All Aboard the Deepnight

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With the Traveller characters completed and the mission briefed last session, it was time for everyone to board the Deepnight Revelation and meet the important members of the crew. Unfortunately we were unexpectedly down a player this week, but I wanted to start things moving and not miss another session.

First off was an introduction of the PCs.

We have the XO Kirk Kamarsukhar, who brought along his personal ship’s boat the Opportunities Multiply. He is a charismatic leader and navy pilot, with a very high social rank (15). SOC is one statistic that I find very odd in Traveller, since it represents social rank (not social skill), and since 15 represents a duke, it’s a bit tricky to gauge how this plays out within the game. My assumption is that there’s a different between someone with a SOC of 15 who actually has a title of Duke, and someone who has a SOC of 15 who doesn’t have a title. My assumption would be that the latter is just either really well connected, or very famous, rather than having actual rank. This would mean that Kirk with his SOC of 15 could be outranked by a Baron with a SOC of 12. The Baron actually has land and authority, just isn’t very notable.

I also consider SOC to be ability to act like somebody important. A skill like Carouse or Persuade can come off INT, which means a character is using wit to interest people. If someone uses SOC, then they’ll be relying more on fame or social rank in the way that they present themselves. It will probably be more domineering than subtle, and may get different results compared to use INT, but either skill can be used.

Chief of Engineering Siona McFranchester has a very different personality, she’s somewhat gruff and very much not at all diplomatic. She’s dedicated to keeping the ship’s life support systems running, especially the waste disposal and recycling systems. That’s probably why she was hired – these are going to be critical parts of the ship’s infrastructure over such a long mission.

Chief of Operations Xavier Quinn is an ex-marine, noted for being highly skilled in gun combat, highly athletic and a good leader.

When they came aboard, they were all met by Sublietentant Susan Amu Maphemia, the senior command clerk. She ensured that everyone had their staterooms sorted to their satisfaction, that all their luggage and equipment was aboard and in the right place, and that they were signed into the ship’s network and that IT had provided them with the right access to all the necessary systems. My intent is for her to be one of the recurring characters, despite being quite far down the chain of command.

The final decisions for organising the ship’s divisions came next. They each chose to get a bonus to their department skill, and each went for a basic skill bonus for their respective divisions. Since not all the players were here, we’ll need to select the final one next session.

  • Extra Training (Operations)
  • Extra Training (Engineering)
  • Extra Training (Flight)

Finally, there was the initial route planning. There is the need to get across the Great Rift, to get to Tobia for final planning and preparation, and to receive the report from the advanced scout mission (assuming it arrives back in time). There is also a need to stop off at the Naval base at Rampart, and to check in at Amondiage in the Islands.

  • Jokelyn
  • Rampart
  • Cyclone
  • Riftspan Station
  • Amondiage
  • New Home
  • Neubayern
  • Topas
  • Serendip Belt
  • Zuflucht
  • Chandler Station
  • Cerebin
  • Tobia

The start date for the mission is 1107-086, with a plan to get to Tobia around 1107-225. Those who know the Traveller ‘history’ will be aware that the Fifth Frontier War will have started by then (war is declared at 187), but by the time news reaches Tobia the Deepnight Revelation will be long gone.

For the first part of the mission, I wanted the player to have full control of the plan for making jumps, arriving in a system and refuelling. For the most part this will be something we will be skipping over since it’s a level of detail that’s not needed. But I want the players to know what happens, and for them to have a chance to modify the procedure, just so on the few occasions it does turn out to be important there’s not “well, we wouldn’t have done that”.

Since I have my own database of star systems, I presented them with the current system map of Egurgadi – showing the inner, middle and outer systems. The main world, Egurgadi II, is a Bathy Gaian world just inside the star’s jump mask.

Egurgadi at 1107-086

Where there need to jump to first is Jokelyn, so their jump will not only need to take into account jump masks, but also jump shadows. The main world at Jokelyn is the innermost planet, an airless Selenian world with a population of 90,000 and a small class B star port. This world is not only deep within the jump mask of its star, but by the time they arrive it will also be in the jump shadow of one of the system’s gas giants. Fortunately, this first jump will be a chance to practice refuelling from a gas giant, and the 4th world has been selected for this since it is at a suitable point for jumping into and out of the system.

Jokelyn at 1107-094

Working out where each planet will be at a given time, and providing a system map with jump masks and shadows is pretty trivial given the software I’m using. Most of the time, it’s way too much detail for what we’ll need for the campaign, but the information is there for when it does become important. I think it does add a bit more interest to the navigation aspect of things as well.

Now the players have an idea of what to expect, we should be ready to kick off the mission next session. I have a spreadsheet ready which I plan to use to track time, fuel and supplies, but the idea is to try and abstract that for the players except when it becomes important. Letting the players know that the information is there though should mean they don’t get surprises. I think the first stage of the journey (to Tobia) will be quite detailed, and then we can pull back and run things at a higher level.

Samuel Penn

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