Saturday, September 22, 2018

Session 4 Preview

The last session is fast approaching. I am going to have to write the NPC dialog as I cannot wing it well enough, and don't want to do the whole metqagame thing and just explain things.

What I am hoping is that they get through the night, perhaps some NPCs killed, perhaps the mystery is figured out as to why they have all been essentially kidnapped (and while I do have some of the players reasons figured out, the wanderers in the bunch are a bit more complicated).

If all else fails, I'll have one of the player's previous characters come along in the Katydid and pick the crew up for transport to the D port.  Ialso want to have a Bwap along as the Marquessa's seneschal or something, to have an NPC along to help smooth out a few things.

Her fancy lab ship is all of 1 jump away on D'Arlee, so I've started some mapping for that.

Session 1 & 2: Escaping the short hauler and a jungle trek

Our Travellers wake up, dazed and confused. The doctor, after a bit of time, realizes that this is not the normal waking process from a cold berth.  And they all notice that the ship is canted and there is ankle deep water. A quick search of the room they are in reveals just ship booties, and some unmarked medical vials used to insert drugs into cold berth passengers.

The group moves to the command section, and finds some survival equipment and what appears to be hastily ransacked rooms off the bridge. In exploring the engineering section, they discover the leak from a buckled maintenance hatch, with water trickling in and flowing towards the front of the craft.

About this time, Anson, the other survivor in from the other room full of low berths, comes up and demands to know what is happening. The players are a bit confused as to who the new person is, and the doctor goes to check on the other low berths. There are 2 dead bodies in there, victims of EMP.

Rosie explores the cargo hold, and finds the exploded crate. Water is chest deep at the front of the cargo area. Anson asks why they have not retrieved any survival equipment from the air lock. Which they do, including a vacc suit and a 4 person emergency survival pack.

On the top deck, they search the rest of the ship, and retrieve various clothing, find the 2 revolvers, and use sheets and pillow cases to carry rations and various odds and ends. Fearing getting flooded and drowning, they prepare to exit the ship via a maintenance hatch. Anson, a belter, is a bit terrified, so she gets one of the vacc suits, Rosie goes into an emergency bubble, the rest done breathers that will function underwater a bit. It worked out well - opening the hatch let the compartment get flooded, but all managed to stay upright. The doctor pushed Rosie through, and started swimming to the shore, pushing the now fully inflated emergency bubble ahead of her. The others exit the ship, and those with recon took notice of the radio tower off in the distance. Anson started to freak out - being a belter she was much more comfortable in the safe confines of a ship. Max talked her down, and dragged her to the shore. Eventually everyone got to shore.

Session 3: The Trek
Getting Anson out of her vacc suit also caused some difficulties. She would have slowed everyone down, but the doctor and Max (now her "Shippie") got her through that, and they started to hike towards the tower. The sounds of bugs and the rustling of small animals startled a few people, but Osrum of Bob saw no need for worries as the animals were all running from the Travellers. The insects did not bother the off-worlders (thermally they were just not right).  Nearing the tower, they discover the dead body of a crewman. A quick perusal indicated he died of internal injuries from the ship crash.  They spent enough time to bury him via a rock cairn, and continued.

At the outskirts of the tower, they saw the berm, robots and the general lay of the land. Katriona and Jim, watching warily, approached them. A quick conversation and the group moves to the camp proper.

And here is where I have issues: II can manage 1 or 2 NPCs at a time, but now there are 6 all with varying degrees of complicity and behaviors. There is more going on than the Travellers are aware of, and not everyone at the camp are part of it. So trying to figure how to do that without giving it all away, and allowing for role playing, is hard. Fortunately several of the players are doing well. I need to get the others involved a bit more, so I'll have to see about conversations. I may have to go ahead and script ahead of time and just talk my way through that.

Anyway - as the night deepens, some of the creepers start coming out. I need to have that fear rising (and a couple of the NPCs are good for that) as well as increasing tensions at the camp as everyone is trying to figure out what is really going on.

Final session is this Monday,

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Session 1 - Part B

I know, the cast of characters should have been done first. However, as I wrote the first part at work, I did not have my attendance sheet. I made one simply because I am (a) quite horrible at names, and (b) to make sure I can keep track of the characters.

So here they are in no particular order, along with some notes as I recall part of their character generation.

Marquessa Morgana Greybourn, MD  A retired doctor of 5 terms who rarely got promoted. Yet somehow managed to roll multiple lab ship mustering out benefits. So she has a much more advanced lab ship (so I can finally use some of my posters and minis!). She had excellent rolls except for promotion and was rank 3 when she left the scientist / doctor career.

Rosie McGarber A Scout (Surveying) that managed to start an interplanetary war in the middle of her 2nd term. She was asked to leave but somehow managed to gain diplomacy. Probably on not what to say.

Qat Tolliver Space Bum (Drifter / Wanderer). Kicked out of his family at a tender age of 14, he wandered the stars. After one too many close brushes with death, he enlisted in the Army. He did not sty a full term but was kicked out. Trying to get into another career, he failed, and somehow got drafted back into the army. Where he was forced out again.  He decided enough was enough.

Osrum of Planet Bob (Drifter / Barbarian) We've yet to determine his birth planet, but Osrum was sent out to observe the universe and report back to his chief. While his people may call his home planet Bob, I am pretty sure the Imperium has another name for it.

Lt Sir Maximilian Joseph Kleinshmidt (Max) A couple of terms in the Scouts (Explorer), a few terms in the Navy (Flight), and Max is ready to face the universe. While not daunting in a physical sense, his innate intelligence will do him well.

Vargr The last player could not make it, and as I do not have an email address or anything, we have not come up with details. He was a Vargr Salvage trader I believe.

The Lab ship is listed below. Fortunately with the skill package they have enough PCs to actually pilot the thing. I may have fudged a bit on the stats but close enough. The ship is from 0-Hr. I am sadly addicted to his Kickstarters...

Session 1 - Part A

Surprisingly, 5 of the 6 players showed up. The 6th was really ill, though, and that is a very valid excuse. We started by finishing off the character creation, and applying the general Traveller Skill package to the group to help even some things up.  The range of characters is early 20s with 1 1/2 terms to a couple of 5 termers. The nice thing is that the group decided which package to use, then distributed the skills to those who needed them to help them both round out their characters the way they wanted to, as well as fill in any missing holes, The one hole was I don't think anyone had astrogation (old Navigation skill; Navigation is now planet-based navigation).

Once we had that settled, we started with the group waking up in the short hauler. I made a basic schematic of the ship as I really detest the isometric plans Mongoose seems so fond of. There was some brief exploration, but more a fear of the water dripping in and concerns about flooding the entire ship, leaving the players inside. One of the Scouts did notice that there was a crack of daylight form the mangled maintenance access hatch, so they were less concerned about lack of a breathable atmosphere than of drowning.

As they did not search too much beyond the bridge and engineering section, I had the 1 NPC that survived come up behind them. She was a bit brutal in asking what they were doing, but things calmed down. As per the others, she had no idea what happened and where they were.

A brief search and they ended up with a large supply of emergency rations, pillow cases and sheets for making carry bags. There was a bit of prompting to check the main cargo lock as that was where the 4 person emergency kit was.

With the water slowly rising, they distributed the 2 vacc suits to those who could not swim (we played survival gives basic swimming), and stuffed the young Scout into a rescue ball, but only partially inflated it so that it would fit through a maintenance hatch.

The good doctor prepped everyone, and opened the ceiling hatch. With a good dex roll, she managed not to get banged about as the water rushed into the craft. She lead the way up, then the rescue ball popped out. She started pushing the now fully inflated beach ball with the Scout towards the nearby shore. All the others also got out and either started for shore, or in the case of Anson, the NPC, freaking out and unable to get back into the water. She is a Belter through and through, so was panicking at all the water. The other Scout/ex-Navy player helped calm her down, and towed her to shore. Once there, she thanked him as a Shippie, so there is now a trust bond between these two.

Another minor refusal to get out of the suit (it really would have slowed them down considerably) and the group marched on.

Next update I should have the list of characters (other than our missing Vargr) and what happened.

So far they do say that they are enjoying themselves.  I did get to use the cardboard heroes and some of my printouts, so that is always nice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Session 0 - creating characters

While I only expected 2 people to actually show up, somehow we ended up with 6 players. So the character creation took a bit longer than expected, especially as I've not really done a whole lot with Mongoose 2nd edition. While several people had played previously, most had very dim memories of the games other than dying early. A few had never played before.

We did do a round-robin character creation. Everyone rolled straight stats with an extra roll to replace anything they wanted to. Each player did a single term going around the table. We started with 2 drifters, a barbarian and a wanderer, 2 Scouts, a doctor and a Vargr free trader. The 1st Scout survived his first term but was washed out in the middle of his 2nd term. The player was okay with that and is playing the 24 year old. The wanderer managed 2 terms as a wanderer, tried the army but got kicked out, missed re-enlistment and managed to get drafted back into the army but kicked out again. He stayed out after that. The Scout stayed in the Exploration branch for 4 terms I think then enrolled in the Navy, making Lt. The barbarian actually survived 5 terms and mustered out. The doctor managed to get up to Medic-4, as well as having a Marquis social status. And the Vargr free trader also went into the Navy I think before mustering out.

Of the group, 1 player really does not like that sort of character generation, 1 was seemingly ambivalent, 3 were okay with it and one was very enthusiastic about it. I think long term there will be 3-4 people to play again, and I may end up going straight Classic as one player does have a lot of CT material.

Next week - waking up from cold berths!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

September game

I've got 3 players ready to play in September. Hopefully I'll do a bit better this time around. I've got 4 sessions, although it may not take that many in all honesty.

The plan is:

Session 1:

  • generate characters round-robin style. As everyone has played before the basics are probably covered. However - they have not played in decades and I plan in using the Mongoose and/or Cepheus Engine rules. I need to generate the list of character types they can play that I have generation rules for. I will also be bringing printouts of various pre-gens from the software I've got in case they would rather do that.  
  • We will also have a combat test round to get everyone familiar with the combat process. This will be Mongoose 2nd edition mostly. Although the adventure itself may be entirely combat free.
  • Go over the general rules and ideas behind Traveller. Again, as everyone has played before, this should not be too long. A brief intro to MTU (my Traveller Universe) which, as it hangs just outside the 3rd Imperium somewhere near the Great Rift, I do have "official" material as well as my own to use.
Session 2:
  • Introduction to waking up on the short-hauler. A bit of a trope for Traveller (you awake in a cold berth with no idea how you got there!) it is how this adventure starts.
  • Exploration of the ship, introductions between characters and the 1 NPC, and exploration of the slowly sinking craft.
  • Escape from the ship, the trudge towards to only visible man-made object. I will have to have the encounter tables made up. Perhaps some jungle background noises.
  • Finding the 1st body.
  • Making it to the primary location, intros all around
Session 3:
  • surviving the night. 
  • Animal encounters
  • people encounters
  • what is everyone doing
Session 4:
  • where to next - do they get out?
  • rescue via escape to starport or deux ex machina and bring in Travis Roanoke & the Katydid?
  • continue game?
  • feedback: what worked, what did not. Would they like to play again?
I am really hoping it works out - I would love to get back to refereeing (and playing if possible) Traveller as a regular thing. I am a bit nervous as well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Well, this one is a fantasy map from my old college days. I found my old gaming notebook and I outlined several maps.  As I am in on the Fantasy Trip RPG Kickstarter, I thought I'd see about fantasy maps.  My gaming group is not into science fiction gaming much so I am not sure I will get enough people to referee Traveller in September. I am hoping...

Saturday, August 04, 2018

D'Arlee Pilot's Guide

Hopefully attached or available is the WIP of the pilot's guide. Redid the sizing so that in theory it prints out as an old-style LBB.

D'Arlee Pilot's Guide

I need to get back to the Traveller Tracker, but as the UWP thing seems to be not going well, perhaps I should start smaller or something. It is basically functional except for the T5 & MGT trading parts (classic trading worked last time I checked). but it will never get used...

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Refereeing again, part 2

I'll be doing the 4 week "short" game slot in September. I've been re-reading the adventure, and working on maps sporadically. Of course my printer died so I'll have to buy a new printer in the next couple of weeks. And I really need to re-read the combat rules. Pretty sure I'm going with Mongoose 2, although the classic rules have some ease of use (the players are used to armor class making you harder to hit which is essentially what the CT rules do).

My plans are:

  • Session 1: generate characters via a round-robin technique (1 term per player) so we all have some understanding of each other's characters; a test combat round to go over how combat works; and initial set up of the adventure
  • Session 2: escape from the ship and the trek overland. There may be an animal encounter or two. Initial meeting of the crew at the test site, and go over who/what is there. We may cover the 1st night there with the creepers, err, creeping about
  • Session 3 (maybe the last session): cover the night and see where they go from there. There are few options so I will be curious to see how that plays out.
  • Session 4 (if we have it): recap, and where to go from there. They can only go rimward pretty much as Q'auntor is at the top of the map and I've never decided where this goes in the OTU.

Depending on how they play, there may be no combat at all. And with the limited amount of ammo, less reason for combat other than against the creepers.

As I do have the Great Reft box set, perhaps somewhere in there would work so I could use the stuff I seem to keep buying. I am also getting the ship box, but a giant Navy ship can be used anywhere. Heck - I could pull out my Enterprise blueprints and use that as a surface installation!

I'm hoping enough of them like that so we can explore the D'Arlee quadrant in more detail. I need to take that TravellerMap booklet and edit that to make a better guide.  There just never seems to be enough time.

On a non-related note, there is a Kickstarter for The Fantasy Trip. I did not get to play that much way back when, but it is a fairly simple OSR. I have basic and advanced Melee (the combat rules) and Advanced Wizard (the magic rules). I don't have (or at least cannot find) In The Labyrinth which is the DM guide basically, and explains talents and so forth. It is a very tactical-driven game based on Melee, the old microgame from Metagaming. At one time I had most of those games. Sadly I let them all go at some point in the past.