The Premises of Traveller: 1. "Jump takes a week/No ansibles"

Spirit of 1977

Banded Mongoose
This is the big one, the premise that determines so much of the rest of Traveller. To be explicit:

1) The time quantum of interstellar travel is 168 hours +/- 10%. More energy means more distance, but does not shorten this time. Even in Miller's more recent T5, higher TL drives like Hop, Skip, etc. increase distance but the time quantum never shortens.

2) There are no ansibles, subspace radio, or any other way for energy to travel faster than light speed. Sending a message means sticking it in a starship and jumping.

This premise produces strong consequences that do not exist in much of Speculative Fiction, and might be undesirable for many potential players:

1) No interstellar "Race Against Time": The first you hear about that planetary disaster Jump-1 away, at least 1 week has past, and it will be at least 1 week before you can do anything. This blows up a slew of Star Trek and Star Wars staple plots. In Traveller, you deal with the aftermath of such events, or you can only Race Against Time at the planetary or system level.

2) Express Boats are Inevitable: I suspect that many players think of Express Boats as a part of the iconic Third Imperium setting. But in a universe where every trip is like an ocean voyage, optimizing trips and logistics seems inevitable. The rules virtually guarantee their existence.

3) Why We Have Nobles: Nobles and neofeudalism are another iconic feature of the Third Imperium. While less inevitable than Express Boats, long travel times means that systems of control require large autonomy for decision-makers, whoever they may be. And if you want your will carried out, you need trusted followers who will obey order when you aren't around.

4) Space Travel is Unpleasant and Most Never Do It: This one is so important that it will get its own entry, but I wanted to cite it here. A huge subversion of nearly every major Speculative Fiction franchise.

5) Little to No Standardization: This one you might want to debate me. You certainly don't have to run your setting this way and I suspect many do not. But it seems a very natural consequence to me. For example, at TL 7+, something like cellphones and the internet is likely to emerge. But there is no reason whatsoever that a Star Empire would standardize such tech across worlds. This is because Most Worlds are Unimportant, another upcoming entry. You land on a new world, you buy their version of a prepaid mobile, and good luck figuring out their social media!

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. What I'm interested in hearing is 1) the degree to which you accept or reject these premises, and 2) how do you address these premises or alter your setting to get around them. No judgment here: I like most of the underlying premises of Traveller, and part of the fun is thinking about how to work with them to solve problems. But if these aren't fun for you, I imagine they aren't fun for some others. Hearing how you address these issues is probably useful for others.
 
This assumption is built into Charted Space. It is not intrinsic to Traveller as a ruleset. 2300 doesn't use Jump Drives and has other assumptions that are different. Though it even more strongly than charted space goes with most never space travel.
 
Yup, you are conflating rules, implied setting, and example setting.

A referee can decide to call a jump engine a warp drive and adjust travel times based on warp number - I recently posted the referee section of 77 LBB1, it is well worth re-reading.

Oh, and despite MWM's banning of the ansible there is one in the Secret of the Ancients (despite being explicitly forbidden) and the Empress Wave shows that FTL signals can be generated (tahnks to the retcon, the original wave was limited to c).
 
"2300 doesn't use Jump Drives..."

Mea culpa! I was about to say what does 2300 have to do with Traveller, but I see that Mongoose has indeed conflated them now! At GDW, they were completely different rule sets. So I see why you would say this now. I personally think this is a mistake, as I think the implications of jump drive make the game interesting. But there are clearly lots of attempts to break away from this, and that might be where the majority want to go.

"Oh, and despite MWM's banning of the ansible there is one in the Secret of the Ancients..."

I'm OK with NPC sophonts having access to high tech unavailable to the players, at least at first. Finding such tech is a reason to adventure. But then, I'm cool in That Elf Game with powering up with magic items rather than having classes with guaranteed intrinsic powers. I do realize that many modern players want more (or total) control over their characters. In Traveller, that probably equates to many more tech options gained sooner. Not my style, but this is exactly what I wanted to hear about.
 
and the Empress Wave shows that FTL signals can be generated (tahnks to the retcon, the original wave was limited to c).
I think the FTL limited has been retconned to 'no signals faster than a ship could jump' to let the Empress Wave slip by on a technicality, even if I suspect it was originally just an accidental conflation of parsecs and light-years that an editor might have caught...
 
You could fine tune jumping, to make it more dependent on equipment and maintenance thereof, possibly galactic weather patterns.

As regards nobility, someone has to be there to handle planetary crises; more importantly, collect taxes.
 
"2300 doesn't use Jump Drives..."

Mea culpa! I was about to say what does 2300 have to do with Traveller, but I see that Mongoose has indeed conflated them now! At GDW, they were completely different rule sets. So I see why you would say this now. I personally think this is a mistake, as I think the implications of jump drive make the game interesting. But there are clearly lots of attempts to break away from this, and that might be where the majority want to go.

"Oh, and despite MWM's banning of the ansible there is one in the Secret of the Ancients..."

I'm OK with NPC sophonts having access to high tech unavailable to the players, at least at first. Finding such tech is a reason to adventure. But then, I'm cool in That Elf Game with powering up with magic items rather than having classes with guaranteed intrinsic powers. I do realize that many modern players want more (or total) control over their characters. In Traveller, that probably equates to many more tech options gained sooner. Not my style, but this is exactly what I wanted to hear about.
Actually, with Traveller: New Era, all of GDW's games Twilight 2000, Traveller 2300, and Traveller used the same ruleset, IIRC.
 
Re. TNE et al., you're correct, but I'd argue that the attempted shift to the GDW House Rules is a perfect example of "we ARE changing the game, hopefully for the better". History played out with this not being the case, but it could have been different. Mongoose Traveller is arguably a statement of "Classic Traveller was pretty good, actually, but bring it into the present". Maybe that's still the case. But the responses so far seem to indicate that "more is better". Perhaps that means lots more variants.
 
Sure, I prefer the Traveller 2d6 rules to the GDW house rules. GDW had a lot of other problems that led to their demise, however. :D

My point is just that Traveller is a rules set. Charted Space is a setting. 2300 is a setting. Mindjammer is a setting. They are all official Traveller settings. Pioneer is coming out shortly and it will be an official Traveller setting. Each of those settings has specific assumptions built into them, but they are all recognizably Traveller. And the Cepheus Engine settings like Hostile and Clement Sector are recognizably the same rules with somewhat different assumptions.
 
I think saying X-boats could be something else (which is clear), is not saying that something like them is not inevitable. The name or class is not important. What's important is "ships that optimize to deliver messages/information" naturally emerges from "jumps take one week". If you have ansibles, you don't need optimized message ships in the same way, though you could still have them for specialty purposes like top secret couriers. Does that make sense?

The cruise ship comparison is interesting and telling. Your own example shows that starships as originally conceived are quite a bit less comfortable than a cruise ship with a lot less to do, BUT in response this has been changing, with more and more amenities specifically being included in the construction rules. This is exactly what I'm interested in: what has changed and what should continue to change. For example, I prefer the default space passage rules to be expensive and uncomfortable, which then contrasts when players get a gander as some megacorp executive's opulent yacht.
 
I'm not sure xboats were even 'legal' with the CT rules, which at least for the '81 version state a ship has to have a power plant and then the xboat says it doesn't have one.... oh well. Yes, the courier service is a natural outflow of the rules in any case, regardless of form factor.

And the cruise ship might be a bit of a red herring. The goal of the cruise is to be entertaining, not to move people from place to place. I'm not old enough to have crossed the Atlantic by ship, I came on a DC-8, but ocean liner service, not an 'elite, unsinkable' ship like the Titanic, but more a standard liner or packet ship would be the better analogy. And in that analogy I would think only High passage would get its own stateroom, and entertainments would be what you would find in a hotel room, not a cruise ship.
 
I'm not sure xboats were even 'legal' with the CT rules, which at least for the '81 version state a ship has to have a power plant and then the xboat says it doesn't have one.... oh well. Yes, the courier service is a natural outflow of the rules in any case, regardless of form factor.

And the cruise ship might be a bit of a red herring. The goal of the cruise is to be entertaining, not to move people from place to place. I'm not old enough to have crossed the Atlantic by ship, I came on a DC-8, but ocean liner service, not an 'elite, unsinkable' ship like the Titanic, but more a standard liner or packet ship would be the better analogy. And in that analogy I would think only High passage would get its own stateroom, and entertainments would be what you would find in a hotel room, not a cruise ship.
You write for Traveller and yet have never seen the 1977 rules which the Third Imperium was based on? ;) :)


In 1977 rules there is a way to read the rules that gets you to the understanding that a ship without a maneuver drive doesn't need a power plant. Hence the xboat and massive jump drive.
 
Just looked up travelling on a freighter. That should be closer. There the cabins seem to be 8-12m2 but food is taken in the officer mess. You can get a single cabin here and travel times are 7-15 days for the travells I found (around Europe)
Agreed, this seems like the right analogy. But OK if the players want more cruise ships!
 
"In 1977 rules there is a way to read the rules that gets you to the understanding that a ship without a maneuver drive doesn't need a power plant. Hence the xboat and massive jump drive."

Yes, and in MegaT it's even more explicit.
 
You write for Traveller and yet have never seen the 1977 rules which the Third Imperium was based on? ;) :)
No, my copy of the 77 rules are in paper (not PDF) and in a container that for various convoluted reasons would take me at least fifteen minutes to open. They're right under the drawer with the completely-properly-registered-and-stored firearms , a tiny crossbow, and a slingshot.

But your statement is likely fair, since Traders and Gunboats came out in 1980. And my original of that one disappeared sometime in the early 80s ( I think I know who took it, but it would never stand up in court...) so I had to buy it off a dealer (um, of books and stuff) a few years back...
 
This is the big one, the premise that determines so much of the rest of Traveller. To be explicit:

2) There are no ansibles, subspace radio, or any other way for energy to travel faster than light speed. Sending a message means sticking it in a starship and jumping.

Don't the Ancients show that ansibles are possible within the universe but humans and most other species have not reached the TL for them?

I guess that is a bit of a semantic argument because any game at that kind of TL is not going to be Traveller as we know it.
 
Re. ansibles, someone else pointed this out above, and I noted that NPCs with tech the PC don't have is fine, and is even a motivation to adventure. Take a look at the prior comment for more details.
 
Re. ansibles, someone else pointed this out above, and I noted that NPCs with tech the PC don't have is fine, and is even a motivation to adventure. Take a look at the prior comment for more details.

PCs finding such tech is potentially paradigm breaking as they can exploit it to gain fabulous wealth or other advantages. On a setting level, if governments and scientists learn that such a technology is possible (even if not understood or capable of being replicated), then it could significantly alter the direction of research as it would be understood to no longer be in the realm of utterly impossible.
 
Iracundus, really great point. Allowing the PCs to keep such tech could indeed break the setting. But think about how much Speculative Fiction deals with this. The protagonists gain the tech to defeat the antagonists/progenitors, and then the tech is spent/destroyed/lost. Or confiscated: to your second point, the Star Empire appropriates the tech so that "top men" can examine it, and then who knows? Maybe the referee decides that discovery really does change the setting. A good way for technology to march on, potentially.
 
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