Web Find of the Day


#744

Traveller’s weird. I didn’t read it until recently-ish (early 2000s?) when there were big compilations available that were in that weird landcape format (bound on a short edge) so I’ve got the main body of the original edition spread over a couple books. Being a product of that era, it also

Looking at Traveller with modern eyes, it’s interesting. Almost everything is (potentially) random, but in a way that has two distinguishing features:

First, it’s clearly designed in an era when computing resources were uncommon/limited. This means you have a lot of ‘manual algorithms’ with surprisingly few decision points. Character creation (which infamously has ‘you died’ as a possibly and sometimes likely exit) has an intentional second use as generating NPC stats for the DM. Generation is pretty ‘simple’ and has been done online. Here’s one tool: https://devilghost.com/software/travellercharacter/

The second thing that strikes me about the excessive randomization and process use is it leads to making shallow descriptions that the players and GM have to give life to. Characters can be very easy to note the essential stats, as can planets (both can be boiled down to a short list of pseudo-hexadecimal text strings). I feel like it could lead to situations where players make interesting choices of limited known data, like choosing between a primitive planet or a high-tech planet, but the GM has space to get creative with both of those to fill in details.

Both lead to something that as an 80s gamer was great, but now… Less so. There’s tons of room for ‘non-gaming play’ in the Traveller rules, in that you could use free time to generate characters, systems, ships, etc. Great at the time… But now I don’t have the same kind of free time.

With my position I’ve also stayed away from the arguments about editions and such. I do like that to my understanding there’s modern editions where they kept the randomness and ‘push your luck’ elements of character creation, but instead of dying with a failed role you pick up a serious lingering injury.


#745

The days of me spending hours making cars in Car Wars with graph paper and a calculator, or making Twilight 2000 characters (Same generation style as Traveler) are long gone.


#746

Yeah, but which edition of T:2k? v2.0 was a substantial re-write of just about everything when compared to v1.0.


#747

Thanks very much for that.

I always wanted to play Traveller, back in the day, but no-one in my group was ever interested in it. (There’s no-one in my current group who’d be interested either, but let’s not go there…)


#748

Hehe - I still have my original “Classic” rules, as well as a lot of the add-on books. Every once in a while I think about seeing if they’re worth anything, and then I either forget or change my mind.


#749

Whichever one I would have played in 1992.


#750

Fun little time waster if you’re at work for the rest of the year and it’s painfully slow:

https://sandtable-8d0f7.firebaseapp.com/


#751

Maybe it is the accent, but this guy’s narrative amuses me - watching some of his Fallout 76 videos… it seems like they’re not really “walk through” videos, because they don’t seem very instructional… it’s more like riding around with him as he discovers stuff. “Ooh, looky there!” style.


#752

Found an article about how Bing Crosby was instrumental in getting magnetic tape accepted for recording radio shows. Before it was, any live shows had to be broadcast twice: once for the east coast of the US and again for the west coast.

The old Magnetophons recorded at 30 inches per second, which made splicing tapes together impossible if you wanted a fade out/fade in effect. Once recording got down to 15 and 7.5 ips with the Ampex 300, you could.

Related note: a lot of “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac was made by splicing pieces of different songs together. It’s the only song that has all five members credited as writing it.


#753

Larry Correia posted on his blog that the final book Zachary Hill was working on three years ago when he suddenly died from a blood clot has been finished by Zach’s twin brother and a couple of friends. The regular edition of Sakura: Intellectual Property will be out in March, but they’re making a special leatherbound hardcover edition with special illustrations. As of last Friday, 150 of the 350 available had been pre-ordered. If interested, head to the order page.

As Larry put it, it’s “heavy metal saves the world”.


#754

Correia posted a link to a short story that he’s making available for free called “The Testimony of the Traitor Ratul”. Takes place during the events in “Son of the Black Sword” and provides the backstory of a pivotal supporting character.