Sunday, May 31, 2009

Traveller Book 6 Broke My Brain!

It's not really that I need to create an entire star system using the extended system generation rules in Traveller Book 6: Scouts; it's that I'm enough of a big damn dork that I had the idea, Hey! I'm on vacation! What the hell, I'll roll up an entire star system using the extended system generation rules in Traveller Book 6: Scouts! and it sounded like a good one.

Repeat: Big. Damn. Dork.

...Well, anyway, I figured I'd take a stab at it just to see what's what, y'know? So I sat down with my reprints and a notebook and my pencil and some dice and what-the-hey-ho attitude, started labelling fields on a hand-made form, and commenced, as they say, to rollin'.

Twenty or thirty minutes later I had a size V class M main-sequence star with spectral order 0, 4 max orbits, a gas giant aaaaand...uh... that.

I don't know if the rules are disorganized or unclear, or if besides being a titanic nerd I am also a collosal illiterate, but -- damn! Amongst all the page-flipping, dice-rolling, DM-applying and chart-misreading, I had the distinct and undisguisable feeling that I had no forking clue just what the hell I was doing.

For now, I'm going to lay the blame squarely upon the rulebook's ill-defined shoulders. More specifically, I find the author culpable, becuase the writing was unclear and disorganized and kind of incohesive. A process like the extended star system blah-blah-blah stuff really requires a clear, concise explanation -- a hand-holding, one might say. Or, hell, how about a freaking example? If I can watch somebody do it right, I can figure out what I'm doing wrong.

A quick look at the MegaTraveller Referee's Manual shows that the system in question had been edited, laid out very legibly and made more approachable in its publication in that second version of the venerable game. But supposing it were 1983, I'd just brought home the yellow-striped LBB from the hobby shop, and I sat down with paper and pencil and dice and what-the-hey-ho attitude to create a full star system for presentation to my players later on? What then? Should I sit and agonize over not being able to instantly play with my new toy? I'm a gamer, so of course I'm used to some assembly being required; in fact, that's why I'm a hobby gamer. All the same, it should be a game, and fun -- not a chore, and frustrating.


Of course, there's always the possibility that it is a lot easier than I think, and that I am simply a moron.