Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Flight of the Penguin, ep 1.2

Some moments passed.  The others looked at Hiram; his head was still down, focused on his datapad.

The voice came back, testier this time.

"Approaching vessel! This is Mora Highport traffic control!  Please identify and-"

"Hey I heard you the first time, guy!," Hiram snapped. "Could you give me a minute? Jeez!"

Juda shared a look with Max.  Max just shook his head and gave a short laugh.

"Oh I'll give you all the minutes you need, buddy! Welcome to the slow lane!" The voice clicked off.

"Oh, my life." Hiram rubbed his temples as the HUD displayed their estimated time to dock.

Captain Hank shook his head.  He wasn't about to wait 3 hours.  He motioned for Juda to let him have the Comms station.  A couple minutes, a name drop, and a few choice words later he had them in the expedited lane, and had lined up an audience with the Duchess as a bonus.  They would be docking in about 20 minutes.  He stood up.

"Gentlemen, we'll meet back at the ship in a few hours. I'm off to see Her Grace."

On his way to the lift he stopped by the equipment locker and asked for Charlie to join him; a nominal escort would be appropriate for one of his station.  In a few minutes the ship's boat was detached and they were off to the surface.

Mora Highport was essentially a metropolis to itself.  The crew of the Penguin had not seen such a place since...well since leaving Capital, and it was no real wonder.  Mora was the Gateway to the Marches in every sense that mattered.  It was the first system in the sector to be colonized by the Imperium, almost a thousand years ago.  Most trade goods going to or from the Marches eventually passed through Mora, and it was spectacularly busy...and spectacularly wealthy.

The ship eased into the docking bay under the gentle guidance of the traffic control auto-pilot, and soon they heard the sound of the docking clamp and the airlock seal.  Hiram powered down the engines, and they all went about their respective businesses; Hiram to find a buyer, Juda and Max to scout out the local low-lives, all of them to keep an ear to the ground for extra work.   

They left Dave asleep in his quarters; he was nothing but a huge pain if awakened prematurely, and he probably needed the rest.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Flight of the Penguin, Ep 1.1

The Penguin came out of jump right on target, at the edge of Mora's jump shadow.

Dave was tired.  He'd been dealing with insomnia, which often plagued him in jump space, and now that he had a real star-field in front of him, he felt himself crashing hard; age and lack of sleep: not a great combo.  He stumbled from the pilot's chair.

"I am going straight to bed," he said, and shambled to his stateroom.

"I'll take over".  Hiram was a merchant and broker by trade, but could handle himself adequately at the yoke when the need arose.

At best speed, it would take the Penguin four hours to reach Highport.  Hiram didn't have much to do at the controls, so he took a last inventory of the cargo.  Pretty good haul, all told.  The biochemicals in particular would turn a nice profit.  He'd been lucky; the guy he'd dealt with at their last stop-over had a surplus from a deal gone sour, and had been happy to get rid of them.  Mora had a lot of heavy industry, and there was always a need for raw materials of all kinds.  They should do well.

Charlie was busy with her equipment, as always; none of it had been needed in a while, but 20 years in the Marine Corps bred lots of old habits, and none of them had died, hard or otherwise.  Her pistols, knives, and armor were all laid out on the weapons table in the equipment locker.  All of it in was in excellent order.

Juda and Max were on the bridge with Hiram, to make sure sensors and comms had a body, although when it came down to it it was usually Hiram that actually manned the comms.  They talked about nothing.

Behind them, pacing, standing, pacing, was Admiral Sir Henry Wilhelm Roosevelt Bloodworth.  No one called him that.  Among the crew he was Captain Hank at best, but usually just Hank.  He preferred it that way at this stage; he'd spent enough of his life being important, and where had that gotten him?  Pretty far, it must be admitted.  But to what end? He thought about his sister.

"Approaching vessel, this is Mora Highport traffic control.  Please identify and prepare to transmit registry."

Hank broke from his reverie; they had finally arrived.

Flight of the Penguin ep 0.2: Prologue


It’s been almost a year since it began; since Admiral Sir Henry Wilhelm Roosevelt Bloodworth, contacted you. Some of you knew him as The Hero of the Rim.  To others, the only name you ever had for him was “Sir”.  These days he just goes by “Captain Hank”.  

 He came to you all with a proposition: freedom.  Freedom from your pasts, from your pain, from your clingy boyfriend.  Freedom to find your fortune.  Freedom…and means.

The means in question? The Emperor Penguin; quite simply one of the sweetest little starships any of you has ever laid eyes on.  Not that she was much to look at; just an unassuming Type “R” Subsidized Merchant.  Maybe a trained eye could see the engine casings built out a bit more than normal.  Maybe the same trained eye looking a bit closer could see a few more antennae and lenses blinking from the avionics in the nose.  But it’s what’s on the inside that really counts, and she’s got it all:  Jump-2 capable with speed and maneuverability to match, three triple-turrets packed with all kinds of mayhem, and top-of-line computer systems to bring it all together.  She’s trouble waiting to happen…to someone else.

You’ve spent the last six months, since you all met at the agreed-upon rendezvous at Capital highport, travelling ever more coreward and spinward.  You’ve been buying and selling.  You’ve been taking on small jobs; never big enough to slow you down.  You’ve been getting to know each other.  You’ve been making the “Penguin” home.

And now…

You’re an hour away from exiting jump space and entering your new life in the Spinward Marches.  You’ve all heard lots of rumors: there’s a lot going on here.  From the Zhodani Consulate to the Sword Worlds; from the Darrians to the Federation of Arden, many forces vie for many things.  Maybe now you’ll find the truth behind the rumors…and your fortune, for good or ill.
Through various grapevines you’ve been led to understand that Duchess Delphine of Mora is looking for just such a crew as yours, for reasons which are unclear; they always are.
Good luck, and welcome to the Marches!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Flight of the Penguin ep 0.1: Introduction

Flight of the Penguin represents a lot of firsts for me.

First of all Firsts, it's my first experience with Traveller in any form.  I've been playing RPGs and tabletop games of all sorts for about 20 years or so, but somehow had never come across Traveller.

About a month ago I came across a site called JMSNews.  It's an archive of every message sent by J. Michael Straczynski to the GEnie system from 1991.  Now Babylon 5 is certainly one of my top 5 favorite TV shows of all time, so of course finding this site was awesome.  So as I was reading through, I suddenly got the hankering for some books about Babylon 5, so I headed over to Amazon and commenced to searching.  I pretty quickly came across Mongoose's Babylon 5 setting, and saw the Traveller logo.

I pretty much fell down the rabbit hole, and I'm still tumbling.

The Next First: this will be my first time running a sandbox style game on purpose.  When I used to run a lot of games, I usually had a specific idea or two in mind, but heavy preparation was never my strong suit.  Therefore, there was a lot of flying by the seat of my pants, coming up with stats on the fly, fudging a lot of die rolls, etc. My games tended to be more about atmosphere and interesting characters, or at least, that's how I remember it. :)

This game will drop the players at the planet Mora in Mora Subsector, in the Spinward Marches.  Since I'm brand new to Traveller and so are my players, this still counts as a fresh setting for us.  I'm planning on using all the wonderful randomization tools inherent in the system, and pretty much playing "Traveller as it's meant to be played", whatever that means exactly.

Another: this is the first long-term game my wife will ever have played, and therefore the first such game we'll be playing together! Now that we have a baby boy, it's a way for us to do something together that involves other people, and still allows us (since I'm running it from home via Google+ Hangouts) to take care of Daniel. I guess this also means he'll be growing up around gaming: bonus score!

Last First: This will be the first serious game I've run of any kind in over ten years.  There are many reasons for this, but I can't overemphasize how cool it is to suddenly find a system you've never heard of in more than passing whispers, and discover that you've come back home.  From character creation to exploration, trade to combat, this game reminds me of everything that pulled me into role-playing all those years ago when I caught a glimpse of an old Basic D&D Red Box and said, "...WHAT is THAT!?"

I hope that this site will come to be an accurate record of that experience.  Maybe it will cause a few of you to find it again as well, if indeed you've ever lost it.



Welcome to Traveller AAR

This blog is site for write-ups of tabletop Traveller adventures.

The flagship will be my home Traveller game, Flight of the Penguin.

If you want to add your game and can commit to regular updates, I'll give you permission and you can get to work!

Only two rules that I can think of:

1. No Profanity: I want kids to be able to read this! :)

2. Don't Suck! Try to make it interesting; no dice mechanics, no table antics.  Just good, clean, exciting space adventure!