Prime Directive Traveller

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Nerroth
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Prime Directive Traveller

Postby Nerroth » Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:13 pm

While the news about the impending Star Fleet Universe adaptation for A Call to Arms has seemingly hogged all the interest so far, it's worth noting that the new ADB-Mongoose deal also includes the expansion of the Prime Directive RPG setting into the Traveller game engine.

From ADB's perspective:
PRIME DIRECTIVE: TRAVELLER
One of the most popular RPG game engines in the industry is the Traveller series (produced, in various incarnations, by Game Designer’s Workshop and Steve Jackson Games), and the current “Mongoose Traveller” incarnation is the most successful ever. They have an “open license” and Jean Sexton’s team was already at work doing a Prime Directive Traveller version for that system. Our experiences with GURPS, however, showed that any RPG done by a publisher other than the original will have at most 10% of the sales of books by the original publisher. (Hence, our GURPS books are done to the design standard of SJG books, but sell only a fraction of the numbers.) Doing these books as a joint venture means every retailer will carry them.
To clarfiy, the way PD has worked is to share (mostly) the same background information across the various game systems, and to tailor the rule-specific details for each engine as required. Thus, GURPS Federation and PD20M Federation have the same fluff, but have different rules for actually writing up your characters. (Only the core PD rulebooks vary background-wise; the GURPS edition includes a few extra details, such as the five founding ISC species. Plus it has a basic version of the 4th ed GURPS ruleset included, while the D20M version requires you to use a separate game ruleset.)
The above post is 100% unofficial.
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Postby SteveCole » Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:48 pm

Yes, it's true, ADB and Mongoose have a signed contract for these games.

My team (Jean Sexton is my RPG line editor and Mike West is to be the PD Traveller designer) is already at work on these books, but even at that, the earliest you might see the first book is Christmas, and that's not a promise.

The way we do our books is that the "background" is more or less identical between say PD20M Klingons and GURPS Klingons and will be with Mongoose Traveller Klingons. There is a little more variation in the core books as we had to leave a few pages out of the PD20M core book to make everything fit.

So "all" Mike West has to do is take a copy of PD20M Prime Directive Core Rulebook or GURPS Federation and remove the "system specific" stuff and insert the equivalent MGT stuff. Simple! (Well, it's not simple, but I wish it were. No end if trivial little stuff has to be re-edited to make it work. I know what it took to convert PD20M Feds into GURPS Feds and I don't see MGT being any easier than that was.) The only RPG that I personally play is one none of you have ever played (the modern combat game Die In Place) so I mostly just answer Jean's questions about what we can legally do and let her do the books.
President of ADB,Inc. Designer of SFB, FedComm, F&E, etc.
Nerroth
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Postby Nerroth » Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:50 pm

Will there be room in the PD Traveller core book for the species in GPD4e but not in PD20M, such as the Veltressai and Rovillians; or is it too soon to tell?
The above post is 100% unofficial.
daryen
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Postby daryen » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:10 pm

It is too soon to tell. It all depends on how much room the "crunchy bits" required to make it "Mongoose Traveller" take up.
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Postby Travellingdave » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:07 pm

This could be a very good match. I see a lot of cross-over potential between Traveller and SFB, even more so than pure-blood Star Trek. SFB is more solidly based and has the old-school universe feel that Traveller does well.

Will the core Traveller/PD corebook include starship rules or will we need to use CtA or SFB to game with ships? I vote for a set of Traveller starship rules as well, please.
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Postby dreamingbadger » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:33 pm

This is really great news!!!
"Look out behind you!"

"I wouldn't fall for that ol...dahhhhh!"
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Postby daryen » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:32 pm

Travellingdave wrote:Will the core Traveller/PD corebook include starship rules or will we need to use CtA or SFB to game with ships? I vote for a set of Traveller starship rules as well, please.
That is an extremely tricky bit. There are some options and alternatives, and they need to be explored more before any definitive statements can be made.
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ugh, really?

Postby HeirophantX » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:40 pm

There are few things I dislike more than PD-Trek.
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Postby captrooper » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:12 am

Hurrah!
Visit the Narrow Stream Clan at www.glorantha.org.uk

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AKAmra
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Postby AKAmra » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:50 am

daryen wrote:
Travellingdave wrote:Will the core Traveller/PD corebook include starship rules or will we need to use CtA or SFB to game with ships? I vote for a set of Traveller starship rules as well, please.
That is an extremely tricky bit. There are some options and alternatives, and they need to be explored more before any definitive statements can be made.
Hmm, that's troubling. Getting Traveller rules for SFU ships is more than half the reason I'd buy the game; it's a "no sale" for me without it. Sorry to be negative, I appreciate your posting here, but I'd be surprised if a lot of potential customers didn't feel the same as me. What good is a Traveller setting that doesn't have Traveller starship rules?

Sounds like no decisions been made yet though, I'll remain hopeful.
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Postby daryen » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:45 am

AKAmra wrote:Hmm, that's troubling. Getting Traveller rules for SFU ships is more than half the reason I'd buy the game; it's a "no sale" for me without it.
Out of curiousity, what is meant by "Traveller rules for SFU ships"? What do you want?

A combat system? Why? You have your choice of SFB, FC, Armada, and, soon enough, ACTA. Why would yet another combat system be needed?

A design system? You want to use High Guard to be able to build the Enterprise?

A small scale design system? To be able to build character/party orient ships? To be able to give more meaning to the various 'small stuff' characters are likely to be flying around in?

Something else?

I am not being facetious. I really am curious as to what is desired.
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Postby mechascorpio » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:19 am

I have to echo and expand on what AKAmra said. IMO, it would be a terrible mistake to take the same approach to Traveller PD that has been taken with other PD systems. If the parties involved want it to live up to their expectations and those of the potential audience, the releases must be Traveller RPG supplement first, with the PD/SFU setting as a secondary concern. That means Traveller compatible rules for starships and starship combat within a roleplaying environment; the Traveller character generation system; worlds, equipment and economics based on Traveller.

If a T:PD book is released that refers players to pull out SFB or ACTA-SFB to handle starships and starship combat, I predict this line will die a quick and painful death. Such an approach will appeal primarily to a few SFU fans who are curious about Traveller; but I can't imagine it bringing many of those who are primarily roleplayers to either the SFU or Traveller, and I don't think it will fly with those already playing Traveller.

I would suggest, rather, that "all" Mike West has to do is take MGT and then insert the SFU fluff, not the other way around. I'm not trying to undermine what Steve said, but I think it's an important distinction if, again, it is to live up to everyone's expectations.
daryen wrote:A combat system? Why? You have your choice of SFB, FC, Armada, and, soon enough, ACTA. Why would yet another combat system be needed?
Wow. No, just no. I don't currently pull out "Mayday" or "Power Projection" for Traveller starship combat (though I play both games). I haven't made an effort to adapt ACTA to Traveller (has anyone?) We don't need "another combat system". We have one. It's called Traveller. See page 146, add SFU fluff as appropriate. We don't need to design the Enterprise using High Guard. See page 105, or prospose an alternate system.

Traveller is the game and the system. PD is the brand. SFU is the setting. If, I believe, you really want to expand the audience, and tap into the MGT customer base. I think that it would be a misunderstanding to think that an SFU line published by Mongoose is an automatic home run for everyone. If it's just some Traveller elements copy/pasted over PD D20M/GURPS mechanics, I find it hard to believe that the result will be a workable PD or Traveller game (and I hope those involved are planning playtesting and feedback to verify that).

All just my opinion.

(daryen, OOC, are you Mike West?)
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Postby kashre » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:22 am

daryen wrote:
AKAmra wrote:Hmm, that's troubling. Getting Traveller rules for SFU ships is more than half the reason I'd buy the game; it's a "no sale" for me without it.
Out of curiousity, what is meant by "Traveller rules for SFU ships"? What do you want?

A combat system? Why? You have your choice of SFB, FC, Armada, and, soon enough, ACTA. Why would yet another combat system be needed?

A design system? You want to use High Guard to be able to build the Enterprise?

A small scale design system? To be able to build character/party orient ships? To be able to give more meaning to the various 'small stuff' characters are likely to be flying around in?

Something else?

I am not being facetious. I really am curious as to what is desired.
I don't think a design system would be necessary for myself. What I would want would be some sort of ship management system that included a reasonably abstracted combat system.

I was a rabid SFB player for many years and the whole time I *really* wanted to be able to play Traveller-esque RPG campaigns that were along lines of "Scrappy crew on a tramp Freighter" rather than a more military based campaign.

For that I think you'd need to have RPG-style stats for ships that were enough to give the ships some character, and you'd have to have some sort of combat resolution for dealing the the times that you get jumped by Orion Pirates, or what have you.

For me personally, I'd want something which could be converted with reasonable ease from SFB ship stats.

What I *wouldn't* want to do is use any "table top" style ship combat system. Unless you have the exact right group of players that doesn't go over too well in an RPG. Hahaha... ESPECIALLY a monster of a game like SFB. I love SFB, but a fast, cinematic combat resolution it does not make. Even with freighters.
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Postby apoc527 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:50 am

In an RPG, the players need to feel like their PCs are doing something during starship combat. Thus, you need an RPG-compatible starship combat system. I would never pull out a miniatures game to play out a combat where PC's were involved. For one thing, ships often die far too easily in most miniatures games and then the players are just...screwed!
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Postby AKAmra » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:20 am

daryen wrote:
AKAmra wrote:Hmm, that's troubling. Getting Traveller rules for SFU ships is more than half the reason I'd buy the game; it's a "no sale" for me without it.
Out of curiousity, what is meant by "Traveller rules for SFU ships"? What do you want?

A combat system? Why? You have your choice of SFB, FC, Armada, and, soon enough, ACTA. Why would yet another combat system be needed?

A design system? You want to use High Guard to be able to build the Enterprise?

A small scale design system? To be able to build character/party orient ships? To be able to give more meaning to the various 'small stuff' characters are likely to be flying around in?

Something else?

I am not being facetious. I really am curious as to what is desired.
I meant SFU ships stated up using the Traveller system, modified as needed. Ship stats and combat rules should be a given for any new Traveller setting, it's stunning to me to think otherwise.

I've heard of SFB and ACTA, my understanding is some kind of tabletop wargame. I don't know FC and Armada. I find the idea of a tabletop starship wargame interesting, and perhaps I would "branch out" from an RPG based game for a different kind of experience, but only if I enjoyed the RPG.

As far as the crunch details, I don't know if High Guard could be used, the necessary modifications to the rules may be too great. I wouldn't mind if the PD:Traveller starship rules were a stand alone product, just based on the Traveller rules.

I'm actually not much for building ships myself, I'd be happy with a good selection of small and large ships pre-made. But, I think I might be in the minority here amongst Traveller fans and ship building rules would be a good idea.

What I don't want is, "Here is a Traveller sci-fi setting; except if you want starships, for that you should buy game X". I think this product would fall on its face.
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Postby daryen » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:37 am

OK, fair enough. Thanks for the answers. That does help a lot.

Doing a ship design system for Star Fleet Universe ships would be problematic. However, providing a 'cinematic' combat resolution seems very reasonable. It is also understood the need for providing Traveller-esque statistics for SFU ships, even if they can't be outright designed from scratch. Hopefully, something can also be done around deckplans, too.

Just please keep in mind that this is all still early in the process, and it will take some time for things to take form.

And, yes, I am the Mike West referenced by Steve.
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Postby captainquirk » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:03 am

Have to agree with the other opinions voiced here. In an RPG, I want characters to be immersed in taking actions to run the starship, which means PD Traveller needs to have rules to handle ship versus ship. Ideally design too, though I wouldn't be set on that so long as ships are statted.

I'd NEVER consider using SFB. The idea is laughable. I don't have two days to spare gaming out a small engagement which is taking place as part of an RPG story. And none of the board/tabletop options have mechanisms for integrating with RPG characters.

It's important to realise that Traveller has always provided rules for ships. This is the big difference. Neither GURPS or the D20 variants ever had workable rules for ship combat within their core product. Traveller does.

As has already been said, ignore what Traveller fans expect, and the line will bomb. You're going to get (or not get) more sales from the RPG segment of the market than from the board gaming market.
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Postby Scarecrow » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:21 am

There's something symmetrical or maybe cyclic about this as Traveller is what most folks used to play Trek before FASA came along :)

I've mixed feelings about PD. On the one hand, I think it's better suited to gaming than 'proper' Trek rpgs because it's based around specialist away teams or 'Prime Teams' that can easily all be the same rank and can all be low rank aswell. So you don't get the old conundrum of who plays the Captain and why does he keep beaming into hostile situations?
On the negative side, it always felt a bit too 'HOO-AH! SIR, YES SIR!' militaristic, which doesn't really feel like touchy-feely Star Trek (even TOS wasn't that bad). I guess it's easy enough not to play it that way, though.

As others have said, I wouldn't even entertain the idea of using the horrifically complicated SFB for space combat, but ACAT is more appealing. Ultimately I'm not really interested in mass space battles anyway, and would appreciate a Bridge-based starship combat system as a character driven alternative for one-on-one battles as part of a roleplaying game.

Crow
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Postby Renny » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:26 am

I would agree that some method of dealing with ship to ship combat within the rpg which does not simply point you at one of the wargames to resolve is a must here. If you're playing an rpg, you should be able to resolve all conflicts within the framework of that rpg. No reason you can't use ACTA if you're so inclined but no way should it be required. Especially within an rpg in which ship to ship combat is a fundemental part of the setting.
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Postby Scarecrow » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:29 am

An excellent example of a fast and simple, miniature-less, character/bridge based starship combat system is RED ALERT for Savage Worlds by Mike Callahan.

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