SAFCOcast 36: MayDay 2024 and other stuff with CyborgPrime

We’re back again! It’s that time of the year. Mayday is near, and thus it is time to talk about it. Joining us is the organizer of the online Traveller celebration, Frank Succardi, also known as CyborgPrime.

We talk about Mayday, and we talk about some of Frank’s other projects, including some work he’s doing with AI.

All the information about this year’s Mayday Mayday can be found on Frank’s website, here.

And of course, Franks product can be found as well on CyborgPrime Games.

You can find Che Webster’s Roleplay Rescue blog/podcast here.

This episode’s theme music is Crystal Math, by the Speculative Machines podcast.


SAFCOcast 35: the Scoundrels of Brixton

In this episode Bob interviews the creators of the Scoundrels of Brixton Cepheus Engine/Traveller setting and books, Jeffrey Jones of the RPG Ramblings podcast and writer Adam Kovac.

Relevant Links

Scoundrels of Brixton book cover

SAFCOcast 34: update on Keith Frye Memorial Game and Mayday! 2023 Interview with CyborgPrime

In this episode I read a quick message from Greg Caires and Ken Patterson regarding the passing of Keith Frye the upcoming online memorial game for him, and then we interview CyborgPrime (Frank Succardi) about the upcoming Mayday Mayday 2023 online Traveller celebration.

Relevant links for this episode:


SAFCOcast 33: Talking MayDay 2023 with Ken Patterson

In this episode we talk to Ken Patterson about the upcoming MayDay 2023 online Traveller celebration.

Relevant Links:

SAFCOcast 32: Never knife-fight Earl Dumarest

In this episode we discuss the last two “longest campaign” submissions, talk about the Parry rule in Classic Traveller Combat, go through a lot of great Internet Finds, and briefly touch on the OGL debacle.

Relevant links:

Here are my notes on Parry and fighting Earl Dumarest with a knife:

Bob: I read the rules on Page 35 of book 1 (in the Facsimile Edition), under Expertise,  about using the Parry ability with certain weapons. It was eye opening. If you are fighting for instance blade weapon to blade weapon, and you have skill with your weapon, you automatically get to reduce your opponent’s chance to hit by your skill level – it is assumed you are parrying. So, for example, Blade-2 vs Blade-1.  Blade-2 reduces Blade-1’s chance to hit by 2. In other words, Blade-1 is attacking at -1.  The other way around, Blade-2’s attack is reduced by Blade-1’s level. 2-1. So Blade-2 is only at a +1 to hit. 

It gets really interesting if one of the combatants is UNSKILLED. Not Skill-0, like a PC, but totally unskilled. That person is at -5 to hit, and they are so bad at parrying that they add +3 to the opponent’s chance of hitting them. Better to fight bare handed!  So against Blade-2, they would be a -5 to hit, -2 for Blade-2’s parry, for a total of -7 to hit (not including any other modifiers for armor or lack thereof). And Blade-2 is at +5 to hit them. Insane! They would be cut to ribbons, which I think is very realistic. I also like the way Parry is worked into the combat. No extra roll. Just a modifier. Good stuff.

So let’s do Earl Dumarest, as written up in the 1001 Characters supplement, with his Blade.

Earl has STR B. Advantageous STR. +1 to hit
Mesh Armor. But let’s ignore his armor, and assume that once again Earl is fighting in the arena, for money or his freedom or both. 

So against someone with no armor and Blade-2. Earl is at +4 to hit from his skill vs their parry. +1 to hit for his STR. and +1 to hit as they have no armor. Earl is at a total of +6 to hit. He needs only a 2 to hit. He’s going to hit every time. So to have any chance of not being hit, his opponent needs either some kind of armor or Blade-3 or better. They will still likely get hit, but could luck out.

To hit Earl, Blade-2 is at:

+2 from their skill
-6 to hit from Earl’s parry
We’ll give Blade-2 advantageous STR, for +1

And Earl has no armor, also +1

So Blade-2 is at -2 to hit Earl. They need a 10+. Possible, but not easy. They will need to cheat! Maybe some sand in the eyes or blind him with a reflection from his knife, or for his partner in the crowd with a small mirror!

The Blade does 2d6 damage. So an average of 7 points. A good physical specimen may not be out after the first hit, but there’s a damned good chance they will be. Earl’s first three stats are BFC – very high. Blade COULD reduce one of his stats to zero on the first hit, but it is unlikely. He is probably going to survive that first strike. And in round 2 he will likely kill his opponent or put them into a bleed to death condition. 

A totally unskilled opponent without advantageous STR would be at -5 (the unskilled penalty), -6 for Earl’s parry, +1 if they have advantageous STR, and +1 for Earl being unarmored. A total of -9 to hit. They are screwed, unless you play that a roll of 12 always succeeds.

The takeaway – do not engage Earl Dumarest in Blade combat!

SAFCOcast 31: Interview with Virtual Traveller’s Ken Patterson

In this episode we interview Ken Patterson of the Virtual Traveller Facebook group about the upcoming online streaming game to benefit Mr. Keith Frye, one of the pillars of the Traveller community as he battles serious illness.

Relevant links are as follows:

SAFCOcast 30: More Campaign Descriptions, Bribery Confusion, and Review of our Campaign

In this episode we do internet finds, rules finds (in which Bob gets even more confused about the Bribery skill in the little black books), xboat transmissions, two from our longest campaign event, and we review our own campaign 4.5 years into it.

Note: I understand Bribery now! Sorry – I had ignored the line about stringent laws making bribery easier. DERP!

Relevant links:

SAFCOcast 29: Your Longest Traveller Campaign! Winner announced!

In this episode Jeff and Bob read some much appreciated email from listeners, go over from great finds from the internet, talk about some rules finds, announce the winner for the random drawing from the Longest Campaign submissions, and read the first six of the twelve submissions!

Relevant links:

Longest Campaign Submissions

  • Thomas of Kingston
    MegaTraveller w mods
    8-10 Months (detail is a bit fuzzy)

It was set in the JG Glimmerdrift Reaches on an Imperial planet (Petra). The planet was balkanized and there were many tensions among the double handful of nations but the big players were 2 or 3 larger nations. The tech level of the planet was 9, but there was another Imperial planet (TL-12) not far away. The time period was about 1114, but in this particular setting, the Solomani were pushing into the open spaces in Glimmerdrift reaches. 

It would have been a more typical game if one of the players hadn’t rolled up a retired Imperial Marine who had Soc 12 (Marquis). He ended up being the Marquis of Petra and being the Imperial representative. The other characters were a mix of retired Marines, Navy, and some active duty, with one being a local noble. 

The Marquis was, to the eyes of some of his senior people, a bit erratic. So much so that his Security Chief rapidly decided that if this was what the Imperium would put in charge, the Solomani were welcome. 

That led to the Security Chief running a Solomani-sympathizer campaign against the Imperium. He was also the funnel and organizer who managed data flow to the Marquis. So on the one hand, he organized an underground flyer that regularly knew a lot about Imperial business and failures, he recruited like minded PCs and NPCs who had Solomani sympathies, and he set the Imperials against the local governments. It got worse as time went on: The high port blew up (the only GM-inflicted campaign event I can think of) and then shipments of high tech offworld arms and vehicles were sabotaged, the Marquis’ family was assassinated, and a few PCs and NPCs who were Imperial sympathizers were fingered as being behind the Solomani underground (leading to their execution by the Security Chief after convincing the Marquis he needed to kill these guys who were actually  on the Marquis’ side). 

In the end, the Solomani invaded, had local support, and the Marquis had to flee for his life. The Security Chief wrote a full explanation in a letter categorizing every step he took against the Marquis and how at every turn, he turned allies against the Marquis or fingered them for troublemakers, and how he managed to deflect suspicion falling upon himself by having the underground flyer make fun of the Security Chief (and the Marquis immediately felt this made him not in with the Solomani because he seemed the sort to never make himself look foolish… except that’s exactly what he was doing to avoid suspicion). 

There was a lot time spent individually (because of the nature of intrigues) and there were many views and motivations that clashed, intersected, or sometimes passed like strangers in the night. 

It wasn’t easy to GM. I gave the Marquis chances and enough of the other players tried to warn him or help him, but the person he most trusted was the mastermind that he should have normally suspected and that set him against those who were actually trying to help (some were playing both sides and deserved what they got….). 

I’ve run a fair few 8-12 month campaigns of more traditional Traveller, but this one ended up being legendary. The Security Chief’s final message was done up in an X-Boat transmission….

I don’t think we could do this again, but it will always live in memory of those who participated.

(2) Winner!  Mark Ayers
This first was original Traveller, the second was MegaTraveller.
Each were about three years

I have two longest campaigns. My first ran from winter 1977 until spring 1980. Our teen selves evolved the game as each new Traveller item was published and came into our possession. My next was a revival, in a new town, more than a decade later. It ran from autumn 1993 until autumn 1995. As young adults in jobs, this campaign was appreciated more and died when a classified job function of one of our key members prohibited their participation for two years.

(3) Felbrigg Herriot
Classic Traveller
Not sure exactly, but at least six months of weekly play

My longest Traveller game was a Mercenary Campaign. The PCs started as simple bodyguards, making money on the side, then they started hiring on people. Ended up with them having three ships, landers, plenty of men. (Bob – damn – this is very ambitious stuff from the players!)

Had to use a spreadsheet to track the men’s injuries and promotions etc. About half way through the players got a second PC each. The original PCs became the leaders doing all the politics, admin, negotiation etc, and the new ones were boots-on-the-ground leaders.

Had some great sessions, a few with them working as guards on a passenger liner, with murders, fires, and chaos in jump. The scene of them strafing sea monsters from the beach with PGMPs as the beasts consumed holiday-makers will live with me forever. 

(4) Patrick Kanouse
Classic Traveller
2 years

I refereed a Classic Traveller for two years in college. We played a session at least once a month, and I sometimes held individual player sessions.

At the time, I was heavily influenced by Dan Simmons HYPERION, and the main villain was a version of the Shrike—albeit not as cool and very psionic based. It was also fickle, tormenting the players in Q-like ways, and designating one of the players as “the Chosen One.” LOL, we still don’t know what that actually meant. Nonetheless, nearly 30 years later, those former players still occasionally shout at me, “The Chosen One!” Great times.

 (5) Pete Burke
Mongoose 2e
6 months

Longest continuous campaign – I ran a Pirates of Drinax campaign for 6 months over Roll20 last year during COVID. 

(6) Neuro Lancer
Mongoose 2e
6 months

I refereed a campaign which lasted 6 months. It was a homebrew campaign using the flavor of the OTU. I used Mongoose 2nd Ed rule set. It started as a trader campaign and ended up being more mercenary-like. 

SAFCOcast 28: Mayday 2022 Preview

In this episode we talk to CyborgPrime, the main organizer of the upcoming  Mayday 2022 Online Traveller event, and Greg Caires of Virtual Traveller, who (along with Ken Patterson) is organizing the online game sessions for event. The main event day is, of course, Sunday May 1, but there will be virtual games going Friday and Saturday (so as not to waste the weekend!).

We’ll learn a bit about the event’s history, how it is organized, who is involved, what is going on, and most importantly — how to keep track of it and be involved!

You can find all the links here on the official event page, on CyborgPrime’s site.

Episode artwork by the legendary William H. Keith Jr.

SAFCOcast 27: Cepheus Deluxe and Alien Androids

In this episode Jeff and Bob dig into a couple of listener emails, announce a new event, review their last Traveller Session, and dig into a tiny fraction of the greatness that is Cepheus Deluxe.

This episode is dedicated to the great Ron Stepp, a devoted member of the Traveller community, who recently died. Ron emailed us often, and his friendship was indeed valued.

Relevant Links include: