Interesting Times Ahead

So this Friday, our Verge game is going to be using Fantasy Grounds instead of being face-to-face since one of the players’ wife doesn’t want him to venture to the office with this Covid-19 BS. So that’s going to be very interesting…

Since we’re using a new ruleset, I’m keeping gameprep simple: there will be a bar fight, and maybe some of an investigation leading into a revised version of Cupbearer, an Expanse RPG adventure from the Quickstart book.

I fully expect we’re not going to get a lot done due to technical issues, but I could be surprised!

Chase Cards

During the previous session (1×05), we stumbled into a chase as two of the characters noted that they were being shadowed and, upon failing to shake their pursuers, instead opted to simply walk toward them. Said pursuers immediately turned and tried to escape, which led to the before-mentioned chase. At first, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do, but luckily, I remembered that I had the Chase Cards that Paizo put out for Pathfinder some years ago. It took a little bit of rejiggering since d20 mechanics don’t exactly translate to Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition, but overall, it worked okay.

Essentially, you lay out a number of cards determining the expected length of the chase (typically 5) that are face-down which creates the “chase track.” You flip over the first card with chase participants (miniatures) on it; to progress to the next card, the participant must overcome the obstacle according to the card (although obviously, what’s on the cards are general guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.) Since there were two distinct chases taking place at the same time, I had two tracks, and the guys they were pursuing begin one card ahead. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked out fairly well.

Unfortunately, those cards are also quite obviously geared for a fantasy setting which was not wholly appropriate for this game. This led me to start thinking about making my own chase cards for Traveller that fits more the setting. The below is what I’ve come up with so far, but I’m sort of working on the next batch now upon learning that there are even more cards with the Chase Cards 2: Hot Pursuit stuff…

Continue reading “Chase Cards”

GM Commentary: The Verge, 1×02

Recap here.

I covered most of my thoughts in the GM Notes on the recap, but I’ll redo them here.

  • Man, there was a lot of joking and cross-talk going on tonight. We did not get as far as expected.
  • The duel was amusing. As a honor duel, they faced off with Shot Pistols (so 1 shot, 3D damage) and gained the full +6 Aim bonus to the shot (which meant Baefre could not miss), then rolled initiative to determine who went first. I decided that Ilik’s psionic actions would cause Bane on Baefre’s opponent, which allowed the Taareh to shoot first; he hit but rolled miserable damage, even with all the bonuses – if he’d have been able to eke out 1 more point of damage, his opponent would have been knocked unconscious. On my turn, I shot and did exactly enough damage to knock Baefre unconscious (END + STR damage.) Duel over.
  • We encountered some rules questions that I have to look up – how much does medical treatment actually cost post-creation? Or does it cost the same (5000 per point healed)? Plus, how much do the PCs get paid by LFC?
  • I didn’t control the “what are you doing while Baefre is recovering” montage very well and tried to push Ephraim’s character to finish up more than I should have. He’s the admin guy; he should have his moment to shine.
  • The crash went fine but I also didn’t quite manage the immediate aftermath very well. I’m going to have to review how to do that better.

GM Commentary: The Verge, 1×01

Recap here.

I covered most of my thoughts in the GM Notes on the recap, but I’ll redo them here.

  • We spent an hour or so sorting out equipment for the characters. This was to be expected.
  • WxMAN was out on vacation, so the need for his character to be delayed by the TSA equivalent. He’ll be showing up next week.
  • I declared the people-mover was probably an Exeter-class but in retrospect, it should have been a Xuan Wu. I’ll be changing that for the future.
  • The entire investigation was intended to go by more quickly, but we’re still learning the system – this was the first actual bit of gameplay we’ve had – so there’s a learning curve. Plus, everyone was involved with the investigation and it made sense to let the players take me where they wanted.
  • The Shrike is straight up ripped off from Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos. No idea what I’m going to do with it; I just threw it in as flavor with an eye toward it being spacer lore. I even jokingly referenced the “Cult of the Shrike.”
  • I used the Traveller Emulator to spin up Mr. Roberts and man, the dice were not kind to him. He had no characteristics above 9 and most were below 6; INT and SOC were both 4, so I declared that none of the PCs really got along with him. One of the random elements that showed up on the emulator was that he had been in a monastery so I said “a type of monastery” and mentioned that he’d frequently chatted with Rostya (who spent a career as a Truther (from Traveller Companion). This was intended as a one-off joke, but one of the players asked if Roberts had perhaps been a member of the Cult of the Shrike … so I went with it.
  • I enjoyed explaining how screwed up the culture of the Twelve Families was and even decided on the fly that each of the major colonies have “dueling arenas” so disputes can be settled properly.
  • Everyone was in the process of leaving the “street-captain” – a phrase coined by CommJunkee that I promptly stole and “canonized” for the game – when MagMan had his character react to my street captain muttering crossly about the Taareh. This led to the cliffhanger which will be resolved at the beginning of next session, one way or the other.