Those who follow this blog and my podcast will know that I am a big fan of Traveller. It’s where I began in the whole roleplaying game scene. Having been ill this week I had many hours feeling crappy and sitting in bed. What did I do? I picked up 2d6 and a couple of .PDFs.
I wrote about my slow way in to the Parts Per Million offering around solo roleplaying in a previous post. The other day I picked up ‘The Players Guide To Solo Role-Playing‘. Reading it, I was inspired to do two things:
- Get started playing.
- Grab out my copy of the Cepheus Engine System Reference Document.
I hope this is enough of a recommendation: if you are new to solo roleplaying and you want a science-fiction game, it’s a good way in. It’s written for the non-Gamemaster player and it gave me a nice methodology to begin. It felt doable, even when I was feeling very rough.
I needed a world. It occurred to me that I could roll one up using the World Generation stuff in Cepheus. So I did. Roll 2d6 and off you go.
Althea is a beautiful garden world with scattered farming communities operating at a native Tech Level 5 industrial capability – there is widespread electrification, telecommunications, and internal combustion for vehicles. The world is, however, under Imperial domination and the world government is captive, ruled under the dictatorial powers of the Imperial Governor.
Althea’s primary city provides the only working starport which is under heavier guard than most other settlements. Outlying towns are more frontier and have local Marshals for law enforcement. I was picturing late 1940s-style American mid-western towns with large farms and small communities of a few hundred people dotted across the world’s ample ranges.
Althea’s capital has about a quarter of the world’s 2 million people, providing a sprawling maze of brick tenements and factories making goods for local sale. The Imperium takes a prime portion of Althea’s agricultural goods off world to trade across nearby star systems. High-tech goods are imported under strict limits and provided only to loyal Imperial subjects.
Three factions were implied as operating on Althea:
- The Imperium under the auspices of the Governor.
- The captive Althean Council which operates as the official government on Althea under the Governor’s watchful eye.
- Scattered remnants of the former Althean Defense Forces, now banded together as a rebel resistance operating in small cells across the world.
From there, I was able to roll up my character. Hal Brex was born in my mind and I explored his backstory through character creation.
One of the things I have always enjoyed about the Traveller pedigree has been the path of discovering your character through random rolls and the connections that arise. Cepheus, as a retroclone, is good fun for this too.
Hal began as a hunter, transferred into the athletics career, and ended up as an agent for some government bureau. Here are the stats (for those who know the code):
Hal Brex, Human, Age 46; UPP 49C925; Admin-1, Athletics-1, Carouse-0; Computer-1, Gambling-1, Leadership-1, Mechanics-0, Recon-1, Streetwise-2, Survival-0, Slug Rifle-0, Slug Pistol-1, Piercing Weapons-0, Wheeled Vehicle-0.
I took the advice from the PPM Solo Guide and rolled up a situation. Three ideas of a who, an activity, and a goal gave me Law Enforcement, Hunting, and Knowledge. I had grabbed my Science-Fiction GM Apprentice Deck and drew out a location – Tenements – and took it from there.
It’s been a good solo game so far. I made it out of the first scene, which is rare for me. Perhaps it’s just sitting in bed with 2d6 and a notepad with time on my hands, but I got immersed in the play.
I’m typing up the scenes and running the game at my own pace. Althea has found its way on to a subsector star map and I even took the time to roll up and mark on the other worlds, although I haven’t generated any details yet. The small questions from the play are building an interesting picture as we go.
I feel that beginning is more important than any other factor. This time I didn’t think too much about what I wanted to play: I was feeling the science-fiction tingle and I went with it. I grabbed rules I have previously snubbed and found out they play just fine. Rolling the dice, building the scene, using the 2d6 Oracle that was recommended… all of it allowed me to begin. Now I want to keep it going.