Monday, January 7, 2013

Researchers Attack! - Kamiri

Narrative
Trak and Jem hurriedly left Garrison and were jumping to the Kamiri system...

After a week in space and Garrison far back in their minds, Trak and Jem were relaxed as they landed at Kamiri spaceport.  It was located next to Kamiri's largest city with half a billion inhabitants.  Although that did not compare to Easan, Trak's home planet, where all five billion inhabitants lived in one large city.  Trak felt at home in such a large metropolis while Jem was much used to a smaller scale - her home city only had a few million.

"Look at that!" Trak pointed to one of the multitude of custom statements. He read out, "If not residents, or temporary residents of not less than 180 days and not pre-registered for exceptions or pre-notified of a exception, nor an elected official  then the following apply:" He paused and skipped to the relevant bit, "duties of Cr250 apply per vehicle arriving in system, either loaded, unloaded, attached, detached, working, broken or in other fit state and -" He broke off.  "There is another few paragraphs defining vehicles but I'm basically up for Cr500. And this duties byline was only updated a week ago.  I know our subsector has a bit of a rep for making up duties but when it happens to me..."

After getting through customs, Trak lost no time dragging Jem around looking for a buyer for the wood cargo.  It should not be hard - Kamiri was known for its light industry.  It was not hard.  Jem used her negotiation skill (bribed her way) and the wood was all sold for Cr35,100.  I really needed that. Trak thought.  I was going backwards with credits.

On the journey from Garrison to Kamiri, Trak had discussed with Jem the idea of hiring a bodyguard, or at least a crew member who knew his way around fighting.  Neither Trak or Jem were adverse to combat, but both knew their limitations.  After selling the wood cargo, Trak went on the hiring trail.  There were a lot of candidates, but surprisingly few that were willing to travel off world, and none that had spaceship skills.  The one that interviewed the best was Hans Maglun.  His resume was impressive.
"I have a feeling we may have to watch him a little." Trak said to Jem. "While his jobs are great and check out, I have been cross matching them with other searches for the city.  Hans seems to either tread on the fine line of the law, or the wrong side of it."
"True, I'm forming the same opinion."  Jem replied. "But he does seem very loyal to his employer.  I guess you have to in his line of business. I'm happy to work with him for a while."
"Yeah, I can always give him passage back here if it doesn't work out."
Hans started with Trak the next day.

While coming back from finalising cargo negotiation for a few tons of blades (at a great discount), suddenly three air rafts vehicles swerved toward them.
"Look out!" Hans shouted.
Jem and Trak dived out of the way in time.  One of the vehicles just clipped Hans's clothes before driving off.
"What the fuck was that?" questioned Trak.
Hans is very matter-of-fact. "Me.  I know.  I did a job a little while ago to 'obtain' a detailed research on how to increase the industrial efficiency of producing agricultural machinery.  I recognise one of the researchers driving the air raft."
"There seems to be a few loose ends I need to tidy up." he continued. "May I have a few days to do so?"
Trak gave Jem a questioning look to which Jem answered. "Sure. Why not."
"Hans," Trak asked. "How about Jem and I coming along to lend a hand?"

Mechanisms
Things were getting out of hand with the tables and expense tracking.  I spent the last few days organising the tables page better; still need to add combat.  I also updated my spreadsheet that auto generates stuff (flowchart, encounters, patrons etc) to also include detection, potential employees, events, a first cut of CT cargo and expense tracking.   While doing the expense tracking I noticed that two monthly maintenance tasks for the scoutship had not been done. I have assumed they were done while on Garrison, but now have a flag to remind me about it. Onwards to how it went:

Space travel
First thing is to roll for detection entering space, and then the spaceport.

Space: No detection
Spaceport: Customs event.  This is one I have not written up yet so have done so (loosely based on Star Smuggler):

Ignore if you are not coming or going from off planet/station.  Otherwise you are treated to a customs inspection.  If you have a ship or vehicles, they will be searched.  If there is any illegal or known stolen goods, they are found and confiscated. If any is wanted in this system, this is discovered (wanted in other systems is ignored) and the person is taken to jail and put through the justice system. Roll a 1d6 to see if duties need to be paid, determined by cargo type:
1 Any vehicles - d6*Cr100 per vehicle, including starships. Applicable to cargo and non-cargo.
2 Robots, electronic or mechanical parts (or 6x on the cargo table)- d6*Cr50 per robot and d6*Cr50 per ton
3 Any ores or minerals (2x on the cargo table) at d6*Cr10 per ton
4 Fruit and Animal products (mostly 3x on cargo table) at d6*Cr10 per ton.
5 The party is being picked on - pay 1d6*Cr100 in unspecified duties.
6 Cargo impounded for a week; if no cargo, then treat as 5.

If you wish to fight your way out then there are the same number of inspectors as your party +1d6, and armed.
You may try a Difficult Bribery task but if failed, duties are multiplied by 5!

Rolled a 1.  Have a ship and an air raft for Cr500 in duties.

Following is what the weekly flowchart produced:

Sell cargo
Using Jem's bribery and DM+1 for selling wood on industrial gets 130% sell price.  27 tons of wood at Cr1000 * 1.3 = 35,100.  Much needed.

Expenses
With the Not for Home maintenance, salaries, berthing fees etc, This is the current credit totals:
Trak: Cr189,300
Jem: Cr54,300

Buy one item of equipment
Not required.

Healing
not required.

Options
Need a another crew member and after the Garrison adventure a bodyguard (in Star Smuggler terms). I rolled for potentials and got a well skilled (there will be a skill level of 3 or more) bodyguard with a Rogue background.  Randomising the characters in 1001 Characters I get Rogue number 29.  Moving down until skill level 3 or more I get to number 30:
Rogue  A96499  Age 42  6 terms  Cr100,000
Streetwise-1 , Gun Cbt-5, Blade-2, Vehicle-1  gun, high psg

Rogues in CT only got one roll per term of service while in MT they get 2.  So I rolled for an extra 6 skills and background skills to add: Computer-0, Grav Vehicle-0, Vice-3, Streetwise-1, Vehicle-1, Technical-1.

Add it all together and convert the generic skills to cascade and I get:
Rogue  A96499  Age 42  6 terms  Cr100,000
Streetwise-2 , Handgun-5, Blade-2, Grav Vehicle-2, Computer-1,  pistol, high passage
Rolled a Mongoose Traveller random trait and got artistic.

And for a name...um... Hans Maglun.

I could have converted the gun Combat-5 into two or three gun skills, but having a skill 5 character will be interesting.  At skill level 5, they will be obsessed with handguns and likely well known. And with intelligence 4 will make an it interesting too.

While GMing, it is a good idea to flesh out a character a bit more than I have, I am trying not to do so with this game.  I am rolling the stats, giving them one trait  and will let events help me put some detail into the character.

Hear rumour
Trak is looking for Cargo, so I give this as a -1 DM on the next cargo price.

Encounter
For the encounter, I got 1D Researchers + 3 vehicles with a reaction of Violent - Immediate Attack (snake eyes using Classic Traveller NPC reaction table).   Rolled for 3 researchers so 1 per vehicle. How to explain this? Thinking a little, they are trying to run over Hans for some job he has done in the past. Everyone gets to take a  Dex based Routine task to not get hit.
They all pass.  Hans not happy as he knows what it is about). Asks to leave for a few days to sort it out.  Will Trak and Jem help (8+ to do so)? Yes.  Roll those cubes:



I'll save resolution of this for another post.

Buy Cargo
Rolled 4 tons of blades and rolled low on price for 4000/ton (standard price of 10000).  

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Adventure on the ranch - Garrison 022-056 1112

Apologies
It has been 4 months since my last post and I was hoping for one a week. Real life did not help, particularly work being busy.  But I am back into it and hope it will go faster again.  This ended up being a long narrative so next time I will try and split it across a few posts.

The Narrative
On Garrison and just procured a cargohold full of wood; Don Kriegfield passed by and mentioned that his sister-in-law was having issues on her ranch and it may be worthwhile for Trak and Jem to visit for a potential job....

Trak and Jem arrived at the door to an impressive ranch house situated on what seemed like an unending patchwork of pastures and divided land.
"Casey.  Casey Sacasa.  Come on in."  The woman shook Trak and Jem's hand. She was dark from spending most of her life outdoors and sprightly with what seems like an inexhaustible supply of energy.

Casey continued, "Don contacted me earlier and said you would be here soon. Glad you're here.  Been having problems with something taking my stock.  I have so much on at the moment  I cannot spend enough time on it by myself.  Interested in helping out?  There is 10,000 in it if you can stop my animals being killed."
Trak looks at Jem for confirmation that she was ok with this.  She gives a small nod.
Trak said, "Sure, Casey.  Happy to help out."
Just then the telephone rings and it identifies that Ivico Espego is calling.
"Answer on speaker." Casey calls out.
"Hello Casey. Ivico. Solved the predator issue yet?"
"No Ivico, not yet."
"Oh, well in that case, do you need a hand?  I can send a few of my guys around to check things out."
"It's ok Ivico," Casey replied.  "I have a few friends Don put me onto looking into it."
"Oh." Ivico sounded disappointed. "Well, if they don't work out the offer is still there." And with that Ivico broke the connection.
"Who's Ivico?" asked Jem.
"Owns a ranch a few klicks over." Casey answered. "Got nothing in common and don't get on.  There must be something in him wanting to help.  Likely a favour he wants returned later. Strange - in the past he has offered to buy me out so he can expand."
But to Jem it did not sound that strange.  She had a hunch Ivico was behind the killings.  She replayed the conversation in her mind but  there was nothing in it. If he was behind the predators - releasing them or something - why ring and help?  Just my inbuilt paranoia she thought, and pushed it to the back of her mind.

Trak and Jem first began researching predators and other similar events. And doing fieldwork, if you could call it that.  Neither of the two had very much experience in investigation or picking over pasture and dead animals for clues. But the nature of the beasts killings did not quite match the types of predators that could have taken down fully grown zuzpats. It was while out at one of the far pastures that it finally dawned on them. It wasn't a predator, the answer was people.  At that moment they heard a distant zuzpat cry out in pain. They raced toward the sound that was then abruptly cut off.
"Shit!" Trak cried out. "We're going to be too late."
They were not too late.  From a distance of about 60 metres, they could see about four ranch hands around a prostrate zuzpat.
"Got them."
"Trak, look at their guns." Jem had noticed they were all carrying shotguns.  Trak and Jem were carrying rifles that Casey had loaned them in case it was one of the larger carnivores that was causing the killings.  On such a high law level, Trak had been surprised at this, but Casey had explained that it was a law left over from the colony founding - some farmers and ranchers had "gun licences" handed down from generation to generation.
"I don't think they're friendly." she continued.
Trak half closed his eyes and looked at her, not deigning her with a response.  Instead he said "Get down here behind this mound and we'll fire before they get into shotgun range.  We outrange them and should be able to scare them off."
"Aren't we jumping the gun a bit?  Shouldn't we try and reason with them?"
"I don't think so. " Trak replied. "If they have shotguns I have a feeling they are expecting us, or someone like us to come along.  You don't need shotguns to kill the zuzpats."

The four ranch hands were in two groups of two.  The first clear shot occurred about 50 metres away and Jem downed one with her first (lucky) shot.
The other ranch hands rushed to get closer and returned fire but missed.  A furious firefight ensued with shots being fired back and forth and the ranch hands getting closer, firing on the run.  Trak and Jem were at the disadvantage as the range was not great, and neither were experts with rifles. Jems' luck continued and she hit another; then with her next shot the obvious leader was hit and went down while searching for cover.  The last remaining ranch hand sees there is no point continuing and runs away.
They go over the the leader first.
Trak got right to the point. "Fuck. Dead.  We need to get out of this system asap.  We'll check on the other ones, contact Casey and go."
One of the other ranch hands was conscious, if only barely.  They managed to get out of him that he worked for Ivico.

"So it seems that Ivico is behind the killings." Trak was finishing telling Casey about their encounter. " I would say he is trying to force you out, rather than waiting for you to go of your own accord."
"Thanks Trak.  You too, Jem.  I'll transfer the money now, and I've sorted out some movement authorisations so you should be able to go straight to the spaceport from here.  I would not come back here for a while if I was you."

After an uneventful trip to the spaceport, the pair were stopped while entering the docking bay. A starport official was checking and rechecking their movements and associated authorisations.  There was obviously something that seemed out of place.  A (expensive) bribe from Jem successfully stalled any further investigations and within minutes they were on the scoutship Not at Home and cleared for lift.

A few days later, just before jumping, they ran across a Yacht in the same area, but the pilot was not in a chatty mood and they got no last minute gossip. So they jumped toward Kentland to sell a cargoful of wood, and a week in jumpspace to relax.

What the flowchart and tables generated
Week 05: 0022-0028

Trak's credit = Cr185,000
Jem's credit = Cr50,700

Roll successfully for a patron and randomly got Planetside:21 Plots no 5. Summary is a woman Casey Sacasa has a ranch that is being subject to predators and would like to hire part to get rid of them.  Yes I did completely randomise the roll - and it was a rural type patron.   As last week had a patron rumour and a meeting with a Politican, I put all of this together and had Don Kriegsfield mention he has a sister-in-law with some issues and maybe they should try her.

I rolled for the type of event and, while Casey does not know, the predators are really ranch hands hired by a neighbouring ranch,  Ivico Espejo, to get Casey to sell her ranch to him.  I then, as planned, used Rory's Story Cubes to generate the potential scenes of the job.  Here is the roll of the cubes (original dice pack):

Story cubes for the encounter.  Played them out from left to right, top to bottom.


An aside on Rory's Story cubes
Now there are lots of ways to use the story dice.  I will simply use them in the order they are and create a storyline as I go, rather than complete the story all in one go.  I have used the dice a few hundred times with my 4 and 5 year old doing stories in one go, groups of threes (where each have 3 dice and move the story along) and even 1 dice at a time.  All work. Normally you would choose the order of the dice, but let's be adventurous. I have all three sets but most familiar with the original set, so I am going with that set for now. I thought about going with groups of three, but then the adventure would always be in three parts.  Three parts is not necessarily a bad thing - lots of stories are in 3 parts - and I may come back to it later.  So I will look at the dice in order, create the story as I go and resolve scenes as I have to.  This way, if a scene changes dramatically what will occur, then I do not have to scrabble to modify the storyline.

Week 06 and 07, Day 029-042
So, the storyline:
Trak and Jem come down to the ranch and Casey lays out the issue.  Trak and Jem go out and have a look but see nothing obvious.
Phone: Ivico telephones and comes over to offer to lend assistance.
Lightbulb: Roll Difficult task to see if Trak or Jem see something just does not feel right about Ivico. Jem feels something is not right. Neither get it (another task) so misdirection - maybe Ivico is realising predators?
Building (Structure):  Jem and Trak investigate types of predators, what it could be etc. 
Bridge and key: Do some fieldwork.  Realise it is not a predator but people.
Fire: Ivico ranch hands and Jem/Trak fight it out:

4 (a d6 roll) Ranch hands.  It is Law Level B so lets give them shotguns.
Jem/Trak: using Casey's weapons (she has the obvious political contacts to get special gun licences) -Trak with Hunting Rifle, Jem with Rifle.

A quick aside on combat
Using Larger than Life and Azhanti High Lightning for combat.
I will be using LTL as the main combat mechanism.  So reaction tests, movement etc is all LTL.
Weapons and to hit is mostly MT (will use the hit table task difficulty and weapon stats from MT, but use the AHL to hit mechanism as it is a lot simpler).
Damage is worked out using AHL (a AHL light wound = MT superficial, AHL serious wound = minor wound, AHL death = major wound).
Weapon statistics will be from MT as they convert very easily to AHL (mostly required for working out damage).
It should all become clear as I run though an example.  Note I have never used LTL before, but have used AHL a little bit (15 years ago) and MT combat a little bit (about 20 years ago).
Why the complication? LTL makes the outcome less contrived as it uses reaction tests.  MT combat is a bit tedious for what I want to do.  AHL has a simple and fast combat and damage system, and will just slot in the MT to hit task and weapon stats straight into AHL.

Back to the story:
Trak will be REP 4, Dex bonus +2, Combat-Riflemen +1, no armour
Jem  is REP 4, Dex bonus +1, Gun Combat +0, no armour

Ranch hands
Ranch hand one REP 4, Dex bonus +1, Skill +1, no armour
Ranch hand two REP 4, Dex bonus +0, Skill +0, no armour
Ranch hand three REP 3, Dex bonus +2, Skill +1, no armour
Ranch hand four REP 3, Dex bonus +0, Skill +0, no armour
I just made these up and Ranch hand 3 looks like the leader.

Weapon Stats (from MegaTraveller)
Hunting Rifle Pen 4, Att 2 (Long+),
Rifle Pen 3, Att 2 (Long+)
Shotgun Pen 3, Att 1 (Medium), Max range is Medium
(note this is a combination of MegaTraveller and Azhanti High Lightning.  Penetration and Damage is combined for AHL and that is what I'm using)

As a reminder:
Close is < 1m, Rifle task is Routine
Short is 1-5m, Rifle task is Routine
Medium is 5-50m, Rifle task is Difficult
Long is 50-250m, Rifle task is Difficult

I will not go into so much detail for other posts, but as this is the first for combat, I will document it all here. Also, I had acquired some model railway figures to use as the characters but never ended up setting up the combat.  I did it all in my head.  As it was mostly in flat pasture land, it was not difficult.  Next time I am likely to actually have pictures.

So, Larger than Life starts with Gaining the Upper Hand.  I will use to to see if one side surprise the other.  I will give Trak a +2d6 bonus for trying to surprise the Ranch Hands who are not aware anyone is looking for them. +1 successes for Trak so they are not surprised and combat starts.
I assume range starts at Long but not much more so let us call it 60m as the board is 60cm, and I will use cm instead of inches for the combat.
I have Trak and Jem 4 cm apart and can activate as a group on Trak's REP 4.  The ranch hands are in two groups -  the two REP 4s and the two REP 3s.  Neither are directly in sight of one another.
 
Only the Ranch REP 4s get activated for the first turn.

The REP 4s run (11cm) towards Trak and Jem to get within range.  Let's do an Adventurer In Sight test. Both Trak and Jem pass 2d6 so return fire.
Trak: 11+ (Difficult) +3 DM -1 for target running = 9+ and misses
Jem: 11+ (Difficult) +1 DM -1 for target running = 11+ and hits!
Using AHL: Pen is 1 so roll 2d6+1 for wound = Serious Wound, unconscious, Out of Fight.
Ranch hand 2 takes a Civilian Fired At test:  Return Fire: 11+ DM-2 for running = 13.  Does not hit.
 
Next activation dice rolls sees Ranch hands first, then Trak and Jem.
Ranch Hand 2 has a DM of +2 so fires at Jem - needs a 9+. Misses.
Rand Hand 3 and 4 run (fail the fast movement so only move 8) and not in range.
Trak and Jem do an Adventurer In Sight test against Ranch hand 3 and 4: Trak passes 1d6 (this will be increase difficulty by 1 level), Jem passes 2d6; both return fire:
Trak: 15+ (Very Difficult) +3 DM -1 for target running = 13+. Miss.
Jem: 11+ (Difficult) +1 DM -1 for target running = 11+ and misses.
Now Trak and Jem Activate and fire on Ranch hand 3 and 4 again:
Trak: 15+ (Difficult) +3 DM -1 for target running = 9+. Miss.
Jem: 11+ (Difficult) +1 DM -1 for target running = 11+ Misses.

Next activation - ranch hands get to activate (Jem and Trak rolled too high):
Ranch hand 3 & 4 run but still only go 6 but at least the shotguns are in range.
Ranch hand 2 fires at Jem with a DM+2. Misses.

Next activation: Ranch hands first, then Trak and Jem.
Ranch hand 3 and 4 pass there shot at test.
Ranch hand 3 fires at Trak with a +3 bonus: Miss.
Ranch hand 4 fires at Trak with a +0 bonus: Miss
Ranch hand 2 fires at Jem with a +2 bonus: Miss
Trak fires at Ranch hand 3: Miss
Jem fires at Ranch hand 4: Hit!
Using AHL: Pen is 1; damage is Serious Wound and unconscious.  Ranch hand 4 is Out of the Fight.
Ranch hand 3 takes a test due to being next to Ranch hand 4 as he went OOF and ducked back  12cm and now out of range for shotgun!

Next activation: Trak/Jem, then Ranch hands.
Trak and Jem focus of Ranch hand 3. Trak misses but Jem hits (her dice rolls are really good this combat).  Using AHL: Pen is 1 so roll 2d6+1 for wound = 12 = Dead.
The last Ranch hand, Ranch hand 2, takes a leader lost roll and fails badly - runs away.

Trak and Jem were lucky. If Jem had not rolled so many 11s, I think Jem and Trak would have run away, or been wounded and captured. Anyway, there are two out of fight ranch hands to interrogate.

Next Rory story cube is Keyhole/Lock:
Trak and Jem figure out that the ranch hands are from Ivico who must be behind it.   Thery go back to tell Casey.

Week 08: 043-049

Story cube Castle:
A dead body is not good on Law Level B where most movement is tracked.  Trak and Jem need to leave Garrison soonish before it is realised a murder has occurred and an investigation starts.  This does not leave a lot of time  to resolve the Casey-Ivico issue and so Trak and Jem, after explaining the situation to Casey, leave for the spaceport.


Story cube Magnifying Glass:
At the starport, they are scrutinised, especially as plans seems to be changed and new movement requests got them there.  Do they make it.  Call it Difficult but there is a +2 DM for Jem's bribery. Passed.
Also, were detected moving into Spaceport but event was a possible bribe to enter undetected area.  In too much of a hurry for this so passed on it.
As they were in a hurry, no passengers. Kamiri is Industrial with a DM bonus to sell the wood so will head there. 
got a space encounter: Yacht transporting and hastily departing with a reaction of non-committal. Nothing of interest.

I am assuming that the the event took 2 weeks and Trak was paid $10,000 for the two weeks work.  He pays Jem a bonus (danger money).

Week 009: 050-056
In space. Check for whether Trak and Jem's relationship moves up a level.  I do this as a confrontational task as Jem wants it to do up and Trak is resisting for now). No change.

Quick calculations on credits
Outgoings: 5 weeks living expenses (Trak 3000, Jem 1500), 4 weeks docking fees (2800), Bribe (500!), Incidentals while investigating the predator (100)
Incoming: 10,000
Trak also pays Jem's salary for 5 weeks (3250+1500 bonus for the ranch job).

Subsector events
Need to process week 04-09 subsector events (I did not do week 04 during the last post) but nothing of interest happened.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Leadup to an adventure on Garrison 015-028 1112

The Narrative
Trak enters the Garrison system alone on his scout ship....

An uneventful trip to Garrison's downport.  Berthing was uneventful.  Unloading the passengers was uneventful.
Uneventful is OK but dull.  Trak thought.  Maybe just a little excitement?  But only a little. Careful what you wish for Trak.  And stop talking to yourself in the third person.

He put the word out that he was looking for some crew, using some old scout networks and banking on the fact that Garrison limitations on population movement was always a good source of restless people wanting to get offworld.  By mid-week he had 20 applicants but none really stood out as a good fit.

In between perusing applications he did manage to find a extraordinary broker who sold the Blades at a decent profit. With the passengers revenue and the tidy sum from the cargo, Trak was feeling a bit more comfortable.  The Not for Home was going to need major repairs soon, and no money equals no repairs equals Not for Home taken off him and given to some other ex-Scout.

He scanned the 21st application - ex-merchant Jem Narvik.  She listed a range of skills - pilot, navigator, gunner, medic.  No steward and no air/raft driving experience but it was a good overlap and someone that could actually operate the ship's guns would be a bonus.  And the medical skills should be useful for potential passenger injuries.  He arranged an interview for the next day.

Jem was far more attractive that her application implied.  Not beautiful in the classic sense, but alluring.  And Jem thought Trak more attractive than an employer has a right to be. After a few minutes of introductory chat, Jem realised that Trak was far more attractive than an employer has a right to be. She flew some caution to the wind and tested the water with expressions and wordplay thousands of years old.

She's flirting with me! Trak realised and thought for a moment more. I like that.
The conversation went for another hour - both realising the attraction was mutual but neither yet willing to move further.
"If you want the job, it is all yours - Cr650 week for someone with your skills.  You'll be on trial for six months. When can you start?"
"I can be at the ship tomorrow."
"See you tomorrow then Jem."
The parting handshake lingered.  You could cut the sexual tension with a knife.
"See you tomorrow." Jem purred.

Jem met Trak tomorrow morning at the ship and immediately they starting hunting for some cargo.  It was fruitless, as was the next few days. Jem knew her way around the Garrison cargo ports.  The only speculative goods were well out of their current financial range.
It was Jem that suggested they move well outside the city to find some less expensive cargo.  She suggested a more rural area several hundred kilometres to the west where she had managed to obtain bargains in the past.  And she had also obtained some authorisation papers to allow Trak and Jem back into the spaceport withoug going through the normal Garrison checkpoints.
Breaking out the air/raft, Trak and Jem spent hours negotiating a pass to travel outside the city before managing to arrive at their destination ok.
"I may not know much about grav vehicles, but you really need to look into this one." Jem commented on the rough ride.
"It came with the Not for Home. It is not high on my list to replace."
"You need to move it up higher if you want me to keep taking trips in it!"

The very next day at a small trading station, Jem found someone selling a extremely cheap lot of timber and got enough to fill the Not for Home cargo bay.  When he had hired her, Trak had not realised - but should have with her merchant background - that Jem would be much better at cargo speculation than him.
While Jem was busy organising to have the wood shipped back to the starship, Trak was outside waiting when  Don Kriegsfield and some of his advisors pulled up.  Don, the Garrison Minister for the Interior was on a campaign trail though his electorate.
Though you have to wonder why - he's popular enough as it is. Trak thought.  While not up on Garrison politics, it was hard to avoid the sell job that was Don Kriegsfield - his image seemed to be everywhere.
After some polite chit-chat and Don realising Trak was not from Garrison, he asked if Trak was interested in a bit of security work, "You see, I've been having some threats against me recently.  Mostly from around here.  Probably only for a week or so until I get back to the city.  How about it?"
Trak was not that interested, "Not really Don, I may be busy for the next few days."
Don did not seem the least bit fazed, "No problem, but if you are looking for a bit of less dangerous work, my sister-in-law owns a ranch not far from here and could do with a bit of a hand - some animal has been taking some of her stock."
 Don gave Trak his sister-in-law details and moved his charm onto another group before moving out.
A little while later, Jem comes out out of the trading station.
"Jem, you will never guess..."


What the flowchart and tables generated
Week 03: 0015-0021
Sold the Blades cargo using a Broker-4 (need to make certain of a profit) for Cr100,000 (Cr10,000/ton) plus the other cargo for 17,000.
6 middle class passengers at Cr8,000 each is Cr48,000 minus 7 people stateroom overhead at 2,000 each (Cr14,000) = Cr36,000 profit.
Unrefined fuel (25t at Cr100/t), living expenses (Cr600), berthing fees for the coming week (cr150).
Trak's credit balance = Cr188,900.  Not bad.

Opportunity to hire someone: Generated Jem Narvik ex-merchant for hire (1001 characters merchant number 13):
Captain  7699A6     Age 38   5 terms      Cr50,000
Pilot-1, Bribery-2, Medic-2, Mechanical-1, Navigation-1, Gunnery-2, Computer-0, Wheeled Vehicle-0, Gun-Combat-0, Vacc Suit-0

Salary is 650 per week (using MT Imperial Encyclopedia).

Wow!  A pretty good fit.  I also randomly generated a homeworld (Garrison, where we are!) and gave her (I rolled for gender) background skills. Rolled for a random trait (from MgT) and got "attracted to player character".  Rolled routine task to see if this is returned by Trak.  Positive reaction.  I will need to create a table for interpersonal relationships between the party.

Cargo to buy is 3 Air/rafts at Cr210,000 each.  Can't afford them. Damn.  Will move to the rural area to see if any cargo going there.  Detected and event is can buy a map showing how to get into one area undetected - picked spaceport.

Subsector events:
Kamiri begins subversive offensive against Tampo. Interesting.  Tampo is between Magbis (that Kamiri started a subversive offensive against last week).  That sounds like a reason.
Monsten and Kamiri are already in a subversive offensive (prior to start of campaign); Monsten launches a political attack on Magbis.

Week 04: 0022-0028
Berthing fees now Cr700/week.
Trak's credit = Cr186,950
Jem's credit = Cr50,350

Hear a rumour - will call it a patron bonus for next time.

Finding Cargo- being rural I will state that the first die roll can only be 1 or 3 (for the CT cargo table).  As much wood as I can fit I will give a DM of -3 to the price (as Ag is a DM of -6 so rural can be 1/2 that).  Jem's Bribery-2 comes in handy get is for Cr400/ton (so 27 times 400 = Cr10,800). I have updated the tables page with this info for future reference.
I will roll for the region of the patron rumour - Rural.  Already there.  Roll for detection - yes. Result - meet an NPC.  Hmm.. What does that mean?  I think I will use MgT 760 patrons (which are more like NPC encounters than patrons).  Rural will be Citizens and roll a Famous Politician (we will call him...Don Kriegsfield who is looking for extra security.  Assume the job is just for the Rural area for the next week (wow! a patron event in 760 Patrons). Law Level B means Trak is carrying no weapons and he is not that great in gun combat anyway so roll to see if Trak declines - yep.  Is politician upset (confrontation task) - no.

For the following week I rolled a patron (on a ranch) so linked the politician to the ranch owner and the source of the patron rumour.  Ranch adventure in a followup post.

I think I may have gone overboard with the narrative! But I am sure I will get the balance better as I go.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

The campaign starts slowly 001-014,1112

The main character is ex-Scout Trak Davenport.

UPP: BCCCAA Age: 34

Pilot-3, Vacc Suit-2, Carousing-2, Engineering-1, Navigation-1, Communications-1, Grav Vehicle-1, Medical-1, Combat Rifleman-1, Streetwise-1, Gun Combat-0, Computer-0
Scout, 4 terms. 100t TL11 Scout Ship Not at Home (on loan), Cr80,000
Home planet: Easan is the Marlene Sub-sector: UWP A777967- C

A little more detail at The Characters page.

He is in the main city of Easan, his home planet, after being discharged several days ago. He visited his parents who are ambivalent about his change of career but no family dramas. The date is 001-1112.  Let's join him now:

Good to see the folks again after so long.  They don't really seem to care or not that I've left the Scouts after  16 years. Trak thought as he strolled down a fairly isolated street. Time to move on and see if Marlene looks different when working for myself.  There's a nice shipment of Blades I think I get for a good deal and should sell well on Garrison. Kentland was a great destination a few years ago, but with the hostilities as they are now between us, no way.
Suddenly, two men with illegal guns jumped out from an alcove.
"Hand over everything you have - now!" hissed the taller of the two.
Trak could see no choice - fight and die or bear the loss.  His favourite hat, watch and wallet.
"Bastards."
Totalling it up later, he was a 1000 credits down after replacing everything.
"Bastards."
The next day, the police came to the hotel room for a statement but Trak got the impression that they were just going through the motions.
In all the rush, cargo negotiation and managing to find some passengers, he had not spent a lot of time chasing up someone to help him run the ship.  Trak was not looking forward to being exhausted - one person for routine maintenance, pilot, engineer, navigator and steward.
Maybe I can find someone on Garrison.
Takeoff and jump was uneventful, always a good sign. One of the passengers stayed in his room the entire time which was a little frustrating to deal with.  While tired, working for yourself feels good; the bright shine of Garrison in the distance beckoned.

Traveller News Service
GARRISON/MARLENE (0604 - A67389B-A)   DATE 014-1112
| Arbay (0406) has declared war on Pruliki (0402).  The extent of mobilisation on both sides is unknown.  While tensions have been high for several years, it was hoped that recent negotiations would ease the tension.  Apparently they have failed.  Travellers are warned to stay clear of both systems.  No other systems have yet committed to joining forces on either side.


The mechanisms to get here (for those interested)
How this was translated from Solo Traveller flowchart and the die rolling:
  • Paid Traks' living expenses (Cr600 per week based on Social standing from MgT) and Cr150 for berthing Not at Home.
  • Got an event that was held up (and  wrote up a description of the held up encounter) and lost Cr1000 in money and items.
  • Encounter with law enforcers who I took to be about the hold up but the reaction was polite with no assistance.
  • Incidental cargo available was 10t Blades for modified base price $5,000/ton (50% value).  Took the lot.  Blades sell well on Poor worlds but best resell place is Kentland.  Easan and Kentland are in the middle of a subversive war so it may not be wise to go to Kentland.  Garrison is the next best.  Filled the rest of the cargo with standard cargo.  And filled 3 staterooms with 6 middle class passengers (Trak's Carousing-2 is Steward-1). Rolled once the MgT table for interesting passengers - Claustrophobic.
  • Trak's Credits remaining is Cr37440.
  • Note: Options did not appear going through the flowchart and I wanted to hire someone to expand the party. Ah well.
  • No encounters to 100 diameters and jump etc went OK, no events in jump, and ended about 100 diameters out from Garrison.
  • Subsector events:
    • Arbay (0406) declares war on Priluki (0402)
    • Kamiri (0703) begins a subversive offensive against Magbis (0304)

Notes
There was still lots of setting up to do.  I created a spreadsheet to run though Traveller Solo Flowchart and also to generate the numbers for events, patrons, encounters and reactions.  Excel is my friend.  But it makes working though a week much easier.  I also had to look up how reactions work, the list of expenses (scoutship annual maintenance I have upped and made monthly as per Mongoose Traveller - gives Drak extra expenses) and re-familiarise myself with starship operations.  But it is done and I've updated some of the blog's pages for reference.

War breaking out in the subsector was unexpected but may help with plot-lines later on.  Rolling up relationships between planets as per T4 Pocket Empires has proven useful in that respect, and also in other ways already.  The fact that Easan and Kentland are in a subversive war meant that the best cargo destination for Trak's Blades cargo is not really a good idea at this stage and forces a less optimal system choice.  All good.

It was all up a mostly uneventful couple of weeks.  No patron and no activities of choice allowed.  Maybe in the coming week.  I also have not really used the regions on the planet to their advantage yet.  That may come into their own with patrons (where there may be a region to target on a planet e.g. if have to break-in to to science research base on another planet, can find the nearest planet with a scientific region).  While it was a long time for me to do the first two weeks, the next few will at least go faster for the week to week stuff. I am looking forward to expanding the party from beyond just Trak, whether employees or other adventurers.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mechanisms and rules I am using

Introduction
This post will detail the mechanisms I will be using for solo Traveller.  The next post will be the character and the ship and starting location, and then I will be off and running!

Traveller version
I will be using MegaTraveller as the basis for the solo play.  I am familiar with both Classic Traveller and MegaTraveller, having played both.  Being an "old school" RPGer, the games I was part of or ran were fairly rules lite anyway.  No miniatures, just playing out what occurs and occasionally rolling some dice.  So it never really mattered too much on rule specifics.  MegaTraveller I am more familiar with so I will use that  It  does seem more internally consistent than Classic Traveller.  I won't be using the Rebellion setting from MegaTraveller which seems to be a large gripe with it.  It does have a consistent task resolution system which may come in handy.  But I will be using things from Classic Traveller.
I did consider using Mongoose Traveller. It does seem like an updated version of Classic/Mega-Traveller.  But I am not as familiar with it. Going with what I know.  But I may change to use it later. 

Setting
I did not want to play in the Imperium.  Almost all the games I ever played were either not in the Imperium, or were in it but the Imperium was really a backdrop and really it could have been any setting.  So, I thought I would set the game in the Imperium universe but far enough away from the Imperium it may no difference.  I thought of Glimmerdrift Reaches as I have the old non-canon Judge's Guild supplement and it is far enough away from the Imperium I can ignore stuff.  I likes the idea of the Marla subsector but I've always rolled my own subsector for games so why change now?  I rolled up the Marlene subsector which is in the same location and some of the names are the same.  But that is the only thing remaining. All the planets in the subsector are in a loose alliance and the nearest words to the alliance are 3 parsecs away (this is similar to the Marlan Primate in the supplement).  I rolled up the worlds with some minor modifications. Hopefully I will not need to travel outside the subsector as I don't have a plan any further than this!

Game flow
I will start with one character and one scout ship and pick up employee or travel companions along the way.
I will use the Traveller Solo flowchart that seems a very handy way to structure a week's play but still provide some randomisation.  I am going to use a spreadsheet so the less rolling of dice the better - I will generate the flowchart sequence for the week and any encounters, patrons etc that occur as well.
I am hoping that Patrons will supply the majority of adventure, but I will somehow try and tie up a number of the patron sponsored adventures (5-ish), events and encounters into some meaningful greater story arc and have a grad resolution scene at the end. I may use Rory's Story Cubes to help here.

Encounters
I will use the encounter table from MegaTraveller (almost the same as CT) and roll for reaction as per MegaTraveller.

Events
I created six events for each world region type.  Hopefully enough and varied.  I have not gone into unique world events etc but may do if I get bored. 

Patrons
If a patron is called for during the week, I will randomly select a patron from the following 5 books:
  • 76 Patrons
  • Patron Encounters
  • 21 Plots
  • 21 Plots Too
  • Planetside: 21 Plots
This should provide me with a few adventures.  Some are small, some are large.  I thought the patron description would be enough to flesh out a bit of adventure, but they are not.  My current thought, and this may change as soon as I try it out, is to use Rory's Story Cubes to plan out the sequence of the adventure.  Not sure how exactly.  Possibly roll them all and construct the scenes, or roll 3 at a time (3 times for a total of 9 dice) and construct scenes/scenes from that.

Cargo
I am using MegaTraveller but incidental cargo will use Classic Traveller.  I will modify some of the trade classification DMs based on the area you buy/sell from - possibly simple a bonus if you are in an area that matches the type of goods.  I will create these as I go.

Characters
Main character will be a Scout that needs a least Pilot and Engineer skills.  Liaison would be nice.  I will likely roll for the table to choose from but select the actual skill.  I have never used advanced character generation and will not be doing so either.  While I can see the attraction, not for me.  I thought about using Mongoose as it has all sorts of great background material built in - life events,contact, enemies etc. I think I will flesh out the main character's background as I need to.
For other characters, I will use CT supplements 1001 Characters and Citizens of the Imperium.  both have loads of characters to choose from.  I may roll for one trait for each NPC that becomes part of the part using Mongoose NPC traits.

Combat
Combat is likely to be a combo of Azhanti High Lightning and THW Larger than Life.  I have not thought further than this.  I am not a skirmish gamer. All  my previous Traveller experience had "roleplayed" combat so never really followed to many formal rules.  I will cross this bridge when I come to it.  The Azhanti combat is simple and MegaTraveller equipment maps to it quite nicely.  Larger than Life combat should assist as it is solo friendly, and damage is expressed the same way (or similar - I may find out I am completely wrong).

Worlds
Borrowing from Star Smuggler, I have 14 planetary area types.   Each planet will have anywhere from 1 to 10 of these area types, sometimes two or three of the same type.  The number of locations is loosely based on population and the types are based on the world codes and trade codes.  Rather than define specific locations and map out the planets such as cities, jungles, etc, this way adventures can happen on planet quite a bit, moving between areas.  Encounters will be different per area, and I am thinking of how to incorporate cargo DMs into the area you are buying/selling rather than just the planetary ones (e.g. if you would get a DM of +7 on selling due to Agricultural world, maybe selling at the spaceport only gets you DM+3 and being in an actual rural area gives you the full DM+7).

Detection
Star Smuggler had this concept that as you moved from area to area in a world you may be detected.  If detected you roll for an event.  I like this, and using areas, so have a table for this.

Planetary Events
I am using the table from  T4 Pocket Empires, rolling weekly for a chance (10+ on 2d6) event in the subsector.  I am tracking Popularity for each world as events do effect popularity, and popularity declines can lead to some events (strikes, coups etc). I am also using the Pocket Empires relationship code between each of the worlds and randomly increasing or decreasing some of them each week (about a 1 in 40 chance of going up of down by 1.  Helps me understand a world's relationships with others, and may help to provide a bit of background to the adventures.  All done by spreadsheet so not taxing.

Mythic
I see the potential of  Mythic for solo games.  Very narrative driven.  I like structure and specifics.  So I decided against it.

Larger than Life (Two Hour Wargames)
This has the entire adventure sequence built into.  It is aimed at Pulp adventures but with some tweaking of the tables could fit right into an Traveller SF campaign.  I would like to give LTL a go after running this "campaign".  Why LTL for combat and not other THW rules?  Larger than Life is a little pulpy (which I don't mind as it will help the party survive), has reactions for civilians Vs Military and the combat seems more streamlined and simpler compared to some of the other THW Chain Reaction based rules.

Mongoose Traveller Supplement 9 - Campaign Guide
This  is full of tables that seem like they could be useful.  The majority look to weird or something unlikely to need for solo play.  There may be some useful tables in there related to some specific events, such as what you may stumble over when searching in rough areas.

Non-Traveller SF RPGs
I own a lot of these but never played.  I will lift things from anywhere if I think it will help.  But I have not found anything yet, although factions in Stars Without Number would great but I think I have what I consider too much background stuff running already! MT's World Builder may help flesh out worlds more but haven't used anything from there before.  I will use stuff from anywhere if I think it will be handy.

Halfway station
Andy Slack's gaming blog has been very useful in helping me out on what I am looking for in a solo game.  He has run a solo campaign with a lot of Traveller element to it - The Arionaid.  This blogged single campaign has been the single most useful site for solo Traveller I cam across.

End note
I created a page outlining the tables and mechanisms I will be using.  I will be updating these as I need to.

And yes, I do know Mongoose is coming out with a Solo Traveller supplement soon (2012? 2013?). I  could not wait.

Enough already of the mechanisms.  By next post I will have rolled up the character and started them off.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Introduction to the blog

This post is really the first one to open up the blog.  A lot of the background, subsector map etc should be via pages or links within pages.  The blog posts themselves will generally be discussions on mechanics and also the actual adventure.

Why am I doing this?
 I used to participate and GM Traveller games form around 1982 until 1988 and them a couple of games sessions in 1997.  That is it and about the sum of my RPG experience.  But I really like Traveller.  I have lots of stuff collected over the last 25 years.  I don't have too much free time and the free time I do have I am trying doing historical miniature games (my other blog).  But I find I have odd free time her and there that lends itself to other pursuits. I last played Star Smuggler in the 80s and enjoyed it.  I thought that would be a good game to fill in the time.  I started looking at it and then saw a post on the Solo Gaming yahoo list  on ideas for Solo Traveller.  Star Smuggler is Traveller-like and so I started thinking about how I could use some Traveller stuff into Star Smuggler.  But then I realised that solo Traveller was potentially an option and have moved away (mostly) from combining the two.  So Solo Traveller it is!

What is the aim
I have spent the last two months researching to Solo Traveller - looking at blogs and various fourms for ideas and things that worked and did not.  With limited time, my aim is to reuse mechanics as much as possible and not have to invent stuff.  I also like to have a fair idea of what I will be using during the campaign, but am not adverse to dropping stuff that is not working and start using something else.  My broad aim is to start with a single character, their spaceship and journey through a subsector collecting crew/additional party members and participating in a number of adventures that somehow interlink into a wider overall theme.

How? Or what I am using?
I have looked into a lot of different tools and have finalised some but still up in the air about others.  But I am nearly ready to start.  I will provide a bit more detail in a subsequent post about what resources, rules etc I am planning to use but for a start here is a short list:
  • The Traveller rules are MegaTraveller (but not the setting)
  • Combat is likely to be a combo of Azhanti High Lightning and THW Larger than Life
  • Classic Traveller cargo for incidental cargos.
  • The Traveller Solo flowchart
  • A subsector set in the GlimmerDrift Reaches but non-canon.
  • On the worlds, I have borrowed the concept from Star Smuggler of having different regions (City, Crater, Rural, Colony) and created an d6 events for each region.
  • Start with one character and one scout ship.
  • 76 patrons/Patron Encounters/21 Plots for patron encounters
  • 1001 Characters and Citizens of the Imperium for NPCs
  • Rory Story Cubes to help play out the patron encounters.
  • A little bit of T4 Pocket Empires to generate some subsector and world events
 I will go into a lot more detail in the next post on how I plan to use all of these things, and possibly all the things I decided not to use (such as Mythic).   Then I will start!