Saturday, March 14, 2015

I'm back. Woo-hoo...

Well, it's been a LONG time since I've done anything on here. I'd like to say I was busy, but really, I blame Facebook.

I had begun to post here about a Far Horizons campaign I was to be involved with [Far Horizons is a ***very*** obscure play-by-email campaign. Maybe a couple thousand people world-wide know about it. It's effectively dead, but it was fun], but I had issues at the time, and quit that. And I haven't been back at it since. There just aren't enough players interested in Far Horizons, and it is a slightly tough nut to run if you don't have server space and Unix/Linux skills (none of which I possess). Ah, well.

I've been 'pestering' my gaming group for a Traveller campaign for several years now (we've been heavily into a good Gurps:Banestorm campaign), and it appears we may actually give it a run soon. It is difficult to run a consistent campaign when we meet perhaps once a month. Ah, that's Real Life for you, right? Anyway, I'll quit rambling about the past, and post some details about the campaign.

I kept switching between wanting to run different versions of the available Traveller rules sets. First I'd want to use the Classic Traveller (CT) rules. Then I would want to run the newer Mongoose version (MgT). Then I'd wish I still had my old MegaTraveller (MT) stuff.

Well, some time ago, I found a group of rules called Traveller-Plus (T+). These are expanded CT rules, with more skills and a more consistent task system. Essentially, it IS Classic Traveller, with improvements which don't bog the game down. It also changes the personal combat system to one-second rounds, rather than CT's 15-second rounds, which never really made any sense to me. And using the T+ rules, I don't need a small pile of older, fragile books along for reference, nor PDF files (or not as many). A mere half-dozen or so sheets of paper is all that's needed. Much better.

My only problem with T+, and CT for that matter, is the space combat system. 20 minute combat rounds. Bleah! Mongoose has a better time-scale; six-minute combat rounds. But using this system for space combat requires a different map scale, or some conversions to make everything work together. I'm still not sure exactly what I'll do with that mess yet, but I'm open to suggestions. And it should be some time before the players get into that much trouble. I hope...

I've made some modifications to how the players will generate their player characters.

Rather than going through the normal Traveller career process, I've made some slight changes to the T+ 'buy your character' method. I'm having the players roll their stats, with one extra roll. They drop the lowest roll, then apply them how they wish to the stats. Yes, this may create some powerful characters, but I like higher power campaigns in general. And they may need the extra skills anyway; knowing my group, they tend to get into some trouble... ;) They will then receive a number of Character Points (CP) to purchase such things as Psionic Talents, improve or modify their Stats, and purchase skills. They get to choose their general age, and (with some referee input) create their backgrounds. And finally they will start with some basic gear (clothes, ID, etc) and a set amount of cash - basically a value based of how old their character is modified by some skills (Carousing, Gambling).

While I'm allowing the players to essentially write their own characters and backgrounds (who wants to play a character they don't like?), I will be working with them to ensure enough background for me to work with. For instance, one character will be receiving an inheritance at campaign start - a starship. However, it has problems (it is very old, typical in many Traveller campaigns). Also, his family (cousins) had been arguing over the inheritance for years. Why was he suddenly the recipient? Another player will receive the key to a starport locker on another world. A third player will have a 'hanger-on', an NPC doctor with a troubled past who is helping the player, since he helped her. And so on.

Any Traveller referee or player who has access to the old T20 materials will know what this campaign is. The players are hired to complete a contract for a regional company, and along the way find a mystery. While trying to solve it, they run into a series of incidents and adventures. All for the chance to make some real money. Of course, I can't leave any background alone, and I've changed a few things. But not enough to make a significant difference. I won't mention them here, as my group has access to this blog. :)

That's enough for this post. I'll be back in the near future to espouse on other Traveller-related topics. Perhaps my next post will be about the idiocy of the Longbow project in the Official Traveller Universe (OTU).