Showing posts from May, 2016

Don't Upset the Locals

I wrote a fair bit about how all out nifty ships, any ships are in many of not most planets in a Traveller universe. They can go darn near anywhere, produce gigawatts with a few tons of water etc. They can bring goods from places you could never reach yourself. Heck staying in orbit a few weeks and monitoring weather might spell the difference between starvation and bountiful harvests on some worlds. That's just if you take the high road. Tech 6 or lower worlds could do very little against a ship that hovers outside the atmosphere and extorts money by threatening to blow up monuments or government buildings. If you're playing with the '77 rule set then outside of your commercial lanes the odd isolated planet won't have law ships or the Navy come by very often. Why can't you take your war surplus laser cannon and take what you want? Why can't you be king? A few things to consider: If you thought about doing it someone else probably did and before you. Any

... Abandon Ship?

No. Not in most cases. Take a deep breath and repeat: Space is not an Ocean!! Sea going ships are not spaceships. They ply the interface between a hostile environment (under water) and a livable environment (above water). If your ship sinks then yes you'd jump into a life raft or swim for it. Trying to survive in a submerged wreck is probably not the best option. Space, however, is vacuum. Your ship is not going to sink into something more hostile. Your ship is a tiny oasis in a sea of nothing essentially. Everything you need to survive in space has to be brought with you. Water, oxygen, food etc adds up quickly in days or weeks. How much can you carry with you? Ah but there's always the lifeboat! Can it hold more stores than your ship does? If it does not, then you are better off running air, water, and power lines between the two ships and sitting it out in your berthed boat until the Scout SAR ship arrives. The other option is using the power and stores of the life

Toff and GAIA

GAIA Personal Log: GAIA: I am running simulations of all the ways this could go wrong. They're eating into my processing capacity. Toff: You're scared. Relax. this is no biggie. GAIA: We are supervising a force field generator to protect the Dr. Osborne while he removes an explosive device from Mr. Velasques. Much can indeed go wrong. Toff: Pfft. Either the Doc removes the device without setting it off or it goes off, correct? GAIA: Yes. Toff: If he doesn't set it off no problem. If he does ... GAIA: That is my concern yes. I have grown to enjoy breathing ... or at least being air cooled. Toff: If the bomb goes off either the force field holds or it doesn't. Right? GAIA: ... yes. Toff: It holds then no problem. If it doesn't ... well we probably won't be around after that so again no problem. GAIA: I have things to do. I am nearly certified as a bonafide life form. I'm just starting ... human stuff with the Ensign. Toff: Steady. I'


<<Ba-dump-ah. Ba-dump-ah. Ba-dump-ah.>> Commodore: Keeping busy? Captain: Trying my dear. Commodore: Well stop trying. Put down the ball. <<Ba-dump-ah. Ba-dump-ah. Ba-dump-ah.>> <<Ba-dump-ah! Ba-dump-ah! Ba-dump-ah!>> Commodore: Dan! That's an order! Captain: Big deal. What're you going to do ... arrest me? Oh wait! <<Ba-dump!! Snatch!>> Captain: Good hands on you Chloe. Commodore: So you have said. We have a problem. Stop being a dick for a minute. Captain: Sure. What have we got? Commodore: Your people on the Tesla managed to corral one of the people on that abduction list. Your medical Officer examined him and has found an implanted explosive in him bobpy trapped to high heavens. Captain: Way to go Doc ... wait ... Commodore: He's still working on removal without blowing himself and the medical deck to the Streets of Glory. Meanwhile ... your beanpole and phrog have exposed Admiral Saltornus as a

Fire and Movement

Some superhuman powers are not amplification of normal human ability. Some powers are things no one else can do. Invulnerability Amazing (think bulletproof -mostly. The body is about the density of a brick wall.) The character ignores damage from anything less than a heavy machinegun on an Armor Check of 10 or less. Optionally they are immune to any melee attacks unless they roll a 20 for defense or their attacker has super strength or another applicable power. Paranormal (think very bulletproof. The body is about the density of a steel wall.) The character ignores damage from anything less than a heavy machinegun on an Armor Check of 15 or less. They are immune to any normal melee attacks. They can survive being run over by a truck. Superhuman (think very unkillable. The body is about the density of armor quality steel.) The character ignores damage from anything on an Armor Check of 15 or less. They are immune to any melee attacks unless the attacker has super strength. They c

Medical Emergency

Exec: All I'm saying is move your ass. We're diverting back to Liberty Starbase. There's a riot or mutiny or something there and the security commander is having a mental breakdown the way he's talking. Doc: /Tivk./ /Mukh./ Exec: What? Doc: Right. I'll have the low down on Velasques in a couple hours tops. Hopefully before we arrive. Exec: That would be good Dr. Osborne. Because ... if half of what they're saying is true Admiral Varangus Saltornus has been collecting the people on that slaver's list there for the last few months. Saltornus looks to be a Videni deep cover agent.  It could just be a smokescreen but we can't take chances. Maybe they're an army to take over that base. Riasi: But they have been taken to detention areas. Doc: All this is very well and good. I have my instructions. Will you please get the hell out of here, Phil and let me finish operating on Mr. Velasques? Velasques: And turn up the anesthetic field. That'

Power Vs. Experience

The powers I designed so far come in three easy levels: Low, Paranormal and Superhuman. I need to set some costs for what we laughingly call play balance (Like Superman's drawbacks pay for all his powers. He can destroy the planet by blinking rapidly and has the most rare and exotic weaknesses available.) Every Superhuman level power costs one level of experience. A character can start with negative levels but after play begins he will not progress in levels until he buys off the negative levels. A Superhuman power can be traded for a Paranormal, and Low level or three Low Level powers. If the player wants to have a character with only one Paranormal level power or two Low level powers the character can give up one roll to increase an attribute for each Low level or two rolls per Paranormal power. A character can purchase an improved weapon built by a Superhuman genius working in the rear areas or home country. Picking two of the paranormal intelligence mods for a weapon cos

Cold, Dark Dreams Between the Stars

Frequent travelers avoid them. The Navy uses them as a matter of necessity. Lifeboats are built around them. The poor or desperate use them as a last resort. The low passage. Low passage is referred to as cold sleep or suspended animation (more on this later but I don’t think it can be a complete suspension of biological processes.) You experience no passage of time and do not age in low passage. It is suggested you keep a record of time spent in low passage as it can cause discrepancies in a character’s ages. In practice I’ve never seen a character using a low berth regularly get old enough for it to matter. Let’s look at the numbers for various forms or passage: Middle and High Passage both require a stateroom (4 displacement tons). At standard rates those four tons will give you a return of cr. 2500/ ton for high passage or cr. 4000/ton for middle passage (assuming you get to cram two middle passengers into one stateroom.) Life support costs Cr. 2000 per two weeks l

Cyborg Human Relations

GAIA: Good you’re awake. Ensign: Uh … whuh …? Who? GAIA: Gynoid Artificial Intelligence Assembly your ... significant other, remember me? Ensign: Okay ... what are you doing in my bunk? Let me guess ... you DON'T know? GAIA: Schaeffer ... <X> <X> <X> Ensign: Mmmf. Okay mmmph ... air! I need air. GAIA: Your vitals are all over the place ... Schaeffer, don't you like this sort of thing? I mean you have shown me affection but ... we've been together a couple of weeks now. Do you have any idea how long that is to an AI, especially a female one?! Ensign: Yes I like this sort of thing and I have some anecdotal evidence I'm pretty darn good at it by the way. It's just a big step. There's a lot going on right now. This isn't what I imagined. GAIA: You ran simulations without me? Ensign: I've been running simulations plenty let me tell you!! GAIA: I think you've been running them wrong. You don't

What About Nok?

N'Sa Nok (late of the GCS Tesla) Personal Log Korsa: Keep your eyes open there are a number of badly inconvenienced slavers around here! Nok: Aye salle-Captain. We were the ones that inconvenienced them. Thalnerassa: We? I merely worked the scanners and shields. Nok: Beanpoles are all alike. Korsa: How did the Courtesan handle, Pilot Nok? Nok: She has a mind of her own. Almost too responsive. She's a ... Korsa: ... a warrior! Nok: ... a female. Korsa: I met some of your Vole women. Better to disarm an ion torpedo blindfolded with my feet than to bed such females. Nok: Indeed. The dwelling is a little further going from our scans. Korsa: You are sure this will be worthwhile? Nok: ... the list of abductions indicated six candidates from this planet alone. We encountered three slaver ships coming into orbit ... Thalnerassa: Which you 'Kesslered'. Nok: No other Voles on the list. These two are special. You have my word. Korsa: This would be the

Body Heat

In my post on heat ( here ) I try to explain about heat radiators in Traveller (specifically why there are no heat radiators in Traveller). If you don't want to read the post basically Traveller tech opens a wormhole and sends the heat from the power plants and drives into jump space. This enables somewhat stealthy ships. This also bothered me because I like some concessions to reality. Things should not come with no strings attached but attaching complications to an idea falls squarely in my wheelhouse. In this case real world tech provides a problem. Basically heat radiators must be optimized to work at a given temperature. If you are radiatingn heat from something like a fusion reactor you're talking about a radiator and conducting equipment operating at several hundred to a thousand degrees or more (C.) I'm going to assume the 'jump-radiator' works similarly. So you can't hook your life support system up to it. Heat likes to move towards cooler objects a

Flirting With Danger

We come to the dump stat or in this case, super dump stat: superhuman charisma. This is potentially the most powerful ability of all as it lets you control others and use their abilities! truly charismatic people are an incredible resource. Think about the partisans, resistance fighters and revolutionaries fighting on after a cause seems to be lost? Who's holding them together? Where would Britain have ended without Churchill? Villains can have charisma too obviously. Super Charisma Abnormal (think Captain America) The character is capable of instilling loyalty or fear in almost anyone. They roll with advantage for any Charisma related tests. NPCS are usually neutral or somewhat friendly. The character can inspire NPCs who might otherwise lose morale. Any troops under them have -1 bonus to hit and do +1 damage. Any underlings get a -2 bonus to their rolls to resist fear effects or lose morale. Paranormal (think Rasputin, Svengali, Phantom of the Opera or Casanova.) The chara

Situational Awareness

In any fight it is best to know where the other guy is before he knows where you are. Strength and Dexterity are often prized above Awareness but really it's better to get the first shot in or even not to be seen. Awareness lets you do that. In a fantasy setting the thief's backstab is his field leveler. While the rest of the party slugs it out toe to toe he pops up behind the foe and goes to work. How much more effective would he be with a pistol or a rifle? Super Awareness Low (nearly superhuman. Think Tarzan or some other born in the wild type.) All of the character's senses are very acute. Any penalties for darkness or smoke are halved. In addition the character rolls with advantage for any rolls involving ambushes, surprise attacks and other enemy actions. In more dated terms the character will detect a secret door on a 1-2 as he passes by. Any rolls made against Awareness get a -2 bonus and many rolls such can be waved. Paranormal (clearly superhuman. Think Wol

No Post Today

Just got back from the vet where my dog got a massive object removed from his paw. We're going to chill. I'll make it up to you another day.

Adventure in Monthly Installments

Monthly payments too. It is a common misconception that banks only float loans for traders and merchants to buy ships. Not true. Especially not true if you read what I posted about the Company and groups like the TAS (which may actually be divisions of the Company but let's not get into that here). Having a stake in exploitation er ... exploration is just too crucial to leave to amateurs like the Scouts or Navy. Those clowns might make new knowledge public for some trumped up ideal like 'the good of mankind'. Well what's good for the Company is good for everyone! Besides banks don't care how you make their/your money. You can haul cargo, frozen immigrants, perfumed nobles or make it other ways. You just need a good business model. Strikers! There are very few ships built with ground assault in mind despite what conspiracy buffs tell you about CorpSec black ops. Thus mercenary groups often face a shortage of vessels willing to deliver them to landing zones. Mo

Hostage Situation

Security Transcript Liberty Starbase Sergeant: Stay sharp. They're coming out of the brig. Security: What the ... Tivk: Do not shoot. Saltornus: Don't listen to him. Open fire you gutless clock watchers. Sergeant: Mr. Tivk, you are aware it is the usual practice in situations like this for the eh ... villain of the piece to use the hostage as a shield and not walk with the hostages behind him? Security: THis way does make it easier. Yu want me to shoot him? Sergeant: No! I don't know what his game is. Let's listen. Tivk: Indeed. The admiral is a Videni deep cover agent. He is seeking honorable death at our hands and I do not wish to oblige him for a number of reasons. Mukh, do you have things in hand? Mukh: I do. The pistol is set to stun ... not even heavy stun. He tries anything and ... absolutely nothing lasting will happen to him. Saltornus: Shoot him you idiot beach apes!! Sergeant: I don't know ... if he is a Videni he could have rigged hi