On the one hand, I am sick and tired of learning to play someone else's game. On the other hand, there are some cool games that I have long wanted to learn to play. Traveller5 is one of those games.
Reasons to Play
For one thing, I was involved in the playtest of the system. Bits of this game got tested... but never quite the whole thing.
When I was testing, the biggest missing piece was the combat section of the rules. This came very late and, frankly, I didn't get time to give it as much attention as was needed.
That's probably one reason why, on first reading of the final book, I couldn't understand how to run a melee.
But that's not answering the question: why play T5?
On dipping my toe back into the waters of T5 over the past 24 hours, here's why I want to play:
- I like the d6-based Task Resolution system and use of d6 only for damage - it's simple.
- I really like building characters using the Career system and the 4-year Term process.
- The system is comprehensive - everything I can imagine needing is in there.
- There's a process to allow me to make my own stuff up; you name it, you can probably make it.
- It's simple to play - the basic rules are very easy to grasp.
Reasons to Be Put Off
I'm not blind to the flaws of this product. For one, it is a book that initially just made me wince due to layout and the super-dense amount of text. My top five reasons to be put off include:
- It's really badly organised - 50 pages in and I'm reading what should be an appendix.
- It's really badly written - not just the typos and omissions, but also the style is really poor.
- There's too much system and not enough setting - where's the "easy to grasp" equipment list, for example?
- It needs a lot of house-rulings to clarify stuff... like, how to run a melee with a weapon in hand.
- It's not at all aimed at the beginner. Defo not an RPG beginner. Probably not a Traveller beginner.
In short, it needs a very dedicated Referee (GM) to run a game. You will want to hide the book from the players, ignore just about everything inside the book until you actually need it, and you'll need to dedicate time to prepping the stuff you need.
Thankfully, there are other Traveller5 Referees out there producing handy resources. Phew! But please share yours too.
So... Why Do You Want To Play?
Because it's Traveller, I have a deep-seated affection for the game and consequent desire to play. I have a deep love of the setting too.
It's actually a rather simple game at heart. There's just lots of stuff piled on top to hide the fact from the casual reader. Actually, it's so completely piled on you can't really be a casual reader with T5. But it's worth the time to dig in.
Players will pick it up in no time. Referees will be dedicating much time to making games happen... but I get the impression that the effort will be worth it.
I wonder if I'll get to play.
Labels: musings, rules, settings, Traveller