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Favorite Traveller "Bosses"


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Whilst browsing through the Wikipedia, I came across this article. Who are/have been your favorite Traveller "Bosses".

Mine is a reoccuring character that combines the darkness of Satan, the cunning of Baltar, the vanity of any Bond villain and the slow calculations that would give Deep Blue serious cause for consernation.

Boss: In video games, a boss (sometimes called a guardian or master) is a particularly large or difficult computer-controlled character that must be defeated at the end of a segment of a game, whether it be for a level, an episode, or the very end of the game itself (final boss). Bosses appear in many video games, particularly story or level-based first and third-person shooters, platform games, CRPGs, and most shoot 'em ups. Most games feature multiple bosses, each often more difficult than the last.

For more information check out the wikipedia under Boss (Video Games)

the easily-angered and hot-tempered Bwap clerk, who threatens to bury the characters in red tape and administrative hassles, whenever he is in a bad mood.

"You must go back to the end of the line! You did not take a customer ticket like I told you! Go back, go back! End of the line! Or else I shall not authorize the refueling of your starship!"
Originally posted by Maladominus:

the easily-angered and hot-tempered Bwap clerk, who threatens to bury the characters in red tape and administrative hassles, whenever he is in a bad mood.

"You must go back to the end of the line! You did not take a customer ticket like I told you! Go back, go back! End of the line! Or else I shall not authorize the refueling of your starship!"
The Bwap gatekeeper - it's a good obstacle!

*** for High-powered games

My favorite 'bosses' are Vilani corporate nobles. Old, wise, powerful, connected, and amazingly ruthless. (Good political instincts, too!)

They even have a stereotypical "Big Bad Evil Guy" fatal weakness - the very fact that they 'know' what any 'reasonable' PC will do tends to blind them to things that don't fit their rigid, preconcieved understanding of what 'should' happen.

**** for low-powered campaigns

But the Vilani noble is more for the high-powered politcal/covert military games I prefer. In a regular merchantman game, the Bwap would fit in much better.

For a Free Trader group, there can be an Imperial bureaucrat with law enforcement powers that they have had 'history' with. Perhaps - like the Bwap - she can't be avoided, because she has power over docking, licensing, or some other legal authority over 'honest trader' the Free Trader. Perhaps she is corrupt (in a good guy campaign) or totally 'by-the-book' (in a smuggling game). In either case, such a minor bureaucrat would be a good antagonist for the players....
Duke Norris Aledon, Duke of Regina. Charming (Charisma D In MTU)
Mr. Santanocheev, Former noble and admiral. Looking for a way to take revenge upon Norris.
Mr. Dalinaag. Owner Dalinaag LDDC (Deneb Domain-wide mini-mega-corp.) Fairly ruthless. Owns a wide variety of odd busnesses, including several nail mission merc units with integral Type T's. Former PC.
Mason Ferari. Dalinaag's partner. Retired admiral, count. No moral center at all. Trains "merchant" pilots in a private academy, and all graduates are combat rated... (MT skills: Pilot 2, Navigation 1, Gunnery-Turret 2, ship tactics 1)
Xen Xanfried (zen zan-freed), former PC... wandering monster... Drug Dealer to the Elite of the Marches... and one of 8 clones. Raised as orphans, each of the 8 was RAISED in the IISS... and share the same name. Sexual preferences, drug of choice, and accent vary. Six are in the Domain of Deneb.
This guy:

Grand Admiral Chienjistebr, Commander of the "Fighting Fourtieth" Fleet.

Chased after him for thirty years. Finally killed him with a rocket grenade to the heart. He blow'd up good!
Yeah, I did.

He's actually based on the actor Conrad Veidt.

The drawing is taken from a shot of him in his role as Jaffar in The Thief of Baghdad. Perfect Zhodani material!
I never confronted my players with a 'boss' or 'Moriarty' as such. Sure, they faced adversaries but what they never faced was an individual out to get them specifically. They occasionally were targets for individuals and/or organizations, but no one was out to kill them simply because of who they were. It was more of a wrong place/wrong time sort of thing.

In one campaign the players did run afoul of Esperanzan military intelligence and that agency provided a continuing menace. However once the information the players had came out and once they were working for the Rift Republic, Esperanza backed off. Killing the players would no longer solve anything and revenge would just get Esperanza in more trouble.

Most of the sophonts my players went up against were antagonists. They were people on the other 'side' of business deals and other activities. Providing them with a continuing nemesis, someone who wanted them dead and buried over a long period of time, never really entered my mind.

This is not to say I didn't use long running NPCs to irritate my players however! Here are two they especially loved to hate:

Javier Blanco - There was a splendid private detective TV show in the 70s called The Rockford Files. James Garner starred in it and it was, for TV, one of the more realistic shows of the time. Garner as Rockford worked hard to make ends meet, worked low key cases, got into more trouble than a job was worth sometimes, and once even broke his hand punching a guy.

Before he became famous as Magnum PI, Tom Selleck guest starred in a few episodes as 'Lance White'. (Lance = Javelin = Javier and White = Blanco, get it?) Lance was a deliberately over-the-top heroic private detective straight out of a romance novel.

The writers had a great deal of fun inflicting White on Rockford. White was rich, good looking, perfect in every way. Women loved him, men admried him, strangers trusted him. He got straight answers from people who normally lie. When he told the bad guys to put down their guns and surrender they did just that instead of shooting him. His hair was never mussed, his clothes were perfect, and his teeth glittered white.

Lance White routinely did impossible things like shooting guns out of people's hands or knocking people out with karate chops. In one show, Rockford and another guy had spent hours searching a wooded area for something someone had thrown from a car without finding anything. White simply walked into the woods, bent over, picked up the item, and walked out.

You laughed out loud watching him and you were supposed to. Everyone on the show acted like dopes from some bad Hollywood movie around him. Only Rockford 'saw' how odd everything was.

I inflicted Javier Blanco on my players in the same manner the Rockford writers inflicted him on Jim Rockford. Blanco was the perfect tramp freighter captain and his ship, Tenalphi Heron, was a spotless problem free vessel. Blanco always beat them to lucrative speculative cargos. That free spending high roller travelled aboard Blanco's ship. Blanco always got the high priced charters too.

Every petty official, nasty broker, miserly shipper, and cranky noble who made life miserable for my players loved Javier Blanco. People couldn't wait to help him with any little task all he need to was ask. People even did things for him without Blanco asking.

Making matters worse, Blanco was a truly nice guy. He never lied and never knowing cheated anyone out of anything. If he found out he'd scooped you on a cargo he would give it back to you. Of course, his act of altruism would result in him getting an even better cargo later! When he got favorable treatment he made sure his friends recieved it too. The fuel boss will gladly bend over backwards to top off Blanco's tanks but the only reason he's doing the same for "you bums" is because Blanco asked him to.

Blanco brought the best out in people. They behaved better and more noble around him. His crew were heroes and his ship was involved in spectacular events. To everyone IMTU this was all normal. Like Rockford, only my players saw that it was weird and, like Rockford, it drove them crazy!

(I came up with Blanco well before Pratchett began writing the Discworld novels, but if you think of Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson you've got a good handle on Javier Blanco.)

Javier Blanco didn't show up in every session or even every other session. He did show up enough to make my players loathe him though. They'd scream in frustration after another "Blanco attack" and then thank me later for making the session so much fun. They loved to hate the guy and the fact that everyone else in the universe (inclusing the universe itself) loved Javier Blanco made their hate all the better.

Porky Grout - I lifted both the name and character straight from Hammett's Continental Op stories. I didn't even try to disguise him like I did with Lance White/Javier Blanco.

Porky is a stoolie, a rumor mill, a guy you go to for a 'read'. He knows everything you need to know about everyone and will rat anyone out for the price of a sandwich. He's middle aged, nondescript, addicted to a minor narcotic, and has the morals of a weasel. No wait, that's insulting to weasels.

Everything Porky knows, does, has, or guesses is for sale. He's no real threat to anyone because he's no good on the witness stand; no jury would believe him about anything. That more than anything has kept him alive. Another thing that has kept him alive is that he'll sell what he knows to anyone. Cop, criminal, whomever, it doesn't matter.

One thing to remember about Porky is that your question and the answer you recieved will be for sale immediately after you talk to him! Give him twenty for an address and he'll take the same from someone who wants to know what you wanted to know. Porky knows lots of secrets and keeps none.

Because he sells what he knows and hears, Porky will volunteer nothing. You want to know where the fellow you're looking for is living? He'll give you an address but he won't tell you about the five other armed men living there too unless you ask. He will tease you with bits trying to grind more money out of you, but he won't give away anything.

Hope all this crap is of some use.

Have fun,

Thanks. Please feel free to use 'em anyway you wish.

I never really statted out either 'irritant'. Javier could do anything he needed to do perfectly, of course, and Porky never did much except talk.

Have fun,

P.S. Vamp - that picture is freakin' amazing! WOW!!!
Thanks, Bill.

We first encountered him during the Sixth Frontier War which, for us, occured in 1120. He destroyed our personal anti-matter battery powered starship the Khan Singh (which was attached to the Imperial 119th fleet at the time) in a head to head battle with his flagship, the one million ton superbattleship Z.C.N. Zhodane, though we escaped with the battery aboard a captured Zho cruiser. We turned around and destroyed the Zhodane, but he escaped in a fleet courier. He made a habit of that in other encounters.

Our last encounter with Chienjistebr was in 1138 (huh, I thought it was thirty years, I guess it just seemed longer, lol) when I hunted him down him aboard an Ancient destroyer after he had kidnapped Emperor Strephon!

I wore his psionic strength down with gauss rifle rounds (he was blocking them telepathically) and then let loose with a rocket grenade. Hit him right in the heart (thank you critical hit table!).
Bye bye Chienjistebr!
I'll second the comment about the picture, Vamp. It is really nice, I can draw but I can't colour. Especially not with a computer. But you can do both it seems, and quite well at it too!

The picture also makes me think of old school space opera, where the villain just looks so distinct and stylish - makes me wonder how you make the heroes look. It also sounds like an epic campaign!
Thanks, stofsk.

I always try to give the characters, well, character. I try to make them distinctive, so you can see what they're about just by looking.

Since you asked, here's one of our heroes, Ealb Shadow, obviously based on Bruce Lee.

He was a native of Sorel/Glisten, which in our campaign is the World of Greyhawk. He was an elf ninja who was with us for quite a long time. From 1128 to 1193. He was killed by a high security robot during a break-in by the group at the Imperial Academy of Sciences on Capital.
I am in the process of building up a nemesis for my players. They have met him once before they knew he would be a returning nemesis.

Eikan Gonster: Zhodani Undercover agent. Speciality is social science and telepathic influencing prospects. He worked at Rhylanor University prior to his cover was blown by the players. By the time the players found out about him, he had bolted.

I appeared in this module: http://freeport.pocketempires.com/Archive/Moduler/High stakes at Rhylanor.pdf

He reapered in this module a few years alter (campaign time) in this module: http://freeport.pocketempires.com/Archive/Moduler/Mind Trap.pdf

I plan to let him reappear on Jewell during the Zhodani Siege there during the FFW. My players will of course encounter him in a setting where they cannot act against him, but Eikan may neither act against them, but he got the upper hand for the time. Maybe I'l let the players finish him off this time.... or so they think....
Similar to Bill Cameron, I never really had a boss, but had a couple of recurring NPCs to drive the characters crazy. Guess I played before the idea of bosses came out.

1. Sternmetals LIC
Somehow the players got on the wrong side of one of this MegaCorp. They were involved in a split between Horizons Unlimited (the Good MC) and Sternmetals (the Bad MC). Ongoing corporate hilarity ensued.

2. Had a character similar to Javier Blanco, but he never got a name or had any direct contact with the players. He would show up, usually with a couple of gorgeous babes, at odd times. The players were chasing the badguys in an airraft and they would pass this little speeder, they would look over and HE would be driving. They were sneaking up to this wilderness installation of smugglers and they came across a clearing where HE was having a picnic! He never spoke to them, he just gave them this condescending snear and left the area without affecting anything going on. Drove the players NUTS, but I never really fleshed him out. I like Bill's Javier Blanco much better.
Originally posted by Plankowner:
I like Bill's Javier Blanco much better.

Thanks, but to be honest 'my' Javier Blanco was really Stephen J. Cannel's/The Rockford File's Lance White.

Have fun,
I have "bosses" in my campaign, but they're not all one-tracked or single-minded arch-villain types.

Some may indeed be "after those troublesome adventurers", but for the most part, my NPCs have their own goals.... they have lives, they have feelings, they even have families and friends. And in some cases, even the most hardened antagonists (i.e. villains) may possibly become allies of the PCs when the situation warrants it.

Last but not least... I made sure that my Solomani Rim campaign is highly POLITICAL. I know that many Traveller players hate the concept of politics in gaming, they hate including things like racism, bigotry, slavery, etc.

In my campaign, I mandate that ALL players who opted to play the Solomani Confederation characters must act in a way consistent with Confederation propaganda and upbringing. Likewise, I ask the Imperial characters to do the same on their side. The result? The characters often antagonize EACH OTHER!! The Solomani PCs will often insert bits of racial insults and slurs towards the Imperial co-adventurers (especially the alien ones).

Solomani PC: "Wow, I knew that you Imps received poor military training, but I never imagined just how bad it was. Do you really know what the hell you're doing with that Gauss Rifle?"

Imperial PC: "Uhhh, apparently our training is good enough. We did kick your butts 100 years ago in the Rim War, remember?"

Solomani PC: "Err... let's drop the topic, OK?

Role-played antagonism puts a completely new level of fun and immersion in our campaign.