Citizens of the Imperium

Citizens of the Imperium (
-   The Cleon Memorial Library (
-   -   Scout's Tale Salon (

Blue Ghost November 27th, 2017 09:23 PM

Scout's Tale Salon
Open for business at the Regina Downport. Lots of widescreen monitors showing sports from a variety of stadiums the world over (obviously no live feeds from off world).

Anyone who would like to comment, bash, thrash, question or offer some rare praise of my very raw, unedited (sometimes not even spell checked) text in "A Scout's Tale" can post here to their heart's content.

Thanks much.

The Pakkrat November 28th, 2017 05:55 AM

Enjoying Scout's Tale
As I relayed in PM, Blue Ghost, here is some more thoughts on Scout's Tale. These short stories give us Travellers more windows into the Traveller universe, more points of view from the authors. They get us thinking about the various settings and situations. And the more we read, the less we suffer Disbelief in the worlds, situations, societies, sophont species and their cultures.

I have enjoyed your take on an Imperial Solomani from Terra. Aston is not the Aslan and Solomani, SolSec, elitist who does his job while flaunting the Solomani Hypothesis at other crewmembers. He knows he is not some hot-shot flying by the seat of his pants. Things just happen to him. He's not out there to put his neck on the line. He's not a hero. His line of work does those things to him. But with the help of his varied crew, Aston gets the task done, even if the reader is kept in the dark about his mission at times.

I like Vash as he is not what some other Travellers call 'dogs' or 'wolves'. He is a Vargr and stands up for his Major Race when he thinks Aston is being a wise-ass. As Vargr are my favorite Major Race, I am curious to learn where he originates and what kind of culture brought him up. Is he an integrated, Imperial Vargr citizen? Did he come from a border world, perhaps Non-Aligned? Or is he from a Coreward polity of some Vargr state? Is Vash reliable, iffy, or stereotypically mercurial. What level of charisma does Aston have in Vash's lupine eyes?

More development of Aston and the other crews' pasts please. It gives us an added dimension to who they are and what they are to Aston. Is he attracted to one of the lady crew? Are the restaurant and hotdog stands all that Aston and Vash do together? How does a Virushi fit through the airlock of a Type-S Scout vessel? What kind of shipboard modifications are needed to accommodate such a huge sophont?

These are but a few minor details that can add window dressing alongside the story's plot, Aston's latest challenge. The more us readers see of the Third Imperium's Scout Service and the current world, the more we can identify with or be repulsed by the Official Traveller Universe. The bazaar scene on the Vargr world appealed to the olfactory sense and the visual chaos. That kind of backdrop is the crack in our nutshell of disbelief.

This reaction brought to you without any abbreviations.

Live via satellite, this is the Pakkrat.

The Pakkrat November 28th, 2017 08:38 PM

Story or Diced Encounter
So, I have a question. While I was writing Down A Peg, I was digging out T5 dice and rolling Personals, planetary and space Encounters and seeing if that would spark up a chapter of story.

Are the Scout's Tales chapters of a game character or just an author's main character?

Do we ever subject our characters to random story generation?

From the Writers Desk at the Highport above Roethoeegaeaegz, this is the Pakkrat.

Blue Ghost November 28th, 2017 09:10 PM

I guess it's more or less a series of scenes that comprise a story. One of my great difficulties and issues with Traveller is that GDW had provided such a huge tapestry, but save with a handful of supplements, the players were mostly left to gallivant around the Marches as a giant sand box like structure.

Writing fan fic for Starfire, Star Wars, Barbarian Prince, Tolkien fan fic, my own fantasy setting, any other game, was actually quite easy. Even if the environment was abstract like Starfire or even Ogre before it became the "juggernaut" that it is now (no pun intended), there was enough stuff there to grasp onto in order to weave a good tale.

In this sense Richard Aston is my attempt to ground Traveller for myself.

Back in the 80s the gamestores and hobby stores had entire walls filled with racks of adventures, mostly for D&D. Incredible artwork, finely detailed maps, wonderful prose, rich backgrounds and what not.

My issue with D&D is that as a pre-teen I had been exposed to Mallory and Chaucer (as well as Tolkein back in the early 70s before the Rankin Bass thing, a long before Jackson), and for all the descriptions of swords and armor, there was little (in fact none) in the way of describing knighthood. And the research on what an actual Paladin was, .. it was so far off base as to be really just out to lunch. So, I tended not to bother with D&D.

But D&D, and other fantasy games, had very well grounded environs for a plethora of derivative settings. Traveller didn't have that. My friends and I would game out a Snapshot hostage situation using FASA's hotel module, but it's like a lot of things for Traveller were bare bones.

I've got stories on other HDs, floppies and CDs in storage where Aston is sitting in a raft at a type E port on a water world. I've got him mining for ore on a moon. I've got him in massive fire fights in the Siege of Efate. But a lot of that stuff (that I've never shared with anyone) is set against an abstract 3I.

In terms of his chronology, throughout the years that I've tried to develop his character, I had a loose chronology that would give some logical structure to his travels in the Imperium, and try to avoid his events colliding with the jump rules; i.e. such that he wasn't in the Marches one week, then back on Earth the next, then hopping around with Hivers the week following that, and the like.

Even so, there is a kind of random factor in the scenes I've posted here. Initially Aston went through basic, and then got tossed into the Marches. But again, I've rethought that, and have tried to put some kind of structure to his travels.

Otherwise they're just various scenes from places in the Traveller-verse that I've not seen explored to any great detail, but find interesting.

Blue Ghost November 29th, 2017 09:02 AM

On Vash

Vash was born out of the simple need to create a set of characters for a set of Traveller fiction. I think I came up with him ... I think just before I went to finish my degree, possibly earlier than that. That would have been around 2001 to 2004, close to the time I joined this forum, and about the time Hunter and I were talking about me writing for T20 ("If you can write a screenplay, you can write an adventure"). We were talking because at that time I still had hopes, dreams and ambitions to shoot a Traveller short, but noted that if T20 became a thing, then Traveller was about to get a radical makeover.

Even so, I just needed to include a Vargr. I picture Vash as per the Vargr on the cover of the old CT Alien 3 module, the one in the background wearing the red and grey Victorian era-like military uniform with epaulets and golden fabric adornments, but perhaps Vash's grey fur leans more towards a darker shade, perhaps almost Husky or Malamute like.

I didn't want to make him a stereotype. Having known many dogs (and one or two wolves) in my life time, they tend to be rambunctious when very young, but otherwise mellow out with age like all of us. And are extremely loyal almost to a fault. Having said that, Vash is not based on any of the dogs I've owned or known in my life time, but kind of my ideal of what a "good Vargr citizen" might be like. I tend to think that like a lot of immigrant populations you get a hodge-podge of different personality types, and the local prejudices and nativism tends to bring the negative personalities and personality traits to the surface for those who are really affronted with racism. Vash is no different, but like a lot of people I know who are in minority populations, realizes that he can't change the way people think, and his best weapon against prejudice is just to do things better without "rubbing their noses" in it (to borrow from a canine disciplinary tool), because that just creates resentment.

In short, he's a Vargr, but he's a normal human by choice because that's what helps him get through the day. But he still has pack hunting instincts, can smell better than humans (although according to SciShow human olfactory senses are probably just as effective in a number of ways as animals with very strong senses of smell). And like a lot of animals I've known he prefers tasty human food and doesn't mind trying "alien delicacy", even if it's potentially poisonous (again, like a lot of dogs and a few wolves I know encountered).

When I created Vash I really thought of just turning him into a dissatisfied growler who was pleased and tail wagging when things went his way, but that put him on the verge of being bipolar by human clinical standards, and even though canine and lupines have those tendencies, and Vash probably does deep down inside, he, like a lot of moody humans, realizes that just "letting it all hang out" only makes life harder, and probably reinforces already deeply felt prejudices among humans who don't care much for Vargr.

I thought of including an Aslan and Droyne as permenant assignments to Aston's crew, but I really didn't want to make an "X-men" kind of tapestry. I wanted to write about good normal duty bound folks that readers could relate to.

So, in short, even though I have the DGP alien module Vilani and Vargr, and I've breezed through it, I'm still relying on my antiquated memory banks from when I first read the CT Alien Module 3. I've read Vilani Vargr, but even though I read the CT module first and, relatively speaking, the VV module more recently (in the last 25 years), for some reason the CT module stands out more in my mind .... maybe because I read it when I was younger, and used it more than I ever did the DGP module.

Anyway, I hope that helps explain some of what Vash is all about.

p.s. his name was originally more along the lines of G'Vegh or something more Vargr sounding, but I wanted a name that readers could pronounce, or if I ever wrote something for the big or small screen, then something that was easy to learn, remember, and maybe sounded like a name an uplifted Wolf species might say or name their child.

Blue Ghost November 30th, 2017 04:10 AM

Pakkrat, you also had some curiosity about the Aslan. To me Aslan, like a lot of Traveller aliens, can come across as one-dimensional--almost caricatures of themselves or facets of human behavior they're meant to emulate. I see the Aslan as traditional big-ego-big-honor types. Kind of like Japanese samurai or a medieval knight who was big on doing good deeds (most of them weren't).

To me they're only interesting in that like a lot of Traveller-space, they're untapped. I think in all the adventures we did "back in the day" we came across one official Aslan NPC...Murder on the Arcturus Station. By comparison, because Vargr are violently whimsical (all in the name of freedom), they're a bit more interesting, and more reflect human faults. I think Aslan, in this regard, represent what humans strive for, but in this way represent human shortcomings by trying to be honorable to a fault.

I actually left Aslan space with Aston because I thought if I wrote Aslan characters with what we consider as character flaws, then that he or she would be seen as implausible; i.e. "an Aslan wouldn't do that..." kind of thing.

This this sense the Aslan area easy to write for, but only as protagonists, or antagonists wronged who later see the light.

Anyway, I hope that addresses some issues you had with the Aslan.

The Pakkrat December 6th, 2017 06:05 AM

IISS and Indigenous Beliefs
A story in which Aston asks Vash whether the Vargr is talking religion or engineer-speak. This brings up another question. When encountering new cultures, is it the IISS that catalogues their beliefs if there isn't an offered religion? When I saw Vash explain to Aston that it wasn't his style, it tells me that Vargr can take up a faith even if they aren't devoted. One might give lip-service to the Church Of The Chosen Ones, the Solomani Hypothesis or some other belief, without having to tow the line.

One wonders what a Vargr <insert term for person-of-active-faith> might be like.

Aston obviously has to step lightly and diplomatically around the Geonee. Since Vargr are easily provoked as well, one might consider one's words when around a Vargr who is active in their belief system. What does the Vargr faith spectrum look like? What are the extreme ends of that spectrum?

Blue Ghost December 6th, 2017 07:03 AM

I would guess an initial contact survey would explain as much as is possible without burdening the report with minutiae. If you came across a lost Amazon tribe in Brazil, that had been hunkered down in some untapped region, you might jot down their basic beliefs, but then let a followup team do an indepth study.

I think DGP's VV book details Vargr religion or basic religious philosophy. As for Vash, he's a worldly Vargr and doesn't hold with any species tribal belief or mythologies.

Vargr priest; "May the great forest spirit grant your mate thousand pups and long life!"
Vash; "Uh, thanks... by the way, I'm not married."

Blue Ghost December 6th, 2017 07:32 AM

To be a little more on point in responding to your question, I think Vargr would make poor parishioners. Given Vargr society the probably favor one deity over another as often as they change governments. And I'm not sure belonging to a spooky-human cult help keep them glued to the faith. I also tend to think that Vargr are less spooked by something they don't know and can't experience, and tend to respond more to real physical threats as opposed to praying to some Vargr god because otherwise the District Animal Control demon will punish them in the hereafter. I tend to think they acknowledge the notion, but like their canine and lupine ancestors, there are more important things in life to worry about like getting food and finding a mate. All dogs and wolves I've known respond to real threats, and once that threat is established, then they keep that idea active in resident memory (RAM).

But to get back to your question, there's no reality in forest spirits or other deities, so it's a kind of out of sight out of mind thing for them, or so I think. Like our animals you can probably instill a kind of training in them to make the appearance of belief or respect, but when it comes right down to it I think Vargr just really can't hold stock in intangibles.

Blue Ghost December 30th, 2017 06:09 PM

Last week my number of views was just peaking over 1000. Now I'm at 1300 and some change.

I'd like to thank everyone for giving my stuff a cursory glance. And for being very forgiving of the extremely rough unedited read that are my postings for the adventures of Richard Aston.

Thanks again. Very much appreciated.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:23 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright (c) 2010-2013, Far Future Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.