Encountering #TravellerRPG using #CepheusEngine

Hattip to Tales to Astound for inspiration here.

Tales to Astound has a very interesting series on using the Classic Traveller RPG system. One item that caught my attention a few weeks back was Encounters. TTA rightly points out that in Classic Traveller, “Encounters are there to create situations, which lead to adventures.”

This describes my common GM style to a tee. I usually am a low-prep GM, depending on the situation as it develops to help create the adventure. Sure, I often have a meta plot that is working behind the scenes, but the Travellers often find themselves intersecting the meta plot, not necessarily driving it. It is through encounters that this intersection happens.

Looking at the new 2d6 Cepheus Engine System Reference Document, I decided to dig into the rules and find out where the encounters were. At the same time, I looked at other “events” that rely on time. Boy, was I in for a surprise for all I found. There are some hourly, many daily, a few weekly, and even monthly and annual events. Putting all these together actually helps to establish a “routine” to life that can assist the GM in creating those encounter situations that lead to adventure.

Here are the many I found:

  • Pension (Yearly) p. 31
  • Explorer’s Society (Every 2 months) p. 32
  • Ship Inspections (Upon Arrival) p. 49
  • Gain Skills (Weeks?) p. 57
  • Drug Effects (Days/Weeks/Months) p. 71
  • Fatigue (Hours) p. 97
  • Natural Healing (Daily) p. 98
  • Medical Care (Daily) p. 98
  • Passage (Weekly or By Jump) p. 106
  • Skim Fuel (Hours) p. 107
  • Salaries (Monthly) p. 108
  • Life Support (Monthly) p. 109
  • Port Fees (Weekly/Daily) p. 109
  • Routine Maintenance (Monthly) p. 109
  • Law Enforcement Encounters (by event) p. 113
  • Find Supplier (Days) p. 115
  • Resist Disease (Hours/Days/Weeks) p. 163+
  • Radiation Effects (Hours/Days/Weeks) p. 165
  • Starvation/Dehydration (Hours/Days) p. 169
  • Animal Encounters (multiple encounters Daily) p. 184
  • Social Encounters (As Needed/Daily/Weekly) p. 186+
    • Legal (Daily)
    • Random (Daily)
    • Patron (Weekly)
    • Rumor (Weekly)
  • Starship Encounters (Enter/Leave System) p. 192
  • Adventure Checklist – Weekly Event (Weekly) p. 202

Encounters are really where “situation meets adventure” happens, but the other temporal events can also create situations for adventure:

  • “What do you mean you can’t pay my salary this month?”
  • “I have radiation poisoning and may only have weeks to live.”
  • “Last time we skimmed fuel we got jumped by pirates!”

All of these events happen at set time intervals and can be points the GM uses to create a situation that leads to adventure.

I am working up a GM play aid that captures all these temporal events and encounters. I intend to keep it handy for use as the game clock ticks by. I want to use this same approach to events in time and encounters not only in Classic Traveller/Cepheus Engine games but to apply the same concept to all my RPG adventures, especially Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars Roleplaying Game.


Cepheus Engine System Reference Document – A Classic Era Science Fiction 2D6-Based Open Gaming System, By Jason “Flynn” Kemp. Copyright (c) 2016 Samardan Press.

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