Tabletop RPG Podcast and Roleplaying Resources

Category: Traveller (Page 4 of 4)

The Hordes of Raschev

Our Classic Traveller game last night — with Stan playing for a change! Six players plus Robert Eaglestone as the GM. Rob ran us through the CT double adventure ‘Hordes’. Also beta-testing a custom character sheet with rules summary which I’ll be updating and sharing out in a few weeks. It was awesome fun! Thanks Rob for running a great game. Click on the images below to view fullscreen.

Recap on our adventures: Our players uncovered the various mysteries behind the alien ‘bugs’ from Chamax, how the spaceship got to the planet Raschev, and managed to save a few less-than-competent jarhead locals.

Our adventurers managed to rack up some more cash and recruit revolutionaries who want to take back Arden from the Zhodani. Off-camera our characters will sell the Chamax artifacts we acquired from the previous planet. Our next step for the upcoming game is to journey to Arden and begin it’s liberation! But, we need a plan since our resources are still scant.

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ShinnCon II Quick Recap


Great Sci Fi minis complements of Marshall!

Today’s game had lots of creepy derelict ship exploration and alien ‘bugs’ of various forms. There was some opportunity to swindle a megacorp (InStarSpec) out of a ship, so the PCs have become pirates essentially, but still en route to Arda and Garda Villis.

You now have two ships and are looking to sell some alien statuettes you picked up to afford some weaponry for the yacht and cargo ship you own.

Large Scale Fleet Battles for Traveller Games

Starmada Game at MilliniumCon

Starmada Game at MilliniumCon (see

One of the things our Traveller group at ShinnCon decided was that we wanted to eventually get into large scale, epic fleet battles. Classic Traveller (and related systems like Striker, Mayday, Azhanti High Lightning which deal with skirmish, on-ship or small ship-to-ship encounters) doesn’t seem to be well suited to this. Especially given we have 9 players! So I’ve been researching starship miniatures combat systems.

Ideal things I’m looking for (not sure I can get all these things in one system, but will try to get as many as I can):

  • Players can learn system in < 20 minutes — Given we have 9 players, and not everyone will take time to read rules off-line, we need it to be a quick-to-learn system.
  • Can scale to 20+ ships per side — Probably we’ll give each player 3-4 ships or something, and have some players play the part of the bad guy ships. With 9 players that could be 25-40 ships on the battlemat.
  • Fast and furious — I want us to play and wrap up in < 4 hours, so we can get some roleplaying in as well.
  • Adapts to multiple universes — I want to replay fleet combats in multiple settings (Traveller, Star Frontiers, Star Wars, etc.) and it would be nice if we could use the same rules for multiple settings.
  • Traveller compatibility — Would be cool if we used 2d6, and in general, if someone has done the homework to do a Traveller conversion.

With this in mind, I’ve narrowed it down to four systems:

1) Star Frontiers: Knight Hawks

Seem like nice rules. Not sure how well they convert to other settings, or scale to multiple players. Will definitely consider these though, as we’ll eventually be doing a Star Frontiers game after our Traveller run.


  • Dice: Percentile
  • Free PDF:

2) A Sky Full of Ships

Right now if I had to guess, this is the front-runner.


  • Players: 2-6 Players (but, I bet we can push the envelope on this).
  • Dice used: Two, differently colored d6s
  • Review:
  • 2nd Ed Basic Rules:
  • 2nd Ed Purchase:
  • Yahoo DIscussion Group:
  • Basic Rules:
  • Demo:
  • Purchase/Downloads:
  • Traveller Conversion:
  • Conversion Guidelines:
  • Review:
  • Resources:

3) Starmada

Great production values.


  • Dice: 6 or more D6’s per player
  • Players: 2?
  • Play Time: “We have played even with kids as young as 12 who have never played Starmada with 50+ ships per side in 3-4 hours. Done it several times. Even our small games run 15-25 ships per side. Those run 2-3 hours.
  • Demo:
  • Demo:
  • Purchase:
  • Starmada pic:
  • Traveller Conversions: and

4) Full Thrust / Power Projection Fleet

Great support and lots resources. It does seem to be a bit crunchier than the systems above though.


  • Movement: Vector
  • Full Thrust. Rules are free, there’s easily a hundred or more ships made by the manufacturer that work with most ‘standard’ scale ships (smaller than Firestorm Armada, larger than B5 Fleet Action – though those work, too). The rules work with, well, any background you want, just change the names of the weapons to suit your fiction. Cinematic or ‘vector’ movement, easy construction, only uses ‘normal’ dice. A friendly, helpful mailing list.
  • Wiki Overview:
  • Conversions: and
  • Traveller Version:
  • Traveller Conversions:
  • All Downloads:
  • Resource Sites:

General Starship Miniatures Games Resources:


Space Mats:

Hotz Mats Deep Space Mat

Star Frontiers vs. Traveller Ship Sizes:

Great General Site:

Great Forums:

Fleet Size Recap:

If you want small to medium sized fleets (a dozen vessels per side or less), that’s where most games these days tend to sit. Full Thrust, Starmada, etc.

If you want larger fleets (about 20 or so per side, possibly up to 30), then A Sky Full of Ships seems to be a popular choice.

Complexity Recap:

Low – Starmada, Battlefleet Gothic, Firestorm Armada, A Sky Full of Ships
Mid – Full Thrust, Federation Commander, A Call to Arms, Colonial Battlefleet, Silent Death (fighter combat), Noble Armada
High – Star Fleet Battles, Saganami Island Tactic Simulator (Honorverse), B5 Wars, Starblazers Fleet Battles, Aerotech 2 (Battletech universe)

Traveller Game: Lessons Learned & Future Tools

Fun with Pipe Cleaners

Fun with Pipe Cleaners

Our first ShinnCon (an at-my-house 12 hour game day, emulating a ‘mini-con’) was a great success! 9 players plus Stan as GM / referee. I’ll post more about the adventures and events of the day, but before I forget I wanted to jot down some notes on things on things that went well, things I wish I’d done better, and future tools and accessories I want to create for the next game. Also, I hope to do more posts describing the game and posting PDFs of the tools I used which I reference below.

What Worked Well:

  • Demo Mini-Game — I ran a quick skirmish battle for the players with pre-gen characters. Battle fed into the backstory that setup the main adventure. This let them see how combat and skills worked and let them have a chance to (potentially) die before rolling up real characters and getting into a high-stakes combat with their final player character.
  • Pipe Cleaners — I gave everyone a Pipe Cleaner — just something to fiddle with during the game. We ended up with a Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer and other cool creations.  
  • Campaign Charter — We went through a special campaign charter process to come up a with a group social contract of what we wanted in the game, our reason to adventure, etc. This worked well. I’ll post more on this at some point.
  • Characteristics Cards — Not to be confused with Traveller UPP Characteristics, this is things like Character Quirks. This was a nice exercise.
  • Connections Cards — This was very valuable and fueled the day’s adventure. Players created Friend, Family and Foe NPCs for their characters. Very nice.
  • Ad Lib Adventure — I gave the players an initial scene but asked them questions (DungeonWorld style) to mutually create the adventure. The “Ad Lib Adventure” phrase is a Trademarked term I’ll be using for some a published product I’ll be revealing hopefully this Fall.
  • Con Packet — I gave players handouts, rules, etc. I think this was good. One element was a Future Games Survey to see what games to have in our backlog, and how often folks wanted to meet.
  • 4×6″ Character Sheet — I created a 4×6″ notecard format character sheet that included a spot for weapon stats without looking at a book. Very handy. Will post after GenCon.
  • Intrigue — One character —  ‘The Cube’ (J. J. Jameson) — did a great job of solving the intrigue around who was behind the assassination of a noble’s son. Very nice!

Rules/Tools I Wish I’d Managed Better:

  • Skill ‘levels’ — I was advising people to add their skill as a +DM to skill rolls, but I didn’t advise folks where certain skills are more like ‘levels’ and each level has a +2 or +4 modifier per level. Will fix this next game by using a Rob Eaglestone suggested house rule to pre-bake these modifiers into the skill level.
  • Range — I need to have a change handy with the range definitions. I also need to have a good conversion of ranges for gridded combat — meters per square. Should have an option to zoom out to different scales if we’re doing really long range combat. Also should consider house-ruling a 13th Age style ‘near’, ‘engaged’ type system.
  • System Travel Time — Need to create a table for quick reference with travel times for planet to planet’s orbit, planet orbit to another planet or asteroid belt in the system, planet side to jump, etc.
  • Law & Tech Level — I failed to decode the UWP for the star system and players needed to know the law and tech level. I want to create a quick cheat sheet to decode UWPs.
  • Markers for Name Tents — I had name tents for the characters but I forgot to pass around a marker so players wrote up their names in pen or pencil and it was hard to read.
  • 4×6″ Card Examples — On the Characteristics and Connections 4×6″ card tools I handed out, I had examples that had sentences with Blanks. Multiple players though each example had to be filled out. I need to change the format of the cards to make this more clear.
  • Ammo Tracking — I didn’t review the ammo and clip capacity information for weapons so we ended up not tracking ammo. I’d like to add this to our character sheet and have players track this in future games.
  • Vehicle Speed/Armor — I didn’t have the grav bikes stat’d out. When players decided to shoot the grav bikes I just made up stats on the spot. Also, it became relevant to range how fast the bikes were coming into to attack. Note to self: stat out anything the players might shoot at in advance.

Future Rules to Master or House Rules to Add:

  • Stunned Rules — I found the system not so much ‘lethal’ as it was ‘one shot and you’re unconscious’. Need to review the stunned house rules some have proposed and see if this is a house rule I’d want to employ.
  • Bridge Crew Ship Battles — I want to review which Traveller rules are best for ship battles with bridge crews and figure out how best to run those battles so everyone has a meaningful role and has fun.
  • Mass Fleet Battles — Like the above, but with multiple ships. Need to figure out the best rules for lots of ships in the battle.
  • Boarding Action Rules — Need to review best way to handle boarding actions.
  • Replacement Characters — Classic Traveller character generation is cool, but takes a while. If someone dies, I don’t want to slow down the game for someone to generate a new character. Need to think if the rules should be that players go ahead and roll up the replacement character as homework, re-skin their old character with a new name, use pregens, or what.
  • Skill Tests — I used a ‘roll under your characteristic’ rule for Skill tests, but I want to review rules like Mongoose Traveller to see if there is a more elegant way to handle this.

Minis for Future Games:

  • 15mm Minis — I want to paint up some nice 15mm miniatures. I am considering doing different colored bases to make the minis easier to identify for PCs. Need minis for NPCs (Zhodani, soldiers) and alien creatures, etc.
  • 4×5′ Battlemat — I’m considering making a 15mm scale large battlemat (with 0.59″ squares) printed at for $21.
  • Ship Battles — Need to figure out the best way to do ship battles — maybe minis, or maybe printed counters/pogs.
  • Hex Space Battlemat — Need to solve for getting a hex space battlemat. Maybe another custom matt from, or painted using a Litko hex stencil.

Ship Expenses and Ship Map:

  • Ship Expenses and Upkeep — Players have two ships at this point I think so we’ll need to decide what sort of bookkeeping we want to do (or not d0) regarding tracking ship expenses. I don’t care that much for the ‘accountants in space’ dimension this has the potential to take on, but will talk to the players about it.
  • Ship Maps — One of the ships was a luxury yacht. I’d like (ideally) to use ships that we have 15mm scale deckplans for, like the Free Trader Beowulf or the scout. So, need to talk about what we want to do on that front.





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