Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

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ochd
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Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby ochd » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:37 am

My Drinax campaign kicks off tomorrow, so I thought I'd start a thread to post the inevitable questions that arise.

I've already circulated background and introductory information to the players, and we're really looking forward to playing this. I'm a little daunted by running a sandbox campaign, so am starting with the first set adventure to break myself in gently. :D

Anyhow, before I launch into my first questions -- here's the necessary SPOILER ALERT. If you are a player in someone's Drinax campaign, stop reading now!

So, first, I wanted to get clear in my head Oleb's strategy:
- Oleb wants to make alliances with independent worlds in the Reach, but at the same time 'attack shipping, raid starports, hit fuel depots'. I am having trouble with the apparent contradiction. If you are undertaking raiding and piracy in these systems, how do you then build alliances with them? Or is it meant to be like a protection racket?
- Oleb wants the letter of marque to be kept a secret from the Imperium for as long as possible, and I have assumed this is avoid the Imperium coming and sinking the floating palace. At the same time, the Harrier is meant to be a diplomatic symbol of Drinax, so how do the Travellers keep the fact that they work for Drinax a secret while at the same time make representations to the independent worlds on behalf of the Drinaxian court?
- Oleb also wants to provoke the Imperium into responding. How does this reconcile with wanting to keep it a secret from the Imperium?

Finally, any general tips for running this campaign? Feel free to share things you found worked really well or pitfalls to avoid.

Many thanks in advance.

Dan.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby PsiTraveller » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:00 am

Well Mongoose never claimed it was a good plan, just Oleb's (and Rao's) plan.

There are a few spots where the players may set up deals and realize there may well be more money to be made in trading than raiding.
Basically Oleb wants to set up a protection racket and have (sell) protective transponder codes so your recruited/created pirate fleet attacks only those not paying.

The Gardener of Worlds approach is the other side of the coin. Prince Harrick wants to train people and trade knowledge. Princess Rao wants to smash her way to the top of the food chain.

The letter of Marque gives the legal fiction of attacking and boarding anyone you want. The oddness occurs if you have a Hawk Warrior in full regalia on the boarding party, or claiming authority under the SIndalian flag is going to be tough as well. It is an area not well defined in the campaign.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby msprange » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:20 pm

It is also worth pointing out that this really is a sandbox campaign - your players can end up doing anything they want, however they want to do it. They might start dividing systems up, preying on some while boosting others (and using them as safe bases). They might decide to turn against Drinax and set up their own empire. They might try to do everything from the bridge of the Harrier, or build their own pirate fleet, trading in for new ships constantly.

Be prepared for anything, and roll with it!
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paltrysum
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby paltrysum » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:38 pm

Good observations, Dan. I think I glossed over some of the contradictory elements of the campaign expecting that they'd be resolved in the reading of it. Not so. As it turns out, it's sort of the raving of a mad king and the mechanics of the plan are worked out by what the players do.

I think the way I'll approach it (I'm working my players toward Drinax and we'll start the campaign soon) is that the king is more than a little mad and that the real strategies are those of Rao and Harrick. I suspect my little group of adventurers will lean Harrick with perhaps a little more aggression than he proffers. But it's hard to tell. Players can be such an unpredictable bunch!
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby Mytholder » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:34 am

There are a bunch of ways the King's plan (such as it is) can work. And yeah, there's an inherent contradiction between the two halves of the plan, with Rao pushing the 'steal stuff and break things until our fleet of pirate bastards rules the stars' and Harrick going 'hey, maybe we could fly around being nice to people and they'd forget about how our ancestors were autocratic lunatics with nukes'.

First off, the Harrier is not necessarily a symbol of Drinax - it's an old design, and could plausibly have been salvaged. It's definitely a distinctive ship, and the players should get another ship for their piracy when they can, but there isn't a direct equivalence of "Harrier=Drinax".

The Letter of Marque is primarily for the _end_ of the campaign. It's got no legal weight yet - the idea is that when the Empire is restored, all the PCs' crimes will be forgiven.

Possible strategies:
1) "Disruption now, profit later" - if a planet's unhappy with its relationship with the Imperium, then they might be willing to at least entertain the idea that a little short-term piracy is worth getting a better deal later on.

2) "Those dastardly pirates are some other guys". Attack shipping, jump out, change ship, change hats, jump back in, say 'my, you appear to have been troubled by dastardly pirates. Have you considered allying with Drinax?'

3) "Join us and you get cool stuff from Drinax. Refuse us and we harass your shipping." The standard protection racket, with a side of bribery.

As for the Imperium, Oleb's hope is that by the time the situation in the Reach becomes intolerable and they have to respond, the Imperium will recognise that it's better to make a deal rather than swat Drinax (either because it's cheaper, or because the amount of force needed to smash Drinax would compel the Aslan to respond to the Imperial fleet on their border).

It's not a good plan. It's not a fully thought-out plan. It's the sort of plan you get after generations of palace inbreeding and intrigue amid the relics of a golden age. But it's a starting point, and where it goes is up to the players.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby paltrysum » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:53 pm

I have a question for anyone who has run the Pirates of Drinax in MgT1: When you completed the campaign, did you continue it even after the travellers have presumably either amassed exorbitant wealth or massive planetary fiefs? If so, how did you make that work?
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:11 pm

My group is taking a break and playing another campaign right now. One of the players is a Merchant Prince broker/trader character. He has set up trade deals and done spec trade. The group pays him his fee for every trade. They do nto realize he has made millions in the year or so game time that has passed.

At the end of the campaign there will be a summary of events and the players can describe their plans for their characters. They can describe the life of high tech luxury, possible anagathic life extension and all the upgrades to their characters they are going to get. (Another of my players is going cybernetic with implants and enhancements. )

Let the players have their bragging rights and then they start new players. Maybe they can get their old characters as Patrons.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby ochd » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:27 pm

A belated thanks for the responses. I had figured on the plan being a crazy one, but more because of the ambition of it rather than inherent contradictions in the logic, so am grateful for the ideas on resolving those.

Dan.
ochd
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby ochd » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:06 am

Next question ahead of my next session is on the nature of Theev.

On the one hand, a few mentions of Theev suggest that its very existence is not very well known.
- Drinax vol.1, page 6 (Rumours of the Reach) includes the following rumour: 'Any pirate who reveals the jump co-ordinates of Theev...': I know these rumours are *not* meant to be fact, but still the wording of it suggests that Theev is not somewhere that is on astrogation charts.
- In Drinax vol.1, page 38, Krrsh says he knows 'the secret routes to Theev' - again suggesting this is a place whose location is not common knowledge.
- Core rulebook page 239 and Drinax vol.2 page 162 say that 'most believe Theev to be a myth', though this of course could refer to its status as a 'pirate world' rather than its existence per se.

On the other hand, the fact that Theev appears on the sector map with a UWP suggests that the existence of a settlement there is open information, and therefore one can easily astrogate to it.

Is it the case then that, unlike a typical A-starport system, Theev is actually a hidden settlement? That is, while it's known that there is a star system present in that hex and that there is a high-tech settlement with a starport somewhere in that system, where that settlement is is actually a closely guarded secret? Thus, one can jump into the system but then be searching round for days or weeks before you found the starport? While that might resolve all the above points, it doesn't seem plausible, as it would be quite hard to hide an A-class starport I would have thought.

Thanks,

Dan.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby Juums » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:25 pm

ochd wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:06 am
Next question ahead of my next session is on the nature of Theev.

On the one hand, a few mentions of Theev suggest that its very existence is not very well known.
- Drinax vol.1, page 6 (Rumours of the Reach) includes the following rumour: 'Any pirate who reveals the jump co-ordinates of Theev...': I know these rumours are *not* meant to be fact, but still the wording of it suggests that Theev is not somewhere that is on astrogation charts.
- In Drinax vol.1, page 38, Krrsh says he knows 'the secret routes to Theev' - again suggesting this is a place whose location is not common knowledge.
- Core rulebook page 239 and Drinax vol.2 page 162 say that 'most believe Theev to be a myth', though this of course could refer to its status as a 'pirate world' rather than its existence per se.

On the other hand, the fact that Theev appears on the sector map with a UWP suggests that the existence of a settlement there is open information, and therefore one can easily astrogate to it.

Is it the case then that, unlike a typical A-starport system, Theev is actually a hidden settlement? That is, while it's known that there is a star system present in that hex and that there is a high-tech settlement with a starport somewhere in that system, where that settlement is is actually a closely guarded secret? Thus, one can jump into the system but then be searching round for days or weeks before you found the starport? While that might resolve all the above points, it doesn't seem plausible, as it would be quite hard to hide an A-class starport I would have thought.

Thanks,

Dan.
I've always thought the RAW badly mishandled Theev, to put it mildly. I always ran the world as something akin to a Barbary kingdom, an Algiers in SPAAAAAACE, a world whose survival depends entirely upon exacting of tribute from traders and active state involvement with piracy, which survives because those who oppose it cannot or will not, for whatever reason, smash it. Running it as such also conveniently side-steps all the issues about its existence being a myth and how that could be when the Imperium's just a short J-3 hop from Theev itself.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:15 pm

The other odd thing to realize is that Krrsh is picked up in the Borite system and talks about a hidden fuel dump, that is 2 Jumps away. This is glossed over in the module, but the players are looking at a Jump to Noricum, refuelling and then jumping to the fuel dump, refuelling and then jumping to Theev. So 3 weeks plus refuelling and any other activity they take in each system.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby ochd » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:06 am

Juums wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:25 pm
I always ran the world as something akin to a Barbary kingdom, an Algiers in SPAAAAAACE, a world whose survival depends entirely upon exacting of tribute from traders and active state involvement with piracy, which survives because those who oppose it cannot or will not, for whatever reason, smash it.
Hi Juums,

That would seem to make sense of the way it is depicted in the Theev cluster book. I think I may have to just ignore or modify the references to its presence being a secret in the Drinax campaign books.

Dan.
ochd
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby ochd » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:08 am

PsiTraveller wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:15 pm
The other odd thing to realize is that Krrsh is picked up in the Borite system and talks about a hidden fuel dump, that is 2 Jumps away. This is glossed over in the module, but the players are looking at a Jump to Noricum, refuelling and then jumping to the fuel dump, refuelling and then jumping to Theev. So 3 weeks plus refuelling and any other activity they take in each system.
Yes, I overlooked this, till your other post on the secret fuel dump directed me to the core rulebook, where its location is plotted on the map. (I previously ignored the Sindal subsector chapter in the core rulebook as I started my campaign in District 268.)

Dan.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby paltrysum » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:36 pm

*** Pirates of Drinax SPOILER below; do not read if you're a player! ***




Has anyone employed an alternative "entrance" into the Pirates of Drinax campaign? I was thinking of using one or both of the following:
  • Have a group of NPCs who have either accepted the King of Drinax's offer or stolen the Harrier from him encounter the travellers. The travellers could either defeat them and acquire their ship, enabling them to later parley with the King for the ship or possibly take the reigns of the campaign, and/or...
  • Run "The Treasure of Sindal," as an entry point with the travellers in the role of a competitor for the treasure. They could be racing the NPCs who have the Harrier for the treasure and either take their ship in the process or acquire one of the other Harrier-class ships that appear in the story.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby PsiTraveller » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:08 pm

I found the Treasure of Sindal "treasure" to be an interesting avenue for the players. They took one plague bomb to Tech-World and asked to have copies made. The bomb plus information from the Sindalian base would be a good place to start to copy the weapon.

This gives the players, (or Oleb if the players hand over the bombs and information) a world altering option. Even if no extra weapons become available, there are enough bombs to alter the power structure of the Hierate if desired (*cough* bomb Tyohk's billions *cough*).

The treasure is an interesting exercise in morality for the players. Especially once they get hold of the Seldon Plan, I mean Jaskarl report. The bombs do offer a possibility of altering things in a big way, if they are willing to go down in history as crazed madmen.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby ochd » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:13 am

Not sure it counts as an alternative entrance, but to get my group connected to the Drinax court, I had them encounter Princess Rao on another system and sort of involved in rescuing her. As they were already wanted by the Imperium -- along with a couple of other bounties on them -- she decided they were right people for her plan.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby ochd » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:07 pm

Next question: The Harrier has a hull equipped with Superior Stealth, meaning that most sensors checks to detect it are going to fail (I am not sure if a sensors check to detect a ship is routine or average, but either way the chance ranges from low to impossible).

Does that mean that the Harrier can effectively get to boarding distance of a ship and attach a breaching tube before it is detected?

What if the Harrier starts firing? Presumably sensors still won't be able to detect it. Or once you attack is the invisibility dispelled (so to speak)?

Thanks,

Dan.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax: GM questions

Postby paltrysum » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:18 pm

ochd wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:07 pm
What if the Harrier starts firing? Presumably sensors still won't be able to detect it. Or once you attack is the invisibility dispelled (so to speak)?
I'm not sure the rules have anything to say about that, but a particle weapon requires 60Mw, so presumably it has a signature and a pathway whose source could be followed in reverse. While it's less than the manoeuvre drive would be putting it out, you could argue that it creates a spike that might make the Harrier detectable at least for one round.

PsiTraveller wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:08 pm
The treasure is an interesting exercise in morality for the players. Especially once they get hold of the Seldon Plan, I mean Jaskarl report. The bombs do offer a possibility of altering things in a big way, if they are willing to go down in history as crazed madmen.
I wonder, in all the "Pirates of Drinax" campaigns that have been run, whether any of the player groups have gone full genocide on the Aslan with the treasure trove they uncovered. The topic of the burgeoning Ihatei threat came up in my campaign when the players met Kasiyl (I inserted him into our story as a precursor to the campaign). A hypothetical genocide was discussed and it was dismissed out of hand by the players. At least they have a modicum of morality, even if it's only in a RP setting. :)
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