Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Casual Encounter - Dane Buckminster

Here's a Traveller character who never went into the Services. Will this work? Let's find out.

Dane Buckminster
4B78C2     Age 22     College     Homeworld: Dimitrov/Holtzmann's Corridor
Streetwise-2 Brawling-0, Auto Pistol-0, Air/Raft-0, Administration-0

The man with the plan.
Chris over at Tales to Astound! suggested this concept. Yes, he's 22. I rolled up characteristics then went straight to the 4-year Sabbatical for Education. The rules do not say you must enter a Service, only that you may enter a service.

He's got Cr 500, and Cr 70,000 worth of debt. He has a reason to go adventuring!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Joe & Jay's greatest mission ever!

Tuesday has become Game Night with my boys. We're going back and forth between Traveller and Lord of the Rings. For Traveller, my two boys have picked up two old characters, Joe Blasterson and Jay Maverick again. Read about their earlier adventures here

Most recently they have been on Kemasiik, in Holtzmann's Corridor. After finishing a job, they were contacted by an Imperial Embassy staffer, Sir Tolbert, with an offer of two High Passage vouchers off-world in return for a 'job'. The Empire would like to see Kemasiik shake off the influence of VanGoff's World (VGW), which has economic control of the planet. A famine decades ago had forced Kemasiik to mortgage a lot of territory to VGW to stay afloat.

Sir Tolbert explained that their job was to prevent a VanGoff businessman, Mr. VanHoffen, from making it to a meeting. VanHoffen was a big-wig who owned a lot of the local real estate. They could not kill him or directly attack him (as this would call for a legal inquiry and reschedule the meeting), he had to miss the meeting by 'accident'. Simple, right?
This man is hosed six ways from Sunday. He just doesn't know it yet.
The boys set to work concocting a list of ways to mess up VanHoffen's morning schedule. It included:

  1. Disable his contra-grav car
  2. Change his clocks to read the wrong time
  3. Kill power to his house
  4. slip him a Mickey to make him over-sleep

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Armor of St. Oswin

The Tale of Saint Oswin of Mavramorn, patron of non-combatant soldiers.
Fr. Oswin, wearing The Armor.
During the Stavanger-Mavramorn war, (100+ years ago) Fr. Oswin was a Mavramorn Army Chaplain. At the Battle of Five Hills, Fr. Oswin traversed the battlefield, praying and tending to the wounded. He went as always, unarmed, with his clerical stole over top of his light armor jacket. His actions and prayers saved many from death. As he knelt in prayer with a dying soldier, an enemy sharpshooter, an impious man, spotted him and targeted the chaplain. This despite both sides acknowledging chaplains as non-combatants, exempt from attack.

As the sniper fired, a bird startled from the brush ahead of him and took the bullet. The sniper tried to fire again, but his weapon hung fire. Finding no mechanical fault, he fired twice more, each time thinking he had a true shot, but Fr. Oswin appeared untouched. His fifth shot struck Fr. Oswin in the chest, but the chaplain continued his ministrations unharmed. At this sight, the sharpshooter threw away his weapon and made his way to the Mavramorn lines to surrender, asking only to meet the chaplain. When they met, the sniper explained what had happened.

Mavramorn soldiers inspected Fr. Oswin's armor, and found that it had not only a large hole in the chest, but another in the back. The bullet passed through Fr. Oswin without harming him. At this, the sniper fell at Fr. Oswin's feet and begged his forgiveness for his attempt to murder him. The priest forgave him, but the Mavramorn forces took him as prisoner. Fr. Oswin later baptized him into the faith.

The Army gave the Mesh jacket to a church on Mavramorn where it was venerated as a relic, the Armor of St. Oswin. After the war, both St. Oswin and the former sniper ended their days in peace in a monastery.

The weapon which failed to kill Fr. Oswin was recovered by Stavanger forces, but ever after it could not hit a living target. Time and again it was tested and new sights attached. It would hit practice targets, but when fired at a person it would always miss, or fail to fire. After the war it was decommissioned, and went to a church on Stavanger, and it also is now a relic of St Oswin.

Referee's Information:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Frightening Animal Encounters

Animal Encounters should be exciting. And when I say exciting, I also mean terrifying. It is the referee's job to make what happens in the game memorable, so storytelling and descriptiveness are key skills. It also helps to have critters that are imposing in their potential to do harm. Encountering a bunny rabbit is not exciting. Encountering something like this should be.

Take a look at what's on the cover of Planet Stories, Summer 1942. No, not the Amazon. She's fine. I mean, fine. I mean the thing grabbing her and being shot in the non-face for its trouble. Yes. Look at that.

Shoot that thing in it's non-face brave Amazon! Teach it some manners!
Imagine your players' reactions if a half dozen or so of these awfuls came tromping out of the mist or the trees while on some remote and forsaken backwater planet. Either they'll panic or think “thank God we recently restocked the rocket launchers!” In both cases, what ensues should be an epic fight.

800 kg Omnivore Hunters
25/12 Cloth-1, Claws (x2) dmg: 5D A3 F5 S2  # appearing: 3
A three-meter humaniform shape emerges from the undergrowth. It probably masses close on a ton. It's gray-skinned, hairless with a featureless lump atop its shoulders where its face should be. The arms end in 4-fingered frying pans with 10-cm claws. I suggest you run.”

I've been browsing through Supplement 2: Animal Encounters, and there are some doozies in here. I list the world profile and terrain type in case you want to look them up. The extra descriptions and the planets named are mine. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Fighting the White Apes - A Combat Example

I wrote a post a while back about the Great White Apes of Barsoom, and how dangerous they are. But was I right?  I decided to find out. 
Yeah, that guy's probably doomed.
Meet Graham Clark, a PC of mine. Age 30, UPP B98885. He's an ex-army recon specialist (Recon-4). I take Recon to be related to Hunting, so I'll give him Hunting-3. He's hunting White Apes, armed with a Gauss LAG, which I recall finding at Freelance Traveller.  The G-LAG does 6D damage. (Note: I ignore +DMs versus armor on the tables, reading them as 0).

White Apes:
1600kg 8D/3D [28/10]  Claws/teeth  (+4 to hit due to size) Dmg 6D+2 
Armor: Mesh  A2 F8 S3  2 attacks/round   Number appearing: 1D

Encounter 1: Range medium, no surprise. Graham fires, the ape charges. Graham hits, wounds but does not down the ape, the ape closes to short range (speed:3, remember?) and kills him with one blow. Stats down to 001. Graham is unconscious, and the ape will tear him apart in round 2.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

From Stellagama Publishing - These Stars are Ours!

Available now from DriveThruRPG, Stellagama Publishings new campaign setting, These Stars are Ours! This is not the Third Imperium, but a whole new setting with new alien enemies, new alien allies, and dozens of new worlds of adventure. TSAO is available as a .pdf, or in print under a soft or hard cover.

The bulk of the text deals with the new alien races, presented with enough detail for the referee to pick up and run with them as NPCs right away. There is also advice given for players who want to try out a Cicek or Ssesslessian as a PC. The humans get some new career options, and the 'standard six' are re-skinned to fit with the setting background.

While the book describes “Known Space” the setting as presented is smaller than the 3I, and smaller than Clement Sector. It's almost three subsectors worth of worlds, but as Chris Kubasik points out over at Tales to Astound!, small is good. Even so, there is still more than enough room for a player group to spend years of game time rocketing around without anywhere getting stale.

The book is rich with adventure hooks from the history, flavor text, and world descriptions. Find out what 'Nine Talons' is up to. Tangle with the Empress' Own Legion if you dare. PCs can avoid politics and get into a trade war with the Zhuzzh, or go on an archaeological expedition to learn more about the legendary Precursors!

The book goes into a good level of detail about the setting's history. The current situation between the various races/factions is clear, yet complex. At the same time, it is not so detailed that the referee will feel railroaded into running the game 'just so'. The history is set, but there's no grand narrative for the players to follow. The setting is wide open so they can pursue their own goals, whether they may be.

The book includes some new ship designs, with some excellent deckplans to go with them, and some variant rules for ships. There is little in the way of new equipment, and the setting TL is 11-12, with a sprinkling of TL13.

These Stars are Ours is written for the Cepheus Engine OGL rules set. For those who, like me, prefer Classic Traveller, the setting works with only the smallest of adjustments.

I have already seen TSAO up close, as I provided the index at the back of this 200 page book. Since I've already read it, I can say it is worth picking it up. Use the setting, or (like me) borrow bits to add to your own setting. These Stars are Ours is a great setting for Traveller, whatever edition you play with.

I know that nobody buys a book for the index, but it has been mentioned in a review:

"The last part of TSAO is an index. This is one of the best indexes I have ever seen in a book."

If you do buy it, take a moment to explore the index. I take this opportunity to say that I'm available to work on your next RPG product as a freelance indexer. You can reach me on G+, here at the blog, or by email if you have a project that I can help you with.