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Author Topic: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)  (Read 2916 times)

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Offline RivedaTopic starter

This would be a system game in Light Exotic Small Groups, open to all player types and character orientations, with a plot that responds to character actions but is not simply a sandbox. Genre: space opera with hard SF roots. Expected pace: 2–3 posts per PC per week. Smut content: probably low.

Since Bundle of Holding is offering all the Classic Traveller "little black books" (rules, supplements, adventures) cheaply in PDF format for the next nine days, it seems like a good time to check for interest in a game of Traveller—the first successful science fiction tabletop RPG, originally published in 1977.

Looking for four to eight players, with or without previous Traveller experience. The framework of the campaign (exploration, trading, "planetary romance," etc.) will depend partly on player preference and partly on how characters turn out (yes, we will be rolling up characters; yes, your character might fail a survival roll and die before you get to play them; no, if you don't like the character you wind up with you are not stuck with them, you can roll another one, within reason).

We will not be playing in the "Official Traveller Universe"—we'll be starting from Books 1–3 (compared to modern RPG books they might as well be Pamphlets 1–3) and making our own fun. Some of that fun might wind up duplicating the OTU, but I promise you won't need to know why Strephon attainted House Lagaash and granted the sector dukedom of Lishun to House Hollenau in Year 1114 of the Third Imperium or any of that shit I spent so long memorizing. This is Old School Renaissance, baby.

A few choice excerpts from 85 Reasons Classic Traveller is Great!
Quote
    7. The minimum required gaming materials for playing CT are cheaper than any winning Yu-Gi-Oh deck.
    9. Lack of minute details, thus encouraging creative play.
    10. Two little dice decide everything.
    21. The versatile Scouts are just as useful, if not more so, as the specialized Navy and Marines.
    24. The simplest task resolution basic system: "beat an 8." Everything else is just interpretation and extrapolation.
    34. Computers from the 1970s!
    35. Characters who start knowing a thing or ten and don't need to 'gain levels'.
    36. Jump Drive: as fast as it gets. Period.
    43. Aliens: more than just humans in furry suits.
    54. Psionics are illegal (wink, wink)!
    55. When you shoot someone, they don't just lose hitpoints, they're worm food.
    68. Social Status as a major attribute. And people calling you "Sir" or "Your Grace."
    75. Lasers that weigh a ton and slug throwers that don't.
    76. The word "Canon" didn't mean much back then and it didn't start flamewars or gunfights.
    84. Andre Norton, Jack Vance, Larry Niven, Isaac Asimov, Edgar Rice Burroughs, et al; I can adventure in or steal from their universes as I please and Classic Traveller has the flexibility to adapt their visions to adventures!

NOTE: I don't have the greatest record for running forum games. I get burned out from time to time. But a risk never taken is an adventure never to be had.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2016, 07:57:12 AM by Riveda »

Offline Muse

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  Hi Riveda! 

  I'm not really versed in the older versions of Traveler, but I gather they're not too diferent from the edition Mongoose Publishing put out a few years back? 

  I'd like to play wether or not I can get the concept I want--hard to get the concept you want with random life path character generation!  I would like to hear what you think of my somewhat unusual concept. 

  Basicly, there's a noble 'career' for younger sons and hangers on that are sometimes useless--and troublemakers when bored--and others really good to have on hand for when you need something odd done.  :) 

  They're also known for dueling with bladed weapons.  :) 

  I envisioned a 'quixotic knight' sort of guy coming from this class--complete with the old age and a hint of the dimentia.  :)

Offline RivedaTopic starter

I'm not really versed in the older versions of Traveler, but I gather they're not too diferent from the edition Mongoose Publishing put out a few years back?
Mongoose Traveller is closer to Classic Traveller than it is to any other edition since, but it is very much its own thing (and considerably more complicated). Do not rely on it for guidance. Instead, go spend US$5.95 for PDF copies of the main rulebooks, or US$16.00 for a whole lot more.

I'd like to play wether or not I can get the concept I want--hard to get the concept you want with random life path character generation!  I would like to hear what you think of my somewhat unusual concept.

Yeah, you can make a Noble character (if you roll well enough with your starting Social Standing), but the rules technically force you to leave character creation and enter play no later than age 46 so I don't know about senile dementia. He could just be crazy, though. :D Sounds entertaining in any case.

Offline Kythia

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Theoretically interested

Offline RivedaTopic starter

Theoretically interested
What would be necessary to elevate your interest from theoretical to practical? :D

Offline Ampere

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone…
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2016, 03:20:11 PM »
I like the idea of this one and would quite like to try playing a pilot (assuming I can find my copy of High Guard).

Offline RivedaTopic starter

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone…
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2016, 03:22:21 PM »
(assuming I can find my copy of High Guard)
We will not be using High Guard—only Books 1–3.

Offline Ampere

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone…
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2016, 03:54:00 PM »
That makes it a lot simpler then.

Offline arkhos

Definitely interested... and yep, I've got the little black books. :)

Offline Ampere

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone…
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2016, 04:43:20 AM »

Lt Cdr Diane "Cutter" Cunningham

UPP: 363B99

Details
Age: 26 (2 terms - Navy)
Skills: Pilot - 2, Computer - 1, Medical - 1, Navigation - 1, Engineering - 1
Credits: 2000
Mustering Out Benefits: Low Passage

Background
Diane was born on a low-gravity world, she enlisted in the Royal Navy immediately after leaving school. Her excellent grades led to her selection for officer training and subsequent promotion to Lieutenant. She was appointed to a T-class Patrol Cruiser, serving with distinction and further honing her piloting skills during combat encounters.

At 26, Diane wasn't ready to leave the Navy. Her skill set and experience might be in demand, but all she really wants is to fly again. She is the archetypal passed-over Lieutenant Commander (2 and a half), bitter at being sidelined, but she has no interest in commanding her own ship. Being a Captain is boring and, Diane would much rather rebel against eight years of regimentation.

Offline RivedaTopic starter

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone…
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2016, 05:11:00 AM »
Lt Cdr Diane "Cutter" Cunningham

Wow. Clearly you're rarin' to go… :D

The character looks good, but let's wait and see who else rolls up what else. If seven people roll pilots and no one starts with a ship, someone has to roll again…

I cannot emphasize this enough—if you are interested in this game, you can get PDFs of all the core rules for US$5.95 for a few more days. They're unlikely to be this cheap again.

Offline Kythia

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What would be necessary to elevate your interest from theoretical to practical? :D

All the tea in China. Or me figuring out how much free time I have.

Offline RivedaTopic starter

*looks up commodity prices*

…I'll be hoping you have enough free time then :)

Offline MadPanda

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Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2016, 01:27:55 PM »
Oooooo!  (raises paw)  I'm in.  As Muse could tell you, I'm a biiiig fan of OSR.

That ol' black box, back before they had a setting to go with it all...let me just go find my books and I'll whip someone up.

UPDATE: (rolls a whole lotta dice, consults Book 1)

Holey Carp, I'm playing Bertie Wooster's distant descendant!  After training and aging, 4873BB.  I am the very model of an educated upper-class idiot...

Dame Lt. Cmdr. Marguerite Francesca Krakeni

Stats
4873BB  Age 34  4 Terms  45000Cr
 Navigation-2, Vacc Suit-2, Engineering -1, Foil-1, Gunnery-1
Foil, Member-TAS

Background
There's one in every family, and to her dimly grasped embarrassment, Dame Marguerite is it for the Krakeni family.  She is not the brightest tool in the kit, but after the finest finishing academy her family could afford, she took the initiative to enlist in the Navy in hopes of doing something worthwhile with herself.  While she was not terribly surprised to find herself commissioned (rank has its privileges, you know), she was a little confused by her sudden promotion from gun deck to engine room.  A few years later, when they again promoted her and sent her to the bridge as a Navigator, she understood that she was being sent 'up and out'.  There she performed reasonably well until deciding to leave the Navy for personal reasons.

FURTHER UPDATE: this may amuse, since I have an obnoxious tendency to recycle character ideas in other games, here's what I've done with Maggie for another space opera game!  http://bamboobiscotti.blogspot.com/2016/01/crossovers-for-fun-and-profit.html
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 10:26:20 PM by MadPanda »

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2016, 02:00:48 PM »
Any chance you've still got a space (heh heh heh) in this? I've heard a lot about Traveller over the years and what I've heard has fascinated me, so it'd be neat to at least try out.

Offline RivedaTopic starter

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2016, 04:23:54 PM »
Any chance you've still got a space (heh heh heh) in this?

Djabo's tits and toenails, I certainly do!

(Five hundred XP to whoever correctly identifies the origin of that expletive. Since Classic Traveller has no XP system, they will be useless to you, but you can put them on your character resume next to your other possessions.)

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2016, 08:59:41 PM »
Alright, first question - can a character serve terms of service in more than one branch - like, say, doing two terms of service with the Scouts, then transferring to the regular Navy? Or is mustering out the 'end' of your character creation process, assuming you don't 12 your way into an extra term?

Stats so far, all rolled using the E Dicebot:
8, 8, 8, 9, 11, 8.   (or in code, 8889B8).

Book says average of 7, so I guess I did pretty well across the board there.

With two Navy officers already, I think I'm going to try and go for the Merchant service.

Rolled a 6, +3 DMs, gets me a 9, easy into the service.
4+2 says I survive my first term. I think I got the hang of this.


Saaaaad, I got forced out of the Merchant service after 3 terms, failing my re-enlistment by 1. :-(
Final profile:

8889B8  Age 30  3 Terms  50000Cr
Pilot-1, Gun Combat-1, Streetwise-1, Admin-1, Engineering-1, Electronic-1
Cutlass


....ships are like, stupidly expensive. Is getting to Rank 5+ and/or rolling a natural 6 on your Benefits chart the only way to start with one? And is there anything to spend my starting money on besides guns and armor? I took 3 rolls in Cash because I thought I could get a cheap starship, before I bothered to see that even the cheapest starship requires a multi-million credit down payment.

Psionics looked kinda cool, until I saw that it costs 5,000 to even get tested for your psi rating, so you can't even try until you finish your career track (which means a bunch of age penalties to your psi rating). Plus 100K is too expensive to afford training at the start.

EDIT: Are we using the rules in the bonus books (Mercenary, High Guard, Merchant Princes, Scouts)? Cause MP says I'd get a +1 to my Re-Enlist roll if I'm an officer, which I was. That'd let me continue to risk my life in service. Looks like it's easier to get promoted too if you get the right skills for the promotion examinations. I've got a nice image in my head of a grizzled old retired merchant scrounging a crew together to go free-trading in search of swashbuckling adventure. But we need a ship first, and winning one in the Benefits Lottery looks like the only way to do it.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2016, 10:42:09 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline RivedaTopic starter

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2016, 11:09:38 PM »
Alright, first question - can a character serve terms of service in more than one branch - like, say, doing two terms of service with the Scouts, then transferring to the regular Navy? Or is mustering out the 'end' of your character creation process, assuming you don't 12 your way into an extra term?
Mustering out ends character creation. (Remember, this game was written almost 40 years ago, when career changes were a heck of a lot less common.)

....ships are like, stupidly expensive. Is getting to Rank 5+ and/or rolling a natural 6 on your Benefits chart the only way to start with one?
Yes, though there are various ways to acquire one during play without having to raise the down payment.

And is there anything to spend my starting money on besides guns and armor?
Yeah, tell me what you want and I'll tell you what it costs. That's the Old School way!

Psionics looked kinda cool, until I saw that it costs 5,000 to even get tested for your psi rating, so you can't even try until you finish your career track (which means a bunch of age penalties to your psi rating). Plus 100K is too expensive to afford training at the start.
Psionics is set up the way it is to provide some reason for characters who muster out early to live…

EDIT: Are we using the rules in the bonus books (Mercenary, High Guard, Merchant Princes, Scouts)?
Nope.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2016, 11:11:21 PM »
Sadface. I was reading through the rest of MP and it looked really neat (though with a chance to gain a skill every year instead of 4 years...also seemed quite a bit more powerful than the regular base rules, so I guess never mind).

In that case, can I throw to try and find a Psi Academy and see if I have any psychic potential left? I've got Streetwise 1 and Admin 1, so my odds are somewhat improved.

I'm not sure what else I could ask for to buy.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2016, 11:15:36 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline RivedaTopic starter

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2016, 11:15:22 PM »
You can go hunting for a Psionic Institute the very minute play starts, assuming everyone is cool with that.

EDIT: Merchant Prince is pretty excellent, but the character generation system doesn't balance with Book 1 characters, and without Trader and Broker skills on the skill tables for PCs to learn, the trade system doesn't work. So…no Merchant Prince stuff this game.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2016, 11:17:14 PM by Riveda »

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2016, 11:17:02 PM »
Alright, but not during creation. I'd be at a -4 penalty even if I found one, so it's not a big deal...my only hope for training was to nat-12 and get a scholarship, which is impossible.

Any suggestions on what I could go shopping for? I really don't know what I might need other than a starship, which as noted is far out of my price range at 50,000 credits. I'm trained in Shotguns, but buying a gun is cheap, so I still have a ton of money left after buying a gun and some armor. Book 3 has some shopping lists, but they're all stuff like wilderness survival gear, which seems very situational.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2016, 11:18:36 AM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline Parlabane

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2016, 08:28:41 AM »
I might be interested in this, depending on the time I have available. Just bought the books anyway, as I have lots of happy memories of playing Traveller when I was younger and should be interesting to read them again - I had the black box with the Free Trader Beowulf text on the front. I'm happy sticking with Books 1-3 - 4+ make for some interesting games, but things can get pretty overpowered and technical with all the extra rules and equipment. Never sign up to fight against the people with FGMPs, as I recall...

Anyway, I have real life stuff, and things to do for other games that I need to get out of the way, but once that's done I'll check back and see if you still need players and if I have the time. Good luck with it, anyway!

Offline RivedaTopic starter

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2016, 07:31:26 AM »
Holding a little while for more players, but this game is happening, and it's happening soon!

Offline Muse

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Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2016, 07:42:55 AM »
  So, I need the traveler little black books 1 starter colleciton? 

Offline RivedaTopic starter

Re: This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone… (Classic Traveller, SF RPG)
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2016, 07:44:47 AM »
Yup. Still $5.95 through Tuesday.

Do not read the Library Data supplements, or anyway read them only for entertainment; they describe the Official Traveller Universe which we are not playing in.