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DM Greg here with an article on how to get started playing Mongoose Traveller 2e on Fantasy Grounds.
The first thing you may be asking yourself is what is Traveller 2e? Traveller is a tabletop science fiction RPG released in 1977 by Game Designer’s Workshop. The setting takes place in the Milky Way Galaxy during humanities Third Imperium. Faster than light travel has allowed the human race to travel among the stars colonizing, empire building, trading etc. There are alien species and playable races but for the most part the setting is pretty human centric.
Since its release Traveller has had a couple of different publishers. Marc Miller, the creator of Traveller holds the license under Far Future Enterprises and as it stands there are at least two licensed publisher that I am aware of; Steve Jackson Games’ GURPS Traveller and Mongoose Publishing’s Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition (MGT2). For this introduction I will be speaking directly to MGT2 as it the system that I play and is licensed on Fantasy Grounds.
To start playing on Fantasy Grounds you will need a game master, called the Referee, and a couple of players. I’d say 3 players minimum if operating a spacecraft and comfortably up to 6 to form a full crew. I play with a great group of online players at Triple J Gaming. If you don’t have a crew I’d recommend checking the Fantasy Grounds looking for group sub forum.
In the campaign that I am Refereeing we run a Trader style campaign where my players fly arounds with their ship trying to make money from trading system to system. I sprinkle in the published adventure content and weave in a story with their trade ambitions to form a story arc for my players to hopefully enjoy.
What to Start With
So what do I need to start play MGT2 on Fantasy Grounds? To start you will need:
Outside of the core rulebook and an adventure a Referee should have these web sources handy:
Traveller Map – This is a fan curated website that is a 2D map of the known galaxy. It is super useful for plotting jump routes.
Traveller Worlds – Another fan created website that does planet building for you.
Traveller Tools – A fan created website that generates trade, npc’s, and misc. planet information for your Travellers as they arrive in system.
If you haven’t heard character creation is absolutely legendary in Traveller. Our zero day character creation session was a little slow as it was all pretty new to us but the experience lived up to the hype. Here is the 5 hour session below if you are interested in watching:
Fantasy Grounds is a great virtual tabletop with a lot of functionality/automation. When playing with their software along with the licensed Traveller products from their web store the game sessions are so much easier as you will require a lot less prep-time. If you are interested in learning the software I HIGHLY recommend taking a free class or two from the volunteers at the Fantasy Grounds College.
Feel free to leave any questions you may have down in the comments.
From there the adventurers passed through the town of Leilon on their way back to Phandalin. The town was previously abandoned but now that I had the Storm Lord’s Wrath module loaded we had a map of Leilon and an immediate hook for the characters. Thanks to Fantasy Grounds there is a lot of immersion as images and maps that are usually printed in a book tend to be for the DM’s eyes only.
After spending 4 or 5 weeks of dungeon crawling this module was a breath of fresh air. The adventure contained outdoor/wilderness quests that were typically finished at the end of each or our 4 hour sessions. It introduced two new enemy factions for my players; the Cult of Talos and the Cult of Myrkul. Interestingly it also created some friction for my players in the form of Lord Neverember of Neverwinter since he ordered the reconstruction of Leilon while the party was out adventuring. (They seemed to think they had the rights to the town and took issue with the Wayside Inn being built too close to their turf)
After the hook things got a little awkward for me as a DM. The module as written uses a quest board system found in the center of town and doesn’t award experience. Instead it uses a milestone system awarding a level of advancement for each quest completed. Of course that was tweaked to match my style but did require some prep work to introduce quests through existing NPC’s that the party was starting to build relationships with.
From beginning to end this was a well thought out storyline that is building up to more adventures in the series. It introduced the characters to new NPC’s that I enjoyed roleplaying and created contacts for me to use later to insert more adventures.
The conversion to Fantasy Grounds was top notch. The story was properly linked, images and maps looked great, and encounters and parcels logically placed. The module itself took about 4 sessions to complete. My guys do like to go on tangents so I think there were technically 5 sessions, but we could account about 1 day just roleplaying in the world we were creating together. If you are a DM and used either The Lost Mine of Phandalin or the intro adventure from Dungeons and Dragons Essential Kit this is a great module to incorporate into your ongoing campaign on the Sword Coast. At $4.99 you are going to be hard pressed to find a better deal with such great content.
My most important message is at the end but there are a few thoughts I’d like to share based on this revelation:
If it wasn’t for my players this would never have happened. The Fantasy Grounds and Adventurers League community have been amazing. I haven’t had a terrible session yet. Just different ranges from good to great. ( I have had some bad actors but it didn’t ruin any sessions yet)
The people I have met have opened doors to things I didn’t imagine. Whether is was getting an invite to DM AL sessions at the Fantasy Grounds College or help review/edit content the guys at Triple J Gaming; I just pictured myself as a regular guy in the hobby.
The hobby is definitely growing. So much so that it is painful to think about all the players out there that cannot find a virtual table to sit at and play DnD.
My last point brings me to my personal call to action. I want to be able to encourage a unified Adventurers League Virtual Tabletop hub for players to find games. Fantasy Grounds has its own forums and Discord system. Roll20, on the surface, has good LFG system, and Warhorn technically is available as well. With so many fractured forums/Discord channels/LFG systems I feel we as a community are letting down a large portion of our player base.