Running the Coup in Blood of the Star Dragon

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PsiTraveller
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Running the Coup in Blood of the Star Dragon

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:25 am

Spoilers; Plus a question or two

I ran the Blood of the Star Dragon scenario last week and ended up with a few questions.
The main player in the scenario was running his Baron character. A Merchant Prince based merchant with 12 Soc and a Persuade skill of 3. He's also spent the 3.5 Million credits on the fabulous augmentation treatment from the CSC. In the campaign the Baron has been setting up trade deals and political agreements rather than piracy. His character has become connected with all the planets dealt with during the campaign and is respected on the Floating City as well.

The Baron had a companion, a combat based ex military character. The rest of the party dealt with finding Oleb. When the Coup kicked off the Baron made a play for power.

Question: How many dice do you roll each turn. Pagev 231 says in the Attack option you roll all your faction dice at a location: If you have 4 tokens do you roll 4 dice? If so, does this not make rolling higher numbers almost guaranteed?
Same question applies for the Persuade check.

I made the rolls all 2D, and even then the Baron was able to convert 5 neutral dice in his first 3 turns. The military player took out Faction dice (again with a 2D roll) and not all Faction Dice in a room.

Also, I made the rule that you needed 2 dice to do anything in a room. Having 4 tokens in a room allowed 2 actions, with 2 rolls each. Does anyone else use a different idea?

The ability of the Baron to convert 2 Neutral Factions a round, or a single Faction token with a roll of 12 allowed him to build a large force in a short time, far faster than the warring Factions. The Baron was able to Persuade adjoining rooms and ge the +1 bonus from contolling adjacent areas.

Lesson learned is that a Persuasive player can create a significant force of his own.

So the Baron was able to decalare himself as the power on the board and controlled the key areas, and the King's body. The military minded players were taking out a Faction dice every round.

Has anyone else run the scenario? Did the players declare for themselves? If so, how did it go?
Galadrion
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Re: Running the Coup in Blood of the Star Dragon

Postby Galadrion » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:35 am

PsiTraveller wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:25 am
Lesson learned is that a Persuasive player can create a significant force of his own.
And this is how most successful revolutionaries actually succeed. For the most part, successful revolutionaries do not lead from the front, waving a pistol in one hand and a banner in the other... except when it's for a publicity opportunity, usually carefully stage-managed so that unfriendly strangers don't get a real chance to spoil things.

Bottom line: I wouldn't rule that this player has done anything wrong in taking this approach - in fact, this is exactly what a character of this sort should be doing. And rather than trying to cripple this line of action, if I were running the game, I'd take this as an object lesson... and start having at least some of the opposition (particularly the most savvy of them) use some of the same tactics back at the players. (Only some of them, though. In pretty much any realistic scenario, not all of the opposition are going to be smart or capable enough to run such games back. And there are always going to be situations where some judicious applications of... less sociable methods, are going to be useful. Combined arms - and tactics - can be devastatingly effective, after all.)

Of course, if you want to really push the boat out, open up a third operations theater. Has anybody from any of the factions, for example, considered conducting an economic offensive? *Wanders off, whistling innocently**
PsiTraveller
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Re: Running the Coup in Blood of the Star Dragon

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:00 am

I wasn't criticizing the player, or trying to penalise him. I think he did everything right. I just posted to ask the questions about the Faction dice, and to show what can happen in the game.

This same player has actually opened up a trading offensive and set up trade deals wherever he went. Oleb has made a lot of money from these efforts, and Drinax City has gained much needed supplies in the process.

As it turns out, a 2 pronged approach to the Drinax sandbox, trade and piracy offers excellent income opportunities. The Baron character put himself front and center of the trade and safety program, and is well regarded in the Sector.
Galadrion
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Re: Running the Coup in Blood of the Star Dragon

Postby Galadrion » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:31 am

Ah, sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you were trying to "ding" the player for his actions - but as you're likely aware, many game masters would regard this sort of play as "cheating" and would try to "punish" the player for succeeding like this. The point I was trying to make was that this approach isn't cheating and, in fact, should be encouraged... and, as I said, even emulated. (After all, a real-life political opponent, on seeing the success of a rival, is going to try to capture some of that success for himself, true?)

The objective of a "sandbox" style game, from the game master's point of view, is to provide for the widest range of possibilities manageable. From the sound of it, your Baron's player has embraced this fully, and should probably be commended. (The only reason not to would be if, during the course of his manipulations, he made the game less fun for the other players. It doesn't sound like that is the case here.)

As to your question(s) about procedural technicalities, I'd say that you should probably stick to the rules as written where they're clear and balanced, and where you find a need for interpretation, try to steer the game towards a middle course. Think of the game plot as a feedback-driven piece of machinery, and make an effort to see that the feedback tends to stabilize, rather than destabilize, things. (Just take note that players do tend to be destabilizing influences, and allow them to do so if they wish to. You control everything else - let the players control their characters. I've always found that I don't need to plan to throw too much chaos into the game; the players will do plenty of that. If I just make an effort to keep events moving somewhat in the direction I want, the players will provide more than enough driving force to keep things going.)
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Re: Running the Coup in Blood of the Star Dragon

Postby paltrysum » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:44 am

Thanks for sharing, PsiTraveller. I really like the player creativity and the allowance you gave him. We just started Drinax today and I'm curious to see the direction the players take it. They seem to have a strong interest in the Sindalian Main vs. the cluster of worlds around Drinax. I might have to a) adjust the locales of some of the heists, and b) write several more of my own to fit their interests.

My players are a converted trader crew and they've really taken to the idea of "nation building" in the Void. They made a lot of money in trade over the course of the campaign, so I'm curious to see if they go the route of your players and establish trade agreements in addition to raiding.
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
paltrysum
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Re: Running the Coup in Blood of the Star Dragon

Postby paltrysum » Tue Apr 30, 2019 5:43 pm

I was just looking over "Blood of the Star Dragon" and thinking about the flexibility designed into the "Pirates of Drinax" campaign. On the surface, this adventure seems like it should be run toward the end of the campaign, but as I think on it, there's really no reason that it has to be.

@psitraveller: I noticed you told us about your players' actions in this adventure a full year before you announced the completion of your campaign. Did you run "Blood" some time in the middle of the campaign? If so, how did the power change play out for your players? Was one of them in charge of Drinax at that point?

Just pondering the possibilities a bit. :idea:
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
PsiTraveller
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Re: Running the Coup in Blood of the Star Dragon

Postby PsiTraveller » Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:10 pm

There wasa large gap of playing time. The group I play with are involved in

1: An All For One Regime Diabolique campaign that has gone on for 6 years real time.
2: Achtung Cthulu campaign on alternate weeks
3: A beta test for a game.
4: My Traveller game.
5: OSR game set in Thieves World.
6: board games, card games on weeks we want something a little lighter, plus 2 of the players are collectors and kickstarter backers so we have to try the products.

So we play a game for a bit and then pause it, continue with another game. This gives the GM's a chance to recharge, prep more material etc. The Traveller campaign did the coup, then there was a long hiatus, then finished off the rest of the campaign.

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