Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

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Old School
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:01 pm

A particle accelerator is a serious weapon on any mounting, especially if you follow the designs as written that smaller navy vessels don't have radiation shielding. I would make particle barbettes very difficult to acquire, even for a quasi government backed team like the Pirates of Drinax. Of course, they are handed out like candy in "Treasure of Sindal" as a plot device, so YMMV.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:34 pm

The other thing is that they are quite effective instruments of death. Some of my players have become pretty cavalier about using the PA to irradiate their prey. However, one player in the group has made the observation that the PA is really supposed to be a deterrent weapon. You sneak up on your prey, let them know you have the PA—heck, maybe even show them it's there—and say, "Gimme all your stuff or we use this thing to turn you into slag," without really ever meaning to use it, and assuming they will wisely surrender.

When we ran the fight against the Threshing Oars, they blasted one of the Oars with the PA at the start of the fight. I had one of the raider captains open comms with the Harrier and have one of his enslaved crewmembers beg them to stop, notifying them that they had already killed several slaves taken from Marduk Highport who were slumbering away in low berths. The prevailing sentiment among the players was "too bad for the slaves" and "oh, well, I guess we have to kill some innocents to take these ships." Chalk one up for greed over ethics.

I try not to moralize in my sessions, but several of the players have expressed fairly altruistic intentions towards people like the Vespexers and other downtrodden they have found. I had to ask, "Are you sure you continue to fire upon their ships with the PA, fully knowing that you're killing innocents?" In the end, they opted to use the Harrier's greater thrust to come in close and use the called shot rule to blow holes in their fuel tanks with their Harrier's triple pulse laser, and then take the ships as prizes at their leisure. Which actually turned out to be a pretty cool action sequence. They used creativity and smarts to get what they wanted and found a way to avoid killing innocents.

Let's not forget, I suppose, that this is the crew that killed Grimsbold in "Treasure Ship," so down the slippery slope we go. I will continue to present a morally ambiguous and unjudgmental universe. There's no karma at play here...but... there's a little adventure called "Game of Sun and Shadow" coming around the bend at some point. Should the death toll climb, the navy will more vigorously execute their mission to destroy the pirates if atrocities start to pile up. Not because I want them to, of course, but because they would!
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:37 pm

Prodigal Outcast, Episode 4: Borite Blues

We held a rare weekday session last night. Here is the lowdown:

276-1107
The Ghost of Sindal, accompanied by Kasiyl’s Ktiyhui-class courier, arrive in the Borite system and reconnoiter the planet. They discover Teirlas’ Aositaoh-class cruiser and its attending ships, sitting in a basin near a BCA quarry. The crew devises a plan to obtain livestock and booze to distract the Aslan at the camp so they can kidnap Hwehalokharl. The group flies nap-of-the-earth to the city of Draghu which is adjacent to the planet’s humble starport, actually just a pair of concrete landing pads both of which feature deteriorating Drinaxi logos from long ago. After making friends with a few of the locals, they are introduced to Mayor Ora who offers to trade with them: 60 groats and 25 cases of liquor for their help fixing an atmospheric pump at a nearby mine (see “Patrons and Opportunities” on p. 264 of Pirates of Drinax Book 1).

The group notes that they are unsure what to call citizens of Borite. Captain Ash settles on “Borons.”

Sioux and his daughter, Kiirsas, go to the mine with a pair of Vespexers to do the repair work. As it turns out, the site is being scoped out by shipwrecked Oghmans who are observing the mine from a klick away. When Sioux is about halfway through the repair job, the Oghmans descend upon the camp with the intention of kidnapping and enslaving the tech-savvy Sioux. Luckily, Captain Ash is hovering above in his battledress and spots the Oghmans before they launch their attack. He calls in the Ghost, piloted by Tsokszoen and gunned by Kasiyl, who turn the raiders into radioactive slag with its particle accelerator. Ash then calmly sneaks into the APC in his stealthed battledress and clouts the driver on the head, commandeering the vehicle. After a hard day’s work, the group returns to Draghu where two of the other Vespexers with Animals skill have mastered the art of groat herding. The next morning, the group strips out the weaponry from the Oghman APC to make it less threatening and prepares for their kidnapping operation.

On the fourth evening, the Ghost crew enacts their plan. At the LZ, they notice that the Aslan have taken the barracks at the BCA quarry but it does not appear that they have slaughtered its human inhabitants. Ash stealthily sets up a rather explosive diversion in the hills while Tsokszoen and Arlaihelea play the role of nomadic traders with groats and liquor to sell. Arlaihelea carefully measures her words, conveying respect and submissiveness to the guards on the outskirts of the camp. The group is introduced to Teirlas, the hulking warrior, Easteakh, and Hwehalokharl. A possessive female, Teeahta, comes from within Teirlas’ ship and loops her arm in Teirlas’, glaring at Arlaihelea, clearly communicating hostility towards her. Leah recognizes the gesture and assures Teeahta in the female Trokh dialect that she has no designs on her man. Hwehalokharl, called Hwe by his cousin Teirlas, reveals himself to be an erudite sophont, not at all like the more warlike members of the Aslan species the group has been encountering of late. The cultured and well-travelled Hwe correctly identifies the best liquor in their offerings as a high-quality Albean whiskey.

A deal is made and the crew is invited to the evening’s festivities. Things seem to be going according to plan. Tsokszoen expresses privately how unfortunate it is that the group is going to have to kidnap the seemingly pleasant young man.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby silburnl » Sat May 25, 2019 1:36 pm

Great thread - I've rattled through it in my spare moments over the last few days as I get my head in gear to start a Drinax run for my group.

I have some questions but is this the correct thread or should I spin up a new one?

Regards
Luke
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Sat May 25, 2019 2:04 pm

This thread is a good one for questions, Luke. Fire away!
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby silburnl » Sat May 25, 2019 3:00 pm

OK - I'll keep it to one topic per post to keep the conversation manageable, so here's the first topic - game rules and campaign version.

I'm proposing to stick with the 'multiple free PDFs' version of Drinax along with using 1st edition Mongoose rules (I also have Scoundrel and the Aslan sourcebook to support this). I'm not sure that I am in the market to upgrade to the 2nd ed rules for this game, but I might be persuaded to spring for the paid-for version of the campaign.

So are there any significant differences between the free version and the paid-for version of Drinax? Also how much does the change between editions make statblocks problematic (eg for the Harrier)?

If I do get the paid-for version of Drinax is it a block deal (meaning I'll be buying a bunch of Trojan Reach material again) or are the various components available for sale separately?

Regards
Luke
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Sat May 25, 2019 3:16 pm

Matt would be the best person to answer your questions about products, but I can tell you that many of the materials are very similar. However, the stats of most Trojan Reach worlds, some of which were modified from OTU stats during MgT1, have been brought into line with those on travellermap.com, so there have been some changes. The Harrier is different in that it uses the updated MgT2 starship rules and stats.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby silburnl » Sat May 25, 2019 3:22 pm

Second topic - scale and manageability.

Looking at the progression of the various chapters there is a trend towards this game ballooning considerably in scale, the group may well start out as a fairly typical group of shady lowlives (3-6 PCs crewing a small starship) but in later stages the players will likely be running a pirate armada, conducting negotiations with multiple pirate fleets and planetary governments plus forming the executive cadre for a new pocket empire.

So are you embracing the sprawling madness or keeping things tightly focused? What tools do you use to handle the additional scope (if you go that way)? What techniques do you have to keep things focused at the 'adventuring party' scale?

As a corollory to this scale question, to what extent to you build out the faction and politics game? Do you track internal Drinaxian factions at all? What about the various wider political players? Obviously there is the 'attitude to pirates' tracker for the various ports of the Outrim Void and the 'Imperial/Aslan Opinion' scores but do you track 'minor-major' players like GeDeCo, the Florians or the Glorious Empire?

Regards
Luke
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby AndrewW » Sat May 25, 2019 3:32 pm

paltrysum wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 3:16 pm
Matt would be the best person to answer your questions about products, but I can tell you that many of the materials are very similar. However, the stats of most Trojan Reach worlds, some of which were modified from OTU stats during MgT1, have been brought into line with those on travellermap.com, so there have been some changes. The Harrier is different in that it uses the updated MgT2 starship rules and stats.
Also the Harrier is a bit different beyond just the stats. Has some newer and upgraded systems, along with some more things 'wrong' with it.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby silburnl » Sat May 25, 2019 4:04 pm

Third topic - stellar cartography.

Naturally I have been noodling around with travellermap.com and generating various map images from there but it occurs to me that a star map rotated one face clockwise from the the conventional grain and running from, say, Usher/Neon (at top right) to Egyrn/Gorgon (at TL) and Yggdrasil/Bolsuch (at BL) to the empty space a couple of parsecs Rimward-Trailing of Vorito (at BR) would be a handy resource for my game. Before I sit down and build it for myself, has anyone done something like this already?

Similarly has anyone done a trade-flows map for the Reach? I have GURPS Far Trader so I was thinking about calculating the various BTN pairs and mapping out the flows so that I could get a better handle on where the prime hunting spots would be for a pirate but again, if someone has already run the numbers I don't want to take on unnecessary work.

On a related point - Treasure Ship mentions the 'Treaty of Ftaharl' and it's ban on Hierate expansion within 30 pc of the Imperial border. This is wildly contradicted by the current borders on the Traveller map, where the point of closest approach looks to be 10 pc. I have some ideas about how to handle this if it becomes a plot point in my game but I'm interested in what other GMs did if/when they ran across this.

Regards
Luke
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby NOLATrav » Sat May 25, 2019 4:38 pm

I haven't run Drinax so I'll not comment on that but as far as economics of the area, check out these pages:

http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Trojan_Rea ... r/economic

http://www.utzig.com/cgi-bin/iai/map_se ... ojan_Reach

The first is at the Traveller Wiki and uses T5/Travellermap economic data so it represents official canon. The second uses GURPS rules and worldbuilding assumptions and if you drill down to the Jump 6 map it gives you all the local economic data.
Image

cheers
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby NOLATrav » Sat May 25, 2019 4:53 pm

sorry that screen grab is so huge :shock: :?:
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Baldo » Sat May 25, 2019 6:43 pm

silburnl wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 4:04 pm
On a related point - Treasure Ship mentions the 'Treaty of Ftaharl' and it's ban on Hierate expansion within 30 pc of the Imperial border. This is wildly contradicted by the current borders on the Traveller map, where the point of closest approach looks to be 10 pc. I have some ideas about how to handle this if it becomes a plot point in my game but I'm interested in what other GMs did if/when they ran across this.
The treaty of Ftahalr is "imperfect" (Pirates of Drinax, book 1, p. 53) because the Hierate is NOT a unified state. Many (most?) clans have nothing to do with this treaty, and only pressure from the Tlaukhu barely prevented a full scale migration/invasion so far, this is the reason for the 10 pc border.
In my opinion, an alliance with one or more Aslan clans (see The Borderland Run for an example) would be VERY easy, if you plan to strike at GeDeCo and the Imperium. And in the Finale, replace the blockade with a full attack against GeDeCo and its assets in the Reach (this includes Theev and Vorito), the cats will love it :lol: .
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Mon May 27, 2019 5:01 am

silburnl wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 4:04 pm
On a related point - Treasure Ship mentions the 'Treaty of Ftaharl' and it's ban on Hierate expansion within 30 pc of the Imperial border. This is wildly contradicted by the current borders on the Traveller map, where the point of closest approach looks to be 10 pc. I have some ideas about how to handle this if it becomes a plot point in my game but I'm interested in what other GMs did if/when they ran across this.
Just FYI: It does become a plot point in the campaign. :)
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby silburnl » Tue May 28, 2019 1:29 pm

I'm head down prepping for session zero on this so don't have time to reply extensively, but thanks to everyone for the replies.

Regards
Luke
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Fri May 31, 2019 10:25 pm

As for the question on scale of the campaign, I think that’s the toughest part. Just how much do you want to keep track of? We ditched keeping precise track of fuel and life support expenses very early, just using the logic that enough incidental cargo is hauled to cover these expenses. With my players running four ships, we have enough bookkeeping already.

We do keep a basic ship’s log for each ship on a spreadsheet. Not a ton of details, but all travels are logged to the the day, and major events are also noted for future reference. I also keep a list of worlds updated with with any attitude changes and the dates thereof. It serves as both a quick reference and a check on how they are progressing.

My previous posts mention that I let them expand the number of traveller player characters, which was a mistake, but we are running with it. We’re in a bit of a lull that I hope we pull out of, but if we’re able to continue the campaign we’ve got the Travellers divided into three groups who will actually be running separate adventures. Again, we do keep track of time, so who knows when they will come back together.

They already have one ship that is totally an NPC crew. This will likely grow to many ships in the future. Exactly how we will modify our system to accommodate this I’m not really sure.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Democratus » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:01 pm

Just starting the Drinax campaign as my 2nd Traveller campaign (after Islands in the Rift).

I've got what might be a dumb question. :)

In the annexes there are lists of planets along with their starting disposition and three numbers in a column called "Policy" (IIRC).

How do I read these 3 numbers?

Thanks!
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby silburnl » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:33 pm

In the annexes there are lists of planets along with their starting disposition and three numbers in a column called "Policy" (IIRC).
This one I can answer - Policy numbers are used during the finale as part of the formation of the Star Kingdom of Drinax.

Drinaxian policy is scored along three axes and the closer Drinaxian policy is to each world's policy preferences (represented by those three digit numbers) then the better the modifier is on the roll to see if they join or not.

Regards
Luke

PS
I am still prepping my Drinax run. We had a session zero for chargen a few weeks back and we will be reconvening for a true first session in a couple of weeks. Doubtless I will have more questions as the game unfolds, meanwhile thanks for the answers to my earlier questions.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:14 pm

Glad to see more folks taking up the challenge. After about three months off, we’ve made a little progress on our Pirates Campaign this week. Look forward to hearing about your adventures!
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:47 am

We're seven sessions deep into "Prodigal Outcast" and it has been a blast. The Harrier crew had to find Hwehalokharl who was with his cousin's ihatei group on Borite. After executing a fairly ingenious kidnapping scheme, they low berthed the lad on the Treasure Ship, which—in our campaign—is perched in deep space in hex 2222. They still haven't offloaded that beastly ship. The crew refused to tell Kasiyl where they were storing the young scion of the Yerlyaruiwo clan. Kasiyl's insistance that they sever one of his dewclaws as evidence that they had kidnapped him did little to ingratiate him with the crew.

After parting ways with Kasiyl and assuring him that they would execute the plan—with the intention of restoring Kasiyl's honor and returning him to his exalted position within the Ahroay'if clan—the crew proceeded to Tlaiowaha to seek out Lokharl in order to extort a confession from him. Rock hopping between the various spaceports and hollowed out asteroids of Tlaiowaha Anchorage, they first met Kasiyl's aunt, Fyohierl, who informed them that should they obtain a confession, they should proceed directly to Hkakh to restart the war between the Ahroay'if and the Tokohfealr clans. The look on some of the players' faces when they saw just how far that was from Tlaiowaha was priceless! The chief engineer said, "Oh, we're not going there!" with a tinge of uncertainty in his voice. That's the kind of stuff that makes this campaign great. The scope is big and the adventures span a good portion of the sector. Just when you think you're in for a little side mission, you discover that you've become embroiled in something truly big—which, in this case, is that you now have in your hands the means to create a major clan war.

The group has a visit with Kasiyl's sister, Aual, on their itinerary, and returned to the ship—docked at the main Tlaiowaha orbital starport—to discuss their next steps. Just when they figured they were getting a handle on things, the Syoisuis agents, Tye and Yekh, show up. I added a little wrinkle to the encounter. While the crew was discussing their plans, I had the power plant of the ship flicker due to an ion "attack." After the crew sprinted to the bridge, they discovered the nature of the attack—an ion blast from parts unknown—and also saw that the two Syoisuis assassins were waiting patiently outside their airlock. The crew invited them inside for a chat. Tye did most of the talking, and somehow managed to get the crew to admit that they had kidnapped Hwehalokharl and that they were there to get a confession from his earleatrais father. After the session, one of the players commented, "So, why did we just tell them our entire plan?!" Again, priceless.

What I'm really loving about this adventure is all of the between-game discussion on Discord, the tool we use to manage our campaign. "Prodigal Outcast" is a complex adventure, and I'm loving the immersion that the players are experiencing in the byzantine political plot that they've been inserted into. They're questioning what "honor" truly means when it comes to the Aslan, comparing it to the tendencies of their own character races (we have two humans, one Aslan female, and one Vargr female as PCs). They haven't gotten the confession yet, but they're thinking about what they might attempt to do with it once they have it in hand.

Next up: a meeting with Aual in an attempt to get a more complete picture of what's going on and what the New Horizons faction has to say about the idea of reigniting the clan war that got Kasiyl exiled. I can't wait to see what happens next!
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