Monday, October 05, 2015


So on the ONE hand, I'm running (well, walking) a game via using Classic Traveller, with combat using an adapted Mayday and Snapshot thus far. Good fun.

On the other, I've begun digesting the new ruleset: Traveller5.

It's a tough read! It's a big, dense book, and it's sometimes hard to divine Mr. Miller's intent with it. But there's a lot of good there.

It's hard for me to get around the multitude of skills a basic character tends to rack up. The new task resolution system seems to play well with that, so okay, but it's new.

I note he's nerfed the "survival roll" and, alas, there's gaps that I'm not sure how he'll fill regarding fuel and so on. But it's good to see he's got his hand in - and I imagine I'll go ahead and buy the next edition when it appears.

In the meantime, I'm trying to learn enough of the system to play the trading game solitaire and get a feel.

As I'm looking at the shipbuilding rules, I'm tickled that it's possible to cut corners in that process. Once I've got a grip on a plain-jane free trader, I'm going to give a shot at seeing just how cheaply a 200 ton merchant can be built. I'm picturing an unstreamlined box of a ship, cramped and undergunned and undercrewed, made to carry cargo from highport to highport as cheaply as possible. The most unglamorous starship possible.

Maybe, one day, I'll spring it on my players. We'll see!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

An Actual Game! Woo!

So I'm running a game! Yay!

We're using the platform and I'm still getting the hang of it, but it's promising. We'll be doing this on Monday nights, 7pm est unless something else happens.

Here's the link if you want to look in on it:

I'm using my Festrian Empire, in a frontier setting, using CT 1-3. There's background from books 4-6, and some ancillary characters from Supp. 4. I'm going to be using a Mayday framework for ship combat, but scaled to Book 2 and using slightly altered Book 2 rules. All the players thus far are new to Traveller; one's new to roleplaying. We'll see how it all goes.

I'm going to be using a Mayday framework for ship combat, but scaled to Book 2 and using slightly altered Book 2 rules. In addition to1 hex = 10,000 km, I'm adjusting the range modifiers: rather than having the sharp cutoffs at 250000km and 500000km, I'm having a cumulative -1 for every 100000km/10 hexes. So 200000 is -2 , 300000 is -3, 500000 is -5; it's comparable to the standard book 2 rule but the smoother scale seems more reasonable to me. I guess that when they were doing floor & string vectors, having the sharp cutoff was easier to eyeball.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm applying PART of Mayday's interpretation of Maneuver/Evade, Auto/ Evade and Maneuver: They're not compatible, and while any of them can be in computer storage, only one can be active in a given turn: if you're using maneuver during your movement phase, you can't benefit from A/E that same turn.

Auto Evade allows the -2 defensive bonus, but at the expense of adding maneuvers. Since LBB2 is explicit about Maneuver/Evade allowing regular maneuver, I'm going to allow go with that rather than Mayday's ruling that any maneuvers are at -1 G. The broader scale of that game makes the rule make more sense to me for some reason.

So we'll see how this goes.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mulling some stuff.

1) Jump is precise: the canonical variation of a day or so MUST be something that the navigator knows ahead of time, as part of calculating the jump, because that space of a day will mean that the target system's star, planets, everything will have moved. If the canonical ability to jump within 100 diameters of a specific planetary body is correct (as well as other canonical references, like the HG allusion to coming out of Jump with black globes on to sneak beyond and surprise an enemy fleet) then the duration of a jump MUST be a known factor. It needn't be known until calculation of the jump is complete, but it will be known afterwards.

2) It's been established that jump masking is a thing that happens. That means that solar diameters, GG diameters all make a difference. Needn't figure that stuff out for every system, but for some? It would be a good idea.

EDIT: Setting up whole systems via Book 6 has been annoying, persnickety, and revelatory. It's cool: adds some real "geography" to space that'll be fun to play out. If you go to the trouble of figuring out orbital periods and calculating the changing distances between planets and satellites, it gets even better: In the space of weeks, the relationships between every body in a system might change, with effects on politics, trade, everything. It's cool.

3) I really ought to figure out a way to rough out typical relative velocities for starship encounters if I'm going to continue putting up with vector combat. If one goes with High Guard, that's not so necessary:

EDIT: Keeping this simple. A simple encounter:
a) set location of ship A, choose direction of ship's destination and determine distance from it (for ex, 640000km from mainworld)
b) choose range and bearing of ship B (appearing at detection range, direction 1-6 from ship A)
c) choose relative vector of ship B (1-6+ vector, direction 1-6)

Begin play.

4) If you're putting out a distress call, how soon can one expect help? One model I toyed with is this: each turn of combat, roll 2d against planetary population, with a modifier for starport type: if the result is population or lower, there's a response and help is on the way - in 1-6 turns. (Is that too soon to hope for? Maybe it matters where in the system the encounter takes place?) On the turn help arrives, it shows up in the reserve: on subsequent turns, the assisting ship can take the line.
EDIT: So far this seems to work for me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hit Or Missile II

So, generally when I'm playing vector combat, it's using the Mayday board - but at Book 2 scales and book 2 damage rules. (each hex 10000k, each turn 1000 seconds, 1G results in 1 hex vector change.) The book 2 and SS3 movement rules don't precisely match, partially because of how the hexes, er, quantize the movement. 

Maybe a happy medium for Mayday would be this:

Continuous burn: Uses max fuel until fuel is gone. Course changes permitted.
So 6G6 accelerates once at 6G then coasts; 3G6 accelerates twice at 3G with a course change in the middle.

Limited burn: Can be set from lowest to highest g, will use that acceleration until fuel expended. Course changes permitted but acceleration remains constant.
So Limited burn 3G6 can go 1G 6 times, or 2G 3 times, or 3G twice; but it can't switch up or coast between burns

Discretionary burn: Can do whatever until fuel is gone: 6G6 might go 1 G1 burn, then a 5G burn, with a coast period between, or a 3G burn with 3 1G corrections thereafter. That would make the 6G12 make sense.

Need to experiment with this more. 

Now, in SS3/Book 2, missiles that intercept the target (within 25mm, or 2500 km) are assumed to home in and impact with the target, possibly doing kinetic damage above and beyond the dice for the basic explosion.

If I recall correctly, in order to intercept in Mayday, the missile's "present position" has to end up sharing a hex with the "present position" of the target. Crossing over isn't enough. So there's no real benefit to having a continuous burn missile with a high G, you'll just overshoot your target. That's pretty likely even with a continuous burn of 1G. 

A thought:
Perhaps this is a good place to insert a player-character, in mayday-style missile combat. If a missile's vector intersects with - but does not end in - a target's hex, then the gunner's skill can be applied to adjust the missile vector to achieve the intercept.

Either shorten the intersecting vector by a number up to the gunner's skill
roll 8+ to intercept, minus the number of hexes overshot, plus gunner skill.

How does that play?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hit and Missile

Dancing around with Book 2 and Mayday, again, and remembering why I switched to High Guard.

I love the idea of vector movement, even in hex format.

It's just that GDW never really sorted out a good, simple missile rule for it. The Special Supplement on missiles added complexity, contradictions and typos instead.

High Guard abstracts EVERYTHING, to be sure, but it does so in a way that a) you don't need to take over a whole table or floor to map out a simple fight and b) it does, definitely make basic combat a simple matter - including the possibility of escape and avoidance in many cases.

So I don't know. Talking with the boys on COTI about it.


One thing I'm definitely inclined to do, should I revert to High Guard for battles, is keep track of missile expenditure. In small fights, that's more than possible. It makes sense in all sorts of ways.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Back In The Saddle Redux The Returnation

I'm planning another game. It might happen.

Oddly, I'm less tempted to go back to what I've made, and more interested in building something fresh, small. Enough detail to engage - myself, at least - but narrow enough scope that I won't end up pissed if things don't get off the ground.


So, a small sandbox: one subsector, possibly two; might even see what J-1 main comes up and then shift that to be centered on one subsector, for focus.

Sticking with LBB123, but I'm planning on offering the option for High Guard combat over LBB2 if it proves to be an issue. 

If I go with High Guard, I'll be dispensing with the book 2 computer system as well. 

This has led me to have some thoughts on how Navigation skill might replace the Generate program in a way that does NOT replace the jump-tape. (Jump tapes are safe; drawing up a jump plan on the fly is not - for most solo navigators. If you have time, it's safer; if you have more than one navigator working together, it's safer... etcetera.)

 I'm still working within the main idea of the Festrian empire: an old collapsed empire having spread humanity, with a new empire expanding in the ashes. 

The action will take place on a few worlds on the fringes of the new empire.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different:

Hi there! I've been on a Tunnels and Trolls jag, and actually started running another face-to-face game, which is HEAVEN let me tell you. Here's where I'm brainstorming for it:

The Ardis Cosmography

Come see!