[Traveller] What was happening to the Free Trader Beowulf?


Retired User
This is Free Trader Beowulf,
calling anyone . . .
Mayday, Mayday . . . we are under attack . . .
main drive is gone . . .
turret number one not responding
Mayday . . . losing cabin pressure fast
calling anyone . . . please help . . .
This is Free Trader Beowulf . . .
Mayday . . .
If you played Classic Traveller, you remember this quote. I'm picking up the Classic Traveller CD and will probably be running a non-Imperium campaign (i.e. homebrew) using the stuff I like.

One possible starting point I had was to start the action with the PCs receiving this message. I'm looking for ideas as to what's going on with the distressed ship - Chamax infestation? Pirates? Ghost ship? Skip tracers? Angry furries? What do the PCs find when they investigate?

As I said, this is likely to be a non-canon campaign, so feel free to offer left-of-center ideas ... I'm just looking for ideas, and nothing says "Classic Trav" to me like "This is Free Trader Beowulf . . . Mayday . . ."

Old Scratch

Registered User
Validated User
I dunno... this always struck me as one of those things best left undiscovered and undefined, as the very mystery of it is more appealing and symbolic than any possible solution.


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I think it was left unanswered for the gm to anser. The original Traveller rules were to be a framework for the gm's own setting. But of course the fans got curious about Marc Miller's campaign, and they got the 3rd Imperium. And since then the system and setting have been stuck together at the hip.

What happened to the Free Trader Beowulf, that is for you to decide and the pc's to find out.

Have a good time!!!

Marius B

Validated User
Well, it's clear from the message that they're under attack by something, so what's left is to decide what it is that's attacking and why.

Maybe the free trader Beowulf's disturbed an hitherto undiscovered ancients site and they're being attacked by the site's automated defense system. And maybe the Beowulf's been chartered to fly to this particular system by a fringe scientist* who's somehow guessed the site will be there. And maybe the site holds the key to proving the solomani hypothesis such as a cromagnon man and woman frozen in suspended animation. And maybe said scientist's assistant is really a crazy Vilani fundamentalist who'll do anything to stop this discovery from seeing the light of day! And maybe, just maybe, the mysterious patrons who chartered the PCs to fly off to this remote, red zone system are really SolSec agents! Who's to say? Not me, that much is for sure!

*"At the university they said I was crazy but I'll show them who's crazy! Hahahaha!"

Reverend Keith

I was a friend of Jamis
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I've always imagined that it's being shot at by pirates that many diehard Traveller fans are convinced don't exist in the setting.


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In the one of the DGP books, I think the one about starship operations, there was a picture of a 200 ton free trader, listed as Beowolf.


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Validated User
Its really quite interesting... Marc Miller almost put that in their so that be your answer [as Referee] determines just what kind of game it is. You can even go so far as to always start your traveller game by reading that to the players and then running with it.

Maybe its a transmission the players are getting while on a daily patrol run in their decked out navy fighter craft.

Maybe its a transmission that is being heard by the players in their political meeting to determine what is this new threat invading their space.

Maybe its what the players hear on the Holo drama before going on stage for an intergalactic Rock concert!!

It could be the schtick that says "Traveller begins now!"
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