Friday, January 15, 2021

How much room is there on a planet?

Talavera, the capital of the Empire of my Church and Empire setting, is a large planet with vast oceans. The UPP is A-969835-F, and 947 million people. But how much room do they actually have for a billion people?

Size 9: 9,000 mile diameter

Hydro 9: 90% of the planet is oceans

I had an initial idea of a densely populated island, where the buildings reach high into the sky to make room for nearly a billion people.

Then I did some math. What I found was, to say the least, not that dramatic.

Talavera has 25,446,900 square miles of land area. Spread 947,000,000 people over that and you get a population density of 37.215 ppl/mi^2.

According to this table of population densities of countries, that's less than Norway or Sweden. Neither are the sorts of places you think of when you think of dense populations. China, at 378 ppl/mi^2 is ten times denser. 25 million square miles is several times the size of Russia.

I did up a table to compute the square miles of surface area on planets in Traveller. By taking the Size code and cross-referencing with the Hydrographics code, you can find the land area of any planet of normal parameters. It may be water, it may be ice, it can be some other kind of liquid.

Here is a sample of the table, including a few Earth examples for comparison. The entire table, in MS Excel format, is available here.  The long and short of it is this: any planet is going to have plenty of room for exploration, or to hide something or someone. Even a Size-2 planet with Hydro-5 has space near to the size of Russia to work with.

Of this area, only a scant percentage is going to be inhabited, unless A) the population is in the Billions or above and B) most of the planet is covered by liquid or ice. A planet with only a few million people is going to be 90+% uninhabited.

What might go on in the frontier areas of a lightly populated world? Possibly a lot.  Share your ideas in the comments.
Size Code Diameter Radius Total Area Hydrographic-5
0 500.0 250.0 785,398.2 392,699.1
1 1,000.0 500.0 3,141,592.7 1,570,796.4
2 2,000.0 1,000.0 12,566,370.8 6,283,185.4
3 3,000.0 1,500.0 28,274,334.3 14,137,167.2
4 4,000.0 2,000.0 50,265,483.2 25,132,741.6
5 5,000.0 2,500.0 78,539,817.5 39,269,908.8
6 6,000.0 3,000.0 113,097,337.2 56,548,668.6
7 7,000.0 3,500.0 153,938,042.3 76,969,021.2
8 8,000.0 4,000.0 201,061,932.8 100,530,966.4
9 9,000.0 4,500.0 254,469,008.7 127,234,504.4
10 (A) 10,000.0 5,000.0 314,159,270.0 157,079,635.0










New York


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Putting more High Tech into Traveller

Fantastic Technology for Traveller? Why Not?

It has been observed over the years that the Classic Traveller Technology seems dated. Like stuck in the 1970's dated. We all know about the computers. Someone I know recently compared the CT equipment section to a 1970's hardware store.

Well what should be done about this? Simple: Add More! Add in anything you like. If you see it in another sci-fi property, put it in.

Really? Won't that wreck the game, or make it silly or something? With very few exceptions, no it won't 'ruin' Traveller. I say the opposite – that it will make Traveller even better.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Cepheus Journal #3 is avaiable!

"The Cepheus Journal is a free and ad-free Fanzine for the Cepheus Engine RPG. We will cover all sorts of settings that uses the Cepheus Engine rules. That could be Science Fiction, Fantasy, Modern, Historical and more."

The Contents:

  • Alpha Centauri
  • The Quarlon
  • Additional Shield Rules for Sword of Cepheus
  • Disarm Rules for Sword of Cepheus
  • Factions
  • People’s Army of Vietnam Rifle Platoon
  • Vega Subsector
  • Provincial Cruiser
  • The Gebbebem
  • Tau Ceti
  • TSAO Review
  • The Nissi

Excerpts from Disarm Action and Shield Rules

Whiteshadow, a PC sorcerer, is Charmed by an enemy magician. The enemy instructs him to disarm Cuthden Redfang, his comrade, who is attentively watching the stairwell down to the next dungeon level. Redfang is guarding against an attack from below, so he does not notice what Whiteshadow is doing. The Referee decides Whiteshadow gets Surprise in his lunge for Redfang's two-handed sword.

Whiteshadow: No STR DM, +1 for Melee Cbt, +2 for Surprise, total +3

Redfang: +1 STR DM, +2 for Melee Cbt, +1 for heavier weapon, +1 for wielding a sword, total +5.

Redfang's player threw a 4 +5=9. Whiteshadow's player threw 5+3=8. Whiteshadow fails to get the sword out of Redfang's hands. Now Whiteshadow's player gets to do some role-playing to explain his curious behavior. Redfang is unlikely to attack his comrade without clear evidence of treachery, but Surprise is lost. Without it, Whiteshadow's chance of success is slim.

The Shield of Sligh the Invincible

This mythical weapon of great potency guarded the mightiest warrior of the Eastern Steppes as he waged relentless war on the Central Kingdoms. It was described by some as a circle of mirror-bright metal which no sword or ax could mar nor dull. Fearlessly Sligh stood against hordes of foes bearing the shield which only he was strong enough to hold. At the Battle of the Sundered Slopes he alone held a narrow defile against the Army of Five Kings while his forces raised a breastwork in the gorge behind him. 

After his death the Shield of Sligh became the prize in a mighty tournament fought by the Five Kings, as they all coveted it. A mysterious knight calling himself The Disinherited One entered the contest, and besting all comers, rode off with the Shield. None were able to follow him, or learn what his right name was. The shield vanished from men's tales after that contest. 

Yes, these are the two bits that I wrote for this issue.

Here's a Link to Issue 002

Here's a Link to Issue 001

Check it out!

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Play Report - Mission on Mithril

Finally, after 38 years.

A Mission on Mithril Play Report

While my elder son was home on leave from the Air Force (Flyers, term 1) we got in a little Traveller. With his time at home limited, we opted for a standalone adventure rather than launching a new campaign. What better time to go ad fontes (back to the sources)? At their request, I pulled down Mission on Mithril.

MoM may seem like a very 'linear' adventure. On inspection it has enough variety & flexibility that you could run it over and over, with a different adventure each time.

The general layout of the adventure is this: a small Scout ship crew are stranded on Mithril in the Sword Worlds. Mithril is cold, as in arctic cold, and almost uninhabited. The Class E starport does not draw much traffic, so the chance of beneficial starship encounters is low.

Their ship has a malfunction which prevents them from jumping out-system.