Traveller Results

The people have spoken.

And they have chosen a rescue.
If Joan Alice is telling the truth.

But this is a bit of a dodge, innit?  Because the first poll included “rescue” as a rejected option.  So how do we make a rescue-but-its-salvage op work?

It’s easy with a little objectification.  Whoever is down there inside the wrecked ship is kept alive inside a companion cube, or as Traveller likes to call them, “low passage icebox”.  If those can survive a trip through deep space, they can survive a few days at the bottom of the ocean.

During play, there was no secret mission.  Joan Alice was on the level when she asked for help retrieving some salvage. Which completely wrecked any plans that I may have made for what would happen if this was a set-up, and they were great.  They involved deep dredging alien natives from a trench and the slow, creeping realization on Chad Solo’s part that he would be dragging the find of the century into a dark lab of Blackreef for God knows what kind of bizarre experiments.  He would face a hard choice in that freeing the sentient deep-trench diatoms would put him at odds with the other seven crewmen, who might even have orders to kill him after the mission was completed.  But that didn’t happen.  Things went smooth, and it was fine not to have a whole lot of complications.

Sometimes heists go exactly as planned.

Lesson learned: don’t get too cute on the story prep before you roll the dice.

That did put the campaign three to four weeks ahead of today’s date, which necessitates a shift in focus to the other guys.

Remember the Blackraven?

We’re going to convert them into the crew of a 200-ton free trader, and see how the classic version of the classic game operates.  To do that, we’ll need to generate a home system, and what a system Harkwind is!

A 1,000-meter airless, waterless, and virtually people-less rock, it boasts a tech level of 12 and a class-A starport for some reason.  Said reason comes to us by way of the random patrol table – mercenaries.  This place is a backwater outpost where old wardogs go to sit out there days on the subsector’s back porch.  Commanded by Major Dren O’Brut, these guys are grizzled old grognards with plenty of time on their hands, and a keen eye for a good investment.  A company this big probably has the dosh to serve as a lender of last resort for a humble autonomous robot trying to make his way in the spacelanes.

Hat tip to listener ThatBeMike for this one.

A hundred years of sci-fi and the always go back to the early-80s movie trough.  This means something.  Something important, but not important enough to analyze while the game is afoot.

To convert the crew over to this new game, their seventh unless I miss my guess, I ignored the dice and just threw together stats and skills that looked about right.  The only things that I rolled up were the crew’s starting bankroll and the Magic Space Baby’s psi-power, which clocks in at an impressive B-class.  He’s already shown a talent for teleportation and brain-bullets, so we called those his first two skills and rolled for the rest.  Of the four potential skills left he only scored on Clairvoyance, which is not a bad one to have.  To explain why we’re starting with this set-up, we apply the post-hoc rationalization of Cobalt-15 finally locating a hermit psi-guru on the dark side of Harkwind.  It’ll take months to train, but those are backstory months that parallel the story of the Blackraven.

We would be well within our rights to simply declare the ship stolen fair and square and use our starting loot to speculate on goods to run through the Penfold Sector.  Instead, and to maintain some impetus for the adventure, let’s give the crew a challenge.  Not a big one as they are the B-plot in this 1:1 challenge, but some reason to get them running around taking risks.  I built a standard model Free Trader using the core rules from 1977’s Traveller and then hit it with a few upgrades.  A sandcaster here, a little computer upgrade there, and some atmospheric streamlining gives us a 40-megacredit starship.

Instead of the usual 1/240th for the full asking price, we’re cutting that down to 1/240th of the 24-megacredits it takes to retrofit the ship, fuel her up, and provide some legitimate documentation to ply the skies of Penfold.  That does a couple things.  It makes our monthly payment a nice, even 100,000 credits, and it compensates for the fact that we are starting our shipping career in the back end of nowhere.  A planet with a population of ten just isn’t going to have a whole lot of export capital lying around.  On the other hand, what they have is Cobalt’s for the asking.

How well he really does depends entirely on how big the next planet over is.  If it’s another podunk flyspeck of a place, there won’t be enough cargo to justify the fuel costs. And they won’t have much to justify that second jump to the next planet. This are the risks you take when you decide to explore a subsector through play.  Instead of looking for those high-value spacelanes and big ticket wins, you’re stuck playing the hand that the game gave you.  It’s not a style of play for the masses, particularly given that the lender of last resort, VDC, is a major player in the subsector and they have the guns to make a captain think not twice but thrice before trying to skip out on his loans.

It’s shaping up to be an interesting campaign.