Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ozcroft: Pilot Episode

Stardate: 2012.07.14
GM: Rusty

The Crew:
Baron Ozwald Haff (Greg): Captain, Navigator
Dr. Melinda Warren (Star): Medical Officer
Dreya D'Nalor (Chere): Pilot
Lord Kendrick Meadowcroft (Ted): Purser
M.C. "Jester" Slate (Cliff): Pilot
Malta Klonk (Matt): Engineer, Steward

Left to Right: Melinda, Ozwald, Jester, Princess, Dreya, Kendrick, Malta

The Session:
Today's game was basically "Adventures In Bookkeeping".  We met up at a bar in the Regina sector (yes, centuries in the future and the party still meets at the tavern), where cousins Ozwald and Kendrick hired on a crew for the cargo vessel "The Unchaste Harlot".  We spent a good deal of the session sorting who is responsible for what duties, which starting vehicles we would keep, and what sort of jobs we were going to take on.  The name of our company is Ozcroft (a combination of Ozwald and Meadowcroft).

While Kendrick looked for some cargo jobs, Dreya and Jester went attempted to visit Dreya's uncle.  Her uncle stood her up, apologizing in a message that explaining that he had to babysit some researchers.  Since he had paid for their meal in advance, Dreya and Jester sat down to enjoy the food.  There was a loud group at another table, annoying some of the patrons with their noise.  Jester exchanged insults with some of them, which escalated things until there was a full-scale bar brawl.  After the fight, some of the other scouts congratulated Jester, and he joined them for a drink.  One of them gave Jester a lead on some potential work.

Between Kendrick and Jester we ended up with two jobs.  In addition to general cargo shipping, we have taken on a data collection mission.  We are to visit as many worlds as we can, and scan them for all sorts of data, seek out new life and new civilizations, boldly going - wait, wrong show.  Once we had all the cargo loaded and destinations plotted, we jumped to the Hefry system.  There we scanned the planet, sold our cargo for a tidy profit, and gathered data from the locals.  At one point Malta was arrested for putting her foot in her mouth (figuratively), and Melinda bailed her out.

Next session we plan to jump to the Forboldn system.

"The Unchaste Harlot"
This was my first time playing Traveller.  Not much happened in today's session, but that's because we're all still figuring things out.  Once we start streamlining things, the next sessions should have more meat to them.  Overall I still had a good time and look forward to seeing what happens next.

Back in college I played a lot of an online game called "JediMUD".  In JediMUD your stats were generated randomly, but you could reroll them five times.  Early on people would create a character, reroll five times, delete the character, make a new one, etc... until they had a character with lots of 18s.  Well, the designers didn't like that, so they made it so you can't reroll (or even see) your stats until level 5.  So now people just powerlevel to 5 (by following a higher level friend around) and still reroll/delete/recreate, it just takes a few minutes longer.

I think that's one of the reasons I've never liked randomly-generated stats.  You can give me all kinds of reasons to roll the dice during the game itself, and I'll be happy to oblige.  But when it comes to character creation, I'd generally rather use a balanced set of options that lets me create exactly the character I want to play.  Particularly in a high combat game, I feel it's unfair to marry some players to ineffective characters for an entire campaign.  Meanwhile other players at the same table are playing master swordsmen, just because they got lucky while rolling up their characters.

Gaming allows you to live another life for a while, and for some of us part of the fantasy is playing characters who are smarter/stronger/prettier than we are in real life.  I'm no longer a teenager with near-infinite time to play these games, so I'm not at the stage where characters are just disposable to me.  I look forward to the one day a week where I can live vicariously through my avatar, and it ruins the fun if I have to play a character I don't like.

But in Traveller, making your character is like part of the story.  I won't lie, I had some pretty bad die rolls during character creation, and now I'm committed to playing a clumsy weakling who can't walk and chew gum at the same time.  And...  I couldn't be happier. So far Malta is a pretty interesting character.  Granted, she didn't get to do much today so it's hard to really judge, but I think I'm going to like playing her.

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