Friday, March 15, 2019

More about High Level Play

I knew that there was more to be said about High Level Play than I said in my first post.

I spent some time reading through the introductory material in The Traveller Book, and I found not an explicit pattern, but many indicators that High Level Play was anticipated, maybe even intended.

The introduction section gives lots of hints, starting with the mention of "star spanning empires, huge star fleets, Larger-Than-Life heroes". (emphasis mine)

And how about this?
Traveller is open-ended, which means that there are no set conditions for winning. Each player sets his or her own goal, and has a lifetime (in game terms) to achieve it. Traveller can continue for as long as the referee and the players desire. Like the universe, Traveller has no limits.”
The characters have an opportunity to undertake genuine adventures as they search for their own self appointed goals.”
"The typical methods used in life by 20th century Terrans (thrift, dedication, and hard work) do not work in Traveller; instead, travellers must boldly plan and execute daring schemes for the acquisition of wealth and power."

The expectation, then, is that players will have goals beyond the wishes of their current patron, or the referee.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

More on Careers - One Rogue Too Many

I have not played any of the versions of that other RPG from the 1970's, where they re-named the Thief class to the Rogue class. Why, I wonder, did GDW feel it was necessary to use the vague and dissembling nomenclature 'Rogue' when 'Criminal' would have been more accurate? Or would it have been?

Something shady is going on here.

The text description of the Rogues reads as follows: "Criminal elements familiar with the rougher or more illegal methods of accomplishing tasks." I guess it would be more accurate, then. But wait. The word rogue is defined as: 1) a vagrant or tramp, 2: a dishonest or worthless person, a scoundrel. There are a few more connotations, but none are specifically criminal in nature. So, many Traveller PCs could be characterized as Rogues, regardless of what career they went through.

Let us speak truth, a great many Traveller PCs from back in the day were essentially criminals regardless of their chosen background career. They were smugglers, bandits, thieves, hired guns, burglars, and so on. Why the need for a separate career to breed them? Most player, myself included assumed that if you wanted a criminal PC, you went with the Other service. So this ground has been covered already.

Most of the skills the Rogues career offers (discussed later) are not specifically criminal, and with the random skill allocation process, there's no guarantee a PC will come away with a criminal CV. The free Service Skill is Streetwise, not a necessarily criminal skill. This would have been the time to introduce some new skills for the criminal class, but Supp4 does not do this. 

Later editions of Traveller introduced more criminal skills like Intrusion or Lockpicking. I suggested elsewhere that espionage activities (criminals on a payroll) could be handled with Basic skills and attributes. That way any PC could try their hand at clandestine activity

I actually have the chronology backwards. Supplement 4: Citizens of the Imperium, in which the Rogue career made its appearance, was first published in 1979. This is several years before that other game made the change. So why did they go along with GDW?

Let's have a look at the Rogue career, shall we?

Sunday, March 3, 2019

More Stellagama Goodness

Now I've got the Trio: Light, Pocket Light and Faster than Light!

Three versions
The good folks at Stellagama Publishing have provided me with physical copies of all three versions of their streamlined Cepheus Engine rules. I gave CL & CL:PE to my boys, and they've begun building their own worlds, characters creatures and adventures. 

You can get yours at DriveThruRPG.

Join the Fun!