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The Cleon Memorial Library For discussion of Traveller fiction, both official and fan-written. Fan-written drafts are explicitly welcome.

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Old August 25th, 2019, 11:19 PM
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So, as this story evolves I find myself making little logical errors here and there. For instance, I introduce Farber as a captain, but then switch his rank to borderline incompetent first officer. And I also didn't give any narration to the Solomani Far Trader.

Oops.

But, writing is a discover process. I'm not trying to gloss over or talk my way out of bad writing, creating truly is like that. An edited second draft would (or will) be much longer as I give more exposition to the female captain; her background, her purpose of being the purpose of the Far Trader and so forth.

More later. I'm on a VPN and I'm not liking it.
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Old August 28th, 2019, 08:56 AM
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The story is coming close to an end. There was a chapter where I wanted to show some stuff, and that's coming, but my "old writer self" had a tendency to create safe havens for characters, thus removing the specter of peril. I've hopefully finally kicked that habit. As a sidebar anecdote here, one Traveller story, which has never seen the light of day, had a couple of characters from my old gaming group hold up in a hollowed out mountain left over from some Droyne or Darriens, and they watched a group of Zho g-carriers close with them oblivious to their fortress, when in fact they should have been running for their lives.

In this story I've been pretty lenient, and didn't want to keep giving my characters "mana from heaven" to deus-machina their way out of bad situations. When you do that, you have no story … or a very boring one. In spite of what Gahv is, I almost kind of like him. To me he epitomizes the Vargr gone raiding, but with a higher degree of success due to his makeup.

I've kept the locations vague and unofficial save for Regina and Efate. To me the Vargr Extents, or rather the nations within that region, are an ever changing landscape of polities. So it is that the old Kingdom or royal navy that Gahv served in is referenced, but otherwise unimportant as the government was overthrown, and possibly by this time whatever government replaced his old navy has itself been replaced by yet another revolution.

Anyway, if I've screwed up canon here and there … well, I won't apologize for it. YTU and all that. I've been playing or tinkering with the game since 79 or thereabouts, so I feel entitled to make mistakes, and then just explain it away as my interpretation.

So it is that I've used worlds other than the prime worlds in systems, or even as Port Saluga, rogue worlds in deep black where there's nothing on the charts. To me that's original flavor Traveller, with a dash of Imperium, Zhodani, and Vargr thrown in there for flavor.

Sorry if I sound like I'm apologizing. I'm not really, just trying to explain how I've created this tale for your enjoyment.

Thanks for reading.
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Old August 31st, 2019, 02:25 AM
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Sorry folks, but I've had some technical issues with the old computer's sound system. Largely the result of another troll and/or hacker bringing down my rating in an old RTS game. It does NOT put me in a creative mood. Far from it. So Gahv and crew patiently awaiting my mood's return to normalcy and its usual positive self. Rest assured, good story telling mayhem is to come.

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of "The Legend of the Stalker's Fang"! (*insert echo effect and dramatic music here *)
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Old September 1st, 2019, 10:59 AM
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More trolling this morning, so I'm not going to write for a while.

But, on the story. Captain Gahv may or may not be a Dire Vargr. He certainly doesn't behave like your typical Vargr, or rather he is a Vargr in many ways, but has a bit of a quirt to his personality. His crew, on the other hand, are quite normal Vargr.

As the story evolved things came up that were part inspirational, part education, and kind of fell into place. Almost as if I was getting help. Which kind of angers me.

The humans aren't incompetent, as some might conclude, but rather they're dealing with a quantity has another value than they initially think. Ergo you get them failing to deal with Gahv appropriately.

I've read through the original Aliens Module for Vargr, but to be honest, I don't recall much of it. Vargr are mentioned throughout the LBB series, and there's enough reminders here and there, even in the two computers games, as to major traits and basic psychology. That, and I happen to know a lot about dogs and some stuff about wolves. So the research for the story is based a lot on my knowledge of all aspects.

If I were to write the same story using an Aslan or Droyne or something, it would have a slightly different flavor, and I would be more prone to screwing up the alien particulars since, as I mentioned in another thread, even though I read the three Aslan alien modules more than once, I'm still a bit of a babe in the woods. And that's on top of having used Aslan in a couple of sessions way back when. Obviously the knowledge never stuck.

An interesting exercise might be to do a similar story using a Droyne, or maybe even a Hiver (K'Kree are interesting up to a certain point, but are fairly one-dimensional). I've used Droyne character a few times back in university days. Kind of a fun race to play, though reading through the more recent GURPS take on them, I'm not so sure I find their scout ships all that appealing.

As I mentioned before, I've not used a lot of proper knowns, and particularly from Travellermap.com To me it's a fan resource for all the wok that's gone into it. That, and I find certain aspects of fan-addons rather far fetched, so I stick with what was published by GDW and sprinkle in my own refereenesses.

I like to write action when I can, but I found explaining the day-to-day attitudes and operations of navy, scout and general government service and civilian or pirate life, to be kind of fun.

Things I forgot; the super huge grill intake behind the bridge on the corsair. Eh, there's been no real reason to mention much of the standard Vargr corsair design, but I feel I may have left out some aspects of description.

To me Vargr are intelligent wolves, so I write them as such. As uplifted wolves they have all of the positive and negative traits of their Terran counterparts. All animals can virtuous and duplicitous all at once. They're not much different from humans in that regard, save that a good portion of them don't turn on their own kind. Wolves are an exception as there's the usual pack power play going on. Gahv, because of who he is, doesn't really need to shirk off any mutinous efforts derived from pack mentality. He's bigger, stronger, possibly faster, and has a certain genius about him that he employs regardless of the consequences.

I've done a lot of gaming against the Zhos, that is they've usually been the NPC badguys in a few game sessions, them and their mind flaying psychiatric ways. They are, in essence, codified psychiatrists with a carny bent to them; i.e. they don't just "read minds", but the noble class wear that funky turban with a jewel like many a soothsayer at a Midwest carnival, spewing junk like "fortune shall fall upon you...", when in reality a safe was dislodged from an office window, and kills your characters. Ouch.

I'm not a big Zhodani fan, and even though I've read the old "classic" traveller Alien module on them, and a have a good feel for them . red hair and warbots and all, I just have a hard time really getting "into them", so to speak. Ergo my description of them I hope isn't too vanilla flavored. Let me know in this thread if you think otherwise.

Okay, cool down period done.
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Old September 2nd, 2019, 04:17 AM
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A couple of the latest chapters have some typos. Sorry about that. I spent a lot of time on it, and how I continue to miss flubs is beyond me. It's a thing that's been with me for all my life, so well there it is, and I can't do much to mitigate it other than to fix it when I'm inclined.
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Old September 3rd, 2019, 11:15 AM
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So, I've got 600 views, which is cool, and a rocking 12k on my Scout's Tale. Pretty cool stuff.

So, I'm thinking I need to explain (heck, I don't know, maybe I shouldn't, but I'm going to anyway). Twelve low profile "limpet" missiles that act as mines, to me, isn't out of the ordinary, although the reader may wonder at what time did Gahv and his crew have time to deploy them. My thinking was that as they exited jump and picked up the Zhoe patroller (a six-hundred ton ship), shoving a few pre programmed missiles out the cargo bay, with barely any electricity running through them, would float amongst the rest of the debris, and that there would be enough time for the Corsair to seal up her bay doors manually (hand cranking them) so as not to register power on the Zhodani sensors.

And in this way the Stalker's Fang could rotate bemusedly to her crew, although to Captain Gahv it's serious deadly business. It is a modern submarine warfare technique, although the name of the weapon escapes me. SLMM? I can't remember, and I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

To me it felt borderline "wrong" to have that, but there's no real indication of the size of the missiles, just that the SDB carries two magazines. I suppose I could whip out my old Traveller Book or High Guard and look them up, but I don't seem to recall a size being given to them again, not that I can remember, just that they're bigger than a bread box, possibly about the size or half the size of a modern sub torpedo, and they move through space on a plume of energy.

The explanation of the crew playing dead is going to wait for the next chapter. But, recall how battledress and other space oriented armor can do stuff. Even the Combat Environmental Suit described on the inside of Book 4 Mercenary has a kind of concealment aspect to it.

To me official Traveller armor and other combat gear is somewhat general and restrictive all at once. I'm glad T5 has a thingmaker, but it's my opinion that there needed to be more variations during the CT days. Equipment tended to be official or ad hoc. I can't ever remember seeing or reading about variations on combat armor or battledress. The blonde Luke Skywalker-like dude on the cover of the boxed Starter Edition, to me, looks like he's wearing a very highly effective version of a light combat armor that allows for speed and agility with a weapon and hand to hand. Another Dietrick special that really inspires and fires the imagination. So, with that thought in mind, maybe there's some stuff that the Vargr have that the Zhoes are well, to be blunt, clueless on.

To me the Zhoes are way over confident in their psionic ability, and just their way of life and society in general. It's why the Imperium keeps beating them back. And why even though they're the senior partner in the Zho-Vargr alliance, they'll never be able to conquer the Vargr nor convert a significant number of them to the Zhodani way due to the Vargr's chaotic preference for all things social or societal based. The Zhoe think they have all the answers, and they don't, no matter how far they've gone into the core.

I like the Vargr. I think most Traveller fans do, but even though they're multifaceted in terms of just pure characters, after writing about Aston and Vash, and toying with some other Vargr ideas, notably Gahv, I am kind of tired of writing about them specifically. I did have a Grandfather era story where Grandad's kids are getting uppity and using Vargr troopers to keep their seeded human colonies in line. Eh, that one may have to wait. We'll see

I've kept the space combat generic. I didn't want to translate Traveller's space-vector mechanics into some kind of artistic-license prose, because simply put there's on defined distance that I recall in basic combat. I think there is in high Guard, but I'm too lazy to dig out High Guard and read through it again for the umpteenth time as a refresher for a piece of fan fic. Still, it would help me avoid the Aslan Polearm gaff

A bit of a sidebar here, I briefly contemplated a Traveller-OGRE/G.E.V crossover story, but the tech base for Ogre is just way too lethal, and I'm not sure that penning an SJ Games story is proper for the Traveller fan fic thread. That's just me.

Lasers; as I've stated in other threads, I think lasers are under used, and a lack of variety of them, like with a lot of Traveller firearms, has always hampered the game. Ergo the HEL Gun, which has been generated in many a scifi novel and comic book, translated as "High Energy Laser Gun", which, again to me, means a weapon that's a notch or two more power than your standard laser, including the Zhoe's "assault" or "assault carbine" laser weapons, which I don't recall as being too significantly different from the standard Traveller 5D laser rifle, or its 4D carbine cousin. Ergo I gave the dogs a leg (paw?) up in weaponry in spite of their long patrol away from a home that's changed hands more than once.

Just as D&D has plus one and plus two magical swords, or variations on swords with things like "the vorpal blade", so it is that I've long wanted more official gear for the Traveller-verse RPG that had variations on stuff. Kind of like SJGames Car Wars, but stuff that didn't overcrowd the weapons' matrix or if it did, then hooray for variety.

I've got other stuff I want to say, but I'll refrain for now. I was again trolled this morning on a game server, so I need more time to cool off again.

Anyway, I hope the story as a whole has been entertaining, and that this thread has helped clarify things. Thanks for reading
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Old September 5th, 2019, 04:58 AM
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Trolled again, but all games wound up in victories, so I'm in an okay mood to write. I say that because even when someone isn't trolling by taking your resources, then they come after me with a vengeance. Kind of the whole idea of online gaming, for me, is to relax so I can go on and create really rocking stuff for you all and other people.

But, enough editorializing. I think I've overwritten a few scenes, adding description where I didn't need to. Sorry about that. This story is close to coming to its ultimate climactic ending, and hopefully the action will appeal to your tastes. If not, as always, please tell me so. Though given the lack of responses, I can see where things may be leading. Oh well. A good story is still a good story, no matter who writes it.

Some revelations here, I don't have a good feel for the Zhodani navy. I really don't. So I've kept them to a reasonable minimum in terms of exposition. To me the Zhoes are planetary assault troops, or recon units ranging over Imperial terra firma. And, of course, they are also the fifth column "commandos" blowing up stuff.

That's about all for now. I'm going to try and add more to this story this week. Maybe bring it to a satisfying close.

Thanks to all who reads my junk
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Old September 10th, 2019, 12:12 AM
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The readership keeps shooting up

This is the kind of thing I wanted to write way back in 2004 and 2005 when Hunter Gordon and I were talking via email. I'll never forget his encouraging admonishment; "If you can write a screenplay, you can write an adventure." LOL, how true he was However, as per my blog, I had little knowledge of the D20 / basic D&D rules where awarding experience was concerned. At the time I had gone back to school to finish my degree, and was just really angry with myself because I didn't know how to write really awesome military stuff. Until now That's important because during my exchange with Hunter I just point blank asked him if there was ever a way to just publish fiction. And by fiction I did not then, and do not now, mean stuff that has or would have any real significant impact on the Imperium and basic default setting for the game; i.e. no "save the universe" kind of stuff. His specific response was "not yet".

As I've stated in my web log and elsewhere on the forum, my liking of the OTU is its basic limited tech value or level. There's high tech, but no super-ultra high tech as per a Star Trek or even a Space 1999. Weapons are basic, and where there's grav stuff, and even arcologies, you don't have "world busting" technology as per a Star Wars "death star". There's no "Doomsday" machine, but there are relics of the past that could be explored and dealt with should they prove to be problems. Otherwise the Imperium operates like today's contemporary society; get up, go to work, and if something extraordinary happens, then you'll have to deal with it.

That, verse D&D where you roll daily for a wandering monster or some other encounter. In a tactical war sim where you're moving infantry, armor, aircav, ordering arty strikes and what not, the "adventure" is in winning the game, verse playing a single PC in a large combat scenario (which might involve dragons or other monsters depending on the setting). How to meld those items or elements together is a trick to deriving fiction from an adventure game.

"If you can write a screenplay, you can write an adventure." Boy, I'll tell you right here and now, how I wish I had just given it a shot way back in 2005 when I was taking Cold War and Broadcasting at my old alma mater, and T20 was the hot item. I remember sitting at the SFSU Student Union, and jotting down a few concepts in my spiral notebook. I also was writing TV show concepts for my broadcasting class; International Baseball League, a sitcom called "Family Yacht", an actual TV show that, at the time, I did want to produce called "Rogue Knight", and a couple dozen other concepts and episode treatments. That, and I was bucking for a job promotion with a lot of family interference. I was busy.

But, I had it in my mind that I wanted Hunter to see things my way, and, to be honest, and in a friendly way, Shove a story down his throat, so to speak, to see the genius of Traveller fiction for T20. That, as opposed to me actually reading and fully understanding the experience rules. To this day I still don't get them. Something almost akin to MT Starship construction.

But, just as I didn't have the experience with "EXPERIENCE", so it was that the best I could do for military-scifi or high-adventure-scifi for Traveller, was to maybe imitate some of my favorite authors. Not anymore, and if Hunter were alive today, this is the story I would offer him.

It's a little more complex than your average 4 to 6 PCs in a starship kind of story, but has that vibe that I was looking for for all these years. What I had hoped to convince Hunter of was to write maybe a series of these things … I don't know how many … four? ten? eight? twelve? Some number that he might sell on Drivethru or as an ebook or something.

I had another individual (not a friend) who showed me the example of someone who had written and self published an actual Traveller novel. The book was pretty rickety. A wrinkled and bent hard cover that had bubbles in the plastic, and when I opened it and read it, it wasn't very good. I will not mention the author's name nor the title of the book, but that dude, in spite whatever I thought about the quality, had actually done something. He had accomplished something. Whether it was authorized or not, I couldn't say, nor recall, but it was an accomplishment. Well, I wouldn't do that unless I got the official go ahead, and regrettably Hunter was diagnosed with cancer, and his condition faded over the years until he finally passed away.

Putting this piece of fan fic up here doesn't satisfy my dreams nor ambition, but it does help me share with you all what I would have liked to have done before I take off from this forum to move onto greener pastures.

I'm readying myself to wrap up this thing. It has to be organic and flow like the rest of the story, and to be honest I'm almost burnt out. It's a typical failing of mine, get 90% there, then feel tired so as to temporarily throw in the towel. I'll try not to do that here, and bring this piece to a good rousing conclusion.

Anyway, thanks for the views!
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Old September 12th, 2019, 02:01 PM
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Trying to let the brain cells recharge. I have an idea of how to end this, but don't want to cut it short, now drag it out, nor otherwise screw it up.

Given Traveller's longevity, I'm surprised there isn't more fan fic posted here and elsewhere. I'm not sure why that is. I guess a theory I have is that it's actually a hard game to write for given some of the restrictions it has, that, as opposed to how it started out.

I'm also surprised there's only two computer games for it. But that again requires some writing to get a good story going. But then again I don't see too many adventure games on the computer gaming market anymore.

This has been a cool thing for me to do. Again, broken record or scratched CD mode here, I just wished I had don this way back in 2005. With the fan fic I posted elsewhere I had to break through personal "don't be afraid" barriers, and it worked. I guess it's worked here, but no comments, so whatever. Either way I'm glad to have been able to do this.
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Old Yesterday, 06:45 AM
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I'm going to try and finish this up this week. I've been really burnt out on a number of things, but have a pretty decent idea of how to wrap this up. I want to thank everyone who took the time to read it.
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