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 to seek riches, and defend riches with which to build more ships. You had these drives. People used them because they worked. They built them that way because they worked. Leave your fancy jump governors off. Too complicated. Hulls were standardized and even if you waited years and shelled out for your new shell, the max size was still 5,000 tons. It was a society that was in decline perhaps or partly recovered from a collapse. If you got a ship you were grateful.

Uhm yeah, I know you could simply not fill your tanks to the top for shorter jumps. Please sit down.

The High Guard construction system portrays a society with many options for ship building. A campaign between a navy using LBB2 construction and one using HG construction would be a very one-sided affair. That is barely catching innovations such as armor, particle weapons and (shudder) spinal mounts. 

At this point I make the case that the two construction approaches represent very different society, a little beyond Core vs. Frontier, or one society at very different times. In The Foundation series Asimov posited a society where high technology was kept in repair (barely) by a priest like caste with no real understanding of its operating principles. 


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