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Showing posts from August, 2016

What's New?

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This. September 15. The ship is a Vegas class freighter. But there's not really much gambling with it. Running cargo and passengers tends to make you money above and beyond the mortgage for this ship which in turn means that every few weeks, at worst, you can take a vacation to get into all manner of trouble on your own. As always making money is not enough, you have to keep it. There is always someone somewhere looking to separate you from it often at gunpoint. But as Firefly showed us running a merchant vessel can be a story in itself. there are cultural taboos to avoid, friends to be won, enemies to remove or recruit and that's just your crew. Making deals among the locals is hard. Oh, some of the people who try to do you out of your money are stowaways. You best learn about them.

The World of Many Faces

A great many worlds in the galaxy are habitable. In the millennia that came and went many of them were inhabited by man and his descendants. Unutulmush was typical of them. It was a small and dry world in a tide locked orbit around a dim red feisty star. It had known humans once or near enough. We landed outside ancient granite ruins that reached to the stars like broken fingers in the temperate belt stretching pole to pole. The cold thin air was like a refreshing libation after months of living on our packet. We had heard of an abandoned orbital station and came seeking salvage. But we found its orbit had long since decayed. So we grounded and spent a night out under the stars looking at one horizon frozen just before the dawn and the other caught up in endless twilight. We built a fire with fuel pellets. We were too experienced to burn native foliage. Not after making camp on Zehir and loosing half our crew. Sitting by our safe, synthetic fire roasting tube meat and puff tots w

The Gravity Wars

Tesla and Edison had the War of the Currents. There was the struggle over gaslights vs. electric bulbs. Then there was VHS vs. Betamax (for those of you old enough to remember videotaping). Mac and Microsoft still aren't talking. Wherever there's a way to build an invention there's likely to be several. But then at Low Stellar and Late Solar levels of technology you get the Gravity Wars! Gravity control in most settings makes space so much easier (meaning you can get to it and get killed quicker and cheaper.) Instead of using a honking huge rocket to reach orbit you can use a consumer friendly launch with a reasonable payload to fuel ratio. You just throw a switch and some of the Earth's (or other planet's) gravity is negated. Doing a space time sidestep you find yourself in orbit. This is going to piss off many powerful and wealthy people. Think about it. You're running a surface to orbit transport company and have invested in a laser launch system or spa

A. I. ... Artificial Identity

One of the biggest sore spots of any players of  (classic) Traveller are starship computers. Even after explaining that jump plans don't compute themselves and maneuver drives need careful minding while they break the laws of physics they seem to be too big for what they do. I'd like to weigh in on the subject. Starships are modular, even the streamlined ones, to a great degree. That is you can switch out drives and generators and even take apart staterooms to rebuild your quarters deck the way you want. Married couple with high passage? Push those two staterooms together! Set them up as a pod hotel if you like.Similarly ships can keep swapping out drives and such as they wear out to extend their useful life. there are never enough ships after all. Winchell Chung, Raymond McVay and many many others have brought up a legal query: if you have a ship you an replace everything on is it still the same ship? This is better known as The Ship of Theseus . Legal types like to worry

The Other Fleet

My series of posts have tried to wake up merchants and other spacers to the colorful travellers and phenomena of the space lanes. Mind the colorful people are usually pirates and barbarians and the phenomena you could usually do without. Sorry, those are the thought that come to me out of the ether. I just get custody of them, as George Carlin once said (I'd love to say I wrote this during a lightning storm with a bottle of Scotch in my hand but alas it's a sunny day and I'm sipping iced tea.) Anyway besides your basic pirates there's another group out there to worry about. They are every bit as relentless (maybe more), they have better technology, they have excellent crews. The Polity Navy takes a dim view of them many times. I refer to the Patrol (with a nod to Lady Andre Norton of course). There is no branch called the Patrol in most Polities but it's there. Politics indicates a Polity will field fleets to prevent invasion, and rebellion. These fleets will ha

War and Honor

Ulla-Korsa: Klendath ... Klendath? Klendath: Here my lord. Ulla-Korsa: Report. Klendath: Nothing is working and we are all that survive of the bridge crew. The escape shuttle is powering up. Ulla-Korsa: The Hell with that. Hand me my blaster. I'll take down whomever is foolish enough to board us while I live! The blaster! Now. Klendath: Yes ... the blaster ... here! <Blam!> Ulla-Korsa: ... you miserable ... Klendath: Actually I'm feeling pretty good right now. I want you to know something oh benevolent master ... your kingdoms are a joke. We ... my people run the show. We give you the technology we decide to give you. You are a bunch of damned barbarians. You may have beaten us at war but you lost at peace. We have worked our way into all levels of your culture until we are indispensable ... till we run the show! A shutdown here a failed rive there and you lose the war against the humans.  Yet you call us slaves and servants. Idiots ... we only needed you

Moriarty With a Nuclear Submarine

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I loved Trek and Lost in Space when I was a boy. In many episodes of both shows they would encounter fantastic alien technology and figure it out before the last commercial break. I'm older and more jaded now and call bullshit. Say, you took a brilliant Victorian type, Professor Moriarty, and gave him a Navy surplus nuclear submarine. Boom! He has nukes, he's master of the world. except he hasn't a clue how it works (manuals were lost in the temporal exchange, no refund, no exchange read your waiver!) Could he figure it out without killing himself or scuttling the ship? Would he cause a meltdown trying to find the coal bunker (I say, let's extricate these metal rods Colonel Moran and see why they were deemed to so precious as to be ensconced in this metallic vessel.) Okay maybe not that. He's certainly smart enough to read a warning label. Alien tech wouldn't even have labels we could read (What's this that looks like the Olympic symbol only in plaid picto

Eating Out

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Personal Journal Gynoid Artificial Intelligence Assembly #24601 Captain: You have your orders. Correct? GAIA: Aye aye Captain. I am to accompany the journalist about, render assistance, answer questions regarding procedures onboard and fill any reasonable requests. Captain: Annnnnd? GAIA: ... make sure personnel keep their fucking mouths shut! I thought I wasn't supposed to say that out loud. Captain: You can say it to me, the Exec or the Chief. Stop imitating my voice. GAIA: Aye sir. Captain: I wish I had a crew of you at times. GAIA: Shall I let the factory know? Captain: Negative. Ah here come the four horsemen. GAIA: ... excuse me? Mukh: Hey it's GAIA! I love GAIA! Hey Captain! GAIA: Hello Professor ... what in the name of Edna happened to Schaeffer? Tivk: We are escorting the Lieutenant to the medical section. He has a badly lacerated thumb. Lieutenant: I never got a scratch before I became Tech. I don't understand it. Ow!! Nok: Got to keep

Review Is Up!

Winchell Chung was kind enough to read and review Ships of the Galaxy: Hawking Courier. the review can be found here. Friday post may be delayed as I dance the happy dance. You can purchase your copy of Ships of the Galaxy: Hawking Courier here  for only $5.00 As Winchell says you get plenty of views and a solid idea of how the decks and other components fit together and where the story hooks are and you get to meet Slider. If enough people are interested there might even be some freebies on this blog for Hawking captains.

Protocol

Private Journal of Klendath Servitor Class Alpha Ulla-Korsa: This is ridiculous. I know how to act properly. Korsa: No Dad, you don't. Klendath: Humans don't like you to yell 'Death to the humans!' Ulla-Korsa: Old habits are hard to break. They shouldn't take it so seriously. Korsa: Shut up you or I will sic Talnerassa on you. Klendath: Shutting up. Korsa: Now ... when you are introduced to Terrans or beanpoles or phrogs you greet them and say, "How do you do?" Ulla-Korsa: How do they do what? Korsa: You got me. They just ask it and never seem to answer it. Ulla-Korsa: What about the voles? Korsa: They make no pretense about caring how you are. Ulla- Am I supposed to answer the question? Korsa: No. Just say 'fine' or 'doing good'. Klendath: It is a calibrating phrase to make sure their translators are working properly. Like when you guys say "We've come to liberate you!" Korsa:  ... Hey that make

Hawking Class Courier

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Remember way back when I put up some neat pictures of a Scout variant (it's actually more of a courier given the crappy sensors but eh) I kept at it and tomorrow will see the release of the first Blue Max book done entirely by me, myself and I: Ships od the Galaxy: Hawking Courier. I prepared a little FAQ on the design. Q: What game system? A: The Cepheus Engine though it should work with any OSR system using 2d6. Q:What kind of ship are we talking here? A: She's a surplus fuel hungry little beast (20 tons of power plant fuel gives the same endurance as 3 tons in more modern ships). So instead of paying 30 Mcr. for one you could get pay as low as 15-18 Mcr. Or you could pay the full price for an uprated model that has a lot of extra fuel. Q: How big a ship is it? A: 100 dTons. Three decks. Very cozy. Q: What am I getting into here?  A: Deck plans, 3d views, some homebrew rules, a lot of story hooks, and snags for players disguised as color commentary.

Recruitment Starts With Arrrr

So ye want te be a pirate chieftain do ye? Well getting a ship be easy. Beg, borrow or steal one. Getting the crew be the hard part! No what? I'm tired of talking that way. Yes Ship usually come with a crew but after the usual methods of acquisition that may not be the case. A crew might mutiny and then some refuse to to sail under the Black Flag. Add to this that some crew may pirate only briefly and then retire or be retired and you realize there is a bit of a turnover rate. How then do you recruit more pirates? This problem is compounded by the fact that pirates need some very skilled personnel to repair and modify ships and their transponders. The Navy can just hang some posters up and man a kiosk at the port with some eye candy and attract gullible young people. Try that with piracy and see what far you get. (Spoiler: you get twenty years hard time to life.) But don't worry! If the Scouts can attract recruits anyone can! In several posts I mention piracy starts at

Amenities for Fun and Profit

A stateroom (or cabin for you peasants) will run 8,000 cr. for double occupancy. That means a cool 16,000 cr. profit. Consider that shipping cargo would only get you four grand and obviously running people os more cost effective than cargo. Wait there are a few snags. First that room runs 2,000 cr twice a month for life support each week of use so you're talking a 12,000 cr. per trip. Second passengers are a pain in the ass. They will want entertainment, personal service, meals for GHU's sake. You're going to need a steward. `That guys gets 3,000 cr. a month. Of course a steward can tend to a number of passengers at one time. Especially if the other crew help out. You aren't going to need your gunners in jump, are you? Let them start doing laundry and tossing salad. A person combining steward and medic is a rare jewel indeed, being able to tend to passengers' ills and allergies. The other good thing about a steward is fine cooking doesn't hurt crew morale at

Sorry Yet Again

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Post will be up tomorrow. My dog had surgery today. "You will all pay for this loss of dignity!"

Life in the Fast (Drug) Lane

The first multinational corporations got that big controlling commodities or resources. The next generation became truly global by controlling inventions like railways and telegraphs that moved people and information. The next wave made its mark by controlling time (albeit crudely). Appliances and conveniences were produced that maximized your productivity allowing more leisure time (Unless you were working in America). The Company extended the control of time to an unbelievable degree. There was no way known to slow down the universe or make things happen faster of course but time is relative, a conceit of the mind and minds can be manipulated. Let's take things slow. Say you like to be kept in suspense. Fast drug is a fairly cheap and low tech commodity (200 cr. TL 10). In fact it makes you wonder why people put up with the deadly effects of low passage. Perhaps the drug requires limited natural resources to synthesize or specialized knowledge and skills. Perhaps low passag

Sorry But ...

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Sorry I missed Wendesday's post and I'm kinda shorting you today. I'll make it up to you folks Monday. I've been busy and August 10th should see my newest product released through Blue Max Studios. I'll let Raymond McVay tell you more at his leisure. On the home front I've had a couple family crises I'm dealing with (don't tell me dogs are not family I won't listen.) Anyway here's a teaser for things to come. This is the culprit I'm working on now. Here's a fat-ass merchant ship that prefers to hand off its cargo in orbit but of course needs to land now and then. It would be a standard hull in Cepheus Engine or MgT First Edition or a partially streamlined hull in CT. It has no business landing anywhere without a beacon, landing lights, and a level field. But of course sometimes it has to. To facilitate docking the original ship has a docking module stuck on the top. Whether you have rockets, reactionless drives (boo!) or warp dri

Invasion

Kin Demes was a quiet backwater world. Mostly ocean, settlement concentrated on a chain of fertile islands. The latest settlers had no hstory of warfare. Barring some police actions against raids by the Ingoko indigenes (in other words people settled there long enough to forget they settled) it was a peaceful planet. In recent years even the Ingoko united into a loose commonwealth with the settlers providing cheap labor and trade in pearl-gems and seafood. It recently upgraded its bare dirt landing field to a Class C starport after several decades of labor took a deep breath and entered the interstellar community. The planet was invaded almost immediately. It was not ready. It had defenses around the starport and capital. It had a defense boat in orbit. It had a small respectable militia designed to deter invasion. They were of no use. The invaders were tenacious, merciless, and hungry! Kin-Demes defeat was made more galling by the fact the invaders had never mastered fire. A bar

Ship Dossier: Launches

Ship Dossier: Launches
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