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  #1  
Old April 6th, 2018, 02:56 PM
doomhunk doomhunk is offline
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Default Doomhunk's Leviathan SOLO campaign

Partly inspired by OjnoTheRed's Leviathan SOLO campaign right here on this board, and partly to blow off some dust and rust, I'm walking myself through a similar process but aiming for a different set of outcomes.

Conscious of OjnoTheRed's emphasis and focus, I am going to try to steer myself in different directions and different styles. Maybe less like a ship's log and more like a pre-first draft story notes, if I'm lucky.

I'll obviously end up doing some similar things, and nobody will mind if I do; and I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore other varieties of SOLO campaigns using Cepheus.

I'm going to be posting the ongoing campaign firstly on Steemit, trying to generate a bit of RPG community there, before posting it here (and to an archive blog) after a short delay.

Next post in the actual campaign will be going up here later tonight my local time, so in about 5 hours.
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Old April 6th, 2018, 11:04 PM
doomhunk doomhunk is offline
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Default The Computer Always Knows When You Want To Get Stuff Done

So... one five hour train journey and car ride to the other end of the country later, and of course my main computer flatlines once I eagerly fire it up to continue this campaign. Cue several hours of trial and error repairs, followed by downloading my notes again from the cloud and luckily everything seems to have been uploaded from my writing session on the train journey.

I'm interested in a bit of backstory regarding the Fourth Frontier War and how it might intersect with character generation. Casting around in Adventure 4: Leviathan, I can see that:

a) the Fourth Frontier War was only a generation ago, so longer-serving characters might have served in it, and
b) the Fifth Frontier War is fomenting in and around this part of space as the events of Adventure 4: Leviathan unfold, so there are chances to come across clues pointing to those developments.
c) The Third Frontier War was only just over one hundred years earlier from 979 to 986, and is bound to have left its marks on places and people.

Using a starting date of 001-1106 for the start of the campaign is something else I'm interested in. The official Leviathan mission undertaken by the Barraccai Technum starts in 001-1107. I'm starting this mission a whole year earlier and one of the unknown things that I plan to find out during the course of this campaign is why BT oversees a subsequent mission in 1107 and makes no mention of this earlier venture to that crew. What could have happened during the 1106 mission that they wish to forget or ignore? I'll find out this and other secrets during play.

The Fourth Frontier War ran from 1082 to 1084, and is widely known as the False War because it was over and the armistice signed before the official instructions for the conduct of the war could be received from Capital/Core. Even though it was such a short conflict compared to most others, it still lasted for a good two years and had a lead in and aftermath period where events could have affected characters. A character who is 42 in 1106 would have been 18 in 1082 and so the war could easily have featured in their early career, and I am going to try to reflect that in character generation.

Casting around in Adventure 4: Leviathan for suitable home worlds that the Player Characters might have grown up on, a lot of the characters are likely to hail from Imperial systems in the Pax Rulin subsector such as Cyan, Kryslion, Perrior, Caraz and Islent. Any Belter characters are likely to have grown up in the Alexin system.

So I ventured into character generation next with a bunch of ideas about historical influences that I wanted to be featured in the character resumes and biographies.
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Old April 7th, 2018, 12:56 AM
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a lot of the characters are likely to hail from Imperial systems in the Pax Rulin subsector such as Cyan, Kryslion, Perrior, Caraz and Islent.
more are likely to have come from class A shipyard worlds, especially any officers.
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Old April 7th, 2018, 07:18 AM
doomhunk doomhunk is offline
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Default Typing fast as I am rushing out to the football with my son :-)

Thanks @flykiller, I really do appreciate your input as this is interaction is one of the extra ways to enjoy solo campaigning. It makes me think about things I didn't consider, and reconsider things that I did consider, and generally can only help and be a stimulus. So thanks for stopping by to comment :-)

I was drawn to the Class A worlds in Pax Rulin subsector initially but they are generally lower population and so characters serving there are likely to have come to this part of the frontier from elsewhere. Some will have come from further along the frontier, and some will have come from the interior to serve / adventure on the frontier. Some are likely to have come from likely feeder systems that are local too.

Perrior (0603-A633966-B-N-NonAg-Poor) is likely to supply a good chunk of those officers - Class A starport, Naval base, higher population. That's for anyone likely to have grown up around here. It is also governed by the much higher population Cyan system and so I imagine them using Perrior to send their officer candidates and enlisted on rotation, as part of their projection of power locally. Perrior is described as an 'up and coming world' in the official planetary system writeup, and with Cyan having its own Imperial Way Station Scout Base, an exile camp/prison hulk, a Scout Base on Doradon, and a Naval Base and Shipyard on Perrior, I think Cyan and it's power base is a fertile source of player characters.

The rest (from nearby subsectors or further into the interior) could have served at bases on the low population Class A Naval base systems such as Pax Rulin (0604-A402231-E-N-NonInd-Poor-SubsectorCapital-G)and Doradan (0602-A400369-B-S-NonInd).

Berengaria, Islent, Cyan and Kryslion would be another source of recruits - officers from Berengaria (0505-B566644-7-2-Ag-NonInd-Ri-G) with a Class B starport and both a Naval and Scout base but also Islent (0802-BAC0789-6-Amb-G) with a Class B starport and decent local population is a possibility; and Cyan (0502-C4689B9-B-S-ImpWayStn) with a Class C and higher TL plus an Imperial Way Station Scout base. Kryslion (0402-D483AA9-9)and Cyan would also be likely sources of mercs, planetary grunts etc. with reasonably high populations.

Am I old-fashioned in that I still think in terms of Planetary / Subsector / Imperial navy heirarchy? I think this is influencing how I think about a lot of career mobility.
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Old April 7th, 2018, 09:21 AM
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Ooooh, I'm so excited! A mysterious prequel!

Homeworlds and history of the characters is something I only touched on. I agree with your and flykiller's analysis broadly. I would only add that in an interstellar polity such as the Imperium, recruitment can come from worlds nearby Class A Starports and other significant places such as bases or way stations. After all, I'm sure the Imperium will have recruiting offices on major population worlds.

And as to planetary, subsector and Imperial navies, I think Mongoose edition had a good write-up: planetary navies (basically SDBs and monitors but sometimes a several ships with jump) are the preserve of only the richest systems; subsector navies are the reserve force of older Imperial ships; and the Imperial Navy uses top-of-the-line current equipment. Personell quality is a reflection of the esteem in which each service is held; hot competition for the more elite Imperial Navy!
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Old April 7th, 2018, 03:22 PM
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Default As if I need an excuse to enjoy a reread of Traveller books :-)

Hi @OjnoTheRed thanks for dropping by to comment :-)

The more I think about it the more I am drawn into the idea of 'something mysterious happened before Adventure 4' so I am looking forward to find that out through solo play.

Where player characters (and everybody else!) come from is a really interesting subject. Ultimately it's whatever I want IMTU for the fun of the story, but I like finding out what others think about it, and I love the whole process of trying to figure out what might 'realistically' happen. The influence of just a couple of high population systems on the other systems nearby is fascinating for the part of me that loves simulations. I should definitely give it more thought than I have done so far, as the high pop system defence strategy is the new doctrine for the Imperials after the Fourth Frontier War.

I haven't really read any of the Mongoose edition very much - of all the different versions of Traveller it's the one I engaged with the least. I guess I should rectify that. Certainly, the idea of taking some time to read a bunch of Traveller books is very appealing :-)

I was just looking at The Great Rift boxed set (well, the pdf version) and I might just get it.

But certainly if there's value in the Mongoose books I'll dig out the ones I have and think about picking up a couple of others. It will make a nice change from my true guilty pleasure - reading and rereading the entire MegaTraveller opus! :-)

Back to character generation in my next post, but anyone reading this - feel free to comment as it is great food for thought when you do.
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Old April 7th, 2018, 05:59 PM
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Am I old-fashioned in that I still think in terms of Planetary / Subsector / Imperial navy heirarchy? I think this is influencing how I think about a lot of career mobility.
up to you. I envision planetary forces as manned by locals concerned about local matters, and imperial forces manned by personnel who have demonstrated some detachment from local matters and greater interest in general imperial affairs by serving across a number of districts.

also social standing will play a role in this - ss12 will be assigned fleets and task forces, ss9 will not. in your solo game the co may be a "low" social standing - say 10 - trying to increase his reputation and regard with hazardous high-reward assignments.
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Old April 7th, 2018, 08:47 PM
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Default Of course... why didn't I think of that?

@flykiller I do like that nugget right there about a SOC10 CO trying to climb the greasy pole. Also the reminder that local forces and local attitudes can be highly effective. I have a habit of treating most Planetary and Subsector Naval types as being frustrated Imperial wannabes, instead of the obvious local priorities that you have very helpfully reminded me that they would have.
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Old April 8th, 2018, 10:16 AM
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Default The First Seven Characters - Character 1

So I took the Cepheous Engine character generation for a spin. I initially took advantage of OjnoTheRed's rather spiffing 1,000,001 Characters generator, and I was pleasantly surprised by the level of detail in the output for the 500 or so characters that I generated. But I realised that I wanted to actually do a lot of the chargen myself by hand to get more of a feel for the characters. I'm going to take my time in the recruitment stage, as I am hoping to flesh out / find out a few aspects of this campaign by lingering in the hiring stage.

So here are the first seven I created, along with some points of interest about each either from the chargen career process, or added in afterwards for extra colour and enhanced group dynamics.

Character 1 - a potential 1st Officer Pilot?

************************************************** ******

Lieutenant (Ret.) Sue-lin Huawei (Human, Female) AC6579 Age 42
Pirates(5) Prison(1) Cr125000
Animals-0 Bribery-1 Electronics-0 Gambling-1 Gun Cbt-0 Gunnery-1 Medicine-0 Melee Cbt-0 Navigation-1 Pilot-3 Recon-1 Streetwise-0 Vehicle-0
Low Passage, Annual 'pension' from illicit rackets and stakes in Pirate career: Cr10000

Life Event 1: Forced out of her pirate commission by a nasty personal rival with a grudge.
Life Event 2: Helped her boss out with a huge favour (a bribe, shortly after the 4th Frontier War, details TBD) and ever since her boss has owed her big time.
Life Event 3: Sue-lin once fell in love, but her lover died in action during the 4th Frontier War (details TBD). Linked to Life Event 1 - Her rival with a grudge holds Sue-lin responsible for the death - lover was the rival's brother.
Life Event 4: (SECRET) Sue-lin spent four years in a prison hulk on Cyan for her role in a failed violent revenge plot against her rival after she was forced out of her commission on the pirate vessel (details TBD). Somehow she has managed to keep a lid on this period of her life and nobody knows about it, and her SOC has stayed highly reputable. She would be highly vulnerable to blackmail if anyone did find out.

Interesting points during chargen:

Sue-lin Huawei was almost press-ganged into her initial Pirate position back in 1082 at the outbreak of the Fourth Frontier War, and was immediately commissioned. She narrowly beat her Survival roll that year and emerged with Pilot-1 and Gunnery-1. So I'm picturing either:

1) The Imperials mobilised whatever commerce raiders they could get theirs hands on to head behind enemy lines and disrupt, or
2) The Outworld Coalition did the same, either covertly so that nobody realised at the time that they were working for the Sword Worlders or the Zhos, or overtly (which raises interesting questions about how characters would see themselves these days if they were 'on the other side' or just in a grey area at some point in their past).

I am personally favouring Option 1 as this casts her as more of a 'war heroine' with a patriotic tinge, and makes sense of her high SOC. Her activities since the cessation of hostilities have included similarly officially sanctioned operations to harass former Outworld Coalition powers and to coerce former Imperial worlds to return to the fold; but also a lot of the more usual 'trade war' style piracy. I'm leaning towards this having been primarily with the Arkesh Spacers or McClellan Factors in the surrounding subsectors. This would make run-ins with those outfits and their representatives more interesting as she would have served with some of them, been known to quite a few of them, and her grudge rival may still be serving with them or hold sway with currently serving elements.

After her rival forced her out of her pirate commission Sue-lin tried to get revenge on her rival but ended up being arrested and then spent four years on a prison hulk at Cyan. Her rival remains unaware of the plot as Sue-lin was able to pass off her intentions as simple smuggling of illegal weaponry. Somehow she has kept this secret and her SOC is to date unaffected. The only question is, how? Things will get interesting if this ever becomes public.


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Old April 8th, 2018, 11:30 AM
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Default Character 2

Potential 1st Officer Chief Gunner or 2nd Officer 2nd Gunner?

************************************************** ******

Major (Ret.) Teri Vela (Human, Female) 799B89 Age 46
Marines(5) Cr5000
Battle Dress-1 Carousing-0 Comms-2 Computer-1 Demolitions-0 Electronics-1 Gun Cbt-0 Gunnery-2 Melee Cbt-1 Streetwise-0 Tactics-2 Vehicle-1 Watercraft-0
Mid Passage, TAS, Annual Military Pension: Cr14000

Life Event 1: Betrayed by close friend (details TBD). Today they are bitter rivals.
Life Event 2: Teri was adopted and has no information on her blood family.
Life Event 3: Teri helped her superiors mop up a very messy post-war operation, and now they owe her a great favour in return.

Interesting points during chargen:

At the outbreak of the Fourth Frontier War, Teri was a Marine Lieutenant on board a Kinunir-class vessel (details TBD but I'd prefer one that is still in service rather than one lost in action) and saw action in several systems (details TBD).

Teri rolled a natural 12 on 3 of her reenlistment rolls. I was on a train using a dice app instead of actual dice, but even so, this has got to be a plot thread. The first 12 was her Term 2 reenlistment at the outbreak of hostilities in the Fourth Frontier War, so this makes perfect sense. Her Survival roll for that term was a natural die fail (5) with only her +1 modifier for END saving her. She obviously saw some heavy fighting or was involved in a very dangerous incident. (Details TBD). She was promoted to O3 Captain as a result of this, and came away with Vehicle-1 and Tactics-1 so I'm thinking that this could have been some kind of extraction mission.

Her second natural 12 for reenlistment was the very next term, Term 3. I'm thinking that this could show a real need for experienced military in the post-war mop-up of hostile forces and re-acquiring former systems lost to the Outworld Coalition. Teri makes her Survival roll by a country mile this term, but rolls a natural 2 on her Promotion so the story seems to be that she is kept well away from the real action and is blackballed for promotion. I think this was the influence of someone that she thought was a close friend, but who manipulated a situation so that they got promotion instead of Teri. I think that this is her bitter rival to this day. (Details TBD).

Her next term she had to push hard to sign up for another tour. Possibly the aftermath of the blackballing, combined with a general reduction in hostilities. Teri emerges with Tactics-2 and Melee Cbt-1 plus a long-awaited promotion to O4 Major. I think the story here is that she successfully fought her rival in a duel to first blood, but that this bitter feud is not over by a long shot and will run and run throughout the campaign (Yes, I just re-watched The Duellists again :-) so sue me).

The interesting thing is that she gets another natural 12 to reenlist in her 5th Term. I'm yet to come up with why this might have been the case, but there's a potentially interesting plot thread waiting to be born right here. Whatever it was, she only made her Survival roll thanks to her +1 END bonus, so when combined with the effects of Ageing finally taking -1 STR from her, I'm going to say that she picked up a niggling shoulder injury that isn't healing up like it should thanks to her mature years.

One of the other things I've yet to explain is that she picked up Gunnery-2 during her career. I want to flesh out the why and wherefore of that but I'll leave it until later.

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