Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Barbarians in Spacesuits Reprised

A word about the origins of the word 'barbarian'

Definition of BARBARIAN
:  of or relating to a land, culture, or people alien and usually believed to be inferior to another land, culture, or people
:  lacking refinement, learning, or artistic or literary culture

Take it from the top, the Perasperans I wrote about do not spend a lot of their time on the planetary datanet the starport supplies. No social media, news or entertainment streams. They might be very well read and literate in their own cultures but to their star traveling cousins anyone not posting on their own blog might be regarded as backward. Similarly on those long Perasperan nights they might do all manner of drawing or sculpture to pass a few hours but to people used to CGI images and three dimension printing their one of a kind art pieces might not be as well known as digital media works or thought primitive ("You paint in oils and use turpentine to clean up?! That stuff is bad for you to breathe. <Savage.>")

The Perasperans were and are capable of a lot. You have to be, living on a world that tries to kill you twice a week. Their wood houses might seem strange to people who build n steel, concrete and composites until you remember the solar storms Lalande 21185 is prone to. Wood shields from particle radiation much better than more modern materials. If you can't get to a shelter it's better than nothing.

Look at definition one: 'people alien and usually believed to be inferior.' Beliefs can be mistaken. the original barbarians were people outside Greek and Roman culture who were stereotyped by their beards (which is the original derivation of the word: bearded people.) The Perasperans with their almost tribal ornamentation of their equipment are similarly and unfairly looked down on.

The settlers on Peraspera knew they were not going to be able to maintain all of their technology in the struggle to make the planet at least partly livable. they did their best to provide their descendants with some bio technology that would cost nothing to maintain. Fast growing trees for building, lichens with medicinal properties, highly nutritious staple crops that could grow untended. 

The oxygen hoarding crystals are another ubiquitous fact of life handed down by the original settlers. Originally for use in life support every Speran carries one. The technology to discover the crystals was late TL 7 or early 8 however producing the stuff is well within TL 5. Electronic atmosphere sensors are far too bulky at TL 5 but carrying a crystal around your neck or wrist is easy enough. 

To this day the Sperans regard the original STL settlers, the Old Ones with an almost religious awe. They tell and write about the people who died to reach their home, and the ones who could have left them and remained to toil alongside them.

I've been perusing the rules for bow weapons. While I'm far from an expert at archery (reading Green Arrow doesn't qualify me it turns out) Note that while it's darned near impossible to get a favorable DM with them (you have to qualify for both strength and dexterity) people can always take Combat or Slow drug to lessen the time to ready shots and make their shots more accurate. Also, the crossbows have 0 DM for piercing Cloth. If you plan on operating a bow weapon in a spacesuit the only way to go would be the repeating crossbow. Imagine trying to nock an arrow in a vacc suit. I think TL 5 crossbows might have a point or two knocked off their advantageous DM stats to prepresent various mechanical improvements.