Working Toward a Role20 Open Table Traveller Campaign

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
DanDare2050
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Working Toward a Role20 Open Table Traveller Campaign

Postby DanDare2050 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:35 am

Hi, this is a topic I have just started over at RPG Geek: https://www.rpggeek.com/article/26391055

I will reproduce my opening statements here.

In the real world I formed and run the Kenmore Role Playing Society.
We have an Open Table D&D campaign that meets twice a month. 3 GMs (2 more in training) and 19 players have joined since we started in January. (Look at my Big Index to find all the session reports)

I'm looking at building a parallel open table using Mongoose Traveller 2e.

Its a tougher ask. The nature of space travel in the game means that the 1 to 1 mapping of real life dates to in game dates we use for D&D won't work. After careful consideration and tinkering with alternatives I'm planing to go with 1 IRL day to 7 IG days. So if the sessions are 2 weeks apart in real life then they will start 14 weeks apart in the game world.

I'm also thinking of playing live online using a mixture of Roll20, Discord and whatever other software tools help us along.

I'd like to discuss the design of the open table methodology for Traveller here and also take expressions of interest for GMing and Playing.

The first aim is that there should be multiple GMs, each in charge of a sub sector. Players will join at regular play sessions and move their character to which ever sub sector they are playing in (simply depends on availability of spaces at GMs virtual tables and order of arrival).

GMs are responsible for their campaign data and managing changes as factions etc do stuff over time.

Players will each be responsible for their character and assets and need a way to move that information with them from one sub sector to the next.

Player owned business assets or any planet/star system based assets are probably part of the GMs notes and the GM can apply changes to them over time as they see fit.

Roll20 doesn't really afford a mechanism for this so I'm interested in ideas about how this may be executed.

1) Players joining a session
2) Players moving their data about from GM to GM
paltrysum
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Re: Working Toward a Role20 Open Table Traveller Campaign

Postby paltrysum » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:05 pm

Let me see if I understand. There would be a campaign with multiple players, each of whom is responsible for GMing if the story wanders into their designated subsector, and there is a chronological element that requires one week to pass (or one jump) each gaming session. Is that correct?
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
DanDare2050
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Re: Working Toward a Role20 Open Table Traveller Campaign

Postby DanDare2050 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:22 am

paltrysum wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:05 pm
Let me see if I understand. There would be a campaign with multiple players, each of whom is responsible for GMing if the story wanders into their designated subsector, and there is a chronological element that requires one week to pass (or one jump) each gaming session. Is that correct?
Close.

The sessions are two weeks apart in real life. The start date of each session in campaign time is 14 weeks apart according to the campaign clock. The players adventure in each session can cover as much time as it takes. Each session the players return to the game master's home planet where they started, so they need some margin to get back before the 14 weeks in game time is up. The GMs are not players but each run a sub sector of their own.

The whole thing is designed for casual play. Whatever GMs are available hang out a shingle, and whatever players are show up take a spot in one of the GMs sectors, starting at the sub sector's "home" planet.

In the D&D ones that we are playing there is a "between sessions upkeep" process that accounts for the time that passes between when the character last played, according to the campaign clock, and the start of the current session. Things that take extended time, like making magical artifacts, are given a game date for their expected completion, and the players can obtain them when that date has passed. In traveller there will be a lot of player lifestyle costs, training, and star ship upkeep during the between session time.

Here is the D&D process to give an idea of what this would like like: https://strangeflight.files.wordpress.c ... eep-v3.pdf
Here you will find session report links for my table at the D&D club: https://strangeflight.blog/session-write-ups/ (I'm quite a few sessions behind but slooowly catching up)

The GMs sub sector politics etc also move on between sessions.

There is a lot of detail to work out. My intention is to find a GM and a few players to try the first session, with some "near enough is good enough" process. We can review and refine and just get the ball rolling. Then start including more GMs and more players.

important links
https://roll20.net/
https://discordapp.com/
paltrysum
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Re: Working Toward a Role20 Open Table Traveller Campaign

Postby paltrysum » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:24 pm

I like the idea, in principle, for one particular reason: it accounts for no-shows. I haven't played an RPG online, but I assume one of the problems is accounting for people not being able to show up. If the adventures and GM assignment simply depend on who's there on a given session, you will always have a game.
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
DanDare2050
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Re: Working Toward a Role20 Open Table Traveller Campaign

Postby DanDare2050 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:38 am

Yes, open table is fully built around the idea of regular, casual play. Its not intended to be the full, rich, role play experience you get from a dedicated table. It does produce fairly vibrant communities though. Connected to the role playing group at the D&D open table there are at least five private, dedicated table games that I know of using D&D, Stars Without Number and Call of Cthulhu.
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Working Toward a Role20 Open Table Traveller Campaign

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:31 am

This open gaming idea has worked for D&D and what other games?
DanDare2050
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Re: Working Toward a Role20 Open Table Traveller Campaign

Postby DanDare2050 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:53 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:31 am
This open gaming idea has worked for D&D and what other games?
I know of it being done for Numenera. Not sure what else.Nobody I know of much took up the idea when it was first mooted by Justin Alexander. I only started doing it myself this year in January. It has so far achieved all my objectives.
DanDare2050
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Re: Working Toward a Role20 Open Table Traveller Campaign

Postby DanDare2050 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:41 pm

Character Generation in Traveller is more important than it is in games without a life story system. Not only does the player become familiar with their character through the process, they get to know something of the game master's world and the GM can riff off their events and struggles to expand their game world with player related detail. Late last year I did an experiment in using character generation as a form of GM solo play that had some useful results, generating some political, commercial and adventure opportunity richness.

So for open table I think I would prefer character generation sessions rather than pre gens. Its still important to have some pre generated characters handy for drop ins. For that I'm thinking I might solo RPG the pre gens to build them up and keep them up to date with the campaign. Each GM could keep one or two floating about in their region.

One difficulty of getting the value out of the life story process is the desire for it to complete in line with the next play session and for its historical events to match up chronologically with the campaign history. My thinking there is that new characters decide how many terms they are going to do. Then you start the character an appropriate distance in the past and come forward. Then if a character has an event that links to the campaign history its richer and stronger than some abstract thing.

There is an alternate school of thought that this is designed as a drop in open table campaign, so stuff it and just pregen some characters without worrying about any of that and only have play sessions.

Potentially of course you could do a mixture of approaches, depending on the players and circumstances.

Thoughts?
DanDare2050
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Re: Working Toward a Role20 Open Table Traveller Campaign

Postby DanDare2050 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:42 am

Here is some time tracking stuff I prepared earlier:

Time Tracking

The campaign date at the start of a session is the date that maps to the current In Real Life date. The players may play over many days or weeks during the session and record the campaign date for when the session is complete and they have returned to home base (allow time for jumps home). At the next session players must account for the passage of time between their last session campaign end date and the new session's campaign start date.

Each day in real life is 1 week in the campaign. (that's if your regular sessions are about 1 week apart. The aim is to get about 7 or 8 weeks game time between sessions. So if your sessions are two weeks appart IRL you may want each day in real life to map to 4 days in game).

Time notation in the campaign is as follows:

A week is 7 days. Identified as 0 through 6.
A month is 4 weeks. Identified as 0 through 3.
A year is 13 months. Identified as 00. through 12.

The full date is formatted as yyyy.mm.w.d e.g. 2500.09.2.0

IRL Date > In Game (IG) Date

2017-05-01 > 2500.09.2.0
2017-06-01 > 2501.04.1.0
2017-07-01 > 2501.11.3.0

Note that since one day IRL is 1 week IG then the last digit always maps to 0. During play the characters may start at 2501.04.1.0 and adventure for 2 jumps outbound (14 days) + 8 days in system adventure + 2 jumps inbound gives 36 days. That would take the IG date to 2501.05.2.1. If the next game session is 2 weeks later IRL (2501.07.3.0 IG), then they have 62 days of between session upkeep to manage.

Interestingly doing date calculations in real life is enough of a headache that there is a whole section in most software languages to deal with it. I could keep track of time as a base number of days from some start point and keep everything as simple integer numbers, but where's the fun in that? I actually have a spread sheet that you can give a base in game campaign date to, add any arbitrary amount of days, weeks, months, years, and then it will crank out the new date reached. And you can give it two dates and it will tell you how many days elapse to get to the latest date from the earlier one. I'll stick that up somewhere as a resource later.

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