This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
The message boards have been upgraded. Please log in to your existing account by clicking here. It will ask twice, so that it can properly update your password and login information. If it has trouble recognizing your password, click the 'Forgot your password?' link to reset it with a new password sent to your email address on file.

Author Topic: [Traveller] Antebellum Blues  (Read 5584 times)

Ian Absentia

  • Absent
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5241
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« on: June 04, 2007, 01:19:08 AM »
[synopsis]Game Setting: Third Imperium, Sword Worlds and beyond, with some details changed for flavor
Game System: "Classic" Traveller, c. 1977-81
[/synopsis][links][/links]
[announcement]I've been working on a wiki to organise a number of thoughts I've had for Ian's Tangential Traveller, a loose riff on the established Third Imperium setting.  Back in the day, my friends and I never played the 3I straight out of the box, and it shows in these (very rough) notes I've begun to assemble.[/announcement]The Situation
Following the Fifth Frontier War, the Sword Worlds are in bad shape. The war went poorly for the Sword Worlds – territory was lost on the Imperial front to Trailing, and factional in-fighting has the Confederation on the verge of dissolution. The Darrians have seized upon this position of weakness to press centuries-old claims against territories on the Spinward border. The Confederation's erstwhile ally in the war, the Zhodani Consulate, has been slow to deliver on pre-war promises of financial assistance, and the Imperium largely refuses any responsibility for supplying reconstruction funds to the war-torn worlds that they do not directly administer. The local interstellar economy is in disarray, inflation is out of control, and it's nearly impossible to find a steady job.

Amidst all this social and economic upheaval, an opportunity rises on the horizon. A small, adventurous merchant association, Chaperons Blanc, is attempting to re-invigorate local interstellar trade. The means to this end lies in a mothball fleet of Sword World merchant ships, scattered around the outskirts of Confederation territory. The central government can no longer support these ships in any fashion, but has agreed to a subsidy of sorts – the ships can be privately operated and maintained in exchange for a 15% cut of all proceeds.

Chaperons Blanc has organised this arrangement and put out a call for qualified ship's crews to take possession of mothballed ships, refit them for service, and begin trade operations. Those crews deemed "qualified" will be organised prior to application with Chaperons Blanc, and will consist of no less than a certified pilot, navigator, and engineer. Specific competency is a matter that no one is paying particular attention to, and other positions may be filled aboard the ship if the organising crew deems them necessary. Working passage to the mothballed ship will be provided by Chaperons Blanc.

The Characters
Merchant Kapiten Gerrard Bane (Werekoala)
Sten Ramgaard, Army Serviceman (Dr. Rotwang!)
Eraan Shengeru, Belter (beeber)

Ian Absentia

  • Absent
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5241
    • View Profile
Opening Moves
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2007, 01:29:55 AM »
An old friend of Kapiten Gerrard Bane's, Giselle Dortmundsdottir, now a senior executive with Chaperons Blanc, has helped pull a few strings to insure a mothball assignment for him and the crew he assembles.  Unfortunately, connections can only do so much, and the ship assignment turns out to be on Anselhome (Querion 0820, C110588-8), one of the so-called “Entropic Worlds,” a group of three star systems that have traded hands back and forth between the Darrian Confederation and the Sword Worlds Confederation for the last few hundred years.  Though technically still a possession of the Sword Worlds, the Sword Worlds have been in little position to maintain their claim, and the Darrian Confederation has posted skeleton administrative presence on the planets and itinerant patrol through the systems.

During the weeks all of you have aboard the cramped far trader "Beowulf" en route from Gram to Colada to Hrunting to Anselhome -- better than a month's working passage aboard a cramped ship -- you have plenty of time to review the specs of your promised ship, a 400-ton, Jump-2-ranged Tümmler-class subsidised merchant:

   MP-42221S1-000000-00000 400 tons, Crew=5, TL=10
State Rooms=9, Low=0, Cargo=171, Fuel=84, Agility=1, Batteries=1

As promised, she's capable of Jump-2, Maneuver-2, steers better than a cow, and lists a compliment of two ship's boats for passenger and light cargo transfer.

Your current ship's captain is a gruff, lean hound of a man, Anders Kammereck, who acts inordinately burdened by your presence, even though each of you is assigned specific ship's duties (which you are presumably executing).  His first mate, though, a former Sword World Navy officer by the name of Eva Xu, is considerably friendlier, in her purposefully direct and "mannish" fashion (as one expects of a woman from the Sword Worlds in a position of responsibility and authority).  She's also a capable bridge officer as you discover, which, perhaps, makes you wonder what she's doing aboard this ship and not manning a Confederation Navy vessel.  Then you remember the state of the Confederation Navy, and it all sort of makes sense.

The Beowulf exits jumpspace in the outer reaches of the Anselhome system, and Eva announces that the ship will dock at Anselhome Down within two day's time.

!i!

beeber

  • schadenfreudian
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2391
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2007, 01:34:53 AM »
eraan makes sure the boats are ready for any cargo duties.  

"what's the atmo on this rock?  practically nonexistent?  and such a forefront of civilization too, at tech 8.  let's get those vacc suits ready."  he shakes his head at the prospect of more backwater worlds, more oversized circuit boards that may have to be crammed into the workspaces to repair the ship.  hopefully things won't come to that. . . .

Ian Absentia

  • Absent
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5241
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2007, 12:43:20 AM »
During the two-day transit in-system, Eva is unusually chatty, while Kapiten Kammereck seems unusually dour.  Eva openly, if somewhat inappropriately for a woman in her position of authority, expresses her gratitude for all the help that you've provided over the last month, and her regrets that you'll all be shipping out to other parts in just a couple of days.  Kapiten Kammereck just grunts.

The in-system trip proves really somewhat fascinating, especially for Eraan -- for something of a backwater, the Anselhome system is home of a startling array of belter mining platforms of all sizes, shapes, and states of repair.  The final approach to Anselhome Down is a bit of a let-down in comparison.  First off, there's no high port, considering the size and atmosphere of the planet.  Anselhome itself is barely a more significant blip in the surrounding belt formations, a large-ish planetoid, really, that somehow managed to be pulled into a stable orbit of its own.

The port and surrounding city facilities are built into broad, low domes that seem sunk into the planet's blue-grey surface.  The port authority directs the Beowulf into one of the outlying domes, where an aperture opens in one side to admit the small ship.  The bay doors close, but the dome is not flooded with atmosphere as you might hope.  Instead, an atmospherically secure gangway is guided to your ship's airlock, and after the usual technical procedures, the doors are opened, and the mixing of strange airs occurs, always a dubious delight to the olfactory.

Anyone going dirtside is advised to report directly to the port authority for routine customs inspection.

!i!

Werekoala

  • I\'m Toxic and I know It
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4373
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2007, 10:32:37 AM »
As Garren shoulders his duffel bag, he jauntily salutes Kaptien Kammereck. "Thank you for the passage, Kapiten. I hope to see you again some day!"

Then he turns to Eva - "And YOU! Youhoo... you're a mess. Keep up the good work. And hey, if you've got some time here before you ship out again, give me a call and we'll have a drink or three."

With that. he turns and exits the ship, heading for customs.
Lan Astaslem


"It's rpg.net The population there would call the Second Coming of Jesus Christ a hate crime." - thedungeondelver

"They don't fucking think for even a second about what they're doing because they're blinded by their ideology....Idiots." -  Sacrosanct

Ian Absentia

  • Absent
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5241
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2007, 12:40:06 PM »
Kapiten Kammereck grimaces quietly, and goes back about his shipboard work while he waits for the temporary crew to disembark.  Eva throws on her coat, and follows everyone else out the gangway, turning off in a different direction to consult with local port maintenance staff.

Assuming you are all headed for the local startown, customs is your first destination.  Given their Tech Level and Law Level (both 8), inspections and interviews are a little lengthy, tedious, and more physically intrusive than you would hope to encounter on a more sophisticated world.  The added fact that much of the upper echelon of the port staff has recently been replaced with Darrian-derived personnel leads to a subtly antagonistic experience.  When the topic arises that you are all on Anselhome to retrieve one of the abandoned ships taking up space in the port, you are treated with more professional courtesy, though needled about being timely in getting your ship up and running.  You are then directed to a different division of the port authority to find the berth assignment for your ship.

This process is a bit more excruciating, with long waits between speaking with minor officials, legal consultants, review of personal documentation (which Chaperons Blanc has provided in full, not that it isn't scrutinised exhaustively anyway), transfer of title to Chaperons Blanc with Kapiten Bane as a due representative, etc, etc, etc....  It's difficult to tell what time of the day it is by the time you're released from the port authority with the access keys for the berth, located in a more remote portion of the port.

Documents, keys, and codes in hand, you now have free run of startown and limited access to the port facilities at your disposal.

!i!

Dr Rotwang!

  • One Of Your Earth Jokes
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3571
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2007, 12:52:59 PM »
Sten runs up to the group, huffing and puffing, duffel on his back.  "Sorry, fellas," he pants, "I was held up in the head...the dispose handle got stuck, you know you have to monkey with it."  He shrugs.  "Not our problem anymore, though..."

He falls into step with his fellows, this rangy and tousled-haired youth, and looks around at the wonders of Anselhome's underground city.  It's good to stretch his legs, even if it smells a little funny here.

"Hey, before we get to the ship...who's up for some Buger Queen?  It'll be on me."
Dr Rotwang!
...never blogs faster than he can see.
FONZITUDE RATING: 1985
[/font]

beeber

  • schadenfreudian
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2391
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2007, 01:30:34 PM »
"if you're buyin', i'm eatin'," replies eraan.  "i can buy the next round, once we get paid."  he turns his jacket pockets inside out for effect.  "besides, it's always good to see a new ship with a full stomach.  gives you energy for the inspection, which always seems to take longer than expected.  does burger queen have groat burgers?  been hankerin' for one of those for quite a bit."

Werekoala

  • I\'m Toxic and I know It
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4373
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2007, 01:36:19 PM »
"Burger Queen, eh?" Garrard shrugs. "Better than what we've had the last few weeks. Good news for you folks, though - I never skimp on food, ship-board. Captains who try to cut corners at the expense of crew morale don't fare too well, in my experience. And don't worry about lunch, *I'M* buying. I insist."
Lan Astaslem


"It's rpg.net The population there would call the Second Coming of Jesus Christ a hate crime." - thedungeondelver

"They don't fucking think for even a second about what they're doing because they're blinded by their ideology....Idiots." -  Sacrosanct

Dr Rotwang!

  • One Of Your Earth Jokes
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3571
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2007, 10:27:29 PM »
Sten shrugs and saves twenty cred.
Dr Rotwang!
...never blogs faster than he can see.
FONZITUDE RATING: 1985
[/font]

Ian Absentia

  • Absent
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5241
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2007, 10:30:23 PM »
Sadly, the Burger Queen schnellfrisst chain has fallen on hard times this far out from the Sword Worlds core, particularly with the turn-over in local authority to Darrian oversight -- no BQ's are anywhere to be seen.  However, as you pass through the shielded corridors of startown, you're surprised to find a Vargr Burgr franchise open, and apparently doing thriving business.  As far as you can tell, though, none of the staff here even remotely resemble Vargr.  Due to the enclosed environs, this one even features indoor seating, which is a rare treat.

Assuming you all sit down to eat, you have a chance to review the berth assignment for your ship: GL-6ZZ-3, a berth suitable for ships up to the 1000 ton range, full fueling facilities, and a servicable maintenance bay.

At a nearby table, you notice a group of idle youths, probably in their late teens, maybe pushing 20, boys and girls both -- mostly boys -- eyeing you.  Some look curious, some look dismissive, one or two look on derisively.  Locals you guess, and that could mean with Darrian sympathies...or independent sympathies...or even Sword Worlder sympathies for that matter.

!i!

Dr Rotwang!

  • One Of Your Earth Jokes
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3571
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2007, 10:51:05 AM »
Sten has a thought: GIRLS.  Really, that's all that goes through his mind.

He nods to the young men at the table, but gives a special smile to one of the ladies.  Boldly, even, he catches one grl's eye and holds it, and says, "Hello."
Dr Rotwang!
...never blogs faster than he can see.
FONZITUDE RATING: 1985
[/font]

Ian Absentia

  • Absent
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5241
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2007, 05:15:32 PM »
The girl who catches Sten's eye -- a pretty girl of apparent Chinese with maybe some Darrian ancestry, stright black hair against almost-dark-orange skin -- opens her mouth just long enough to be interrupted by all of her mates suddenly standing from their table and readying to leave.  The girl is lost among the small, milling throng of young folk.  C'est la vie.

You finish your meal -- all together a pretty good one considering the occasional controversy that surrounds the protein sources for the Vargr Burgr chain -- and continue on toward berth GL-6ZZ-3.  The general environs of Anselhome feel a little claustophobic, with the totally enclosed avenues leading between shopfronts and various port operations.  It's very much like being in a large airport or shopping mall -- efforts are made to make the open spaces feel open.  Still, it's more open than being shipboard.

Reaching the outer ring of the port facilities by either foot or public tram, you arrive at the berth.  The area is clearly underused, and still under secured lock by the erstwhile Sword World authorities.  Garren holds the properly coded keys and is able to open the doors to the berth with only a couple of tries.  You all notice two things as the doors open.  One, the air rushes from behind you into the berth, suggesting the ship has been stored under less-than-full atmo -- could be good or bad depending on how you look at it.  Whatever atmo remained in the berth is stale and immediately dries your eyes and throats.  The second issue is that the lights don't come on automatically.

It's dark.  Very dark.

!i!

Werekoala

  • I\'m Toxic and I know It
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4373
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2007, 07:13:22 PM »
Garren peers into the darkness.

"Well... alrighty then. Not sure I like the idea of low-pressure on an asteroid, but I'll live with it for now. Hope its not a leak. Anyone bring a flashlight?"
Lan Astaslem


"It's rpg.net The population there would call the Second Coming of Jesus Christ a hate crime." - thedungeondelver

"They don't fucking think for even a second about what they're doing because they're blinded by their ideology....Idiots." -  Sacrosanct

beeber

  • schadenfreudian
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2391
    • View Profile
[Traveller] Antebellum Blues
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2007, 09:22:12 PM »
eraan peers around for the light panel.  "anyone got a pocket tool?  maybe a switch went bad or something.  i'll look into that."