Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby middenface » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:16 pm

nats wrote:
middenface wrote: 2nd how about covering solo games with no player, games with a player and referee and then a game with just a referee....
Isn't a game with no player and a game with just a referee the same thing? :P And surely a game with a single player and a referee is no longer a solo game. Or are you meaning that all these roles being played consecutively by a single person?
Seriously think out of the box and don't be so negative. IT can be done, it can be fun. :lol:

Seems you are thinking that these sort of 'solo' games are just like your average rpg session with a group, adventure etc blah blah blah... (ok the group thing is out, or is it... ?)

Perhaps a solo traveller game is not like this at all, its something different... its trade runs, exploring, etc.. its a captain of a carrier group with missions and adventures...

A game with just a referee, could be someone running a subsector, a planet or a dynasty... its a different sort of game...

I ran a bit of of the Mithril adventure... I wrote a rough journal, very rough and brief... (lost all the notes though) I actually had a small team, one main character and 3 npcs.. I based reactions to incidents on personalities... its wasn't too bad at all.
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby GypsyComet » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:43 am

msprange wrote:
nats wrote:How can any solo book account for all this for every different type of character, every TL, every possible situation?
It can't - we therefore focus on specific areas.

Also, we acknowledge that it won't replicate the experience of group play but, rather, provides a different experience altogether.

Creative incorporation of the various career Events and Mishaps tables, along with the Patron tables, could go a long way to covering more ground.
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby domingojs23 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:08 am

Dear Friends,

I like the idea of Traveller-specific Mythic GME material, and the sandbox approach. I'd particularly look forward to military-themed material, as I feel the solo merchant mode is pretty much well developed already.

Do also take a look at Toltrin's skill-based "Adventure Flowchart" idea in his blog, http://toltrin.blogspot.com/2011/08/thi ... chart.html, http://toltrin.blogspot.com/2011/07/ran ... ch-results

Cheers,

Gary
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby Wil Mireu » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:16 am

msprange wrote:Well, this is the direction we were thinking.

Traveller is essentially a collection of sub-systems and mini-games (trading is one, character creation an obvious other). So, those mini-games can be used and expanded to create a solid system whereby you can create a character (using whatever creation system/book you see fit) and then choose to go trading, find merc tickets, go exploring, and so forth.
I thinking you're seriously missing the point of "Solo Traveller".

The usual "solo traveller" exercises of character creation, star system design, and ship building were things that one could do if stuck inside on a rainy day (remember, this was pre-internet ;) ). The point was that creating stuff could occupy one's time and that was sufficiently entertaining - not in playing adventures with those characters on your own.

Nowadays, solitaire games like what you describe here don't stand a chance given the alternative, which is to sit down at a computer and play a much more engaging game (either online or offline). If I wanted to do any of what you describe then I'd much rather go play EVE Online, Oolite or X3 or any other space exploration/trade game like that.

Also, the point of gaming is to play with other people. The "solo" aspect is something to do when you can't find others to play with, but if Traveller needs a whole set of books for that then you're telling me that Traveller must be in dire straits since you think there's a decent market of people who want to play it on their own!

Focus on turning the act of creating stuff into a fun solo activity instead and I think you may get somewhere. Leave the solitaire gaming for the fighting fantasy books.

IMO, YMMV etc etc
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby msprange » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:54 am

Wil Mireu wrote: if Traveller needs a whole set of books for that then you're telling me that Traveller must be in dire straits since you think there's a decent market of people who want to play it on their own!
Or there are so many people that the fraction who are after solo play is sizeable enough to justify their own book...
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby domingojs23 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:24 am

I strongly agree with Wil's point about "creating stuff":
Wil Mireu wrote: Well, this is the direction we were thinking.
The usual "solo traveller" exercises of character creation, star system design, and ship building were things that one could do if stuck inside on a rainy day (remember, this was pre-internet ;) ). The point was that creating stuff could occupy one's time and that was sufficiently entertaining - not in playing adventures with those characters on your own.

Focus on turning the act of creating stuff into a fun solo activity instead and I think you may get somewhere. Leave the solitaire gaming for the fighting fantasy books.

IMO, YMMV etc etc
[/quote]

Again, Traveller's rich character, world, systems, trade, etc., generation systems provide much fun in and of themselves, to occupy the solo-ist. However, maybe we can "kick it up a notch" by enhancing this sort of activity. This may already be done elsewhere, but may I suggest that the Mongoose organize volunteers to generate characters, worlds, systems, etc., according to guidelines it will specify, and then post the generated elements as part of the Mongoose OTU ? Or if not OTU necessarily, but as a online resource for the MgT community, a free online "1001 Characters" plus if you will. This would give a greater sense of incentive and satisfaction to the solo acts of "creating stuff". Sorry again if this is already being done.

But I would also like to see the Traveller version "fighting fantasy books" as well ! :D

Cheers,

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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby nats » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:09 pm

middenface wrote:Perhaps a solo traveller game is not like this at all, its something different... its trade runs, exploring, etc.. its a captain of a carrier group with missions and adventures..
You just mentioned three possible scenarios that would each take a book of their own the create a decent solo game and make it fun. An exploration solo game alone would take a massive tome just to cover the many possibilities. Not saying you couldn't do these as solo games, but to make them interesting - that's the trick .... and with Mongoose's track record for creating books that just fail to hit the nail on the head for most people, I would say it's nigh on impossible to get this kind of thing absolutely right.
middenface wrote:A game with just a referee, could be someone running a subsector, a planet or a dynasty... its a different sort of game...
Already been done with the dynasty book but I think there are a lot of people who wouldn't play such a game.
middenface wrote:I ran a bit of of the Mithril adventure... I wrote a rough journal, very rough and brief... (lost all the notes though) I actually had a small team, one main character and 3 npcs.. I based reactions to incidents on personalities... its wasn't too bad at all.
Well this is the sort of game that most of us try solo, I would suggest, and one that a solo book wouldn't help a great deal with. Running this adventure is possible solo right now with the present rules. I don't know what a book of solo events etc would bring to it that isn't provided for already or that the regular player couldn't think up himself relatively quickly. Perhaps a list of troops like the old CT 1001 characters, or list of pregen animals/planetary events with imaginative character? But then they have already had a crack at these and still not hit the nail...

I agree with others that the designing is the only fun solo part of Traveller for me, and enhancing this would be good. At the moment we have a simple RPG game that is good to play in a group, but is not so much fun on your own, other than the chargen and staged combat perhaps. I would like a book that takes all the design parts and vastly improves on them - chargen, equipping players/armies/vehicular forces, creating and fighting massed battles, creating individualised/custom space ships, fighting personal battles with miniatures, fighting miniature space battles, design star systems and planets/animals and planetary surfaces/flora and fauna, buildings/starports/cities, etc. This is what I would like to see. These are the things I liked to do on my own when I had some limited time to spend to mess around with Traveller in between all of my other 'duties' in life. I would suggest that I am not alone in this!

And yes if I want to play a solo adventure game or whatever I will go play a computer game, without doubt.
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby sartana » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:41 pm

msprange wrote:
Karl Tenh wrote: For example, a player is running a solo merchant game. Many of the necessary charts for trading (buying, selling, passengers, mail, etc) exist and can be used without any special solo rules. However, how does he run an encounter with pirates or thugs trying to steal the cargo? How big a force does he face? When do they decide to break off / surrender? How does he handle trying to ship illicit cargos and contact criminals, rebels, etc?
Well, this is the direction we were thinking.

Traveller is essentially a collection of sub-systems and mini-games (trading is one, character creation an obvious other). So, those mini-games can be used and expanded to create a solid system whereby you can create a character (using whatever creation system/book you see fit) and then choose to go trading, find merc tickets, go exploring, and so forth.

Our task is to make that as fulfilling an experience as possible.

We are not looking at 'choose your own adventure' paragraph-style adventures (well, actually we are, but not for this project).
I noticed that a member already mentioned the Mythic GME, and the Ultimate Toolbox for ideas. What I like about Mythic is it's use of ambiguity to trigger the player's imagination; it keeps the system simple, but open ended.

At the same time, sometimes there's value in not keeping things so open ended, so I also wnat to suggest this thread describing how the player was able to leverage a system within the "Sagas of the Icelanders" RPG to play solo (uses Apocalypse World, and its Move Playbooks):

http://story-games.com/forums/comments. ... ent_367443

The impression I got is that there is an element of resource gathering/management in that game which also triggers events/encounters based on results of the rolls, or the conditions created by the resources. Perhaps you could add an element of this to the subsystems/mini-games you mention in a way that allows them to provide feedback to each other (i.e. maybe your trading increases your resources, your resources allow you to explore more, the type of resources you have may trigger events or provide hooks based on exploration location).

This may only provide the outlines of an adventure, with the player's imagination fleshing the details out (perhaps with some other help from the system).
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby sartana » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:45 pm

the point of gaming is to play with other people
This is one of the most annoying memes around these days. It not only goes against established history, since solo supplements have been around for a while, but it assumes that anyone else has the right to tell me that the point of gaming is for ME.

Computer games are fun, but to see them as a substitute to pen and paper solo gaming strikes me as uninformed. One of the reasons that some people like me enjoy playing solo pen and paper games is that computer games don't let you create your own story or world as you go. In computer gaming, you're pretty much limited to what is put in front of you by the developers. The only exception I can think of is Minecraft, but even that one, as open as it is, has very stark limits compared to pen and paper solo gaming.
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby Fersboo » Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:14 pm

I've never actually played Traveller with a group of people. When I first stumbled onto MegaTraveller, one of my rpg friends and I played around making characters but we couldn't convince any of our other rpg friends to play. I am very interested in seeing what MGT will produce here.

I would like to see set-piece scenarios. Sort of like the Battletech 4th Succession War book that highlighted battles that took place during a canon period that then provided scenarios for players to simulate on thier own. Or maybe a campaign of a trade war with linked scenarios depending on how you did on a previous scenario.

I can see anything organized in such a way to encourage a solo player to feel free to try different "what if" combinations useful to the solo player.
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby DrVesuvius » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:34 pm

I'd like to disagree with almost everything Wil Mireau said. There's a thriving community of solitaire gamers out there, some through necessity, others through choice. Solo play gives a subtly different but equally rewarding experience. If it's not for you, then fair enough, but don't dismiss it out of hand for other people.

Traveller has been one of the few games that really embraced solo play from the start - not just the creation mini-games, but actual gameplay, using the trading rules to play out a solo trading game. But I would agree that if that's all you want, many computer games will do it better. So modern solo Traveller needs to go beyond that and try to do the thing that no computer game will ever be able to do, create an infinitely unique gaming experience based on the player's creativity.

And of course, Solo Traveller doesn't necessarily have to be solo, it can also be used to drive GM-less play with multiple players. I've played in a very successful Mythic-driven Traveller game with another player. The generated storyline was gripping, the roleplay surprisingly intense and the resolution much more plausible and emotionally impactful than a simple red/green/blue choice. So maybe "Solo Traveller" might not be the best name for the product.

Generally I think you need three things for a good solo/GM-less RPG experience.

1) a random "creative spark" simulator. These are things like Rory's Story Cubes, Mythic random event tables or tarot cards, that often require subjective interpretation by the player. This is where your plot gets generated, and what gives you the story twists that make solo play come alive.

2) a selection of "random stuff" generators. Wandering monster, world government types and "what has it got in its pocketses?" tables are all examples of this sort of thing. Sometimes this can just be a matter of the player knowing the setting and applying common sense. Most solo gamers will accumulate a collection of these sorts of random tables and Traveller has historically always provided a fair selection of this sort of thing.

3) some sort of limited AI for the non-player elements. This can be as simple as a morale check/reaction check mechanism, or made more complex to take in elements like motivation, character traits or even get folded in with the "creative spark" generator and require player interpretation.

A possible fourth element is a selection of adventure seeds, which can be another way to kick-start things instead of 1) and can afford to be more setting-specific.

Work out which of the above Traveller does't already do, and there you have what Solo Traveller needs.

Or if you want to just churn out yet another mundane choose-your-own-adventure book, turn to paragraph 999.


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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby Mithras » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:03 pm

I have always run solo games, never having a group willing to play Traveller. It's really easy, and all of my advice could be written into a single article, but that gives me the type of solo games I like to play ... some sort of ship flying about with the crew being the focus of the activity. The ship provides, like Trek, that newness each game, that reason for moving and a reason for encounters.

I do enjoy building too, worlds, ships, characters, settings .... fabulous fun!

My solo games tend to run a couple of months max, though.
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby Sol67 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:42 pm

I know I am late to this discussion but the suggestion that I have is this, split the adventure into a core book and offer pregen character booklets. This way you can pick from different characters with various careers and be able to provide more adventures later on so the player can advance their pregen. Given Traveller's rich background there's plenty of starting points for different character types that a core book could provide for solo play.
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby borusa » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:56 am

I think a list of solo plot hooks would be very useful-somewthing like BITS 101 books.

Solo plots that appeal to me involve the player character isolated in some way=marooned accidentally or deliberately-waking up in a cryoberth with no idea how you got there (and maybe suffering amnesia).
I am not so sure about pre gen characters in the whole cloth but character concepts that can be built upon would be good.
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby Nathan Brazil » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:43 am

I would like to see a something that would combine TNE's World Tamers Handbook and Smash & Grab along with T4's Pocket Empires. This could serve two purposes.

1) A detailed world/star system creation book, which includes challenges (i.e. military forces) to see what worlds are capable of. Then some additional rules on how multiworld polities would look like and share resources in detail. That is the one detail in the current version of Traveller is lacking.
2).Using the Dynasty, Scout, Merchant Prince rules or what have you, operate with or against those set worlds to play against. I would much prefer a Pocket Empires style game which deals with the ascension of Terra in -2204 . Yes, Imperium has been done, but that is a board game.
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby Culture-pig » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:02 am

Hi folks,
Just thought I'd stick my t'pennyworth in as I have just (yesterday) started my first solo campaign.

I haven't played Traveller since the '80s and my old gaming group has floated off on the four winds. So, inspired by Andy Slack and other blogs, I thought I'd give solo gaming a try, partly to learn Mongoose Traveller and partly to get used to some new tech that I may use to GM games over the internet in the future.

A brief note on motivation, I like the unpredictability and endless playability of rpg's, for me computer games just don't cut it - and there is nothing like the traveller I want out there in any case. I want a story to develop and not simply generate characters or ships for no reason.

So far I've generated a character (it didn't go the way I planned, but I really liked the story that developed from his pre-game career so went with this one rather than the alternatives), set up a rationale and first scene to start the adventure and let him loose in the Spinward Marches. I've then used the random tables in Mongoose Traveller to generate some encounters, and used the Mythic fate table to answer questions concerning such things as availability, cost, how many, etc. These have been backed up with some D66 products to add flavour. After one short session, my character has left his start point, secured passage, and boarded a ship on the first leg of his adventure into the unkown. Initially, my campaign will run off the encounter tables (with reaction and possibly motivation supplied by Mythic), but I would like to explore the possibiity of using pre-generated scenarios (I have all the original CT stuff from GDW, Judges Guild, Gamelord etc., as well as some of the new ones).

From this limited experience of solo gaming, what would help me is the following:-

An easily accessible set of tables, organised by random encounter, trade availability, etc.

I would like to see a combined encounter / description aid for npc/animal, organised by location, and not by social group as they appear to be in 1001 characters and 760 patrons. By that I mean is if my character is in a starport I want to roll an encounter suitable to a starport and then flip to a selection of individuals or groups that fit the bill e.g. I encounter a group of police - half a dozen options giving group size (ideally several for each of the various group sizes - e.g. small 1-4, medium 5-12, or large 13+), stats, skills, equipment, reason for being there, and stance/reaction to the character. The mix of possible encounters will obviously vary according to location (e.g. starport, urban, rural, wilderness). Groups of npc's presented in this fashion would be ideal for security personnel, criminals, military (army/navy/marines), and perhaps starship crews, as well as for individual encounters with patrons.

I would also like a random terrain book. Something like the old Judges Guild 50 starbases - giving a map and brief key to locations. This would be useful for starports, urban terrain, and rural/wilderness terrain, as well a having a selection of builiding interiors that could be used as the situation demanded - admin offices, university, library, resteraunt, etc. This would allow me to concentrate on the story, and not on where to lay my hands on a map which I have not, subconciously, chosen to give my character an advantage.

I would also like to play pre-generated scenarios, there are suggestion out there as to how this could be achieved, but I think one way would be to chunk the scenario into the chapter style of quest books. By which I mean rather than having an overall GM briefing (or rather as well as), split the adventure into nuggets or episodes, with a player description which can be read by the solo gamer, followied by a small list of possible outcomes, akin to the way patrons are presented. This way the solo player knows there is something bigger going on, but is only drip fed it. It may be that earlier player choices preclude some of the later GM outcomes, but I think that is acceptable in order to present manageable chunks to the player, without having to explain the whole plot at the first episode.

As my campaign progresses, I'm sure I'll come across other things that would either save me time trawling through various resources, or to provide GM type answers, so I'll probably post some more thoughts here in the future.

Thanks

Martin.
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby Mithras » Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:56 pm

Martin, for many years I used the Companion book for Millenium's End, almost a whole book devoted of modern floor plans, apartments, diners, training camps, airports, warehouses etc etc.... great book! Miami specific, but useful nonetheless. A Traveller version would be awesome, with oodles of encounter tables and quick-stats....

Ooh, its on DriveThru: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/6 ... -Companion
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby Culture-pig » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:19 pm

Thanks Paul,
That looks quite useful. Do you know if the maps have a grid at all as per deckplans ?

Thanks

Martin.
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby Jeff Hopper » Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:10 am

Has there been any further work on this project? I would be interested in anything created for it.
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Re: Solo Traveller - What do You Want?

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:40 pm

Is this going to be anything like those old Pick-your-path adventures that were published in the 1980s? Basically about the size of a paperback novel with 300 to 400 pages containing multiple paths for a single character. Instead of reading from beginning to end, the reader makes choices for the main character and on the choices made, the reader skips to that portion of the book indicated, when a combat is called for in a certain situation, the MgTraveller RPG combat rules are used to resolve it.
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Are you familiar with the Lone Wolf series?
What if we made a Lone Wolf book but using the Traveller Setting? The adventure usually takes an hour or two to complete, even though the book is the length of a full length novel, but only certain choices are made, so it takes about as long as to read a short story.

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