Experiences with Drinax

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MongooseMatt
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Experiences with Drinax

Postby MongooseMatt » Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:07 pm

So, as we are prepping The Pirates of Drinax for a full release later this year, I have been running a group through it - this allows me to figure out where maps would be the most useful, where to put things in books, what reference materials are needed, etc.

And I have noticed that the players, given full, free reign, are approaching the campaign as if they were playing Grand Theft Auto. Multiplayer. And not in the missions, no - in free roam mode.

Basically, they are on the highway to hell, and are annoying everyone.

For example, last night, they jumped into Marduk, ostensibly to refuel on their way to claim their (first adventure) bounty from Torpol and Clarke. However, they spotted a Free Trader who was having trouble with its jump drive, and sprang into attack.

They had planned to board it, but decided to give a few warning shots while trying to (unsuccessfully) jam its comms.

Their second shot caused a critical hit on the cargo bay. They continued to fire, causing yet another critical hit on the cargo and so, by the time they had knocked out the power plant, the trader had already lost 70% of its cargo (the thing they were actually trying to pirate).

Now, they were sharp enough to notice a patrol corvette was in-system and had heard the distress call. But, seeing it was three hours away, they figured they had loads of time - not appreciating that while their ship had more Thrust, the corvette would be accelerating all that time.

So, they hung around for two and a half hours, stripping things down (the crew had all been killed by radiation from the particle barbette, leaving just low-berth passengers alive), before starting to leave. They still needed to refuel, and so planed to stop off at the local gas giant.

However, the corvette is about to overhaul them, and their current issue is to duel with it while accelerating out of range, slingshot around the gas giant, and hopefully lose their pursuers.

I don't think that is going to work :)

Anyway, any if you have fun experiences like this?
Matthew Sprange

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arcador
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby arcador » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:47 pm

Yes, although in different games.

Occasionally one in ten campaigns "go rogue". Players deviate from the expected behavior and start doing things that often have consequences, which they underestimate. An experienced referee might react to this and punish them too hard (total party kill). In this situations what I do is to increase the heat slowly, and at the same time provide feedback that what they are doing is causing them those consequences. This is often working, but not always.

I have one story, I didn't participate in, but it is worth the mention.

It's a fantasy RPG (pet project). The group has one werewolf. This dude wakes up in the middle of the night, goes out the tavern, gets in some dark alley, finds a prey and consumes it. Of course, the encounter produces some noise, and an old but sturdy man appears out of a nearby house to aid the victim. The werewolf overwhelms the rescuer, then returns to his tavern to get a good sleep. The following morning, the party is awoken by a group of fifty guardsmen who have besieged the Tavern. The perpetrator is captured, imprisoned and scheduled for a public burning. The remaining players plan a rescue attempt, which fails.

The game master gave them little hints, afterward. He made some rolls for the noise, the attention it gets, the type of person that notices it, who he is. The rolls have accumulated and resulted in a situation in which an ex-city guard, with high rank, was the rescuer who died. As such high-status person being murdered in the middle of the city in a gruesome way, it triggered a myriad of events leading to the person being resurrected and an immediate investigation conducted. Since the player did little to hide his actions, the trail quickly leads to the Tavern and the situation which I described.

What leads to that apparently poor behavior is that the werewolf had several previous preys, and no consequences followed. He got cocky and sloppy. He paid the price and learned his lesson.

In my view, if players want to go rogue, they better act smart as the world will often adapt to their actions, slowly but surely.
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby PsiTraveller » Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:13 pm

My players are anything but conventional. They ignored piracy (in the Pirates of Drinax campaign) and focused on setting up trade deals and agreements with the planets they visited. They DID attack and take all the pirate ships from the pirates they met along the way. They "hired" Darokyn to act as the Drinaxian Navy along the Florian route on thier first visit to Theev.


Your players DID act as pirates, albeit unlucky ones since they destroyed the cargo. They could break the rules of space and steal the ship if they could get it Jumping again. Or take the crew as slaves.
The patrol ship is a problem, they forgot about that aspect of things. Always pirate AFTER you refuel. :)

The temptation to jump around and hunt is strong in the Drinax campaign. Any system can be preyed upon. Any ship can be a target of opportunity. It may cause problems for them but the temptation of loot clouds a lot of minds.

My group is going to be stealing ships from everyone from now on to make SDB's out of them. They need to guard their growing trade alliance. The rule against stealing ships is going to be ignored, at least towards Aslan at the very least.
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby GhengisRexx » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:17 pm

I am glad to see this post today. We have just started this campaign as well, (tonight will be our 4th session). So far the crew has met Sal Dancet and unsuccessfully tried to sell her some of the missiles that were on the the V'Hurg. They tracked down and captured Krrsh. (And are terrified of a Chamax outbreak! Must keep that tidbit in mind.) Now they are headed to Theeve with a cargo hold full of consumables. The players have discussed starting a war with the Aslan so when Drinax is conquered they can keep the ship. Or Shooting up the Drinaxi Star Guard and taking over. Or taking the plan to the Imperial Navy and ratting out the king. The freedom is a bit scary as a DM, but the lure of credits is very strong for this crew, so I suspect they will keep after bounties. And as an interesting twist, the hired muscle pc, is an Ogman, who was a pirate for a term before being wounded, then later shot in a duel with Hroal Irontooth (an event of another pc he connected with) . Hroal is a contact, so he probably respects the humans attempt at behaving honorably. This should help provide a strong NPC guide to direction and behavior. Or maybe not.
MongooseMatt
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby MongooseMatt » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:00 am

If anyone is interested, I have started a little write up to chronicle the campaign:

https://ttgamingdiary.wordpress.com/cat ... traveller/
Matthew Sprange

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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby TrippyHippy » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:31 am

I've been holding back on the Drinax campaign, in order to get the right group of players as well as waiting to get the new edition stuff sorted. I tend to run one big campaign each year these days. I did Secrets of the Ancients last year, but this year so far I've just done a few one offs and short campaigns for other games (unless you count the D&D Adventurer's League stuff I do for the kids in a club, I suppose). I've had Drinax on the radar, but have been weighing it up against other campaigns for other games too.

But anyway, it looks like I may be ready to build up proper for Drinax now, as I've checked with players who are keen, so I'm going to start reading up now.
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby GhengisRexx » Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:36 pm

Nearly finished with the first adventure in this campaign. The players met Miria Silverhand. As written this encounter is a TPK waiting to happen. Now, to be fair, our crew of 4 has a scientist and an accountant, to go along with an ex navy and an ex pirate, so there are two combat guys. But between the ambush, the BFG she uses, her armored vacc suit and the armor bonus for the arm, she could be untouchable. The crew had a stunner, gauss pistols, an ACR, melee weapons, and stun grenades. Fortunately, my players are pretty new to Traveller, so they really didn't know how much I fudged the encounter to make it work.

In the end, I guess the lesson is know the players capabilities. If my crew had heavy weapons, and heavy armor this encounter would be a better challenge. As my group was kitted out in their starting gear, I let half the stun damage go through, so after a stun grenade and two hits from a stunner, I had her drop. As it was, the ex pirate (who had protection 14 vacc suit was down and bleeding after one hit, and everyone was justifiably afraid of the autocannon. (But it IS a fine trophy!)
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby SSWarlock » Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:30 pm

Every now and then, I've had a player group get a little crazy but they've always reined themselves in when they realized their actions had consequences. Except in one instance when the consequences became fatal to their PCs.

It sounds like Mr. Sprange's group of players is about to experience consequences similar to what recently happened at a McDonald's restaurant in France. There are always consequences.
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Tenacious-Techhunter
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Fri Jun 24, 2016 2:46 am

msprange wrote:Now, they were sharp enough to notice a patrol corvette was in-system and had heard the distress call. But, seeing it was three hours away, they figured they had loads of time - not appreciating that while their ship had more Thrust, the corvette would be accelerating all that time.
No, it wouldn’t. If the Corvette tries to get there at maximum cumulative velocity, it will just buzz by, having only done some damage by smart missiles, and barely any laser damage, much less particle beam damage. At which point, if the Pirates want to run away, they’ll accelerate in a perpendicular, if not the opposite, direction, at a rate the corvette will never be able to match. The Corvette has no chance at all of overtaking any navigator of at least some skill. Now, this might be a viable tactic if the Corvette has some backup, which will decelerate to match the velocity of the Pirate Ship, but you never said that, so I’m assuming it doesn’t.

Now, if, and this is a big if, there is a very close heavy planet, the Corvette can try to enter a very close and very fast parking orbit, so they can then spin off in any direction necessary, once your players have dedicated themselves to a specific trajectory... but then, there’s nothing driving them away from said Trader Ship! So this is a two ship tactic, minimum.

Any less than two such ships, or maybe adding some fighters, and your players have it exactly right. Because otherwise, the Navy Corvette is going to have to start decelerating to match the velocity of the Pirate Ship, at which point the Pirate Ship wins in the acceleration contest in any direction it chooses. The initial velocity of the Navy Corvette doesn’t matter unless the Pirates choose for it to.

Also, who hits the ship with a warning shot???
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby PsiTraveller » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:45 pm

Do ships have acceleration in Traveller? It seems like an odd question, but in reading of the High guard boards and reading about M-Drives is Vector and thrust part of the game?
There is Vector calculations in high Guard 1st edition as an alternative movement system on page 83.


If the Patrol corvettes have Thrust 4 and move at full thrust for several hours and get to the gas giant and then turn off their M-Drives. Are they still moving at a high velocity? Or do they stop still?
I think M-Drives may just move the ship and then it stops on a dime when desired. You may want to have real physics involved but by the rules I think the Corvettes could approach at a steady rate, not accelerating, just moving at Thrust 4 and then change direction and attack however they wanted. This behaves nothing like real physics, but may be part of the game. I am not sure. It was discussed in another thread with no real answer that I recall.
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby PsiTraveller » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:51 pm

Matthew:
When running the Ihatei module, be prepared to have the players simply skip anything fancy with the adventure and decide to nuke the 5000 Aslan with something thermonuclear. The King hints at it, and it seems the best and easiest way to prevent the Aslan from attacking Drinax, or any human world.

They may come up with creative ways to hide that it is the group that did this, but the idea of nuking the Aslan popped up at the game I ran very early on in the module. They will be deciding what they will actually do at the next session. I'll let you know what they do.
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby NOLATrav » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:09 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:Do ships have acceleration in Traveller?
The original Classic Traveller rules used vector movement and accumulated acceleration for tabletop ship combat. So if your ship was at a 'standstill' and accelerated 1G for 1 turn you had 100mm of movement (IIRC). If you wanted to turn, you moved 100mm in your original direction, then accelerated 1G (100mm) in your desired direction - now your ship is moving 200mm per turn on the new heading. Next turn you would move 200mm on your last heading and if accelerating add 100mm in whatever direction you wanted. Now you're moving 300mm (3G) per turn. And so on. ISTR the rules recommended using pieces of string to track vectors.

It was fiddly and led to us always flying off the table (out of range) before any real combat could occur. Interesting flavor but I prefer the MgT method as it's a lot more fun - and much simpler.
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:47 pm

Mongoose Traveller states that the drives have Thrust in terms of “G”s, which are a unit of acceleration. Ships will continue to coast, as limited by by the pull of nearby gravitational fields.

The mechanisms by which players choose to track this is kind of irrelevant, because, with computers, we have it so much better than we used to...

But, practically speaking, so long as you track how accelerations add to the x and y components of the velocities separately, it’s pretty easy to track.
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby Epicenter » Sat Jun 25, 2016 6:05 am

msprange wrote:So, as we are prepping The Pirates of Drinax for a full release later this year, I have been running a group through it - this allows me to figure out where maps would be the most useful, where to put things in books, what reference materials are needed, etc.
"That boy had wanted to be Arthur Dayne, but someplace along the way he had become the Smiling Knight instead."

I often feel that's how Traveller games end up. A lot of Traveller groups start out with some hazy intention to be a group of rogues like the crew in Firefly. However, pretty quickly they start acting more like the Reavers than the Firefly crew. It's nothing new - Traveller has been derided for decades as game simulating the exact scum and villiany Ben Kenobi warns Luke about. Mssr. Wiseman has an amusing sidebar about the morally reprehensible behavior of Traveller PCs and how Traveller has a pretty long tradition of encouraging it in Gurps Traveller sourcebook. If you haven't read it, I'd suggest finding it. It's a few seconds read and funny.

It might be handy to put in a page or two of write-up on the kinds of things that can go wrong with "Pirates" and your suggestions to avoid the situation from happening. Remember, a lot of GMs running stuff from modules are inexperienced so can have trouble when players go "full Traveller."

As for my own experience to try running Drinax...

I set the players up, and shortly after starting, the players attacked a pirate ship, found it was full of slaves. They somehow convinced themselves that to masquerade as pirates to infiltrate them, they should of course take these slaves and sell them at the original destination, which they do. The slaver buyer offers them even more money and favors if they can secure attractive young women and skilled artisans like machinists, mechanics, astronavigators, and so on and gifts them several suits of combat armor, tranq rifles, and darts. The players accept and plan successfully execute a slave raid in the interests of "maintaining cover and to build our reputation so we can infiltrate as pirates" whereupon, in some dark reflection of our times, they refer to the militia and police of the community they're raiding as "tangos."

After three sessions of this, I decided to quietly drop the game and am currently running the players through something else.
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby Condottiere » Sat Jun 25, 2016 9:11 pm

Dungeons and Dragons have moral and ethical codes hardwired in, but actions tend to have consequences, especially if the players become notorious.
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby Juums » Sun Jun 26, 2016 3:03 am

While my experiences have never been anywhere near as bad as Epicenter's, I've generally found player paranoia to be corrosive to enjoyable gaming. Ultimately, tabletop role-playing is a form of collaborative storytelling, and once the players are convinced that somebody's out to get them, they're generally unable to deal with the DM in good-faith. And once that happens, they're just one cut-string away from double-tapping everything just be certain, because anything they encounter will invariably be out to get them. Unfortunately, Pirates of Drinax's setup actively encourages such with its setup and there'll probably be a lot of irrational PC behavior once 2e PoD launches.
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby Synther » Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:48 am

I've been running my group through Drinax and, honestly, it's been a bit surprising. I expected them to go hog wild with piracy, looting, pillaging and all the more blood thirsty acts. Instead, they've been extremely cerebral and diplomatic in all of their actions. They screwed up and blew up Miria Silverhand...but they still got the information, so it's not like it cost them an arm and a leg (HA!). A small side adventure that consisted of a simply bank heist took them nearly an hour and a half because they didn't want to cause any undue harm to the bank manager or the townsfolk. I've devised something completely off the rails for our next game session to impress upon them the need to learn the initiative rules, so we'll see how that all pans out this coming Sunday.
Check out my group's Traveller Campaign at https://syntherstravellergame.obsidianportal.com/
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:53 am

Maybe you should give them some credit for being honorable criminals. Fans and such. :)
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby Synther » Sat Jul 02, 2016 2:19 am

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:Maybe you should give them some credit for being honorable criminals. Fans and such. :)
Hmm...maybe.....NAAWW! Actually, this weeks adventure will have some pretty big rewards but they're going to have to work pretty hard at the old ultra violence.
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Re: Experiences with Drinax

Postby FallingPhoenix » Sat Jul 02, 2016 4:29 am

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:Maybe you should give them some credit for being honorable criminals. Fans and such. :)
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