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Author Topic: Traveller 5  (Read 2819 times)

jeff37923

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2022, 05:34:34 AM »
I should probably add that while the roll under system is counter intuitive and not to my taste, there is some gold in those books. I love how T5 handles extended star system generation and the additions to starship design are simply fabu.
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rhialto

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2022, 06:07:34 PM »
Sadly, T5 is to CT what Jazz Odyssey is to Spinal Tap.

David Johansen

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2022, 05:22:25 PM »
To my mind the mistakes made in T5 are:

1. failure to unify the task system.  If you're doing nd6, do nd6 and limit modifiers.  Put a 1d+1d3 or 1d + 2 and 2d + 1d3 or 2d +2 step in and ditch the modifiers.  That or do 2d6 and alter character creation to fit the range because 2d6 doesn't work with stat + skill.  Personally I want the first one but pick and stick already.

2. failure to explain adequately.   This has improved since 5.0 but it has bloated the books.  My own opinion is that 5.0 really just needed a paragraph here and there and a second mention of the skills + knowledges mechanic earlier in the book as it only shows up in the skills chapter but is vital to character creation.

3. failure to cross reference.  If a table is needed for a career, like the medals and fame tables, the page should be referenced on the career's page so you don't spend forever chasing it down in the 600 page book.

4. abstract combat.  The problem with the 5.0 combat system is that it was a very abstract process not a narrative one.  The STAMP sequence was just the order things are resolved in not the order they happen in.  Anyhow, personally the rules should have been a functional tactical wargame but that's mainly because it's easier to abstract and ignore things than it is to introduce things that aren't there.  Also, there are too many armour values and some of them seem a bit nonsensical.  Most weapons hit armour anyhow.

5. failure to include functional objects.  The core ships and races should have been covered in the core book.  The new one fixes this but honestly, there's plenty of wasted pages that could have been used to get these things in there.  I realize Marc intended to do a Third Imperium book but waiting another ten years seems unreasonable to me.

6. editing failures.  There's just a ton of little errors that make things difficult to use that don't get explained and are hard to see if you don't actively work with the makers.  The *5 in the range column for "heavy" weapons is never explained, it's not range 5 or x5 but I've got no idea what it means.  You can mount an antitank gun on a child's tricycle because weapon mounts don't have bottom limits.  Stuff like that.  Moose as of 5.1 are still the ultimate antitank weapon but I think he left that one in just to spite me.

Now let's talk about why Traveller is the greatest thing ever and should be the standard going forward!

1. Substructure.  The rules for creating everything are right in the core so you shouldn't get power creep and weird artifact builds creeping in going forward.

2. 4 Skills per term.  Characters are better rounded and more playable.  Yes, a CT skill level is about 2.5 levels in T5.

3. Fame, land grants, universities and other schools, proxy votes, medals, weird stuff like the university name and random secrets table.  I think the latest version dropped secrets from the mustering out benefits and that's a shame because it's such a fun concept.

Incidentally, starship creation is basically book2 with so many bells and whistles tacked on that you can hardly see it but really, if you sit down and build a ship and stay away from the other drives and the stage advancement ships are pretty much the same as CT underneath.


 

 
« Last Edit: August 17, 2022, 05:25:00 PM by David Johansen »
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rhialto

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2022, 06:11:46 PM »

Now let's talk about why Traveller is the greatest thing ever and should be the standard going forward!

1. Substructure.  The rules for creating everything are right in the core so you shouldn't get power creep and weird artifact builds creeping in going forward.

2. 4 Skills per term.  Characters are better rounded and more playable.  Yes, a CT skill level is about 2.5 levels in T5.

3. Fame, land grants, universities and other schools, proxy votes, medals, weird stuff like the university name and random secrets table.  I think the latest version dropped secrets from the mustering out benefits and that's a shame because it's such a fun concept.

Incidentally, starship creation is basically book2 with so many bells and whistles tacked on that you can hardly see it but really, if you sit down and build a ship and stay away from the other drives and the stage advancement ships are pretty much the same as CT underneath.
And those would have made great supplements for CT (well, 2 is a houserule I've had for a while, to emulate the characters from fiction in the backs of S1 and S4). In any case, I'm glad Marc is still creating, even if it's not to my taste.

David Johansen

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2022, 06:59:22 PM »
I think with 5.0 the biggest problem was organizational.  You'd need something like the medals table or the skill - knowledge relationship and you couldn't find it.  It's not surprising people got frustrated and threw the thing at the wall.  But what T5 lacks is the clarity and brevity of CT.  T4 had it.  Mongoose has it but T5 is everything all at once.

I don't mind the idea of the substructure being in a supplement, say Fire Fusion and Steel but I want it to exist when everything is made so there can be consistency across the line from the beginning.

T4 is actually my favorite Traveller, and I was very unhappy when it was cancelled.
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rhialto

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2022, 07:06:31 PM »
T4 is actually my favorite Traveller, and I was very unhappy when it was cancelled.
A version I'm not really familiar with, but the things I've heard...cheers!  8)

Omega

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2022, 07:51:30 PM »
Were there ever any Traveller novels? I thought for sure there was at least one. But searches have not turned up any.

Also. What edition, of any, were the PC Traveller games using?

jeff37923

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2022, 07:55:19 PM »
Were there ever any Traveller novels? I thought for sure there was at least one. But searches have not turned up any.

Also. What edition, of any, were the PC Traveller games using?

Agent of the Imperium was written by Marc Miller. There are a few others, some for TNE and one for T4, plus a few odds and ends written recently.

The PC games were using Megatraveller IIRC.
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David Johansen

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2022, 09:16:01 PM »
TNE had three one of which I read and was okay.  To Dream of Chaos, The Death of Wisdom, and I dunno, I only ever saw the two but I keep hearing the third exists.  T4 had one, I've got it somewhere, competently written but I can tell you the author never really dug into Traveller mechanics, the ship has shields.  I guess it's a competent generic sf adventure that has Traveller written on the cover.  Marc Miller's Agent of the Imperium is interesting, expects you to read UWPs and tells you how to do so, features a personality imprint on a data chip as the main character.  It's neat and a bit scary.  If you thought the Imperium in 40k was evil, this copy of a guy has at least three worlds killed on the page and since there's a copy of the chip on every imperial capital ship, you have to wonder if those were all the instances or just the ones relevant to the plot.  I'm not saying the agent was wrong but it certainly paints the Third Imperium in a different light.
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Aglondir

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2022, 09:31:05 PM »
That or do 2d6 and alter character creation to fit the range because 2d6 doesn't work with stat + skill. 
Do you not like the "roll 2d6 >=8" that Mongoose Trav (1E) uses?

4 Skills per term.  Characters are better rounded and more playable.  Yes, a CT skill level is about 2.5 levels in T5.
Nice. Never liked 1 skill per term. My ideal Trav version would be 2 year terms, with the possibility to gain 4 skills per term:

1 is automatic,
1 you might get from an event table,
1 you might get if you are promoted,
1 you might get from a mishap.

I think the latest version dropped secrets from the mustering out benefits and that's a shame because it's such a fun concept.
Definitely using Secrets in my next Trav game.


David Johansen

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #25 on: August 17, 2022, 09:34:48 PM »
T4 is actually my favorite Traveller, and I was very unhappy when it was cancelled.
A version I'm not really familiar with, but the things I've heard...cheers!  8)

An early victim of internet fan rage.  But there were some spectacular failures like the first printing of First Survey and the equations in Fire, Fusion, and Steel.

But it does a good job of character creation.  It's basically CT with four skills per term and education options.  There is this one flaw though, aging isn't bad enough to deter anyone because at four skills per term, attribute boosts can easily keep up with aging losses.  Anyhow too many people cheat on aging rolls.  That's why my Galaxies In Shadow rules made aging absolute.

The basic starship creation is clean and quick and starship combat works well enough.  Personal combat is a bit wonky and giving out 6d armour when most weapons only do 3d or 4d is not the best idea.  Rolling the armour or just multiplying by 3 or 4 helps here.  The dicepools for things are roughly equivalent to weakend blows and so forth in CT.  World generation is world generation.  Trade, geeze, I don't even remember but it's probably just a tweaked CT.

Anyhow, the supplements were a mixed bag, Emperor's Arsenal, Pocket Empires, Central Supply Catalog, the hardback combined Mileau Zero / Second Survey, Aliens Archive, and Psionic Institutes are all pretty good.  Starships has a lot of flaws and errors in the advanced starship creation rules but at leasst the larger images make the ship illustrations a bit better.  Fire Fusion and Steel is really pretty good but it's got fourteen pages of errata and the printer screwed up everylast equation in the book and it's a book full of equations.  Emperor's vehicles has no usable game stats at all for anything, just vague descriptors and a chart in the back giving ranges of values tied to the terms.  Imperial Starfleets is the rules to Fifth Frontier War and Dark Nebula without counters, or other usable information.  I really never quite got how they expected you to use it.  Mileau Zero is dull, okay?  I'm sorry, it's just a bit boring.  The first printing of First Survey messed up all the UWPs somehow.  The idea was that there was a set for the players that just gave the phsyical details and a set for the referee that gave the full values.  Fun way to do exploration right.  Except I'm pretty sure they just printed the player's list twice.  I only got the second printing.

The art well, the Elmore pieces in the core are decent enough if nothing too special.  The Chris Foss art probably wasn't the greatest idea.  I don't know, they're all lovely pieces but the black and white ship images in the core book are too small and dark.  And some of the ships are pretty fanciful for Traveller's pragmatic aesthetic.  The guy who did Emperor's Vehicles and Emperor's arsenal is decent enough, but he draws people with big heads.  So there's that.

I think the biggest complaints people had were the nd6 roll under task system, the entirely necessary half dice therein, the art, the errors, and perhaps, the huge expectations of promises made and broken.  Even so, I really think a cleaned up 2.5 could have dealt with some of that.  Personally I was just happy to have Traveller back.

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David Johansen

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2022, 09:38:54 PM »
Okay, so the thing about 2d6 >= 8 is that at four skills per term you get totals of 12 pretty easily.  It works fine with the CT range but T4 and T5 and CT advanced characters really need a broader range.  I'm pretty agnostic when it comes to roll high or roll low, honestly but rolling under when totalling dice always feels better than adding stuff to it.

Of course, there's also a larger number of skills in T4 & T5 as well so four skills makes sense there too.

The idea that knowing things you shouldn't is of great value is a wonderful thing.

Also, T5 has rules for Mentats and Face Dancers, which is lovely.
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Aglondir

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2022, 09:41:41 PM »
Were there ever any Traveller novels? I thought for sure there was at least one. But searches have not turned up any.
Some Traveller-like books I enjoyed:

The Vatta's War series by Elizabeth Moon. Reminds me of a Traveller merchant campaign. The notable exception is the existence of ansibles (FTL comms) but it didn't make much of a difference in the first two books (all I read.)

The Honor Harrington series by David Weber is good inspiration for a Traveller naval campaign. Granted FTL travel is different.


BronzeDragon

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2022, 09:52:12 PM »
Mongoose has been doing a masterful job of supporting their Traveller line. The Great Rift boxed set is a wonderful product, and I'm looking at Pirates of Drinax and Deepnight Revelation.

As far as I'm concerned, I see no need to try out T5.
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David Johansen

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Re: Traveller 5
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2022, 10:05:43 PM »
Mongoose Traveller has D&D style stat bonuses, D&D style initiative, and skill packages that entirely invalidate the mechanical point of random character creation and had Judge Dredd's Lawgiver doing the same damage as a Hammer's Slammers power gun..  It's dead to me.  So, it's not just people who hate T4 and T5 who fan rage. ;)
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