Sunday, June 26, 2022

Cattle Barons

Still working on game prep for the cowboy & dinosaur game. Okay, let me re-phrase that. I've got most of the initial encounter set up, with hints and rumors to bring in some of the bigger fish, so to speak.  The 3rd person has finally gotten his extensive character background set up for me, all told in the first person. Almost wanting to give him even more XP as there were a few NPCs to play with and allude to later. In fact, he also managed to rope in the other two players, so now they all know each other. It was not how I was planning on bringing them all together, but that also works. I just need to make some minor adjustments to the 1st session. Sadly, no scenario survives contact with the players, and they have not even started yet!

At this point, I've got a lot of background on most of the characters, and enough on several NPCs to start to at least be able to riff along where the game leads. For the most part, I am lucky that this group really enjoys the role-playing aspect of RPGs. not to the Vampire: The Masquerade level, but we really enjoy playing out characters and NPCs. I still need to generate and print out my cheat sheet to track the main players and all that, but I still have a bit of time.

One of the things that did come up while talking about this was land barons. And cattle barons. I neglected to even throw any in there! Of course, we have one player an old Indian who has some prize herds of triceratops. Old ancestral grounds out towards the Dos Diablos, two large buttes to the west of Aurora but several days ride (still not sure about the scale of my maps, and I can't keep using speed of plot so may have to figure out a bit more detail).

(a few hours later). Came up with some back of the napkin times and some fluff that will eventually have some game time. Probably.

Pawnee Tribe at Dos Diablos

Jack Looking-Horse’s home area where he raises the triceratops. It is several days west of Aurora, and the yearly dinosaur drive to sell some of those to Aurora has become a tradition the last few years, though not without some folk not being happy buying from Indians. The tribe has a deep and hidden artesian well that provides water for the herds and is well protected. Looking-Horse and a few of the tribe usually show up a few days in advance to gauge the feeling of the town and to determine how many dinosaurs should make the trip. He then returns to Dos Diablos which is what the American and Mexicans call Pitku Ckussat (Pawnee for Two Spirit if I am using the correct Pawnee translation. The Pawnee do not make maps so the Spanish name is what is on the map)

I've added 1 Jack Chisum who has moved from Texas (real life cattle baron) to the Bliss River, which is about 20 or so miles above those mesas that Jack Looking-Horse calls home to the tribe & his huge triceratops herds. There is occasional friction between the cowmen and the dinomen, and being Pawnee Indian does not help. While not part of the initial adventure, it has potential down the road. Especially as Hawbones actually pulled one of Jack's teeth before it festered a couple years back. This was before he found out who the man was (in real life Jack Chisum died in 1884 from a jaw operation to remove a growth; in our alternate old West he is still alive in the 1885 time we're running this in).

The document is getting large, and a lot may not be used. It is really just helpful to me to sort of organize the things and get some feels for the period. If I had a laser printer I may print it out, but ink jet is so expensive! I will have to look into getting a laser printer - they can be had for pretty cheap and the per page printing cost is a lot less than ink jet.

I still need to work out a combat flow chart or guide: combat is one of the worst things I run. Probably why I like The Fantasy Trip: it has a very concise combat system. Of course, it is from the microgame, but the basics and advanced options all work really well. And not theater of the mind, which a lot of this combat will be. Though I may do some screen shares as I did in the previous Apex game, and have tokens for everyone so they know at least the relative positions of things. 

The camp they will find:

And wanted posters - this one is from an on-line creator, I think I can actually do better with Publisher

Hopefully I'll come up with several for the game and at least screen share. Should they enter the sheriff's office. Which come to think of, I also made a map of. What can I say- I like maps!

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Solo Traveller - Leaving Hendar 227-1105

 Having spent most of the week bouncing around in the low gravity, hauling a trailer that bounced even higher, it was good to get back to the port. There I found that Captain Laux had managed to somehow get a 6-month contract with some Vargr noblewoman, a Lady Khu and her bodyguard, a rough looking Vargr named Araegougzadharaegougzadh Oerrghingghong. As none of the humans could quite pronounce his name, he said to call him Ara. Even I could see the disdane on his face.

We loaded the herbs up and settled the remaining debts at the port to prepare for lift-off. I walked over to the admin building with the captain and we actually hand-wrote the log info and our destination, the additional cargo we had picked up, as well as our 2 long-term guests. Walking back, I asked Lynwood just how Lady Khu was on Hendar.

"Her previous transport had significant jump drive issues" he said, gesturing to the only other ship at this class C port. There was a lone air/raft sitting next to the engineering section, but I could not see any workers or anything from this distance. "As the local authorities are, shall we say a bit more relaxed, and the No Refunds is in good working order, I was volunteered. There is bonus pay, and this should not affect our routing and trading. Lady Khu is simply on what amounts to a sight-seeing excursion. Apparently, some pack or another are thinking about migrating here. This far from the Extents the Vargr are not overly common, and some remember raiding that some of their corsairs are inclined to do. As we've a bit in the way of protection, as well as being a good deal faster than most merchants, seems we're a good fit to play tour guide. And who knows - it should give you something more to write about."

We entered the ship, walking up the gangway. I secured the ramp and hatches and walked up the stairs to my station behind the bridge, across from Ewo. A few moments later, we were airborne and heading for space. It was nice to be a standard gravity finally. As we were heading to the jump point, sensors picked up a vessel heading in. I hailed them, but other than a curt reply, the crew of the Equity was not very communicative. From the transponder ping, Ewo said that they were a subsidized merchant, probably here to drop off supplies and pick up the half-printed cash for its final preparations and distribution in the league.

A couple of hours later, we left the real universe and entered jump space. Giving me a week to try & keep her Ladyship entertained and fed. 

Well, I managed to get off of Henday, and off to Llamma. I'll do the in-jump rolls and things next post. 

Now to see about the wheels within wheels. Why was Lady Khu on Hendar, and is she really doing a grand tour of the League. Putting on my referee hat, let me expand on the as-yet-to-be-defined goings on. Captain Lynwood is a merchant, yes, but he is linked to my old Antares Ship Builders and Traders corporation, which is an Imperial corporation. He owns his ship, and is free to do what he wants. But he does get information and brokers available from Antares which I've yet to touch on. And so far they have been operating almost at a loss: trade is complicated and it is not always easy to make credits: I could not get a good roll for selling those medical supplies (which worked out well: for such a small population, despite literally making money, they probably do not have actual capital for such a purchase. 

Lynwood and company are not spies per se, but rather information gatherers and brokers. He does report back to corporate headquarters every 6-18 months, and does gather intelligence on what is going on. He also has contacts which I am going with I've not covered in the game notes so far. Playing solo the impetus for working through plot lines is a lot different than running an actual game (my notes for the Cowboy game are a continued work in progress but so far almost 40 pages. Though a lot of that is copy/paste and images, I do have 2 random encounter tables for the 1st few sessions worked out). Anyway, Lady Khu is actually one of the contacts as she is approaching the League from a different perspective and social strata than our merchants. While she is a Vargr noblewoman, she is also a vice-president of Antares (and now I need to see if I can find my old company hierarchy. I did that after getting Book 6, Scouts, and decided I too could use a company structure). She is gathering high-level trends for trade as well as anything else. Information is also a commodity.

Egg, the Vargr engineer, may be a double-agent. He is ex-Imperial Navy. As such perhaps not as retired as you think. And he may be in cahoots with Lynwood, or just using him to help track the comings and goings in the League. The League of Independent Planets only has a couple high-value worlds, but those are worth watching as some of that technology is coveted by the Imperium.

Next "session" I may have Malik going over the books and see that there is more credits coming in than expected. It also helps that the ship is technically a fast courier / trader. And honestly is not set up for a high passenger at all: the 6 double staterooms are mostly used by the crew. But we'll just fake that for now.

And finally - I've been trying to us a hex map program, Hex Kit, for the GM maps so that I can have encounters and things mapped out. I was reading an interesting blog post about mapping in games, and that you have 2 maps. The pretty (and incomplete) players map that just the relationships between places but won't have all the details. And the GM map which has a scale and all that so you can tell exactly where the players are and what they should be encountering.

Anyway, Hex Kit does have some nice desert type things, and I just downloaded another tile set and saw it had a dinosaur in it! Perfect for encounter marking for the Cowboy & Dinosaur game. That would be starting in a couple of weeks.

And my initial notes & encounter tables for that section of the desert (or perhaps anywhere in the desert, not just this particular spot)

The trail is relatively fresh, but will take a few hours to follow to the bandit’s camp. I may want to roll for some random encounters on the way for those on foot/dino/horse:


1

Rattlesnake

2

Pack of desert wolves

3

Small herd of dinosaurs (roll on dino-table below)

4

Single dinosaur, wounded (roll on dino-table below)

5

Nesting dinosaur (roll on dino-table below)

6

Herd of bison



1

Magyarosuarus (p139) HP: 36  Defense: 10 Reduction: 4 Attacks: Stomp +4 1d12

2

Triceratops (p138) HP: 48 Defense: 12 Reduction: 4 Attacks Horns +4 1D10 Stomp +4 1d6

3

Chasmosauris (p138) HP: 40 Defense 12 Reduction 4 Attacks Horms +4 1d8, Stomp +4 1d6)

4

Ultraraptor (p137) HP 28 Defense 12 Reduction 2 Attacks Claws +8, 2d6

5

Ornithomius (p137) HP 20 Defense 15 Reduction 1 Attacks Claws +7, 1d10

6

T-Rex (p140) HP: 90 Defense 15 Reduction: 6 Attacks: Chomp +12, 2d12


Friday, June 10, 2022

The Heimlich Codex

I tend to bring in characters and things from my games to other games. Usually NPCs, though Sir Zay has managed to get played in D&D v5 as well as a d20 (I think!) game, where he almost died. Years ago, when I first introduced my group to The Fantasy Trip, the patron NPC had an uncle who was along. My player's character, a Halfling Knight, was making eyes at the Dwarf. Her uncle / bodyguard was making a different set of eyes on the errant knight. There were some fun moments in the role play. Ever since then, Heimlich has shown up in many of the games I run or show up as an NPC attached somehow to my character when I play. A few years later, he is still coming up and, per an email conversation, I've decided to make the Heimlich Codex:

This mighty tome shall have all the Heimlich's in all the worlds. So far, he has shown up in The Fantasy Trip, Corsairs, a d20 Vigilante game as my character's uncle, as an Old West d20 game as my partner (who was almost killed), and I am pretty sure I stuck him in the original Apex game as well. The current game I am working on he is the uncle of my main NPC for introducing everyone to Aurora and the Cowboy & Dinosaur game (and she is essentially based off of Ellie May from the Beverly Hillbillies, so I have some mannerisms to at least try to use). We're switching to Klingons to finish up playing some Star Trek, and yes, my Klingon character will have an Uncle Heikl'Ick, son on Swaa'Ne (emperial tithe collector) 

The original NPCS here:

What appears to be a young female Dwarf, Glorirnolsia (Glori to her friends. They are not her friends yet) is a city mage. She requires a special mushroom to work on a magic item she has a commission for. 

She is well dressed and at times appears a bit absent minded. She is about 4 and a half feet tall and somewhat slender for a Dwarf.

She is always accompanied by two other dwarves who act primarily as bodyguards, although they seem to show more deference than a bodyguard would normally show.


And it turns out I either did not stat her out or I cannot find her character sheet (and I do all these digitally, then maybe print if I am going to use them at the table. And stick into a notebook. Sometimes). While she is a mage, she is also of royal blood. I've not really worked out any of that in my version of Cidri, leaving that sort of thing vague so I have a lot of wiggle room to make things up to help with the stories we're telling. It never came up, probably as I did not play her as well as I should have to indicate she was a posh Dwarf of a royal family.

The 2 other Dwarves include her Uncle Heimlich, technically named Hanarlig ThunderAnvil, the original Heimlich (which is the Common version of the Dwarven name Hanarlig. And actually, because I was relying on memory, Hanarlig somehow turned into Heimlich. I am really, really bad at getting names straight!) 

And he also is currently stat-less. The tome shall have a character sheet or info per page. I expect it to be a fun endeavor. Almost like, if anyone recalls, the Thieves World RPG (wiki link here) set that had stats for 9 different games so you could use that supplement across a swath of RPG universes. So something similar to that but instead of a town, it is a small subset of characters that revolve around the universal Heimlich.

What I also need to do is come up with a common theme for the Heimlich Codex: in most cases he is explicitly an uncle, and a protective one generally. And always for a girl or young woman. So I may expand out the Codex to include that other person as well for completeness. 

And only tangentially related, I had a magic bookshop in the Apex game. Thinking I'll also have that in various universes, just not spell it out. Aurora now gets a bookstore, and if I can dig up those notes, I think it is a small Italian. Who could be not human but under a fey glamor or something. Maybe - I just won't make it stand out.

And I am giving platelets this weekend - I do this every few weeks (I've low platelet counts so I cannot give as much as I'd like to). It is a good thing to do as it helps people with cancer most of the time. And free cookies and juice! Been doing it 20+ years now. My little bit of helping others (and getting the aforementioned snacks) Always try to do something nice for others when you can. 

Anyway - I need to also work up my Klingon character, and I'd like to make some progress on the Solo Traveller. There just is never enough time! Or at least time that intersects when I want to do that.

And finally - there is a misspelled tag, Heinlich, that may help me (and others!) find our Heimlich in the various game updates I've posted. You can search in blogs which is really nice: use the word cloud to the right, and clicking on Heinlich gives you this list basically. I may have to go back through the posts to find other mentions of the great and mysterious Heimlich and update the tags!

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Characters, Levels and Getting Into Character

We've been playing the Star Trek RPG. While I love Star Trek, a lot because of both the essentially optimistic view of humanity as well as really cool spaceships, playing as Starfleet characters can be fairly limiting in many ways. Of course, this all depends on the type of game play: for exploring strange new worlds, it would work pretty well. In interacting with things outside of the Federation, sometimes trying to maintain the Starfleet codes as portrayed in television, can be difficult. TV episodes do not translate out well as an adventure I fear: if we have to make die rolls and fail (and I fail a LOT of my die rolls!) then it becomes either a railroaded adventure to get to designated end point or we're no longer following the episode (rarely do characters get the same plot armor as TV characters!).

Anyway, we're switching to Klingons which opens doors a bit more, as long as we act with honor! The game master figure this will take most of June, so I need to finish the work on at least the possibilities for the Cowboy & Dino game (there are a few posts detailing my somewhat zealous approach to game prep!) But what comes to mind as I am getting the player's characters is that a couple of them are playing older characters. As in grandfather aged characters. 

While this is great - variety in characters is good. What makes it complicated in my mind is that we're using the Apex rules, which is a class & level game. I want the players to at least start on the same level (either 2 or 3 - waiting to see what other world-building they bring in; see this post for my reasoning for that).

My issue stems in how a 60+ year old can have the same basic skill set as a young 20-something year old (one of the players is playing a young woman). You would think that an additional 40 years or so of experience would have given him more skills. While I applaud the character and what he wants to do, to me there is a mismatch in skills vs age. 

Now admittedly, age does not always bring on more wisdom and knowledge. But he is playing an Indian grandfather in the Old West, so one would think Jack Looking Horse would be a bit more skilled than young Miss Molly Slade. Of course, perhaps the age is getting to him, and he is actually declining in skills and abilities - in Traveller-speak, failing his aging rolls.




(an interesting  image choice - that was my Call of Cthulu character I used a few years ago - the joys of character art searching!)

While Traveller handles this nicely: you want an older character? Survive your terms of service and don't fail too many aging rolls, and you have an older character. Traveller is in many ways a bit more balanced in terms of mixing and matching characters: while skills are important, I truly believe Traveller is much more about the role-playing versus skill checks. While skill checks are necessary, they are not as dominant as they are in other games. Case in point: the Star Trek game we seemed to be rolling for everything. It may have been a quirk of the game master, but the way the game is mechanically set up seems to want to make rolls for a lot of things. While some people do like that, I tend to run mostly rules-lite games and rolls are mostly in combat or doing something extraordinary. In Traveller, while I do make them roll a navigation (sorry, astrogation!) check, it is used more for chrome: the higher the roll, the closer to the 100D mark. A failure does not equate with a mis-jump (well, unless they are within the 100D or they have not kept up with ship maintenance), it just sets you much further out (and may be adding that 10% time spent in jump space).

For Apex and most games that have character levels, you level up as you experience life and adventure. Perhaps old Jack has led a very sheltered life, and Molly a much more exciting one (well, I did read her backstory and yes, it is a bit more exuberant than Jack Looking Horse's written background at least). I am still thinking about how to reconcile the wide age ranges I am expecting in this game. The 3rd player has promised me his write-up, and I've a feeling it too is an older character. I may end up having the older characters level 3 and Molly level 2, but that does not seem entirely fair.

In looking at other games, OSE for instance, a single level difference does not make a whole lot of difference per se (though level 2 OSE characters are not likely to die from tripping over their own feet!) But 2 or more level differences leads to an imbalance of characters. While I am pretty sure my current group can handle it with aplomb, I wonder if this is an issue for other gamers. I do know in one of my Traveller games we had a multi-term characters as well as a single term barbarian. While the barbarian could not do a lot, it was a matter of how the players embodied their characters and played them. I'd like to think we all had a good time. See this initial post of the roster of characters, and the character cards I made here. Osrum the barbarian only has Survival-2, yet the player and the rest of the group had a good time despite some major skill (aka level) differences. 

And finally: this is not really an issue other than my interpretations of the mechanics. Where older characters should have higher levels. And saying that out loud, maybe it does not really mean that. Levels are really indicative of experience. So perhaps I am making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Regardless. one of the great things about my group is their characters. We all try and come up with interesting characters that usually get along (we had a rough start with a new player who was trying too hard in some of his character portrayals, but eventually he figured out how to play in our group and has had some delightful characters). In fact, one of my favorite character groupings was our Conan game: we played a family, designed that way while we were doing character creation. And this is where the level issue also came into play: I was an older veteran, getting back home after years abroad as a mercenary. Yet skill-wise, I was the same as the not yet 20-year-old nephew and twin nieces. While I did not mind that at all, one would think a veteran would be a bit better at fighting. Of course, with my dice rolls, it does not really matter!

Sorry - re-reading this I seem to have meandered even more than usual. In the end, for me, it is not the character sheet telling me what the character can or cannot do, but it is about discovering that character as you play. The supers game was a good example of that: Verner was mostly a blank slate to begin with, then the backstory grew along with his powers. And R'Rell was starting to take shape in my mind. I'm just slow to get into character, and hoping to slip back into some of my older characters at some point. 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Cowboys and Dinosaurs - Game Prepping Mark II. And Star Trek game

Not knowing how long the Star Trek game will continue (oh, hey, we're playing a Star Trek game!) I've been doing some prep work for the game. We're using the Apex rule set, and as per this previous post I'm working on the gamer "bible". While I won't get into the discussion of too much prep (there are so many opinions out there! But this is fun stuff for me, so regardless if it gets used or not, I enjoy doing it.)

One of the things I struggle with when running games is keeping track of the NPCs. To help with that, I'm adding the NPC stat block to the documentation. An example page is below. 

The theory is I'll have this actually printed out when we play, so I have basically index-card sized info for the NPCs. I still need to add some characterizations and stuff to help me remember how to play them. I have a hard time keeping too much in my head (other than an astonishingly large amount of useless, if interesting, things, such as a baby giraffe can grow up to 6" per day! And they are really cute. But I digress, sidetracked yet again by useless information). 

I don't know if I'll print out the entire PDF before we start the game, but will probably print at least parts of it. I just do better with analog things.

And as I realized after I started this post I had already started a post for this game prep, we will switch to the game in progress.

We're playing a D20 Star Trek game, taking place in TOS timeline. As I really seem to like cats (well, half the internet is cat memes for a reason!) I decided to play a Caitian. I used the on-line character generator and was actually pretty happy with the first one. I took the random rolls rather than picking just to see what would happen. 

And yes, of course I created Cait, the home world, and did a bit of research on them. The only real memory I have of Caitian is from the Animated series, which I've not watched in decades despite having it on DVD. He is chief of security and at 40-something, is a Commander and now 2nd in command of the USS Sherezade, a Miranda class vessel (the game master really likes the Miranda class). 
ship character sheet, not really completed.

He has served in security on a variety of vessels: a Loknar class vessel, a Hermes class (I have the Franz Joseph tech manual, and I really like those. I've had that book since early high school, 40+ years now), the traditional Constitution class for 10 years. Hurt on a diplomatic mission, he stayed at Starbase 11 for a bit, training and rehab, then was on a Soyuz class ship which is a sister class to the Miranda class. Yeah, I do like Star Trek, though I never did get any of the RPGs. For me, while I like the TV shows and movies (though the more recent stuff is...hmmm...not what I'd call Star Trek. More like Marvel's What If series if you ask me. Not that you did of course). Playing in the Star Trek universe has a lot of possibilities (even more canon and fan stuff than Traveller. And yes, I have a lot of Star Trek things). However - it is also pretty limiting I think: what works on TV does not work for an RPG as well. In theory we are pretty restricted to what we can do within Star Fleet protocols. And there is a LOT of dice rolling in this game. While I like to roll dice, it should not control everything. However - my bad dice rolling actually works in the D20 system: you want to roll low! Come to think of it, my low rolling should work for the Fantasy Trip as well. I miss playing that game...

Our first night I managed to safely crash the shuttle, the Johnston. And digging through my toys, I found my old Micromachines: I have most of the Star Trek ones, or did at least when I stopped getting them back in the 90s. The overstock toy store I was getting them went out of business. Not my fault - I was there most weekends buying some toy or another! We rescued the scientists, did not manage to find the plants that would be a cure for some disease of the week (we were slowly being radiated and wanted off Xerxes as soon as possible). Despite the GM's attempts to get us to follow the TV script and save the scientists AND retrieve the plants. Having a logical Vulcan as the captain means living another day is more important than possibly retrieving this plant but dying in the process. Star Fleet spent a lot of time and money to train us. Though the money issue does come up in our game.

And I have all the shirts from when the 1st Star Trek reboot came out. I ate a lot of cereal and got all of them for free....dug out the red shirt so I will be in character when we play! 

And Cait, as I like making up planets...






Sunday, May 15, 2022

Llovelly Llamma A367537-9

I did some very preliminary work on Llamma in this post. Time to expand a bit out on that world, and also see about adding some atmospheric effects to my worlds.

D'Arlee Quadrant 0806 A367537-9
  • Class A Starport, so a good resource with full repair and shipbuilding facilities.
  • Size 3, just over 3,000km in diameter, giving us about 0.37standard G
  • Atmosphere 6, standard pressure oxygen/nitrogen
  • Hydrographics 7, or about 73% liquid oceans.
  • Population 5, with about 200,000 people living on Llamma.
  • Type 3 government, representative authority, a self-perpetuating Oligarchy, with several Councils
  • Law Level 7, so open carry is not allowed, and personal weapons stop at the shot gun.
  • Tech level 9, so early interplanetary is supported locally. 
  • Agricultural world, one of the breadbasket worlds of the League

So, first, some early attempts add adding an atmospheric haze. I did add the clouds to the Mercator projection, mapped that to the sphere after flattening the image (condense all the layers; previously I was just capturing the planet layer, and not the clouds). The set a new layer on our globe, and "feather" the edges with a color close to what it should look like. Not too bad for a 1st attempt (technically, 2nd. My 1st attempt cropped off the atmosphere at the edges as I did not leave any space for anything to extend beyone the "edge" of the planet).

Perhaps a bit too stark, but practice, practice, practice (just not sure when I can do said practice). I need to play more with a few of those options to make it fuzzier, so to speak. 

Anyway, what do I have currently for Lllamma:
LLamma belongs with the League of Independent Planets, a small political grouping entirely surrounded by Imperial space. The League is an autonomous political grouping that works with the Imperium yet is distinct. LLamma is an agricultural planet in a binary star system. It orbits the primary star, an M1 V star named Acorn, in the first orbit. Boasting a class A starport and a population of approximately 200,000 primarily human inhabitants, LLamma is mostly undeveloped despite having garden world attributes. A standard atmosphere and 65% hydrographics coverage gives great swaths of farmlands. A small planet, there is only about one third of a standard G. The native population has adjusted to this gravity, but many homes and locations have started using grav-plates to strengthen those who may wish to visit the rest of the galaxy without wearing supporting armatures. There is a single gas giant, Llowel, and no planetoid belts. The secondary star, Bova is an M3 V star and actually boasts more planets. Llamma’s 26 hour day is in contrast to a short year of just over 52 standard days. LLamma is 0.2 AU from its primary which is barely above red dwarf in size and solar output. With little axial tilt, seasons vary very little. The equator is much warmer than is comfortable by humans, but as one travels to the poles the temperature become milder and more tolerable. The government of LLamma is classified as a representative authority, with several councils that control various aspects of the government. At TL 9, LLamma has basic grav vehicles but generally prefers wheeled or hovercraft. The light gravity also lends itself to easy flight via winged vehicles. The native flying wildlife boast impressive wingspans. From an Imperial viewpoint, LLamma has two distinct customs that may appear unusual. Highly ranked military figures are required to have clones. While these clones will not have the memories or abilities of the original person, they are raised to maximize their potential for military prowess. The second somewhat unusual custom is used for scientists: they often wear heavy fidget rings. An entire industry has grown up developing specific styles depending on area of expertise.
Llamma is part of a binary star system, so let's have fun with making a system map:
Not sure how well that will show up on screen, and for sure would not print that out unless I want to use up a lot of ink :) For printing I'd remove the space background and just have the orbits.

I did make up some special cargos for Hendar, so lets see what Heaven & Earth say about trade goods here on the garden world of Llamma.

FREIGHT & CARGO

Major Cargo: 5 lots:

Lot 1   Records (Data)  

15 tons

Cr 2,900/ton    Cr 43,500/Lot

Lot 2   Plants (Lumber) 

15 tons

Cr 2,900/ton    Cr 43,500/Lot

Cor 12+  Fla 6+   Exp 12+  Per 9+  

Lot 3   Raw Data (Data) 

15 tons

Cr 2,900/ton    Cr 43,500/Lot

Lot 4   Silver          

14 tons

Cr 2,900/ton    Cr 40,600/Lot

Lot 5   Nonmetal Ore    

16 tons

Cr 2,900/ton    Cr 46,400/Lot

Cor 10+  Exp 12+ 

Minor Cargo: 5 lots

Lot 1   Weapons         

9 tons

Cr 2,900/ton    Cr 26,100/Lot

Fla 9+  

Lot 2   Weapons         

11 tons

Cr 2,900/ton    Cr 31,900/Lot

Fla 9+  

Lot 3   Consumable Milks

10 tons

Cr 2,900/ton    Cr 29,000/Lot

Fla 10+  Rad 8+  

Lot 4   Protective Gear 

10 tons

Cr 2,900/ton    Cr 29,000/Lot

Fla 9+  

Lot 5   Writings (Paper)

11 tons

Cr 2,900/ton    Cr 31,900/Lot

Not really sure what that last column is for. Probably should look that up. And Blogger does not have a table entry process; easiest is making a table in Word and copy/paste that. It does NOT take an Excel copy/paste, but you can paste that into Word (or probably Google's own Documents) and then copy and paste from there. 

And interestingly, a 37% taxation rate based on whatever math Heaven & Earth uses (mostly MegaTraveller I think, I've never really wondered much). These are the basic cargos available. 

Passengers we don't have to worry about, as we are carrying the Vargr diplomat. But just in case (and one of these days, I keep promising myself, I'll have some sort of standard world info sheet so I have all critical data: UWP, travel times to 10/100 diameters based on maneuver drive, available cargos and passengers, maybe even system traffic profiles and random encounters. Of course, I've been promising that to myself for literally decades so it does not appear to be happening anytime soon).

High Passengers: 5; Middle Passengers: 2; Low Passengers: 6

And this being a world that exports agricultural products, one of the "breadbasket worlds" of the League, the reason for that class A port is not really ship construction or repair (and the whole question of how does a TL 9 system repair a TL C drive?). It is for the large cargo carriers that transport the foods across the League. Interestingly, I just got a new ship from 0-Hr which is a huge cargo transport. So yes, there will be some Nero Class Cargo Vessels at the port!

Cargo bays full of grains! Each of those boxy cargo pods are 6 decks high, really 3 decks of 6 meter decks. The mini is pretty big as well, so it does sort of dwarf his other minis. Now I really need to play face to face to land that sucker next to the character's ship!


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Solo Traveller: Hendar

The main port building was fairly small: some radio masts and what really looked like someone camping on the roof. There were some small warehouses next door, and Ewo and I sorted out our ship manifest and bounced over to the building.

Nicely enough, there were grav plates inside, so I was no longer concerned with hitting my head on the ceiling just trying to walk. After talking to the port warden (who was the same person who we contacted by comms a few hours back), we were directed to another building across what he called the quad. Apparently the grav plating covered a larger area than just the building. When I asked, Stin, the warden, told me that there was about a 200 meter area where the buildings were at, including some dorm type rooms for the locals to sleep in once in a while. Bone density and other health issues were helped by the residents sleeping in the port area every few days. Apparently there were sleepover parties and it was one of the times when the mostly disparate people gathered, shared any news, and generally caught up with each other.  The warehouses, fuel depot and other facilities were "off-grid" to help with moving things around. 

Finding someone to buy the medical supplies turned out to be a lot more difficult than expected: there was no local government, just a few groups of the "Hippies of Hendar", a name they proudly call themselves I found out. Our first few inquiries did not go well, and Ewo was starting to get a bit angry and perturbed by the lack of any sort of governing body. We had medical supplies they probably needed as they could not produce these themselves. Yet no one seemed to care or had the credits necessary. I felt there was some sort of irony in this, as I could see one of the buildings on the quad was where they actually printed currency. There were literally piles of half-printed money, but none to purchase our goods. There was a lot of low-tech security there, including what looked to be a small patrol on foot carrying shotguns.

We did unload the 230 tons of bulk freight we did have. It was made easier as we turned off the grav plates in the cargo hold. Though inertia is still a thing, it does make it easier for the alcohol-based port tractors they have to move the shipping crates. 

We also started to search for cargo: Ewo and rented a buggy and started out searching the hills, so to speak. Having only 300-odd residents, there were only a few communes to look around for. Given a paper map and no GPS proved to be a bit frustrating, but there were paths so we did not get lost. On the second day of our sojourn, we encountered a native creature (world encounter: interesting or potentially dangerous encounter with some local wildlife; it's reaction roll had it run away). We slowed down and stopped at hopefully a safe distance, not knowing exactly what a safe distance would be. It stared at is a few minutes, then trotted off in a long, loping run that had it taking 20 meter strides before it was out of sight.


We finally found a farmer that had some interesting herbs for sale, technically a ton, but fortunately it was fairly light despite the bulk, and would fit on the trailer we had (
see this post for the details) Apparently, sales were not great, as we managed to purchase the herbs for just half of what this would normally go for (I actually used the Mongoose sales table, and with 3d6 actually rolled 18, which is 55%, then there is a bonus from the Solo rules as we are away from the port so better deals are found, bringing us to 50% of the cost) We set up the contract to pay the Cr30,000, and we loaded the crates. The light gravity helped. We finally headed back to the ship. I for one was ready to sleep back in full grav - while initially it seems easier to sleep, simply turning in bed could bounce you out of the bed sometimes! 

While we heard about the knifesmith, Nathan Hillback. Sadly, he did not have anything really for sale at a bulk level, and while the knives were beautiful, at a few thousand cred each, they were outside of my price range. Though Ewo did get two. "These knives are perfectly balanced and will last forever. And you can never under-estimate a well-made knife," she told me as she bargained with the burly smith.

We bounced over the terrain, crates on the trailer behind the buggy, and arrived back at the port late in the evening. Loading the cargo, we slept in our own beds that night, finally back in full gravity.

The next day, Captain Laux introduces us to Lady Khu Knueguegzo, a Vargr noblewoman who was dropped off here from her last ship, and required transport throughout the League. She would be paying high passage rates for her and her body guard. We were to provide possible additional assistance if required. While I am not a body guard type, I've been around high profile people in my reporting career (yes, he was a journalist in his previous career from way, way back when I started to set up this solo game!) Egg seemed almost cowed by her - I'm always curious about the Vargr relationships and how everything is a sort of pack hierarchy. Then those thoughts always end back to humans are pretty much the same, just with different names and reasons for those relationships. I think the Vargr are just more honest about it.

There was no freight available: this sparsely populated planet was not in the cross-roads of any trade routes apparently. We'd have to accept that we have a pair of passengers and a ton of herbs. And after reading through the cargo manifest, I noticed that the 2326793-02167515-[915 984 8Y]-(2) codes indicated that this deadly for Ewo and the Aslan, so I handled the cargo and then did a fast sterilization of the bay and loading ports. I let Ewo know to be careful and stay out of the cargo bay just in case. 

Okay, we had our time with the Hippies of Hendar and picked up some weed. The knife smith is actually based on a friend of mine that does actually make knives - he's still in the journeyman status but it is really cool to see what he does. He is the one that made me that battle axe. We've also got a sort of patron: the section for contacts and actually starport encounters both had me roll a patron. So, I pulled out 76 Patrons, figured we had 1-5 characters, rolled the dice and had the following patron:

From 76 Patrons:  The players' group is approached by a representative of the Imperial Minister of State, who is searching for a small party to act as an escort for a visiting Vargr noble. She will remain in the subsector for about six months before departing for home. Anti-Vargr sentiment is high for the moment, due to a  number of unfortunate incidents  involving Vargr warships, and the League is anxious about the noble's visit. The group will receive Cr2000 each at the successful conclusion of the assignment, and will undoubtedly get first consideration for future jobs. 

Cr2000 per character is really not a whole lot, though reading between the lines, this would have included ship fare and living expenses so quite a bit more than the Cr2000 says. As we do have a ship, we'll make her pay the full high passage rates for her and her bodyguard. We already have 1 Vargr on board, now there are three. It will make for some possibly interesting interactions. And, just why was Lady Khu even on Hendar? Honestly, I am going to work this into the back-plot that the Captain and "Egg" have been hatching (see what I did there?). It is still pretty vague in my head, but there are wheels within wheels here. I just need to figure out where I want to go with that.

And I can see how I may have handled this had this been a game with players: there were a few role-playing scenes here that would have been fun. My dialog, when I do it by myself, is somewhat stilted and dry. And while I can't think too fast on my feet, so to speak, it is more fun to talk and role play against live people versus just my imagination. Hopefully I'll get back to some face to face gaming at some point.

Finally, in looking at the map, there is really only 1 planet to go to from here unless they want to backtrack. Llamma, a planet I have detailed before. I'll have to poke the archives to see if I made a post about it. Apparently, I used it in one of my games as I have a directory full of maps and things, including a complete visitors guide! Next post - details on Llamma!

Llamma