Thursday, July 21, 2016

Product Review - From the Ashes

Stellagama Publishing has released a new rules supplement for Classic or Mongoose Traveller, although for reasons of copyright it doesn't say that directly. Instead, it points to the Cepheus Engine OGL rules set. This booklet brings to my mind the article from the old Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society “Medical Treatment in Traveller”, although the emphasis is different.

What is it?
From the Ashes (FtA) is an optional rules package, concerning mortal injuries to characters and their effects, should the character survive. Two sections discuss replacement of damaged or destroyed body parts with prostheses or cybernetics.

What format is it?
It's in .pdf format, 15 pages.

What can I do with it?
MgT uses nuanced interpretation of task rolls, with regular break points when a task throw misses or exceeds the target by so much. With CT, it's simply roll for the target number and succeed/fail. If the referee wants to apply effects relating to 'just made it' or 'made it by a mile' he can but it is all at the referee's discretion. The FtA rules apply particular results to all surgery and recovery throws; sometimes making the target number still isn't good enough. Yes you succeeded, but . . . Well, medical care is a tricky thing. The FtA rules reflect that well, and continue to keep Traveller at least in spitting distance of reality.
Scars and other physical marks can be a way of distinguishing the PC, and helping the players visualize their characters. In the right circs a scar could help a PC influence an NPC by intimidation or impressive storytelling. The potential for large complications may also encourage even trigger-happy players to try more negotiation and social-skills roleplaying over solving all your problems with a gun.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Brothers of St Cuthbert - an NPC group in my TU

The next time Random Encounter #53 comes up, it might be this group. The Brothers will appear in an adventure I'm writing up for publication or distribution. 

The Brothers of St Cuthbert is a lay religious order of the Orthodox Catholic Church. Most starport chapels will have a member or representative of the Brothers in residence

Their goal: To honor the image of God in every person by burying those who have died travelling in space.The Church understands each person to bear the image of God, both in spirit and in body. Thus the body even after death is shown reverence. The Church does not sanction cremation as it devalues the human person. All bodies given to the Brothers are buried with respect, and with full Christian burial if the person can be determined to have been a Christian.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Their patron:Father Cuthbert of Verrazano died in 542 SA. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

More on Skills - Ship Tactics and Fleet Tactics

I've no idea if the story is any good, but that starship is FANTASTIC. I want one.
Book Five, High Guard, introduces a number of new skills. Some are not really useful (like Communications) but some are. In particular there are the sibling skills of fleet tactics and ship tactics.  Their effects are as follows, quoting from Book 5, the combat rules section:
Fleet Tactics: The skill level of the fleet commander is a modifier to the initiative
die roll. See the initiative determination step.

Ship Tactics: The skill level of a ship's (or small craft's) captain affects its
performance. Subtract one from the skill level of the captain and divide it by two,
dropping fractions. The resulting number is used as a + modifier to the ship's
effective computer level (a computer model15 is treated as a modell6). The computer must be working at at least level 1 for the modifier to apply.
Now, using the simpler Bk2 rules, the skill description here just doesn't work. Computers are central to Bk2 combat, where in Bk5 they are handled more abstractly. So, to make the tactics skills apply to Bk2, let us work them back into the Bk1 Naval character generation tables.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Unique and Valuable Objects, AKA Treasures

I've written before about rewarding PCs with things other than cash. I suppose you could say that what I explore here is the opposite side of that, making the material items the focus of the adventure rather than the reward for it. While piles of gold coins and gemstones fits better in a fantasy or pulp adventure setting, even in the Far Future there will be rare or unusual items that people will want to own, or to sell to someone who wants it.  Here I present twenty unique treasures for adventurers to chase.
Gold Arm Band with Herakles knot
  1. A proof set of coins from the now-defunct government of Narok (pre-Chancellor). Estimated value: MCr 0.770