This last session was really fun but didn’t really go the way I intended, which is fine. The players did some unexpected things, to which I responded by planning variations to the planned encounters, which they then didn’t encounter for very logical reasons. Lots of fun stuff prepared and not used. No big deal. I’ll repurpose that stuff for future games.
That battle with the megabeetles went much longer than I expected. Giving the beasts a non-lethal but incapacitating chemical spray attack worked really well for making the encounter more interesting. A bit of flavor. Kind of a vomit flavor, of course, but flavor none the less. One thing to consider for the future is that giving a creature or character the equivalent of combat armor protection makes them really hard to hit. So if they have such protection, they don’t need that many characteristic points to obliterate. A total of 25 hits to be destroyed, if the PCs are using autopistols and autorifles, is plenty. That’s tough. It will take them two or three hits to kill the thing, at least. Likewise, having the character Flint wearing actual combat armor essentially made it impossible for the creatures mandibles to hurt him. This was good, since two of the rest of the group were down on the ground barfing, but could make it too easy for him to deal with adversaries in the future. Need to keep this in mind. As it turns out, the fight with the megabeetles was probably the most danger the PCs have been in thus far.
When we got to the big battle at the end (or potentially a big battle), the players had been smart enough to bargain with the rebels and repair the wrecked ship’s laser turret. I had planned to have the troops and the rebels have a big fight, but I was going to “storytell” most of that, and keep the action and die rolling at the PC level and maybe detail the actions of a couple of the important rebels. As it turned out, by blowing up the Grav Carrier with the ship’s laser, they were able to demoralize the bad guys and end the fight with no rebel casualties. More smart play from my players. They are really good at using their heads and solving problems without risking their necks too much.
Soooo…now the players are still on planet Uetonah. They realize the person they were seeking is there of his own free will. They will certainly be able to salvage that working dual pulse laser turret, so that’s going to provide some nice income. The issue of whether the Pachyderms are sentient and can be proved so is unresolved. An NPC that is involved is still unknown the the PCs. Lots of stuff they could discover, but should they? How much railroading do I do? I’m thinking none. I still have some encounters ready on Uetonah, but these can be reassigned to new game sessions. I’ll prepare for the next game assuming that the PCs will salvage that turret and get off the planet. I expect the next session may involve a lot of bookkeeping and and logistics for the players.
This was game session 10. I’m very happy to have been running this campaign this long. I think the story is developing nicely. We all seem to be enjoying it. Once of the nice things about Traveller is there is no monster manual. While there are standard ship designs and weapons, it’s much less cookie cutter than D&D. This makes it a lot easier for the referee to keep the game surprising for the players. What fun is exploring the unknown if all is known? The players have been to just a hand full of planets thus far, all near the frontier.
An issue that Jeff Koenig and I have discussed is the nature of money and banking in an interstellar setting with no FTL communication. I asked for advice on the Traveller RPG Facebook page and got some really good advice and ideas, kind of in line with what we were already thinking.
A combination of encrypted “debit cards” – unhackable and super secure – that can be “charged up” with credits at an appropriate bank where the PCs have their funds stored. Funds can be added directly to the cards themselves at points of transactions or even card to card, and then stored in a secure bank at first opportunity, or sent there directly via x-boat. The imperial x-boats, in addition to mail, carry banking and financial data that is updated at each stop.
Because “commerce is the glue that holds the Imperium together”, there are incredibly harsh punishments for financial crime, and super effective detection systems for such crime. All this makes the system work well. Because no one want to get in trouble for jacking with the electronic system, card robbery is also very rare. Crooks may steal currency, but not cards. They’ll not even force a card to card transaction, as these are super traceable. Local currencies must conform to Imperials standards. Actual physical currency can be carried. Some ships carry commodities that can be traded in a pinch, precious metals, etc.
This is all “background” info. All our PCs will need to determine is how many credits do they keep on their personal cards at any one time, and if they have other commodities they can trade aboard their ship. So – each PC needs to keep a total for credits in the bank and credits on their card. If a card is lost or destroyed, the money is gone. Players will probably want to keep some actual Imperial currency on their person.