The Fifth Frontier War - Thoughts from the Author

The rebellion done properly could be a great setting, but it has to start from day one with what the PCs get up to, which is why I suggested starting with Lt. Windook.

There are alternative endings that are possible, all of which should be the result of what the PCs get up to. Charles Gannon had Hard Times eventually leading to the Star Vikings and then the rebuilding of empires. Then there is the Wounded Colossus.

Moving forward to Virus - you do not need to have six waves of the grand fleet of known space deal with Lucan, it can be a PC scale Star Viking mission, or even a Lucan win if you want a W40K dark Imperium setting for a while.

The point is to get rid of metaplot beyond the narrative set up and then provide the referee with options and see what the players get up to.

I really like the way DNR handles this.
Sure, but to have an 1116 starting point, you sort of have to answer what happened from 1105 to 1116. Which I don't think is valuable to do. If you roll the timeline forward, I'd prefer to just jump straight to T:NE and just say "no one really knows how it all fell apart". But I suspect that 2300 and Pioneer would be fine settings to leave the exploration and colonization gameplay that is TNE's core idea.

And, honestly, I just don't find products like Arrival Vengeance or DNR to be very useful. Because they only really work if your campaign is set up to be *we are doing this particular thing*. You can do that sort of thing brilliantly (see Project Bayern), but it is only useful if you decide on that story as being the point of your campaign from the outset. That's just not how I play. Obviously, that's just personal preference and there's plenty of customers for highly scripted story arcs.

I am sure you can tell an interesting story arc about the PCs saving the Empire or whatever. But the wider sandbox? It is just another war setting, which the FFW material should cover. And, honestly, one of the things I like about sci fi is that it usually isn't high fantasy, epic questing to save the universe.

I just feel like there is a lot of unexplored adventure styles that can be developed without rolling the time line forward.
Pre 1116 doesn't matter.
The referee can fill in the details if they played in 1105 era or ran the FFW.

The rebellion need not occur at all if you go the GT route.

But then the FFW need not happen if the Zhodani send their IMF team (of PCs) to Rhylanor to solve the Empress Wave issue they have...

no FFW and you can keep playing in the static, boring old Imperium until it does a Foundation and falls apart.

By making each era stand alone it grants referees a lot more flexibility.
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I would go as far as to go back to every setting so the outcome is up to the referee.

The Interstellar Wars, the Terran/Aslan conflict as detailed in Dark Nebula, The Sylean Federation vs theChanestin Kingdom, what if the Kingdom won and instead of an Imperium we get an interstellar monarchy. How about the Third Imperium vs the Julian Protectorate resulting in a much smaller Imperium that never expanded to the size we see in 1105.
The Solomani win the Rim War...
I wouldn't worry too much about ruptured timelines: they'll likely self correct.

Psychohistory began as a combination of public relations/advertising techniques and behaviorial science, and although its techniques have been put on a more rigorous footing, the basic principles are still not well understood. A number of minor experiments have confirmed the general validity of the science, but it was also shown to be too expensive to be of any practical utility.

Research continues at a small number of Imperial universities.
I don't see how differing historian perspective can reconcile divergent timeline differences, like whether Dulinor assassinated Strephon (or his body double) vs. Dulinor dying in an explosion in the GURPS Traveller timeline. It may be one thing to have one side's political spin on an event and different details. It is another to have a completely diametrically opposite end result of the event.

Brutus killed Julius Caesar, not the other way around. Else we would not have had the Battle of Philippi, and all other subsequent events as a result of Julius Caesar's assassination.

Similarly, either Dulinor killed someone that had the role of Strephon in the palace, or his ship blew up before he ever reached the palace for his audience (as per GURPS Traveller). This is not disagreement over a detail such as whether he took 1 shot or 6 to do the deed. Either Dulinor did the deed and the Golden Age of the Imperium ended in the fiery holocaust of the war of the Rebellion, or it didn't. However skewed or incomplete the records, I do not think people would forget entirely about the existence of a war spanning a good chunk of Charted Space destroying within a generation the largest interstellar state of the time, not unless we are talking about a huge time jump into the future, not merely a few centuries or a few thousand years.

I think the AotI Zhodani dance gives an out, at least for me. I can say the Zhodani (partially) succeeded and the timeline diverged into my ATU.

Of course the problem with the reality alteration is that it is impossible to prove its success within the universe to people that don't believe in it.

For example, if someone said they were doing a funky dance to prevent you from being killed in a year from a freak falling llama accident...In a year, if you are still alive, the person could claim success in altering the timeline, whereas other people would say he was just delusional and there was never a destined falling llama accident. The same goes for the Zhodani and their claims of trying to avert the Rebellion, Empress Wave, Virus etc... If they succeed, only we as readers outside the universe would ever fully know or appreciate what was avoided. Even the Zhodani would just believe they avoided Something Bad, without knowing the full details. It would end up being something that would have to be taken on faith and just believed.
From T5
There are a very few significant technological advancements
that most societies never discover. These paradigm
shifts are concepts that require such a profound change in
basic understandings of principles that they are discovered
only by phenomenal genius, or phenomenal luck, or both.
The total number of possible paradigm shifts remains
unknown but is probably very small.
Reality Manipulation allows editing of reality on a realtime
basis: manipulation of physical laws, and revision or
reversal of event flow.
Reality manipulation allows its users to attempt many
different processes in pursuit of their goals while substantially
decreasing the consequences and their costs. Those
who do not discover Reality Manipulation face real and irreversible
consequences for their mistakes.
Reality Manipulation
Event Branch Manipulation 25. The ability to evaluate
the potential consequences of imminent events and to select
between such choices.
Reality Manipulation 27. The ability to edit reality, primarily
through redos: limited retrospective changes to past
events to alter their effects on the present.
Not-Foam Manipulation 28. The ability to conjure the
existence of matter and energy in structured quantities from
the elementary quantum froth of the universe.
It is my contention that the Empress Wave is a reality manipulation.
I don't see any advantage to Mongoose in even touching that future. It is extremely divisive and poorly done. So they aren't going to get any good will from redoing it. If they change it, they'll annoy a bunch of people. If they don't change it, they'll annoy a bunch of people. And, frankly, it is not the sort of events that would easily fit into the vast majority of campaigns. While you certainly can run a campaign set in the Imperial Core and dealing with political intrigue and the affairs of the Imperial Court, I strongly suspect that very few people do.

Anyway, the start of the FFW product line is months away. So we should be safe from any dives into the quagmire of 10 years into the in game future for a long time, hopefully.
Or the 5FW (yes, I pedantically want to call them 4FW and 5FW to avoid identical TLAs - but expect to be ignored on this point) is the instigating cause of what becomes Hard Times. A crisis of leadership, abdication, rebellion, and economic collapse after the Fall of Rhylanor.
Just a suggestion...
I don't feel like it is useful to even pretend to have a setting if it is going to be as chopped up as you suggest. The general idea of what you suggest is what I think should happen also. But I think they should focus on 1105 and all the different ways you might want to play from that. Pirates of Drinax, Fifth Frontier War, Traveller Adventure/Leviathan type, some core intrigue. IF I was going to do the Rebellion, I'd set the boxed set in 1105 and make a sandbox/story arc about characters playing politics in the Core that may or may not end up with assassination at some point.

One of the main advantages of the Third Imperium is the vast array of sourcebooks, the Traveller Map, and similar prompts. That is significantly undercut when you are jumping decades or centuries away from the published material.
OR... something else could happen which triggers a similar sequence of events (rather than an assassination, something goes wrong with a grav car, leading to the same four victims dying, and the overarching sequence of events plays out, possibly with Dulinor and/or Lucien claiming responsibility and/or succession rights). This is the type of thing people are talking about - from a more remote historical perspective, different "routes" to similar circumstances are possible. Personally, I didn't particularly like the assassination/rebellion arc, but Hard Times made for some interesting game situations - I could easily visualize a second economic/social crisis leading into an Imperium-wide (or maybe event beyond) Great (Grand) Depression, a Hard Times era, and maybe even a second Long Night cycle. (Bam. No need for a Rebellion/Civil War, no need for a Virus release, but the Third Imperium goes into a massive slowdown/contraction, opportunities become tougher to find and harder to completely exploit, piracy and other types of crime increase while safety declines... it doesn't have to be as catastrophic as the previous version to promote more adventuring opportunities. My biggest problem with the Rebellion/Hard Times/Virus cycle was that it was so drastic and so extreme that the status quo ante was not only burned down, but completely to the bedrock. That's too extreme of a change, unless the players are helping to drive it along.)
The Right of Assassination requires that the challenger approach the Emperor with a gun. Not tinkering with their vehicle, life support, hacking into a pacemaker, poisoning, or dropping a rock on their city. It has to be up front, personal, with a gun.
Personal shields make a mockery of that.
So no.

What we're saying is, this isn't going to happen. It's some metaplot thing, and Mongoose don't have to make the mistake GDW made.

Metaplot that isn't PC facing is basically worthless and often actively harmful. A sandbox-ish adventure path where the PCs are directly or indirectly involved in the palace intrigues would be pretty cool. You don't get much of that in published gaming. Just don't define outcomes. Set up situations and events. Like how it was done in PoD. Because PoD is a sandbox, you can use it even if your players aren't doing the "main plot". Those adventures can be things your free roaming types do on their own and you can easily invert the script and have your PCs be anti pirates or any number of other things.

A campaign like that wouldn't say what happens. Maybe the PCs work for Dulinor, maybe they work for Strephon, maybe they work for Margaret, or they just try to keep their heads above water as this stuff keeps happening around them. And what happens at the climax depends on what they've accomplished, like in PoD. Maybe they convince Dulinor to stay loyal or they kill him. Maybe the campaign climaxes with the PCs heroically murdering a teen age girl and her parents.

The mistake GDW made was either just doing stuff by fiat or writing linear 'ride-a-long' plots for the PCs to 'experience the cool things the NPCs do'.

I would be quite interested in a PoD style Rebellion campaign set. I'd just want it to build off the 1105 material and go from there. I'd be less interested in a Secret of the Ancients style adventure path with a very focused sequence of events. I'd be unhappy with anything like GDW's timeline rollouts or Arrival Vengeance ride-a-longs.

But first I'd rather see a Leviathan/The Traveller Adventure set that does a deep dive into how to run merchant adventurers. A lot of people seem to struggle with that and, to me, it is a core Traveller experience. Whether you grew up with Nicholas Van Rijn & John Falkayn or fell in love with Firefly, its a popular fantasy to want to experience. And one that needs a lot of love. The stuff to do it is there in the rules, but putting it all together to be fun and interesting is not straightforward.
I posted on the Reddit! I am very excited to see this. So many possibilities. If you got a Scout ship in character creation than the Imperium may call you up for service! Worlds will need to be defended, supplied, evacuated and re-surveyed! Diplomats will be called on to arrange cease fires for medical supplies and food. Can't wait to see the book.
I'm running a long-term campaign, which (due to time passing) rolled into Fifth Frontier War timeline. I used the original info, campaign book and TAS messages.

So when my players dropped out of jump at Darrian, the news of the FFW starting caught up with them. Half of them are scouts (no scout ships though), so they were "hm, let's not enter Imperium space", as they didn't want to get drafted. So, off to the non-aligned parts of the Trojan Reach they went! (And rolled into Pirates of Drinax).
I'm running a long-term campaign, which (due to time passing) rolled into Fifth Frontier War timeline. I used the original info, campaign book and TAS messages.

So when my players dropped out of jump at Darrian, the news of the FFW starting caught up with them. Half of them are scouts (no scout ships though), so they were "hm, let's not enter Imperium space", as they didn't want to get drafted. So, off to the non-aligned parts of the Trojan Reach they went! (And rolled into Pirates of Drinax).
That sounds like a plan.
I love the idea of TPoD wrapping up, a brand new Empire of Sindal just formed, everybody's happy, and then the first scouts from the Spinward Marches turn up with news that the FFW has broken out.
RE: alternate timelines. Remember that in the GURPS version of Traveller, the Rebellion didn't happen, Strephon wasn't killed, and the "current" time in the GURPS 3e books is 1120 (so a bit past the 1105 of "classic" / 1115 of MegaTraveller).

Apart from GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars book, which for GURPS 4e and is set in AD 2170.

Alternate timelines aplenty!
I'm running a long-term campaign, which (due to time passing) rolled into Fifth Frontier War timeline. I used the original info, campaign book and TAS messages.

So when my players dropped out of jump at Darrian, the news of the FFW starting caught up with them. Half of them are scouts (no scout ships though), so they were "hm, let's not enter Imperium space", as they didn't want to get drafted. So, off to the non-aligned parts of the Trojan Reach they went! (And rolled into Pirates of Drinax).
Scouts love exploration!