• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

What was the 'failed promise' of early Traveller?

smarttman

I do some stuff
Validated User
I've been looking at a lot of older sci-fi RPGs lately: things like Star Ace, Star Frontiers, Space Opera, Journeyman, etc. In a lot of their advertisements and boiler plates, they laud that their game delivers on the 'failed promise' of Traveller, or does what Traveller was supposed to do but better.

So what exactly was this failed promise? What did Traveller not deliver on once it came out? I never saw Traveller as anything more than a sandbox sci-fi game and that's what it has seemed to accomplish, but maybe I'm missing something. Does anyone know?
 

MeMeMe

Registered User
Validated User
Star Ace and Space Opera - they bring back memories. I dont remember them claiming anything about the 'failed promise' of Traveller but it was likely just marketing. Traveller was the biggest scifi game of the time, and they just had to make themselves sound like they had something to offer that Traveller didn't match. The same thing happened with D&D - other fantasy games had to prove themselves worth picking up over D&D so they'd make claims about how they did things better.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
My guess would be it had to do with what a fair number of people felt was the combination of technological and style conservatism you found in Traveler. Notice most of those were space-opera centric games.
 

RobertEdwards

Registered User
Validated User
Traveller doesn't have ubiquitous blasters. Its default setting is relatively pedestrian compared to many literary and media SF settings.

Of course, it never promised ubiquitous blasters.

Rival games marketing might have been different if the Traveller rules encouraged reskinning Snub Pistols (for example) as hand phasers, with appropriate special effects.
 

RobertEdwards

Registered User
Validated User
Star Ace and Space Opera - they bring back memories.
Star Ace: Blasters, cat aliens, bear aliens, more psionic powers and every PC had their own starfighter.

Space Opera: More dang guns than you can shake a FGMP16 at. Cat aliens and bear aliens. More aliens. More and higer powered psionics. More maneuverable and mobile starships. More, more, more.
 

GaoGaiGar

Is anyone REALLY a
Validated User
I don't recall any of the other early SF RPGs taking shots at Traveller at the time. I did find this TSR UK ad calling Star Frontiers "The 'playable' one." Any UK players have light to shed there? There was plenty of Traveller content in White Dwarf at the time and even a comic strip, so it was hardly unloved in the early 80s.

There was a thirst for a game just like Star Wars at the time, and Traveller wasn't that close to it.


 

Amberpup

Registered User
Validated User
Space Opera allowed one to become a pseudo Jedi, with the psi-sword and psionics. But "yes", the game had so many guns... so many guns, some days it was hard to choose which one to take with your PC on a mission. To most of us playing the game, a FGMP16 was Tuesday's choice....
 

RobertEdwards

Registered User
Validated User
Back in 1980 or so I played in a Mashup game of AD&D /Traveller/ Gamma World /Star Probe/Star Empire/ Space Opera.

The winning gun combo was the CEM Gun that could blast down any force field, and the Quark Gun, which couldn't penetrate a force field, but which did 100 points of damage and didn't leave a mark. There would be a big KAZOMBA that caused a *fizzle* around a target. Next round, they fell over dead.
 

Scurrilous

Registered User
Validated User
I think Traveller basically failed to deliver Star Wars or Star Trek. It's funny because Star Wars was a major factor in Traveller's future development but Traveller was too prosaic and rational. Star Frontiers leaned more to Star Trek than Star Wars. Even Space Opera was more Dune than Star Wars. Mechanoid Invasion did a pretty good Star Wars meets existential threat of humanity's own making. Space opera was the gonzo game with lots of physics behind it. I've always wanted to play it.
 

smarttman

I do some stuff
Validated User
I think Traveller basically failed to deliver Star Wars or Star Trek. It's funny because Star Wars was a major factor in Traveller's future development but Traveller was too prosaic and rational. Star Frontiers leaned more to Star Trek than Star Wars. Even Space Opera was more Dune than Star Wars. Mechanoid Invasion did a pretty good Star Wars meets existential threat of humanity's own making. Space opera was the gonzo game with lots of physics behind it. I've always wanted to play it.
Space Opera and its setting look really interesting, but the setting isn't described very heavily in detail in the core rules. There are those Sector Atlases, but I don't feel like reading through hundreds of pages of planet descriptions - just a broad overview would work
 
Top Bottom