Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

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Tea Rex
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Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Sat Jan 16, 2021 8:24 pm

Since more than half a year we are on our voyage to thwart the potential end of all life. Well, despite Corona and having to meet in Discord instead of sitting together we are all having a lot of fun.

I have the honor to be the referee - I refer to myself as the tour guide. ;)
Well, I really enjoy the mix of adventure seeds, descriptions and ideas for encounters. The campaign grants great freedom to develop the story the way we want. But as every GM knows, the more freedom you have the more preparation is necessary. Therefore there are always a lot questions on how to translate the scripted adventures and descriptions into our campaign. So I thought it would be great to exchange ideas on all kinds of topics related to the Deepnight Revelation Campaign between referees and other interested peopled, so that all our games might profit.

I was so inspired by this thought and by the GM thread about the Pirates of Drinax campaign, that I registered to this forum and created this thread, as soon as I realized that it did not exist. So here I am hoping for some great discussions.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:33 pm

Here is an example of what I spent more time thinking about. I like to know how you handled it in your campaign.
*little spoiler ahead*

I am refering to the mind boggling script of the ancients, that appears for the first time in the prequel (Deepnight Legacy). I ran into trouble (well not seriously) because one of the player characters is psionically gifted and I didn't want to serve him all extra information on a silver platter. Furthermore my players always try to get to the bottom of things, forcing me to come up with reasonable (sounding) explanations. So I "invented" the new psionic skill psychography allowing to imprint ideas, concepts and images into solid matter. Only people having the skill - latent or active - are sensitive to the information stored in the "squiggles" of the ancient's script.

Well, defining things strips them of their mysterious aura and makes them mundane. Could you prevent this happening in your campaign? How do you handle things when your players become deeply engrossed in such topics?
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby shammond42 » Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:35 pm

Thanks for starting this thread. I was thinking we needed one as well.

I don't usually have a problem thinking of Ancient technology as being "sufficiently advanced" to be like magic, particularly psionics. If they really want to dig into it, have the carving give the psi the feeling that there are more similar carvings out there. He can discover psychography on one of Ancient encounters along the way to Terminus Point. Pulls him in, and gives him another reason to go.

Psychography is a neat idea. If you have any rules for it, I'd love to see them.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Sun Jan 17, 2021 9:43 pm

shammond42 wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:35 pm

I don't usually have a problem thinking of Ancient technology as being "sufficiently advanced" to be like magic, particularly psionics. If they really want to dig into it, have the carving give the psi the feeling that there are more similar carvings out there. He can discover psychography on one of Ancient encounters along the way to Terminus Point. Pulls him in, and gives him another reason to go.
This is a brilliant idea and for me this might be a good way to bridge the logic gap why the expedition always finds the signs left behind by the ancient's expedition although space is huge and they passed on this route a long time ago.

Initially I "invented" that psionic skill to help integrate a new player's character into the team. This gave her from the start some spotlight and being psionically gifted on board of an imperial ship might be the seed for future complications and character development.
shammond42 wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:35 pm
Psychography is a neat idea. If you have any rules for it, I'd love to see them.
Sorry up to date there are no concrete rules for the skill, but I have some basic ideas derived from existing psi skills. Feel free to adapt those to your needs:

Reading a psychograph is comparably easy and even untrained sensitive persons might catch a glimpse of some of its meaning. This reflects to the way the interaction with the carvings is described in the campaign. The general target number is 4+ but could be higher depending on the complexity and outlandishness of the message.

Creating a psychograph is more complicated. I suggest 8+ to succeed but again this might depend on the message's complexity. In my campaign, success, quality and durability of the psychograph will also depend on the materials used. Exotic alloys will work best (the characters will have to perform some research on this topic).
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby shammond42 » Mon Jan 18, 2021 1:09 am

A gentleman by the name of Neil Grant posts these really neat, short character vignettes on Facebook. I thought this one would be a really great bit of backstory for a member of the science team.

Vignette 073
In academia, as in most fields, success can often simply be a matter of being in the right place at the right time. My big career break, for example, came from a very routine-looking project to document a local variant on the common “Fountain of Youth” myth – the sort of thing anthropology professors stick their grad students with all the time. But I was newly graduated, and it came with a small travel grant, so I took it.

I was surprised as anyone when I traced the myth back to medical nannites leaking into the headwater of a local stream from a discarded Ancient-era medpack. The nannites had been exhausted thousands of years ago, of course, and much more prestigious researchers got to investigate the medpack itself. But it was still good for a paper, a half-dozen conference invites, and several appearances on local and subsector-syndicated trideo. It didn't make me famous, but it certainly got me opportunities I wouldn't have had otherwise.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:10 pm

shammond42 wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 1:09 am
A gentleman by the name of Neil Grant posts these really neat, short character vignettes on Facebook. I thought this one would be a really great bit of backstory for a member of the science team.
I am convinced now that you also have some psychic talents. ;)
Adressing interesting NPCs on board and exchanging their concepts was the next topic I wanted to bring up. Thank you for this interesting background story. Could you post a link where to find more of those?

Here is an example of a NPC I introduced because her talents were needed at some point:

Dr. Thoya Tandeka (34)
Dr. Tandeka heads the admittedly small xeno-linguistics department. Xeno-linguistics is a somewhat neglected discipline within the Empire, which is simply due to the fact that the Empire is surrounded by peoples with whom it has been in contact for centuries if not millennia. There is little need for research in this area, and in most cases it is sufficient to carry an appropriately programmed translator. Thoya knows, however, that understanding communication forms of completely alien beings requires more than waving a translator device under their noses (or whatever sensory organs they might possess). She is certain that this trip will finally give her a chance to pull out all the concepts in xeno-linguistics and new devices that are often gathering dust in drawers or waiting to be tested in the field these days.
Dr. Tandeka is - fitting for her profession - very communicative and known by staff and other crew members as an affable and cheerful personality.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby shammond42 » Tue Jan 19, 2021 3:00 pm

He posts them in the Traveller Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/travellerrpg

Like all things in Facebook, it isn't particularly convenient to find them.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Fri Jan 22, 2021 4:08 pm

Hm, it seems not many people are currently playing Deepnight Revelation. But I bet some of you have already read the books. So, perhaps you can answer me some more specific questions on Valakaasii (Riftsedge Transit p. 32), the system with the black hole or share your opinion.

- No size is given for this complex system. How large do you estimate the distances between the individual celestial bodies? I believe, the distance between the remaining objects and the black hole must be quite large.
- How realistic is it that the gas giants orbiting around Vilakaasii Omgea have retained their gas shells. I would expect that the blast of the super nova has removed most of the gas, leaving only a burned and beaten core (which might also be interesting to explore).
- I assume the radiation in this system is quite high. How long could a ship explore the remaining system before it becomes dangerous for the crew and the machinery?
- The black hole is a radio scource of incredible power. In addition, a large amount of other radiation is also released from the accretion disk. For sure, the sensors will be affected, but is it strong enough to damage or disturb electronics?
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Wed Jan 27, 2021 1:15 pm

In the latest post to the backers of the Kickstarter campaign on Deepnight Revelation, I got the impression Matthew Sprange was directly talking to me when he announced that "you will soon have a lot more people to chat with about running this massive campaign". ;) Thank you Matt for this great perspective. I am looking forward to this. :)
So, until then I will continue to post some of my thoughts and experience on the campaign.

During the last two sessions my players investigated Vilakaasii and its surroundings.

Tea Rex wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 4:08 pm
- No size is given for this complex system. How large do you estimate the distances between the individual celestial bodies? I believe, the distance between the remaining objects and the black hole must be quite large.

Spontaneously I had chosen a distance of 10 AU from the (ex-) stars in the center to the gas giants. In hindsight this appears much too close, but nobody complained. ;)
In theory, the gas giants could have wandered inwards after the supernova event.
Tea Rex wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 4:08 pm
- How realistic is it that the gas giants orbiting around Vilakaasii Omgea have retained their gas shells. I would expect that the blast of the super nova has removed most of the gas, leaving only a burned and beaten core (which might also be interesting to explore).
I love the idea of having the opportunity of walking on the surface of a gas giant, given in the description of the protosystem QQ-784. But I believe, that in a protosystem even if the core of a future gas giant is accessible, it would be way too hot. So, I transfered the location and offered the crew the possibility to explore the core of these gas giants as the supernova had stripped them of most of their gas shell. Micrometeors and increased radiation made it a dangerous endeavour, but the science staff did not want to miss this.

The supernova produced a massive amount of heavy and rare elements and the crew took the chance to mine some of this "fallout" on Vilaakasii Gamma 1.

As my players realized, that the people on tomb must have known some time in advance that the star next door would go supernova, they decided to look, if the "tombians" were able to build an arkship to reach QVS-88. They knew that it was highly unlikely, but went looking anyhow.

For a long time I thought about whether to go for realism or to apply the rule-of-cool. I then decided on the latter and let the tombians arrive on QVS-88. However, the long journey and the poor environmental conditions (aftermath of the supernova) have forced them to adapt to life underground. They have lost almost all their technical knowledge in the process. Not wanting to give the tombians a culture shock, the players did not seek contact. Instead, they used the time on the planet to relax and made large stone tablets that contained information about the tombian's origins and a small technical starter kit (references were made to Space Odyssey 2001 ;) )
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby MongooseMatt » Wed Jan 27, 2021 3:09 pm

Tea Rex wrote:
Wed Jan 27, 2021 1:15 pm
In the latest post to the backers of the Kickstarter campaign on Deepnight Revelation, I got the impression Matthew Sprange was directly talking to me when he announced that "you will soon have a lot more people to chat with about running this massive campaign". ;) Thank you Matt for this great perspective. I am looking forward to this. :)
So, until then I will continue to post some of my thoughts and experience on the campaign.
I did indeed have this thread in mind :)
Matthew Sprange

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http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby shammond42 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:00 am

I love it that your players went looking for the Tombians and left them a monolith. I'm totally adding that to my planning notes.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby shammond42 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:06 am

I'm wondering what people are doing to track ship resources. Page 3 of the Referee's Handbook shows some tracking sheets, but I don't think those are actually a thing? Does anybody have a spreadsheet or some other solution they want to share?
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby ochd » Thu Jan 28, 2021 8:51 am

Tea Rex wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 4:08 pm
Hm, it seems not many people are currently playing Deepnight Revelation.
I'm intending to start running the campaign once lockdown is lifted, which hopefully it will be by the time the printed books arrive. I haven't read all the material yet - just the first few books. It looks epic.

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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Nurdalwave » Sat Jan 30, 2021 9:23 am

We’re about to start. Character generation and pre-mission linking adventure should be in two weeks. Everyone is looking forward to it. A couple of players raced out to buy the rulebook (not something they regularly do).
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby ochd » Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:09 pm

Is the poster map of the journey intended for the players? Seems like it contains some spoilers.

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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby shammond42 » Sat Jan 30, 2021 5:23 pm

ochd wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:09 pm
Is the poster map of the journey intended for the players? Seems like it contains some spoilers.
Yeah, I was wondering that. Seems like it has too much information for the players, but not enough for the GM.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Kulthea » Sun Jan 31, 2021 2:11 pm

I've started running my party through Deepnight Revelation, following on from their Pirates of Drinax (MgT1 to start, then MgT2) and Secrets of the Ancient (MgT1) campaigns. (My Pirates blog got onto the home page of Mongoose Publishing, which was a little freaky as I'd assumed it was locked down to just my players. I didn't do one for Secrets.)

The characters saved Grandfather at the end of Secrets and have become his agents. The rules for this at the end of Secrets make them quite powerful, so the logical thing to do once it was clear the players wanted to continue, was to have Grandfather send them off on an epic journey to confront The Entity.

As the players are agents of Grandfather I've taken a few liberties with the Deepnight campaign. My players have an Ancient ship instead of Deepnight. The ship is bigger (an asteroid) and the crew are droyne (a Dreskay family group they befriended following Secrets). The idea is that the ship will serve as a mobile base of operations. The far more advanced technology means I can wave my hands around a little more and not worry so much about resources or crew problems. I want to focus on the 'star trek episode' nature of arriving in a new place every (few) weeks.

Another change is moving Deepnight Legacy to Demnan. There, instead of meeting the navy for supplies, they are straight into a meeting with The Entity. This serves as their first introduction to The Entity, albeit in a relatively small cluster and in a weakened state, rather than just what Grandfather has told them. From this encounter they will devise protocols for future encounters with it (decontamination, concoctions to resist it, etc). The carvings will provide them with one or more clues as to the direction that the Ancients took a few hundred thousand years ago to hunt it down. It's the first signpost. Most of the rest of the material will be able to be used as is - with particular emphasis on the bits relating to Ancients of course such as the scientist in the Hennlix Nebula.

I'm two sessions into the Deepnight material (in the middle of Legacy). From here, to get my head around it, I'm using a spreadsheet that rolls up random systems as per the Great Rift books. The spreadsheet is currently 4 sectors wide representing the Riftsedge Transit portion of the campaign. I've hardcoded the encounter areas (Radio Source Vilaakasii, Hennlix Nebula, etc) and in the gaps along the way will put the episodes that don't have a specific location like Ripples in the Void (especially interesting with a full Droyne crew).

I've noticed for Riftsedge that once I assemble a '10 hexes ahead' map there's not a lot of space between some of the encounter areas (I've picked 10 as somewhat reasonable although the scanning ahead rules do suggest I could give my players a lot more to play with). Each episode, they'' be given a map and some possibly interesting places pointed out by droyne scientists amongst the many systems. From there they'll take smaller craft and jump too and fro from the main base (ancient ship). Once they've exhausted that region of space we move to the next area, hopefully with a number of clues found.

I like the episodic feel of the campaign. A new set of systems to look at every few weeks rather than having to plot a course in a free trader. Feels more Star Trek. Later on the books become less straightforward. The distances become wider and the encounters more 'first contact' in nature. Luckily the scope of this campaign is such that I have lots of time to understand what's coming up.

Interested to hear your thoughts. I'm really looking forward to running this campaign. The changes I've made to fit it into the much larger arc of my campaign shouldn't make much of a difference I hope.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Old School » Mon Feb 01, 2021 4:05 pm

Kulthea - great to see you here again, and glad to hear you’re starting a new campaign. Your POD campaign writeups were great.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Thu Feb 04, 2021 8:36 pm

shammond42 wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:00 am
I love it that your players went looking for the Tombians and left them a monolith. I'm totally adding that to my planning notes.
Great, I am honored to have contributed to your notes. Really, I mean it.
But we all know, that it is absolutely not predictable what the players will do and which clues they will follow in the end. So it's alsways good to be prepared. :)
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Thu Feb 04, 2021 8:48 pm

MongooseMatt wrote:
Wed Jan 27, 2021 3:09 pm
Tea Rex wrote:
Wed Jan 27, 2021 1:15 pm
In the latest post to the backers of the Kickstarter campaign on Deepnight Revelation, I got the impression Matthew Sprange was directly talking to me when he announced that "you will soon have a lot more people to chat with about running this massive campaign". ;) Thank you Matt for this great perspective. I am looking forward to this. :)
So, until then I will continue to post some of my thoughts and experience on the campaign.
I did indeed have this thread in mind :)
Matt, it seems that your comment was a little prophetic. It appears that the thread is awakening! Fantastic! I am really looking forward to the exchange with all of you: A lot of "travel guides" like me, all with the same goal in mind, the same travel guide in their hands and yet everyone will follow their individual paths.

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