Monday, July 14, 2014

Socket to Me!

Sometimes I write about my experiences and what I take away from them and bring to the table. Other times I'm scrambling for content I think others would find interesting. This in itself is much of my gaming style. Sometimes I'm working on developing my character and finding his place in the grand story and other times I'm looking for loot and shiny things.

Last week was my first week really off work and relaxing and quite enjoyable with no life lessons so prepare for loot!

We've all been there in Traveller and hell any game where you have the means to purchase a (heavily financed) ship. You finally get your beautiful chariot of the gods! Except, in order to afford it you had to leave some things out: namely weapons! Weapons eat up the credits fast. This is compounded in Classic  Traveller where you also require a decent computer to run the (also) expensive software that lets you hit stuff with the damned things. Software also does not fall under ship financing agreements as banks take a notably dim view of sticking ordinance on something they intend to repossess one day. Ordinance means you're looking for stuff to shoot at and it often entails you being shot at. In addition some setting don't allow civilian ships to go around armed (like an unarmed ship does less damage flying into a colony at half the speed of light but I digress.)

Anyway you're left with hardpoints for later use that do nothing. Doing nothing on a merchant ship is uneconomical and on a Scout ship just inefficient. Here we have a socket, the equivalent of a one ton USB (Universal Structural Bearing?) port. What other uses can we find for it? All the following fittings naturally weigh one ton and fit most if not all turrets. They can be found at all class A starports, at B starports on a +7 and at C starports on a +9. Installing a new fitting takes 4-6 days and 1000 cr. unless you have crew to do it (Go ahead, we're just going to watch from a safe distance cheapskate!)

Cupola- 10 Kcr. The cupola seats one (or two if you want to get cozy.) It affords a lovely view of whatever you're flying by. It's an attractive feature for high and middle passengers and might add to your rolls for picking up passengers. It's also a look out when you've landed.

Running Bridge- 100 Kcr. The running bridge is like the cupola with the addition of a pilot console and terminal. Pilots using it to dock and make other tricky maneuvers receive a +1 at the referee's discretion.

Sensor Array- 200 Kcr. The sensor array or 'eyeball' increases the range and sensitivity of a ship's scanning. Ranges increase by 25% or the operator receives a +1 to sensor or commo skill. In order to activate it the array must unfold making the ship unstreamlined. Unfolding the array takes one combat round.

Salvage Pod- 150 Kcr. This 'scrapper' pod mounts a small cutting laser. it'stoo short ranged and inaccurate for combat unless you're dealing with lunatics trying to board you using vacc suits. The scrapper also has a heavy manipulator arm that can lift up to a ton in a 1-g field. The operator sits inside the pod which has a decent field of view.

Express Pod- 60 Kcr. The 'expod' is a small enclosed air/raft, useful for making transfers between ships or short ranged scouting. The 'expo' can't make orbit on its own, though it could descend. It has a pressure tight door but not an airlock. It holds one or two (cramped) people. A 100 Kcr. version has remote control features and is often used to transfer mail between ships quickly and easily.

Solar Power Array- 100 Kcr. The 'sunflower' allows a ship to extend its operating time between refueling. The array will power the ship with the exception of gravitics almost indefinitely. Using high power scans, grav plates and maneuver drives is not allowed in solar mode. A ship needs one array per 500 tons.

Ball Bot- 20 Kcr. The socket has been turned into a berth for a one tone robot (usually) used for maintenance and repairs. The robot must be purchased separately. Ball bots have often provided a nasty surprise for pirates. Imagine attempting to board and unarmed merchant and suddenly being confronted by a metal behemoth with all manner of torches, saws and pincers attacking anything sticking out of your ship (like your boarding party!)

Low Ball- 100 Kcr. Low balls hold two low berths. What the heck, it's 4000 cr. more a month.

Numerous other jury rigged pods exist out there. Some have been turned into lifeboats. Others were used in very ingenious or illegal ways. The captain of the 'Busted Flush' put together a chaff bomb. When he was confronted by pirates he jettisoned the pod and blew it up by remote control blinding the pirate ship momentarily and allowing his ship to escape. Similarly the crew of the corsair 'Viral Hologram' sacrificed their ball bot, having the behemoth ram a patrol cruiser while carrying a dozen explosive charges. The bot struck the bridge and disabled the cruiser allowing the pirate to run for it.