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Creation Date: June 20th, 2012 05:35 AM
OjnoTheRed OjnoTheRed is offline
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I thought I would start using this to share my major ideas about Traveller, post about gaming experiences, and provide links to web pages I like. I have two daughters, Harriet (12) and Charlotte (10) who I game with, along with 2 friends: Duncan who is my age and Mark who is their age. Other players their age may be added as well. I am finding it hard to access my copy of the T5 core rules because I can't get it out of Harriet's hands at the moment who is [i]fascinated[/i] with it.
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In Moot Member Blogs Our first gaming session - T5! Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #3 New April 18th, 2014 10:19 AM
What struck me in the first session was how the Personals chapter (p. 184ff) can be really used to reshape the kind of game we can play in Traveller.

The characters had hidden Gvoudzon in their hotel room, and were unaware they were being tailed by Vemene agents, despite a tense encounter where they tailed Vemene agents tailing Gvoudzon. (They don't know about the Vemene yet, just that someone is following Gvoudzon, and Gvoudzon has said it's something to do with the brooch).

They decided to help Gvoudzon recover the brooch, and scoped the Museum. So far, storyline is on-track. This is where things get interesting.

The first good sign was Harriet saying they would take a digital camera, and photograph each other, but make sure that security cameras, etc. were "in shot" - i.e. disguise their scoping the place with taking tourist photos.

I had made a 3-line NPC for the Museum manager, based on personable but stressed people I knew in customer service style management roles, and created a table for what she would be doing when encountered at the museum:

1 In office studying the brooch
2 In office in a meeting
3 On museum floor talking to potential exhibitors
4 Speaking to a school excursion about the museum
5 Picking up rubbish with a long-handled dustpan-and-broom, tablet under her armpit
6 Looking at an exhibit and shaking her head

The office has a window looking out onto the museum entrance. Of course, I rolled a "1" on this table when the players went in.

Charlotte (bear in mind, she's only 10!) decided to try to approach her directly about the brooch. I prodded her a bit, pointing out the manager was looking at the brooch behind an office window. Charlotte giggled and said "I knock on the window and smile and wave!".

I ruled this as a Carouse Purpose (1D), using a Casual strategy (1), Flattery as a tactic (x2) (i.e. you charm me, I'd love to talk to you). I decided that with Charlotte's education of C and probable appearance as a recent young Uni graduate, I would apply the Similarity Law - someone interested in the museum. OK, 1D - final target of 3.

Of course she rolled a 3.

This lead into a further Carouse, and then a third being a dinner invitation. At dinner Charlotte paid, and then initiated a Query to gather information about the museum. With mods from successful Carouse tasks, Charlotte succeeded in the Query and when I rolled on a prepared table based on what could be learned from a public library terminal, she won a details to fill in the museum map about the placement of security cameras and locks. This was basically a case of charming someone into talking about work until something useful turned up.

What I love about the structure of the Personals chapter is that Carouse-Query-Persuade-Command is a natural-feeling sequence that enabled structured character interaction with the possibility of interactions failing, but that would have given me direction as a Referee about how to proceed with the story.

In the meantime, Harriet's character gathered data from public computer terminals, and the players as a group started to form a picture of how they might burgle the museum. I had encouraged Harriet and Charlotte to think imaginatively about this by getting them to watch Ocean's 11 closely, focusing on the personal interactions rather than the dynamiting of the vault door.

Duncan's character started hanging out with workers he noticed in the Museum workshop. He decides to try to bribe one of them to persuade them to leave the brooch in the workshop prominently on a bench each night. This was a Persuade (3D), with Appeal To strategy (3) and Payment Tactic (x2). As Duncan had picked his mark based on his own idea of a worker who was a bit dodgy, I ruled that the Similarity law applied ("c'mon, a bit of cash and you're doing a brother a favour"). Target 7 on 3D - a tough call, and I warned him about Spectacular Failure and Spectacular Success. Of course he rolls a 4 - not Spectacular but a great result. Duncan then pushed a bit: what about the worker shows him he can do it by bringing out the brooch now? I ruled the worker would agree under Duncan's existing success, knowing that nothing will happen now in broad daylight. Duncan then takes a photo of the brooch.

So the players are now going to get the brooch from the workshop at night, knowing exactly where it is and without the need for an extensive search.

Even though I set the task of manufacturing the brooch at Formidable, and as it turns out the TIH! rule applies (so rolling 5D), Harriet managed to make a brooch based on the photo supplied by Duncan. Because of Duncan's great role-playing, I said the replica would last 2D days, not 1D as in the rules (players understand this is uncertain).

As the players also went about their business of finding freight, passengers, excursions to the museum I also got them rolling to notice if they were being tailed, speaking through Gvoudzon who was now understandably paranoid about being followed having been beaten up. The players are now forming a plan to smuggle Gvoudzon into the ship in a trunk, bribing officials to not inspect this trunk that is screened against electronic surveillance.

When they finally succeeded in finding a tail, it was a scrawny young homeless man (Ricky) hired by the Vemene to watch them. They intimidated him (Persuade-Force of Will-Pain-Violence) into pointing at the Vemene agent who was watching. They then went upto this brawny ex-Marine and tried the same thing; I ruled this as going up and saying two words, the second word being "off". They did not succeed in this task, but on a public street I thought he would be unlikely to use violence, so I had him simply laugh at them and say quietly "you have no idea of who I am or who I work for" and stare pointedly at Ricky.

Duncan had to leave at this point. We're catching up again next Friday.

Thoroughly enjoyed myself. Getting to know the new rules and I am forming opinions on the stuff I want at my finger tips always.

The strength of the Personals is that any character can attempt to interact with any NPC without any penalties for lack of skill.
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RSS Feed 3 Responses to "Our first gaming session - T5!"
#3 July 8th, 2014 05:14 AM
mvdwege Says:
I ran a one-shot T5 game at a local Meetup group, and I concur, the Personals chapter is brilliant. Getting game results from personal interaction (a roleplaying activity par excellence) has always been a hard thing for a game designer to get right. Marc hit the jackpot with his Personals design.
#2 April 24th, 2014 07:48 PM
OjnoTheRed Says:
Thanks SpaceBadger. The Personals chapter fascinated me from the beginning because I always like to see how an RPG provides structure for interactions other than combat. I really enjoyed the James Bond RPG by Victory Games in the 1980's, and it had personals including "seduction". The Personals will also make the "dealing with the bureacracy" chapter in The Traveller Adventure an interesting exercise.
#1 April 19th, 2014 05:38 AM
SpaceBadger Says:
Please keep up the log. I find it interesting, and it has already pointed me at a chapter I only skimmed before, the Personals.

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