Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And Another Thing

I don't recall it being addressed for the OTU, and I'll poke around - but what keeps worlds from being able to create their own Jump drives?

There's tech levels for some of 'em. There's population issues: stands to reason, a non-industrial world won't have the infrastructure necessarily. Except that it ain't so: there's plenty of worlds, with A ports, that don't have high enough tech, and don't have big populations. And there's plenty of worlds with sufficient tech and populations that have C or B ports, and can't produce Jump ships.

(I'm pointedly ignoring Trillion Credit Squadron right now.)

Is knowledge of the Jump Drive controlled? How? Or is it a materials problem?

If anything, it suggests a far more insular and less homogeneous TU than often seems to be discussed amongst Traveller wonkery.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

By ignoring TCS, you're ignoring the best answer to the question you've posed.

And, in ignoring that answer, you're going to instead propose some sort of all powerful Basic Knowledge Diffusion police working within your setting slapping down researchers on dozens of worlds.

Is that an improvement? It could work in some settings, it doesn't seem to fit your setting.

The rating assigned to a world's completely open to the public starport say nothing whatsoever about that capabilities of private and/or government shipyards on that planet.

Similarly, the size of a planet's population does not enter the shipyard picture either. Class A states a port can build starships, not that it must each and every kind of starship immediately as soon as someone shows up with the money. The same holds true for repairs and Class B ports.

Hans Rancke, whom I've known for years and love like a brother, somehow cannot to understand this logical and subtle difference much to the detriment of his setting materials.

For the last two decades I've waddled across this planet visiting every continent except Antarctica while dealing with a variety of heavy industries and advanced technologies. My career has left me with an appreciation for the vagaries of Traveller's tech level system. I can come up with dozens of real world reasons for why a planet with a certain TL does not utilize that TL to it's fullest.

That being said, I'm the first to admit that TLs as presented in the rules do not work unmodified within the game's official setting. This is because the whole setting vs. rules disconnect, which GURPS has done so well with, was not even guessed at in 1977.

Those planets with interstellar tech levels and large populations can also have "lousy" starports. The listed port is merely the one which is open to all. For example, the planet in question could very well have a state-owned shipping/trading company, much like the USSR did, which flies ships built in "private" yards out of "private" ports while the lousy public is a deliberate policy decision meant to maintain the government's trading monopoly.


Regards,
Bill

3:26 PM  
Blogger Festeria said...

I suppose that's true; I guess that the TCS rule always just seemed, I don't know... flabby?

Yeah, it's probably the best explanation. And of course, the best approach is to take it world by world.

In my setting, a single overarching "Knowledge Police" wouldn't work at all and I don't think that would work in any setting very well, certainly not one with the kind of time frame Traveller Universes seem to.

I think I do want to ask myself whether the TCS interpretation is at odds with a LBB123 universe, though. It might not be. It does give interstellar naval capabilities to significantly more worlds than otherwise, which means that I need to keep naval budgets down across the board unless I want to see the kind of teeming, overpopulated spacelanes that many interpreters of the OTU seem to envisage.

4:02 AM  
Blogger Festeria said...

What'll help me, if I can be arsed to do it, is create a slightly more complex map of my subsectors (if I do it on a computer, you'll be able to see them!) The idea would be to indicate the port and so forth but also flag 2 other things:

1) Worlds with sufficient population to support shipbuilding
2) Worlds with the native tech to support shipbuilding

And then see what presents itself.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Festeria said...

"For example, the planet in question could very well have a state-owned shipping/trading company, much like the USSR did, which flies ships built in "private" yards out of "private" ports while the lousy public is a deliberate policy decision meant to maintain the government's trading monopoly."

Now, one interesting side effect of this interpretation is a rationale for a certain sort of piracy to occur in that particular world.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading you last comments, I've finally realized the problem at work here: You seem to think that LBB:1,2, & 3 support the OTU. They do not.

The original Traveller rules as expressed in the First Three Books are setting-less. There is no "official" Traveller setting in those books. They don't even mention the Imperium, that's left for a single sentence in LBB:4 and a whole lot of material in LBB:5.

(Please note I said setting less and not setting free. Despite the sale pitches spewed by the bottom feeding assholes at Mongoose, Traveller's potential settings have always been constrained by the technologies presented in the rules and the famous sentence in first paragraph on the first page of the first book prohibiting FTL comms other than ships.)

The OTU cannot be extrapolated straight from the First Three LLBs anymore than a specific setting can be extrapolated straight from the GURPS basic rules. Just as the portions of the basic GURPS rules must be either modified or ignored to create specific settings, such as psionics not being available in a setting that requires magic, the basic rules presented in the First Three LBBs must be modified or ignored to create the specific OTU setting.

For example, tech levels as presented in LBB:3 are nonsense in the OTU setting and thus must be modified. Ship building as presented in LBB:2 must be modified via HG2 for the OTU too.

You're not going to be able to make the OTU as described work with only the First Three LBBs. You can make many other settings work with just the First Three, but the OTU isn't one of them.


Regards,
Bill

4:44 PM  
Blogger Festeria said...

After reading you last comments, I've finally realized the problem at work here: You seem to think that LBB:1,2, & 3 support the OTU.

OH NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

The OTU is something entirely different. The OTU is not the critter I'm interested in. I don't need to make the OTU work with LBB123, because the OTU is half of what alienated me from later periods of Traveller in the first place. What I view as the intrusion of the OTU into books 6 and 7 is a part (though by no means all) of what ruins those books for me.

What I'm interested in is what sort of universe you can derive from LBB123; because in spite of what's said, I maintain it's NOT settingless. The rules positively demand a setting. I'm interested in the way that it's different from the thing that the OTU became in the late eighties.

I suppose you could look at what I'm doing as "looking at a universe in which the Kinunir might be flawed, but not silly."

Or rather, "If I found the LBB123 box for the first time now, and had its lacunae fixed, what would I do with it?"

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, the rules in the First Three LBBs demand a setting. There just isn't a specific setting presented in the First Three LBBs, that's all.

The First Three are setting-less, not setting free mind you, but setting-less. While no actual setting is presented with them, only a certain set of settings can be derived from them.

You can use the rules to create a certain group of settings, settings constrained by the presented technologies and the "No FTL comms/18th Century style comms provision.

And I cannot agree more strongly that the OTU did intrude on Scouts and Merchant Prince to an unnecessary degree. Starting with HG2 and getting progressively worse with each release, the sole supported Traveller setting became more and more snarled around what were allegedly setting neutral rules. That was one of GDW's biggest mistakes.

The rules and setting have been so confused for so long, that we even routinely make subconsciousness connections between the two. Look at your musings trade for example.

You've been fiddling with the trade system in order to look at what sort of LBB2 merchants, escorts, and pirates would be a result. In that effort, you're assuming free trade. You're assuming that there will be enough free movement of goods through multiple systems to mean that PC-scale merchant ships are economically viable.

Sure the PC-scale trade system exists in the rules, but nothing says that it must be part of any setting or that it must be available on any world or that every world must part of the the same polity. Nothing in the rules says anything about free trade being a given. That's a bit from the OTU and not from the rules.


Assumptions are funny things and the rules "support" many assumptions that are actually contradictory. We already talked earlier about how the port listed in that hi-pop, hi-tech world's UWP could simply be the "public" one. That's an assumption just as "supported" by the First Three LLBs' rules as the assumption that the port listed in the UWP is the only port in the system.

The setting you eventually derive from the First Three LLBs is going to depend greatly on the assumptions you make and, because other contrary assumptions are equally supported by the rules, other equally supported settings can be derived too.

There's no one ur-setting that the First Three LBBs produce. There's a group of settings which can be produced, a range which is constrained by the factors I've mentioned, but there's no single, "ur", "proto", pre-OTU, or whatever else you want to call it, setting.


Regards,
Bill

7:21 PM  
Blogger Festeria said...

I would agree that nothing in the rules says that every world has to be the same polity, or even that there has to be one major one. The trade rules, though, DO seem to be fairly universal. They DO seem hardwired, which tells me something about the assumptions of the game designer. And assumptions are definitely funny things...

"There's no one ur-setting that the First Three LBBs produce. There's a group of settings which can be produced, a range which is constrained by the factors I've mentioned, but there's no single, "ur", "proto", pre-OTU, or whatever else you want to call it, setting." Which is one of the things I love about pre-expansion Traveller, and why I'm chasing down MY TU like this.


Regards,

7:54 PM  

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