Showing posts from June, 2022

So You Want to be a Pirate: Spec For

 I got into the how and why of piracy. Let me talk about about space future pirates! You are not merely a pirate . You are a pirate in space AND in the future. Now I don't use Bold  and italics  lightly. What I mean is you have all manner of trappings (explosive and otherwise). Don't merely have a shuttle to send your men to your prize, use one of those fancy boarding shuttles, with the cyber can opener on the airlock. Don't use the prize's airlock -cut your own. Airlocks are easy to booby trap or set up for an ambush. Don't just send run of the mill thugs through your breach. You can also send robots, androids, cyborgs, even uplifted animals into the fray. Anything sparing your human crew will be appreciated. By the humans at least. The robots, androids and cyborgs might have hurt feelings. Actively recruit psionic crew. Most merchants don't want to buy expensive psi shields. Freezing or incapacitating a gunner or pilot from a distance can often turn the battle


"...  one of the surest ways to injure or kill an adversary is  to  subject him  or  her  to  a large dose of kinetic energy; the simplest way  to  deliver that energy to someone is with bullet impact . " Marc Miller: The Traveller Book page 48.   So we were treated to a number of weapons that would not especially impress our TL 7 selves.  But then comes TL 8 and we get laser weapons. Again at TL 10, we get laser rifles. Now until ablative armor comes into play last weapons rock (that's a TL and a half, a couple decades?) They cut through cloth armor like butter. They're deadly and accurate and make little sound (yes heating hair will create sound). They are their own tracer rounds, letting you walk the beam towards your target.  Ablative armor nerfs lasers first. Then reflec armor finishes the job. Refle is to a laser file what battle dress is to rifles. Actually auto rifles ave a better chance to score a hit on BD. I'm not sure if the analogy holds up.  Yet peop

So You Want to be a Pirate: Methods

You got your backstory. You got your ship, bristling with weapons. You got your loyal (?) crew. You got your informants, relaying news of fat traders plodding along, with barely small arms for the crews aboard, and sweet cargo. It comes down to this, some people will resist your attempts to make off with their ship and/or cargo. Was are you going to do about it? Use Fear: make them understand they will regret any resistance they make. Historically, some pirates would hoist a red flag, announcing they would kill everyone aboard. Sailors would see the crimson banner and jump ship to swim for it. The pirates presumably ignored them and took an empty and pristine ship. The bad news with this approach is you had to have committed depraved and murderous acts at least once and hell yes that'd bring the Navy down on you. You also have to let someone escape to tell of you heinous conduct. Use Force: this is what people usually think of when you say pirates. Ships trading broadsides, ramming

Handwaving the Handwaving

 For a game often regarded as hard science based, Traveller has a bunch of things that fly in the face of physics as we know it. Psionic, Jump drives, Maneuver drives to name the major hand waves. Now hand waving is like telling lies. You should stay as close to the truth as you can and tell as few lies as you can, to remember them. So I'm going to combine the Jump and Maneuver drives into one effect. Maneuver drives work off principles of Jump drive. To be specific, you need a jump grid to generate a Maneuver drive effect. Small craft use Reaction drives. This means long trips in system use something like a Scout with the Jump drive and fuel removed. Such a used ship would be about Mcr 20. The mortgage would be cr 80,000 a month (maybe less, the ship is very used. If it flies two missions a month hauling cargo that's about cr 10,000. Odds are with 2 gees you could fly three missions a month for Kcr 15 (assuming a freight rate of cr 100 per ton). A single pilot draws cr 6,000 a

Am I my Brother's Maker? (Redux)

I was digging into androids in the original 2d6 game and ending very little to go on.  So here;'s a post from way back in 2014. Also a disclaimer: No Love Androids! I've run right up against the central tenet of Classic Traveller; which I'm loving more and more as I work with it. CT doesn't even pretend to be able to cover everything. Now if T5 is the equivalent of Ikea, then CT was Home Depot. You built your furnishings from scratch. I'm trying to introduce androids into my latest setting  and there is nearly nothing to go on in the LBBs or JTAS, my primary resources. From the JTAS I get that androids are synthetic but biological beings. I fudged the TLs for robotics already. I won't hesitate to do it again for some cool androids. Androids have many of the advantages of transplanted human stock story wise. They can be alien but ultimately comprehensible. You don't have to worry about making them too human and of course there is common ground for interaction

So You Want to be a Pirate: Target Acquisition

 Okay, you have a backstory. You acquired a ship through means fair or foul. Now what? Now you have to go about acquiring a target, a trade perhaps with a small crew, a valuable cargo, and turrets that are conspicuously absent. Now going by encounter tables, you might think pirates just hang around near the sttrlanes waiting for a ship to roll on by and then pounce. Amateurs. Attacking blindly is just reckless. Every time you initiate an attack, you are risking your ship and your crew. don't do it lightly. Sure anyone can have their luck dry up and go hungry, but never make a blind attack your default. Using your ship sensors is the last part of target acquisition. Choosing and researching a target begins in the starport. Spreading money around to brokers, factors, dockhands and even the right officials can give you ship manifests. These are crucial. At 50,000 km, your sensors won't tell whether that ship's hauling precious isotopes or dental floss. A manifest will. The fir

So You Want to be a Pirate: Means

 It has occurred to me I have failed in giving out advice to other referees. I neglected a golden opportunity to spin stories and screw with players (you players, keep reading, I will give some ideas to mitigate a lot of the crap you get handed.) See, I've always referred to THE BANK -a monolithic institution, that makes the subsector and nay even the sector government thread lightly. It controls the loans to buy ships, you see. Despite nearly everyone messing with free traders, they are vital for healthy interstellar commerce. They also provide a lot of stimulus to your local economies.  Banks know economic depressions only rank (slightly) behind plagues in toppling governments. They are very careful to keep the traders they underwrite working to make their mortgages. The traders often wind up very wealthy, the bank gets a huge return on their investment, the economy improves and the governments stay in power. So all should be peaceful. Not necessarily.  See there's more than

The Jump Shadow Knows!

 Jump drives are a staple of RP games in space (unless you're playing Spelljammer or using one of those sissy warp drives). We know the particulars - it takes 168 hours to initiate a jump (plus or minus a bit), you travel 1-6 parsecs. You can set a course or buy a jump tape (not really a tape but we still refer to dialing a number for a call or rolling down a car window).  Oh there's a jump shadow too. You cannot safely initiate jump within 100 diameters of a significant object -planet, moon, stars... When you are traveling in jump space, you will emerge when you encounter such an object, or you reach te end of your journey. Either way it takes a week. Some rules have determined that you require a jump limit, a moon or something at your endpoint to emerge from jump. Jump into an empty hexagon and you'll find something, a rock or a stray comet. If it has ice on it winner winner chicken dinner. If not, you have a long trip to a star system. I hope you brought a long book or a

Armor Up!

 I love Classic Traveller. That should be apparent. Now I usually prefer to say 2d6 when I'm offering generic advice or at least advice that can be implemented in various editions. But this post deals with a specific aspect of CT. I'm diving right in. If you don't like it check out my other posts.  One of the things people do not seem overly taken with in Book 1 is the combat matrix approach. You take your weapon, cross reference the range to your victim  tagged and get a DM. You then do the same with another table and cross reference your weapon with the armor your victim target is wearing. You total the mods, include mods for skill and characteristics and apply it to the usual 8+ to hit. By which time your target may have found cover.  One solution to this is Chris Kubasik's weapon cards . I heartily endorse his blog Tales to Astound. He's a fine gamer and everyone can learn from him. Anyway the cards make great handouts. They have the DMs for a single weapon c