Traveller Ref’s Go-Kit

Here’s my Go Kit for reffing Traveller. All I need.

Left to right:

  • Small 3-ring binder with 8.5 x 5.5 sheets. Contains copies of rules from various Traveller and Cepheus Engine books I commonly need, character record sheets, note about my setting, star maps. Print out of scenarios may be found folded in the pockets.
  • 8.5 x 5.5 graph paper notebook. I draw my maps in this and have my notes for the game session.
  • Dice – I usually keep 16 six-sided dice, though 2 will do.
  • Pen
  • The Classic Traveller Facsimile Edition – contains all three of the 1981 edition with errata inserted.

Traveller RPG gear

Into the Void Ref’s Notes Sessions 27

“Due to reasons” it took while to get to this session. I will admit that I still have a bit of anxiety about each session. I always want it to be the best session ever. Truth is they are all good because I have a table of engaged players who make it good. You can spend all the time you want and have the most incredible stuff prepared but if you players are a bunch of house plants it will not be fun.

Anyway, our gaming group is great. I can’t say that enough.

This was the first time I’ve used a published adventure in our campaign. Though I own dozens of Michael Brown’s short adventures, and I think every one of them is brilliant, this was the first I worked into our game. Michael gives you what you need to run a fun session (or sessions) without, as he says, “stepping on the Ref’s toes.”

This was the culmination of a game spanning four sessions. Over the course of those sessions I think one shot was fired. No one was shot. There were no real “fights.” Four sessions of roleplaying and problem solving.  This is actually not unusual for my campaign and this group, and I’m continually astonished at the ability of Traveller, a great gaming group, a good and flexible scenario, and and adequate referee, to create an engaging and satisfying game.

Maybe everyone else’s games are like this? I have no idea. Growing up playing a monster-killing loot-grabbing style of D&D, superhero mayhem with Champions, and murder hobo style Traveller, I’m just surprised at how well this is going. Had any of us had the skill and desire to do things this way as teens I think it would have been well-received.  As it is, we have fallen into this during our middle-aged years, and that’s fine. I’m just so happy with this campaign. I can’t imagine ending it. Ever.

This was session 27. During session 26 I already knew I wanted to use the Energy Transfer adventure from Michael Brown and I had a “plan” for how it might work in. Needless to say my inventive and resourceful players did not do what thought they would (which I expected would happen). I had to do a little thinking on my feet to create a seamless transition into that scenario for session 27. I’m pretty happy with how that went. As a Traveller referee it was quite satisfying.

As often happens, we ended this series of sessions with a lot of nice loose ends. The campaign continues to generate its own internal drama with long-term NPCs, possible backstabbing and intrigue, and lots of options for the players.

Really, in all likelihood this “story” is not really complete. There are some things they will almost certainly deal with upon returning to their home base on planet Mylor. Fun awaits.

Traveller Stuff
My little custom Traveller campaign notebook (sheets are all in plastic sheet protectors), Classic Traveller Facsimile Edition, and small session notebook with maps, notes, and scenario.

As I prepped for this game I thought a lot about the elegant simplicity of Classic Traveller. Being able to consolidate the important stats of all the NPCs on one page of 5.5″ x 8″ notebook is a hell of a lot simpler than having character record sheets all over the place. I love my games with more complicated characters, but the simplicity of Classic Traveller is nice. It’s genius, really. Marc Miller is a freaking genius. Looking at newer versions of Traveller, Cepheus Engine, and some of the variations on CE like Sword of Cepheus I can see the influence. They are all a bit more complex, but not that much! A Sword of Cepheus character, even one with a lot of spellcasting ability, could easily fit on a note card.

The thing is, when I’m running a game I like all my stuff to be concise and very easy to locate. This is why I’ve taken some rules from the Classic Traveller books as well as the Cepheus Engine stuff and made my own little 5.5″ x 8.5″ binder. The rules we use a lot are all there, as are all the PCs, the important NPCs, the ships, the planets, and the gear. With that notebook, a small notebook with my scenario notes and maps, a copy of the Classic Traveller Facsimile Edition, and a copy of Cepheus Deluxe or Light, I’m mostly ready to go. I typically bring the Mongoose Traveller Central Supply Catalog along, as well as the Cepheus Engine vehicles book just in case I need it.

I’ll stop blabbering now.

ITV Session 27: the Energy Leech

Spoiler Alert: this post pertains to a session run using the adventure Energy Transfer, by Michael Brown. Do not read further if you may be a player in this scenario.


SAFCO, associate Sally Rasputin, and sometimes-associate/sometimes-enemy Reesus Peesus are on Desolis, an airless moon of Trask 6, at Sierra Praxis mining base, owned by Novastel Mining Corporation. During there initial time on the base (see last sessions) there was a tremor and power dip. Miners told them a meteor may have hit nearby. Inspection team 2 is called to work. SAFCO takes care of some business and goes back to their ship to sleep.

In the middle of the night they are summoned to meet with Dr. Jonton Fawke, the administrator of the facility. It seems that Inspection Team 2 has disappeared while investigating the meteor strike, which created a small hole in an ore shaft dome that feeds into the processing plant. Fawke does not trust his miners to investigate. It is apparent from his comments and those of the miners that SAFCO met in the base tavern that Fawke and the miners doe not have a good relationship. Fawke offers the team $5000 credits to investigate and find out what happened to the crew.

Roger uses SAFCO’s mining pod to examine the exterior of the dome while the rest of the team and Fawke use SAFCO’s robot, with their drone on top of it (it can’t operate in vacuum), to explore the sealed-off corridor leading to the dome.

The strike happened during workers time-off day, so no lives were lost in the initial depressurization of the dome. The actual ore shaft in the middle of the dome was therefore sealed at the time by a secure and radiation proof hatch. There is a large air lock used before entering the corridor, which was also closed and sealed.

From the window in the outer airlock hatch the team can see that lights are dimmed about halfway down, and further it is totally dark. Power down there is totally out.

They send the robot and drone through the airlock and down the corridor, initially using infrared and ultraviolet sensors. As the robot approaches the area where the light is dimmed, they see (in IR and UV patterns) what appear to be paint splotches covering all the surfaces of the corridor and the central conveyor belt.  They bring the robot closer and turn on the spotlight. They see a shiny, black, scaly substance covering all the surfaces. As they watch, the drone’s power levels decrease suddenly and drastically. They pull the robot back, to find that it too has lost a lot of battery power.

Outside in the mining pod, Roger sees that there is a basketball-sized hole punched in the dome. He sees some black scaly goo on the edges of the hole.

The team together with Falke determine the power loss rates for the drone battery vs the robot battery, based on the time they were down there and the percentage of power left, and surmise that smaller power sources will be depleted much faster. The robot, with a 24 hour charge, can now operate near the black stuff for about an hour before being depleted. They also determine that the energy drain began when the robot and drone were about five meters from the scaly substance.  They send the robot back down and use one of its claws to collect a tiny sample. Bringing it back, Lucky quickly removes the claw and they store it in a lead-lined case for transporting radioactives. Barney and Falke take it to a lab for examination. Outside, Roger tests the energy drain by brining the mining pod within five meters of the hole. He sees the drain starting and pulls back.

While Barney and Falke work in the lab, Lucky and Flint decide to try to determine what happened to Inspection Team 2. They would be out of air in their vac suites by now, and are likely dead. Lucky, in his vac suit, enters the corridor. He used a light to look far down into the corridor and dome, and sees a human-shaped lump on the floor, covered with the black scales.  Clearly Inspection Team 2 is dead. After he has been within 5 meters of the black scales for 1 minute he begins to feel bad! He takes 1d6 to his Endurance (for 5 damage) as the stuff starts to drain his body’s energy. He backs off quickly, having learned that the stuff can drain energy from living creatures very quickly!

In the lab, Falke and Barney carefully take a few particles of the black scales from the robot’s claw and examine it under an electron microscope. Just a few initial particles. They see the scales are composed of even smaller scales. As they watch, the scales pulse and multiply on the slide, feeding on the energy in the room and the energy of the electron microscope. Falke destroys the sample with acid before it can grow any more and present a danger to the facility or its power.

Sally contacts the team, telling them that in the taveren Reesus Peesus is causing problems. He is winning all the miners’ money at cards and they are getting pissed. He tells her that with the tiny explosive in his neck his days are numbered and he doesn’t care.  Barney goes to the bar and forces Reesus to leave, and to leaven his chips with the miners — a goodwill gift.

Flint suggests that it might be possible to use a tiny amount of the energy leeching scales to drain the microscopic battery powering the bomb in Reesus’ neck. After discussing numerous ways to approach it, they decide that a tiny amount of the material brought close to the tiny battery should drain it, based on their measurements of the earlier battery drains, before harming Reesus or anything else.  Falke is in favor of this experiment.  The tell Reesus they need to take more data on the bomb. They take the lead-lined container to the med lab, quickly take an extremely tiny sample of the scales on the end of a probe, and hold it near Reesus’ carotid artery.  After a couple of minutes they scan the bomb and find that the battery is indeed now dead, and the bomb is easily removed.  The sample is destroyed with acid.

Reesus expresses his infinite thanks to SAFCO, apologizes for trying to have them killed, and expresses his desire to get revenge on Lomax.

Dr. Falke talks with SAFCO. He says the black substance is potentially extremely valuable. He wants to develop it and market it himself, as it has potential weapons, medical, and scientific applications. He seems quite greedy. He plans to seal off the contaminated dome and corridor from all energy input and make it off limits, but wants to continue running the radioactives mining operation, using it and Novatel money to his own ends.

He wants SAFCO to help him — to be his partners.

SAFCO agrees. The radioactives they came for are loaded into their ship and they head back into space. Once away, they begin to discuss what they really need to do, based on the clear evidence that the black energy leeching scales are too dangerous for someone like Falke to control. They also don’t trust him.

End of Session.
Elapsed time: 395 game days




Into the Void Ref’s Notes Sessions 25 and 26

Sessions 25 and 25 of our campaign may have had the fewest rolls of dice ever. That being said, I think they were good sessions. There was a lot of discussion, decision making, and roleplaying, which I think is the point really.

As this goes on I am more and more impressed with our gaming group. They are just great players. Given the choice, they will always discuss things and make good decisions. When something surprises them and they have no time to mess around they take action.

That’s about all I have to say, other than express my frustration that we can’t play every week.

ITV Sessions 25 and 26: A New Boss in Town


Sally Rasputin leads SAFCO to a bar called The Alien Outpost. It’s a place that caters to non-human sophonts, and it is here they hope to find Slick (a Crab with a bad shell condition that keeps him coated with slime), Sally’s contact from Lomax. They find him there, tell him they want to meet with Lomax, and wait until the place closes (watching all the entrances) to see where he goes.  They follow him into Scumtown where he enters a warehouse. The team surveils the warehouse and finally are invited in by Lomax. He has quite a few goons in there.

The team meets with Lomax, avoiding a fight. They tell him that Reesus is missing and he had been a source of good jobs. They’d like to do work for him. They see no sign of Reesus.

Lomax recognized them from the news as the people who saved the Baroness from assassination. He knows they are freelancers and very capable, and might be good associates. He offers them a preliminary “get to know him” deal. If they will make the 3 parsec trip to the Trask system and retrieve a load of radioactive minerals from the mining station there, he’ll of course pay them well, pay for their fuel, and it will set the stage for future dealings. The team accepts, mostly as way to get in good with Lomax and eventually find Reesus. They are told that in the morning Lomax will send his representative to their ship, to accompany them on the trip and do the deal.

The next day SAFCO, as they will be going to a place where radioactives are mined, buy some radiation suits (5), four radiation blankets, and a couple ofd emergency vacc suit survival kits. They will be traveling to the moon Desolis, in orbit around Trask-4, a gas giant. The system is amber zone due to civil unrest on the main world. They learn that Novasteel is a mining concern of relatively small size, but is profitable due to the nature of their specialties (radioactives). Desolis is a large vaccuum moon.

Also that morning a grav transport arrives delivering Lomax’s representative who is in cold sleep in a pod. They put it in the cargo bay, look in the small window, and see it is Reesus! Lomax has given him to them! The instructions are to thaw him out as soon as they are in space.

SAFCO sends Fardt to town to inform Mergatroyd and request that he come to the ship to smooth things over when they wake Reesus up. Barney makes a big show of ordering some ship parts, to explain their delay in lift-off to anyone watching them.

Fardt uses streetwise skill and finds out that administrator on Desolis sometimes does illegal deals…he is corrupt.

Mergatroyd arrives. They thaw Reesus out. Mergatroyd talks him down. The team thinks “problem solved” and they can now just deal with Lomax on their own terms. Reesus explains that no, they have to continue as Lomax has implanted a tiny explosive device in his neck. It will explode and kill him if removal is attempted or if Lomax detonates it remotely. Only Lomax has the code and means to disarm it. They decide to do the deal on Desolis, while Mergatroyd tries to raise a group to attack Lomax if necessary.

They jump to the Trask System, and are immediately located by a system defense boat. They are told they can skim from the gas giant and visit Desolis, but the are not to approach the main world of the system or they will be destroyed. SAFCO agrees.

After fuel skimming, they land at Sierra Praxis base, the mining operation. It consists of a number of large domed habitats and buildings, all sealed and enclosed on the surface of the small vacuum world.

Reesus gets a meeting with Dr. Jonton Fawke, the manager of the facility. Lucky and Flint go with him. Roger stays on the ship. Fardt, Barney, and Sally visit the tavern.

In the tavern, Barney, Fardt, and Sally make friends with the miners.

Reesus negotiates a deal with Fawke for two containers of radioactives. Lucky and Flint ask him some questions. Afterward they go to the base’s top-notch medical facility, where they ask the doc to examine Reesus. He confirms that there is something implanted and that it has a very tiny power source. He says it is consistent with that Reesus was told about it, and he would not try to remove or disable it. They join the others at the tavern.

A small tremor is felt throughout the facility and the power flutters briefly. One of the miners explains to Barney that a small meteorite probably struck nearby, which is not uncommon. Nothing to worry about.  A bit later a loudspeaker tells Inspection Team 2 to report for duty. Again, the miner says this is nothing to worry about. They simply check for any damage to the facility from the impact. Members of the team go to the viewing room on the top floor of the habitat, and see no signs of trouble.

End of Session.
Elapsed time: 394 game days


Into the Void Ref’s Notes Session 24

Well, the PCs have only been back on their home base planet of Mylor for a few hours before they are back in the middle of it again!

Oh, before I forget, this was our first session back in Meat Space in over two years. We played in person.

So, so fun. I wasn’t sure how to start this session(s) when I began thinking about it a couple of weeks ago. They are back in civilized space. Back to their old watering hole the Happy Gluck. Back to old associates, frenemies, and complications. So I started this with a simple title for the session “One Night at the Happy Gluck.” Who doesn’t like a game where a relaxing night at the tavern turns to chaos?

So I came up with some ideas of ways to involve their existing friends and associates at the star port, what could have gone wrong during their absence, and some new NPCs.  One goal, after 9 sessions (taking several months to play) in uncharted space was to reintroduce the players to the NPCs in the game.  As you will see if you read the writeup, they are going to try to rescue the guy who tried to have them killed nine games back. Which is awesome! I love it. Complex relationships in an RPG.  To me, well, this is a huge success for me as the Referee. I am delighted.

We were able to use some of the PC’s more social skills. They of course used tactics even in the tavern, and everyone seemed fully engaged.

I think we are all getting better at this game. I have stated before in numerous places that now, 4.5 years into our campaign and now 24 sessions in, my players are just now really getting the groove of Traveller. Well, that isn’t entirely correct. They have always played the game very well. I guess what I sense is the buildup of the in-game history and lore of their campaign. I’ve run a lot of RPG campaigns in my life, but I don’t think any have reached this level of complexity or been this satisfying. My players of course love it when action happens, but they are equally engaged when they are roleplaying, scheming, negotiating, threatening, sneaking, or investigating.

I think that when everyone is really used to the idea of not leveling up all the time, and not worrying about experience points, the game can unfold in a very natural way.

When new players start with Traveller, I suspect that many are shocked and disappointed by the limits placed on them. No FTL communication. Space travel is expensive and takes a long time. You don’t hop in your ship and get to the other side of the galaxy in 2 hours. You probably use slug throwers for guns, and bladed weapons too. Ship combat is very expensive even if you win, and very prone to getting you killed. While psionics may exist, you probably don’t have that talent. You have to worry about money. AND — you are a fairly typical person. Oh, you ARE a Traveller, and thus more accomplished than trillions who never leave their homeworld, but you are mortal. You will never become that hard to kill.  The list goes on.

All of this kind of flies in the face of science fantasy and a lot of science fiction. Because we are talking about limits, and I think it is the limits in Traveller that make the game challenging and fun.

I’m glad I have a group of friends who can enjoy all this.

Anyway, this session was the opening of yet another adventure for Super Adventure Friends Co.  We are back to our original core group of 3 ex-Scouts and 1 former Army colonel. Four players is very manageable. We’ll certainly play online from time to time and I can get our member in Virginia back involved, and our other regular local member of our gaming group can play whenever he wants (with a little prior notice). It’s all going well.

ITV Session 24: One Night at the Happy Gluck



Last session the team made it back to Mylor. The Baroness smoothed things over with the authorities. Zal went to the hospital. The Baroness makes arrangements for the Precursor pod and the android body to be sent to the University of Zapata.

The team has met with the head administrator of the Scout base, Billy Zoom, to pass on information they collected on the expedition. Zoom informs them that Roger’s scout ship, the Rambler I, was pressed back into service. He gives them 5 grav bikes to compensate Roger for the loss of the ship. He also informs them that over the last couple of months (their absence), there seems to be some turf wars going on in the Mylor underworld.

The groups goes to the Happy Gluck to celebrate survival and a successful expedition.

Today’s session:

Entering the Happy Gluck, the group finds it busy. They order drinks, and find out from their friend Vern, the owner, that business has been tough. His “taxes” have increased. He isn’t sure who is responsible, but clearly the normal protection money he pays suddenly wasn’t enough. Making his streetwise roll, Fardt notices that the 7-foot tall, 4-eyed, purple Rax fixer known as Mergatroyd is currently playing Collider at one of the gaming tables, and losing. There’s a lucky person playing. Fardt does not see Reesus Peesus, which is unusual on a busy night. The group decides to make contact with Mergatroyd to find out what’s up and hopefully make peace with him and Reesus (Reesus tried to have them killed a couple of months ago).  The group casually approaches the table. Barney takes up a vantage point up some stairs. He can see that one pair of Mergatroyd’s eyes is focused on the game, while the other has tracked some of the team. He is aware of their presence.

Lucky observes the Collider game. No one is as lucky as the guy who is winning, but Lucky can’t see that he’s cheating. Knowing how the machine works, he makes his Gambling roll (with a positive modifier for this Electronics skill) and surmises that someone near the table has a magnetic device that is affecting the trajectory of the subatomic particles in the game table. He whispers this to Fardt. The gluck tells Vern. Mergatroyd is playing it cool. A bouncer comes up to the table and starts using a detection device, finally pointing it at bystander and yelling “CHEATER!”. The place erupts. The one guy runs toward the door to the bar. The guy who was actually playing the game gets up and tries to run, but Roger tackles him. From his perch, Barney fires a warning shot at the running guy. He makes a morale check, succeeding, and rather than dropping to the floor he continues out the door. A rough looking guy whispers to Flint during the commotion that “Mergatroyd want to see you in the room behind the bar.”  Before everything settles down, the team uses the commotion as a distraction to go unnoticed to the back room. Mergatroyd follows them.  Barney remains at his lookout perch.

Mergatroyd is relieved to see the group. He harbors them no ill will. He tells them that Reesus has been missing for a number of weeks, and that it is affecting his business. Though Reesus is gone, the illegal arms are still apparently flowing through the sector and through Mylor, so he things Reesus is still alive. He says a local crime boss called Lomax has died, and apparently his son, Lomax Jr., is trying to take over his turf, and expand into the space port. This is the cause of Vern’s problems, and is generally destabilizing things. He suggests that they will all prosper if SAFCO can find and rescue Reesus, and most likely kill Lomax Jr or at least drive him out of the space port. Reesus being a “pillar of the community”.

SAFCO agrees that while they’ve had disagreements, association with Reesus has been profitable for them and of course this is their home and they don’t want things going badly. They agree to help.

As this has been going on, a green orion dancing girl has been chatting up Barney. Barney, ever suspicious, has gotten her drunk. She doesn’t seem to know much, but suddenly decides to leave. Barney gets up and follows her out.

Inside the tavern, Fardt makes his streetwise skill. He tells the team that a nondescript woman took notice when the green woman and  Barney leave the bar. As they start toward her, she gets up and leave the bar, starting to walk down the sidewalk. Lucky and Flint apprehend her. She is causing a stir on the sidewalk. A Law Level roll is made, and no police are attracted. They take an autopistol from her, and take her back into the Happy Gluck, and into the back room where they start to question her.

She is uncooperative until Mergatroyd threatens to cut one of her eyes out with his dagger. She caves. She is working for Lomax, and sent the green dancer to chat up Barney and see what she could learn. Then the “good cops” (SAFCO) offer to pay her more to switch sides. Realizing she has blown it – that Lomax will kill her if he finds out she has given up his name — she agrees. They will pay her 3000 credits a week, and she will tell them where Lomax Jr. is. Hopefully they’ll find Reesus. She wants them to kill Lomax Jr., so she can carry on without fear of reprisal.

End of session.

Elapsed time: 379 game days



Advise for new Traveller or Cepheus Engine Players

I try to stay away from “advise” posts on all my blogs. I don’t like to give the impression I am some sort of authority figure in hobbies and interests of mine.  Given that I have a podcast about Traveller that may seem like a crazy statement, but Jeff and I try to make the podcast about the game, and not about ourselves. The podcast, for us and hopefully our listeners, is an exploration of Traveller, not people pretending to be gurus.

That being said, here is some advise, but it is advise to listen to other people.

Traveller is a really different kind of RPG. It always has been. For that reason I think new players sometimes struggle to figure out how to run the game and to play it.

OK – here’s the advise. Do the following two things…

  • The Behind the Claw podcast, by Felbrigg Napoleon Harriot, is a must-listen. The episodes are relatively short. They explore Classic Traveller in a number of useful ways. From generation of planetary systems and explaining them, to creation of interesting NPCs, to discussions of the “bigness” of skills in Classic Traveller, each of the 33 episodes is worth listening to at least once a year. Yes, it is that good. Well produced, thought-provoking, and insightful. And fun listen to! And like all podcasts worth hearing, Felbrigg makes it about the GAME — not himself.When I began my Classic Traveller campaign,  Behind the Claw was very inspiring to me. It made a difference. Thank you for that, Felbrigg.
  • Read Agent of the Imperium, by Traveller creator Marc Miller. You can listen to it as well. I recommend reading it, then listening to it, then listen to it a few more times because there is a lot there! As you might expect, Marc immediately immerses you in the universe of Traveller and the Third Imperium. This is not a book about a band of adventurers, but rather about a high-level operative who is essentially an implantable personality. He operates in the Imperium over the course of many centuries, dealing with potentially disastrous situations. In the process of telling this tale, Marc takes you on a deep dive into Traveller. It all makes sense. It is fascinating.  I read a review of the audiobook saying the narrator sounds like a computer voice generator. Well — duh — he kind of does and it’s clearly intentional as the protagonist is essentially and AI. Don’t let that bother you when you listen. I assure you, the first “problem” the Agent has to deal with with blow you away.


Into the Void Ref’s Notes Session 23

After a few months of home remodeling and whatnot, we finally played today. We had planned an in-person meeting, but one of our players had a family member with Covid last week so we opted for online. That family member is fine. Thankfully they are testing negative and are well.

A few notes about this session. Not really any action. I had action planned, but as will happen in an RPG the players were very smart and took a lot of time carefully planning and roleplaying some non-action stuff. The result was great problem solving and skill use, and everyone was fully engaged.  There was just no shooting. Now, they were still dealing with the unknown, so the threat of danger is always there. That is fun. That is suspenseful.

This was session 23. The players started this expedition in Session 15. So that is 9 sessions. That is the longest sustained single “adventure” I’ve ever run. I’ve always found “quests” to be difficult to run. They always seem fun for the first few games, then the quest itself feels like a straight jacket for me as a ref. I feel like everyone is getting tired of it. I didn’t feel like that this time. I am glad the expedition is complete and they are back in charted space, but it was fun the whole time.

Likewise, this is the longest campaign I’ve ever run in real time or in game sessions. Granted, we haven’t played THAT many sessions, but we’ve been at it for several years. Adult life has gotten in the way a lot, but we’ve kept at it, and we’ve reached a point that the campaign has developed its own history, and with the discovery of a real threat to the Imperium during the expedition, the PCs have for the first time done something that could potentially affect the entire Imperium. That is very cool, and I really didn’t plan it. After the encounter in sessions 20 and 21 with the sentient planet-wide psionic fungal network, I listened to Marc Miller’s novel Agent of the Imperium, and realized they had discovered something that needs the attention of the highest-level decision makers.  That is very cool.

I’ve heard many podcasts speakers talk about story telling in their games. That is cool. But I don’t feel like a story teller. I think of my GMing as creating a game — creating situations and problems for my players to contend with and solve using their characters and resources. Clearly there is a story, but the story emerges from the play. Today I had no idea what they would do. I set the stage, the dice and rules and I are the world, and the players interact with it. It is nice if I come up with something brilliant and entertaining, but I’m not writing a story.

However, if you are, and your players dig it, that is great. I’ve just been reflected a bit on how I do things and the way I think about things. That’s all.

Anyway, the team got back to their base planet, took care of some stuff like getting paid, passing information on to the proper authorities, and are new all set up for the next game, which more than likely will involve some action and craziness.

After the session, I had all the players add the skills their characters have been studying for the last 4 years of real time permanently to their characters. Character improvements in Classic Traveller are hard to get, and it has just been a great campaign so far, so I just had them add the skills. No roll. Just some improvement. They can now decide what 2 skills they will study during the next 10 or 20 sessions.

ITV Session 23: The God Killers


SAFCO begins where they left off, on the Precursor world in the Great Nebula of the Void. Having defeated the alien android possessed by the being inhabiting the Universal Translator, the team decides what to do.

Professor Zal Twist is stabilized in the ship’s autodoc. The Baroness insists that before leaving they attempt to at least take a sample of the withered Precursor bodies in the pods. Barney examines the alien technology, consults with Lucky, and makes a very difficult roll, successfully figuring out how to power-down a pod. He examines the power cable, and after very careful description of what he is doing, confirms there is no power in the cable. He cuts it.

Meanwhile, Flint has brought a lift from the cargo hold of the ship. They manage to lift one of the pods and take it to the ship. Flint brings the body of the alien android. Lucky discovers that while the brain and the Universal Translator are destroyed, the body does still have some charge left it its battery. They remove the destroyed UT and secure it.

Their business here complete, they take off. Once back in space they jump to one of the systems they had previously scanned containing a gas giant. In an effort to cut some time off their return trip to Mylor they do some additional scanning but discover no systems with refueling points. They proceed back to system 2, home of the planet-wide sentient psionic fungal network. They avoid the planet and refuel at a gas giant. They then jump back to Zal’s System, refuel, and return to Mylor. Five weeks travel time.

The Baroness talks to authorities once in orbit smoothing things over for SAFCO, who were wanted for her abduction in the subsector. She explains she stowed away.  All is well.

The team decides, after getting the fairly recovered Zal Twist to the hospital, to go inform the Scouts of the very serious threats to the Imperium lurking just a few parsecs away in the Void. In particular, the Fungal Network. Administrator Billy Zoom is glad to get the information. The Scouts have been preparing to survey that area, and this will keep them out of danger. The fungal planet will be interdicted immediately until the Imperial Quarantine Bureau decides how to handle that threat. Zoom tells that that a freighter full of religious cultist had recently left Mylor in the direction of the Nebula. Should they go to that world it would be an immediate danger, so their ship will be found and stopped. Or destroyed if necessary.

Zoom tells Roger that, sadly, the base recently lost a Scout crew and ship, so the ship that Roger mustered out with — the Rambler — has been pressed back into service. To compensate Roger, Zoom offers the team five IISS grav bikes that are about to be decommissioned as newer models have arrived. Rogers takes the deal.

Roger asks Zoom what else has happened during the months they’ve been gone. Zoom tells him that the local underworld on Mylor is rumored to be in somewhat a state of chaos. Turf wars are breaking out, confusion in leadership…

The team has earned the 100K credits from Zal and the University of Zapata for their help in the expedition. The Baroness arranges for the Precursor pod and the android body to be taken to the University of Zapata. One of the greatest archaeological finds in centuries — funded by her family. Her status should increase in the circles of nobility.  Zal will go down in history.

The team heads toward the Happy Gluck to relax and celebrate survival of yet another expedition into the unknown of the Void.

Ending date: IY6026.253
Elapsed game time: 379 days

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