Saturday, April 15, 2023

Pascha and Penance and Adventure

 April 16th is Great and Holy Pascha for the Orthodox Church in the year of our Lord 2023. In the Far Future, the dating of Pascha may become more complicated but the significance of the day will not change.

In my parish, we will baptize and chrismate nearly a dozen new Orthodox Christians at the Paschal Vigil. Glory to God!

Part of the preparation for Baptism (for the converts) and for Pascha (for the faithful) is Repentance and Confession. This post is not going to be a lesson in Orthodox doctrine, but rather an exploration of what these things might look like in the context of Traveller.  Let me explain.

In the game we’ve begun recently, my son is playing a PC called Mac. Mac went through the Pirates career. Recently he came to me and said that as part of his PC’s story, Mac had encountered a Christian priest in the midst of one of his piratical ventures, and as a result was convicted and chose to leave the buccaneering life.

He fled from the Empire to the Corridor and is now part of a new legitimate crew. He is concerned that his former associates may come looking for him, considering he skipped out with their Type-K Corsair. Remember, kids, don't give the Referee ideas.

His encounter with the priest was the start of his turnaround (to repent means to turn around, to go the other way – to start going the right way). On Holtzmann, he sought out the Church, and ended up making his Confession to the Bishop of Holtzmann. We decided that his major points for Confession were Robbery [piracy] and (probable) Murder. As a pirate, involved in space battles, it is likely he contributed to the wrongful death of others. Now he’s going to direct his life towards different ends.

Mac is now a Penitent. He is not buying forgiveness; Christ forgives freely all those who repent and turn to Him. The Bishop directed him to three obediences, to help shape him in the new way he desires to live his life. They are: 

1             Forswearing forever the piratical life (let him who stole, steal no more: Ephesians 4:28). All gain must be by honest means.

2             Become for four years a patron and supporter of the Home for Widows and Orphans [see my post on charitable work], established on Holtzmann for the Imperial subjects in those circumstances, from around the Corridor. He exchanges greed (vice) for generosity (virtue).

3             A vow of non-violence. Avoid fighting whenever possible, and use no lethal weapons. He exchanges aggression (vice) for being a peace-maker (virtue).

I decided on these things as they both reflect an amendment of life from Mac’s former ways, and, as this is a game, they are opportunities for adventure. Mac will also (off-screen) go to church, pray, and all the things that go into living the Christian life. But those things are not the sort of adventure that RPGs can emulate.

Depending on how much the W&OH needs money (and it will be a lot) Mac’s going to be busy finding legit ways to raise cash to support them. For a game that often emphasizes violence as the solution to problems, finding alternate solutions will be a chance for some creative role-playing.

As a place to start, Mac will be examining my post on Grenades for types that are non-lethal. We will also put our heads together for other non-lethal means for resolving conflicts. Electro-laser stunners, incapacitating gases, and the TAS Wardens Sleep Rods come to mind.

Off-camera, Mac will be in regular consultation with the priest who runs the Home, to learn of needs, and to confirm that he’s keeping to his penance. He might just provide funding, but more likely will make deliveries, transport people, and visit all kinds of interesting little corners of my TU.

Who know what kinds of adventures and situations and people Mac may encounter with this new direction in life?  Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments. 

Image credit: Pixabay

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Naval Base Holtzmann

Recently I was glancing through Supplement 11: Library Data N-Z. I have owned a copy for a long time, but as I don’t play in the Official Traveller Universe, I’ve not paid it any mind. However, after reading the article I’ve reproduced in part here, I realized that I have ignored a potential source of information and adventure.


Naval Bases

Naval Base: Port facility for the support, maintenance, repair, and refit of naval vessels. Planetary surface facilities are generally provided for vessels of 1,000 tons or less; orbital facilities handle larger ships. A naval base has several distinct parts to it; each part helps in the accomplishment of the overall mission of the base.

The typical naval base is composed of an orbital berthing area, a surface berthing area, a maintenance section, and an administrative headquarters.

Berthing areas provide locations for ships to lay over, whether for a day or for months. All berthing areas include provisions for refueling from storage tanks or fuel lighters.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Creature Crossover

A conversation that happened in another sphere of social media asked the question of what creatures from that famous fantasy RPG could be 'ported over to Traveller. As it turns out, a lot of them! Maybe I'll make this into a post series.

I wrote a post about dragons several years ago.

Now, I have a policy in my Traveller Universe that the only intelligent star-faring race is Man, so I have no interest in space hobgoblins or kobolds. Solitary or herd/pack dwelling creatures are the kind I'm looking at.

Maybe there are humanoid creatures of low/animal intelligence and no capacity for culture. I've argued elsewhere that intelligence is not what sets us apart from the rest of creation, rather our God-given capacity for love and creativity.