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Old April 26th, 2011, 12:41 PM
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Default A new game begins. And I'm shaking like a leaf!

Okay, so I have found a few players to flush out a small group of Travellers! I'm very excited about getting another chance to play some Traveller for the first time in almost 30 years. This time however, I'll be keeping not playing, and I'm really nervous about things. I want to make the gaming experience as smooth as possible, with the emphasis on Role Playing as opposed to meta-gaming.
I have read through the various "New Keeper" threads here and else where, and am trying to preparer myself as well as possible.
I guess I'm specifically asking for more direct advice on how best to run a Mongoose Traveller campaign, set in the Spinward Marches.
Thanks again,
Louis
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Old April 26th, 2011, 01:18 PM
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well, real question is: what are you planning to do with them?

not knowing the players, the starting set up and the adventure ideas, i can't really advise much beyond the general stuff, but i will try:

first off:

1) it's your traveller universe, not thiers. what you say, goes. knowing how to say "No" is important, but not quite as important as...

2) Knowing how to say "yes". the games people remeber are the ones where they are driving the plot rather than following the railroad tracks. just because it'S yours, not theirs, don't be an arse about somthing without good reason.

3) plan ahead, but be prepared to throw it all out of the windoe if they don't follow the plan.

4) know what they like and what they don't like. if one player has a fetish for psions, try to include psion related stuff. if one player hates the aslan, then don't use aslan NPC's. tailor the game and the plot to suit the players tastes, and your own

5) don't be afraid to cheat like a complsive adulter behind that DM screen if it helps the players and the plot. if the damm robot has to miss 15 rounds solid to keep the players alive, then it misses 15 rounds solid. and if they simply cannot be allowed to leave the planet till X happens, then the ships M-drive breaks suddenly.

6) that said, don't let them know your cheating. it spoils the fun. the trick is to only cheat the real killers, things that would really spoil the game.

7) it's about having fun.


tell me (and the rest of us) more about the set up. what PCs have you got, where are they starting, with what? are they classic free traders, navy auxillaries, etc?
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Old April 26th, 2011, 01:35 PM
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Well, we've only made our introductions via email and the commitment to get started the other day. We will be meeting up or discussing character creation at that point.
I was kind of hoping to steer them into a
Space Pirate/Bounty Hunter/Mercenary type of adventure group.
I would like to discourage PC's from having alien races as a PC, but I suppose a Vargr wouldn't be too bad.
I'm really just in the infancy of making my game prep, and probably have a few weeks to flush out some of the bigger picture ideas. Who I want the main antagonists to be. I'll need to develop a few cohesive plot threads that can give the party some shape, but not pigeon hole them onto the "Rails".
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Old April 26th, 2011, 05:19 PM
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Okay, a few pointers are in order.
a. It's good to have a general if vague concept sketched out before hand.

b. Chargen can provide a wealth of ideas for antagonists, allies, contacts, etc. A major sub-plot was born from one of the players having three repeated events of found drifting in space with no memories of the elapsed time. One is odd, two wierd, three screamed for a reason.

c. A main antagonist isn't really neccesary as a theme, though they can be fun from a GM's perspective. The facelessness of the Imperium messing with the players, or Lt. Hardcase following them around waiting for them to break the law because he's certain "They Are Up To No Good". One is a theme, the other a clearly defined obsticale.

d. Pacing. I like to think about campaign pacing and feel in musical terms. Do you want a frenetic pace? Think Speed Metal or Speed Jazz, keep the scenes taut, the pacing swift, cut scenes to jump ahead, and don't worry about the minutia, its isn't important. Something slower, think Blues or Acid Jazz. Nuanced scenarios, subtle plots, alot of freeform running, just keep notes my friend if you do, keep it all straight. This lets you really make up your TU on the fly, gives the players freedom of action too.

e. Thumnail some NPC's, say thirty or more. Two ways to do this, 1. A quick description of appearance, any hooks, and a general description of what they do. A couple examples, Jake Lemon- Lemon colored hair, a street doctor, discrete medicine, Mama Tisch- Huge fun bags, a fixer, knows a lotta people who know people, will help for cash. 2. Get busy and generate them all, either design to need or totally random. Put them down in a notebuck, and number them for random event type things.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 06:55 PM
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You do pose some interesting questions, and solutions.
I always use Chargen as a way to create some story seeds. It looks like Traveller's chargen lends itself even more to that end.

As for the single antagonist vs. the nameless faceless Imperium messing with the players, I think a good helping of both might be in order. But I do see your distinction between the obstacle and the theme.

Pacing might take a bit to nail down. I think I will err on the side of action and faster paced. If the characters tend to want to slow down the action with their investigations, I suppose I'll take that as a hint that things are going a bit too breakneck. Of course I'm hoping to give them two scoops of action sooner than later. It might take me a little while to change gears myself from Call of Cthulhu.

I totally agree that paying attention to the NPC's can really go a long way to flushing out a more believable world. I will indeed to my homework and make at least 30 thumbnails.

I'm not 100% sure how to instruct the players as to selecting their homeworld during CharGen. I know i want to use the Spinward Marches from what I've read, so I suppose I'll just compile a list of probably character homeworlds and have them choose from those.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 08:00 AM
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just let them pick the homeworld traits they want and they can have come form some world outside of the marches. thiers no need to shoehorn their homeworlds into the setting (unless a player wants to be Marches born).


Quote:
I was kind of hoping to steer them into a
Space Pirate/Bounty Hunter/Mercenary type of adventure group.
I would like to discourage PC's from having alien races as a PC, but I suppose a Vargr wouldn't be too bad.
ok, thats fine. a lot of people don't like the Rubber Forehead Aliens in traveller and Star Trek, either.

my suggestions:

the players are the core of a small, single ship merc group, named to taste (eg "hammers slammers", "Von Richthofens Flying Circus", "Duke of Ankh Morporks Own". let them come up with a cool name. and kudos if you can name where all 3 names come form.), and "commanded" by a NPC businessman you control. his role is to manage the negoication of contracts and such while the PCs deal with the "military" side of things (i.e. he hands the players the adventure brief and says "go do that", then fades into the background until the end where he says "well done, heres your payment, and your next contract").

thier are other members of the merc group, but those are just NPCs to fill out crew rosters (i.e. extra gunners, spare mechanic, etc).

If you feel up to it, have the players roll up two seperate PCs each: a "space" character and and "ground" character. that way, all of the players can always be involved in the action, be it ship combat or personal fights, without half the players being forced to sit out because they choose to be ace mechanics rather than Marines.


for this sort of active, combat oriented game, you're going to want to give them a good, combat oriented ship, one with the armour and firepower to keep them alive. of the core rulebook ships, I'd suggest a Gazelle Close Escorts (400 ton, J4, M4, 8pts of armour, 4 turrets, and a launch for those "shuttle" missions you might want to run)

if you have/want to use the expanded ship building rules form High Guard and the ships form Traders and Gunboats, then the Firey class Gunned escort makes another, IMO better, boat for such a party (400 tons, J3, M5, 3 turrets and a 50 ton Fusion gun bay. nasty thing at shorter ranges). I;d suggest a few mods to the ship, but thats only if your comfortable with the ship building rules.

for an reoccuring antagonist, heres an idea:

the players merc group formed by breaking away form a another, larger merc group that has a number of contracts and assets all over the marches. the bussnessman that founded them (your NPC plothook giver) was a junior member of the larger groups board that decided to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond. He charms the players into forming teh core of his new company and, by some savvy political moves (and a few leagally gray ones), is able to get most of the players starting equipment (including the ship) "released" form their old company and to join his new one.


now, understandably, the old group is less than happy that an upstart board member has run off with several of the best employees and a few billion credits worth of stuff, and all (more or less) above board and untouchably. So, when they can, they seek to make life hard for the players. maybe they accept contracts that put them on the other side of a fight. maybe they pull strings to make starport customs be anal with the players. maybe they just spit at them in the bar.

Last edited by Xerxeskingofking; April 27th, 2011 at 08:02 AM..
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Old April 27th, 2011, 09:47 AM
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For the kinda thing your pitching, I think the 400 ton Type P Corsair is a better fit, easier to maintain, more cargo and flexible use, just give them a ships boat or pinnace, heck, one might get one as a benefit anyway. That way it opens up the gunrunning contracts and such too with 100 tons of cargo space. Room for a grav apc or two etc.

Not to meantion, more annymous, and easier to get Imperial Liscencing for.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 12:05 PM
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Thanks Xerxeskingofking & ThunderChilde,
Actually the NPC business man/dilettante idea was more or less what I had envisioned when I came up with this my campaign setting. It should give me an easy way to develop a bunch of adventures, and even some nice plot twists once the PC's eventually discover the true motives behind their benefactor. Who knows, maybe they won't even care that he is a scumbag as long as he coughs up the cabbage.
Yeah, I'm afraid I got a 0/3 of those merc group names. "I do not like the cone of shame"
The idea of having 2 characters one up and one down character is an interesting idea. As opposed to having to try to shoehorn in why a computer, or repair specialist is constantly being forced into jungle warfare.
Okay then, so it looks as if I have my work cut out for me.
Wish me luck, and hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll have a successful launch.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 12:58 PM
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Feel free to keep touching base if you need to. There are a lotta good folks here, some haven't dropped in yet I'm certain.

Hammer's Slammers.-scifi- armoured mercs, and MGT has a book for them. The Flying Circus-historical-, the Red Baron's Jagdgeschwader (fighter group) of four colorfully painted fighter squadrons. I confess ignorance of Duke of Ankh Morporks Own.
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Last edited by ThunderChilde; April 27th, 2011 at 01:13 PM..
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Old April 27th, 2011, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loudriver23 View Post
Well, we've only made our introductions via email and the commitment to get started the other day. We will be meeting up or discussing character creation at that point.
I was kind of hoping to steer them into a
Space Pirate/Bounty Hunter/Mercenary type of adventure group.
Keep in mind that there is alot of sanctioned privateering going on. Letter's of Marque are issued by MegaCorps, and Nobels of all descriptions and planetary and subsector governments. The Pirate Career path doesn't neccesarily mean you were an actual Pirate.
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