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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    I am in need of peer review and fact checking on something about Traveller. If you are knowledgeable about the game, please tell me if this is accurate or what's wrong.

    Traveller is *NOT* D&D in space. If you think that way, you will be way, way off. No, Traveller can make an RPG group that looks like Cowboy Bebop.

    Traveller makes a group that is highly in debt, has to constantly bring in big bucks just to stay afloat, and is constantly short on money. Most characters will wind up with a massively complicated backstory from the character creation, and this backstory provides the NPC's that you'll encounter.

    What do we see in Bebop?
    Spike with his background in the syndicate, and that group constantly getting involved in the now.
    Jet with an artificial arm, a history as a cop, etc.
    Feye with a history defined by debt, cryogenic suspension, and a massive blank, unknown truth.
    And Edward, who is a child, with no backstory, no debt, and no real issues other than "hack hack hack".

    All of those, as I understand it, are perfect examples of what can come out of the Traveller character generation.

    And the ship and crew as a whole? Constantly needing money to keep repairing the ship, all the bounty money they collect and no food half the time, etc.

    Yes, it's possible for characters to die in generation. No, it's not that common. Certainly not as common as the number of RPG players who talked about it at conventions in the past. As long as you are willing to go deeper and deeper into debt, you can heal yourself and keep on going. And being in debt is what this game is about.
    Last edited by keybounce; 2021-01-22 at 01:31 AM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    More or less spot on...



    Some editions/variants switch it up... such as;
    Traveller makes a group that is highly in debt, has to constantly bring in big bucks just to stay afloat, and is constantly short on money.
    In mongoose Traveller 2e it is possible to start out with a ship and no debt to speak of. Depending on careers you might actually start with a flotilla. The scout ship doesn't really count as it is loaned.


    In 1e, and good broker skills, it is quite easy to buy a ton of "cans of beans" for 250 and sell them at the next stop for 4,000 (per ton, +160k total for a typical free trader). 2e scaled it back some but making several million in a month is possible if you spend less than a whole week parked between trips (fastest is about 3 days). Some campaigns don't do much trading though...


    And the ship and crew as a whole? Constantly needing money to keep repairing the ship, all the bounty money they collect and no food half the time, etc.

    Yes, it's possible for characters to die in generation. No, it's not that common. Certainly not as common as the number of RPG players who talked about it at conventions in the past. As long as you are willing to go deeper and deeper into debt, you can heal yourself and keep on going. And being in debt is what this game is about.
    i disagree on most of this (it can be run this way). As long as downtime is given between missions a DM's main job is to find a way to bleed them next mission while still making it entertaining. Some DMs suggest given the players the map and trade rules and let them run wild for half an hour. If they jumped all written rails it is a good repreave so he can make more material.


    Medical bills are so cheap you are likely to spend more on ammo and a traveller's usual healing rate often negates any bill.


    Being in debt can be one of many themes. Without anagethics use it is quite rare to start out in debt; the ship is the bigger concern. You can play Starship Troopers, Halo, Firefly, Outlaw Star, Mass Effect and even Star Trek* with the system. There is even a several hundred page port for Star Wars. Your characters stay incredibly mortal, however, so more action heavy it is the more you need to provide armor or scale damage down.

    *i recommend picking up Mindjammer and mongoose 2e for that one.

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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    As I recall the trader can start off with a 200t ship anywhere from new & 40yr mortgage to 40yr old ship & no debit. Ideally you wanted one of those, older ships needed more repairs and it could be difficult to come up with both a mortgage payment and repair bill at the same time.

    Been a while and afb now so can't easily check.
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    Well, the technology level is definitely similar, the aesthetic is extremely similar (the "stay 1 week in hyperspace while hunted by the mutated lobster" story would make for a great Traveller adventure), the backstory and the ship style is on the nose.

    And the "NOT in D&D space" part is absolutely correct.

    That said, I have following comments:

    Traveller makes a group that is highly in debt, has to constantly bring in big bucks just to stay afloat, and is constantly short on money. Most characters will wind up with a massively complicated backstory from the character creation, and this backstory provides the NPC's that you'll encounter.
    Checks out completely.

    Spike with his background in the syndicate, and that group constantly getting involved in the now.
    The only comment would be the skill level of the characters. You'd have to roll very nicely to get such high stats/skills, but if you decided to go for alternative character building ("high level" characters from start - meaning a set of high rolls for most stats) and had creative GM, this would be possible.

    Or just reroll until you get somebody close to Spike.

    Jet with an artificial arm, a history as a cop, etc.
    No problem there. Also: Jet's "contacts" we see through the game would be supported by the game. In Spike's case these are mostly Rivals/Enemies, while Jet gets contacts.

    Feye with a history defined by debt, cryogenic suspension, and a massive blank, unknown truth.
    I think that would be doable. The debt itself would be how I'd deal - as a GM - with player requesting not to roll on skill tables and building up the character.

    And Edward, who is a child, with no backstory, no debt, and no real issues other than "hack hack hack".
    Aaaand here we come to stop. At least in the basic ruleset, I do not think you would be able to make a hacker as skilled as Edward with relevant age - again, you'd have to get a skilled adult or fudge a bit.

    All of those, as I understand it, are perfect examples of what can come out of the Traveller character generation.
    Again, skill levels are a bit off (Jet's the only one who fits age vs skill level, Spike comes close if we assume he's somewhere around 36 years+), and Edward would be doable only if you made some alterations to the chargen/deal with your GM, but yeah. Backstories & character archetypes check out.

    And the ship and crew as a whole? Constantly needing money to keep repairing the ship, all the bounty money they collect and no food half the time, etc.
    Technology level checks out, even if the gate travel is not handled in the same way (in Cowboy Bebop you use hyperspace gates, set in specific points; in Traveller you can jump using jump engines at almost any point), but that could be modified. Also, the scope: Bebop is set firmly in Sol (with Earth, Ganymede, Mars...), while Traveller is set around the whole galaxy. I think maybe the 2300 AD ruleset would be even closer with its tech levels, but have only seen them from afar (reviews & so on).

    Yes, it's possible for characters to die in generation. No, it's not that common. Certainly not as common as the number of RPG players who talked about it at conventions in the past. As long as you are willing to go deeper and deeper into debt, you can heal yourself and keep on going. And being in debt is what this game is about.
    Overall, it's very good comparison/starting point to explain the players what aesthetic/style of play should they expect. Good work!

    EDIT: Regarding ships & debt - there is Bebop (I'd say 300t+), Swordfish (fast fighter, experimental or highly customized), Hammerhead (customized pinacce?) and
    Red Tail (fighter?). So a debt is possible - and taking into account occupations (cop, ex-mob & gambler), there is a low chance of getting all of those for free.
    The only thing that I would object is very different ship combat style - what I have seen so far in Traveller is closer to Objects in Space/submarine combat. Cowboy Bebop is closer to Star Wars-style dogfights.
    Last edited by lacco36; 2021-01-22 at 03:35 AM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    Personally I consider Cowboy Bebop to be more of a thematic game; a module, an adventure path. Like the Temple of Elemental Evil, Kingmaker or even Pirates of Drinax (this one is a Traveller module). DM says "this is the game we are running" and the players make characters that fit the theme and have a reason to be there. Each of the characters are tragic in some way; running from something, running to something, trying to find purpose, trying to leave their past behind. debt does play a key role but they do zero trading which isn't typical.



    I think Firefly is a better fit.

    The captain owns the Serenity outright (Zoe might have a few shares in it). They never seem to be actually starving except maybe for an episode and when fighting starts ammo is never a concern. Sure, they shoot carefully and frugally and occasionally change weapons but attrition of their bodies is more of a concern than any worries of ammo. Mal spends most of his time trying to grab either cargo or a job. Ship repairs are big on the to do list but no matter how battered (like after the movie) they repair it and move on.


    Each Episode is like three quarters of a session with the remainder being trading. Nothing of them have anything in common with the next except maybe a call back or the occasional recurring character. Just a bunch of people of various pasts living on the same ship as a family. River starts out as an NPC plot point and upgrades to PC in the movie to replace a character.


    Traveller works best when the players have a goal in mind. In Pirates of Drinax my pirate had a goal; to make a family. More Guardians of the Galaxy than House on the Prairie. He needed millions, several hundred million. The others wanted to be dukes or kings. The DM knew not to keep us broke or at least one of us would not have a happy ending. So while the struggling Tramp Trader is the iconic it is a vary narrow gameplay.
    Quote Originally Posted by lacco36 View Post
    1). And the "NOT in D&D space" part is absolutely correct.

    2). I think that would be doable. The debt itself would be how I'd deal - as a GM - with player requesting not to roll on skill tables and building up the character.

    3). Aaaand here we come to stop. At least in the basic ruleset, I do not think you would be able to make a hacker as skilled as Edward with relevant age - again, you'd have to get a skilled adult or fudge a bit.

    Again, skill levels are a bit off (Jet's the only one who fits age vs skill level, Spike comes close if we assume he's somewhere around 36 years+), and Edward would be doable only if you made some alterations to the chargen/deal with your GM, but yeah. Backstories & character archetypes check out.

    4). The only thing that I would object is very different ship combat style - what I have seen so far in Traveller is closer to Objects in Space/submarine combat. Cowboy Bebop is closer to Star Wars-style dogfights.
    1. Traveller D20 is the closest to it being a level 1 to 20 system. It doesn't stack up completely so things can't be ported without system mastery of both and adding removing things as needed.

    2. Given that Feye is older than 18 (more like upper 20s if not lower 30s with Spike) she does have a number of skills (she doesn't look as young as her origin episode showed her). She seems competent in ship piloting, shooting and a number of other fields. Unless she is using her female attributes she under performs compared to her male companions. Pilot 0, gun combat 1. maybe Jack of All Trades 1 or 2.

    3. Nope! But you can get pretty close! Mongoose Traveller Book 10: Cosmopolite can allow a starting character to begin at 14... in order to join the prodigy career. Still leaving at 18 after one term is 4 years younger than normally possible. Depending on rule interpretations it is possible to get Electronics (computers) 2. Typically only level 1 and that is if you are lucky.

    Further in the book allows young characters to be stated. Not used but stated (though they can be used; I guess). It provides little in the way of moral standing on child endangerment; reliant on the humans playing not to go around shooting infants like murder hoboes because "Stats".

    4. Indeed! In fact at maximum ranges you often should not be able to see the opposing ship by eye sight. Making it one of the more hard sci fi settings in the system.

    Small craft (typically fighters) can break this dynamic. It isn't ever recorded how facing works; only distance measured in thrust. So when dodging fire you can be assumed to be moving in a non forward/backward direction that leaves both ships roughly as close as before. Fighter craft (which almost has to ram the opposing ship due to weapons range issues), which often has several times the thrust of the thing they are shooting, can be hand waved as flying laps around the opposing ship. They must merely start and end turn equal distant unless thrust was used by either ship to change distance.

    Dogfighting rules get more wonky as it is assumed they take up "more space" as they Star Wars fight each other. I'll have to reread but I think large ships have a chance of hit either side when shooting into it.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    Ohh, goodie. I might be able to publish by Sunday early morning :-). (Hmm, publishing for what? :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alcore View Post
    More or less spot on...

    Some editions/variants switch it up... such as;
    In mongoose Traveller 2e it is possible to start out with a ship and no debt to speak of. Depending on careers you might actually start with a flotilla. The scout ship doesn't really count as it is loaned.
    No experience/knowledge of 2nd edition.
    Never even thought of it, but it's kinda obvious with hindsight that there would be a second edition.
    In 1e, and good broker skills, it is quite easy to buy a ton of "cans of beans" for 250 and sell them at the next stop for 4,000 (per ton, +160k total for a typical free trader). 2e scaled it back some but making several million in a month is possible if you spend less than a whole week parked between trips (fastest is about 3 days). Some campaigns don't do much trading though...

    i disagree on most of this (it can be run this way). As long as downtime is given between missions a DM's main job is to find a way to bleed them next mission while still making it entertaining. Some DMs suggest given the players the map and trade rules and let them run wild for half an hour. If they jumped all written rails it is a good repreave so he can make more material.
    From what I understood, you basically have to be trading to make enough to cover your ship's monthly payments, and trade runs -- and the randomness that happens on those runs -- are something like 75% of the campaign. Are you saying that this is not accurate?

    Medical bills are so cheap you are likely to spend more on ammo and a traveller's usual healing rate often negates any bill.


    Being in debt can be one of many themes. Without anagethics use it is quite rare to start out in debt; the ship is the bigger concern. You can play Starship Troopers, Halo, Firefly, Outlaw Star, Mass Effect and even Star Trek* with the system. There is even a several hundred page port for Star Wars. Your characters stay incredibly mortal, however, so more action heavy it is the more you need to provide armor or scale damage down.

    *i recommend picking up Mindjammer and mongoose 2e for that one.
    OK, then, a clarification. Even if the individual is not in debt, the crew as a whole has a big massive monthly ship payment to make, and not only is any improvement to the ship expensive, you're constantly getting shot and needing repairs. Am I mistaken here?


    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    As I recall the trader can start off with a 200t ship anywhere from new & 40yr mortgage to 40yr old ship & no debit. Ideally you wanted one of those, older ships needed more repairs and it could be difficult to come up with both a mortgage payment and repair bill at the same time.

    Been a while and afb now so can't easily check.
    You can start with a free-and-clear ship? I did not know that -- other than a trade-useless scout that was only good enough to get you into deeper trouble :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alcore View Post
    Personally I consider Cowboy Bebop to be more of a thematic game; a module, an adventure path. Like the Temple of Elemental Evil, Kingmaker or even Pirates of Drinax (this one is a Traveller module). DM says "this is the game we are running" and the players make characters that fit the theme and have a reason to be there. Each of the characters are tragic in some way; running from something, running to something, trying to find purpose, trying to leave their past behind. debt does play a key role but they do zero trading which isn't typical.



    I think Firefly is a better fit.

    The captain owns the Serenity outright (Zoe might have a few shares in it). They never seem to be actually starving except maybe for an episode and when fighting starts ammo is never a concern. Sure, they shoot carefully and frugally and occasionally change weapons but attrition of their bodies is more of a concern than any worries of ammo. Mal spends most of his time trying to grab either cargo or a job. Ship repairs are big on the to do list but no matter how battered (like after the movie) they repair it and move on.
    Owns the ship outright? Again, I thought that was only possible with the scout that you might get in character gen.

    And never short on money? So there's a lot more to Traveller than I thought if that's the case -- as explained to me by someone that played it, if you have no debt you can make crazy profits from trading.

    3. Nope! But you can get pretty close! Mongoose Traveller Book 10: Cosmopolite can allow a starting character to begin at 14... in order to join the prodigy career. Still leaving at 18 after one term is 4 years younger than normally possible. Depending on rule interpretations it is possible to get Electronics (computers) 2. Typically only level 1 and that is if you are lucky.
    Ok, so Edward had to be a special case permitted by the GM for a good roleplayer. Fine.

    ----

    So if Traveller is not defined by a crew desperately in need of making the next payment, or making another trade run, what is a more common defining feature?

    It's times like this I wish I knew Firefly. Sadly, I don't.

    So the crew of the Bebop is *mostly* creatable, the actual situation of the Bebop is significantly less like Traveller? Is that accurate?
    Not "fire at". I never used the word "at"
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    So much to unpack... since you didn't question mongoose I'll save most of my answers from 1e. Save;

    Owns the ship outright? Again, I thought that was only possible with the scout that you might get in character gen.
    In 1e a merchant rolling "free trader" on rewards get 5 ship shares that are worth 1% each. Or 2 shares for any other ship.

    In 2e a merchant rolling "free trader" on rewards get 25% of a free trader 100% free (a choice of 40 year mortgage at leftover price or -10 years off). Get that result 3 more times there is no debt. It is used though.

    That bratty noble? If he rolled yacht 4 times you now have a flotilla... the ship's doctor? Might own his own lab ship.

    Ship shares are now 1 million in credits no matter the ship.


    OK, then, a clarification. Even if the individual is not in debt, the crew as a whole has a big massive monthly ship payment to make, and not only is any improvement to the ship expensive, you're constantly getting shot and needing repairs. Am I mistaken here?
    nope. Depending on the game and what the players want they might need 50 to 150 million banked for a better ship. Putting weapons on (usually) weaponless starters run you about 10m or less.


    Note some players will try to stockpile weapons or fill their bodies with cyber parts. Eventually becoming OP by the usual dangers. Once had a guy luging around a handheld plasma canon. He kept himself low key but one time he helped a rebel attack by blowing up aircraft (inculding actual star fighters) trying to take off; with one hit. His armor was good enough he tanked, and ignored, the riflemen.


    In 2e it is possible, if money is no object, to tank a shot from a beam weapon. This is ship to person. You'll live but you're going to want cover afterwards.
    From what I understood, you basically have to be trading to make enough to cover your ship's monthly payments, and trade runs -- and the randomness that happens on those runs -- are something like 75% of the campaign. Are you saying that this is not accurate?
    *dusts off 1e book*

    Among the default random encounters only 7 requires the travellers to do something. The rest are props/neutral NPCs. So... no it is not accurate as some can't be rolled in some systems. For instance in border space you can no longer collide with space junk. In empty space (which is suicide without fuel for a jump) you are down to just 4 events that require something.

    Trading is the only method of wealth creation supported by the book that can pay for a ship. The patrons shown pay so little that without an emotional stake most players will not engage without metagaming (its a quest, let's do it). The books mercenary, scout, scoundrel and dilettante add more ways to earn money. (Merchant Prince only adds onto)

    It's risk vs reward. If Bob (one of my real characters) can spend a month earning 500k, why would he stop on a planet for 10k with risk of death and dismemberment? If the PCs feel they must spend one week off for each week out then it might make sense.

    And never short on money? So there's a lot more to Traveller than I thought if that's the case -- as explained to me by someone that played it, if you have no debt you can make crazy profits from trading.
    unless the DM lets you run wild you'll run short. Unless things go real bad you'll have enough

    So if Traveller is not defined by a crew desperately in need of making the next payment, or making another trade run, what is a more common defining feature?

    It's times like this I wish I knew Firefly. Sadly, I don't.

    So the crew of the Bebop is *mostly* creatable, the actual situation of the Bebop is significantly less like Traveller? Is that accurate?
    it is the defining characteristic. But this is inaccurate...

    it is iconic

    As iconic as starting in a tavern talking to some cloaked man in corner who tells you about treasure. You then go through orc/goblin infested [area] to mount [name] and slay the smallish red dragon for loot.


    With just the core book it is about the only way to play without tacking an extra few zeros to patron rewards. I hate to call it generic but well...

    Keep max terms low (about 4) and you can still have fun, a lot of fun, being iconic. Coybow Bebop was big into bounties... perhaps this might help?
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...jqWsBRXZuf8TZ4

    (I recommend checking out "mercenary tickets" as most of it never reached the book mercenary)
    Last edited by Alcore; 2021-01-24 at 12:13 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    Current "posting" for final review and commentary, please


    I wish I could say that what follows is accurate. But thanks to some peer review and fact checking -- https://forums.giantitp.com/showthre...-fact-checking -- I can actually say that Traveller has a very LARGE variety in what it can play. But one thing is very clear:

    Traveller is *NOT* D&D in space. If you think that way, you will be way, way off. No, Traveller can make an RPG group that looks like Cowboy Bebop, or Firefly. At least one person says that the campaign of Firefly is more accurate than the campaign of Bebop; Bebop is more of a "themed" world where the GM says "This is what we are playing", and the players make something that fits, possible by altering the dice to get a character to fit the setting.

    Traveller GENERALLY (1st edition) makes a group that is highly in debt, has to constantly bring in big bucks just to stay afloat, and is constantly short on money. Most characters will wind up with a massively complicated backstory from the character creation, and this backstory provides the NPC's that you'll encounter. Generally. Apparently it is possible to fully own outright a 40+ year old ship ... and Rey apparently owns the Falcon outright? Or, at least, is "borrowing" it from someone borrowing it from Lando?

    What do we see in Bebop?
    Spike with his background in the syndicate, and that group constantly getting involved in the now.
    Jet with an artificial arm, a history as a cop, etc.
    Feye with a history defined by debt, cryogenic suspension, and a massive blank, unknown truth.
    And Edward, who is a child, with no backstory, no debt, and no real issues other than "hack hack hack".

    Except for Edward, who would need some GM-approved special tweaks, these are perfect examples of what can come out of the Traveller character generation.

    I do not know Firefly. But apparently, that is a case of the captain owning the ship outright, and the crew doing little or no trading. So trade runs to pay the monthly payments, is only the iconic, defining (*) characteristic of Traveller. The constant need of money to keep repairing the ship and pay the bills.

    Yes, it's possible for characters to die in generation. No, it's not that common. Certainly not as common as the number of RPG players who talked about it at conventions in the past. As long as you are willing to go deeper and deeper into debt, you can heal yourself and keep on going. And being in debt is what this game is about. Well, to clarify. The *crew* being in debt, having to worry about the next month's payment, is the iconic, defining (*) aspect of the game.

    Not dying in character creation. That's more like a way of saying "I don't like what I've rolled, let me start over". Even in D&D type games, if you roll for your character, you might not like what you get. This is why you have point allocations, or "roll dice, and assign to characteristics", etc -- any number of ways to guarantee that you'll like what you get.

    (*): This means it is as accurate as saying that D&D adventures are given in the back of an inn by a mysterious cloaked figure. It does happen, and it's the obvious image, but it's not 100% of the time. (**)

    (**) Now, if you said you refilled your party back up to full by stopping in an inn and recruiting, that would be different :-)
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    Also, thank you for pointing me to the online rules, but ... I *cannot* figure out character creation. The two character creation pages -- military and mercenary -- seem woefully imcomplete, like they are subroutines for something else.

    Can someone explain how you actually make a character?
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    I would like to point out that Mal (in Firefly) goes out of his way in every episode to find "a job" unless the episode already has him on one... most of the time his job is moving cargo. Often illegally. He needs to put food on the table and parts into the ship. They struggle but it's not as bleak as Bebop often has it...



    Chacter creation is a... minigame? Some prefer that game and so when looking for players some GMs run into the problem of people rolling up really good characters and ghosting before the game starts; they had already played you see.



    Example;
    Dave rolls his states and falls out of the tree of mediocrity and hits every branch on the way down; 7/7/7/7/7/7 and none of these stats provide a mod. You then have basic education (edu +3) and we'll go with animals 0, drive 0, and profession (farming 0).


    You then can roll to quantify for a job. Drifter is always free. You then receive basic training; which is six skills that also start at level 0. You roll survival and then roll event. There are event tables for both success and failure.

    Then you roll to see if you are promoted in one fashion or another. Roll on a table to see which skill you learned while getting promoted. Add 4 years to age and then you must decide to go again or not. Each successful term allows one benefit roll. Promotions also can add to this number.

    Once rank 5 you get a flat +1 to benefit (depending on career making ship shares a straight 50/50 shot per roll). Survive five terms (or more) and you get a yearly pension; need about 7 or 8 terms to live comfortably in retirement.
    Last edited by Alcore; 2021-01-24 at 08:19 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    So, when I said,
    and the crew doing little or no trading.
    what we actually find is

    Quote Originally Posted by Alcore View Post
    I would like to point out that Mal (in Firefly) goes out of his way in every episode to find "a job" unless the episode already has him on one... most of the time his job is moving cargo. Often illegally. He needs to put food on the table and parts into the ship. They struggle but it's not as bleak as Bebop often has it...
    So ... yea, sounds like Firefly is a better fit than Bebop? Like Bebop is all "Patron" (aka bounty) instead of trading?
    Not "fire at". I never used the word "at"
    GENERATION ω+1: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig and add 1 to the generation. Social experiment. Remember, ω + 1 comes after ω.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    It should be noted that there is evidence that Firefly was based on Traveller. (Joss said that it was based on some RPGs he played during college. Given the year and the circles he was in at the time, there is a very good chance that was specifically Traveller.)

    As noted in the post above, Traveller character creation is a minigame. First one rolls stats - 2d6 x 6, sort them into the six attributes (or take them in order if you want). Apply racial mods if you're playing a race with racial mods (Solomani/Vilani humans, the default race, do not have racial mods).

    Once the attributes are rolled, the exact process changes depending on which edition, but in general: finish up any backgrond/childhood stuff, then start playing out the character's adult life, starting at 18 years old. For each 4-year term:
    * If you're not already in a career, choose a career and roll to get into it. (Early on, the "career" can be education for a term.) If you fail, you may submit to the draft (automatically get into a random career; most of the options are military, though Merchant Marine is possible). Some editions let you take the Drifter or Barbarian career instead.
    * Roll to see if the character survived. In some editions failure means death, in others it means injury and removal from career.
    * If survived, roll for events (random stuff during the term) and advancement (promotions et al; most careers in most editions have some sort of rank, ranked 1-6, which may be formal or informal).
    * Depending on how that goes, roll for each skill level you picked up.
    * If you're old enough, roll to try to avoid losing physical stats to aging. (Unless you're on "anagathics": expensive life extension drugs that freeze your biological age. If you are on them, you're picking up debt to pay for them.)
    * If you want to attempt a next term in this career, roll to stay in. Fail and you're not in a career at the start of next term. (In some editions, you don't have the option to change to another career; rather, if you don't continue in your career, you end this part of character generation.)

    Eventually (usually when the character is in their 30s or 40s) you stop doing more terms and "muster out". Roll for starting cash and benefits - usually one roll for each term, plus a few depending on ending rank. One benefit for some careers is partial ownership of a starship, which is generally how the party gets a ship, with the remainder of the ship under mortgage with monthly payments that have to be made or the ship gets repossessed.

    Quote Originally Posted by keybounce View Post
    At least one person says that the campaign of Firefly is more accurate than the campaign of Bebop; Bebop is more of a "themed" world where the GM says "This is what we are playing", and the players make something that fits, possible by altering the dice to get a character to fit the setting.
    Maybe also: "Someone else says there is evidence that Firefly was based on Traveller."

    Quote Originally Posted by keybounce View Post
    Apparently it is possible to fully own outright a 40+ year old ship
    Lose the "Apparently". As someone who's run Traveller a few times: it is possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by keybounce View Post
    I do not know Firefly. But apparently, that is a case of the captain owning the ship outright, and the crew doing little or no trading.
    Oh, the Firefly crew does trading - and/or freight runs. Doing this to pay the bills is background plot of multiple Firefly sessions. There's one scene where they've got live cattle aboard their ship, transporting from one world to another.

    Quote Originally Posted by keybounce View Post
    Yes, it's possible for characters to die in generation. No, it's not that common. Certainly not as common as the number of RPG players who talked about it at conventions in the past. As long as you are willing to go deeper and deeper into debt, you can heal yourself and keep on going.
    This is technically only true of the most recent editions. In earlier editions, if the dice were unkind, your character was simply dead during character generation - no debt, no willing to keep going, just plain dead. In modern editions, if that happens you merely pick up debt. (Unless you choose not to pick up the debt - not an explicit option, but it's there if you read between the lines - in which case, yeah, death.)

    Which is also why people have talked about it at conventions in the past: in the past, it was more true (with the then-most-recent editions) than it is now.
    Last edited by Winged Cat; 2021-01-24 at 09:00 PM.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    OK, I'm late to the party here, but I'll put in my 2 cents worth.

    First off, the game introductions are free to download, Mongoose Traveller Book 0: An Introduction to Traveller and Classic Traveller Starter Traveller are both freely available at DriveThruRPG. So between those two you have Traveller at close to its beginning in 1977 (1983 printing) and Traveller close to its current form (at least for character creation) in 2008. Download them both and take them for a test drive, kick the tires and see how you like them.

    Now, the above are examples of the Traveller Rules. The Official Traveller Universe setting is something that has existed since the early 1980s and keeps growing. As an example, check out the Traveller Map. It is interactive and pretty well detailed.

    OK, now for this Traveller grognard's personal opinion, feel free to skip it if you are so inclined.

    When Traveller was first envisioned, it primarily was a generic system for the literary science fiction of the age. It excels at emulating literary science fiction, but also over the years demonstrated that it is pretty good at emulating TV, manga, movies, and anime. Technology advancement and understanding of our universe has been baked in to the rules with every new edition, which is a boon to GMs and Players. Can you do Cowboy Bebop with it? Yes. You can also do Ghost in the Shell, Planetes, Gundam (Iron Blooded Orphans and Universal Century settings), Space: 1999, The Expanse, Firefly, Larry Niven's Known Space series, Jerry Pournelle's Codominion series, David Drake's Hammer's Slammers, Allen Steele's Near Space and Coyote series, anything by Robert A. Heinlein or Arthur C. Clarke, Aleistair Reynolds Revelation Space setting, John Scalzi's Dead Man's War setting, Alien, Aliens, Outland, Interstellar, The Martian, and the list goes on....

    What it does not do well without a huge amount of houseruling, is science fantasy like Star Wars or Star Trek. It is better to get a game system that specializes in those genres to run those games.

    Yes, I am an advocate for the game and its OGL version in Cepheus Engine.

    Hope that this helps.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    Quote Originally Posted by keybounce View Post
    So ... yea, sounds like Firefly is a better fit than Bebop? Like Bebop is all "Patron" (aka bounty) instead of trading?
    Mmm.... yes.


    On a personal level i hate patrons due to how vague they are. How i would do it (and i think how it is done in Bebop) is the "patron" is a mercenary/bounty hunting firm sending out continuous "assassination" missions with the quirk; need target alive. Anyone with proper licensing can take a contract. Book Mercenary would be good for it.


    Players will love Bebop and Firefly is iconic and can be great fun.

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    Mongoose has also started publishing boxed sets to support different "styles" of campaign.

    • The base game has most of what you need to run a solid merchant or "wandering adventurer" campaign.
    • Pirates of Drinax boxed set has all rules for running a pirate campaign.
    • Element Class Cruiser boxed set has rules for running a military campaign (crew of a military ship).
    • Deepnight Revalation boxed set has rules for deep space exploration ("Her 5-year mission...").
    • The Great Rift boxed set has rules for an isolated "island" of systems cut off from greater civilization.



    There are also lots of individual "modules" available for play as well.

    I'm in year 2 of my Pirates of Drinax campaign and it's one of the best things I have ever run. There have been over a dozen supplemental books put out for this campaign, so you will never be at a loss for material.
    Last edited by Democratus; 2021-01-28 at 02:10 PM.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    It really depends on what version of Traveller you're talking about. I'm familiar with Classic Traveller and MegaTraveller.

    I see it more of an exploration/political intrigue game as money is really easy to make but it can be played almost any way.

    If you like, you can always check out the Traveller forums...Citizens of the Imperium. http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/

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    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    Are you familiar with Seth Skorkowsky?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdCq...DTByyI&index=1

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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    Quote Originally Posted by Democratus View Post
    campaign (crew of a military ship).[*]Deepnight Revalation boxed set has rules for deep space exploration ("Her 5-year mission...").[*]The Great Rift boxed set has rules for an isolated "island" of systems cut off from greater civilization.[/LIST]

    There are also lots of individual "modules" available for play as well.
    haven't even heard of Deepnight. I'll give it a try.


    I gave the Great Rift a try. Mainly "deep space exploration handbook" and was unimpressed. It is as painfully random as core world generation. If i was to run an exploration game i would use Mindjammer. There is an entire section dedicated to just stars and planets. Another on filling a planet with life and yet another for culture. Sure it takes hours to do one system* but unless they plan to visit it you only need to roll the star. Since i use Ply By Post time isn't an obstacle unless the players go out far into left field (even then one can recycle a built system that hasn't been found)


    Perhaps Pazio gave me too high of expectations but most modules fall flat to me. They stop giving out skill checks (that's what the DM is for they tell you to your face. What am i paying you for?), they often fail to give any identity to any NPC with no beginning middle or end except for the absolutely necessary main quest (clearly i am not paying for a narrative). They sell you a bare bone concept and you must be the one to place the organs in, stitch them together, add the muscles, stich them together and add skin.** .... so what am i paying them for? Pirates of Drinax is the only one i have found that measures up. It assumes you have all the core books so, beyond the occasional skill check, makes things clear and concise so you understand what is happening and implies which book to open up. Most importantly; provides a narrative beyond the PCs




    *which i streamlined by gathering all tables into a massive and orderly image. Shaved off an hour of scrolling. Another image for every exploration mission table that were scattered around the entire book.

    **a design philosophy that 5e shares unless its combat. Can i do all this myself? Yep. Is it not hard work any DM should do for a great game? Yep. Again; what value are they offering for the price? I can cut out the middle man and do it myself.

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    The king you "serve" in Pirates of Drinax is modeled directly after Voltan from Flash Gordon - as played by Brian Blessed.

    He even has a floating palace and an elite guard of Hawk Men with ornate golden wings!

    Getting to portray him in the game is the most fun I have ever had with an NPC.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    Quote Originally Posted by Democratus View Post
    The king you "serve" in Pirates of Drinax is modeled directly after Voltan from Flash Gordon - as played by Brian Blessed.

    He even has a floating palace and an elite guard of Hawk Men with ornate golden wings!

    Getting to portray him in the game is the most fun I have ever had with an NPC.
    Being a more hard sci fi group we found the guards both hilarious and gaudy at the same time. We RPed it as extreme culture shock; "Your guards are wearing WHAT!?"


    We also had a love hate relationship with our ship. Because we tracked radiation on a personal level for any ship below twelve crew and ruled any ship at 500t or less saturated some combats ended when the ship stopped firing back. Once it passes into "safety" and fails to jump we would leisurely fly up and dock. Four 'marines' were sent; one went to the bridge, another to engines. The remaining two were real marines and after escorting their buddy put any crew out of their misery with a complimentary bullet to head. That cannon left most ships too hot or shredded to be much use. Our boarding teams favored Hostile Environment Vacc Suits over any real armor.


    Our first upgrade was to replace those missiles with an ion cannon; anything was better than the radiation cannon we had. The book mentions stuffing torpedoes in that space so we ruled that a fixed ion cannon could be as well. The damn ship is no pirate vessel; it is a weapon of war :(

    We named her "Widow Maker"

    Quote Originally Posted by keybounce View Post
    So if Traveller is not defined by a crew desperately in need of making the next payment, or making another trade run, what is a more common defining feature?
    after much thought... all just opinions...

    The characters are financial failures or experiencing a mid life crisis. You can do it; roll up a character that can retire from the get go. Sad thing is though that beyond a few fringe options virtually all Travellers are left in such a way that they need a job.

    The system is incredibly modular. There is a reason why i didn't want to call it generic because it's not; the books all assume you are playing in their established setting. Like how The One Ring assumes Middle Earth or any Star Wars RPG assumes Star Wars. What sets Traveller apart is the ability to build your own setting that looks and feels vastly different from the Third Imperium. Want warp drives instead of jump drives? They offer it. Want shields? They exist. What planets to more closely match real planets? If you dig you can find the rules. Offering those dials and alternative rules allows you something that most sci fi rpgs don't; choices.

    The player base is incredibly divided. This not a good thing. Unlike Dungeons and Dragons not all versions of Traveller run under the same mechanics. Some even run on alternate versions of the setting.

    The sci fi is a good balance between hard and soft. An example; our planet has a gravity of 1g (actually 0.9807) and a Free Trader has a thrust of 1g. It is not hard to realize there is a problem but it works. Those who don't care won't question (leaving it soft) but those who do question can dig. You find out the ship has both outer and inner grav plates. It is what forces a Traveller to keep his feet on the ground and makes the Earth's gravity illrelivent; as long as the ship has power it is not bothered by gravity below a certain threshold (making it kinda hard if you don't ask how it does this). You can make a non grav ship in some editions presenting new problems for players.

    It is by no means a realistic scientificly accurate game but much of it is rooted by some semblance of science. Just enough for smart peopleto often be satisfied if they lightly question things.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    Quote Originally Posted by Alcore View Post
    The player base is incredibly divided. This not a good thing. Unlike Dungeons and Dragons not all versions of Traveller run under the same mechanics.
    I'm amused. I used to play/follow CT back in the day and I've never heard of radiation cannons, radiation exposure, or ion cannons :)

    But really, what makes Traveller to me is the Jump system and the lack of FTL comms. Wildly different tech levels from planet to planet is a secondary thing.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Traveller: I need peer review / fact checking

    Quote Originally Posted by skyth View Post
    I'm amused. I used to play/follow CT back in the day and I've never heard of radiation cannons, radiation exposure, or ion cannons :)

    But really, what makes Traveller to me is the Jump system and the lack of FTL comms. Wildly different tech levels from planet to planet is a secondary thing.
    I believe the technical name was "particle barbette" and it had the radiation trait. 2d6 x 20 (personal) with x5 on top of that for starships. 200 to 1,200 rads per shot. Space craft hull has rad armor of 500. (It can be increased)

    At 700 rads (in one instance of exposure) deals 6d6 damage to people, nausea (-1 to all checks until treated), hair loss and sterility. 100 rads short of internal bleeding (ruled as 1d6 damage per round). Also endurance goes down by 3 (forever); presumably the first set of effects could all be reversed at medical facilities. The blast itself does 4d6 damage often causing critical hits (yes, plural) on smaller craft.

    Our pilot and gunner started chain tasking to improve damage to see which would happen first; crew death or ship destruction. Fortunately radiation did not improve with this.



    Ion is much nicer; instead of damaging the ship it shorts out the power plant. The "damage" is reducted directly from power points. Most ships of 200t or less would lose weapons, jump drive, maneuver drive, and life support at the high end of the roll. Lasts only a turn but can last up to three turns with chain tasks and high effect.

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