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types of adventures and sources

What type of adventures do you like to run in traveller, regardless of milieu?

Trading, mercenary, pirate or what? Also do you like to run traveller as a game that has conventional adventures with the SF elements as a sideshow or do you like running it as a SF game with the SF as main elements?

I like some serious SF in my SFRPGs so I try to avoid running it as just smuggling in space or something like that. I like themes that involve the players being contracted to help an expedition to an unknown planet with some very strange things waiting to be discovered.

I was wondering if other players ran traveller as mainly a SF game or more as a game where the SF elements were just added to more contemporary things like smuggling, espionage, etc.
I tend to run either active duty military, or merchant-troubleshooter hybrid games.

I like to have some sci-fi themes, and the high-tech. But I'm not big on "Crunchy-Hard" SF... MTU is far more akin to Bujold or Cole & Bunch than to Asimov...
In the group I'm in with FatherFletch, it's usually merchant/troubleshooter/troublemaker.

We take a alot of inspiration books ranging from 'Foundation' and 'Childhood's End' to 'Hammer's Slammers' and 'Honor Harrington' to 'Star Man's Son' and 'Star Trek'... that, and the half a billion rpg books we own. We do, however, have a marked favoritism for the GDW products and we uniformly skip Rifts.

We've done horror, crime (for and against), scientific and social adventuring in the same party. And ALOT of side trips... Every character has a hook and everyone gets skewered by the 'plot harpoon' at one time or another.

And I gotta say, it's nice to have a character actually develop, rather than rolling up a new gingerbread toon every time somebody gets a new idea. We're playing GT around the time of the Solomani Rim War (aka the T20 background), and my character (Capt. Dzogheng) has gone from about 125 pts to alittle over 200 doing all the above.
Alien ruins remain a passion of mine and I try to throw them in whenever I can. Old fashioned scientific mysteries are also fun which shoot off from a desire to see a more Hard SF universe.
My games tend to resemble the Dumarest series - the players rarely have a ship of their own and must make their way from planet to planet by whatever means possible.

I've also run ethically challenged merchant games, mercenary based games, and active duty military/scouts.

But my favourite remains the "Traveller" campaign...
In more than twenty years, we've done it all.

Pirating, scientific expeditions, corporate espionage, planetary invasions, fleet actions, exploring low-tech "dungeons," the list goes on...

I've said it before, that's the beauty of the game... you can be anything or do anything!
I'm pretty much with Aramis on this one: active service campaigns, and not crunchy-hard SF.

In my current campaign the PCs were active duty IN personnel assigned to the frozen watch on an AHL cruiser. They awoke to find it abandoned near the galactic core, low on power, lightly damaged, mainly empty, any explanation lost when the computer databanks were wiped. The last session ended with them initiating their first jump ... took them 11 sessions to achieve this.

Preveious campaigns included:</font>
  • An AI android on the run from an Imperial Research Station teams up with some mercs.</font>
  • An Naval Intelligence team called in to investigate the strange goings on at an Imperial Research Station (including a missing AI android).</font>
  • Two separate group of players were JSB teams simultaneously investigating the abduction of a senator on pre-5FW Regina. (Both teams finally met each other in the climactic final session.)</font>
  • The crew of an IN Gazelle class CE on patrol in the Regina subsector when the 5FW starts.</font>
  • The odd job squad of an IN fleet during the 5FW, based out of Glisten, moving though District 268 to engage the Sword Worlds flank. (Very similar to, but pre-dating, "The Forgotten War" by QLI!)</font>
I think I would describe the JSB campaign as largely contemporary dressed up as SF, but the rest are very SF: plenty of aliens (mainly Vargr and Droyne), Ancient artifacts, misjumps to nowhere, survival in hostile environments, the occasional temporal anomaly, psionic attacks, ghosts and ghostships in jumpspace ...

Regards PLST
I learned a long time ago that players have a tendency to wriggle off whatever ingeniously devised plot hook you devise for them.

If I want to follow a script, then the characters are Dominion Navy/Marines (ATU) and have to follow orders...
Otherwise, I might start with a standard adventure but just let them roam where they will. Just make sure that every rumor I drop has an adventure hook attached, in case they bite...

I have run the gamut--from a rogue drop-kicking nobles for fun, to a scout stranded on an ultratek ship, to alien ruins and psychotic AIs.
As someone said above, that't the beauty of TRAVELLER. With just a little prep, you can do anything!