Thursday, October 23, 2014

Real-Time Traveller

This banner borrowed from this campaign website.
I'll take it down if there is an objection.
All that talk about Traveller got me to thinking. And what I am thinking is that I will run a "real-time" Traveller game for myself, supplementing or (more likely, considering how unenthusiastically I've been pursuing it) replacing the GURPS Fantasy West game I've been doing. The idea came from an article in issue 13 of the Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society. I'll use the MegaTraveller rules, but set starting in 1105 and using the Alien Modules as necessary (and not necessarily bound by the OTU metaplot or background details wherever I feel like I want it to be different; this is MTU). The idea of real-time Traveller is to run one day in the game world for every one day in the real world. That does mean that time spent in Jumpspace takes a long time in the real world with nothing happening. That is pretty much the point. It is intended as an experiment in immersion and spreading the game out so that it doesn't take up too much time each day. I may post this game here, as a series of posts done as a daily log, or maybe sometimes logs for other crew as well. I'll probably make at least occasional use of Mythic Game Master Emulator to help out.

The starting date will be whatever the specific day is on the day I begin it (today, 23 October, is 296) of the year 1105, and the party will be the permanent crew of the Free Trader Faerie Queene, owned by Amanda Zhao, a former Merchant Captain, who has 30 years of mortgage payments left on it. The ship is located on the Spinward Main, that long chain of worlds in the Spinward Marches which can be reached using a Jump-1 starship, like the Faerie Queene. Amanda is the Captain/Pilot/Navigator for the ship, and she has hired on Malissa as Engineer, Qlotl as Steward, Simar as Ship's Medic, and Zauer as "Handyman", leaving the ship with 5 passenger staterooms. I didn't save their career paths, which is a mistake that I can't fix now, but their starting characteristics, rolled up using a software character generator, are as follows (and yes, I did have to roll up quite a few characters who either died or were not suitable for the game I had in mind; happily, I was able to do that fairly quickly with the aid of the character generator and MegaTraveller's special character generation rules that make things go a little more smoothly):

Amanda Zhao

Human (Imperial) F Age 46 (apparent age 38)

Homeworld B/med size/exotic atmo/wet hyd/hi pop/mod law/hi stellar

Merchant - Subsector-wide line - Deck office
Rank: O5 Captain

Skills: Grav Vehicle - 0, Handgun - 0, Vacc Suit - 0, Admin - 1, Brawling - 1, Bribery - 2, Carousing - 2, Computer - 1, Jack-o-T - 2, Leadership - 1, Legal - 1, Liaison - 1, Navigation - 2, Pilot - 4, Ships Boat - 1, Small Blade - 1, SMG - 1, Trader - 1

Cr 10,000
Free Trader (30 yrs left) "Faerie Queene"


Zaorrfaeoks "Zauer"

Vargr M Age 34

Homeworld B/small size/vacuum/wet hyd/mod pop/mod law/avg stellar

Rank: 06 Leader

Skills: Computer - 0, Grav Vehicle - 0, Laser Weapons - 0, Handgun - 1, Infighting - 1, Jack-o-T - 1, Leadership - 1, Long Blade - 1, Pilot - 1, Scrounge - 1, Ship Tactics - 1, Stealth - 1, Streetwise - 1, Tactics - 3, Vacc Suit - 1, Zero G Combat - 1

Cr 61,000
Weapon x3


Qlotleqiepr "Qlotl"

Zhodani F Age 34 (apparent age 30)

Homeworld C/small size/standard atmo/dry hyd/hi pop/mod law/hi stellar

Rank: O4 Manager

Psionic Games - Won Clairvoyance, lost Telekinesis, did not win Games

Skills: Psi - 11, Clairvoyance - 11, Telekinesis - 11, Computer - 0, Handgun - 0, Admin - 2, Broker - 1, Grav Vehicle - 2, Interrogation - 1, Interview - 1, Psychology - 3, Steward - 1

Cr 10,000
Mid Psg x2


Malissa Skyskimmer

Human (Imperial) F Age 22

Homeworld A/large size/dense atmo/wet hyd/mod pop/low law/avg stellar

Scout - Field Survey Office
Rank: E1 Recruit

Skills: Computer - 0, Grav Vehicle - 0, SMG - 0, Engineering - 1, Handgun - 1, Pilot - 1, Vacc Suit - 1

Cr 50,000


Simarushre "Simar" Shigiriiman

Vilani M (mostly non-Vilani ancestry) Age 30

Graduated University NOTC (Medical)

Homeworld C/large size/dense atmo/wet hyd/mod pop/hi law/avg stellar

Marine - Infantry branch - medic
Rank: O2 1st Lieutenant
Awards: MCUF, Command Cluster x2, Combat Ribbon x3

Skills: Computer - 0, Vacc Suit - 0, Combat Engineer - 1, Electronics - 1, Grav Vehicle - 1, Handgun - 1, Long Blade - 1, Medical - 1, Tactics - 1, Tracked Vehicle - 1

Cr 5000


I have three house rules to begin with: the first is that Jack-of-all-Trades skill, in addition to the benefits it provides in MegaTraveller normally, also adds 1 for every 2 full levels of Jack-of-all-Trades skill possessed to any task that has been increased in difficulty due to lack of skill (for every 2 full points over 8, it will add 1 to skilled tasks as well, but that level of skill is very unlikely, to put it mildly); the second is that surprise rolls are rolled as Routine tasks, and surprise occurs on exceptional success or failure, benefiting the appropriate side; thirdly, no roll can take more points from the Tactics pool than the highest Tactics or Leadership skill available, and no one can take points from the pool who is not in communication. I know what I mean by that last, and don't want to write it up in detail right now, but basically it just means that communication is necessary to use other people's Tactics points for benefit. If not in communication, use your own Tactics or do without.

Edit to add: There's a fourth house rule I am going to use, which is to use the Mongoose Traveller characteristic modifiers instead of MegaTraveller's characteristic/5 method.


One thing I noticed after I generated the characters was how much the party resembled a cross between Star Wars and Firefly/Serenity. That makes me happy, because those are probably my favorite SF properties. Edit to add: Outside of Dune, that is.


  1. Since you're using MegaTraveller, you may want to check out

    1. I have a printed and bound copy, actually! I was the one who asked you to embed the fonts so I could print it through