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.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Solo Session 0.01 - getting closer to start

I will probably try my hand at fictional writing soon, getting Malik to get on board the No Refunds. But first, a quick review of the SOLO book itself.

I've been reading over the PDF, but really prefer real paper. Call me old fashioned, but I seem to better grasp things written down on paper. The book showed up yesterday, and I've given it a once over. It is well made, and fairly large type (yay - see that old fashioned thing before? My eyes are getting old too!). But having a book means I can go through the pages, go back to re-read something easily. And I can carry it anywhere.

It is well laid out, and he gives some good examples of play. There are essentially four play types, each with its own sequence of events and encounters. There are also shared encounters, and some additional explanations of what he is trying to accomplish as well as the how. The four play types translate well to the way I've played Traveller over the years. The Travellers are just that: adventurers roaming the stars and looking for adventure. The Star Traders focus more on trade, and include the option of trading without a starship (this was an article somewhere in the JTAS, and something I've thought of playing around with a while ago). The Navy rules have you playing on a small Naval vessel. Finally, the Scouts have you exploring new systems, and doing the system generation.

I'll be going through the Star Traders system, which has basically the same recipe as the other rules. Roll for planet-side stuff, roll for cargoes either at the port or across the planet, maybe roll for encounter as you go to jump, roll for something to happen during the week in jump space, and emerge, roll for a space encounter, and back on the planet. It is how you interpret and play at those various rolls that essentially makes the game. Additionally, some of those rolls may require the Plan, and then more dice rolls to figure out if you succeeded or failed, and if you had positive or negative consequences. Then you back-fill that story.  It does seem like an interesting system that I am eager to actually play.

There are other options for solo play. Some interesting posts I've found:

Playing ALONe With Traveller

Freelance Traveller - Doing it My Way

Shaun's Solo Traveller

COTI thread

And of course a link to the rules I am using:  Zozer Games

and dang typo in the title, supposed to be 0.91 and ended up 0.01. Although that is fitting as well, my intent was to keep things sequential. And now any links are set to 0.01. Hmm, well, sort of makes sense as this is the source of where this solo effort came from, so I guess I'll leave it as is

Sunday, July 07, 2019

System Details - Location, Location, Location

I am updating my Pilot's Guide to the D'Arlee Quandrant with the details I generate for the solo game. One of my long-running desires was a better ship encounter set of tables, each one influenced by world stats and where it sits in terms of its neighbors. This was spawned from the back of the Supplement 7, Traders and Gunboats (one of my favorite supplements, and probably explains why I have hundreds if not thousands of deck plans I've collected over the years).

There are some interesting sources to pick up a more nuanced approach. Looking over the Pirates and Privateering book from Stellagama Publishing, it has a breakdown based on traffic and security, which combine into 8 categories. I am thinking of something very similar.

T5 has an extended world profile. Importance has some bearing on this, and that also affects trade routes. The economic extension relates to trade volume, which can also correlate to the traffic in the Pirates book.

GURPS Far Trader has perhaps some excessively detailed rules for establishing trade and traffic. I do like them but they are aimed for a big ship universe, so I tend to divide by 10 or 100 to get to a small ship universe that I prefer.

Still playing with the ideas, but there could well be variations on the yellow and green travel zones as classically defined. Red is always no, danger Will Robinson. But yellow could vary as could the green zones. If we add 4 ranges to each, that gives us effectively 8 travel codes, plus Red. Still playing with numbers, but going in a range of 0 through 3, where 0 is safest and easiest. Then Green 4 is basically a Yellow 0. Maybe...

What I want to do is introduce pirates into the D'Arlee Quadrant. It is both Classic Traveller and a pulp science fiction trope.

So, draft 1 of the revised travel codes. I will have to re-read Far Trader to see if that has any bearing. Then, we can generate random ship encounters based on the revised codes (or just use those out of the piracy book. So am I re-inventing the wheel? The travel codes below will map at least partially into those system types). I may want to break traffic out of danger levels as well. But then how finicky do I want to play it?

Green 0 - heavily trafficked and patrolled.
Green 1 - heavy traffic, usually patrolled.
Green 2 - medium traffic, some patrols.
Green 3 - light traffic, little patrols.
Yellow 0 - light to medium traffic, little to no patrols
Yellow 1 - light to medium traffic, no patrols
Yellow 2 - light to medium traffic, potential hostiles
Yellow 3 - dangerous
Red - prohibited

Maybe skip the green and yellow, and just establish a risk code and a traffic code. Risk 0 = no risk through, say 5, risk = high (and the world should be a yellow zone in that case).

As I don't want to create a ship encounter table per system but rather type of system, these ramblings will hopefully help me to figure a way to capture enough data to come up with some sort of matrix. Probably combining stuff from a multitude of systems.  The plan is to have the system entry something like:

0310 Nix C896610-5             Agricultural, Non-Industrial      2 GG                 Imperial

Extensions: {1} (8 5 C 0) Hub [G3]

So for Nix, it is a middling important world with an okay economy: above average resources, decent labor pool in the 10s of thousands, great infrastructure, and no efficiencies or inefficiencies apparently). Hub indicates it is more a traffic hub then a generator of goods (that whole non-industrial thing). and [G3] indicates it is a green travel  zone, but not heavily patrolled so a possibility of pirates or privateers does exist.  So hopefully I could have a ship encounter table for something like:

Imperial, Hub, G3 and a table of possible encounters. Possible DMs could be the importance (which ranges from -2 to +4) where the more important the more likely a patrol is around; economic ranges, where a higher economy may increase the change of piracy due to better goods floating around. So the encounter table needs to be created in a way that takes those into account. If a 1d6 table, the lower numbers represent more dangerous encounters, and the higher numbers more traditional types of encounters. And borrowing from the pirate book, where the encounter takes place.

Imperial, Hub G3, Arrival Zone. Add planet importance to die roll.
1 - Ship - Pirates!
2 - Ship - Privateer 
3 - Ship - Free Trader
4 - Ship - mega merchant
5 - Ship - Custom's Cutter
6 - Ship - Yacht

So a system with an importance of 1+ will never encounter a pirate here, and the more important, the more likely a yacht (diplomat? corporate titan? idle noble? hmm - another table detailing what specifically is going on? at least as a creativity booster if there are no plans afoot)

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Session 0.9 - Ship and crew overview


Here is the ship and crew overview. I'll do a 0.91 go get Malik embedded with the crew (probably as a result of his 3rd term, being embedded in a ASB&TS trading ship a few years ago, and writing a favorable series of articles) in the next post.

The stats are mostly Mongoose 2nd edition, created using the High Guard book. I may go back to Classic Traveller and see if I can create the ship that way, and how much it would cost. The High Guard stats are correct other than the pricing. Ship numbers in my universe are the ship type (from Classic High Guard), and the first 5 digits from the USP (size, configuration, jump, maneuver, power), then the system initials where it was built, then some additional random numbers. At least that's what I am doing now (and think I used to do it that way, a long time ago).

Sticking with the 300 tons. In looking at the outside image, it is 3 decks just like a Scout ship, just a bit taller really, and not so Planet of the Apes Icarus-like. In fact, the designer (0-Hour) said he created this ship after the 2nd Star Wars movie as he liked Darth Maul's ship. It was used in his gaming at the time. While the interior is more than 3x the Scout plans, I'm okay with that.

Going with the overall dimensions it is actually 4,500 dtons. But that is the box shape, that is, the maximum dimensions. Counting the 5 foot squares in the lower cargo bay there are 105 which normally is about 50 tons. The ceiling is a bit higher, so I went with 75 tons for a nice, round number. Taking that and sort of filling in the other spaces I get about 3 times that much or so. Round up to 300 tons. Counting squares the main deck is about 300 tons, so really close enough.

I know - plugging 0-Hour. But Ryan Wolf's stuff is really great, if not ideal for Traveller. But as I do play a rules light game mostly... The image below is from his web site in the Starfinder area and free to download.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Solo Session 0.8 - Captain Lynwood Laux

It took a few tries (and now I have some NPCs as needed) to get something to what I was going for. One was really close: started with the merchants, then pirates, then back to merchants, then pirates, then prison...but his skill set was not quite what I wanted. I wanted a hot-shot pilot who wants to fly free. Although the pirate thing would have been good if the character just got some piloting skills.

Anyway, this character is from the quadrant capitol, D'Arlee.

Lynwood Laux 776DB6, age 48, ship Captain
Pilot (Spacecraft-3, Small craft-1, Capital Ships-1), Admin-1, Carouse-1, Electronics (Comms-1, Remote Ops-1, Sensors-1), Flyer (Grav-1), Gun (Slug-1), Gunner (Turret-1), Leadership-1, Melee (Blade-1), Tactics (Naval-1), Animals-0, Athletics-0, Language-0, Vacc Suit-1

Naval University, ages 18-22:
Taking advantage of youth, you party as much as you study. Gain Carouse 1. You made it! You graduated from the Naval Academy and the future looks bright! You have successfully graduated.  An opportunity awaits you in the Navy.  If you choose enlist now you will be able to train 3 of your service skills to rating 1, and get a chance at commission immediately with a bonus of +2.  Will you join the Navy? [Accepted] After 4 years at the Naval Academy you graduated and immediately entered the service.

Navy, Term 1, ages 22-24:
Sorry, you were passed over for promotion this term. It's time they start respecting you for all your hard work!
ensure [blade] at least 1, electronics +1, new ally: criminal syndicate

Navy, Term 2, ages 24-28 (actually got out of the Navy, tried and failed to get into the Merchants, then drafted back to the Navy!

There was a mishap during this term! Injury Modified Str by -2 Mustering Out Benefit: Int +1 In this career, you were injured [Str: -2 points. ].
 Your previous employer covers (75%) of the cost, leaving you to pay [2500] credits.
 Let this opportunity (and potential debt) pass, or get professional medical attention? Your out of pocket cost will be [2500] credits to heal Str: -2 points.
You seek professional medical attention. It's time to heal!
admin +1, str +2, -2500 credits

Navy, Term 3, ages 28-32
There was a mishap during this term! Placed in the frozen watch (cryogenically stored on board ship) and revived improperly. Reduce Strength, Dexterity or Endurance by 1 due to muscle wastage. Modified Str by -1 Two Ship Shares or +1 Edu Mustering Out Benefit: Ship Shares Mustering Out Benefit: Ship Shares Mustering Out Benefit: Ship Shares [2] In this career, you were injured [Str: -1 point. ].
 Your previous employer covers (75%) of the cost, leaving you to pay [1250] credits.
 Let this opportunity (and potential debt) pass, or get professional medical attention? Your out of pocket cost will be [1250] credits to heal Str: -1 point.
You seek professional medical attention. It's time to heal!
naval +1, str +1, -1250 credits

Navy, Term 4, ages 32-36
You display heroism in battle, saving the whole ship. You may gain a promotion or a commission automatically. Gain an automatic promotion! You were promoted Reduce one physical attribute by 1 Modified End by -1
pilot +1, ensure [leadership] at least 1, electronics +1, small craft +1

Navy, Term 5, ages 36-40
Your vessel participates in a notable military engagement. Gain one of the following at 1. You were promoted
electronics +1, ensure [capital ships] at least 1, ensure [pilot] at least 1, ensure [naval] at least 1, pilot +1

Navy, Term 6, ages 40-44
There was a mishap during this term! Injury You'll never forget the feeling of losing a part of yourself. Choose between reducing your Strength or your Dexterity by 1 Reduce three physical attributes by 1 Modified Str by -1, Modified Dex by -1, Modified End by -1 Ship's Boat or two Ship Shares Mustering Out Benefit: Ship Shares Mustering Out Benefit: Ship Shares Mustering Out Benefit: Ship Shares [2] Choose between a Personal Vehicle or Ship Share (1) Mustering Out Benefit: Ship Shares Mustering Out Benefit: Ship Shares Mustering Out Benefit: Ship Shares [2] Mustering Out Benefit: Nontransferable, lifetime membership in the exclusive Traveller’s Aid Society (TAS), a private organisation that maintains hostels and facilities at most class A and B starports. Facilities are available (at reasonable cost) to members and their guests. Membership is a reward for heroism or extraordinary service to the Society rather than  an official benefit from a career. The Traveller’s Aid Society is an exclusive organisation, made up of those who are truly citizens of the galaxy, not just a single world.  Every two months, members are provided one high passage to each member. This passage may be used, retained or sold. Congratulations! Because of your 24 years of service, you can draw a pension of 12000 credits on the 1st of every year at any A or B starport. Mustering Out Benefit: Gained Yearly Pension of 12000 credits In this career, you were injured [Str: -1 point. ].
 Your previous employer covers (100%) of the cost, leaving you to pay [0] credits.
 Let this opportunity (and potential debt) pass, or get professional medical attention? Your out of pocket cost will be [0] credits to heal Str: -1 point.
You seek professional medical attention. It's time to heal!
flyer +1, str -1, str +1

Even though this is a Star Wars toy, it does present a slightly older guy who looks like he coul dbe ex-Navy. From

Solo Session 0.7 - Interrelationships

I'll flesh out how Malik joins the No Refunds later, but at the start of this campaign, we have the following relationships:

Lynwood is good friends with Eaaia.
Eaaia is apparently an inseparable buddy with Dr. Teag.
Dr. Teag is somehow related to our erstwhile Captain.
Lando, our engineer, is somehow a competitive rival to Malik (school rivalry across the stars?)
And Malik is secretly jealous of the good doctor.

Random rolls on the PC relationship table, then picking or random character assignment. 

We also have to have 3 life events; fortunately character generation does do that in Cepheus and Mongoose generation (one of the part of the systems I really like as it does allow for creativity outside my normal stuff. Another reason I really like Traveller: random character generation can bring to life a character I never would have designed or point picked). 

Malik, the titular hero of the story, has an attachment to a stuffed beaked monkey doll he has had since early childhood. It is stuffed into his travel bag most of the time. He has also brought down not one, but two, political leaders during his journalism career. Additionally, he has been mugged. And he does have a life-long friend made in childhood (I know, we've got four now for Malik)

Lando, the engineer, has been jailed for a crime he did not do, actually hung out with the right kinds of people in college (and finished his graduate degree: this is where the jealousy part above should have played out; alas, it did not). He also has a secret addiction. Now the question is - addiction to what? Drugs, gambling, porn? Its so secret I don't even know!

Eaaia, the steward/broker/cargo master, has had some legal experience with her mother's merchant service, carried out some secret task for her previous captain, which while not rewarded with a promotion, did get her some ship shares. Finally, she feels as if she had made some terrible mistake and fears repeating that. Dropping out of college, perhaps?

Robard, the doctor, harbors some resentment for being blamed for the deaths of his crew during a decompression exercise while in the Navy. He has earned a very prestigious award for his research. His third life event was someone sabotaging his work, forcing him to leave the research group.

And our erstwhile Captain Lynwood Laux? I still need to roll him up. But I am thinking, perhaps a pirate trying to go straight? I'll roll up some pirate characters and see if any fit.

"Hi Lynwood, what do you want to be when you grow up? A pirate you say? How cute!"  Little do they know...

And if I go that route, the ship payments may end up being a bit less as perhaps the No Refunds is really a pirate corsair...we shall see.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Solo Session 0.6 - meet the No Refunds

Poking through the various ships I have, the Lakota from 0-Hour seems like a good fit. While these deck plans are definitely NOT Traveller-compatible per se, I do like the way they look. Making an educated guess based on the cargo bay (being 7x15 5' squares, which is close enough to 50 dTons for me), guestimating the ship to be 300 tons. Just take that section and lay it over the map a few times :) and the interior is maybe 3-4 times the size of a Scout ship, depending on which Scout version you pick.

Edit: the actual dimensions of the lower cargo bay come out to 1087.36691 cubic meters, or 77 dTons. I was counting squares, but there is a 15 foot ceiling there which amounts to 4.8 meters. So I may have to bump the size to 400 tons which was my original guess and I think more fitting to the shown deck plans. And that forward area also has lower door ramp or hatches so would be usable as cargo storage as well. There will be a follow-up corrections post (oddly my first draft was with 400 tons)

"This class was designed as a fast, multipurpose transport and it has seen considerable success since its launch a few years ago. Many captains appreciate the armament, specious cargo deck and dedicated vehicle bay."

Working with Mongoose 2e High Guard I can sort of make that work, Of course, fuel tanks in these deck plans are just not there for the most part, but I am willing to forego that for the aesthetics. Heck - the ship has fins (which actually does give the pilot +2 on all pilot checks when in atmosphere. Plus they look cool. And plus some fuel is stored there. There are not any TL 14 ship yards in the D'Arlee Quadrant. There are at least two systems with an A port and TL 13, so I am going with the ports tend to import a lot of tech for maintenance, as well as having Makers in limited quantities and abilities.

Using a 300 ton streamlined hull, the armor is bonded super dense giving it level 4 protection. Using Kwas Maneuver 4 engines, a Ling-Standard power core and General Products J2 jump drive, the No Refunds is able to cover all of D'Arlee easily, There are six double staterooms, used mostly by the crew, leaving two for passengers. There is an expansive lounge and fully stocked medical bay. There are 6 Niagra 2 life pods in the commons area, each capable of holding two people. Fuel tankage of 63 dTons gives 4 weeks of power and allows for 1 jump 2 or two jump 1. The standard bridge houses navigation and sensor stations as well as all other ship controls. It currently has civilian grade sensors and a computer/15. Currently sporting one triple turret that houses a sandcaster, missile launcher and a beam laser, the owner is truly wanting to upgrade to a few more turrets.

With a spacious lower 50 dTon cargo bay with full doors on either side, cargo loading is generally quite easy. The dedicated shuttle bay currently stands empty of a shuttle, and is used for an additional 25 tons of cargo space. Unfortunately there are only ceiling hatches for larger cargo that cannot be moved through the ship. One day he may be able to afford a shuttle!

A rough cost estimate (and not including software) is: MCr 86.15. Or Cr358,958 each month. Just for the payment. Estimated operating expenses per month are:

Life support: 6x1000             6000
Maintenance:                         7179
                                               13179 / month
Crew: they are on a shares system
Fuel: Cr500x63 per jump 2:  31500

I am going to go ahead and throw in wilderness refueling. I know there are costs there but close enough.

Now, the captain may not have bought this brand new, so let's cut the mortgage in half and make the ship 23 years old. So a Cr179,479 per month for the mortgage, and he has paid off 10 years so far, leaving 30 years. Meaning he does own a quarter of the ship at least :)

And some ship quirks (nothing in engineering as our engineer is extremely well qualified!). I have a 77 Quirks table (no idea where I found it but a net search should find it). Rolling the percentile I got hull and structure, then 2d6 for a variable transponder (which sounds more like a feature!):

Variable Transponder: The ship's transponder can be set to a number of different identities. Roll 1D; on a roll of 1 or 2, the transponder has one alternate setting besides the "honest" one; on a roll of 3 or 4, it has two alternates; on a roll of 5, it has 1D+2 alternates; on a roll of 6, it has an unlimited number of settings.  If someone in authority notices the transponder doing the wrong thing, the ship will usually be inspected; if the transponder is determined to be rigged, the referee must determine the consequences, but they will generally include a fine of at least 1% of the value of the ship. The CI of this Quirk is highly variable depending on circumstances. 

Rolling a 3, we have 1 honest transponder and 2 alternatives. So hey, that quirk was a boon!

Session 0.7 - Meet the Ship's Doctor and Astrogator

I did manage to roll up a character that had 2 skill sets I needed (took a couple of tries).  Some notes on my rolls: I roll the stats in order, then give myself 1 extra roll to replace the lowest (if lower or equal to the lowest, re-roll). Then I roll for race, where 1-4 is human, 5 Vargr, and 6 Aslan. Then gender, even for female, odd for male. I will on occasion fudge a roll if the character is moving in the direction I want, but I try not to. Skills I roll as is: pick the table, roll. When generating characters for a play group I do let them roll then pick the table. Still random, but they have a bit more control over their skill set. And I find interesting names via various random name generators out there.

While I will be getting ship's cards from the T5 KS, I'll probably also get around to generating them for this group. Who knows - the ship may turn up in the next game I run and not just be the SOLO experiment.

Robard Teag, 8768B3, age 39, Medic and Astrogrator
Medic-3, Astrogation-1, Science (Cosmology-1), Pilot-0, Vacc Suit-0, Athletics-0, Gunner-0, Mechanic-0, Gun Combat-0

Growing up on Monk (A62A405-D, 1303 D'Arlee Quadrant), Robard grew up in Shii, one of three large underwater cities on Monk. Unfortunately he was raised in the under-levels, where low paid workers lived. Monk has no government per se, but maintains a high technological level due to several research, development and manufacturing concerns. As a result of this, regardless of social strata, all citizens get schooling from some organization or another. While not overly bright, Robard is a bit above average but has a innate desire to learn. This is really fueled by his desire to leave Monk. He managed to get into a university, graduating barely with his pre-med and astrogation certifications. This bumped his education from 9 to B (interestingly: Mongoose does +2 to education, and Cepheus just moves it to A). 

Attempting to join a scholar research group to continue his medical career, he was rejected. In solace, and in continuing his quest to get off planet, he joins the Navy, entering the Flight branch. Basic training gave him familiarity with a variety of equipment and skills. Unfortunately, he was blamed for the death of his section in a decompression exercise, even though it was not his fault. 

Leaving the Navy, he re-applied to another scholar group, this time on Zonin, where he was discharged (A474455-D, 1603 D'Arlee Quadrant). Another high-technology system, Robard did well his first term there, earning a prestigious prize, picking up Cosmology along the way. Sadly he was not promoted.

His next term there (4th for those counting) he took advanced training, picking up Language 1 as well as another medical level (this part may be a bit fudged: this level indicate Medic 1 for that rank, but as he already has medic 2, going with giving a +1. Plus now he can be called Doctor, Doctor Teag).

Continuing on, disaster hits poor Robard again. His work is sabotaged, and he leaves the company a dispirited man at 38.  

His benefits, all he has to show at this point, is Cr60,000 and a couple of ship shares. Which rolls into 4 shares on the No Refunds now.

So our updated crew roster:
Lynwood, Captain (majority shareholder: 12 shares?)
First Officer Eaaia, Steward/Broker/Cargo master, 6 shares (she parlayed he 3 ship shares so is also part owner)
2nd Officer Robardo, Medic, Astrogator, 4 shares
3rd Officer Lando, Engineer, 2 shares
4th Officer, Malik Castillion (the "primary" character I'll be playing), sensor Ops, steward, ship historian, roustabout (he is pretty much the gopher of the group). 1 share

The way the shares may work is whatever profits they make, they get that percentage. Assuming this is the entire crew complement, if we get to 25 shares then Lynwood would have 12 shares. After ship costs are taken out, and credits towards the next cargo are placed aside. If we have Cr20,000 left over, Lynwood takes 12/25 of that for Cr9600. Poor Malik gets 1/25 or Cr800. I may have to come up with a way to improve how shares will work. Or hope they have some big profits!

We don't have a gunner, and as this group is working on the interface between the League and the Imperium, that may be a good idea. And I still have to come up with a ship, traditional free trader or one of the many, many other ships I have that can be used as a free trader. May have to look through that 0-Hour stash I have from backing all (except the 1st) of those Kickstarters. It needs to be in the 200-400 ton range I am thinking.

Oddly enough from John Brazer Enterprises. Pretty sure I've bought some of his stuff.  Source:

Solo session 0.6 - meet the engineer

Lando Dietgard, 697BA8, age 29, Engineer
Engineer (Jump 3, Man-2, Power-1, Life Support-1), Carousing-1, Sensors (Comms-1), Trade (Space Construction-1), Advocate-1

Born on Preacep (0803 D'Arlee Quadrant), Lando grew up a bit below the poverty line, and lacked many of the educational benefits that others may enjoy. However, gaining a scholarship to the World University (this was the fudged roll), he graduated with honors (and honestly rolled!), gaining a degree in Jump mechanics with a minor in maneuver drive systems, as well as a power systems certification. His college career brought him face to face with people from other walks of life, and he picked up both Carousing and improved his social ranking from 6 to 8. Graduating bumped his education level from 6 to an A.

 Continuing his education, he struggled through grad school but did graduate, with a specialty in life support. He also received an additional certification for maneuver drives, bumping that to 2.

His first job out of grad school, Lando was working on the 2nd orbital station, just a cog in the large firm of Winters and Daughters, LLC. Unfortunately, the firm made some bad choices, and threw Lando under the bus, accusing him of inflating the contract prices and pocketing the extra. 

Thrown into jail for a crime he did not commit, Lando studies hard. It is something he knows how to do! Gaining the Advocate skill, he gets himself out of jail, a free man.

Lynwood Laux seems to appreciate the misfits, and needing an engineer, he employs the wunderkid Lando. Lando tends to spend a lot of his free time in the engineering spaces, tinkering with the drives. The No Refunds runs better than most ships. While competent in the engineering bays, Lando also seems sociable with a wide range of people. 

I'll see if I can detail both Kimitri (Ewo) and Preacep over the next few days. Still need to generate Lynwood, and get a character that has pilot & astrogation. And we may need a medic if they take passengers. And as this group is not always above the law, they may need a medic for themselves. 

So far our crew is:

Lynwood, Captain (majority shareholder: 10 shares?)
Eaaia, Steward/Broker/Cargo master, 6 shares (she parlayed he 3 ship shares so is also part owner)
Lando, Engineer, 2 shares
Malik Castillion (the "primary" character I'll be playing), sensor Ops, steward, ship historian, roustabout (he is pretty much the gopher of the group). 1 share
Needed: gunner, medic. And hopefully someone cross-trained in engineering.

The SOLO book also has you draw the relationship graph between the characters as well as secrets and other life events. Obviously Lando has the secret of being an ex-con. There are some other aspects to the SOLO system I've yet to read and put into play. Just setting the stage so far (and as always, perhaps over-dressing it. But it is fun for me!)

Interestingly enough, there is another play aid I got on Kickstarter, Woodfall (see Woodfall on my blog) and the KS site: Woodfall on Kickstarter that has a similar NPC relationship graph. I even tried this a while back during my first Traveller game in decades: Traveller Reaction Rolls Matrix

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Fantasy Trip Game - next session

The group got to Hamor after moving the bodies off the trail. It was about another hour journey. They were met at the small inn by a young boy who greeted Maggie the pony with affection. During the meal of stewed mutton and perry (much perry for Sir Rabbit) their host asked them about the journey. The inn was empty other than this group, and discussion about the pear orchards in the back (which is where the perry comes from), local recent attacks from various brigands, and talk of the wood cutters that ply the path to Edge City from the deep woods, keeping that city supplied with both lumber and wood for the fires that feed and warm the population.

It was a restful night, with Glori sleeping in a private room with her guardian outside the door. The players group slept in a large barracks-like room that was comfortable and well kept if simple. Much more comfortable than sleeping on the ground.

Early next morning, our woodsman Barnard went a-hunting and snagged a deer. Venison was added to the breakfast, and Joshua Leafmaster, their now named host, exchanged the pelt to make jerky and travel rations from the deer whilst the group heads for the mushroom caverns,  His son, Micca, has Maggie ready and attached properly to the cart, some fresh hay still being chewed.

It is a short trip to the mound where the cavern entrance lies, and Glori hands off a healing potion and two glowing stones for their underground sojourn. A few ribald jokes were made, although I do try at least to keep my games PG-13 for the most part. It is failing in this group.

The group decided on a party order and started down the caverns. A few dozen feet in, Harkin notices what appears to be a secret door. Carefully opening the door, they see a large cavern. Merk can recognize the smell of flying monkeys, a creature created by a witch of the west (yes, I had flying monkey minis, threw in an Oz reference [and there may well be an Emerald City somewhere!]. Mostly because one of the players really does not like monkeys and I have the minis for some reason.) There was a brown slime that attempted to drop on our valiant Halfling, but he managed his save roll. Not sure what to do with the now quivering blob, they left it along and continued in. Searching the cavern, they roust a nest with 2 of the little beasties. A quick round of combat, with Sir Rabbit cleaving one in half, the other a mangled mass of fur and feathers on the floor, leaves an even more foul stench. They then fed the brown slime the monkey remains. I did notice on one of the rumors card, a rumor of a woman who has a pet slime that can do tricks. Sadly the slime was left behind, slowly digesting monkeys. Searching the nest, they do find 21 silvers (based on the random treasure charts).  Nothing else of this chamber proved to be of any interest.

Continuing down the caves, another door on the other side of the cavern path is found. Quincy checks and finds no traps, so Sir Rabbit kicks down the door. And is promptly attached by several large but mostly nuisance spiders. It takes a few rounds but they squash all the little furry buggers. Here they find some of the mushrooms they need, and fill up a couple of the 5 sacks they are carrying.

Further down, another and empty cavern is found. I had one of the players roll on the random dungeon contents, and he rolled an empty cavern. Not even mushrooms for the picking.

Back in the main path, there are roots dangling from the ceiling. Most of the group is too small to worry about them, and Barnard managed to get through without entanglement. Our tall archer, Harkin, is not so lucky and gets entangled into the bloodtree roots. Fortunately Merk climbed up and managed to chew his way through them. A messy approach but apparently successful.

A bit further down they come to a 3 way intersection. Knowing the mushrooms they are searching for are usually near water, they choose the center path which has the loudest sound of water. Sir Rabbit failed the throw for a trap check, and rolling on the random trap it was an arrow. And it does hit the warier, but his leather armor stops all but 1 hit of damage.

They come to a rickety bridge spanning a tumbling underground river, the sounds of rushing water now filling the caverns. Merk and Sir Rabbit cross early, tied to a 100' rope that Quincy has. The bridge holds, and the rest of the group crosses over to the other side, with Harkin at the rear. I was rolling against strength basically and the bridge held. They may not be so lucky next time.

They turn left and find a grotto-like cave. No creatures or anything to attack them, but they do spy the ambrosia mushrooms along with some others. They all made their saving throws so put in masks with vinegar to cover the smell. The sacks themselves are oil-based and will prevent the aroma to escape. Unless one has a hole...

They manage to fill up most of the sacks but still have more than one to fill up. And this is where we left the session. I also gave everyone another 50 XP. This will allow them to bump 1 stat up. The next one I think is 200 XP but I will have to check.  I also think I need to make the encounters more difficult and challenging. We've also not kept the map on the table and no one is really tracking where they are going. It is a small enough dungeon/cave system that this is okay. Longer term we may want to see about someone mapping. I may still have them get at least misplaced a bit.

There is still a 2nd level to this dungeon, and that's where the rest of the mushrooms are at. And there may be other surprises.

Next session 3 of the 5 players will not be there, so we may do something else. I've sent out an email to the group but no responses.

Fantasy Trip Game - session 1

Realizing I just posted the end game, here is session 1. Testing using Trello for that game and the game recaps were there except for the final session, which I posted earlier then linked to that post from Trello.  Just to keep everyone guessing I suppose!

Having more than one book of the rules was helpful. Characters got generated, 2 humans, a goblin and a halfling. Not all the characters were quite legal but we fudged a little and adjusted as the rules got better figured out.

The group was part of a caravan and dropped off at the entrance to Edge City. Paying their silver to get a "passport", the wandered into the Broken Sword Tavern, a dwarf-owned establishment in an okay part of town. Drinking and eating, they were approached by Glori and her taciturn body guard. Sir Rabbit had flirtatious eyes and the stout dwarf eyed him back under glowering thick eyebrows. It was agreed that they would accompany her on a mushroom expedition for 4 gold, two up front and two on completion of their task. Glori left a sizable tip to help with the rather, err, messy eating habits of Merk, the Goblin wizard.

Meeting at the Northern gate, there was Maggie the pony attached to a small cart, with GLori and Hanarlig waiting for the day trip up to Hamor, a small hamlet next to some caves where the aphrodisia mushrooms can be found.

Once past the open farmlands and entering the woods, the group reorganized with Harkin taking lead, Merk peering over the edge of the cart and probably drooling, Quincy watching the back trail from the cart, Sir Rabbit I believe was walking beside the cart, and our woodsman Barnard walking near the front. Harkin noticed a couple and was weapon ready. The young couple indicated that they too were heading to Hamor and could they ride along? Suspicious bunch that we are, they were not allowed on the cart but asked to walk several paces ahead of everyone else.

Not much further, Harking realized there was an ambush waiting to happen (yay awareness skill!). Everyone got ready for the battle.

I did pick pretty poor combatants for this first battle - they were basically average human so their stats would be a bit lower. I did not want to kill off anyone before we even hit the eponymous dungeon!

The battle went fairly quickly. We do have to get used to the 2 phase method of combat. Move first based on an initiative roll, then actions based on highest adjusted DX down. And I need to figure a good way of displaying that info to help everyone as well as me.

Sir Rabbit managed to confront one of the ruffians, and Merk hopped out as well for the combat. Quincy managed to sidle around one as well to attack frm the rear (+4 to hit from the rear). Harkin was taking aim at the two ruffians up the road, and Barnard confronted another of the couple. Our stalwart NPCs did not do a lot in the first round: Glori is basically a city mage with no combat spells. Hanalig's first task is to protect Glori so he first got in front of her.

The players did some significant damage in round 1 to the assailants next to the cart: a short sword (I think - need to get that GM player card!) almost took one out, and a rapier to the back just about finished off one. A fireball also did significant damage to another. In combat, 5 points or more means that the one attacked is basically reeling and gives a negative DM on their next attack (and I need to dig into the rules to make sure I've got that right). So those two were out of the picture basically, and finished off with a coupe de grace next round. Meanwhile, the two archers in the distance were shot at and missed by Harkin, and they in turn both missed him. Arrows are stuck in trees everywhere.... Next round, there is some shifting about as the first couple of rogues are dispatched, and Hanarlig rushes to confront one of the archers. Basically blocking Harkin as friendly fire does apply in this game! The archer gets a last shot in and misses. No more combat so in round three, Quincy moves about to get behind one of the archers (I think - maybe I should keep notes about the combat). Regardless, all the assailants are killed by the next round, and there is all of 8 coppers between the four of them. I suppose if they were rich they would not need to rob!

That's where we left the game pretty much. This combat was low level just to get a handle on the mechanics. And also realize that I do not plan on handing out riches. Although who knows what will show up in the dungeon: I plan on using random treasure cards or rolls.

Notes for me are to get better organized with the cards, Next time there are attackers, I will be using random cards. And those tend to be tougher than average so it will be a challenge.

And I am still not sure if using real coins helps or distracts. My theory was that having the physical coins in front of you made it more tangible as to how much you really had. I'll have to see if I can make a survey on this to see if it helped or hindered.

Each character got 50 XP, so half of what they need to boost an attribute. My goal is to have them be able to add 1 point at the end of the game, maybe more. I also may see if we can do a bonus per player if they do something really good in character.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Session 0.5 - More characters!

I broke down and bought the SOLO supplement. I've yet to read it (got the PDF and the hardback is getting printed) other than a quick glance. I will need a small adventuring group, and as I really do like trading games for the baseline, and I need a ship & crew for a trader, I'm seeing about generating some Merchants. And as I had to come up with a trader for the T5 rewards, I am now working on the crew.

This one came from the RPG Suite as I went through that process. So meet our steward/broker/cargo master for the No Refunds:

Eaaia Wasaiea Oieei (Ewo) 757994, age 34, Merchant

Admin-1, Advocate-1, Deception-1, Diplomat-1, Electronics (Comms-1, Computer-1), Language (Anglic-1), Persuade-1, Astrogation-0, Broker-0, Drive-0, Mechanic-0, Steward-0, Vacc Suit-0

Ewo was born on Kimitri (A563788-C 0107 D'Arlee), part of a small clan of merchants. Growing up at the port, she picked up some smattering of various languages, the ability to at least function not too badly in a vacc suit and some rudimentary driving skills. Her attempt to enter college failed, partly due to her clan having little influence in the system. She took up the merchant life, first on her mother's ship then on a human ship.

Term 1 gave her basic training and a swath of basic skills. She was also involved in a legal tussle, and managing the books for her mother gave her the Admin-1 skill, and she was promoted due to that and her persuasion skills.

Term 2 she switched ships to become more familiar with a more human-centric crew. Unfortunately that merchant made some unwise decisions and had a very cunning rival. She still picked up Advocate-1 but there is a criminal syndicate added as a rival (quite possibly the same one as the adventurers in the last Traveller game encountered via getting kidnapped).

Ewo returns to college, but living the life of a merchant is just too much of draw. She got basic training for Astrogation, and picked up Anglic so that she is now quite fluent. She never gets her degree.

She returns to the merchants, in another human free merchant. Legal troubles abound, but she does manage to talk her way through things, picking up the Diplomat skill. Not getting promoted irked her, so she left, and with some of her ship shares, joined forces with the No refunds crew. She now has some roihoaaea in the game!

There are a few bugs in the RPG Suite software: she was not supposed to get a few of those benefits rolls, but I am okay with that. It gave her 3 ship shares. Once I get the rest of the crew up, we can figure out the shares and how the characters get paid.

From Deviant Art Aslan Sample