Last week, I couldn’t sleep and made a chariot for Traveller. A few days later, I couldn’t sleep again and decided to make a carriage. I still think Animal (riding) or Athletics (endurance) should be the skill to drive these.

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Name Beast-Drawn Carriage
TL 1
Skill Drive (wheel)
Agility -1
Speed (Cruise) Very Slow (Idle)
Range (Cruise) Pulling creature dependent
Crew 1
Passengers 5
Cargo 1 ton
Hull 22
Shipping 5 ton
Cost Cr. 1,000
Equipment/Traits

Autopilot (skill level)
Communications (range)
Navigation (Navigation DM)
Sensors (Electronics (sensors) DM)
Camouflage (Recon DM)
Stealth (Electronics (sensors) DM)

Armour
Front
Rear
Sides

Traveller: TL 1 Chariot

Right now, it is the middle of the night and I can’t sleep. Earlier in the day, I was wondering about vehicles for low-tech worlds. Sure there aren’t many worlds in the OTU that are tech level 1-3, but there are some and there are like 3 vehicles for them in the Vehicle Handbook. So while I can’t sleep, I figured I’d make an uncomplicated one for you. Here’s a nice chariot for you. This equally works as a rickshaw. Frankly though, I think Animal (riding) or Athletics (endurance) should be the skill to drive these.

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Name Chariot/Rickshaw
TL 1
Skill Drive (wheel)
Agility -1
Speed (Cruise) Very Slow (Idle)
Range (Cruise) Pulling creature dependent
Crew 1
Passengers 1
Cargo
Hull 2
Shipping 1 ton
Cost Cr. 200
Equipment/Traits

Autopilot (skill level)
Communications (range)
Navigation (Navigation DM)
Sensors (Electronics (sensors) DM)
Camouflage (Recon DM)
Stealth (Electronics (sensors) DM)

Armour
Front
Rear
Sides

How Do You Play Traveller These Days

With COVID still going on in the US with no end in sight, I am wondering how Traveller gamers are getting their fix of our favorite sci-fi game. Vote in the poll below and help us better make products for you.

If you do play over Fantasy Grounds, be sure to pick up the d66 Compendium for the system. This book of tables is perfect for a virtual tabletop, having tables programmed in so you get the result with a single click. Download today at the Fantasy Grounds Store. You can also order the print book or download the PDF at the JBE Shop or DriveThruRPG.

We hope you are enjoying our series of Alternate Icons for 13th Age. If you haven’t yet, read the previous entries in the series: the Usurper, Deposed Heir, Fleshcrafter, Herald, Wandering Spirit Guild Mistress, the Mother, and the Tinkerer. Returning to the cities, we introduce the Beggar Queen, the equal and opposite of the Shadow Prince.

The Beggar Queen rules over those forgotten by the wealthy and the population at large. Beggars living on the streets are shunned by society, hurried along by law enforcement, ignored by the common folk, kicked and spat upon by the arrogant, and blamed for every social ill by politicians. They have become use such treatment, but when the truly horrific happens, the one calling herself the Beggar Queen is the only one they have to turn to. The “Patron of the Undeserving” as she calls herself stands up to those that would steal from them, hunt them for sport, and take their children away.

Quote

“You may think you are better than us, but we will all equally be worm food someday. If you don’t want that day to come sooner, you had better not cross us.”

Frequent Location

The Catacombs, Beneath the former Imperial capital of Skybound City, are the catacombs where the dead are buried. Among those chiseled out beds in the rock where bodies can be laid to rest, the poor and homeless sleep. In the forgotten grand internment chamber beneath the city center is where the Beggar Queen holds court. With her crown of twisted wire and her royal robe of ill-tanned hides, she sits upon a throne of junk giving solutions to any problems the forgotten folk have.

Common Knowledge

Most of society only hears of the Beggar Queen when there is a riot of poor people, fighting for enough food to live and fair wages when they can find work. Such disruptions to daily life in the city make people resentful and hate her cause.

The Icon and Adventurers

The Beggar Queen never parts with money when she can and as such never “hires” adventurers. However, she does point adventurers to where they can find some riches when depriving those riches of someone will serve her aims. Her aims typically involve revenge upon those that cheat and steal from homeless folk. To adventurers she trusts, she will ask them to steal children back from those that have “adopted” children from parents deemed unable to provide them a proper home.

Allies

Being homeless herself, the Beggar Queen trusts no one and has no allies among the other icons. However, she will work with any of them when it suits her needs and lines her pockets. When either the Usurper or the Deposed Heir need information on the other’s side, the Beggar Queen makes inquiries. When the Fleshcrafter needs body parts dug up from holy ground, the Beggar Queen finds volunteers. The Tinkerer has heard that someone is using his gadgets in ways to harm people, the Beggar Queen knows someone who was there.

Enemies

While she is willing to work with almost any icon, that doesn’t mean that the others will publicly acknowledge her and her people’s contributions. The Usurper is ready to denounce the Beggar Queen as a spy for the Deposed Heir. The Fleshcrafter publicly makes jokes about how it would be fitting to turn the Beggar Queen into one of his animated golems. The Deposed Heir refers to her as evidence of the Usurper’s weakness, allowing her to keep operating and disrupting life for the common person. The Beggar Queen makes them each pay for their actions, frequently by requiring higher prices for her assistance.

The one icon that the Beggar Queen almost never works with is the Guild Mistress. Because beggars are frequently unskilled, they are never hired by the Guild Mistress or any of her people. Those that do hire them are kicked out of the guild when knowledge of such actions become public. For whatever reason, such actions always become public. The Beggar Queen wants to find out who is making such knowledge public since work for the Guild tend to pay better, if below what a full guild member would have to be paid.

History

No one really knows where the Beggar Queen emerged from. Some say she was a noblewoman that is believed to have been killed by the Usurper’s troops. Others say she was a seamstress that was cursed by the Mother and was sent away by her husband. There are rumors that she is just angry at the world and is trying to win the loyalty of every homeless before she has them take over. A few say her child was taken from her, and accidentally caused the child’s death while trying to steal the child back. No matter what the real story is, she takes on those that abuse her people, like a mother caring for her child.

The Reason to Fear

Those loyal to the Beggar Queen can emerge anywhere at any time, enacting whatever vengeance she deems necessary.

While many fear that the homeless will form an army under the Beggar Queen, they are terrified of the very real army being formed und the Witch King. This unholy commander of evil forces is the equal and opposite of the Orc Warlord. Read about him next month when we detail this icon at the JBE Blog.

Our best selling 13th Age product is 13 Wizard Cantrips and Spells. See what people love about this supplement by downloading it today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store.

When you’ve been around as long as JBE has, you look at your older work and can be proud of what you did for your level of experience but can’t help but see how you can do things better. Creatures of Distant Worlds is a prime example of this. The MGT 1e version of the book was a solid monster book, but it was a struggle to produce even that little book and we were limited by the fact we had enough of an art budget to buy one stock art pack and make creatures around that. So when we produced the 2e version—Foreven Worlds: Creatures of Distant Worlds—we had had 10 years of previously commissioned artwork as a library we could draw upon as well as a budget to commission new art when we felt it appropriate.

The same can be said for Mech Tech ‘n’ bot: Mech Squadrons. While we are proud of our first book that went to distribution, it also was developed years before there were vehicle rules; every vehicle inside was made as a small ship. Now that we’re creating Solomani Worlds: Vehicles from the Rim, we’re making these vehicles with, obviously, the vehicle creation rules. Next, we’re not limiting ourselves to just mechs. Mechs are cool and all, but you gotta love grav ships flying around. (I am making no comments on whether or not I make my own sound effects of grav ships flying around.) But to circle back to mechs a moment, I still love some of the artwork and ideas behind some of those early mechs. While all the mech stats are new there are some that take their design cues and even one from the artwork of those days gone by.

Enter the AN-72 Construction Mech. I still believe that a mech with two arms can replace many specialized vehicles. Why have a giant vehicle with a cutting blade when you can give a two-armed mech a giant electric saw. Why have an excavator when you can give the two-armed mech a giant excavator-like tool. Think of it as a Bobcat but with two legs, can bend over, climb up the side of the scaffolding, and can dribble. I mean, imagine a giant mech basketball team. Let’s see Bobcat do that. :p

Speak of giant mech basketball, you can play just such a character with the Athlete (vehicle sports) career, found in Foreven World’s Careers: Beyond the Claw. Download this book today exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

Name AN-72 Construction Mech
TL 12
Skill Drive (walker)
Agility +2
Speed (Cruise) Medium (Slow)
Range (Cruise) 450 km (675 km)
Crew 1
Passengers 0
Cargo 0.5 ton
Hull 18
Shipping 4 tons
Cost Cr. 188,550
Equipment/Traits
Autopilot (Improved),Communication System (Improved, Increased Range), Computer/2, Control System (Enhanced), Fire Extinguishers, Manipulator Arm (Advanced, 2), Navigation (Basic), Sensors (Basic), Structural Reinforcement

AN-72H Hostile Construction Mech (Short Term Life Support) Cr. 340,100
AN-72C Corrosive Construction Mech (Short Term Life Support) Cr. 385,100
AN-72V Vacuum Construction Mech (Short Term Life Support) Cr. 385,100
AN-72I Insidious Construction Mech (Short Term Life Support) Cr. 745,100

Autopilot (skill level) 1
Communications (range) 5,000 km
Navigation (Navigation DM) +1
Sensors (Electronics (sensors) DM) +0, 1 km
Camouflage (Recon DM)
Stealth (Electronics (sensors) DM)

Armour
Front 35
Rear 35
Sides 35

All year long we are releasing alternate icons for 13th Age. Read previous entries in the series: the Usurper, Deposed Heir, Fleshcrafter, Herald, Wandering Spirit Guild Mistress, and the Mother. This month we delve into one of the racial powers of the world as we talk about the Tinkerer, the equal and opposite of the Dwarf King.

The Tinkerer is the champion of science and technology. With his natural gnomish curiosity, he wants to understand the world around him without getting involved in all this magic stuff. Since anyone can do science if they apply themselves, the Tinkerer calls it the magic for everyone.

Quote

“I have a new gadget! Let’s go try it out!”

Frequent Location

Laboratory of Wonders, this sprawling structure constantly has gears turning, wheels spinning, and colors changing. The one thing that most people are struck by when the approach is the enormous onion-shaped done with a stick pointing at the sky. The Tinkerer calls it a “Lenscope,” describing it as a way to view the stars in the sky. Each room in the Laboratory of Wonders is filled with different curiosities. Some have bubbling beakers. Others have flames shooting out of nozzles. Inside another room, every object within is colored red; only those either painted red or who’s skin tone is naturally of a red hue are permitted inside. Supposedly there is a spinning needle within the red room. If you remove a red object from the red room and take it out into the world, the needle will point it at the missing box and it will create an image of the missing item.

Common Knowledge

The Tinkerer loves to create new items and gadgets. He will travel the world looking for inspiration for new gadgets. Anyone seeking knowledge will find a friend in the Tinkerer.

The Icon and Adventurers

Young adventurers are frequently sent to investigate rumors of some new gadget or device and bring it back for the Tinkerer. Older, more experienced adventurers will be sent to get back some items that someone is abusing. Whenever a field digger is being used to destroy people’s homes or a portable ranged campfire maker is being used to burn people at the stake, the Tinkerer will hire adventurers to take that bit of technology away from them since they have proven to not use it responsibly.

Allies

The Tinkerer does not have allies per se, but he does have other icons that he gets along with will help out because they use his technology responsibly. The Tinkerer gets along best with the Guild Mistress. She takes the Tinkerer’s inventions far and wide, giving him the resources to continue his work unabated. The Usurper, after a few misunderstandings, has agreed to only use the Tinkerer’s non-magical items only for their intended purpose.

Enemies

Much like the Tinkerer does not have allies, he also lacks enemies. There are only those that the Tinkerer does not get along with for one reason or another. The Herald and the Wandering Spirit have no use for such mundane items and consider the Tinkerer beneath their notice. The Tinkerer considers the Fleshcrafter’s golems to be an abhorrent use of such knowledge, preferring automata that help people, not suppress them. The Deposed Heir’s focus on regaining power has let those that follow him to use the Tinkerer’s devices irresponsibly. The two are currently not speaking over the incident.

History

Through a combination of hard work and more than a little good luck, the Tinkerer experimented on everything he could get his tiny hands upon and learned all he could. He started with a single field, wanting to understand why the land was no longer producing food. Where the locals saw only a curse, the Tinkerer saw a problem that needed to be solved. When he discovered that the animals were eating rotten food and their manure was poisoning the crops, he became famous. From there he took his intelligence and used it to help others throughout the world.

The Reason to Fear

It is said that the Tinkerer possesses enough gadgets and gizmos to take over the whole Realm if the Tinkerer so choose. No one wants to make the Tinkerer mad enough to look beyond the Laboratory of Wonders and intervene in the problems of the world.

One person that would love to get their hands on the Tinkerer’s items is the Beggar Queen, the equal and opposite of the Shadow Prince. Read about her next month when we detail this icon at the JBE Blog.

Looking to play 13th Age while social distancing, Download the 13 Class Options Bundle at the Fantasy Grounds Store. You can also find it at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, and the Open Gaming Store.

Always Keep Your Spells Ready and a Trick Up Your Sleeve

Play the character you have always wanted in the 13th Age. These new class options for the Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, and Wizard classes are just what you need to bring down the toughest monsters and make your game worthy of the best stories for years to come. Strike fear into the hearts of your enemies and win the day like never before.

13 Class Options Bundle is a supplement for the 13th Age Roleplaying Game for use on Fantasy Grounds. Inside you will find:

  • 13 New Cleric Domains and Spells—ideal for characters divinely inspired, everything from turning the tide of a desperate battle to wielding the very weapon of your deity
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Wield Legendary Power in the 13th Age
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As I have discussed elsewhere, I am working on the Solomani Worlds for Traveller. Since then, I was asked if a group of people trying to eek out a living at the edge of the law was possible there considering that so much of the sector is under heavy-handed, represive Imperial puppet governments. My instinct was to answer yes, citing a number of problems in the region. But my mind kept working on that, trying to figure out exactly how that could work. I came up with three general categories that I feel are excellent sources of adventure in the region. More exist, of course, but here are some that any GM should be able to work with.

1) Selling/Delivering Controlled Goods and Services

Naturally this one sounds evil to North Americans and Western Europeans, but most of us have never lived under a repressive regime. Here these consist mainly of drugs, prostitution, and similar. In Iran before the internet, this consisted of Western music; in Cuba 10+ years ago as well as China and North Korea today, this consists of information from the outside world.

Leaving the last four countries mentioned is not really an option for most of their citizens, especially if they do not want to go back. As such smuggling persons out of their territories does occur. These prospect are expensive and dangerous but for those that do not want to stay any longer (no matter the reason) and happen to be really, really lucky, there can be a way out.

So how would this work in Traveller? The Solomani Confederacy lacks Earth-grown coffee. Occupied systems lack holovid shows that have a distinct pro-Imperium bent to them. Smuggling a fugitive out of Imperial territory or a revolutionary into the territory is always a possibility. Playing ferry-smugglers has always been a classic Traveller trope. Here, what those smuggling bins are loaded up with is up for question.

2) Get The MacGuffin

Someone that can pay X amount up front wants something and they hire you to get it. This is the classic Firefly episode Train Job. However, there it was medication to be sold on the black market. Why not flip that on its head: the Imperium wants to punish a group for their lack of loyalty and seizes their medical supplies during a pandemic (just pulling some hypothetical example out of nowhere), and the Travellers are hired by the locals to bring them supplies from elsewhere, having to dodge government surveillance the entire time.

Similar examples can involve hunting down documents/evidence proving someone’s claim to be a legitimate heir to a piece land/planet, guilt/innocence of a crime, or simply returning a piece of a group’s heritage to them.

3) Corporate Espionage

“It’s always legal if a corporation pays enough money to the right people to make it legal.”

While stealing information from one corporation and giving it to another is also nothing new, the reason for it changes. In this example, the plans to be stolen are from an Imperial corporation, and the product is manufactured on a higher tech world, making it impossible for the corporation on an occupied world to ever compete. The other corporation cannot purchase the technology since purchasing such tech there is illegal. However, if they could “develop it on their own,” they could pay off the appropriate people to let them manufacturer it.

This basic adventure idea is more or less a subset of the previous, but I broke it out for one simple reason: money. This one is all about the pay day while the last was about the stories of the people and their struggles, their identity, living under a government without any say in how they are governed.

Need more ideas for your game? Grab the D66 Compendium 2. This Traveller book features more than just names, but also ideas to help you when you need it. Always be prepared with the D66 Compendium 2, available exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

The start of the month was Gen Con 2020. The pandemic made it an online only convention. I felt the way it was executed was excellent, even if it showed off some of the current limitations of an online convention at this point in time.

The Good

Gen Con 2020 got the basics right. To play any game online, you need some way to connect. Roll20 and Zoom require links, Fantasy Grounds has a Host Address, and so on. Gen Con’s ticket system provided a secure area for GM and gamers to share such information well in advance of the game without those not in the game getting access to it. That alone is something more online conventions need and Gen Con did it well. Kudos. It works even better for seminars: you post the link and your attendees to the zoom call or the discord server and boom you’re on.

Virtual TrueDungeon was as close to the real thing as it can get. The online app handled the crunch making the gameplay experience pretty decent. The puzzles were solid and enjoyable.

The Bad

This isn’t so much a critique of Gen Con so much as all online conventions. You don’t get to walk around and see people in costumes, enjoy random funny T-Shirts, bump into people you haven’t seen in years, see a game designer in the halls, have a meal at one of the local restaurants, and all the other random experiences you do at an in-person convention. Not having those experiences saddens me some.

Another limitation is the dealer’s hall, or more precisely, the lack thereof. Wandering the hall, you’ll see and touch all manner of games and accessories you didn’t know existed until 10 seconds prior. As a publisher, I know some companies depend upon their surge of sales at Gen Con and similar large conventions as a sizable chunk of their sales. I’m not sure how that will impact them but I know it will not be good.

The Bottom Line

As a temporary measure, Gen Con 2020 was a smashing success. With any luck, Gen Con 2021 will be back to an in-person conversation. But if it is not, online gaming conventions may be the way moving forward. Even if we are “back to normal” by next year, having an online conversation component should be an important part of major gaming cons in the future. It lets those that cannot attend still be apart of it.

Having said that, we do need to figure out ways around the shortfalls of an online conversation. I look forward to seeing such innovations in the future.

Vehicular sports have been around since long before the days of Ben Hur, and there is absolutely no reason to think why they won’t exist in far future. So when I set out to make some vehicles for the Solomani Rim, I wanted to make some racers that had a connection to Earth. That is the seed of inspiration behind Formula Infinity.

There was just one problem: Earth (or Terra, as it is known in the Traveller timeline) is under Imperial occupation. So while writing it up for our upcoming book Solomoni Worlds: Vehicles from the Rim, we had to create how the racing organization adapted to life under occupation as well as how some racing locations are now under the other side of a border. This vehicle not only creates and organization but also plot hooks concerning when racers cross the border.

Of course you can play a vehicle racer. Download the Foreven World’s Careers: Beyond the Claw and play an athlete of any stripe including a speeding racer. Download it exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

Name Formula Infinity G/Racer
TL 13
Skill Flyer (grav)
Agility +5
Speed (Cruise) Hypersonic (Supersonic)
Range (Cruise) 8,000 km (12,000 km)
Crew 1
Passengers 0
Cargo 0 ton
Hull 7
Shipping 1.5 tons
Cost Cr. 1,085,500
Equipment/Traits
Communication System (Advanced, Increased Range), Control Systems (Advanced), Ejection Seat, Increased Fuel Capacity, Increased Fuel Efficiency, Increased Hull, Increased Speed, Sensors (Advanced, Increased Fidelity, Increased Range (2)), Streamlined

Autopilot (skill level)
Communications (range) 10,000 km
Navigation (Navigation DM)
Sensors (Electronics (sensors) DM) +3, 2,500 km
Camouflage (Recon DM)
Stealth (Electronics (sensors) DM)

Armour
Front 4
Rear 4
Sides 4