#25: After Four Decades… The Traveller Adventure at Last!
I’ve written in these pages before about my only refereeing experience being at TravCon. Just once a year that involves one-off adventures for a group of people that have come together for that specific game, may never meet again in that exact grouping, and all playing pre-generated characters they’ve been handed with a few short minutes to take in. (I’ve not yet had anyone refuse a character, although I have had two people swap when they felt they’d enjoy a neighbour’s character more.)
I’m aware that’s a very different kettle of fish to running an ongoing campaign with an ongoing group of people on a (semi)-regular basis. Knowing their preferences and styles; jointly agreeing to the kind of adventure that would be most enjoyable; tracking not just the progress through any plot that might exist but also the changes players might be making to the universe. Whether it’s buying equipment, meeting people, or interacting with the plot – it all needs noting and possibly recalling at short notice. And not having a year to prepare a session!
At the same time I was hankering after being part of such a group, I’ve long fancied playing some of the classic Traveller adventures of yore. Having never been part of a gaming group, these have only ever been reading experiences for me. Nowhere near the same. Particularly, if you’re just reading them as a potential player. I’ve found reading adventures very different with a little refereeing experience under my belt – how would I run this scene, what would I do differently in that place, what information/characters do I feel is lacking and would need to create?
Of course, the stand-out possibility for a campaign is The Traveller Adventure. Yes, I know it has problems. I’ve heard complaints about railroading; I’ve heard complaints about unlikely events; I know some scenarios are better regarded than others. But surely nothing a competent referee couldn’t overcome with an enthusiastic group of players? I’ve longed to play it.
So I got very excited when a referee I hugely admire talked, at TravCon 2015, of possibly running TTA at TravCon 2016 across three days and five sessions (even so, he said some things would get cut). So excited that I offered to sign up there and then – even at the expense of not having the fun of running anything or playing anything else.
Sadly that didn’t come to pass, but muttering about my disappointment in the work staffroom afterwards and with a newly christened work colleague eager for more Traveller before next year, I was persuaded to offer it as an evening thing on the in-between months of our regular Library book group. Even more surprisingly three other work colleagues signed up, as did a lecturer I knew and also a TravCon regular. We had a group! We had a night! Now I just needed to work out all the problems I’ve mentioned and work out just how in space I was going to do it.