Categories
Tabletop RPGs Traveller

Deepnight Revelation campaign: half-formed thoughts and notes (no spoilers)

I stumbled across the epic Mongoose 2e Traveller campaign Deepnight Revelation [paid link] in an RPGnet thread about the campaign. It sounded amazing: a 20-year mission into unexplored space at the helm of one of the most powerful starships in the galaxy, with the players running the command crew.

Deepnight Revelation box set

So much of this is like catnip to me: The multi-year mission, 10 years out and 10 years back; the amazing name, which is both the campaign and the titular starship; the epic scope, which involves confronting an existential threat; the Star Trek-like conceit that the players are almost certainly in charge of the mission (though they don’t have to be, and the box set accounts for that in multiple places); and the subversion of the typical “you’re in debt up to your eyeballs and have a half-busted freighter, go make your way in the universe” Trav premise. I’ve also nursed a lifelong desire — thus far unfulfilled — to play at least one published mega-campaign, so there’s that.

What other folks did

I did some homework before buying the box set, Googling and looking for more info about the campaign. That turned up an excellent review on Reddit — which hides its spoilers so you can read it without encountering them — that covered pros, cons, and ways this campaign actually played out for the author’s group. A second thread also proved useful, especially in seeing some of the tweaks and behind-the-scenes work required for an undertaking this massive.

Taken together, these two threads convinced me that despite loathing game prep this prep-heavy campaign was worth picking up. It’s perhaps fairer to say that I loathe most game prep, and am just fine with games like tremulus where a couple hours of prep will cover an entire campaign. The work-to-payoff ratio makes sense there — and it seems like it could make sense here, too, with a campaign designed to take roughly 50-60 four-hour game sessions to complete needing a correspondingly larger one-off prep investment. (And, notably, some prep along the way as well.)

Railroading

I also loathe railroading, but buying into a campaign concept — “we’re journeying from point A to face the danger at point Z” — isn’t the same as railroading. I’ve looked at some tentpole published campaigns and felt like there was no way to avoid railroading the players, but this didn’t sound like one of those.

After a full skim of the Deepnight Revelation core box [paid link], I’ve concluded to my own satisfaction that that first impression was accurate. The endpoint will always be the same, but how the journey plays out matters.

Sometimes you want to make decisions that affect the fate of the entire crew and the future of their years-long mission, but sometimes you want to take the shuttle into the irradiated asteroid belt yourself and see what happens next (without torpedoing the campaign in the process…). I played a lengthy Ars Magica campaign with a huge pool of characters, and it was one of my all-time favorites; that approach is solid gold.

Shared tracking resources

Just a cursory skim of the box set makes it clear that some sort of multifaceted, group-accessible tracking solution would be needed for this campaign. Maybe that’s a Google Docs spreadsheet or two, or a giant whiteboard, or a small whiteboard and a wiki — and so on, you get the idea.

I love the idea of a whiteboard for the most important frequently-changing values — stuff like the Crew Effectiveness Index, which is the modifier for rolls made to resolve events at fairly high levels of abstraction (e.g., “How did the refueling mission go?”), and the available store of supplies.

CEI, CEIM, DEI, CFI, OMGWTFBBQ

I’m still digesting the box set’s mechanics for resolving the many large-scale and abstracted elements of the Deepnight Revelation‘s journey — something multiple folks on Reddit noted as needing extensive reworking in their groups — and so far they don’t look like a mess. But one, I’m not done reading yet, and two, they’ve lived and breathed and run the campaign, and I’m just noodling over it at my desk. So we shall see!

That’s what’s rattling around in my brain at the moment. Now I’m going to tuck back into the handbook and poke things a bit harder.

Categories
Tabletop RPGs Traveller

Traveller generators: worlds, systems, sectors, subsectors, and Mongoose 2e characters

I’ve posted about Traveller generators before here on Yore, but I’ve also used one or two I’ve never posted about — and recently found a great Reddit list of even more generators that were new to me. Time for a round-up!

My brain is in Mongoose Traveller 2e [paid link] mode at the moment, but given the broad compatibility of the various editions of Traveller — especially in terms of setting creation — these generators should be useful no matter which flavor/fork appeals to you. The only exception is the last one on the list, which specifically creates Mongoose 2e NPCs.

Mongoose Traveller 2e core book (sitting atop High Guard on my paint-spattered desk)

Sectors and subsectors you can revisit, with maps

The inimitable Alex Schroeder offers a triple threat for Traveller GMs, with some really cool features. The main Traveller generator page features links to generate random sectors and subsectors; those output on a new page, with a unique URL. (To generate a new one, you have to hit the link on the main page. Refreshing your generated page, logically enough, changes nothing.)

You can also paste in your own list of UWPs (and the list the page itself generates is preformatted to work perfectly here), or the URL of a page you just generated, and then hit the “Submit” button, and the site will also generate your subsector or sector map. (The map needs to be saved locally for future use.)

Systems, sectors, and subsectors, with options (rift, spiral arm, etc.)

If you want some options when it comes to type of sector/subsector, neuzd’s awesome Mongoose 1e generator is a one-stop shop, and includes options for rift, sparse, spiral arm, and densely populated sectors and subsectors. Those options are what make this one so cool. Do note that you can’t bookmark the results; you’ll need to export or paste them for future use.

Best of all, you can select the type of sector/subsector with this generator, copy the resulting list, paste it into Alex Schroeder’s generator (above), and the latter will create your map for you. The best of both worlds!

Systems and worlds with bells and whistles

One of my go-to sites for generators of all stripes, donjon, offers an amazing system generator that includes planetary images, a breakdown of the system, and a full work-up of the core world that includes a randomly generated world map. For a new system, just hit refresh. The simplest way I’ve found to preserve its output is to take a screenshot.

Worlds you can revisit

The PBE Games world generator is fantastic. It will spit out random worlds, of course, but you can also provide your own UWPs and it will expand them into full write-ups. Best of all, the generator provides a seed for every world it creates — just save that seed (a short string of characters), and you can plug it back into the generator anytime to re-create that world.

Worlds based on milieu, with extras

Not only can you specify the milieu and other details before generation, Traveller Tools will also tell you fun stats like refuel time, travel times and distances, and available trade goods. This one appears to be Mongoose 2e-specific (to the extent that that matters). A permalink is available for every world you create.

Mongoose 2e Traveller character generator

Traveller Tools also features a great Mongoose 2e Traveller character generator, and there’s a permalink for any character you create. You can specify age and careers or just let the randomizer do its work; either way, it’s intended for NPCs and, as the page notes, takes a few liberties with the rules to enable random generation.

Mongoose 2e characters aren’t quite as simple as OG Trav characters (which generally fit into a line or two of text), so I was thrilled to find this one.

Want more?

The Zhodani Base offers a beefy list of Traveller generators covering everything from sectors to counters to magazine covers. There’s plenty here that should be handy for any Trav GM.