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Old August 29th, 2005, 11:57 AM
Erai Erai is offline
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As this is my first post on this really pretty-looking forum, let me start with "Hello all!"

Reason I made an account here is that, well, at the moment lil ol sad me may need a little practical, intellectual and/or moral support

I have been trying to get a Traveller campaign going for, oh, about six years now... love the setting! Thing is, all my test-sessions dud so badly that I have not been able to convince any of my -potential- players to actually start a character in a campaign.

I have tried two systems: CT and GT.

Classic Traveller: First (and only) session... Five or six characters died, one after another- during creation, one character ended up as a 22-year old almost unskilled decksweeper, one ended up as Baron such and such, six terms, a bucketload of credits and a Beowulf under his grav belt... and everybody went like oooooookay, that was, erm, fun. Who wants to go out for pizza?

Gave me kind of a hangover, that. Still wonder how that might have gone better...
Crippling characters after missed survival rolls has been considered as an option, but not used- mostly because we were used to balanced parties with characters with "power-levels" that were not too varied.

Second try then: Gurps Traveller. I like Gurps, even if it is mostly for the background material.

But, aaaaanyways. During our test session, we tried out some ship-to-ship combat between an Akkigish Subsidised Merchant and a Stellar class subsidised liner. Which turned out to be exceedingly boring, I'm afraid... it went like poof poof poof with lasers, every missile was easily destroyed by point defense fire. No damage inflicted was great enough to even consider looking at the light damage table, and after, say, 30 minutes of die rolling, the players went like oooooookay, that was, erm, fun. Who wants to go out for pizza?

Since I would really like to give GT another go, the second question (identical to the first) is even more desperate... what did I do wrong?
I mean, GT ship combat hás been designed with thrills and danger in mind, hasn't it?

(btw, there were more tries -stories in themselves, of doom, death, disaster, and desolation, but I think I do know which mistakes I made there at least... firefights with heavy weapons and no body armor= kinda, erm... deadly, we discovered, the hard way )
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Old August 29th, 2005, 12:21 PM
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Hello Erai,

there are several things that come into mind reading your articel.

1) Traveller isn't AD&D, the die roll isn't everything. Especialy on CT, MT, TNE and T4 the Gamesmaster should use his brain instead of letting the dice do the killing. Again... Traveller isn't AD & D... or Paladium for that matter .

2) Characters could be created several ways, we used different ways to generate Characters. First we rolled them like you did. Then we created characters by using a point system. At last we designed them outright using the rules an bending them, this made the characters more believable. A scientist with a shotgun skill of 3 and no scientifics isn't a scientist at all. The combined Inteligence and Education score should allways be the limit of Skills.

3) On Benefits, for every Term served, there were benefits. If you served only one or two terms as enlisted or even petty officer you could only get low to middle class benefits. It isn't logical, that an army private with one to two terms gets 50 000 cr, a TAS-Membership and several high passages.

4) A matter of nobility, Nobles aren't rare in traveller. But player character nobles are. If one noble exist in a campaign of mostly ex-Marines that could have only one meaning: A noble with his privat encourtage of bodyguards, could be fun to play... especialy if the noble has some common sense instead of high ideals and very high noses.

5) On Gurps Traveller, Space battle should be fast paced, visual and player strategy should have an impact on the outcome. Look at the Trillion Credit Squadron for some advices. If you linger on the die roll instead of storytelling virtues it grows boring. Even more so, traveller lives by it's players. I am an Oldtimer to this game as I am an Oldtimer to AD & D, my first Traveller Rulebook was in my hand at the soft age of 14, that is a long way back. It was 1981, I ordered it at the only Bookstore in Germany that had Roleplaying Equipment. At first i was dissapointed, because it used only D6 [img]smile.gif[/img] ... But the dissapointment became glee as I learned how fast the rules could be converted.

Regards

Torsten
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Old August 29th, 2005, 12:35 PM
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Erai,

Let me tackle the CT parts, others can handle the GT ship combat stuff.

First, since when is character creation a game session? I first ran CT in '78 and played Traveller pretty much steady up until the mid-90s. I never ran chargen during a session.

- In the case of 'oldies', the players had their PCs already.

- In the case of 'newbies', they could choose a PC from a previously generated list. (The various published adventures had a dozen or so PCs just waiting to be used.) If the 'newbies' liked the game, they could then generate a PC on their own time. As the the GM all I wanted was final say on whether the PC could be used or not(1).

Second, death during chargen is an option and has been so since the later editions of CT. If you fail a survival roll, the PC immediately musters out. They get no skill rolls for that term, no mustering benefits, and only have 2 years added to their age (so no aging rolls).

It's this meta-game 'Risk vs. Reward' that sets Traveller apart from other RPG systems. You only have partial control over your PC's previous career, just as you only have partial control of your own career. You can't spend points precisely as you wish to the exact PC you want. Instead you play a PC that is a tad more realistic.

Next time, hand your players a pregenerated list of PCs, maybe a few dozen, they can choose from.


Have fun,
Bill


1 - I turned down a few, highly skilled PCs.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 01:05 PM
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welcome to coti!

traveller is hard. get the players interested in the adventure, not focused on the game system itself.

1) create an adventure plot, a goal for the players to pursue.

2) consider the adventure. what does it need to make it work? who are the personalities and characters behind it? what is going on that everyone can see? what is going on in the ackground? why should the players want to do this adventure? draw up or get all of this - maps, npc's, equipment, schedules, deckplans.

3) what bill said. draw up a list of pre-generated characters of different backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses. combat, tech, street-savvy - who has it, who doesn't. make your players choose.

4) put your player characters in the adventure.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 03:40 PM
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For CT Flykiller is 100% right. Pre-generated characters are the only way to go. Make them yourself by fiat (IMHO).
What I have learned about starship combat is that it cannot be the focus of the game and it needs to move!
Another thing I have found during my short time here is that is you have an adventure idea sketched out post it here! Even if you don’t use any of the ideas people give you their input can give you some great ideas. Being able to draw on decades of experience is really helpful especially in the beginning.
Finally, be ready for the players to blow your plot to &^*%.

Good luck!
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Old August 29th, 2005, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by flykiller:
traveller is hard.
I disagree on this point. Traveller is as hard as you want to make it.

The above points are all good. Have your material prepped beforehand, especially characters and the local setting. Use a tired old plot from a TV show or a movie as an introduction, that way the players have something familiar in SciFi to use as a 'handle'. Have the PCs go on a bughunt - like in the movie Aliens. Have the PCs be ethically challenged merchants trying to buy low and sell high - like in the TV show Firefly. Have the PCs be bounty hunters chasing down galactic criminals - like in the anime Cowboy Beebop.

To start out, have the theme of the adventure be familiar - the difference is how the game mechanics work. As time goes on, then push them further from the norm as you wish in incremental steps.

As for getting the players interested and involved, have them help you with background. Make your players generate their own homeworld, they tell you what it is like and you show them the corresponding numbers that will describe it while introducing them to that part of the rules. I've found this to be an excellent angle with new players, hopefully it will be successful for you as well.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Traveller is as hard as you want to make it.
(smile) the players make it considerably more difficult than I want it to be.
Quote:
As for getting the players interested and involved ... make your players generate their own homeworld, they tell you what it is like and you show them the corresponding numbers that will describe it while introducing them to that part of the rules. I've found this to be an excellent angle with new players, hopefully it will be successful for you as well.
now that is a good suggestion, as long as you can fit it into whatever you've already generated.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by flykiller:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Traveller is as hard as you want to make it.
(smile) the players make it considerably more difficult than I want it to be. </font>[/QUOTE]I feel your pain, flykiller.
Best player in my group came up to me last session and wanted to play a "jewel thief that disguises himself as a travelling haberdasher". I suggested he name the PC Plain Simple Garrick. Integrating the PC into adventures was an adventure in itself.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 08:50 PM
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As was said, traveller is NOT D&D, in fact that statement, accurate as it was, did not go far enough.

Traveller was meant to be the utter antithesis of D&D.

In traveller the tech was kept low to keep characters and roleplaying from dominating the game, as opposed to D&D where magid, weapons, armor and monsters ran the game and the hwole point was to get to the next level, grab the magic sword, get soem more gold to buy better armor, etc.

in traveller a lot of player characters want money not to buy a new weapon, but to become rich with. Their motivations are not just to 'level up' but to live it up.

So don't try running traveller anything like D&D. Instead look at the players as guys whn want to make a big score, avoid prison, get a better ship or just pay off the one they have already.

If your players get killed too often, try making them a bunch of newbies who get recruited by an old space hand who's lost the rest of his crew and needs some helpers, fast. he can give them sage advice, show them the ropes, etc.

As for getting thru a traveller adventure alive, remember that combat is a last resort. Try bribing, blackmailing, seducing, sneaking, etc.

When people have laser, gauss and plasma weapons, combat tends to be deadly. So try avoiding it.
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Old August 29th, 2005, 09:45 PM
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Hello Erai and welcome to the forums!

Well it seems that everyone else has lectured you already, so there is no need for me to do that further. LOL

Hang in there. I played Traveller originally in the mid-1980s. And I can tell you that my Solomani Rim campaign was pretty much a failure. I loved the game, I loved the history. I spent tons of money on all the LBBs and GDW supplements.

And I even had 2-3 years experience as a VERY POPULAR Dungeons & Dragons DM and all my D&D players loved my DMing style! So for me, I was just puzzled as to why my Traveller campaign was a failure.

Ah well, live and learn. I'm trying again, but this time there will be quite some differences. For ONE thing, I am now focusing on playing an Internet based Trav campaign using GRIP. For the second thing, I will focus on attracting ONLY players who are already friends and colleagues whom I know are:

#1) already dedicated fans of Science Fiction and

#2) they are already total nerds who love playing all sorts of online roleplaying games.

This time, I'm maximizing my chances of success, and learning lots of tips and suggestions from OTHER experienced Traveller GMs on these forums.... before I launch my modern attempt at a Traveller campaign. LOL

best of luck!
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