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

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Old June 2nd, 2018, 07:05 PM
AsenRG AsenRG is offline
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Originally Posted by flykiller View Post
I've often found that everything I do in a game or setting is closely based on that first 15 minutes of thought.
Exactly. So I just dispense with the rest of them.

Brandon C exemplifies that approach, I believe.
"Still, it is ultimately the ability of the individuals
involved to play the role (by adopting the appropriate patterns of thought) that will determine the success or failure of the game
in portraying the Solomani as a race that is simultaneously human physically, but quite alien mentally and emotionally."
- Alien Module 6: Solomani (Introduction).
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Old June 5th, 2018, 11:45 PM
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For me it seems to be a few things together:

- a familiarity with the immediate setting the characters are in; being able to "see it" pretty solidly in my mind's eye.

- a solid grasp of the larger setting - the worlds or region they're at. A dash of culture and flavor goes a long way. Some dialect, some nuance. I can do this on the fly but it works out if I write down half a note card of details. Can definitely be inspired by source material

- a knowledge of what makes the players smile. This is profoundly important to running a game the players will enjoy. Part of your enjoyment might rub off on them, but I've found that running The Players Show works out much better than running Spenser's Show for the Players. If that makes any sense.

- an understanding of the ruleset. I don't get crazy here; I'm way more story-driven and I roll only as necessary.

Another tidbit that works for me: as often as I can, I use the wisdom of improvisation geniuses by embracing "Yes, and..." I try not to come out and directly say "no" to things my players clearly want.

I'll reject stuff that clearly isn't supportive of fun, but I try to be very careful about dismissing ideas or circumstances simply because "that's against the rules" or it didn't jive with some idea I had. I find lots of times I can flex and provide players with teh experience they're seeking, as put spin or add something to it that helps guide things the way I envisioned. Practicing this keeps overall prep down as it's a bit like "surfing" on the players' ideas.
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Old June 14th, 2018, 02:28 AM
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I find, having a good understanding of the rules, and familiarity with the books so if a question arises, being able to find the answer easily, is tantamount. But being able to fly by the seat of your pants makes the game more enjoyable for you and your players. As the old adage goes: no plan survives past initial contact with the enemy.

Iíve had a few occasions where the player(s) did something totally out of realm with my game plans, and I had to improvise on the spot. Being quick and having a good imagination, as well as decades of sci-fi background, made things work out well.
"if it's not fun, why do it?"
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Old June 28th, 2018, 10:30 PM
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As above, make sure you have a good understanding of the rules, plus the house rules you have, if any.

I make flowcharts and cheat sheets for myself on the house rule tables and charts, and some of the official ones, too, and have them taped up to my own four-panel judge's shield. I also put together a player's guide manual that has copies of al the maps, house rules, important tables, world and subsector lists, bios of important NPC's and/or major officials and any other thing I think they might need on the fly. I'll include deckplans and full descriptions of their ship if they have one. And it's a binder so I can add stuff as we go along.

I have a Range Band chart for grease pencil and minis that has ranges, rolls, and other info on it ready for space combat. Personal combat is more free-flowing but I have a range banding chart in my cheat manual.

Write a broad story arc for the campaign with enough info you can keep the Big Picture under control and ticking along while the players do what they want to/have to. For consistency's sake at the very least, and something to nudge them back into involvement in if the circumstances warrant.

Write up a few 1-2 session type adventures to have ready for a lull in the action, and maybe a few for looking ahead to when they reach planets or whatever you know they are headed for, or to plug in if things go someplace you didn't expect.

Have some quick cargoes and passenger list ready if they start with a ship.

Don't be afraid to ask the players what they want to do to give you an idea of how to color some of the campaign. Have some NPC's appropriate to those ends ready to insert here and there.

Most of all just be OK with winging it because players will always surprise you, or even just because sessions might run for an unplanned amount of time.

Finally, it's a shared imaginary space and the ref gets to play, too. If you aren't having fun because you're overloaded then pare back the scope of things. It might be time for something like a barfight or "Help the colonists fight the baddies" simple adventure to help bring the focus into macro.
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Old December 30th, 2019, 05:42 AM
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Thanks to MWM including Traveller cards in the T5 kickstarter I decided to invest in the various decks available for the game Infinity.

Shuffle, pick out a few cards from each deck and you have an instant scenario for a session...
The beauty of CT LBB1-3 is that the ref is free to make such decisions for themselves.
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Old November 4th, 2020, 06:19 AM
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I don't think you can "over-prepare" things that can be used in the game, but especially in Traveller it's easy to over-prepare all manner of elements that will never see use in an actual game. However, if it's fun to prepare those things - then, why not?

Having played and refereed for so many years (like many of us) I have accumulated a huge mental store of situations which can be slotted into a session if needed. But I still make up stuff, mostly for fun but always with an eye for future utility. As time goes on I buy and accumulate less published material, as it's easier to retrieve files from my head than from my electronic storehouse.
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