Thursday, April 28, 2016

More than four legs and Nasty Pointy Teeth

In my last post I explored the Animal Encounters part of Traveller adventure design. Yes, animals can be a danger and a challenge, but will they be memorable?  A memorable encounter has to have something surprising - an "I didn't know it could do that" or "how do we deal with this" aspect. If all carnivore chasers are leopards with different color fur, encountering them will be worse than not memorable, those encounters will be dull. So what to do?
It won't be dull when I get my teeth into you!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Lions and Tigers and Bug-eyed Monsters, Oh My!

What could be more fun for your players than to be in a wilderness situation and to be confronted by a giant mutant insect? Alien worlds in sci-fi literature are often teeming with interesting life forms. The Wampa ice creature from The Empire Strikes Back is only one example of an animal that presents a major challenge for exploring adventurers.

How dangerous is that bug, anyway?
Offhand, I'd say very dangerous. Run Away!
The animal encounter tables give two numbers expressed in xD for the animal's fighting ability. The first is hits to unconsciousness, the second is hits to kill.

An Autopistol does 3D-3 (average 8), and is best at Short range or less.
A Rifle does 3D (average 10) and is good out to Long range.
A Shotgun does 4D (average 14) and is best at Medium range or less.
A Laser Rifle does 5D (average 18) and is good at all but Close range.
A character with skill-1 and average DEX will need to throw 7+ to score a hit. That's 58% probability. So we can assume every other shot, more or less, will miss.
I have consulted the site for averages on die rolls.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Non-State Actors in the Corridor

For this post I have relied heavily on the personal & group name tables provided in Stars Without Number. Even if you don't intend to play them, support the publishers of free games by picking up their stuff and sharing what's good about them!

In my Traveller Universe, there are some religious radicals, but the 10th century of the Space Age is more an era of political loopiness and wannabe world dictators, like the Yedos. (See Homesteader's Stand) Every crackpot political idea of the 20th century, like every Christian heresy, will rear its ugly head again. 




Oh My!

Across the map

Lots of rich guys think it's cool to have a private army to secure their big estates, settle scores and do the occasional job to disadvantage their rivals. Nobles are expected to have personal bodyguards and armed retinues.

Arms dealing, especially across TL lines, is frowned upon as being destabilizing, is done constantly, is highly profitable and often is very dangerous. Competition is fierce. 

There are several trade/cargo conglomerates. They are not beholden to any nation or state. These too have their own Private Military Contractors, including armed ships to defend their transports. The PMCs will guard docks, warehouses and ships. Private Naval Contractors, aka Privateers do 'jobs' in space.
Companies & corporations of any size and location may have PMCs.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Red Tattoo Description Technique

I recently read The Man with the Red Tattoo, a James Bond novel by Raymond Benson. This is not a book review; the story was good but not outstanding. I want to talk about something else, something useful to both writing and gaming.

On pages 12-13 of the novel, the author introduces the villain (the titular Man) in the form of a mental run-down of “What does Bond know about this person?” Benson describes the villain in eight sentences, and in one paragraph, we know everything the reader needs to know about him.