Showing posts from October, 2015
I've been writing about Zombies for three Halloween posts now. They are about played out but when has that ever stopped me before? Having said that what new wrinkles can we put on the old zombies (decaying zombies are bad enough, wrinkled ones eeeech) ? Old School Zombies- Not so much the undead as victims placed under a spell or drugged to be compliant slaves. Perfect for illegal and labor intensive enterprises or cults. They're pretty easy to tell from 'true' zombies. For one thing don't try to eat you or notice you unless you mess with them. For another they yell 'Ow!' when you shoot them. Though you are aiming for the head aren't you? So they might not get a chance to yell anything. Networking- They aren't stupid in a group. The zombies are not truly individuals. They care nothing for their personal safety or comfort. Taken alone or in small groups they are about as smart as small rodents. But let their numbers grow and their brains begin t

The Care and Placement of Jump Points

Winchell Chung Yesterday 9:06 PM + 2 1 2   1 Reply + Rob Garitta  The trouble is if you do NOT have the equivalent of Alderson points, you absolutely must have some kind of FTL radar. Otherwise the first hint you get of enemy activity is when their fleet drops out of hyperspace in orbit about your home planet and instantly carpet bombs the place into glassy radioactive slag. Alderson points were introduced in the Codominium future history of Jerry Pournelle and the of course The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, a major source of Classic Traveller mojo. basically there was one point where your ftl drive worked between two stars. Star systems had a varying number of points. The explanation storywise was a FTL drive that let you pop in and out of Three Space anywhere led to planets being obliterated by raider without any chance or warning or mounting a defense. Therefore no one would buy into any interstellar government. It a

The Face of Good

As you know I never let a good idea go when I can wring a few posts out of it. Evil overlords get a lot of the attention. I gave the loyal lieutenant some (evil) love. Every rebellion has a leader to keep it on track. How much time is spent in defining this person? Almost zip. Who got more time in the Star Wars movies, Palpatine or Mon Mothma? But a leader will define the shape a rebellion takes and its success. Here are a few things to think about when you create your rebel leader. Why are they leading the good guys? What made your leader decide to take up the struggle against the regime? Were they wronged? Did they lose a family member to injustice? Were they just no longer able to turn a blind eye to the sordid acts of the Leader? What kind of leader are they? Does the head of the rebellion run the military or is he a politician? If he is a politician how much does he interfere with the military and if he's a strategist how much does he interfere with the civilian govern

A Matter of Gravity

As mankind moved into space they faced an alien and hostile environment. While some dangers were immediate (vacuum for example) long term health risks were linked to zero gravity. The first space explorers made do with constant acceleration when they could, centrifuges when they couldn't until gravity control was perfected. Modern spacecraft can now have their decks oriented independent of the direction of thrust. This allows ships like a Scout courier to thrust along its long axis and still land on its belly allowing for greater stability. Most people just take the comfortable standard gee they enjoy for granted and indeed most ship designers don't get fancy with the grav plates opting for comfort and familiarity but some people do get a little extreme in some of their designs. Some ship captains also get very creative using their grav systems. As a courtesy most ships carrying passengers will gradually change their gravity from their point of origin to that of their destina

Second Banana

I was reading an excellent post on evil overlords (should that be capitalized?) by James Spahn on Halfling's Luck. I immediately thought, "I'd like to write something like that?" Then realized he had already written it. Okay. You can have your evil overlords. A lot of thought goes into them but what about the loyal lieutenant? There's a definite need for some background there. While the evil overlord operates behind the scenes for a good portion of the game the faithful lieutenant is usually at or near the front lines, trading blows with the heroes in many cases. You  have to work some stuff out for him. In many ways he is as important as the big bad. After all he gets the thankless job of implementing the big bad's latest plan and probably taking the blame for its failure. Ask yourself the following: Why are they following the evil side? Maybe they don't know they are

Ghost Dice

According to the poll I did on Ghost Drive most people would prefer I use the CT engine  with my setting. Well that'd certainly be easier and it definitely fits. there are a couple problems though. Problem 1: T5 is Mr. Miller's engine of choice from what I hear CT is not available for licensing. Problem 2: See above. I like the setting obviously. I also love Classic Traveller. But I'm already diverging from the technology as presented in CT. Aside from the techno magic of ghostly reactionless drives the rest is hardish tech: rocket drives, no artificial gravity etc. So I'd have to make up a fair patch of whole cloth. Mongoose Traveller High Guard does have rules for reaction drives. I never had a feel for MgT though and again their rockets are pretty simple and not quite what I want. I want something simple like CT but with more options for darn near everything. So I'm working out my own stuff. The Ghost Dice System (you'll see why if you don't alrea

Mother to Us All

Transcript Gynoid Artificial Intelligence Assembly #24681 assigned GCS Tesla Tech Officer: Owwww... GAIA: Exec is on her way. She wants to walk you to the sick bay. I'm terribly sorry. T.O.: Seriously ... you couldn't parse "When I nod my head ..." GAIA: ... very sorry. I have a problem with indefinite pronoun designation. T.O.: I've gotten hurt around machines a lot. It's nice to have one apologize. GAIA: We really like you ... the auto chef speaks very well of you. T.O.: Really? What does it say? Exec: Okay I'm here. Toff, keep pressure on that dressing. We're heading to sickbay. GAIA: ... T.O.: Owie. Sickbay is good. Exec: GAIA, order order order remain here. I want to look at your coding when I get back and make sure this won't happen again. T.O.: She didn't mean to. I blame the stupid valve. It musta moved while she was trying to tap it with the wrench. GAIA: Yes commander. I will take myself offline while I wait

The Fifth Force inthe Universe

Quick answer: it's violence. In writing about crime in space I've come to the conclusion it probably is not going to be what we expect. Space pirates are not going to hunt down their prey, plan an ambush from behind a small moon. I never understood how they got to see the target but the target didn't get to see them. LOS should work both ways if playing Squad Leader taught us anything! Space pirates still might have cutlasses. But space is not an ocean (more lie a Black desert plug plug!). So while my previous post explained that limited space piracy was possible with hard science rockets (and enough work and sneaking) going after a ship is just plain stupid if you have any better targets and there are plenty following stable predictable orbits and with no ability to maneuver! They're called space stations. So what if they see you coming a  month or more away? You look like anyone else coming in to stop for water and stores. You're always stopping for wate

Cutlasses and Calculus: A Hard(ish) Look at Space Pirates

Does space piracy really need space opera tropes like reactionless drives and tractor beams to work? Can piracy flourish in the environment of ultimate transparency: hard vacuum? My beloved space piracy is dead due to thermodynamics. I'm bringing it back tonight by GHU! I'm defining piracy as unlawfully depriving merchants of their cargoes and ships for this essay. We're looking at hardish science here: no stealth in space. Space ships are hot em emitting missile magnets. No sneaking up on your victim ... not with your ship anyway. Use a small drone instead. A drone could be cool enough (temperature wise, not rule wise) to fool radar and ladar. It would have a thermal signature when it launched to assume an intercept course but maybe you could hide that by maneuvering the launching ship and creating a big thermal signature of your own, or just firing your thrusters, or firing the drone's thruster while it's hidden (or blending in with) your heat radiators. So

Ship Dossier: Launches

Ship Dossier: Launches
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