Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

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Old School
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:53 am

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not concerned with any drama and have no person animus. I just find the circular arguments tiresome. I wish others were as interested in discussing actual gameplay as they were in debating rules, canon, physics, etc. To each their own, I suppose.

I also noticed the prevalence of particle beams in Treasure of Sindal. I think that’s just a plot device because the players need them to collect their reward once they obtain all the McGuffins. I would expect military grade weaponry to be very rare. Outside of Theeve, I don’t see anyone being able to purchase a particle barbette. Which means you have to take one from a military vessel. Gazelles and Type-T corvettes would come standard with radiation shielding if particle beams were a common pirate weapon. Actually, every ship built in the reach might have radiation shielding standard if pirates with radiation weapons are expected.

I really like what you’re doing with Harrick. Gives a great sense of realism that major NPCs have their own schemes working in the background. I’d like to spend a little time fleshing out the motivations, and then the actions, of major NPCs. I try to incorporate this into every adventure, but the overall vision is sometimes lacking.

I haven’t been very good about applying the reversion to zero for the Pirates’ standing. Some adventures take a really long time in game terms. We’ve completed two adventures and one sideline revolution, and we are at +/- day 485.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:24 am

Old School wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:53 am
I really like what you’re doing with Harrick. Gives a great sense of realism that major NPCs have their own schemes working in the background. I’d like to spend a little time fleshing out the motivations, and then the actions, of major NPCs. I try to incorporate this into every adventure, but the overall vision is sometimes lacking.

I haven’t been very good about applying the reversion to zero for the Pirates’ standing. Some adventures take a really long time in game terms. We’ve completed two adventures and one sideline revolution, and we are at +/- day 485.
Thank you. I really like Harrick and Oleb and I give them lots of screen time. Rao, as we know, is a little bit devious and the players have caught wind of that. Her time will come. The other NPCs I've enjoyed playing are Jagad (obviously that's over) and Utea from Kteiroa. The players made a great connection with her. They also cut quite a deal with the influencers of the ihatei, so you might say that my group is in with the Aslan, much more than they expected to be.

The other NPC I'm eager to bring back is Miria Silverhand. They let her live after "Honor Among Thieves" and I think she deserves a repeat appearance in the story. I have some ideas of how she'll reenter the narrative. Her skills are amazing. Honestly, she probably should have been in charge of that pirate band, not Ferrick.

I'll admit that giving Harrick too much screen time might make the players sympathetic towards his cause, which as you probably know from reading the "Blood of the Star Dragon," is a vastly different vision of the kingdom than his father's. It will be interesting to see if my players, who have varied ideas about what the kingdom should be, will do when push comes to shove during that adventure. Will they side with the devious Rao, the authoritarian Oleb, or the gardener of worlds, Harrick? Or conduct a coup and enact their own vision? :)

It's very difficult to manage all the moving parts of the campaign, so don't beat yourself up about missing one thing or another. I only remembered the return to median thing because I knew I had Jagad lurking around out there and I wanted to be realistic about how long the Imperial Navy would allow her hunt to go on.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:09 am

In the finale of my campaign (mentioned in another thread), it was revealed that one of the players was psionic and had never told any of the other players. During the campaign the psion player would pass me a note and indicate that they wanted to use a power, and what they wanted to do.

The suggestion power can be a subtle nudge for social encounters. I allowed the ability to improve negotiations, making the person more amenable to discussion and compromise. The player stressed they wanted things to be very circumspect. Psionics is only usable a few times a day, and if noticed can result in bad things happening, making more psionics needed, and then psionic trauma. If the use is subtle then nobody notices and the psions life is just... easier. That was their intent anyway.

So throughout the campaign the psion 'nudged' people to help the group. When this was revealed at the finale there was a great deal of surprise. The trade deals, the extra money from spec trading, alliances, agreements among the pirates. All nudged at times by the psion in the corner.

There was a darker side. The scholar in Treasure of Sindal was going to reveal the weapons of mass destruction, determined to publish the results of the search. Sadly the scholar suffered a fatal aneurysm at the dinner table. (a mind blast). This puzzled the rest of the group, but they could find no link to the psionic player.

Now if a psion wants to make a big splash they can cause issues, but the smarter ones can just make things easier for everyone. They are the more dangerous.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:26 am

That’s awesome, psiTraveller. I would think the notes (asuming a face to face gaming session) would raise suspicions after a while, unless that was common for all players for one reason or another.

Makes total sense that a psion would keep their abilities secret, even from their buddies.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:29 am

Face to face gaming sessions, but all the players have backgrounds that include things best kept private. The Baron had had criminal links to GeDeCo in the past, one player was Imperial Naval Intelligence (semi-retired), another was the pirate with shady links across the sector. A lot of notes were passed from all the players.

Other times during breaks to get more tea, or beer I could lean over and chat to her quietly, or during play anyone might ask to go to the other room and talk. We even had codes for a couple of powers. If she wanted to "talk to them and use her rep as the scary pirate lady to convince them." She would roll her "persuade" extended task check, which was actually a psion check for Suggestion. If she was "Feeling Lucky" she would roll her Inspiration check and then her Boon assisted piloting roll for example. She sat to my right at the table, so it was easy to do. If she was not at the game that session I would roll for her character in a situation I thought she would use her powers in. Again, a lot of situations we had talked about, nothing overt, always looking for the light touch.




All the players had secrets to deal with. I wove them into the game. Some came out (the group became anti GeDeCo early on, and others developed over time. ) So notes and talks away from the table were pretty common.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:38 am

Awesome. I wish I were this smart from the get go.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:57 am

PsiTraveller wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:09 am
In the finale of my campaign (mentioned in another thread), it was revealed that one of the players was psionic and had never told any of the other players...
That's brilliant! Well done, both player and ref maintaining the charade for the course of an entire campaign. The players probably just assumed eventually that the psion player just incorporated note passing as part of his play style.

Edit: And then I read your later post. Even better. If everyone's doing it, it doesn't attract attention or seem odd. Very cool.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Baldo » Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:01 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:09 am
There was a darker side. The scholar in Treasure of Sindal was going to reveal the weapons of mass destruction, determined to publish the results of the search. Sadly the scholar suffered a fatal aneurysm at the dinner table. (a mind blast). This puzzled the rest of the group, but they could find no link to the psionic player.
Tsk tsk :roll: , planned cold-blooded murder is something I hate to even just imagine, in RPG and Real Life alike. Besides, I dare to say Drinax (and the players) would be better served if *everyone knows* about the stockpile of WMDs now under Drinaxian control (just ask North Korea).

Three examples from the Patrons in book 1:
1): Regent Stoylis of Byrni (page 263) is willing to join Drinax "if Oleb proves he is worthy to rule". I can't think a better way to win Byrni's admiration and support than to give custody of part (or the WHOLE) of the stockpile to "the most loyal and honourable soldiers in the service of Noricum" in a very public way (during an extravagant state ceremony featuring a speech from Donus -Core Rulebook, page 257, the cheapest emperor out there :lol: -, for example). And of course the Byrnies would have the WMDs ready in defense of Drinax during the final battle.
2): If informed of the new Drinaxian weapons, Terraforming Engineer McGrath (page 268) could seek an audience with king Oleb (or the players) and offer Exocet's allegiance as described in the text, maybe also offering a truckload of money for an additional Nuclear Torpedo or two, "just in case".
3): As above, but it's Priel Marsden (page 265) this time. With a single Plague Warhead, you can have Vume as Haven and Mcr.0.5!! Of course, wiping out thousands of people is much worse than mind blasting a nosy scholar, but at least you get to know how many players in your group feel pity and remorse instead of self-interest, and reject the plan/temptation.

In conclusion, I do know Traveller is often 'gray' in moral choices, but I still strive for Good, greater or otherwise (start thinking Evil, even just for cerebral fun, and you will end to sacrifice 314 souls for real, I'm sure). And however, really, if you want to "make disappear" a nosy Traveller scholar, just put him in a cryoberth until at the end of the campaign! :wink: :lol:
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:29 pm

Some say murder, some say necessary action to protect invaluable state secrets. The man was a threat to the security of the kingdom.

And puttng someone in long term cold storage against their will is hardly saintly behavior. If you’re willing to consider that, you’re already part way down the slippery slope you think you’re avoiding. :)
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby CaladanGuard » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:06 pm

Yeah. My players made the "moral" choice and jammed the guy in a low berth. Then they decided this was great....they now have a room full of assorted scientists, pirates, imperial officials, and just people that have crossed them, that they refer to as "The Archives" hidden in an old bunker on Ergo. I have no idea what they plan to do with them. Though they did consider waking up the Professor to ask him something about the Sindalian Empire the other week. Then decided to use violence instead.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Baldo » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:38 pm

Old School wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:51 pm
Their condition has the effect of turning some GeDeCo personnel against the travellers, but hey, war sucks.
Old School, you're totally right but, hey, no saints in sight, Traveller "is often 'gray' in moral choices", I've said. And Pirates of Drinax is basically the story of an undeclared war for survival against the Hierate and/or the Imperium. Casualties happen in war. However, I still think "the necessary action to protect invaluable state secrets" at the dinner table was utterly dishonourable (huhh, played too many Aslan here :lol: ) and ultimately UNnecessary. If I absolutely *have* to choose, I'm getting the cryoberth, please don't ruin my Old Gamer's memories :lol: .
CaladanGuard wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:06 pm
Yeah. My players made the "moral" choice and jammed the guy in a low berth. Then they decided this was great....they now have a room full of assorted scientists, pirates, imperial officials, and just people that have crossed them, that they refer to as "The Archives" hidden in an old bunker on Ergo...
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" struck again, I see :shock: :oops: ...

"leaves in shock and shame and goes hiding under a pile of cryoberths... "
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:54 pm

My Pirates campaign is largely taking on the theme of 'a fight for the people.' The notion actually caught hold well before we started Pirates. This group's second adventure was "Last Flight of the Amuar." The players really sympathized with the plight of the people they met on worlds like Gollere and Belgard. Neglected, low- to mid-tech, and struggling to survive without the protective shield of a major interstellar government. One of the players declared that he was outright anti-nobility and would seek to fight them wherever he could.

I dropped a few hints to drive the group toward Drinax and they worked their way down the map back toward Albe where they met Kasiyl, whom I used as a catalyst. Kasiyl served as the King's proxy on far-away Albe. Kasiyl said the king of Drinax needed a savvy starship crew like theirs to come down and listen to a job offer of sorts. Enroute to Drinax, they stopped at Chalchiutlicue. Well, far be it from me to let that opportunity pass by! I don't buy these adventures for nothing, after all. I ran "The Calixcuel Incident," and the players really got into the idea of helping the struggling planet to regain a more livable environment.

So when the king made his offer, presenting it as a chance to create a kingdom for the sorry, neglected people of the Void, they were already primed and ready to go. Everything they do is to try to build a kingdom that will give a voice to the people of worlds like Asim, Torpol, Clarke, Paal, and of course Drinax and any other worlds they can sway to their cause. The players have really taken to the plight of the Vespexers, the farmers of Asim, and all the other populations in the region whose daily existence hangs by a thread under the threat of Aslan expansionism. I think their take on it is that if they have to break a few eggs to make the omelette, they're going to do it. The things they've done so far should have them on wanted posters in every Imperial Way Station (is that the equivalent of the post office?) in the region. They've done a few highly questionable things so far, but I think they see themselves as revolutionaries who are willing to sacrifice for the good of the people of the Void.

Thanks for the reminders about the patrons on Vume and Exocet, Baldo. Those had kind of slipped beneath my notice and they're both very good ones!
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:52 am

They've done a few highly questionable things
Uh huh. Poor Grimsbold.

“Undeclared war for survival.” “Fight for the people”. Whatever. If that helps ya’ll sleep at night. The campaign is about travellers using piracy in service of a mad king, who is trying to rebuild from the ashes a murderous empire so he can take his rightful place as interstellar despot. Two sides of the same coin, people.

Paltrysum, I’m so impressed with your prologue to the campaign. We just kinda jumped right in. Made sense at the time. Seems so inadequate now.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:15 am

Alas, poor Grimsy. Jagad tried to avenge her and failed. To Baldo’s point, that scene made me very uncomfortable. Now, Grimsbold did secretly notify the Arshad and Komino that there were problems aboard the Treasure Ship, but still, an execution-style killing? Made me shudder a bit.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby JMISBEST » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:44 pm

paltrysum wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:15 am
Alas, poor Grimsy. Jagad tried to avenge her and failed. To Baldo’s point, that scene made me very uncomfortable. Now, Grimsbold did secretly notify the Arshad and Komino that there were problems aboard the Treasure Ship, but still, an execution-style killing? Made me shudder a bit.
Who's Grimsy?
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby JMISBEST » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:46 pm

paltrysum wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:31 pm
We have moved on from "Ihatei!" to the sandbox. Our trusty group of corsairs has jumped to Asim where they met Cleon Hardy, Asimen ambassador, and Lady Telwax, the Drinaxi Star Guard officer and governor of the planet. Hardy clarified his role as the civilian leader of the system.

The players spent most of the session interacting with these two NPCs, informing them that the ihatei are inbound enroute to the Oghma Cluster. Telwax and Hardy expressed concern that the ihatei might decide that Asim makes a better terminus for their voyage, but the players assured them that the Aslan have decided en masse to go to Marduk and Borite. The "culture" of this ihatei band was one that is spoiling for a fight and the players managed to create a narrative in which they shall have honor and blood from doing battle with the Oghman raiders. Asim presents little in the way of potential conflict other than the speed bump that a platoon of Star Guard presents to a force of thousands of Aslan. The players expressed their confidence that the vast majority of ihatei will merely pass through Asim enroute to the glory of battle.

The players want to increase their standing with Asim and chose to solicit Hardy for how they might accomplish that. Hardy thought long and hard about it and told them that the thing Asim needs most is more people. They have a beautiful, Earthlike garden world that is ripe for exploitation and simply do not have the population to do it. If the players can create an immigration path from elsewhere in the Void to Asim, the planet can achieve its potential and become a valued member of a renewed Kingdom of Drinax. So the players have a new project to work on: Obtaining willing immigrants from another nearby system. Their early thinking on the subject involves getting immigrants from Clarke. The players got Prince Harrick to go to Clarke to entertain their desire to have them as their Supreme Psychopomp. Having increased their standing on Clarke to 'Haven,' the players believe that should Hardy build a temple for the death-worshipping religion of Clarke, they might light the spark of emigration to their agricultural world.

Just when things appeared to be settled and the players prepared to depart for either Tyokh or Marduk (an ongoing debate within the group about where to go next), a Foundation terrorist group launched an assault on Asim Downport. The assault included renovated TL-6 battle tanks who came rolling in from a river valley into range of the starport. A Star Guard squad was quickly dispatched, several of whom were killed by complex chemical charges and snipers using APDS ammunition. It turns out the tanks were remotely operated from the tree line and the Foundation had laid a clever trap for the overconfident Star Guard. The terrorists were eventually rebuffed, but most escaped into the surrounding forests and mountains. A few snipers were killed and it was discovered that they were operating with TL10-12 equipment, far above the level they were known to have. Much of the gear was revealed to be of Aslan make and the players suspect a heretofore unknown ihatei group.

The players spent some time in the community adjacent to the starport and discovered that most of the Asimen are not sympathetic to the Foundation. Most view them as dead enders and would rather not side with a revolutionary movement to overthrow Drinax. By and large the Asimen are resigned to their occupation by Drinax and would prefer to move forward, becoming a valued member of a renascent kingdom, instead of moving backward to the duplicity and manipulations of the Foundation. The players were more eager than ever to help Hardy and Telwax to get Asim started on its journey to becoming a more important part of the kingdom.

The excitement was far from over as the players departed in the Ghost of Sindal (Harrier) and Wellspring (Vulture-class salvage hauler). As they reached low orbit they encountered the Arshad and the Hero who had finally tracked them down for a definitive showdown. The space battle was intense with the Ghost dodging and weaving, avoiding most of the particle and missile attacks of the two ships. The Wellspring was not so lucky and was perforated in the battle but managed to limp to ground by its conclusion. The Ghost wrecked the Arshad with its particle beams, irradiating the crew and killing most of them including Commander Jagad (of "Treasure Ship" fame) whose days came to a fiery and conclusive end when the Arshad crash-landed on the surface of Asim. The Hero retreated and began to make its way toward jump point. When we left off, the Ghost was in hot pursuit. Our intrepid pirates want revenge for the damage to the Wellspring and of course are eager to obtain a Broadsword-class mercenary cruiser as a prize ship.
How bigs A Broadsword Class Mercenary Cruiser?
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby DickTurpin » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:55 pm

The Broadsword was the first Mercenary Cruiser of that type built so the class took its name from this ship. It is the 800 ton Mercenary Cruiser (Type-C) shown on p. 172 of the 2nd edition CRB. (And p. 148 of Highguard).
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:01 am

Has anyone in their campaign has players acquire a megafreighter? Either the Galoof from “Sun and Shadow” or the hidden 50,000 dton ship that supposedly misjumped? If so, what did they do with it?
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old timer » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:47 pm

Yes, my group found out the location of the 'missing' mega freighter (tracked down a crew member enjoying an extended holiday on Torpal, which is a world very friendly to the group now), took control of it with a bit of help from said crew member and got it back to Drinax where it is now being turned into a highport/weapon platform in orbit of Drinax. Said crew member is now rich and enjoying an even longer holiday on Torpal.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:46 pm

That’s cool. Did they disassemble and fence the jump drive, or keep it as is?

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