What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Jeff Hopper
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What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Jeff Hopper » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:56 pm

OK, so I am considering helping a buddy out and doing a convention panel on Traveller. So, what do you Traveller fans out there really want people who are interested in learning more about Traveller but may have never played the game think they should know? I'm looking for input and ideas.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:33 pm

Explaining the mechanics of play in Traveller is a first step. Then comes showing what makes Traveller unique such as the mode of star system travel and the character generator which can be different and unusual to players of other RPGs. For an Introduction discussion, the official Traveller universe should be limited a brief summary of it's overall design.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:46 pm

Reynard wrote:Explaining the mechanics of play in Traveller is a first step. Then comes showing what makes Traveller unique such as the mode of star system travel and the character generator which can be different and unusual to players of other RPGs. For an Introduction discussion, the official Traveller universe should be limited a brief summary of it's overall design.
What do you explain to people who are familiar with Dungeons and Dragons?
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:31 pm

If it's specifically a D&D issue you need to compare how Traveller chargen differs since you're building a character that is fairly complete when ready to play and gaining experience is only for a few extra skill levels over the length of a campaign. I can tell you people will have confusion with tasks but show the ease of a single Target Number and why you need so few skill and character die modifiers compared to the double digit ranks for D&D.

A big difference between the games is D&D player are often working to raise their character's experience as well as monetary gain while Traveller is primarily concerned with outcome and what they do to survival in the scheme of things such as some sort of work.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Hopeless » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:07 am

To people who are familiar with d&d;

1) This uses 2d6 rather than all of the dice you normally use,
2) Yes it is possible to buy a laser sword and mimic your favourite black armoured villain in this game,
3) The dragons in this game come in many different guises and the dog headed aliens are called Vargr, the cat ones are called Aslan and have claws and probably inspire the alien race from Wing Commander,
4) Magic in Traveller is called Psionics or even more advanced technology,
5) Warforged in Traveller are either Androids, Robots or Cyborgs however Warforged are better mannered than any of these,
6) Firefly is rumoured to have been inspired by a campaign run in Traveller,
7) In this version your character doesn't have to die when rolled but it certainly happened in Classic Traveller... many, many times...
8) The rich ones are called Dilettentes I recommend picking up the LBB of the same name if you want your characters to start off as wealthy,
9) Scouts can get easier access to ships' because they're never retired just off duty...
10) Only in your character's first career do you gain all of the basic training skills at rank 0 after that each new career only grants you 1 basic training skill,
11) A skill rank of 0 means you suffer no penalty to a roll, having both Zero G and Vacc Suit is very useful if you're running games in outer space,
12) I'm a former Dungeons and Dragons player who actually likes this stuff!
13) I'm not boring you am I?
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:10 am

Fanatical D&D players will not care about Traveller no matter what is said about it. Sci-Fi movie fans looking for something other than D&D-style RPG will be very interested of course in what Traveller does and how it works.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby AndrewW » Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:09 am

Hopeless wrote:To people who are familiar with d&d;

1) This uses 2d6 rather than all of the dice you normally use,
Well, not all rolls are 2d6...
Hopeless wrote:2) Yes it is possible to buy a laser sword and mimic your favourite black armoured villain in this game,
Depending on what the referee allows.
Hopeless wrote:3) The dragons in this game come in many different guises and the dog headed aliens are called Vargr, the cat ones are called Aslan and have claws and probably inspire the alien race from Wing Commander,
But what about the dungeons?

Kilrathi.
Hopeless wrote:4) Magic in Traveller is called Psionics or even more advanced technology,
Well, D&D has psionics as well.
Hopeless wrote:9) Scouts can get easier access to ships' because they're never retired just off duty...
Not the only ones though.

Might add mention the game doesn't have a Dungeon Master.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Nathan Brazil » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:52 pm

Combat is DEADLY. None of that level based stuff here. D20 treats dodging and weaving as a function of hit points. Traveller requires you declare the dodging action and take the -DM on further actions. Traveller affects stats directly, not hit points.

Combat is FATIGUING. See the Fatigue rules on Melee Combat

Heft and Recoil limit your success with weapons even if you have the skill.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Nathan Brazil » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:14 pm

Traveller is HARD SCIENCE (mostly). It is built mostly on the science and science fiction known up to the 1980s. None of that grey goo nanotech stuff.

Traveller is about PEOPLE LIKE US.
The Core Rules are not really designed with transhumanism and post-scarcity. Not too much cybernetic enhancements. A whole chapter on Trade and Speculation? While you can certainly make campaigns to suit your needs and other supplements have cybernetics and such, the Core Rulebook, if that is all you use, does not.
The lack of FTL communication requires characters to be on-hand to deal with situations directly.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby sideranautae » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:22 pm

Nathan Brazil wrote: Traveller is about PEOPLE LIKE US
Not entirely. "People like us" can't cast powerful spells. In Traveller they can. There is absolutely NO scientific basis for people like us thinking the right thoughts so as to cast spells. That's VERY much a fantasy setting like D&D.

That might be a selling point for those that play D&D like games.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Jeff Hopper » Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:46 pm

sideranautae wrote:
Nathan Brazil wrote: Traveller is about PEOPLE LIKE US
Not entirely. "People like us" can't cast powerful spells. In Traveller they can. There is absolutely NO scientific basis for people like us thinking the right thoughts so as to cast spells. That's VERY much a fantasy setting like D&D.
I'm having trouble understanding this, it is probably my own comprehension problem, but could you expand and explain this comment a bit?
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Rick » Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:56 pm

Jeff Hopper wrote:
sideranautae wrote:
Nathan Brazil wrote: Traveller is about PEOPLE LIKE US
Not entirely. "People like us" can't cast powerful spells. In Traveller they can. There is absolutely NO scientific basis for people like us thinking the right thoughts so as to cast spells. That's VERY much a fantasy setting like D&D.
I'm having trouble understanding this, it is probably my own comprehension problem, but could you expand and explain this comment a bit?
One of the books in Traveller covers psionics, which is a magic-equivalent and, as Sid pointed out, more of a fantasy thing than a hard sci-fi type thing. It has been a point of contention for quite some time.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby sideranautae » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:09 pm

Jeff Hopper wrote:
sideranautae wrote:
Nathan Brazil wrote: Traveller is about PEOPLE LIKE US
Not entirely. "People like us" can't cast powerful spells. In Traveller they can. There is absolutely NO scientific basis for people like us thinking the right thoughts so as to cast spells. That's VERY much a fantasy setting like D&D.
I'm having trouble understanding this, it is probably my own comprehension problem, but could you expand and explain this comment a bit?
Which part? psionics in Trav has NO scientific basis? Or, psionics is equivalent to spells?
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Hopeless » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:36 pm

Did anyone catch the Castle episode regarding time travel and guest starred Chuck's best friend from THAT series?

Amusing ending involving spilt coffee and energy wars in 2035 although I may have the year wrong...

So an example of a modern day Traveller game!
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Jeff Hopper » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:59 pm

sideranautae wrote:
Jeff Hopper wrote: Not entirely. "People like us" can't cast powerful spells. In Traveller they can. There is absolutely NO scientific basis for people like us thinking the right thoughts so as to cast spells. That's VERY much a fantasy setting like D&D.
I'm having trouble understanding this, it is probably my own comprehension problem, but could you expand and explain this comment a bit?
Which part? psionics in Trav has NO scientific basis? Or, psionics is equivalent to spells?[/quote]


The "People like us" bit had thrown me and then the following sentence. Now I'm getting your point, spells=psionics.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Reynard » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:15 pm

The majority of people equate psionics with science rather than fantasy which is about various forms of magic. D&D, for whatever reason, dragged psionics into there game as an alternative to magic rather than another form of magic. Even in any version of D&D, psionics is not very popular.

The closest to magic in Traveller is Arthur C. Clarke's Third Law "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Magic and magic artifacts are the realm of Grandfather and the Ancients. Still, by the nature of Traveller's huge range of technology levels there will always be world cultures that see higher tech worlds having 'magic'.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby sideranautae » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:16 pm

Jeff Hopper wrote: The "People like us" bit had thrown me and then the following sentence. Now I'm getting your point, spells=psionics.
Yep.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby alex_greene » Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:04 pm

We're Traveller grogs.
Are there people like us?

How to sell Traveller to a newbie. Well ...

Traveller is not like most roleplaying games. If you came here past the big D&D stand over there, you've probably heard a lot about what roleplaying is - the use of the imagination, the dice, the combat, the exploration of trap-laden, orc-infested dungeons, the standard makeup of the party - one fighter, one cleric, one thief, yadda yadda.

Forget about that. Traveller isn't a video game.

At least, not yet.

Traveller is set in a different realm, with different expectations and far different priorities.

I'll tell you what it's like.

You know that line from Blade Runner - "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe." - that line? "Attack ships on fire off the Shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter near the Tannhauser Gate?" That stuff?

That's the kind of universe you'll be in.

The universe of Traveller is strange and wonderful. No gods to worship - only very old entities, some the size of comets or whole planets, just minding their old business for a million years. No dungeons to crawl into, but maybe a locked room murder mystery for you to solve.

If you're into grind gaming, where you're only in it to make fictional game money? The trade subgame's got a huge fandom in and of itself.

Design a fleet. Big superwarships. Empire or Rebellion. Even a Death Star. You can put together your own and run cataclysmic space battles. Manoeuvre whole fleets at a time across vast gulfs of space. We have rules for that - it's called High Guard.

Do you want to design and race cars across the desert? Build tank squadrons, or a big flying fortress like the Valiant or Skybase from that Gerry Anderson effort? We have rules for that, too.

Do you want to make a character who's been an engineer on a starship, an author, a spy, a scout, a thief and is now a rock star with his own band and entourage? Welcome to the first and greatest Traveller subgame you will ever play - character generation. Unlike D&D, Traveller chargen is not just about what you can do, but who you've been - and who you are going to be.

Any science fiction stories you can think of, from Doctor Who to Star Trek, from Stargate SG-1 to Cosmos, you can use Traveller to recreate those kinds of settings, and have immense fun playing just some wandering space tramp on his uppers, just going from ship to ship, ingratiating himself with the crews, staying with them only as long as they are flying his way.

And what you want to do, and where you want to go in the game, is entirely up to you.

After all, that is why the game is called Traveller.

Elevator pitch: "Go places. See sunrises on strange worlds. Meet exotic aliens. And shoot them with the granddaddy of the BFG-9000."

Because once you tell them about FGMP-15s and the FGMP-16, I think you'll have them hooked.

"It does how much damage?"
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby Lord High Munchkin » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:06 am

'Traveller' is a system not a setting. There are many settings available for it (as with D&D)... it's a rules set that allows all sorts of Sci-Fi tropes to be portrayed, only limited by the imagination.

If you have read a novel seen a film, and ever wondered if you could game it... yes you can.
The desire for a "definitive, ultimate answer" is, in fact, classified by modern psychiatric medicine as a mental illness.
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Re: What Do You Want People To Know About Traveller?

Postby dragoner » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:38 am

For mongoose, recently I posted the SRD for someone looking at getting into Traveller, there are quite a few resources though, Book 0 for example; plus all the free Signs & Portents.

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