Traveller : Secrets of the Ancients
Secrets of the Ancients is set in a single subsector in the Traveller universe. The subsector is fictional; the actual location on the official Traveller map is actually an empty subsector. One conceit of the campaign is that there will be very little provision (and very little reason)for leaving that subsector.
The general theme of the campaign will be trade. Players are expected to co-own and run a free trader as their central activity. Their travels between the systems of the subsector will provide the individual stories and the meta plot will also be largely location based.
Since this is set up to be a plot point style campaign (see my blog post!) there are a few parameters that we’ll have to set.
So far, I have not seen any reason to limit player career choices during character creation, but all players WILL have to be human. The 3rd Imperium has aliens, and the PCs may encounter some, but I am not familiar enough with the aliens in Traveller to let players play one.
Though I am not going to limit career choices, I am going to encourage players to make sure skills associated with running a free trader are covered. I’ll also welcome any scholars who spend some time on archaeology (take a look at the Campaign Title to imagine why).
We will be focusing on making connections between PCs during character creation; I want to mine previous history for plot ideas, and I want players to have bonds between their characters right at the start.
Many careers afford ship shares (or ships!) as part of their benefits. To support my planned campaign focus, all such benefits accrued will be limited in their disposition except for free trader benefits. For example, if a scientist gets a Lab ship as a benefit, she cannot take the lab ship – she can either take the income from the ship ownership (it is operating off screen), or she can CONVERT it to a free trader ship benefit and contribute it to the party ship resources.
Players will NOT be allowed to have Psionics, though they will exist.
To me the ship is pretty much an NPC (I stole that idea from somebody on Firefly who said that the Serenity was essentially a character on the show). The group will be required to purchase a ship, and yes, that means a mortgage. This means that ship awards (career benefits) and ship shares are important. So is making money. Ships are expensive!!
I am also hoping to formalize crew assignments slightly, depending on what kind of ship (Free Trader, Far Trader, Subsidized Trader, etc). is chosen. This will facilitate spacecraft ops, and hopefully make any space combat (if there is any) more interesting and slightly more structured.
Also, you’ll have the option to take an off the rack ship, or take a custom ship (a modified standard, to be more precise).
I am of the opinion that the ship should have a captain. The power of the captain will necessarily be limited (maybe just to breaking ties in crew votes?); and hopefully whoever is captain is agreed upon by all if possible. Note that mechanically all the captain does is make Leadership and Tactics rolls if possible), so the rules don’t afford any power, just a way to help in space combat if you have the skill. If no consensus can be reached then we’ll pick based on % ownership of the ship, Leadership skill, then random luck.
The crew will also need a pilot, an engineer, astrogator(though the pilot can double up if needed), gunner (if there are guns), and maybe a comms person (sensors, computers, etc). A steward and a merchant are also invaluable to making money. Some of these roles can be doubled up, and not ALL need be filled, though lakc of some necessary roles might force you to hire an NPC (more $$$$ out of your pocket). This should be a topic of discussion before character creation starts, just to give people a path to follow if they wish.
That said, people should do what they WANT to do in character creation, but remember you will end up a member of a team, and there is no i in team (although there may be an “i” in the Vargr word for team, along with every other letter).