Thursday, April 18, 2013

Traveller - Merchant Team

The Broker or Merchant Team is a different approach from the Traveller setting as the ship is optional. Instead of buying and selling goods, they set up Logistics Networks for continuous trade. These contracts make money for up to 3-5 years. In rare and fortunate occasions  when dealing with Govt. or entities that is practically a Govt. much longer - like 8-20 years.

Merchant Team is composed of the following.

The Merchant

Industry Expert, able to Analyse profitability, Open doors with networks, Character references, and references

The Security (Intelligence) 

Risk and Character Assessment, Background Checks, Surveillance, information security, and drafting Security policies.

The Security (Force) 

Physical Security. They bring the guns, combat ability, and tactical threat analysis.

Note that all Three Parts don't flow harmoniously, each demanding a greater share of the resources. Merchant's can get in the way of S-I or S-F's jobs, or S-I's job getting in the way of S-F or Merchants's and all the other combinations.

A game is usually lasting a Financial Season or about 3 months. The characters begin with a number of leads depending on their background and resources, and try to develop these leads until they reach full maturity.

These leads are basically a great deal with parts missing in its chain. It could be a great supply or demand, lacking the counterpart; it could be a great demand and supply lacking logistics; it can be a mess of risk and leads which requires sorting OR it could be Fools with Money soon to be parted.

This takes a lot of player initiative, the way it takes a lot of entrepreneurial initiative in the real world. This can also be happening while the players are maintaining a business they are already running.

One of the awesome aspects of this kind of business, is that this is how a character builds their own little empire. It begins with one line, then it grows to two or it grows into ancillary industries or fields.  At any point they can lose big enough to start from zero or worse, or they may continue to grow, and negotiate deals, mergers, acquisitions, etc...

Mongoose Traveller Operational Costs
GURPS traveller Operational Costs

Bottom Line

The bottom line in such an adventure is that you are the team that makes things happen. You have the skills, network, abilities, and luck that will sort out all the details and package the deal in a nice pretty bow to the partners, clients, and vendors. 

Logistics is a problem about the details, you make sure the problem goes away using your creativity or problem solving ability. This kind of game can be logisticvs oriented, combat oriented, or social oriented depending on the problem placed by the GM. 

It can be a dozen problems, or it can be one linchpin problem that makes everything else easy. Its really up the GM's craft, more than the system.  

Basic Formula

This works well if you have Character Traits (Key words that describe the personality of the character and his background; this could be disads and advantages). Take the Traits and the Strengths of the characters and build it into a story of where destiny and opportunity is taking them and then take the Weaknesses and the Traits to build the story of their challenges.

Use random name generators and classic tropes to give a face, image, description and narrative  to the challenges.


Jaime Cuervoco (M, Merchant, 40s; Staff of 2). Traits: Family, Duty, Honor. Background Cuervoco Dynasty Scion. Strengths: Admin, Graces, and Network. Weakness: Rivals, Love, 

Tian Jin (F, Security-Intelligence; Staff of 2). Traits: Knowledge, Cunning, Duty. Corporate Security Background. Strengths: Intelligence, Field-Ops, and Counter-Intelligence. Weaknesses: Enemies, Secrets, Addiction. 

Gram Hawker (M, Security-Force; Staff of 4). Traits: Duty, Strength, Courage. Background Retired Marine. Strengths: Combat Prowess, Leadership, Tactics. Weaknesses. PTSD (Ghosts), Debts, and Vows. 


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