Saturday, April 27, 2013

Traveller game last night...

We played Traveller last night... first game since the first of March!  Rather than our usual 9+ players, we only had 7, and I think that made a huge difference!  While I could probably run 15 in my OD&D game, Traveller is a MUCH bigger sandbox.  With travel times between even the closest two stars of a week, it becomes far too difficult to run if the group splinters:  OK, you stay on planet X to look for a patron, while you book a high passage to planet Y to do the same.  That week in hyperspace is a single die roll (to check for drive problems), while that week on planet X could be daily activities, appropriate encounters, success of search, etc.  I don't like to have players sit at the table when they're not involved, for several reasons:  in-game, they learn things their characters shouldn't or wouldn't know, and out-of-game, they tend to get bored and become distracting to either me or the active players.  Even with just 7, this happened, but it was easier to deal with than when the group is bigger.

In my Star Clans campaign, I have them working directly for the O'er King (leader of the interstellar govt) but they're given wide latitude in terms of timing and specific actions, so I don't feel like I'm railroading them.  I use random events (the tables from the old AD&D Oriental Adventures are great!) to plan my "future history," and player actions directly affect the flow, so I'm as often surprised by the direction things go as they are.  Keeps it fresh for me as well.  

Their current "mission" is to expand the Ardeni Kingdoms... and they've done very well.  Each time they visit a system, I let them make their arguments with the local leaders.  If their argument rings true to the locals (given what I know of the govt type and my notes on the leaders), I give them a bonus on the reaction roll... if not, they either get a straight roll or even a negative modifier if they misjudge the locals.  

Of course, they could tell they O'er King they're done with that, and move on to something else, and I actually expected them to... Overall, the game did NOT go where I expected last night, but that's fantastic for me!  They opted to continue their diplomatic & trade mission, and were very successful.  And they all seemed to have a good time.  

Now, if only the larger group would believe me when I tell them they can opt out of one game (Traveller) and still be included in the others (OD&D, AD&D 2e, etc.)... Yeah, I know, it's the equivalent of a "First World Problem!"  We have TOO MANY players to run a single group!  (More on that later...)

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