Saturday, February 29, 2020

Don't Believe Everything You Hear - Rumors in Traveller

Encounters are a staple of role-playing activity. As the PCs move about from place to place they naturally meet up with NPCs and interact with them.

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.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Rest In Peace My Friends


Richard Carnes

Last night my fellow parishioner Richard Carnes, a Vietnam Veteran, left this life. The scourge of cancer brought an end to his life in this world. The grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ brings him to life in the world to come. He was a close friend of our priest for decades, and a good friend to me; and the godfather of my two sons.

Richard Carnes
667887 Army, 1 term Trooper Age 72 Cr – no longer important
Rifle-1, Mechanical-2, Wheeled Vehicle-0, Animal Handling-0

He was: Husband. Father. Grandfather. Godfather. Friend.

Robert Wood

More unexpectedly, over the weekend of the 15th-16th, my fellow parishioner Robert Wood, a Vietnam-era Navy Veteran left this life. Robert had COPD from a lifetime of smoking, which finally brought an end to his life in this world. The grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ brings him to life in the world to come. He was a part of our parish for over ten years, and I enjoyed many conversations with him from religion to politics to philosophy to his love of motorcycles.

Robert Wood
665887 Wet Navy, 2 terms Petty Officer Age 66 Cr - not much
Electronics-2, Mechanical-1, Wheeled Vehicle-1, Swimming-1 Watercraft-0

Robert never married, but he travelled widely, and had friends in many places.

Prayers for the Departed

Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend the souls of thy servants, Richard and Robert, and beseech thee to grant them rest in the place of thy rest, where all thy blessed Saints repose, and where the light of thy countenance shineth forever. And I beseech thee also to grant that our present lives may be godly, sober, and blameless, that, we too may be made worthy to enter into thy heavenly Kingdom with those we love but see no longer: for thou art the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Repose of thy departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto thee we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

If you are minded to pray, pray also for Richard's widow Karen, their six children (grown) and four grandchildren.

Almighty God, who knowest the weakness and frailty of our nature, we beseech Thee to give unto us Thy servants whom thou hast stricken with this sorrow, such measure of thy grace as shall enable us to bear it with humility, resignation and submission to thy divine will. Grant that we not sorrow as those who have no hope. Grant that whatsoever we may want in outward consolation, we may find in the inward rest of perfect submission to Thy holy will, and unshaken trust in Thy loving mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Both will be buried in a Veterans cemetery in central Virginia.

Image credit: Pixabay

Monday, February 17, 2020

More Vehicles - Bearcat construction vehicle

My son designed this vehicle using MgT's 2nd edition vehicle rules. I have included some CT-style flavor text.

Bearcat class Construction Vehicle (TL-8)

Chassis: Heavy Ground Vehicle
Spaces: 30 (15dtns)
Crew/Passengers: 2/0 (2 spaces)
Speed: Slow (Very Slow)/100kph (50kph)
Range: 400km (600km)
Agility: -1
Hull: 90
Armor: 2/2/2
Traits: Tracks, ATV (DM+2 to Drive checks when traversing rough terrain)
Armament: None
Equipment: Improved Control Systems (5000Cr), Heavy Crane (8 spaces, 
Max Load-10tns, 10,000Cr), Digger Blade (10 spaces, 25,000Cr)
Cargo: 2.5tns (10 spaces)
Cost: 220,000Cr

The Bearcat class multi-purpose construction vehicle is a rugged, reliable vehicle built for the settlement that's looking to expand. The Bearcat weighs 15 tons and has a crew of two. It moves on tracks, and has a maximum speed of 100 kph, and 50 kph off-road. When carrying a load, the recommended top speed is 20 kph. Its range is at best 600 km, but is typically transported to the work site.

The Bearcat can operate on a job site for 30 hours before recharging. It can lift 10 tons, or up to its own weight if special balancing weights are attached to the chassis. The digging blade can excavate 75 m^3 of earth per hour. 

A Bearcat at work
Backhoe not shown
This design may be used without attribution. However, if you do use it, please leave a comment to let us know, and how well it worked.

Image Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Rey Rabara [Public domain]

Thursday, February 13, 2020

A Trio of Special Psionic Talents

A Trio of Special Psionic Talents

Here's what the CT Book says about Special talents:

Although psionic activity generally lends itself to classification, some individuals defy this very classification. Individuals with special talent are capable of some activity which is not described here; this talent is dispensed by the referee after deliberation. The special talent may include abilities not covered by this section, or may be a random assignment of otherwise unreceived abilities. Special talents should be made psychologically dependent on a focus, in the form of some artifact or charm, which must remain in the possession of the character. (TTB, p. 120)

When a character finishes his initial training, he is unable to function with his full psionic strength. In all talents except teleportation, a character is initially capable only of level 1 abilities . . .
As the character becomes more familiar with his talents (in game terms the mere passage of time is sufficient), his skill gradually increases up to the level of his psionic strength.
Each month, roll 2D for each talent possessed; on 10 + for awareness, 12 for teleportation, and 8 + for all other talents [including Special], the character's ability increases by one level.
. . .
The procedures above may or may not apply to the special talent at the referee's discretion. (ST, p. 60)

With these in mind, here are three Special talents to incorporate into your Traveller game.

Absorb/Dissipate Energy
A Psi with this talent can reduce the amount of damage they suffer from dangerous phenomena. Perhaps you remember this scene from a popular sci-fi film: