Thursday, 6 November 2014

Traveller - Star Trader (adventure, part 1 of ?)

Here is the beginning (all I've played so far, in fact) of a classic Traveller merchant campaign using Star Trader. It's set in the same subsector as my other solo game, and is esentially the captain's log.


Day 01
Piemal/Foreven (2533 B792369-9  Lo Ni)

Arriving in port, we got news that Foreven Fast Freight LLC went bust. After all cargo is offloaded, the bank gave me two options. A) the ship is to be returned to their nearest major affiliate branch (on Zoe) immediately or B) I could exercise my statutory rights and have the remaining mortgage transferred to me, retaining possession of the ship as a free trader.

I only had Cr40000 to my name. I knew Orneev and Diula were solvent, so we sat down in the starport bar and talked things out. He could match my KCr40, Diula only had half that, but between us it's enough starting capital. We split it 6 ways: Diula gets 1 share for her KCr20, me and Orneev both get 2 shares for KCr40. As captain I get one extra since the ship is legally mine. We told Auoth and the doc, they agreed to stay on at their current salaries.

Day 03
Picked up 2 mid & 4 low passengers for Estoner. There were a bunch a mercenary cruisers refuelling in the port, causing all sorts of havoc. Luckily the Port authority didn't feel like pushing me out of the refuelling queue even though the corporate priority payment went away, so I think we'll get out without a problem. [Star Trader port event 46]

Bought 6t crystals @ Cr16000/ton (+1% fee for splitting the lot, we couldn't afford all 20t) on spec for Cr96960.

Found a 40t and a 15t shipment at standard rate to fill the hold.

-96960 crystals
+55000 freight
+20000 passengers
-35500 fuel, life support & berthing fee
Cr42450 remaining ship's fund

Day 05
Met some locals in a downport club. Bunch of suits worrying about their firm's import/export accounts. No matter what they tried to talk about it always came back to the office. Boring, but useful. It sounds like their biggest competitors have secured the rights to a major new hydrocarbon field. If I hadn't already secured a cargo, I'd be looking them up. Maybe next time. [from Star Trader's world encounter #51; DM +1 to find a dealer on next visit].

Day 06
Left port at 13.103 local time. Encountered a 2000dt Frontier Transport bound insystem on route to the jump point. The captain wanted to know if I had any good info about business on Piemal. I told him to look up those guys I met in the club. They could use the business, and no way I'm letting someone else know about the real tip.

[day 09
jn jumpspace

Star trader jump event 64 One of the stewards is: (6) under pressure from a passenger.
Q: How? Oppress / Home - Passenger has Soc A, 2 higher than Orneev's. He is from Orneev's homeworld (Haarui), and a social superior, and looks down on those below him.
Captain Liljingiv takes over the steward role as she also has Steward-2, and doesn't want her first voyage as a free trader to be marred by petty snobbery. She needs 8+ to pull it off; rolls 6+2=8, success. She doesn't even record the incident in the ship's log so everyone can forget it.]

Day 14
Arrive Estoner/Foreven (2532 E338569-6  Ni)
Uneventful trip from jump point to "port", a flat rocky plain near the warehouses.

Passengers successfully unloaded, the doc successfully revived the low passengers himself as there's no facility onworld. Cargo unloading will take a few days.

Day 17
Found a buyer for the crystals. Got KCr240!

[selling cargo, rolled 2d6 on the actual value table with Orneev's broker-3 as a positive DM. Roll 10+3=200% of base price (Cr20000/ton)]

Bought a full hold worth of wood? or some plant-fibre equivalent @ Cr900/ton. They'll need low tech stuff like this on Lime.

Found 3 High, 1 Mid, 4 low passengers. Aid workers and missionaries all. at least they shouldn't be any trouble.

ship's fund Cr42450

 +240000 from spec sale
  -55449 61t wood
  +42000 passengers
  -25500 fuel (unrefined), life support & berthing fee
Cr243501 new ship's fund

[world event 44 Learn a political secret on planet. PC can make 1d6x10000 credits from this, but will need to roll 8+, with a DM of +Streetwise to get away with it. Failure risks arrest or deportation.
This sounds like the sort of thing Diula would end up involved in. She has streetwise-1; she rolls 10+1, succeeding. She is now Cr10000 richer, but has made an enemy on Estoner.

Q: What is the secret about: Truce / A burden. There is growing resentment towards the planetary governor from Zoe. Some factions in local government are considering secession, but the revolution is in its infancy. Diula hears this from a drunken junior diplomat who's speaking out of turn. She taps him for Cr10000 not to tell her (wholly fictional) journalist friend who works for the Foreven SPQR (Subsector P Quarterly Review).

Needless to say she doesn't mention any of this to her shipmates.]

Day 21
Uneventful journey to jump point.

Day 28
Arrive at Lime/Foreven (2632 X6758AA-1)

As expected, it was a quiet trip. Very little system traffic.

Day 38
The planet's a mess. 20 years since the war and they still have almost no infrastructure. Put down near one of the larger settlements at the behest of one of the passengers. No one had any better ideas.

As expected, made a tidy profit from the wood. Found some people able to resupply our life support for hard currency at the normal rates, Imperial credits are more welcome here than most places in the subsector.

Got a full hold of steel - mostly scrap - @ Cr450/ton.

Getting things loaded&unloaded here is painfully slow, there's so little heavy machinery to go round. Got stuck 4 extra days on the ground. "Port Authority" even charged the usual Cr100/day (hard currency only) extended berthing fees. Normally I'd feel ripped off, but they really need the cash here. Also, no fuel is available, so we had to use the scoops and get it from a lake. I'm always nervous about using unrefined fuel. Fingers crossed.

5 high passengers and 4 low bound for Bleugh. I'm sure they want steel there.

Cr 243501 ship's fund

 +244000 sell wood
  +54000 passengers
  -27450 steel 61dt on spec.
  -20400 life support
    -500 berthing fees (Std. +4days)

Cr493151 new ship's fund.

This looks good, but I'm late paying the mortgage. I hadn't realised that no interstellar bank has reopened a branch on Lime.

Day 39
Uneventful trip to the jump point. But the jump engines sputtered and died when we tried to make the jump. Now we're floating dead in space to conserve power. We have enough fuel to go back planetside if necessary, but if so, we may be stuck here indefinitely...

[To fix the jump drive temporarily require a 10+ with positive DMs equal to the skill levels of the engineers working on them. Both Duila and Aouth have engineer-1. A new roll can be made once per day.

They roll 7+2=9 the first day. On the second day they roll a 6.

Q: Do any of the passengers get angry about the delay? Somewhat Likely: 09, Exceptional Yes.
Captain needs to roll 10+ to defuse the situation, +DM equal to liason skill. Roll 5+1, fails.]
Q: What do the passengers do? Change / Plans]

Day 41
The passengers are up in arms. Had to take them back to the planet and refund their money. And pay another Cr100 landing fee. Diula and Aouth swear they almost have the jump drive back online.

Day 42
Since we're stuck here I went in search of more passengers. Found 5 new high passengers to replace the ones leaving. They don't mind if we leave a day late. I guess they're just happy to be going somewhere else. Can't say as I blame them.

Good news all round when I got back to the ship. We have jump drives again.

Day 43
Finally enter jump.

Day 45
Mostly boring trip. I'm a bit worried about what happens when we get to Bleugh. Practically owe the bank two payments now, plus repairs on top of that. I'll tell the low passengers the voyage through jump space took an uncommonly long time. Even if they don't believe me, I doubt they can afford to sue.

And that strange vilani passenger seems to keep having chills and fevers. The doc says he's checked her out thoroughly and its probably just space sickness and he's on top of things. He better be right. If she's brought plague onboard...

[jump event 52 Crewman has an affair with a passenger.]

Day 49
Finally arrive at Bleugh/Foreven (2831 C533A95-7 Hi Na Po)

Quiet trip to the downport.

Day 51
Everything unloaded without a hitch.

Good news: We made 300% profit on the steel. Bad news: it was the least lucrative speculation to date. [poor worlds give a +3DM on the value table to determine sale price of steel. roll 9 + broker 3 +3DM = 400% (Cr2000/ton) selling price].

Really bad news: the parts needed to fix the jump drives properly are going to cost MCr10. Not sure how long we can limp from system to system until we raise the cash.

ship's fund Cr493051

 +122000 sale of steel
 -275729 mortgage
   -8600 crew salaries
    -100 berthing

Cr330622 remaining fund

Day 52
There's a mysterious ship in the port that no one is allowed anywhere near. Rumours abound, but it's probably just an imperial dignitary. But whilst everyone and their zkrog is out trying to get a peek at it, I'm heading out in search of a cargo that will make us some money.

Managed 10tons of mechanical parts @ Cr35000/ton.

Ample choice of freight consignments. 45t @ normal rates

Took on 5 middle + 4 low passengers. Having Aouth try ocean refuelling again before we leave because we can't really afford fuel. Hopefully none of the passengers will ask why the ship's all wet when they see it.

ship's fund Cr330622

-350000 spec. cargo
 +45000 freight
 +45000 passengers
 -20400 life support
Cr10222 new ship's fund

Day 55
Jump engine failed again.

Day 56
These passengers are a much more sanguine lot. No complaints drifting away from Bleugh. Made it into jumpspace at 23:06 ship's time.

Day 57
Jump field misaligned in jumpspace. Needed emergency repairs. Could have been fatal. Wish I could hire a better engineer...

Day 63
Arrived at Fpozz/Foreven (2933 D000320-9 As Lo)

Quiet trip insystem. Almost no radio chatter. I forgot just how few people actually live here.

Day 65
Everything unloaded. Mechanical parts sold for MCr1.19. Quickly paid off the mortgage to put out that potential fire.

+1190000 sale of spec. cargo
    -100 berthing
 -275729 mortgage
   -8600 crew salaries (also late, but came due in jumpspace)

Cr905571 remaining ship's fund

Day 66
Called a crew meeting to determine what to do. We've less than a tenth of what we need to fix the jump drives and I don't know how we can legally raise the capital fast enough to avoid destroying the drives or the whole ship if we keep pushing them. I don't think anyone other than Diula would consent to piracy (I didn't say, but everyone is already thinking it). So as I see it the options are:
1. Stay on and try to ride out the storm
2. Look for higher-paid, less-legal cargo
3. Try to get a short-term loan for the parts - our track record is solid so far
4. Back out now and cut losses
5. Go back to Imperial space and then leave the ship
6. Sell the ship and split town

So I put it to everyone. The doc strangely liked the idea of illegal cargo. Aouth said we should make a trip across the Imperial border, but then he was done. My lovely Orneev figured that we could probably get away with unloading the ship on some other sucker and be gone before they knew what happened. Diula said she wants out now with her share, Cr150928.5 exactly.

I said we should all sleep on it and everyone agreed on that at least.

Day 67
Asked Orneev to move in with me last night. Said we could really use the extra revenue form a 6th passenger stateroom. He called me a true romantic and laughed. Then said yes. And that he intends to see this crisis out, was just kidding about selling the ship and running off. Maybe I'll get to keep the ship after all. Gods I hope I'm not making a mistake. Or two.


Later: reconvened to decide what to do. Orneev and I presented a united front. The doc is willing to stay, but really thinks we should be looking for 'special' cargo. Diula said she'll stay after all, and seconds the doc's idea. Aouth said he'll fly us across the border into the Imperium but then he's getting off. I told him to get the fuck off my ship. If he wants out he can pay for passage to the Imperium and I'll fly the ship my damn self.

[The original decisions were just rolled on a d6. For sleeping on it, each NPC was determined to be willing to change their mind on the roll of 4+ on a d6. I rolled twice for Orneev and took the more amenable result since he is so close to the Captain. Luckily she retained her boyfriend/broker-3. Though which side of him she prefers...? Diula's change of heart was determined by rolling 1d3 to decide which of the other votes she sided with.

I rolled a reaction for Auoth to see how he reacted to being let go and got a 10, so he'll leave without a scene. Luckily he didn't ever realise that the captain consistently spelt his name wrong, which would have been worth at least a -2DM on the reaction table.

That I admit is my mistake; if I'm going to make up space-names it would really be a good idea to remember how to actually spell them. But when I noticed it, it seemed to make a good personality quirk for the captain, so I didn't go back and correct it. I also decided that the captain is much less conscientious than I about good English (er... Galanglic) grammar. I've deliberately written in some very colloquial usage and even replaced all her semi-colons with commas.

So, that's the beginning of a merchant adventure. I've left the date vague for now in case they do cross paths with my other Traveller campaign. They are in the same subsector at the moment, and unless they get that ship repaired they won't be going far. But they are just the sort of reprobates that might get press-ganged by Naval Intelligence for a dangerous mission.]

(Adventure continues here.)


  1. Drat you, now I have to go and buy "Star Trader" from RPGNow. It looks like something I've long wanted . . . (so "drat you" really means "thank you very much").

    -- Jeff

    PS, I'm enjoying your story as well.

    1. It's definitely worth it. A lot of the ideas canbe adapted to other sorts of Traveller or other sci-fi games, and the NPC Relationship Table could be used for a party of adventurers in any game system.

  2. When will you post the next installment, eh? I'm in the process of rolling up crew and selecting a sector . . . (so I was correct, you did cost me money).

    -- Jeff

    1. This is just a side game, so I'm not sure when I'll get around to posting more (and welcome to the fold).

  3. I cannot find any of those planets in the Foreven Sector:

    Are you using a different version of the sector? If so, where is it available?

    -- Jeff

    1. I'm using my own subsector that I rolled up many, many years ago.

      It's been variously located in the Spinward Marches, the Old Expanses, and now Foreven. I prefer using my own (sub)sectors as otherwise I'd spend all my time researching every world before my PCs went there -- the same problem I have with historical settings. This way I have opinions about most of the systems in advance. I should do a libray data post some time. I've got one or two written up somewhere.

    2. Okay, thank you. I was trying to find a map so that I could follow the action better (that is all). But I'm now getting closer to tying my own "Traveller - Star Trader" game. I've picked out an area . . . the "central sector" (i.e., the four corner subsectors in the middle) of the Gateway Sector from QLI's "Gateway to Destiny" volume. It is all well outside Imperial space.

      -- Jeff