Traveller has a mechanism for a type of encounter I've seen in almost no other RPG. In the Encounters section there are tables for encountering Rumors. Here's some of what the rules say about them (TTB, p.99):
Information is a valuable commodity to travellers, and rumors are the source of much useful information.
In any case the idea of the rumor allows the player characters to learn of new exciting an potentially rewarding (or potentially deadly) situations. In many Traveller situations, a rumor is simply information leading to a patron, a job or a potential treasure; . . .
Rumors are valuable, and once player characters know of their potential, they will seek them out.
|I have no idea what kind of information this gathers.
I admit that over the years of playing, I've struggled to know what to do with the Rumor table. The main difficulty was always what is this Rumor about? An important clue? To what? An Obvious clue? Why is it obvious?
It occurred to me that one solution to this is to create a list of rumors to match the table, all relating to one thing.
When the players inquire about a thing or a person, or when the Referee gets an idea about something that the players would find interesting, start brainstorming. Decide what the facts of the matter are. Use the Rumor descriptions in the table as a guide and create the tidbits that will reel in the players.
Example: rumors about a treasure on Worosha.