Traveller : Secrets of the Ancients

Episode 2 - Diane
How much to fix this?

The crew receives 4 offers to do repairs on the Consolation:

Shigguushda Yards – Parminder Kumarasamy – 940KCr, 1 week, Estimated. Guaranteed for a 10% premium, which can be applied against many security options if not used.

Ironbottom Shiptard ( DiCorp ) – Juan Carlos Boshian – 950KCr, 6days, flat rate. They guarantee the price, but will not guarantee delivery, although will be in no more than 10 days.

Tortuga Shipyards a subsidairy of The Jaice Group – Delma LaBrie – 800KCr, 5 days, estimated, negotiable. Everything is negotiable here, especially if the crew agrees to do some work for them

AuricTech Shipyards – Harsana – 1.05MCr, 4 days, guaranteed. No negotiation.

After some discussion, the crew decides that Aurictech is worth the xtra money. Now to pay for it……

Siedler Insurance Group, the insurers of the sightseeing liner Abyssinia, conduct a routine investigation into the accident (Rendel Von Worbeke). Rendel explains that since the statistical likelyhood of the collision is infinitesimally small the investigation as almost a formality. He requested formal statements from the pilot, a copy of the ship logs back to exiting orbit from Peresvet, a list of people on the bridge, etc. He also explained plans to interview all passengers.
The crew prudently neglected to mention Skreen at all. Simon suddenly realized that nobody knew if Skreen showed up in the Auto-logs. To the relief of all, he did not… was like he was never there.

News of Consolation’s misfortune travels fast. A Mr. Camsol from Saarvis Fabrications offered the PCs $500 each to just take a meeting with the CEO, Landin Saarvis. Saarvis offered them a job – rescue his son from the Sword of Zeme, an eco-terrorist group who has been harassing the company. He offered 100KCr to return his son and punish the kidnappers.
After tracking down the “terrorists”, the crew learned that the danger was overblown by Saarvis, and his son was not kidnapped at all, but a willing member of the group (though that may have been driven by hormones, as he is in a relationship with one of the group leaders). The son offered $75KCr to forget the investigation. They duly reported failure to Saarvis (though a Saarvis strike team ALMOST blew it for them). Landin Saarvis promptly stiffed them.

The crew was also contacted by Victoria Olsen, a bartender and widow of a pirate who stole 500KCr in gold coins from Egata Mining Corp. Her story was quite suspcious to the group, and they were spilt on getting involved. Not resolved before Saarvis dangled 100KCr for a more straight forward mission.

Avery is recognized by a researcher, Dr. Ashley Walravens. She is conducting clinical tests on Naval personnel, cataloging the impact of subspace radiation over long exposure, and due to her tenure in the Navy, Avery would be a prime candidate. Avery goes for the requested scan, which takes about 3 hours to complete. Avery signs releases and the proper legal documents. Walraven is quite young and beautiful.

Daniel runs into Akhua, an Aslan he met while scouting in The Corridor 3 years ago. Akhua is an ally. He is conducting a courier mission to the Imperial Consulate on Diane, and is carrying a sealed letter, which he will not even talk about. The two are attacked by two other Aslan assassins. Even after this incident, he will refuse to discuss the incident. He leaves the system in a hurry, contradicting what he told Daniel about his schedule.

Meanwhile, Laurence and Theo entertain Katinka Droog – a beautiful older woman flanked by servants and dressed in elaborate garb, she claims to be a cultural attache from Alkonost. She is very pleasant and very seductive looking, flirting with her eyes even as she discusses business or other routine subjects. After some conversational maneuvering, she tries to recruit the women of Consolation to refer young women to her to work on Alkanost. Indeed, she invites Theo and Avery to do so as well. Theo questions her closely about the nature of the work (so, you’re looking for breeding stock, eh?"), which offends Katinka. She leaves in a huff, vowing to assure Consolation is never welcomed on Alkonost.

Episode 1 - Peresvet
The maiden voyage of the Consolation

The crew of the IMCR Consolation meets for the first time on Peresvet in the Draeb subsystem. They take delivery of the R Type Subsidized Merchant freighter Consolation, and get started operating their nascent freight line.

Using military reputation and the raw powers of charm, they are able to collect a full load of cargo, mail and passengers, destination : the Diane System.

The preparations are not without event, however.
Avery befriends a kitten in the loading bay, while Theo and Daniel convince Russell Gustafson not to step out into a vacuum to end himself.

The crew also meets the mysterious man who calls himself Skreen, who begs passage in exchange for a promise of critical assistance to save their lives during the journey. he knows a LOT about them, and seems to have insight into the future (he knew what Avery was going to name the cat!). Indeed, he claims to be from the future. Though suspicious, the crew reluctantly agrees to give him passage.

Meanwhile , Laurence and Theo are jostled by a man fleeing authority, and afterward, Laurence (or was it Theo?) finds a data stick in his pocket. Was it planted? Some research and computer time en route to Diane reveals that the datastick has a single file on it; which is encrypted. The contents consist of a series of legal claim documents apparently about to be filed describing a salvage claim in the Ilwran system, filed by Egata Mining Corporation. The document describes the salvage only in terms of location in orbit around the Jovian planet at the edge of the system.

Entry into the Diane system is the danger point, Skreen warns, and he posts himself onto the bridge for the drop back into real space. in spite of warnings and very specific instructions, Daniel is unable to completely avoid a close encounter with The SS Abyssinia, a huge passenger ship. Skreen looking distraught, cries out in anguish and literally fades away; was the future altered in some way?
Luckily, Abyssinia is clearly more of a sightseeing ship than an interstellar liner, and it features vast expanses of smooth glassteel. The lack of hull protrusions allowed Consolation to slide along the hull for a stretch, which limited the damage. If the Consolation had hit a solid protrusion or otherwise hung up on the hull of the liner, it would likely have been torn to bits.
As it stands, the almost-collision neatly peels the under hull away, releasing freight and Mail into space, in addition damaging the M-Drive and compromising the hull. Many passengers were injured, but none seriously. As the crew worked to get power jury-rigged, the pinnace launched out into the void, and luckily tracked down the precious Mail before it disappeared into the vastness. Crippled, the Consolation now limps down the well towards Diane.

Character backgrounds - Last Installment
A question for everybody at the end!

2413 : Vland, Vland subsector

Theo arranges to meet Simon on Vland, even though they do not know each other, to solicit Simon for advice on her entertainment career even though he is out of the entertainment business. When they arrive, both have mail – packages, to be exact.
In Theo’s package there is a strange glass ball. The inside of the ball appears to be some sort of cloudy swirling liquid. If a she stares intently for a long time at the liquid, there will be brief moments where it will seem like she can see a strange object of some kind in the liquid. This strange shape will immediately disappear as soon as it is noticed, and even if several characters are all staring at the same time only one will see it. Despite appearing to be glass, the object seems almost indestructible.
Theo also quickly learns that when her skin touches the globe, she has visions of a lovely woman. She feels as she is present with the woman, but goes unnoticed. She will hear a voice speaking in the background, but it will be completely unintelligible to her.

Simon’s package is also unmarked, and contains a disk, like an air hockey puck. It appears to be made of metal, but is very light. It is studded with strange bumps and almost circuit-like patterns on one side, but otherwise appears inert. The flip side displays no features on it’s brushed metal surface.

Theo immediately contacts her pod-mate Laurence, who drops everything to come and study the mysterious items. They prove impenetrable to him, even when he calls on several experts in the field. In spite of extensive investigation, the sender of the packages is a complete mystery.

What is your theory for why Simon and Theo were singled out to receive these artifacts?
Why did you agree to keep the artifacts a secret?
What are you not telling them about your study of the artifacts?
Why do you trust Simon to hang on to “his” artifact even though he is clearly a shady character?

Why did you decide to track down Simon for advice about your career? What about him convinced you that he could provide valuable advice?
What about your experience with the artifact have you kept from Laurence and Simon?
Why did you propose that the artifacts be kept secret?
What did you learn about George during your joint research effort that convinced you he was a trustworthy ally?
What about your artifact are you not telling Theo and Laurence?

Final Question for everybody
Why are you travelling? What made you say Yes when Stacey proposed becoming free traders in a backwater like the Draeb Subsector?

OK, please provide answers to questions and any other feedback or comment below.

Character background stories - next installment
The Life raft

Next installment…..answer questions or provide feedback in the comments below.

2409: Kagamira subsector

George is traveling to Duam in the Kagamira subsector, posted to a field expedition as part of an inter-institution exchange program.
He is a passenger on the IL Loxahatchee, a passenger liner. The route passes through Luunbu, a system under Amber advisory for pirate activity.

Sure enough , pirates take the ship, and begin spacing passengers and crew who are not worth holding for ransom. George found a life pod and hid there, where Beth stumbled upon him and included him in her scheme to escape. She deregistered the pod from IFF tracking, listed it as down for maintenance in the Loxahatchee’s systems, then launched them into space. The escape worked, but after the first week in the pod, they were convinced that they had traded one tragic fate for another as life support began to run low.
After literally weeks in space, they are miraculously rescued by Stacey’s search and rescue flight during a training run.

What did the pirates take from you before you escaped? Who did you leave behind on the Loxahatchee?
You clearly lucked out when Beth picked your hiding space to aide here escape? What did you assist in the escape?
What about Beth do you respect the most? What about her is still a mystery to you after weeks together in a tin can?
Stacey’s System Cutter, INS Kearney was a very professionally run ship, and you were treated well, but what made you seek out the commander for a private discussion? What made you trust her?
What made Stacey likeable under her prim Navy exterior?

You have had run-ins with pirates before. What made “The Angel” (the pirate captain) stand out, and why did you burn with hatred for each other even before you escaped?
You and George were trapped in that floating laundry room for almost a month. What did you talk about? What about him was interesting, even intriguing?
What happened in that life pod that convinced you to become an entertainer?

You were commanding the Kearney on a special training rotation to learn intra-system anti-piracy tactics. Why did you volunteer for that rotation, since you had already decided to follow the Engineer path?
The life pod was almost invisible to standard sensor sweeps; what prodded you to look closer.
When George asked to speak to you in private you almost refused. What changed your mind?
George is clearly a brilliant man, but what about him made him memorable enough to consider when you decided to become a free trader?
Beth showed herself to be resourceful and brave, but what quality surprised you?
Do you enjoy her talent (Entertainer skill)?

Character background stories - first installment
The team begins to form.

OK, to add some depth to the event discussions we had during character creation, I have tried to flesh out the encounters, and also put them on a time line that ties in with career tracks.

These are just my attempts to add depth – if any events run counter your perception of events, we can adjust.

More importantly, each encounter also includes questions for each PC that was involved, to give you an opportunity to explain how it helped build relationships with other players. Again, if questions are inappropriate or send your character down a path you are not comfortable with, please let us know and again, we’ll adjust. I certainly don’t want people to feel like I am dictating character concepts or personalities here.

OK, so here is the first “common” event, happening early on in the party’s common timeline:

You will also notice that characters currently have the players’ names….that MIGHT be because nobody named their PC. just sayin’…..

2405 : Spinward Marches, Lunion subsector

Mike’s activities to protest the oppressive government policies on Rabwhar (Spinward Marches, Lunion subsector) contribute to unrest and sparks civil disturbance.
Rabwhar’s leadership appeals to the Imperium for assistance, but do not get what they bargained for – Imperial troops intervene to control violence and preserve lives, but do not choose sides.
Word gets out that government troops are executing dissidents in a broadcast facility they have occupied in Rabwhar City.
Imperial troops assault the fortified facility – Steven leads the Imperial Marine Brigade that assaults; Stacey flys a naval assault drop ship and provides close air support to the Marine brigade. Steven’s headquarters platoon rescues Mike even as he is being lead to execution.

What specific policy imposed by the government spurred you into response?
How did your performance act as protest and catalyst? Were you a dissident leader, or just a front man?
Steven’s platoon got you out of a major jam. What is the first thing you said to him?
How did you come to know that Stacey’s assault drop ship was on station providing fire support and dust off?
When did you meet her? What was the first thing you said to her?
What do you admire/respect the most about Steven? What makes you uneasy about him?
What do you admire/respect the most about Stacey? What quality about her do you think is wasted in her current role?

What maneuver/tactic did you use to crack the government defenses?
How did you explain the heavy casualties incurred by Imperial Marines in the assault?
How did your drop ship/fire support ship pull your fat out of the fire?
You were briefed on Mike’s activities prior to deployment as part of prep. Before you met him, what was your opinion of him? How did that change once you met him?
Your assault team worked with Stacey’s assault ship many times during the op. What did you admire/respect the most about Stacey? What about her made you open to working with her in the future?

This was your first combat op as commander of a drop ship. What was your biggest concern?
Steven’s reputation as a top flight Marine Brigade commander was well known to you before his team was assigned to LadyHawke-147 (your dropship’s callsign, ship number DA147). Did he live up to it? What about him convinced you that he was a guy you wanted to work with again?
At what point in the op did you feel like LadyHawke was in the most jeopardy?
When Mike boarded with the other rescued civilians, what made him stand out to you? What do you admire/respect the most about Mike? What about him do you wish was different?

OK please leave comments to answer the questions posed, or to impart any other feedback.


Welcome to my latest attempt to run Traveller!
A full plot point approach.

OK, here we go with a Traveller Campaign again! For those of you who have endured my previous attempts, this one is gonna hang around for a bit………… really! Why do I think that?

Traveller is a great system and I really enjoy running it. However, it is an older system, and as such, there are really only two ways to run it.
The first way is to set up a system, create some characters, and then just start playing, using the myriad random tables to generate everything from plots to planetary weather. WE have done this one a couple of times, and for some reason run out of steam on them after a fairly short run. It may be because even with random generation, it is hard to come up with plots and stuff on the fly. I think it wears down my enthusiasm for actually running the fgame, because having NO IDEA where a session is going when we sit down makes me uncomfortable. In addition, I think our experiences as a group of RPGers has taught us that the group is not terribly proactive. With a few exceptions, most of the “player-driven” games we have tried lately have been a poor fit.
So, how am I proposing that we address these issues? By playing Traveller the OTHER way: lots of prep.
I’ve always thought Traveller is a great sand box game, but we are not a great sandbox group. e have, however, played quite a few Savage Worlds plot point campaigns (50 Fathoms being he most successful), and they work for us, providing a good balance of plot structure and choice.
It follows in my mind that a 50 Fathoms style location baed plot point would work great in Traveller and for this group. To that end, I’m creating just such a campaign here.
Hopefully this post provides you with my reasoning, but let me know if you think I have missed or disregarded any salient information. I’m doing a wiki page to provide some setting parameters and other starting info, so watch for that.

I also did a forum post. I am going to leverage more of Obsidian Portal this time… is a great tool and if we can really adopt it I think everybody will appreciate the improved experience that is possible.


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