The group is contacted by a religious functionary who wants to charter their
ship for the passage to a nearby world; several important religious adherents,
and their servants, will be attending a conclave, and they want the exclusive
use of their transport for the trip.
Giving meaningful hooks to Traveller characters means having a selection of
patrons, rumours, and information about not just the system the characters are
currently in, but also the neighbouring systems. Where do the players want to
go next? Where will they get money from? Knowing what lies just beyond the jump
threshold helps facilitate these choices.
Noble characters created from the classic Citizens of the Imperium supplement
can muster out with a yacht as a benefit. Unlike the ship benefits from Book
1 (access to a Scout ship, access to a free trader), the yacht that a noble can
end up with does not seem to come with strings attached (no mortgage, for
example; no strong-arming by the Scout service). But just like owning a luxury
car is not as free and easy as it seems, owning a yacht comes with regular
costs that may not seem obvious.
Once you have a subsector sketched out for your Traveller players, the next
step is figuring out where in that subsector play is going to start. This will
be some world in the subsector, and it makes sense to spend a bit more
attention on that to flesh it out than just the UPP and trade code information
you have from the subsector stage of prep. Based on the various characters I
know will play, it seemed useful to pick a world in the middle of the map: not
too near the really civilized worlds; close enough to the edges of easily
travelled space to make further exploration more enticing.
The group is contacted by a quiet, conservatively dressed young man who wants
to secure, via middle passage, a return trip for one passenger (and two on the
return) to a nearby frontier world. The man explains that his father is due
to be released from a prison on the world and he feels an obligation to meet
him and convey him back home.
Eventually, one key to old-style sandbox play in any game genre is letting your
dice choice drive the game and that means event tables. Later versions of the
original Traveller game actually give more useful support for the referee in
this regard than the original three books; I am going to borrow some of these
techniques from the later editions and add them to the toolkit for my game.
Travellers need a place to start travelling, so the first real steps of
preparation for a referee involve building out a subsector. Starting with
the stellar data from the
Near Space book published
by Stellagama Publishing for the Traveller quadrant around our own Sol
system, I picked one of the four sub-sector sized quarters of the map and took
to fleshing it out.
After reading the in-depth series of posts about Traveller over at Tales to
decided that I wanted to transition one of my regular groups over to a series
of Traveller adventures set in my own setting, rather than the Third
Imperium. Starting out on the preparation work for it resurrected the warm
memories I had for my first encounter with the little black books, years ago.
For the first time in many years, it looks like I will have the opportunity to
play some Traveller. James Maliszewski seems set to start up another regular
game set in his Ripheus Sector setting, and I have engaged to play in
it. Pulling out my little black books from the gaming shelf and warming up my
dice, I built my first Traveller character in a long time: what fell out was
Army Colonel Rendan Bardle.