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Creation Date: June 14th, 2013 06:27 AM
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SpaceBadger's Blog: BBCodes stopped working in this Blog Description, so I moved my Links down to a Blog Entry and made it Sticky, so the latest new Blog Entries will actually be below (following) the Links entry.
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In Moot Member Blogs More and More and MORE Traveller Play! Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #53 New August 5th, 2014 04:13 AM
More and More and MORE Traveller Play!

If you've read earlier entries in this Blog, you might have noticed a subtle (I hope) note of complaint that no matter how many online Traveller games I joined, it seemed that one or more were always on hiatus, and the others moving extremely slowly. I appreciate the games that I am in, including SBRD in which I am the GM, but with my condition[1], there are many days and nights that I am awake with nothing to do in any of my games. As my eyesight gets worse, reading any but Large Print books becomes a chore. Yeah, I can get on FaceBook or watch Netflix, but those don't absorb my attention the way Traveller does.

A couple of weeks ago Flykiller was looking for players for a scout/exploration adventure, and of course I signed up. Unfortunately, I was the only one who did. But all was not lost; although Flykiller did not want to run the scouting adventure for a single player, he said that he would try to come up with something else and run it for me as a solo adventure.

Thinking that over, I decided that solo gaming (not solitaire, but one GM and one Player) might be ideal for Play-by-Post. One of the worst things for me about PbP is how everything drraaaaggs out as everyone else is sometimes waiting for one player to get on and make a crucial post to keep things moving. I have tried to address this in SBRD with our Four Day Rule: if a player doesn't post anything for four days, then I take over his PC as an NPC until he begins posting again. That still means some four-day delays, and I really don't like to do it too much, especially not if there are important decisions or actions to be made. As I said in my GM Maxim #1: If I wanted to tell the whole story myself, I could just write fiction. What I want to do in gaming is set out a detailed stage, and then see what kinds of stories the Players choose to tell on that stage.

With solo PbP gaming, there would be none of the incessant delays waiting for some other player to make a post so that the game can move onward. Sure, there would be some times when either the GM or the Player in a solo might be unavailable or just want a break for a few days, but we can tell each other that and not be just perpetually checking to see if something has been posted. Plus, when GM and Player are both online for an afternoon or evening, there can be a LOT of action covered as the back-and-forth posts fly fast and furious.

So while I was waiting for flykiller to get his new adventure ready for me, I decided to give it a try myself. I posted open invitations in the Recruiting Office subforum and in my own SBRD subforum (in case any SBRD players wanted a solo game on the side). At first, no response, then the next day I had FOUR interested players. That was a little overwhelming, so I put the invitation on hold while I got hold of those four and worked out by PM and email what kind of adventures they wanted to play (I think some were a little taken aback by how much choice I gave them in what we'd play, rather than just pulling up a canned adventure and saying: "We'll play this."

So far, the experiment seems to be going quite well.

Pendragonman chose to play a semi-sandbox Free Trader campaign in the setting I had prepared for my SBRD campaign, in Daibei Sector and Reavers' Deep during the Long Night. After a lengthy exchange of emails to create his PC, choose a ship (the A2 Far Trader Bridget), create some NPCs for his crew, decide on a good starting point (Jurin (Db 0410)) and flesh out that starting point with some extra system details and history, we were ready to begin. Already his ship has exited Jump in Jurin system, arranged sale of speculative cargo and gathered information on trade goods available, exchanged information with system Traffic Control and maneuvered to a parking orbit to await customs inspection, been boarded by the customs team and begun the inspection. This in a game that just began actual play YESTERDAY afternoon! We've had a similar series of events take TWO WEEKS in SBRD, not because anyone was especially slacking off, but just from the delay inherent in the system. It is fun, like a breath of fresh air. I post, then he posts, then I post, then he posts... It is awesome not to have to wait one or two or three or more days just to get a response to a single post!

Flykiller chose to play a detached duty Scout adventuring in the Spinward Marches in 1105, before the Fifth Frontier War. After some discussion of what types of adventure might be interesting, it seemed to me that he was leaning toward troubleshooting/espionage/mystery adventures, so I suggested adding a few non-standard skills that I had invented for my homebrew Criminal Investigation Division. As he noted, that made his PC rather "buffed out", but I think for the kind of solo adventures he was talking about that might be a necessity to avoid early character death or failure through not being able to analyze an important clue. We haven't gotten beyond character creation yet, as I am familiar enough with the Spinward Marches in that time period, but want to have a pretty good idea where the adventure is headed before he begins, and that will take a little work.

Spinward Scout chose the option to play a Scout venturing into a new and unexplored sector. To arrange this (not an easy thing within the OTU) I pulled out an idea I had used for an exploration campaign in college, a newly discovered Jump Gate that provides instant transportation to a sector on the far edge of explored space, beyond the knowledge of the Imperium but just barely close enough that Zhodani or Vargr explorers might be encountered, or worlds colonized by far-travelling groups that wanted to get away from civilization. He has completed making his PC, now just needs to decide on his ship and any companions for the voyage, while I need to generate the initial subsector for exploration.

Rooster Cogburn chose a campaign similar to what I'm running for Pendragonman, a Free Trader semi-sandbox game in the SBRD setting. I've sent him some links for information about the setting, so now we just need to get through making his PC, choosing a ship, and choosing a starting location. I have the SBRD group currently in Urlaqqash subsector and Pendragonman up in Edge subsector; I'd like to find someplace equally interesting but not likely to result in too much overlap for Rooster's game.

Then there is the game that Flykiller is running for me, which also got started yesterday. This is something really different so far, as instead of the usual Traveller process of running a new PC through many years of a career to accumulate skills and possessions before beginning play, Flykiller had my PC start as an 18 year old on a hellhole planet (Louzy (SM 1604), which I have to say is very well-named) being recruited by a mysterious company providing training and offworld placement for the chance to provide security in a number of worthwhile situations (well, that's what the recruitment brochure said...). So far I am having a blast, with my PC going through the initial interview, then training to get some basic skills, now just having received his first assignment and being placed in a low berth for shipment to the world in question. Like the game with Pendragonman, it is exciting to make my post, receive his post, make my post, etc. over a period of hours, rather than waiting days for something to move the game along. It is truly an incredible gaming experience!

I don't think any online gaming will compete with the fun and social contact of meeting face to face with a gaming group of friends around the dinner table, but for online Play-by-Post gaming this solo one-on-one thing is the next best thing!

[1] I am disabled by Trigeminal Neuralgia and spend about 80% of my time in bed, with too much pain to let me sleep. Traveller is one of the main things that I do to distract myself and keep my mind off the pain. This also causes me to have weird hours, sometimes being awake for 24, 36, even 48 hours before I can finally crash and sleep for 24 before starting all over again.

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#1 August 14th, 2014 07:28 PM
Well, my excuses are that 1) I am the new guy and 2) I sort of thought we were waiting for either someone or the Ref to provide a map.

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