"Ancients" Campaigns

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locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
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"Ancients" Campaigns

Postby locarno24 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:35 pm

With the Deepnight series mentioning stuff that happened during the Ancients domination of known space, I found myself leafing back through an old copy of Secrets of the Ancients.
(Which is an awesome campaign)

Out of the whole thing, though, my favourite bit by a mile was part 6 - the eponymous bit, "The Secret Of The Ancients", where the players actually get to see Grandfather's empire at it's height*. This is awesome for two reasons; firstly it covers a very much post-human/species-of-choice setting, with FTL comms, teleportation, pocket universes, and so forth, but it also has an alternate set of rules for playing in that setting as a high-ranking member of such a civilisation.

By which I mean - yes, there's the high technology chapter of the High Guard. And other chapters of Secrets of the Ancients gives normal-traveller-compatible stats for meson rifles, Shimmersuits (basically ancient battle dress), ancient augment tech (increases every single stat except SOC - including PSI!), disintegrator gauntlets, and 100 dTon ancient scout ship (It's terrifying - I mean...it's not. But it has armour/15, a 6G drive and a double-barrelled particle beam in a 100 dTon hull). But if you're playing the sort of campaign where a mission is "uplift one of a planet's dominant species to sentience and establish a viable society" then making a Melee (Brawl) check to punch someone kind of fades into insignificance.

Part 6 included a very interesting alternative where the players were almost mini-empires/fleets/societies unto themselves, and replaced the normal stats with - surprisingly - less. The core stats were Analysis, Co-ordination, Influence, and Warfare, where a Warfare check could cover everything from an in-person gunfight against Cyborg Assassins to a major fleet engagement, and body-death was - if planned for - a minor inconvenience. Skills were similarly abstract, representing both specialist areas of expertise and resources - so Fleet covered both your skill as an admiral but also your 'pull' within the society and hence your access to naval assets (relative to another individual in the same situation).




On the face of it, it's a bit like Dynasty, but it feels a lot less over-complicated and more elegant than Dynasty (which felt like it had far too many different stats by the time a Dynasty's Characteristics, Traits, Aptitudes and Values were all totted up, and had the advantage that you're 'playing' a single character - even if said character is essentially immortal and might be undertaking tasks over vast swathes of time (the difficulty/duration chart was expanded to take into account tasks of up to 1-6,000 years in duration!), and the tasks equally daunting. (One example is facing a hegemonising swarm, which - if left alone too long - converts a whole planet's mass into a warship swarm)






A sourcebook and/or campaign book set in this period feels like it might be amazing. Now obviously, there are issues - I don't know if they are actual contractual ones, or simply cultural ones within the Traveller-playing community - with showing this period, but even if the material isn't presented as necessarily 'canon', giving the players the tools to do it feels like it might be awesome.

Does anyone else remember this episode? How are other people's memories of it and would it be something they think would be interesting to have as a sourcebook/campaign?


* Or at least the version of it he wants them to see. Grandfather Lies, after all.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
Sigtrygg
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Re: "Ancients" Campaigns

Postby Sigtrygg » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:53 pm

I really like the Mongoose version of SotA and like you enjoy that chapter a lot. I has a campaign set during the Ancients era where the PCs played a variety of characters from augmented Neanderthals to sentient robots.

It is, however, not canonical for the OTU for the very reason that it includes FTL comms. They are one of MWM's great forbidden technologies for the OTU and quite how this chapter made it past the great old ones/inner circle/secret squirrels with it included is a bit of a mystery.
Geir
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Re: "Ancients" Campaigns

Postby Geir » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:48 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:53 pm
It is, however, not canonical for the OTU for the very reason that it includes FTL comms. They are one of MWM's great forbidden technologies for the OTU and quite how this chapter made it past the great old ones/inner circle/secret squirrels with it included is a bit of a mystery.
Marc breaks his own rule with the Empress Wave traveling at 1 parsec per year. But I have the sneaky suspicion that he just goofed that one and doesn't want to take it back because of a strong belief that "Even he is bound by canon." But sometimes, you ought to just retcon something that an editor should have caught.
Geir Lanesskog
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locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
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Re: "Ancients" Campaigns

Postby locarno24 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:50 am

Sigtrygg wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:53 pm
I really like the Mongoose version of SotA and like you enjoy that chapter a lot. I has a campaign set during the Ancients era where the PCs played a variety of characters from augmented Neanderthals to sentient robots.
Intrigued - any elements you'd care to share of gameplay/house rules/storylines, etc?
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.

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