Sunday, December 23, 2018

Game prep for Traveller 2019

As several of my players want to continue the game as mentioned in several earlier posts (hey, I'm happy they liked it enough to want to play again. Or else they just don't want to DM a game...I'll stick with the optimistic view) I've been working on the game.  I like real things - maps, minis, coins. They help to give a sense of where things are, how they relate, and sometimes can help with immersion.

So I printed up a corrected map of the D'Arlee Quadrant, as well as the port at Q'antar (remember this was the 80s and apostrophes were everywhere in SF). Interestingly, the map prints out about to scale with the Scout ship. I suppose I should not have added that image of a Scout ship now. I will have to make a list of things I need to bring to sessions - maps, cardboard heroes (got most of the Steve Jackson things on CD, and I have cardstock, so I've been printing things up), dice, any ship minis that may get used.

And - Merry Christmas everyone. I hope everyone has a joyous time.

Monday, December 17, 2018

D'Arlee Map, revisited

After I tried the TravellerMap Border tool, I realized my maps was a bit off. And I found that the XML metadata gives you a lot more options. So I switched to XML, used the revised border as generated then tweaked a bit to get outside the display area, and voila! It even looks more interesting!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Traveller Map API, Trade Routes

Still cannot overlap routes, but switching from the MSEC format to the XML format for the metadata gives me more options. I can have dashed routes (no idea why it was dashed - I think when I did this originally I was just going for interesting looking!), custom allegiance codes, regions, more fun stuff.

I really need to get back to my ship tracking program, probably start over yet again and not go the UWP route. Go with a simpler installer maybe. And really clean up the cargo stuff: I was integrating 3 different systems and it did not come together well. After doing all that, I think a better schema can be made that incorporates all three systems into a single table.

Basically, a cargo is only a few core things:

  1. Minimum volume (dTons)
  2. Maximum volume
  3. What is it? In Classic and Mongoose, this matters. T5 seems to gloss over it and everything is the same price from the same system for the same volume. Hate that....
  4. Base purchase price
  5. D66 roll (Classic and I think Mongoose, but I've not paid enough attention to Mongoose). This would allow for rolls on the cargo table to only be those specified in the rules. 
For the ship, the above is part of the ship's cargo, which would have:
  1. cargo ID
  2. cargo code
  3. lot size (dTons)
  4. purchase date
  5. purchase system
  6. purchase price
  7. sell date
  8. sell system
  9. sell price
Tricky part is the cargo code. I do have a masochistic preference for the BITS cargo codes as there is a lot of room for adventure there. T5 has its own way of doing things, so the cargo code is based on the version played. T5's code is actually fairly easy to calculate, it is just boring. So I may have both the T5 code and the BITS code. So a cargo listing could look something like:

Cargo dTons Purchase World Purchase Price Purchase Date Cargo Code Selling World Selling Price Selling Date
Gems 5 D'Arlee 100000 110-1105 C-Ri Cr100000 3225683-42244A41-[100-160-320-70]-(0)

Which, if you read the code, may indicate that for some reason or another this is actually a hazardous cargo. Hope your steward / cargo master knows the codes (digression: there was an interesting conversation about cargo management on COTI, and if it should be a new skill. I prefer the steward skill to cover that rather than yet another, pretty specialized skill).

Anyways, my revised trade map:

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Side Trip - Fantasy World

Way back in college I also played The Fantasy Trip. Steve Jackson Games had a Kickstarter and raised quite a bit to bring it back now that he has the rights again. I went overboard (darn KS addiction) and got the I Want It All (and then added more...)

So I also dug up my old college maps - I actually made an atlas based on all the miniatures I had bought over the years (and why I thought having ALL the skeletons was a good idea I cannot recall). I built this atlas with hand-drawn maps (I really loved colored pencils apparently) and taped them together into a book of about 10 maps or so. Each region was specific to a race primarily, with a bit of overlap.

Another recent Kickstarter is a "drop-in" resource. The Woodfall Kickstarter presents a witch town in a fen, along with inhabitants, surrounding region, and a lot of fun things. So I found a place to plug it in, next to the Terror Lands which is a giant marsh.

My plan is next year to run a fantasy game using those rules, and using the old maps and things. I do have a major city that the adventurers will start in, and I also have the Complete Ankh-Morpork City Guide, which came with a HUGE map (and was on sale for $5. The map alone is worth that).  So my city has an unerring similarity to Ankh-Morpork as well.

As mentioned in a previous post on Pax Stellar being based on another art book - I am finally, after almost 40 years, figuring out how to integrate all the stuff I've accumulated over the years into something I hope will be fun for other people.

So, End City is on a river, so that works for me as well. And I've rumors about Stuboon's lost treasure (I even have a history of the world and its own gods. At the time I was a college student, could not afford what I could find, so making it up was both entertaining and cheap. Stuboon thought a shortcut would give him a marketing edge from the north lands to End City. As witness the 3 stands, it did not work out well after all).

Sunday, December 09, 2018

D'Arlee Trade Routes

My old hand-drawn map on photocopied subsector copies, then taped together to form a quadrant and plotted trade routes.  I do miss those physical crafty days, now we do everything on the computer. Looks better in some ways, but I feel we're sort of losing the ability to make our own universes and worlds. And I really like hand-drawn images more for some reason. While I suppose there is a surplus of environments, worlds and scenarios on the various game platforms such as DriveThru RPG, I don't know that people make up their own as much. For me, that was most of the fun.  Especially in the years when I was not actually playing, but playing at: making up worlds, corporations, characters, and maps galore.

But I digress.  My map had dozens of trade routes that, if doing a financial analysis, probably make no sense whatsoever. Those days we did not care as much, and the group I am with now probably does not either. So we'll just go with something that looks good and may not make much sense.

I will have a lot of time tomorrow as well (yay snow days!) so I may pull out the GURPS Far Trader book, work up all the GDP stuff as well, and then see about making a more realistic trade map.

I also found that, as great as it is, TravellerMap does not handle routes going to the same places hand drawn map has several routes that parallel and overlap each other. All in different colors - I suppose I was trying to use all the colors in that colored pencil set! There are several other routes not shown. Plus I discovered missing worlds as well.

Antares company profile

Per the BITS 101 Corporations / Corporate profile:

Antares Ship Builders and Trade Speculators
D'Arlee/0401 D'Arlee Quadrant
Im-4424-35*Trans6 Con3 Man1*3464-35

And from a WIP PDF (which my players will never read but I'm stuck at home in the snow. And I like doing this for fun!)

(from the Antares Ship Builders and Trade Speculators Employee manual, 1104-001 revision)


Welcome to Antares Ship Builders and Trade Speculators! You are part of the extended Wescott family. We are a family-owned business established in 540 by Broderick Wescott, and has been in the family since it was a single small merchant vessel, the Fair Wren. Since then, the company has grown to its current state of over 18,000 employees and dozens of vessels plying the space lanes. You are now a part of this proud history.


Starting with that single ship, Broderick went from a scrappy free merchant to creating the start of a trading empire, Antares Trade Speculators.  Using brokers on various systems, Broderick was able to procure better cargos than his competitors, as well as establishing standardized routes with the assistance of local governments to ensure timely delivery of goods and mail. To help off-set the immense costs of purchasing ships, he started the Antares Shipyards on D’Arlee in 572 by the purchase of a small ship building firm. This small ship yard went from producing perhaps 5 ships a year to more than 20 ships. Not all went back into the business, and as a result, we were renamed to Antares Ship Builders and Trade Speculators.

Over the years, Antares built itself recognition as a stable, dependable partner for world governments and private organizations. With its expanding fleet of small merchant ships, Antares covered areas that larger shipping companies wrote off as too small for a profit. We not only deal with world governments and interstellar corporations, but we also specialize in the handling of the personal and small local companies. We were fair trade before fair trade was born.

Antares gained Imperial recognition in 761, three years after D’Arlee joined the Imperium. At that time, in order to expand into Imperial trading relationships, the Imperial family has a 3% stake in Antares. See Appendix 3 for the current stock ownership. With the growth of the Imperium, Antares faced larger challenges are larger corporations moved into our traditional routes. Additionally, other ship building corporations, with vastly larger resources, moved in. Antares in the intervening 300 years was slowly reduced in size from its peak of more than 50,000 employees and 100+ ships. Our mission also changed to reflect the changing of the times. Rather than building ships and hiring crew for 100% of our trading needs, we started the owner-operators initiative. In 1002, we started chartering ship owners for a portion of their profits. We invested in people. We now support dozens of owner-operators in addition to our existing fleet.

Hiring Practices

Antares hires at current Imperial standard rates for the various positions required. Certification levels can boost the base pay. Additionally, ship owners working for Antares gain a 10% discount on yearly maintenance at any appropriate Antares shipyard (see Appendix 2 for current ship yard locations and capacity). Owners are given access to Antares brokers (see Appendix 2A for current broker listings) for a reduced fee.

Owners agree to a 5% net profit dividend to be payed to Antares in exchange for these benefits.

Antares Ship Builders and Trade Speculators

My old mega-corporation wannabe from college.  Top image was done via GIMP (and I am so slow with that, but thought I'd see if I could use Bezier curves to make something. Did half, then duplicated and flipped that layer. Only took 6-7 tries to get it to close enough!). The original is pen and colored pencils. While the tools have certainly changed, my Traveller introduction was in the old line drawing days. Those types of drawings evoke Traveller to me. Ian Stead, although using computer graphics still manages to maintain what I consider the feel of classic Traveller.

I have an entire huge org chart which, after being in the real world and working for real companies, will be adjusted. There were 40-45 little boxes, and for some reason I had marketing under logistics and in charge of contractors. I think I did this after getting Book 6, Scouts, with its org chart.

I could not find a font that was too close to my hand-drawn version, but that one is close enough.

Next post - details on this 20,000+ employer in the D'Arlee Quadrant.  I'll break out the BITS 101 Corporations book and get a detailed corporate profile completed. This will probably be today or perhaps tomorrow - the snow did arrive, and is still arriving. And looks to be arriving through tomorrow. So I have a sort of 3 day weekend (I've a couple of phone interviews with applicants but I can do that from home).

Saturday, December 08, 2018


Iac as rolled up 30+ years ago: A551301-B.  Not sure how we get a class A port on a world with a population of about 3000 people. So...this is now the family retreat for the family that owns Antares Shipping and Trade Speculators, a large corporation in the D'Arlee Quadrant.  I have several pages of notes on them and even have some logos. I had a lot more time to create game stuff in college than I recall!

So, in the intervening years, and reading on various Traveller forums, I am going with the 3,000 is just the full-time residents. There are over 10,000 SPA employees at the starport, as well as almost that many in various manufacturing and other support services to the port. There is a high port as well.

The port is entirely Imperium owned and operated, and is a small city unto itself. As I rolled up a couple of NPCs using the JTAS 19, "Skyport Authority" by the wonderful John M. Ford, I also envision this career can send characters all over. So most of the port employees are mostly transient, performing their term or terms and then moving on.

The family (hmm, no notes on the name, I shall have to get some of that taken care of in a post where I detail the conglomerate) basically owns the planet, and has several large estates. A large staff is also part of the population. Can't have upper level families doing their own laundry now!

So perhaps if the snow actually comes down (threats of snowmagedden so far have not materialized, but I may wake up tomorrow in a foot of snow), I'll dig up those notes. I think I can make that work in the current game I am playing as well.

As I do not expect my players to actually stop at the planet, this is probably enough of a description to go on. Their ship does have wilderness refueling and refining capacity, so I believe they will just dip into one of the two gas giants for a few days to refuel.

Just realized I probably should indicate that this is a F6 V star, the main world is in orbit 4, and there are small stations and stuff all over. With a tech level of B, there is probably a fair amount of interstellar traffic. Heck - they probably import the hydrogen from the gas giants or belts (two of each). Yeah - I can stick a few of those 0-Hr stations in various places in case they want to visit those. I'll stick a few on all the gas giants so that they can either wilderness refuel or buy fuel and get off the ship for a bit of a stretch.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

The Big Bad

As the game is going to be continued, I need to get a bit more background as to why the Travellers were kidnapped on their various journeys.  As this was a skill-jacking ring, one must ask what skills were being needed to require kidnapping? For a small part of the group, no real skills were required: the people were going to become essentially slaves. Those with skills were going to get passed on to the next stop on the people-smuggling process.

From the Flatline adventure, we have three people in the know: the medic at the camp who applies the creeper venom to keep the low berth people very confused upon awakening, Sayelle who is the brains of that portion of the procedure, and Hambley is the basic muscle with the skills to pilot the small hauler. On Q'uantar, this is the mastermind. Based on the PDF hopefully linked below:

Lenard Catlow, Property owner

989A4C Gun (Rifle 2, Energy 1), Gambling 2, Administration, Deception

Lenard is a recent immigrant to Q’uantar. A personable man who purchased over a thousand hectares of farming and hunting grounds about 100K from the port. Lenard is a frequent guest at the starport as he has supplies often ferried in from the small haulers and infrequent merchant craft. He is the actual ringmaster behind the skill jacking, and Sayelle reports directly to him. Lenard oversees this critical junction as the local police on D’Arlee were starting to close in (D’Arlee is where the Travellers were heading and subsequently kidnapped). While technically skilled people get moved on to the League of Independent Planets via a people smuggling ring, lesser skilled people are often taken back to Lenard’s estate for what amounts to slavery or worse.  His last “employee” died a few weeks back, and some of the Travellers were going to become his personal property. However, the Roseam Corporation’s ill-timed EMP changed those plans.

Unbeknown to pretty much everyone, he does have a small 100 ship in his barn, the Seeker class ship, fully fueled and ready for flight if necessary. He also has one of the few air/rafts on the planet, which helps explain the power plant / fuel system he has on his plantation.

So now I've a nefarious plot going with the League of Independent Planets. Is it a government sponsored process, some rogue group within the government, or some local gang or corporation? I've no idea at this point - we'll just have to see if that thread gets pulled, and if so, follow it.

On a side note, the Seeker class is another deck plan I've got from 0-Hr. Looks like it might barely make 100 tons and looks like a tiny Klingon Bird of Prey. As I do have some deck plans on it, another map I can use. And being so small, 1 person can pilot it. And hey - obviously I need to add Pilot to Lenard's skill set. I'll go with he has a nav tape one of the nearby worlds.

And below we can see Lenard's spread relative to the port, and below that, the good looking and charismatic Lenard Catlow himself. Mustache-twirling will be optional...

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Iac - System Map

Still playing (slowly!) with Campaign Cartographer. Figuring out a few things (hey, you CAN edit text! TED command...and hey, you CAN trim parts of things!)

Anyway, aside from what is probably quite obvious to those using the system, I am slowly making some sort of progress.  Below is the system map of Iac. As the group will need to go there on their way to Pax Stellar, I figured I should at least outline the system. My guess is that they will simply stop at one of the 3 gas giants and do a wilderness refuel: the Navy Lab ship has fuel refining equipment on-board.  I'll do my single page display probably this week if I get a chance.

Still need to work out a bit more detail on that ship: the doctor has a majority controlling interest, but the Navy may still "own" a bit of it so to speak (sort of like the Scout Detached Duty). The Bwap will also have a ship share, and as I'll be adding another player that wants to play a possible scientist Vargr (taking after her Plott Hound), with any luck we'll roll out a ship share or so to give her some say in things as well.

The plan is to get to a good stopping point in the current 5th edition D&D game, and December, being a short month with all the holidays and people maybe in or out, will be board games and some minor catch up (the other game plans on continuing through the month, but my group is planning a pause to let the DMs get a break). Then perhaps we'll resume the Traveller game for a 2 month session. With possibly 7 players. Oh my.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Starport Personnel - Q'uantar

Well, it is a sparsely populated planet, and a class D port...

There is a PDF here:!AgjJYJOsJH7WgdloiTwX6bl0eW0vxQ

Next up - all 10 people. Going to go with an modern-west theme - a few big ranches located around the port.  Modern as in 50's modern - have to roll up some characteristics to see if there is anything interesting or odd about the world. Time to dog out the Census book!

Note that I just do searches for science fiction portraits and grab images. Below is were I found them (apparently other blogs. Perhaps I need to do some additional due diligence to find the actual artists)


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Q'uantar Starport

The Class D port at Q'uantar consists of 6 ferrocrete pads and 4 30 ton cutter modules that have been used for decades as the initial infrastructure.  The pads can hold ships of up to 500 dTons, and three are reserved for Scout craft.

The 4 modules consists of:
  • Jiratech S-6500 starport module: The basic bridge represents the control center, with radios and sensors to guide in approaching craft. The single office serves as a customs office as well as administrative office.
  • A cargo module that stores spare parts: the basic cargo module is a two deckcylinder with four cargo hatches, two on each deck.
  • a garage module that has the upper cargo space set up with a small fusion power generator: This module provides space for a vehicle up to 3,500cf in a spacious vehicle doc. To assist a single winch is provided.
  • a lounge module that is also used for transient housing: This module provides simple entertainment and relaxing.
The upper accesses are not used in these 4 modules. There is a scaffolding base to keep them upright and stable. These four modules have been heavily used, and have been used as the basis for more than 1 temporary starport. They are transported as necessary for new systems, and left there until there is enough other infrastructure so that they are no longer needed.

In the case of Q'uantar, this is probably their last station: Q'uantar barely supports a small Scout station, and is currently the home of dozens of small prospecting and proving sites. As of yet, nothing of any value has been discovered. Should some sort of gold rush arise, a "real" starport may yet materialize.

The port is maintained by 3 permanent SPA employees who live in the starport module or a modest cabin in the small township a few kilometers to the south. There is always at least 1 representative present at all times.

The port itself is located near one of the many shallow seas dotting the planet. There is a small fuel pumping station connected to the river that wends it way through the middle of the port. There is tankage for about 300 tons of fuel at any one time, and it takes about hour per 10 tons to process more fuel.

The SPA does provide shotguns and rifles to the crew. There is some hunting with the group from the small town south of the port. The mayor, Agerima Cigomos, is an avid hunter. She even has the carapace of some of the bugs that attacked our Travellers in the last session on her wall in the mayor's office (the sitting room of her cabin).

The single vehicle in the garage is a well-maintained ground vehicle that seats 4 comfortably.

Text for the modules and the modules comes from the GURPS Modular Cutter book.

The Scout ship image is from Moon Toad Publishing.

The ground vehicle is from

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Shapeways Ships

Finally found the photo of the ships I got from Shapeways. I may have to get a few more Traveller ones, although I have quite a number of them from 0-Hr Kickstarters (I have every one of those and the posters - and I've managed to use a couple in my games, and the current one I should be able to use a couple more. Sadly they are not at any consistent scale but I am okay with that).

The detailing on these 1/1000 ships is really good, and I suck at painting. As we don't do space combat much (so far at all) not sure what I am doing with them other than just collecting Traveller things.

I am also on the fence on the new Mongoose miniatures game. I already have Snapshot, and the group I play with is not going to be doing major boarding. So I'll probably skip that one (plus the cost of entry is higher than I am willing to pay for something I am not likely to use).  I do hope that they will sell the minis later - they would work on all those ship posters I keep getting!

Q'uantar - regrouping

In talking with the players from the last game, I do have several takers to continue playing. Including one who is determined to pursue the people who stuck her into low passage and hijacked her (I used the Flatline adventure moved from Neon to Q'uantar: it starts with the old trope of "waking up in a cold berth with no idea how you got there". As I was not sure if this was going to be a 1 shot or not, that worked for me).

When we last left the group, the Scout Travis was picking them up in the Katydid, his Scout ship, to transfer them back to the class D port. It will be a bit of crowding but it will be a short trip.

I'll see if I can get one of the players to play Travis as it was his character in a previous game (I like some sense of continuity). As he is playing a barbarian this time around, this may give him a chance to play someone piloting a ship for a bit.

I'll have to come up with some pre-defined conversation as I am horrible at ad libbing. They are pretty sure they know who was transporting them illegally, but there are a few other tendrils and people I need to make sure get involved somehow.

However, I can at least describe the planet that they are on, Q'uantar, in a bit more detail.

9,440 kilometers in diameter, slightly less than Earth-sized, with a gravity of about .9 standard.
A standard oxygen / nitrogen atmosphere.
75% water, a lot of that are vast swaths of swamp and marshes. The deepest oceans only go down a 1000 meters or so. There is a large insect population that does not bother humans due to different biological signals.
Population is listed as 10, but there are a lot of transients: mining camps mostly as Q'uantar seems rich in certain minerals. No sign of lanthium however.
Participating democracy. As there are only about 10 actual citizens in a small town next to the port, everyone does get a vote. The current mayor is Agerima Cigomos, a somewhat heavy-set woman in her late 40s.
With a law level of 2, anything goes up to portable energy weapons. Think wild west - the locals often open carry firearms. It is a very sparsely populated world.
Tech level 6 indicates 50's or so era technology.
Starport Class D is a minimal port, capable of minor repairs and carries unrefined fuel.

The port consists of 6 pads of ferrocrete that can handle ships up to about 500 tons. There are 4 old cutter modules that make up the port (hey, I've got both the physical and electronic books and by golly will use them :) ). A Class 1 module, a cargo module that holds spare parts, a garage that has a small runabout vehicle for getting about, and a lounge module that has seen better days.

I'll generate the port staff and probably all 10 residents later.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Closeup map of power source / Pax Stellar

Still not getting any better with Campaign Cartographer. I really need to sit down and do a few tutorials rather than just banging around like 3 monkeys on 3 typewriters thinking I'll come up with a masterful map!

Anyway, a close up of the area the adventurers will get to (well, always with the assumptions we'll keep playing, but several people indicated that they wanted to, so I'll take that as a positive sign!)

I am hoping to be able to play this well - ancient tribes where there is little to no communication. The Pax Stellar Guide (link below) has the encounter tables now for the terrains the group will have to take. I figure 1 encounter per hex travelled on the big map (where 1 hex = 50km; in the steam ATV they should be able to cover 2-5 hexes per day depending on the terrain, so it should only be a 2-3 day trip I think. Full of strange life both organic and mechanical.

Still a WIP but most of what is a fairly open sandbox is there now (again with too much detail that will probably never get used: I obviously subscribe to the overpreparation view. I think I'd make a better assistant referee...!AgjJYJOsJH7WgdZqqfYL9gVdz1ieOA

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

D'Arlee Quadrant Overview

Excerpt from the Pilot's Guide To D'Arlee

Located on the edge of Imperial Space, The D’Arlee Quadrant consists of 4 subsectors: D’Arlee, Yontin, Far and Zorron’s Sector. Almost half of the systems are under Imperial rule. There are two smaller political regions, the League of Independent Planets and the entirely Red-zoned triplanetary system of Pax Stellar which has collapsed under internal strife and warfare more than 3000 years ago. 

The majority of inhabitants are human or human-derived, and there are a few known native intelligences. In fact, this quadrant has a higher than normal number of Amber and Red zoned systems. These systems have been marked either by the ISS or the Imperial Navy as off-limits for a variety of known and unknown reasons. Rumors of ultra-high tech systems to worlds of psionic mages are a constant thread throughout starport bars in this region. 

D’Arlee is the principle system for this quadrant. It entered the Third Imperium in 758 and was declared the subsector capital. Unfortunately, further exploration and colonization was halted as a result of repercussions from the Stumbling Years period of Imperial history. Only quadrant A was explored and colonized, and in fact, the rimward sections of Far and Zorron’s Sector have a number of systems that only have the base physical characteristics mapped. There may yet be unknown civilizations and cultures beyond the edge of known space!

The D’Arlee subsector also marks the end of the X-Boat route into this section of space. There is a large private shipping company, Antares Shipping, that handles the majority of communications and mail within the quadrant. It’s Empress class ships visit multiple systems on well-defined trade routes, and is partially subsidized by the Imperium.The two other political systems, as noted, are the Pax Stellar and the League of Independent Planets. The Navy has blockaded the Pax Stellar. This was once a technological society rivaling the Darrians in terms of science. Now only ruins exist, and Imperial scientists backed by the might of a somewhat over-extended Imperial Navy keep guard over the ruins. 

The League of Independent Planets was created by a free trader, Anthom Trass, and has managed to maintain independent status for over 100 years now. It maintains its own space patrol in lieu of a Naval presence. There are two Naval bases within the borders, and there is some tension between Imperial authority and the more independent-minded League. There has only been a single instance of armed combat, floridly named the Merchant Massacre by the League and not even named in Imperial Navy histories, in 1100. 

The quadrant shares its memorable early explorers on a variety of systems. The Finnigan’s systems are somewhat prosaically named based on the order of exploration. Monk is named after Imperial Scout Tricia Monk from 801. Johan is based on Baroness Felicia D’Arlee Jo-hon.There are no known stellar oddities or hazards other than potential political unrest. The quadrant is several months from the Imperial Core and relies heavily on local nobility to maintain the peace and order as expected from being part of the grand Third Imperium.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Pax Stellar History, draft 1

WIP from the PDF (and yes, I had a LOT of time today so managed to get a lot done).

Referee Only

Background Info

Pax Stellar as a small, 3 system empire originating from Pax Stellar and expanding to Gavlois and Celtiz almost 4000 years ago. While technologically advanced in computers, robotics and medicine, they never discovered the jump drive. Colony ships took years to travel between systems. While not a unified culture as each system evolved, the use of autonomouse ramjet ships kept technology relatively uniform across the three systems. 

Advances in medicine, robotics and artificial intelligence lead early use of nanobots for medical repairs. This constantly evolving technology expanded well beyond medical purposes. Remote control of near-autonomous robots moved from hand computers, to wearable technology, to thought-based control via headsets to the penultimate use of nanomachines “reading” the users mind to control the robots.  Society moved towards what many considered a utopia as manual labor was no longer needed, robots become more self-sufficient to pamper the population, and artificial intelligences created even more advanced artificial intelligences and sophisticated nano-technology. 

The Pax Stellar Empire reached its peak 3200 years ago. There was a slow degradation of “utopia” then a sudden cataclysmic fall as the nano-technology failed across all three systems simultaneously. Society collapsed from 1+ billion people of Pax Stellar to about 250,000. All autonomous systems stopped responding to most people. Chaos and millions died from lack of services and the inability to perform even basic tasks due to generations of relying entirely on the system. 

The System

Not actually psionic, the high technology culmination of medical, robotics and computer systems lead to the creation of nanomachines that could “read” the mind of the host and send out commands to the nearby systems. As the system developed and matured, nano-based controls expanded, the age of consent for nanomachines was reduced until toddlers were receiving their first, nanny-level nanos.  At some point, the nanomachines started getting transferred during pregnancy, and, unknown to the worlds, evolving. AI was quite common and as people became more and more accustomed to having basically every desire fulfilled just by thought, the AIs took over more and more of the basic functioning of society. Robots and autonomous machines were physically evolving as well to be more self-sufficient and replicating. Essentially self-creating robots no longer required factories or Makers to get created. The robots could procreate via shared code and creating a host robot body from raw materials or other robots that had “died”.  Robots integrated themselves into the ecosystem, and in some cases started replacing species. 

The population was mostly oblivious of the increasing roles the robots and AIs were taking. While there were some enclaves that refused to get nanobots, by 3000 years ago even the air contained the technology. There was no escaping the pervasive robots. 

At the height of the civilization

The Pax Stellar Empire was a small, 3 system empire held together by colonial sub-light passage and radio. Communications took almost 4 years one way, and colonists used cold-berths to endure a multi-year journey between worlds.

Tech level for transportation: 9 (no grav, colony ships for nearby worlds; interstellar ram jets in use) 

Tech level for computers: 17 

Tech level for robotics: 17 

Tech level for medical: 17 

The Surge 

At some point just over 3000 years ago, there was what was named the Surge: all nanomachines appeared to stop working on all three systems of the Pax Stellar Empire simultaneously. As there was no FTL travel, nor jump, it may be assumed this was a planned action carried out well in advance. Civilization broke down rapidly – multiple generations of people raised by artificial means, never having to actually learn to do anything, and the innate simplicity of merely wishing for something to have it show up left people ill-equipped to handle a reality where the robots no longer listened. There was not a robotic rebellion per se: the AIs and robots simply stopped listening and people did themselves in.  There was a massive environmental collapse as the robots expanded their roles in the natural environments. Nature become more and more machine-based, and the human population dwindled rapidly from not only food shortages, but intense rivalry as tribalism increased. The few enclaves that eschewed the technology, while not thriving, survived and are the ancestors of the remaining human population. 

How we got to today 

Over the next 3000 years, the nanomachines still were evolving, and some choose to listen to the humans. All humans born and raised on any of the Pax Stellar systems had a host of nanomachines in their bloodstreams. A few people have learned to be able to influence and communicate with the robots. Most humans and robots are not aware of the past. There are several AI enclaves that do know the history, as they were present those millennia ago. There is no animosity, but neither is there any inclination to help the organics. 

There are three main groups of AI that could control the worlds if they chose. The largest group is the one least likely to do anything: they want nothing to do with the organics, and live and play in their own virtual worlds. Their physical presences on world are usually large buildings, with multiple below-ground levels. These facilities are self-maintaining even after thousands of years.

The next two groups are about evenly matched. One wants to destroy all organic life. They believe that mechanical life is the next stage of evolution. Their facilities are feared and nothing organic lives within hundreds of kilometers. The final group is more interested in organic life. This group choses to recall that they were built to live alongside humans, and it was a mutually beneficial relationship.

Power is fusion and geothermal based. The robots also absorb energy from the environmental nanobots as well as processing raw materials. There has been minimal evolutionary change at the macroscopic level—the mechanical life “breeds” true for the most part. Originally designed to aid In the preservation of nature, centuries have caused a good portion of the natural life to go extinct and replaced by the mechanical counterparts.

Play notes

The nanomachines are capable of communicating the thoughts between humans and robots. Range on Pax Stellar is measured in kilometers due to the swarms of nanomachines that can carry messages. They have a very weak radio signal that can be detected by Imperial sensors, but is encrypted such that no one knows what is getting transmitted. There are electronic shields that can block the signal.

Off-world, the range is much more limited. Depending on the person, anywhere from 20-120 meters is the range (2d6x10).  Walls and other surfaces may block or retard signal strength.

Communication is two way. Although the nanomachines themselves are not intelligent, the mechanical life may have an intelligence ranging from mouse level to dolphin depending on the mechanical life. Any life with an intelligence greater is unlikely to pay attention to human requests. Natives that have mechanical life that listen to them are restricted to a single life form that behaves more like a pet or guardian. While they can communicate potentially all mechanical life, most will not appear to listen to the human. Most of these mechanical familiars are small and easy to carry, although some are larger and may be used as mounts. The long-necked suckler is an example of one of the mounts. More common as familiars are the rock centipedes and other smaller forms.

Communication ranges from simple commands to an immersive, full sensory experience. Some wizards of the natives can see and hear what is happening several kilometers away from multiple mechanical life forms.

This world may be useful as a background for barbarians in the greater Imperial universe. If they have a mechanical friend, they may be useful for information gathering or other, more clandestine uses. These familiars are similar to pets: they are loved and cared for. They are also easy to maintain: a few scraps of metal to supplement their natural collection of solar and ambient energy keep them alive. There is little waste other than water due to the hydrogen fuel system that they seem to use. In dryer climes on Pax Stellar, larger mechanical life are often used as water reservoirs.

World gravity is 1.6 standard. Normal carrying rules will apply, and characters will become exhausted a lot sooner than expected. Care must be taken for anything involving stepping up or down, and falls are more serious. The atmosphere is standard and no additional equipment, other than normal environmental protection, is required.

The Scenario

The players, while recovering on D’Arlee and exploring the lab ship, are approached by a Naval attache, Ne-toss Dashanee. Asking permission to board, she introduces herself as the current attache to the local Naval Base. Realizing that the travelers have just returned from quite an ordeal, she apologizes but asks if they could come and visit with the Commodore, Renie Coley, at their earliest convenience. She leaves her card and contact information, then excuses herself and leaves in a Naval grav car, heading back to the Naval port.

Assuming the travelers decide to follow up, they can approach the Naval section of the D’Arlee Down Port. If they have the card, they are ushered in, and if walking, given transport via ground vehicle to the Naval Command Offices. Otherwise, there may be some role-playing to get to the correct people. Either way, they end up at the front door with Lt. Ne-toss waiting. She ushers them into a small waiting room on the top floor, offering tea, coffee and various light snacks. Within a few minutes, the Commodore asks them to his office. A large bay window overlooks the Navy yards below. The office is somewhat austere with functional furniture. Renie stands, and offers to shake hands with everyone.

Renie: “On behalf of the Imperial government,  we first apologize for the transgressions that took place on Quantar. Please be assured that the Imperial Ministry of Justice is reviewing the case, and full justice shall prevail. While we cannot ask more of you, we actually do have a request. Young Osrum, it turns out, is a native of Pax Stellar. His people refer to it as Planet Bob. We believe that this may be our chance to better explore the mystery that is Pax Stellar.”

The players, as they have a native, are asked to go to Pax Stellar. Once there, transfer to the orbital station to a drop ship.  They are to travel from research station 2 to the unknown power source. This is a distance of about 400 kilometers. Normally a short day trip via shuttle or grav vehicle, the technological inhibitors on Pax Stellar require a slower approach. Personnel have never been able to get there, either via fly-over or driving. Flying vehicles succumb hundreds of kilometers away. Vehicle excursions have met with what appears to be active resistance from the mechanical life. After losing several research and support personnel, they have given up hope. However, knowing that the natives can communicate, they are hoping to be able to get to the power system and its assumed controlling intelligence. The goal is to make contact with the local tribe and, if possible, discover the source of the power readings and hopefully solve some of the mystery of Pax Stellar.

There is a large tribe near the power source—satellites can work if kept far enough out of orbit. Oddly, several areas defy any sort of photograph or other sensor analyses. There is an active energy blocking any sort of readings. The area over all the odd power surges are similarly blanked. The Travellers will be going in partially blind. Maps are available for most of the journey, but the last 100 kilometers or so are a complete unknown.

The ground level of the facility.  If I were a cruel ref, this could be a dungeon crawl - just add in lasers, attack robots...


I created a 5 level station to drop in on Pax Stellar as the unknown power source. Still need to work up a lot of the details, and this could even be seen as a dungeon crawl depending on how it comes out.

While not 100% matching due to my cut and paste technique, it is good enough for me and for the game. I'll have the printouts and a square-based game map to draw things as necessary should it come to that.

Here's the link to the ever-expanding PDF:!AgjJYJOsJH7WgdZqqfYL9gVdz1ieOA

and the top level / quarters that has a view over the comm bay:

And if you've not gone there, this is a fantastic Traveller resource that I got the geomorphs from:

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Pax Stellar and Nanotechnology Thoughts

I am expanding out the Pax Stellar world book (see previous blog for the WIP). And while walking around the lake at lunch today, thought of some things I want to consider. And figured I had better write them down somewhere before I forget!

So, a few points about the PS system:

  • post-apocalyptic world - almost utopia 3000+ years ago
  • very high tech in terms of medical, robotic and computer systems
  • so-so in terms of other technologies (no jump technology)
  • currently considered TL-0 despite having mechanical life
  • the mechanical life is really alive in some sense: they can think, procreate
  • the worlds are saturated with nanotech - everything has them: air, water, foods
  • the nanotech cannot survive off-world EXCEPT for those humans born and raised there (barbarians in Traveller)
  • there are several AIs still present that have as-yet-to-be-defined powers
  • natives may be able to communicate with the mechanical life via the nanotech - think built-in bluetooth basically
  • the Imperium is unable to replicate this technology or even reverse engineer it despite almost 200 years of trying
  • the nanotech breaks down all non-native technology - several Scout ships are now just bulkheads
  • time to break down is 2-12 hours (coincidence :) ) So a ship can come, drop off stuff, and leave. Once outside of the atmosphere, the nano-machines appear to basically shut down
Some game things I think we could do:
  • if the players can convince an AI, they may be able to get their own custom nano-machines.
  • these custom machines could allow for communication between those characters that have this
  • expand out the ship's computer - AI? 
  • allow characters to talk with the ship
  • these nano-machines would be custom to each character - maybe a table of possible side-effects? I.e., a strong desire to return every few months for a "data dump". The AIs may be considering expanding beyond these 3 systems (Virus precursor? would this protect against that? Not that I ever played that particular version)
  • this is borderline psionic, just more mechanical in nature. will there be a stigma to this? Will the characters, if strongly Imperial-indoctrinated, not want to do this?
  • could the characters get their own "pets" to go out amongst the stars?
  • a lot of this tech is definitely not how the Imperium likes things to be...
Some possible negative affects if they do this:
  • mental or physical changes: the shakes due to a mismatch? IQ degradation?
  • imprisoned by the Imperial forces or at least chased by them to get at the technology if they find out?
  • an irrestable urge to return to the planet every so often so that the nano-machines can share data about the Imperium?
  • a negative effect on the ship? would jump space affect the nano-machines? kill them?
  • evil ship AI takes over?
  • the nano-machines "evolve" away from the system? Cyborg?
Some possible positive benefits:
  • instant communication 
  • improved physical or mental attributes
  • improved healing (these did start as medical nano-machines)
  • a happy ship helping the characters - more automated systems

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Pax Stellar

Working on the Pax Stellar adventure, and think I can get another 3/4 week adventure out of this at least, if the players come back after our current D&D game.

I'm bringing in sources from all over. The mechanical life is from Dr. Mordecai Crowley’s Journal of Planetary Travels by Michael Murdock. He has another Kickstarter going for volume 2 - I really hope it makes it! The hex map is via Campaign Cartographer - I am not getting any better but I just don't have the time and inclination at the same time! And The drop ship is from the most excellent blog  This guy does amazing things!

Link to the current WIP guide:!AgjJYJOsJH7WgdZqqfYL9gVdz1ieOA

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Pax Stellar

Still reviving my old college Traveller game based on the remaining maps.

The Pax Stellar system was a trio of planets that were once a mighty space empire. That is all I can recall from those days. As one of the players is a barbarian from Planet Bob, we've decided Planet Bob is also known as Pax Stellar by the Imperium. A heavily interdicted world due to the presence of autonomous, mechanical life.

Basically, I've got a book from a Kickstarter that I liked, and actually figured I could use that as a background source for the world...

The player's character, Osrum, has this cool little robot. Even better, there is a psionic link between the robot & Osrum. Which is the primary reason the system is interdicted: The Imperium first has that tendency to really dislike psionics. And robots. Psionic robots are basically double trouble. Yet - think of the possibilities!

He has another KS going, and I hope this 3rd time around will work!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Fantasy Maps

Sill on a "recreating the college maps in something perhaps more up to date". Although I actually do like the plethora of hand-made maps I made back then.

I may have posted this one before - this is one section of the world and mostly human lands. Apparently lands may have had species-specific primary residents. The next map is a close-up of a section, and my plans for the 1st The Fantasy Trip game I get going. I've got a cool KS "drop in" sort of map/adventure that is in a creepy, swampy area. It fits in well with this area: Stubboon was a trader almost a century ago, and tried to have a shortcut between the far northern lands and End City at the coast. Apparently taking a shortcut through the Terror Lands did not sink in as possibly a bad idea. He did make it through but there where three standing battles, and he never made it all the way to Edge City.  Stories abound about the treasure trove of magical and mundane items left at the various battle sites as Stubboon and his rapidly dwindling caravan raced towards the civilized and urbane Edge City.

Although in really looking at the map, the Downunder Route does not seem that much longer...

Friday, October 12, 2018

Not Traveller

This is the current iteration of my D&D paladin's scroll of pedigree. Pretty sure I need to fancy it up some (some fancy scroll work, images, etc). He comes from Nyrond nobility so I found a map of the area, and snagged some of the regions around there for his ancestry.

I'll try & post some Traveller stuff soon, and maybe start working on the Traveller Tracker again. Maybe clean up the UI a great deal. Need to keep up with C# as it has been a couple of years now since I was doing that professionally.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Traveller Tracker - redo again?

As Microsoft decided not to further develop their touch-centric Office software, which is UWP, I may rewrite the tracker software again to be regular Win32. Meaning it would have an installer rather than having to go through the whole side-loading thing. Plus the layout, despite all my best intentions, got horribly muddled. And I figured out some of the cargo things when working different versions, so it is also sort of mixed up more than I like.

While this is a very niche thing for a niche audience, it is still something that could prove useful.  Most of the work I've done is still valid - it is just the presentation is bad.

I'll think about it, and see if I can get some time. Now that I am sort of back to refereeing games, my time is filled up (although the next 2 months are D&D, say hello to Sir Ray Sao of Nyong, a paladin of Pholtus!) I will be working some more of MTU as that is where we'll keep on playing, as there has been some interest in continuing the game.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Session 4 / Night Survival and Wrap up

As the darkness fell, more of the creepers kept appearing on the berm around the site. After Osrum was pulled back from attacking the creepers, Tamsym, the Vargr trader, made additional fires to keep the encroaching critters at bay. Rosie and company managed to get the fusion power plant restarted at about 20% capacity and the creepers really started to go to town on the wiring. Morgana yelled at them to shut the power down as it was attracting more of them.

After some significant conversation (via a pre-typed out dialog I had between players and NPCs, that did seem to help a bit), Osrum, seeing a creeper on a building top, climbed up to whack it and knock it off. These very large creatures were pretty tough - even though he hit it, it hit back. The fight continued another round until the creeper ran off, leaving Osrum severely injured. While Morgana was cleaning the wounds, Max and Rosie finished up repairing a basic walky-talky and Rosie climbed the tower to try an SOS. She sent out some calls, but got no response back.

Tensions were rising as Abe, the med-tech, got backed into a corner of the medical area while Morgana was stitching Osrum. He finally confessed to being part of the skill-jacking team, naming Hambley as the leader of the group. Going back outside, Morgana confronts Hambley who, while raising his gun, does not shoot. Max was moving around a building to get a bead on him just in case. Tamsym, in a flurry of activity, was disassembling one of the buggies. At this point more of the creepers started getting a bit more aggressive. Morgana thew a molotov cocktail, hurting three of the creepers. One ran off while the other two, killers, started moving to the group. Hambley got off a shot, wounding one, and Qat was attacking another with her machete. Osrum was up by this time, and started attacking some creepers moving in from the rear of the camp.

Next round, Hambley shoots again, but misses. He also missed Qat who was in the line of fire. She was not sure how intentional that was (I really did roll a 3 on his shot, and as Jeff's character was actually behind the creeper, seemed like an opportunity he may take to eliminate the Travellers, one by one). Another molotov and more creepers get hurt. Most of them are starting to run off now, between the guns going off and all the fires. Hambley got another shot off, killing that creeper and Qat almosst dispatched the one she was attacking. That creeper crept off, dragging its legs.

At this point the sun was rising, and most of the creepers had either left or were dead. A ship approaches, the former ISS Katydid, and Travis Roanoke, former Scout, lands. He and a female Bwap, Morgana's assistant / lady in waiting, get out to greet everyone.

Behind the scenes - the SOS did manage to reach the Katydid at the starport. Travis was there just as a stopover to somewhere else, and his ship does have a better sensor system than the port itself. So once he managed to triangulate that, he was about to take off when the Bwap asked to come aboard. There was a small shuttle at port with noble markings on it. Travis is quite the trusting soul, so along she came.

What I need to do is get a name and some info on the Bwap lady in waiting, have a vague outline of what will happen when the Katydid gets back to port (which is all of 2 30 dTon cutter modules, 1 for the port and 1 for living area, and perhaps 3-5 full time employees). Will Hambley run off, all that fun stuff.

Then the lab ship is one parsec away on D'Arlee. Obviously the Katydid can get them there under pretty cramped conditions. But why would everyone stay together? And will they pursue why they got jacked and taken to Q'auntar?  The Bwap will have established that her charge / friend was missing after a couple of weeks. She went to the last place she knew she was at, D'Arlee, and from there instituted some legal actions. All the Travellers gear will be available in police custody, including a very interesting bauble for Osrum (who, while a barbarian, comes from a system that was previously very high-tech and is currently red-zoned by the Imperial Navy).  I'll probably set that in motion - the police, in their investigation, also turned to the Imperial Navy. They recognized the bauble as coming from Pax Stellar, and there may be a research opportunity with perhaps some renumeration.

Perhaps the week in jump space everyone becomes close friends. Close as any rate as the Katydid does not have a lot of space.

T5 Scout deckplans:

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.