Saturday, June 23, 2018

Signal 99

Signal GK


Signal 99

However it is expressed, this is the interstellar Call for Help. And Stellagama Publishing's newest adventure is all about answering that call! 

Available at DriveThruRPG
I've got mine! Review coming in a few days. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Autonomous Vehicles and Traveller

We postulate in this game a future in which we have all manner of fantastic technology, including robotics. When it comes to vehicles, we can have humaniform robots sitting in the operator's seat taking our place while driving us to work. Even better, the robot can become part of the vehicle - the self driving vehicle.
A civilian closed-top air/raft at TL8. Note the robotic controls.

A rare TL4 example of the Autonomous Vehicle. Note the robotic controls.

But we rarely see this in Traveller. Why? Is it that we want to be in the 'drivers' seat? That's the most likely explanation. We play these games to have adventures, to test our skills (in-game) and our playing skill (meta-game) against all the oddities and dangers the universe can throw at us. Why play it safe?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Session Report May 2018

In this session, we finally wrapped up the airship race. See this post for how the fight got started.

Blasterson chased one assailant out onto the catwalk and through a porthole. The assailant hit him with a Tranq gas grenade, but Joe shook it off. He dove through the window and chased him into the hallway when . . .
McGee remembered that he had an infrared scope on his laser rifle. He started shooting the invaders through the walls (I added a -DM for aiming at a heat signature instead of a visible target). It is hard to survive a laser rifle shot in CT. He got Joe's quarry in the hallway.

Reaper slashed and parried with the assailant who had stabbed Ca'al, until McGee shot him. Reaper was not pleased that the shot had come so close to his own head, and said so in a colorful tirade. Ca'al grasped feebly at the attacker's legs, and believed (until later) that he had brought his man down. 

Up in the rigging, Jay, fearful of hitting Longfinger with a shotgun blast, used it as a cudgel, but the assailant's body armor stopped it. So Longfinger dug his claws into him and vaulted backwards over the railing, pulling the assailant down with him.

Upon announcement of this move, the entire table stopped dead quiet.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

More Traveller Literary History - Toyman

I have now read the first three books in E.C Tubb's series "Dumarest of Terra". This week I finished Toyman, (#3).  But this is not a book review.

Marc Miller himself named the Dumarest saga as a major influence on Traveller. So how does Traveller reflect Tubb's universe? There are several things. First there's the word Traveler, which the protagonist uses to describe himself.

Although Toyman all takes place on one world, there is discussion of High, Middle and Low passages. Since I've now had a PC die in Low berth, I appreciate more the gritty feel of the desperate who travel Low.

Earl Dumarest wears Mesh armor, and carries a big knife (a Blade). Some NPCs use lasers, alongside clubs and whips. Thus the uneven distribution of technology across space, and the inclusion of primitive weapons in the game.

The planet Toy (not really a joke) is an example of Government Type 1: Company/Corporation. Stockholders run Toy, and whoever has the most shares has the most influence. The guy with the biggest share  is (again, not a joke) the Toymaster.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

PC perspective of a game event

This story was written by Longfinger's player. It is from his perspective, where he refers to himself in the third person as Allistair.

Allistair walked into the club. He had spotted Stephy, and had seen him gambling his money, and his time, away. Allistair mentally rolled his eyes.
I've only been under his employment for a few days now, and I'm already utterly disappointed, he thought.

He walked over to him, noticing that Stephy was winning by more than Allistair cared to count. Looking down on him, he could see a very well executed poker face plastered onto the Baron's face.
"Good evening Captain. I don't mean to intrude, I just wanted to check up on you. The crew and I were a little concerned about you and Miss Tawny leaving the ship," whispered Allistair.

"Oh it's quite alright Longfinger, we're just relaxing a bit before we shove off tomorrow," replied Stephy in a half attentive voice.
Even more quietly, Allistair whispered in the Baron's ear,
"I'd also like to apologize for my earlier behaviour, I meant no harm to you in the slightest."
"Don't worry about it my boy, I understand your motives completely."

Stephy then turned his attention to one of his fellow gamblers, whom he seemed to know, with a confused look upon his face.
"Have you seen Tawny anywhere? She's been absent for twenty minutes," he inquired, although he didn't sound concerned.
The gambler shook his head. Allistair then saw a chance to be of service, for since the age of sixteen he had made a covenant with whom his people referred to as "The Gardener".

"I could fetch her for you if you'd like of me Captain," he offered.
Stephy merely shrugged and casually uttered, "If you wish."

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

More Traveller Literary History

John Eric Holmes, author of the Basic Edition of the World's Most Popular Role-playing game, also wrote another book, Fantasy Role Playing Games: Dungeons, Dragons, and Adventures in Fantasy gaming.  

In it he discusses a number of games that were on the market in 1980, including Traveller. He mentions, on page 46, a number of 'modern authors' from whose works Traveller is derived. The list is:

  • Poul Anderson
  • E.C. Tubb
  • Robert Heinlein
  • Larry Niven
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • E.E. "Doc" Smith
"to mention a few."

I would add to that list for my own TU and games:
  • Andre Norton
  • Leigh Brackett
  • H Beam Piper
  • David Weber
  • Harry Harrison
  • Alfred Coppel
  • and Edgar Rice Burroughs

Who inspires you to adventure in the realm of Traveller ?