Traveller Store CotI Features New Posts Mark Forums Read Register


Go Back TravellerRPG.com > Citizens of the Imperium > Referee's Lounge

Referee's Lounge Discussion of how to (and not to) Referee Traveller and Cepheus Engine games. No edition warring allowed.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old July 3rd, 2018, 05:11 AM
2010 2010 is offline
Citizen: SOC-5
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 12
Gallery : 0
2010 Citizen
Default First Contact

So my idea is that I want to run my game sort of proto-traveller style. U really enjoyed the discussion about keeping things simple, without the 3I. Winging it as I go, letting my imagination create the setting. That's how i've always pretty much done things. However, I got to thinking that I have a scout ship exploring the unknown from a system that just developed jump capability, so all of space is unknown to them.

Shortly after entering a new system, they detect an energy source. They know that there are no other scouts have been assigned to the area they are exploring. As the ref, I know that this is a first alien contact. Whether it is another ship or from an inhabited body does not matter at this moment. What I do know is that the aliens are already colonizing other systems, and this is not their home system. If it is a ship, they are somewhere relatively close to their frontier, and if it is an inhabited world, it is probably not very established as it is at the edge of their frontier.

What I am wondering is how to determine the size of their controlled space and just where it is located. I have been thinking of using their jump number and multiplying it by ten to determine the rough diameter of their controlled space, then rolling for each system within it. The homeworld may need a bit of adjusting to make it work for the alien race, which would be rolled at random with a bit of adjusting or re rolling to make it work also. The direction of the homeworld from the contact system would need to be determined also.

On the other hand, I really like the way T4 Pocket Empires allows the creation of detail as to how a system and its neighbors interact with each other, and how they develop over time. The referee can draw endless situations that are plausible in a reasonably small setting. One can ignore official canon completely and create a unique backstory in the process.

The question is how to keep things as simple and free flowing as possible regardless of which direction I choose to go with.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old July 3rd, 2018, 11:20 AM
kilemall kilemall is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 4,108
Gallery : 0
kilemall Respected Citizenkilemall Respected Citizenkilemall Respected Citizenkilemall Respected Citizenkilemall Respected Citizenkilemall Respected Citizen
Default

Totally random polity sizing= roll 1d6.


On a 6, roll another die, stop if 1-5, roll again if 6.


Multiply the results.


So roll 5, 5 systems.


Roll 6 then 5, 30 systems.


Roll 6 then 6 then 5, 180 systems.


Gets you a quick number to work with, bite-size chunks most of the time and the bigger stuff should be pretty rare and can be ignored if you don't want to use it.
__________________
YUMV- Your Universe May Vary.
YOMD- Your Opinion May Differ.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old July 3rd, 2018, 04:08 PM
2010 2010 is offline
Citizen: SOC-5
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 12
Gallery : 0
2010 Citizen
Talking

I think that will form a good basis for what I'm looking for. The jump capability of the aliens I think can be used instead of or in some fashion to increase the number of worlds, as they would have had more time to expand their borders.

If they have a capability of J-3, then a roll for J-1 could be used to determine roughly how developed the systems are. A second roll for J-2 would add to the number of systems in the next wave of expansion, and J-3 could be their frontier.

Thinking about this a bit more, once the shock of the signal detection wears off, the captain pulls up a star chart. Players then roll for system presence only for x number of hexes away and direction. The ref makes a secret roll for alien homeworld distance and direction. All systems within the jump numbers are potentially settled by them and are within their range of operations. Instant alien civilization. Due to slow communications between worlds it will take quite a while before either side can put into motion to decide what to do about the newcomers, giving the ref and players ample time to generate the future. No canon needed, and play progresses naturally.

This is really looking good. Thanks for the reply!! Would love to hear more ideas.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old July 3rd, 2018, 06:09 PM
whartung whartung is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,968
Gallery : 0
whartung Citizen+whartung Citizen+
Default

What do you want it to be?

Another thing thats suggested here on the forum long ago (I think atpollard suggested it, but I may be wrong), was to generate a blob of planets, (sector, subsector, whatever).

Then you methodically reduce the planets back to until the highest TL system is TL-9 and Jump 1. You do this by knocking the TLs back level by level, and similarly you reduce the population number (I don't recall the factor on population adjustment, 10-20% perhaps each iteration). It's kind of a matter of how long each TL represents as you knock everyone back to the stone age.

In the end you have a single system (or more) that's at Jump-1. You then go through all of the non-shirt sleeve worlds (exotic atmosphere and whatnot) and just zero out their populations (they no longer have the tech to support them). So, they lose their population, their starwort, their government and law level. And leave behind a fresh, new garden planet to stumble upon.

Now you have a "virgin" galaxy awaiting conquest. Take your new society and their new, magic, Jump Drive, and start expanding. Your society, obviously, brings their TL-9 with them as they head out.

Then it becomes a question of how far you go, how long before you reach TL-10 and Jump-2, etc. Can you find the TL-8 worlds before they reach TL-9 and get their own Jump-1, and start competing. (Or if there was another TL-9 world that survived).

There's no rules, it's a thought experiment, but it's a different starting tableau than just a random sector trying to figure out what 1000 people are doing living on a gas giant.

I actually wrote code to do this, I'll have to look at it when I get home -- see if I can dredge it up.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old July 4th, 2018, 02:58 AM
2010 2010 is offline
Citizen: SOC-5
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 12
Gallery : 0
2010 Citizen
Default

What do I want it to be is a great question. It made me stop and think for a bit. To answer, I need to go back to what has been in the back of my mind for quite a few years.

Sometime possibly as long as 15 years ago or so, I came across Steer for the Third Star on the Left. A free rule set for playing a multi player 4x game on paper. Everything was created randomly. I thought that it could make a great Traveller campaign backdrop. It created a macro setting where things were always happening for a reason. Traveller originally set out to be played on a micro scale of the populated systems. The OTU gives a macro enviroment, but never really turned me on. Then I found T4's Pocket Empires, that gives enough information to connect the micro to the macro, but the OTU was still lurking in the background. That's not a bad thing, just not my cup of tea. The urge to create it as I go has always been in the back of my mind. I've had a bit of a break from real life tasks the past few days, and this issue came back to mind, so I am spending a bit of time while I have it mulling it over to see if i can bring it to something workable.

I did read atpollard's digression idea and I like it. My initial reaction was that the digression work time could be spent in creating or building the backdrop. That being said, creating the systems and adding the additional details from Pocket empires, is what I'm looking at now. It may be helpful to do Pollard's digression also, as it may reveal some additional things that might not come to light using the PE method. Which brings me to what are those 1000 people doing around the gas giant.

There must be a reason why the players want to know the details of that moon of the gas giant. Did they meet an NPC who needs to get there in a hurry? Does cargo need to be delivered? Or do they just want to go there for whatever reason? If I can come up with a relatively quick way to come up with a set of charts for creating the macro, I can find something in there that will be enough to set up the micro. It doesn't have to be much, the rest of the details can be done as time goes on. One thing that also needs to be fleshed out is economics.

PE and T5, use the RU in the macro, but do not match up with each other as to how many RUs a system generates. I need to look into PE more as they do have a credit to RU figure that I don't remember offhand. It's my universe and I can use whatever I want, as long as it basically works. If RUs are being used or generated by that 1000 pop gas giant world, then there are credits available to fund a task by a patron for the players. That world could become the base of operations for the players for quite a while and the details of said world will grow over time.

Enough of my rambling for now. Time to get out my folder of world building charts, and start piecing together something that works reasonably fast. Will keep you posted.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old July 4th, 2018, 07:16 PM
Xerxeskingofking's Avatar
Xerxeskingofking Xerxeskingofking is offline
Knight
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Blandford Forum
Posts: 736
Gallery : 0
Xerxeskingofking Citizen+Xerxeskingofking Citizen+
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2010 View Post
So my idea is that I want to run my game sort of proto-traveller style. U really enjoyed the discussion about keeping things simple, without the 3I. Winging it as I go, letting my imagination create the setting. That's how i've always pretty much done things. However, I got to thinking that I have a scout ship exploring the unknown from a system that just developed jump capability, so all of space is unknown to them.

Shortly after entering a new system, they detect an energy source. They know that there are no other scouts have been assigned to the area they are exploring. As the ref, I know that this is a first alien contact. Whether it is another ship or from an inhabited body does not matter at this moment. What I do know is that the aliens are already colonizing other systems, and this is not their home system. If it is a ship, they are somewhere relatively close to their frontier, and if it is an inhabited world, it is probably not very established as it is at the edge of their frontier.

What I am wondering is how to determine the size of their controlled space and just where it is located. I have been thinking of using their jump number and multiplying it by ten to determine the rough diameter of their controlled space, then rolling for each system within it. The homeworld may need a bit of adjusting to make it work for the alien race, which would be rolled at random with a bit of adjusting or re rolling to make it work also. The direction of the homeworld from the contact system would need to be determined also.

On the other hand, I really like the way T4 Pocket Empires allows the creation of detail as to how a system and its neighbors interact with each other, and how they develop over time. The referee can draw endless situations that are plausible in a reasonably small setting. One can ignore official canon completely and create a unique backstory in the process.

The question is how to keep things as simple and free flowing as possible regardless of which direction I choose to go with.
One option for working out the length of the tail would could be to look at how far in form a base port a scout ship can range


Traveller ships need maintenance in general, and a annual overhaul in particular. Working form this, we can say that a scout ship, generally, is only about six months travel time away from a shipyard that can preform that level of maintenance. So, no more than about 25-30 weeks away. Assuming they can find fuel, thats about 15 jumps back to base.

Now, other factors whittle that number down a bit. A scout ship in uncharted territory is going to be going slower than that, as it needs to both survey the systems its passing though and forage for wilderness refuelling sites. I'd imagine that most scout ships would be built with enough fuel for two jumps (or J2 or higher, allowing a J1 jump in and a J1 jump out), lest they get caught in a fuel-less system. This shortens the "tether" down a few jumps, down to maybe 12 or even 10 jumps out of a repair site.


Now, this repair site doesn't need to be a major colony, it could be a frontier world where the scout base and shipyards are the major employer, or even a jump-mobile shipyard that acts as a "mothership" for the local scout/survey effort.




on what happens on first contact, I'd imagine any sort of organised scout/survey effort is going to have a established, codified protocol on What To Do In A First Contact Situation, even if its just "get the hell otta dodge and tell us about it". I'd imagine that its would recommend a cautious approach, while trying to be discreet about it.

Also, what is the alien's reaction to the first contact? is this something they were expecting, something they planned for? is this a planned approach after having spotted the players, or will they break for the jump limit as soon as they detect the players? are they even scouts, or something else (for example, a planetary survey crew in a backwater, or a freighter travelling to a automated mining colony.)? do they even realise the players are a new race? Do they start complaining the players are trespassing? their as a lot of things that could happen.

Last edited by Xerxeskingofking; July 6th, 2018 at 03:20 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old July 5th, 2018, 06:48 PM
2010 2010 is offline
Citizen: SOC-5
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 12
Gallery : 0
2010 Citizen
Default

Xerxes, I never gave a thought to maintenance. Your absolutely about that having an effect on contact range. Will have to keep that in mind.

What will the aliens response to an unexpected detection of the players ship? It may not be the players at all, but scouts from the players side happening in the background. The players may only learn of the first contact through wildly exaggerated rumors several months later.

Is the contact with the players race their first contact, or have they met more races? What are those relations, and have the players met them prior? Is the detection of the craft a possible friendly craft jumping into their system? All of these things can be determined at the macro level, and will be unique each time it is played out.

Well, back to working out the macro level charts.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old July 6th, 2018, 12:14 PM
whartung whartung is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,968
Gallery : 0
whartung Citizen+whartung Citizen+
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerxeskingofking View Post
traveller ships, need maintenance in general, and a annual overhaul in particular. working form this, we can say that a scout ship, generally, is only about six months travel time away from a shipyard that can preform that level of maintenance. so, no more than about 25-30 weeks away. assuming they can find fuel, thats about 15 jumps back to base.
For laughs I printed out a map of Spinward Marches.

I started in Regina, and contrived the following rules.

Jump takes 2 week in to an unknown system. In to a known system or empty hex, it takes a week. The logic is that while we can detect a gas giant in a distant system, we can't really plot where it is, so you can't jump "to" the gas giant, and you burn a week traveling to it to refuel. During the extended week is when the base, gross survey is done. Everything else is basically travel.

Mission duration is 6 months. For simplicity, I just gave every system a gas giant. The printout I was using was small and I wasn't going to look for little dots.

Starting at Regina, I was able to reach 82 systems, and it took about 32 years to do it with a single ship. You could send out multiple ships, but this only scales so far as the big cost is the unexplored systems. You could have out going ships rendezvous with homeward bound ships to trade data for the outward leg of the new ship.

That said, I don't think 10 ships would do it in 3 years. But you should easily be able to knock it down to 5-10 years with extra ships. There's roughly 4 directions from Regina, so just 4 would speed things up.

Increasing mission duration obviously increases range. There were several trips down arms of systems that took the entire mission just to get one more system at the end. That's one instance where a couple of ships, a week or two apart can share the data and gain some real time.

It was an interesting little experiment. I'd have to try it again with multiple ships, see how fast it could go. Its a bit of a trick to keep track of what was visited and counting the path back so as to not go too far.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old July 6th, 2018, 03:37 PM
Xerxeskingofking's Avatar
Xerxeskingofking Xerxeskingofking is offline
Knight
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Blandford Forum
Posts: 736
Gallery : 0
Xerxeskingofking Citizen+Xerxeskingofking Citizen+
Default

whartung, when you say "duration 6 months", is that 6 months from leaving port to turning around, or 6 months from leaving port to entering port?

Right, so, to expand that reach, the easiest option is to send a depot ship/tender forward to a convenient system, for example a branch in the jump main or a particularly valuable garden world. This depot ship would basically be just a jump capable shipyard (constructible under MgT rules, and I;m sure it can be bodged into other systems), with the supplies, yard workers and equipment to conduct annual maintenance or major repair work.


pushing one these out would basically "reset" the clock for endurance, so it would expand the number of systems that could be explored. it would also speed up the exploration of the local area as ships could spend more time exploring and less time in transit to the yards.




The longer term solution would be establishing a frontier colony, with the same initial set up: a full yard to support the scouting effort, plus whatever facilities is needed to support that yard. This colony would act as a "bridgehead", or a focal point for father efforts in the local area. In time, it would become a major "nodal" system for the subsector, much like Regina is.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old July 6th, 2018, 03:56 PM
whartung whartung is offline
Citizen: SOC-14
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,968
Gallery : 0
whartung Citizen+whartung Citizen+
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerxeskingofking View Post
whartung, when you say "duration 6 months", is that 6 months from leaving port to turning around, or 6 months from leaving port to entering port?
The ship had to be back to Regina in 6 months.

Obviously, you can build longer missions, set up forward bases, push out freighters and what not.

I just picked 6 months as an arbitrary "for the sanity of the crew" kind of number. Even with annual maintenance, there has to be some base assumption that if anything "goes wrong", you're likely stranded and dead, so always good to not press your luck. Early on, there's actual survey work. But later, it's just a lot of time in jump space. How many times can you watch the all 9 seasons of X-Files? It can be tough duty.

I can easily visualize a 10 year program of nearby exploration. At that point, you have 82 new systems to decide what to do with, so at what point do you "just stop" and start expanding. You'd also want to go back for more detailed surveys anyway, which take a lot more time. This is just a cursory glance to capture basic planet mechanics. Lots more work to do. This phase I'd just chalk up to the "Pathfinder Service".

It was certainly frustrating as a surveyor. I would reach the edge of a cluster of worlds, but the rest were JUST out of reach.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
contact flykiller Play by Post - OOC 12 July 28th, 2014 03:31 PM
How do I contact FFE? Antichrist The Lone Star 1 November 22nd, 2006 05:06 AM
Contact! D'r'k'kla graymask1120 Contact! 4 May 12th, 2006 09:08 AM
Contact: Prt' Flynn Contact! 0 November 7th, 2002 12:36 PM
Contact(s)! notagoodusername T20 - Traveller for the D20 System 0 June 2nd, 2002 08:29 AM

This website and its contents are copyright ©2010-2013 Far Future Enterprises. All rights reserved. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises .
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright (c) 2010-2013, Far Future Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.