• Welcome to the new COTI server. We've moved the Citizens to a new server. Please let us know in the COTI Website issue forum if you find any problems.

Another highlight reel ("From Little Acorns")

The first Traveller session I've been involved in for around two decades took place last night. I squeaked with rust a lot, but stuff happened, the player characters met up and headed off (to the right place) on their ship, and no-one died. Perhaps best, they're already planning what they want to do for next week...

By way of a little background, MTU is very far from being canonical Traveller. It's only around 300 years in the future, the furthest human outposts are around 50-60 light years from Sol, no alien races have been encountered (yet). Highest tech levels are 12-13ish, but the frontier planets generally have a lower native tech level, although imported equipment of higher tech levels is available for a price.

The group consists of four players, four PCs. Three of the players are old hands at role-playing, the fourth has played a little AD&D, but this is her first SF game (she is, however, into SF). And a mismatched bunch of PCs they are too; one ex-army officer, Colin, a sniper who (somehow!) got promoted to the heady rank of Colonel. One flyboy/mechanic, Harry, who's served with the army man in the past - in addition to making lots of gadgets, he likes to blow stuff up.
Henrietta served as ship's doctor on a merchant liner for a few years, while occasionally "diverting" some of the pharmaceuticals and finding more deserving homes for them. At least that's her story... Quite slick with the fast-talk, knows her way around the market and also a dab hand on a computer keyboard.
Our merry band is piloted around the universe by Jacob, the ex-Scout (and ex-Navy, but he doesn't like to talk about that) in the Bleeding Heart, a battered old 200-ton troop-transport/dropship that took a bad hit a few years ago and got decommissioned after being patched up. A refit has turned it into a rather spartan ship with a large hold for its size, but not many staterooms.

Getting the group together required a little deus ex machina of course. Jacob and Hen have been crewing the Bleeding Heart together for a few months; between them they've been managing to keep the ship in fuel and repayments as a result of Hen's aptitude for trading. Jacob has a nice new pair of legs following the accident that he had in the Scouts, and he'd like to keep them safe from the loanshark to whom he owes rather a lot of money...

Col, who spent so much money on buying toys that he's got less then the price of a Happy Meal in his pocket, got a job referred to him from an old army buddy. Nothing too complicated - a "bring back alive" bounty warrant for a chap who's wanted for questioning regarding a suspicious death. Said chap has skipped planet. And so they need a ship to go to the very out-of-the-way planet where the suspect was last known to be headed.

To be honest, not very much happened in the gaming session other than the characters getting to know each other (and working out what buttons to press to wind each other up!), the players working out how the universe works, and me seeing the way the characters were working together, what kind of ideas they were coming up with, what directions they were taking... I don't railroad any adventures, so if the players have a direction they want to go in, I try to accomodate them.

Docked at a corporate owned factory facility/ad hoc starport around a terraforming moon, with around two-hundred people on board, how hard could it be to find the guy? Well, having established that he was probably still in-system (there's not much through traffic out here in the boonies) they still hadn't found him after three days of surveillance. Opportunities to do more intel-gathering were missed, which might have helped them save time. Eventually, after a brainwave, they find out that he's down on the surface of the (absurdly cold) terraforming moon, with a survey team.

So... will our brave heroes don their winter woollies and brave the blizzard? The warrant is only good for another twelve days, so will they risk waiting for him to return to the orbital platform? Does he even know that they're after him? All this, and maybe more, will be answered in the next episode...

(Damn, how much did I write? The plan was for a short post, not the first chapter of War and Peace!)
Good post anyways.

And welcome to the boards, hello, and if your players decide that they like Traveller, send them to the board!
The Calm Before The Storm

Well, the second session of the new Traveller campaign went off last night, mostly without a hitch. The players staggered me by avoiding any serious mess-ups and playing it legal and by the book... Rather than go down to the planet they delivered the warrant to the station manager who, while not exactly giving the PCs a warm welcome, rendered assistance and summoned the survey craft and crew back from the planet's surface early (which they didn't mind given that the next day was Founder's Day, a day off/light work day). The suspect was handed over the the PCs by station security, whereupon they undocked and headed for a jump point. They don't expect to be received with open arms should they return there, but they played the cards well and pulled it off without a shot. (Much to the disappointment of Col, the gun bunny).

Harry and Col wanted Henrietta to give the prisoner a complete (and rather intrusive!) medical examination to ensure that he wasn't concealing anything dangerous or cybered up. Hen was opposed to this, feeling it was bordering on a contravention of her medical oath. I loved Col's very pragmatic offer to solve the dilemma...

"Well, if it will help, I can always shoot him in the leg."

At this point the prisoner nervously raised a hand and volunteered for the medical exam...

Having gone to these lengths it astonished me that no one thought to check through the prisoner's holdall which I'd mentioned in passing a couple of times. Fortunately it contained only some clothes, toiletries and a computer. But there might have been something nasty in it...

After an uneventful journey the PCs arrived back to deliver the prisoner to the tender embrace of the police where they'd been hired in the first place (having declined a rather hefty bribe from the prisoner to let him escape).

The crew members got a load of messages to digest at this point, some open news, some private communications, some important, some trivial. A bit of trading was done and Hen went out on a combined date/meeting with a contact who was offering to sell some drugs that had falled off the back of a cargo robot... Amusingly it didn't go well (as a result of an unfortunately botched roll to assess the value of what was being offered, and not being overly delicate about it) and the evening turned cool rather quickly...

It's looking like Colin may get his action quite soon though, since our errant heroes have just loaded up with ammunition, explosive and power cells to head to a planet that looks like it's teetering on the edge of a civil war. Two major factions of very different idealogies are pushing and shoving over territory and mining rights, and a few miners and militia have been killed. The southern faction has a larger military machine, which has led the northern faction to hire in mercenaries.

Col has found a couple of names of people within the northern faction who might be interested in his very specialised areas of personal interaction, Hen is looking to sell off as much of the kit they've bought to the mercenaries and militia, Harry is wondering if he can manage to swipe something expensive in all the confusion while all the bullets are flying. And Jacob is going to try to avoid getting any new holes shot in his ship...