I am about to run the "Beyond the Veil" scenarios for the outer veil setting for Traveller. I am concerned about how to set the tone for players not used to this setting or the ruleset.

As death can come quite easily in traveller and the majority of my players are coming from a D&D hack-and-slash background I was wondering:

How to I emphasise the setting in the first session to new players?

This is to prevent them being psychopaths and murdering every NPC they come across and/or each other for no reason.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related if not duplicate: How do I get my PCs to not be a bunch of murderous cretins? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 23:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Have they killed every NPC they came across already, or is this preventative? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 23:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is mainly a preventative measure based off what I have heard a few of them say. \$\endgroup\$
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 7:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your title asks a different (but related) question to your question body. THe title asks "How do I convey that Traveller and the Outer Veil setting are deadly?" while your body asks "How do I stop my PCs from going on killing sprees?" Voting to close as unclear which you are asking. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 6:27

3 Answers 3


Run a one off combat adventure.

Get some experienced pre-gen (space marines!) character and send them into some combat situation: rescue ship Y from pirates always work as a simple combat adventure. The players should see that their character skills/states are good and they still get slaughtered. Make sure that each players has access to two or three marines so that in case of death, it's easy to get a new one. Then, just run some combat encounters for the evening.

This is, in my not so humble opinion, the best way to learn a new combat system for both referee and players.

Link it to your main game....

Now, you get bonus points for making this one off part of your actually game: Are the PCs the rescued people? Will the PCs come across the marine squad in the future? Will the PCs end up exploring the wreck of the pirate ship?...

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree that one or two combat scenarios would probably help the players to understand that they are more "fragile" in the new system. I am not sure this will be enough to solve the tendency to hack and slash out (and in) most situations though. \$\endgroup\$
    – p.marino
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 12:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @p.marino It may not solve it, but it gives the players ample opportunity to learn it's a bad idea, and there's not much more you can do to force them to understand and act accordingly. As the saying goes: you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 16:15

This is a reasonably common problem, and I can offer some general tips when it comes to change between systems and settings with different... standard handling.

Firstly, just talk to the players about the difference. Honestly telling them is a blunt but generally reliable option. Explain that combat tends to be faster, deadlier, and with less undo buttons in this systems.

If you fear that doesn't take, just make it a character generation requirement that every PC should have a role in the party/ship outside of hand to hand or ship to ship combat. This should work to mitigate their murder hobo tendencies.

If you've done both of these things, and you feel that you haven't actually driven the point home, make them make a few back up characters "So that multiple player deaths should you guys play it stupid don't slow us down too much".

Don't be afraid to actually kill PCs if they don't get it.

I know that the last bit probably seems horribly blunt, but I know people who've tried to play Unknown Armies like it was Dungeons and Dragons, and that usually ended with them realize that gangs don't need skill or magical support if they have 6 guys with sawed off shotguns or desert eagles defending their drug den you just kicked down the of.


First of all, if you use classic Traveller, the characters may die in character generation, so that should be a clue to them that this is a dangerous setting.

Another thing is to have the PCs witness someone dying quite easily, perhaps an NPC in their group. This way they know things are serious.

You might also warn them that combat is deadly and they might not want to get in a fight all the time. This worked for my players when I started running original D&D, which is much deadlier than anything after 3.0. They didn't heed my warning and lost a couple of characters right away, and then became cautious.


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