Sunday, May 12, 2019

Edge City Environs

Edge City is on the edge of the continent, straddling the F'urth River. It has an amazing resemblance to Ankh-Morpork as I've got that visitor's guide along with a really nice, large map. I've thrown in a few places that also show up in the various Fantasy Trip adventures, as well as my ancient mapping of Stubboon's Final Stand (which is where another Kickstarter lives, Woodfall, so Ive got a lot of material there. As well as realizing I did not put the name of that little spot there. Next iteration of the map).

I need to get a political narrative of the region, and a bit of the history. I've also been reading the Amazon 'zine I got, so that island is somewhere further off the coast. I do believe I may be bringing in some clandestine Amazons at some point.

But we do have at least some political intrigue: the Barony of the Foothills is in one of the adventures, and Woodfall is a town full of witches and others with no love for the current regime. Humans are the vast majority of people living in the area, but there are some small hamlets for goblins, orcs, halflings, and other groups. The great Edge City boasts a very diverse population, including various trolls that don't want to kill everyone on sight. But those are pretty rare. 

I put some windmills off the coast along the farmlands there. We've the Old Temple, the Temple of Dolosia and a few unnamed towns. I've also got to expand out my gods and goddesses lists. I've got yet another Kickstarter that deals with that from the other side: setting up cults and demons. So I am hoping that the group and I can build up this world. Although I do feel that a lot of the group really does not want to participate in that way, they would rather just bully their way through things it seems. Countering this, of course, we have had games where combat was avoided due to actually talking with the people. And I was pleasantly surprised when one of my Traveller player's came up with his people's name for the mechanical life. 

There is hope. I am may even create a Trello board to see if we can get more world building to happen. This is what is happening in the game we're in right now, DELVE. While the DM is mostly doing random rolls on various tables, we're creating the world. I fear I am not participating as much as a I could but I do tend towards a timid player. So: kettle meet pot :)

TFT: Adventures

As I am fairly certain / hopefully / terrified that I will be running a short session in June (possibly even shorter as two to the potential players are going to Origins) I have been reading over the Fantasy Trip and other fantasy game stuff to come up with some plans. By now readers should know I am one of those compulsive preparers. Fortunately I enjoy world building :)  The choices were for Traveller (continue previous game, new game) or The Fantasy Trip. I think TFT is a much easier sell.

Another option, straight out of the book, is having a naturalist want to hire the group to go on a delve to retrieve some rare mushrooms or other underground flora or fauna. It would smell less than the sewer dungeon! And I think the city map of Ankh-Morpork is perfect for Edge City. And handouts - first time there will be a 1 silver piece entrance fee to get their "passport". I have stamps and booklets, and can make more booklets.

I've played with making a FT style dungeon, a small and fairly simple 2 level dungeon. While one of the players may read this blog, just in case this may not be the final dungeon, nor am I going to put all my notes, to be written, in here. But in just looking over the map, one can see several areas for potential fun.

Last game we actually had a spiked trap, and the lead character did fall & get impaled. Fortunately he was our tank, so was less than half dead. My little half-elf mage would have died from the damage. I've not rolled well when leveling up in that game. Regardless, I want at least one trap in there, not too dangerous as this will relatively low level, starting characters.

In reviewing the existing traps for In The Labyrinth, as well as the far too many other things I've bought over the years, I think I'll just stick with 2 traps, one a nuisance trap early on to let them know to be aware, the other a bit more devious, and potentially dangerous.

Now, the thing about detect traps in this game as that the DM actually does the rolls. Not entirely sure I like that mechanic, so we will have to discuss that as part of session 0. I like rolling dice for my character, not having someone else roll them!

Additionally, the dungeon does need some critters and monsters. Pretty sure there will be the traditional slime or two hanging off the ceiling, a few nuisance critters, and perhaps some other critters that pose more of a threat.

The larger areas map out to the Melee or Wizard playmats - may as well get to use them as well. And I've got some beautiful art / maps from a few other Kickstarters or books or things I've managed to purchase over the years. While I can't cram all that in on this adventure, I also want the players to see this as part of a larger world. So I will need to expand out my little world a bit more. Figure out how to get rumors naturally into the game (this also applies to Traveller: I need to expand out my Pilot's guide to include that pirate supplement I got, along with the Space Patrol. And rumors, oh yes, make the world a larger place than just go here and kill that sort of thing).

I do need to stick a desert someplace there as I just got the desert creatures 'zine, and there are some cool things in there. And an island for the Amazons. Which may map into that Architect book of maps - there is a really nice small island detailed there.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

T5 Kickstarter

Kind of going full circle here: when I found the T5 Kickstarter, I jumped in. It was my very first Kickstarter, and no, the first hit was not free!  That lead me to a bunch of things, including rekindling my interest in gaming again, especially Traveller. So I found my old gaming group, who, after 30 years, were still gaming. I've actually been in touch with a couple of my college gaming buddies, but simply by email for the most part. Sadly this group does not play Traveller much, although there is some interest still.

I've gone ahead & joined the T5.10 release Kickstarter, even though I am pretty certain I'll never play it. For me, Traveller is a 2D6 roll over game, and changing that base mechanic to a multiple dice roll under just seems, well wrong. But there is a lot of stuff in there, and the dice mechanics do make some things have a better granularity for percentages. But honestly, you could do the same thing via a d100 roll if you want to get down the percentage points.

And the cards: we'll see how those look. I can make my own cards that fit my universe, but I am interested in the poker deck of cards.

And speaking of cards: the Fantasy Trip card Deck of Destiny is really going well. I'm in at the I Want It All again - spending more money on the Fantasy Trip than Traveller (well, maybe not: there's been quite a bit for Mongoose Traveller: the Great Rift, Element Class Cruisers, and now the JTAS).

And I may be dungeon mastering a short session in June for TFT. Which means I really need to read the rules a bit more, and see about a short adventure. As I've got that really large map of Ankh-Morpork which is a stand in for my Edge City on my maps, I am thinking a sewer crawl.

The characters, after a long overland journey, are left at the gates of the great Edge City, a bulwark against the invading (hmm, invading what? It is on the eastern edge of the continent at the mouth of a river. Invading Vikings? Orcs? What lives to the east that would be invading every few decades?)

At the gate they are met with the city Guards, who can direct them to a jobs house or some good taverns. They've gotten to know each other a little on the way to the city, so hopefully decide to stick together. One of the guards will mention that unless they can pay for hostels, they can't stay in the city unless they are working or can keep themselves solvent. The will mention that there is some pretty easy money for the next sewer sweep.

The sewers are large, megahex wide natural and manmade caverns beneath the city. It is also part of the natural water system, so is not as bad as it could be. However, bandits and creatures sometimes make their homes there, and sporadically the guards organize a sweep. They hire a lot of newcomers and provide some basic weapons should the players not have their own.

I do need to look at the character generation, and keep them a bit poor to begin with. But at least I should be able to use my fantasy coins in a real game.

I'll have to plan a basic dungeon, or try the random dungeon from the box top. I'll try that this weekend to see if that is a viable plan.

I know I've posted this map before, but I need to look at it again and see where I can place a few other things I've got.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Traveller Cards

Just throwing these out there for the half dozen people who read this blog...

Making a card sheet. not sure if I should do an image on one side and the info on the other yet. Versions below are trying to put it all on one side.

And May the 4th be with you!

Traveller 5 - a new Kickstarter

For once I am actually on the fence about a Traveller Kickstarter to republish the book, this time in a 3 volume set reminiscent of the original books but just really, really large. While I do like many aspects of T5, I just don't see playing or running it. And $100 for the books (and I'll admit it, should I back it, it will be at the $150 level) seems high. Yet I've spent more than that on the Fantasy Trip stuff. I just feel I am getting more for my money with TFT: the game play is the same as it was, just really nicely updated components. And a lot of components it is indeed!

The rolls so many dice under the target roll just does not suit me for Traveller. I played the 2D6 for years and that is part of the Traveller charm. And the fact that I would be paying again for something I already bought, with no real guarantee that it is actually better this time around (the PDF for the table of contents has spelling issues. It is only 3 pages and I found issues there already) does not help.

I will get the PDF - that is free at least as I did back the last one. I'd rather get the PDF first to be able to see if I want to actually get the hardbacks.

Some of the add-ons I've already got - the book and the, to me, disappointing deck plans. Hence not the owner on board level. The cards are somewhat meh to me. Too generic, not enough of the Traveller vibe. Perhaps I am just too nostalgic for the old days.

For me, the cards would be a lot more useful if they did an entire deck for weapons, and armor, and miscellaneous things. There have been several people who have made weapons cards over the years, and those are very useful. One of the reasons I backed the card game was hoping to get some useful cards that could be used as play aids. Alas, that did not really happen.

I bought the Paladin deck of spells for my D&D game. I don't have a players guide or anything, and spells are one of the more complicated parts of D&D. The cards are a great idea to make it easier to play: I just put out the spells I have in front of me, no need to borrow a books, spend 15 minutes trying to find the spell, and breaking the game flow. The Fantasy Trip's latest kickstarter is going down that path in large part. I don't think the spells are there per se, but weapons, armor and NPCs, beasties and other game things are. So the games should flow a lot easier as well.

For Traveller, it needs to have a nice set of weapons cards that have the image on one side, and the stats and info on the other. I keep thinking I'll get to that (the ones I have from COTI are classic, and my combat is more damage soaking / Mongoose style than Classic). Cards for vacc suits, vehicles, things like that. The world cards are pretty nice.

Actually - I just picked up the few cards I do have, such as the staple gun. Assuming I could figure out combat in T5 (supposedly they have fixed in in 5.10) those would be the cards that would be useful. There just needs to be a much wider range. Heck - just a PDF so we could print it ourselves would be okay. I think there are only about 12 or so weapon cards: there needs to be an entire deck of them.  A smart choice would be to make them 2 sided: 1 side for T5 stats, the other Mongoose or, dare I say it, Classic. But Mongoose would work as it is actually in print, and having dual use cards would be useful I would think.

So maybe I need to get crafty beyond the ID cards I already did, and see about some weapons cards. And vacc suits - after all, we are in space!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Ships Locker: 4mm Gauss Pistol

4 mm Gauss Auto Pistol

Cr: 1250, TL D
Magazine: 30 rounds, Cr40
  • Effective - 50m (6)
  • Long - 100m (3)
  • Extreme - 175m (1)
Weight: 1650 grams; magazine (30 rounds): 350 grams
Size: 45cm long, handle 20cm, barrel 8cm diameter
Clip size: 15x5.4x2cm
Rechargeable batteries: time between recharge: 3000 rounds (100 clips).
  • hi-res scope, computer enhanced, 10x50 lenses, light enhancement and passive IR. Cr250, 320grams, 15x3.5cm
  • carry-all personalock (tm) with composite laminate case (.25cm armr, AR2), holds autopistol and 5 clips. Cr 105, 750 grams, 50x25x10cm
  • Repair kit: battery tester, electronic diagnostic computer, microtools, cleaning fluids, cloths and utensils. Cr795, 1050grams, 25x20x5cm

The hand-drawn picture looks alarmingly like one of those caulking guns...Pretty sure this is old Striker stuff. 

Trying to get through the T5 Gunmaker is...challenging. At least in the book - I need to check the 5.09 version to see if they've made it easier. And 5.1 is supposed to be coming out soon.

Advanced Light Gauss Pistol Man - 13
Range: 2
Effects: Bullet 3

Pretty much a guess there...

Bestiary: Whalrus

The Whalrus is a cold-world animal that lives on floating ice islands. Able to hold its breath for more than an hour, the whalrus is a warm-blooded animal prized for both its ivory and oil. There are two sexes, and mating season occurs once every 2-3 years. There are between 2 and 6 young per breeding cycle, and the young stay with their parents for at least 2 years. The whalrus lives in large groups called bundles, with between 30-40 adults and up to 150 or so young in various age groups. They are omnivorous, eating local seaweeds as well as small sea creatures similar to plankton. The average life span is 35-40 years.

Their ivory, when worked like scrimshaw, is prized and expensive. Collectors pay large amounts of credits for well-crafted art. Additionally, the oils produced are useful in a variety of cooking methods and contains copious vitamins. It is rumored that the oils are being examined for anagathic benefits. The blubber, when deep fried, is considered a delicacy, and the meat from a whalrus, while having a distinctive odor, is an excellent source of protein.

Female tend to be larger than the males. An average female is close to 600 pounds (272 kg), a male averages 500 pounds (226 kg). They have 30 hit points with the equivalent of cloth armor due to their thick blubber.  While not aggressive, they are protective of their young and tend towards herd mentality in defense. On ground they are slow, and a human can easily outwalk them. In the water, though, they are much more agile than expected. They have been known to sink small submersibles that get too close to their young.

Possible game use: 
1. You are hired to hunt several of these to bring in several kilograms of their ivory, blubber and meat.
2. You are hired by animal rights people to protect a local bundle from hunters.
3. You are hired as part of a scientific team to observe a local bundle, and get in the middle of a fight between hunters and animal rights activists.
4. You are eating an excellent meal at the TAS, and find that the meat is from the whalrus. There is a hunting party going in the next few days, and you are invited along.
5. A local population sees the whalrus as their totem, and they have an almost mystical connection with the local bundle. Turns out the whalrus are slightly psionic and can extend their bundle to non-whalrus sophonts.
6. The whalrus is actually a sophont who has turned their backs to technology. 

Gargoyle Rock

Digging back through my college hand-drawn maps and attempting to update them via Campaign Cartographer. Below is Gargoyle Rock, a smallish island full of gargoyles. My guess is I had just bought the gargoyle miniatures and wanted them to have their own island. Not sure where this is in the broader scheme of things as I never made a master map...And for some reason, my gargoyles are green but have pink wing membranes. I am wondering if I had a lack of paints and just used what I had.

Not sure what gaming system I was using, but the notes on the side of the map indicate:
Population: 1,050
Inhabitants: Gargoyles
Location: West end of Divisor River
Access: Warlock Cloak (now that sounds interesting!)
Statistical Information: 
  • Magic Resistance: 0
  • Death Resistance: 5
  • Mobility (unity): 7
  • Range: Land 0.5, air 5 (guess they are slow on the ground and fast in the air)
  • Evil-Neutral: 2
  • Size: 25 miles, 625 square miles
  • Highlights - minimal vegetation, Forketh River is slowly dividing the island in half, mage floatation: 25%
I wonder what mage floatation is?

The original map is pretty sparse. I guess having only 3 or 4 gargoyle miniatures Ifelt that their world did not need too much detailing.


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Patron Encounter - Mad Scientist

Equipment needed:  None; optionally their own ship.
Skills needed: depends if they are piloting their own craft or travelling as passengers. Admin, Legal, Forgery, Carousing, and personal skills could come in handy.

Players Information: In searching for cargo on the cargo boards, the group sees a request for a specialized package pickup from a neighboring world that pays above and beyond normal rates. Upon calling, they converse with a Dr, Ruce Robarne. There is a final piece to an invention he has been working on for several years, and the only nearby planet that can produce the part refuses to sell it to him. Upon pressing as to why, it turns out that this particular part is considered illegal on this planet. All he needs is to get it to the port, and he says he can get it from there. There should be no legal issues for the group.

If the group does not have their own ship, he is willing to pay for up to 4 people (2 at high passage, 4 at mid passage) to the neighboring world on a the next subsidized liner and to retrieve the parts. He gives them a line of credit that is valid in this section of space that will cover the costs.

If the group has their own ship, he is willing to pay basically for fuel, salaries and Cr3000 for transporting what amounts to a 2dton cargo. They are free to carry other cargo of course if this is a merchant vessel.

Upon successful transportation to a designated warehouse, he will pay up to Cr10,000 per person for a total of Cr40,000.

Referee Information
1. All is at it seems: the neighboring worlds are experiencing a trade embargo in an escalating trade war, and supplies of certain parts and severely curtailed.
2. The scientist is a deep-cover spy from the neighboring world, and the parts in question are additional equipment loads to help him continue his mission.
3. The scientist is one of the forgetful scientists types: when the group returns with the package safely stored in the warehouse, he will profess to no knowledge of their transaction.
4. The package is interdicted by the system. Getting it unloaded, even in the port, may require some finesse with the local and port authorities.
5. The scientist refuses to actually pay until the Travellers actually deliver the parts to his lab. The parts are illegal on this world.
6. The scientist is indeed a mad scientist, and the completion of his project is a bomb powerful enough to take out a small city. He is wanting to take over the world!

General notes: I just started looking for public domain science fiction images. I am still thinking about a month challenge, so perhaps this is a warmup...get an image, wrap something around it.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Miscellaneous Musings

I was talking with one of my friends and the whole month challenge thing came up. You know, when you do a post a day for 30 days. Or in the case of Yet Another Traveller Blog, one per letter of the alphabet (I've got his blog linked to the right - if you've not seen it, you really need to as it is an excellent source of Traveller goodness).

It would be challenging (hah! that's the point) but something I am considering to do. I got some good reactions from my Traveller Patron post, so I am thinking I may try something like that. Some nugget of Traveller usefulness, such as NPCs, or maps, or patron encounters. I think there is an actual month this happens across multiple blogs, but I'll still think about it.

I've also decided to try yet again with the Traveller tracker. Although this time perhaps a web-based project. Sigh. I know, how many times will it take? I could wimp out and go back to the Winforms which would be the easiest, and I could just restart with a smaller scale for the UWP version. I downloaded the Visual Studio 19 and it has a few more project options which is why I was considering the web one, but then I'd have to create a user system as well so that people could have their own ships. And I still really prefer more stand-alone desktop projects that have optional internet connections. Because the internet is not available everywhere. Still thinking about it, just have to actually do something about it.

And here is the beach our Delve characters have washed ashore on. The tower is really supposed to be a ship mast with a metal cage. Good ol' Bertram lives up there. We rescued some Brownies before they managed to eat Granite's big toe (well, they were starving).

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Death Test - Triumph

Despite being down to three characters, two of which were badly wounded, they managed to survive. Now they did avoid the bear room, then after that, kept going west. So they only had to cover 7 rooms. But - the last room had a giant. One hit and it would be instant death. The characters tried to run out the door, but bounced back. This was their first, and it turns out, only time, they tried to avoid combat. Well, it was a giant!

Fortunately, giants have a pretty low DX, 9. And in the 4 combat rounds he never laid a club on anyone, and each of the remaining three fighters managed to score hits and whittle him down to size. Leaving that room, they found stairs and past that curtain, the recruitment officer.

Almost 400 points were given based on the kills. These are divided by the original number of fighters, 6. The remaining three only made recruit (but fast recruits!) as they managed to avoid a fair amount of combat by going straight through. So they garnered 70 experience points apiece, not even enough to bump a single stat.

Next round, I will have 4 higher caliber fighters go in and see what we can do. And choose a different path.

Ahh - a giant! Run away!

Bounce! Ahh, a giant!

That giant sure was clumsy!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Death Test - The Fantasy Trip

The big box showed up, and my characters keep dying. I started with 4 random fighters from the deck of cards. These cards are great: all you need to know about the character for combat at least, and being wet/dry erase, you can easily track their stats as they inevitably go down.

My first foray into the Death Test had four fighters. Apparently bears are really tough and hard to kill (wow, just like in real life!). My four fighters did not make it out.

My second foray is on going. I started with 6 fighters. One has been killed by a human fighter, one by a gargoyle, and the last one was just offed by a goblin. I am down to 3 characters, 2 of which are heavily injured. My guess is that the next room will be the final for them.

I either need to start with a larger party, or bump up some stats. This Death Test is not a test, it is just a fact!

And the mat ends up being a lot more useful than I would have thought. The ref screen has most of the info I need as I've not played in 30-40 years.

Bringing the box to the next gaming session. We are probably playing Delve, but who knows.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Patron Encounter

Players: 2 - 6
Equipment needed: none
Skills needed: none, but recon, survival or hunting would be useful
Patron Type: Scientist
World: something with a breathable atmosphere and at least 30% water. The starport could be anything really but there needs to be enough people to have at least a small local population as well as a fair number of transients but large swaths of raw countryside. As well as a local university.

While at the port and enjoying the sites, the Travellers are approached by a bedraggled looking older man, waving what appears to be a cryogenic test tube of some sort. He asks for some a few moments of their time.  Sir Reginald Artani was a well-respected archeologist, but in the last few years has been searching for what all others believe is extinct, the Mega-Duckahedron that was native to the planet more than a million years ago. He has lost his tenured position at the university after declaring that this extinct giant duck was still alive in the hinterlands. He exhausted his personal finances after losing his job, and is now searching for someone to help prove his theory.

Should the Travellers take some time, there is indeed a very large feather in the test tube. Should they research this at the university they will see that it does match fossil remnants of the 8 foot tall duck dino. Sir Reginald has satellite maps of the location where he found this, a journey of several days via air/raft or ATV  He has an ancient ATV large enough for 8 people. He will split any proceeds from the discovery with the group, and swears he has potential buyers in the millions of credits range for a live specimen.

1. All is as he says: there are a few groupings left of this large feathered dinosaur duck. The maps, searching, finding, capturing and returning a live specimen is up to the referee. While not millions of credits, several hundred thousand will be provided.
2. All is as he says, but there is just the one remaining animal (hey, it happens in movies all the time). Same as (1) above.
3. There are no living dinoducks left, but there are remains that are only a few hundred years old, hence the well preserved feather. Perhaps a few thousand credits reward for helping rewrite the local research on the local fauna.
4. Sir Reginald is deluded, and someone is playing a cruel hoax on him for something he did years before (failing a student? didn't approve a published paper?). Nothing more, nothing less. Just lost time for all involved.
5. There is no dinoduck, and someone is out to kill Sir Reginald. Once out in the hinterlands, there will be a lone gunner who is not too picky about who he kills.
6. Sir Reginald is the con man for a slave labor group in the hinterlands. Once miles into the wilderness, they will be surrounded by armed gunmen and taken as forced labor in an illegal crop farm.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Shared Universes

Way back when I started playing RPGs in college, the Traveller game we ended up playing a lot was a sort of shared universe. Going from the books before there really was much of a Third Imperium, we created the D'Arlee Quadrant. Not sure who did what, although I think I did most of it. But I also think we alternated refereeing and playing between myself and a friend of mine named Chris.

The Asheville Gaming Club is full of interesting people, and I've found a new friend there that also played Traveller (well, I think he has) but also played The Fantasy Trip. Daniel and I've talked about doing this a few times now, and I think we will try & do something. As this is a fantasy world setting, we may play other fantasy games that can go into that. So this blog, while still mostly about Traveller, may be expanding into trying to describe a shared universe.

Fortunately, the world of Cidri from the Fantasy Trip is a humongous world created by people no longer present. The theory behind this was that published adventures could tale place, but travel far enough or by gate, and a completely new world was basically available.

So I'll try & expand out my little maps from college, which I have posted previously, and also dig up my notes as to what I was thinking. I had a complete small booklet of the various areas. Mostly were based on the miniatures I kept buying: I just got 3 centaurs, so, look, Centaur Island where there are herds of them! I just got a box of skeleton warriors - look, there's the Terrorlands where all sorts of ghoulish things live!

I also want to get better about rumors - just learn to be able to hint to the players that there may be something worthwhile. Drinking at the inn, they overhear one drunk mentioning that his second cousin's third uncle got lost looking for Stuboon's final treasures, somewhere up near Woodfall. And yes - Woodfall was another Kickstarter that is a point-crawl sort of thing with some really interesting possibilities (the recently successful Amazon Island will also be making its way here, so somewhere I need to establish the island).

I also found I had a complete theology involved, for at least my section of the world. I'll write that up at some point as well.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Kickstarters and Traveller

Kickstarter has been a boon to the gaming industry, and a bane to my wallet. Another boon is the advent of digital publishing: there is far less overhead to publishing a PDF versus a physical book. Although my preference is for physical books, as I can read those without power or an internet connection, and loan them out to friends and around the table.

My first Kickstarter was Traveller5 - got the signed hardback, extra dice, the electronic version on a jump drive (I could not resist!). When that BBB (Big Black Book, to differentiate from the LBB - Little Black Books I've cherished for decades) showed up, it was an exciting moment for me. Regardless that the game in the book was not actually playable as such, there are some really fantastic parts and pieces in there I've used in a few places now.

Then a deck plan came out with a mini of the Grendel. It was the Beowulf essentially - between the clever play on words and the really nice 2 sided poster and the mini, I was in. And now I am a super-backer, meaning I am spending way too much money on Kickstarter.

However - I have several Traveller things I never would have bought otherwise: the Great Rift set with some wonderful maps I will sometime be able to bring to the game table, the Element Cruisers set which are used in the Pax Stellar system (missile pods - 5000+ missiles should be enough to take care of the planet!), Traveller collectable card game (still now really sure why I got that other than a Traveller & Kickstarter addiction) and now a Journal-like publication from a long time Traveller fan, Rob Eaglestone. While geared towards T5, most Traveller stuff is interchangeable by filing off the serial numbers. That last one also made me start going back and reading the stuff I already have for Traveller. I;ve got most of the CDs as well as a lot of the classic stuff in print. Plenty of things to mine and use, and simply enjoy.

I've also got a few other things that I may yet be able to use in various games. But I do have a bit of spare money and like to help those creative people who have the guts to go out on a limb and try to publish cool things.

And one of the larger Kickstarters showed up this week: The Fantasy Trip. I don't have all the additional things yet (the add-ons are shipped separately) but that was a big box. I've been playing Death Test. My first party of 4 died in the 2nd room, killed by 2 bears (bears are tough!). The next party of 6 is up to room 6 or so, but 2 have been killed off: a gargoyle managed to kill my one bowman, and a tough fighter killed off poor Bran. This Kickstarter came with erasable character cards, so I've been playing with those for the characters in play, using the actually prettier than I thought it would be Melee mat, and the Melee rules and game pieces as well as my ancient miniatures.

I'll try & take a picture next time: I play for an hour or so then have to put it back in the big box. Cats, you know! But this is both fun and practice for me: I hope to not only continue the Traveller game, but also do a Fantasy Trip game. As previously mentioned, one of the other gamers in my group played as well, and also got the I Want It All pledge, so we have plenty of material to go around. Plus I have most of my old rules as well, so there are multiple copies of the rules to go around.

The X-Boat Kickstarter that I am really looking forward to:  XBoat Zine

Sadly also backing the Mongoose Journal one although I probably already have at least half of what is going into this:

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Random thoughts

Poking around sites and found Riftroamer's site again. A lot of great Traveller and other 3D content. So a picture of Big Bertha, the truck that transferred the cargo pods from Warehouse 31 to the Anomalies Run (see for his cool stuff). Although I think this is a little TOO big if that door is any indication!

Also still thinking about restarting for about the 15th time the Traveller Tracker. Maybe make it Mac compatible via the .Net Core. That would make it more of a command line took rather than a Windows GUI. But sometimes I just get tired - being writing code for almost 40 years and maybe I need a change of pace, try something different. But it is what I do for a living, and sometimes it is still fun. But programming without a real audience or expectations is somewhat pointless to me. I do keep Visual Studio updated at least...but so much for my plan of getting a Windows Store App out. Plus I really want to revamp the whole thing. Again. I just don't want to get started it seems. Although I have been doodling for a revamped, more generic cargo system (last version was trying to be version specific, now I am thinking an interesting hybrid. But then it becomes house rules and who would want to play with my rules?)

There was some conversation after the last game session about longer games. This was from one of the younger players. The way our group works is we usually have 2-3 concurrent games due to the size of the group. We alternate between 1 and 2 month sessions. Most games try to be "complete" by the end of the session. I managed in the 1 month intro game to actually complete that particular Traveller adventure (4 sessions covered character creation and two days of in-game time). Then we did continue that for a 2 month session one month later, but only got to the end-game on the last session and it was not actually completed. We did have chunks of people out sick and so I slowed things down a bit to try and get everyone in on the last and not-quite conclusive session. Hopefully we will be able to continue that game - I think there is potential there. And I think I am getting a bit better at refereeing. Other than combat...In college we played pretty much the same campaign for about 2 years, off and on. Somewhere I think I still have Scout Nathan Brazil (hey, I was reading the Well World series at the time and thought the name was cool). A short fat guy who had a lot more charisma than I did. I based his physical appearance from a character in one of the Journals (JTAS 09):
And entirely unrelated to Traveller, turns out another of the players in the group also got the Fantasty Trip I Want It All set. I believe that we will be able to play a few rounds of In the Labyrinth at some point this summer - between the two of use we'll have at least 4 copies of the game. And that game has a very well-defined combat system. Kinda looking forward to that: I am hoping we can do a shared world where I can play sometimes and he referees, and then the other way around. In the same world. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Call of Cthulu game

Taking a bit of time off from refereeing Traveller, and got into at Call of Cthula game. I don't know if I've ever played this or not, probably not as it seems entirely unfamiliar.

Rolled up a character (and I need to bring more D6 to the game) and ended up with Professor MaryAnne Gilligan of Briarcliff College. Rolled the dice and gender was female. In 1929 women had only been allowed to vote for 9 years (1920 at the national level), and I poked around and found a women's college that is in the New York area at that time. MaryAnne would have attended during this time (from the Wikipedia):

Around 1917 at Mrs. Dow's School, an art assistant taught classes in drawing, painting, and modeling. In addition to their daily tasks, the students prepared monthly compositions which would be critiqued by the school's art director Frank DuMond through a lecture.Art history classes included that of Italian Renaissance painting and sculpture, Western European painting, and the history of Greek sculpture, architecture, and interior decoration.

MaryAnne took a stint internationally at some archeological sites despite Mrs. Dow's recommendations, and has come back to teach as a professor there while still going on the occasional dig.

Born in 1900, the Professor has seen several changes in society, and is thinking that things in the financial world are not going well. She tends towards jodhpurs to the alarm of her fellow teachers and the delight of her class.

Image from Marc Scott:

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Game retrospective

Some things went well. Some things not so well. Over all, the players did indicate that they had a good time so that's a positive!

This second play at Traveller was more of a sandbox than the first pre-generated adventure we ran. That one was more experimental to see if I could interest some of the gaming group into playing Traveller. And that was a yes, and they wanted to continue.

One of the major differences in a science fiction RPG and fantasy, in general at least, is the scale of possibilities. In most fantasy games, you have one world that everyone knows regardless of the actual game. Fantasy in the Western world is well covered and follows the same general tropes regardless of the actual game. And most fantasy games your goal is to level up: become stronger, more powerful.  Science fiction games, particularly Traveller, is a lot more open-ended and the player goals are necessarily different. You can expand one system, indeed one world, into a complete universe to play in (and if you've been reading along you can see a lot of that: I tend to really enjoy world-building and entirely ignore the T5 MOAR, Map Only As Required, suggestion. But then: I really enjoy it for its own sake).  Player goals in Traveller can vary greatly: exploration, personal wealth, bigger guns. For players steeped in the more traditional level-up mentality this can be a difficult hurdle at time. And the universe is a lot larger in many ways: you can travel the worlds.

I think I needed to make more clear that Traveller really does have different goals and a different mindset to play. We had players ranging from wealthy and high social (the doctor's mother was the Imperial presence on D'Arlee and the doctor herself is a 40% owner of the very large for players lab ship Anomolies Run. And we had a couple of barbarians, a wanderer and a true barbarian, at the other end of the social scales. And of course some Scout and Navy people). Traveller goals tend towards more of a monetary process for the most part I think: traditionally the players find a patron who will pay them for a job. So our second adventure started with the Navy willing to pay expenses and more to transport our barbarian and help figure out Pax Stellar. Money...and perhaps more once if we continue that adventure. Traveller is about travelling in the end, exploring the universe we are hopefully creating jointly (one of the players named the mechanical life the metals: that was great and the sort of thing I like. Why, back in the day when I played Traveller as a player, I also helped create the universe we all played in. Or at least I like to think I did as 30+ years may be fogging reality with wishful thinking!)

If this were a Star Wars game, or a Star Trek game, most players would have more than a passing familiarity with the game universe writ large. Traveller, on the other hand, is both blessed and burdened by a 40+ year history of world building across thousands of planets and thousands of years of history. And my game was a sandbox game in my old college universe, so even less familiar with players, even those who had played Traveller before.

I think over the course of the last several sessions we did establish the baseline for the Imperium: it has rules, it commands over space, and it has its own interests. It is a high-technology society that eschews artificial intelligence and large-scale automation, as well as fearing psionics. Fairly traditional Traveller.  We are playing along the fringes of the Imperium but the players still played by the Imperium's rules. I think what I did miss pointing out is that the worlds may be part of the Imperium, but have their own governments and rules. The Imperium's rules may or may not apply, and their presence on the worlds is often limited to the starport. That was my fault. The previous games I played I think the same issue happened: good Imperial citizens who stuck by all the rules even on planets where those rules may not apply.  My solution to this will be to write up even more information about the D'Arlee Quandrant and how it interacts with the Imperium. And the Imperium is not necessarily the good guys, especially away from the Core.

Things I need improvement on are playing the NPCs. One good piece of advice I've read is to only do one NPC at a time: no NPC to NPC conversation. The players don't want to listen to me talk to myself!  I managed to bypass this later in the game by giving a summary of any possible conversations. And playing NPCs I did not generate seemed to also be more difficult: I want to maintain whatever the author of that adventure had in mind. But: it is now MY game (or rather, OUR game!) so I need to let that go. I had a good time playing the sheriff /mayor of Q'antar, that rootin' tootin' gun slinging woman who may be seeing about getting a pilot for that Scout ship the planet of 10 now owns. And some advice on the COTI forums was also well received, so I try to have a card of the NPC with some info on it when using that character's voice to help the players know who is actually talking.

And as much as I really like having a more physical game, the attempt at the bar with the Lego and large map did not pan out as I expected. I think if we do get into combat, then I can bring out the maps and figures if we need to. Or play entirely in our minds. And I think I need to practice combat in Traveller (and actually pick a version as there are several options to choose from: Classic, range bands, Mongoose, Striker, Snapshot, At Close Quarters...) If we do try a more combat-oriented game I will need to have flowcharts or helpful handouts to let the players know what options are available. I do think that they enjoyed their ID cards, though, and the doctor really enjoyed waving around that test tube full of venom at various NPCs. And I do have so many maps - my Kickstarter addiction has caused me to get things that I may get to use yet...This also applies to space combat: I have a lot of little spaceships, and they are fun, and were useful in some instances. I just need to have a more holistic or natural way of integrating these in when needed. RPGs are games of the mind. Won't stop me from amassing far more things than I will probably ever use (I've actually got 2 games I got purely for the minis I think!) but I'll try and make sure that it is not the focus but an aid to play.

There is probably more I am not thinking of at the moment, but this post has gotten long enough. I now need to find some image to stick in it - posts with images are just more interesting...

Quick view of Subra, home of Qat, born there on 241-1075.  A small world with a very thin atmosphere and less than 10% free standing water, Subra is a non-industrial poor world of about 40,000 people living under a variety of governments. It is a high-tech planet though.  Perhaps the reason Qat left to wander in the first place - there appears to be a lot of dirt and not much vegetation! And growing up under the dim red light of an M2 star means that the planet itself is in the primary orbit and has a very fast year! So just how old is Qat in cat, err, Subra, years?!

Subra / 0511 D'Arlee Quadrant B231477-C  Naval Base M2 V

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Pax Stellar - the Adventurers Arrive

We jumped over the week long trip in jump space, just noting that it is a good thing that there is a gym on the ship as Shenna, the Navy engineer, was going to town with the fresh food supplies.

Upon arriving in Pax Stellar space, they are met with stern Naval radio messages. Indicating that they have an Epsilon Indigo clearance, they are piped immediately to Admiral Mira Wescott. Normally a small task force with interdiction duties does not require the presence of an admiral. However, the nature of Pax Stellar and the risk and potential to the Imperium cannot be underestimated. She is one of a few dozen who know as much as there is to know about the system in the local task force. Pax Stellar was the primary system in the ancient empire, and has the most interesting and puzzling technologies. Admiral Wescott maintains a berth in the Crucible station in ring sector one in the VIP quarters. She has the Anomolies Run crew meet here at the captain's office near the main control section. A brief conversation about Osrum and the actual plan: get to the power anomaly using Osrum as an ambassador. So far the Navy researchers have been stymied and cannot approach closer than 70 kilometers or so before they are blocked. The group agrees to continue to escort our barbarian from Planet Bob back to his home world.

After a refreshing meal in the café, under the stars, they take a bumpy ride down planet in a Nirvana class drop ship (thanks Robert Pearce - see Yet Another Traveller Blog in my list for his fantastic work). It is a bumpy ride down - the pilot wants to go as fast as possible to avoid any catastrophes and technology failure. They pass by a large, whale-like floating filter that synthesizes hydrogen from the atmosphere, and manage an abrupt stop at research station two. There are the sounds of the pod release and son after, the sounds of the drop ship attaching to another pod and leaving as fast as possible.

The rear of the pod drops open and they are met by a field researcher, an ex-Navy flight officer who is now researching the weird science of Pax Stellar. She and the admiral do not get along, and Esther Inchara calls her Iron-Face Westwood.

They get into the steam powered ATV, and with a toot of the steam whistle, off they go. The power source is only a hundred or so kilometers from the research station, and as they approach the only pass into the area, they are blocked by a mountainous "metal" as Osrum calls them (image from Michael Murdock's Dr Mordecai Crowley's Journal of Interplanetary Travels which was a book from a Kickstarter that ended up being the source for images for Pax Stellar.

Osrum gets out to communicate with the vast creature. It takes a few tries, but eventually, an hour or more later, the gargantuan creature moves out of the way, and with another toot of the steam whistle (Esther swears it is necessary to calibrate the steam engine. Honest!) the steam-powered ATV trundles forward. A bit later, they come into the open area in the middle of the mountain range, where there are native buildings and humans working the fields.

One of the better dressed humans comes up, speaking a language no one, including Osrum, can understand. However, a few minutes later the leader speaks perfect Anglic, telling the Travellers he has been expecting them, and that Gerdy, their god, is waiting upon them.

Leaving the ATV behind, the group treks a few kilometers to where they see what appears to be a modern building, a large communication array mounted on the roof. The natives had built housing from the native stone and timbers, and this building would fit into any modern city. For a 3,000 year old building it was in remarkable shape.

The High Priest, for that is their guide, explains that they drop off offerings, often requested offerings, to Gerdy. Our group gives up some jewelry and knickknacks they have to a small robot, that then disappears into a small elevator.

The walk around the building to the front and enter. There is a foyer just past the front hall, and a holographic image welcomes them.

And then we ran out of time.

Not sure when this adventure will be picked back up - there are several other games in the queue so we'll just have to see if people will want to continue or not.

Next post I'll try & do a post-mortem on the game. What I think I did right, what really needs improvement.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Session 8 Prep - Will they get there?

The original premise of this adventure, a follow-up from what I thought may be a one shot premade adventure, was to get Osrum of Planet Bob, known to the Imperium as Pax Stellar, and explore an anomaly there. Pax Stellar, for a quick recap, is part of a 3 system former interstellar mini-empire that never achieved jump capacity, yet had medical, computer and cybernetic technology far beyond Imperial norms. About 3,000 years ago there was some sort of collapse, and the humans have reverted to a sort of post-apocalyptic barbarian tribes scattered over the world. Imperial technology just stops working within 2-12 hours and after more than a century of research, they believe that there is still an active nanotechnology that breaks down foreign tech. There are a lot of mechanical and fully organic life forms. The natives, of which Osrum is one, calls the mechanical life the metals. Recently, there has been an odd power surge noted from satellites high above the planet's atmosphere near research station PS-2. All attempts to get close to that odd power source have failed - the metals seem to protect that area. And despite excellent optics and satellite imagery, the Imperium has no idea what is happening. As Osrum is wanting to return to Planet Bob with a variety of objects he has picked up from the outside universe, the Navy, which guards Pax Stellar, feels that a native may be able to get to the power source.  So Project Parfait was born, and Our Travellers are brought on-board to escort Osrum to the planet surface and from station two, traverse via a steam-powered ATV to the power anomaly.

So, recap aside, the players got from Q'antar, site of their kidnapping and release, took a A2 Far Trader to D'Arlee to get to the Marquessa's Cygnus Class Lab Ship the now named Anomolies Run, where they accepted the job from Admiral Reginald Dor Grigori. I actually got around to writing up that paper (which is Navy security paper - it has microdots with authentication codes buried in the print. Very hard to near impossible to forge as it uses some sort of blockchain like technology to ensure when and how that document got created. But I digress). From D'Arlee they made their first jump to Iac and assisted the Axion class freighter with Captain Mary Sally fight off space rats of an unusual size. As a reward, they got a case of 50 bottles of fancy wine and thanks as well as an offer for future assistance if needed. There was some discussion that piqued Captain Mary Sally's interest, as she is part of the Cytec Hemogeny and very interested in the Singularity (the whole focus of this branch of humanity). I've not decided just how curious yet...

We were missing a couple of players, so session 7 played out in retrieving furniture. In a bad part of town, and apparently gauss bullets can chew up whatever road surface they have there. There is still one player who has not shown up at all, and if he manages to show up on this last for a bit meeting, we'll have to figure out how to incorporate his character into the game.

I've been using the RPG Suite to roll up Navy characters, trying to get one of a high enough rank to be in charge of the task force guarding the Pax Stellar systems.Let us just say it took a LOT of characters getting rolled up before I finally got one who both survived and managed to stay in the Navy. As I also got the Element Class cruiser boxed set from Mongoose (and knowing nothing about Navy stuff real or Traveller) I am using that as a source. So, from reading the notes about the Navy forces:

Task Force EC-1031 has three Ghalalk class Cruisers, one for each of the planets.
  • Karliku patrols Pax Stellar
  • Giadsha patrols Dunkumme
  • Usharku patrols Celtiz
Each cruiser has 1 missile pod (5,760 missiles per pod, just in case they need to destroy the planet) and 1 intelligence gathering pod. Sadly, the intelligence staff have been confounded constantly by the systems and as of yet, unable to interpret any signals that originate from the planets. They do know that there is a communications net that takes years for the conversations to transfer between worlds on what appears to be laser links. Either encrypted or using entirely unknown languages, the communications are monitored and scientists have been attempting to decrypt them for decades to no avail.

In addition to the 3 cruisers are a host of other Navy supporting ships including tankers and flight support wings that have fast fighters that are on constant patrol duty throughout each system. There are several couriers, and communication between the three systems is on a weekly schedule, and a monthly schedule to Dura's Naval port to be further transferred to the Imperium at large. 

The Pax Stellar task force is an Epsilon Indigo clearance only - very high security and very few people outside of Naval Intelligence know about it.

Admiral Mira Westwood is in charge of the Pax Stellar Task Force. A native of Tsarina, she was a graduate of the Naval Academy at Glisten with Honors. She showed an early interest in cybernetics. She joined the flight branch, and in her first tour of duty she foiled a minor smuggling ring. She was promoted to sublieutenant, picking up some blade, electronic and leadership skills in tracking down the culprits. She did not make friends with the private investigator at the heart of the smuggling ring. 
Her next tour of duty got her to the edge of the Imperium. Apparently while enamored over new worlds, her specialized training did not take well, although she was promoted to lieutenant. She worked out a lot at the gym on board, increasing her dexterity. 
During her third tour, she was in the middle of the Battle of Dolberg, a yellow-zoned world in the Trojan Reach. She managed to pilot the capital ship Surnashi during some outstanding maneuvers as well as get promoted to commander. She also picked up Naval tactics during the weeks-long battle and follow-up against the pirates. 
Her fourth tour brought her into the Naval Base as Bastion. Thinking it more a friendly competition, she bested the rich noble in a duel, and he has had it out for her ever since. She was promoted to captain.
Her fifth tour brings her to Pax Stellar. She apparently also managed to get under the skin of one of the researchers there, but was also promoted to admiral. And is in charge of the task force. And has been for almost 3 years now.

Admiral Westwood is a stern-faced woman who has spent almost her entire life in the Navy. Never-the-less, she maintains a large personal residence on the Pax Stellar moonbase where nice furniture may have a home...

And there may be issues with that character generator - in the Navy it is pretty easy to keep getting your social bumped up. She is at level 19. I am going to apply that as just in the Pax Stellar systems - she is seen as the end-all to everything going on there. 

On the bright side of all those characters I generated, some will end up being the researchers on planet that will help with our group. And one apparently will not be liking the high and mighty Admiral Westwood. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Session 7 - Picking up furniture

After Morgana and Iva head back to the ship, Qat, Osrum and Max approach the concierge of the port hotel to get information about transferring 12 dTons of furniture from a warehouse to the ship. The very chipper concierge finds the only Rent-A-Stevedore in town (yes, it is now a thing in my universe) that has a truck large enough to transport 3 4dTon cargo containers full of fancy furniture from the warehouse to the port and be able to load it on the ship itself. A 4 ton container is about the same size as a shipping container, and fortunately the ship has two capacious cargo bays that are normally loaded with science gear and supplies.

After warning our Travellers that Warehouse 31 is in a not particularly nice area of town, and then becoming aware of the Navy issue gauss rifle that Max is carrying, he indicates that the Rent-A-Stevedore should have its representative in shortly, and they can wait in the lounge where breakfast is currently being served.

Finishing their repast, a strapping young man shows up and introduces himself as Jon Smith. He has the lead car out front with the wide flashing "Wide Load" sign blinking, and behind that is Big Mac, a large grav vehicle that will be used to transport the loads. They drive on to the warehouse, meet the gruff manager, and with the transfer of the ship's Cr60,000 they were entrusted with, start moving out lot 381. The warehouse manages to move the first crate to the bed of Big Mac, the three stevedores strapping it down and verifying it is safe to go. The Travellers do notice a couple of homeless people watching with interest but nothing untoward. The small convoy goes back to the port and manages to transfer the container to the port cargo bay. Big Mac has a nice extendable crane to maneuver large loads. The second trip is equally mundane, and the homeless people have wandered off. On the third and final trip, though, there seems to be a small group of people waiting near the warehouse. As the final container is getting loaded on the grav truck bed, they start to approach. It also appears that they have weapons, mostly crowbars and the like. While the stevedores are unaware of this, being behind the container and loading, Max, Osrum and Qat take some alarm and prepare themselves. Max's version is to shoot a spray of gauss needles in front of the group. The hypersonic needles make small sonic booms before they splatter the road material all over the group, along with small shards of what remains of those bullets. As this was a result of digging up the road a bit, the group was not seriously injured but ran away. At this point, the group decides to look inside the containers to verify that yes, there is indeed furniture in the container. The rest of the final trip goes uneventfully as they load the last container into the cargo bay with the other containers.

Now the plan is that this expensive furniture, bought at well below the market value, will have a high resale value over at Pax Stellar. While the Navy ships won't particularly use it, there is both a Crucible class station in orbit as well as a large and sprawling base on one of the two moons. Some of the people have been stationed there for years, and Sabsawa feels that some of the more well-off scientists, who can get quite snooty, may want to revel in expensive furniture.

There is also a smaller cache of entertainment gear that she managed to pick up, straining the current budget a bit. Those crates are in the other cargo bay along with Osrum's miscellaneous cargos and the air raft.

Fine Hellaborian Wood Furniture

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Session Pre - Searching for cargo

While the rest of the crew was out shopping and eating in interesting places, our valiant and capable ship's administrator/purser/partial owner of the Anomolies Run was busy scouring the local nets for cargos that may prove useful to the next world, Pax Stellar. Taking into account that is a red zoned world and patrolled by the Imperial Navy, she suspected small goods, particularly in the entertainment area, would be a good thing to look into.

Despite getting an excellent price on some cheap rocket skates (with no formal government, a very low law level, and somewhat captive population working at the starport, entertainment can become quite extreme.

Below is the list of items Sabsawa has scrounged up as possible cargoes. Knowing the ship currently has about 50 tons of available tonnage (4 tons is taken by Oeg's air raft, and Osrum has about a ton of things he has also picked up along the way), and knowing everything had to be available for ships and stations only, she limited her searches that range of items.

First, the port itself is willing to pay for records transfer to the Navy. This is supplemental mail and Naval public briefings, a large electronic cache stored on 2 encrypted drives. Seeing as there are currently 3 Naval officers on board, as well as an ex-Navy Lt, they can transfer the data.

The 2 tons of rocket skates were considered briefly for the base on the moon but dropped when considering potential insurance costs.

There were 4 dTons of VR entertainment units that are sitting over at warehouse 31. These were to be transshipped but the traders never showed up. Currently impounded for storage fees and available.

There is 12 dTons of luxury furniture, made of Hellboria wood. Originally planned for the cousin three times removed of the grandson of the Wescott family patriarch, the furnishings did not go with the rest of the house. Created by Rafael Tagliatelli, this is exquisitely designed and beautiful furniture consisting of a complete living room, library and bedroom set.

  • Naval records and supplemental mail: Cr10,000
  • 2dTons Acme Rocket Skates: Cr 90,000
  • 4 dTons VR equipment: Cr60,000 (she rolled an 11 on purchase price - 40%!)
  • 12 dTons luxury furniture: Cr85,000 (not such a good roll)
And no, I did not actually roll on the tables. I did use the actual value table to set the base price for the VR (using it as computer parts, base price Cr150,000). The other prices are made up - I know there is a mail contract in the rules some place. I thought book 2 would have it as it as the ship design as well as the cargo stuff. But alas, I could not find it. I do remember it actually required a physical safe locker, but as this is going to be on two small crystal drives, the ship captain's safe will suffice.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Session 6 - Safe to Port

I think I may have miscounted...I believe the last session was session 5, not 4. The now named lab ship, the Anomolies Run, along with the Axion class freighter and two Mercy class rescue ships, arrive and land safely at Iac's Downport.

The port is fairly large, but the two ships are on adjacent landing pads and well within walking distance. Although the thin atmosphere does not allow for a lot of activity until the Travellers acclimatize. There is the faint smell of creosote as they meet Captain Mary Sally, or is that Sally Mary, at the cavernous cargo lock of the Cytec trader. She vaguely resembles Seven of Nine from Voyager - she does have some implants that are visible. Thanks are again given and one of the more heavily augmented crewmen bring out a crate of 50 bottles of Deerian wine. Each bottle is worth about Cr150, so about Cr7,500 for killing the devious space rats. It may also be useful for bartering or trading later. I'll have to work up some more info about Deerian Wine, but I did make a simple label for it. Apparently it won the Grand Prix in 1101, and the bottles they have are about 20 years old, close to reaching their peak value.

There was a somewhat length conversation - the Cytec are wanting to achieve the Singularity, and so are becoming more intertwined with their computer systems. They are starting to add computer systems to themselves, and most of their ship systems are a virtual or augmented reality. These systems are like the Zhodani psionic controls: without the right stuff, not operable by non-Cytec enhanced people. Although there are some safeguards and manual processes. Fortunately, Max's TL 15 suit has built-in VR and augmentation abilities and, as per the last update, managed to interface with that ship's system.

Osrum, honest soul that he is, also started talking about Planet Bob. While on a somewhat secret mission to Pax Stellar, few people outside of high Imperial offices know the reality of why those worlds are red zoned. His fellow Travellers had a somewhat heated discussion on this until Sabsawa stuck her head outside of her cabin and mentioned that perhaps now would be a good time to register the ship officially and set up the itinerary for the next leg of their journey. Shenna came up before they left, and gave Morgana a shopping list. She and the crew were getting a bit tired of the Navy food that was supplied, and having a Steward-1 skill, does like to cook and would try & make things a bit better for the crew. Sabsawa was going to stay in her stateroom and see about brokerages and cargo they could possibly carry for some profit. The dry air of Iac does not sit will the her Bwap skin.

Getting onboard a port transport bus, they get driven around the multitude of warehouses and other ships to get to the large administration building. There, they attempt to enter their official next destination and the clerk, knowing that the world is a Red Zone world brought in his manager. After verifying that the crew knew that the next port of call was well within an Imperial Navy Red Zone, he entered the information and wished them well. He was also very curious as to why but Osrum only asked about nearby parks.

About to leave, they are approached by what appears to be a young urchin. She had overheard that they were needing to get into town to get a better variety of goods that were offered at the port. Her uncle, she claimed, had an excellent grocery and restaurant business. And she knew a driver... However, the group decided to rent a taxi for the day, having been around the ports more than once before.

Hitting the town, they find a good place to eat. The Acme, Inc restaurant had a gift store in the front, and one of the things that caught the Travellers eyes were the Rocket Skates. Iva, a sports fanatic, eyed them a bit before they were seated. The specialty of the house was karia bird, a road-runner like bird. Their waitress took their order, and when questioned about the rocket skates, admitted she was a fan and showed off some fairly impressive scars and scrapes. Dr. Morgana gave her a tube of ointment that would help heal, and the waitress did mention the local aloe-like plants that had some significant healing properties. She also said that the skates in the gift shop where not that great, and if they wanted better, Frankie's down the road had an excellent selection. He also had the chutes in case they wanted to base jump. According to the waitress, there is nothing like shooting off one of the cliffs and seemingly to hang in the air before starting to fall. The death rate was actually lower than you would think...

They left and picked up the additional groceries and supplies as listed, and went back to the port. Shenna and Oeg met them at the main area in his pristine 1094 Ling air raft, and as the ship engineers headed back to the ship, the Travellers got a hotel with extensive bath facilities.

And G+ is going way very soon. I'll miss that little alert thing for when people read my posts...I'll still be posting here on a fairly regular basis. But I won't be joining yet another group thing. So please check back once in a while, and I do post over on COTI (one of the sites listed on this blog).

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Iac - A Bit More Detail

As the players managed the rescue of the Axion class merchant, they are heading to Iac after all. There they can refuel, restock, and see what Captain Sally of the Cytec ship will give them in reward for assisting with their rather tumultuous exit from jump space.

I've expanded a bit on Iac: still a poor, non-industrial world. The class A port on a planet with 3,000 inhabitants requires that the port population is not counted in the official Scout records. I've made the port mostly self-contained with a small startown that is more sleepy bedroom community than startown. Although with the law level of 1, you can pretty much buy anything you want here, if you can find it and can afford it. All those warehouses in the port must contain some really interesting items!

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Session 4 - Rats on a starship

In retrospect, I really should have had the rats dropping out of the air ducts.

Session 4, 139-1105. Yes, I established the date.  The Travellers in the as yet unnamed Lab Ship come out of jump space a bit further out than expected from Iac. Alarms are blaring and there is an automated distress signal from a ship at close range. Apparently in a surprisingly strange coincidence, another ship had come out of jump far too close at about the same time. This was a Cytec ship and was tumbling in an out of control manner.

We were missing three players this time, so this was a fortuitous happenstance. While the characters of the players not present stayed on board the Lab Ship, three of our characters were to go across to the tumbling ship. The pilot Sir Max, managed to overshoot the ship initially but came around on the second pass. Iac port was sending up two emergency response ships, but even at 6G they were an hour away.

As Lt. Oeg had an air/raft, and the shuttle was too large to fit in the airlock of the Axion class cargo craft, the Lt piloted the craft over to the drifting and rotating craft. Osrum did manage to not throw up, but did get ejected from his seat during the maneuvers. It was either Qat or Max who dragged him back in. They went through the top port, which is a grav chute through the entire four deck craft. The top deck presented what appeared to be normal, and empty, staterooms. The next deck presented the bridge deck, which was locked. There was a constant flashing of red warning lights as well a low siren. Out of the corners of their eyes, Qat and Osrum both noticed something that skittered behind them as they were working on the door. Sir Max recognized the interface as a VR interface, and with his TL 15 Scout suit, managed to unlock the door. And they then saw the space rats!

Of course, 1 rate vs a VRF Gauss gun does not stand much of a chance, and fortunately Max killed it with the single shot. A gauss round in a starship is generally not a good idea. And despite the alarms going off, apparently the ship roombas still worked as the rat's remains were rapidly cleaned up and removed.

Still wearing their suits, worried about it being a plague ship, they found that there were several engineering warnings. And as spacers, they knew that an infestation of these rats easily leads to chewed wires, conduits and other ship-wide damages. They also found that the ship had placed the entire crew into emergency sleep mode, something very similar to the Borg regeneration. The Cytec branch of humanity are trying to move to the singularity and represent a fringe trans-humanist ideal.

Waking the captain, who came to the bridge and turned off the alarms, they found the various nests via internal ship sensors. They flooded the cargo bay with the anti-fire retardant which killed the vast majority. While they thought about opening the cargo bay doors, the ship crew quarters were on the 2nd deck of the cargo area, and their doors were not air-tight.

While Sir Max and Captain Sally went to the engineering section to repair the damage as best they could, Qat and Osrum went rat hunting with stunners and a crow bar. It was short work to get the remaining two groups, and the ship had basic repairs done and managed to stop spinning.

By this time, the emergency crews had caught up, and we left the session with all the ships heading to Iac.

Which means I need to detail Iac a bit more as I did not expect them to actually visit much. But it will also give us a chance to the last player into the game - he missed the first few sessions and we need to get him introduced in there.

Captain Sally will also being gifting the lab ship crew with some of her cargo in thanks. I need to figure out what that ship may be carrying as well.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Space Rats

Okay, I believe the image is actually a dire rat, but it was an interesting image that will work for me. Not sure where I got it - although I am leaning towards a D&D site. Sorry I don't have the source link - blame my digital hoarding.

Also - not much longer before G+ goes away (in a rat-like manner no less). I'll still be updating this blog for both the games I play as well as any software I write (one of these days I will get back to the Traveller Tracker, promise!)  I post on COTI as coliver988 (I tend to be unimaginative with user names). I am not a Facebook user, nor will I join one of the now far too many other sites trying to keep some of the wonderful goodness we are losing with the demise of G+. And who knows when they may pull the plug on this as well: as per all big companies, you never know where they will go. I may have to eventually host stuff myself. And as most of the stuff I post here are copies of things I have anyway, I should be good to go no matter what.

Regardless - here are the tradits, a mutated rat that infests everyplace that humanity has got to. My players shall be encountering a murder of them next session in all likelihood. A group of tradits is a murder, just like a group of crows.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Session 4: Meet the engineering department

It was a bit more of a lackluster gaming session than I would have liked, but D'Arlee is a civilized world with high law levels, and the Travellers are all, for the most part, law-abiding Imperial citizens.

So, the day after Morgana's welcome home party the group returns to the starport to review the ship and the new Navy crew. The NPCs were rolled by RPGSuite, and it took me a while to get 3 Navy engineers. I also rolled for random race and gender, and ended up with a human female, Vargr male and Aslan female. I've only the 1 character card so far, but will probably make the others so I can use them when I am "playing" those characters.

  Lt Oeg "Egg" Aghdzoksdhaekhsfudzzong is the chief engineer, a Naval Academy Honors graduated who is serving in his 3rd term. He has been on diplomatic missions, foiled a major crime on board a Naval vessel (hmm, perhaps something to do with the Saki-Ryant Consolidated Networks Group?), and had advanced training. It was during this year that he picked up a pristine 1092 Ling Standard mk6A air/raft. It has been somewhat embellished outside of Navy norms with an interestingly contrasting paint job and some quite unnecessary fins that "really make it go faster". It was stowed in the cargo area of the lab ship with permission from the captain.  Lt Oeg has wide experience in all engineering systems. He also enjoys flying fixed and rotary wing craft.

  Petty Officer 3rd Class Shenna Barrick has risen fairly quickly through the ranks working in the Engineering/Gunner sections of the Imperial Navy. A tiny woman with green-tinged hair (within the boundaries of Naval culture and protocol), Shenna specializes in engineering power systems, and tinkers with Oeg's air/raft to see if she can get a better power ratio. She can actually fly it, whereas Oeg is still learning grav vehicle. She participated in the 4th Cytec Hegomemy Convention, representing the D'Arlee Naval Group 1134 along with the rest of her crew. She has actually met with the reclusive Cytecs.

The final member of the Naval Engineering group for the lab ship is young Crewman Heeahfi "Sneezy" Fteftaistiysiyei. She also gradated the Naval Academy of D'Arlee, and has published in the Naval Archives a treatise on ancient weapons, a comparison of Human and Aslan ancient weapons. However, in her first term her immediate supervisor made an error that caused a rapid decompression in a cargo hold, and killed several crewmembers. Sneezy was blamed initially but the truth did come out, leaving her still in the Navy. As a partial recompensation she was given a membership in the Traveller's Aid Society. She has not yet decided if this will be her final tour of duty. She specializes in life support.

Trying another PDF for the crime syndicate:

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Player Cards v2

Added a bit of color and the birthday of the characters. Established that we are sometime in 1105 s back-tracked all the players and had a random day assigned as their birthday.  I also established their birth worlds. Imperial citizens have that Imperial logo on there, non-Imperial do not. Only Osrum is not an Imperial citizen. All the characters except 1 come from D'Arlee. Max is from Rhylanor as the player indicated his character came from a core world and wanted to get away from a far too civilized world.

I've also added the card for the Captain of Finn's Tripper, and the lab ship's new chief engineer, as well as a ground crew tag for the port. Just in case I need to have someone wandering around the ship at some port at some time in the future.

I've printed it out on card stock and they came out pretty nice, I do believe.  I'll be able to hand these out next game night.

This is the sort of thing I love to do. I have expanded out my D&D Paladin's backstory in concert with the DM to fit her world. That paladin is the youngest of 8 siblings from 2 different mothers. As the character generation indicated he had a scroll of ancestry, I created his family tree based on maps of Greyhawk as he is of nobility. Back when I played Traveller, I did the same sort of thing with my characters: expanded out the home worlds, and any tech they got I usually designed and got approved by the referee. Only 1 player has the rules for Traveller, although I did send them the link the RPG DriveThru when it was offering Starter Traveller for free. So I don't expect my players to get quite as involved as I do in just creating stuff.

The medal is from Meteoric Assault from COTI. As Max has a medal for gallantry, his card is doubled over so he has a copy of the medal as needed.