Any Traveller NPC On The Fly

When I am prepping a Traveller game to run at home or a convention, I will always take the time to stat up an NPC and come up with a full backstory. This way, I always have consistent skills, the right number of dice for weapons damage and the exact equipment the character should have. This should be part of any good GM’s prep before running a game. Yet when the players catch me off guard and I have to have a Traveller character on the fly, I don’t bother looking in any books. I just remember these simple rules:

1) Pick a Theme

This may seem obvious, but it must be stated upfront: have a theme for the NPC. If I don’t, I quickly have NPCs that are good at everything. To combat this, I pick a theme and I stick to that theme for the character. It can be as simple as “doctor” or as complex as “down on their luck stock trader who took up painting.” Either way, their theme is pretty simple as it only needs to get me through the game session so I can stat them out fully (should the NPC survive that long). That theme dictates what skills, characteristics, and other bonuses the person should and should not have.

2) Bonus Tree from Competent to Incompetent

In much the same way that the difficulty goes up or down depending on how difficult any particular challenge is, I keep a ladder in my head of what bonus to add to any roll. Here’s what I use:

Bonus When To Use How Many Skills
+4 Exceptional Max 1
+2 Professional 1-3
+1 Above Average 2-4
+0 Average 3-6
–1 Below Average 4-8
–3 Never Exposed Before All the Rest

Take the Doctor for a second. For an exceptional brain surgeon, I’d give them a +4 Medic, but for your average family doctor, their Medic would be +2. Related skills like Science (biology) and Admin would be +2. If the subject of art came up like if the doctor was talking to the stock trader, I could assume the doctor took an art history class in college for fun so is not a complete noob at it and would get a –1.

The down on their luck stock trader, well that person is down on their luck because they are not all that skilled at it to begin with. So I would give them a +1 in Broker, Carouse, and Gambler, +0 in Admin, Art, Persuade, and Streetwise.

Even then, I wouldn’t write these numbers down. This is just what I’d assume based based on the theme. If, by the end of the session, it looked like the NPC would return, I would write down those stats after the game while it was still fresh in my mind so I had it for next time.

3) Weapons and Armor

While I can fudge weapons and armor in a pinch, I pretty much keep these stats on a sheet close by.

User Armor Bonus Weapon Damage
Military +15 5D+3 Zero-G or 4D, AP 5, Auto 3
Police +10 3D Stun, Zero G or 3D, AP 3, Auto 2
Survivalist +8 3D, Auto 3
Paranoid +3 3D-3 or 2D Melee, Stun
Stealth +1 2D Body
Unprepared/Civilian +0 1D unarmed

Like I said, I keep this with me. Even if I remember what the police officer’s weapons and armor is, that doesn’t mean that the players will strip them of it after knocking the person out and then they are left with being an unprepared/civilian entry. This little preparation makes running a game quick and easy for when (not if) the players run the game off the rails.

If you really want to be prepared for any name you could possibly need, get yourself the d66 Compendium and its sequel, the D66 Compendium 2. Both are available at in Print and PDF at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow. Order your copy today.

Traveller: Ice Goliaths

Quite literally, the first writing I did for Traveller was making monsters. I wanted to make a small monster book useful to all Traveller GMs. That book helped Jon Brazer Enterprises become what it is today. While its beginnings are humble it is still a great monster books. Today, I would like to share with you an update to one of the monsters from that book: ice goliaths. Previously I shared the giant ant and the paskrin.

Ice Goliaths

These creatures of snow white fur blend into the landscape around them. Standing between three and four meters tall, ice goliaths appear vaguely humanoid but possess razor sharp claws and fangs. Additionally, they sport skin flaps under their arms which affords them greater jumping control and the ability to glide from cliffs or high trees.

Combat Tactics

Ice goliaths roam their territory and guard it from other predators. Searching their lands for signs of intruders, they watch from the tops of mountains, great trees, or any other high point in their territory. They prefer to jump on top of their competitors, knocking them down. When facing multiple targets, they hurl rocks from high above their foes, weakening them before a full frontal assault.

Stealth proves key to their hunting techniques. When they discover signs of intruders, they quietly work their way ahead and wait until the intruder walks within striking distance. Occasionally, ice goliaths knock over trees or cause rock slides to make a passage uninviting, diverting the intruders down a path of the ice goliath’s choosing. Once headed down the chosen path, the ice goliath uses the terrain to their advantage, trapping their prey inside.

Animal Hits Speed
Ice Goliath 33 8 m, Jump 6 m
Skills Athletics (strength) 2, Melee (bite, claws) 1, Recon 2, Stealth 1, Survival 1
Attacks Bite (2D), Claws (2D+1)
Traits Armour (+1), Camouflaged (snowy environments), Large (+1)
Behaviour Carnivore, Killer

Order your print copy and download Creatures of Distant Worlds today at JonBrazer.com and see what makes this book so great! You can also find it at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.

Happy Festivus and Merry Whatever

With the holidays upon us, get yourself something that you really want. Download the JBE book you have been wanting now through January 31, 2018 for 30% off your entire order at JonBrazer.com with the “holiday2017” coupon code.

From all of us at Jon Brazer Enterprises, have a safe and happy holiday.

State of the Enterprise 2017

Good day everyone and welcome to the State of the Enterprise 2017.

Before I begin on I want to take a moment to thank everyone that helped make JBE the success it this year and in all the years proceeding. I want to thank my wife who does not want to be talked about much online who supports me in all I do. Thank you to my two editors Kevin and Richard and the many authors and artist whom make all the wonderful products you enjoy. Thank you to all the people at DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the OpenGamingStore for selling and promoting our books, helping us to get our books into your hands. Thank you to Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Mongoose, and Pelgrane Press for letting us make gaming material for your games. Thank you to everyone that told your friends how awesome our books are. Lastly, thank you to our fans like you for all your support over the years and for sharing our passion. All this we do is for you and for the love of the game; thank you for being apart of that love.

Book of Heroic Races: Advanced CompendiumSo how have things gone for the past year and where are they going next year? First up, our accomplishments: we finally have a schedule that works for us. We have been releasing 1 product every month since Fall of 2016. This year proved that we can hold that schedule. Some are rather thick like the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. Some were rather thin like the Book of Magic: 10 Warlock Invocations. Yet we still made it. Why is this a big deal? Because being regular and on time is huge part in showing those that are skeptical that we are reliable and approach our work seriously. Previously we tried releasing 1 product every two weeks, and we simply could not sustain that. Some months we did succeed in releasing 2 products. Those were frequently followed up by months without a single product. Just take a look at the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. That book was supposed to take 1 year to get all the individual PDFs released. It took 2 years. While the quality of that book was well worth the additional time, it did show that we bit off more than we could chew. We learned from it and the next project like this we do, we will allocate our time better. Hooray for lessons learned!

Another major development with JBE is the creation of our own webstore. I decided it was long past time to invest in the website and gave it an upgrade, including a way to sell our books, both in print and PDF online. If you haven’t downloaded from us directly yet, I invite you to do so with the coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off. The coupon code expires on 31 January 2018. So be sure to do that today.

All in all, I have to say that it was a good year for the company. The worst thing that happened to us is that my computer died on me. Even though I had all the data backed up online, temporarily switching to an older system tends to impede workflow. A new computer has been ordered (Acer Aspire Tower with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, Nvidia 1070, and 16 Gigs of RAM, for all you technophiles out there), but I do not have an estimate on its delivery date yet. With Christmas a week away, I would not be surprised if it arrived next year, but I can hope. My Skyrim and Witcher III games are about to get an upgrade. As we all know, however, even this can’t hold a candle to the graphics in our imaginations.

Traveller

Foreven Worlds: Rusted Fang StationTraveller remains our favorite science fiction game. It is quick and simple, allowing the GM to focus on the story rather than a bunch of mechanics. That really was what led to the creation of Foreven Worlds: Rusted Fang Station. This was meant for Traveller referees to have a location they could use and incorporate into their own games. Its a small station, meaning the players can take their time to get to know everyone aboard from commander to the maintenance staff. It is a place for legitimate business people can make deals that are on the edge of the law. We really liked this little piece and feedback on it has been great. Expect to see more locations like this in the future. I started working on the next one recently, a Zhodani domed city. “But how can the Zhodani be interesting with all their people mind altered into thinking everything is puppies and unicorns?” That is the exact question we are setting out to answer, and we hope to give you a new perspective on them. Look for that in 2018.

At the time of writing this blogpost the rewrite of the Prelude to War Adventure Path part 3 should be arriving at our door soon. Between edits, artwork, and layout, we are hoping to have it out in the summer. That is one thing we learned for future Adventure Paths: have all the adventures in hand and edited before the first is published. This way, we can release the issues one after the other in rapid succession with only the monthly break in between.

In years past, when I was bored or frustrated and infront of a computer, I would create a Pathfinder monster. In the last few months, I realized that that habit has been replaced by the creation of a Traveller vehicle. As a result, I have a nice little database of Traveller vehicle stats. Sure they all need a description and artwork, but one piece of a nice Traveller vehicle book is well on its way to being made. While such a book is not on the schedule at this point in time, I would not be surprised if it were not created at some point during 2018. Keep your eyes pealed.

13th Age

My feelings on 13th Age can best be summed up as the Little Game System that Could. It is not our best selling system, but it holds it’s own, and we are happy with it. I always expect Pathfinder and Fifth Edition to dominate sales because they have such a large player base, but because their base is so large they attract an overwhelming number of publishers, giving players more choices than they know what to do with. Smaller games like 13th Age and Traveller have far fewer publishers catering to the players of that game. So it is easier to get a player or GM’s attention.

Our first release for the year was a conversion of Pathfinder races to 13th Age, Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2. Giving players more choices in the races they play is something we have done for some time and are glad to do the same for this game. We may do another set of converted races (or even some new ones) next year, but I forsee us focusing on more products like our second release—13 Fighter Talent and Maneuvers. This short supplement is designed with one class in mind and expands players options, allowing a player to customize their character to the player’s unique vision. Supplements for the Wizard, Cleric, and Rogue classes are planned throughout the coming year.

Fifth Edition

In a number of ways, what happened with Pathfinder happened with 5e but on a much more accelerated pace. Two years ago when I released Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1, it quickly became a smash hit and one of our best selling products that year, if not our best selling product that year. It’s sequel, Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 2 released earlier this year, did not sell at the same pace. The reason for this is simple: increased competition. When Pathfinder was released the number of companies supporting it we’re few, but as time passed that number grew. The same has happened to Fifth Edition, but on a much quicker scale.

The solution to this situation is simple: distinguish yourself in a way your competitors cannot, essentially putting yourself in a market of one. We do have plans to do exactly this but they will not be ready in 2018. We are taking a long view with 5e and will be working to make something amazing for it, something you are going to want to grab the moment it is released and hug it and squeeze it and call it “George.” For next year we have a number of adventures and magic item supplements that GM’s will be sure to want to get their hands on. Who knows, we might even make some more monsters. We’ll see. Expect great things from us in 5e’s future.

Pathfinder

For obvious reasons, our best selling product of 2017 was the Big Book of Everything. Have everything bundled up for 90% off and it goes like hot cakes. It does, however, mark the beginning of the end of our Pathfinder support. We are still releasing high level adventures well into next year (and possibly beyond) because GM’s need the help and there are far too few adventures that go up that high. For them, we are glad to help. You can count on us next year.

The first two will be coming out rather quickly. Deadly Delves: 9 Lives for Petane was supposed to be out this month, but my computer dying required me to push it back a month. This 12th-level adventure written by Christen N Sowards of Lost Spheres Publishing has the players trying to figure out which body is the right one to bring back from the dead, and the stakes get worse as time goes on. Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream by Landon Winkler is a 16th-level adventure where the players are asked by a group of psychopomps to travel into the demiplane formed by a dead dragon. Both of these adventures are challenging and fun to boot. If you like running high level games, be sure to check these adventures out.

We do have one other product coming out next year that is not an adventure—the Book of Heroic Races: Occult Intrigue in the Wilderness. When we started designing what would become the Book of Heroic Races Advanced Compendium, we specifically excluded Occult Adventures and Ultimate Intrigue, despite both fans and authors asking to include material from them. We decided against it since we did not want tengu, catfolk, and other early released races excluded merely because of timing. Now that the Advanced Compendium is complete, we have the time and do right by all of the race and create rules for all these races with the classes found in these books plus Ultimate Wilderness, and that is exactly what we are doing.

Sword and Wizardry

With all the good news we have to report, there has to be some bad. Unfortunately, it is with Swords and Wizardry. We decided to convert over an adventure—Book of Heroic Races: Reign of Ruin—to this old school system to test the waters. I set a very low threshold of sales it would have to meet for us to continue to support it. Two months and a 4-Star review from Endzeitgeist later, and it did not make it a third of the way there. Should it get there we’ll talk about more releases, but for the time being all of our old school plans are on hold.

That is all the plans we are able to talk about at this point. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ and subscribe to our newsletter to stay current of more previews of upcoming and current products from us and see our regular blog posts through the week. Remember to use coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off at the JBE Shop.

Dale McCoy, Jr
Jon Brazer Enterprises

Traveller: Defense Walker

Previous vehicle we shared (Zargrav X-72, Zaspa T-68 Skyhopper, Cyberpuma, and Hypercycle) were not combat vehicles. Today that changes. This military walker is created by the Confederation of Worlds (Die Weltbund). Warpride and other Confederation worlds use this defensive walker to repel invaders. They travel so slow that they need airlifted to the region they are needed. Once there, they can take serious punishment from its opposition and deal incredible damage to everything in their path.

Defense Walker

TL 10
Skill Drive (walker)
Agility +2
Speed (Cruise) Very Slow (Idle)
Range (Cruise) 300 (450)
Crew 1
Passengers 0
Cargo
Hull 60
Shipping 10 tons
Cost Cr. 2,285,825

Armour

Front 39
Rear 39
Sides 39

Details

Autopilot (skill level) +1
Communications (range) 50,000 km
Navigation (Navigation DM) +2
Sensors (Electronics [Sensors] DM) +1, 500 km
Camouflage (Recon DM) –2, 0.5 km
Stealth (Electronics [sensors] DM) –2

Weapons

Weapons Range Damage Magazine Mag Cost Traits
Gatling Lasers (2) 4 km 6D Auto 4

Traits/Equipment

Autopilot (Improved), Camouflage (Improved), Communications (Improved, Encrypted, Increased Range), Controls (Enhanced), Ejection Seat, Navigation (Improved), Sensors (Improved, Increased Range), Stealth (Improved)

The Defense Walker is produced by the Confederation of Worlds. Warpride is in the CoW and is one of the detailed worlds in Foreven Worlds: Alespron Subsector. Download this subsector at JonBrazer.com. You can also find it at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.

Traveller: Hypercycle

For this week’s vehicle, I bring you the Cornathian Hypercycle. Unlike previous vehicles we showed off here at JonBrazer.com (Zargrav X-72, Zaspa T-68 Skyhopper, and Cyberpuma) this isn’t a conversion from MGT 1e to 2e. This is a new vehicle we created specifically for this edition of the game.

The Hypercycle is a wheeled motorcycle for adrenaline junkies. It has the agility to weave through traffic and the raw speed to bypass everything on the road when they have the space. Not only that, it is about a third of the cost of the Imperium’s g/bike. This is a great common man’s on the border worlds.

Hypercycle

TL 10
Skill Drive (wheel)
Agility +2
Speed (Cruise) Fast (High)
Range (Cruise) 500 (750)
Crew 1
Passengers 1
Cargo
Hull 4
Shipping 1 tons
Cost Cr. 17,000

Armour

Front 3
Rear 3
Sides 3

Details

Autopilot (skill level) +0
Communications (range)
Navigation (Navigation DM) +1
Sensors (Electronics [Sensors] DM) +0, 1 km
Camouflage (Recon DM)
Stealth (Electronics [sensors] DM)

Traits/Equipment

Autopilot (Basic), Control System (Improved), Navigation (Basic), Open Vehicle, Sensors (Basic)

The Hypercycle is produced by in the Cornathian Empire. Find details about the Cornathian Empire in Foreven Worlds: Fessor Subsector. Download this at JonBrazer.com. You can also find it at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.

Happy Hogswatch (Or Whatever You Celebrate)

From now through Festivus and all the way through January 31, 2018, you can download anything JonBrazer.com and get 30% off your entire order with the “holiday2017” coupon code. May your Yule be bright, your Saturnalia be joyous, your St Lucia Day be merry, your Kwanzaa be celebrated with family, your Hanukkah be will lit, and have a Merry Christmas. 

From all of us at Jon Brazer Enterprises, have a safe and happy holiday.

Traveller: Zargrav X-72

Continuing our series of converting converting our 1st edition Mongoose Traveller vehicles to 2nd edition, we bring you the Zargrav X-72. Previously, we shared the Cyberpuma and the Zaspa T-68 Skyhopper.

Barely legal outside of racing arenas, the Zargrav X-72 boasts a top speed that is downright illegal on some worlds. It comes equipped with a high end entertainment system to keep you entertained and informed during a long flight. This is the vehicle for the grav driver that just LOVES to zip through sky traffic. It is a vehicle of precision and possesses an agility that is unmatched in its tech level. When you want to bob, weave, duck under or corkscrew around everyone else in the skyways, this is your gravcar.

Zargrav X-72

TL 11
Skill Flyer (grav)
Agility +4
Speed (Cruise) Very Fast (Fast)
Range (Cruise) 3,000 (4,500)
Crew 1
Passengers 1
Cargo 1 ton
Hull 8
Shipping 2 tons
Cost Cr. 296,075

Armour

Front 3
Rear 3
Sides 3

Details

Autopilot (skill level) 3
Communications (range) 500 km
Navigation (Navigation DM) +2
Sensors (Electronics [Sensors] DM) +1
Camouflage (Recon DM)
Stealth (Electronics [sensors] DM)

Traits/Equipment

Autopilot, Enhanced Control System, Entertainment System (High End), Improved Communications, Improved Navigation, Improved Sensors, Streamlined

Download Foreven Worlds: Alespron Subsector for your Traveller game today at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.

Traveller: Zaspa T-68 Skyhopper

We’re doing a series right now of converting some of our vehicles from 1st edition Mongoose Traveller to 2nd edition. Last week, we looked at the Cyberpuma. Today we take a look at the Zaspa T-68 Skyhopper

Ideal for lower tech worlds, the T-68 Skyhopper features two main rotorblades to maximize stability and minimize the safe takeoff distance. The third rotorblade controls the vehicle’s pitch, and ultimately its forward speed. With more than a ton of cargo space, the skyhopper delivers the performance needed on a lightly-populated colony world at a price those same worlds can afford.

Zaspa T-68 Skyhopper

TL 6
Skill Flyer (rotor)
Agility +0
Speed (Cruise) Medium (Slow)
Range (Cruise) 1,000 (1,500)
Crew 1
Passengers 1
Cargo 1 ton
Hull 2
Shipping 5 tons
Cost Cr. 157,700

Armour

Front 2
Rear 2
Sides 2

Details

Autopilot (skill level)
Communications (range) 50 km
Navigation (Navigation DM) +1
Sensors (Electronics [Sensors] DM) +0, 1 km
Camouflage (Recon DM)
Stealth (Electronics [sensors] DM)

Traits/Equipment

Communications (Basic), Hostile Environment, Life Support (Short term), Navigation (Basic), Sensors (Basic)

Be sure to download Foreven Worlds: Ships of the Border Worlds for your Traveller game today at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.

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