Building a Vargr Pack

Zarpaulek

Mongoose
One of my players has a vargr character and he rolled "join a pack" on the life events tables. He'd like to sit down and build the pack he joined.

And since he's got a Charisma of 12 he thinks he'd likely be the leader or something.

How much detail do you think I should go into for the pack members? Do I just build them like stock NPCs from the Encounters chapter in Core? Like PCs? Somewhere in between?
 
Initial size and maximum number determination.

Segmentation into those who have essential skills, then subleaders, then canon followers.

Or cannon fodder, whichever the preference is.

Detail the ones likely to have a major impact on you or the game, or lots of interaction, less so for those who might, and the rest, generic henchmen.
 
Keep it simple.

Here is what I have for the crew of the player's lab ship:

We know 12 researchers, we give them a name as needed. We give them a specialty as it comes up. If they become more active in the roleplay they get more details.

Example from that page:
  • Eleni Kagaragu (Fomat) (Lead) #2 ⑤ (Solis counted as #1, so it throws off all the counting)
  • Veronica Sherris #3 - specialist in Sophonts Culture, part time navigator (refered to by Mikhel as Nika)
  • Jörn Diedrichsen #4 - specialist in molecular engineering, part time advocate
  • Eduardo Costa Hernández #5 - specialist in psychology, part time ???
  • Harold McGee Scientist #6 - food scientist, part time?? refuses to be a Steward
  • Kilee Hörgenshon #7 - specialist in molecular engineering, part time engineer/mechanic
 
If it were me I'd do stat blocks on index cards, but keep most of them simple. I might even reflect Vargr characteristics with stat mods over random numbers, so a lot of them at 59577[X] rather than all rolled randomly, but that's more personal preference. [X] for Cha because that one matters more to the pack, so I'd definitely roll a range there.

Key NPCs, like his rival for pack leader or the sneaky fluffer who'd like to be pack leader but lacks the Cha and will someday sell them out, might be worked up in more detail.

One of my players has a vargr character and he rolled "join a pack" on the life events tables. He'd like to sit down and build the pack he joined.

And since he's got a Charisma of 12 he thinks he'd likely be the leader or something.

At a meta-game level I recommend against letting this put extra character sheets on the table under his control. It risks shorting the other players. Re-read Allies and Contacts, and more importantly have him read Allies and Contacts, and treat them like that.

Handled skillfully it could be fun to be the PC crew aboard a Vargr-crewed vessel, or to be a member of a party where one player had his own gang to call on from time to time. But I can also see it taking over the game if he's trying to be the pack leader and bring them in every session.

But it should still do something real for him, just like rolling an Ally or Contacts directly.
 
One of my players has a vargr character and he rolled "join a pack" on the life events tables. He'd like to sit down and build the pack he joined.

And since he's got a Charisma of 12 he thinks he'd likely be the leader or something.

How much detail do you think I should go into for the pack members? Do I just build them like stock NPCs from the Encounters chapter in Core? Like PCs? Somewhere in between?
If it were my table decision, I would probably rule that it is an old pack from the PC's past that had broken up. Then give him 1d3 Allies and 1d6 Contacts plus two additional Contacts for his CHA DM. Make a note of what career and term they occurred at. Allow the player to select one of the Allies and half of the Contacts before he enters play, with the rest to be used in media res. Give those NPCs the Basic Training skills for the career they occurred in. Add skills appropriate for whatever they're doing now... Their UPPs are 686777 unless the RP situation requires them to have more or less. For example, if Bark the PC gets a 'pack' as Naval enlisted man, but the player wants the Contact to be a police officer, give the Contact Navy Basic Training skills plus a level of Streetwise or Recon.
Also remember that you have final veto over whether the he knows a guy there or not. If it won't fit your plot, then it doesn't fit. Just announcing that 'one of my contacts' commands the Imperial Marine patrol that busted them sneaking into the Naval Base doesn't always fly, right?
The ability to say 'Hey, I know a guy that works there!' is BIG advantage in play, but it's no bigger than starting out as a trained psion or something.
 
Last edited:
Keep it simple.

Here is what I have for the crew of the player's lab ship:

We know 12 researchers, we give them a name as needed. We give them a specialty as it comes up. If they become more active in the roleplay they get more details.

Example from that page:
  • Eleni Kagaragu (Fomat) (Lead) #2 ⑤ (Solis counted as #1, so it throws off all the counting)
  • Veronica Sherris #3 - specialist in Sophonts Culture, part time navigator (refered to by Mikhel as Nika)
  • Jörn Diedrichsen #4 - specialist in molecular engineering, part time advocate
  • Eduardo Costa Hernández #5 - specialist in psychology, part time ???
  • Harold McGee Scientist #6 - food scientist, part time?? refuses to be a Steward
  • Kilee Hörgenshon #7 - specialist in molecular engineering, part time engineer/mechanic
Nice names set.
 
If it were my table decision, I would probably rule that it is an old pack from the PC's past that had broken up. Then give him 1d3 Allies and 1d6 Contacts plus two additional Contacts for his CHA DM. Make a note of what career and term they occurred at. Allow the player to select when one of the Allies and half of the Contacts before he enters play, with the rest to be used in media res. Give those NPCs the Basic Training skills for the career they occurred in. Add skills appropriate for whatever they're doing now... Their UPPs are 686777 unless the RP situation requires them to have more or less. For example, if Bark the PC gets a 'pack' as Naval enlisted man, but the player wants the Contact to be a police officer, give the Contact Navy Basic Training skills plus a level of Streetwise or Recon.
Also remember that you have final veto over whether the he knows a guy there or not. If it won't fit your plot, then it doesn't fit. Just announcing that 'one of my contacts' commands the Imperial Marine patrol that busted them sneaking into the Naval Base doesn't always fly, right?
The ability to say 'Hey, I know a guy that works there!' is BIG advantage in play, but it's no bigger than starting out as a trained psion or something.
That solution would answer a big question : why this character would travel with the other PC (who probably won't be swooned by his high charisma) when he still has his own pack ?
If the other PCs aren't Vargr, that would get you nice roleplay sessions where the Vargr PC will try to find his place in this new group, with people who don't understand & react to Charisma.
 
That solution would answer a big question : why this character would travel with the other PC (who probably won't be swooned by his high charisma) when he still has his own pack ?
If the other PCs aren't Vargr, that would get you nice roleplay sessions where the Vargr PC will try to find his place in this new group, with people who don't understand & react to Charisma.
Well, it depends on whether or not another PC is a Vargr or not. A Vargr *might* be swayed by it, but most Humans probably won't be. It's also worth noting that you don't want to take away a player's agency with their own character.
Since this 'Join a New Pack' roll happened in character generation, you can presume that something happened to make the pack break up. Something like the corporation went out of business or the members of a military unit were reassigned for two examples. In any event SOMEthing happened that caused a high charisma Vargr to start hanging around a bunch of pinkskins and scraping for dimes like a merchant crew does.
 
It tends to be highly circumstantial, but a Vargr player character can do what he likes, the question then would be, would that be the norm for a Vargr, and/or his specific (Vargr) [sub]society.

Within the bounds of the rules set, gathering a group could again depend on the circumstances, a coup gone wrong, or the last pack leader dying, and the subsequent infighting causing the pack to splinter.

If there's a Judas amongst the new disciples, play it for the long term.
 
IIRC, vargr chargen assumes that the character is part of a pack at any given time unless an event explicitly says otherwise, and vargr can (and usually are) part of multiple packs that cover different things, so a "join pack" event means that their involvement was significant to them somehow rather than just being another everyday one, similar to the "You get involved with a group that..." type events in the standard tables.

Whether that effectively results in a contact or is just story flavor (or maybe is an excuse to do a career switch next term) is open to interpretation, but being high-charisma wouldn't automatically mean that they were in charge. Depending on the pack, they might all have been high-charisma types working on or interested in the same thing.
 
IIRC, vargr chargen assumes that the character is part of a pack at any given time unless an event explicitly says otherwise, and vargr can (and usually are) part of multiple packs that cover different things, so a "join pack" event means that their involvement was significant to them somehow rather than just being another everyday one, similar to the "You get involved with a group that..." type events in the standard tables.

Whether that effectively results in a contact or is just story flavor (or maybe is an excuse to do a career switch next term) is open to interpretation, but being high-charisma wouldn't automatically mean that they were in charge. Depending on the pack, they might all have been high-charisma types working on or interested in the same thing.
Vargr have been characterized as being VERY loyal to their pack. Several canon sources say that most Vargr are members of one pack at a time.
But, of course, the definition of pack changes with the circumstances. It might be a pack of office workers, the 'accounting pack'. It might be workers on the night shift, the 'graveyard pack'. The obvious ones are military units. What's important is that the pack have ONE leader; there might be the occasional challengers and Vargr are always jockeying for positions in the pack, but at the end of the day there is only one Alpha that does most of the decision making.
But while Vargr are loyal to their pack, that loyalty is brittle. If they have faith in a leader, they'll follow him to Hell. But they'll be just as quick to retreat if that leader gets his head bit off by Cerberus o_O
To me this means that a Vargr is a member of several packs over the course of his life. Those packs that are generated in Character Generation are old packs that have broken up... unless the 'Join A Pack' event happens in the last term. There's plenty of roleplay possibility in a Vargr PC whose loyalty lies with an off-screen NPC. He's working with the characters towards a common goal, but he expects his work and effort to recognized and rewarded by wholly different authority than the rest of the crew.
 
All Vargr behave on average like this...
All Aslan behave on average like this...
All K'kree behave like on average this...
All Zhodani behave on average like this...
Only Imperial humans have no behavioral traits that define the entire race...🐂:poop:
 
All Vargr behave on average like this...
All Aslan behave on average like this...
All K'kree behave like on average this...
All Zhodani behave on average like this...
Only Imperial humans have no behavioral traits that define the entire race...🐂:poop:
Imperial humans will have traits based on their homeworld, subsector, sector & domain. A character from the Spinward Marches will probably be considered a country bumpkin by someone from the Core sector.
Using stereotypes is common. We tend to give behavioral traits to other groups. It can be for a country (Average French eat frogs), a region within a country, a city, an occupation (leisure/entertainment based, work based, etc. Like metal fans or RPG gamers.).
 
All Vargr behave on average like this...
All Aslan behave on average like this...
All K'kree behave like on average this...
All Zhodani behave on average like this...
Only Imperial humans have no behavioral traits that define the entire race...🐂:poop:
Consider that the Ancients scattered "humanity" around Charted Space and beyond at about the same time that anatomically modern humans first emerged on Earth. Neanderthals, floresiensis, and even erectus were still around when they arrived.

Imperial "Humaniti" is likely more of a genus than a species.

While vargr were confined to Lair until Earth's Middle Ages and the aslan didn't leave their homeworld until well into the Long Night.

Come to think of it, Solomani tend to be described pretty stereotypically too.
 
Something else to say about this...

Every other society in Charted Space has its feelings about 'stereotypical' Imperials...
-- The Sollies think Imperials are all corporate drones and lick-spittle noble hangers-on
-- The Vargr think that Humaniti as a whole, but Imperial society in particular, is great big monolithic culture Hell-bent on steamrolling everything
-- The Aslan think that the Imperials are money-grubbing, dishonest, and have no conception of honor
-- The Zhodani think the Imperium is an asylum run wild where liars, thieves, and lunatics are allowed to run loose
And that's not even getting into the opinions of all the component parts of the Imperium and their opinions of each other!

There is a kernal of truth, often unfair and almost always unjust, in every stereotype. Traveller just reflects that fact in play.
 
They must have had run-ins with PCs.
At the risk of seeming arrogant for quoting myself...
"There's a kernel of truth in most stereotypes..."
But don't get me wrong here. I've absolutely played my fair share of former Scouts turned hustler /con-man /pirate of the spacelanes.
 
Back
Top