Traveller - On the Make in the Core

J Harper

Cosmic Mongoose
I'm running my first Traveller game in years and my first one ever in the Third Imperium setting. I ran session 0/1 this Saturday with five players, most of whom I've been playing and running games with for years. Three of them have extensive Traveller experience, one who has just about as much as me (limited) and one who is a complete newbie to the game.

All the characters are human of with no particular ethnic identity, being simply Imperials, instead of Solomani Imperial or Vilani Imperial. Three characters went to school, with two failing to graduate and one graduating with honors. Two went straight into their first careers, Psion psi-warrior and Noble Administrator. The noble failed survival and got ejected from his cushy job after getting severely injured in a duel.

For second term, two went from school into the navy, one went from school into becoming a merchant/broker. The failed noble became a rogue while the psion stayed in psi warrior. Everyone stayed in those careers for the next two terms before mustering out, save for the two Naval characters. One failed survival and got badly injured, though their hospital stay and recouperation was mostly paid off by the military. They chose to take the draft for third term and got recruited into the Marines and did pretty well there, getting promoted to Corporal before mustering out. The other naval character, who went commissioned officer (becoming a doctor in support) took a fifth term as a scholar. All in all, everyone was pretty pleased with how their characters evolved.
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After character creation we managed to get about an hour, hour and a half of play in. The campaign started 02-1105, with their ship, the Crimson Petrel, docked in the Capital High Port. They had celebrated Holiday, their berthing fees had been paid, the ship, a brand new Far Trader, fueled up with maintenance up-to-date and their month's mortgage paid off. Our crew had now come to the depressing conclusion they had to start thinking about working again. Before debate on what to speculate in began, they received a message from the station's job classifies network. An Elizabet Shaiomi wanted to meet them a nearby high port restaurant called Belvidere's. The broker, psion and noble rogue went over to meet with her. Elizabet was a very tall, athletic woman of Asian heritage dressed in a very good business suit. She greeted them with professional courtesy and got down to business swiftly.

Shaiomi was looking to go to Sevan, a three-parsec trip, for personal business, and was willing to pay 25,000 credits for middle passage. She wanted to leave within a week and asked if the Travellers could accommodate her. They agreed to this, having made no particular travel plans. The rogue checked her over with Streetwise and decided she was legitimate, but also noted that she had very good control over her expression, possessing a very skilled and experienced professional demeanor. The psion took her at face value and did not attempt to check her surface thoughts.
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Their path for the next couple of weeks determined, the broker and the doctor started to look for cargo and passengers. While they (and their players) began that progress, the ship got another message - they had submitted their itinerary to Capital Control and a person calling themselves Jonny wanted to discuss having them making a special delivery to Sevan. If they were interested, they should come to Down Port and meet with him at a bar called Dirty Days. The rogue, marine and psion went down this time. Dirty Days was located in the south-east wards of Down Port, which was somewhat disreputable in comparison to the rest of the port (though in truth it is not that bad - the Imperial bureaucracy makes sure that all parts of Capital Star Port meet high established structural and safety standards - it is the point of entry to and newcomers first impression of the most important world in the Third Imperium).

My version of Low Port is un-domed. It and Cleon are somewhat above sea level (I have Cleon on a promontory overlooking the ocean), which helps cut the thick atmosphere somewhat, but it still can be a bit uncomfortable to those not use to it. The Low Port is grav controlled, the gravitic plating placed in its foundations set to a human preferred 1 G.
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Dirty Days was a large one-story structure, its signage in brilliant purple neon, declaring its name, happy hour details, and advertising dancers catering to all aesthetic tastes. The techno music blasting from the bar could be heard clearly from at least five meters away. When the Travellers enter the bar, they were slammed in the face by a wall of sound. The place was low lit and packed with people eating, drinking, and watching two dancers on pedestals on either side of the bar, illuminated by columns of light. Both dancers were young, athletic men, oiled up and only dressed in thongs so tight one could make a well-educated guess on what religion they followed.

The two bouncers at the door told the Travellers there was a 25 credit cover charge, but when the rogue told them he was looking for Jonny they pointed over to a table in a far corner close to the bar and waved them in. At the table was a vargr, dressed in leather and crimson, the fur on top of his head grown out, dyed a bright purple and styled in a pompadour. He introduced himself as Jonny Goodeboy and told the Travellers to sit down, turning on a sound dampening field so they could talk in comfort.

Jonny told the Travellers he needed a package delivered to Sevan and would pay 15,000 credits for it - half now and half once completed. The stipulation for the delivery was that the Travellers had to deliver the package directly to the person it was meant for. Preferably they were to see him open it as well, but that wasn't necessary. When asked if there was any possible blow back caused by the delivery, Jonny assured them that the package contained nothing illegal or lethal - he didn't know what exactly it contained but was assured by his employer that it was not innately harmful. The psion managed to read his surface thoughts and discovered Jonny didn't know who his employer was - he works as a freelance facilitator and the person sending the package hires him through an intermediary who keeps their identity secret. The psion also confirmed that Jonny was telling the truth about the package's contents.

The person meant for the package was Sir Davis Doylahide, a minor noble and a senior partner in the Sevan Agricultural Conglomerate Company - SACco, the corporation that governs Sevan. Jonny advised that the planet was suffering some unrest, with the TAS probably putting an Amber warning on it within the next six months due to SACco's harsh policies from the past half-century starting to come home to roost. They would be able to get more information from the local TAS office at Sevan's star port.

The Travellers agreed to take the job and Jonny immediately handed over a satchel containing 7500 credits and a small, black metal case the size of a palm, secured by a biometric lock. They sealed the contract with big glasses of lager and the Travellers headed back to High Port.
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Love this! Your campaign is off to a great start.

Thank you very much. I was worrying that my players wouldn't have fun, but they enjoyed what we managed to get to. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with this campaign report - I tend to peter out after a few sessions of write-ups. I'll be curious on what people who have played a lot in the Third Imperium think about my interpretation of the setting.
Meanwhile, the broker didn't have much luck finding a seller so decided to fill the hold with freight bound to Sevan. They also managed to fill their spare staterooms and low berths with passengers. The doctor met with these, and three of the passengers stood out as interesting.

One was a Droyne calling itself Krriip, who was looking for Middle Passage to Sevan. The doctor had never had direct dealings with a Droyne and asked Krriip if it had any special dietary or environmental needs. Krriip assured the doctor that it could safely ingest any foods humans could and would like to have a stateroom to itself if possible. This was more for others' comfort than its - humans who spent a lot of time in close proximity to it often got "What is the term? Oh yes, annoyed." Save for making chirps and occasionally spinning in a circle after finishing a declaration, Krriip didn't behave too strangely.

The second passenger was a tall woman, six feet/almost two meters tall, pale skin with her brown hair braided in cornrows, armored in flak and armed with a heavy pistol. She told the doctor she was looking for passage to Sevan but was short on funds. She could pay 5000 credits for basic passage - just give her a corner in cargo and she'd be fine. The woman also said she would fight for them if they needed it, being trained in gun and gunnery. The doctor called the broker and ran this woman's offer by him, and he agreed. He also said she could stay with him in his stateroom, though she'd have to use the floor. The woman agreed to this. The rogue stated that they should have all passengers store weapons in the ship's locker - this woman looked very tough and very dangerous.

The final passenger was dark skinned woman dressed in simple clothes of good quality and about 7 and a half months pregnant. She also needed passage to Sevan, looking for middle passage. The doctor asked if she had medical clearance for Jump travel, which she did, showing papers. The doctor welcomed her aboard and the psion, once told, predicted that they would probably be delivering a baby in the next couple of weeks.
After freight and passengers had been procured, the Travellers plotted their route. They would Jump to Crystalan but not make planet fall, instead taking half a day to skim the gas giant and refine the procured hydrogen before Jumping to Sevan. On 08-1105 they messaged Elizabet Shaiomi, informing her they were departing. She arrived in good quality casual clothes and luggage and was led to her private stateroom. The Crimson Petral received permission from Star Port traffic control to depart. They spent a couple of hours getting to the 100 diameter limit from Capital, performed astrogation and Jumped without incident.

The next session is planned for 8/19.
One final thing - out of curiosity, the group scanned the package. It was shielded but they managed to get some detail. It contained a piece of paper the width of the box and a game piece - probably a Solomani chess piece, but of what rank they could not determine, save that it was too big to be a pawn.
I've started a related thread - the Traveller's Core Sector Planetary Gazetteer - where I'll post my interpretation of the systems my players have or will visit and adventure in. Comments and criticism are welcome.
Ran the second session of my Traveller game tonight. It went well, in my opinion. Events included a pirate attack, a not-quite-unexpected child delivery, a rather unexpected suicide and the introduction of a Fairy God Spook. I'll try to write it up tomorrow sometime.
The Crew of the Crimson Petrel.

Dravij Cavrian - Broker/Captain

Robert Choi - Noble/Rogue

Dessa Petrova - Naval Surgeon/Scholar

Charlotte 'Charliey' Taylor - Psi Warrior

Nex Gryo - Naval Pilot/Marine
The Crimson Petrel Jumped out of Capital toward Sevan planning on stopping at Crystalan for a wilderness refueling. During the first Jump the crew of the Petral got the chance to get some of their passengers a little better. Before the trip, Charley referred to their Droyne passenger, Krr'ip, as a chicken. She had not said this in front of Krr'ip, but during the first day of the Jump, Krr'ip spoke with Charley, wanting her to know that Krr'ip was not a chicken. However, Krr'ip had been told of a Solomani experiment that had genetically uplifted a chicken, It was grown to a height of 1.75 meters and had the psionic ability to make other beings who saw it think that it was human. However, there was a flaw in the power - there was always one person who was able to see through the illusion and see the chicken as it truly was. Krr'ip stated that the Solomani wanderer who had told it this had been absolutely sincere and that there was video evidence of the existence of this strange creature.

After this conversation, Charley wondered what she had done to deserve this experience.

The very tall, formidable woman who was taking basic/working passage ended up sharing Dravij's cabin, taking the unused top bunk. Her name was Angelica Visallamir and they learned she was a former Marine now making her way as a bounty hunter. She spent three terms in Deneb and the Spinward Marches as a member of a squad attached to close escorts patrolling borders against corsairs and pirates. Her first two tours she spent on the border with the Vargr Extents, while the last was Rimward on guard against Sword Worlder Vikings. The experiences she had on the last one was what made her leave the service - Angelica told the group while the Wolves were tough and ruthless, there were things that they wouldn’t do in comparison to human pirates. While she didn't show it outright, there were signs she suffered from PTSD - occasionally crew saw her hands tremble a little - a sign that she was going to light up a joint to calm down.

Angelica was heading to Sevan to meet a few of her partners. Hopefully they had a job lined up and they were holding some money for her.

The pregnant woman's name was Rillu Manapulu. Dr. Petrova kept an eye on her and found her and her child to be in excellent health. She had been on Capital to do some ancestral research and discovered while there she was pregnant. Robert wanted to know what the situation was currently like on Sevan, and Rillu told him the information you can find on the Gazetteer thread. She also mentioned that her father and uncle were Elders of the Children of Velod, a religion with Gaia-worship beliefs which is also somewhat influenced by the philosophies of the native Thuluk. The Children are not happy with the harsh rule of the planet by the Sevan Agricultural Commerce Company and are deeply worried with the growing conflict between SACco and the Army of the Free Soil.

The woman responsible for the Petral's journey to Sevan, Elizabet Shaiomi, mostly kept to her stateroom. She was polite and was also questioned about the situation on Sevan. She did not have much to add, saying that she had never been there and the company she worked for had no dealings with anyone in the system. Elizabet was going there on personal business.
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Other than being hailed by a patrol escort close to the gas giant they refueled at, the Crimson Petrel's one day stop in Crystalan system was uneventful. The same could not be said on their initial few hours in Sevan system. Shortly after leaving Jump, the ship was hailed by name by an unidentified 100 ton vessel. It demanded that the Petrel power down and prepare to be boarded, or else the vessel would force them to comply. Unable to outrun the pirate, the Petrel prepared to fight. Angelica Visallamir earned her passage by taking over the second turret. Two exchanges of fire were made, with the Petral taking a hit that scarred the hull and caused a leak in the fuel tank. However, they inflicted more damage on their opponent, who had obviously underestimated their willingness to fight. The pirate retreated, Jumping away. The Petrel quickly radioed system security to report the incident. Also, the stress of the engagement sent Rillu into labor. Dr. Petrova delivered the child in an easy labor - a baby girl.

At Rillu's request the Petrel landed at Sevan's low port. Her uncle Havad met her there and thanked the crew profusely for helping his neice. The other passengers also departed, thanking the crew. Krr'ip had been willing to defend the ship against boarders ("I will - what is the human term? Oh yes, frag the bastichies.") and the crew offered Angelica a position on the ship if she was interested. She stated she would give it some thought.

Dravij was concerned about finances - while under Dr. Petrova's guidance (the Naval surgeon is something of a polymath) they miraculously managed to patch the fuel tank without expenditure of materials, getting the materials to repair the structural damage to the hull would put a severe strain on their finances. He checked the local systems and decided a run of consumables to the high tech, high population world of Umgadin would be their best bet to get a good influx of cash. They would leave the hull as it was for now and Dravij started the process of getting goods and freight.
Robert, meanwhile, decided to see if there was anything lucrative to procure for smuggling. Making discrete inquiries, he learned of a small company located in Sevrathi (the planetary capital and star town) called Halcyon Imports that may be able to oblige. Going there with Charley, he met with the company's owner, a formidable woman named Salli Tususiime. Robert managed to get two tons of untaxed and tariffed luxury consumables, including half a ton of Solomani-Kobe bred Thalukau steaks (Thalukau are a non-sapient animal related to the Thuluk in a similar way monkeys and gorillas are related to humans. Thalukau are raised by humans on Sevan for their milk and meat). Robert asked if there was anything she would be interested in buying - weapons, per se. Salli said perhaps, but not until she got to know Robert and his crew better. Robert agreed.

Meanwhile Nex, who is a pretty good gambler, decided to get some action going. He got into a card game in a Downport bar, eventually playing one-on-one with a man who seemed to be an executive with SACco. In the end Nex broke even and didn't rise to the baiting the man gave out to play for higher stakes.
Dr. Petrova, after finishing repairs on the fuel tank, finally managed to relax and checked the local news. She learned that SACco corporate forces managed to bloody the Army of the Free Soil with a raid on the community of Enidi. Per reports, several fighters were killed or captured, two leaders of the Army eliminated, and stores of weapons and equipment seized. The talking heads breathlessly exclaimed that this was a major blow to the Army of the Free Soil and within the next two years it would be finished as a threat to Sevan's peace and security. Doing a little reseach, Dr. Petrova discovered that SACco controlled media has said similar things five other times the past two years.

After taking care of cargo, repairs and passengers, the crew decided it was time to deliver Jonny Goodeboy's package to Sir Davis Doylahide. Instead of trying to visit him at his office in Demeti Tower, Robert wanted to meet him in a social setting. Doing some research, Robert learned that Sir Davis was attending a social function sponsored by SACco in Demeti Plaza at the SACco High Function Hall, a great, vaulting structure of glass and gold. Managing to procure an invitation through dubious means, he and Charley took it upon themselves to deliever the package.

As the two initially circulated, Charley 'heard' a voice whisper in her ear, asking her to look over her shoulder. She obeyed and spotted a gentleman of Asian descent, dressed in white and black, eyes concealed by smoke-lensed pince-nez. She cautiously approached him and was told that there was something that such an interesting woman could find of use on Crystalan, if she so chose to pursue it - she was under no obligation to do so. Before she could ask any questions, a commotion caused by a young woman drinking a bit more than she should have distracted her and the man disappeared.
Meanwhile, Robert found Sir Davis speaking in a corner with a few other old, dyspeptic looking men. Sir Davis Doylahide was about 72 years old, bald with gray-white walrus mustaches and quite tall, almost two meters, though he had a slight stoop. Robert introduced himself and handed him the package. When opened, it was discovered to contain a wooden Solomani chess piece, a black queen, and a plain square of white poster board. The effect on Sir Davis was appalling - he went stark white, eyes bulging, sweat instantly springing up on his brow. He ferociously asked Robert who sent this. Robert told him he did not exactly know, and Sir Davis went into an apoplectic rage, breaking the chess piece in two and throwing it at Robert, screaming at him to get out before he summoned security. Both men were separated, with Robert's social skills allowing him to deflect blame from himself - people around him apologized profusely. While Sir Davis raved, Charley managed to knock him out with a mental Assault, which to observers seemed like his fit made him pass out. During the confusion Robert managed to swipe something of interest.

Nothing much happened the next day, the Petrel needing to stay in Low Port one more day waiting for the special goods to arrive from Salli Tususiime. Around evening, Robert received notification of a 7,500 credit payment being deposited into his account.