Thursday, August 6, 2009

GURPS Traveller Interstellar Wars - Review

Review. It seems as time passes, I see more and more un-answered problems with the GT-ISW book. More and more that, it seems the only real contributions of the book seems to be its fluff and tiny bits of reference data that don't stand out so much.

In the forums and by the availability of online resources (like JTAS) it seems that there is almost no support (except for 7 adventure articles and un-updated errata) and none in the works as this review is being written.

Key Problems.
- 3e Assumptions but No 4e Conversions. This book, dispite being seperate and even a different system makes many 3e assumptions. The primary assumption is that you will fill out the rest of the details yourself with your old 3e materials by the scope of the book.
I've overlooked the complaints of the lack of support for the book, but its been 2 years and it the "underwhelming" lack of support in the forums, and follow up products may be a key symptom of a much more serious matter.
- Naval Doctrine. In order to create a consitent ship design system, one should have a consistent Naval Doctrine. A war doctrine is basically established battle practices, the way in any computer game people would favor certain strategies because the game's design tends to favor that approach. Not only does the ship lack many of the elements of ship design established in 3e, it does nothing to match it and basically leaves it an incomplete and unfinished.
- Ultra Tech and Traveller inconsistency. GTISW came before UT, UT came before HT, and LT will soon be following. It seems that both the editing and the level of detail and research are escalating in every recent version and GTISW is left in the dust with many inconsitencies with UT (like computer and software creation for instance; Power generation and storage tech for examples).
- Ship Creation and Ship Combat. A quite disaster, that people only notice when actually going out of your way to run a War Scenario. GURPS Mass Combat Came up with space ships, why not include GTISW examples.
- Forgotten. It seems for every new Traveller Applicable book that has come out, mention of the other books like Banestorm, IW, and other GURPS settings are remembered but ISW is frequently not being included.

My own Solution. I'll contribute also my own GTISW correction, update and doctrine. Lately my GM is running Thousand Suns, which is a Traveller Compatible setting. Given my own perparations for the game, I've stumbled on the many problems incorporating and running a traveller game with just the book as is.
I've also observe the shrinking number of players who are interested in this classic "Old-school" setting, which Firefly gave a brief rejuvination. I want to give new players a chance to try this game format out.
I've accumilated a detailed gear out package and gathered some interesting Doctrines given the UT, that would flesh out and simplify many games.
At least, Since there isn't going to be much support on the matter I will be one of the few niche people who are open in broadening horizons on the topic.

Game Idea.
With solid TL7-8 tech, planning to run a Jurrassic park game. basically a traveller planet with annalogs of the present world except there are conflict zones. Areas that have special industrial and political protection because of political stalemate.

This area has dinosaurs and other fantastic creatures, despite being earth-like. PCs, of ex-military bg, are tasked to rescue civilians lost there and get out alive. Because of special political hostilities (of both parties), weaponized satelites prevent the use of heavy aircraft. Light lowflying vehicles can escape detection with risks, and can only be used for fast loading and extractions.

So basically, Go into the jungle. Fight Off Dinosaurs, Aliens, and other creepy stuff. Survive long enough to rescue the objectives, and get out alive.

With the GM's monkey wrench. To make things interesting if the Players want more of a challenge.

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