A new year, a new start to solo gaming. Numenera is going well with the Wayfarers, but I don’t to play that as a solo Game as well. I’ve dusted off Traveller, specifically Classic Traveller (LBB reprints with some of the bits cleaned up).
The main reasons for this are: –
- a) Nostalgia. Traveller was the second RPG I bought, back in 1978 with my birthday money (the LBB box set with the “mayday” message.) I was expecting D&D in space and so was a little knocked out by what I got. Still, character generation was (and still is), FUN! Do you go that extra term and risk everything? OMG, I’m getting old and my stats are going down (bearing in mind to me at that time, anyone over the age of 30 was old). Unfortunately, my gaming friends were all D&D fanatics and wouldn’t look at it.
- b) Book 1 said Traveller could be played solo, but didn’t say exactly how. I rolled up a few characters and started to develop a solo system based on a semi-random flow chart. Eventually it settled down into the system I still use. The system doesn’t do all the work for you, it is designed to make you think and set up situations you might not have considered. Over the years I have added bits to it (for example; I roll two Story Dice to get some idea of an NPC’s character), but the core is the same.
- c) It is important to write things down as they occur; this is your personal history. It also provides continuity and it is scary sometimes how the game seems to take on a life of its own, with events ‘just falling into place’ (and past events providing justifications for present actions and incidents). In the example below, perhaps during the mini-scenario starting with the offer of an illegal cargo of drugs, Judson shoots and injures a police officer in getting away. Years later, that same police officer might turn up as a Chief Inspector when Judson is brought in on a minor charge. And he’s got a long memory.
Let’s take Judson Deathdancer, ex-Army, newly mustered out on Neu Regari. (Go to 1.)
At (1), having assembled all characters, go to (2).
At (2), Judson has to pay Upkeep equal to Cr10 × Soc2. Now throw 1D. A 6, so he goes now to (5) Healing.
At (5), he can heal if necessary, or pay for a prolonged stay in hospital, or buy medikits or drugs, etc. Judson wants some Slow Drug; depending on the law level of the world you may have to set up a mini-scenario using bribery, streetwise, etc. Perhaps the cops get involved? Do as much detail as you want and play it out. At the end, throw 1D. A 1, so now go to 7 (Event)
At 7, throw D66 on Event Table; throw is 66, (offered illegal cargo, drugs.) Aha! In his earlier dealings trying to by the Slow Drug, did Judson come to the attention of the local crime boss and chief pusher? Is he being offered a job as a courier, or being set up as a fall guy? Roll up some characters for who’s involved and design a scenario, then play it out…
(Incidentally, all of that was rolled as I typed it, so none of it was pre-planned to ‘make it fit.’)
- d) The setting is my own; much as I like bits of the Third Imperium (I wore out my original LBB of ‘The Kinunir’ from sheer use; it is patched together with sellotape), I think that now too much has been written about it. My setting is the Alphanor subsector Rimward of Consulate Space; parts of the subsector are unexplored, parts are settled, there are various human cultures at odds with each other and (of course) there are bugs. The Bugs of the ‘Starship Trooper’ films. More on the setting later. Timeline is about 1000 years in the future, so the current year is 3016 (Andy, this is a total conincidence!)
- e) As a point of interest, I did submit the original system to White Dwarf in (about) 1980 but it wasn’t published. I tried to get it printed via ‘Dungeons and Starships’ in Birmingham, but was told that “no-one would be interested in a solo system for Traveller” and finally subbed it to GDW for the “Journal”, but it was rejected. C’est la vie.
More to follow when I get the Game underway. Again, the Game will be called “The Currents of Space”.