Thursday, June 14, 2012

And They Call Him The Traveling Man

As I mentioned last week, Desert Wars 2012 is just around the corner here in Vegas.  The day is promising to be filled with miniature goodness but the fun doesn't end there.  After the day at the Fort its time for the monthly Traveller game run by Jason Coffey of the Las Vegas Wargamers.  This is a game that he has run for quite a while now so its going to be interesting to get thrown right into the middle of things to see what kind of mayhem I can get into.

For those of you who might not be familiar with it, Traveller was the first sci fi rpg ever released and hit the shelves all the way back in 1977.  The current version was released by Mongoose Publishing in 2008 but from what I understand the mechanics are almost identical to those used in the initial release thirty years earlier.

One of the interesting things about this game is the character creation system which has been described as a game all on its own because it is somewhat random.  Sure you can choose a career path to head down but one bad dice roll is all it takes to send your character heading off in a completely different direction.  Even with this potentially random nature it still gives you a solid background to work with right off the bat.  To give you an idea here is my intrepid explorer and adventurer, Tobias Jenkins.

Tobias Jenkins (mini is the Elite Rebel Commando from the Star Wars CMG)

"Tobias was born in an densely populated asteroid colony.  Life was hard there but he quickly learned how to survive not only in the dense urban center but also the dangers of the vacuum.  When he was finally old enough he signed on with the Imperial Navy to escape the rigors of his home and explore the stars beyond.

During his first tour he took part in a major engagement on the Imperium borders as the vessel he was stationed on hunted down a group of Vargr pirates that were running rampant.  The experience quickly honed his abilities with the ship sensors as they picked though various asteroid fields searching for their hidden lair.

His second tour proved to be much quieter until an unexplained accident in one of the maintenance bays.  Tobias was the most injured of the crew in the bay as the shrapnel devastated his right eye but he was able to make a full recovery and return to duty.  Even though further investigation into the incident indicated the accident was nothing more than that, he decided to leave the Navy at his commanders recommendation.

Still the lure of the void called to him and it was not long after his discharge that he joined the Imperial Exploratory Service.  Together with a small crew of other scouts, he set off to the edges of the Imperium to explore unknown worlds and uncharted space. 

Again his luck was with him as within his first two years of service they found a previously unknown resource rich system and the Scout service was quick to promote him to the rank of a full Scout.  His career continued on smoothly for four more years as he continued to explore the fringe until he disappeared with his vessel during his sixth year while on a solo mission.

After being overdue to report in for six months, the Service declared him officially lost but seven months later he was discovered on his scout ship adrift on the edge of one of the frontier systems.  His vessel was unharmed as was he but he had no recollection of what had happened to him on his last expedition and all of his computers records of the flight had mysteriously been purged.

Tobias spent some months trying to piece together what had happened and then decided to leave the Scout service to try to find out why a year of his life had disappeared.  In recognition for his exemplary work with the service he was given use of his old Type S Scout ship and he headed off to the fringes again to try to find answers to his questions."

Now that's a background that you can really sink your teeth into!  Tobias is not just generic red shirt x but instead has a solid framework of a background to build on and the crazy thing is most of this background came right out of regular character generation system.  I choose his initial career in the Navy but it was by luck of the dice that he only managed to make it through two four year terms. 

Next I decided to try for the Scouts since his characteristics gave him a good chance of making some headway there (and I was really hoping I could get a Scout ship...) but again it was the luck of the dice that saw him leaving the Scouts after his second term.  And the fact that I actually managed to get a Scout ship when I left the career was purely luck but I'm hoping it will make it easier for Jason to just slot my character into the adventure since I can effectively come and go as I want.

The only downside that I know of with Tobias is the fact that he's not really a combat character.  Sure he has some combat skills but when I had last heard anything about this Traveller game Jason had said it was very Firefly-esque.  That must have been from further back than I remembered because in our emails after I'd rolled up Tobias he told me that I could have combat armor, a gauss rifle, grenades, and a 10mm pistol from their ship's armory if I needed weapons.  Sounds slightly more combat oriented than I'd originally thought so I've actually rolled up another character who has a slightly more combat oriented angle which goes to show that while the chargen system is random it is still possible to nudge it in the direction you want.  But more on that later.  Until next time...

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