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on the virtues of Traveller chargen

I’ve been enjoying the #myspacebastard meme and, like everyone else, marveling at the emergent worldbuilding that comes from a character, like Bobby Martin’s, that serves 12 years in the merchant marine, is finally refused re-enlistment, and has apparently been using his more-than-a-decade to learn broadsword 3 and Jack-of-all-Trades 1.

I’m guessing either he spent that time as a trader-gladiator in the Sword Worlds where all negotiation is done with show fights or he found a sinecure deep in the bureaucracy and mined it to pursue his hobby until an audit flushed him out.

These emergent worlds are more compelling than any gazetteer to the Empire could possibly be because we write them ourselves.

The trick here is we don’t have to be responsible to any big structures you need to build a campaign world. We have the license to indulge a single person’s story and everything we invent is true. There’s no need for the emergent world to obey any other directive than our whim.

I’ve been trying to write some emergent tables for real world port cities and mariners and it’s hard because trying to guide that emergence toward historical verisimilitude seems like it kills the fun.

So let’s imagine you’ve bought a historical supplement. Do you want it to just tell you how it is, straight up prose gazetteer, or do you want to piece it together out of random tables (both together will be long, expensive and probably not as fun as it sounds)?

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