Traveller Rule 3: Don’t Build Dungeons

I’ve been swamped with work related nonsense for the better part of a week now but during that time I’ve been thinking of various ways of approaching Rule 3. I realized that it’s one of those things that can best be approached simply. So here goes — don’t build dungeons.

Instead, forget about areas, rooms, interior spaces and all the other imagery that springs to mind when you’re sitting down to work on a D&D game. Rather, approach Traveller adventure design as if you’re writing a novel; only, you’re going to stop once you’ve created the outline and the characters (NPCs).

This will leave you with sort of a blueprint for your adventure that reads like a…well, like a recipe.

Background: The PC’s are sitting around the starport looking for a fare.
Step 1: NPC approaches about hiring the group to shuttle a class of kids to the planet next door.
Step 2: The kids show up and prove to be a handful
Step 3: Various random encounters during Jump space (insert fun random chart here)
Step 4: PC’s arrive at planet next door and find one of the kids doesn’t have their zoo pass.
Step 5: PC has to negotiate with local zoo authorities
Step 6: Various random encounters during zoo visit.

And so on…you get the point. The idea is that you’re trading the dungeon room-by-room format for an event format. This gives you a way of designing adventures that follow a basically linear progression, and with the built-in random charts it also has that feeling of continual chaos that sandbox players love.

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