Monday, September 27, 2010

Traveller Sandbox: Using Mongoose's Merchant Prince as a basis for the Troupe

I've been back from Afghanistan for about a week now.  The requisite post-deployment bender is over and it's time to get back to work, both here and in real life.  I put enough PBR into my system over the last four days to make Lindsay Lohan nervous, but I emerged no worse for wear.

While traveling back, I started looking over some of the mini-games and additional rules in the Mongoose Traveller books, to include the fame guidelines in Dilettante and the business rules in Merchant Prince.  The business rules were the ones that caught my eye.  I had created 16 interrelated characters who would form the crux of the troupe.  Using those characters and Merchant Prince, it's easy to create a business framework to give the campaign a plausible background and different mulligans for adventures.

The first step to the creation of a commercial entity is a name and a mission statement.  In order to give the players maximum room for adventuring, I'm thinking it'll be a "troubleshooting" company, which will allow players to be hired out to examine problems and enact solutions that other people/companies cannot handle internally.  Since I'm looking to hold it in QLI's Gateway Domain, I'll set it in the Imperial Trade Cluster and call the company Far End Cluster Executive Consulting, GmbH.  The Far End Cluster name gives the company a throwback to the past and "executive consulting" is a nice, vague way of allowing leeway in company activities. Our mission statement will be "FECEC will solve whatever problems you require with maximum efficiency and discretion."  It's nice, simple, and to the point.

This is, I'm thinking, a Simple mission statement, giving a Control 7 (+0), Dependability 9 (+1), Guile 5 (-1), Management 10 (+1).

The next step is to determine the leadership of FECEC.  There were five characters with noble titles.  I'm thinking they will be the Board of Directors.  They are:

Sir Alaaru Sarudiin, C.E.G. (7 terms Nobility)
Dame Mirai Reus, C.E.G. (2 terms Mercenary, 1 term Drifter, 5 terms Agent)
Baronet Nashu Dinsha, K.C.E.G. (4 terms Nobility, 5 terms Merchant)
Dame Susanna Lien, K.S.C, K.C.E.G. (4 terms Entertainer)
Sir Wulis Vanay, K.S.C (5 terms Entertainer)

One thing I'll disagree with in Merchant Prince is the categorization of Royal Traders as Nobles, not Merchants.  It seems silly that someone like Nashu who spent 20 years brokering deals for nobles will not have access to the Brokerage skill (even though he is a Broker-4).  So, he gets five terms in the Merchants as opposed to 9 in the Nobles.  Spending the points, I decided to give them all at least one point in every skill, since you need to be able to do a little bit of everything as a troubleshooting company.  What we ended up with were the following skills:

Advocacy-5, Agency-2, Brokerage-4, Fabrication-1, Investment-6, Mischief-3, Nobility-6, Propaganda-6, Research-2, Shipping-1

The derived traits for the company end up being Loyalty 10 (employees being fanatically devoted), Reputation 10 (one of the area's most respected companies), Wealth 64 (and this is without any board or outside investment), The starting employee pool is 144.  This gives us an initial ranking of 0.  FECEC is not even close to being a major player in the economics of the region, but they are a highly respected niche agency.

There look to be two Industry Lines that our Wealth and concept can support: Workforce Management and Quality Control.  As a company which can supply labor and process analysis, FECEC's main functions are investigating and auditing companies, as well as getting them in touch with employees who can fulfill certain needs.  This will translate into game terms as investigations and testing (Quality Control) in a Red Team vein, breaking into secure locations to test security and the such, as well as the players being hired out (Work Force Management) on different missions.

At this point, we have a company ready for the mini-games, a framework for the Troupe and several leads on future adventures.