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Traveller Chronicle - Vella Zabeth

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TC9

Star Viking Personality - Vella Zabeth was a short patron piece I did for The Traveller Chronicle magasine in 1995. Vella was the formidable captain of a J-2 Fat Trader, the Calibrader, and had no issue with taking on either the Guilds or the RCES if it looked like either was going to get between her and some TED trade or a bit of cold recovery salvage.

Signal GK

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Signal GK was a Traveller fanzine run by Jae Campbell and later Leighton Piper. Its main focus was on Dagudashaag Sector, being run by Duncan Law-Green as Dagudashaag Sector Analyst. Seeing as Gushemege bordered Dagudashaag, and both were being run by UK based writers it made sense for me to contribute to it as well.

My articles in Signal GK included:

Contact: The Lancians - GK4 - Humaniti minor race

Blockade - GK6 - Adventure Nugget
AKA Salina - GK6 - A Patron Encounter
Salvage - GK6 - Adventure Nugget

(these were all drawn from my larger Rebellion Shades work - see elsewhere)

I'm sure I also wrote a Traveller Cyberpunk type piece at some point.

Annililik Run

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annililik run

I can only lay claim to the title of Annililik Run - the third adventure published for T4 after TLWH and Gateway. In fact I'm glad that's all I can lay claim to as AR was not well received.

The "original concept" that's mentioned in the beginning and is credited to me and Core bore no resemblance to the finished article. The published adventure just has three parts, the cursed run, the cursed starship, the cursed cargo. You get the idea.

My original concept had been for something far grander. The Run was to be a major trade route stretching from Sylea out towards the spinward fringe of the then empire. The Run attracted all the greatest traders, merchants and adventurers, but this being Milieu 0 it also ran through regions of near constant flux as pocket empires rose and fell.

The concept was to have the game run at two levels. At the background level there was to be a political story unfurling, so that every time the players passed through a world there was a different political feel - allies one time would be enemies the next. This background could play out using a simple pseudo-random mechanic or played more fully with Pocket Empires.

The main game level concerned the run itself. Every few years there was a competition known also as the Annililik Run. Traders had to make it from one end to the other in the shortest time, with the most profit, and in one piece. No other rules.

Here's my Version 2 synopsis for my Annililik Run written in Aug 97.

+++++++++++++++++
The Annililik Run
+++++++++++++++++

Introduction:
At the end of the Long Night it was the first legendary route of trade. The Annililik Run. From Vland to Core a trading corridor a few parsecs wide found its way through pirate and alien territories to link together the two greatest powers of the age. The Run was a thing of daring, and it was a rare Trader who could take their craft along its whole length. Join the adventure and players explore this unique region of space, and pit their commercial and survival skills against all that the universe has to offer.

Milieu: 0

Contents:

Title/Legal/Contents/Title image: 4pp Introduction: 1pp

What the Annilik Run is all about. A detailed sourcebook for a trade run connecting Vland with Capital, and providing both adventures and adventure resources for Milieuo 0, or later, players.

I've laid the book out as reference data then adventures so as o emphasise that this is primarily a source book with adventure ideas rather than an adventure with library data

A History and Overview of the Run: 1pp

Its rise to prominence at the end of the Long Night. Neighbouring power blocks, and a simple diagram showing its position and route in location to neighbouring space.

Run Maps and Library Data ( bits of 8 subsectors ): 16pp

Maps are just for the worlds within 2 or 3 parsecs of the run. I visualise a narrow band of map running up the side or along the top of each page, the rest of the page containing the relevant library data. The hexes may well have to be skewed to put a diagonal route ( the run ) into the vertical/horizontal space.

Key Worlds (8 or 16 ): 8pp

Containing surface map, simple system outline, and details of the worlds importance to the run, eg major spaceport, corporation, political leader, army, navy etc. Plot ideas in terms of animoity to other worlds etc.

Races of the Run: 2pp

Short notes on any homeworlds close to the run, and role of the major races and prominent races ( Newts, Graytch ) in the runs activities. Max 6 races.

Vargr: 2pp

Given the runs location close to the Vargr Extents the Vargr play a significant role in the area. Studies the major Vargr packs and political groupings in the area, Vargr military strength, plot ideas.

Pirates: 2pp

Like any trade route the Run is subject to pirate operations. Details 2 major pirate bands, their leaders, craft, modus operandii and bases.

Navies: 2pp

Apart from detailing anti-piracy operations, the setion also looks at the Imperial, Colonial and independent world navies on the Run, their orders of battle, ships, admirals, bases.

Traders: 2pp

The run is primarily a trade route. Many small trading operations make heir living out of the run. This sections details 3 or such small companies, ranging from 1 to 10 craft operations, detailing their employees, operating areas, favourite cargoes and ports of call, and craft. Their rivalries give further scope for adventure, and they can also be useful allies or sources of information to the PCs.

Megacorporations: 2pp

Needless to say the big boys are busy on the run to. Thelow down on their bases, operations, key players and ambitions in this area. Opens the door to everything from corporate war to the squeezing out of the smaller traders, to taking on whole worlds to make the Run a safer and more profitable place to trade.

Patrons: 3pp

Although may possible patrons will already have been covered, this section details some of the most important characters of the Run, who the PCs could find as patrons or adversaries on the Run.

Rumours: 1pp

To keep the PCs guessing, and as lead ins to some of the adventures, a collection of Run rumours.

!!!Possible BITS contributions? !!!

Nuggets: 1pp

For when the pace slows or the referee needs some breathing space, a collection of nuggets ready to run anywhere in the Campaign.

!!!Possible BITS contributions? !!!

Making a Living: 2pp

If the PCs are trading or travelling along the run, then this section gives the PCs run specific trading information, plus details of starport costs and procedures, encounter tables and the other background information needed to support a long-running campaign in the Run.

Starships: 4pp

Various starships will have been mentioned in the text. Collected here are the QSDS specifications for the key naval, pirate, Vargr and trading ships.

!!!Possible BITS contributions? !!!

Adventures: 12pp

Although the sourebook should have given refs plenty of ideas for their own adventures, this section provides a number of adventure scenarios, showing how a Run campaign can be approahed from many different angles. The adventures include:

- The Annilik Run: Every 4 years a competition, synonymous with the Run, is held in which competing teams have to travel as quickly and profitably as they can from Vland to Capital. Played either as a competition between PCs, or as PCs against referee run adversaries ( Wacky Races in space? ) the PCs keep those deals and jumps coming fast.

- Turf War: Two of the big players on the run are locked in a corporate war, and the little guys are getting squeezed. The PCs are drawn into the corporate conflict, and soon find themselves having to choose between Credits and their fellow traders.

- Red Beard: Piracy is on the increase on the Run. When the PCs have a close encounter with a pirate band they are drawn into a web of intrigue, where all is not necessarily what it seems.

- Ambassador Aaritsako: Two worlds are struggling to extend their influence in the run, and to make sure that their starport carries more trade than the other. The PCs are recruited to help one world to gain the upper hand, by means fair and foul.

- The Annilik Triangle: Ships have been dissappearing for years, but recently so may have gone that traders are afraid to complete the Run. The PCs are recruited by a world desperate to see trade restored to find out just what is going on.

!!!Limitations n length mean that these may have to be written prose rather than nugget style !!!

Length: 64pp

Authors: D Burden + A Lily

Manuscript to IG: End Oct 97?

Long Way Home and Gateway

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tlwh gateway

Imperium Games wanted to publish The Long Way Home as a t4 supplement. Unfortunately it was too big for their 64 page adventure format, so Andy and I had to introduce a new central section that let the players find a quick way home after the 5th scenario, and find a way back out to the Sidurii Cluster at the start of Gateway for the remaining 5 scenarios.

One problem we had was that the original TLWH used the HIWG sector files for Gushemege, and the world names that as Gushemege Sector Analyst I'd developed for the sector. Between the BITS TLWH nand the IG TLWH IG published First Survey - a collection of sector data and one of the worst Traveller supplements ever. It had two problems. First they managed to corrupt the UWPs, repeating certain fields, and second they invented a whole lot of new world names over-writing the work of all the Sector Analysts. Milieu 0 campaign corrected the UWP data, but not the names. As it was when IG published TLWH they kept the original system names, and so managed to contradict themselves totally!

Pocket Empires

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pocket empires

Pocket Empires was a stunning book and probably the best CORE production for IG. The book was written by Andy, myself, Stuart, Jo and Joe, and we also recruited quite a number of play testers. The book set out the rules for creating and running pocket empires in Milieu 0. This was not really a role playing book - it was a far higher level game working at the world and multi-world level. There were rules for planetary economies, planetary development, empire building, war and integrating adventures into the big picture.

My piece was Expanding the Empire. I created the "Unilateral Meta-Task" as a way of letting players take over other worlds with a relatively simple, but rich, game mechanic. Players could launch a variety of offensives to take over another world, from the straightforward military offenive to things like subversion, trade, infowar, trade, religion, politics, aid, blockade, corporate take-overs or technologic domination. There were also rules for diplomacy, alliance building and even dynastic marriage.

Milieu 0

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Milieu 0

One of the first CORE creations for Imperium Games was Milieu 0. The work was done by an international team including myself and Andy in the UK, Michael Barry (Au), Stuart Dollar (US), David Elrick (Au), Jo Grant (UK) and Joe Walsh (US). Again everything was email and we had a real 24 x 7 development environment. Andy or I would write something. Mail it out to Stuart or Joe in the US. As we went to bed they'd start commenting on it and mail it on to Michael. Michael would get up, work on it, and mail comments back to Andy and I ready for the next day.

Milieu 0 was the main sourcebook for the Milieu 0 setting and showed Referee's how to run adventures in these early days of the Third Imperium.

My contribution was Chapter 3 - The First Wave. I know this because the chapter is credited to Vur Biddaden, an anagram of David Burden ( I leave it to you who wrote which of the other chapters). As its title suggests it deals with how the Third Imperium spread out beyond Core and the roles of Scouts, the Imperial Navy, the Imperial Army, the Marines.

Again the supplement was well recieved, one player saying "these are far and away the most useful sourcebooks yet for T4".

Milieu 0 was later repackaged with the corrected First Survey data to form the hardback Milieu 0 Campaign.

The Long Way Home

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the long way home


In late 95/early 96 I met up online with Andy Lily. I wanted to write a Traveller book, Andy wanted to publish one as part of his new BITS organisation. I did most of the writing and Andy did most of the design and editing, and between us we produced The Long Way Home.

TLWH concerned the adventures of a group of Travellers who misjump out of Milieu 0 period Sylea/Core and end up lost in uncharted space. Through a series of adventures they meet, to them, alien races such as the Droyne and Aslan and eventually make it home. TLWH ran to almost 100 pages, looked great, and was very well recieved by the gaming community.

We launched TLWH at EuroGenCon in Sept 96 to co-incide with the launch of Imperium Games T4, Marc Millers Traveller. Andy has arranged for TLWH to be released under official licence, and even persuaded Marc Miller to write a (very short) foreward.

One of the most stunning things about TLWH was that Andy and I did not physically meet until EuroGenCon. I don't think we even spoke on the phone. The whole thing was done by email.

Imperium Games were so impressed by TLWH that they asked Andy and I, and the CORE group which Andy had created to promote high quality Traveller fan writing, to work on future official releases for Traveller. My Traveller writing career had begun.

Reviews of "The Long Way Home"

"...this is the Traveller adventure I've waited 16 years to see. When everyone has had a chance to see and/or play this adventure, I think it will replace The Traveller Adventure as the greatest Traveller adventure ever written. ..it sets a VERY high standard for all future Traveller adventures."

"The adventures are well written and thought provoking. There are opportunities for gun-bunnies to run amok, but most of the adventures require more subtle means of resolving them....I'm very impressed by the quality of the material in this book...the sheer amount of detail included in this book is impressive."

"My initial reaction was 'it looks terrific' but after a closer look I'd have to revise that to 'it *is * terrific'. BITS first publication has certainly set a high standard to follow...All in all 100 pages cram-packed with excitement, detail and fun. If you're worried about a Star Trek:Voyager re-run, have no fear - this is *far* more interesting. In short: definitely not a Traveller adventure to be without. The author's love for Traveller shines through from every page ...and for me it sums up what Traveller is all about: adventure, mystery and fun."

Divva Station

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Valkyrie

Divva Station was an ecological thriller adventure I wrote and had published by Valkyrie - a British gaming zine. It involved a group of adventurer being hired by a Greenpeace look alike to investigate the death of a contact on a gas refinery orbiting a gas giant. I'll try and scan in the magasine pages or find the original text.

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