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When to start the camapign?

I've been working on an outline for a campaign that should take the adventurers far outside of the Imperial Borders, towards the Galactic Core, and return them home.

The rough idea I have in my head is to muster out the PCs during the waning years of Rebellion, and bring them back after the Collapse. A period, to my understanding of about 10 years. What I'm looking for is a sort of culture shock. The adventurers leave on their trip while there is still an interstellar society (albeit one in the grip of civil war), and return to an Apocalypse (brought on by the Virus epidemic).

Sadly, it's been a decade since I flipped through Traveller: the New Era (I never played the game due to a distaste for the T2K revised game mechanic) and even longer since I toyed with Hard Times.

Are there any Rebellion/TNE rescources anyone can reccomend to help me flesh out the bones I've stitched together?

Hard Times is an obvious one... other than that, what is your plan for getting them Coreward? If so, you might consider checking out Vilani & Vargr, because of the travels the group might undergo.

I'm curious as to your campaign structure. Is this something you're doing for the joy of creativity, or are you looking at actually running a campaign with your outline?

The reason I'm asking is that it's always hard to find a regular group of gamers to do anything non-fantasy (in my experience, anyway) and was curious as to how often you thought your campaign would be run, and how that frequency would impact your gamers' ability to move through this campaign.

(Essentially, I'm running a T20 game once a month, and would find it difficult to plan something like you propose, on the assumption that it's a multi-year, real time, project in my circumstances.)

How would you address such concerns were you in my shoes or something like them?

Thanks in advance,
I have a core group of gaming buddies that are happy to follow where I lead. Right now, time and opportunity allow me to run a weekly game on Tuesday nights.

I'm not quite sure what you're asking with regards to my plan of getting them Coreward. If it's motivation, I'm incorporating a mystery involving visions of the future and shared recurring nightmares. Investigation of the meanings to the visions and nightmares will point the adventurers coreward for answers.

So far as a means of travelling Coreward, ultimately the adventurers will need to secure their own ship AND the skills to operate and maintain it. Liner Travel can get them to the Imperial Border, and maybe even through Vargr space, but once Charted Space is left behind, they'll have to be on their own.

A lot of "in game" time will pass in transit. Not every jump necessarily leads to an adventure of consequence, thus several weeks of game time can go by with a refeul/refine/jump/refeul/refine/jump pattern.
I like the idea, but I have been out of Traveller much longer than you. I only have surface knowledge of TNE because of one of the guys in my group explained the very basics. I would suggest using a rule system you like an understand the best. Use the others as just background material. A common theme that I have noticed is every time a new "era" in the Traveller Universe comes out, for some reason the gaming mechanics seem to change. When/if I get my campaign off the ground I'll use a little of every game system. I may even use Shatter Zone as player mechanics. I like the "cinematic" fast paced feel of that system. In any case, it's the setting and back ground that counts. Rolling dice can be done in a thousand different ways. The only thing that counts is did you have a good time without breaking too many cannon rules?
It's virtually impossible to get a group of friends together to play. I too am surrounded by people who only do the fantasy thing. To tell you the truth, until recently I had been out of gaming for over a decade. But I stumbled across a group of people who were "non-geeks" so I slowly got back into it.
I have only one logical idea that can get your players deep into core ward.
An ancient artifact (what a revolutionary idea...) has been located within Vargr space not too far from the Emperial Borders. Invent a reason why your PC's need to travel to such a super secret spot. This place should be uninhabited, perhaps even in an ort cloud. The Vargr don't even know of it's existance. More plot to thicken the soup. Sneak through Vargr space on a secret mission...
It was discovered quite by acident, maybe even a miss jumping diplomatic ship returning from or traveling to Vargr space.
In any case, the "mission" is to investigate test the artifact to see if it is still operational.
The artifact is a jump gate, large enough for only 5,000 ton ships or less to pass through. Or make it just big enough for the PC's ship to pass through...
The PC's client wants to capture it, and use it to help win in the civil war. The PC's are instructed to test it by jumping back to their clients home world. Did I fail to mention that in can send a ship much farther than 6 parsecs?
The PC's used the devise, the thing malfunctions, and sends them in the opposite direction, core ward. A very long way core ward. They won't know that the device exploded after they were sent into jump space. Clever way of keeping the cannon universe... well, cannon.
It takes them ten years to return. To discover virus and all the fun mayhem awaiting them.
Wouldn't it be interesting if this device somehow was the source of the virus.... hmmm...
Funny how it sprang up just as they left....
Food for thought.
Now I must get back to work.
Merry Christmas everyone.
My apologies for the lack of clarity. I was introduced to Traveller by a gentleman whose Referee sent him via some major misjump using experimental drives several sectors coreward, skipping entirely the Vargr Extents. I wasn't sure if you were sending them coreward through such a method, or whether they were covering the intervening distance "normally."

As your group is travelling over the intervening distances, I would suggest that you consider the data found in the HIWG archives and/or Galactic to help flesh out some of the areas that the party will be passing through, if nothing else than for inspiration. As for official products, I have little left to suggest other than what I've already mentioned.

Gaming Traveller four times a month is a pretty sweet deal.
You are indeed a lucky man.

I think you've got quite a bit of potential with the direction you are seeking to take things. Do you already have a destination and ultimate goal worked out?

Best of luck, and please keep us informed,
The beginning and end are roughed out. It's just the middle that requires more work. After watching Galactica last night, I was inspired to add an extra Coreward twist to my plot.

The funny thing is, most of the campaign was originally designed as a setting for Champions on a Galactic scale. However, the more I fleshed out the galactic society for the supers to operate in, I noticed that the heroic level work I was putting in was far more interesting than the spandex.

Then I picked up T20, and that was all she wrote for the superheroes. I'll get back to them in a couple of years or so.

As soon as I get some notes worked out that make sense to people other than me, I'll post em up somewhere on the boards.
Funny, what little I say of the new "re-invisioned" Galactica depressed me. This is a complete aboration of real Galactica.
Now I understand why all my friends are so upset with this same guy for screwing up the Star Trek universe. He has REALLY fouled up Battlestar Gallactica. It was very depressing.
Now, now a "Galactica Debate" will hijack the thread. I saw a few things in the movies that related to the campaign I have in mind. That's just a statement of how my Muse worked last night, not a qualitative opinion of Battlestar Galactica.
Well Survival Margin did a good job of showing the transition from end of MT to TNE so that may be helpful. A lot of it's in the form of news reports or book/journal entries as well.

You may also want to take a look at places like this Space Atlas that have different versions for Classic and TNE.

Also places like the BARD pages and HIWG. (note there are several HIWG pages :( with the info spread out a bit)

Sounds like a good idea for a campaign.

[EDIT: response to flamebait removed]

[Apologies if this is spoiler material to anyone. It *was* published over ten years ago and the source of much intense discussion ever since, so I shouldn't be ruining it for anyone...]

To answer the original question, the Rebellion started with the assassination of the Emperor in 1116 (many details omitted) and was in full swing by 1120. Virus swept the Imperium and neighboring polities beginning in 1130. Given the speed of jump, Virus had likely reached it's farthest extents in all directions within 5 years or so.

If you want the PCs ship to actually get all the way back to Imperial space, they're going to have met Virus and/or it's victims already. If you want to keep all of the elements of the Short Nap in place, you'll need to pick up the TNE books that deal with the Spinward Marches area (Regency Sourcebook, and a couple others) and the bridge book between MT and TNE, Survival Margin.

(Warning: If you were tied up in the giant soap opera that was the Rebellion, reading Survival Margin and Arrival Vengeance can be pretty emotional; for full impact, talk up the golden age of the Third Imperium to your hopefully ignorant players, then hand them Survival Margin when they return to Imperial space...)

There are some elements of the Short Nap and New Era that will complicate your intended campaign, so you may want to ignore the Empress Wave and either leave the Zhodani in decent shape or attribute their internal shakeups to something else.
Thanks for the summary. There are a couple of terms that are (for lack of a better term) alien to me. I'm figuring the Short Nap is sort of a mini-interstellar collapse following the Hard Times, or are what were termed the Hard Times themselves. What is/was an Empress Wave?
What is/was an Empress Wave?
Sadly, we don't really know. It was a phenomenon that was only reported in the TNE sourcebooks, presumably to provide a reason for the collapse of the Zhodani Consulate. It was never explained fully, although there are a number of characteristics associated with it. In essence, it appears to be a wavefront moving at the speed of light from somewhere Coreward, that causes bad dreams and messes up psions as it passes.

There are a number of discussions on the possibilities of the Empress Wave on the TNE section of these boards, in case you're interested in other thoughts and theories.

At the speed of light?

You mean this thing takes thirty years to cross a single subsector?

It's gotta travel faster than that. Just gotta.
Nope. Everything I've seen on it indicates it's a speed of light phenomenon. That's my biggest issue with it, because it would have already been noted in Gvurrdon during the CT era if they'd planned it all along. There's some good alternate suggestions to explain it, however, in the TNE section of the COTI boards. The official explanation will soon be revealed in Bearers of the Flame. I hope.

I remember during my theretical math days that there were certain mathematical tricks you could do that would allow light to travel at phenomenal speeds (like across the universe in 20 years or something like that).

Coreward systems? I'll remember to actually finish the campaign background I was working on one of these years. :D
The Short Nap is one term for the period between the advent of Virus in 1130 and the "Dawn" of the New Era in 1200 (or later, depending on which fictitious historian you chose to believe), so called because it resembled in some respects (the collapse of interstellar civilization for the most part) the Long Night that preceeded the Third Imperium, but was only 70 or so years long instead of almost 18 centuries...