Question About Quartering

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Klooth Quethos
Shrew
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:34 pm

Question About Quartering

Postby Klooth Quethos » Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:51 pm

Hello!

I am a relatively new GM to the process, so I spend a lot of time lurking and reading the forums, but I have not been able to find a suitable answer to the following:

One of the travellers in my campaign has an exceptionally high SOC characteristic (i.e. 14). He has figured out how to game the system by avoiding exorbitant prices when staying planetside by just remaining on-ship.
My thoughts are that the vessel couldn't possibly be a posh arrangement for billeting, at least not comparable to staying in the appropriate lodgings provided at downport. In order to avoid this, I am considering a temporary reduction in END (-1) for each month beyond the first spent on-board.
Has anyone else encountered this?

Thank you.
When in doubt, use the ortillery.
BigDogsRunning
Mongoose
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:54 pm

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby BigDogsRunning » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:33 pm

You don't have to make up a penalty for him. Staying onboard wouldn't reduce his END, but it might reduce his SOC, if he's not maintaining the lifestyle that his Social Standing calls for. :)

Start penalizing his SOC, as he grows more used to the rough life board ship.

Page 92 of the MgT 2e Core book has something covering this very issue. :)
Yatima
Mongoose
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 12:24 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby Yatima » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:37 pm

It's entirely up to you, but I don't see the problem with him saving money by staying on the ship. As Referee, you can always invent ways to push or pull the players one way or another, but what's great about RPGs is the totally unexpected things the players will do. Roll with it.

But, if they have too much cash and you want to have them poor - introduce a threat that will make them poor (but allow them to avoid it if their ingenuity is up to the task). If you absolutely, positively have to get him off the ship for some reason, have the ship infested with something nasty, requiring it to be sealed, fumigated and left vacant for a week or two.

Roll with the punches, and expect the players to do so too. It's a big, mad, universe - have fun and don;t be too prescriptive.

J
"I hunker in the corner facing the door. Anyone that opens the door gets a full clip."
Klooth Quethos
Shrew
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:34 pm

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby Klooth Quethos » Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:38 pm

BigDogsRunning wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 5:33 pm
You don't have to make up a penalty for him....

Page 92 of the MgT 2e Core book has something covering this very issue. :)
Ah, I missed that final line on the page about SOC suffering from staying aboard ship. Thanks!
When in doubt, use the ortillery.
steve98052
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 828
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby steve98052 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:35 pm

That is a count or viscount, and has duties of rulership. Those can be delegated to local nobles or entrusted to civil service bureaucrats. But it also includes ceremonial obligations. A high noble is the face of the Imperium, and has to party with lower nobles anywhere they encounter them (pretty much every populated world, since knights and such are counted as ceremonial nobility) and occasionally suck up to higher nobles.

"Your Grace, the local starport has built a new wing and a Fourth Frontier War veterans' memorial. We have scheduled a grand opening in 15 days. Our marquis is away to present her daughter as her pledge heir and of course cannot attend. We would be much honored if Your Grace could preside over the ribbon cutting, and it appears that would delay your scheduled departure only eight days. The local Starport Authority and veterans' societies would be greatly honored by your attendance."
MonkeyX
Mongoose
Posts: 117
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:52 am

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby MonkeyX » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:42 pm

Also some planets may have a maximum stay policy to stop ships just landing and monopolising a spot. After a few days they may be asked to leave and refusal or violence on the PCs part could also reduce his social score.
ShawnDriscoll
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2751
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:13 pm

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:05 pm

Your group should have agreed on how the game should be played first before starting one. It's hard to band-aid a disease.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 6389
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby Condottiere » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:21 pm

It depends, on whether he's has a bunk on a tramp steamer or he's parked his yacht in orbit.

If he incognito, or if he's actively using his social standing as a bonus in encounters.

If so, once his encounterees discover he's staying in accommodations below the standard expected, those bonuses become penalties.
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3218
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby Reynard » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:11 pm

Remember Howard Hughes was best know as a rich, crazy hermit.

Traveller Book 8: Dilettante has excellent rules for being the rich and powerful rather than just being someone with money. Your influence and status suffers by distance from your circle of influence. Hiding away from the world (Galaxy) also make you an unknown that whipping out a card saying "I'm rich!" doesn't solve. You want to use your influence then people need to know you. The High SOC person should often be the face of the party. A good example is Bruce Wayne.
Epicenter
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 302
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:37 pm

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby Epicenter » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:35 am

Why penalize him? There's a bigger problem going on here: The player feels he has to remove himself from the game to avoid costs as set by the rules. As a GM, this is directly counter to the idea of a roleplaying game -- a collaborative activity that all players should be able to participate in.

I admit it appears I'm at odds with a portion (a majority?) of Traveller GMs who seem to have very antagonistic relationships with their players but I see a problem here that should be worked out between you and this player to make sure everyone is having fun.

The problem is that a lot of Traveller occurs on planets. If the guy is staying aboard the ship, he's essentially in a spot where he's a prisoner in his own ship; I think that's already an extreme (and very frustrating) situation for the player - he's already being punished to an extraordinary level just for having a high SOC.

I see several solutions to the issue:

* Give him the option to lower his SOC permanently. If the player simply finds it a chore to have a high SOC and there's no real benefits from it in your game, this might be the way to go. This will lower his Cost-of-Living. This isn't as dumb of a suggestion as it first sounds - a Count is a "working" noble - he's expected to administrate something, likely fiefs, overseeing the activities of other nobles. If he's off adventuring for whatever reason, there should be a reason for it. If everytime the cocktail party conversation turns to "what do you do for a living?" and his response is sort of "Um...well I'm actually a bit of a NEET, I'm a Count who doesn't do anything and spends all my time travelling in a scow along with ruffians shooting people up on backwater planets" ... yeah. He's going to feel pressure to actually do something worthy of his position instead of being one of those rich Russian kids posting their gold-plated AK47s on instagram. If it's a chore to find such a reason, why bother with it? Just lower the SOC level until it is something that works better in your game.

* Give him the option to travel incognito. The 3I is a place of nobles and social ranks. This means that social ritual is very important to them. If you're a SOC 14 Count is no longer honor nobility. The Count has a social obligation to announce his arrival to a world so the local barons and so on can greet him properly, invite him to parties and generally show him due respect for his position. To not do so dishonors the social contract of the imperial; the local nobles are slighted that the guy doesn't consider them worthy of acknowlement. This is why Cost of Living for a noble is so high - to visit people, attend receptions, and so on, he has dress the part. However, I'd give the character the opportunity to travel incognito. He doesn't announce his presence. He dresses like a wealthy commoner. He doesn't sign his name with his noble title nor does he expect be referred to by titles. He displays no heraldric devices on his person. His SOC would temporarily drop to like 10 perhaps. It's up to you if he has some extremely difficult to counterfeit badge of rank he can use to identify himself immediately should the need arise. If such a method doesn't exist, he can't just suddenly announce he's a Count and have everyone be wowed and let him into the highest levels of Imperial society - he might be treated a little more gently if he were arrested but until they can prove his bonafides (this might take weeks for a ship to be sent with the query to some trusted third party who can confirm his identity) he's not a Count.

* Give him a kind of "stipend" to live off of. A Count in the Imperium likely is a man of means; I don't think genteel poverty exists in the Imperium as most of the nobles are "working" nobles and likely would be reviewed or removed by the Emperor or Duke should they lapse in responsibilities. He should have the money to sustain his lifestyle. He shouldn't be living some hardscrabble existence of a free trader living from hand to mouth (in fact you can ask the question - why is this guy traveling with the other players?). This stipend cannot be spent on other things - it basically just makes his Cost of Living 0. It represents lines of credit - he stays at some posh hotel and just gives his name. The bill will be sent to his estate, which will duly pay it. This bill might take weeks to arrive and then the payment weeks to arrive, but they know he's good for it. Similarly, if he wants to have a new suit made or something, he's not just going to step into some tailor on the street. He (or likely his steward) would ask some local nobles for recommendations, who would tell him "I go to this place or this place" - again these kinds of places are used to noble customers and there's a good chance the guy who recommended the place has contacted them "Oh so Count so-and-so might be coming in, please extend him every honor" or something; again, they'd make the guy clothes, fit him out with bling, and send him on his way; the bill will be sent to the guy's estate or perhaps the local Count will pay for it. Now, if the rest of the players are all getting 14k gold plated jewelry and Converses at some walk-in store and he wants them too then he has to pay it out of his pocket like everyone else. This CoL 0 option is just if he's willing to give his name at places that know the proper methods to bill nobles and so on.

* If he has plenty of money (and more coming in) and the player just feels like he's being clever by being miserly, just have more stuff occur on planet that he has to sit out of because he's in the ship.
MonkeyX
Mongoose
Posts: 117
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:52 am

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby MonkeyX » Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:52 am

I may have misunderstood this, if he’s staying aboard ship to avoid paying costs. Ok the Soc penalty when word gets out should be inforced. But if he’s staying on ship to avoid adventure then why bother playing? A DnD player that has their character stay at the inn and not go to the dungeon this is just the same thing.
Linwood
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 258
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:41 am

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby Linwood » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:22 pm

I like Epicenter’s suggestions on this - they all seem workable to me, just choose what fits in YTU and roll with it.

If you’re looking for additional complications, consider the rules in the Great Rift set on morale on deep space missions. Spending long periods of time confined inside a ship can have profound psychological effects....
steve98052
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 828
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby steve98052 » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:48 pm

Epicenter wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:35 am
. . .
I admit it appears I'm at odds with a portion (a majority?) of Traveller GMs who seem to have very antagonistic relationships with their players but I see a problem here that should be worked out between you and this player to make sure everyone is having fun.
I'm with you on this. The game master is neutral, and responsible for cooperating to make the game fun. Sometimes that means running people who want to do harm to the player characters, sometimes that means finding ways to reduce a financial surplus, but sometimes it means finding ways to make wealth seem like still not enough to relax so more adventures are necessary.
. . .
* Give him the option to travel incognito. The 3I is a place of nobles and social ranks. This means that social ritual is very important to them. If you're a SOC 14 Count is no longer honor nobility. The Count has a social obligation to announce his arrival to a world so the local barons and so on can greet him properly, invite him to parties and generally show him due respect for his position. To not do so dishonors the social contract of the imperial; the local nobles are slighted that the guy doesn't consider them worthy of acknowlement. This is why Cost of Living for a noble is so high - to visit people, attend receptions, and so on, he has dress the part. However, I'd give the character the opportunity to travel incognito. He doesn't announce his presence. He dresses like a wealthy commoner. He doesn't sign his name with his noble title nor does he expect be referred to by titles. He displays no heraldric devices on his person. His SOC would temporarily drop to like 10 perhaps. . . .
A noble doesn't even need to travel incognito. Just present under a lesser title.

Archduke Norris sometimes traveled with all the pomp due an archduke, including speeches to stadiums full of people. But if he didn't have time for that, he could announce himself as "Norris, Baron of Yori", or even "Imperial Navy Commander Norris, retired". As Baron of Yori, other nobles could skip most of the formalities -- "Your Lordship" instead of "Your High and Wise Archducal Grandness" (or whatever the proper address would be), reduce the travel formalities to the necessary security details instead of a massive parade, and have dinner in a private room at the local noble's favorite restaurant instead of a catered banquet on the grounds of the local noble's estate (or the inconveniently requisitioned capital city park, if the local noble's estate is too small).

Travel incognito is possible, but a count will be noticed unless far afield. Easier to announce under a lesser title.
Annatar Giftbringer
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:35 am
Location: Uddevalla, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:31 pm

Linwood wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:22 pm
If you’re looking for additional complications, consider the rules in the Great Rift set on morale on deep space missions. Spending long periods of time confined inside a ship can have profound psychological effects....
The Great Rift set has morale rules? I must’ve missed that... I know “the last flight of the Amuar” has some, but I don’t recall any from the Great Rift..? What have I missed? :)
Linwood
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 258
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:41 am

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby Linwood » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:11 am

Maybe that’s the one. I know I’ve come across some rules on that somewhere recently.
Tom Kalbfus
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2517
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:57 pm

Reynard wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:11 pm
Remember Howard Hughes was best know as a rich, crazy hermit.

Traveller Book 8: Dilettante has excellent rules for being the rich and powerful rather than just being someone with money. Your influence and status suffers by distance from your circle of influence. Hiding away from the world (Galaxy) also make you an unknown that whipping out a card saying "I'm rich!" doesn't solve. You want to use your influence then people need to know you. The High SOC person should often be the face of the party. A good example is Bruce Wayne.
You know Dungeons & Dragons doesn't have this problem when people with high Charisma choose to stay aboard their wooden ships rather than check into a local hotel and throw some money around. Also what SOC score would someone like Ebineezer Scrooge have, if we translated him to Traveller? There must be a few rich people out there that don't like to throw their money around like there is no tomorrow.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 6389
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby Condottiere » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:22 pm

Charisma is an inherent personality trait.

Social standing is an artificial social construct.
Epicenter
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 302
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:37 pm

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby Epicenter » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:00 am

Epicenter wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:35 am
* If he has plenty of money (and more coming in) and the player just feels like he's being clever by being miserly, just have more stuff occur on planet that he has to sit out of because he's in the ship.
Quoting myself. I've really lost it. Or not.

Upon further consideration, as a piece of advice to newer Refs, I don't really recommend this last suggestion of mine. It was a mistake. GMs should never be passive-aggressive.

It's important, I think, as the GM, to get the bottom of this kind of behavior; they're literally writing themselves out of the game.

1. If their Cost of Living as decided by the rules is something they can't afford because the game you're running isn't bringing in enough money, then I'd suggest trying one of the ideas in my first post.

2. If they're sitting in the ship even though they have enough income to cover their lifestyle and are playing some "metagame" where they just want to save as much money as possible by hiding in the ship, the problem may lie in the structure of your game or something with the player.

2a. If there's so little to do during layovers that hiding in the ship is perfectly viable -- there's no disadvantage to it, like there's no danger of the character missing out on RP or anything else -- then why not let him? It appears the structure of your game allows players to do this. Maybe the noble is just reclusive. If you want to get the noble off the ship, then structure layovers to require the noble to get off the ship. I'd think many worlds might require all starships to be docked at the spaceport (eg; you can't use your starship as transportation to get around points on a planet) - the danger of such large starships flying around cities might be a cause, danger of crime (such going to the boonies, loading up on illegal goods/kidnapping locals to use as slaves or you're some interstellar predator who likes doing unspeakable things to the locals in remote areas/poaching local wildlife ... then flying off and jumping out), or the introduction of alien invasive species are all concerns that'd make it logical for worlds to require starships to be docked at the spaceport. In this case, any situation that requires the players to go far from the ship for a few days would require the noble to get out of the ship. Regardless, I'd only allow the "reclusive" character trait to be used once. Don't let players repeatedly make "recluse" characters to get around CoL rules.

2b. There's something with the player. Does the player find your game boring in some way and they're just entertaining themselves / trying to attract your attention by gaming the rules? Do they feel they've painted themselves into a corner by playing such a high SOC character? The only way to find out in this case is to take the player aside at some point and see what's up. Present your side the situation first ("I don't really like your character hanging around on the ship all the time; it bugs me that (voice your concern here)"), then find out what's going on the with the player.

Finally, while it's amusing during chargen to produce a Count, I generally don't let anyone be anything beyond a Knight. Baronets are do-able, but I think even that's pushing it. I think any rank higher than that, and it makes the noble character more important than the other the players (unless they're all nobles) and starts to put stress on the structure of the gaming group, making the group feel more like the entourage of the Count. It is possible of course to get around this by creative explanation of why they're on a tramp freighter (or whatever). However, this means the added burden of coming up with the story and the player of the high noble making it work.
steve98052
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 828
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby steve98052 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:14 am

Epicenter wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:00 am
. . .
Finally, while it's amusing during chargen to produce a Count, I generally don't let anyone be anything beyond a Knight. Baronets are do-able, but I think even that's pushing it. I think any rank higher than that, and it makes the noble character more important than the other the players (unless they're all nobles) and starts to put stress on the structure of the gaming group, making the group feel more like the entourage of the Count. It is possible of course to get around this by creative explanation of why they're on a tramp freighter (or whatever). However, this means the added burden of coming up with the story and the player of the high noble making it work.
That's why one of the adventure styles I like for nobles is to make them the noble the owner of a mercenary company that's not about making a profit, but rather about satisfying the noble's pursuit of glory or thrill of danger. Such a noble can equip the whole mercenary company with lots of gear that goes beyond the needs of a battle, and charge rates that depend more on the noble's desire to get into the job than the actual cost of doing the job well.

A sitting count is not going to be a suitable mercenary operator, but one might say that the character is a member of a count's line of succession, and expected to conduct himself or herself in a way that fits the office, but still allowed to blow stuff up for fun as long as all the mercenary operations and licensing are squeaky clean. And in particular, the count must not get into a situation where he or she is captured and held for ransom.

The kind of ticket that a dilettante mercenary noble might go for could include going into battle in a very low-tech world, wearing combat armor styled to look like medieval plate armor, swinging around a sword mostly for the fun of it. The client's reasons for hiring such a mercenary company would be that they wouldn't be able to afford off-world mercenaries any other way, and that it would probably inspire a morale boost for the client's army to be led by people who charge into battle fearlessly, knowing that they were invincible against any attack short of a direct hit from a decent-size siege engine. The client's reason for caution would include the usual reasons for caution about mercenaries (though not so much risk of being bought off and switching sides, since the mercenaries aren't there for the money anyway), and also the risk that the mercenaries might decide it's not fun anymore.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 6389
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Question About Quartering

Postby Condottiere » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:23 pm

Image

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Condottiere and 22 guests