Traveller Organized Play
Dicehaven has an internal Traveller Organized Play program for members of our game club. Here’s how it works.
Organized play runs in Seasons which are tied to whatever Traveller campaign Dicehaven is running at a given time. When a campaign changes, the season may change to allow organized play games to more readily tie into the campaign.
Generally, organized play games are run as episodic, self-contained 2.5 to 4-hour games. Characters persist from game to game and gain rewards (notably 1 XP to spend on skill improvements during study periods) even though you may have different GMs at different game. Players may move freely between games run by different gamemasters and may transport their character to different game groups participating in organized play. Games can be run online via virtual tabletops like Roll20.net, via play-by-post, or in person.
Generally, the season structure is that players are aboard a ship with an NPC captain who gives the characters missions, and assigns the players their equipment. After the adventure is over, you return to home base and await orders for your next mission.
What You Need to Play
In order to participate in these organized play games, you’ll need the following:
Character Creation — Players create characters per the normal Mongoose Traveller 2e rules. Characters can be created either as a group, by selecting an approved pre-generated character, or created outside the game depending on the circumstances and GM guidance. To generate characteristics, roll 7 sets of 2d6, keep the best 6 results, and assign these results to characteristics in any order you like. Below-average characters (those whose UPP characteristics add up to less than 42, e.g. a UPP of 777776) get to re-roll their characters.
Money — Expenses are not tracked and are assumed to take place ‘off-camera’. Although any character debt or other story hooks that came from character generation are in full effect, players don’t bother to track ship shares or do other such accounting. Equipment needed for a given mission are doled out from the ship’s locker.
Retiring Characters — Players can choose to retire a character at the end of any game.
Multiple Characters — Players can have multiple, active characters in different organized play games. With each game you play, you gain 1 XP, assignable to the character of your choice.
Character Death — Characters can die. After a character dies, the player must create a new character which can join in that game or in the next game, at the GM’s discretion. New characters start with zero experience. Players still receive 1 XP for the game even if their character dies.
Study Period Reward — GMs earn 1 XP for each game they run. For each game in which a player plays, they earn 1 XP which can be spent to gain a successful Study Period (page 52 in the core rules), no EDU check needed, assignable to the character of their choice. The character may use the Study Period per the normal rules (for example, to level up a skill) subject to the normal Limitations and Exceptions listed on page 52 in the core rules.
Story Hooks — The events of organized play games are assumed to take place roughly contemporaneously with any active Dicehaven Traveller Campaign. Therefore, organized play Traveller Games can become (1) news items which campaign characters can hear about, or (2) story hooks (for example, villains or factions which remain after the organized play game is ended) which campaign campaign characters can encounter.
Tracking Advancement — We use the honor system, but in order to ensure players are tracking their character points correctly, at least one person from a group after each game should post attendance and XP awards in the community shared adventure log. This log also helps us track which players have played in our games, so that if we have an ad hoc game with a given list of players, we can make sure and not run a scenario some of those characters have already played in.
Giving Back as a Gamemaster — Part of what makes Organized Play fun is giving everyone a chance to play. We’ll make that happen in part by having players step up to run occasional games. Although there is no specific requirement, have as a goal to run 1 game for each 4 games that you play in. This way everyone can play as much as they want, without limiting games by lack of gamemasters who are willing to only run games and never play.
Adventure Guidelines — Gamemasters should run adventures which are self-contained, run in 2.5-4 hours, and don’t introduce situations or outcomes that affect canon or disrupt any campaign storylines.
Gamemaster Rewards — Gamemasters earn 1 XP for each game they run which they can spend on the character of their choice which they play in future games.
Season One: IISS Mourning Wolf
Setting and Story
Characters —The IISS Mourning Wolf has a crew of 30:
- 3 Bridge Crew
- Captain Anthea Vance (Blonde, female, late 40s but due to anagathic drugs appears to be in late 20s)
- 4 Engineers
- Sr. Engineer Liko Silver
- 5 other Engineers)
- 1 Medic
- 3 Gunners
- 6 Small Craft Pilots
- (These are the Player Characters typically)
- 2 Small Craft Engineers
- 3 Scientists/Mission Specialists
- 8 Security
Current Date — It is the 55th century: AD 5420 according to Earth’s common reckoning, or IC 1107 according to the Imperial Calendar. We generally hand-wave tracking the exact date, and will occasionally advance the timeline for one year for both the current campaign and associated Organized Play.
Story Setup — Regardless of past career background, characters have now become members of the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service (IISS) and are aboard the IISS Mourning Wolf, a Light Cruiser outfitted with five ‘Sunfury Mark II’ fighters. Your ship is tasked with the exploration of the Imperial frontiers and peacekeeping efforts associated with the colonial outposts on the Spinward Frontier.
Squadron — You are stationed on the IISS Mourning Wolf but also pilot or co-pilot one of five ‘Sunfury Mark II’ fighters. These five fighters are collectively called ‘Wolf Squadron’, and each ship is named ‘Wolf One’, ‘Wolf Two’ and so forth.
Subsector Location — The events of organized play games usually take place in the Concordia subsector or one of the subsectors adjacent to it. Standard Equipment issued from Ship’s Locker:Concordia-Subsector
Recommended Skills for Season One — The following skills will be extremely helpful in your role as pilots / co-pilots aboard the IISS Mourning Wolf:
- Social (Leadership or Persuasion) — One person can be a Wing Commander and have mechanical benefit to squadron dogfights.
- Pilot (Small Craft) — Used for piloting the Sunfuries.
- Heavy Weapons (Vehicle) — Used for shooting the Sunfury’s fix mount weapons.
Season One Organized Play Skill Package — As members of the Mourning Wolf, you have access to a custom skills package (similar to those listed on Traveller Core Rules p. 48) to ensure you have the right mix of skills for the Scout characters doing starship fighter piloting.[su_note note_color=”#FFFF66″ text_color=”#333333″]
Mourning Wolf Skills Package
Each character gains both these skills (useful to be a Sunfury’s pilot):
- Pilot (Small Craft) 1, Heavy Weapons (Vehicle) 1
Each character can choose one skill from this list (useful to be a Sunfury’s 2nd person):
- Electronics (Comms) 1, Electronics (Sensor) 1, Engineer (M-Drive) 1, Engineer (Power) 1, Mechanic 1, Social (Leadership) 1, or Social (Persuasion) 1
Note that when rank in a skill is listed, then you gain the skill at that level so long as it is higher than your current level in that skill (see Traveller Core Rules p. 16).
Ship, Expenses, and Salvage — The IISS provides the ship and takes care of all reasonable expenses during missions. Any treasure, derelict ships, or the like are given over to the IISS for processing and salvage.
Standard Equipment for Assigned Duties — The Captain or commanding officer will typically give characters one of three standard duties, each of which has a standard set of equipment:
- All Duties:
Commdot (Throat Mic), Hand comp. / communicator, Multifunction pocket tool, Flashlight, Med. kit
- VAC (Vacc Suit Duties, including EVAs and small craft sorties such as pilots on Sunfuries will often do). Standard Equipment issued from Ship’s Locker:
Vacc Suit TL10, Accelerator Rifle, Snub Pistol
- COM (Combat Duties where you expect military combat). Standard Equipment issued from Ship’s Locker:
Cloth Armor TL10, Advanced Combat Rifle
- SEC (Security Duties where you provide police protection or escort, typically in civilian security contexts). Standard Equipment issued from Ship’s Locker:
Cloth Armor TL10, Submachine Gun
Missions — The GM of organized play games gives the crew of the week as delivered by the IISS ship captain. GMs can write their own adventures, but Freelance Traveller adventures (including free versions of Michael Brown scenarios), or commercial 1-sheet adventures by Michael Brown (many of which were repurposed Freelance Traveller adventures) are a great starting point for scenario ideas.
Another idea is using Traveller’s Mercenary Ticket adventures as a setup for organized play games (swapping out the mercenary patron and substituting ‘IISS’ / Scouts as the employer giving the missions.) Classic Traveller’s 76 Patrons has 16 mercenary tickets. Also, see the Traveller SRD page for mercenary ticket adventure generators.