• Traveller, as we join our game already in progress

    by  • March 7, 2012 • Reviews • 9 Comments

    The campaign has been playing for about a year, every other Thursday. It’s a filler campaign between Mutants & Masterminds and Stargate: 1889 (using the Savage Worlds system). Our gm is male and two of the players are men. The other four players, including myself, are women. Our sessions start about 7:30 or so and we play until 10 pm. Some of us have a 40-minute drive home and we all work the next day.

    Traveller setting: galaxy divided into sectors (think like states or countries) and most people stay in their own little corner. There are humans, Vargr (wolf-like), Aslan (lion-like), and a human offshoot that are psi. Ships can make the journey between star systems by ‘jumping’. A jump is one week long and most interstellar ships have jump one engines; meaning they can only jump one week at a time. A jump two engine means staying in jump for 2 weeks without having to stop for more fuel or to recalibrate the route, so it’s faster. [we recently upgraded our engines, yay!]

    What’s happened so far (more or less, it’s hard to summarize a year’s play):

    All members of the March Harrier crew have some connection to at least one or two other members of the crew (served together, fought together, etc). We’ve had some run-ins with the multi-sector company, Takeira, and their local sector subsidiary, Ukrut. We’ve added a new crewman, another Vargr named Gvoudson and some Takeira thugs have been trying to get their hands on him, or at least his howood brooch [howood is a ferrous-infused wood, only found on one planet].

    We did a couple of favors for a sector local company named Oberlin and in return they’ve done us a couple favors. Our security officer has a list of ‘bad people and places’. Takeira is on that list, as is Ukrut. She has one name on her ‘people I like list’ and that’s Oberlin. She would have put the Fierau family, because they gave us a crate of their ice wine, but when we went to rescue the family heir they made us stick to a really stupid plan. Ali gets really upset when anyone shoots the doctor. That’s a guaranteed way to get on the ‘don’t like’ list.

    Recently, Takeira and Ukrut started a trade war with Oberlin. In Traveller, this doesn’t mean undercutting prices, etc. This means privateer actions. Oberlin came to us with a proposition. For all that we’d done for his company and him, he bought out our contract (half our profits had been going to the ship’s owner), giving us a lot more freedom. Also, he wanted to hire us for a special contract. His company had found a Takeira fueling stop. The system was empty other than the fueling station. He wanted us to park there and intercept and seize Takeira ships. We’d carry crews to pilot the prize ships; we’d get a 10% bounty for anything we took, and we’d get some Takeira revenge.

    We’ve spent two sessions plotting and fighting Takeira ships. We got pretty beaten up but we won every fight. We’d been there a month (game time) and needed to return to get repairs and more supplies. Plus, as the escort ship in the last fight proved, Takeira was getting suspicious.

    Crew (male character= male player & female character = female player):

    1. Capt: T’Var, male Vargr
    2. Medic: Aylana, female, recently discovered she’s psi
    3. Mechanic: Tyler, male human
    4. Steward: “Asta”, female Aslan, she’s Asta because humans can’t pronounce her full name
    5. Pilot: Abby, female human
    6. Security: Ali, female human
    7. NPC: Gvoudson, male Vargr

    Some character notes: The captain (T’Var), as a Vargr, is very status and rank conscious. Except for Gvoudson, the rest of us don’t care.  The captain handles finding cargo and other similar decisions. The player also tracks how much money the ship has and all the cargo and trade information. He used to be part of a Vargr mercenary company (raiders) but left when new commanders made him unwelcome.

    The doctor (Aylana) had amnesia and wasn’t certain where she originated. She recently found out that she’s psi and mildly empathic. She’s a pacifist, maybe since she’s the one who has to patch up what results when people don’t use stun weapons.

    The engineer (Tyler) loves his beer and his racing. One reason he’s upset with Takeira is they ruined a plan he had to build a race track on Aramanx. It was part dodge, to get the ear of a local government official but the more we talked about it, the more enthusiastic he became. It was a way to boost the local economy and he had all kinds of ideas for marketing and for money-making (for the locals) side schemes. It was an area recovering from a war and the war broke out again (thanks to Takeira) before we could get started. He’s a little bitter about that.

    The security officer (Ali) was working with him on it and she’s upset about it, too. She’s former military and she feels safer when she can carry military grade weapons and wear her military grade armor. She has a real fondness for the doctor and credits the doc with her survival, from getting shot. By Takeira, fwiw.

    The pilot (Abby) has almost a phobia about being planet-side. She was born and raised in space, for one. For another, bad things happen when she’s on a planet. On the planet with howood, she accidentally imprinted some local wildlife, double-tailed monkey-creatures. She’s planet ignorant and didn’t know it’s a bad thing to feed the wildlife. To make things worse, this particular lifeform was held as holy by the locals. They were going to hold her to become part of the priesthood. With some help from a splinter sect, we blew a hole in the temple wall to get her out.

    The steward (Asta) is my character. She prefers her food live and kicking but knows how to cook for human and Vargr palates. She’s never stated why she left her clan or if she plans to ever return. With the lack of live prey aboard ship, she uses hunks of meat spiked onto ‘mouse bots’. The robots act in random ways to simulate a hunt. The engineer has been modifying them to ‘fight back’ with potato guns, etc.

    My next post will actually start the game play report.

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    About

    I have been playing tabletop roleplaying games since my mom's friend introduced me to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons c.1980. I have been running roleplaying games (except for one disastrous session in high school) since about 1989. I have played a broad spectrum of games (I'd list them but you don't have time to read a list that long); ranging from Champions to Dresden Files, from D&D to Wizard's Realm, from Ironclaw to Traveller. I'm proud of: I have ongoing peripatetic Ironclaw and Jadeclaw campaign that I run at local conventions. I have been someone's 1st gamemaster. I wrote the creatures appendix to the Jadeclaw game book and contributed several articles to Sanguine's Bitemark Fanzine. Although I've written several adventures, I've never tried to get them published.

    http://sewicked.blogspot.com/

    9 Responses to Traveller, as we join our game already in progress

    1. avatar
      March 7, 2012 at 16:50

      Did anyone consider genderbending when statting up their characters?

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    2. avatar
      March 7, 2012 at 20:21

      I don’t think so. Considering Aslan gender roles, I was the most likely to gender bend. If I’d wanted to play the security officer, for example, if an Aslan, I’d 75% need to be male. As it is, I have a note on my character sheet, the genders Asta mentally uses to refer to the other characters.

    3. avatar
      March 8, 2012 at 16:01

      I love all the details about the characters! They seem really developed and well rounded, from personality details, hobbies, they way they eat, personal fears or anxieties… cool cool. There’s not a tool to help you develop stuff like this in Traveller, do you guys just organically do the character development and relationship development on your own? Is there a mechanic that you steal from another game to do it?

      We’re currently playing a year long Traveller game too! But we hacked it to play Halo. The setting is pretty similar, we just added more of a space marine flare. The system is pretty easy to use, I like it for generic space stories. It’d be interesting to see how both our groups use this system differently, but man, I’m lazy about AP reports. I’ll probably just read yours.

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      • avatar
        March 8, 2012 at 16:33

        When we did character creation, we looked at any similar life event and put them together. The rest of it organically grew out of race descriptions (Aslan prefer live food & they do X when they can’t get it but she’s a steward so….) and game play.

        There are other details, like the engineer always turns his cap backwards before he gets into a fight. The captain is notoriously stingy. The pilot has drones and watches (& records) almost everything on board the ship. The doctor wants a pet. And the steward keeps threatening to eat it. But you can only include so much before it becomes “I wanna tell you about my character”.

    4. avatar
      Soren
      March 11, 2012 at 18:34

      I’m super curious to hear more. This sounds much closer to the source material I know and love.

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      • avatar
        March 12, 2012 at 18:22

        This is the version from Mongoose, which is pretty true to the old material. There are distinct signs this game was written (edited, whatever) in the 1980s. That doesn’t make it less fun, but it does add an element (computer memory is measured in what?).

    5. avatar
      apedroso01
      March 12, 2012 at 02:10

      I’ve never played Traveller before although my husband has. Does the emphasis in game play fall on combat for you guys or player/NPC interaction?

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      • avatar
        March 12, 2012 at 18:26

        Our GM is trying to work on his player/NPC interaction. He’s getting better on balancing combat vs interaction but it’s still weighted toward combat. We all enjoy talking our way out of a situation but after a bad week at work, there’s a definite catharsis in blowing up shit.

        We’ve also been enjoying the character interaction. There’s a push/pull between the engineer and the pilot, with the occasional side tug from the captain. Whose ship is it? The one who steers? The one who keeps it running? Or the one who handles the contracts?

    6. avatar
      Kimi
      March 13, 2012 at 17:41

      Traveller is a GREAT system. I’m currently in a traveller campaign and am having a blast. The character creation is far and away the most entertaining of any system I have played… other than prepping for a Dresden Files game maybe. You can get a great character that you’d never have made in other character creation systems.

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