Traveller T5 Kickstarter


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Good news for those of you who like your SFRPGs. Marc Miller has a T5 kickstarter on and it has already passed the basic goal. There is going to be a 600 page Traveller core rulebook which will include pretty much all the stuff you might remember and a lot of new material (i.e. robots / AI (as PCs), genetic engineering, artificail life, systems for constructing pretty much everything - not just starships, and a whole lot more). If you're not familiar with Traveller you should be :D Should be fun. Not linked below, just copy and paste or search kickstarter. I've been waiting for this.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/traveller5/traveller-5th-edition


I received my Traveller5 hard cover two days ago as a high-end supporter of the Kickstarter. I am sad to report I am severely disappointed in this edition of the game. Did anyone else receive theirs?


Not yet although I should soon. When I do I'll let you know what I think. What disappointed you about it? Nice to know so can give those sections an extra look. And if I might ask, what edition is your favorite? I have pretty much all of the original, Megatraveller, T-4 and a lot of T20 and Mongoose as well. After looking it over I gave The New Era a miss although I kept Brilliant Lances and the TNE version of FF&S. Mongoose Traveller looked OK and this edition is supposed to be compatible...


I was an original Traveller (boxed set, "The Traveller Book", etc.) player and GM. With that background, and I have seen some of the MegaTraveller stuff, I expected a "modern" treatment of the game. I have over 30 years of RPG experience (which I am sure many Traveller fans can lay claim to), so I do have some idea of what works and what does not.

Here's the good- all the extras (dice, coins, cards) from the Kickstarter were actually quite nice. The book itself is nicely bound if not huge (an inch and a half thick) and Mr. Miller nicely penned a dedication in the front.

The bad is that the book seems very disorganized... before you get to character creation, for example, you are treated to 11 pages of "how dice work", including 7 pages of nothing but dice probability charts for all combinations... and an elaborate explanation of how much a "ton" is... as well as how to read hex-decimal markings on maps. This is not user-friendly at all.

If you look at Pathfinder, by comparison, things are laid out in an easy to understand and learnable format... the kind of thought that went into the PF Beginner Box *did not* go into this product. Sections seem to be cut and pasted in any order than what I expected... huge swaths of tables of numbers related to measuring everything from sight and sound perception s to astrological phenomena consume this book, with little explanation as to how they fit into the greater whole.

From a user-friendly and production quality point of view I would give it a 2 out of 10.

Let's talk about layout. Event the first Traveller books had nicer, cleaner layouts than this... and the artwork was better too. (Ok, the ship section in the back is nice, but that is about all that I care for... a lot of the rest of the artwork looks either cut and pasted from older material or half-way done.)

In short, in total, this doesn't look like a finished product to me. I think Mr. Miller has done quality work in the past and I guess that is why I am disappointed- I expected so much more from this edition. It may be that what he produced is, in essence, what Traveller really is- a dense treatment of Sci-Fi without an emphasis on story or plotline... if that is the case, then perhaps Traveller isn't for me any more. It's sad, I really hoped for a product I could put next to Pathfinder and say "wow, Traveller, you've come a long way, baby" and view them as both professionally produced examples of RPGs... but that isn't how I am feeling after two days of reviewing my copy.

I wanted to feel so much differently.


Well... that's a bit worrying. Still, it's a core rulebook, emphasize "rule". There's not a lot of story / plotline in the PFRPG Core book either. As for charts, Traveller has always had a ton, especially in things like "Fire, Fusion and Steel" or "Striker". By the time I finished a ship design and deck plans for Megatraveller I always felt like I had actually built it. Illustrations, while nice, are frosting. Hopefully the organization isn't too much of a problem. That is the one thing that would be a major issue for me.

On the other hand, to round out my collection, I also ordered CDs for all GDWs original Traveller, and Megatraveller books as well as T4. No The New Era for me... and hopefully T5 will be good. I can always print sections from my CD and organize it myself if the hardback is too arcane.


R_Chance wrote:

Well... that's a bit worrying. Still, it's a core rulebook, emphasize "rule". There's not a lot of story / plotline in the PFRPG Core book either. As for charts, Traveller has always had a ton, especially in things like "Fire, Fusion and Steel" or "Striker". By the time I finished a ship design and deck plans for Megatraveller I always felt like I had actually built it. Illustrations, while nice, are frosting. Hopefully the organization isn't too much of a problem. That is the one thing that would be a major issue for me.

On the other hand, to round out my collection, I also ordered CDs for all GDWs original Traveller, and Megatraveller books as well as T4. No The New Era for me... and hopefully T5 will be good. I can always print sections from my CD and organize it myself if the hardback is too arcane.

Yes, original Traveller had a lot of charts and complex systems for generating various items- that is still featured in this game, if not more so. (People who love computing gravity well statistics will absolutely love some features of this book.) I had hoped for less of a 1970s wargame approach to the design (similar to reading an old AH Squad Leader or Star Fleet Battles rulebook) and more of of what I would consider a modern approach- a lot could have been solved just by adding appendices.

I disagree that illustrations are just "frosting". I have long held the belief that for a RPG to be successful, it must have clean, readable layout and appealing graphic design. Just walls of text are not going to cut it any more and neither will simple pencil sketches. Let me illustrate:

Old, first edition Traveller artwork sample.

An example of what I expected to see in Traveller5.

What we actually get in Traveller5.

That said, you had written "I can always print sections from my CD and organize it myself if the hardback is too arcane."

My question to you is should you have to? I love Traveller enough that I am trying to figure out how to salvage what I received in the mail... its just a crying shame that I have to look at it that way. I have talked with other long-time devotees since receiving my book and what I sense out there is a kind of forgiveness for the shortcomings out of loyalty for Marc Miller and the Traveller legacy. I can understand that, but I am not ashamed to say I hoped for so much better treatment of the material.


Whiskey Jack wrote:


Yes, original Traveller had a lot of charts and complex systems for generating various items- that is still featured in this game, if not more so. (People who love computing gravity well statistics will absolutely love some features of this book.) I had hoped for less of a 1970s wargame approach to the design (similar to reading an old AH Squad Leader or Star Fleet Battles rulebook) and more of of what I would consider a modern approach- a lot could have been solved just by adding appendices.

Traveller was always the gearhead SF RPG. Aside from the addition of FTL travel there was a lot of science in the Sci-Fi in Traveller. There are "modern" SFRPGs out there. And others that are simpler whether modern or not. I was a wargamer before D&D and later Traveller came into my life so this aspect appeals to me. As long as they fixed the computer rules :)

Whiskey Jack wrote:


I disagree that illustrations are just "frosting". I have long held the belief that for a RPG to be successful, it must have clean, readable layout and appealing graphic design. Just walls of text are not going to cut it any more and neither will simple pencil sketches. Let me illustrate:

The Keith brothers "pencil sketches" are art, to me at least. While the soldier with gear you linked to is nice I don't have to have my imagination replaced so completely that illustrations become a necessity. Now, a clean, readable layout is a necessity. And I could do without the boxy cutter design although that was from a Judges Guild 3pp Traveller product iirc.

Whiskey Jack wrote:


That said, you had written "I can always print sections from my CD and organize it myself if the hardback is too arcane."

My question to you is should you have to? I love Traveller enough that I am trying to figure out how to salvage what I received in the mail... its just a crying shame that I have to look at it that way. I have talked with other long-time devotees since receiving my book and what I sense out there is a kind of forgiveness for the shortcomings out of loyalty for Marc Miller and the Traveller legacy. I can understand that, but I am not ashamed to say I hoped for so much better treatment of the material.

No, I shouldn't have to. But if the mechanics are sound and the game is good it's worth doing. And yes, Marc Miller gets off easier with me.


I haven't played traveller in decades and was just browsing this out of curiosity. I love your choice for first edition traveller artwork example. Haha, it looks lower tech than Google Glass and it's listed as TL13! Where is my plasma rifle?

Ken


Chance,

Thanks for having this dialog with me. I am curious what your opinion is after you receive your copy and have had a chance to look through it.

Ken,

I know, I thought the same thing! :-)


Re: my comment above, I want my plasma rifle too. :-)

I've spent the last three days since my initial post working my way through the book and my initial reaction has softened somewhat. I realize now that my dejection is mainly from expecting Traveller to shed it's old skin and emerge as something beautiful and new. The book really is (essentially) an ultimate compendium of Traveller without any improvements toward the production values of RPGs we see produced in the last five years or so. If you take it for what it is, and didn't expect any more from it, the design and layout are as "Traveller-esque" (circa 1980) as you could want.

I am trying to get over my wishing for a Traveller rulebook with Pathfinder production values.

That said, in the three days I have been looking it over, I am seeing the skeleton and core system of a pretty decent version of Traveller. I am still digesting it, as there is a lot here to look at. Characters and Skills is where I am focused mainly and I do see an improvement over the classic Traveller I used to know. The character development system, though, is still the "roll a dozen times" each term to determine your character's random skillset- which I have never been fond of. I will work on an alternate "build your character" that I think may do the trick (and I may share it on here for others to pick apart if they wish).

I am looking forward to seeing what else has changed (rules-wise). I am also finding that the more I look at the book, the less misgivings I have- though I still think an index and appendices would help.


This is encouraging. I'm still waiting, not so patiently, for mine. I suspect I delayed it by adding CDs of older Traveller material to the order when I confirmed my shipping address. Anyway, when it was described as Marc Miller's ultimate version of Traveller I pretty much pictured what you've described above. When I do get it and look it over I'll post my thoughts.


I had read that they are processing orders at the rate of 50 per day... there are over 2,000 orders... that could mean a very long delay for supporters unless they change the rate.


Whiskey Jack wrote:


I had read that they are processing orders at the rate of 50 per day... there are over 2,000 orders... that could mean a very long delay for supporters unless they change the rate.

I caught that too. Well, hopefully it's sooner rather than later...

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