Forum:The Efate Run
A few days ago I had an idea about using the wiki format to run a role-playing game. Dan kindly set up this forum to accomodate the concept, so here I go.
First of all: This is an experiment. The rules are subject to change as they're fine-tuned in the light of experience.
Back in 2001 I was working on an outline for a GURPS Traveller book. It was going to deal with a small trade route and the systems along it. I chose the route between Regina and Efate and dubbed it The Efate Run (Doubtless merchants from Efate call it The Regina Run, but I've always been Regina-centric).
I never did finish the outline, but one of the things i did was run an on-line campaign with weekly sessions in Brubek's, the JTAS Online chatroom. The players were members of the crew of the Silver Sphinx, a small freighter working the Efate Run, and the purpose of the game was to find out what sort of adventures you can have jumping back and forth between the same handful of systems.
The campaign went well in the sense that it was very enjoyable and everyone had a good time (which is, after all, what's important), but it didn't go very fast, and several players decided that the time slot was inconvenient and that they were too busy to play. When one of the most active players was posted overseas, the campaign petered out. We'd had about 26 sessions in about a year, and 26 days had gone by in gametime...
The Efate Run, Vol. 2
Because of the amount of background information I developed for the campaign in Brubek's, I'd like stick to the Efate Run as the venue for this proposed game, but I'm going to change the emphasis. The players will start as temporary replacement crew on the Sphinx, but they won't stay there forever.
Universe, Time, and Place
The universe is the very like the GURPS Traveller Universe (I try to keep my TU as close to the canonical one as possible, but there are a few things I can't work with. Don't worry though, I'll make sure you know what they are). The time is early 1120, and the place is Regina/Regina.
One of the benefits I expect to derive from the wiki is that it'll provide a lot of the background information for the players. The main thing you'll have to look out for is that some of the information is about the OTU, which is well into the Rebellion by now, whereas this campaign takes place in a reasonable facsimili of the GTU.
The campaign will be what a friend of mine likes to call "Illuminati Light". There will be conspiracies, there will be deep dark secrets and scary people trying to prevent the PCs from figuring out what's going on, but things won't be as hopeless as a straight Illuminati game. It will be possible to get to the bottom of the mysteries if the PCs are tough enough, smart enough, and not too unlucky. Think of the secondary plots for Babylon 5 to give you an idea (we won't be getting into anything as cosmic-scale as the Shadow War).
Emphasis of the game will be roleplaying and problem-solving (Of course, some times the way to solve a problem is to fight ;-).
I'm looking for four players initially. If things go well and it turns out that I can handle more than that, I may add a few more later. Start by e-mailing me at 'ranckeATdiku.dk' (substituting '@' for 'AT'). Please indicate whether you'd like to be put on a waiting list if I get more than four applications.
Frequency of play
One of the advantages that I anticipate for this format is that players can attend whenever they have the time and don't have to keep a tight shedule. (That's just a theory until we've tried it out, of course). Players are expected to add their two cents several times a week ('more than two but less than many' ;-) and not to let the others get too far ahead. Personally I plan to attend about three time a week, and I wouldn't expect players to do more than that.
The rules for playing the game are here.
For creating characters and resolving conflicts (both man-vs-man and man-vs-nature) I'd like to use GURPS Traveller rules. (Actually, I'd prefer to use my home rules, but they're not translated into English, alas ;-). Access to GURPS Traveller: Far Trader would be useful, but I'll supply the necessary information if not.
Until further notice, I will not hand out experience points for play. I want to have a better grasp of just how capable the characters are before I do. OTOH, I won't be charging points for advantages gained during play. E.g. if you did Marc Oberlindes a good turn, you'd get a favor from him at no cost.
House rule: Low Berths
There are three methods for putting someone into low berth. The first is to put him in the low berth and activate it. Anyone can do that -- a person can even do it for himself using delayed activation. This takes five minutes (ten if the occupant is doing it himself). The second takes five minutes and requires someone with Physician 10+ or Electronic Operation (Medical) 10+ to supervise. The third takes 30 minutes and requires a qualified medical doctor to supervise (this is the method the Navy uses for its Frozen Watch.
If the first method was used, revival takes hours and requires the attention of a full medical team and a hospital.
If the second method was used, revival takes 15 minutes and will automatically succeed if supervised by someone with either of the skills mentioned above. Otherwise, roll against HT; the occupant dies on a critical failure (unless he can be rushed to a hospital and ressucitated). One medical technician can superwise up to four revivals simultaneously.
If the third method was used, the occupant revives automatically without any special attention as soon as the revival routine is activated.
All the above assumes that revival takes place within months or at most a few years. Complications accrue when someone stays in a low berth for decades.
Also, there's a small risk of complication even if everything is done right. It's very low and doesn't comer up unless the plot requires it ;-).
Characters should be built to 150 points. The TL of the campaign is 12, and the primitive disadvantage may not be taken by anyone who isn't fresh off a world with a lower TL (Which rules it out for the starting characters). People who are in regular contact with the Interstellar community are assumed to have sufficient familiarity with common TL12 equipment to use it properly (They can't repair it, of course, but then, neither can 99% of those born in a TL12 society).
House rule: Characters get Area Knowledge of their native country for the same cost as for a native language.
The four starting characters need to have the skills necessary to be hired on as replacement crew. We need:
- Someone with an Unlimited Mate's License.
- Someone else with an Unlimited Mate's License.
- Someone with a Cargomaster's Certificate.
- Someone with a Chief Engineer's License.
Feel free to call dibs once you've heard from me that you're playing.
I don't mind a certain level of tension between PCs. Rivalry, jealousy, prejudice, personal agendas; all that is fine as long it doesn't make it impossible to cooperate with the other PCs. Here's a couple of examples to show what I mean:
- In one of the most enjoyable adventures I ever ran, the PCs all worked for rival law enforcement organizations and were all trying to catch the same villain. Each of them wanted to be the one to arrest him, but they'd still prefer that one of the others got him to letting him get away. It made for a nice bit of tension, but it didn't get out of hand.
- I once joined an on-going D&D game with an LG half-orc cleric. The GM hadn't considered the fact that one of the PCs in the group was a dwarf. Naturally he refused to have anything to do with a lousy orc. I responded by saying that I hated orcs and had propably killed more than the dwarf had. The dwarf responded that he'd bet I hadn't. Right, we'd have a competition to see who'd kill the most. End result was that the dwarf still didn't like the half-orc, but he tolerated having him along on the dungeon-crawl. The idea was that later the two might learn enough about each other to get over their prejudices, but until that happened, they had a reason to tolerate each other.
You are not forbidden to dislike Vargr, Zhodani, Swordworlders, Darrians, ground-huggers, space-heads, Scouts, Marines, redheads, Zunk music, etc., but if you do, and one of the other characters happen to be a Vargr, a Zho, a Zunk fan, or whatever it is, you have to get along with them somehow.
Note: I'm not encouraging you to create characters that will be at odds with each other. It's perfectly OK by me if you want the group to be a band of brothers from the start.
I expect people to be able to distinguish between what they know and what their characters know. That said, it's easier to act oblivious if you are. You can have secrets and personal agendas in moderation. Anything you don't want the other players to know about, we'll handle over e-mail.
I'll post the first scene in a few days. There's actually no reason to wait for a full complement of players to start.
Rancke 14:03, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, I've received three of the four player characters, and while there's still a little fine-tuning to be done, the basic concepts seems perfectly fine, and I don't think we're going to need the fine print in the first couple of scenes. So I'll post the first two scenes (together, because they are very closely linked) so that the players can get their feet wet. Just keep in mind the rule about not getting too far ahead of the other players. Here we go: Forum:The Efate Run: Chapter 1.
Rancke 14:01, 6 May 2007 (UTC)