ONCE AGAIN, WE PLAYED THE TRAVELLER RPG for our weekly Family Game Night. Actually, that’s not strictly true. Well, it is and isn’t:
- From a ruleset perspective, we used a combination of Cepheus: Faster than Light! and Cepheus Light both from Stellagama Publishing
- From a character generation perspective the RockyMountainNavy Boys used Faster than Light!, Light, and bog-standard Cepheus Engine from Samardan Press
- For the plot seed I drew upon Gypsy Knights Games‘ 21 Plots
- For ships we used a combination of Cepheus Light, Moon Toad Publishing’s Shipbook: Type S Scout Courier (designed for Mongoose Traveller 1st Edition), and Gypsy Knights Games’ Ships of the Clement Sector 4-6: Traders, Scouts, and Small Craft
- Took inspiration from The Space Patrol from Stellagama Publishing.
For the adventure I literally opened 21 Plots to a random page. In this case it was 19 – Ghost Station. I had the RMN Boys make each make series of random rolls which directed me to the second plot line. Then we were off.
Like before we played with very lite rules. Once again, the entire adventure took place “in the theater of the mind” with minimal mapping and no tokens or character minis. It helped that there was a thunderstorm in the area during the session and I was able to take advantage of a few “jump scares” caused by close thunder to use in the game.
The funniest moment of the game had to be when the adventurers made entry into the darkened command center. As the doors slide aside, the first character charged in – and tripped over a body he didn’t see on the floor. Going down hard, the second through the door reacted by blindly firing into the room. Several rounds (and dangerous ricochets) later the team calmed down and discovered a very-dead mechanic on the floor of the still-darkened, and now slightly damaged, command center. Most frightening, the body was purple! Fearing an alien infestation (the station was deserted, what else could it be?), they “ensured” the body was really dead. Later, they would be asked by the Space Patrol if they had any idea how the purple-blooded Igellian (a race known for weak hearts from a low gravity planet in the next sector…info discoverable if they had bothered to use their medical skill) was shot. Shrugged shoulders was all they could offer.
We aren’t really using a true Classic Traveller Third Imperium setting but I draw upon parts of it as needed. That setting helps frame many of the in-universe limitations and norms which the RMN Boys are discovering (or we are incorporating) as we go. This was especially true as our session wrapped up and we found we still had some time. We took advantage of this extra opportunity to expand the sector map that we started before. I let each RMN Boy do the die rolling as I used the tables and recorded. We made several planets and some are very interesting:
- An over-populated, high-tech, rich religious dictatorship in an Amber Zone (the RMN Boys immediately nicknamed this planet ‘Kool-Aid’)
- An uninhabited planet with a deadly atmosphere and a gas giant in the system (perfect for a pirate base or a secret government research facility…maybe?)
- A low-tech agricultural planet with a small technocracy (scientific research but why low tech?)
- An agricultural water world (aquaculture?) with low population but sitting just next to that overcrowded, and very hungry, Amber Zone religious dictatorship.
At first the RMN Boys were not too impressed with a few planets (like the uninhabited one) but when I started musing out loud about the possibilities they got very interested, if not a bit worried.
I am really enjoying – and appreciating – the ability for so many different products to come together and be used to help create our setting. I don’t really know what to call our game except Traveller. The events of the past few weeks have taught me that Traveller is not so much a set of rules or a setting, but more an approach to the way we play an RPG. This is very much how I played Traveller back in the days of Marc Miller’s (@TravellerNews) then-GDW (and now Far Future Enterprises‘) Little Black Books. In many ways that is what I think is my Traveller Renaissance – playing a sci-fi RPG in a wide-open setting defined by us.
Feature image Gypsy Knights Games