Showing posts from September, 2015

Space Smuggling Made Easy

Well smuggling is easy in space travel. It's about time something was easy. thermodynamics dealt the deathblow to my beloved space pirates. If you're going to have a role playing game in a relatively hard SF setting you need some form of criminal endeavors to generate stories unless you're going to go all evolved humans don't do criminal shit  on me. Space craft by their very design invite smuggling. Not people (usually) but any sort of remotely realistic space vehicle will have lots of hidey holes for contraband. Just look at the ISS . Show that picture to  a bunch of players and if they can't find a few dozen spots for a stash get new players. On an unrelated note 'puka' is submarine slang for such little hidey holes. Try taking your drug sniffing dog into a zero gee trans hab for a real laugh. More high tech ships are less cluttered of course as they put those wires, conduits and pukas behind panels which enterprising people can remove. Of course

Spacewalk Empire

The sad hard facts are rockets and related technologies are likely to be with us a long time. Antigravity and reactionless drives will likely remain science fantasy. Notice I do not insist they are impossible. Sir Arthur C. Clarke taught me not to say that. Rockets are a right pain in the butt for getting into orbit. Most of your vessel will be propellant. Some really brilliant folks got the idea of firing a laser into various materials (ablative solids, hydrogen, water, common air) to get it really hot and create a rocket. The lasers, focusing mirrors and generators are far too big to carry into orbit if you're carrying anything else but if you're smart you leave them on the ground and fire them into the launch craft's reaction chamber. Essentially you leave your engine behind! (For more on this see here: Obviously this sort of arrangement is very appealing to settlers, merchants and explorers.

The Ghost Fighters

Any culture using Non-Biological Entities in my Ghost Drive setting will have fighters. Rule of cool aside an NBE drive doesn't suffer from the drawbacks of rockets: size, propellant and heat build up. Their acceleration is limited by the physical nature of the pilot of course. Fighters seldom are allowed, or need, to land on planets unlike shuttles that rely on rocket thrusters. A fighter is a missile bus. It uses its reactionless drive to get close enough to ships to fire missiles powered by rockets. Get close enough and delta vee doesn't matter as much as thrust. Psionic pilots are used. A fighter has a small confinement unit. In order to maintain several hours of intense acceleration and cloak heat and em emissions to provide some stealth and survivability the NBEs are charged up rapidly. A typical fighter will have six or more NBEs in a bare bones confinement unit. You need a psionic pilot to shore up the defenses of the confinement system and cajole the NBEs to play nic

Being on Life Support

The following is an excerpt from The ABCs of Space Opera Volume 2. A lot of the entries in the ABCs of Space Opera, Vol. 1: A to L (available through Blue Max Studios on RPGNow ) are rules agnostic and can be used by anyone as I hope this illustrates. I present The Life Support Guild. Organized Crime by Captain GCS Tesla I don’t know why they want me to cover crime and the underworld. You’d think making a few deals with some soldiers of fortune makes you disreputable. Here goes. The criminal cartel most Confederation citizens know about and may have dealings with is the so called Life Support Guild. The Guild sprang out of good intentions to fill a necessary function. As we moved out into space many logistical and strategic hubs were on space stations. These stations often developed into colonies in their own right. The problem is most people basically are paid enough to keep them from quitting an

Old Reliable

The Marines swear by them. Nobles pack them for status. Revolvers have made their way into the far future of Traveller. Revolvers trade the higher magazine capacity of the automatic pistol for reliability. In a far future setting that can be very reliable indeed, capable of being used in a variety of environments and easily cleaned and maintained. A revolver is a natural choice for a ceremonial weapon. While it can still be used to defend against an assassin it is quite difficult to silence unlike an auto pistol. Thus it is the weapon of a defender, not an assassin. In some cases a planet will not have sufficient technology to produce automatic pistols and revolvers may be the only multishot weapons available. In an earlier post (wow September of last year?) I added a few weapons I thought were missing from Traveller, chiefly automatic pistols of different calibers. Now here are some revolver variants. Light Revolver ( 700 grams loaded; Cr120; TL 4): An older variety of handgun,

Campaign Mash Up

So you have a ship and a crew, some chemistry equipment and a doctor type. It turns out that a local government suppresses the psionics in their population. One way they control them is to naturally ban drugs that boost psionic powers. You can synthesize those pharmaceuticals on your ship. Your ship that has a hefty mortgage. Your that brought in a load of electronics that you planned on trading but that were just recalled or made obsolete by recent advances. Breaking Bad meets Firefly. There are a bunch of ways this can spin out of control in a Traveller meets Fiasco sort of way. The plan to cook boost could be hatched by one or more crew members without the captain's/owners's direct knowledge. They just cook the books as well to make it look like there's a profit. The production doesn't have to be onboard the ship. Simply 'deliver' a crate of lab equipment to a location you rent, do the production while you're on leave, sell it and bring a crate of

Psionics Live

The recognition of Non-Biological Entities and their unique abilities gave humanity the galaxy. Wrangling entities known as ghosts or spirits has its problems. There are those who view it as slavery or worse, slavery of deceased humanity. Spending your after life trapped in a jump drive doesn't sound so great. The possibility of a mass NBE uprising is often brought up. In fact such uprisings have happened on a local level many times. Eventually someone realized, if NBEs could move a ship in or out of our universe using human technology to augment their power, similar technology could be used with human psionics. Some cultures prefer enslaving the living to mucking about with specters. The upside is that humans can be controlled and intimidated far easier than NBEs, being visible, tangible, living beings. The downside is that as living beings the technology is uncomfortable as hell at the best of times. It is painful and can cause psi burn out without proper precautions and

Your Attention Please.


No Ghosts Here

My first published game material in mumblety mumblety years. If you enjoyed my space opera posts and approach to chewy science please check it out. Raymond McVay and Blue Max Studios did a great job on editing and presentation. I hope you like it.