By Gregg Giles
Taking Part In The Expedition
Like all Traveller scenarios, players can let their players experience the happenings in its realm of time and space. The same is true with Prazar, but with three exceptions: (1) the players must adopt the Zhodani ways of society, thought, and purpose, (2) players must adopt the “out of place” dating system, and (3) the referee must generate encounters in surrounding for regions of space never mentioned elsewhere in Traveller materials.
To help you ease into this atmosphere, I’ll explain these problems. As explained in Alien Module 4: Zhodani, Zhodani society is very different from Imperial society. Social divisions will cause situations to differ – instead of there being only common citizens and nobles as in the Imperium, Zhodani society has three class distinctions: proles, intendants and nobles. The nobles, obviously, willhave control over the expedition (subject, of course, to the orders of the Qlomdlabr and General Kriavr), while proles will most likely be crewmembers with authority of no consequence to the journey. Also, keep in mind that the Zhodani are being drawn to the Core, not forced to go there. Any social unrest will likely arise from inadequate quarters or from claustrophobia - both are problems that can be solved with relative ease. Claustrophobia can be cured simply by moving the character to a larger vessel with more room, or through hypnosis (which several doctors on the voyage are experts at).
The largest adjustment to make is to the new date. While the current date is 1122, the launch date of Prazar is just before 1150 – thirty years from now. Clearly, some technological advancement will have been made, like the refinement of weaponry introduced during the Rebellion and the improvement of starship navigation by fractional amounts. In all, however, technology remains about the same. (The average Zhodani tech level is also 15, brinking on 16 in many areas). The Imperium (if it still exists) is too far away to be of any consequence to game play. This may be rather refreshing to some players who have been wanting to get away from annoyingly repetitious traveling in the Imperium.
Lastly, the hardest part of adventuring as part of the Prazar armada falls in the referee’s lap. There are no published materials on (specifically) what is “out there”, as Mike Mikesh said in his introductory article, Beyond Charted Space. Hopefully, enough is provided in this issue to help get the referee moving in the right direction. Should ideas become abundant, you might consider making the expedition into a new campaign and sidetrack the characters now and then with an adventure.
Since there is noting previously in print about what’s beyond the coreward edges of the Consulate (setting aside the adventure in Alien Module 4), the referee can use his or her own ideas when something is encountered. Derelict starships, Ancient sites or other ruins, a constant signal-pulse from a homing beacon, and even the familiar misjump can be used as a good beginning to a game. Mapping the new systems can be very full, yet it does have some potential; you can kill game time, advance the characters coreward, and develop new sectors as you go along. The players can pitch in by helping think up a few names as well!
Alien encounters are not at all out of the question. In fact, have at it! Mankind and other races have barely discovered what lies beyond their remote corner of the Milky Way galaxy. This space has never before been traversed – or has it?
In any event, referees should as usual exercise free-hand gaming and introduce new events and places as are needed to keep things interesting. And if that doesn’t help, remind them that the galactic Core is still “calling” them – and billions of other Zhodani and psionics.