Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

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ochd
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby ochd » Sat May 08, 2021 4:09 pm

Yeah, I get that. Thanks. What I don't get is why the mission planners, prior to the events of DN Legacy, thought the location had anything to do with the entity (the investigation of which, as I understand it, has been the true purpose of the mission since its inception).

Maybe that last part is what I have wrong -- and that it is just the general indication of a threat rather than the entity specifically that has prompted the expedition. But the campaign guide (p. 3) says the mission's goal is to learn how that threat relates to the entity encountered by DN Endeavour, plus somewhere else it says that the hired crew have been informed about the entity's existence. Why that connection was made is what I can't see.

Oh well. I can make something up. I just thought there was something I was not seeing.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby QuinZ33 » Mon May 10, 2021 7:18 pm

ochd wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 4:09 pm
Yeah, I get that. Thanks. What I don't get is why the mission planners, prior to the events of DN Legacy, thought the location had anything to do with the entity (the investigation of which, as I understand it, has been the true purpose of the mission since its inception).

Maybe that last part is what I have wrong -- and that it is just the general indication of a threat rather than the entity specifically that has prompted the expedition. But the campaign guide (p. 3) says the mission's goal is to learn how that threat relates to the entity encountered by DN Endeavour, plus somewhere else it says that the hired crew have been informed about the entity's existence. Why that connection was made is what I can't see.

Oh well. I can make something up. I just thought there was something I was not seeing.
Maybe the issue is the time gap?

Here's how it went in my game:

1) Deepnight Endeavour is infected

2) Players find the ship, refuse to board, report it to the Navy

3) Navy rescues science team, but cannot save the rest, learns some about The Entity from the crew, but the Mission Officer is mushroom-brained and goes rogue

4) Rescued Mission Officer collects a sample from a crashed refueling shuttle, and uses it to infect the deep ocean life on a planet, causing it to be red zoned, dooming a billion sophonts (This takes months)

5) A joint task force is formed involving the Imperial government (especially the navy, IISS, and psionic institute) and the Deepnight Corporation.

6) During this time, the Travellers go to investigate DK-B1 Alpha, and discover The Entity there

7) They report back to the Imperium, who directs them to the joint task force. They spend weeks in briefings. Eleanor Bream's psychiatric files are uncovered during this process, so between two people having psionic impressions now and Eleanor Bream having the same impressions decades ago, they realize that this Terminus Point is a significant point of interest and possibly related to the Entity.

8 ) It takes mission planners an additional 9 months to prepare the mission, retrofitting the ship, plotting the general course, doing astrographic surveys of deep space, recruiting members, etc.

In my game, 511 days elapsed between the crew finding the Deepnight Endeavour and the first jump in the Deepnight Revelation
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby QuinZ33 » Tue May 11, 2021 1:11 am

My players' characters are 1 year into the Deepnight Revelation journey, and they haven't quite left charted space yet. IMTU, charted space ends around Touchstone. There are a few scattered independent colonies that far, and then nothing.

My players wanted to play out the journey jump by jump basically (or at least Reach by Reach), so I made a map in Miro, stitched together from Travellermap posters. They started in a custom subsector in The Verge, and are just exiting the Trojan Reach.

So far:

1) During a relaxing rest stop in the Islands, they encountered the Calixcuel Incident. One of the players is the Power Plant Officer, so he was sent down to fix the reactor in exchange for supplies for the ship

2) During the stop in Tobia, some members picked up a strange religion (Galacticism, from Referee's Briefing 5). This "cult" has become a small faction of the crew that needs to be managed

3) When passing through the Trojan Reach, they heard of a secret research base on Tech-World. The Revelation went to Drinax to meet with the King to negotiate safe passage, while the Travellers went to Tech-World to investigate, meeting back up with the Revelation later. They disabled Dr. Jali Astor's ship before she could flee and press-ganged her (and her nanobot swarm) to the crew. What could possibly go wrong?

4) They found an abandoned alien underground city, where the star started burning helium and expanding into a red giant, so the aliens all packed up and left, leaving behind graffiti, trash, and one curiously-powerful artifact which the Travellers haven't studied yet

5) They're starting to run into ruined planets leftover from the Ancients' war.

Attached is a map of their progression so far. I put in color-coded comments on the Miro board to act as calls to adventure. Red ones are rumors they picked up planetside. Yellow ones are interesting signals from the space survey team. Black ones are low-priority information. There are also green ones elsewhere on the map (not shown) to indicate waypoints set by the mission planners.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the map.

Image
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby heselbine » Tue May 11, 2021 11:43 am

I love the idea of a religion gaining serious traction with the crew. Could be lots of fun. Sorry, captain, I can't fix the jump drive today, it's the Festival of Wibble.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Sat May 15, 2021 3:35 pm

NOLATrav wrote:
Sun May 02, 2021 3:09 pm
@Tea Rex... that is a beautifully dark and sinister subplot you have there with the Anti-PSI Corps. You must let us know how that develops! :D
Thank you for this positive feedback. :)

The players were suspicious of the anti-PSI corps from the start, especially since some of them are psionically gifted themselves. After some overreaction by the team, the characters had a serious talk with Major Decker, while at the same time the ship's doctor found out that the women's ageing process had been artificially accelerated. Since then Major Decker has been under close scrutiny and I believe the players are just waiting for an excuse or opportunity to remove the Major from his post. At the same time, the three women have regular meetings with the ship's counsellor, once a week they have a talk with the ship's life-experienced XO and they are tried to integrate more into the crew.

Let's see where this leads.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Sat May 15, 2021 6:36 pm

QuinZ33 wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 1:11 am
My players' characters are 1 year into the Deepnight Revelation journey, and they haven't quite left charted space yet. IMTU, charted space ends around Touchstone. There are a few scattered independent colonies that far, and then nothing.

My players wanted to play out the journey jump by jump basically (or at least Reach by Reach), so I made a map in Miro, stitched together from Travellermap posters. They started in a custom subsector in The Verge, and are just exiting the Trojan Reach.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the map.
Thank you for this insight in your campaign so far! We also needed several months before we left charted space behind.
I am curious how long your players can keep it up to investigate (almost) every system on the way. Well, the real question is how long you will be able to come up with new ideas. ;)
My players have a similar approach and after almost one year of playtime sometimes I have difficulties to fill the gaps of the campaign with an interesting and original encounter. So, if you have something to share... ;)

I had to look it up. Miro is a mind map software, correct? Your map looks great and it would have helped me a lot to have something like that from the start of the journey.
How difficult is it to create such a map in Miro? Just copy and paste as you said? I did something similar quick and dirty with Powerpoint, but this becomes confusing when the map grows beyond a certain size. But I only started with my own map when we left charted space and I could no longer use Travellermap.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby QuinZ33 » Tue May 18, 2021 7:17 pm

Tea Rex wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 6:36 pm
Thank you for this insight in your campaign so far! We also needed several months before we left charted space behind.
I am curious how long your players can keep it up to investigate (almost) every system on the way. Well, the real question is how long you will be able to come up with new ideas. ;)
My players have a similar approach and after almost one year of playtime sometimes I have difficulties to fill the gaps of the campaign with an interesting and original encounter. So, if you have something to share... ;)

I had to look it up. Miro is a mind map software, correct? Your map looks great and it would have helped me a lot to have something like that from the start of the journey.
How difficult is it to create such a map in Miro? Just copy and paste as you said? I did something similar quick and dirty with Powerpoint, but this becomes confusing when the map grows beyond a certain size. But I only started with my own map when we left charted space and I could no longer use Travellermap.
Miro is a virtual whiteboard. It's as simple as copying and pasting. I have a python script to generate Travellermap poster maker data. I control the density of the sector, and go in afterwards to trim it down. Here is an example of how those sectors look.

Image

And here it is zoomed way in to look at just a few stars

Image

And yeah, my players wanting to investigate everything is turning into a slight issue. They realized at the end of last session that they won't be able to keep it up and reach their waypoints in any reasonable time. One of them is a senior project manager in real life and was actually a little excited to do the planning about exactly how quickly they'll need to move. He asked for the number of parsecs to each waypoint. In any case, they're facing some tradeoffs. They were willing to spend more time investigating things when they're near civilized space. I think they'll be more careful when they're far out in the black.

I'm also using that as a source of tension in the crew. The Imperials faction wants to press forward to go on with the mission. A small contingent of scouts and scientists want to stop everywhere for the knowledge, and the Deepnight Corp faction wants to focus on the discoveries that will increase their bonuses.

For example, Deepnight Corporation has a plan to explore star in Touchstone marked on the map. The signal from the star lacks in variability, and seems to be putting off too much gravity for its stellar type. It looks like someone is holding up a flashlight rather than a fire, if that makes any sense. I have an adventure planned there that would be difficult to get to, but would lead to a technological breakthrough if they figure out how the signals are being masked. The Deepnight faction wants to go there now, since it will save the corporation the time and money of launching a separate expedition. The Imperial faction sees it as a distraction. Whichever the Travellers pick will harm the happiness of that faction, possibly paving the way towards mutiny.

I hope I can keep up finding interesting and original encounters. I really wish the Expeditions book would come out to give me more ideas. But that's likely not out until late June.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Tue May 18, 2021 8:31 pm

QuinZ33 wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 7:17 pm

Miro is a virtual whiteboard. It's as simple as copying and pasting. I have a python script to generate Travellermap poster maker data. I control the density of the sector, and go in afterwards to trim it down. Here is an example of how those sectors look.
The maps are looking great. And I also like the idea of adding the annotations and letting the players decide which lead they want to follow (perhaps without realising that the wicked referee will recycle the spurned hint at a later date ;) ). Unfortunately, my skills in python are non-existent. So my players will have to settle for the crappy maps I can cobble together. ;)
QuinZ33 wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 7:17 pm
I'm also using that as a source of tension in the crew. The Imperials faction wants to press forward to go on with the mission. A small contingent of scouts and scientists want to stop everywhere for the knowledge, and the Deepnight Corp faction wants to focus on the discoveries that will increase their bonuses.
Another brilliant idea. This a a lever for gently pushing the players in a desired direction. On the other hand this lifts the crew from background and will create further seeds for conflicts and adventures almost all by itself.

QuinZ33 wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 7:17 pm
I hope I can keep up finding interesting and original encounters. I really wish the Expeditions book would come out to give me more ideas. But that's likely not out until late June.
As a backer from the Kickstarter campaign and owner of a pdf-file of Expeditions I can tell you, that the book contains some nice ideas. But they are not nearly enough for such a long journey if you want to be as thorough as your players. So, I started following another advice, found in The Crossing and added more mundane and "boring" systems so that the extraordinary systems and encounters really are something special. Besides that, I do what you probably do and get inspired by everything I can get my hands on: scifi books, films or other Traveller adventures.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Fri May 28, 2021 8:52 am

QuinZ33 wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 7:17 pm
I hope I can keep up finding interesting and original encounters.

@QuinZ33 (and of course to everybody else reading this): I think this is the other side of the coin. We have a huge campaign only spotlighting some areas and encounters and giving the referee a lot of freedom. In some parts you even have a sandbox with only some minor adventure hooks. On the one hand, this is great and this is one of the reasons I love this campaign, but on the other hand I am getting difficulties finding additional interesting encounters on a weekly basis. And then I want to give my players a kind of balanced expierence and thus I try to mix exploration with things happening on board and of course the more or less scripted events of the campaign. How do you do this? Do you focus mainly on exploration? What are your sources for additional inspiration?
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby QuinZ33 » Sat May 29, 2021 5:35 am

Tea Rex wrote:
Fri May 28, 2021 8:52 am
@QuinZ33 (and of course to everybody else reading this): I think this is the other side of the coin. We have a huge campaign only spotlighting some areas and encounters and giving the referee a lot of freedom. In some parts you even have a sandbox with only some minor adventure hooks. On the one hand, this is great and this is one of the reasons I love this campaign, but on the other hand I am getting difficulties finding additional interesting encounters on a weekly basis. And then I want to give my players a kind of balanced expierence and thus I try to mix exploration with things happening on board and of course the more or less scripted events of the campaign. How do you do this? Do you focus mainly on exploration? What are your sources for additional inspiration?
It's tough. I'm taking some inspiration from other sci-fi I've read and watched. For example, next week, they're encountering a species living in a megastructure. They ruined their own planet, but they had the foresight to develop an AI to control the construction of a megastructure. This is based on something in the Bobiverse books. They never developed a jump drive, but are otherwise very high tech. I don't really have much of an adventure set up for them. It all depends on what the crew wants to do. Maybe this is a good place to relax, and they get into trouble. Maybe they trade for some exotic goods. Maybe the aliens turn hostile and attack.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Sat May 29, 2021 9:46 am

QuinZ33 wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 5:35 am
For example, next week, they're encountering a species living in a megastructure. They ruined their own planet, but they had the foresight to develop an AI to control the construction of a megastructure. This is based on something in the Bobiverse books. They never developed a jump drive, but are otherwise very high tech.
This sounds like the nasty buggers building the Dyson sphere, but a little bit more friendly and reasonable. Well, they have to be as the "original" one, don't talk with food. ;)
I also have this race on my ideas list, but should my crew encounter them, they will be as nasty and xenophobic as in the books.

Talking about extremely xenophobic races: Have you read the Lost Fleet series by Jack Campbell? In the second series (Beyond the Frontier) humans encounter a very aggressive herbivoric race looking like cute teddy bears ("Bear-Cows"). Unfortunately, one of my players has also has read the novels, so they won't appear in my campaign. A pity ;)

There is something else I am putting in the mix. Perhaps this could also be useful to you and your campaign if your players like the idea: I encourage my players to think about personal projects their characters want to pursue. This can be everything from personal training, to a research project or building a device. After certain time intervals I grant them one "progress point" they can spend on one of their projects. Depending on the complexity of the chosen project it will take more or less progress points to finish. After completion, there is often a short mini episode where we resolve whatever was achieved. The player has some spotlight in this episode and has the feeling he has accomplished something relevant (at least for him).
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Condottiere » Sat May 29, 2021 11:28 am

As I recall Orbitsville, it posits that aliens built it to function as a mousetrap.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby shammond42 » Sat May 29, 2021 12:56 pm

Tea Rex wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 9:46 am
There is something else I am putting in the mix. Perhaps this could also be useful to you and your campaign if your players like the idea: I encourage my players to think about personal projects their characters want to pursue. This can be everything from personal training, to a research project or building a device. After certain time intervals I grant them one "progress point" they can spend on one of their projects. Depending on the complexity of the chosen project it will take more or less progress points to finish. After completion, there is often a short mini episode where we resolve whatever was achieved. The player has some spotlight in this episode and has the feeling he has accomplished something relevant (at least for him).
I like this idea a lot. Are there actually any mechanics behind the "points" or is it just a measure of progress?
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby shammond42 » Sat May 29, 2021 1:21 pm

Tea Rex wrote:
Fri May 28, 2021 8:52 am
QuinZ33 wrote:
Tue May 18, 2021 7:17 pm
I hope I can keep up finding interesting and original encounters.

@QuinZ33 (and of course to everybody else reading this): I think this is the other side of the coin. We have a huge campaign only spotlighting some areas and encounters and giving the referee a lot of freedom. In some parts you even have a sandbox with only some minor adventure hooks. On the one hand, this is great and this is one of the reasons I love this campaign, but on the other hand I am getting difficulties finding additional interesting encounters on a weekly basis. And then I want to give my players a kind of balanced expierence and thus I try to mix exploration with things happening on board and of course the more or less scripted events of the campaign. How do you do this? Do you focus mainly on exploration? What are your sources for additional inspiration?
STNG and is spin offs are great inspiration for short plots. Both "strange world" and "stuff happens on the ship" type adventures.

My group has been experimenting with montages lately, particularly for overland travel, and I'm thinking this will be key. When they have a solid plan that covers a series of jumps and I don't have anything special planned, I'll just call for a montage. These take a couple different forms, mostly depending on the mood of the GM.

Backstory Anecdote: Each character shares some information about their character's backstory. The prompt might be something like "You're all sitting around a table in the mess hall after a solid day's work. Share a success story from your character's youth."

Sword of the Serpentine Style: This one was stolen from the Sword of the Serpentine RPG from Pelgrane Press. One of the PCs is the "victim." Sometimes who is obvious, sometimes you randomly or arbitrarily pick one. You then prompt a different Player "Joe is working in the lab and something goes wrong. What is it?" That player makes up some bad event. You then ask a different player, "What happens that makes it worse?". Finally you go to the victim, "What do you do to resolve this situation?" There aren't any roles, the players are free to narrate the situation as they see fit.

It takes a surprising amount of practice to get good at this, but I think it is worth it for a campaign with a lot of travel and or downtime like DNR.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby QuinZ33 » Sat May 29, 2021 2:29 pm

Tea Rex wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 9:46 am
This sounds like the nasty buggers building the Dyson sphere, but a little bit more friendly and reasonable. Well, they have to be as the "original" one, don't talk with food. ;)
I also have this race on my ideas list, but should my crew encounter them, they will be as nasty and xenophobic as in the books.
Actually, no. It's something from a later book. Don't want to spoil anything.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Sat May 29, 2021 5:30 pm

shammond42 wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 12:56 pm
Tea Rex wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 9:46 am
There is something else I am putting in the mix. Perhaps this could also be useful to you and your campaign if your players like the idea: I encourage my players to think about personal projects their characters want to pursue. This can be everything from personal training, to a research project or building a device. After certain time intervals I grant them one "progress point" they can spend on one of their projects. Depending on the complexity of the chosen project it will take more or less progress points to finish. After completion, there is often a short mini episode where we resolve whatever was achieved. The player has some spotlight in this episode and has the feeling he has accomplished something relevant (at least for him).
I like this idea a lot. Are there actually any mechanics behind the "points" or is it just a measure of progress?
No mechanics at all. Everything is totally arbitrary and also the mini episodes are mostly improvised starting with the intended goal of the project. Of course you can invest more thoughts on the outcome and integrate it into some plans for future events/encounters. This depends a little bit on the nature of the projects.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Sun May 30, 2021 6:14 pm

shammond42 wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 1:21 pm

STNG and is spin offs are great inspiration for short plots. Both "strange world" and "stuff happens on the ship" type adventures.
Updating or creating your Star Trek proficiency is a very good recommendation especially as the Deepnight Revelation campaign has some "Star Trek feeling". In my case, I have to be careful as one of my players used the extra time granted to him by the pandemic to re-watch STNG and all seasons of Voyager.
shammond42 wrote:
Sat May 29, 2021 1:21 pm
My group has been experimenting with montages lately, particularly for overland travel, and I'm thinking this will be key. When they have a solid plan that covers a series of jumps and I don't have anything special planned, I'll just call for a montage. These take a couple different forms, mostly depending on the mood of the GM.
...
It takes a surprising amount of practice to get good at this, but I think it is worth it for a campaign with a lot of travel and or downtime like DNR.
Montages seem like a very interesting concept. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with it. I imagine that both methods are very entertaining and additionally grant the players a more relevant part in telling the story. What I don't get is how that advances the story. You say your players plan the jump route, but how do you determine the events on this trip? Or do you just focus on the "montage action" and say the trip was otherwise uneventful?
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby shammond42 » Mon May 31, 2021 2:52 am

Tea Rex wrote:
Sun May 30, 2021 6:14 pm
Montages seem like a very interesting concept. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with it. I imagine that both methods are very entertaining and additionally grant the players a more relevant part in telling the story. What I don't get is how that advances the story. You say your players plan the jump route, but how do you determine the events on this trip? Or do you just focus on the "montage action" and say the trip was otherwise uneventful?
Exactly what you described. The party has planned the next few jumps, I look at where they are in the overall plot and what ideas I have for side encounters. If nothing fits then I let them narrate what happens using a montage. As you all point out, it will be really hard to come up with interesting events for each and every jump and system. Spread the load, let your players do some of that work!
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Mon May 31, 2021 6:48 pm

Here is my NPC of the day. His role might not be needed in most campaigns, but in ours a situation arose that called for a system admin. Perhaps you want to give him a more serious name...

Cisco McApple (45, system administrator)
Cisco is the master of the computers on board Deepnight Revelation. He is ideally suited for the job, has extensive experience and also has in-depth technical knowledge. And if it weren't for the users, everything could be fine. But no, the millennia-long struggle between the system admin and the users is also carried along on this journey into the far reaches of space. Although the on-board computer was adequately dimensioned for a normal ship of this size, not enough thought was given to the Deepnight Revelations's role as a science vessel when it was designed. And the scientists do not stop asking for the allocation of more computing power to advance their research. But the rest of the crew is not inferior to the researchers, as they need extensive access to the resource computer to realise various things, be it virtual training sessions, the development of new landscapes for the holographic recreation area or simply for complex games. And for all this, the capacity of the computer is not sufficient, because the space worthiness of the ship takes precedence at all times. And so the disappointed users try to gain access to the system behind his back in a forbidden manner. He has all the passwords, all the access codes, all the trump cards are in his hand, but his opponents are many and they have a lot of time. And some of them are really good. So Cisco is at a loss when, for example, a group of nerds hack the access once more to run a large-scale game simulation on the main computer.
So some days are quite frustrating, so that only his hobby can save him from a serious depression. He plays the saxophone in a band (Twenty Seconds to Hospital) whose members have met here on board the ship. They play all kinds of weird stuff from ancient jazz to Vargr Tribal Metal and have a lot of fun doing it.
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Re: Deepnight Revelation - GMs Thread

Postby Tea Rex » Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:21 pm

Encounters with more advanced civilisations?

In the campaign, the crew of the Deepnight Revelation only encounters civilisations that are technically inferior to them, usually significantly so (the Ancients don't count!).

I am toying with the idea of having them meet at least one civilisation that has a higher TL. Have you thought about something like that? Any ideas?

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