Showing posts from March, 2016

Travellers' Aid

Travellers' Aid Society. A private interstellar organization  which maintains hostels and facilities at various starports  throughout our Traveller universe. Travellers far and wide find a sanctuary in the Traveller's Aid Society. If you get membership as a mustering out benefit that's a High Passage every two months. Buying membership is a pricey 1,000,000 cr. But again that is a free first class ticket every 60 days. Not to mention the great food you can get at a cut rate. All this promotes the image of a benevolent organization out to do good and promote interstellar travel. Bah. But wait certainly I'm not going to impugn the TAS? That bastion of decency and first rate coffee and donuts? Do you even read this damn blog? The Travellers' Aid Society is a private organization which maintains hostels and facilities at all  class A and B starports in human space. Such facilities are available (at reasonable cost) to members and their guests. An

Jump Tape Parade!

A cursory reading of the LBB 77 rules will show that buying a ship's computer entitles the buyer to 1 Mcr per model number towards software. The venerable Scout for example comes ready for detached duty with 1 Mcr. of software (1bis counts as model 1). So we might pick out this software package: Maneuver  0.1 Mcr Jump 1      0.1 Mcr. Jump 2      0.3 Mcr Navigate   0.4 Mcr Generate   0.8 Mcr. Total         1.7 Mcr. Just to get basic use out of our Scout. We start 700,000 cr over budget. But wait till we get to the Free Trader type A. It has a model 1 and would require at least the following: Maneuver  0.1 Mcr Jump 1      0.1 Mcr. Navigate   0.4 Mcr Generate    0.8 Mcr. Total         1.4 Mcr. As you can see we're way over budget and most of the credits are eaten by the Generate program which generates flight plans for the jump you input. So basically you have a ship but can't fly it out of a star system until you can afford Generate. But you also have a mort

Rocket In Your Pocket

Rocket packs. Because no one else seems to want to do the statting. The default space combat system of Traveller assumes missiles that can thrust for the better part of an hour (or several hours) on a moderate load of fuel and carry a warhead massing several kilograms at least. It isn't shocking that someone somewhere is going to strap a jury rigged (hopefully disarmed) missile to his back and try flying the damned thing. FTL and maneuver drives do not cure the human animal of the death wish gene. Let's build a rocket pack using Special Supplement 3 Missiles in Traveller. Let's assume a human weighs 80 kg. with gear. We need an engine that can make 3 gees. Anymore will be too hard on the flyer and we need at least 1 gee to offset gravity. A discretionary burn system will cost 2900 cr. and weigh 13 kg. Item            Cost         Mass Person        Free!         80 Engine       2900 cr     13 Controls       300 cr      3 Fuel (10)    1600 cr      4  Totals    

Fear, Luck and Hit Points

I admit I cut my teeth on Traveller (Classic thank you) and AD&D and in that long ago time there were two systems for representing damage: hit points and stat reduction. Hit points were for those high fantasy games where you could get struck by dragon breath and live if you had enough experience. Traveller was more grounded in reality (we knew this because it had math formulas for space travel that required a square root calculator!) You got hit and it hurt. Period. You were injured and impaired and you never got much better at taking damage (usually you got worse as age took its toll.) In the games wth elves you got better at taking damage and it never slowed you down at all! this seemed counter intuitive to me (at least after I started playing Traveller). A ht with a battle axe would do more than shave a few hit points. Those suckers must hurt. It was years later I heard Ernie Gygax explain what hit points represented: luck, skill, destiny if you will in avoided severe inju

Going Dark for a Bit.

Root canal for me today. Don't feel up to posting and am using pronouns only intermittently. Going away Friday and Saturday. May be back with you on Monday. See you then.

Fields of the Mind (in OSR Games)

Traveller and many other OSR games treat psionics as a finite resource. You have a certain number of points to spend and they come back slowly. This is by and large a good thing as character running around torching people's minds, reading pin numbers and glomming state secrets and plot points at will is not a good thing. Only it ignores a central tenet of psionics. You can't just turn them off. My solution is simple. When you pay the points you control the psionics. The referee (me!) has an equal number of these points however and he (me again!) can use them to trigger your psionics when he chooses. So you maybe buying some gear (all right, call it what it is, -ammunition) when it suits the story for you to have a sudden vision of your patron Baron Sademi performing a human sacrifice ritual. You gotta love post-cognition. Or you're boarding the express train from the capital to the starport and your ship when the great rush of commuters causes the equivalent of a mental

Mind Over Antimatter

It is estimated that a gram of antimatter costs about 62.5 trillion dollars (or credits?) to produce. That's at tech level 7. In perusing a few Traveller products (okay I caved and looked at the fuel costs in T4: Fire Fusion Steel) we see one cubic meter of antimatter costs 200,000 credits. That's 70 kilograms of antimatter. I'll save you the trouble of looking it up: that's three gigatons worth of boom once you combine it with 70 kilos of antimatter (the mass of a slow moving crew member perhaps). Three gigabooms for 200,000 credits. What does that mean? Traveller says that antimatter power systems are in use by TL 17 (about the tech level where we build robots smart enough to stop us from playing with dangerous crap like antimatter ironically). So I assume that 200,000 credit figure is for TL 17 where you can basically buy your antimatter from your local price club (if the robots let you). I made the following table for the cost of a gram of antimatter at variou

Generating Ideas

Note that none of this is canon. None of this is required reading for running Traveller. I am not an engineer or scientist though I do roleplay them at times. I'm just throwing out some ideas for power consumption in Traveller ships. Chris Vermeers started this by pointing out that in Traveller LBB '77 the maneuver drive is not unlimited but that: "A fully fueled power plant will enable a starship an  effectively  unlimited number of accelerations (at least 288) if necessary to use the maneuver drive during the trip…" (emphasis by Chris) Then I was perusing the Boom Table at Atomic Rockets where I unearthed this nugget of knowledge: 3.4 * 10^14 joules is the energy from fusing one kg Deuterium and Tritium. That sounds like a lot of power to me! I began to wonder if maneuver drives might be analogous to a photon rocket. Direct enough ener

Collateral Damage pt. 2

Captain: I appreciate your seeing me so soon Admiral Saltornus. Saltornus: I am giving this matter my full attention; I assure you. Captain: You have my transcripts, the after action report by Sergeant Major Rademacher, Commander Lovecraft … Saltornus: Indeed. This is all I require. <<Psssht>> Commodore: Good morning. Hello Dan. Captain: Hello Chloe. Commodore: Shall we get this over with? Saltornus: In a moment. <<Psssht>> Mukh: Hey look! It’s the Captain! I love the Captain! Tivk: Admiral Saltornus. Captain. Commodore. Saltornus: Engineer Tivk. GAIA: Captain! Ensign: … sir. Captain: What are you saluting for ... citizen? Saltornus: I have persuaded the Ensign to return to active duty and reinstated his rank. We need more officers like him. Tivk: … not many more Elder Saltornus. Captain: He’s not serving under me? Saltornus: Not at all. Captain Maddock, you are relieved of your command

Environmental Prevention Agency

Nok: That was an acceptable landing Skipper. Ensign: Thanks Mr. Nok. That’s high praise coming from you. Tivk: Wouldn’t high praise be something like ‘stupendous’? Mukh: Stupendous, colossal, epic, awesome, incredible ... Ensign: I choose to interpret it as high praise. Nok: As you wish. I meant acceptable. This is your first flight on a Shaker Class shuttle? Ensign: Aye. She has a mind of her own. Nok: ‘She’? You know many 50 ton females? Ensign: … I have this auntie … Mukh: I think I have the same auntie!! Tivk: I thought your race was gender fluid? Mukh: You try telling my Aunt Flloxxa that. I dare you. Ensign: I begin to understand what the Doc is talking about. Okay I’m going to the supply warehouse and getting the stuff Cook ordered. I hope you like mac and cheese. Nok: I’ll get the berthing ticket validated. Ensign: Right. Tivk: Better you should disarm an Ion torpedo with your feet than deal with the Procurement Branc

Poll Please

Several people have told me to go on Patreon (Me: "People will pay me? For this stuff?") So I'd like to ask you guys informally, what would you like me to produce? Adventures? Worlds and world building? Ship designs/hacks? Aliens? More nano-fic? Characters? My Ghost Drive Setting? Don't bother you're getting it for free now? ;)

The Ship Hits the Fan

My earlier post dealt with classifying ships as belly landers and tail landers. On reflection and discussion with my posse (well Ray McVay) I decided that there was a place for ships designed to not land on planets at all: the modular hull. The advantage is cheaper construction. This only works if operating costs are cheap as well. The major cost for any ship is fuel. However we're talking civilian ships here and only the military, Scouts or crazy pilots use unrefined fuel. The benefit of a belly lander or tail lander is that on e a planet without orbital ports you can still land to refuel. A modular hull will be forced to either hunt down ice-steroids or use ship's boats to scoop fuel. A modular hull is built on a very long central boom. The engines are placed at one end and the cabins and living areas placed at the other end. This results in a lot less radiation shielding. A small shadow shield screens the rest of the ship, made even less bulky by distance. The inverse sq