Citizens of the Imperium

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Chaos January 12th, 2010 04:59 PM

Players wanted for PBP
 
Hi folks,

I´m looking for players willing to risk playing a PBP Traveller(ish) campaign, with me as the GM.

We´re not going to be playing according to any specific ruleset, seeing that it is difficult to use dice and all that via e-mail; we´re just going to use common sense (which sounds so much better than "dictatorial referee fiat", doesn´t it?) and such.

We´re going to play my own setting, Orion (after the Orion Spur in which our sun is located). It´s not all Traveller - no Imperium, no vast differences of TLs, no Ancients, none of the traditional alien races, no psionics, and so on - but I think it is Traveller-ish enough for Traveller players to feel comfortable in it, although for some reason I hesitate to call it an ATU. I´ll describe it briefly, and I´ll also post some more info in the IMTU subforum later on.

The setting is about 500 years after humanity begins interstellar travel. The Terran Alliance is the 5 megaton gorilla in humanity´s monkey house, having elements of the European Union, and Galactic Republic from Star Wars (minus the Jedi, of course), and maybe the Free Worlds League from BattleTech (minus the ´Mechs, of course); it´s a bunch of very different nations (some nice, some not so nice, some democratic, some not so democratic) who are not too fond on one another, with a lot of political infighting, bureaucracy, corruption - you name it, they´ve got it. There are other human-founded nations, even big ones, but none as big as the Alliance.
Then there´s the Wendol (named after the monsters from Eaters of the Dead/The 13th Warrior), who you might think of as a mix between Vargr and Aslan - except that they look like apes. Fanged, clawed, carnivorous apes, to be precise. They´ve been at war with humanity several times, but right now things are peaceful - mostly. These critters are the aliens who are most similar to humanity, which might be the reason behind their problems with each other. There is a big Wendol empire, whose ruler (mostly) reins in his vassals´ predatory ambitions, most of the time. There are also other aliens, most of which have a less problematic history with humanity.

The major differences that Traveller players would have to get used to are:
- Aliens are more alien; communication with them, much less understanding what makes that weird critter tick, is tricky business. The Wendol are a partial exception to this; I´d allow one or two Wendol characters if there is interest, but no other aliens.
- Interstellar travel is faster. Civilians ships can make anywhere from .5 to 2 light-years per hour; however, colonized systems are a lot more sparsely distributed than is common in Traveller, and its anywhere from 10 to 50 light-years from to one the next - including in-system flight time, it´s usually 2-4 days from one stop to the next. Jump time is also proportional to distance travelled, not a relatively fixed period.
- ships use reactionless drive; this means space flight is more as seen in Star Trek or Star Wars rather than Traveller
- ship weapons and defenses are different; shields which behave somewhat like black globe generators are common defensive systems, and weapons are mostly particle beams (military ships also have plasma torpedoes and nuclear missiles, but neither are legal for civilians in the Alliance)
- No TAS; there are organizations which, between them, fulfill most of the functions which the TAS has in the OTU (such as the Orion Explorer magazine, which is a mix of the TAS journal and National Geographic)

The campaign I have in mind is set in a region called the Crescent, with the Terran Alliance on one side, its (human-ruled) rival the Union of Midgard on the other, and the outskirts of the Wendol Empire on the third. There´s political intrigue (there´s a Cold War going on between Midgard and the Wendol, a rather less bitter one between the Alliance and Midgard, and a lot of officially cordial relations and mutual trust and goodwill (if you know what I mean) between the Alliance and the Wendol), espionage, proxy wars, piracy, unexplored mysteries of long-dead alien civilizations, unexplained space phenomena to investigate (or be investigated by), and lots of other general fun to be had.
The players are the crew of a small(ish) trading vessel operated by Crescent Cargo, a large company by Crescent standards, but dwarved by Alliance or Midgard megacorporations. The beginning of the campaign is going to be transferring a newly acquired old rustbucket to the company yards; this is the characters´ first job for Crescent Cargo, and their continued employment hinges on their performance during this job. There´ll be several stops along the way, and of course they are expected to make some profit during the trip.

Rather than a pure story campaign with a beginning, and end and a direct way from one to the other, I´m thinking of a more episodic format. There´ll be an overarching plot, recurring villains (and recurring good guys), and so on, but there will also be plenty of episodes in between that deal only with the characters´ perpetual struggle to stay employed and keep their ship from falling apart around them, and maybe earn a little money on the side.


Okay, that was a long speech. Hope nobody fell asleep halfway through. So, is anybody interested?

PathfinderAP January 12th, 2010 05:44 PM

Sounds cool,

Midgard? are they alien?

if this was a movie what would it be closer too in look and feel?

Character gen, it may be useful if you stat up a large bunch and let the players choose,

flykiller January 12th, 2010 06:19 PM

interested.

fixed crew, and we choose positions? free-form characters, or pre- generated? pre-generated partial characters that players complete? something else?

Zowy January 12th, 2010 08:31 PM

I am willing to give it a try. What type of skill sets and backgrounds are we looking at for characters?

Chaos January 13th, 2010 05:12 AM

Cool.

The Midgard are human (in fact, more human-centric than the already human-centric Terran Alliance). If you need a label for them, think of Imperial Germany, Victorian Britain and Tsarist Russia in space - White Man´s Burden (well, Human Noble´s Burden) and all that.

The look and feel... I haven´t ever watched Firefly, but from what I´ve heard and read, it sounds rather close. Out there in the boondocks, things are quite a bit less shiny than in the core systems of the Alliance. Think of the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy, only in space.

I´ll put up "wanted ads" for crew positions, and you convince me (i.e. Crescent Cargo) that your character fits the bill. All slots not taken go to faceless, nameless mooks who also serve as placeholders for player characters joining up later.

Chaos January 13th, 2010 07:43 AM

Character generation can be CT, MT, GT or T20, or free form. As long as I get an idea what the character is good at, it´s fine - more detail is appreciated but not necessary.

There are no Barbarians in this settings, though. Nobles can be actual nobility (though only Midgard has a "national" nobility, many smaller Alliance members and independents have planetary level nobility) or political (think Kennedy or Bush family, or any banana republic´s El Presidente clan) or economic/financial elite.


The following positions are available on the ship:

1) Captain - experienced spacefarer wanted, ex-trader or -Explorer Corps (my version of Scouts) preferred (this guy has the legal responsibility, but neither he nor his player can order the others around)

2) Chief Engineer - technical expert (various fields) wanted, ex-Navy, -trader or -Belter preferred, knack for jury-rigging is a definite plus

These two are full-time jobs.

There are three more bridge positions:
3) Pilot
4) Astrogator
5) Sensor/Comm technician
Qualified personnel wanted for these positions (in CT/MT terms, attribute+skill bonus to roll should be 2+; in T20 terms, skill check bonus 5+)
There should be two full-time jobs here; astrogator can be folded into either of the others. It would also be useful is some of the other crew members had rudimentary sensor/comm skills so that a 24h sensor/comm watch can be established on the bridge.

Then we need
6) 1-3 assistant engineers, full or part-time
7) gunner and security officer, preferably combined, military experience a bonus but not required
8) purser - legal and admin skills needed, no prior convictions for graft etc
9) steward (includes general cooking and cleaning duties)
10) medical officer; physician or paramedic preferred, but out here, anyone will do if they know which side of the band-aid is the sticky one, and which end of the syringe to insert into the patient (this could be a job for a doctor evading a malpractice suit, or a medical student looking to get some hands-on experience, for example)
11) various deck hands, cargo handlers and assistants for "you hold the ends of those wires together while I switch on the electricity (so only you get electrocuted if I screw up)" kinds of jobs (this opening is designed to allow characters without real shipboard skills; they´d be the bottom of the pecking order, but such is life in space...)
All these are part-time jobs, except perhaps the assistant engineers, so a character can and should combine two (a qualified job with a deck hand assignment, if he is only qualified for one job)

All applicants should be (reasonably) sound of mind and body, and not be wanted for capital crimes in any major interstellar nation. Crescent Cargo is aware that all the really good ones work for the larger corporations in the Alliance, but even we have standards.

PathfinderAP January 13th, 2010 08:05 AM

Captain via Explorer Corps/Scouts sound good to me, I almost always play Scouts, and have plenty of Exp playing a Captain,

Thing is I am will to gen up a ton of Scouts to get the one that I want to play
(using the CT rules) I know others may not be willing to do that, so sometimes it seems my characters could come across alittle more powerful,

If you had a load of pre gen characters to choose from I think it would make starting this game easier,

or what about some sort of point base character gen so everyone can start with the same degree of point valued character?

Chaos January 13th, 2010 08:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PathfinderAP (Post 340992)
Captain via Explorer Corps/Scouts sound good to me, I almost always play Scouts, and have plenty of Exp playing a Captain,

Thing is I am will to gen up a ton of Scouts to get the one that I want to play
(using the CT rules) I know others may not be willing to do that, so sometimes it seems my characters could come across alittle more powerful,

If you had a load of pre gen characters to choose from I think it would make starting this game easier,

or what about some sort of point base character gen so everyone can start with the same degree of point valued character?

Give me a character, even if it´s too powerful. I can always tone it down a bit. Or tone it up if it turns out to be too weak.

Or we can just do it in free form. What should the character of your dreams look like, more or less? I´m thinking maybe 5 terms of Scout, people skills, liaison, leader, maybe linguistics, plus some shipboard skills.

BTW, lingua franca among traders is English. Official language in the Alliance is also English (a version called Alliance English is compulsory subject in school), in Midgard educated people (nobles, mostly) speak English, German and Russian at various skill levels. Pidgin Wendol is a simplified Wendol dialect that (until other human or Wendol languages) both humans and Wendol can pronounce - though both humans and Wendol can understand each other´s languages (a la Han Solo and Chewbacca in Star Wars).

Zowy January 13th, 2010 01:32 PM

This is a morphed version of a Scout > Made him into a Belter / Explorer.

I will apply for the Sensor/Comm Tec spot. My specality is the remote operation of sensor probes and mineing drones.

David Swain : 79AAA7 : Belter / Explorer : Age 38 : 5 terms

Skills: Sensors 3, Comms 2, Remote Operations 2, Streetwise 2, Astrogation 1, Pilot (Smallcraft) 1, Advocate 1, Blade 1, Mechanic 1, Survival 1, Vacc Suit 1, Jack of all Trades 1, Medic 0, Seafarer 0, Social Science 0, Space Science 0, Gun Combat 0

Equipment: Blade, Vacc Suit, HandComp/Sensor/CommPad, 1 Spacer Bag with clothing and personal items.

A memeber of the Church of the Stellar Divinity. David joined the Explorer Corps and left the watery womb of his birth world, to travel the stars and grow in spirit. After 20 years of service. It was time for him to cast himself on the stellarwinds of fate and see where they take him now.

Blessed with many spacer phobias and superstions, on top of being a faithful Lightbringer in the Church of the Stellar Divinity. David is an outstanding Sensor operator. A compentent Remote Operations and Comms operator. He is streetwise and something of a Jack of all Trades. Being able to lend his 2 good hands and sharp mind to many tasks outside his areas of expertise. While he has a few usefull contacts and allies, he is not deeply involved with anyone at this time. But is still after many years, bothered by not remembering most of the events between his 31st and 32nd birthdays. He has some ideas, but knows better than to ask to many questions.........

Black eyes and hair, just under 2 meters in height and of average build. No outstanding features other than the general look of a long term spaceworker.

Events: Survey an alien world, Good fortune, Gather info on an alien race, Unexplained event: Amnesia, Rescue disaster survivors

I would like to keep the Remote operations skill, if it works for your seting. But am willing to go whatever changes you would like to make.

Chaos January 13th, 2010 03:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zowy (Post 341026)
This is a morphed version of a Scout > Made him into a Belter / Explorer.

I will apply for the Sensor/Comm Tec spot. My specality is the remote operation of sensor probes and mineing drones.

David Swain : 79AAA7 : Belter / Explorer : Age 38 : 5 terms

Skills: Sensors 3, Comms 2, Remote Operations 2, Streetwise 2, Astrogation 1, Pilot (Smallcraft) 1, Advocate 1, Blade 1, Mechanic 1, Survival 1, Vacc Suit 1, Jack of all Trades 1, Medic 0, Seafarer 0, Social Science 0, Space Science 0, Gun Combat 0

Equipment: Blade, Vacc Suit, HandComp/Sensor/CommPad, 1 Spacer Bag with clothing and personal items.

A memeber of the Church of the Stellar Divinity. David joined the Explorer Corps and left the watery womb of his birth world, to travel the stars and grow in spirit. After 20 years of service. It was time for him to cast himself on the stellarwinds of fate and see where they take him now.

Blessed with many spacer phobias and superstions, on top of being a faithful Lightbringer in the Church of the Stellar Divinity. David is an outstanding Sensor operator. A compentent Remote Operations and Comms operator. He is streetwise and something of a Jack of all Trades. Being able to lend his 2 good hands and sharp mind to many tasks outside his areas of expertise. While he has a few usefull contacts and allies, he is not deeply involved with anyone at this time. But is still after many years, bothered by not remembering most of the events between his 31st and 32nd birthdays. He has some ideas, but knows better than to ask to many questions.........

Black eyes and hair, just under 2 meters in height and of average build. No outstanding features other than the general look of a long term spaceworker.

Events: Survey an alien world, Good fortune, Gather info on an alien race, Unexplained event: Amnesia, Rescue disaster survivors

I would like to keep the Remote operations skill, if it works for your seting. But am willing to go whatever changes you would like to make.

Sounds good, stat-wise. We´ll work on the background later on. (Like, which nation is he from? And which church does he belong to) Do you want to turn him into a "true" spacer, from a starship/space station? That would be Pilot (Starship) 0 instead of Seafarer 0, and Survival would be for hostile environments only; if he is from waterworld, Survival would be for habitable environments only.
Your char could also fill in as astrogator if we don´t get a PC pilot/astrogator.

PathfinderAP, you can use David as a benchmark for your own character if you like. Let´s say as a rules mod for CT chargen, in each term your character can use one skill pick to learn Xenology (EDU-based skill), as Explorers tend to meet a lot of aliens.

For characters that are created according to CT/MT rules: they know their native language, plus one additional language per 3 points of EDU above 3 (2 for EDU 6-8, 3 for 9-11 and so on); that´s one per 4 above 4 for T20 characters. Besides English, there´s the usual Earth languages (German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi or Spanish are relatively widespread), plus two more recent languages, Selene and Batavian (I´ll come to that with the background part), Pidgin Wendol as already mentioned, and understanding various alien languages (Common Wendol and other species´ - more detail later on). You will get along with English well enough in almost all places, but other languages can be a bonus, if perhaps only to overhear what locals talk among themselves.


l´ll be out of town from tomorrow until Sunday afternoon. I´ll take my laptop along, but I have no idea what internet access is going to be like, so please don´t give up on me if I don´t reply for the next few days.


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