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Showing posts from 2022

Good News, Everybody!

  +++Flash+++ Stellagama Publishing and Surreal Estate Games are thrilled to announce their merger, effective as of October 1st, 2022. With our talents and skills combined, we will be able to greatly develop the Quantum Engine, providing a series of excellent supplements and sourcebooks for Cepheus Atom, Barbaric!, Quantum Starfarer, and Lightning League among others! All existing Surreal Estate Games titles will soon be available from Stellagama Publishing, with new layout and trade dress, under the joint logos of both companies. And there are exciting supplements underway! On a personal note, I am thrilled at this merger and introducing more people to my game books and would like to thank Omer Golan-Joel for his generosity. This blog is on hiatus as I run about flailing work towards the merger. Stay tuned!

The Long Arm of the Law

 You've seen it before. Adventurers get into a scrape, raise bloody hell and pile into their ship to never return to the planet they shot up. Traveller and other games portray space travel as expensive, often dangerous. Does it pay to pay Cr 24,000 minimum, Cr 8,000 to send an officer 1 pc, 16,000 to bring him and a prisoner back, to find a culprit and bring them to trial? Would you even send one officer or a pat or a squad? A lot of the time, no. Capital crimes require some pursuit of course, the posting of rewards and such. If the act was done against say organized crime, they might spare no expense for revenge. They have a reputation to keep. Crimes resulting in damages are easy to account for. You pass the cost onto the next ship to pass through. Make them pay with fines and fees for security checks on crew.  Most traders do not want to put up with this crap. Worse, giving off worlders a bad name might taint all traders and interfere with trade. This is especially true when the

The Fourth Creep

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 Omer Golan-Joel of Stellagama Publishing wrote of the ' Three Creeps " in Traveller: Modifier creep, Complexity creep, and Scale creep. Modifier creep is typified chargen in LBBs 1-7. Skills are piled and piled on characters, weapons get more and more addies to hit. Complexity creep is typified by the starship design in Book 5. Scale creep can be described by Trillion Credit Squadron. Instead of a small ship Universe we get to build giant ships and fleets and have them obliterate each other! Phew. Quite a step up from a 100 ton Scout on loan.  Not my picture. Not a challenge to anyone. Not my weapon, but ooh shiny! I may have found a fourth creep. Gear creep. This is not common to traveller alone. Second Ed. Thief  Rouges splat book had a lot of neat gadgets for example. At one point our 90 lb. female elven rogue had about 40 lbs of devices on her.  Gear creep might not result in huge modifiers. Of course if you keep adding new gadgets, their +1 will add up, witch makes it ha

UWP TBD

 One of things you note with the 2d6 systems, raise a crop of worlds and you are bound to get some wasted hell hole of a world, with an atmosphere that could make Superman cringe and it will have a few billion or tens of billions. Conversely you may have a planet with a class A starport, a potential shipbuilder for the entire subsector only to discover it has a population of hundreds or dozens. Yeah so they could crank out a launch in a year. If that was all they did. Yeah. Maybe they have a bazillion robots? Androids? They're a thing now, right?  The old slogan: people will settle anywhere doesn't seem to cover all situations. A more accurate statement may be, people will settle anywhere there's money to be made. So yeah, you can have billions living on that acid pit of a world. Put something valuable there. Perhaps an exotic organic material in the atmosphere, produced by bizarre native life living in the upper atmosphere. Terraforming the planet would destroy these lifef

The Makings of a Good Invasion: Motive

 Invasions, especially in Traveller must be gosh darned expensive (sorry for the language. Each soldier transported will require part of a stateroom and cost Cr 8,000 or more. Each ton of vehicles, supplies and gear will cost Cr 1,000 and you will need a lot of such cargo. thought I am pretty sure that a government operation will use transports owned outright such ships still have maintenance life support and crew salaries/ They might even have mortgages. You get the idea. Money money money.  Now, even invasions need to be cost effective. There has to be something the invaders want and are very likely to get. In the OTU, two cultures have themselves set up for constant invading, the K'kree and the Aslan. The Aslan want land because status goes with it. Cost is secondary (the females will handle it). The K'kree want to pacify carnivores (their definition of 'pacify' is expanded to include exterminate.) In both these cases it's an ideology requiring expansion and conq

Little Black Books Ships

 I was perusing the original little black books and in particular starship design. Now when Traveller dropped in '77 the starship design was lean and mean. You had 24 jump drives, 24 maneuver drives, and 24 power plants. You probably had less than 24, because the larger drives required higher tech levels to produce. You fit these into six standard hulls though others could be produced at great expense and long construction time. In '79 High Guard dropped and lo! Drives were given a percentage of hull required and a cost per displacement on. The restrictions for tech level were largely gone, except for maximum jump range being a product of computer model (which was dependent on tech level). Immediately us gamers discussed how to reconcile the two ship construction systems. Never mind how you now had ships the size of asteroids (or made from asteroids!) You couldn't really. The original system smacked of technological stagnation. Ships were built because people needed ships

Right to Bear Arms

Captain was proud of his revolver, brought from his mother planet, or Planet of Mothers, as some referred to Zaonia. He liked calling it a wheel gun. It made an impressive CLICK when you cocked it. The large hexagonal barrel and the fact you could see the bullets in the cylinder were intimidating as hell. This fact explained why the bullets stayed in the cylinder -mostly. Free traders had a rough life style.  At the customs station, he swore as he realized he'd brought the handgun with him. He made no pretense -merely said, "I ain't slogging back to my ship with this. Can I rent a storage box for it till I get back?" He'd heard the local government had heavy retractions on weaponry. He unbuckled his gun belt.  "A lock box won't be necessary, Captain. We pride ourselves on creating the least restrictive society possible. We can just make your hand cannon street legal for a nominal fee." The official produced a tube from his desk and prepared to slip i

Water, Water Everywhere Part 3

 For our final look at trucking massive amounts of hydrogen to pep up your power plants, jazz your jump drives, master your maneuver drive and ramp up your reaction drives -Ultradense Deuterium (UDD)! Metallic hydrogen may have been created in minute quantities already. UDD blows it away and may always remain fictional. However, as Robert A. Heinlein said everything is impossible till someone does it! Besides, it meets so many properties of space opera fuel! First UDD has a phenomenal density of 100 kg per cubic centimeter or 100,000 tons per cubic meter! Hypothetically, the lovely dense stuff fuses easily under laser beams giving us a fairly easy way to build fusion reactors (a laser and a really strong container) and rockets (the same with a hole in one end). Obviously a small faction of a ship's fuel will be UDD. The stuff is so dense, tanks of it are problematical. In general a tank is about one sixth the mass of the fuel it holds. just dumping UDD in your ship's fuel can

When Do You Become a Privateer?

The Vexing Toad had waited in ambush for a few days. The Shining Credit was scheduled to emerge from jump space within 6 hours. The pirate ship had received the flight plan from a confederate in the Credit's departure system. Another compatriot had relayed it t the Toad.  A jump trace exploded on the Toad's sensor array. The pirate ship immediately powered up and readied weapons with the speed of countless drills and... ... another merchant ship jumped in, then another, and another. The convoy established multiple weapon locks on the Toad. ... the 'hapless' merchant deployed pop up turrets and fired first, a salvo of missiles were inbound! ... the newcomer was not a fat merchant, but a mercenary cruiser loaded for space future bears.  I may have given the impression that free traders and merchants were soft targets for piracy, that it was a question of when, not if they'd be taken by pirates, boarded, looted or otherwise inconvenienced economically. Not quite , or t

Water Water Everywhere Part 2

So I wrote myself into a corner. I was seeking better ways to transport hydrogen and looked into water and methane. They didn't need cryo tech, but weren't any great shakes at shipping the stuff. Now water is quite useful: for drinking, bathing, maintaining humidity. But we need something more efficient for our fuel needs. My friend Ray McVay at Blue Max Studios is of the opinion space opera vessels have fuel as dense as dwarf star matter. He likes figuring out stuff like that.  It makes you look at those TIE fighters and X-Wings in a different light. No wonder they're so 'splodey. However I have two forms of unobtainium that may be obtainium one day. I wrote about one in my Zaonia posts under the brand name Metasol. The plucky Zaonians were TL5-6. they had access to an old junked ship and discovered they could use its reactor to compress hydrogen into its metallic state. Now this mH2 has some very interesting properties.  For one thing, if you achieve the pressures

Gunsmithing

 So last post I... err built firearms for Classic Traveller -reinventing the wheel so to speak.  There's more... never fear.  Generally speaking, bullets do 3D of damage and have no penetration modifier by themselves. This is modified by the frame of the weapon. Medium longarms are also called assault rifles. Heavy longarms  are battle rifles (or shotguns). A shot shell modifies the range and penetration modifiers as follows: C S M L V.L. Shot Shell Mods 0 0 +3 -5 No Shot shells have Penetration -1 and do one additional die of damage. A shotgun would look like this Large Shotgun: 0/0/+3/-5/No/4D/Slug/Shot Shells, Pen -1 C S M L V.L. Shot Shell Mods 0 0 +3 -5 No Heavy Longarm -4 +1 0 -1 -3 Large Shotgun -4 +1 +3 -6 No Light Shotgun: -4/+1/+1/-9/Non//3D/Slug/Shot Shells Pen -1 Not everyone wants to lug around a big ole shotgun. Some people are strength 3

Gunsmithing: Eyeballing Damage

 The great and sadly late Mr. Loren Wiseman said it in Journal of the Traveller' Aide Society (Vol. 1 Issue 2 page 3) "We don't have room to describe everything. With a little imagination, a little research, and a lot of thought, almost anything can be made compatible with Traveller." Mr Wiseman gave a delightful example of working out a laser pistol from laser carbine stats. I say 'huzzah' to this. Go read it. I'll wait. Here's what I have. I took the range modifiers for the various examples of ironmongery and their range modifiers. You may want to check out my previous post ( Link ).  Range Matrix Weapon Frame C ≤1m S 1-5m M 5-50m L 50-150m V.L. 150 -1000m Notes Snub Nose Pistol +2 +1 -6 No No -1D &  Pen -2 Body pistol Light Pistol +1 +2 -5 No No Pen -1 or 2D Medium Pistol +1 +2 -4 -6 No Auto Pistol Large Pistol +1 +2 -3 -5 No Revolver Sweeper* -4 +2 +1 -4 -6 SMG Light Longarm* -4 +1 -2 -4 -5 Carbine Medium Longarm -4 +1 -1 -3 -4 Pen+1 Rifle Heav