#39: Creations Coming to Life
This was originally a featured article in the July/August 2019 issue
I once spent a couple of years living in a tight-knit international community. Early on, I thought it would be great to be able to contribute to the shared ship culture. The most obvious place to do this was in one of the ‘fun nights’ we’d have each time we sailed between ports. Anyone who wanted to could sing a song, perform a sketch, recite a poem, deliver a comedy act – whatever. Although one snag was the 40-odd nationalities on board which made it hard to find common ground for references or styles of humour and so on.
I started off way too high brow with English poems that for those operating in second (or even third, or fourth languages) were too difficult to understand. I hit the right mark when I tried something from A.A. Milne’s Now We Are Six (a retelling of ‘Forgiven’ but with a cockroach which were plentiful on the ship).
But most contributions were ephemeral and came and went. A highlight for me was writing the lyrics of a song for my Swedish cabin mate to perform. Thanks to his skills it went down really well and not only became a firm favourite but was used as the climax for our final ‘fun night’ eighteen months later.
I’m doubtful I can really contribute something to the Traveller community that becomes an in-universe ‘thing’ that is known and/or used widely. But I can dream.
In the meantime, it’s often surprising but great fun to see creations take off. A promotional ‘mascot’ at work has taken on a life its own and in my group’s experience of The Traveller Adventure, Jane’s squeedles are fast doing the same. This issue of Freelance Traveller is some evidence of that.
Colleague and player Jane P was crocheting something in the staff room one day and when I learned what it was, said it would make a fun Traveller critter. Well, she was just starting out on her role playing adventures and took this and ran with it. So much so we introduced them in the next session as a minor distraction and bit of colour. But one of the other players couldn’t bear to get rid of them as a pest and decided to keep them as pets. So, in a (very sturdy) terrarium our engineer built they lived for weeks of ship time and months if not years of game time.
After Pysadi, as the players had left the anolas behind, I contemplated scrapping the whole psionic bit of TTA. But then it occurred to me that the squeedles could act as stand-ins. And several months after that, with deteriorating mental abilities, the crew sought out a Psionics Institute, found the problem and finally did let the squeedles go.
As you can tell, perhaps, from this issue, they’ve become rather a ‘thing’ and we hope that by sharing them you might adopt them too – or have similar bright ideas that take on a life of their own.