Game Prep: Traveller, 4.20

With the way the previous session ended, half of the group are sequestered due to the trial and the other half are basically sitting on their butts. Unless I fast-forward through the trial elements (which I don’t want to do), that leaves half of the players just doing nothing. That simply won’t do.

Thankfully, Eddy provided me an in with his catastrophe of an interview at the tail end of the previous session. What I’m going to do is begin with him receiving a message from Corbin Spiirs who wants to talk. It would seem that Eddy’s interview has been recut and edited so he & the other PCs look like malicious idiots, which has the hallmarks of a right proper propaganda campaign. Since Spiirs considers himself loyal to many of the PCs he’s worked with before, he wants Eddy to assist him in digging into this to find out who is behind this hatchet job.

This is the point where it gets a little more loosey-goosey than I really like as I’m going to have the players determine where to go. First, I’m going to try and encourage Eddy’s player to find a way to work in the other two PCs not in the trial. If Eddy doesn’t have any initial ideas, Spiirs will point out that the defense lawyer is very high-priced and Mason should not be able to afford him. So figuring out who is behind that is a good first step. How the PCs dig into this is up to them – it could be face-to-face social engineering (Eddy), hacking (J-Aris) or other.

Rather than figure out the full specifics of this investigation, I’m going to rip off some mechanics from the Night’s Black Agents game where it is presumed that the PCs get the first clue when they start digging; their die rolls determine whether they learn more than just the core clue or what it costs them. So instead, I’m going to just figure out what I’m calling “Milestones” – these are the various stages of the investigation with the discovered clues.

Right now, the Milestones I have in mind are (note that these do not need to be done in order):

  • 1st: Holding companies – the lawyer firm is paid by one company, which is owned by another, which owned by another, and so on. After a string of these holding companies, the final of these is an offworld company with routing information pointing toward Rhylanor. Obviously, PCs can’t follow up on that more than they have, not in a timely manner anyway. While this may seem like a dead end, it is notable that the responsible party has gone out of their way to cover their tracks.
  • 2nd: Media manipulation – the fact that all of the Mora media have the exact same take on Eddy’s interview is obviously another angle of investigation and, with a successful result, will uncover the fact that the editors of the media groups have essentially been paid off by several of the holding companies listed above. None of them are paid by the same one, of course.
  • 3rd: The Maar Zon angle – the change of venue from a standard criminal court to a religious one is also an angle of investigation. Digging into this should take the PC(s) to a different city (this one underwater) on the planet since the church in question is very ‘old school’ with hardcopy and stuff. Depending on when this is done determines what is found. If this is an early part of the investigation, PC(s) will discover that this request was definitely out of the ordinary but the requestor made very good arguments and the kel ten zon who went forth was convinced to assist, even if Mason was not of his flock. If this is the last part of the investigation (e.g., right before the Trial is completed), they will learn that the local facility is in shock: they’ve just discovered the body of the local kel ten zon!

Each Milestone will have an initial BAD (Basic Abstract Difficulty) of 2. The first time PC(s) fail on a check roll for the milestone, they still get the clue but the network they’re working against is alerted and BAD is increased to 4. A second failure results in a team of operators equal to Px1 being dispatched to … deal with the investigators. Related to that, if the PCs do exceptionally well on their investigations (I’m thinking critical success or success by 10 or more), they will gain a temporary ally in the form of a freelance reporter who is digging into this as well. She can point them to one of the milestones they haven’t started investigating…

My intent is to alternate back and forth between the investigating PCs and the trial PCs with the latter doing their testimony bits. If the investigators get themselves into a fight – hopefully not as it’ll basically be Armin doing all of the actual fighting – I’ll likely have the trial PCs handle any bad guys. I’ve sort of hashed out some of the intended mechanics for the resolution of the trial.

  • Each Trial PC gets to testify. They’re obviously going to be trying to “assist” the prosecution but the defense attorney is going to be trying to twist what they saw so they aren’t useful. I’m going to let the player(s) determine what skill to utilize. This is a quick contest with the winner getting a bonus to the below Prosecution v Defense contest.
  • The Prosecution & Defense have a quick contest. The margin of success is applied to the
    • If Prosecution wins, the margin of success is applied as a negative
    • If Defense wins, the margin of success is applied as a positive.
  • A reaction roll is made with the above
    • Worse than Neutral means “guilty”
    • Neutral goes to the winner of the quick contest between prosecution & defense
    • Better than Neutral means “not guilty”

All that said, though, I’m leaning toward through some serious bonuses for the defense because I have a great idea about how to proceed after this. What I’m thinking in that case is that Mason & his lawyer promptly hold a press conference with a bunch of reporters outside the church thing … and then, one of the reporters shoots Mason in the face! Surprise reveal: this reporter is Valerie Vaskor. She will then try to suicide and, unless the PC(s) intervene – I’m thinking only people with Combat Reflexes will be able to react in time, so Haank and Sae – she will succeed. This could potentially be an ideal end point for the session, depending on how much time I’ve been able to vamp … although if Valerie is stopped from shooting herself, that means she’s going to be arrested for murder so …

Recap and Game Notes: Traveller, 4.19

The TL;DR outline recap can be found here if one doesn’t want to listen to almost 4 hours.

Overall, I was pretty satisfied with this session. I will admit that I was at least mildly worried since the “trial” portion of the adventure only involves half of the group – exactly half now that Mel has gone on hiatus; 3 Players have characters who were involved in capturing the serial killer, 3 players don’t – but it worked out nicely since one of the players who wasn’t involved managed to get himself involved and the other two are essentially “audience members” who don’t seem to really be that interested in forcing themselves into stuff.

Before that, though, we had the trip to Mora which was, as noted, a 28-day journey. Using the Spaceships Malfunctions thing from Pyramid 3_103 worked nicely, though there was the usual “why didn’t I see this coming?” from the engineer’s player. Thankfully, though, we’ve got a retired Air Force guy who was on airplanes throughout most of his career playing so he can easily make the “Sorry, dude, but things sometimes break. No warning, no explanation, they just break.” That said, I did make an error because I skipped the automatic preventative Repair check that they get before the malfunction happens before it becomes a “serious malfunction.” So I’ll keep that in mind next time.

The Customs check on Mora allowed me to establish them for the denouement that I have in mind, and then we moved on to the Sam data-dump – everyone liked the Dollhouse references with Sam’s crew; he has Echo, Sierra, Victor, and Whiskey aboard – before finally moving on to the trial itself. If you’ve reviewed the previous game preps for adventure 4, it’s notable how much I changed the planned trial. That’s principally because I wanted to use the visual of the “Voice of Rao” from Krypton.

So with that in mind, I started poking around and noted that the Traveller wiki article on Mora established that the planets and moons and stuff were named after Sylean mythological deities. That lead me to the article on the Sylean sub-species in GURPS Traveller: Humaniti, which has a nice article on the religion of Maar Zon. Thus, I used that to change the intended venue. Revealing that Breyon Sodhii is hidden underneath that multi-faced mask was something that I was planning on doing later, after the trial, but it worked very well as a cliffhanger even though the PCs are unaware of it.

As is his wont, Eddy forced himself into the mess with his decision to be interviewed by a reporter. Even before his player said his Unluckiness was going to come into play, I was totally intending on doing so.

So yeah, overall I was pretty happy with this. We’ll see if that remains the case as the adventure continues unfolding…

Game Prep: Traveller, Adventure 4 (Part 2)

A couple of minor adjustments and updates to my plan.

The Trip

I’ve decided to implement the “Spaceships Malfunctions” from Pyramid 3-103 en masse with the caveat that the engineer character – Buck – has been dealing with this sort of thing from the beginning of the campaign; it’s only now that we’re actually adding the meat to this. Per the rules, I roll versus HT-3 for malfunctions once per week and ended up with 3 for the four-week trip. They are are:

  • Week 1: Location: Central Hull, Habitat. Malfunction: Wastewater Recycling Malfunction. On day 3, a random PC notes a growing smell from a bathroom station; after poking around, the mechanic is able to identify the problem: a piece of shrapnel from the firefight at Quopist has caused a minor leak in the wastewater tubes which has increased in size and leaked a bunch of stinky water. Repairing it requires patching the tube and cleaning up the mess – it’s not difficult, just time consuming and in an awkward location. Mechanic (Starships) at -2 (-2 simply due to aforementioned location that is difficult to reach)
  • Week 2: Location: Rear Hull, Jump Drive. Malfunction: Exotic Malfunction. As the ship is ramping up to make the Jump, there is a sudden, unexpected malfunction with the drive. No Jump actually transpires, but all fuel is consumed. Repairing this requires a Mechanic (Jump Drive) plus 1d+3 hours of time (to track down problem first, then repair it) as well as refueling … again.
  • Week 3: Location Central Hull, Cargo Hold. Malfunction: Carg Door Failure. There is a serious fault in the door that is knocked loose with the most recent Jump. It begins (and keeps giving) false readings – “The door is ajar … now it’s closed … nope, it’s open again. Still open … still open … closed now, etc.” Mechanic (Starships) at -1d (because engineer is having to track down an electrical fault. This fault can be repaired while in flight.)
  • Week 4: No malfunction

The Arrival

I’ve revised my thinking regarding this scene. The ship is still going to be boarded by customs personnel in space armor and they’ll require all personnel on the ship to assemble so they can be checked. At the same time, a scanning team will move through the ship to confirm there are no smuggled people or the like. This is to set up the fact that it happens again during the Departure and that team is a lot less disciplined than this one. Since Abe (my GM PC) is a registered psi, he will be identified as such by the team who will order him to check in with customs at the high port immediately where he will be fit with what amounts to an tracking device. His presence in-system has now been logged and failure to check in is a Class 3 Felony. This will also set up a continuing problem that PCs will have with Abe in the group…

The Holiday List Gala

The intended terror strike is still a strong possibility, though I still haven’t decided whether to pull the trigger on this one yet simply because I can’t see them getting past the security since the archduke is present, not to mention the various dukes, duchesses, counts, countesses, etc. If I do go ahead and pull the trigger on this, there will need to be something present that points toward a nobleman being responsible …

Although … hmm. Okay. So I’m planning on having Sae meet his former CO, right? Sae, being a Curious sort, may note that his CO is meeting with someone else and that someone else could be the actual target of this Ine Givar strike force with the hint that this may be a false flag op. Yeah. I like that.

The Departure

The original plan was to have the PCs be hired to go to hex 3217 in the Foreven sector, but I’ve discovered Bael, which has “lanthanum” deposits. This works perfectly for what I need. It is only 11 jumps away from Mora instead of 12 and is perfectly located with the Darrian Confederation, the Imperium, the Sword Worlds, and the Zhodani Consulate all within a 2-Jump range. In the original adventure I’m using for this (“Planet of Darkness” which is in the Star Drive campaign setting for Alternity), there are two stellar nations intent on moving against the world (Lison.)

And then, of course, Sae’s former CO seeks a flight off Mora to “anywhere but here,” they’re boarded by the faux customs team who follow the same methodology … then execute Sae’s former CO.

Game Prep: Traveller, Adventure 4

With the conclusion of adventure 3, we’re moving into the next one this week which is going to take the PCs to Mora. I’m planning on basically breaking this down into a couple of intended sequences that basically boil down to:

  • The Trip
  • The Arrival
  • The Trial
  • The Holiday List Gala
  • The Departure

The Trip

This is mostly going to be brushed aside and fast-forwarded through since I want to avoid the whole “planet of adventure” thing where PCs get into crazy hijinks every single time they land enter a new system. Still, there are going to be some stuff that I can handle during the transit (~28 days.)

  • Lord Mika continues to make the effort to be a cool dude while tiptoeing toward trying to get the PCs to crew the Miss Adventure full-time.
  • Sir Corbin reacquaints himself with the crew, learns that Ella is leaving, and starts considering buying her out.
  • J-Aris must make two more “Trapped Mind” checks (From GURPS: Robots) that are basically Fright Checks at -8. Failure leads to additional disads.
  • PCs can continue messing with designing a new non-combat chassis for J-Aris so he can participate during adventures on high law worlds (ala Mora.)
  • Set up Lee (NPC pilot) leaving so Armin can take over that job.

The Arrival

I expect this will mostly be another data-dump … unless I pull the trigger on something else that I’m contemplating here (which I expound upon in the bullet points below):

  • PCs immediately discover that Mora is bugnuts busy. I think Haank is the only PC who has been here before.
  • POSS.: In the 40K book, Xenos (which is book 1 of the fantastic Eisenhorn Trilogy by Dan Abnett), there is a scene I’m thinking of ripping off. In it, the ship Eisenhorn is on is boarded by a customs skiff who turn out to be agents of Chaos & attack him the moment he identifies himself. I’m contemplating doing the same thing here, maybe with … 4 or so bad guys wearing space armor and using gauss rifles … the problem with this, though, is that PCs are unlikely to be packing heat at this point so it could be a total TPK if I’m not careful. So what I’m considering instead is to have this happen on their way out … hmm. Yeah. That probably works better in the long run.
    • I suppose I could have one of the NPCs (Kendal?) arrested with the reveal that his elaborate background is all fictional and he’s AWOL from the Mora Navy or something…
  • Eventually, PCs berth on the high station and will meet up with Sam, their erstwhile pilot who absconded with their ship. They’ll meet his crew – I’m totally ripping off Dollhouse with Echo as the XO, Victor as the gunner, Whiskey as the engineer, and Sierra as the medic – and he’ll make sure they know that he’s not ditching his crew. Ideally, I’d like to work with the Players to arrange some sort of set-up where Sam is still part of the company but is in command of the Spinward Star (which he renamed to Ellasaurus Rex.) 
    • Sam is also going to ask what the hell they did to Corfu. It’s a Red Zone now. Entrance into the system is grounds for immediate destruction…
  • Ella will receive a missive officially inviting her to the Holiday List Gala which is a week or so away; this invitation is at the behest of Duke Leonard of Rhylanor.
  • PCs will check in with the Ministry of Justice and be expected (those who are expected) the following a.m.

The Trial

At the moment, this is still mostly “I’d like to do X” ideas but I’m throwing them down digitally so I don’t forget. Imperium justice uses the inquisitorial system and I think I’ve got enough of a handle on that to move forward.

  • Since Adric Mason is highborn, he will have nobles as his judges. I’m going to have three judges … and conveniently enough, there are three Players who aren’t involved in the trial! So I’m going to rely on the players of Armin, Eddy and J-Aris for the final decision as to what actually happens.
  • Mason’s lawyers will end up pointing out:
    • All of the evidence against their client is purely circumstantial or hinges on the testimony of the PCs plus 1 NPC who can be labelled as a ‘traumatized and damaged young woman’ … who did not even show up for this important trial!
    • As to the PCs, well, they have a lot of stuff that make them untrustworthy in the eyes of the court:
      • Buck is a former pirate who went to prison because of it. He served under the “notorious” pirate, Sir Meng Unlee … God, I’m tempted to call him Meng the Merciless
      • Abe is a psion
      • Sam (surprise reveal since the Player quit the game) was expelled from three different flight academies for misconduct and was almost thrown out of a fourth
      • Sae is painted as a freelance mercenary with ties to vargr corsairs; his position in the Scouts is described as questionable in light of certain actions
    • The crew as a whole is described as wildly untrustworthy who have been linked to a number of deadly events through the Marches:
      • Their lack of competence (or perhaps intentional malice) resulted the ML Titanic to be lost on Kegena.
      • Due to their actions, the Zhodani warship Unconquerable was not recovered and even now, it has continued to plague the Jewell and Vilis sub-sectors
      • They were at Yori when the Ine Givar terrorists destroyed a research station. Defense lawyer hints that the PCs may have actually allowed this.
      • All of them save one (Sam) have been positively identified as having been at Corfu before that unpleasantness…
      • There are even some BOLOs from the Gazulin sub-sector regarding these people!
      • They violated Jumpspace sovereignty when they broke into Captain Mason’s ship which amounts to an act of piracy.
  • Defense definitely paints the PCs are of questionable authenticity who may have ties to the Ine Givar, Zhodani terrorists, and vargr corsairs.
  • All of the evidence against Mason is circumstantial but it paints a very grim picture of a monster hiding in plain sight and terrorizing the space lanes. Prosecutor urges action out of concern that if he is set free, some will perceive a double-standard with regards to highborn…
  • Ultimately, the decision here is up to the three Players running the judges and I’m going to play it by ear how they proceed so it is entirely possible that Mason could be released! In that case, he will immediately file a wrongful imprisonment suit as well as a civil case against the Spinward Star suing for damages. Whee! In the event that he isn’t set free, the PCs could still be hit with a massive fine for their actions (and probably will so I can take a huge chunk out of the company funds. Maybe as much as 2 million, which would drop them down to ~500K, I think.)
  • MEANWHILE, I need to figure out what to do with Armin, Eddy and J-Aris while this is going on. Eddy is probably the easiest since his player will actively seek out trouble to get himself into, but the other two … Armin has the whole Mistaken Identity thing going on and I suppose I could play with that here, with people and store types mistaking her for the countess of Bevey…
  • I think I would like the PCs to somehow find out that Breyon Sodhii is at least peripherally involved in their various misdeeds coming to light, at which point I can reveal that the company (Spinward Star, LLC) has an Enemy…

The Holiday List Gala

A handful of things are definitely scheduled for this for various PCs and the like.

  • Immediately prior to this, Corbin is going to reach out to the PCs – being new to his knighthood, he was unaware that he is expected to attend with a retinue! So he needs the PCs to come with him!
    • Abe, being a registered Psi, knows better than to go so he’ll stay with Sam and his crew to get to know them better.
  • Armin is definitely going to be mistaken for the Countess of Bevey if she has not already. This should lead to some confusion.
  • Buck sees Baronetess Alace Coteaz …
    • who he recognizes as Cynia Richter from his days of piracy, though she wasn’t nobility back then. And when she sees him, her eyes widen somewhat as well … and then, she goes out of her way to avoid him.
    • GM Notes: She isn’t Alace Coteaz, but is actually running a scam. The real Baronetess Coteaz is back on Jae Tellona, indisposed due to an unexpected illness. Luckily for Cynia, she looks a lot like Alace so ..
  • Countess Eleena Koi of Natoko becomes enamored of Eddy, despite (or because of) his low status? She will flirt outrageously with him … in front of her husband who will end up demanding that ‘honor be satisfied’ in the form of a duel!
    • Use Gemma Chan (who was ‘Kasumi Goto’ in previous character interactions before Eddy joined them.)
    • And this duel is not with swords but with replicas of ancient flintlock pistols. And what would be the most Unlucky thing to happen here? Eddy shoots … and kills her husband in a legal duel. D’oh!
    • Amusing thought: the countess is visibly appalled over this, though the PC won’t learn why until much later. Evidently, Natoko customs require her to now become Eddy’s wife (even though she’s still the countess!) She will spend several adventures worth of time trying to find a way out of this…
  • Haank … Haank may run into CDR Krin again, though this time she’s in disguise. I may also have him forced into running cover for Corbin who is trying to duck the Duke of Rhylanor … and the duke’s daughter…
  • J-Aris … I’m not real sure what to do with him here, though this is several sessions away so I have plenty of time to figure it out.
  • Sae will encounter his former commanding officer who is surprised to see him here, and then a little troubled. He promises to catch up with Sae later before hurrying off.
  • The nobility of Spinward Marches is rocked when Countess Josephine of Efate is elevated to Duchess of Regina per the Emperor’s command. This visibly enrages the Duchess of Mora. PCs realize that battle lines are being drawn…
  • I’m contemplating a terror strike – Ine Givar, perhaps? – here but with the archduke present and all of the other dukes and duchesses, it’s going to be hard to swallow that these guys could get through the security … unless that’s the entire point, I suppose. Who is responsible and all that. At the same time, though, I’m tempted to not do that …

The Departure

  • Prior to departure, I’d like to resolve the company situation, what with Sam remaining a member of Spinward Star, LLC, but also remaining in command of the Ellasaurus Rex with his crew. Ella can leave Mora with the Duke of Rhylanor and his entourage since she’s rejoining his navy as a full Commander (so she’ll be in charge of a destroyer!) and Corbin can join the crew as the ship captain. Lord Mika can make his offer for the PCs to “lease” the Miss Adventure for 10% of their haul and agreeing to do the occasional job. This is a really good deal, especially if I screwed over the PCs during the trial and took away most of their money.
  • Lord Mika will not be returning to Porozlo with the PCs. Instead, he will be remaining behind on Mora to take care of some business.
  • To segue into adventure 5, Lord Mika will basically hire them to go to Hex 3217 which is going to be 12 jumps away.
    • In the Fessor Subsector of the Foreven Sector, there is an independent world known as Lison (3217). They are known for only one thing: eludium exports.
    • Eludium is a rare and precious metal used in the construction of jump drives – knowledgeable PCs are aware that it is actually superior to the zuchai crystals which are normally used because you need only a tenth of it.
    • Lord Mika needs at least 10 tons of pure rhodium and is willing to hiring the PCs to obtain it. He will provide them with 5.5 million credits to obtain this eludium and will pay an exceptionally agreeable 10% commission upon delivery (so $550K.) Must determine whether 10% commission is worth their time here. Allowing PCs to keep any bonus fundage (e.g., they only spend $5M instead of $5.5M to get 10 tons) may help here.
  • Even if PCs don’t actively seek out additional freight and passengers, Sae’s former commander will seek transportation off-world and is willing to pay.
  • THIS is when I should do the strange customs boarding with the customs personnel needing to check all IDs for all personnel. And then, when they get to Sae’s former commander, they fast-draw and blast him!
    • Cue fight music!
    • Naturally, these guys turn out to not be in the Customs database so when reinforcements are brought in and review everything, they’re all Zeroed.
  • And then, I end the session and my run with Sae discovering that his former commander passed on some information that he’s recently learned: the man everyone knows as Archduke Norris … is an imposter. The realNorris Aella Aledon was discreetly assassinated by Zhodani operatives in the first two years of the Fifth Frontier War at the behest of their government because their precogs saw that he would be a major threat to them. The replacement Norris is a body double that Branj Dilgaadin arranged to stand in with an intent of ‘dying naturally’ once the war was over. Both men enjoyed the taste of power, however, and have continued the deception since then…
    • This leaves Sae with a Secret that he realizes is worth killing over … and one that someone has killed over…

Recap and Game Notes: Traveller, 4.18

The TL;DR outline recap can be found here if one doesn’t want to listen to almost 4 hours.

As stated in the outline recap, I knew this was going to be more of an epilogue than a full-on session. To be honest, I actually thought this entire session was a disjointed mess, since there really wasn’t anything left to accomplish in the adventure beyond “get off-planet,” “get back to Porozlo” and “get paid.” Since that’s not exactly very involved, I wanted to pad it out a little bit more and give the players some additional stuff to work with.

The fact that both of the players whose characters are tied to these vargr – CommJunkee who plays Sae and Mel who played Ella before she retired the character and began her gaming hiatus – were absent also sort of made this somewhat anti-climactic since this was their Enemy, after all. Still, at least Sae was involved in taking down the actual members of the Enemy … and two of them have survived. Since he hasn’t bought off the Enemy yet, they could (and likely will) come back at some point, though this time, I expect they will be the ones to snipe from a distance (though for fairness sake, it’ll happen when the PC(s) are wearing armor and can take a shot, even if it grievously injures them.

Notably, the PCs also looted the weapons from the dead which gives them some potentially deadly firepower. Unless they sell the gear, though, which is also possible.

I thoroughly botched some of the NPC interactions throughout this session. CDR Krin and Haank should have been more interesting, and thus far, I’ve given no real reason why the PCs would actually like Lord Mika. Ditto that with Corbin Spiirs who I did a bad job of introducing as well. More on him later. Next week is going to open with a 4-Jump trip to Mora (so ~28 days) with Lord Mika and Spiirs, which should hopefully give me a better opportunity to make them interesting. The big question there is how do you make the NPC interesting?

Spiirs is the planned Ally (slash Alternate PC) for Haank who is going to end up taking over the role of captain with Ella being retired. Haank’s player’s reasoning for this is because Haank would make a terrible captain – he referenced James Holden from book 1/season 1 of the Expanse. Eddy’s player has (sort of) jokingly commented about Eddy wanting to be the captain which, with Eddy’s current build, would be a terrible idea because he’s too short-sighted and wants to make the big score right now. I’m going to reach out to the player and see if that desire is a legit one in which case, that’s how Spiirs will connect with him: he’s looking at turning Eddy into a proper leader and potential captain with an eye toward making him move past the short-sightedness. Obviously, I’ll have to clear that with Gigermann, but it’s a good idea, I think.

Also during the game, we started discussing turning J-Aris into a more modular entity so he won’t end up stuck on the ship when the PCs are on really high law level worlds. Using Transhuman Space: Cyber-Shells, I spun up the following for the “news drone” version that is basically the computer core of ArJim pulled from the combat chassis and plugged into an aerial camera platform. Or, more likely, him remote-driving this thing from back on the ship.

“News-Jim”, 218-point robot

ST 6 {-40}; DX 11 {12}; IQ 13 {60}; HT 12 {20}

Damage 1d-4/1d-3; BL 7.2lb; HP 6 {0}; Will 13 {0}; Per 13 {0}; FP 0 {0}; Basic Speed 5.75 {0}; Basic Move 6 {5}; SM -3

Templates and Meta-Traits

  • Cyber-Shell
  • Machine

Advantages

  • Absolute Direction (Requires Signal) {4}
  • Damage Resistance 3 (Can’t Wear Armor) {9}
  • Digital Mind {5}
  • Doesn’t Breathe {20}
  • Flight {40}
  • Infravision {10}
  • Parabolic Hearing 2 {8}
  • Photographic Memory {10}
  • Reduced Consumption (Recharge once a day) 2 {4}
  • Sealed {15}
  • Telecommunication (Cable Jack) (Video) {7}
  • Telecommunication (Laser Communication) {15}
  • Telecommunication (Radio) (Video) {14}
  • Telescopic Vision 5 {25}

Perks

  • Accessory (Computer) {1}

Disadvantages

  • Clueless {-10}
  • Curious (9 or less) {-7}
  • Maintenance (Electronics Repair and Mechanic skills) (2 people) (Monthly) {-4}
  • No Legs (Aerial) {0}
  • No Manipulators {-50}
  • No Sense of Smell/Taste {-5}
  • Restricted Diet (Power cells) (Common) {-20}
  • Sense of Duty (Crew) (Small Group) {-5}
  • Social Stigma (Valuable Property) {-10}

Quirks

  • Cannot Float {-1}

Skills – these are based off the PCs skills, but now use his revised attributes based on this chasis.

  • Aerobatics-10 (DX-1) {2}
  • Beam Weapons/TL11 (Pistol)-12 (DX+1) {2}
  • Brawling-11 (DX+0) {1}
  • Combat Piloting (Contragravity)-14 {3}.
  • Computer Hacking/TL11-13 (IQ+0) {8}
  • Computer Operation/TL11-16 (IQ+3) {8}
  • Computer Programming/TL11-13 (IQ+0) {4}
  • Electronics Operation/TL11 (Communications)-13 (IQ+0) {2}
  • Electronics Operation/TL11 (Sensors)-13 (IQ+0) {2}
  • Electronics Repair/TL11 (Communications)-12 (IQ-1) {1}
  • Electronics Repair/TL11 (Computers)-12 (IQ-1) {1}
  • Electronics Repair/TL11 (Sensors)-12 (IQ-1) {1}
  • Engineer/TL11 (Drone)-14 (IQ+1) {8}
  • Engineer/TL11 (Robotics)-12 (IQ-1) {2}
  • First Aid/TL11 (Human)-13 (IQ+0) {1}
  • Forward Observer/TL11-14 (IQ+1) {4}
  • Free Fall-10 (DX-1) {1}
  • Gunner/TL11 (Beams)-12 (DX+1) {2}
  • Gunner/TL11 (Missiles)-12 (DX+1) {2}
  • Guns/TL11 (Grenade Launcher)-11 (DX+0) {1}
  • Guns/TL11 (Rifle)-11 (DX+0) {1}
  • Machinist/TL11-13 (IQ+0) {2}
  • Mathematics/TL11 (Applied)-11 (IQ-2) {1}
  • Mechanic/TL11 (Robotics)-14 (IQ+1) {4}
  • Navigation/TL11 (Air)-16 (IQ+3) {2}
  • Navigation/TL11 (Land)-16 (IQ+3) {2}
  • Piloting/TL11 (Contragravity)-12 (DX+1) {4}
  • Scrounging-14 (Per+1) {2}
  • Vacc Suit/TL11-10 (DX-1) {1}
  • Wrestling-10 (DX-1) {1}.

Father’s Day

This holiday is always kind of difficult for me principally for two reasons. First, my dad has been dead for a long time – almost 27 years – and I’d give almost anything to have another talk with him or watch another Atlanta Braves baseball game with him (even though I really don’t care much for the sport anymore.) There’s a bunch of stuff I’d like to ask him …

Second, and possibly a bit more depressing, this holiday is tough because of my continuing status as a single loser who doesn’t have any kids and likely won’t. I always thought that, by this point in my life, I’d have at least two children, maybe three. But alas. Still single, likely going to stay that way.

So yeah … happy father’s day to those who aren’t stuck in the rut like I am. And to those long gone but sorely missed.

Game Prep: Traveller, 4.18

So, with the PCs having successfully taken the corsair, adventure 3 is essentially over at this point. There are no real major elements remaining save “get Lord Mika off-planet and then back to Porozlo.” That said, the PCs still need to accomplish those tasks, so what I’m thinking of doing is just flowing directly into adventure 4 (which is intended to be the ‘season finale.’) I expect this Saturday’s sequence will go something like this:

  • Finalize the seizure of the corsair. This is easy as all of the vargr combatants are dead or dying. I may throw in a reveal that there are some vargr slaves in corsair … very possibly female with some pretty dark connotations about their purpose. The various systems are locked down, of course, but those are defeatable. The corsair is damaged thanks to attacks, but not so bad that it can’t be flown. While this is going on, the dropship that brought them here will take out the jammer, then fly in to drop off Eddy and Lord Mika (while picking up the medic (t)PC). They will look for (and find) the other dropship & the crew.
  • Return to the Resolute. Taking the corsair into orbit shouldn’t be difficult once they get it functional – all of the damage dealt is basically hit point stuff as well as one of its weapon systems. CDR Krin will order them to remain isolated until they go through full decon which will take multiple hours, just to ensure that they’re not going to spread the plague thing. During this decon, Lord Mika will chat with the crew (probably especially Eddy who is the Talker of the team) to find out about them. Following the decon, they are able to converse to CDR Krin and Ella – Lord Mika is extremely polite to Krin and passes on what data he has about the plague ship. May have him call her “My Lady” which sort of pisses her off? It’s been about 6 days since the PCs have done dirtside, so I’ll need to figure out how many HP that the Resolute’s ChEng could have gotten repaired for the Adventure.
  • Return to Porozlo. A two-jump trip (so ~14 days) with the presumption that they depart the following day (004) will put them at Porozlo on or around 018-1123. During the trip, I want something to go a little wonky with the ship. Lord Mika will also spend a lot of time chatting with various PCs – it’s almost like he has Gregarious or something! Ideally, he will learn a great deal of information regarding them, including the fact that the PCs need to go to Mora for the trial and that the Spinward Star is gone; Mika will offer the Adventure as transport to Mora as a favor for assisting him. PCs will likely learn that the Adventure is actually owned by Lord Mika. Also during the trip (presuming Ella is now a straight-up NPC), she will announce to Haank & Buck that she’s been struggling with a difficult decision: the Rhylanor Navy wants her back and their offer is too good for her to ignore.
  • At Porozlo. Upon arrival at Porozlo, Lord Mika’s return is celebrated by his father and PCs are paid their 200K. A great fete is announced for the following day (019) to celebrate Mika’s safe return and the PCs are all invited/expected to attend. During the Fete, the PCs will learn that all of the nobles are heading to Mora per the Archduke’s instruction to celebrate the long-delayed Holiday List. Lord Mika will announce that he will go via the Adventure with the PCs instead of taking the more express route that his father & brother are taking (1-jump to Rhylanor, then take X-Boat to Somem, then Mora).
  • On to Mora. It’s a 4-jump trip to Mora aboard the Adventure and during this, Lord Mika will float the offer to essentially lease the Miss Adventure to the PCs, asking only for 10% of their profits and an expectation to do deliveries and pickups for him from time to time without charging. Since PCs are expecting to encounter Sam & the Spinward Star at Mora, they may hold off on saying yes to this, but Lord Mika would expect nothing else.

The big question I currently have is how to actually end the adventure. The “On to Mora” part could conceivably be bumped to the beginning of adventure 4 (and might need to be) with the adventure ending at the Fete on Porozlo, but I still need a stronger conclusion somehow. More to come when it occurs to me…

Recap and Game Notes: Traveller, 4.17

The TL;DR outline recap can be found here if one doesn’t want to listen to almost 6 hours (!)

As stated in the outline recap, Mel bowed out just as Loki returned, so our numbers didn’t really change. Ironically, the last two sessions had her playing Armin and suffering from microphone problems, and now that Loki took back over the character, she had mike issues.

My original intent was for there to be a three-way firefight, but with the PCs sniping the vargr in the opening round, that went by the wayside. I then promptly forgot that I’d adjusted the tempest addict template a little bit – ultimately, it wasn’t that much of an issue since the addicts were engaging with ranged weapons. In retrospect, they shouldn’t have taken the tempest until they were about to engage in HTH, but … eh. Whatever. Apart from that, though, I was relatively pleased with most of the player engagement with the fight – a little confused with Ronnke’s decisions with the (t)PC (since Eddy was back on the dropship with a broken leg) since he essentially sat out the entire fight without participating. Everyone else participated at least a bit.

Once again, though, the relative ease in which the PCs were able to get through the firefight without any actual damage thanks to being able to use CPs to ‘flesh wound’ any injuries seriously removes any threat to these fights. J-Aris was messed up a bit – I think he’s at -1 hp? – but that was only because he had no CPs to spend. Still, when I run season 5, I’m likely going to drop that to make firefights a lot more threatening.

I’m also still a little … off about Loki in the game. Right now, she’s playing Armin as very aggressive and angry, so I need to figure out how to handle that. It’s at the point now that I have some concerns for future stuffs – I mean, if she’s this openly hostile or aggressive toward nobles, well that’s an issue…

Next week will bring this adventure to a conclusion, though I’ve got to figure out how to really stretch the session out … I suppose what I could do is start moving directly into adventure 4 which takes the PCs to Mora. I also need to coordinate with Mel about whether she’s officially entering the hiatus stage and retiring Ella as stated.

Gaming Lows

So, I’ve reached that point in my Traveller game where I’ve become a little bored with GMing it. Clearly need a breather … although I wonder if it’s more that the adventure itself has become a slog? No, I think again that it’s me. I just need to power through this malaise and get on with it. One session (tonight) or maybe two left in adventure 3, then I really do want to end my run with adventure 4 which is going to be 4, maybe five sessions…