Jump to content



Photo

Making the players feel the travel time…


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Jaling Orion

Jaling Orion

    Member

  • Members
  • 5 posts

Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:21 AM

So I'm still prepping with a group that is used to D&D and WW and they are used to travel that would take their characters a day or two depending on the campaign, but RT speaks of weeks and months of travel to their destination. I know I could always spice up their travel with raiders/pirates, Imperial inspections, Gellar Field instabilities…but how do I just make them realize that sometimes travel is long and boring and the consequences of it such as ship morale, being caught with their pants down because they felt secure that nothing was going to happen this trip, etc.

Also, how do I get this across without them loosing interest in the game?

Thanks again for everyone's help!



#2 Musclewizard

Musclewizard

    Member

  • Members
  • 321 posts

Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:33 AM

Instead of saying
"You fire up your engines and set course for your destination, you arrive X days later."
you could say
"You set course and move out, the first day of the journey is boring and uneventful, so is the 2nd one, and the 3rd one. The first week passes and nothing has happened, the food you had aquired before departing is still in acceptable condition but you feel like its slowly getting stale. The 2nd week passes without any incident as well, you are longing for some adventure even if it's just an incident among the crew but alas no such thing happenes. After 2 more weeks you finally arrive an uneventful 4 weeks behind you."

 

Personally I wouldn't do stuff like that too often though. In general I don't think the crew should lose Morale for traveling if nothing happenes (unless food and water supplies begin to run low).



#3 Fgdsfg

Fgdsfg

    Lrod-Iniquitsor

  • Members
  • 1,937 posts

Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:10 AM

The ship is a veritable microcosm; sometimes tens of thousands or even hundred of thousands of people. Given the nature of the warp and warp travel - not to mention the Warhammer 40k universe at large - I would say that an uneventful journey should definitely not result in morale loss, unless it's years upon years of no contact, or actually being lost in the warp or void for weeks.

Your ship is a city. Sometimes it is an isolate city.

Treat it as such. It has it's upper class, it's worker class, and it's poor. It has homeless in the hull, storekeepers or requisition offices, and at least a minor industrial sector. It's even got it's own nuclear plasma plant that hundreds (maybe thousands?) haul themselves to every shift; morning, day and night.

If a travel time is measured in months, throw a festival. Even if people get bored, they'll find ways to amuse themselves. I think the best way would be to throw events at the players and be descriptive of travel time, even if - as Musclewizard described it - is just a monologue on how boring the trip was. Thing is; if there are no events, people would engineer some.

For exceedingly long travel times, find something for the bridge crew to do. They all do have regular positions on the ship, after all.

Actually, it's a bit odd that so few characters I've heard described doesn't have their families on the ship, now that I think about it.


Real men earn their fun

Unified WH40kRP Ruleset Homebrew - Personal Notes
Talking Necrons. Dreadknights. Centurion Armour. Sororitas-murdering Grey Knights.
These things are dumb and do not exist. This is non-negotiable and undebatable.


#4 Macharias the Mendicant

Macharias the Mendicant

    Member

  • Members
  • 274 posts

Posted 19 October 2012 - 04:35 AM

Fgdsfg said:

Actually, it's a bit odd that so few characters I've heard described doesn't have their families on the ship, now that I think about it.

That's a really good point, for the main officers and such anyhow (ie: most PCs). Clearly many of the workers on the ship would likely live there with their families, so why not them?

I actually wouldn't sweat too much about the whole "travel is boring" thing. An RPG is supposed to be fraught with peril and tension. I'd rather just skip through 95% of the travel if nothing happens so I can get to the action!  We prefer to focus on travel when things DO happen. I think for the most part it's enough to just say: "After 3 months of mind-numbing boredom, eating bland dehydrated rations, you finally emerge from the warp near Planet X."

What has worked wonders for us is that we use the long travel times to deal with ship politics and personal business the PCs want to take care of: small mutinies, saboteurs, crime sprees, interrogating prisonners, planning expansion strategy, etc.  After two or three sessions where this is all the business which is addressed, PCs will start to get a sense of the claustrophobic and repetitive nature of the long trips through the warp. (Maybe have them go to a bunch of meetings, do maintenance, etc. But too much of this will make the game boring instead of just transmitting to the players that warp travel can be boring.)

One of the strenghts of the Rogue Trader game is that, unlike most RPGs, your base travels with you. That means that you always have access to your contacts, networks, ressources, whatever. For instance, my navigator's sort of considered the Godfather of our ship, the Wrath of Icarus. A lot of crime goes through him. I've had so much fun playing this character specifically because he's almost always in touch with his power base: he's eliminating rivals, making new contacts, acquiring new loot. In some ways, our 'travel' sessions are some of the most interesting becasue it's during those times that we really develop our characters.



#5 Arnstinium

Arnstinium

    Member

  • Members
  • 24 posts

Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:06 PM

 An idea that I've wanted to implement into a Rogue Trader game if I ever GM one is that the Rogue Trader character has an eight-year old son/daughter who is beginning to learn about leadership from his/her mother/father and a retainer who has become something of a third parent to them.  I think that would provide an interesting element to life on the ship.  What do you guys think?


Sanity is for the Weak!

Blessed not is the mind too small for doubt. Blessed is the mind capable of doubt and to have his faith reaffirmed.

#6 susanbrindle

susanbrindle

    Member

  • Members
  • 201 posts

Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:49 AM

The best way to make players feel the travel time is to have slow events happen. If they spend a month en route to Drusus, another month to Hadrian's Fall, and then another month back to Port Wander, have their contacts on Port Wander be three months different. Maybe the shop one of them had just bought is now flourishing, or someone's pregnant wife has given birth, a spaceship that was just a skeletal frame now has some of the hull plates welded on, a colony is beginning to thrive, etc.

This can also work in the player's favor- let them know they have the opportunity to start long projects. Let the techpriest integrate his night-vision goggles into his stormtrooper helmet, the astropath recieve psychic letters from home, the crew petition the Rogue Trader for permission to celebrate Lord Captain Day, and the voidmaster realizes he's recalibrated the transmitter array as many times as is going to help so he joins the ship's choir.

(In short, just watch some Star Trek and take notes on the secondary plots that're always going on)

 

This doesn't have to take up a lot of the player's time- Any of the above can be dropped in with a sentence or two, and if regularly applied, will eventually give a real sense of time passing.

 

 



#7 Cryhavok

Cryhavok

    Member

  • Members
  • 354 posts

Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:34 PM

One of my players had a daughter that they had to leave behind when they headed out from the planet. A newborn. They made a short trip out to another sector and back and the daughter was a toddler when they got back a few months later. They then had to make another, much longer trip, and when they got back the daughter was a teenager. After the third trip the daughter joined the crew after demonstrating her skill as an archmilitant… who hates her father.

I don't think it is necessary to hammer in the concept of how boring things can get during travel, there is after all a reason most books and movies skip over the boring parts. I just make sure to add things in that make the players understand how long they have been in transit, and what it may or may not be costing them.

If I have something planned to happen during the transit I go through it. If not I ask my players if they are doing anything during the transit, and if they aren't time goes by and they arrive. Bogging the game down in minutia isn't all that fun to my players and I, we would all rather get on to something properly epic… like creating the reason for the holidays and festivals they might celebrate during the long boring transits.



#8 Alox

Alox

    Member

  • Members
  • 349 posts

Posted 14 November 2012 - 01:29 PM

Check the adventure Lure of the Expanse. The first warp travel is 50 days long, and there are quite a few ideas on what happens en route to make those 50 days feel like a long time.

 



#9 Macharias the Mendicant

Macharias the Mendicant

    Member

  • Members
  • 274 posts

Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:40 AM

Cryhavok said:

One of my players had a daughter that they had to leave behind when they headed out from the planet. A newborn. They made a short trip out to another sector and back and the daughter was a toddler when they got back a few months later. They then had to make another, much longer trip, and when they got back the daughter was a teenager. After the third trip the daughter joined the crew after demonstrating her skill as an archmilitant… who hates her father.

Love this! Totally swiping this. Thanks.!



#10 Plynkes

Plynkes

    Member

  • Members
  • 86 posts

Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:14 PM

I'm not sure even the characters would consider a long warp voyage boring. Warp travel is extremely perilous. An Age of Sail equivalent would be rounding the Horn every single damn day.

If nothing is happening the crew are going to be grateful and praise the Emperor for it, they aren't going to be bored. Boring is good. Boring is what you spend every spare minute praying for.



#11 Dark Bunny Lord

Dark Bunny Lord

    Member

  • Members
  • 339 posts

Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:32 AM

I had some similar issues when I started GM'ing.
A few solutions are simlpy as others have suggested, to throw mini-adventures/events aboard the ship during travel (note the new "Navis Primer" book that just came out helps with that a bit by expanding the Navigator and Astropath's roles and what can occur during warp travel more thouroughly). Some idea's are perhaps there's been a string of murders aboard the ship, it could be a cult starting up, maybe a crew member has lost his mind after to many trips through warp, perhaps you picked up some xeno's life form on some cargo that's feeding on the crew, or worse yet maybe the gellar fields flickered for a moment during warp travel and something terrible got on board. You could deal with strikes among certain parts of the ship, perhaps one of the gunnery crews who's sector has been damaged repeatidly and cost them many lives are demanding better wages, or work conditions in the warp drive are abysmal and the crews there refuse to work until they improve (or you scare them into it), etc. Another option is to have the players run across derelect vessels which they could try to board and scrap or find out what happened maybe even rescuing survivors who have their own story that could lead into another adventure seed, or perhaps even be victim to whom or whatever did this to the ship.
The nice thing about the setting of this game is you have nigh endless possibilities esxpecially when there are always new unknown species of xenos and planets with different cultures and senses of time as well as the sheer randomness of the warp. You might even want to sit down with your players and have them explain what their ships like, perhaps giving them some possible idea's like a simulated city district built on the ship to simulate planet life for workers "off the clock" (something I incorperated into our ship when the captain decided to start bringing merchants onto the ship so as to relieve some of the land loss feel of the crew) which could include plays, clubs, theatres, housing, etc.






© 2013 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact | User Support | Rules Questions | Help | RSS