Independence, Episode 1: Hunting for Work
Star Post 79 is not the first space station any spacer thinks of. If a navigator is scanning their star charts to find the closest refueling stop and stumbles upon Star Post 79 the first response will be an audible groan followed by a desperate search for something better. Unfortunately they’ll soon discover there’s no other alternatives with 2 parsecs. Longer range ships will happily skip this part of sector but for many this is their only hope to safely restock. Those spacers who live on or frequent the station call it the “Clunker” a nod to the occasional banging sounds that emit from the station’s aging power plant & life support systems.
Xero Kurri rubbed his eyes and adjusted the artificial lighting in his cabin. The room’s lights briefly flickered before settling in, no doubt a result of the Clunker struggling to keep up with demand. Xero dresses himself and heads to his usual cafe hoping to find work for the week.
“How’s it going, Kristyna?” Xero asks as he slides over his pocket computer to pay for his breakfast.
“Fine, except for the table over there… grumpiest batch of hunters I’ve ever seen.” she nods at a table in the far corner of the cafe. It, like most of the interiors of the Clunker, is dimly lit.
Xero raises an eyebrow and takes his rehydrated meal to a table near the hunters. The cafe’s friendly coffee-bot hovers up to his table and extracts a mug of coffee from its chest. Xero can’t help but to pat the bot on the head and take his cup.
“Those fascist jerks think they can just rewrite the rules of this sector on a whim!” one of the hunters says as they slam a fist on to the table.
Xero turns and addresses the hunter “Trouble with the SPs?” (Referring to the regional Space Patrol.)
“No, we can usually bribe them. New governor on Twea revoked all hunting licenses with no notice.”
“That’s tough. Are you equipped for ocean hunting? I know a world that’s not yet succumb to Ascendancy rule.”
Reaction Throw: 2d6+2: [6, 1]+2 = 9 Cooperative
“Of course we gots ocean gear! That’s whats we was doing on Twea.” Another hunter chimes in.
How many Hunters? (1d3+1)-1d3: (+1)- = 3
“If you need a charter, I’m got gap in my schedule and I could easily ferry you to Kovani. My ship can accommodate all three of you for…” Xero does some quick math “… Cr24000, one-way. Another Cr24000 to take you to another system afterwards.”
Make a business deal Admin 8+, 2d6+1: [6, 4]+1 = 11
The hunters discuss amongst themselves and the one that seems to speak for the group reaches out with their hand.
“It is deal, lad. You can call me Cemre. This here is Irmak and that scruffy bastard is Furkan.”
Xero takes stock of his new passengers and works out instruction for meeting him at his docking bay.
“Tomorrow then folks, I’d like to get an early start to avoid the usual station traffic jam so please don’t be late.”
As you might have noticed from my surprise arrival in your RSS feeds, I’ve been busy. I’ve played a handful of solo roleplaying games over the last few months and continue to participate in play-by-post games as well as a healthy co-op family campaign. I’ve had a hankering to play some Traveller but in the spirit of keeping things simple I’m going to use Paul Elliott’s straightforward Retro Sci-Fi Rules. Retro does provide a simple framework for solitaire play and we always have the treasure trove of Word Mill Games (Mythic, Crafters, etc) products to fall back on.
I recently had a lot of fun building LEGO set #10497 Galaxy Explorer, a modern nod to the 70s-80s LEGO Space line. I’m going to use the ship and the general aesthetics of the classic LEGO Space line to influence the “look’n’feel” of the game world. (For example the “coffee-bot” is straight out of this LEGO set - I’m not sure why this scout ship needs a dedicated coffee-bot rather than a drone or anything else but I’m going to assume coffee is deeply important in the future.)
Xero was created using the default point-buy character creation rules from Retro Sci-Fi Rules. I made one Referee ruling which is that the star PC gains the skills
Gun-Combat-0, Melee-0 much like they would have in Classic Traveller.
Xero Kurri (he/him) Star Trader Chief Officer 5A9A79 Age 38 Move 10/20 Admin-1, Carousing-1, Computer-1, Engineering-1, Gun-Combat-0, Melee-0, Navigation-1, Pilot-2, Streetwise-1
We are lacking the backstory that usually comes from making advancement, enlistment, and survival rolls in Classic Traveller’s character creation “mini-game” because we’ve used a “point-buy” system. I’ve turned to Word Mill Game’s one-page Adventure Crafter & Mythic GM Emulator to generate a “Turning Point” to fill-in the gap.
Backstory Turning Point:
- (Personal) Headquarters (Description: Bleak Quiet)
- (Mystery) Reappearance (Action: Fears Delay)
- (Social) Reinforcements (Action: Benefit Control)
- (Personal) None
- (Tension) Conclusion
Xero’s spent most of his life working for a family-owned merchant company. For a while it is a life of the mundane; running a handful of routine routes that offer little in the way of excitement. This is fine though for someone like Xero who appreciate the dangers of space. Eventually the doldrums are disturbed by the reappearance of an old political force that seeks to reestablish sector control through a heavy hand. Routine inspections become the norm, Xero’s every move is surveilled, and he decides to freelance out of the Clunker’s less regulated backwater frontier.
I thought about generating an entire subsector but I just didn’t have the time to commit to it. Instead we get the Clunker and some nearby worlds.
I used the Retro world generation rules but also brought in the
PBG rules from Traveller because most of the online Traveller subsector mapping tools require that data to be present should I desire to generate a pretty picture.
Twea C5667AB-8 S Ag Ga Ri 710 Na Starport: Small Hub, Unrefined fuel, Can perform reasonable repairs Size: 8,000 km, 0.45 Gravity (Low) Atmosphere: Standard (Earth) Hydrographics: 60%, Large oceans Population: Tens of millions (Large city) Government: Charismatic Dictator Law Level: (B) Extreme - No Weapons allowed Tech Level: (8) Circa 2000-2050 (fusion power) Kovani C969983-A S Ri 510 Starport: Small Hub, Unrefined fuel, Can perform reasonable repairs Size: 14,400 km (Neptune), 1.25 Gravity (High) Atmosphere: Standard (Earth) Hydrographics: 90%, Few small islands/archipelagos Population: Billions (Earth-like) Government: Civil Service Bureaucracy (Oligarchy) Law Level: (3) Low Law - Heavy weapons Tech Level: (A) Early-stellar (jump-1)
Retro’s guidance on Encounters seems… truncated? It gives some good notes on Space encounters, random tables for many encounter locations, but no guidance on frequency or likelihood of on-world-based encounters. I ended up inventing my own encounter system which drew inspiration from a number of sources including Savage Worlds, Traveller, and Dan Verssen’s little known Star Wars: Corellian Smuggler.
For Reaction Throws I’ll be using Savage World’s over Retro’s or even Classic Traveller’s as I find it is better suited towards a balance of social and physical conflict situations.
This session’s Starport encounter was “Meet a few angry/disgruntled locals: Hunters/Guides.” A Reaction Throw felt odd here - the real question was are they angry at Xero or someone else. This was handled with a One Page Mythic “Ask the GM” question (“Are they unhappy with Xero?”) with the odds being (50/50 or Unknown.) I threw a 71 which was a “No.” At that point I decided they were angry about the revocation of hunting licenses on the nearby world of Twea.
For the in-game Reaction Throw I gave Xero a +1 DM for a high SOC and +1 DM for his Carousing-1 skill. Why a Reaction Throw instead of Task Throw? It just felt more appropriate because I didn’t have any NPC stats for the hunters and I wanted to abstract the question of “do they have gear for ocean hunting?.” Of course I could’ve used a flat 7 or rolled 2d6 a few times to quickly to generate some but it just seemed unnecessary for the moment. Now that they’ve become a Patron of sorts, I will probably need to generate some stats before next session.