Saturday, October 19, 2019

Shadowrun game

We've started a game of Shadowrun. I am playing Jupiter Jones, a human rigger. And, as everyone knows, I tend to get carried away with background (which is why I want to come back to previous games, but so far, in the few years I've been playing more actively with my current group, I've yet to continue a characters journey.).

Regardless, I've created 4 SIN cards for my character, 3 with matching drone registration cards, a real card, and a drivers license. Our story is taking place in Atlanta of 2075. Not a great place to be, and all we eat is soy apparently due to massive food shortages or something.

So for those who may recognize the name, Jupiter Jones was one of the three main characters in a series of books, the Three Investigators. As I was not sure if I was going to play male or female, the name works either way. But chose male. Looking for some character art and found one that was close enough to what I was looking for. Sorry I can't attribute it - one of the issues I have with Pinterest is that we don't always get to see where the image is from!  Regardless, he does have a proficiency for jury rigging and loves junk yards. I want to make one of the junk yards in Atlanta his lair. Not a great one, but a place to park his sweet van with a pegacorn and Viking painted on the sides, and plush shag carpeting inside. No, he does not get many dates.

The drones will be named for various characters in the books. As I've not read them in 40+ years, it is Wikipedia to the rescue. The lynx drone is Bobby. I need to get back to my character sheet and work that up a bit more.

But, here is the card sheet which I'll probably print on card stock and have ready for the game.

For what SIN cards are, I found this link to be useful: wiki

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Weekend catchup: Tracker, solo Traveller, and more!

So the weekend slipped by faster than expected. I did manage some light yard work, scrubbed the basement bathroom, and washed the bamboo floors upstairs. So housework was out of the way. I managed to start painting a few of the Sine Tempora game's minis, but I fear badly. I really need to watch some more instructional videos and slow down. I did order a "learn to paint" kit from Reaper along with some minis. Broke the $40 part so free shipping and a free mini along with the paints and their guide. We will see if those paints work any better than the 50 cent acrylics I get a Wal-Mart.

I also managed to get the Traveller Core version to work as it was, and some research indicated that yes, I can distribute the whole thing as a single exe. There are 3 options, and I'll go for the smaller of them which assumes you have the .NET Core installed on your local machine. If you keep up with the MS updates, that should be the case. I suppose we'll find out at some point. I still want to style the big main menu buttons, and for some reason the images are not showing up there. I will hopefully get that figured out, and may put the exe file out there for others to see what happens. Just because it works on my machine...

The Traveller solo game has slowed down, so I decided to expand out a bit more for Krim. The pilot's guide has been slightly expanded, and I've added a high-tech medical company, Meditech LLC (no, not an imaginative name). Created a bad logo and will have the company overview posted below. There will be more adventures of the No Refunds and her crew, just need to get more motivated.

And finally, I've also stalled on the Death Test game I was solo playing. Want to get back to that but time and motivation don't seem to overlap for many of the things I want to get done.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Traveller Tracker - Core Edition?

So when I got the new computer, part of the process was also installing .NET core (and don't even try to keep up with all the .NET naming. While I know I am horrible at naming things, MS tends to be all over the map).  Anyways...for some reason the previous project thought it was and was not .NET Core. I was targeting the most recent Windows .NET which is 4.7, and honestly, while it will be around a while is really at end of life as they move everything to the unified "this will work on everything" process (which they tried originally with the UWP: write it and make sure the view ports were flexible enough and it would run on Windows computers, tablets, Xbox and phones. If you are not in the development world: it pretty much died. )

Anyway, I spent another hour trying to get the packages to work (the packages are libraries. In Ruby, they are gems, on C they are libraries, and that's about all the languages I use that use packages). I could not get it to work.  So, moving on to a new version. Again. With .NET Core. I've got it almost back to where it was (which was not too far anyway). There seems to be some difference in the Entity Framework (one way of talking to the backend database for the program). There is that final piece and I should be good to go again.

One of the advantages of moving to the newer framework is that in theory I think I can generate a single .exe file that is the whole thing: no installers, just download and run. In theory...if so, that would solve the biggest issue I have - getting it to run for other people. Not that there is a high demand for this, but hey.

And just to preen a bit: the last computer would take at least 2 minutes to load the project. The new computer has the IDE (integrated development environment where I can write the code, debug and run it) on the boot SSD and it is ready to go in less than 5 seconds. Having an SSD and twice the memory (16GB vs the 8GB) makes a huge difference for a lot of things.

Hopefully I will have some time to get that going this weekend and another post. I want to actually make those square buttons more SF like - chop off an edge or something.

And also, I've joined the Reaper Bones V Kickstarter. I fear I will spend far too much money for minis now that I am starting to paint them. Just have to actually USE them in a game...going for the core set and just bumped up for 2 expansions. As the pledge manager will be open for a long time afterward I fear I will have far too many minis. But I need those dragon columns! And that Greek expansion set - oh my!

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Shadowrun - Session 0

With 5 people and 2 books, character creation was an interesting challenge. Plus the 5th edition books tend to not be well organized, and instructions somewhat vague and spread across multiple pages. 

Regardless, I did manage to get my Rigger, Jupiter Jones, set up. Background from before knowing anything about the mythos and world of 2075 Shadowrun:

Jupiter Jones from Rocky Beach, CA originally. Dumpster/junk yard diver to create interesting drones. Should have high IQ and technical/mechanical background skills, perhaps socially awkward. Per conversations should be early-mid 20's.  Moving to game location due to a "request" from local authorities to prevent him from "looting" various dumps.
Will name his drones Petey, Bobby and other names from (I think I read most if not all of those back in elementary school). Has an affinity for creating "lairs" in junkyards.
I'll post the stats later, but as I picked the most money, we'll add he comes from an above average middle class family. I did get a sweet van and 3 drones, still have money left over. The van is going to have a pegasus painted on the side, either a Boris or Frazetta inspired air brush image. I may do that with all the drones - I also picked artisian as a skill.  Also picked jury-rigging and a few other skills to make my background work. I still think I prefer random character generation, but I can see the appeal of designing a character to specs within a limited array of choices.

Here's a Boris Pegasus to see where this is going. Pretty sure they will be shag carpeting, beaded curtains as well.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

The Fantasy Trip Pantheon: Mim, God of Rain

Mim, God of Rain

Mim is the 1st son of Monta, God of the Elements, and Alamia, Goddess of the Earth. While Dwarves are the most attuned to Mim and Alamia, many other races venerate these gods as well. The ancient histories indicate that Mim created the Dwarven race. Whether or not this is true, it is what the orthodox Dwarves believe. Humans tend to think the God of Rain is why Dwarves are often so dour.

Mim does not have any particularly required devotions or holy events, so most adherents tend to make their own up. Mim will often send his avatars throughout the world, and there is always an aspect of water to these visitations (see Mim's Herald) Mim tend to the soulful, but is also the bringer of life: without the rains, life would soon cease to exist. He is known to bestow graces upon his clerics, and has answered farmers' prayers for rain, or even to cease the rain. 

He will rarely get vengeful but when he does, he brings down elements of his father upon those who have enraged him. 

Dwarves will more often prayer to his mother, Alamia, Goddess of Earth. Yet they also have respect for Mim and his life giving rain. They just prefer the earth in many ways. Often their underground shrines have aspects for both Mim and Alamia. 

The symbol that most adherents use is the knife on a cross, the knife being a vine encrusted hilt. It is often in a pool of running water in most shrines, open to the skies for rain to fall upon it. The saints for this religion, when done in statuary, are standing in a bowed position, arms outstretched as to receive the rains. They are depicted in armor, hands free of gauntlets but wearing rings. Usually guarded by 3 wizards for an active shrine or temple, those in neglect often are protected by wizard's spells to protect any holy items. As per the mid-winter festival that meet in the grove, offerings are not only ale and other grain-based drinks, but also leaves and flowers.

Prayers to Mim can bring down the rains, and higher level clerics may be able to ask for lightening and flash floods. Mim can also stop the rains - he does not generally mess with nature's own rhythms but may as needs arise. 

From Pinterest, could not find the original post


At the junction of a smaller path heading west, the adventurers see the pillar of water with the frolicking puppies. The avatar, its voice bubbling with emotion, pleads with the crew to visit the temple of the grove.

"Please, my lord Mim can no longer hear the priest who was in the midst of our mid-fall festival. The prayers were suddenly silenced and we fear nefarious intentions." The puppies, who were playing about the base of the flowing water column, stop and growl. They are amazingly cute. Mim's avatar continues: "I am the Beloved of Mim, and alas, whilst I can communicate his holy words, I cannot see what has happened."

Should the adventurers ask, the avatar will indicate that the grove is only a few miles down that path. It is not wide enough for the horse and cart (our group is with the Dwarf Mage and her protector, Heinrich, along with another pony pulling a cart piled with timber and barrels of peary). If they ask what is in it for them, the Herald will first wave its tentacles in the air, the puppies looking up at the adventurers with wide, puppy eyes. "I am but a poor herald, a voice among many. A young voice that fears I have nothing for you."  If pressed, the tentacles will droop, and one will move into the flowing column of water and bring out one of the treasures from the Deck of Many Things (another KS I did; feel free to drop in any small treasure. But by golly I want to USE those things I keep getting!).

The path to the grove is winding. The mage and her guard will stay with their wagon and wait for perhaps an hour or two. The other cart will continue its journey to Edge City. This is also the place where I can bring in other players: there could have been all sorts of people staying at that inn for whatever reason.  The adventurers will hear the sounds of birds and squirrels in the trees at first, but as they approach the temple in the grove, the sounds seem to dwindle until there are no more natural sounds. They come upon what appears to be the grove, a small, square building with a well outside in rough but serviceable shape. There appears to be a small garden outside the door, and a couple of chickens scratching in the dirt. There are trees and brush, and a well-worn area near a statue. Looking past the statue, then can see what appears to be a cleric tied to the tree.

At this point, start with the attacks. Have any scout-like character roll to hear for anything - a succesful roll indicates roll to initiative as normal, else the thieves will have the initiative for the 1st round.

The thieves are a mix of humans and goblins, ill-dressed and ill-armed. There will be 1d6 more attackers than adventurers, and they will be 32 point people. There are a lot of 32 point fighters out there - use some of them. Armor will be limited to leather, and there will be no fine or magic weapons. There are 1d6 coppers per brigand (they are poor thieves) and the weapons and armor are ill-made and not worth anything.

When the battle concludes, assuming the adventurers are the winners, they can release the priest. He is an elderly human male, tonsured.

"We were starting the feast of thanks when those brigands arrived." The group may notice that there appear to be no other supplicants around. "Oh,", says the priest. "It is just Gerty and Francine for this feast this week." He points to the chickens. "It is the peary harvest and people get busy. Mim is not so picky to require a full house other then the mid-winter celebrations."  He is bruised, battered, and first aid would help.  

The cottage aka temple is a rough-built square house with a thatched roof, a simple table with two candles and an open book. A small chest is to the left of the table, and a bed to the right of the door. 

"I am Reginald Oosterman, and I give my thanks to you for saving me." He rummages about in the small chest and brings out what looks to be a small knife. "As Mim gave this to me when I saved a young lass, I can grant you this knife as well."  It is a small dagger, the hilt appearing to have vines wrapped around it. It is blessed to do +1, so does 1d6 damage. It may fetch $20 rather than the normal $10 a dagger costs. "This, and a feast of thanks." Outside next to the well, on a stump, is a small meal. While enough for 1 frail old man, it would be just a few bites each for the group. But Reginald will be insulted if they don't partake of the meager portions he sets aside for each player. 

If the adventurers check out the brigands, other than smelling bad and having nothing of value, each of them has an intersesting tatoo on their right forearm. It is a snake wrapped around a sword and what looks to be a rune or writing in a language no one here can read. Reginald has no idea what this could mean or say either. 

If anyone makes a 4D roll against IQ, they may recall seeing that painted on some of the walls in the caves they were mushroom hunting in. They are part of a larger group...

Reality Trip part II

New computer, everything seems to be installed and back to working. Except: for some reason the Traveller Tracker program is having issues (nuget, aka the package manager, seems unable to find some of the packages). It is probably a solvable issue and I did spend some time on it but after more than an hour, got nowhere. There are, of course, several options: keep trying that, start fresh and maybe the transition will be okay, or just stop entirely. It has been a bit more difficult to do software in my spare time lately, I think part of it is that I am just tired of coding after almost 40 years of doing this. Could be a mid-life crisis! So off to a new hobby - painting miniatures! :)

I plan on working out at least one of the gods of my little corner of Cidri, expanding on the avatar I did a few weeks ago. I'll try & actually make a mini-game, something with maps, encounters, all that. Try my hand at writing a generic OSR module. If I got good enough, maybe aim to get one done at least once a month, switching between Traveller & The Fantasy Trip. We'll see.

So hopefully there will be another post today, extending the map to the shrine and having some encounters along the way.

And there is also interest in Traveller at the gaming group. I'll post an email for the Jan/Feb game slot to see if there is enough interest.

And: a 32" 4K screen is....large for a monitor. But really nice!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Reality Trip

The hard drive on my computer at home decided to die. It was not even 8 years old. Being an all in one sort of thing and being a few years old, rather than replace the drive I am going PC shopping this weekend. Need to bump up the specs a bit more as I still use Visual Studio and several graphics programs that would benefit (8GB works but it could be better). So 16GB, at least an I7 of recent vintage, and an SSD for at least the boot drive with maybe an additional SATA drive for slower storage. And I will get better about backups - last one was at least 6 months ago. And supposedly I am an IT person (well, I am a developer, and all my source code is safe up in Github, so there is a back up!)

Good news is most of my stuff I save on-line. Not even sure what is on that hard drive, but I'll probably pull it from the machine and maybe get an enclosure to get access to it if possible.

Bad news is I have to reinstall everything, including Heaven & Earth, the 20+ year old Traveller software that still worked for me running in XP service pack 3 compatibility, And i need to find the installers for the various planet generation software, Campaign Cartographer, all those fun things.

So my already spotty updates may be spottier as I really don't think I'll find what I want this weekend, and even if I do, there will be hours spent reinstalling software and configuring the system to work the way I want it to.

So, digging through my on-line storage, here are some images of Krim, a high tech world in the League of Independent Worlds. Sadly, the color mapping was one of the things on that hard drive - that program can use color maps, so I took the Mars mapping and added some additional layers for a more interesting color. But I do have all the seeds for the various planets saved online I think - each planet has its own directory with everything related to that planet stored there.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Fantasy Trip Pantheon

Resurrecting some old notes (as in 35+ year old notes - somehow I managed to hold on to a lot of handwritten, drawn and typed stuff from the halcyon college days!).  The pantheon of my fantasy world with a bit of stuff added to see if I can work with it.

There are 5 primary gods and goddesses, who between them only have eight gods and goddesses of the next level. I would think there may be a bunch more gods and goddesses, demi-gods and demi-goddesses that are not listed. Sort of an open-game world: establish the big structures and everyone can fill in things as they want.

And apparently various races are more directly connected to the gods and goddesses. Not to say that there is 100% compliance, but at a guess, if you worship "your" god you may get better results. Not really sure what I was thinking at the time.

The big five are Tionna, God of All Living Things. While that covers a lot of ground, we'll just go with that. His wife or consort is Blizria, Goddess of All Demons. A ying-yang of the celestial world perhaps. Blizria was also attached to Slamia, God of Might. Guess a burley, he-man of a god. Monta is God of the Elments, and married to Alamia, Goddess of the Earth. I imagine a hippy god couple here...

Tionna and Blizria have two children: Tona, Goddess of the Lesser Creatures. Druids tend to pray to her a lot. Tinma is the God of Plants, and apparently female warlocks have an affinity with him.

Blizria and Slamia also have two children, Bizmia, Goddess of Fire. Demons and imps really like her. Her sister is Blaon (and I have a typo in the document below), and is goddess of lightening. Ogres and giants dig her.

Monta and Alamia have four children: Mim, God of Rain. Dwarves are apparently attuned to Mim. Maion is the God of Wind, and Elves appear to be attached to that particular god. Miniatria is Goddess of Air (and how that differs from wind exactly is a celestial question!), and is favored by pixies and fairies. Aronius is Goddess of the Land and the Centaurs truly believe in her.

Now - the race/creature affinity grew out of which miniatures I had at the time (and still have). So that is part of the explanation.

I'll have to write up more aspects of the gods and goddesses as well - I think the next adventure I get to DM, that avatar from a previous post may belong to Mim or  one of his progeny, and it may be his temple or grove that has been messed with in some way.  Maybe throw in some of the other things I keep getting: deck of silly things has some good treasures, and the Delayed Game blasts also have some really fun things. I need to make the adventures more fun and out there. I tend towards the conservative in gaming it seems, and really need to learn to let go.

Pear Farm

Here is where our Fantasy Trip adventure had their mushroom adventure. Decided there may be more in the woods and forests round the tiny farmstead/village. After rolling up the avatar a few days ago, I've stuck it in the fork in the road and added the Temple of the Grove. I'll see about writing up my old pantheon today or tomorrow.

I don't think I ever played TFT much back in college, it was mostly D&D with the main group, and Traveller with the sub-group. Traveller I liked as it was in the vein of proto-Traveller and a lot simpler, and anything could go. My primary character ended up with a 200 ton Scout ship with an artificial intelligence, a short range transporter system and the eternity chip (Merchants and Merchandise: expensive but would repair your ship), a deadly speeder designed with Striker and really based on the Blade Runner cars. That ship was TL 17 for some things: the AI was a true AI and of course transporters are way up there. And, due to an accident, both legs were bionic, giving him endurance F. Not sure I would allow a lot of that until a LOT of playing had gone on now.  And of course, I was reading a lot of the Well Worlds series so that character's name was Nathan Brazil. Interestingly, Jack Chalker, the author, I believe lived in Norfolk at the time, and I was going to Old Dominion University. I believe he showed up for various local cons, but I could well be misremembering.

My point being both games were fairly straightforward and simple in mechanics. It was only later that Traveller got significantly more complicated (and T5 is significantly more complicated!) Probably why I've backed the Fantasy Trip so much: rules are pretty straightforward and easy for anyone to pick up. I'll have those game aids for combat when the Decks of Destiny show up, and most of that is also on the DM screen and various other places.

Not really happy with this map: I had some issues with the layers getting wonky and the affects being odd. But I wanted a smaller 25x10 mile map and the overland maps are all 1000 miles wide...

Still not done with it but figured I would get something out there today. Seeing as I now somehow have all of 13 followers :)

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Fantasy Trip, a side trip with a religious herald

While we've not yet returned to the Fantasy Trip adventure, the group will be heading back to Edge City, probably along with a cart bearing a fair amount of lumber and several peary casks (peary is a drink made of fermented pears. It was the only alcohol served at the inn they were at, what with all the pear trees in the back). I really hope we can continue that adventure: the place where we are at we can add or remove new player characters pretty easily.

Anyway, one of the (far too many) Kickstarters I backed was The Lesser Key to the Celestial  Legion, a sort of do-it-yourself religion book. Finally decided to roll up at least a herald to one of the many religions on Cidri, at least one of the ones in my part of that immense world.  I actually have an entire pantheon from the college days, so will try & get that in here at some point.

So, after rolling on the many interesting tables, the herald that came up is a 6 foot column made of water, with metallic eyes and very long tentacles. It has wolf puppies around it as this is a 1st level herald. Not that TFT actually has levels per se, but going with a low-level herald. The religious symbol for this god or goddess is a stone cross with a plant-encrusted knife planted in the middle of it. There are two religious aspects for this religion: ancestor worship and quiet prayers. Probably to the delight of the players, the sacrifice is wine, mead or ale. The religious texts are painted on linen cloth. There is only 1 celebration a year in the winter, celebrating a martyr's death. Costumes and masks are worn starting at midnight for 3 days in a grove, starting with the 1st full moon of winter. The odd relics are petrified toes of the martyr, which can grant +1d3 save against poison as well as +1d3 for a divine aid check (which I am not sure how that would translate to TFT but we can wing it). The toes are usually in a stone cross and knife reliquary.

So a distinct possibility is for the group to meet this young six foot column of water on the way back to the city, asking for aid perhaps in recovering the petrified toes, or investigating something.

And yes, I do need to get back to Traveller, the primary reason for this blog. But I've been side-tracked a lot lately by various other things. Including dying in yet another attempt at Death Test...

the spiders in the chest actually did 4 points of damage to 1 character. A bad start for the 1st room!

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Miniatures Painting

I watched a couple of videos so far, and have started painting minis after a few decades...big difference is back in the day it was enamel paints. Now I am using admittedly cheap acrylics (50 cents a bottle) and some more expensive shaders/inks for post painting.

Some things I think came out well, some not so well. But as I am just starting, practice should hopefully improve what I am doing.

The last few games I've tried to get a mini to represent my character. Sadly, most of our games don't get down to any tactical level for the most part - theater of the mind. Although I had some difficulty with envisioning how all 6 players managed to attack a mimic door in a narrow corridor that was only 5 feet wide... This is why I really like The Fantasy Trip (and why some of my group does not): you need to think tactically a bit more. After some friendly fire hits last game we played, the players were a bit more careful about bows and line of sight!

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Pilot's Guide to the D'Arlee Subsector

Working on the Yontin subsector now, as my solo game will be at Krim whenever I get out of jump space...

Here is my attempt at embedding the PDF. And the link: Pilot's Guide

(edit: I noticed that Chrome, and possibly other browsers, may disable that embedded link)

And just to have an image, here's the J4 map:

Friday, September 06, 2019

Traveller Tracker - test installer

So what I've done is published the app to my OneDrive. I've set that to be a shared directory with a setup in there. I've not tested this yet - need to go to my tablet to see if it works.

At the moment there is not a whole lot to the program (I hate calling things apps. Application is okay, app just seems trivial, even though this is trivial :) ) You can add ship classes and ships. The ships use the ship classes.

So, why push this out? To see if there is any interest other than me plugging away so I don't forget the .Net stuff (work is Filemaker and Rails. Still need to learn Ruby & Rails but I've got too much crap to deal with on that Filemaker system).

So, not even knowing if this will work (if not, I believe my Charter account gives me some web space & I could push to a web site), if anyone wants to try this Windows-only program, here is the link to the installer:

Traveller Tracker installer

Monday, September 02, 2019

Traveller Ship Tracker Progress and Miscellaneous

Making some progress on the basic ship tracker, MK near infinity...The basic class editor is in place, and adding a new ship is in place. What is not yet there is selecting the class for the ship & saving that, and editing existing ships. I've got a button for the class editor list but I am unhappy with that: I'd rather the row act like a button so that clicking that loads the class (and eventually, ship).

Hoping to get those details done soon - while this was a long weekend (Happy Labor Day to those who can celebrate it!) my son was also back from his first week in college. So I've been trying to spend as much time with him as he will allow me to!

Plus I've started painting minis. Some are coming out well, others, well, not so well. I'll try & post pictures at some point. I started with the easy things: some chests. I am really happy with how those turned out - the gold was a base coat of yellow, then a red wash, then a gold dry wash. The wood chests were a base of brown then either a dark brown wash or a light brown wash. The dark wash made the wood look older I think.  The rogues and Paladin, a mixed success. Not entirely sure I like how they turned out but they are better than just plain plastic! And doing some experiments on Zombicide:Invaders xenos. Base coat then a few layers of wash: one is pure dark green, the other two a mix of purple and green. Need to do some additional painting. probably some dry wash of darker green, and we'll see how they come out. I have plenty of those to play with!

I need to get back to the solo play but there is just so much time available to me. Plus I do like to sit back on the days I have off, enjoy my coffee and a book for a spell. I've managed to finish off about 4 books the last week.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Krim 0904 D'Arlee, first look

I've been on the computer way too long today, especially considering I was off today.

Looking at Krim, our next stop in my solo adventure.  B318AA8-E, meaning:

Diameter: 3 or just under 5000 kilometers. Less than .5G.
Atmosphere: 1 trace atmosphere. 0.06 atm so you will need a vacc suit!
Hydrographics: 8, 78% water. Going with the Europa approach here. And in T5 this is not even possible - if I am reading that chart right hydrographics is flux + atmosphere, so the max would be 7. And in T5 this does translate as an ice-capped world as well.
Population: A, tens of billions of people! On this ice ball!
Government: A, charismatic dictatorship. Must be awfully persuasive to get people here.
Law Level: 8 High Law, no open display of weapons

Class B starport and a tech level of E, so a very advanced system yet oddly just a class B port. Is that due to this port being in the League and not part of Imperial space and politics are involved?

Looking over the Heaven & Earth (aka Grand Census) info, 6 have what seems to be too common so I'll ignore the xenophobia aspects. But I do like unusual sleep times, fixed time for visiting (there are game possibilities there!), segregated during meals, live in special conditions, unusual significance of smells (maybe from the earlier days and the methane slush smell was a bad sign of your hab leaking!), and unusual cosmetics in certain occupations.

I'll expand on that later and make more ISS style maps. In the meantime, I also played around a little with the color mapping for the planet program to see if I could make something interesting. I think this little ice ball floating in space came out okay...

Traveller Ship Tracker - v5

I actually broke down and restarted this project. I've managed to get the SQL backend back in place using Entity Framework Core and SQLite. So far it does nothing but I have created the two classes, ShipClasses and Ships, and created the main screen.

I'll probably need to get some consistent images. The Beowulf image is from the Traveller Wiki, the Navy symbol for the ship classes is from the T5 font set from the original T5 Kickstarter. 

I may try to make my own images to not have to worry about copyright issues or stuff like that, and to get a consistent look.

The next step is to make those buttons actually go someplace. I was just happy to get Visual Studio 19 up to date and to be able to create a new Windows WPF program, and wire up the SQLite stuff again. The schema maps to the preview I did, so that does not need any updating (schema).  And I am also designing with the default 800x450 size but the layout is reactive. That size should fit on all tablets - my last experience was using the full screen but as my main screen is a quad HD I ended up putting way too much in there. 

I'll also be establishing the resource library for shared templates and things such as the back arrow button to go to the previous screen.  This is NOT a single page type of application - I honestly have a hard time wrapping my head around that (basically there is a controller page and you just load up the layout. I sort of did that with the last one, having a main page and swapping out the internal content based on the buttons clicked. I was not entirely happy with the results).

So the next steps are to get the ship classes list in place, and an editor for the classes that fits in the size allotted. Then the same for the ships. Then play with that a bit, then once I am happy, figure out how to get it to anyone who wants to install it. The previous UWP process just did not work well for non-developers. I am hoping for a simple installer or something.

Source code is on GitHub if anyone wants to look and cringe.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Solo Session 6 - 238-1106 / Preacep

With the textiles impounded by the local authorities, we have a few choices. See if there is a fine to pay, and if so, how reasonable is it? If no fine, do we pursue getting our credits back as those textiles were sold to us in good faith? Do we break bad and do raid the warehouse, grab our cargo containers, somehow load them up and take off? That would not let us return to Preacep anytime soon, and as this is the gateway to the League on the core-ward side, that is not a good option. Additionally, there is that Space Patrol vessel a few pads over....

So, first lets see if there is some sort of fine or something we can pursue in a legal way. I'll let the die decide as I don't want the deux ex machina via me to solve the issue. And we lucked out - rolled a we're good result. So there is a small fine to pay to ease the conscience of those wishing to maintain planetary heritages. Make it 10% of the purchase price, or Cr6,600. Our coffers are a bit on the bare side at the moment, but assuming we can sell off the cargo on Krim we should more than make up for it.

So a small court date with Stoddy and the local council for World Heritage, we pay our small fine, the engineer has fixed up the No Refunds from the rude cargo removal process, and we are about ready to leave.

Recalling that the Ptolemy Traveler was headed this way as well, and should already be here. Deciding to let the die control her fate, and wanting to average out a few rolls, I got 1 bad stuff happens and 2 we're okay rolls. So: the Ptolemy was behind us a few hours and much further out: the astrogator did not dot all his i's and cross all his t's apparently when plotting the course. But they got into an orbit and have been ferrying down the goods via shuttles the week we've been here.

And now I am also realizing the truth of the SOLO book's advice about getting a notebook to track things. What I am going to try is OneNote yet again, and keep a notebook for this game, and a page per planet to track contacts and other notes. I tried that on the first Traveller game I refereed in decades a couple of years ago, but it did not go so well. I do better with a real notebook I think (well, they don't call it pen and paper RPGs for nothing!) .

So moving on with the game (and I may embellish later with a in-person viewpoint. Or not...) We're up to step 4, paying any warehouse fees. As we've not overstayed our welcome, we have no fees. Checking for contacts, and having none on-planet other than our merchant friend Stoddy, we meet no one else. Had I made the roll, then I think the Patrol ship would have been the Wyvern, and Malik would have met up with some of his old Patrol buddies from that term spent cruising the system and writing about the Quadrant. Clearing the port, we launch back into space with our 4 mid-passage passengers and a not-quite full cargo load. Rolling on the ship encounter table, there is a 400 ton Scout surveyor. In a bid to make new friends, we hail them. Sadly, the reaction roll was bad, so these taciturn Scouts want nothing to do with us. Could it be because our flight plan is for the League, a political entity not part of the Imperium? Are they in the middle of a long and tedious survey of the system? Was it the two escort craft following us to the upper atmosphere? Who knows...

So we enter jump to Krim after the good doctor has plotted the current jump route, and we'll leave here. Malik will be tending to the 4 passengers and checking lockers, as well as working on his book.

I never did make a map of the island. While not really needed, I do like maps and think they are fun. But Krim is coming up, so I'll spend some time detailing that planet.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Traveller Tracker - Designing the interface

I want to keep the interface simple, and the database backing simple. I've got a trial to Adobe XD which allows me to create prototypes and designs, so I am playing with that. Below are the screens, and here is a link to the actual prototype: Tracker Prototype  This link may die in 3 months as I've only a trial of the software.

The blue buttons should go back to the previous screen. From the main screen, Ship yard brings you to the list of ships you've created; clicking the first name will get you the ship details.  Ship classes gives you the list of classes. and I've added the Beowulf as a link.

Need to get back to the solo play but thought I'd restart this software project again. It will end up being a Win10 program only. The other option is to see if I could write a phone-based one via Flutter or some other language, but I don't want to forget about c#.

I did get Visual Studio 19 updated, so I need to get back into that, and see about starting the project all over. This time with a way for any interested readers to download and install. That UWP process sadly was not good for that.

While I will re-use a lot of that code, I do plan on trying to keep things as siloed as possible. I always start with good intentions at least!

Main Screen
Ship Classes
Beowulf Info

Ship List and Details

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Traveller Tracker

I am slowly making the decision to start over. Again. The UWP program got too messy too fast. And when testing on a smaller screen, it did not work particularly well. Plus messy code.

So, starting anew means a bit better planning. I am also going to see if I can make it work on Mac & Windows via Xamarin forms, which in theory should work across platforms. And it has to be easy to install: the various test beds for UWP programs were designed more for developers than for general users.

So, various phases:

  1. Test getting the forms to work for both Windows & Mac. I can test on my tablet, and at work I use a Mac. 
  2. Start small
  3. I'll start with just the ship class and ships, so that a user can easily view, edit and create a new class or ship
  4. try to design for multiple screen resolutions
Down the road, I'll put back the whole TravellerMap API as I really like that, but I won't futz around with locally storing the data, nor allowing for the milieus. Maybe down the road as I did have a way of doing that but it got ugly. 

So starting with a pretty simple schema - this all of phase 1 will have in it. Then I need to explore Xamarin forms to see how to make that work and if it will work on Macs as well as PCs. If not, I'll fallback to just Win10.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Solo Session 5: Preacep 234-238 1106

Preacep, 234 through 238 1106 at the Port

The next four days Malik & Ewo check for cargos. Two are found, a 55 ton lot of textiles that, despite getting a good purchase DM due to the non-industrial nature of Preacep, we still only get at 90% and costing us Cr148,500. The other option was 2 tons of crystals at 100% of the base cost, C40,000. We could dip into the ship reserves for the textiles, but none of the systems available to us to jump to next have any beneficial selling modifiers. Now, as a player / ref of the game, I could indicate that ASB&TS has a broker in the system. So I am going to allow a re-roll for each with a -1 applied due to our broker: miraculously I really rolled snake eyes, so we can get the textiles at 40% or Cr66,000. The crystals are at 80%, or  Cr32,000. So Cr98,000 for both lots and only having to dip a bit into the reserves to cover those costs. We still have about 50 tons of storage space left if we include the ship's shuttle or vehicle bay. Rolling on for general cargo, we have 3 tons of major cargo and 2 tons of minor cargos. There were no incidental cargos. So that will be a payment of Cr5000 for the 1 jump into League space.

Checking for passengers, we can get 2 high passage passengers or 4 mid-passage. Going with the 4 mid-passage may be stretching the rules a bit, but I can go with that. There is an excessively large common area after all, and we also have the entire vehicle bay empty. We could spend some more time trying to find cargo but we are really out of credits.

As we are also trying to save money, and paying for the life support, the ship's crew will sleep on-board, but roam the port to stretch their legs and get out and about. Unfortunately, despite being an island, the tainted atmosphere prevents any real site seeing on the island. Few people to see the mighty fluketails leap in the tainted oceans, or see the majestic isheer frolic in the oddly shaped and colored trees.

Looking at the map, we've got 6 possible systems to jump to:
  • Back to Yllom  A689997-A
  • To Finnigan's World, bypassing Yllom C694566-9
  • Finnigan's Beta A568201-B, non-industrial
  • Finnigan's Gamma E672AAA-3
  • Krim, red-zoned by the Imperium but part of the League AND having a Naval base B318AA8-E
  • 010-705 E576698-7
As I am really wanting to head into the League to explore that a bit, I do have to come up with some justification on getting there. And Krim is a TL E world so should be a lot of fun to visit: with that atmosphere and that population, there must be huge arcologies that are entirely self-contained, floating grav cities, huge stations. 

Looking closer at the map, turns out that Preacep is actually a non-aligned system: although in the Imperium, it is not of the Imperium. Now, whether that was a mistake or intentional, as I originally made up this system 30+ years ago I could not say. But it does work its way wonderfully as a port between systems. I'll have to expand out the description, making this a more neutral territory somehow, the gateway to the League. Maybe they sell t-shirts with that on them in the few shops available in the class C port...

But back to our destination, now decided, Krim. A very high tech-level planet, meaning (if I interpreted the book 2 rules correctly) I add 4 to the roll for passengers, so likely we'll get the max of 2 passengers we can carry, maybe 4 if double-bunking the staterooms. Technically, no cargo due its being a red zone when we do get there. 
So after 4 days, we have 4 passengers, some speculative cargo, and some freight we are shipping across the border. The ship has been refueled and two week maintenance performed, the larder restocked with whatever foods Preacep can offer. Deciding to go ahead & roll on the world encounter table, I get seller is involved in legal trouble and we risk getting involved. Not knowing how bad this could be, I'll go ahead and roll on some more interesting tables in the SOLO book. The seller turns out to be a decent enough person, and he was up front with us on the textiles purchase (perhaps why we got this at 40% of cost?). The textiles were produced by a small group of people in the Free Egalitarian Party's country. Apparently not all people are equal, and this small group wishes to maintain its cultural heritage a bit more than the general Egalitarian wants. Some are just more equal than others....regardless, these textiles are considered a cultural heritage by some, and with the system's prohibition on contact with off-worlders, some see this as breaking the law. However, the textiles were purchased legally, and sold legally to the No Refunds, and another roll on a table indicates that we're ok for now. So no mad dash off-planet, or enemies created. Just some of the population not happy with  Regardless, we'll add another contact:
Contact: Stoddy Johnson of Preacep, textile seller
 As we've only the 2 planets so far, rolling for contacts is not a thing that needs to get done.

Rolling on the port encounters, we get something that actually fits in with the above legal issues: the ships crew is in some sort of trouble, perhaps legal.  We will need to come up with a plan. Being a legal issue, seeing as Eaaia has several skills that apply (Advocate-1, Diplomat-1, perhaps even the Admin-1 and Persuade-1 can all work in here) we will get a bonus for that. However, this world is not a part of the Imperium, so her legal acumen may not entirely be as advantaguous. However, I'll say she comes up with a solid plan with the +1 bonus. And...I roll a 5, meaning the plan failed! The textiles are currently in legal limbo. And rolling for consequences, we get damage to a useful or valuable piece of kit. As this was a legal tussle, the only thing I can think of is that perhaps the ship was damaged when the local enforcers decided to forcefully take back the textiles. So we're into deeper trouble than I thought!

I've a number of choices to make: do we just pay a fine and look for another cargo? Retry the legal process? And it looks like we'll be on Preacep another few days while I decide what to do next.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Solo Session 4: Preacep 234-1106

234-1106 Preacep 0803 C22467B-A

After checking in on the two passengers, Mail resumes his post at the sensors station as they start entering Preacep air space. Seeing two incoming craft, her alerts the captain.

"Yes," Lynwood says over his shoulder, "an escort craft from each country. They want to make sure we stay where we are supposed to stay. They'll be following us all the way down. Should have then in visual range in a few moments."

And as the No Refunds dropped in through the thin atmosphere, Malik got some good imagery of the two craft. While significantly smaller than the 300 ton merchant vessel, they had a lot more fire power.
Jeff Zugale: 210/365: Tashkent I-44
"Don't worry about it, " Ewo said from the opposite station. "While the do prohibit the population from meets and greets, they still need stuff the outside universe can supply. I've been here a few times, and no world exploration here. Hopefully there will be something in the port to keep us from dead-heading out."

The class C port was not impressive as the merchant settled down on a ferrocrete pad, the two air fighters zooming off. A small, spidery island maybe 100 kilometers wide with fingers stretching into to tainted ocean, the port was adjacent to the western side. Huge fuel silos to the north next to the ocean, and the small port tower to the south. Maybe half a dozen pads were there, more than half empty. A few standard trading vessels were there, as was what appeared to be a Space Patrol ship.

"Same class as the Wyvern," Malik thought to himself, "but can't read the numbers from here."

The No Refunds settled on the assigned pad, the landing lights switching off as soon as she touched down. The Captain flicked several switches, and with a quick acknowledgment to the tower, got up and walked back towards the lift to the mid-deck. Passing Ewo and Malik, he said, "Good luck in finding cargo here, or passengers. Now off to fill out some reports at the admin building." With that, he turned to the lift and went down.

Checking his sensors, Malik only saw the IDs of the various ships pinging the system. "Is there any formal sign in or anything we need to do?" he asked the Aslan.

"That's where Lynwood is headed now. While we are transmitting the last port's info blocks, Preacep is a bit more old fashioned about some things. Ok, there's the transport. You need to hustle and get our guests aboard that as well. They've already paid passage, so let's get them out there and out of here."

Heading down, Malik and Ewo escorted their guests to the transport which was locked to their starboard air lock. Malik, Ewo, Lynwood and the two passengers boarded, and Malik almost hit his head on the ceiling as the gravity shifted from the standard 1G on-board to barely .3G of Preacep. With some hissing and banging, the wheeled transport disengaged from the ship, rolled back and did a 180, and headed for an opening a few dozen meters away. The bus had room for more people than the five passengers.

Heading down a grade once past the big lock doors, the gravity slowly shifted back to a standard G and the dim light from the sun faded as the doors closed behind the transport. Coming up on a platform, the vehicle parallel parked and matched air locks. Much quieter than the outside locks, the doors slid open to reveal what looked to be an admin center. A central desk with a couple SPA officers overlooked the external transport corridor, and was in front of what appeared to be a rapid transport system. The ship's passengers went to the woman on the left, and the ship's crew headed to the man on the right.

"Welcome to Preacep, Captain, Ewo. Someone new this time 'round?" the large man said, shaking hands with them as Lynwood introduced Malik to Joesph. The captain, after a brief conversation, left to get on the tube transport to get to the admin building, leading Ewo and Malik. Malik was carrying the ship's cargo load out and they were going to post at the admin building to see what they could get for it


Okay, enough story time for the moment. Let's roll on the actual purchase price table, remembering that +4 by selling on a non-industrial world. Rolling a 10, then adding 4 gives us 300% resale value. So - we hit the motherlode! Realistically, if we could find something here to sell at a profit back on Yllom, we could just go back and forth and make a killing assuming we could get aluminum often enough. Regardless, I need to explore the League of Independent planets a bit.

Currently, the ship is at Cr47,500, Getting the Cr16,000 from the 2 mid-passengers, and selling the cargo at Cr225,000, gives us Cr288,500. Refueling, we used only 1 jump so half a tank at Cr15,750. Berthing fees, Cr100 (I cannot for some reason find the berthing costs so making a guess), life support for 2 weeks (as we'll be here another week looking for cargo and getting, well, maybe not fresh air but at least fresh views) is Cr3000, and half the monthly maintenance is Cr3600. So we currently have Cr266, 050. And so far the crew payments have not been made. So from the 225,000 we need to subtract ship expenses (22,500 for the last two weeks), and figure the profit which was: purchase price $52,500 from sale price 225,000 = Cr150,000. Take out a bit for the next two weeks (22,500) and some towards the ship funds and maintenance, so Cr50,000 is going towards future use, Such as a shuttle. And we need a kitty for the next purchase as well, so we're left with Cr25,000 to make the math easier (Cr75,000 towards a new cargo)  Total shares are 25, so each share is Cr1000. Considering Malik, as a Steward 0, should be getting Cr3000 per month, he is behind that schedule. Hopefully another good cargo.  But we are left with Cr75000 towards cargo, and Cr50,000 saved up for future ship costs: he needs to pay Cr179000 per month! He only has not even 1/3 of that at the moment saved up. So we may have to get into patron territory or something to make up the money.

So yes, it does seem as if I've swerved into accountants in space...

And next session, we start looking for cargo and anything else to help pay the bills.

The fighter is from Jeff Zugale. I followed his Kickstarter last year for the Starshipwright Book 1. Eagerly awaiting to see if he'll publish a Book 2. I do follow him on Patreon as he comes up with cool ships that I just love looking at.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Solo Session 3: 234-1106 Entering Preacep System

234-1106 Preacep 0803 C22467B-A
Malik sat for over three hours, waiting for the No Refunds to exit jump space. While waiting, he reviewed what the ship's computer had on Preacep. A small planet, almost a moon, in the 3rd orbit around an F3 V star, Preacep had a very thin, tainted atmosphere. Even the hydrosphere was tainted with hydrogen compounds (looked up and saw 11 possibilities listed; close enough to a D12. Not sure how a small planet could have a hydrogen taint, as I think that is a pretty light molecule and probably would not hang around. Unless it was bounded to something, but my chemistry knowledge is non-existent. So we'll pretend it is bound to something valuable, why else would there be what appears to be a significant population present?). These compounds were bounded with chlorine, and while the system is non-industrial based on its trade class, it does provide some interesting chemical compounds used in a variety of other industries. Regardless, a filter mask and compressor were not enough - light vacc suits were the norm for going outside the underground cities. There were about 2 million people living in the system, in a variety of locations spread out across the relatively tiny globe. The C class port offered little other than basic fuel and supplies. And oddly, a note from the ISS indicates that few outsiders meet any of the local residents: there is a near global ban on off-world contact. No notes as to why, and even though the government was deemed balkanized, it appears to be a universal trait. (Using Heaven And Earth to basically run the planet rolls as sadly I only have the World Census book. not the World Builder book. H&E [and had to change the compatibility settings again for XP service pack 2, but hey, this 20+ year old software STILL RUNS!] does the cultural stuff and one of the things it came up with was off-world contact prohibited. That and everyone is carnivorous - I suppose maybe meat tanks as there would be no native life they could eat.) Visitors were restricted to the port and the nearby startown, both which were maintained and operated by the Imperial Starport Authority. The planet had a really high law level, but as no one was really allowed to actually visit, Malik did not think that would be an issue. Probably no world-visiting to check for better cargos here!

Finally the external universe suddenly appeared on Malik's sensors. Interestingly, there appeared to be no other ships heading out or to Preacep. Wonder if the Ptolemy Traveler is here ahead of us or still in jump? We left about the same time Malik thinks as he checks his sensors. From the bridge in front, he hears Robard get up from his station next to Lynwood's. Stretching, the tall man walked back past Malik and Ewo, ignoring Malik but at least giving eye contact to the Aslan across the aisle at her station. He disappeared down the stairs, leaving the three of them on the bridge deck.

"Attention all hands and passengers. We have successfully arrived in the Preacep system at just over 103 diameters out. We'll be landing in a few hours, so please prepare your belongings."  Turning off the mike, Lynwood leaned back over his chair and yelled to Malik: "I've got nothing on sensors other than the landing beacon. I'm confirming flight path, so go ahead and get those two passengers ready".

Malik heads down and does what he can to help the now non-feuding passengers to get their gear together. They had brought no weapons or anything requiring the ships locker, so they had their bags ready in the two staterooms.

I'll detail the landing a bit more - got side tracked by mapping a size 2 world grid to an isomorphic map - seems to match up:


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Solo Session 2: 227-234 1106 in jump to Preacep

227-1106 Enter Jump

Entering jump, the captain actually dimmed the lights. Seems like an old Navy tradition as the No Refunds had enough power to initiate jump and keep the lights on. Some Imperial traditions will never die apparently. Malik was at his duty station on the bridge, manning the comms and sensors as the ship smoothly transitioned from real space to the weird universe that was jump space. At that point, all external communication ceased, and the only options he had were reviewing internal ship systems. With the boards all green, he signed off to check on the passengers, and to start prep for the first meal after entering jump space. Another tradition: a nice meal to celebrate no dying.

Going down the spiral stairs and going aft, Malik starts checking out the stores to see what he can come up with. Ewo is already there, tail curling around her as she studied her slate.

"Just checking the passenger manifest, Malik" she said, looking up over the slate. "We've two passengers and I did not have time to vet them before Lynwood took them on. Really wish he'd let me deal with that, we've had some rather interesting guests in the past.  Anyway, we've a couple human females heading to Preacep, they should still be in their staterooms up front. And the fresh veggies are in that lower bin on your left."

Finding all he needed, Malik spends the next hour prepping the meal, finding out where things are in the various storage units and how to work the various controls for the heating surfaces.

Dinner as...adequate (8 on the reaction roll just to see. We also have previously unannounced passengers as the onboard event calls for 2 passengers to have a blazing and unresolved argument. So perhaps post-dinner the argument erupts: it would not be a good thing to have a fight while constrained to the ship for 7 or so days!). What started as a pointed conversation veered quickly into a shouting match between the two passengers. (rolling on the patrons table, we get a broker and a Scout pilot. We don't really need to know more at the moment - depending on how the rolls come out we could get new enemies, nothing special, or new contacts. So this calls for a plan to see how we can resolve this. Seeing as we're stuck in a ship for a week, the only weaponry are forks and dinner knives, I can't see too much happening. So, first, a plan: we'll see if we can mediate between the two to keep the peace for at least the duration of this trip. While Malik is not aware of it, Ewo does have diplomacy one as well as persuade, and factoring in his persuade 0 and carouse 0, perhaps they can pull this off. So not fool-proof as we're dealing with sophonts feelings, but solid. Danger level is safe, unless someone has butter knife 3 or something. So, our required roll is 8+, and we'll add the +1 for the diplomacy skill: rolled an 8, so success! Not having a huge success, nor a failure, we'll gain neither contacts nor enemies on this based on that success. However, rolling an 11 on the consequences, we have a good consequence: rolling a three, the task only took half as long as expected. So apparently it was really a trifling matter once they started to hash things out. The other option is, of course, to assign my own consequences. At this point, I'll just stick with the tables and continue on. The story line is the actual role playing, the how things were resolved based on the success or failure. As this was a minor thing, and I am horrible at writing dialog, we'll just leave it here as is: nothing calamitous or beneficial really came out of that action.

The week passes well after that initial argument: the old holo viewer has a number of ancient sitcoms apparently, and the food supplies are well. Malik inspects all the storage lockers. (There is a running thread over on COTI about what is in the ship's lockers. I've always gone with the bare minimum needed. However, as a 'player' in this solo game, Malik will be inspecting all vacc suits, power systems and supplies to verify that all is up to date. )  On the bridge deck, there are two lockers, each locked to ship personnel, which now includes Malik. There is one next to his Ops/Comms station, and another next to the computer/internal ops station. Each locker contains an emergency vacc suit, not intended for extended use but useful for emergencies. He verifies the air tanks are topped off and battery systems are fully charged and operational. Additionally, there are some snub pistols and rounds, patch kits, first aid kits and miscellaneous tools and cruft. On the main deck, the forward cargo bay/vehicle hanger has two storage areas, but those contain cargo and mechanic tools mostly, as well as odds and ends picked up over the life time of the ship and no place else to stick them. The odds and ends collection. The three lockers per air lock had the regular vacc suits designed to fit a wide variety of sizes. There was one that was Aslan-specific in the port lock. Along with the suits, there were a couple of shot guns, more first aid kits, and an inflatable life raft that was also an extended emergency ball, each able to support two people for about 48 hours with air and rations for longer than that.. Each also included the regulation survival kits: flares, first aid, water purification systems. The rations had a while to go before expiring except for one case, which Malik dumped in the recycler. The kitchen/commons area lockers just contained foods and the regular kitchen supplies. He verified the 6 life boats were fully charged and operational. The lower deck was filled with shipping containers full of aluminum, and her had little room to move about. As there were no lockers here for him to maintain, he just verified that the cargo containers were locked down.

Between meal prep, learning the boards on the No Refunds, and befriending the two passengers, the week does pass relatively quietly and quickly enough. Rolling for Malik's interactions with Robard, the doctor and astrogater, I roll a 5. So not so friendly!

Looking back at the relationships (Solo Relationships), we can see that Eaaia is good friends with the doctor, so hopefully she can help fix anything. So, I will roll for a reaction roll over that first week in jump space, needing an 8+ to avoid conflict. Sadly, I roll a 7: Malik and his new roommate have a confrontation! Someone loses their temper. I give it a 50/50 for each: 6 was the good doctor, who apparently has a temper. Not sure what set him off exactly. Fortunately, the reaction roll to Lando, the engineer, as a 9, so Malik can at least hide out when tempers flair if need be. ANd Lando is often buried in the engineering spaces. Malik apparently was checking the med station our to check to see if it had lockers, and the doctor is very, very particular about "his" space: "So unless you are holed up or puking your guts out, do not come back in here!". Malik avoids med bay after that. Besides, there were no lockers to check in there anyway.

He is also writing down his new adventures, thinking about writing a book about his travels. While he did a successful series a few years back, that was a series of news posts, not a cohesive book. Malik has dreams of being a published author.

They come out of jump on day 234 of 1106. Stay tuned in for the next session!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Solo Session 1 - the Journey Begins

I've gone way overboard on background as is normal for me...and now starting the real game. So the first thing is, we're looking for cargo. Going outside the port to look for cargo gets us a bonus for the purchase price, so Ewo and Malik head off to see what they can see. Unlike Classic, we can roll every 3 days to see if we can find anything, and with the port being an A class port, there is also a hefty bonus to find things. Not having all the Cepheus rules, going with Classic Book 2 for cargos, costs and all that. Nothing like a nice mishmash of rule sets!

Date: 221-1106  Location: Yllom A689997-A (Hi Pop) Finances: Cr100,000

The first 3 days out, the ship's broker and Malik find an available load of electronic parts. This would be great, other than way outside our current finances. Even with a 30% discount (rolled a 6 on the purchase table, and being outside the port we're allowed to subtract 2) it is way beyond our finances, as we're currently at Cr100,000. We're also assuming the ship maintenance and costs for refueling are already done - doing a not-quite-accountants in space.

So, despite our haggling, we're still not able to get what we need, but we are pointed to another set of industries and possibilities. Communicating back to the ship, we're told find something or come back & we'll load up at the port. Part of the Antares Ship Builders is similar to subsidized merchants: the ship will never deadhead (run with no cargo) as we can always take freight at cost. No profits there but it does reduce the loss of revenue.

The next three days, we find a large supplier of aluminum. Looking at the trade codes, Preacep, 1 jump away, is non-industrial, which gives a +4 on the resale price. Pure gold, so to speak. Malik observes as Ewo haggles the price down to 70% of market value. While there is 150 tons available, we'll be loading only 75 tons, enough to fill the main hold. The 2ary hold will be carrying other things as required by the contracts. Preacep is the end of the line for this particular route.  We arrange for transportation.  Payment of Cr52,500 will be paid when the cargo is delivered.

New Contact: Loisa Phowats, CEO Molten Electronics of Yllom

Now, as we were searching on-world, we roll on the world encounter table. We're offered the chance to do a small job for someone, and get paid Cr1000 or a favor for 1 day of work. Seeing as we were previously directed towards what turns out to be a probably lucrative deal, we did a small job while on one of the islands for Loisa Phowats, CEO of Molten Electronics. This does not seem to require a plan with the success and consequences rolls, so we're going with something simpler at the moment. We're given a small package to take to Preacep. What is in the package? No idea at the moment, but being the size of a breadbox or so, easily stored on board and does not take any significant space.  No, this is not a 1 day job, but it may mean another contact on Preacep as we deliver the package. And then we can also roll on the type of person and all that. But for the moment, we head back to the port. We'll actually fly back with the transport group going to the port.

Back at the port, we load up the lower cargo bay, which is now stuffed with standard shipping containers carrying aluminum. We pay the money owed, leaving us Cr47,500. We have no warehouse costs as we managed to find cargo. The ship is fueled, and Robard is plotting the jump to Preacep. Rolling on the port encounters table, we hear of a ship that limped into port, damaged and with crew casualties. Seeing as Yllom is a busy port, I'll give it a 1/6 chance of being a ASB&TS ship, someone the crew may know. Rolling a 4, it is no one we know, so that's good news. Assuming it is a jump 1 ship, there are only 3 systems within range, one of which is Preacep! Rolling, it turns out to be from Finnigan's World, a class C port with a scout station. No travel codes, there is also a gas giant. Was the ship refueling and attacked there? It was obviously ready for a jump and managed to get out. Argh, there be pirates deeper in the D'Arlee Quadrant than expected! No wonder the good captain wants to get some credits towards more turrets, seeing as we've only the one triple turret at the moment.

Seeing as the port is taking care of the ship, and we don't know them, we lift off at our designated time and head to space.

Rolling on the space encounter, we get small trade craft, and then a 300 ton modular shipping craft. We radio back and forth, and as I rolled an 8 on the reaction table, while we don't make instant friends, neither is there any aggression. So this can be another contact.

New Contact: Davin Dangant, captain of the Ptolemy Traveler 300 ton modular trader. 

Rolling again for the next system, they too are headed for Preacep.

I'll work on the transit (roll during the week in jump) in the next post hopefully. I guess I could have fleshed things out a bit more, and I may still do that. But this is more of an outline of the story, and not only am I playing a solo variant of Traveller, I am going to be able to flesh out my Traveller universe. I already have two new contacts and a ship. Just need to figure out HOW to save this info in a useful way.

Looking at what I do have, the GURPS Cutter supplement does have modular ships. This one could fit the bill:

The “‘K-frame” was GSbAG’s attempt to get in on the modular act with a fully modular spacecraft. The basic hull is a shell containing  nothing  but  grapples, airlocks,  and  connecting  passages. It doesn’t become a ship until modules are attached. A K9 frame is 325 tons, close enough to the 300 above. I'll try & spec that out as well - the GURPS Traveller rules are a bit different but we can file off the serial numbers and make this work.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Solo Session 0.96 - Meeting the Captain and Settling In

"Have a seat" the captain said, gesturing to a seat across the table from him. Ewo stood behind me, arms crossed, sort of bouncing on her toes, her tail a slow twitch. I put my duffle on the floor and pulled out the worn seat, noticing that there were clamps that could hold the furniture down if need be.

The captain leaned forward, his hands steepled together. Though smaller than me, he projected a much larger presence. He seemed about 20 years older than me, greying at the temples and sharp blue eyes. Suddenly he grinned, and reached out to shake my hand.

"Anyone who tries to take down July has got to be a good guy," he said, shaking m hand. "Welcome aboard the No Refund. I've been reading your stuff ever since you did that series on ABS." He pronounced it as abs which had me confused for a moment before the abbreviation clicked. "You write well, and dig a but deeper than a lot of the news bots out there. It could really come in handy for us - Ewo thinks you'll be good at ferreting out info that can lead to profit. And I think" and here he paused a moment, almost striking a pose, "I think a ship historian will show the home office a but more about what exactly goes on. Give me a bargaining chip for some better rates." And with that, he spun his chair back around, looking back over the port through the aft viewports. I could see a ship launching upwards, accelerating until it got lost in the clouds.

Not knowing what else to do, I turned around and picked up my bag, seeing the tall Aslan watching me with a grin. At least I assumed it was a grin - sometimes it is hard to tell with aliens. Then thinking that to her, we were the aliens. 

"Come on," she said, and turned around. I'll show you your quarters and finish the tour."

Walking back through the airlock area, we passed back into personal hygiene area. An elevator door to my right led to the cargo deck below and the command deck above. "This is the med bay" Ewo said, gesturing to her left. The door was open, and someone looked up from the terminal. "Hey, Rob, meet Malik. Malik, Robard Teag, our medical officer, 2nd officer, and astrogator. As sad a doctor as you can find." The doctor scowled, leaning back in his chair. 

"Welcome aboard, Malik" he said, with some accent I could not identify. Then he leaned forward again, engrossed in whatever it was he was reading. 

"Don't mind him. He's a grumpy wiyea most of the time. Always his face in a book or terminal." We entered the corridor forward of that and she gestured right, "Captain's stateroom." Left, "My stateroom." The next pair was the doctors on the left, and the one I would be sharing with Lando, the ship's engineer. The room was a pretty standard stateroom: a bunk, a sofa facing a holo projector and a couple of storage bins for our stuff. Seeing as the top bunk had no sheeting, I tossed m bag on top. The stateroom was an interesting light burgundy color, which contrasted with the plain light blue-grey walls the rest of the ship I had been on. Ewo was waiting at the door as I turned back. 

"The first two cabins are passenger staterooms. So far no one this trip, but we've a few more days. Part of your job will be to round up passengers." Past an airlock style door, another cargo bay. I could see a crane system on top, and the doors on the bottom looked as though it could open bomb bay style or ramp style. The high ceiling was crisscrossed with girders. Two storage rooms were on the back, and there were some controls in the front.

"This is the shuttle bay assuming we ever get one, or maybe an air/raft. In the meantime, gives us some extra storage space. Doors can open like a ramp to the ground, or we can drop a ship out. Lockers contain tools, vacc suits, emergency gear, stuff like that. Here," she said, handing over a tablet. "This is the ship systems and manuals. You'll be in charge of maintaining the ships lockers, emergency repairs and duties as I see fit. This has a check list of the things you need to do along with the schedule. The captain keeps a pretty tightly run ship. His Navy years have scarred him for life if you ask me."

Walking back through the stateroom corridor, we ended back at the stairs. Taking the stairs up, we debarked into a square room about 6 meters on a side. I could see the elevator on my right, and consoles on all the walls. Ladders led up on either side, and in front of them were seats on rails in front of comms and sensor consoles.

"This will be your station during lift-off and to the jump point, on exiting jump and landing. If we have passengers, you will tend to them first then take up your comm and sensor duties here. Sometimes we go into questionable territory."  Walking forward, the bridge door slid open to a small bridge. Seated up front was a younger guy, typing and swiping quickly on one of the consoles. 

"Lando. Yo, Lando!" she said a bit louder than I thought necessary. When the man did not respond, she poked one sharp looking claw into his back, causing the man to flinch and turn around. 

"Why do you always do...oh, hey. Hi, I'm Lando." He put his hand out and we shook. "Ship's engineer. Don't touch my engines." And then he turned back around, seeming to forget we were even there. Backing out of the crowded bridge, Ewo told me that he was always this way: way into engines and stuff, but actually a great guy if you got him away from the various engineering systems. You've got about an hour to relax and get settled, then into town we go."

And there we have the set-up: met the crew, met the ship, a brief sojourn about the large port on Yllom (to which I really want to make a map of but will try & hold myself back). Next step is to re-read the SOLO book as it pertains to the StarTraders group, and start playing.

Speaking of maps, my wife is making up a fishing game for her birthday. I am trying to make a board for her, and draft 1 has some ideas. Draft two will be wider - I've got some 13x19 heavy duty paper to print this out on so will try & fill that out.

Solo Session 0.95 - Getting the group together

Several assumptions here: the ship crew, other than Malik, are already together and have agreed to whatever terms for payment. As per the SOLO rules idea, we'll work backwards to that if and when that becomes an issue. We'll also start with the Cr100,000 for the initial trading. How/when the No Refunds got that is GM fiat so to speak, but it will be the starting point for trade goods. I'll try & do Malik in-character via italics.

It was a long walk to pad 45-F via the underground walkways available at Uryon Station, my home planet's primary starport. The port was massive, with vast underground transport tubes and walkways, refueling stations towering above the ferrocrete landing pads. And the sheer number of warehouses was mind boggling. Last time I was through here, on my trip about the quadrant, I took a shuttle to the freighter already in orbit. This time I was early, so decided to walk the few kilometers knowing it would be the last time for at least a week I could walk more than a few paces without hitting a bulkhead. Somehow treadmills and VR booths just were not the same. 

Reading the ports that lead to the surface, some guarded by alert guards, others locked but not guarded, I finally came to the port for 45-F. This was one of the landing pads and warehousing for Antares Ship Builders and Trade Speculators. Having done a term with them as an embedded reporter, I pulled some strings to find someone going off planet. As my last story for the World News on July Monson, the Imperial Attache, did not go as expected, I was leaving before more ill-will found its way to me. Cashiered out, it was time perhaps to see what stories as an independent freelancer I could dig up. But I needed a job that could get me off-planet and away from my new contacts who wished me no good will. Enemy seemed too harsh a word at times, but my quick exit from the news group would align with that description well enough. 

The pocket door had the ABS&TS logo next to the intercom system. The trade group has a perpetual lease on maybe a dozen landing pads and warehouses here. A trader who belonged in the group got cheaper berthing fees and often guaranteed cargo if necessary. Part of the agreement was to transship cargoes as well as expanding out the contacts and brokers for the group. It seemed to work well, and while a lot smaller than the League, it seemed a very similar process to me. 

I buzzed the intercom and waited for a response, looking down the  well-lit corridor and seeing little foot traffic. The pod tub shook a bit as a cargo pallet went through on its way to wherever it was going, then I heard a woman's voice from the speaker. 

"Yo. No Refunds here. Who's calling?" The voice had a deeper rumble to it, and I was pretty sure it would be Ewo, the ship's broker, steward and general administrative crew. She was the one who had initially hired me two days ago. 

I responded, "Malik Castillion, reporting as directed." The green unlock button lit up, and the door swooshed into the wall, opening up to a personal elevator. Stepping in, I pushed the up button, and with an almost silent hiss, the doors closed and I felt the elevator rise up. It was a short trip, then the doors opened to a small warehouse. The warehouse doors were open to the bright sunshine, and I could see the No Refund sitting on the pad, facing me, the lower cargo bay doors open. Striding towards me was Ewo, the first officer, a lanky Aslan who had been the merchant service for years. Being overworked, she somehow managed to convince the captain I would be an asset to both her and the ship. While the No Refunds was not a passenger ship, she did take on the occasional passenger. Additionally, the captain thought a ship historian could also be a useful thing in addition to all the grunt work I would end up doing. 

We shook hands, her hand easily enveloping mine with a very firm grip. It felt odd due to her fingers being different, but it was welcoming nonetheless. We walked across the pad to the open cargo bay. There were some small crates and two standard cargo containers already loaded towards the back. Stepping up the ramp I could see the scratches and grooves from years of maneuvering cargo containers in and out of the large bay. 

"That all you got?" Ewo asked my, gesturing at the bag over my shoulder. It was a pretty small duffel bag, mostly full of clothing and a few other things I've found useful while traveling. 

"Yes Ma'am, " I replied. "I've learned to go pretty light over the years."  We continued into the bay, and found a stairwell to our left. It curved up to the main deck. Following Ewo up the stairs, we stepped on to the main deck, in a tiled area. There were storage lockers to my right, and across from me what looked like shower stalls and sinks. Ewo waved gracefully, indicating this was the common area for personal hygiene, and pointed out the washing system for clothes, and that while there was no schedule, people tended to have their own time for cleaning. 

Stepping into what turned out to be the main corridor, we turned right and stepped through a short corridor with heavy duty airlock style doors on either side. 

"Port and starboard airlocks. Suits are stored inside, we've got one that should fit you should we need it. Part of your duties include maintenance of ship locker equipment. I'll expect reports from you." 

Stepping into the next large room, I saw that we had entered the ship's commons. It was a much larger space than most ship's I've been on. A small kitchen area was on my left, facing back, and I saw several storage areas on the right. A step down into what looked like a large living room, complete with sofas, chairs, gaming consoles and what looked to be an old holo system. There were three life pod doors on either side, and what looked to be cramped entrances to the maneuver drives, and as I found out later, the currently empty port and starboard turrets. 

Sitting at the dining room table was the captain, Lynwood Laux. He was looking out over the expansive rear ports before turning to face me. He was a smaller man than I expected.

Seeing as this went on pretty long, I'll continue later. And do a bit more of the ship tour. Then crack open the SOLO book and start the session 1.