I’ve continued to explore the early 1977 edition of Traveller, and it got me to thinking about how one could more fully develop possible adventure ideas so that the players had a true sandbox in which they could play.
One of the tools provided in the game itself is the Patron Encounters table. This table provides 32 different options among its 36 possible results:
- Army Officer
- Marine Officer
- Mercenary (x2)
- Navy Officer
- Rumor (x3)
- Scout (x2)
In the original game, these were all potential patrons whom the PCs might meet when they are looking for work.
From the original game:
One specific, recurring goal for adventurers is to find a patron who will assist them in the pursuit of fortune and power. Such patrons will, if they hire a band of adventurers, specify a task or deed to be performed, and then finance reasonable expenses for the pursuit of that task. Some tasks may be ordinary in nature, such as hired guards or escorts; other tasks may be for the location and procurement of items of great value.
The referee uses a die roll each week that the PCs search for a possible patron, and success directs the referee to roll to determine what type of patron (from the above list) will be encountered. Once the referee has made this roll:
Once the patron and the adventurers have met, the responsibility falls on the referee to determine the nature of the task the patron desires, the details of the situation (perhaps a map or some amount of information), and to establish the limits of the patron’s resources in the pursuit of the task.
So the referee is supposed to make up an adventure on the spot using the result of the die roll to indicate type of patron, combined with the PCs current location.
This is something that some referees would be great at doing, others may struggle. This is where a pre-generated sub-sector comes in handy. And it brings me to the new download I produced.
On a single sheet sheet I’ve listed all the possible results of the Patron Encounters table, and provided a (very) short adventure hook for each patron. If you read the encounters carefully, you’ll note that the PCs could enter into the same adventure situation from two or three different patrons (and the initial adventure set-up might differ dramatically depending on which patron they encounter).
So, there are not quite 36 different adventure hooks, but I’ve put in quite a few. And all of these hooks are just for the first planet in the Draconem Sub-Sector, the world of Bitan.
I am thinking that I may create a Patron Encounters list like this for each world that I’ve put into the Draconem Sub-Sector, as time and my creative juices allow me. I expect that this will take a while to do—I’m not going to post a new one each week or anything. But I think it might make the sub-sector even more useful for a busy referee who just wants to get running with a group of PCs. Most of the real work still needs to be done at the table, but I think this gives you a good jumping-off point.
So what do you think? Is this something that you would find useful? What other things would help you run a Classic Traveller game for just about any collection of PCs? Tell me about it in the comments.