Thursday, April 30, 2015

Adventures of the BLACK LOTUS Part 4. (Cliffhanger)

Traveller: Adventures of the Blacklotus  First Game session: ch. 1 & 2: CLIFFHANGER  

Art Credit: Quiet Among the Stars by
Captain's log, First Voyage on record.... Heaven help us....

Our crew was asked by special messenger to go to Liege World to visit the fifth in line in the house of lords to take on a diplomatic milk run. 

They were hired by Lord Balentine to take on a diplomatic pouch from Zobah,  the fifth moon of Liege/Blakeworld system to Akira System, Main planet,  diplomatic hall.    Seems pretty simple. After they left the meeting, they discovered that Lord Balentine  was involved with running the cloak and dagger committee  for Liege.

As they exited jump space to Zobah and encountered a weird Gravity phenomena which was felt a full moon orbit away from Zobah. Upon reaching the planet: they
witnessed a few things:

      #1 a tremendous gravity well at the north axis of the moon.

      #2 one of the moons power plants had been disrupted to the point that it destabilized and exploded.

They were assigned a gold channel communication and given a flight plan to approach the moon.  While on final approach around the moon they discovered thenorth and south defensive systems were now open and showing and all weapons were running *HOT*.

They landed and received a hearty welcome. The ship was refueled,  and re-provisioned as a courteous  of the Liege World Government. They gathered some interesting rumors about a local Second-in-command pirate being held in detention. Also they got a lead on another job in the future: to track down the notorious Lorem Quo, was wanted for something fairly heinous.

They left Zobah after about 3 hours of R&R and start off for the jump point. They were stopped En route and by the Allegiance Cruiser Nashua.  Ex-American Patriot Now Captain of the cruiser asked the crew of the Black lotus to dock for security reasons.

They left the diplomatic box on board and were detained for some 4 hours until.... Alarm klaxons!!  The Nashua was ATTACKED BY AN UNKNOWN assailants!! The main bay door was melted to slag! "Scramble the fighters. This is not a drill!! THIS IS NOT A DRILL" Radiation warnings! a main bulkhead burst! life pods scrambled!!! 2 workmen were sucked out of the bay as it explosively de-crompressed! and finally the most dreaded... order to.... "abandon ships!" The Nashua was doomed!

The player made their way thru melted metal and radio active debris.  They managed to blow the remain bay door and escape into....

A howling battle... fighters exploding in the cold silence of space. At the center, an odd alien looking craft, like a giant metallic ice cream cone with vision distorting Gauss fusion exhaust...

TO BE CONTINUED....That is of course if you are interested.:)
 Enhanced Lotus - Free Trader Class A
Designed by: Ling Starships
150-ton Hull (Flattened Sphere) - Streamlined
AC: 8 (6 vs. Meson Guns)
AR: 0 SI: 100 Initiative: -2
Starship Size: Medium
Cost: 60.275 MCr (75.343 MCr without discount)
Model/3 (PP: 42/12) Computer
Avionics: Less than 600-ton
Sensors: Medium Range Communications: Short Range
Cargo: 16.0-tons
Extra Ship's Stores: 4 person/weeks of Luxury Stores,
20 person/weeks of Standard Stores,
Annual Maintenance = 6.028 KCr (3.014 KCr if routinely maintained)
Routine Maintenance = 1.507 KCr/Month (15.069 KCr per year)
Performance: Jump-2 (enough fuel for 2x Jump-2)
Acceleration: 2-G Agility: -2
Power Plant: TL-10 Fusion (4 EP output, enough fuel for 2 weeks)
Fuel Scoops,
Active Defenses:

Hardpoints: 2
2x Single Beam Laser Turret TL-10, +1 To Hit, 1d8 (20/x1), Range: 30,000km
1x Single Sandcaster Turret TL-10, +3 AC, Ammo: 3 sand canisters

Ship's Vehicles:
1x 2-ton vehicle hangar

Accomodations & Fittings:
2x Single Occupancy Stateroom (2 People)
6x Single Occupancy Small Cabin (6 People)
2x Low Berth (2 People)
3x Small Craft Couch (3 Crew)
1x Airlock

Crew Details:
1x Pilot
1x Astrogator
1x Engineer
1x Medic
3x Gunner
Cut down free trader

A clue by itself is as useless as a can of caviar without a can opener.

"Without something to do with that clue you just found, you might as well have a can of beluga and no can opener. " -JDS

Savage Worlds GM Hangout (On Air!): Puzzles and Traps.  I enjoyed your youtube hangout. The language was colorful. That's all Ill say about that.

You guys almost hit the nail on the head. I have two or three cents worth to add what you wrote. There was an article written back in the heyday of ENWORLD. I tried like hell to find it but no luck.  I'm going to address the last half hour of your podcast. You guys spent a lot of time debating what to do about this clue written, and what to do about it. The clue is a metaphor for anything unknown in the game, to the players and possibly to the characters. So what do you do about it. 

Sherlock Holmes actor Edward Hardwicke, who played Dr. John Watson opposite Jeremy Brett on television in the 1980s and '90s, has died of cancer at age 78

There's one obvious scenario here that ill get out of the way first. If its a clue that no one has a way of discovering either because they don't have the expertise in general or they don't have a skill: you do what we did back in the *day* and that is, visit the EXPERT. That's all. We aren't talking a trap here, we are talking puzzle. What if you cant visit the expert? well then, your dm has made a mistake because there's nothing worse than throwing in a wall that can be pushed or gone around. Now that that's out of the way, I'm going to return to the original topic and that is here's a clue,  you should have the smarts to figure it out, but what for what ever reason, you and your party CANT.
Easy solution... fudge a roll. blah blah gimme an int roll... that's not going to cut it because it becomes anti-climactic.

I wish to hell I could find this article because it answers the big question here, what do you do with the clue that you don't understand, or couldn't find, the meaning of or better yet, it doesn't attach to anything else you know in the storyline and there's no way to find out.

ok? the answer is:  1)group your clues. Don't make one single clue.  2) Place the clues in obvious places. Place the clues in areas that they can always find them.

Remember: your players never do what you expect them to do? How many times have you been through that?

1) and 2) can be illustrated by the following. group your clues. Let's look at Mycroft's less apt brother: Sherlock, A genius at arranging clues.

  • "Look Watson, the thief started here, in this mud puddle, walked across the grass, and then opened that window." pointing at an open window. 
  • "That's brilliant Sherlock, how did you gather that?"   
  • "Its obvious Watson the clues are grouped in this area. Note, the foot print in the mud, the blades of grass crumpled, the obvious muddy foot print on the sill..."   
  • "By gosh Holmes you make it seem so easy..."

But as a DM it's really not easy, but its very doable. So how do you group your clues? and why?  ok.  first we will do a local example and then we can do a larger area.   A sir cote with blood. A desk drawer open.  a curtain pushed aside with blood.   a bit of hair on the desk. 

First the WHY. Why? that's elementary.  If the player misses one clue, then you can hit him over the head with another clue. If he missed the bloodied sir cote, then he can find the red hair that matches Ms Strongholts red wig that you saw her wearing at the market.
Now the grouping, question. What to group? That depends on what aspect you want to group with. What do you need to tell the group.  I run lots of pulp. When I group clues I make sure to put them in a place that the players can find with in 3 or 4 minutes of real wall time. From running countless mysteries. I can tell you the easiest and most exciting mysteries have been when the group feels they can figure out the clues, traps, them selves with out too much dm help....

Because with too much DM help they haven't accomplished anything. and doesn't help your players feel heroic and... if its run that way you might as well be running a 2 hour champions combat game.   I hope that gives you a real sense of clues,

Take the same approach to traps that you take with puzzles and mysteries.  Sure its great to be able to open a lock with a TN 4 and a fish bone from your corset, but think how much fun you could have with a series of traps and puzzles that are built from the blood and the brilliance of the villain they are trying to lay out.

If you plan to do a savage hangout on mysteries make sure you let me know. Id love to watch.

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"Any person whose character traits all fall in the center, midway between the extremes, is considered wise." - RAMBAM;     

"Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light." -Dylan Thomas.   "These two thoughts are not mutually exclusive" -JDS