Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Traveller Tuesdays - Space Encounters in Sphere Fenix (1)

As a place to start in looking at the Sphere Fenix star nation of the Crucis Margin sector, I decided to start with encounter tables.  This is a great way to inject some basic sandbox material.  The idea is simple, take a basic encounter table, and then provide details for many of the entries that are specific to the campaign being run.

As this column assumes the Mongoose interpretation of Classic Traveller, we can start by taking a look at the random space encounter tables from that rule book.

This is a table that goes from 01 to 96 (a total of 60 entries, derived from reading two dice as two sets of digits).  The numbers below 11 and above 66 are achievable by a sequence of modifiers that apply to the first die in the sequence.  Those modifiers can range from -1 to +3 (modifications outside that range are truncated down or up, as appropriate).  Then read the following table:

Consult the Mongoose book for the modifiers.

Some of these entries -
 02 Solar Flare
 03 Asteroid
 04 Ore Bearing Asteroid
 14 Comet
 23 Micrometeorite Store
 32 Space Junk (possible...)

Are "terrain" or objects that belong to the environment, rather than sophont-made (man-made?) objects (with the possible exception of Space Junk, depending on what it is...).

Now, taking a look at the rest of the chart, the many man-made objects all have a sort of implication about where they might be appropriate, if a referee were to start putting in specific information.  That specific information could include (1) ships (either specific Classes or types, or specific named Ships), (2) NPCs (which includes, but is not limited to, patrons, enemies, rivals, contacts, etc), or (3) Organizations (mercenary companies, mega corps, pirate cartels, religions, alien cultures).

In order to make things simple, we can identify each of these as being appropriate for a certain level of scoping for the campaign - if specific detail on the chart is desired.  That detail can be (1) Quadrant or Sector level, (2) Polity or Sub-sector level, or (3) Planet or World System level.  This gives us a road map to determine which specific NPCs or Ships need to be referenced.

Take a look at the chart, split out to a single column, with each entry having a flag indicating if specifics for that entry would get their information from a resolution appropriate to Quadrant/Sector level (QS), Polity/Sub-sector level (SS), or Planet/World System level (WS).  In addition, if the encounter aims itself at a named Ship (type or instance), a named NPC, or a named Organization is identified as a second flag.

01 Alien derelict (possible salvage) (QS) (Ship)
02 Solar flare are (1d6 100 rads)  (WS)
03 Asteroid (empty rock) (WS)
04 Ore-bearing asteroid (possible mining) (WS)
05 Alien vessel (on a mission) (QS) (Ship)
06 Rock hermit (inhabited rock) (WS) (NPC)

11 Pirate (SS) (NPC) (Org?) (Ship?)
12 Derelict vessel (possible salvage) (SS) (Ship)
13 Space station (1–4: derelict) (WS)
14 Comet (may be ancient derelict at its core) (WS)
15 Ore-bearing asteroid (possible mining) (WS)
16 Ship in distress (SS) (Ship)

21 Pirate (SS) (NPC) (Org?) (Ship?)
22 Free trader (SS) (NPC) (Ship)
23 Micrometeorite storm (collision!) (WS)
24 Hostile vessel (roll again for type) (QS) (Ship) (NPC) (Org)
25 Mining ship (SS) (Ship) (Org)
26 Scout ship (SS) (Ship) (NPC) (Org)

31 Alien vessel (1–3: trader, 4–6: explorer, 6: spy) (QS) (Ship)
32 Space junk (possible salvage) (WS)
33 Far trader (SS) (Ship) (NPC)
34 Derelict (possible salvage) (QS) (Ship)
35 Safari or science vessel (SS) (Ship) (NPC) (Org)
36 Escape pod (SS) (Ship)

41 Passenger liner (SS) (Ship) (Org)
42 Ship in distress (SS) (Ship)
43 Colony ship or passenger liner (QS/SS) (Ship) (Org)
44 Scout ship (QS) (Ship) (NPC) (Org)
45 Space station (SS)
46 X-boat courier (QS) (Ship) (NPC) (Org)

51 Hostile vessel (roll again for type) (QS)
52 Garbage ejected from a ship (SS)
53 Medical ship or hospital (SS) (Ship) (Org)
54 Lab ship or scout (SS) (Ship) (NPC) (Org)
55 Patron (roll on the patron table, page 81) (??) (NPC)
56 Police ship (WS) (Ship)

61 Unusually daring pirate (SS) (Ship) (NPC)
62 Noble yacht (QS) (Ship) (NPC)
63 Warship (QS) (Ship) (NPC) (Org)
64 Cargo vessel (SS) (Ship) (Org)
65 Navigational buoy or beacon (WS)
66 Unusual ship (QS) (Ship)

71 Collision with space junk (collision!) (WS)
72 Automated vessel (SS) (Ship) (Org)
73 Free trader (SS) (Ship) (NPC) (Org)
74 Dumped cargo pod (roll on random trade goods) (SS)
75 Police vessel (WS) (Ship)
76 Cargo hauler (SS) (Ship) (Org)

81 Passenger liner (SS)(Ship) (Org)
82 Orbital factory (roll on random trade goods) (WS) (Org)
83 Orbital habitat (WS) (Org)
84 Orbital habitat (WS) (Org)
85 Communications satellite (WS) (Org)
86 Defense satellite (WS) (Org)

91 Pleasure craft (SS) (Ship) (NPC)
92 Space station (WS) (Org)
93 Police vessel (WS) (Ship) (Org)
94 Cargo hauler (SS) (Ship) (Org)
95 System defense boat (WS) (Ship) (Org)
96 Grand fleet warship (QS) (Ship) (Org)

There you go - I'll start filling in the details for next time, and some of the interesting stuff that will come out of that is that some feel for the organizations in and around Sphere Fenix (to include the whole sector or quadrant, or beyond) will begin to emerge.

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