Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Traveller Tuesday, Band on the Run

I'm in the process of writing up a proper debriefing document for my players, but we finished "Death Station" a few weeks ago, and I thought I'd put up a report about it.

The players had just finished defending themselves from a mad scientist and his rat-like minions, and were pretty beat up. They decided to let the medic do some first aid on the most wounded members of the party while the others went to the nearby engine pod to attempt to restart the ship.

The engine pods themselves were dark and scary, but ultimately not useful. The players had a tense moment as they broke into the nearby auxiliary bridge, a task made more difficult by the fact that the power was off, the iris valve was stuck, and their strongest character was undergoing first aid. Nevertheless, with a combined effort and a make-shift crowbar, they got the valve open only to find the room deserted. They reactivated the ship's power and gravity in time to make the communications window with their employer. After a few tense moments of their patron not understanding that they were all in serious danger and that almost everyone else was dead, ("What do you mean 'dead'? Put Larssen on, right now!") the patron agreed that it would be wise to evacuate the ship with as many survivors as they could carry. (In this case, three.)

As the players made their way back to the docking ring, their antagonist, still at large, came on the intercom and chided them about their foolishness, crowing that it would all be over soon, and it was too late to escape his friends. The players at first believed he meant the rats, but then remembered the evidence they had found that a Solomani mercenary company was interested in the lab's work. They hurried to the boat, but the small elevator and the need to ferry up the immobilized survivors slowed them.

The scout went up first and began warming up the ship. Each turn, I had him roll his Piloting skill to advance to the next level of ship's preparedness. When the ship's sensors came on and calibrated, they detected an incoming ship on an intercept vector. As the players got the last of their number onto the little pinnace, the comms channel came on in a loud voice demanding that their ship stand down, cease rotation and prepare to be boarded. "The Package" was to be handed over as arranged. The players faked their way through the conversation while the pilot finished his launch preparations.

As the pinnace slid out of the docking ring, the hostile ship opened fire. (Here, I used the "Ship's Boat" skill suggested roll sequence - roll once to avoid damage, roll again to escape. But instead, I rolled 1D to determine how many "escape" successes they would need before getting away, and each "hit" was rolled on the standard combat damage table, rather than just destroying the ship as suggested.) The little pinnace didn't have any offensive or defensive equipment, but had speed on its side. The ship lost its comms early on, but the ex-Navy tech was able to repair them enough to get landing clearance (necessary on the last "leg" of the escape), and the ship took two hits to the engine, making subsequent "escape" rolls harder, I mean, forcing the Pilot to fight for his life as his compatriots feverishly tried to get their vacc suits on in case of a hull breach.

The pinnace "landed" at Gadden's excuse for a space port, and the Solomani mercenaries, deciding they didn't want to show their hand to the mining company's management, broke off their attack.

We broke there, and called the adventure over. I'm working on a few news reports and memos about the incident, and once I have them composed and distributed to my players, I'll post 'em here too.

All in all, a good game. It took me a few sessions to get the hang of Refereeing Classic Traveller, but I think I have a reasonable grasp of it now. As long as I don't think of it as so much of a turn-based board game, things go better. Though it does make things harder for the players, since they don't have as consistent a framework to hold on to.

I would run another CT game if people wanted to, though I don't know if I'd go for a "bite sized adventure-a-week" format, a sprawling "Firefly" type game or what. The "One night stand" adventure format, like Death Station, doesn't work so well when you can only play for an hour at a time, and then only every week or two. It was hard for me to keep continuity going between sessions, and I suspect even harder for the players, since none of them grew up playing Traveller, and had very little cultural reference to the factions involved.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Conquest of the Bloodsworn Vale: A Rose by Any Other Name, Part 1

After a long hiatus, we got a few hours of Pathfinder in for my home campaign. We should be able to finish this "sub quest" next session.

Spoilers for "Conquest of the Bloodsworn Vale" follow.

The party had hired on with Sir Tolgrith, a knight of King Arabasti of Corvosa tasked with opening an old trade road through a mountain pass to the south. The pass is locally known as The Bloodsworn Vale, since a great battle was fought there, and the local believe that the suffusion of roses which grow in the vale are the result of the excessive bloodshed in that battle.

Sir Tolgrith's first problem was that a work crew had failed to report back in. A scouting party found their camp raided and all of the workers killed, murdered with arrows of a strange design. Disturbingly, all were missing their ears but nothing else. The bandits had not even taken their equipment.

The players set out immediately, braving the woods of the vale in the night, a choice they came to regret. As they passed through a canopied part of the road, the rogue spotted a pair of giant spiders, descending on ropes of silk to attack. The rest of the party was taken by surprise, but the rogue was able to use her new weapon, "Frosty the Longbow" (+1 longbow of frost) to seriously wound one of the spiders as it dropped. The second spider bit the party's leader, poisoning him. Shaking off his surprise, the Fighter lept from his horse and swung "Ulfbrecht, Sword of Cutting" at his foe, critically wounding but not vanquishing the spider. Both spiders continued their assaults, but were unable to wound the now-aware party, who, with a combination of steel (ulfbrecht and slicer) and arcana (wand of magic missiles) finished off the spiders. The Cleric's healing skill eased the fighter's poison while the rogue searched the area for survivors (or more properly, victims who might have some stuff to loot). After climbing up into the tree, the party retrieved a few pouches of coin, last carried by a goblin trading party who had been using the road before the coming of the "longshanks" (that is, Sir Tolgrith and his men). The party decided goblins don't get burials, but moved their dried husks off the road so as not to alarm the workers.

They reached the site of the murders a little after midnight, and after a cursory look around, decided to pitch camp. The wizard set up an alarm spell to aid in the watch, and the party slept to regain some strength.

The next day while the wizard and cleric were doing their morning devotional/studies, the fighter took a closer look at an arrow they had found. Showing an unexpected depth of knowledge relating to bees (critted a Knowledge(Nature) roll), he determined that the arrow was fletched not with normal bee's wax, but with giant bee's wax.The catfolk rogue tried unsuccessfully to find some fresh food, and ultimately settled in with the rest of the party to enjoy the food they had brought with them as they discussed their options.

After breaking camp, they decided to travel down a narrow game trail they had found. After a few hour's walk (they had to lead their horses through the narrow path), they entered into a large clearing with carefully manicured hedges forming concentric circles around some ancient monoliths. Deciding to approach as friends, the party sheathed their weapons and strode up to the pathway leading into the monolith area, and sprung a thorn trap. The wizard and cleric were caught, though the fighter and rogue succeeded in dodging out of the way. At that moment, three smallish fey creatures materialized and began to attack the party. One stood back and used his powers of Suggestion to harass the party while the other two attacked. A brief but violent combat followed, in which the fighter grabbed one sprite by the neck and, still convinced that he could end the encounter peacefully, tried to threaten the other sprites into ceasing their attack. Failing at this, he dispatched the captured sprite and finished off the second nearby sprite. The wizard got to fire off his fancy new lightning bolt wand for the first time, though the supposed leader dove out of the way of the blast, only perishing when the rogue "frostied" him.

Examining the sprites, they found nothing they could use, but discovered the unsettling fact that each sprite was missing an ear.

Moving into the center of the glade, they found an even more disturbing sight - the monoliths were weeping blood. In the center of the monolith circle was a staircase, which the players approached. As they approached, three trees came to life and moved in to attack. The wizard's knowledge of matters arcane, combined with the fact that he had recently fought a Treant allowed him to deduce the truth - these trees were not in fact alive, but were magical constructs. ("Huh, nice work. Still, let's get out of here!") The party decided to make a break for the staircase rather than confront the hulking constructs, and barely made it down (they all rolled higher initiative than the trees). The tree constructs did not pursue them, being essentially automata.

So we leave our heroes in the waiting room of whatever place this is, a set of ornate double doors towards one wall, and a simpler door to the other. It's about brunch time, though exactly who or what is on the menu remains to be seen.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

An idea for a Mekton campaign

Premise: A rag-tag group of Mekton gladiator teams must put aside their rivalries to defend their world from a new menace.

Setting: The Circus Gladius - in a desert wasteland on the fringe of civilization, Mekton pilots, techs and media stars gather to partake in Mekton sport - racing, fighting, with the money going to the team which can win with the most style. The town is littered with surplus Mekton hardware in varying states of destruction, largely the detritus from the last war and countless experimental designs. Missile weapons are prohibited on racing Mektons, though they are necessary for combat sport. There are as many types of games here as can be imagined, and the local law looks the other way as long as no spectators are harmed.

Appropriate characters would naturally be Mekton pilots and techs, but reporters, super fans, wannabes and even bookies/mobsters could make for interesting match ups. Characters should be physically fit and have some combat and technical skills, though one or two exceptions can make for interesting role playing opportunities. Players should be willing to help design Mekons using the basic Mekon II rules (which, while less flexible and detailed than MTS or Mekton-Z, are easy to grasp) with a few additions.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Seems I'm on an inadvertent RPG break.

My office "Traveller Tuesday" game has had to be preempted so many times I can barely remember what's going on, and my at-home Pathfinder game has been stalled for months. The irony is that in both cases, it's not from lack of interest, but a simple matter of timing.

But it does make me wonder - how long of a gap in the action does it take before people no longer want to carry on with a given adventure?

The Traveller game really only has one more lunch hour in it, possibly two if things get really ugly. The ending of this adventure rewards all surviving party members with a ticket off-world. Depending on if people want to play more Traveller, this will either be a "roll the credits" or the stepping stone to further adventures in the subsector, probably starting with "One Crowded Hour" (lulz), and possibly proceeding to something like the Linkworlds Cluster, or just a series of "one off" adventures, possibly split across two sessions. But I strongly suspect the Tuesday slot will be used for another game. I'm not sure the "old-school charm" of Traveller is sitting well with all of the players. :)

My home Pathfinder game is about to embark on its last mini-campaign (The Conquest of the Blood Sworn Vale) before we shift to another group of characters. "Conquest" should take a few sessions to get through, and the players will wind up 6th or 7th level by the end, which is a good place to halt, setting-wise. Beyond 7th level, the characters are powerful enough that they are "players" in the world, and if they manage to conquer the Vale, they will definitely qualify for that social rank. That's not to say they won't be able to have more adventures of course - in fact, it just opens up adventures in other lands/planes/etc. and against increasingly powerful foes (Giants, Demons, etc.). We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Now I get where DP9 was coming from....

DP9, aka Dream Pod 9, the creators of both Heavy Gear and Jovian Chronicles, among other games.

The thing I was missing was a solid understanding of the game Mekton II. While I was busy with BattleTech, the DP9 guys were playing Mekton, and that shaped their view of what it means to be a Mecha game. In a real way, Heavy Gear was a response to Mekton.

Given that Mark A. Vezina (the man behind HG's rules) was also a force in the Mekton sphere, and the original Jovian Chronicles was actually a Mekton II expansion, this should come as no surprise to anyone, but as I digest my new Mekton materials, a lot what seemed strange in HG is starting to make sense.

I'm not going to go into details, since a large part of this microepiphany is "feel" related rather than rules related (in fact, Silhouette and Interlok rules are quite different in their approaches).

With all that being said, I'm now anxious to convert some basic HG mecha to Mekton (I know, blasphemy, right?). I'm certainly planning on doing up some stats for GZG's "Not VOTOMS" mechs I picked up, and maybe even trying to adapt Operation: Jungle Drums.

"Why not just play Heavy Gear?" you ask? Because I am a sad and perverse person, and at the moment I'm obsessed with Mekton. :) Plus, the few times I played HG as a wargame were not as satisfying as I would have like, and I suspect the crunchier and slightly less lethal approach of Mekton would serve my needs.

Ironically, HG may be too hard-science/realistic for my prejudices.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More Mekton

My copy of Mekton II arrived yesterday in the mail, and I spent much of the evening lightly reading it.

I can see why people prefer Mekton Z, but Mekton II has a number of flavorful touches I don't recall seeing in MTZ. Mekton II's production is very "early 90's, late 80's" in style, with primitive artwork and tables, and a somewhat scattered layout

For example, there is a table for Mekton weapons that miss to show what sort of collateral damage they would do to a city - crushed facades, melted steel, craters in the road, etc. Mekton II seems to have a lot more of these "flavor" tables than Mekton Zeta does, though again, MTZ is a more dense manuscript, and I haven't yet gone looking.

Mekton II and Mekton Zeta are both implementations of the "Interlok" gaming system, which has a variety of stats, some physical, some mental and some social. The stats themselves are mostly compatible between the games, and some exist to provide flavor, like "Cool", which is naturally enough, how cool you are. All values range from 1-10, and d10 is the primary dice used. Tasks are usually opposed d10+Stat+Skill rolls, or in the case of what d20 would call "Difficulty Class" ratings, Difficulty+d10. MTZ does away with the "+d10" for DC checks and rates its DC's as 5 points higher than Mekton II. I think I like the Mekton II way, but I can see the advantages of a fixed target number.

Once Mekton Zeta-ism I do intend to use is the "computed stat" for "Stability", which is Cool*2.5, and gives the target number for overcoming someone in a social situation, such as asking someone out on a date or trying to interrogate someone. I didn't see a "Resist Seduction" or similar skill (though one is mentioned in the Mekton II contested tasks example), and "Stability" would make for a nice substitute. To "Mekton II-ify" the rule, I might take (Cool*2.5 - 5)+d10, though in my experience players get itchy with that much math, even when they only have to compute it once.

M2's internal organization definitely shows its early 90's roots. Artwork is primitive, fonts and layout are simple, and organization is a bit confusing. It doesn't help that the examples frequently use skills that do not exist, though I expect the author did this to try to convey the free-wheeling spirit of the game.

Combat is broadly the same, but differs in some small details, and is quite dangerous in both games unless you are wearing some armor or only engaging in fist fights. Mekton II seems to have more in the way of kung-fu options for both humans and Mecha, which is amusing. If your gun can't punch through your enemy's armor, maybe you can roundhouse kick his mech in the head.

Character generation is similar in both games, but Mekton Zeta adds the Traveller-like ability to "serves some terms" to get more skills, and you can either play a "Rising Star" or and "Experienced Hand". I would probably use this same rule in Mekton II if I were running a campaign; there's nothing inherently "Zeta" about it.

All in all, I'm left with the impression that Mekton II is sort of like AD&D 2nd Edition, whereas Mekton Zeta is sort of like D&D 3.0. Mekton II is idiosyncratic and hard to follow in some places, but has a bit more character in the main rule book. Mekton Zeta is a more solid gaming system, but it loses a bit of flavor in its attempt to streamline and rationalize the Mekton system.

Which would I use to run a game? If I were running Operation: Rimfire, I think I'd use Mekton II, since that's what the adventure was designed for. If I were doing a new adventure, I would seriously consider using Mekton Zeta in the Mekton Empires setting, though Empires would need some conversion work.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I picked up a copy of the old "Mekton Empires" at MillenniumCon last weekend. As some of you know, I'm a nut for Mechs, though I've had very little (as in no) luck engaging in Mech or Anime related RPGs. (Played a lot of Battletech though - that counts for something, right? :))

ME is a supplement for the Mekton RPG. In specific, it's for Mekton II. The only Mekton rules I have are "Mekton Z" (which is basically tweaked M2 with a way more sophisticated mech building system). I picked up MZ a few years ago when I was looking for a new Mech wargame that wasn't BTech or Heavy Gear, and had MZ suggested. I tried a few test games of MZ just as a miniatures wargame, and while it worked well enough, as with most games, I suspect it would have worked better had I not had to play solo. Besides, Mekton is actually an RPG, and a big part of the fun of a Mekton battle is no doubt the crazy interaction between angsty teenage pilots. :)

A relevant aside: I've been watching some classic Anime SF with my kids lately - Robotech, Starblazers, Patlabor.... So they get the robots, space fighters, pop stars and "spinal mount weapons" thing.

After a brief conversation with a friend, I decided to go ahead and grab a copy of M2 (it was only 5 bucks) so that I can run Operation: Rimfire and use Mekton Empires without having to try to convert to MZ. It seems that M2 has sort of the same relationship to MZ as D&D 2nd Ed has to D&D 3.0 - very similar in broad strokes, but quite different in the details.

Plus, the Mekton II cover art owns the Mekton Zeta art. At least in my opinion. :)

Now the real question is, am I going to be able to get my at-home RPG group (ie, wife & kids) to sign on for a campaign? We're playing Pathfinder right now, which is much more complex mechanically, but simpler conceptually, and even though we're winding down one campaign, they're already excited about starting up a Pathfinder Pirates game.

So my Mekton dreams may have to wait a little longer still. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Traveller, NPCs and PNPCs

More GM thoughts, this time on player character generation choices and the role of hirelings.

When you run any RPG campaign, you want to allow your players as much freedom as possible when choosing their characters, because players who like their characters tend to have more fun. However, some types of characters just don't fit in any given campaign setting. For instance, what exactly does that ex-scholar bring to a bounty hunter band again?

Add in the lethality of some rules such as Traveller, and you can quickly get your players into a situation where their characters are useless or dead, and that's not fun for anyone.

Two obvious solutions present themselves. Well, three if you count "let PCs die so that players learn to generate more relevant characters", which is not calculated to make you a popular GM.

First and most obviously, get the players to buy in to a campaign concept (like the "bounty hunter"/"Cowboy Bebop" idea above, or maybe a "Firefly"/"Merchants" setting) and build characters that fit that setting. This is probably the best way to go overall, but if your merry band of adventurers is not as focused on their mission, or you are using strict CT character generation rules, this might not be practical.

The other idea is to have the players make more than one character, with one of them being an employee of the other, such as the ex-Diplomat who works the deals and an ex-Marine who pulls the trigger. This is a variation of the time honored "hireling" NPC role, with the difference that the NPCs are controlled by players. (PNPCs?)

There's no reason that these PNPCs couldn't in theory remain with the party, if the situation made sense (like players running a "Star Trek" type game, where they play both bridge officers and away team members), or just have them fade away into the background after the job is complete (and they get their cut).

Hireling NPCs are about as classic an RPG concept as you can find, and I have no doubt that "PNPCs" are well known to others, but I have never seen them used in a game.

A less permanent version of the PNPC idea might be to have a patron send an armed fire team to assist the players, giving each player one member of the team to control in addition to their own characters. These PNPCs would be the classic Red Shirts, and could take all the risks. Players would be naturally discouraged from getting their own PNPC killed off (due to emotional attachment), where they might not think twice of ordering a fire team of NPCs forward into danger.

With Classic Traveller's character generation being so simple, it would be easy enough to have each player roll up a character on the fly, stipulating what service and the maximum number of terms they can have. Or even easier, have everyone roll UPPs (in order, reroll 3-) and give out skills you think are appropriate, possibly keyed by each characters statistic. (For example, the one with the highest Intelligence might get Recon.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Traveller Tuesday - S*** just got real

After stating that I wasn't going to do an update, here's an update.

Today saw a lot more combat.

The players, after "securing" the unconscious scientist (shot into unconsciousness last game) to a rolling chair to for easier transport, moved into the smaller lab room.

Inside, they found evidence of an explosion and some structural damage to the ship, but at first, that appeared to be all. As they slowly advanced across the lab, half way there, they began to hear urgent whispers - "quickly! quickly!", then soon afterwards, a huge swarm of rats irrupted from underneath the rubble to attack them. Simultaneously, a crazed scientist appeared from behind some cover at the end of the lab shouting "devour them my children!" and opening fire with a snub pistol.

The party was surrounded - rats along the flank, crazy scientist with a snub pistol at the head of the line, closed unpowered iris valve behind them. [Think Hannibal at Lake Trasimene, if you're a complete dork like me.]

The first turn six rats died from excessive shotgun and SMG exposure, then the rest split up with a half-dozen rats swarming each person in range, climbing onto them and biting them. The crazy scientist engaged two others with his snub pistol. He had taken up position very near to a "tunnel hole", but had some good, hard cover to shoot from behind.

The rat attack portion became a game of attrition - for simplicity's sake, I assumed a rat swarm got one attack per round, and players could melee the rats with either a weapon or their hands if they had no relevant weapon skill. A rat died on a 3+ wound, and extra damage could "spill over" to another rat. The "rat fight" got pretty ugly, almost dropping two players. As written, the rats should probably have stripped all of the players like piranhas, but my rats are not quite as nasty as the official ones, and they have a few other tactical advantages I won't go into here.
The gunfight side was equally nasty - the first round, the players didn't grab as much cover as they should have, but the closest player's cloth armor saved him from the first round from the snub pistol. The scientist's enhanced physique allowed him to survive three solid hits, and after a few rounds of lucky rolling the cloth armored character was suffering greatly. He withdrew from the firefight, leaving the army guy to finish the job. He obliged, plugging away with his rifle from around the corner. By the 4th turn, the scientist was worn down to the point that another solid hit would finish him off. He decided to evade and make a break for the tunnel, but the army guy finished him off with a final rifle round - the players' first human kill of the adventure.

Upon the scientist's death, the rats dispersed, leaving the players to ponder the strange mental reading data one of them had uncovered earlier in the lab computer's data....

And that's where we broke for the session. Two characters on their last breath before going unconscious or worse, another pretty beat up and two in relatively good shape.

I'm using a more forgiving version of healing than true CT - if you don't zero a stat, first aid will completely recover your wounds. In truth, the CT rules are ambiguous about how to handle slightly wounded characters, so I've decided to err on the side of Hollywood - unless you're actually knocked down, some "field medicine" will return you to fighting form.

On the down side, effective first aid takes a Medic-1 and 15 minutes with a medkit, so it would take their medic the better part of an hour to patch everyone up.

They're most likely not going to have that much time. :)

Not gone, just dead for tax purposes.

Sorry for the paucity of posts lately. Life has been keeping very busy the past two weeks. I'll get back to my regularly scheduled updates next week.

Monday, October 22, 2012

And for contrast...

Highlighting Classic Traveller's more spartan style of character (no connections, very little detail generated by the term system...), here's Sword Worlder street thug made good:

Other/Merchant 3rd Officer  Tor Halperin   BA5875, Age 34
Skills: Steward-2, Mechanical-1, Electronic-1, Vacc Suit-1, Blade-1, Brawling-1, Streetwise-1
Equipment: Blade(Cutlass), 20,000 Cr

Tor was a big kid from a rough part of town who found himself serving as a "tough" for a local mob leader.  His generally negative outlook and an unfortunate case of asthma contribute to his diminished endurance, though he has tried to make up for his shortcomings through rigorous weight lifting and training his naturally high dexterity.

When his gang got busted by the local law enforcement, he signed on as muscle for a tramp freighter in the area. The captain quickly saw that Tor was more than he appeared, and promoted him to be the ship's Steward, a job Tor found he was surprisingly good at. As often happens, Tor cross-trained in zero-G operations as well as general repair skills (mechanical and electrical), which came in handy in maintaining the ship's life support and passenger systems.

Now, Tor is an experienced space hand, and while some may be intimidated by his size and unrefined accent, his quick wits and obvious passion for stewardship soon win them over.

First, a Mongoose Traveller Character

Sometimes I like to play the "Traveller CharGen game". Most of these characters are destined for the dustbin, or maybe use as more well-developed NPCs, and I only keep records of the ones that turn out to be interesting. I take the rolls as they happen when I'm doing this, and then try to weave a plausible story out of the results.

I'm going to drag out a few of these characters to share. Because I'm mostly doing this during the odd lunch break, the writeups follow no uniform format or level of detail, but should have enough notes to be able to play the character in a game. And before anyone complains, yes I know these are kind of stereotyped. I'm a firm believer in using broad strokes when painting RPG characters, because I don't have the luxury of dozens of pages or the nuanced performance of a professional actor to portray them.

Some are "Classic Traveller" characters, and some (like this one) are "Mongoose Traveller" characters. I've used Spica Publishing's "Career Books" in some cases (again, like this one), and a few characters are for Spica's "Outer Veil" setting instead of the standard "3rd Imperium" setting.

The first character is an Imperial Treasure Hunter, Lady Duanna Engebar, who worked out to be kind of a "b-team" version of Lara Croft or Sydney Fox (if anyone but me remembers "Relic Hunter").

Lady Duanna Engebar 6CA55A - 26yo Treasure Hunter (Career Book 1)
Str:  6     Int: 5
Dex: 12   Edu: 5
End: 10   Soc: 10
Survival-1, Gun Combat(slug pistol)-1, Art(Primitive)-1, Athletics(coordination)-1,
Animals(riding)-0, Stealth-0, Recon-0, Flyer-0, Carousing-0
2 Allies - Garun Revesh, Simi Odakar
1 Enemy - Yanos Shevinssen
0 Cr

A hardy if slightly built girl from an influential family, Lady Duanna never paid much attention in school and isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, though her phenomenal agility and perseverance has served her well.  At 18 years old, she longed to escape the confines of High Society.  Her father pull some strings to get her assigned to the crew of a high-profile freelance Treasure Hunting outfit.  She quickly impressed her crew chief with her bravery (if not her intelligence) and was given more in-field missions, where she learned about survival and Ancient artwork.  In her second term, she was betrayed by a former colleague and found herself with an unexpected need to hone her gun combat skills.  No longer able to trust her employer, Lady Duanna left the service and set out on her own.

Now a more experienced woman who is more at home in the field than she is in high society, Duanna still maintains very friendly relations with two of her old collegues, though her betrayer continues to be a thorn in her side, as does her currently cashless state.

Garun Revesh - a vargr archaeologist, Garun and Duanna have been on many digs together. In essence, he was the brains to Duannas brawn, and together they were able to retrieve a number of high-profile artifacts and knowledge. Garun is quite fond of Duanna, admiring her spirit and determination.  He will happily assist her in any way he can, and considers her to be a personal friend as well as a valuable professional contact.

Simi Odakar - an Imperial human, Simi is one of Duanna's "girly friends". During the years they were on the same planet, they enjoyed spending their down time together, and have a genuinely strong friendship. Simi is a Broker by occupation, and she frequently finds deals which she shares with Duanna. Though her busy lifestyle prevents her from travelling herself, she has many contacts throughout the sector and can "pave the way" if she has time to do so. In return, Duanna will pass along any information she finds about business opportunities and will look out for opportunities to send business to her friend.

Yanos Shevinssen - a Sword Worlder by culture, and a rival Adventurer, Yanos betrayed Duanna's trust by stealing an important artifact that she and Garun were working to retreive.  Yanos is an unscrupulous man who views non-Sword Worlders with contempt, believing that they are "chumps who deserve what they get". It is speculated that his hatred of Duanna is more personal though. He is a boorish man whose advances Duanna rebuffed.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Traveller Tuesday - working towards the bridge

The Traveller Tuesdays game resumed this week, where our intrepid band of misfits found themselves subduing the mentally unstable ship's engineer.

The engineer's "disease" wore off, and he collapsed into a nearly unconscious state. The players were able to question him briefly, but he was more concerned with denying that he had been eating the dead bodies they found him with than he was in answering any relevant questions about what was going on.

While they were tranquilizing him and tying him up, another swarm of ratoids attacked. The ex-soldier was bitten, but the damage was negligible. (I'm using the rule that unless you zero a stat, first aid restores you completely.)

The players approached the bulkhead's iris valve and opened it. It immediately snapped shut, and a voice over the intercom said, "Ah, I see my little lab rats have learned a new trick...." Though discomfited, the characters bypassed the door control and moved onward towards the bridge. They investigated a few staterooms along the way, but found little of interest until they were within visual range of the bridge. (One stateroom had signs of a struggle and evidence that someone had been murdered, in contrast to the other bodies which appear to have died before being chewed on.)

The lead character saw something scuttle away around the "horizon" of the deck. Flicking on his IR goggles, he detected a single pair of human-sized footprints moving away from the bridge's doorway. Very soon afterwards, the sound of another iris valve door closing was heard down the hall. The players decided to investigate the bridge.

The bridge was largely operational, though a few of the lights were smashed out. One of the powerplant modules reported itself as being off line, most of the ship's fuel tanks are empty, and of course the long range communications gear was not responding. The ex-merchant came up with the bright idea of using the ship's security cameras and systems to the character's advantage. While many of the cameras had been smashed along with the lights, and a few more cameras were looking into dark areas, the players got a few glimpses of the laboratory areas and their disorderly states.

Meanwhile, the ex-navy character was examining the ship's computer's logs, turning up evidence that not only was someone sending reports to an unknown factor back on Earth, but that Solomani mercenary officers had visited the station - a bit suspicious, since Lysani corp has an Imperial charter. She was unable to determine the subject of the research from the coded messages however.

She did, however, discover the ship's anti-piracy software package (standard issue on a covert research laboratory), and the party immediately began to plan how to use this new capability to their advantage. Anti-piracy measures include locking out ship sections, modifying gravity and atmosphere withing bulkhead zones, and releasing sleeping gas as required.

They know that at least one human is out running around, and that he knows "his" ship has been invaded. It's also likely that he knows the capabilities of the ship, and won't hesitate to use those capabilities to his own advantage.

This is where we broke for the week.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Hopeless Characters?

In my "Death Station" game, I decided to have players pick from the pregenerated character list in the adventure, just to keep things simple. The leftovers were characters that could best be described as "hopeless", or at least obviously disadvantaged compared to the other characters in the list.

In a random character generation system like Traveller's, this is unavoidable. The rules are pretty strict - if you don't like your character, sign it up for a dangerous career and hope it doesn't survive. That's kind of harsh to be sure, but it also leads to characters who suddenly become interesting because of their training, or who you begin to root for anyway during the generation process.

One of the folks considering joining the game wanted to know how to interpret these "hopeless" characters, so I wrote up a potential bio for each of them, to give an idea how seemingly "bad" character stats can lead to fun characters to play.

I doubt these exact characters will be of any interest to anyone, but since I like to read articles like this myself, maybe others will too. If you're not familiar with Traveller, 7 is the average statistic, which range from 2-12. Skill level-1 is competent, level-2 is accomplished, level-3 is expert, etc. "Soc" is not like Charisma, it's your social status. Low Soc doesn't make you bad, but it does mean that society ignores you (at best). Attacks are what "plus" you get to hit with that weapon and how many dice you roll for damage.

4) Ex-Other 658573 Age 30 3 terms 
Str: 6     Dex: 5     End: 8     Int: 5      Edu: 7     Soc: 3
Skills: Brawling-1, Gambling-1, Streetwise-1, Bribery-1
Attacks: Blade +0 2D, Fists +1 1D, Carbine +0 3D (Note, low dex makes any other firearm impractical)
Equipment: Cr2,000

This guy is probably a petty thug, skilled in pushing people around (bribery, streetwise), gambling and fist fights. He’s not very strong, but he has a passable endurance, which would help in in a fight. He’s kinda below average in most respects, and his Social Standing is so low, he’s either some sort of illegal alien or other social undesirable. Considering his average level of education, he’s probably not a barbarian or street urchin, so there’s probably a story there.

He does, however, have a fair amount of cash compared to everyone else, probably resulting from his Gambling skill. I picture this guy as a small-ish but surprisingly sturdy person who may not be the world’s sharpest intellect, but has learned how to “work the system”, even though “the system” has very little use for him. I would guess that he wound up on the mining colony to help pay off some “bad choices” made on another world, and has steadily been currying favor and running some petty gambling games to make money on the side.

5) Ex-Marine Lieutenant 966855 Age 30 3 terms     
Str: 9     Dex: 6     End: 6     Int: 8      Edu: 5     Soc: 5
Skills: ATV-1, Tactics-1, Brawling-1, Cutlass-1, Revolver-1
Attacks: Cutlass +1 3D, Fists +1 1D, Revolver -1 3D (yes, -1, due to his low Dex), Dagger +2 2D
Equipment: Cr4,000

This guy is big, strong and smart, though not in the best shape, and not very well educated. He’s mostly all about the close-in fighting or armor tactics (ATV includes crewing tanks and APCs, and his Tactics skill indicates he was at least the vehicle's commander.)

If it weren’t for his high Intelligence, I’d say he’s your basic big violent jarhead, though he did made it to Lieutenant, and he’s managed to save more money than any other character in the list, so how dumb is he? I imagine he’s at the colony because he found he was at a loss to find gainful employment when the marines no longer needed him, and maybe didn't know enough about how the world works to read the fine print on his employment contract.

8) Ex-Other 586AA4 Age 26 2 terms
Str: 5     Dex: 8     End: 6     Int: 10     Edu: 10    Soc: 4
Skills:      Forgery-2, Dagger-1, Streetwise-1
Attacks: Dagger +1 2D
Equipment: Cr1,000

And this guy is another street punk, but this time with high dexterity and VERY high Int and Edu. With Forgery-2, I suspect he’s the archetypal “guy you go to to get whatever you need”, with a specialty in fake documentation – sketchy and slightly built, but slippery and able to handle himself in a knife fight. His education may be the result of some sort of scholarship offered to “socially disadvantaged” students with great potential, or it could be a personal obsession with learning that has allowed him to gain an encyclopedic body of knowledge without any actual ability to apply that knowledge.

He’s possibly on-world “playing dead” to avoid some crime boss back home. If he could just get passage off world, well, the Imperium is a big place and he’s good at not being found.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Traveller Musings - Adding Armor to LBB2 Starships

Here's another Traveller house rule I've been thinking about. I originally wrote this down a few months ago, but since I have a blog to share it on now, I'm posting it here.

Some background:

In the Classic Traveller (CT) world, people are aware that there are sort of two different takes on Classic Traveller - the basic system described in the "Little Black Books" 1-3 (known as LBB1-3), and the expanded system that begins with "Book 4: Mercenary". It's a bit like the differences in Basic and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons back in the day, though LBB1-3 Traveller is not "capped" like Basic D&D was.

"Book 2 - Starships" laid out a universe not too different from the Age of Sail, where merchant ships and warships were sometimes interchangeable, no ships were the size of cities, and players in tramp freighters could sometimes hope to shoot their way past patrol craft. "Book 5 - High Guard" effectively ushered in the Age of the Dreadnought, and the Imperial Navy became a mighty fleet of gigantic, nearly indestructible Battlecruisers with spinal-mount meson cannons and bays full of particle accelerator cannons, the smallest of which was larger than any Bk2 ship possible. While very cool, it's not the same universe after Bk5 in my opinion.

To push the analogy to the breaking point, I'd like to be able to keep a "Book 2" universe, add some Ironclads, but not go all the way to Battleships.

I've seen many attempts to retrofit High Guard type armor rules into the Bk2 system, and many of them seem very workable. But none of them fit my personal "feel" criteria. This is my attempt to address that lack.

"Book 2" Starship Armor

Each hull section (main, engineering) may be armored separately. Each section's armor covers a certain range of hit locations (see below for details). If a hit hits an armored section, the armor absorbs the hit, but is then considered destroyed for that location. For example, if a ship with an armored engineering section takes a hit to the power plant, the hit will be discarded, but future hits to the power plant will be suffered as usual, as the armor there has been compromised.

Armor hits are repaired individually at a cost of 1% of the hull's cost per hit, and must be repaired at a C class or better shipyard. Note that it should never cost more than the armor's original cost to make repairs.

You can install armor multiple times, paying the price and displacement. Each new "layer" absorbs another hit.

For sake of exposition, here is the hit location table:
2 Powerplant
3 Maneuver
4 Jump (or Maneuver for non-starships)
5 Fuel
6 Hull
7 Hull
8 Hold
9 Computer
10 Turret
11 Turret
12 Critical
Main Section:
Armor costs 3% of the hull's normal cost, and the armor itself takes up 5% of the section's volume.
The armor covers locations 6, 7, 8 (Hull and hold - the most statistically likely locations, and the most economically oriented parts of a trading ship. Use the ship's floor plan to decide if the two hull hits should be crew/passenger or some other breakdown).

Engineering Section:
Armor costs 2% of the hull's normal cost, and the armor itself takes up 5% of the section's volume. Note that if the engineering section is larger than the main section, costs will need to be adjusted. Note that the smaller standard hulls generally do not have enough extra tonnage to contain the armor, so to armor the drives of a merchant ship, you would need a custom hull design.
The armor covers locations 2,3,4 (the drives).

Note that to armor the entire ship would cost 5% of the hull's cost, and would take 5% of the total ship's volume, split between the two sections.

[I based the armor costs off of Mongoose Traveller's SRD, so while this armor doesn't function like MgT armor, it costs the same.]

Advanced Ideas

You can buy higher tech armor materials, but you limit yourself to repairs at a starport of the appropriate tech level. Note that all armor takes up the same displacement, but the cost varies considerably. More rigid armors can cover harder-to-cover locations as well as provide better coverage in the normal locations.

Titanium Steel (TL 7+) The basic armor, costs 5% of the hull's cost (3% for main, 2% for engineering)
  • absorbs first hit to (2,3,4,6,7,8)
Crystaliron (TL 10+) 4x more expensive
  • absorbs first two hits to (2,3,4,6,7,8)
  • absorbs first hit to (5,9) (fuel, computer)
Bonded Superdense( TL 14+) 10x more expensive than Titanium
  • absorbs first three hits to (2,3,4,6,7,8)
  • absorbs first two hits to (5,9)
  • absorbs first hit to (10,11) (turrets)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rocketship Polaris, Mongoose Traveller Style

Just for fun, a while ago I put together a Mongoose Traveller version of the classic spaceship "Polaris" from "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet". If you don't know what I'm talking about, get off my lawn! :)

The picture below is originally from the Spaceship Handbook and is included without express permission. I'm not sure where I got this actual image from, though Project Rho has a similar picture and draws some different conclusions about the ship's volume and other attributes.

Polaris: 60m long, fission power plant, reaction drive
Laid out as a cigar shaped "tail sitter" with circular decks and aerodynamic fins.

scale picture: 375px long, 48px wide
Assuming the 60m is the hull and not the fins, then we have a diameter of 7.5 meters

The ship is layed out in cylindrical sections, with the widest part being centered on the power plant/engineering deck

Conveniently, the decks are about standard Traveller deck height.

The widest deck (9) is roughly 9dt
The whole ship comes out to about 100dt

Now on to the stats:

Hull: 100t small-craft, streamlined + aerofins(5t)

1 - Radar/Avionics (sensors) 1dt
2 - Sensors/Radar Deck (sensors, cockpit) 2dt
3 - Bridge/Command Deck (sensors, cockpit) 3.5dt
6.5 dt total
These three decks make up the control and electronics center
Military Sensors DM+0 (2dt)
Radar Operator Cockpit (1.5dt)
Commander Cabin (3dt)

The engineer's "cockpit" controls are down on the Power deck.

4 - Hydroponics 5dt
common area, "luxuries", galley and food storage, all rolled in to one.
The hydroponics allows lifesupport to keep up to 2 prisoners in the brig

5 - Crew Quarters 6dt
Barracks for 3 - 6t

6 - Arms magazine 8dt (missiles, weapon tonnage)
The actual tonnage for the ship's weaponry is on this deck, as well as storage for missiles and probes.  There's not a lot of details available online, so whatever weapons you can squeeze into 8dt should be ok. I imagine this space is somewhat modular, and armament could vary from ship to ship or even mission to mission.

The hull can support up to 5 "ship" weapons and 10 anti-personel weapons The power plant can handle up to 2 energy weapons.

7 - Stores/Storm Cellar 9dt
Ship's locker(1dt)
2dt cargo space, convertable to a brig.
Vault (6dt) +4 Hull, +4 Structure containing barracks
Vault can also be used for general storage

8 - Boat Deck 10dt
A 10dt Hangar, suitable for a G-Carrier or pair of air/rafts
The entire deck can be depressurized to allow space access.

9 - Power Deck 9dt(+1.5) (p-plant 3, sL )
1.5dt for the engineer's control room "cockpit"
Fission plant sL is the largest that will fit, giving a P-3 rating This rating is necessary to power up to 2 beam weapons, but otherwise we could get away with a much smaller power plant.

I'm cheating a little and letting this deck be too "Deep". I feel justified though, because the plans give a thick radiation shield between this deck and the fuel.  In Traveller, fission plants are twice the size of a fusion plant, so I've decided to allow an extra 1.5dt "for free" so we can fit a 9dt power plant in here.

10 - Fuel Tankage (about 5 deck's worth) 33 dt
The power plant is a fission plant and doesn't need fuel, but the engines are reaction drives, and these tanks hold enough for 13.2 G-hours, which in normal operations should be enough.

NOTE: this should be more like 40dt by the map, but the aerofins and other options take us over 100dt.  It might be worth it to scale back on some stuff, like dropping the hydroponics and reducing the arm magazine deck, but that would definitely change the layout some.

11 - Engine Deck (about 2 deck's worth) 7dt
sX drive M6
The Polaris is a hotshot rocket, so it gets 6G engines.
However, given the TL, they are reaction drives not gravity drives.
(Which is odd, considering that the ship has artificial gravity....)

So there you go. Now you can chase down robot rockets, save asteroid miners and rescue maidens from the dinosaur infested jungles of Venus. Just don't think too hard about why a trio of teenagers would be given command of such a vehicle in the first place.

Chuul out

So I chickened out with the home campaign and ran a simple "monster hunt" scenario over the weekend.

Having just finished dealing with the wicked Dark Oak tribe of lizardfolk, the party were trudging their way back towards Magnimar, when a lizardfolk druid appeared to them, as druids often do. After acknowledging that they had done the lizardfolk community a solid by dealing with that crazy queen Ssjarleth, he goes on this rambling and vaguely menacing parable about trespassers and such, ending with what sounds like a request for help dealing with an interloper from the salt marsh.

It seems a horrid crab-like thing has been eating the people of his tribe, and since the party has demonstrated that it's willing to help lizardfolk, maybe they could look into it?

So a few Survival (what Pathfinder uses for tracking skills) rolls later, the players find themselves on an island in the middle of a marsh being ambushed by a Chuul.

Chuuls are tough - they don't miss very often, and they're strong enough to grab anyone in the party. The Catfolk's "Escape Artist" skill kept her safe from harm (anyone who has ever tried to hold onto a cat that doesn't want to be held knows how that turned out), but the fighter got grappled a number of times, and the Chuul got to attempt a few paralysis attacks on him. Alas for the Chuul, the fighter's Fort save is mighty. (I should really stop trying to bespell the Fighter, it hardly ever works.)

The wizard really got to play in this one. After his acid arrow missed, he summoned a fire elemental to set the Chuul ablaze. The Chuul dispatched the elemental pretty quickly, but caught fire anyway. A lightning bolt skewered it pretty effectively, and with some assistance from the rogue's single successful hit (with sneak attack bonus for flanking, fortunately) and a few rounds of consistent but relatively low damage chopping from the fighter (who was as often as not grabbed), the Chuul finally succumbed to its wounds and fell on top of the cleric. So two rounds of Strength checks later (I decided to require a DC of 20 to lift the creature, but the fighter kept failing his rolls even with the assistance of the others), the encounter was over.

Chuuls apparently like to keep trophes from their prey, and this one had around 500gp equivalent and a potion of Speak with Dead. Not sure when they'll get the chance to use it, but it raises some creepy possibilities. (I'm also not sure you can have a potion like that, but I figure if you can pour it into a dead body, that will revitalize it enough to speak some. Plus that seems creepy, which it should.)

The End

For their further adventures, I've decided against "Entombed with the Pharaohs". Instead, I'm going with "Conquest of the Bloodsworn Vale", which involves securing a passage way from Varisia to Nirmathas.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Meanwhile, in Varisia

My home game, involving my wife and kids, feels like it is at an inflection point.

The players have just finished Raging Swan's "Dark Oak", and next session will get their xp/gp totals and head back to Magnimar. I'm planning to run Dawn of the Scarlet Sun for them next, now that they're high enough level to not be completely destroyed by the opponents there. After that short adventure, I'm intending to send them to Osirion (Pathfinder's "Egypt") to do some pyramid dungeon crawling in Entombed with the Pharaohs. (Despite it's title, it's not a rehash of the old Lovecraft tale by the same name.)

The thing is, there's also the pirate-themed Skull and Shackles adventure path, and at least one player is itching to switch to that one.

I still think the "eclectic" campaign we started with has a lot of life in it, but I'm torn between giving them classic dungeon crawls or going for a more story-driven approach. My wife would be just as happy hacking apart hydras for extra cash as she is rescuing kidnapped children from monstrous fates, but I'm not sure what my kids want more. They're young enough that I can't get too sophisticated or dark with the plot without losing them, but classic illogical hack-n-slash dungeons like I played when I was a kid are not only hard to come by for Pathfinder, but seem greatly out of favor "culturally" these days.

In the end, I should probably just ask them - do they prefer having more story or more combat?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Traveller Tuesday - Task System Redux

So today's game showed that I'm not up to adjudicating a very complicated ad-hoc skill system.

Classic Traveller has what appears at first to be a pretty arbitrary system for assigning difficulty to various task related throws. This is compounded by the fact that the rules essentially tell the GM to "make something up" if it's not in the rules.

The system I'd been using is based on the concept of "Throw less than STAT, with DMs for skills and situation", combined with the standard skill "Throw X+ to succeed".

However, throwing low sometimes and high other times is just confusing, so instead, I'm going with a very slightly tweaked version of "Rule 68A". The name comes from the hexadecimal values 6+, 8+ and 10+, which are the target throws for Easy, Average, Hard under this system.

The one tweak I'm making, which I might decide to not bother with, relates to UPP statistics. If a character's stat is relevant to the task AND it is equal to the task's target or better, then DM+1. If the stat is less than half the target, then DM-1. This nicely echoes the weapon "advantageous stat" system, and I think meshes with the flavor of CT nicely.

And that's pretty much it.

There's also the matter of CT's combat system conflating armor with ease of being hit. I think I'll leave that one alone for now, even though it means that in many cases a shot can't miss. I do like the idea of making two attack rolls, one with the range DM and one with the armor DM, and both have to hit to cause damage, but I'm not sure if people would go for it. Though it would solve some problems, and would reduce the "can't miss" cases to "if you hit, they're gonna feel it" cases. That's a thought for another day.

Traveller Tuesday for 9/25

<Picking up with the party in the Reception area>

While investigating the reception area, a swarm of what appeared to be Gadden’s rat-equivalent creatures swarmed the party. They seemed afraid of the light, but (amazingly) their hunger drove them to attack. A few rounds of shotgun, SMG, Rifle and Pistol fire reduced the swarm to a messy puddle of blood and pseudorat meat. Two characters got bitten (nasty little critters), but the wounds were not serious enough to cause any lasting trouble, and after a quick bit of first-aid, everyone was ready to go. The “rats” looked to be escaped experiment animals (tags, chemical shunts, shaved patches, etc.) but seemed unusually muscular specimins.

The players decided to make their way to the bridge, going past the galley area on the way. The few staterooms they passed seemed mostly unused; one of them was a small meeting room with some notes about the research. A character downloaded the notes to her handcomp for later, just in case.

In the galley (completely dark due to smashed light fixtures), the scout character spotted a figure over by the meat locker using his infra-red goggles. That person ducked into the locker and warned the characters away, mentioning something about “the enemy” and some other nonsensical fear-induced ranting. The ex-army bruiser entered the locker and closed the door behind him, at which point he and the mystery person began to fist fight. The mystery person was fiendishly tough though, and the ex-army guy took a pretty solid blow to the head. Still conscious, he tried to break away from the mystery person, and was aided in his excape by the timely opening of the door by the rest of the party. The mystery person recoiled in fear from the party’s flashlights, and the ex-scout netted him

Now that there is some light on him, the person appears to be a crewmember, though somewhat “hulked out” and very dirty/bloody/smelly. It also appears that he’s been eating some of the other people on the station, and had been using one of their arms as a cudgel.

Tune in next week, when the characters attempt to subdue the crewman and hopefully get some answers.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tomorrow's Traveller Game

Tomorrow is the second session of the office lunch-hour Traveller game, based on Classic Traveller rules and the "Death Station" adventure, both from around 1981.

The players, who are using characters from the provided pre-generated characters in the adventure, are down-and-out Travellers, stuck on a company owned mining colony with growing debt and shrinking futures. An executive from a research company on planet for somewhat nebulous purposes has proposed a deal with them - a lab ship in orbit is not checking in on schedule, and the characters are to travel up to the ship to see what's going on. If their is anything going on requring them to help out in a significant way, the executive will pay off their company debt and supply them with passage off world. If not, hey, at least they get out of the mines for a few days.

Last session, the characters used and air/raft and some vacc suits to rendezvous with the lab ship in orbit. After some investigation, they discovered that they could board the spinning ship through its docked boat - a 40 ton small craft usually used to collect biological samples on the planet's surface. The session left them aboard the "Carl Sagan", standing in the lobby and wondering where all the crew is.

I suspect next session to begin with the players going door to door down the ring of the ship (effectively a long corridor with limited "horizon" visibility), slowly discovering that things are not ok on board the ship, and that they are not alone....

(The best part is, the problem's not what they think it is)

Hello, it's me.

After being, um, "politely informed" by some friends that G+ was not the correct venue to discuss the intricacies of my various gaming activities, I've decided to start up a blog.

So, "hDan" is me - an old handle I've used since back in the BBS days. Sadly yes, I'm that old.
"YAGB" is of  course "Yet Another Gaming Blog". Not very creative, but at least it's a 4CC and not a TLA.

The sorts of gaming I will be talking about are RPGs and miniature wargaming, often with an historical twist.

Though I love miniature wargaming, lately it seems I've done considerably more "thinking about" and "preparing for" than actually playing. I still consider myself a miniatures gamer, though it seems I have less and less evidence to support that assertion. Still, when I do play, I mostly like to play games like "Chain Reaction" and "DBA". I've recently acquired "Dux Bellorum", which seems like it would be right up my alley. Maybe I'll even get to play it some day.

For RPGs, I mainly play Dungeons&Dragons 4th Edition with friends, Pathfinder (which is a close cousin to D&D 3.5 Edition) at home, and Traveller (both "Classic Traveller" and "Mongoose Traveller") with anyone who is willing to play.

At the moment, I'm in three active RP games. I'm fortunate enough to have a job where many of my coworkers are also avid gamers, and I'm in two active lunchtime games. One is a long running D&D 4e campaign in which I'm playing a cleric. Sort of amusing, since I'm not really that into clerics, but I'm enjoying myself none the less.

The other game is a Traveller game I have just started. We're running Traveller as a "one shot" adventure, using "Death Station" as the scenario. I expect the game to run maybe 3-4 more sessions, then we'll see if people are interested in more. One of the beauties of Traveller is that it is so simple to create characters that it really lends itself to doing one-off adventures, and people don't mind as much when their characters die. Which in Traveller, happens a lot. Sometimes even during character creation.

Enough prologue. What you can expect to see here is thoughts on various games, small reviews, "house rules" ideas, and RPG session reports. I don't plan to put any sort of political or personal thoughts here, aside from maybe "Carthage Rules, Rome Drools" type nonsense.

We'll see if I keep this one up better than some of my older attempts, such as mindsay.