Having wrapped up my read through of the Traveller: Core Rulebook, I thought I’d piece together an opening scenario for the Travellers I rolled up.
Below are the characters:
- A criminal with army training
- A retired Senior Scout with army training
- A performer turned cop turned psion
- An ex-navy now retired merchant
Together they have 2 ship shares; They owe 43 MegaCredits (MCr 📖) for The Stalwart Steed, a Free Trader with 20 low berths, 10 state rooms, and room 82 tons of cargo.
The Stalward Steed, being new, doesn’t come with the foibles of an older ship.
I’ll start the group at Daelisar, with Universal Planet Profile (UPP 📖) of
E40022-8 Lo,Va G. Daelisar is the system I previously rolled up.
Without a shipyard, the Travellers wouldn’t have started her. Instead, I think one of their contacts wanted them to pick something up at Daelisar, no more than 1 ton.
They jump into the system, and first seek to refuel their jump drives in the gas giant. It takes 5 unevnentul days to get to the gas giant; I rolled 1d6 for the number of days and each day I rolled a d6. None of the days showed an encounter.
They make their way to the planet, another 4 days. On the last day, the dice say they have an encounter. It turns out to be nothing more than garbage ejected from a ship. Maybe I’ll call for a Pilot check to avoid a bit of random damage.
Going Planet Side
They approach and seek to land on the planet. I’ll check the law. I roll 2d6 and get a 10; It’s greater than Daelisar’s Law Level 2, so the law enforcement aren’t interested.
The Traveller’s track down their package after 4 days; I rolled a 1d6.
The Traveller’s have a lot of open berths and cargo space. Using the rules of the Trade chapter , Kris tracks down passengers and freight. Kris gets a +1 Effect on their Broker check.
At this Starport there are:
- High Passage: 11 people
- Middle Passage: 12 people
- Basic Passage: 12 people
- Low Passage: 8 people
- Major Cargo: 2 lots (each at 1d6 × 10 tons)
- Minor Cargo: 13 lots (each at 1d6 × 5 tons)
- Incidental Cargo: 10 lots (each at 1d6 tons)
There’s a lot of permutations. This is for a Jump-1 trip; That’s as far as this The Stalwart Steed will go. Quinn has Steward-1, and can host High and Middle passengers.
Each High Passage passenger takes a stateroom and 1 ton of cargo. They’ll each pay Cr8500. They will occupy Quinn during the trip.
Each Middle Passage passenger takes a stateroom and 100 Kilogram (kg 📖) of cargo. They’ll each pay Cr6200. They will occupy Quinn during the trip.
Each Basic Passage passenger takes one-quarter of a stateroom and 10 kg of cargo. They’ll each pay Cr2200. Quinn will not need to pay attention to them.
Each Low Passage passenger takes one low berth and 10 kg of cargo. They’ll each pay Cr 700.
The crew of The Stalwart Steed can will earn Credits (Cr 📖) 1000 for each ton of freight; Each lot of freight cannot be broken into smaller lots.
In addition, I need to check if there’s mail that they could deliver. They’ll roll 2d6 📖 and add Pat’s 3 ranks in the Scout services and will add Pat’s Social Standing (SOC 📖) Dice Modifier (DM 📖) of +1. In all, I’m rolling 2d6 plus 4; I need to get a 12 or more. I get a 7. They don’t have any mail. If they were to find mail to deliver, I might look at the modifiers and randomize “which modifier” pushed it over. That’s a possible contact or reason for them getting the job. Build on that. What does it say about the mail if it was the person’s social standing that bumped them over?
There’s some money to be made in Cargo, but perhaps they could track down some speculative trade? Daesilar isn’t along any trade routes, but there might be something interesting.
On such a lawless planet, maybe they can secure some goods to sell on more stringent systems? Let’s find out.
To find a supplier, they need a Streetwise 8+ modified by either Education (Edu 📖) or SOC. Kris has Steetwise-1 and Edu +3. They’ll roll. When calling for a roll, look to the modifying characteristic. This can inform the nature of the skill check.
First, I want to see how long it’ll take. It’s 1d6 days; They spend 5 days tracking down leads. I roll 2d6 for each of the five random encounters with Law Enforcment. If I get a value of 2 or less (e.g. Daesilar’s Law Level), they’ll have an encounter. All of these rolls are well above the law level, so no encounter.
On the 5th day, I have Kris roll Streetwise. It’s roll 2d6+4, and they get a 7; That’s a Marginal Failure. They may have found illicit goods, but it comes with some significant cost.
As the Referee I need to think about this; First this is the prospecting for illegal goods, not securing them. The immediate consequence will be that most everyone knows they’re looking and they’ll need to check the Law Level and apply the failed effect to the roll (e.g. 2d6-1). Using the negative effect as a modifier to an immediate Law Level check seems like a natural consequence in most cases.
I’m going to hold the law roll in my pocket, but let the players know I’m doing so. I need some more complications that impact future decisions.
I see a few paths of future adventure:
- Yes, you think you’ve found a supplier, but all of the passengers will find out enroute.
- Yes, you think you’ve found a supplier, but all of the potential passangers won’t pay full price; The best you’ll get is 20% to 70% of their normal passage.
- Yes, you think you’ve found a supplier, but it’s known by neighboring systems that smugglers are moving stuff from Daesilar.
I want to give the players full decision making rights on this complication. They can choose to take it or leave it. I want the complications to be impact their next decisions; Not “You think you’ve found a supplier, and now the local authorities are after you.”
The Traveller’s consult and agree to accept the complication for a crack at some illicit goods; I’m going to go with Daesilar is a known smuggling point.
I roll One Six-Sided Die (d6 📖) to see how many lots of speculative goods are available. There are five lots. In addition to the default six common lots, there are also:
- Illegal Weapons (e.g. weapons of mass destruction, naval weapons)
- Illegal Biochemicals (e.g. dangerous chemicals, extracts from endangered species)
- Additional Common Manufactured Goods
- Additional Common Raw Materials
- Additional Common Manufactured Goods
Let’s look at the Illegal Weapons and Illegal Biochemicals.
First the Illegal Weapons. There are 5 tons of weapons at Cr 150,000 per ton. It’s not immediately obvious that the base price is per ton. I pulled up an older version of Traveller. Also, there’s no explicit rule nor example saying if the speculative trade can be broken up. Again, past versions provide examples saying that speculative lots can be broken up.
For the Illegal Biochemicals, there are also 5 tons at Cr 50,000 per ton.
Combined the Travellers have Cr230,000. They’re ready to find the price.
They’ll roll 3d6 and add their Broker-1. They don’t have other modifiers based on local supply and demand. I roll a modified 10. They can buy the Illegal Weapons at 90% base price. For the Illegal Biochemicals, I roll an 11 and it’ll cost 85% of base price. That’s rather straight forward.
They choose to buy the entire lot; It’ll cost Cr212,500. Leaving them Cr 38,500 for future expenses. Of course, everyone on board will know that they have something illegal. Anyone checking their manifest will also see they came from Daesilar.
They have 6 tons of cargo for Illegal Biochemicals and their pick-up parcel that brought them there. They know everyone knows about the biochemicals. So they talk about the kinds of passengers. Maybe a High Passage person is connected to a buyer? Maybe they should take only Low Passage people so they can control the message?
They need some guaranteed money, and choose the High Passengers. That’s 8 High Passengers, with 8 more tons of cargo. They also take the 8 low berth passengers. The Stalwart Steed secures Cr 73,600 in passage fees.
The Travellers load the rest of The Stalwart Steed with freight. On delivery they’ll get Challenge Rating (CR 📖) 64,000.
After a few days planetside, they decide its time to travel. Looking at Illegal Biochemicals they want to find an Industrial non-Waterworld system; They get +6 to their sale roll on a Waterworld and -2 to their sale roll on a Waterworld.
As they leave the planet, they remember they refueled using unrefined fuel. Let’s hope they don’t have a dangerous space encounter. We’ll need to check for some random encounters. Maybe we’ll consult a Random Passenger table and see what ideas might come.
Who are these wealthy passengers ready to leave Daesilar? What’s they’re story? How do they relate to the factions? Maybe one of them has been given a chunk of money to go find help? Maybe it’s the corporate leadership absconding with trade secrets? What about the Illegal Weapons left behind? How might that change the state of Daesilar on a future visit?
These various mundane tables interlock to provide a dynamic campaign world. When you roll each result, think about how it relates to other established fiction. Not everything needs to tie into something before.