Significant Others In Traveller

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alex_greene
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Significant Others In Traveller

Postby alex_greene » Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:17 pm

In Cosmopolite, I created the idea of Significant Others - but the details failed to get into the book. Here is what I had planned.

Significant Others

A Significant Other is a non-player character who is, in some way, important to the Traveller. The Significant Other can be a spouse, a partner, a lover or just a really good friend.

Significant Others are connected to the Traveller separately from the usual Connections rule. S.O.s can be obtained in the same way as regular Allies and Contacts: during an Event in which the Traveller gains an Ally or Contact, the player may request once only during character generation that the Referee convert one of those Allies or Contacts into a S.O.

Note: The following rules are based on the assumption that the Traveller is a male human, and that the S.O. is a female human who is emotionally attached.

Significant Others offer advantages and disadvantages that regular Allies do not.

Significant Others Are Independent
Frequently, a S.O. may tag along with the Traveller during a mission; but often, the S.O. might have her own Patrons, adventures and sources of income.

Significant Others Have Their Own Resources
The Referee may generate the details of the S.O. - her own career path, skills, cash and benefits. Even her own networks of Allies and Contacts.

Significant Others As Referee's Tool
The S.O. may often come along at an unexpected moment and offer advice to the Traveller, or get into an argument with them, or climb up onto a rooftop and take a potshot at the Traveller's enemies with a sniper rifle to end a gunfight.

Significant Others Cannot Be Killed
The S.O. cannot be killed, permanently harmed, maimed, injured, traumatised or fridged without the Traveller player's express permission. It literally is not the job of the Referee to dispose of the S.O. unless the player allows it.

Some of the disadvantages of the S.O. are:-

Significant Others Come With Obligations
Your Traveller might not like having his S.O. around, demanding a long evening of wine and cuddles when he wants to study for his Pilot 2 certificate. But sometimes, the S.O.'s needs would have to come first, even if it means that he misses out on going to see the Patron because he has to babysit his S.O.'s best friend's infant daughter while the S.O. and the best friend take off together to see the latest trid in the cinema.

Significant Others Cannot Be Bossed Around
The S.O. should not be placed in the position where she is either the Traveller's immediate superior or subordinate. As a Referee character, that would cause unnecessary conflict for both parties. Likewise, the Significant Other should never be another Traveller's character, for the same reason.

Independent Source Of Adventures
If the Referee wants to bring the Travellers into an adventure, he can use the Significant Other as a hook. Perhaps she manages to secure a Patron who has a very lucrative job for them; or perhaps she turns up working for the Patron's company, having secured a temp job for him a few days before.

Independent Source Of Wealth
If the Traveller finds himself short of cash, the S.O. can turn up with a windfall out of nowhere. Perhaps she has had a stash of ready money salted away, an Ally who owes her big time, or she wins big on the lotto or a rich uncle dies and she inherits a fortune.

Independent Money Pit
Conversely, the S.O. might require a considerable regular financial investment. She might require constant medical attention, or she might just be very high maintenance (with a killer network of Patrons, Allies and Contacts at the high SOC end of society that make it well worth having her around).

Mechanical Benefit

The S.O. can provide benefits to the Traveller if they are working as a team on the same problem: see "Task Chains," Traveller 2nd Edition, p.60. The presence of the S.O. also provides a boon die to the Traveller. This is available once only in each episode.
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fusor
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby fusor » Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:26 pm

alex_greene wrote:Note: The following rules are based on the assumption that the Traveller is a male human, and that the S.O. is a female human who is emotionally attached.
That's not even a valid assumption today, let alone several thousand years in the future. Better not to even mention gender at all - the S.O. is just the S.O., whatever they may be.

Likewise, the Significant Other should never be another Traveller's character, for the same reason.
That's unnecessarily restrictve. Zoe + Wash in Firefly were clearly the equivalent of "PCs" and all that did was cause interesting situations (see "War Stories") - if two PCs want to be SOs then I say let 'em, so long as they're mature about it.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby phavoc » Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:37 pm

SO's get bossed around all the time. Sometimes they are bosses, sometimes partners, sometimes minions.

If two people want to game as significant others within the session, that's fine with me. They can share/argue/shoot, etc. each other all day long. I wouldn't put any rules around them - as long as they weren't disruptive to the game session or annoying to everyone else.

Now if a single person wanted to run two characters and have them as significant others, I might ask them to give me more details around their characters and driving forces. I'd do that because if there were situations where one character was affected and the other wasn't I would have a better idea on how to craft a scenario or interaction.

Beyond that... (shrug).

But don't get me wrong, what you've posted isn't bad or not of use or anything like that. It's information and may help a player or ref with this sort of situation. So if you take it from a reference point of view, it's great! But from a rule point of view, it wouldn't be one I would personally use.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:01 pm

It's an ally, though if you put a ring on it, it might become an antagonist.

Most point based systems tend to look at dependants as potential liabilities.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby alex_greene » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:17 pm

Condottiere wrote:It's an ally, though if you put a ring on it, it might become an antagonist.

Most point based systems tend to look at dependants as potential liabilities.
That's a very old-fashioned way of looking at things. Eager to jump into marriage, yet spending most of the rest of your days complaining bitterly about how your S.O. doesn't understand you.

Why get involved with others or get married at all, then? Unless such a partnership - more than having an Ally, because Allies can come and go - brings mechanical and other benefits far greater than the problems and drawbacks?
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby mancerbear » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:39 pm

"Note: The following rules are based on the assumption that the Traveller is a male human, and that the S.O. is a female human who is emotionally attached."

That's a "little" homophobic.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby -Daniel- » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:41 pm

Some feedback and an idea.

First, I too would suggest the SO nor the PC be tied to a particular gender. Everything you wrote could apply regardless of the gender of the SO or the PC. So I would just drop the whole "note" about the assumed genders.

I also think that this list is too restrictive in other ways as well. Might I suggest that a brief statement be made regarding the SO being an NPC and thus no just a puppet in the player's control.

From that point I would then suggest the GM and Player work through a set of questions to create the SO together. So something like:

What is the nature of your relationship?
How did you meet the SO?
How independent is the OS?
Does the So work with or adventure with the PC group?
Does the SO have their own resources?
Does the SO....

I am sure you can see where this is going. I think keeping the SO as a team effort between the Player and GM will allow it to meet both of their needs and give the SO more life IMO.

EDIT: I forgot to say, I do like the idea that the SO is a larger relationship when compared to Allies or Rivals.
Last edited by -Daniel- on Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.
alex_greene
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby alex_greene » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:11 pm

I'm taking the advice in, by the way, and if my stuff gets into any future Mongoose Traveller products I will bring it up. Also, the scriptwriting policy is to write of the protagonists as being male only, just to save on word count on the pronouns. I will need to write that Traveller nowadays is inclusive of many different genders, sexual identities and preferences; a Far Future Jack Harkness is as welcome as his Ianto, and the 51st century answer to Root would be less than half of what she could be without her Sameen Shaw.

Remember that I wrote of a legendarily louche bisexual character, the Third Laird of Bonitvar, the psion George Ardodet, based on a 20th century Scottish occultist, and his staunchly feminist opponent Dr Emma Marchese, who is based on an Australian feminist who wrote a book about female eunuchs in the Seventies which became a bestseller. Outside of Traveller, I write very fluently of fluid genders.

Nonetheless, I will work on the pronoun issue too.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby nats » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:16 pm

Just got to look in Gamemastering http://www.gamemastering.info/ that has loads of advice for this sort of NPC and remember that the basic core game already has life events that can affect your other family members. But its certainly a good point that other Travellers whether NPCs or players could be family members.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:04 am

Technically speaking, it's an alliance between equals based on common interests and/or emotional ties.

If it's not, it's a dependency.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby alex_greene » Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:25 am

Condottiere wrote:Technically speaking, it's an alliance between equals based on common interests and/or emotional ties.
In this case, it is definitely meant to be the former. You could not have Jack without his Ianto, or Kirk without his Spock, or Shaw without her Root.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby -Daniel- » Sat Aug 06, 2016 2:53 am

Condottiere wrote:Technically speaking, it's an alliance between equals based on common interests and/or emotional ties.

If it's not, it's a dependency.
I am not sure I agree 100%. For example, my wife is clearly smarter than I am and much more spiritual. But we do have common interests and we work toward common goals. But I am not her equal. :mrgreen:

But I do agree with the overall spirit of what you are saying. :D
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:13 am

Image
Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:21 pm

What about family? Mother, brothers, sisters, father, uncle, aunt, grandma, grandpa?
Oh and I almost forgot, children! What role would they have in a Traveller campaign? Children could be created during prior history rolls, a lot of characters start off old enough to be parents because of all those prior history rolls needed to acquire those skills. Seems getting a spouse and children could be part of prior history, rather than characters that are 100% dedicated to their careers, as the game seems to assume.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby FentonGib » Sat Aug 06, 2016 2:17 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote:What about family? Mother, brothers, sisters, father, uncle, aunt, grandma, grandpa?
Oh and I almost forgot, children! What role would they have in a Traveller campaign? Children could be created during prior history rolls, a lot of characters start off old enough to be parents because of all those prior history rolls needed to acquire those skills. Seems getting a spouse and children could be part of prior history, rather than characters that are 100% dedicated to their careers, as the game seems to assume.
We've just started our first 3rd Imperium Traveller game. One of the players (a now-former IISS Agent) rolled in character creation that he had a romance with a fellow agent on his first tour and she was "the one that got away" - he also rolled an enemy caused by finding out a secret gone wrong and a mishap on his final tour was a mission gone wrong that he only survived because a group of marines extracted him (only one marine survived - and she's one of his crew now, having left the military after the event).

Unbeknownst to the player, I tied it all up into one metaplot. The first story started with them on Basse Terre having just done a run and paid off the mortgage, and they went to the bar to celebrate - and there the player spots his old flame (who he hasn't seen in 19 years). He approaches her and they reconnect, and he learns she's looking for a ship to take her to Kidashi, and then get her and a few others off it (ie smuggled off the world) - and she can't afford to pay them, but will use her contacts to help them get good mail/freight cargo (ie a bonus to the die roll). So the player agrees (and the other players go along with the flow) and inevitably, he and his old flame reconnect, have a few too many drinks, and end up rekindling their romance. In time he discovers that she's now a rogue agent, because after their trist on Twylos (his ship is named the Twylosian Dream - named after her) she found out she was pregnant and [the player] has a daughter... the person she is going to extract out of Kidashi, and she wants to keep out of Imperium hands.

They end up sneaking the girl out (and another person), find out that his old flame is actually racially zodani, taken at birth from captured zhodani spies and raised in an illegal Imperial psi-academy (the one the player found out about in his background and caused his enemy to arrange for his last term mission to fail in an attempt to silence him) to be a psychic spy for this organisation that has shadow agents even within the IISS and Naval Intelligence - and that the daughter is also psychic and if her masters found out, would be captured and forced into service.

The story ended with them evading an imperial pursuit squad trying to recapture the rogue agent, getting off-planet to a safe location, at which point the old flame quietly slips away during a family meal and leaves planet on another ship - leaving a tearful video message that the daughter is safer with the father (the player) as the Imperium doesn't know about her, he's always on the move, and it's the mother they're after.

The daughter is now their newest crew member - currently their computer operator, but they'll be training her to take a bigger role in the ship.

My point is that as you say, SOs can be part of the history and it can be very interesting bringing in SO's to the story, and they don't necessarily have to be dependents alone - the old flame will pop up every now and then (they don't know where she is, but she will keep track of the players and pop in or contact occasionally) as a patron or ally, and the daughter is a fully-independent npc (if basic - only having basic training and underground psionic institute training) who's only dependency is that she's not combat-trained and has little money at the moment. But the player already loves the backstory/game intro and is looking forward to see how his character and his daughter (who he doesn't know outside a one-week space jump duration) get along and find out how to relate.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Sat Aug 06, 2016 6:16 pm

Distant relatives aren't really an issue, but if there's going to be fairly regular interaction, it's the sort of thing the player and the Dungeon master should hash out first.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby Synther » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:11 pm

I don't really see a point to having these rules. A significant other could easily fall under Contacts/Allies/Enemies and should be handled through regular role play. There's absolutely no need to carve this kind of thing into stone.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby Hopeless » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:24 pm

Its posts like those here that make it clear we need a Like button! :D
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby alex_greene » Sat Aug 06, 2016 8:37 pm

Synther wrote:I don't really see a point to having these rules.
That is not my problem. You'll gain experience. Hopefully without having to slay kobolds in order to do so. It ain't all buttons and charts, little albatross.
Synther wrote:A significant other could easily fall under Contacts/Allies/Enemies and should be handled through regular role play.
No, they really can't. Allies and Contacts appear as recurring characters in the credits that roll after the theme sequence. Either that, or they would appear in the end credits if they were one-offs. S.O.s appear in the opening credits right after the top billing.
Synther wrote:There's absolutely no need to carve this kind of thing into stone.
Ah, but if everybody believed that, there would have been no Traveller versions released other than the GDW LBBs and, with GDW a phantom of games past, Traveller would be a half-forgotten legend among old tabletop gamers.
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Re: Significant Others In Traveller

Postby -Daniel- » Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:12 pm

Synther wrote:A significant other could easily fall under Contacts/Allies/Enemies and should be handled through regular role play.
Based on my understanding of what Alex is trying to do, the SO would fall somewhere between the Contacts/Allies/Enemies and a full PC. I see what he has done is give me a NPC that could be around all the time. The P merchant that has her NPC husband that lives on their ship. Or the Marine's SO who lives on the base the part is using as their main HQ. In that case I like the core idea Alex is trying to do. I just feel some of the rules need to be less restrictive and move to a more collaborative exchange between the GM and the Player. :mrgreen:

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