Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Traveller: Prologue to Adventure...

 A long time ahead, in a galaxy pretty far away... .


After a pretty significant amount of cat-chasing mostly on Fb, I rounded up eight gamers who are from the 1980s and interested in hitting T1ed. Some had Traveller stuff in their attic, some in their basement, and a few had always wanted to try it but never did. As center of geographical mass was in the North burbs of Philadelphia, we ended up meeting not far from my house three times catching most all the interested parties at least once, drawing up characters [once by zoom], answering questions and making general decisions on where and when we'd be gaming in the T-verse.  The answers came down thusly:

  • WHERE: The Solomanni Rim, Albadawi Sector, Kidashi System
  • WHO: All PCs are Solomanni Imperials, i.e. Solomanni who entered and just mustered out of Imperial Service, mostly Navy, Marines and Army.
  • BACKGROUND: All PCs are from the Albadawi sector, feel free to choose your planet and have fun doing it. "Supplement 10, The Solomani Rim" provides plenty of details. It's a $4 buy from DriveThruRPG [CLICK].
  • RULES. We will continue to use Little Black Books 1-3, i.e. LBB 1, 2 & 3 of T1.ed to keep the learning curve manageable. Rule Decisions. So far...
    • "First Blood" mechanic [LBB 1, p.34] is going to be used, but as a Critical Hit mechanism for when anyone rolls a natural '12' on 2d6.
    • Close Combat rules from "Snapshot":
    • Snap Attack. This is a hasty attack with a -2 Hit penalty.
    • Adjacency. This is a Zone of Control [ZOC] rule that says any time someone moves adjacent to your Character you get a free Snap Attack. It gives the non-phasing Character a bit of an overwatch mechanic along with restricting movement of a phasing Character.
    • Action Points. This is the sum of a Character's DEX and END. Normally, the Character with the lowest total must act first, giving Characters with a higher total the ability to react effectively. However, higher total Characters may instead pre-empt the Actions of a lower total Character instead, and go before them. In a fight, the Characters with the highest Action Point total should just go first, it being consistently an advantage.
    • Tasks. Picking up an object, readying a weapon, etc, all take an Action.
    • Experience. Getting a Skill to permanently improve is a huge, 4-year endeavor [LBB 2, p.42] but changes it permanently. This meshes with the skills gained in 4-year Tours of Duty during Character build, and clearly represents a significant amount of expertise even for Skill level 1. This is no change from the LBB.
    • Limited Skills. A Character with a Skill level of at least '1' may teach a "crash course" in a practical Skill; a Blade Weapon, a Firearm, driving, vacc suit, etc. On the success roll of 8+ [+DM of instructor's Skill], the trainee's Skill goes from "nothing" [so -5 penalty] to "S-0" [no penalty, no bonus]. If the instructor has Skill-2 or higher, then a trainee can go from Skill-0 to S-1 [+1 bonus]. Such a course also give a Skill for a specific system on a specific ship, e.g. the ship's computer, at S-0 or S-1, but this would not apply to a different computer on a different ship.
      • Time. It takes 4 weeks [instead of 4 years] and is only temporary, lasting as long as the skill is practiced / rehearsed / drilled, OR, used regularly, e.g. vacc suit on a space mission. 
  • TECH LEVEL. Due to the restrictive nature of governments in the Albadawi Sector, civilian tech is usually 10.  While the systems are usually TL14-15, 11-15 are usually only permitted with some sort of licensing from the - often military - governing authorities.
  • GEAR. Any personal gear listed in LBB 1 & 3  may be purchased at TL10 with no issues.  Higher TL gear rises as a % of cost, with TL11 at +10%, TL 12 at +25% and TL13 at +35%.  TL 14 and 15 is normally restricted to serving military personnel and their support network, but there are exceptions...
  • Kidashi. About half the diameter of Terra [Earth], Kidashi has similar population [10 billion], hydrography [70% water], but the atmosphere is a bit thinner than Terra [think Colorado Springs]. The civilian government is somewhat under the heel of the Naval Authorities that have control, and T1.ed classifies them as a "captive government with Military Rule". It is worth keeping in mind that the entire Solomani Rim is *occupied territory* by an Imperium that has historically been Volani but in the last few hundred years was taken over by Solomani who then mixed cultures with the Volani and became a new ruling's complicated!
  • Law Level. Given the above, Kidashi is LL9, so no weapons are allowed outside of the home. PCs have free secure storage for a month as part of mustering out.
  • Travel Zone is rated as Amber by the Traveler's Aid Society, a place where travel has some hazards, here from the restrictions of the military authorities. 
  • Trade Class is "middle", a bit low for the TL but not surprising considering the thinner atmo, the heavy-handed military presence, and that the system is a borderland on the edge of Imperial space with limited trade that goes "back" into the Imperium only, and not "forward" into Solomani space.
  • Naval Base and gas giant in system.  So easy refueling and plenty of opportunities to repair a ship, but again, owned by the navy, mostly, with contractors and sub-contractors only available when the navy isn't using them since that is their regular work.  Think Pearl Harbor...
The prologue to the PC's full adventure was designed to further the plot and introduce players to aspects of game mechanics to do with "close combat" which naturally results in a few additional mechanics over that of LBB 1. These mechanics game straight out of GDW's "Snapshot" altho not all of the Snapshot mechanics were used.

Dramatis Personae.
Admiral Tilsin. Local Navy bigshot, Solomani. All Naval and Marine PCs mustered out from his fleet command.
Colonel Geery. Local Army bigshot, Solomani. All Army PCs mustered out from his expeditionary brigade.
Rojoes. Local Solomani clan with lots of business interests in the area, especially that of the naval base.
Baxers. Local Volani clan with lots of business interests outside the area, but seeking to move into the area and the 'turf' of the Rojoes.
Benito Rojoes. Local restauranteur owns a busy and successful dining venue and night club. Solomani, Army veteran.
Sheriff Silvanitas, aka "Silver". The local sheriff outside the military base area. Solomani. Anxious to keep the peace and uphold the law in tense times.
Deputy Periperas, aka "Perry". Silver's right-hand man.

Backstory. As they go through the mustering-out process, filling out paperwork and accepting or declining various officially-approved benefits ranging from life insurance, financial firms, and membership in veterans organizations, each PC also gets a personal and confidential message from either Adm. Tilsin or COL Geery, explaining that they need a favor from someone they can trust but who is no longer in the military. While there will be no official compensation and the Adm / COL would have to officially deny any involvement, they would appreciate it if the PC would give it serious consideration and "do the right thing" for a fellow veteran.  If the PC is willing to do so, they should stow their personal gear in the "mustering out" locker area, then find Sheriff Silvanitas at 1000 the next day. The recording then self-destructs, leaving no evidence behind...[click]

Not wanting to lightly set aside any request from their former commander, all PCs decide to do so and found themselves, together, in a side room of the local sheriff's offices, at the set time. Altho the PC's didn't not know each other, as they chatted they realized they all knew a lot of the same people and had been involved in many of the same operations, albeit in separate units.

Silver then enters and lays down the situation: A local Vet names Benito Rojoes has a successful venue not far away, and a rival clan the Baxers is trying to muscle in on their action.  So far, the Baxers have played it smart, with no outrageously illegal behavior.  Mostly just harassing customers with local thugs and hurting business.

As the sheriff is concerned maintaining impartiality while upholding the law, as well as thinking there must be an informer or two within his own staff that is passing info to the Baxers, it is essential for him to deputize some reliable unknowns to handle the situation. The goal is to force a confrontation upon the Baxer thugs when next they make trouble, resulting in arrests that can be exploited by Silver's office to turn up the legal heat on the Baxer clan's aggressive activities.

The PCs all agreed that they were obligated to help a fellow veteran, especially at the request of a former commander that they knew and trusted. They successfully infiltrate the night club - one as a substitute maitre'd, one as a contracted electrician making a repair, the rest as patrons.

Eventually, as the evening wore on, the thugs entered and began to annoy and harass the patrons.  Many quickly ascertained the situation, got up and left. Some got a bit argumentative back, and soon it was easy for the characters to intervene and "keep the peace" as words led to blows. 

The fight started inauspiciously, but the PCs steadily gained the upper hand taking advantage of team work and surprise. While a couple of the thugs proved tough nuts to crack, the use of improvised clubs as well as some solid punches resulted in all the thugs being stunned, knocked out or battered into submission.  Benito jumped in quickly and was very grateful to the PCs, who all got the promise of a free dinner for them and a guest whenever they wanted it.

The session ended with Silver, Perry and a bunch of badged deputies arriving with the paddy wagon and taking away the Baxer thugs.  

This was the end of the March 11, 2023 session.  

What will happen next?  From where will the illustrious GM steal his next idea?

Show up next session to find out!


  1. I always wanted to do this with Twilight 2000. Bravo!

  2. So far, all is going according to plan. Up to about 9 Grognards, with a few runs of the Encounter system [mostly distance fighting] and one run of close combat done. I'm enjoying stealing from my favorite inspirational shows. If it continues, it'll be the first campaign game / RPG / army / navy wargame I've every participated in, much less GM'd. Great platform.


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