Posts Tagged ‘Classic Traveller’

Traveller — the Adventure Begins

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

This is the first adventure of the metro Detroit Classic Traveller group. The players in this first adventure are (the UPP lists the players main six characteristics in order as: Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, and Social Standing):

• Captain James T. Dunstal (played by Aric Parr), UPP: 777977, Age 22, Army, 1 term. Skills: Auto Pistol-1, Electronics-1, Mechanical-1, Rifle-1, SMG-1. Cr20,000.

• Dr. Adam Millerton (played by Mark Moellering), UPP: 766788, Age 30, Scientist, 3 terms. Skills: Carousing-1, Computer-2, Gravitics-1, Laser Carbine-1. Received a Type L Lab Ship as a mustering out benefit. Cr7,000.

• Gomer Pile (played by Mike St. Peter), UPP: 3572A9, Age 34, Army (Lt. Colonel), 4 terms. Skills: Brawling-1, Dagger-1, Gambling-1, Mechanical-2, Medical-1, Rifle-1, SMG-1, Tactics-1. Received a Middle Passage and a shotgun as mustering out benefits. Cr35,000.

• Dr. Simon Tamm (played by Bill Worrel), UPP: 2758A9, Age 46, Doctor, 7 terms. Skills: Computer-1, Electronics-1, Medical-2, Streetwise-3. Received a Low Passage as a mustering out benefit, and will receive an annual pension of Cr8,000. Mustered out with Cr80,000, total money after receiving pension: Cr88,000.

Before the characters began adventuring, they purchased some extra equipment:

• Capt. James T. Dunstal purchased: Reflec armor (Cr1,500, TL 10, 0kg); Auto Pistol (Cr200, TL 5, 0.75kg empty, 1kg loaded); 5 magazines 9mm SMG ammo for auto pistol (Cr50, TL 5, 1.25kg) (75 rounds); SMG (Cr500, TL 5, 2.5kg empty, 3kg loaded); 5 magazines 9mm SMG ammo for SMG (Cr100, TL 5, 2.5kg) (150 rounds); Holster, magazine carriers, cleaning kits for weapons (Cr20); Short range communicator (Cr100, TL 7, 0.3kg); Inertial locator (Cr1,200, TL 9, 1.5kg); Hand computer (Cr1,000, TL 11, 0.5kg); Light intensifier goggles (Cr500, TL 7, 1kg). Now has Cr14,780.

• Dr. Adam Millerton purchased: Hand computer (Cr1,000, TL 11, 0.5kg). Now has Cr6,000.

• Gomer Pile purchased: 3 magazines shotgun ammo (Cr30, TL 5, 2.25kg) (30 rounds); Dagger (Cr10, TL 1, 0.25kg (0kg when worn)); Binoculars (Cr75, TL 3, 1kg); IR goggles (Cr500, TL 6, 1kg). Now has Cr34,385.

• Dr. Simon Tamm purchased: Reflec armor (Cr1,500, TL 10, 0kg); Auto Pistol (Cr200, TL 5, 0.75kg empty, 1kg loaded); Silencer (Cr200, TL 6, 0.5kg); 10 magazines 9mm SMG ammo (for auto pistol) (Cr100, TL 5, 2.5kg) (150 rounds); Combination filter-respirator (Cr150, TL 5, 1kg); Artificial gill (Cr4,000, TL 8, 4kg); Swimming equipment (Cr200, TL 3, 1kg); Heavy protective suit (Cr1,400, TL 5, 7kg) (as cloth armor); Medium range communicator (Cr200, TL 7, 1.5kg); Inertial locator (Cr1,200, TL 9, 1.5kg); Radiation counter (Cr250, TL 5, 1kg); Hand computer (Cr1,000, TL 11, 0.5kg); IR goggles (Cr500, TL 6, 1kg); Medical kit (Cr1,000, TL 7, 10kg); Electronic tool set (Cr2,000, TL 7, 5kg); Lock pick set (Cr1,000, TL 4, 0.1kg, illegal on Regina!); Disguise set (Cr1,000, TL 7, 5kg); 5 days dehydrated food (Cr125, 1kg). Now has Cr71,975.

Day 002-1105 (Wonday)

The Quilted Giraffe cafe was busy on day 002 of the new year, the year being 1105 as reckoned by the Third Imperium. The cafe itself was on the planet Regina, the capital world of the Regina subsector, in the Spinward Marches, a part of the Third Imperium. Four rough-looking characters had each just mustered out or retired from their particular service or occupation, and had been forced to share a table for supper in the crowded cafe in Startown, just outside of the Downport starport on the planet’s surface. These characters were Simon Tamm, who referred to himself as “doctor,” in spite of the fact that he never finished his medical degree; Dr. Adam Millerton, a research scientist who had especially made a study of gravitics; and two ex-soldiers from the Army, Lt. Colonel Gomer Pile and Capt. James T. Dunstal. They were all recovering from the the day previous, which was New Year’s Day and an all-day party.

Twenty-two year old Finn Diaz was dining at a nearby table, and saw his old high school friend Captain Dunstal across the room. Diaz got up from his table and walked over to Dunstal. “Hey! Long time no see! What are you up to? Who are your friends?”

Dunstal replied, “I just got out of the Army. I don’t really know these gentlemen.” With that, the characters at the table all introduced themselves to each other and to Diaz, also mentioning that they were all out of work. Then Dunstal asked Diaz, “Hey, how’s that gal doing that you were dating?”

Diaz replied, “She ditched me years ago. I just got out of the Imperial Scout Service after four years. I just didn’t like the isolation all of the time. It was cool at first, but it got old really quickly.”

Dunstal commisserated with Diaz. “Too bad about that gal.”

“Nah. It was nothing. She just had a preference for jocks, that’s all.” Diaz then looked at everyone at the table and asked, “So, what are you guys doing for jobs these days?”

It seems none of the respondents had anything lined up. Millerton mentioned that he had inherited an old lab ship from his employer, but he also said he needed to hire a crew and find money to stock provisions and equipment.

Diaz said, “If you guys are looking to make a few credits, at least, I’d like to introduce Mr. Lee to you. I’ll be right back.” Diaz then walked back to his former table in the cafe. After conversing with a gentleman at his former table, Diaz returned with Mr. Lee. “Gentlemen, this is Mr. Barton Lee. He may have a business proposal for you.”

Mr. Lee was slim of build, but moved with the agility of a cat. He didn’t appear to be all that strong, but he looked like he might be good at martial arts. He was very neatly dressed. He remained standing, and bowed to the four men sitting at the table. “Good evening, gentlemen. Mr. Diaz says you gentlemen might be interested in making some money. It just so happens that I have a little business problem right now.” Lee then took a piece of paper out of his inside coat pocket, unfolded it, and placed it on the middle of the table. It was a flyer announcing a boxing match for the coming Sixday (no, that’s not a typo! The Imperial days of the week are Wonday, Tuday, Thirday, Forday, Fiday, Sixday, and Sonday).

Boxing flyer

The boxing flyer that Mr. Lee presented to the group.

There were three undercard bouts, but Mr. Lee pointed to the main bout. “Gentlemen, Rocco Bronkovic is fighting Arum ‘Kid’ King, but something is very strange. Nobody is betting money on Mr. Bronkovic. It is very strange as Mr. Bronkovic is the champion, and the Kid is merely an upstart. I believe that someone has bribed the champion to deliberately lose the fight. I would like for you four to try to find out why.”

“Gentlemen, I am what you would call an odds-maker. I do not take bets, but I provide odds for various events for those who do take bets. My clients are ready to stop taking all bets for the championship fight, as almost all of the money bet is going for the challenger. If the challenger were to win, which ordinarily does not seem possible, it would bankrupt the bookmakers. I must also alert you to the fact that wagering on things such as prize-fights is strictly illegal on this planet, but the authorities do not usually bother ordinary people who make wagers with bookmakers.”

The four characters discussed the situation a couple of minutes while Mr. Lee stood at attention by their table. Mr. Lee then continued, “Gentlemen, I suggest you spend some time tonight checking out my reputation, and I will do some checking on each of you. With that, Mr. Lee pulled a thick wad of cash from his side coat pocket, and peeled off some individual bills. He seemed totally at ease with flashing a great amount of cash in public. “Gentlemen, here are 100 credits for each of you, to perhaps interest you in assisting me in this matter.” Mr. Lee then also gave each of the characters a business card that just said “Barton Lee — Consultant” with his communicator number on the reverse side of the card. “I suggest we meet here again tomorrow at lunch time, if you are truly interested in this proposition.”

With that, Mr. Lee bowed again, then returned to his own table in the cafe. After saying a few more words with Dunstal, Finn Diaz also returned to Mr. Lee’s table. After several more minutes, Lee and Diaz left the cafe together.

Tamm, Millerton, Pile, and Dunstal all started talking at once. Eventually, they all took turns talking. “What should we do?” “Who should we talk to?” Etc, etc, etc. The four agreed to split up, talk to folks on the street to find out what might be up with the fight and the strange betting pattern, and also to check out facts about the mysterious Mr. Lee.

The four first spoke with their waiter at the cafe. The waiter admitted that Mr. Lee was a regular at the cafe, was always very neatly dressed, and was a good tipper. The waiter didn’t know anything of Mr. Lee’s business dealings, though. The matire’d gave the same information.

Out on the street, the four split up. They individually spoke with street people, and that gave a couple of the characters a way to meet up with a couple of bookies. But no matter who they spoke with, nobody knew anything about the fight being fixed even though they were aware of the strange betting pattern. But, everyone they spoke with not only knew of Mr. Lee, but also knew him personally. Everyone had a good word for Mr. Lee. The characters also got a sense that some of the random “street people” were always watching out for Mr. Lee’s welfare, which explained why Lee wasn’t afraid to flash a big wad of cash in the cafe.

Dr. Millerton dropped into a poker parlor, hoping to hear some juicy info about the fixed fight, but he dropped 200 credits before deciding to cut his losses, especially as he hadn’t found out anything of any use.

Eventually, it got late, and the characters all retired for the evening to their own lodging.

Day 003-1105 (Tuday)

Early the next morning, Captain Dunstal met Dr. Tamm, and they both went to the “Big Hits Gym” where Rocco Bronkovic trained for his fight. The information was gleaned from their conversations with the street people the previous evening. Dunstal and Tamm walked in separately.

First, Tamm walked into the gym. A very rough looking man came over to “greet” Tamm. “What d’ya want?”

Tamm asked politely, “I’m looking to get into the fight business as a doctor.”

“What makes you think yer qualified to be a ring doctor?” was the rude question in response.

“I’ve had medical training, and I’ve spent close to 30 years attending to people.”

The rough-looking man from the club (who needed a shave, by the way) said, “Now, that’s just great! I’ll tell ya what, pal, maybe you should come back next week. We’re sort of busy this week making preparations for the fight in a few days. That’s the champ training right over der!” And the man jerked his thumb towards one of the practice rings where the champ was sparring with another boxer.

The champ, hearing what was said, took a short break from his sparring to look at the newcomer in the gym. He had a pure poker face as he sized up Dr. Tamm. Then, when it became evident to Tamm that he wasn’t going to get anywhere with any more questions, he thanked the man for his time, nodded to the champ, then turned and left the gym.

That was Dunstal’s cue to enter the gym. He had a gym bag with some workout clothes with him. The same rough man approached Dunstal. “Whad’d’ya want?”

Dunstal said, “I just got out of the army. I’m looking for a place to work out, and maybe learn to be a boxer. I figure you guys must be the best gym in town, what with you’re being the home to the champion!”

The rough man actually grinned at what Dunstal said. But that still didn’t help Dunstal, as the man said, “Well, maybe you can come back next week. Ya see, we ain’t got no time for any newcomers right now, we’re getting ready for a big championship fight.” Once again the man pointed to the champ.

Dunstal nodded to the champ, and said “good luck, champ!” Then he left the gym.

During that same morning, Pile was out and about, speaking with more folks on the street. He thought it strange that he didn’t find a single person who admitted to betting on the champ. Pile did bet Cr100 on the champ Rocco Broncovic with one bookie, who told Pile that “you’re the first sap, er, customer, who bet on the champ in about a week!”

And meanwhile, Millerton used his hand computer to log into a larger computer system and find out more about the champion and challenger. It seems that Rocco Bronkovic was nicknamed “The Battling Belter” as he grew up in the Bowman planetoid system, and found he had a real talent for brawling. Then he found that if he got into boxing in the ring, he could make enough money where he didn’t have to perform any dangerous mining while wearing a vacuum suit on an asteroid. The computer also mentioned that Bronkovic was a heavyweight, had moved to Regina when he was 21 years old, and was now 30 years old, and was undefeated in his last 45 fights over the past nine years. But there wasn’t much info about Arum ‘Kid’ King. About the only info on the Kid was that he was 26 years old, and had a 6 and 3 record. Millerton thought that was strange, to say the least.

Millerton also found out that the fight would pay Cr250,000 to the winner, and Cr50,000 to the loser. He also found that Bronkovic made Cr625,000 in his last fight. Additionally, he saw that originally the odds to bet on the champ were even money, they were now offered at 9-1, but still nobody wanted any of that action. And bets for the Kid were now at 1-2 in an attempt to get people to stop betting on the Kid.

Lunchtime at the Quilted Giraffe

At noon, local time, Dunstal, Millerton, Pile, and Tamm met at the Quilted Giraffe cafe. They found Barton Lee and Finn Diaz were already there to meet them. They were all seated, then Mr. Lee asked, “Gentlemen, have you checked into my background, and have you found that I am who I say I am?” The other four did agree that they had met many people who had only good things to say about Mr. Lee. Barton Lee then continued, “Excellent, gentlemen. Have you found anything from anyone on the street about why no one will make a bet on Mr. Bronkovic?”

Gomer Pile then spoke up, “I bet 100 credits on the champ!”

Mr. Lee said, “Most excellent. But did you find anyone else who bet on the champ?” Pile answered that he had not found any other bets for the champ.

Dunstal and Tamm then told Lee about their separate visits to the Big Hits Gym, and how they were rebuffed in their attempts to gain any information there.

Mr. Lee continued, “Gentlemen, today is Tuday. If we do not uncover the reason the betting is so skewed by Forday, we will have to have all bookmakers return all bets on the championship fight. I suggest you try to contact Mr. Bronkovic outside of the gym, and mention these three things to him.” Lee then unfolded a small piece of paper and placed it on the table in front of the others. The paper had three items listed: “Giacomo DePeyster,” “Edam Neckties,” and “extradition.” Lee said, “I suggest you use these words with Mr. Bronkovic. Perhaps he will believe you know more than you really do about him, and perhaps he will come clean and tell you if he has been approached to throw the fight.” Lee then produced another piece of paper that had the addresses of: the rooming house where the champ lives; the gym where he trains (but the characters already had discovered that); a diner where the champ likes to eat his meals; and a cabaret that the champ frequents to amuse himself.

Finally, lunch was over, and Mr. Lee, after paying for everyone’s meals, said, “Good luck, gentlemen. I know you will all practice due diligence on this matter. And here are four tickets to Sixday’s fight. I am sorry, they are only in the second row, but they are directly behind the champ’s corner of the ring.” With that, Mr. Lee and Finn Diaz left after saying goodbye.

Dunstal, Millerton, Pile, and Tamm then all moseyed over to the vicinity of the Big Hits Gym, where they loitered in the area after about 2:00 pm. Dunstal briefly poked his head inside the gym, trying to be as inobtrusive as possible. He did verify that the champ was inside training, then came outside and told the others that the champ was present. They decided to keep watch and to approach the champ as he left the gym. Pile went around the back to the alley to keep an eye on the back door of the gym.

Finally, around 4:00 pm, the champ left the gym. Surprisingly, he was alone. He came out of the building and turned right and paced briskly along the sidewalk. The other four signaled to each other, then they started walking after the champ. Pile approached the champ first, about a block north of the gym. Pile jogged past the champ from behind, saying quickly, “Giacomo DePeyster” and “don’t throw the fight!” Bronkovic stopped walking for several seconds and just glared at the retreating Pile. Then when Bronkovic got about a block farther along, Tamm approached from behind. Tamm wanted to say “Don’t throw the fight!” and then keep walking, but before Tamm could utter every word of that phrase, Bronkovic lashed out, quick as a snake, and grabbed Tamm by the collar.

Bronkovic roared “Who the Hell are you!?” at the surprised Tamm. Then Dunstal hastened by and shouted “extradition!” Bronkovic just glared at Dunstal as he did not release his grip on Tamm. Bronkovic said to Tamm, “Are you hungry? I’m going to dinner, and you’re going to be my guest!” Then Bronkovic led Tamm along the sidewalk, with Rocco’s left hand holding a firm grip on Tamm’s right-side collar. Tamm tried to surreptitiously slip his right hand inside his jacket, but Bronkovic, spying the move, said, “I wouldn’t reach for that, pal! Just keep your hands at your sides!” Tamm had no option but to obey for fear of getting punched by the Champ’s massive hands.

After a walk of another couple of blocks, Bronkovic and Tamm arrived at a greasy-spoon diner. Bronkovic led Tamm inside, and was greeted by the staff leading him to a very familiar corner booth. Bronkovic shoved Tamm into the booth first, then sat himself down so that Tamm would have had to slide a long way around to try to exit the booth from the other side. Rocco shouted out to one of the waiters, “Hey! Bring a menu for my friend here!” The waiter answered, “Right away, Champ!”

Just about the time the menu arrived at the table, Tamm’s other three compatriots walked into the diner. Just as Dunstal, Middleton, and Pile were scanning the inside of the diner and saw Tamm seated with Bronkovic in the corner booth, two of the waitstaff came up behind them. One of the waitstaff, looking a bit surly, sarcastically said, “Can we be of any assistance to you fine gentlemen?” Dunstal answered, “No, we were just looking for a friend. We’ll be going now.” But just as the three were turning to leave, Bronkovic motioned to the waiters to bring the three to his booth. So the same waiter said, “Gentlemen, you all look hungry. I think you better join the champ and his friend in that corner booth.” As he said that, he gave them a shove towards that corner booth….

—- to be continued —-

Playing Classic Traveller in the Detroit area

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

We finally got a campaign of “Classic” Traveller rolling in the metropolitan Detroit, Michigan, area. What, you may ask, is Classic Traveller? You may have heard of Dungeons & Dragons? Well, Traveller was the role-playing science-fiction game equivalent of D&D, except that Traveller was set in outer space, in the far future. The Traveller game was originally the brainchild of Marc W. Miller (with help from a number of other folks) and was originally published by Game Designers’ Workshop (GDW) in 1977 AD (earth years, not to be confused with dates of the Imperium in the Traveller game). Traveller was originally published as “Little Black Books” (LBBs) as they were all pamphlet sized and the covers were basically black with some different color trim, depending on the book. Traveller also went through a number of different publishers and versions over the years, but since I already had a lot of the original (i.e., “classic”) Traveller books, that’s the version I decided to run.

While speaking with some of the other boardgamers in our Championship Formula Racing group, I found out that Jack Beckman used to play Traveller in the past (as I did). I was trying to get him to start up a campaign of Traveller, but he is still has to work for  living (unlike us retired folks) and so didn’t have time to set anything up. So, I reckoned it was time I got a campaign together.

Traveller Books 1, 2, and 3

Traveller Books 1, 2, and 3

While I owned a goodly number of the LBBs, I didn’t own them all. Not that you need to own them all — you just really need Books 1 (Characters & Combat), 2 (Starships), and 3 (Worlds & Adventures). But I decided to order the entire set of LBBs from Far Future Enterprises, just so I would have all of the books. FFE has made all of the original material available on CD-ROMs, for a reasonable price ($35 for a CD of all of the original GDW books). After buying the Classic Traveller CD, I bought two more, one with a number of third-party products for Traveller by Judges Guild (and others), and one CD with all of the original “Journals of the Travellers’ Aid Society” which had great articles that expanded the Traveller game. Marc Miller, though Far Future Enterprises, is the official home for Traveller, now that GDW is no longer in business.

Of course, one of the things that will make running a game of Traveller difficult, is that the players also have those same resources available. That means that that if I run any published adventures that I will have to make a number of changes to keep the players guessing!

Edit (August 8, 2019): I have since purchased the other “Classic” Traveller CDs from Far Future Enterprises, so now have the entire treasure trove of stuff that was published for Traveller in the late 1970s and early 1980s (and some later stuff, too).