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Old November 14th, 2018, 02:32 PM
btoadflax btoadflax is offline
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Question Question for anyone using die rolls and game mechanics to guide their Traveller ficti

I have read elsewhere on the forum that some of the fiction posted here was to some extent guided, generated or otherwise inspired by using the rules and rolling dice. For those of you doing that, Iím curious how you are doing it and to what extent you let die rolls dictate the story. Is it like a constrained writing exercise where you just go with whatever you roll, or is it more relaxed than that? Do you limit it to character generation or extend it to other things like random encounters, combat, and so on?
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Old November 15th, 2018, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by btoadflax View Post
I have read elsewhere on the forum that some of the fiction posted here was to some extent guided, generated or otherwise inspired by using the rules and rolling dice. For those of you doing that, Iím curious how you are doing it and to what extent you let die rolls dictate the story. Is it like a constrained writing exercise where you just go with whatever you roll, or is it more relaxed than that? Do you limit it to character generation or extend it to other things like random encounters, combat, and so on?
I use the rules to provide the setting, and to a limited extent, that is done with dice. Beyond that, I have specific things in mind when writing, and dice rolls play no part in that.
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Old November 15th, 2018, 01:10 PM
btoadflax btoadflax is offline
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Thanks. I like the idea of using the rules to constrain the fiction tightly as a sort of writing challenge, but I expect it would turn out a big mess.
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Old November 15th, 2018, 05:44 PM
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Guilty as charged.

I use dice, the rules and my choices to roll up characters, mainly ones that I've drawn first given that I'm a Vargr fan. An image strikes me and I get the spark of intuition telling me that there is a story in the image.

Once I have generated a character for the image, loosely based on the image, the skills the character has learned tells me more about how the character reaches its goals.

In this case, we see Arsun Unrralarr an Akumgeda Vargr from Ksinanirz Sector. Culturally psionic, I had to apply the Psionics chapter from Traveller5. Once the character is fully fleshed out with all the Entitlements, Muster Out Benefits and gear, Background souvenirs and the like, I consider the story main goal.

Once I have an idea, in Arsun's case hopping the Empress Wave to journey coreward to secure a refugee world for other wave-hopping Transports, I begin to use what money and liquidated assets to purchase gear from the Equipment, ArmorMaker, GunMaker and anywhere else I may need.

If the mission requires secondary characters, I perform the same for them as if they were characters in a game of Traveller5. For Arsun, an Agent Career, the mission requires a ship. MT Vargr Scout ship it became.

If there is an interstellar route, that became chapters in the outline of the rising action of the story. Each world became potential for up to three Encounters rolls. My Encounters rolls are thus:
Roll 6d6 and compare the 1s and the 6s. Each 6 is nullified by a 1, all other dice results being ignored. If there are more 6s than 1s, an Encounter based on the location of Arsun and his two crew occurred. Space Encounters, Starport Encounters, Urban and Startown Encounters and Rural Wilderness Encounters were consulted from Mongoose tables as a very general and vague basis or spark of ideas. It was recently told to me that T5 is great on detail while MgT is good on setting. I used both to spur dull moments for something to write about.

Starship Operation. I looked at base Difficulties. If a character's numbers were generally auto-success, there was no need to detail every Task after the first, initial introduction of that Task to the reader. Once the reader is confident that the character can perform the Task, no further visitation was needed unless something special, say a Space Encounter happened.

Combats. Dice were used until it became obvious who would win. I don't build invincible characters. Adventures are not all-win, at all times. If they are, then they're not adventures. They are cakewalks. I let the dice guide me to a reasonable conclusion even if the combat was diced for only one round. Sometimes the obvious victory was evident just looking at the numbers of both sides. The characters are more believable when they surmount foes even at the cost of their own health.

Personals. Diced unless there was a definite motivator for one side to do the others' bidding. For Arsun, this happens only when he is outmatched in C6 Charisma, out-ranked in his Agency or had the upper claw in either, e.g. his crew. Patron(s) gave Arsun a base mission to start the novel. Any further Patrons (1 was rolled along the way) are icing on the cake and Personals action took place between the Patron and Arsun or the crew.

Each world was diced for any Encounters, and if they were indicated, I noted them in each chapter, or in obvious order that they would have come, (Space, Starport, Urban, Rural or in reverse order).

In solo play, there are no Medals for Winning and no Wound Badges or pats on the back for failure. Once the solo-player, or in my case writer transcends Winning and Losing, they can more readily accept what the dice tell them happens. Once all the Encounters were plotted, ordered and their intensity (think drama or difficulty) determined, it was time to begin writing the story. I continued to dice if I felt randomity was indicated as I went along.
I took a setting that I wanted to highlight. In my case, I borrowed Winged Cat's new Traveller Map and Traveller Wiki contribution of the Solomani Preserve in Zhiaqrqiats Sector. It promotes his work, promotes what I want to highlight and is generally a win-win for both of our interests. I worked carefully with him to provide the most believable setting, mood, theme and plot I wanted to feel proud of at The End.
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Old November 17th, 2018, 04:46 PM
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That is inspiring!
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Old November 18th, 2018, 05:56 AM
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I use dice only for task checks and damage rolls during a game session. The story comes from character-driven players.
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Old November 18th, 2018, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btoadflax View Post
Thanks. I like the idea of using the rules to constrain the fiction tightly as a sort of writing challenge, but I expect it would turn out a big mess.
Actually, it does not. If you write a book of fiction set on Earth, you have to deal with the constraints of the climate, geography, and physical laws. If you are writing a piece of historical fiction, like the Horatio Hornblower stories of C. S. Forester, you have to add in all of the historical constraints, or make it clear that you are writing alternative history. When writing something using the Traveller rules as a basis, you are just substituting different constraints.
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Old November 22nd, 2018, 08:48 PM
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I use dice when my writing get boring. If you look at the PbP games here that atpollard and I run, there's a lot of "roll dice for inspiration and then write from that". If the dice roll poorly but I really want something to happen then it can be a pretty fun side-task to figure out a way to make things happen.
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