Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Library Data: Coturnix Inc Update 002

Datestamp: 166-1105 1505

Connecting to server...
Authenticating credentials...
Credentials confirmed - starship computer, BARONESS GRANTHAM

Transferring update requests....
Downloading entry 1 of 101,673...
** Right, I'm off to the bar, I'll check in with this later - Jeremiah **

Here's some more Library Data for the Traveller game I'm running.  A mixture of things we've established in game and things I've had percolating away in my head.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Bargain Hunting - White Dwarf 78 and 84

Clydesdale Bank sits on Queen Street where the first Glasgow branch of Games Workshop used to.... amusingly, there's a new nerd shop next doo.
I've been nerding for a fair chunk of my life.  My first ever issue of White Dwarf was number 145, way back when Games Workshop's Glasgow branch was situated on Queen Street.  Many a weekend I'd go along that street, past my cooler classmates queuing to go into underage disco Archaos, to go pick up my latest White Dwarf and a blister of High Elves.

I do own some older White Dwarfs, though , mainly collected from trips to various collector fairs, car boot sales or charity shops.  When one is a nerdy like myself, these kind of places one frequents in search of bargains - and because, pre-eBay, they were your only hope of finding anything at all.  Nowadays I take it as a given that I can purchase Blood Bowl paraphernalia from the comfort of my smart phone - back in the dark days, I greedily snapped up every relic of dead games I could find.

Anyway, this long rambling intro is all to say I got two old copies of White Dwarf from a local charity shop.  At a pound a pop I was quite happy to get the oldest issues I now own - 78 and 84.  These date from the mid 80s and are almost as old as me.

Front covers.  That Santa Cthulhu is ace.

 Reading these is a time machine, in the manner of my earlier post about enjoying older editions of games.  At this stage White Dwarf is principally a magazine for roleplaying and board games as stocked in Games Workshop stores, as likely to have been imported from America as designed in-house.  Adverts and articles do exist for wargaming but it's just one of many strings to their bow.   Notably we're a year or so away from Warhammer 40,000 and the total transformation this will do on a hobby which at this point is very fantasy heavy,

Below are five of my favourite pages from each issue with some comments about what this says of the era.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Library Data: Coturnix Inc Update 001

Library Data:Informational data stored on shipboard computer systems as a research aid to it's crew.  Most starship computers come pre-packaged with a current Library Data file and subscription services, such as the Imperial Encyclopedia or the TAS Overview, provide updates with the latest information.  Almost all starports of C Class or above provide a free Library Data download supplement to all arrivals, with key information on the planet in question such as legal codes and starport services.  ** It also lets you leave comments for your own records, like this one - Dor **

As an aide to my players, this is one of possibly a series of posts where stuff we've confirmed/invented/expanded for our campaign will appear.  I don't think we're going to play Traveller enough to justify a campaign wiki, but I do think there's enough weird stuff happening to warrant something the players can read between sessions.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Traveller: Status Report As Of Session 4

A minimalist cover style that's easy to duplicate

Traveller has now ran for four sessions, with a few more sessions planned before we wrap up and move onto our next game in the schedule.  I briefly summarized the previous sessions before in which the group bounty hunted, traded, delivered cargo and generally bummed about space making money,  Week four saw a hunt across a swampy planet for a renegade noble's ship, an armed confrontation as said ship was hijacked for repossession to the bank who financed the now-defaulted mortgage, an attempt to convince a prostitute to turn her life around and the enlistment of the Noble's Chef as part of the player character's crew.

The game has been something of a qualified success.  Certainly my big fear that the group would stumble in a sandbox game and find the whole thing pointless hasn't quite manifested, with some fairly enjoyable moments. The "automatic campaign" play style is maybe a pinch too sandbox for their tastes, with too much reliance on random tables leading to rather bitty sessions - I think slightly more scripted plot scattered throughout to tie the segments together would probably help.  While the random tables do make the game feel like a world that trundles on without them, it does mean the sessions lack a certain narrative punch.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A New Blog Post - It Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin

The Tools Of The Trade

Oh, yeah, I blog about painting sometimes, don't I?

My proxy Hobgoblin Archers are slowly taking shape.  The first ten with musician are now finished bar a varnish, and the second ten with unit leader is next on the painting table.  All is progressing as normal, albeit very slowly - I'm spending a lot more of my time reading RPG books right now, especially with purchases from the closing down sale at the Dragon & George .

The Hobgoblins haven't been painted exactly the same this time around.  After the routine base coat, I decided not to paint on Quickshade in the manner of an ink or wash as I usually do.  Instead, I would to finally try the art of "dipping".

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Perils Of The Hive Mind - A 1000 Point Battle Versus Tyranids

Set-up in my man-cave.
I came in after work on Wednesday , wolfed my dinner down quickly, and awaited an arrival.  For the first time in a while I had a Warhammer 40,000 game scheduled, and with a different opponent than my usual Dave/Stuart/Charles trifecta.

Graeme is a chap I’ve known for a while and have met for a few coffee meets or taken part in group Warhammer games with, but never played one-on-one.  I mainly know him for Orks and Noise Marines, but apparently he also has a Tyranid army and hadn’t had the chance to play it in ages.  I also hadn’t played in a while and hadn’t tried out my new terrain, so I was keen for a chance to give it a spin.!

My table was set up in the nerd room and, after a wee cup of tea and a chat with each other and Sister Superior, a cheeky 1000 pointer took place.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Traveller: Character Gen Report

Our latest RPG adventure

Few role-playing games have the pedigree of Traveller.  First published in 1977, it was one of the first RPGs to follow in the wake of Dungeons and Dragons and considered the first noteworthy science fiction game.  Written around the harder science fiction of the first half of the 20th century, it has remained in print in one version or another ever since then.

Traveller is a game I’ve wanted to run for ages.  I’ve owned the Mongoose Publishing version of the core book for years and while I’ve played in a short sci-fi game and ran a Judge Dredd one-off suing the rules I’ve to run it “ for real” – in the ThirdImperium or a similar interstellar game.  There’s always been another gaming going on and scheduling a short campaign has proven a chore.

However, I’ve finally gotten around to doing so and we’re now three weeks into playing our game.  So here follows a recap of character gen, as experienced by a group of six players of whom only one had any advance Traveller knowledge and were thus mostly sold on playing Traveller as “it’ll be like Elite

Well, Firefly might work better for some people, but it's Elite all the way for me.  Always was an Acorn fanboy...

Traveller character generation is noteworthy for being something of a mini-game.  It’s part of why I didn’t want to run a one-off with pre-gens but specifically a short campaign in which characters are made by the group so we could see that system in action.

Said system unashamedly has a lot of random elements to it.  Although you do get to make choices, there’s a lot of dice rolling and a lot of control has to be handed over to the system, which is not for everyone.  If you arrive with a concrete idea in your head of exactly what you want to play, the system may not play ball and can spit out changes.

Some earlier editions had more extreme changes – the 1977 edition saw characters die in the process, something much discussed (and mocked) even thirty years after it being in the core rules.

Even by 1981 the rules noticed this might not work for everyone, but the meme is too strong to be forgotten.

So, jokes about game systems that are older than me aside, how does modern Traveller character generation work?  How did my group find it?  What setting will I be choosing?