< * [https://alexschroeder.ch/svg-map Traveller Subsector Mapper]
> * [https://alexschroeder.ch/svg-map Traveller Subsector Mapper] (on this blog: [[SVG Mapper]])
Brett Simpson used my SVG Mapper for Traveller to generate a little booklet for the subsector he’s been working on.
Highgate by Brett Simpson
Brett says: “There is no need to add a link to a page, as the only pages I have are unrelated to role-playing.”
Today I posted about my Planescape-Spelljammer-Traveller mashup on Google+ and I was asked to say more about it.
Basically the players got hold of a Spelljammer ship to sail the astral sea. It was one of the classic ships: a Mindflayer Nautilus class called the Black Strangler. Basically the astral sea is what Planescape has as the sea at the bottom of Celestia. When I read about the astral plane, the big wheel and all that, I was confused and I figured the players would be as well. Instead I opted for something alike Marion Zimmer Bradley’s travel to Avalon: get on a boat, travel for a bit, use some magic and you can be elsewhere. I think the astral sea is how D&D 4E does it as well?
Anyway, so we have a “sea” and “islands” on it – or basically worlds, systems. It already starts to sound like a bit of Traveller. Many of them will have gates linking them with larger worlds – fantastic worlds inspired by Planescape: hells, elemental planes, alternative prime material worlds. A bit like Philip José Farmer’s World of Tiers, perhaps?
One world, for example, is non-magical except for the gate that leads to the astral sea. So they built a fortress in the astral sea and discovered that magic works on the other side. Now they use it like a space station or star port to manufacture mundane stuff that requires magic to be built.
All these small worlds, astroids and stations get an UWP and I feed it to my Traveller Subsector Mapper to produce a nice map. Check out the astral sea map and click on the systems to go to the campaign wiki pages.
I think my greatest inspirations from the web where the One Page Dungeon submission The Forgotten Depths by the author of The Metal Earth and the session reports on Planet Algol. Nevertheless my campaign took a while to evolve to this place. At first it was very traditional Wilderlands of High Fantasy. Then we explored the first few levels of Dismal Depth, the Fight On! megadungeon and a bit of Barrow Maze. And when a player character fell into an “infinite pit” and another player character threw himself after the first one (picture), I decided to push it to a new level.
Oh, and the Google+ post was me saying that I was working out the domain stats for the region using the rules from An Echo Resounding (interesting comparison of An Echo Resounding and Adventure Conqueror King). I hope my players aren’t overwhelmed by my sneaky introduction of these domain rules. I think the two key phrases I heard last session justifying this move were “I think we’ll keep Monkey Island as our base!” and “Can we benefit somehow from reopening the mine on Monkey Island?”
Write “Traveller:” followed by the UWP like this:
Traveller: Tu Akhra 0404 D0602B3-1 P As De Lo Lt R Susrael 0503 B0604A4-1 N As De Lt NI A Nova Genova 0607 B867686-1 N Ag Ga Lt NI Ri Hinia Oot 0705 E060200-1 As De Lo Lt A Monkey Island 0308 E064105-0 Lo Lt
And the result will be this:
Klick to switch to the map. There, you can click on the systems to get the wiki pages.
I finally decided that the Astral Sea needed a map. One of the player characters decided to pursue his quest to revive Arden, the dead elven god. His corpse is being drained of its remaining life force by the sorcerer queen of the gray elves (Githyanki). His corpse is also drifting in the Astral Sea. A gate was found (a bottomless pit in the Barrowmaze), a ship was gained (pictured on the right), and now the party is sailing the Astral Sea Spelljammer style and finding places in the Planescape fashion. 👌
Anyway, I was wondering how many random encounters I should be rolling for any trips from A to B. I should draw a map, I thought. I remembered my Traveller Subsector Mapper. All I had to do was to generate an UWP for my locations.
Tu Akhra 0404 D0602B3-1 P As De Lo Lt R Susrael 0503 B0604A4-1 N As De Lt NI A Nova Genova 0607 B867686-1 N Ag Ga Lt NI Ri Hinia Oot 0705 E060200-1 As De Lo Lt A
I basically ignored the requirement for an atmosphere of 0 to generate the asteroid trade code. All these worlds have breathable air. Plugging this into the mapper:
I’m running a biweekly Diaspora game in a Traveller Subsector. The party had just crash landed on a planet after being shot down by a gunship using space combat rules and made it to the base on a sort of social combat map with the opponents being earthquakes, a sea monster, and a patrol of aliens. Inside the base, they saw the overgrown and partly disassembled remnants of the ship that had brought the alien infection to the system and decided they were going to hook their diplomat-hacker up with the central nervous system running the base. I asked the table whether they felt like another map and combat but Harald reminded me of another technique I often use: Just go around in a circle and ask each of the players what they’ll do to help solve the problem.
Four players, four rolls. I said you need at least two successes. First attempt by Thomas at finding a quiet corner fails spectacularly. The aliens get spin. Second attempt by Florian at fighting the immune system of the mega-organism fails spectacularly. The aliens get spin. Third attempt by Harald at hooking up the hacker fails spectacularly. The aliens get spin. Whoa!! The last roll comes up and I ask for the stakes. What’s going to happen when Jörg fails? I say he’s going to be taken over and integrated into the base if he fails. He says “w00t!?” He doesn’t want to take the consequences for all the earlier failures. Harald volunteers to take a severe consequence that would change his result into a success – “infected by an alien mind”. Yay!! Jörg manages to reprogram the alien factory in order to make the resulting ship something they can use. Victory!
As the session was about to end, I give the diplomat-hacker the following choice:
They picked #3 – Alien 2 style. So proud.
Bye bye Traveller category – our gaming group has decided to give Diaspora a try!
Today we had three hours. First we discussed the state of the campaign and decided to switch to Diaspora. I printed out character sheets, skill reference sheet, personal combat sheet while Harald explained a bit about the rules. Then we converted our Traveller characters. It went pretty smoothly. The free form aspects are a real boon.
We assigned a system to each one of us, and said that we’d convert the UWP to the Diaspora stats on our Campaign:Kaylash subsector wiki. We’ll convert them as we go. Technology, Environment, Resources, and three aspects, that should not be too hard. We already have a map and a lot of info on some of the systems.
I don’t think we need a Diaspora cluster. Perhaps I’m missing something? The benefit of having small clusters might be a localized game suited for people that like to switch campaigns often? We’ve been playing our biweekly game for a year, now. I think we want to keep playing in this subsector and we want to keep exploring our characters for quite a bit more.
Wish us luck!
It uses a two-step process:
I’m still working on the trade routes. At the moment it looks way too busy, so I’m trying to think of an elimination step that will get rid of some of them again. Anyway, I have some working code, but it needs some improvement before I’ll deploy.
I also fixed the spinward/trailing labels. I had them confused!
Note for the curious: If you check the link you’ll also find a source link at the bottom. It’s Free Software. Enjoy!
Update: Trade routes now added!
Later: I suspect that there are still bugs in the system. It generates an unpopular trade route between Labeveri and Sogeeran, but as far as I can tell, there is no reason for it to exist. Must debug… Hm… Nope. Everything is as it should be. If you check the debug output (there’s a new checkbox) you’ll find that the system participates in other trade-routes as well:
What music would you use for your Traveller?
I’ve seen DM Peter a Computer RPG game soundtrack for an entire campaign. There was our intro theme, our combat theme, and a small number of selected tracks for selected scenes. Perhaps picking a small number (three?) of tracks per session, and another small selection (two?) tracks per campaign would work?
I’m spending about an hour after each Traveller session (itself usually 2½h) updating our Kaylash campaign wiki with notes on money made for trading, money spent for repairs, maintenance, salaries, etc. It’s a lot of bureaucracy. 
Unlike D&D 3+ where players can spend a lot of time away from the table thinking about their character and tweaking it, Traveller seems to be the game where players can spend a lot of time away from the table thinking about their ship’s finances.
I’m not sure I like it. Right now we’ve been rotating game masters, so I’ve been recharging my creative energies, but once I return to running games, I might not feel like updating the site. My players don’t seem too interested in it, and yet the rules afford spending a lot of time on it – just like D&D 3+ rules encourage players to spend time tweaking their characters.
You’re not required to do it, but the rules invite you to do it.
I’m now looking at some sort of algorithm that will “simplify” the network. Take a look at the sample subsector. I’d like this algorithm to delete the connection between Bemaat and Atcevein and the connection between Esgeed and Maxereis. Those I think should be obvious. Less obvious would be to delete the connection between Diare and Esgeed and between Atcevein and Esgeed.
I’m still struggling, however. What should the exact elimination rules be?
For every code amber and code red system, eliminate all but one communications route. The one and only communications route from such a system should go to the system with the best starport, the closest one, with the most people, and the richest, with no code amber or red.
This would make the following changes:
Or I could try something else.
Every system will keep the shortest communications routes it has.
Hm, I don’t think this is going to work.