Sunday, October 18, 2020

Revisiting Star Smuggler - Play Session 001

Ok, I really dig the Traveller Podcast SAFCOcast. I've tried to play Traveller a couple of times and it is pretty clear I don't grok the rules. I need someone to hand hold me. I've had fun every time I played with a group, but left to my own devices, I get lost in the expansive thing that is Traveller. 

In order to simulate the experience of Traveller without the helping hand, I'm trying out Star Smuggler from the perspective of a party of adventurers rather than a solo captain with a bunch of hired hands. 

In order to make this happen, I have taken Duke out of the Captain's Chair. Duke is now an agent for a ship manufacturer. He is looking for some young folks to fly a new ship. It's a subsidized ship which is far superior to the old Antelope class ships currently plying the spaceways. 

A player can have as many characters as they wish, up to 5 to start. They can be any type of character within the rules for retainers, except psionists. Each one's stats is generated by the rules in the appropriate section. However, they each receive the personal goods that Duke would receive. One of them will have Duke's stats. Every character has a utility suit, a sidearm and 1d6x100+150 secs. If a character cannot make use of a sidearm, they may have one PS-bot. Additionally, each of these characters has a cunning score of 1d6. 

In order to become a member of the crew, these characters must purchase a stake in the ship for 100 secs. This goes into a general account for the purposes of running the ship. This account starts with 750 secs and is increased by sales of goods and purchases of stakes. It is decreased when the crew purchases cargo for transport, improvements for the ship and pays fees. It is also used to pay down principal of 190,000 and make weekly interest payments of 475 secs. It may not be used to purchase personal good for the crew, with the exception of healing, transportation for business and utility suits as replacements for ones lost due to circumstances. 

I've tried a couple of different mechanics and this is the simplest thing I could do. Crew members are differentiated from retainers by virtue of purchasing a stake. The crew can ask retainers to join the crew, but don't have to do so. Retainers receive the listed salary in the rules, while crew members benefit from their stake. The crewman draws 1% of the ship's account per week per stake and at the end of 10 years, when the ship is paid for, they will have partial ownership in the ship. Crew members may purchase additional stakes, but only 50% ownership can be allotted to crew. 

This new ship is an Antelope II class ship and the crew has named it Zephyr. It has 2 cargo holds for a total of 100 CU of storage. Alternatively, one hold can be used for a second hopper. The ship has one hopper to start with T-1 guns. The ship is equipped with 15 fuel units for the hopper. The ship has two turrets, but initially has only one set of guns mounted. As per normal, everything is T-1. 

The most expansive change is the crew space. There are now 32 CU for crewmen divided into two 16 CU sections. This space also houses a 6 CU medical unit, which is a room with space for a medic or doctor to work. There is a weapons hold which can be used for anything, it can only be opened by the crew, not retainers or other non-crew members. The Antelope II has no hiding places as it is a more legitimate ship than the older style Antelopes. 

Ok, now that the rules are laid out, let's detail the characters that crew the Zephyr. It should be noted that all characters have a cunning score and I set it to 4. Each crew member has a stake score listed as a percentage, which represents how much of the ship they own and how much they can draw from the ship's account. 

Emily - Pilot
Marksmanship - 5     Hand-to-Hand - 6     Endurance - 10     Cunning - 4     Stake - 1%
Equipment - utility suit (T-1), sidearm (T-1).
Money: 450 secs.  

Mel - Engineer
Marksmanship - 1     Hand-to-Hand - 2     Endurance - 4     Cunning - 4     Stake - 1%
Equipment - utility suit (T-1), sidearm (T-1).
Money: 450 secs. 

Drey - Medic
Marksmanship - 0     Hand-to-Hand - 3    Endurance - 6     Cunning - 4     Stake - 1%
Equipment - utility suit (T-1), PS-bot (T-1).
Money: 250 secs. 

Patrick - Gunner
Marksmanship - 5     Hand-to-Hand - 5     Endurance - 4     Cunning - 4     Stake - 1%
Equipment - utility suit (T-1), sidearm (T-1).
Money: 350 secs. 

Ship's Account - 1150 secs. 

Week's Event Logs. 

The crew starts off at the Spaceport on board the Zephyr. On the second day, they manage to find a contact (e192) that can set them up on a supply run to Paletek. The deal is, they purchase carvings from the colony on Regari for 5 secs per CU and move them to a city on Paletek, where they sell them for 10 secs. On Paletek, they can buy electronics for 60 secs per CU and sell them to the Regari Colony for 100 secs. All of these prices are base price and are subject to die rolls. 

Normally, I don't go this route, but decided to give it a go. They purchase 100 CU of carvings, make the weekly payment on the ship, then they break for orbit. The Ship's account is rather spare, since this was a combined cost of 975 secs.

By the morning of day 4, they off load the goods with no problems. They make 3000 secs. They use the ship's account to purchase 3000 secs or 50 CU of electronics and make for orbit. By the middle of Day 5. they've sold the cargo again (+5000 secs.) and started return trip with 83 CU of electronics (-4980).  

One of the limiting factors in this is, unless the crew gets creative with storage, they can only carry 100 CU of goods. The second limiting factor is, hypercharges. I haven't mentioned those, but the Zephyr has 6 and they are out now. 

They off load the electronics for 8300 secs and make their way to the spaceport to buy more hypercharges. For the record, the ship's account has 8495. They spend all of Day 6 shopping. They purchase a second hopper and a set of boat's guns (900+160), 10 repair units (10), and 6 hypercharges (3000). The ship's account is now down to 4425. 

The crew decides they need to take a break and head to Nipna for some R and R. By the morning of day 9, they have burned four hypercharges, landed at the spaceport and walked to the Casino. By noon, they are rolling dice. 

Rather than detail all of the gambling, I will just show how much each character had leaving the tables: 

Emily - 400 secs.  
Mel - 800 secs. 
Drey - 500 secs. 
Patrick - 500 secs. 

They did great, but let's add in some role play. The gang is pretty drunk and foolishly play the high stakes table. Each one puts up 100 secs in 10 secs. increments and tried to score some money for the ship's account. They lost 400 secs but ultimately won an additional 900 secs. Mel returned the tables and ended up with more 800 secs. for the ship's account. The funny things drunk people do. 

The crew, drunk and scattered drew some attention walking out. Emily who was holding the 900, plus her own money got robbed. They took everything from her. Drey, Mel and Patrick were give the same offer to play more games. Drey got cleaned out, but Patrick doubled his money and Mel did amazing multiplying his money and the ship's account money by 5. 

On the morning of day 10, they staggered back home. Emily got there first, followed by Drey then Patrick. Mel was detected on entry to the spaceport and rolled e153. Amusingly, since the rest of the crew planned RRR, they also made a contact which resulted in e153. 

To keep things clear, I'll run more numbers now: 

Emily - 0 secs.  
Mel - 4000 secs. 
Drey - 0 secs. 
Patrick - 1000 secs. 
Ship's Account - 8425

Now that that is squared away, let's talk about e153. It's a chance to buy high tech items. Since Mel was alone with this one, he couldn't consult the crew or spend more than what he had on him. He purchases the high powered sidearm (T-6) which fires explosive rounds for 250 secs. He wanted 4 of them, but it's one per customer. 

This gets a bit weird, but since Mel has a large chuck of the ship's funds on him, the rest of the crew hems and haws over paying 4000 secs for the regen tank. On Mel's return, they are extraordinarily happy to find that he has another 4000 for the account. This means people get paid. It's secs. that they didn't have before. 

Mel feels bad for Emily and hands over his shiney new sidearm. The crew is amped up for more shenanigans. They replace their hypercharges and buy a 5 overpriced utility suits so everyone has one and a spare. Next week they are going hunt down some muggers and get even. 

Emily - Pilot
Marksmanship - 5     Hand-to-Hand - 6     Endurance - 10     Cunning - 4     Stake - 1%
Equipment - utility suit (T-6), sidearm (T-6, explosive rounds). 
Money: 19 secs.  

Mel - Engineer
Marksmanship - 1     Hand-to-Hand - 2     Endurance - 4     Cunning - 4     Stake - 1%
Equipment - utility suit (T-1), sidearm (T-1).
Money: 3769 secs. 

Drey - Medic
Marksmanship - 0     Hand-to-Hand - 3    Endurance - 6     Cunning - 4     Stake - 1%
Equipment - utility suit (T-1), PS-bot (T-1).
Money: 19 secs. 

Patrick - Gunner
Marksmanship - 5     Hand-to-Hand - 5     Endurance - 4     Cunning - 4     Stake - 1%
Equipment - utility suit (T-1), sidearm (T-1).
Money: 1019 secs. 

Ship's Account - 1849 secs. 

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