkin showed me how to break the current system of skill assignments in Careers and post career training.

However instead I found this thread and can say for the most part it's pretty good, fixes training too.
The Attributes generation was excellent and can be integrated into standard TRAV immediately. The pre-career/Homeworld section was excellent, probably best not to integrate yet.

Careers/Events though while interesting is a bust compared to current Mongoose. Skill distribution is too cookie cutter. If you were running a Scout campaign half the characters would have near identical skills only Event/Pre-career differentiating them. Overall there is no randomness just pre-slotted skills, no differential for time served (essentially telegraphed up front, rules imply you just pick your age) So my character declared as 20 will have near identical skills and skill levels to someone who's 38.

Plus the best part of Mongoose the awesome (and less than awesome even awful) events are gone. Just roll 1d6 and get some skills. No scars from Alien weapons, no weapon caches, no love triangles just 1d6 x2.

Army, Navy careers are missing presumably as this is a playtest not a finished product.

Advice on careers.

Skills and Benefits: No change needed.
Options: Reduce to a One Skill level and remainder at Zero Skill level.
RE-Add Terms a Busted event drops you from career. That re-adds Age though there is room for creativity and shorter or longer terms.
Events: Re-add D66 tables with more skill options than current Mongoose.
Life Events: Can remain same with busted ending a career.
Multiple Careers: Should be an option as in current Mongoose.

Beware skill bloat. Some trimming might be needed elsewhere. However re-adding Terms will require more Event/Life Events so less skills from these is required too.

Overall though it looks great. Thanks to Martin D. for fine work and thinking outside the box.

Lastly
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby Easterner » Thu May 22, 2014 3:31 pm

Combat

It seems very similar to current Mongoose Combat and as others have stated it is very clear. Double damage has been added for headshots and boxcar rolls.

However the 6 second turn remains and the flaw with that is most gunfights are over in 6 seconds.

Suggestions
Death occurs when all stats reach 000 and an unspecified time elapses which if medical arrive saves the character. That needs defining i.e. 1d6 combat rounds before death.

Instakill occurs when all stats are doubled by combat result die roll. Really! Why not after all three stats hit 0 +1, or plus 1d6. Double sure sounds dead, but also sounds like overkill.

Snapshot: can fire shot and move 5'. That's good. But if one doesn't move the option for 'ammo dump' should be added to Snapshot Rule. Character may fire 2-6 shots as snapshot. (ammo capacity is max limit if less than 6 bullets in weapon, otherwise always 6) Gets -2 to the to hit roll but each point over the base to hit number adds another hit to target. i.e. if needs 10 to hit it becomes 12 but if mods were to bring final roll to 13 then 2 hits are achieved. If boxcars are rolled only one hit is doubled.

Autofire rule is very good and clear.
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby Easterner » Thu May 22, 2014 3:45 pm

Marine Career

Marine officers get no skills!

No Ranks, no rules for promotions, no rule on how to become an officer. Not that anyone would want to be a no skill blockhead officer :D .

Other careers have no Rank rules either.
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby Easterner » Thu May 22, 2014 6:56 pm

The rules set includes two slightly different CHARGENS, not sure which is the newest version.
The Downloads one has less skills but Marine Officer does get skills.
The last career is Drifter, however in the main section it is called Traveller.

SAMPLE CHARACTER
Traveller Player’s Handbook (This is from DOWNLOADS on WEBSITE)
Version 1.1

ACB9C3 Scout:Exploration Office Age 20-50
Cr10,000 Contact Homeworld:Asteroid Hi-tech

Event: Advanced Education
Life: You made an unusual contact with people from a very different (perhaps alien)
society.

SKILLS
Vacc Suit-2
Computer-2
Steward-1
Navigation-1
Survival-1
Athletics-1
Gun Combat-1
Melee-1
Survival-1
Language-1,
Science-1

EQUIPMENT
Vacc suit,
Several sets of scuffed and rumpled grey

SAME CHARACTER USING
Traveller LIFTOFF Starter Set. (This is from website)

ACB9C3 Scout:Exploration Office Age 20-50
Cr10,000 Contact Homeworld:Asteroid Hi-tech

Event: Advanced Education
Life: You made an unusual contact with people from a very different (perhaps alien)
society.

SKILLS
Survival-3
Sensors-2
Gun Combat-2
Computer-2
Athletics-1
Drive-1
Engineering-1
Navigation-1
Pilot-1
Streetwise-1
Vacc Suit-1
Steward-1
Melee-1
Language-1
Science-1

EQUIPMENT
Vacc suit
Several sets of scuffed and rumpled grey coveralls

Notes:
No die rolls to join careers, survive or get promoted; very Anti-Classic Traveller in feel, more like GURPS TRAVELLER

No ZERO skills, started with some but all upgraded in career.

Age is undetermined, picked by PC.

Contacts, Allies, Rivals and Enemies are missing. Contact above is slightly different from normal Mongoose generation.

Characters from same service branch always have same skills, only difference is the pre and post career skills which are random.

Scout Chargen as usual forgets that Scouts are the Imperiums' police and SWAT (S-9 section) and are the only Imperials that have on planet police powers, all others stop at extrality line. Also no Ground Crew option despite Scout service techs having best rep in the Imperium.

No Ranks

Second Thoughts
While I love and prefer the D66 Events one option would be to expand the Event & Life Tables to 2D6 and roll on them for each 'Term' and add Ranks & Promos to this process and add Allies etc back in to game.
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Re: Traveller: Liftoff - Playtest

Postby Infojunky » Thu May 22, 2014 7:05 pm

Most of the direct comversation about Liftoff is taking place on the 13 Mann Forums; http://forum.13mann.de/wbb/index.php?pa ... 89375f17af
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