Thursday, June 13, 2019

Crashing Suns

The Fantastic Technology of Crashing Suns

Last night I finished reading Crashing Suns by Edmond Hamilton, (AKA the World Wrecker) published in the August & September 1928 issues of Weird Tales.
Random Chance or just Carelessness? You Decide.

The story is set in our solar system some time in the future when the EIGHT planets are inhabited. [Pluto's discovery was still two years away.] The solar system is threatened by a rogue star hurtling on a collision course with Sol. This would result in annihilation of the human race and all its works.

The protagonist, Jan Tor, is a pilot of the Interstellar patrol. He is tasked with leading the expedition to the approaching star to find if there is a way to avert this disaster.

Space Opera, indeed.

The story is actually a straightforward affair of exploration, discovery, capture, escape, conflict and a last minute rescue. By now, this is a by-the-numbers tale of not great impact. We've seen it before. In 1928, though? This might have been hot stuff. Hamilton's reputation among space opera/sci-fi writers is outstanding, even if he's less well known today than during his lifetime.

The story's structure is heavy on exposition and description (needs to be, set in another solar system), light on dialogue and character development. Beyond their names, I saw only the scantest details to differentiate the hero and his companions.

But that's not what I found interesting about this story.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Traveller Meme Fun ATV edition

There is a Facebook group called Traveller RPG Memes. Go check it out.

These are two that I've done myself. The Facebook page has more. Enjoy.

Friday, May 31, 2019

The Most Dangerous Skill - Bribery

From Faoladh, in the comments section on an earlier post:
"I suspect that the reason most players don't use Bribery is simply because most aren't used to thinking of it as a way of doing business, but instead think of it as a form of corruption first. Perhaps it is, but that isn't the way that everyone in the world thinks of it. Referees, too, have to leave room for bribery to be just part of the cost of doing business instead of setting off alarm bells every time that a player leaves a stack of Cr100 notes in the middle of their passport."

Nothing to see here. Move along, citizen.

How It Works

Bribery is a Basic Skill from Book 1, and can be acquired by Merchants and Others. In Supp-4, Rogues can also get this skill. It makes sense to me that at least Diplomats, Bureaucrats and Pirates or even Sailors should be able to have this skill as well, but it is not there. The block quote here is from Starter Travller's Rule Book.

Let's break this down.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

House Rules on Hand to Hand

First I had an idea. A question, rather. Why can't a trained fighter (Brawling-1) knock out an 'average' NPC [UPP 777777] in one round? Hands do 1D damage per hit, so the maximum is 6. This is one short of reducing a stat to zero via the First Blood rule and getting a knockout. For Rule of Cool reasons, I want my PCs to be able to do this.

Then I shared the idea on the Citizens of the Imperium forum, and Classic TravellerFacebook group.

Then I sat back and listened.

I came away with this, which will now be the Way We Do It in my games.
Any skilled character engaging in hand-to-hand combat, either armed or unarmed, has two possible DMs. The first is the Advantageous Strength DM, found in the combat charts, and the second is the character's skill level with the weapon chosen.

In the past I have taken both of these and applied them to the throw To Hit. The New Rule is this: the player (or referee) can choose to apply these DMs to either the To Hit throw, or the Damage throw on a successful hit. So now my trained fighter can roll 1D+1 for damage, and has at least a chance of getting a knockout blow. If the fighter has STR 9+, there is an additional +1 that can be added to the damage throw. If the fighter has STR 13+, it is +2.

This represents a sacrifice of accuracy to put more power behind the blow.

+1 Damage. Sparkle optional.

This new rule does not change the existing rule that a skilled fighter can apply his skill level as a Defensive DM, to make it harder for his opponent to hit.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Not Human at all: Ursas!

What would your PCs do, if they arrived at a Class-E port on some frozen dead end world, and discovered that this character:

"Stan", E7D776  Army, 2 terms Lieutenant
was the Port Authority? The Ursas appeared several hundred years ago; and other than the fact that they came from Earth, their origins are more legend than fact. The Ursas themselves cannot say who uplifted them. They don't think about it that much. They are here, deal with it.

Ursas are intelligent to a level comparable with humans, and some are quite smart. It is unwise to think of them as large, furry humans.  Ursas's motivations are hunger, desire for territory (see point 1), self-preservation or reproduction. Ursas that live in human society have chosen to adopt human means of sating these desires. Working for pay to buy food negates hunger and the need for territory.  Cooperation with humans provides security and the opportunity to find other Ursas to address that last drive.

Ursas are not aggressive, unless they sense a threat. They know that they can intimidate humans with their size and will do so if it helps their goals.  They will fight if facing a threat to themselves, their territory, their cubs, or any character the Ursa considers important to protect. Ursas in the Army can wear armor and carry heavy weapons. Think about that for a minute.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Around My TU - Brocadia

In other posts I have shared my Holtzmann's Corridor subsector, where my monthly game group is playing. Here's a planet from another part of my TU, the Weitzlar subsector. Weitzlar is where I'm trying out some concepts and running some characters solo, without it having an impact on the main gaming group. 

Here I present Brocadia, a world of that subsector, that has a few interesting features and I hope a number of adventure possibilities. Enjoy.

0108 Brocadia B-772639-10
Kingdom of Brocadia. Current monarch: Wilhelm XI. Maintains control through a large and effective secret police service.

Tags: police state, freak geology