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Traveller 5

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Aglondir:
Just picked up the three Traveller 5 PDFs at Bundle of Holding for $17.95, which is a great value since the retail price is $69.00. This isn’t the Mongoose version, rather, it’s the huge tome that Marc Miller created in 2012 and later split into three separate books. A total of 888 pages.

This had been on my radar for a while. I’ve got Classic Traveller, MegaTravller, Gurps Traveller, and both editions of Mongoose Traveller, so it’s not like I needed this. But this is probably as cheap as it’s ever going to get. I’ve read strong criticism of T5 on other forums, and at a first glance, I can see why. Although I’ve only spent an hour skimming through the first book, there are some weird design choices.

First is the organization. The first book is Characters and Combat, which opens with A Brief History of the Universe, a primer on the Third Imperium. Normally, I’d expect this in Book 3: Worlds and Adventures, but I guess they put it here for context. Next, a section on The Foundations of the Traveller Universe which explains the sci-fi parameters of Trav: no FTL comms, jumps take one week, contragrav, etc.  Then how dice work, then money, then distance in the game, then hex codes, terrain hexes… wait, I thought this was about characters?

It’s not until page 46 that we actually get to characters. There are 13 careers. Looks like Army and Marines are combined into Soldier, and Navy is now Spacer? Bureaucrat is now Functionary? Then right after the 13 is "Land Grants” which made me think it was a 14th career. But no, it's a reward your character can get from a government. I think there should have been a new section heading, maybe Rewards?  But then it goes into Aging so I don’t know.

Core Concepts starts on page 120, which is basically task resolution. This is not an easy read. I think the task resolution basically works like this:

1. GM determines difficulty (1d6 = hard, 2d6 = normal, 3d6 = Hard)
2. Player rolls Xd6
3. Success if roll <= Att + Skill

There’s all sorts of specifics that I won’t get into, like hasty vs cautious, and difficulties that go up to 9d (beyond impossible. Don't ask me how that works.)

---

So are there any good parts?

I like the style. I think Miller was trying to evoke the old Classic Traveller feel. Everything is B&W. There are small art pieces, but they are more like simple illustrations and icons. It looks better than Mongoose 1E, and I like the B&W retro feel better than Mongoose 2E's full-color.

Forms! Remember those? Brings back memories of the old days. And tables. And formulas, which make it feel a bit like a physics textbook. That’s not a bad thing—it’s got a Looks Boring But It's Actually Cool quality to it.

There’s a lot here for the price. A LOT. This is probably the most complete sci-fi game I’ve ever seen. For example, there are pages on how sight, smell, and hearing work. Pages on the dynamics of social interaction. Pages on military explosions, WMDs, and nukes. Will I ever use this stuff? I don’t know, but it’s a neat read.

---

I never made it to Combat, since I know I will never play T5 due to the core mechanic. I’ve played a campaign with a 2d6 roll-under core mech and hated it. Which is weird, since I like 3d6 roll-under core mechs, but for some reason 2d6 was awful. I've also tried a core mechanic somewhat like T5's: a roll-under with 2d10/3d10/4d10. The higher yields/granularity make it work better. (Guess the game-- it's very obscure!)

So I’m sticking with Mongoose (for Traveller) or Stars Without Number (for almost Traveller.) I don’t regret buying T5, but for now it’s relegated to the same space as Gurps Traveller—a cool read, but I’ll probably never play it.

Omega:
As usual. One of my local players has it. Had a glance at it and was not al that impressed. I prefer the feel of early Traveller.

hedgehobbit:

--- Quote from: Aglondir on August 15, 2022, 12:54:47 AM ---Core Concepts starts on page 120, which is basically task resolution. This is not an easy read. I think the task resolution basically works like this:

1. GM determines difficulty (1d6 = hard, 2d6 = normal, 3d6 = Hard)
2. Player rolls Xd6
3. Success if roll <= Att + Skill

--- End quote ---

Wow. That is an absolutely terrible resolution mechanic. I would have to work hard to make one that is worse.

jeff37923:

--- Quote from: hedgehobbit on August 15, 2022, 12:22:32 PM ---
--- Quote from: Aglondir on August 15, 2022, 12:54:47 AM ---Core Concepts starts on page 120, which is basically task resolution. This is not an easy read. I think the task resolution basically works like this:

1. GM determines difficulty (1d6 = hard, 2d6 = normal, 3d6 = Hard)
2. Player rolls Xd6
3. Success if roll <= Att + Skill

--- End quote ---

Wow. That is an absolutely terrible resolution mechanic. I would have to work hard to make one that is worse.

--- End quote ---

The scary thing is that in one of the T5 versions is the mathematical proof of why it works. It is brilliant, but it is also the writing of Abdul Al-Hazred. I only lost a little sanity to that counter intuitive mess by washing my eyes with the Classic Traveller LBBs.

Svenhelgrim:
It’s too bad Marc Miller has chosen to go this route.  I loved Classic Traveller, and the adventures that he wrote for Space 1889.  An excellent, brilliant designer.  What Marc fails to grasp is that we don’t need more rules.  What we need more of is: adventure hooks, maps, worlds, cool equipment and gewgaws that we can reward players with, and any other thing that we can slap down in the middle of our campaign when we haven’t had time to write an adventure or prepare for the next game.

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