So, what's with the supplements?

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Itharus
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So, what's with the supplements?

Postby Itharus » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:37 pm

Hi,

So I'm a new Traveller gamer. As MGT2 is the newest edition, I went that way a few months back and started learning the system and prepping things to start a big campaign soon. However, I was looking for some alien books and the like... and noticed that they and other such supplements only exist in MGT1. I thought maybe MGT2 was REALLY new, but... it's not. It's been years.

So looking around I saw some excuses along the lines of "we already did those books for mgt1". Uhm… so what? I'm a new player to MGT2. I do not own MGT1 books. I sure as hell don't want to go back and purchase MGT1 books to learn that system so that I can them ADAPT the MGT1 books into MGT2 by hand. I really, really don't. Also, the MGT1 stuff only seems available on a 3rd party website for sale (drivethru).

So where does that leave me? I'm opposed to spending money on an unsupported edition, nor do I want to buy out of date stuff and convert it to the next edition (that was bad enough converting from 2 to 3 with D&D -- no thank you!). I know there's a few updates to some things (Aslan?) in I think it was the Pirates of Drinax campaign... but really, I'm not interested in buying a module either. I just want supplements from which to draw up a campaign tailored to my players -- not an actual premade campaign. And buying a whole campaign to get a partial race update seems kind of asinine.

So there seems to be no supplements, just campaigns and some ship designs? And of course the GLUT of them for MGT1.

So, I've got to ask... why haven't you just gone back into the supplements from MGT1, updated the tables and terms where necessary, and reissued them as MGT2 supplements? Are plans for this on the table? If so, in what time scale? I mean... supplements seem like basic things that should honestly come before campaign modules or at least alongside them. This is what I've been used to seeing for 20+ years of RPGs now.

What's going on??? This whole situation is extremely frustrating and it's starting to make me consider writing off the books I have purchased as a loss and just moving on.

Does the Traveller Companion (why wasn't that finished first, anyway, it's listed as a core rule book and referenced a lot in the other core books....) going to solve a lot of my problems? If so, I can wait a few months and pick that up and be happy. If not... blah, what are your plans?

I'm just really frustrated because I'm trying to get some Traveller off the ground but this edition seems to only cater to people who want to do the released campaigns instead of their own; which is something I didn't realize when I got the first few books.

I'm really hoping that someone with Mongoose can reply and explain what's going on to me.

Thanks.
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby Old School » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:21 pm

What do you think you’re missing by not having the supplements? Are you specifically concerned about the career supplements? If so, don’t be. The different options look cool, but in the end you dont get anything different than you do with the core rulebook. If anything, you get a lot more failed advancement and survival roles.

Some of the background material, extra equipment, etc was good, but a lot of it is fluff, which I think is a contributing factor to those books not being updated for the new version.

The material from the supplements that was good (pirating guidelines and tables, for example) tends to find its way in the campaign materials for the new edition. Thats probably not everyone’s preference, but if it bothers you, everything from the old supplements other than skill tables and ship construction carries over just fine.

I do wish the pace of releases were faster. Matt has consistently overpromised as to release dates. I’ll let him defend himself on that point :D
Itharus
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby Itharus » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:13 pm

All kinds of things, classes, races, other misc rules and alternatives tossed in.

I've been told that Drinax features a good update for Aslan. There's no Aslan book (up to date anyway). That sucks. And as for fluff... what's wrong with fluff? A lot of it could just be recycled. Lame parts could be removed and new fluff added. There's nothing wrong with fluff -- especially when it's alien culture fluff. Like... a new edition of some of the older books doesn't have to break new ground ffs. Just update it where necessary and rerelease it. Could even make it a couple bucks cheaper this time around since much is recycled and drive more units into sale... probably even convince some of the version 1 owners to buy it just to avoid the hassle of conversion, too.

Hell. If you really really want to tie it into a campaign, at least sell a companion book that's just the new stuff sans fluff! Feels like MGT2 isn't so much a system as just a series of premade campaigns... and that's a damned shame.

Is the Traveller Companion coming out next year the answer to this problem?
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby paltrysum » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:25 pm

Here's the thing: Near as I can tell, Mongoose Traveller currently appears to be just Matthew Sprange and Martin Dougherty, supported by the artists and graphics people that spruce up the materials, and I'm sure you'll agree have done a fine job of giving MgT2 superior art and production values. But that's it. Martin is writing and/or rewriting seemingly everything they're putting out right now. They had a much larger stable for MgT1. While I would love to see the best materials from MgT1 transmogrified into the superior-production-value MgT2 books, they simply don't appear to have the staff to get that done.

I hope you don't write off the game. It's worth whatever trouble you're experiencing to get rolling with it and enjoy some sci-fi adventure in the far future. But I don't think it's realistic to expect a bounty of supplements to come out any time soon. All you can do is make do with what they've published and if you're really excited about a particular alien race or setting that appeared in MgT1, you'll have to go through the process of transmuting the material for your MgT2 campaign.

Warts and all, they've produced a really fine version of Traveller. For me, it feels a lot like Classic Traveller (which I played for years and years) but better.
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
Itharus
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby Itharus » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:34 pm

I do like the system. It's simple. Works great with theater of the mind; and is surprisingly blind-friendly. It's just that the disparity between the two editions is crazy frustrating.

I didn't know there's only like two people working on Traveller though. I thought Mongoose was bigger than that?
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby NOLATrav » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:56 pm

I feel your pain but I have to say, MGT v1 and v2 are imminently compatible. There’s very little other than ships that need any sort of conversion and if you have High Guard v2 you’re set for ships. So if you can make due with a couple v1 PDFs for the next couple months we should see the Traveller Companion out soon, which I think may solve many of your issues.

You might also consider one of the CDs from Far Future Enterprises. For $35 US you can get a boatload of Classic Trav material, including all the alien modules, in PDF. Again, conversion is practically unnecessary, the systems are very similar.

I know this isn’t what you want to hear. Hopefully Matthew will chime in with some updates.
Itharus
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby Itharus » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:36 am

There an official list of all the awesome that's going to be in the Companion anywhere?
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby Old School » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:05 am

Itharus,

My understanding is that Mongoose is a smaller team than it once was (and keep in mind that even”big” game companies are cottage businesses in a cottage industry),and has made the decision to focus on quality over quantity. They also decided to incorporate supplementary material into campaigns thst out the material to use.

As for refreshing the old stuff, I dont think they want to put out anything today that doesnt have the new standard of layout and graphics quality, which is a significant investment in time and money.

Matt specially addressed my similar question regarding career books here:
viewtopic.php?f=89&t=121402

I think most of us support the effort to focus limited resources on new, high quality material, rather than rehashing old stuff that was hit or miss. Sorry thats not what you likely want to hear.

The game is very playable with just the core rulebook. Give it a shot.
Itharus
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby Itharus » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:48 am

So what you're saying is that you have to buy the campaign bloat to get the actual meat of the system that gets added alongside them and there will never be a clear separate product that eliminates the need to hunt down the changes piecemeal? Or are the new mechanics covered in specific chapters in the campaigns that ARE nicely separated?

Kind of a PITA :(

Can't remember the last time I actually played or ran a pre-made campaign :(
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby CaladanGuard » Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:57 am

Itharus wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:48 am
So what you're saying is that you have to buy the campaign bloat to get the actual meat of the system that gets added alongside them and there will never be a clear separate product that eliminates the need to hunt down the changes piecemeal? Or are the new mechanics covered in specific chapters in the campaigns that ARE nicely separated?

Kind of a PITA :(

Can't remember the last time I actually played or ran a pre-made campaign :(
Well. Discounting the fact that Pirates of Drinax is more a setting, than a hand holding campaign. The actual source information is fairly well separated. Drinax includes three books. The first book includes the actual campaign stuff (Backdrop, rules and several missions to drop in at key points). Book Two contains all setting. Details of planets within the Trojan Reach, all the Aslan rules, history and fluff and a few pages of Aslan equipment. Book three is just a whole bunch of starships, none of which are specifically tied to the Drinax campaign.
Itharus
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby Itharus » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:39 am

See, I'm quite interested in the rules (assuming they are applicable to other campaigns), and the entirety of the Aslan stuff.
M J Dougherty
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby M J Dougherty » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:55 am

I don't work for Mongoose. My day job, if you can call it that, is writing non-fiction books with some other stuff such as TV or magazine work.

Quite a lot of my working time is spent on Mongoose materials, but I'm a freelancer rather than a permanent fixture.

That does mean I'm not party to some of the long-term decision making, but I would speculate that the decision was to produce new material rather than rehashing old - though some previous supplements have been updated.

Right now I'm adding (yet) more content to the Traveller Companion which should finish it off. There are some smaller bits and pieces to do along with the Drinaxian Companion and an adventure which is partly written. I also wrote a 58,000 word book on Greek mythology last month.

So yeah... busy.
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby TrippyHippy » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:13 am

Firstly, and this really does need emphasising, you don't need anything other than the core rules, or the Starter Set, to play Traveller. They are complete, in an off themselves, insofar that you can generate characters, worlds and encounters, and has enough equipment, ships and vehicles to play a full game and provides full rules to do so.

To expand on the 'core set', the Central Supply Catalogue, High Guard and Vehicles provides more or less anything your players will want to buy or design in terms of hardware. They could expand on playable robots, however, which I am hoping to see in the future. The Companion book should have probably come out a lot earlier than now, but it will cover a lot of bonus material rather than essential-need-to-know stuff to run the game with.

The Alien species books are a bit of a hangover, as they weren't really completed in the last edition either. It should be noted, however, that the Aslan are fully detailed in the Pirates of Drinax campaign pack - it pretty much integrates the entire sourcebook from the previous edition. Personally, I'd like to see the whole idea of big 'splatbooks' for Alien species binned anyway. They clearly take too long, and I don't actually think they need to be that detailed anyway - just give an overview of each and playable rules where necessary. What I'd prefer, again, is just a single book about "Aliens of the Imperium" which could also include some alien generation tables for other inteligent species.

With regards to scenarios and campaigns, MGT2 is already overflowing with these and this has clearly been the means it has supported the game over these first two years. The rules and expansions needed for specific types of campaigns are provided within these as necessary, so it's not really fair to say the game isn't supported well on this basis. Indeed, considering it's only been out for a couple of years, it's actually got more support than most games and there is no desire to rush-release supplements for the sake of quick appeasment of hungry fans. Have some patience, because this game is building nicely in my opinion.
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby ochd » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:24 pm

paltrysum wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:25 pm
Warts and all, they've produced a really fine version of Traveller. For me, it feels a lot like Classic Traveller (which I played for years and years) but better.
Ditto to this from me, with the exception that I only ever ran a few games of Classic Traveller.

While I sympathise with the frustration of wanting an RPG system that provides the material you want, on the other hand, before buying, I think it is readily apparent from the Mongoose website and from places like Drivethrurpg, online reviews, etc. what this particular edition of Traveller does and doesn't offer.

I hope nevertheless you stick with it and find it as enjoyable as me and my fellow players have. :D

Dan.
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby Old School » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:32 pm

M J Dougherty wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:55 am
I don't work for Mongoose. My day job, if you can call it that, is writing non-fiction books with some other stuff such as TV or magazine work.

Quite a lot of my working time is spent on Mongoose materials, but I'm a freelancer rather than a permanent fixture.

That does mean I'm not party to some of the long-term decision making, but I would speculate that the decision was to produce new material rather than rehashing old - though some previous supplements have been updated.

Right now I'm adding (yet) more content to the Traveller Companion which should finish it off. There are some smaller bits and pieces to do along with the Drinaxian Companion and an adventure which is partly written. I also wrote a 58,000 word book on Greek mythology last month.

So yeah... busy.
Keep up the good work. We all appreciate your writing.
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby paltrysum » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:21 pm

M J Dougherty wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:55 am
Right now I'm adding (yet) more content to the Traveller Companion which should finish it off. There are some smaller bits and pieces to do along with the Drinaxian Companion and an adventure which is partly written. I also wrote a 58,000 word book on Greek mythology last month.
Your output rate has never ceased to amaze me, Martin. Looking forward to the Companion.
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:10 am

Itharus wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:37 pm
So I'm a new Traveller gamer. As MGT2 is the newest edition, I went that way a few months back and started learning the system and prepping things to start a big campaign soon. However, I was looking for some alien books and the like... and noticed that they and other such supplements only exist in MGT1. I thought maybe MGT2 was REALLY new, but... it's not. It's been years.
Mongoose is doing something new with Traveller 2nd Edition is all. I recommend buying the Alien Module books from Traveller 1st edition, except for the Darrians book which was meh, if you want to role-play some of the other races.
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby msprange » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:53 am

Itharus wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:37 pm
So, I've got to ask... why haven't you just gone back into the supplements from MGT1, updated the tables and terms where necessary, and reissued them as MGT2 supplements?
Because we can do better, and make Traveller a better game. Yes, there are plans to revise and re-release older books, but they won't just be getting a new coat of paint. For example, Mercenary (to my mind) has never really been done right - it should be a jump off point to run entire Merc campaigns, in a similar vein to the Naval Campaigns book in the Element Cruisers set.

Basically, it has to be done right, and re-skinning is not the way forward if you all want the best Traveller possible.
Itharus wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:37 pm
Does the Traveller Companion (why wasn't that finished first, anyway, it's listed as a core rule book and referenced a lot in the other core books....) going to solve a lot of my problems?
It might well - it is certainly a large toolkit book with bits and pieces designed tom be plugged into campaigns as you see fit.

What is it you are specifically looking for?
Old School wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:21 pm
I do wish the pace of releases were faster. Matt has consistently overpromised as to release dates. I’ll let him defend himself on that point :D
One defence on the way :)

Release dates are going to be nebulous because we no longer work to strict timelines for books - they are done when they are finished. This is the essential trade off: we could go back to a system where X number of Traveller books are released every month...but quality will suffer. And you will certainly not see anything like Pirates of Drinax and the Great Rift. Which, again to my mind, are possibly two of the best releases for Traveller. Ever.

Essentially, the four core books give you everything you need to design your own campaigns, including (with a bit of referee jiggery-pokery) robots and aliens (robots are designed in the same way as animals, and you have two example alien racesto show you the build process). Albeit both could use their own tomes in the future. This, we felt, provided enough room for the grander and more esoteric projects.

But the Companion is very much on its way.
paltrysum wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:25 pm
Here's the thing: Near as I can tell, Mongoose Traveller currently appears to be just Matthew Sprange and Martin Dougherty, supported by the artists and graphics people that spruce up the materials, and I'm sure you'll agree have done a fine job of giving MgT2 superior art and production values.
The bottleneck is graphics and art, certainly. I literally have tomes in the hopper, all written and edited, waiting for slots to open up in design. However, those pretty new edition books cannot be laid out overnight (the first edition books could) and, as I said upon the release of the current Core Rulebook, we would rather release fewer books but knock the ball of the park every time/most times.

I also made a promise to all the Victory at Sea people to get their new edition out, which is eating around three months of Traveller graphics time - but Victory at Sea fans are people too, and they need their game :)
Itharus wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:34 pm
and is surprisingly blind-friendly.
If you mean adapting it for text to speech, that is entirely intentional :)

As for the first edition books... well, they still exist and have a compatibility rating in excess of 80%. We know everyone would much prefer everything to be updated to the new edition but the older books do provide a safety net - if you absolutely must have Darrians in your next adventure, you can get the source material without too much conversion necessary. This allows us to, for example, work on a K'kree book and break new ground while presenting them in the spiffy new edition format. However, that does not mean we will not go back to the Darrians and update them (we certainly intend to).
Matthew Sprange

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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby MonkeyX » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:47 am

I love what you’ve done with 2nd Edition. The difference between the two version of Drinax is incredible and while I’m looking forward to more 2e stuff there are a few 1e books that would prove useful if only for the world building. My biggest issue with this is the PDF prices. I would love for you to handle 1e the way you have the older versions of Paranoia by having them cheaply available. Wizards are doing a great job bring all their older Edition stuff to PDF and at a great price point too, Gamma World 1e hit at 9.99 and made top seller within a day.
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Re: So, what's with the supplements?

Postby msprange » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:57 am

I will look into the PDF prices, but it may be a while before we can do anything there.

However, while we are on the subject of 1e books... If we could bring back any 1e book in 2e format right now, which would you like to see?

No promises, but if the stars align, I will see what we can do!
Matthew Sprange

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