Monday, December 21, 2015
Episode 21, the current episode at the time I wrote this has an added pleasant surprise for me - he reads my blog, from the UK mirror site (ancientfarfuture.blogspot.co.uk), and he's generous with the compliments:
"it's everything you could want in a Traveller blog"
"you'll not regret visiting that site"
"there's enough clever, well-written and insightful content to make sure you never have to listen to this show again"
Well, that's awfully kind of him to say, but I say you should keep listening to Behind the Claw anyway. And in the time it took me to write and post this, he's rolled out episode 22! I'm going to go listen to it now.
Fun bonus: he uses the word "interwebbytubes". I've got to start using that.
Check out Decopedia volumes 1 and 2 from DriveThruRPG - written compilations of the material from the podcast.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
|He's A doctor, yes, but . . .|
|He's THE Doctor!|
I've written in other posts about my dislike for "skill bloat", but in this case I see not bloating of skills, but subdividing medical specialties to give characters distinct roles.
Monday, December 7, 2015
Wardens will always carry their badge/ID cards, and some sort of over-garment that clearly identifies them as TAS agents. Communicators and first aid kits, and whatever life support gear is necessary for the world are also standard equipment.
The TAS Wardens will carry non-lethal weapons while on routine patrols. They have them to protect themselves and discourage casual troublemakers, like drunks and petty criminals. The Wardens are there to assist local authorities and keep the peace. However, if the situation warrants it the Wardens will bring out regular firearms. For low-threat scenarios, here are some devices Wardens will typically carry.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Was that wrong? No, I do not believe that it was wrong. But it was short on imagination. I had missed out on one of the more important rules – as the Referee I had final say in how my TU took shape.
Looking Back to the Beginning, Heading for the Future
Here's a scan of my original map, about six subsectors worth, on a sheet of graph paper. Compare this with the map of my TU now, and you can see it still lines up. I had forgotten that what is now the Talaveran Empire, and my most developed star nation, I first called the Star Kingdom of Adair.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Pay particular attention to my three entries:
but do check out all the other awesome adventures, like and share!
Thursday, November 19, 2015
|This is what we do adventure for.|
Recently I posed myself the question "what could I give PCs as rewards for completing patron missions besides credits?" Cash is always handy, but might there be some other kinds of assets that will provide their own adventure hooks, or build the game world, and therefore be more than a number noted on the character sheet?
The answer of course is Yes.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
I want to expand my idea from an earlier post on Ungoverned Space or UGS, to see what could be made of it in a Traveller setting. Much to my delight, I found that Book 6, Scouts, gives some canon rules for the little bitty worlds, which I will refer to as subordinate worlds, that populate solar systems, but reside in the shadow of the main world. What I've got here is not a systematic review of Book 6, but a collection of thoughts and impressions based on my reading. You can pick up Book 6 from DrivethruRPG, and it's not even that expensive.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Here I'm going to talk about upgrading PC's armor, by speculating on increases in function at higher tech levels. For simplicity's sake I am not going to introduce any new armor types – everything will reference the standard armor 'types'.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
The Failed Colony
Patron: Businessman/Investor Anton Sharrett
Thursday, October 8, 2015
A Hostile Takeover
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
The TAS hires people to crew the ships, offering anywhere from 1/2 standard wages to normal, with 1,2 or 4 year contracts. Potential employees can check at a TAS office if there are billets that need to be filled, and request an employment interview. The player should present the referee with relevant skills & experience to build a case for +DMs on the Reaction table, with a reaction of 9+ indicating a job offer. Once hired, the PC is obliged to fulfill the contract; the TAS will not overlook their employees skipping out or engaging in criminality.
The mercy ship can be a good campaign framework for a solo PC; a group of PCs might be able to provide most of the ship operator positions, and have an NPC crew providing medical care. In either case, the referee can direct the PCs to just about any system with the TAS as patron. In the course of providing medical aid, all manner of emergencies and side adventures can be introduced.
Mercy ships will be most commonly encountered in systems with lower populations, lower tech levels, and poorer starports (D, E, & X); as these systems will have less access to quality medical care. Any solar system will have its outposts and settlements on moons, planets or planetoids away from the mainworld, where life is rougher, and help may be far away. On the standard CT Starship Encounter Table, the referee can substitute a mercy ship for any listed encounter, or add a W for mercy ship wherever a dash appears on the table.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
The FSS Lioness (my boy's ship, a Type L Lab) was leaving Monjeera en route to Glaumvor, so I rolled on the Ship Encounter table. Result: a Type A Free Trader. Reaction roll: 10, Responsive. I decided that the Trader captain had in his cargo hold a load of cooking spice (quick roll on the Trade table) that was the current craze on Glaumvor; but the Trader had a freight contract which was taking them away from Glaumvor. So the captain offered to sell it to the Lioness, to avoid a financial loss. They conducted the trade, with the captain's assurance that it would sell high on Glaumvor.
Arriving in the Glaumvor system, I rolled again and got a Subsidized Merchant, but the reaction roll was 5, hostile and may attack. The Subbie captain had a big shipment of the cooking spice, and reacted badly when he learned that the Lioness was competition. He raced away for the planet, to beat the Lioness to market. Captain Greene lit up his drives as well, then had an inspiration. He instructed his crew to load the spice aboard the Pinnace, which has better drives than either ship, then to take off for the planet to beat the Subbie to the punch.
Now, the Subbie's reaction roll was 5, hostile & may attack. Will the other captain risk opening fire? There's a Naval base in Glaumvor, so he might not get away with it. Or maybe he'll plot revenge once they're on the ground.
And the adventure continues . . .
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Check out the series introduction here.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
This is quite the big thing for me. I happened upon the opportunity to index a book last year (I posted about it here) and discovered that I enjoy the process. Then I thought, why not combine this with my gaming hobby? When I contacted Marc, I didn't know if I would get a reply in a week or a month; it turned out to be a day. He was very gracious and readily gave me permission and approval to do the project.
The actual work took longer, as freelance work always will when one has a regular job and a family. On the upside, I'm so familiar with the book itself and the milieu of Traveller that it was not hard to determine what items needed to be indexed. Of course, there may be something I've overlooked; if you spot such a thing, leave me a comment below and I'll add the entry if I agree.
Traveller is and probably will be my main game, but I've been in the hobby for 20+ years and have seen games from TSR, GDW, FASA, ICE, Chaosium, Decipher, and other publishers than I can't recall right now. It is my hope that this project might lead into future work indexing current game material.
As a sample of my work, and as a contribution to the game & community I've been a part of for so long, I am making the Traveller Index available at DriveThruRPG, in cooperation with Marc Miller. Look for it there.
Please share the Index with all the Traveller players you know; if you happen to know people who are publishing Traveller or other RPG material, I'd appreciate it if you'd show them my work too.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
And thirteen Lords run the planet. I have characterized their noble Houses using the system I described here. Apart from the three most powerful houses, they are listed in alphabetical order.
|The planetary Coat of Arms of Stavanger|
|Should I go with Bribery or Carousing in this situation? My goal is to not be eaten.|
What kinds of things will the PCs try to do? I decided that the categories would be:
- General (the random encounter)
- Hiring hirelings/retainers
- Querying NPCs for information
- Asking NPCs for assistance
- Negotiating a business arrangement
|2D||Encounter||Job Offer||Informal requests||Need action or gear||non-patron activities|
|2||Violent, immediate attack||Declines. DM -3 to other hirelings reactions||Deliberatly gives false information||Refuses to provide action or gear||Refuses, requests legal action against PCs|
|3||Hostile. Attack on 5+||Declines. DM -2 to other hirelings reactions||Gives mistakenly false information||Refuses action or charges 200% cost for gear||Refuses, threatens legal action against PCs|
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
What the Travellers' Aid Society does In My Traveller Universe
In the Third Imperium the feudal unity of the government makes a sector-spanning entity like the TAS possible. The Imperium is everywhere, so the TAS is everywhere as well. In my TU, there are multiple competing governments, none of which controls all of 'known space'. However, there is an organization that does span the map: the Church.
Why a TAS?
Saturday, August 15, 2015
|Has anyone seen my keys?|
Friday, August 14, 2015
|A pirate ship, yo ho!|
An encounter with pirates in Traveller
Monday, August 3, 2015
The circumstances that led to them being in space were not that credible to me, and the practical effects were good but not always consistent. Despite this, the main storyline was these kids and their adult supervisor suddenly having to do for real what they had been mock-training for, and coming together as a team without which they would have all died. One thing that the film did do well was demonstrate the difficulties of surviving in space and in zero-G. There was the lack of air, the disorientation of zero-G and the problem of not being able to stop or turn easily. Everything takes longer in space, and the hostile environment will kill you if you let your guard down. The kids all showed the fear that weighed on them as they tried to survive and get home.
Flash forward by several hundred years to the present in my TU, which is the year 924 SA (Space Age). The new calendar began sometime in the 22nd century AD when Jump Drive was introduced. Mankind has reached out into space. I wonder if they still think it's dangerous?
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Adelaide Thrupp 577AC8 Age 50 Diplomat 3rd Secretary 8 Terms Cr 210,000
|Third Secretary Thrupp lays down the law. You would do well to listen up, citizen.|
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
I am fond of reading Fr. Dave's blog Blood of Prokopius. Although he writes mostly about fantasy gaming, he also has played Traveller and has written a number of posts that discuss it in relation to the Orthodox faith. I don't know why I hadn't spotted the post I quote from before, but it explains much better than I did what I wanted to say about aliens and God.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Classic Traveller's vehicle section is not the game's strongest point - starships get a lot more coverage, and more detail. Striker has vehicle design rules, but for most folk that's too much detail. Here I propose an experiment; not yet a house rule. By means of a table already part of the game we can introduce variables into the generic vehicle designs, which can be just background/color or a plot hook. Please feel free to tell me whether you think this will work or not.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
|The original topo map inset. Note the reservoir at the left edge of the map.|
Friday, July 17, 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
New Horizons has survived its close encounter with Pluto and has resumed sending back images and data. The robotic spacecraft reported back on time, with all systems working, and with the expected volume of data stored. Featured here is the highest resolution image of Pluto taken before closest approach, an image that really brings Pluto into a satisfying focus. At first glance, Pluto is reddish and has several craters. Toward the image bottom is a surprisingly featureless light-covered region that resembles an iconic heart, and mountainous terrain appears on the lower right. This image, however, is only the beginning. As more images and data pour in today, during the coming week, and over the next year, humanity's understanding of Pluto and its moons will likely become revolutionized.
|The Heavens declare the Glory of God|
Thursday, July 9, 2015
|A masterpiece of engineering|
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Friday, July 3, 2015
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
BB7335 Merchant 3rd Officer 2 terms Age 26 Cr- some
Vacc Suit-1, Engineering-1, Bribery-1, Streetwise-1, Carbine-0
|Not as stupid as he looks. Far stupider, in fact.|
I found this character in a list of pre-generated characters, in Double Adventure 2, Across the Bright Face. I have no setting that he's a part of, no storyline to fit with. I just took what was presented and extrapolated this from his stats and skills.
Monday, June 22, 2015
|The clean, simple look of the LBBs never gets old.|
Monday, June 15, 2015
On June 13th, National Review Online published and interview with Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Greene, about her newest book Welcome to the Orthodox Church. I had the privilege of working Kh. Frederica on this project, as the book's indexer.
Of course, she wrote about the Church here on Earth in the 21st Century, but it would still serve very well as a guide to the Ancient Faith in the Far Future.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
President Long is viewed as a wise grandfather who has run his political party for over two decades.
Minister Aylsworth is a cheerful, genial man on the surface. Underneath he is a canny manipulator, playing the business leaders against one another.
The Admiral is an able administrator who chooses to be as uninvolved as possible. He delegates almost all civilian/domestic issues to his staff, leaving him free to run the Navy.
The Potentate is a religious zealot and every bit as xenophobic as the people he leads.
Baddon is boastful, brash, aggressive and ambitious. He despises anyone who shows sign of anything he considers weakness or passivity.
The Chancellor is a stubborn old goat and an anti-religious bigot. His ruthlessness has kept him in power for most of a century.
Conflict Zones in the Corridor
- The very destructive civil war on Faldor is now in its sixth year.
- On Chapolco, the Geder region is in active revolt. Chapolco proper is supported by Stavanger; Geder, by Lanzhou. It is a proxy battleground for the two.
- Pampati's unpopular king has to contend with multiple small rebellions and intrigues. The local economy is meager enough that Lanzhou is unlikely to expend much effort to help the king.
- Narok could go the same way as Faldor once the Chancellor dies, as regional lords vie for the Chancellorship.
- Worosha could try to break away from VanGoff's World by force.
- On Dorothua, The Warlord wants to re-arm and get out from under the Empire.
- Piracy and Multi-planetary organized crime groups threaten trade everywhere.
- The Lycosky Trade Protectorate will back any group willing to impede the Talaverans, and vice versa.