Last night our group finished some of the leftover bits of character creation we had to go, and completed our first trade run.
I think it probably took about an hour for us to resolve the astrogation, jump, and broker rolls to get from one world to another, sell off a load of goods, pick up another, and then return.
We learned some other handy things in the process, like how a world without trade codes is basically the worst place to make money… ever. Not only do they not provide even the BAREST of trade bonus regardless of the goods you’re carrying, they don’t sell anything more than the most inexpensive of common goods. Disappointing.
I was able to resolve a problem that’s been bothering me for a while though, using a combination of reading from Classic Traveller and some critical thinking.
Mongoose Traveller omits a rule about requiring a 20% down payment on a starship when it’s first purchased, but it includes the ship share system for reducing monthly mortgage payments. This is cool, but I really wanted to know how anyone was supposed to afford the down payment to begin with (in CT).
It occurred to me, belatedly, that the trade system functions regardless of your status as a starship owner. You do what you do in real life when you have goods and no transport: hire someone who does.
Classic Traveller, at least, had rules for chartering a transport based on tonnage, and looking at the major/minor/incidental cargoes offered earlier in the section it makes sense from the other angle: players begin their trading careers by hiring on a cargo vessel and making the trade deals themselves.
Now I certainly wouldn’t want to call a mulligan on our current game, but it’s helpful to know that for future reference. It’s another way Traveller manages to tie apparently unrelated mechanics together–without necessarily explaining how any of it works.
If you aren’t playing the game and critically reading the rules, it’s very difficult to make some of this out. I mean, I’m working on a degree in business and it took me several weeks to figure out how to afford a starship if you don’t have one–raid dungeons? What dungeons? Which leads me to my next point:
I like how Traveller assumes for the existence of worlds and starports because those are the things the game is based upon: there isn’t some random chance of finding a starport–there are starports out there, and you even know where. You just have to get to them.
It seems like D&D could really benefit from some of this kind of thinking. I recall looking at some different hexcrawl methods and being generally disappointed by what was offered–it can be really difficult to find the dungeons and dragons in D&D! It depends almost entirely on your Dungeon Master.
Way back, I was working on a dungeon generator–and I have some new ideas for it now. I have several more rpgs under my belt at this stage, and I think I have a much clearer idea of what the system should be able to do (and what its intended purpose is).
Also, I think Traveller’s subsector and world generation system deserves a mention. It’s ridiculously complicated–probably unnecessarily so–but it inspired me to learn more about Microsoft Excel so I wouldn’t be forced to roll all those dice by hand and calculate the existence of every feature on the list.
I think I’ll create something similar for a D&D region–another generator I’ve been working on for a zillion years.