CCC 7: Donatella Donazian

System: Classic Traveller
Setting: Homebrew — Into the Void
1 term Diplomat, rank 1
Age 22

Gear: 20,000 cr. Auto pistol, dagger, air raft, personal communicator and hand computer.

Donatella grew up on the subsector capital planet Zapata, the daughter of a well-connected noble family. Somewhat lacking in intellect, she was none the less a devoted student of Imperial history and staunch supporter of the system. Through luck and family connections Donatella managed to join the Imperial Diplomatic Corps and hoped to make a name for herself as a peacemaker. During her short time in the service she found that she had a knack for talking people out of information they might wish to hide,  and due to her upbringing she was great in liaison roles. Sadly after her first term she was forced to return home to attend family matters, and has only now managed to get back off-world, exploring on the frontier where she enjoys her anonymity. Going by the nickname Tella, she has found a role working as a contractor/negotiator for large companies seeking contracts.

CCC 6: Reginald Rogers

System: Classic Traveller
Setting: Homebrew — Into the Void
2 terms Navy
Age 26
Fwd Obr-1, Engineering-1, Carbine-1

Gear: 60,000 credits, carbine

Reginald Rogers should have gone much further in the Navy. Physically gifted, intelligent, and well-educated, on paper he looks like the perfect officer. The problem? Reggie is just a dick. Arrogant, narcissistic, and abrasive. Reggie spent his first term in Engineering on a battle cruiser. He was a great beginning engineer. Sadly he was impossible to work with and didn’t take orders well. He was always “the smartest guy in the room.”  In his second term, having made no friends,  he was sent to a battle zone to be a forward observer. His talent allowed him to survive the experience, but he decided maybe the Navy wasn’t the place for him. Not good enough. Not smart enough to recognize his greatness. He mustered and headed to the frontier to make a name for himself.

CCC 5: Marc Lewin

System: Classic Traveller
Setting: Homebrew — Into the Void
5 terms Rogue
Age 38
Streetwise-1, Dagger-1, Brawling-1, Ship Tactics-2, Demolition-1

Gear: 100,000 credits, low passage (x2), high passage, dagger, brass knucks, auto pistol

Marc Lewin did not fit in well in the affluent area of Prometheus in which he was raised. It was hard to get into real trouble there in that sanitized environment, but Marc had a larcenous streak. Mark wanted off this boring planet. He thought he might join the Navy and had an early interest in starship warfare – his only academic success. As a teen he played naval warfare simulation constantly. Sadly his psyche evaluation was not up to Naval standards and he was not able to enlist. At 18 Marc signed as “crew” on a sketchy freighter and spent years on that ship doing sketchy things. After 20 years, with a large bankroll, Marc finally left that crew on the frontier, but is still on the lookout for an easy dollar or some excitement.

Mark is 5’9″ tall, medium build, has long brown hair and blue eyes. He carries a dagger, an auto pistol, and wears cloth armor jacket.

CCC 4: Nytalia Bronson

System: Classic Traveller
Setting: Homebrew — Into the Void
5 terms marines Rank 2 (Captain)
Age 38
Auto Rifle-1, Blade-3, Electronics-1, Ground Car/ATV-1, Brawling-1, Cutlass-1, Revolver-1

Gear: low passage, blade, auto rifle, backpack, revolver, cutlass

Hailing from the mining planet of Overon, Nytalia Bronson won the genetic lottery (original stats AABB76). How could a person of her capabilities remain on Overon? When she strutted into the Marine recruitment office no one even considered turning her away, as she passed the physical and mental testing with ease.

Nytalia’s physical attributes and sharp mind made her a great hand-to-hand fighter. She was deployed to numerous conflicts and inflicted a lot of casualties on pirates, chopping many up in close quarters using her 9″ blade during ship boardings. Her skill with the Blade gives her a defense that is hard to breach and an attack that is hard to avoid. Hand-to-hand fighting is, in fact, one of her favorite pursuits. For Nytalia it is a mental game, and her time spent honing her skills in the Marines actually boosted her overall intelligence. She could learn nearly anything, and it good with electronics, but she – just – likes – fighting.

Nytalia is 6″ tall, with close-cropped graying brown hair and light brown skin. She is confident but not arrogant, quiet but not shy. Loyal to comrades, and ruthless with enemies. She’s seen the best and worst of people, and now seeks honest employment on the frontier.


CCC 3: Alro Rupalian

System: Classic Traveller
Setting: Homebrew — Into the Void
4 terms Bureaucrat Rank 2 (currently serving)
Age 34
Dagger-2, JOT-1, Admin-3, Computer-1, Air Raft-1

Alro Rupalian is very, very smart, and always knew how to work the system. It came naturally. So when he finished basic studies the University of Zapata the Imperial Service Exam presented him no problem.  Alro is big and strong, but that is where his physical assets end.  Poorly coordinated and with even worse endurance, Alro prefers pursuits of the mind. Still, a bureaucrat must be able to defend himself, so he trains regularly with a dagger he keeps hidden in his right boot.

Originally stationed in the Imperial liaison office in the downport on Faustus, he found the ranks there crowded and cluttered with officers who really needed to retire but would not. Alro deftly arranged a transfer to Imperial office on Mylor, on the frontier, where opportunities for advancement would grow.

Alro’s greatest skill is his knack for understanding, navigating, and exploiting organizational systems.

Alro is 5’8″ tall, has black hair and a thin black mustache. He wears his Imperial field liaison uniform, and keeps a hand computer in a belt case.

CCC 2: Sir Alix Toffler III

System: Classic Traveller
Setting: Homebrew — Into the Void
4 terms Merchants. Rank 4
Age 34
Grav Vehicle-1, Electronics-2, Nav-1,  JOT-1
Gear: Blade, Low Psg, 40K CR, electronics tool kit, cloth armor,

Noble birth often confers great advantages. At times it can also confer genetic disadvantages. Such is the case of Sir Alix Toffler III, Knight of Realm, from the capital planet of the Prometheus subsector, Prometheus. A physical weakling with horrible coordination, and of only adequate intellect in a family of demigods, Alix spent his youth doing his best to prove himself worthy of his noble title. 5 feet tall and asthmatic, he found the most success in the classroom, due not to his intellect but rather his inquisitive nature and indomitable spirit. At 18 Alix tried enlisting the the planetary army but was turned away. Desperate to prove himself without the aid of his family name, Alix adopted the surname “Tally” and signed on with a tramp freighter in the Merchant service. Over the course of his 16 year career Alix proved himself a capable spacer, though best left out of a fight.  His high level of education enabled him to become a very capable electronics specialist and a good stand-in navigator. On a tramp freighter you’ve gotta fill in where needed, and again his natural flexibility proved to make him a great Jack of All Trades. Despite his absolutely pitiful coordination Alix was found to be a natural air raft pilot. Upon mustering out and returning to Prometheus, Alix found himself even more unwanted in his family, as he had spent a career working on a “dirty freighter”.

Alix prefers to use his wits and skills. He’ll only fight if forced into the situation, being more likely to shoot his own foot off (or cut it, as the case may be) than injure an adversary.

Despite the challenges of his upbringing and treatment by his family, Alix is of hardy and noble spirit, sees the best in everyone, and never ever gives up. He’s 5′ tall, about 100 pounds, thinning blond hair, but a handsome and well-bred face.

CCC 1: Broxanna Troy

System: Classic Traveller
Setting: Homebrew — Into the Void
3 terms Army. Rank 3
Age 30
Mech-2, Air Raft-3, Blade-1, Tactics-1, Rifle-1

Broxanna Troy (Broxy, for short), is from the agricultural planet of Scatter. After three terms in the Planetary Defense Force (Army) she mustered out and booked passage to the Mylor system, on the edge of known space, to seek her fortune.

During her time in the PDF, Broxy honed her natural aptitude as a mechanic, and became the best air raft pilot on the planet. She’s damned good with any grav vehicle, and can maintain and repair them as well. 5’5″ tall and solid muscle, she’s as smart as she is strong, with a gift for tactics and great with a blade.

Broxy travels light, but always has her rifle, her blade (usually in a booth sheath), and an autopistol (it’s a rough galaxy out there). She also owns a mechanics tool set. She’s typically seen in her TL-11 navy blue overcoat made of ballistic cloth material (treat as cloth armor), in which she keeps a small respirator, a spare clip for her auto pistol and rifle, and a flash light.

Dark shoulder length hair, skin tanned dark from the bright sun of Scatter, and brown eyes.

While Broxy doesn’t seek out illegal work, well, she’ll do what she must. She’d prefer to not be in jail.

As is typical of the people of her home planet, Broxanna has a brusk and direct communication style that can be off putting to those not accustomed to it.

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