The Premises of Traveller: 2. Space Travel is Unpleasant and Most Do Not Do It

Spirit of 1977

Banded Mongoose
This one is never explicitly stated (until recently), but is positively everywhere in the rules. And it seems clear that many people have noticed this over the years and have changed many rules to make space travel less unpleasant. But make no mistake: Marc Miller straight up states in T5 that travellers are unusual, and that most sophonts never leave their home world.

1) Travel is crazy expensive: Look over the average prices for most goods and services, and notice that Cr10000 for High Passage is an enormous sum. Even Cr1000 for Low Passage is a lot of money in Traveller, and you risk not surviving the trip. Needless to say, the rules have made Low Passage less deadly over time in various ways.

2) Travel is uncomfortable: Staterooms are tiny, and in the beginning there was little to do onboard. This again has changed over time, but in T5 Miller again asserts this, making the average stateroom even smaller than before! Clearly, making starships more comfortable and interesting has been a big priority over the various rules sets, so this seems to be an initial premise that many have discarded.

3) Travel is complicated: Originally, the rules made it clear that not every desired trip is easy or even possible. Jump-1 ships can't go every place. It take ingenuity to figure out how to set up fuel caches in space to arduously cross interstellar rifts. Again, as some recent threads have shown, some people really don't like this and have embraced recent official rules that make travel easier. I can understand the feeling, but it is a major subversion of the original premise.

4) Most worlds are not Earth-like: One of the biggest aversions in Speculative Fiction, to the point where you can see more recent rule sets trying to eliminate some of the weird worlds the base rules can generate. I can understand the desire not to have to think about protective gear, in the same way modern fantasy RPGers don't like to think about encumbrance.

As I hope is clear, I'm not making the case that Traveller should not change. In particular, if a majority of players think something is not fun, that should probably be addressed. But I am interested in how some of you 1) recognize the above points and either accept or reject them, and 2) what does you setting look like based upon these decisions.

For example, along with Most Worlds are Unimportant (coming soon), my setting has most worlds very disconnected from one another, even within Star Empires, and so when there ARE world alliances, that tends to be important and interesting. I embrace the "Empire Exists in Space" concept that GURPS made more clear, with the consequence that travellers are "weirdos" to the majority of sophonts who never set foot anywhere but their home world. But I admit, this is unusual compared to many popular franchises.
 
As with a lot of MWM pronouncements over the past few years his statements can be contradicted by his own rules and earlier books.
There are statements that travel from world to world is as common as travel from continent to continent today for example.

The special thing about Traveller is not that they are not extraordinary in any way but one, they adventure once their first career is over.

Oh, and a 10' by 10' room is pretty big by modern UK housing standards :)
 
About those staterooms... last time I was on a cruise (okay about 20 years ago) it was a lot of money for double occupancy, size of a walk-in closet, but to be fair, a cruise ship has an enormous amount of 'common area'. More to the point (about space, not the comfort for passengers), military ships are completely different with bunks (three high - or do subs still do hot bunking and stack people between missiles? - for enlisted, double occupancy for junior officers, and no single cabins until reaching O5). I think the latter is what MWM was adjusting, though given that volume is the deciding factor on how big a ship is, making staterooms as small as possible makes economic sense - and single occupancy for everyone always struck me as off - I blamed it on some strange Vilani privacy fetish)

As for the commonness of travel, it depends a lot on social status and social attitudes. Even in Seattle, there are people I know who aren't poor, but have never even been to Canada, and that's a two or three hour drive in good traffic. I've been back and forth across the Atlantic twenty times, (41 trips, because I started on the eastern side of it) but still only been to two continents - assuming Hawaii is part of North America, which, maybe not. But I'm not that poor either - worst trip I had was in the back of an Icelandic Air 757, which is nothing like crossing the Mediterranean in a leaking overcrowded fishing boat. But almost back to the point of my ramble - that 757 trip was uncomfortable because the way to make money moving people is to cram them together, not to give couples adjoining cabins.
 
Most people in the 3-I live on High Population worlds. For most of these people, there is little need to travel in space. If they want exposure to something unique and different, they only have to travel on their own world at a fraction of the cost of the interstellar travel.
And yet these people are, in many ways, the saddest and most tragic in the Imperium. They have the income and education to go to other worlds and be exposed radically different cultures and actually reap a great deal of benefit out of it.
But the plain fact is that most of us 'sheeple' are just not that adventurous. We think of travel as a getaway, a vacation from our real life. Travellers, PCs included, travel AS their way of life. That is what makes Imperial service-people and IMOJ agents and corporate execs and player characters different from the average run-of-the-mill Imperial.
As for interstellar travel being expensive, well, it is if it's a jaunt or vacation. But it's not if you're not tied down with a mortgage on a house with 2.5 kids plus pets, and the payments on two cars. When most of your possessions can fit into a steamer trunk /spacer's chest, you've arranged your life so that travel is the focus of your life. Sure the payments on a Type A2 Far Trader are ludicrous if you're tied down to a home and job at the factory. But if you're using that Far Trader as your home, your business, your method of travel, and your means of independence, those payments become a lot more reasonable.
 
Apart from a once a year holiday how often do the great unwashed (I include myself in this group) get to travel more than 25 miles from home on a regular basis?
The 15 minute city became a WEF project for a reason.
 
Heck, I live on an Island (O'ahu) so going 25 miles from home isn't possible since I live in a more or less central location on the island. :D
 
1) Travel is crazy expensive: ...

2) Travel is uncomfortable: ...
Travel isn't necessary uncomfortable, it's just expensive.

You can have as much space as you want, you just have to pay more for it... If a small stateroom on a tramp freighter isn't good enough and no liners are available, rent a private yacht, e.g.:
https://forum.mongoosepublishing.co...acht-and-they-all-look-bad.122036/post-936938

MgT and T5 has larger, much more comfortable "staterooms" available. Two or four Dt per person were never the maximum, just the minimum:
LBB2'77, p19:
_ _ Yacht (Type Y): Based on the type 200 hull, the yacht is equipped with 16 staterooms (four for the crew: pilot, engineer, medic and steward; eleven for the passengers). Note that two staterooms have been joined to make a suite for the owner-aboard.
 
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Apart from a once a year holiday how often do the great unwashed (I include myself in this group) get to travel more than 25 miles from home on a regular basis?
Typically at least 2x a year for me. One year was pretty much every month, think I spent more time away from home then at home that year.
 
Apart from a once a year holiday how often do the great unwashed (I include myself in this group) get to travel more than 25 miles from home on a regular basis?

Typically at least 2x a year for me. One year was pretty much every month, think I spent more time away from home then at home that year.
In the "Before Times" my daily commute was 35 miles each way. Now I go into the office about once a month. But we used to go on at least one airplane (or boat trip to Victoria, BC) every year plus at least one work conference at some convention center that likely had an on-site casino. Now I have to drive my car in a circle for half an hour almost once a week because the weekly 2.5 miles to the grocery store is not good for the battery.

But more to the point I think others have made, the premise of Traveller is that the adventures span worlds and systems. You could do a perfectly valid campaign in a "Planetary Romance" or a mega-city cyberpunk setting, but that just speaks to the flexibility of the framework.
 
In the "Before Times" my daily commute was 35 miles each way. Now I go into the office about once a month. But we used to go on at least one airplane (or boat trip to Victoria, BC) every year plus at least one work conference at some convention center that likely had an on-site casino. Now I have to drive my car in a circle for half an hour almost once a week because the weekly 2.5 miles to the grocery store is not good for the battery.

But more to the point I think others have made, the premise of Traveller is that the adventures span worlds and systems. You could do a perfectly valid campaign in a "Planetary Romance" or a mega-city cyberpunk setting, but that just speaks to the flexibility of the framework.
Are you in Vancouver, Geir? I ask because I'm down in Tacoma WA.

However, I do want to point out that business travel is rarely that fulfilling 'open your mind' kind of travel where you actually experience new peoples and places. No matter what city you're visiting, a corpo job is a corpo job, right? The same company culture is prevalent in most of the people you're interacting with.

One of the nice things about being a Civil War reenactor is that events and demonstrations tend to dig me out of my cave several times a year and make me interact with real people. I have an inborn tendency to want to retreat to my comfortable spaces and COVID sure as Hell exacerbated that tendency more than was good for me.
 
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For my campaigns, I tend to think that most people born on "shirtsleeve" planets are not all that comfortable with space travel. I think it would be more akin to submarine travel than freighter travel in a psychological sense. But enough people do it to make it a sustainable market. "Travellers" tend to be unusual in that sense, in that they travel casually despite usually being planet bound. And there are also spacers and folks born on planets that live in confined space anyway. I have reliable low berths, so a lot of people take those in my campaigns in preference to the psychological pressure of space travel.

I don't think there's anything inherent in the rules that make that a necessity of the game, though. I just like it that way and it makes sense to me.


I do agree that Traveller is geared towards interplanetary travel, but I have used it to run single planet and single system games in the past. I like having recurring characters and locations, so even when I have a "wide open" campaign, I tend to structure it to make 1-2 subsectors be the extent of focus. Most often the Islands subsectors, because they are nicely bounded without being totally isolated. :)
 
Are you in Vancouver, Geir? I ask because I'm down in Tacoma WA.
West Seattle. The End of the Before Times put me on what might as well have been an island:
March 13 2020: "Yeah, we're going to just shut down the office for anyone that doesn't need to be in the field [sic]. Should only be a few weeks or months..."
March 23, 2020: "Yeah that bridge you guys all travel across, we're going to have to shut that down for... well, we'll have to get back to you on that."

Still working from home. Bridge took until September '22.

I have an inborn tendency to want to retreat to my comfortable spaces and COVID sure as Hell exacerbated that tendency more than was good for me.
Ditto. But the good news is the lack of commute made me able to write Traveller books.
 
West Seattle. The End of the Before Times put me on what might as well have been an island:
March 13 2020: "Yeah, we're going to just shut down the office for anyone that doesn't need to be in the field [sic]. Should only be a few weeks or months..."
March 23, 2020: "Yeah that bridge you guys all travel across, we're going to have to shut that down for... well, we'll have to get back to you on that."

Still working from home. Bridge took until September '22.


Ditto. But the good news is the lack of commute made me able to write Traveller books.

Yeah, my wife's family are over in Gig Harbor, on the other side of the Narrows. We all have an, um, .... 'jaded' ... opinion of THAT bridge too.
And you should feel lucky, btw. There was *serious* talk in the State Legislature about making the New West Seattle Bridge a toll bridge until somebody finally put a stop to it.
[For those that don't understand Seattle politics, a low-laying harbor and industrial basin separates Downtown from West Seattle. Most of the city's poorer folks and working-two-jobs middle class live on the south side of town and West Seattle most definitely fits that description. Putting a toll bridge in that area would be tolling the people least able to afford it]
 
But there seems to be a pricing cartel for passages and freight rates.

You could try hopping on an Aslan run transporter, and see what they charge.
 
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