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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 October 18th, 2018, 04:07 PM
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Default Where do you find your inspiration for a good scenario?

Sometimes I should probably be embarrassed by how my mind seems to work. Because this thread, about where we find inspiration, was, in fact, inspired by the following question:

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Originally Posted by Ron View Post
Quite frankly, I never understood why people would even consider to expend money in a computer generated list of star systems, but First Survey does have its fans.
And I think my answer to that question is that, personally, I somehow find inspiration for scenarios in those lists of numbers. Because what I am usually looking for...is a setting. With only the merest hint of a plot in mind, somehow by finding the "perfect" setting for an adventure, whether it be on a world with an exotic atmosphere, a high tech-level, or just a rock in space labeled "Ancient Site"... that somehow gets my creative juices flowing, and helps me gel some crazy whim into something that more resembles a story.

But it occurs to me that not everyone is as crazy as I am.

So let me ask...where do you find your inspiration? As a Referee, where do you dredge up ideas about what you are going to throw at your players?
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Old October 18th, 2018, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
So let me ask...where do you find your inspiration? As a Referee, where do you dredge up ideas about what you are going to throw at your players?
Aside from books, TV, and movies? I like the newspaper.

Noble family member (but not moot member) on the outs with his home subsector's Duke has disappeared. Last seen entering a consulate in an adjacent subsector - a rival noble family wants and investigation (and to embarrass the Duke if at all possible...)

Youth sports team has gone missing with last known location a dangerous wilderness locale - go find and rescue the boys.

Tsunami has struck damaging a series of power plants - go assess the situation, and rescue survivors and equipment.

throw in a few twists and scifi elements and there you go.
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Old October 18th, 2018, 08:04 PM
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I too find inspiration in maps. I also find inspiration while I am drawing. A story evidences to me as my implement spreads graphite, ink or watercolor onto the paper. Since everyone knows that I draw Vargr, many of my ideas are centered around that Major Race wherever they are found in Charted Space. The Vargr have taken me from the most spinward to the furthest trailing, the coreward frontier to the thick of things in Deneb.

I find inspiration in major OTU events that are urgent such as the Fifth Frontier War, the oncoming Empress Wave or the outbreak of Virus. Historical events such as when Duke Norris presented Duke Luis, Duchess Muudashir and three Lanth Viscounts the Writ that elevated him to Archduke. Yeah. I had Travellers in the court when that happened.

A player's Traveller background, character generation story, personality can inspire me much like my artwork does.

Three examples from the Pakkrat.
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Old October 18th, 2018, 08:48 PM
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I draw on my many years of reading science fiction and fantasy, and also history, as a lot of times, truth is stranger than fiction.
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Old October 19th, 2018, 05:25 AM
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Having lead an interesting life (one which actually makes my therapist visibly concerned)...
... I find inspiration from a mix of my own life, the lives of my favorite heroes, various "No S***, there I was" stories (a few my own) books, movies, old maps, the quirks of Traveller's maps...

... but good players, most of all, result in good stories when given just a few nudges and allowed to follow their hunches...
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Old October 19th, 2018, 08:32 AM
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I create an interesting setting (background location and people) by randomly combining two concepts that don't naturally go together [Like the crisis in North Korea in the 1980's with the Invasion of Normandy ... or the Amish with Survivalist Militia] and creating a simple "adventure" outline like an early AD&D Module [you have 30 days to locate and destroy the "Guns of Navarone" ... go explore the Village of Nowhere]. Since most players won't follow the expected path anyway ... just go wherever they lead and make it interesting and fun.
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Old October 19th, 2018, 12:32 PM
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My inspirations, like many here, are drawn from a number of sources. Books I've read, things I've done and seen, what's in the news this week, events from the PCs character sheets.

I've found that, as atpollard said, combining two things that don't seem to mix works well. I took that from David Drake's "With The Lightnings" series where in his author's notes discusses what times in history he was blending. It works well at the seed for ideas.
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Old October 28th, 2018, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khadaji2002 View Post
I've found that, as atpollard said, combining two things that don't seem to mix works well. I took that from David Drake's "With The Lightnings" series where in his author's notes discusses what times in history he was blending. It works well at the seed for ideas.
I had a creative writing prof in college that had us go to the library stacks, pick five books from five different floors, pick a page number, go to that page in each of the five books, and find a way to combine something from that page in each of those books into a story. I actually used my story as an adventure in a game.

Cheers,

Baron Ovka
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Old October 28th, 2018, 10:11 PM
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I like the writing style of Gene Wolfe. He narrates just enough not to give too much away.
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Old October 29th, 2018, 05:30 PM
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There is a difference between my setting and scenario process.


Setting I derive from my own weird sense of how the technology in Traveller would interact with the messy history and humanity we have already, and trying to create a future sense of things that smells like people doing their thing in entirely new surroundings and issues. Secondarily consciously or otherwise with movies and writing that has the vibe I'm looking for.


Scenarios are more a matter of extrapolating from the setting, using some of that randomization encounter table processes, what different strange UWPs suggests as 'not from Kansas' problems, and above all the twist and the alternative endings.
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