Monday, December 10, 2018

Frightening Animal Encounter - Outriders

Many of you have by this time seen the film Avengers: Infinity War, I'm sure. I've made reference to the Avengers before but today I'm bringing in an opposing force. Some creatures that are more likely to appear in a Traveller game. Although you might hope they don't. 

I'm talking today about these guys:
Hi. I don't like you. I have a LOT of claws. Poor You.
Animal description 

  • 4-armed, sometimes 6-armed
  • Upright bipedal mammals
  • capable of quadrupedal movement
  • skin black to gray, no hair

Genetically altered creatures 

4-Armed Outrider
Carnivore/killer    Natural terrain: Jungle

Monday, November 19, 2018

More Traveller Literary History - Kalin

In E C Tubb's Dumarest of Terra novel Kalin, the titular protagonist finds himself out of cash on Chron, an Industrial planet of huge strip mines and forges, run mostly on slave labor. Dumarest avoids that fate, but if he's not working for the Company, there are very few other options. He gambles a little, but wins too much for the house's comfort, so that's not a source of income.

Along with some other travellers he meets, he goes hunting for creatures called zardles. Zardle meat is not appealing, but it is edible and better than not eating. 

I have extracted some details of the creature from the narrative, to construct a Traveller animal description for it. I have written elsewhere about Frightening Animal Encounters, and these things definitely fall into that category. More than half a dozen of the hunters in Dumarest's party are killed by these foul beasts.

Just add lots of legs. And claws. And bad breath. And don't forget its poison.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Scurvy Space Dogs - The Pirate Career

Scurvy Space Dogs – the Pirate career

Now that Piracy & Privateering is out, it's time to have a look at the CT Pirate career, as found in Supp:4 Citizens of the Imperium. Is a pirate's life for you?
Piracy is harder to get into than you might think. At 7+, it's tougher than Bureaucrats, Sailors/Flyers or Scientists. Pirates will take lower-class types than Rogues (+1 DM for SOC 7-, instead of 8- for rogues).

All pirates learn Brawling. Well, maybe that's more on-the-job training than a planned course. I expected Gun combat. When you're raiding a ship, is there more brandishing weapons than actual fighting? Plus the bottom rung of the pirate ladder is likely considered expendable. Why waste time training them?

That could explain the 6+ survival throw. This is tougher than sailors/flyers, the Navy, the Army, and as tough as the Marines. Is this saying that Pirates and Marines (natural enemies) are evenly matched? It's INT that helps the pirate survive. This makes sense, given the chaotic nature of the career. But brains are not the first characteristic many think of when considering pirates.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Are there Soccer Moms in Space?

If there are, then we have a vehicle for them. Designed by my son, using the Mgt 2e Vehicle Handbook. Enjoy, if you can.

Minivan (TL-8)

Chassis: Light Ground Vehicle

Spaces: 10 (5dtns)

Crew/Passengers: 1/7 (8 spaces)

Speed: Medium (Slow)/200kph (100kph)

Range: 400km (600km)

Agility: +1

Hull: 20

Armor: 2/2/2

Traits: None

Armament: None

Equipment: Improved Control Systems (5000Cr), Basic GPS (2000Cr, DM+1 to Navigation checks), Entertainment System (200Cr)

Cargo: 0.5tns (2 spaces) Note: 6 seats can be folded down to provide an additional 1.5tns (6 spaces) of cargo

Cost: 14,700Cr

Roomy and comfortable, the minivan is perfect for adventuring in town. The GPS is capable of linking in to a city's navigation grid for an easy commute to meet a Patron or visit a Startown Bar. If you roll with a smaller crew, there's plenty of cargo space. Simple and efficient design with an optional speed governor so even under manual control you never have to worry about those pesky Legal Encounters - this vehicle just won't break the speed limit!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Product Review Piracy and Privateering

Review of Piracy and Privateering

by Josh Peters
Publisher: Stellagama Publishing
Length: 83 pages

You might have thought that the pirates were supposed to be the NPCs, but surprise! The book begins with a persuasive essay aimed to encourage players to play as pirates!
When you're a Professional Pirate . . .

The book contains five sections:
  1. Setting up the campaign
  2. Space Encounters
  3. How to Make money
  4. Adventure Seeds
  5. Sample NPCs
The book is system-neutral throughout. It leans toward the 2D6 dice rolling mechanic, but it would not be difficult to transition any of the tables into any 'variable degrees of success' dice rolling system. For OGL legal reasons they can't say it works with Classic Traveller, but I can. It does. That makes me happy.

Setting up
Is the campaign going to be in a Star Spanning Empire, or among competing star nations, or the fringes where it's every planet for themselves? This is an important consideration, and the author lays out the good and the bad of each type. My TU is competing star nations, and a lot of Independents. Pirates will use different tactics depending on where they are.

Wherever your piratical PCs set up, there has to be enough potential for profit to make it all worthwhile. The referee/GM has to consider this or it will be a short and unhappy campaign.

For the sake of players and GMs who aren't familiar with the practicalities of piracy, the book lays out a method of doing the deed, labeled “Piracy 101”. This section goes into a helpful amount of detail on things like:

  • Finding a target
  • persuading them to surrender
  • deciding what to take, including whether or not to steal the ship directly
  • escaping pursuit
  • turning the loot into cash (but more on that later)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

More Traveller Literary History? or Not

Traveller literary history – or maybe not.

The Inverted Man

I thoroughly enjoyed Clarke's Hide and Seek short story, so when I brushed up against another one of his from the following year, I stopped to say hello.

It was a dull conversation. I am really disappointed with The Inverted Man
(Thrilling Wonder Stories, V36, #2 June 1950) Perhaps I should have read the cover story instead.
Here, there is Something at Stake. Look at the guy's eye. He's thinking "Get her clear of the line of fire, and this chump is Mine."

The story concerns a power plant engineer named Nelson. He is caught inside his new very modern generator apparatus when a freak set of circumstances throws it into overload. There is a huge thunder-clap, and Nelson goes down, but survives.

In the hospital, the doctors discover that Nelson has been Inverted: he is now a stereo-isomer of himself. His left hand is now his right, his hear is on the other side, etc. He reads and writes backwards.
So far so good, right? Good old H G Wells Invisible Man stuff. But at this point Nelson fades into the background. He has no more dialogue and takes no independent action.

The focus shifts to Dr Hughes, another engineer at the power company. Three science lectures later, Hughes tries to recreate the conditions of the accident to put Nelson 'right' again.

I'm going to ruin the ending now, so if you want to read this story, stop here.