S3M 1×03: “Taking Care of Business”

Dramatis Personæ

Began with a brief flashback to the hours immediately after the bar fight at Hard Vacuum as JoJo started actively seeking out a new place to live. At this point, he has been with DSD for exactly one week and as such, is just now getting acclimated to the station. During his apartment hunt, he observes a person “in medical distress” while in one of the lower wards. His doctorly instincts kick in and JoJo investigates, finding a man in critical shape, having previously been nailed to the bulkhead by a piece of rebar but somehow having managed to get free. The man is thoroughly unconscious. JoJo applies medical assistance, contacts the authorities, then rides to the aid station with the paramedics where he impresses them with his know-how. He is questioned by the authorities but allowed to leave.

Back to the present. The initial projected travel time to FN-2187, the destination in the Outer Belt, is eight days, but AJ immediately starts crunching numbers while Tulk negotiates with the Unit to get us a better deal. Being awesome, AJ brings travel time to just under 6 days which nobody believes at first. Meanwhile, Tulk seeks out a habitation module for attachment to the Omen and seeks out a smuggler version. After seeing how small the profit margin would be on this, he talks “Mister Black” into covering for most of the hab-module, which allows DSD to cover additional expenses. In the course of this, Tulk receives a ping for a data mining program he has running for any uses of his previous identities. Evidently, a “Hanibal G. Dunbar” is on-station! Tulk must investigate without raising suspicions and decides to do so after coordinating with the guy he’s renting the module from. In the course of those negotiations, Tulk agrees to do an unspecified favor in the near future so as to receive the “friend discount.”

Leaving Calista and Zennith behind to finish prep-work (and to inspect the habitation module upon arrival), AJ takes the Unit (and JoJo) in the Coffin to pick up other purchased goods from some less than reputable folks. En route, the Unit note the presence of the USS Bunker Hill, a navy frigate, and express some consternation; AJ inquires whether this is going to be a problem and receives a non-answer answer in return. This transaction takes place in vacuum and involves some rather shady-looking Taareh. Half of the purchased gear is present, but the other half is on a nearby ship, a fact that sets off everyone’s ‘ah, crap’ meter. Two of the Unit accompany the Taareh while the other two begin to load the gear on the Coffin which AJ floats closer, already expecting they’ll need to make a quick getaway. As he is jacked into the Coffin’s systems via his neural interface, AJ makes good use of the integrated sensors and identifies two hostiles sneaking toward the hatch of the other ship. He alerts the Unit via comms, then drifts the Coffin forward. The two would-be hostiles panic and retreat and, inside the other ship, there is an exchange of weaponsfire before the Unit guys emerge with their gear. AJ has the Coffin moving back into the traffic lanes before they’re all fully inside.

Tulk digs into the Hanibal purchase, identifies the shop location, and hacks their system to get all of the pertinent data. He briefly makes an attempt to pick up the purchase at the warehouse location but is rebuffed by the foreman who is clearly a by-the-book kind of dude. Retreating, he then stakes out the delivery address and intercepts the UPS guy. Thanks to his hacking, he knows all of the info on this purchase, including the tracking number, so the deliveryman doesn’t think anything of signing it over. Tulk even slips him a tip which is greatly appreciated. After the deliveryman is gone, Tulk then takes the television upstairs to “Hanibal” and, once the idiot opens the door, intimidates the living crap out of him by declaring that he (Tulk) is a very good friend with the real Hanibal Dunbar who is … displeased that his identity has been stolen. He even flashes his gun, which causes the idiot – a guy named Nguyen – to faint in terror. Tulk literally kicks the guy when he is down, obtains additional information on how Nguyen obtained the name, and then leaves with a warning that Nguyen is being watched. He keeps the television and drops it off at Hard Vacuum, claiming it was a donation.

At the office, with the habitation module inspected and secured, port authority customs contacts DSD: the Omen has been flagged for inspection, which is most definitely not a coincidence (what with the presence of the Bunker Hill, the renting of the hab-module, and a flight plan having been filed.) Customs will be at the office in fifteen minutes.


Player Notes:

  • Was missing player for both Calista and Zenith this session.
  • Evidently, the incident involving “Hanibal” was due to Tulk’s Secret coming into play for this session. We all expect Tulk to continue harassing this guy and have started tossing him random ideas.
  • Took me (as a player) entirely too long to realize that the “mercs” were members of “The Unit,” a 3-season television show about special operators and their families.
  • Totally called the Ronin-like incident with the Taareh guys as soon as it started. It’s like I know how Giger thinks!

S3M 1×02: “Breaking the Law”

Dramatis Personæ

The shooting has stopped. Calista immediately pursues the two fleeing ‘pirates’ but is unable to catch them as they manage to escape in a small groundcar. Meanwhile AJ directs JoJo to begin triage on the wounded and moves to help while Tulk takes the uninjured survivor aside with the newly arrived Steg for interrogation; they learn that the first group of idiots were hired by a man named Bobby Liu to start hitting shops on this level but discover little else of import and decide to let him flee. He runs afoul (briefly) of Calista who injures him but doesn’t stop him.

Local security arrive and several of the Crew recognize Sergeant Allred as the first responder. He is Steg’s enemy so Steg makes a discreet exit via the back entrance; Allred is … displeased when he recognizes the Crew and throws his weight around but no one bites so the interrogation about what happened goes relatively well. AJ learns that the cops have been facing a very high volume of calls. Until the investigators arrive, Hard Vacuum is taped off.

Once the cops are gone, Anson reveals the other part of why he wanted to chat with the crew: an old colleague of his is looking to charter a ship to Helene’s belt and will be here in “a couple three days.” This frees up the Crew to do other stuffs in the meantime. Tulk immediately starts researching this Bobby Liu fellow; Calista and Zennith go shopping for guns and checking into the would-be pirates, which results in them finding the Blue Neptune, a very small freighter that has left within the hour; while AJ assists JoJo in getting settled on-station while also juggling Bella issues as she’s won the lead in a local play and insists she’s not ready.

Having located where Liu might be hiding, Tulk enlists Calista’s aid in a quick ‘B&E’ op in the slums. First, they must navigate through what appears to be a house rave taking place, during which Tulk is caught unprepared by a local offering him a beer. Calista has an front-row seat to a comedy of errors as the normally unflappable Tulk first fails to fast-talk his way past the man, then falls back on blatant threats. He accidentally uses Liu’s name which causes the man to back off immediately. The two continue on and break into Liu’s crappy apartment where they discover no one inside but plenty of damage, indicating to them that someone has been dragged out of here. Frustrated at the dead end, they withdraw and speak with locals, confirming that yes, bad things happened in that apartment and yes, someone was carted out by a group of thugs earlier in the day.

Two days later, Anson contacts AJ and Tulk, advising them that his guys are here and will meet them at the DSD office. Tulk is there first and realizes someone has broken in, so he reaches out to the rest of the crew and tells them to assemble. Once gathered, they enter and discover four men waiting. All are very big, very polite, and are carrying bags/cases that are distinctly military in nature. The leader of this group – who calls himself Mister Black – references Master Sergeant Law and states they are willing to pay triple standard to be taken to FN-2187 in the far Belt, but will need to be in the black within eight hours. As the Bad Omen doesn’t have adequate life support for non-crew, Tulk will need to rent a habitation module while AJ takes the runabout and one of the mercs (because what else can they be?) to retrieve some additional gear.


Player Notes:

  • Was missing JoJo’s player for the session.
  • We got bogged down a couple of times due to our slacker GM being wildly, horribly unprepared, particularly with regards to the interrogation. The B&E thing also dragged a bit – IMO, he should have had a couple of punks (controlled by Zennith’s player and myself) kick in the door and try to blast Calista & Tulk.
  • Mister Black asked Zennith if he’s worked with nonhuman weapons before, which is concerning. And intriguing at the same time.
  • Despite being a superb social engineer, Bella is a terrible actress when performing, something that was lifted from the Sophie Devereux character on the TV show Leverage. This will be the first time many of the characters have experienced this fact.
  • AJ also received something that looks suspiciously like a wedding invitation from he ex-wife but has not bothered even opening that envelope.
  • As a player, I need to figure out how to include AJ more in situations like this. Calista and Tulk are very clearly peas in a pod with regards to breaking the law … perhaps AJ & Zennith need to develop a serious bro-mance due to their shared appreciation for classical music? More importantly, though, I need to figure out how AJ makes things fun for the other players as well…

S3M 1×01: “Spoilin For A Fight”

Dramatis Personæ

Begin in media res with the Crew assembling at the offices in Hard Vacuum to discuss matters with Anson. There, we discover that the Starport Authority Closure Commission (SPACC) is once again threatening to close down Tamborro Station and a “Save the Station” organization has sprung up with Anson planning on participating. Their hope is to “clean up” the station and get it declared a historical location so the SPACC won’t (or can’t) close it down. Tulk, being a suspicious sort, decides to start investigating this group.

Ted announces that they have “visitors” (despite the front door being locked) and the Crew find themselves suddenly facing down a handful of armed punks, all wearing the usual security-spoofing gear. None of these punks seem particularly competent, which is especially notable when they don’t even bothering patting down the Crew, all of whom (except Zennith) are armed. AJ’s bad luck flares up once more, though, and one of the idiots happens to notice that he is carrying a las-pistol; there is a great of shoving and threatening and posturing, with AJ on the verge of attempting a disarm maneuver (despite it being very unlikely to succeed) but Tulk interjects himself into the situation, dazzling the thugs with a startling amount of bullshit that actively confuses them (since, after all, victims of an armed robbery aren’t supposed to be this indifferent to the would-be thieves!)

As the Crew (plus Anson and Ted) are threatened, a second group of thugs appear, also demanding the cash. This group appear to be spacers rather than local lurk-rats and are better armed. A tense stand-off ensues which Tulk (taking advantage of a half-hearted idea espoused by newly hired JoJo) complicates by insisting the Crew had already given the money to the lurk-rats. More shouting and threats transpire with most of the Crew cautiously trying to move out of the field of fire; AJ actually advances toward Anson and Ted, planning on trying to protect them when the shooting starts since he’s wearing a nanoweave bodysuit and they don’t appear to be armored.

Tulk sees his chance and takes it. As he shifts behind one of the lurk-rats (who happens to be holding a laser pistol), Tulk discreetly draws his hold-out las-pistol and takes an under-the-arm shot at one of the spacers while simultaneously shouting out something that makes it look like the lurk-rats are attacking. It works. Almost at once, the bar is crisscrossed with lasers and bullets and shotgun slugs. The Crew dive for cover (wisely) except AJ who tackles Anson and Ted to the ground before drawing his pistol. Once satisfied that they’re not going to get caught in the crossfire, the Crew draw their weapons and engage an already confused situation. In seconds, all but one of the lurk-rats are dead or grievously wounded (most to the shots of the spacers) and two of the four spacers are downed (one of whom is straight up dead thanks to Calista scoring some lethal vital strikes with her modified heavy laser pistol.) The remaining two spacers wisely flee and AJ gets the sole remaining uninjured lurk-rat to drop his weapon and surrender … before Tulk can start shooting any would-be survivors.

The current plan is to interrogate their prisoner (while JoJo triages the injured) before summoning the authorities to take the lurk-rats into custody. It strikes all of the Crew strange that two different groups of would-be robbers hit the same place at the same time…


Player Notes:

  • We spent most of the session finalizing some character elements (some additional background stuffs, equipment, etc.) so really, nobody expected to get a lot done. Since so much time was burned with that sort of thing, can’t really judge the effectiveness of the characters yet.
  • I (Rigil) had Fantasy Grounds running on my laptop and used that to quickly identify everyone’s modifiers for ranged combat which worked out better than I’d expected.
  • Some of the initial setup was pretty unclear. For example, I didn’t entirely realize we were still in the bar until it was explicitly stated – thought we were being ushered out of the bar – and we didn’t realize we were initially in the bar’s office before the lurk-rats appeared. A little more descriptive flair at the beginning would be helpful.

S3M Campaign Introduction

Steel Ships & Space Marines is my homebrew, mash-up GURPS Space setting, that has developmental history going all the way back to 1990, when I made my first purchase of GURPS (then, Third Edition). If you think of it as a mix of Firefly, The Expanse, Mass Effect, and Aliens, you’ll be in the right ballpark. This campaign is a continuation of a couple of one-shots in this setting, specifically, The Sabo Affair, which ran in 2005, my first run in GURPS’ Fourth Edition. The story starts around seven months after those events, with a few new characters and minus a few old ones. It was a long time coming, and we were all glad to see its inevitable (despite the delay) return. See the Wiki for more information about the campaign, in general. (This is the first of my campaigns to benefit from the existence of a proper wiki site.)

The Player-Characters


AJ Trent
The Pilot/Captain
Played by Rigil Kent

Calista Moss
The Gunner/Loadmaster
Played by Lab Rat

“JoJo” Jotaro
The Medic/Steward
Played by Frito

Steve Tulk
The XO/Purser
Played by Magman

Zennith Moss
The Engineer
Played by WxMan

Table News, 22 Jan 17

The last few months have been a little weird, when it comes to gaming for me. Due to the holidays and related absences, we ended up not gaming at all for either Friday (Core Group) or Saturday (Olympus) groups for about two months, and the Friday group for which I was up for GMing next was delayed a further three weeks due to bad weather, etc. During this extended downtime, my GMing situation also fluctuated wildly. As of two days ago, this is the current situation: starting this Friday I will be GMing my Steel Ships & Space Marines (which was previously to be ported into the Traveller setting, and has since been reverted), featuring a continuation from the previous one-shot (“The Sabo Affair”), for which two former-PCs will have moved on, but three more added (the player for one of which is not only new to the group, but GURPS as well); on Saturdays at some unspecified point in the hopefully-near future (after the S³M run has ended) I should be running a GURPS Supers campaign, which I will detail here as its time draws nearer—for now, the S³M campaign will have my more-or-less complete focus.

This means (a) I’m GMing again, and not a one-shot; (b) S³M will again see production; and (c) S³M setting stuff will get some needed updates and incorporate new sources. Session-reports will be posted here, though I’m not certain yet whether I will be doing that myself or someone else (Rigil Kent) will—in the latter case, I will likely be posting GM-specific insights on a per-session basis. So, there should be some activity here, coming up.

A One-Shot Across the Bow

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GURPS Sea Dogs, Adventure ½

Overview

Another GM in my Saturday group found himself having to slap together a game from scratch with naught but the week before to prepare it, and it ended up working out pretty well, so I wondered if I could pull it off myself. Then the opportunity arose the week prior to this writing, with some upcoming absences from the regular game, and I decided to give it a shot.

I had been wanting to run (or play in) a proper age-of-sail campaign for decades (literally), and have been considering such a campaign for this group, as it has virtually no genre overlap with anyone else’s campaign. But I hadn’t actually put any effort into it yet, so I would be starting from scratch, with only the week to make it happen.

Execution

It took me a few days to finally settle on the basic storyline: a small insurance company based out of Port Royal was about to pay out on a client’s ship lost to pirates, when said client received a ransom demand for the safe return of the ship’s crew—an unusual occurrence—through which the company was able to track down the pirate and his expected location. It would be far cheaper for the company to send some guys with a particular set of skills to retake the ship than to pay out for the loss.

My old Sea Dogs campaign that never saw production started in Nassau, which was also the primary location in the Starz TV series, Black Sails, and a notable spot in the Assassin’s Creed IV game. I chose to set the game there, as there should be plenty of material to work with. The target ship was a 100-ton sloop called McGuffin’s Prize, based on the ship in GURPS Supporting Cast: Age of Sail Pirate Crew for its GURPS 4e stats, captained by the silver-tongued Hans Olof, accompanied by his first-mate, a large African fellow named Chwengwe. Their opposition was a no-name French pirate called La Cage, who captained the brig, Antagonist (which I had to fudge some stats for, in the event they were needed); a brig was featured prominently in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, the Interceptor, for plenty of visual references. Captain Olof had convinced the pirates to send the ransom note in order to keep them from killing himself and the crew, knowing that it was highly unlikely that the ransom would actually be paid. Also noteworthy, La Cage had been recruiting crew for the new ship.

To expedite the inevitable planning session, I would use a mechanic I had employed once before, that is, “Planning Points”: a number of Impulse Buys for adjusting the tactical situation with the caveat that the changes had been “pre-planned.” I wanted to do a bit of social engineering in town and that sort of thing, but in order to keep it simple, and enough for one session only, I just stuck with a couple of combat encounters, which, with the planning that would involve, would be a tight fit.

For the characters, I really didn’t care too much what we ended up with. I was going to recommend GURPS Action templates until I remembered Pyramid 3/64 “Pirates and Swashbucklers” issue had a few Dungeon Fantasy “swashbuckler” templates. I created a basic character for everyone to use, at the 250-point DF standard; two of the players created their own, but they were both based on the same template. They were all Weapon Masters—serious badasses—and I knew they were going to wipe the floor (deck) with whomever they encountered.

Other minor points of interest:

  • I decided late in the process to use Nicholas Cage as the bad guy, thus named La Cage; I have a long-standing dislike of him as an actor (it’s nothing personal, really), and I like to work him into my campaigns to get punched in the face 😛
  • Rigil’s character was an homage to his now-retired Banestorm character, Gabriel
  • I had a hard time finding stats for the Antagonist. Low Tech has smaller and larger ships than this brig, but not the same, and 3e Vehicles has a smaller version of both the brig and sloop. I probably could have worked it out properly from Vehicles, but it wasn’t really worth the effort since I wasn’t planning any ship-to-ship combat (though a pursuit was possible).

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Synopsis

I started the PCs off at sundown, approaching the handful of pirates holding watch over the ships’ boats on shore, the McGuffin and the Antagonist, anchored together around 75 yards out in the Nassau harbor, just off Potter’s Key. Just trailing the PCs was the former crew of the McGuffin which had been rescued some time before, led by Captain Olof and looking a bit worse for wear from a couple of months neglected in the pirates’ custody—they elected to hang back until the all-clear was given. The only PC with skill in Tactics made the roll, with the others attempting to support; the support didn’t amount to much, resulting in three Planning Points to spend, which they held back for later. One of the PCs brought some bottles of rum, and the four PCs walked right up to the sentries and offered to share, claiming to be recruits. The sentries were caught completely by surprise when their new buddies produced their weapons in a flash and took them all prisoner, binding them and leaving them behind some nearby rocks, before making off with the boats. As GM, I was a little surprised the PCs let the sentries live, but whatever. 😛

After a bit of discussion—which pleased me not to take all night—the former-crew ended up taking two of the boats and rowing out ahead, taking cover in the darkness and waiting for the signal to approach, while the PCs took the third and rowed straight up to the brig, again pretending to be new recruits. I rolled 6d6 for the number of pirates aboard the two ships, and the PCs spent a Planning Point to reduce that number by 1d6, resulting in twenty; around half of them had muskets to hand, the rest cutlasses. La Cage was also aboard, arguing with the men over something-or-other.

As the PCs’ boat passed under the brig’s stern, Ronnke’s character slipped into the water and climbed up to the open gallery windows. They had spent another Planning Point to have an “inside man” disable the rudder—owing to my introduction of Hans Olof and Chwengwe, the players declared the inside-man to be a short, round fellow, wearing blue and white and whistling a lot. Once Ronnke’s character had entered the gallery, the inside-man handed him a dry pistol, while he reloaded one of his.

niccage-piratesI gave La Cage’s men a Reaction check against the newcomers aboard; I interpreted the “Bad” result as the pirates being unappreciative of the the interruption. But they also failed a Perception check to notice the ruse, so I declared Partial Surprise; the PCs won the initiative, and the pirates froze—only one round, though. The PCs went immediately to work butchering them mercilessly, with some minor, flashy heroics combined with some surprise Crit-fails/successes to make things a little more interesting. La Cage fell back across to the McGuffin to regroup but took a nasty spill running down from a cannon and face-planted on deck; Andricus’ character ended up stabbing him twice at random hit-locations: once through the back, the other through his manhood—this was actually unscripted. 😀 The fight lasted around seven seconds, with the enemy casualties a bit over half, the other half choosing to surrender.

Afterward, the signal was given for the old crew to join them. Some of the pirates were recruited to assist as well, and both ships were readied to depart, in no hurry since the pirates were no longer a threat.

Aftermath

The experiment worked out well enough. I managed to craft a decent night’s entertainment from scratch in the allotted week’s time, and probably had enough time to spare that, if I had wanted to spread it out over multiple sessions, I probably could have done more. Now I know, for me, it can be done. There were a few rules bits that I probably could have worked out beforehand, but that was pretty minor. My pacing was spot on; ended exactly when I intended. I was actually a bit surprised that the combat went pretty smoothly and quickly despite the numbers, though that was helped by only having four players to manage. I was also pretty happy with this second playtest of the Planning Points concept; this will undoubtedly be used again.

While I had already been considering a regular age-of-sail campaign, I don’t have any intention of it being a sequel/prequel to this one at all, though some of the characters or ships might certainly reappear in some form or another.

Universe Reaction

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AKA “The Universe hates/loves me”

Some time ago, I ran a Traveller one-shot that focused on a race-against-time to complete a rush-job. But as GM, I dislike arbitrating little things like how long someone has to stand in the queue at the bank, and in the case of this one-shot, it feels a bit like GM “cheating” anyway. So I came up with the concept of the Universe Reaction Check, to circumvent my arbitration-guilt. It works like this:

First, you mentally ask the question, “What is it the PCs are trying to do right now?” Then you figuratively turn to the Universe and ask if it will help or hinder their efforts, at which point you roll (for GURPS) an unmodified Reaction Check (B560) and consult the appropriate Request for Aid entry for the answer, as if it were an intelligent being with the power to smooth things along or get in the way. Simple.

In the case of the aforementioned one-shot, I translated this effect into minutes/hours/etc. of delay or acceleration of their timetable—because that’s what was at stake (a “base” time-increment will be required, though, to use it this way). But the effects would probably differ in other situations based on the PCs’ intentions. For example, if some post-apocalypse PCs are scrounging through some ruins for food, a “helpful Universe” would mean that some food is available at that location (the amount dependent on how helpful the Universe is feeling), and an “unhelpful Universe” would mean there is none to be found, or worse, an ambush awaits—this might be independent of whether or not the PCs are able to find that food, only indicating how much is available to be found. As some of the other GMs in both of my groups have started to use Universe Reactions in their games, I’ve seen it used during chases to determine if “suitable terrain” exists for a stunt. As it is, the concept is widely adaptable to any number of situations, but the more industrious GM could also build out more situation-specific Reaction tables for greater detail or less improvisation of effects.

Of course, the standard GURPS Reaction system allows for modifiers to the check, and that can still be incorporated. In the Traveller one-shot, a PC with Bad Luck insisted on penalizing those checks in his case. Conversely, “good” Luck is really just a favorable Reaction result, so one could reasonably treat is as an Influence success against the Universe. There’s no reason one couldn’t assign modifiers based on PCs “karmic” status, or add cumulative penalties as the adventure progresses to increase the stakes. Using GURPS Action 2, BAD could sensibly be applied as well.

Lastly, it is easily possible to use the same concept in other game systems, either using the GURPS check/table as-is or a similar mechanic from whatever system is being used.

Table News, 5 Jul 16

Work on the Traveller campaign continues, maybe less steadily than I’d like, but making progress. I expect I’ll be able to manage a short-term series without too much fuss, and perhaps more.

My “obsession level” regarding the Sketchup model of the PCs’ ship has diminished somewhat, but is certainly not gone. The model is nearing a sufficient level of completion (that is, it doesn’t leave a whole lot to the imagination anymore)—not that it’s a requirement for the campaign, just feeding my need to create/build things. I’m actually fairly excited about the results. I figure I’ll keep fine-tuning it for quite a while after. I’ll make the model available for download soon. After that, I expect I’ll be cleaning up the model I made a long time ago for Tamborro Station—needs a lot of work.

There was a bit of a surprise for me this month, with regard to the Olympus group. I was tossing some ideas about with Rigil, when I thought how interesting it might be to do a Stargate campaign based on the SG-1 TV series, but “rip off” the series, episode for episode, and see how PCs would do things differently, knowing that the resulting story would diverge entirely from the show at some point. Later, we ended up discussing the idea with the Olympus group in the pre-game downtime, and I discovered that the players there were all pretty big fans of the show, and were definitely interested. It wasn’t my original intent, but I decided it would be doable for me to GM it, so I ended up making an official pitch.

As it stands now: the TV show, SG-1, is the “Wormhole Extreme” (the parody show within the show) of the campaign, and the campaign itself the “true events” the show is loosely based on. The characters will differ: some will be playing show characters or amalgams, others new ones. The episodes will essentially be the same (for starters), but I plan to give them a more sensible and realistic treatment. As an actual Daniverse campaign, I will be replacing the show’s alien races and situations with mine—it will present some challenges, but the Daniverse has a lot of Stargate in its pedigree anyway, so it should all fit together nicely. This also means it’s going to transition to X-Com later. For research, I’ve got lots of TV show to watch—should keep me busy for a long time.

I want to do a short intro for the Stargate campaign as soon as possible, but the next opportunity looks like it will occur at the same time as the opportunity for the Core Group’s Traveller kickoff; given the respective table situations, Traveller is going to win out (I won’t run two at once), so the Stargate kickoff will probably be delayed. Inception will, of course, be back-burnered for now, but I definitely still want to run that at some point, so it isn’t dead.

Table News, 7 Jun 16

My prep-work for the upcoming Traveller campaign continues.

The last few weeks have been consumed by my work on a 3D model of the PCs’ ship in Sketchup. I’ve done this for the past two Traveller campaigns for the Olympus (Saturday) group, and they’ve proven to be very useful for visualization, and I’ve wanted to model this ship in particular for years, just because. Unlike the last ones, however, I plan to go into much greater level of detail in the model, if for no other reason than to see what I might be capable of. I’ve made a lot of progress, though there is much still to be done.

badomen-wip4

badomen-wip1

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The original design was a bit vague on some of the details, which I’ve had to make up as I go—part of the process. The “green” interior is a bit of an accident, though it’s grown on me, and I may keep it. I made a few minor mistakes in the original dimensions and such, which at the time I discovered them, were far too difficult to correct, so I just left them—you’d probably never know unless I pointed them out.

Table News, 9 May 16

Yeah, really late. Sue me 😛

I’ve been working on the new Traveller campaign for the Core Group (Friday). We had a get-on-the-same-page session in April, where we worked out the overall campaign issues and figured out the main characters. Essentially, it’s to be a more-or-less direct continuation of my S³M stuff, mixing Firefly and The Expanse, set in the Spinward Marches, with a “home base” on Denotam/Vilis; a bit of an underworld-focused techno-thriller. As part of my prep, I’ve been researching the upper-level politics of the area, and plan to feature more of the back-and-forth between the Imperial dukes than (most) other Traveller games I’ve played in. Also, I decided to use a lot of background material from our Olympus (Saturday) Traveller campaign, and will be coordinating with the regular GM for that one.

I was actually supposed to start running the week after the same-page session, but I just wasn’t ready. We decided to go ahead with the Pathfinder continuation, and I’ll step in after that (maybe a one-shot in the middle if we need a break).

Meanwhile, I haven’t had much to do with GMing for the Olympus group. We’ve got a lot of material to work with over there, and more potential GMs, especially now that we’ve established the concept of guest-GMs in regular campaigns. I suppose I’m still planning to do Inception there, but I haven’t even looked at it in ages, and I’m well past the point where I usually start waffling over what to run. That said, I expect the Core Group Traveller campaign will occur first, so I’m throwing all my energy into that one.