Core Pirates of Drinax: Session 1

A Letter of Marque from a Court Now Primed for Intrigue

Core Pirates of Drinax: Session 1 is a game session report for Creactive Options Role-Playing Engine. We played via Discord on .

Introduction

A few weeks ago, we gathered around the Discord and rolled up some characters for a campaign. We decided that we’d play Pirates of Drinax (PoD 📖); a Traveller: Core Rulebook (Traveller 📖) campaign set in the Trojan Reach sector.

We used Traveller character generation, then mapped those characters to Creactive Options Role-Playing Engine (CORE 📖). I wrote extensively about the character creation in Let's Read “Traveller: Core Rulebook”. Each of the characters ended up with ship shares, and one had 2 Free Trader benefits. We translated that into a significant material ownership of the Drinaxi Harrier-class commerce raider. We’re working through what this will all mean but those ship shares will be used towards the initial repairs of a the high tech, but somewhat dis-repaired Drinaxi Harrier-class commerce raider. As written PoD does not have a strong hook for launching into the pretense of the campaign; Namely that the king is giving both a Letter of Marquee and lending the Drinaxi Harrier-class commerce raider to engage in piracy and forge a new “empire” in the unclaimed territories that sit between the two major players in this sector: the Aslan Hierate and the Third Imperium.

Session

This was a very short role-playing session in which we found each character’s reason to meet with King Oleb XVI, King of Drinax, Dragon Emperor of the Sindal-in-Exile and receive the letter of marque and “keys” to the Drinaxi Harrier-class.

In the throne room of the Floating Palace that orbits above the decimated planet of Drinax the characters gather.

Kelly McLuskey, a native Drinaxian who has spent the last five months tending to the recovered Drinaxi Harrier-class spaceship. He has a strong sense of ownership of the Drinaxi Harrier.

Malcolm Koehler, a former chauffeur of for the Traveller’s Aid Society, now on the run looking for opportunities to gain leverage; he has collected a few relics that may be of use to the Drinaxi. Everything about Malcolm is crisp and clean cut; the lines on his suit are well pressed.

Gabe Loew, a former ground assault marine, who has his power armor stashed away. His friend, Chizoba Chidozie, insisted that he take some of the loot he’d secured in various raids in the Trojan Reach and make for Drinax, to see if the “King” would have interest in these relics.

On the Dragon Throne, forged from the ruins of thousands of spaceships once vanquished centuries ago, sits King Oleb XVI, King of Drinax, Dragon Emperor of the Sindal-in-Exile a loud and boisterous man who loves wine and laments the sector’s waning memory of Drinax.

He has a proposition; he wants the characters to:

So, here’s what we’re going to do. You take the Harrier and you cut a bloody swathe across the stars. Attack shipping, raid star ports, hit fuel depots. Take what prizes you can. Don’t kill anyone you don’t have to, though—we want to bleed the merchants until they go crying to the Imperium, not start a bloody war. Pirating is part one of the plan.

Part two is all those worlds out there. We make them our allies. Sell stolen goods there, defend ‘em from raiders, recruit crew, give them a taste of wealth, and bring them back under the banner of Drinax. When the time comes, we offer the Imperium a deal—the pirate attacks stop if they recognize the Kingdom of Drinax and give me my rightful due.

“Karson,” bellows King Oleb as he looks at Kelly, “you know that ship and I want you on it. And these folks look like they have what it takes for being right and proper pirates.” I deliberately had King Oleb misname Kelly; I like the little trope to highlight his boisterousness. The characters agree to the terms; after all that’s the pretense of the campaign the players signed up for.

King Oleb calls in his daughter, Princess Rao, to tell her that he’s found some folks for her plan; “If we are going to save this kingdom, daughter, we shall have to trust these Travellers. After all, if they succeed, you’re marrying one of them.” We have a quick conversation about the “marrying off the daughter” trope, and we all agreed that we’d like to turn that on it’s ear. So we’re including that fact.

The following flashback is part of CORE’s mechanics. Each player gets one Character Development Scene per session. They can be used for a variety of things; in this case the flashback provides a bonus for the upcoming persuasion.

As Kelly begins responding, the camera focuses in on his eyes. We see a flash back to Princess Rao and King Oleb touring the Harrier; While King Oleb, with sloshing wine goblet in hand, inspected the decorations and cosmetics. (e.g. “The bulk heads ornamentation is lacking it’s original amethysts.”) Princess Rao was speaking to the reactor leak that irradiated the previous crew (e.g. she showed an interest in the functions of the ship).

The memory fades as we return to the Dragon Throne room. “King Oleb and Princess Rao, might it be useful to have us report to the princess so that she may prepare for her ascension to the Dragon Throne?”

Kelly tests Advocate using Charm. I set the Difficulty Level (DL 📖) at 3 (e.g. challenging). And Kelly exceeds the DL by 2; he gets a Yes and success. Yes, Princess Rao is very much interested in being the first to receive news, and Princess Rao is going to provide some of her wealth to help further restore some of the Drinaxi /Harrier/’s systems.

“You report your findings first to the King,” responds King Oleb as he tilts his head. He almost catches the political maneuvering, but in that head tilt he caught glimpse of his wine goblet and instead of taking a contemplative sip, he drained it in one gulp. He failed his Brain check. “With all that settled, I want to setup an apartment for you while you are station-side. Also, you are invited to dine with me tonight; though Karson, you’ll need to dress better than that,” says King Oleb as he gazes into the bottom of his now empty goblet.

“Sire, I will see to their needs. You should ensure that the menu for tonight’s meal is to your liking,” says Princess Rao as she begins ushering the characters out of the throne room, “They shall be your Royal Rovers.”

Outside of the throne room, Princess Rao insists that the characters first report to her, then together inform King Oleb so that they can best handle the king.

As they talk, the camera zooms into Malcolm’s eye as we flash back to him chauffeuring folks through the Floating Palace on the hover sleds (e.g. a multi-person Segway with a top speed of 6 miles per hour). He recalls hearing various political gossip, on this crowded space station. Again a Character Development Scene.

Malcolm tests Diplomacy with Brains and gets a yes and result. Yes, Prince Harrick is trying to make a comeback as he builds resources and postures for position. And it is clear that King Oleb is losing his edge.

Reflecting on the above test I think we muddied when and what to test. But this being our second roll using a new system, I’m happy that it worked well. And it established courtly intrigue which may or may not be in the book.

Conclusion

We end the session with me having some homework:

  1. I need establish which system Chizoba Chidozie lives in; she will be within 3 or 4 parsecs of Drinax.
  2. We need to load the characters into a campaign wiki.
  3. I need to delve into the implementation of weapons and armor; Gabe Loew mustered out with Armor +2 in his character creation.
  4. I need to establish/translate from Traveller what all is wrong with the Harrier-class.

Curious about the resolution system and Character Development Scenes? Checkout my Gearing up to Run Creative Options Role-Playing Engine (CORE) post.