Had a vague, interesting thought with regards to Baefre. I've already mentioned to MagMan that we're going to need to build a new temporary character for him to run during the gulag/prison scenes, but I'm also contemplating having everyone else also build new Taareh characters who will be the survivors of one of the PKF ships that went through the wormhole (likely not the one that crashed). And then, I could possibly alternate between the two "groups," so Session 2x01 might take place entirely in the prison, and then the next week, we do Session 2x02 takes place with the other characters on the Dyson Sphere, and so on until the groups reunite.
Pros: MagMan actually gets to play Baefre and we advance the narrative to discover what he discovers.
Cons: You're not always playing your character, which I recall being an issue with one of the adventures I did in Red Sky with some of the players. This back-and-forth could also mess up the flow of some stuff - FREX, if a Friday session ends with Ilik about to accidentally unleash the Shrike on the unsuspecting prison population, and Rostya getting jumped by three dudes who want to shank him, and Anya dealing with some overly aggressive thug who thinks she's very, very pretty, and so on, jumping to Baefre & Co. the next week could be jarring.
At this point, this is just an idle thought since season two is absolutely in the planning stages - after all, I have no idea when we'll even be back to this game! But it is a thought...
What worked? Really do appreciate the world building and the attention to detail. There were a lot of things going on that make this world “breathing and believable”. Definitely enjoyed the interactions between the various factions/houses. Ship maps were beyond cool, so while I know you were happy to purchase them, I was happy to use them. I also appreciate the touch of mystery in terms of storyline with Anya’s and more specifically Baefrae’s character. I always enjoy the point where scifi becomes so advanced and “out there” that one can only comprehend it as mysticism. Really enjoyed the effort of us doing an actual space battle with the different factions as well. Even though the attempt was a bit clunky, I could see how that could be a cool way to integrate an additional element to the game.
What didn't? I hate to say it but this campaign felt very railroad-y to me. I don’t know if it is because you were using a mod but I felt like as a player I had very little agency to go off and do something else, and was just moving from plot point to plot point. Even when I tried to have a conversation or role play a bit with other NPCs, I didn’t get much out of you. For example the party scene where Korbin and Anya were at could have been really interesting if there was some sort of goal or thing that we needed to do, but we really didn’t have the opportunity to do much other than just talk to people in very clearly defined dialogue boxes. I didn’t feel like you were really into this one for some reason...didn’t feel like the old GM Rigil. I apologize if you felt like this wasn’t the case.
We could have done a better job of integrating skill sets with new characters. There were a lot of toe stepping/overlap with the addition of Korbin and Alexei which rendered a lot of skills that PCs had as turning into “helping”. There was the question of who was in charge between Anya and Korbin and I know Rostya was sidelined a lot by giving Alexei boon but didn’t actually do anything game wise, so he essentially sat out for entire sessions. Normally there could be workarounds but since additional skills are so hard to come by, I can see how it could get boring by just helping other players and not feeling very effective.
What did you want to see but didn't? I wanted to see more down time where we got to know other crew members a bit better, or were able to build relationships with Hiro’s crew. You ended up killing a lot of people off and I think they would have had a bigger emotional impact if you allowed us time to get to know the NPCs a bit more.
What do you want to see in the future? Hrm, more RP immersion and choices for PCs to do. I would like to see our PCs have more agency and choice. FREX, I think the only thing we had to debate was whether or not we were able to follow Baefre into the wormhole, and even that was a clear cut decision because of the fact we had civilians on our ship and there was a practical impossibility of catching him. I’d like there to be more forks in the road where we feel like our decisions have impact to the overall story and flavor of the campaign
Overall though I did enjoy myself and I'm happy to have tried a new system. Really appreciate the fact that we are in a tried and true Sci-Fi campaign
So I am going to divide things in the way that makes the most sense to my head while trying to answer the questions you asked.
Let me first begin with the system, as that will be an important element. Traveller is a fairly good system, but man does it have some questionable choices and flaws in it. While a good GM can hide or change some system flaws, it takes a lot of work and even then is only a bandage. So there are some observations I have that seem to be primarily caused by the system more than the GM.
Anyway. You've put a ton of work into the campaign, all of the maps, the wiki, the character, planet, ship write-ups have been great (and you have been duly recognized for that on Obsidian Portal!). Really breathes life into the campaign. On the other hand, I'm not sure if the adventure module is potentially sapping some of your creative flow. Something about this campaign feels off compared to your normal runs, which I haven't put my finger on yet. I know that isn't helpful, but in this campaign it just feels like it is set piece, told to go here, set piece, told to go there, set piece, etc etc. I cannot think of many examples of real player agency outside of the set piece fights. To some degree that is baked into the setup: we are employees of a small company and we need to do what the boss tells us, but even there it has felt like there aren't many decisions we need to make within that framework.
Maybe it is me missing some obvious GM hinting of different choices we could make, but if that is the case, I've missed them. An example is when we had to repair the ship, this prompted a "check chain" or whatever it is called. If I remember right it basically went "alright you need to do X, Y then Z. So first who has the best chance of success on X makes the roll, then we go to Y, etc etc. Not much decision making involved and everyone just sees who the best at the a given task.
This follow into another problem, it is very easy for each PC to step on another's toes. This is primarily a system issue, but the joking about Rostya being useless outside of combat is essentially true now that Korbin and Alexei are around - they can do everything he can do but better. At least Rostya has combat where he is very good and can shine. Other characters don't have that almost at all. Also, it is nice that there isn't a massive gap in combat power, as that way everyone can be involved in combat quite a bit, but I wouldn't mind if the system differentiated the skills a little more than it did. Again though, that is a system issue. Skill overlap has really made it difficult for character spotlighting, though this also is related to the set piece -> set piece -> set piece nature of the campaign thus far.
So, if I were to answer what I'd like to see more, it is that: more PC agency and some ways to approach things in a much more free-form manner. The session involving the fancy ball was a good example of what I'd like to see more of. Every character had things to do that fit their skill-sets better, but has a lot of intrigue and moving parts. I know doing that is a lot of work, so I wouldn't expect it every session, but more sessions like that would be great.
Let me know if you need anything cleared up. I don't have an editor, so I tend to write off the top of my head, which has its problems.
What didn't? I guess my biggest issue I had throughout was with the system. I guess I have grown a bit accustomed to systems like GURPS - yeah yeah, whatever Giger… LOL. It is hard to not compare systems to others. Skills just felt too generic, overly specific, or just not ‘there’. I really didn’t like the SOC attribute (it seemed to try and fit charisma and social status/standing into one lump stat and did it poorly). Additionally, all too often it seemed we had to come up with work arounds to make things go smoothly (stunners, advancement, and holdout come to mind). I did like how Traveller ties skills with multiple stats though.
I liked the idea of random character generation, but I am not sure I was as pleased with the outcome (and I got a character pretty darn close to what I wanted).
I feel there were times where skills were unevenly distributed. Which did cause a bit of player sidelining. I got to do some pilot stuff, and a lot of social stuff, and was not a liability in combat, but when there was anything technical Illik wasn’t involved much. Overall I did feel useful in that I could act as a kind of force multiplier in social and investigative tasks so I had that, and it was a lot of fun. Now, how to bend everyone’s will on the prison planet to my own? Muhhahaha…
Bottomline: I don’t know if I enjoyed Traveller as much as other systems, I did like the change of pace from the standard rule systems we play, and it was great getting to play Traveller with Traveller rules.
What did you want to see but didn't? To be honest, I don’t know if there was more I wanted to see.
I got to experience interaction with NPCs from my past, and see them start to shape things in the overall present. I got to kill an enemy and make a new one - one most likely lurking on the prison planet with us - dun dun duuun!!
What worked? I did like how deadly combat was, I don’t think I ever encountered a game where someone almost died in recovery. However, even in that, I feel there is some setting/assumed technology/rules stuff that just didn’t feel right to me.
I liked the adjustable difficulty mechanic.
I really like the RP element where we had to figure out who-done-it on the ship with the meds, though I think my PSI really was a force multiplier there.
I loved the world building! As the events around us unfolded, I began to take sides, I really wanted to root for my home faction, and I felt the blow when its leaders took a hit. I enjoyed conspir-a-theorizing (it’s a thing now) on who/what could be behind it.
Man you can really build a world!
What do you want to see in the future? I wonder how difficult it would be to have other players play NPCs whenever we have a PC focused vignette. For example, there was the party that Korbin and Anya attended. It could have been interesting to hand the non-active players basic notes, motivations, and goals for some of the NPCs and have them play it out. Hmmm… taking notes for myself here.
I’d like the opportunity to further develop the relationship between Illik and Annika.
I would still love to play out the fleet combat, and am ready whenever anyone else wants! Heck, I have been considering just playing it out on my own, and seeing how it goes. Kinda like chess against oneself.
Overall, I don’t think I minded the apparent linear nature of the story, I don’t think I noticed it as much as the others. Sure, looking back it was there. I think at the moment, Illik is fine being along for the ride, instead of driving. *When I did get to drive, I got to kill my enemy and gained another.
Thinking back on some things, I believe Illik would have wanted to tell someone about Southwark, that someone being Lady Alcluith. The rub being, Vasili Southwark nee Valik Potchenko was a friend. Illik would have tried to do some research into the relationship between the Houses, and if there were tension, he would have send at least a message to Lady Alcluith, something along the lines of, “Lord Southwark is a PSI”, and let Lady Alcluith figure out if it is true, and more to the point, how Illik would know. Illik wouldn’t be giving up his friend’s origin, at least not directly, but he would provide warning to his House.
Yeah, the Traveller rules are clunky, but we're finally starting to get used to it
The first half of the campaign was better than the second, but I can't quite put my finger on why that is—primary reason why I haven't responded until now, because I was trying to figure it out. This could be the "linear" thing? Not sure. I do think some "moduleness" was showing through, though.
I did like the fancy ball, too—not sure why there either
The "space station coming apart" bit felt pretty decent
I agree that we needed a bit more direct "bonding" interaction with some of the company NPCs, for buy-in when they died/etc
I think some of the "lack of agency" is a "careful what you wish for" result. Any time you have an NPC in charge, PCs will follow it. Like a road—natural human tendency is to walk on it. Consequently, any time you're taking orders you feel like you don't have a meaningful choice in the matter—which really comes down to focusing on the choices you do have (but what is that?)
Yes, we have a problem with PC "roles" we need to correct
The current situation with the more-or-less destruction of the company is a good opportunity to fix both of the above
What I/we expected to see or want to see in the future is always so difficult to articulate…
I will add as a side note that I'm a little concerned that the "prison planet" thing will take us away from what we "signed up for" for too long—I'd really want to keep that short, and get back to more traditional Travellerness. By the same token, I'd also recommend keeping the "Baefre wormhole" bit really short—no more than a session or two. That being the case, if the prison bit is sufficiently short, we could do the Baefre bit right after that, and then get right back to "normal" with minimal sidetracking.
I don't think I'm done, here. I really want to give some kind of answer to the expectations…
Based on this, I discovered a Traveller supplement that I'm shamelessly ripping off (with serial numbers filed off ... usually) that has the PCs as part of a belter mining / prospecting / cargo transport company that I'm currently envisioning as the Company that the PCs are part of. More specifics about Lothrain Free Company can be found in this Google Document.
I think it sort of covers all the bases - there's a boss who hands out assignments, he wants to be (mostly) neutral, and inevitably, there's gonna be a conflict where a side must be chosen...
Last Edit: Aug 8, 2020 21:48:11 GMT -6 by Gigermann
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