Referees Only: Where's the cat?!?


Banded Mongoose
If you never, ever, ever, plan to be a Referee, GM, DM. If you only ever want to be a's your jam. 8) Please stop reading, because everything presented below, is a scenario outline for referees who might want something different for a change of pace.


If you are still reading, that means you are currently, or at some point in the future, a Traveller Referee.


The following scenario outline is for fellow referees. To use as an idea foundry that you could further develop as an introductory adventure, one-shot, campaign interlude, really anything.

The following scenario is based on the following TRUE STORY!!!


True Story TIme: So, I'm at work today on a call with another employee, when I get a call from my wife. I NEVER get calls during work (she works also) unless it's an emergency.
Yep....she's trying her best to keep calm, but I can tell she's stressed. One of our cats (the smallest one) had discovered an opening in our house air-ducting, crawled in, fell down a shaft from the second floor, and was in the main air-ducting in the basement.....and she was crying. I admit...I'm getting worried.

The Cat


I tell work.... "I need to go."

I get home (about an hour drive done in about 45 minutes). The cat is still in the ducting. My wife is pretty sure, Helya the cat, seems to be OK. I hear the scratching of the claws and pitter patter of little paws traversing the maze of duct work. It sound like she is having fun. Coaxing with food is not working. Removing the vents, results in you and the cat making eye contact only to see her scurry off.


We are now to the point of having to dissemble significant sections of basement duct work. Helya, the cat, finally has presented herself and is ready to come out...but the hole she is at, is too far from the floor....and she doesn't want to jump. My wife has to grab and hold a the little princess can hop to the pillow, then to the floor....only to run off into the crawlspace under the kitchen.

At least the cat is out of the duct work. The cat is fine and everything is back to were it needs to is good :D

I shared the above because I think the same situation could be presented to a group of Travellers....and all sorts of shenanigans can occur.

Location Idea: Your Travellers are passengers in jump space on a star-liner, and they notice that the crew seems to be acting they are looking for something. Maybe they occasionally hear a cat's meow from an air vent in their stateroom. As the clock gets closer to 168 hours, the crew is becoming more and more anxious. Finally the ship's captain comes on the coms system, "Ah....this is the captain speaking....I hope you all have been enjoying your stay aboard the ship. We expect to breakout in about two hours.......ah......there's no reason for concern.....ah......but if you happen to see a cat, would you be so kind to let one of the crew know...thank you. Bridge out."

The Situation: The ship has a cat. It's the ship's lucky cat. The cat needs to be on the bridge, right before breakout, or bad things happen. Or so the crew says. They are very superstitious, and's the Ship's Cat...and they love their cat. The cat is in the ducting and conduits that run through the ship, and the Travellers are asked to help get the cat.

Or the Travellers are the crew. There plenty of options available for a referee to really enjoy themselves. the referee, you don't need a solution. Let the players go wild. Maybe they decide to systematically seal parts of the ship? Maybe they have to build a motion tracker? :twisted:


Don't make it too easy. Have a really smart plan fall apart (or maybe the dice go bad anyway). But remember....let your players create the solution.

Most of all HAVE FUN!!!! 8)

Anyway...if you have any ideas that build upon this, or your own "pace changer" scenario, please feel free to share and/or comment.
I agree, it's a great idea!! Lots of possible variations. It could be something small and hostile, it could be a passenger's purse pet (cue social with passenger threatening legal action or taking a toolkit and searching for it on their own), it could be an accidental stowaway (animal snuck onboard on the last world). Maybe something's made a nest in the ventilation and the babies are waking up....

One caution - I tried a variant of this on my group a year or so back. One was a psion with life detection. A lot less drama with that, other than the player attempting to his unaware cremates why he was having such great luck tracking the little pests down (the 'cat' in this instance was an animal I invented that liked to gnaw on power cables...).
A truly epic tale.

I must say, though, that a starship crew that relies on their cat cooperating with expectations to do anything at the time and place you they Expect is, unfortunately, doomed. Source: have owned half a dozen or so cats, including two rescue kitten currently.
Thank you for the compliments /cheers

Linwood said:
, it could be a passenger's purse pet (cue social with passenger threatening legal action or taking a toolkit and searching for it on their own), it could be an accidental stowaway (animal snuck onboard on the last world).

This what I'm talking about! Very nice. How about a passenger threatening legal action if they harm the accidental stowaway, because it's an endangered species? :lol:

As Linwood also points out, depending on your group, this may work or not. But the challenge here to put the Travellers in a situation that they are at an immediate disadvantage. Not many players crewing a starship put much stock into a skill like Animal Handling. I'm also attempting to put them in a situation that combat is not an option. They have to use their other skills to solve the problem.

Now, with a psionic character? I think there's a couple options available. I seem to recall, but can't it may be a different version rule, that if a player rolled snake-eyes on their PSI stat. They were PSI-NULL and therefore never able to be psionic, but also immune to psionics. Or the the Ship's Cat is also Psionic (see JTAS Vol4). I think we get the idea.

Anyways, Keep it up...nice job.