Monday, March 30, 2015

Path of the Lioness - Campaign journal #2

Captain's Log, Federation Science Vessel Lioness
Captain Josiah Greene reporting

"The march of the Thunderwhumps"

     The Haephestian star-map generator which we found on Zephlenn had pointed us towards the planet Klah. Once we arrived, and were beginning to orbit the planet, lights on the side of the generator began to flash, which we determined was a directional indicator. Diego put us into a parking orbit above the starport, and I, Gen. Mason, Wally, Svetlana and Carter rode down in the pinnace. 

      After landing the pinnace at Klah starport, and delivering the q-ferrets and tree rat to the local zoo officials, we lifted in the direction the generator seemed to be pointing us. A few hundred km northeast of the port, the generator zeroed in on a large ranch-style house. We couldn't see any indication of the presence of the pentagon piece, so we concluded that it must be in the house.

  The house belonged to a Mr. Walpole, who owned most of the land we could see. I introduced our team, and explained in brief what we were looking for. Walpole agreed to let us look around, and to my surprise, the piece was not in the house. The star map device began to flash lights on all sides, and Mason realized it meant that the next piece was buried beneath the house. Walpole denied any knowledge of this. He agreed to let us dig beneath his house for the piece, but asked us to do him a favor first.

Mr. Walpole's problem was with the local wildlife. A herd of large grazers, which he termed "Thunderwhumps" were headed toward his ranch house. They were still 20+ hours away, but these creatures apparently move in straight lines, and don't bother going around obstacles, choosing instead to bash through them. Thunderwhumps can weigh up to 30 tons each, and this herd had half a dozen of them. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Planets of the Corridor - Stavanger

Before I introduce Stavanger's allies, here's a detailed look at the planet and its people. 

Stavanger B-361851-C

Starport: B. Good installation, with refined fuel and facilities for starship repair, annual overhauls, etc.
Size: 3. Diameter 3,260 miles, surface gravity 43% standard. Many exploitable mineral & metal deposits. Settled area: 2,615,385 km^2
Atmosphere: 6. Standard NO2 mix, but 02 is only 14% of air composition. Noble gases in much higher proportions. Because of low hydrographics (see below) the air is very dry, clouds and rain are uncommon occurrences.
Hydrographics: 1. Very low. Three long, narrow lakes cover 14% of the planet's surface. All of the settled area is in the vicinity of the lakes, which occupy a large depression & lowlands area. The borderlands begin where the land slopes upward. The polar regions have small regions of ice. The inhabited areas are extensively irrigated, while the borderlands are quite arid.
Population: 8. 170,000,000 inhabitants. Population density 65 ppl/km^2
Government: 5. Feudal Technocracy. See below. Counts select head of state from own membership or the Planetary Assembly.
Law Level: 1. Almost no weapons are prohibited, open carrying is common and accepted. Public order is everyone's business.
Tech Level: 12. Galactic average.
Trade Classifications: Rich, on Trade Routes.  
Main imports: foodstuffs, tourists  
Main exports: raw materials, refined minerals, retail and trade goods, radioactive ores
Gas Giant:The Stavanger system has three.
Alignment: Independent. Resents Imperial intrusion into its sphere of influence. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Requiem In Pace - Fr Thomas Hopko

Memory Eternal! + Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko
May Light Perpetual shine upon him.
Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, 76, dean emeritus of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, New York, and noted Orthodox Christian priest, theologian, preacher, and speaker, fell asleep in the Lord at Good Samaritan Hospice of Concordia, Wexford, PA, in the afternoon of March 18, 2015.

Read the full obituary here.

During his years of priestly ministry, Fr. Thomas authored numerous books and articles. Most well known of these publications is The Orthodox Faith: An Elementary Handbook on the Orthodox Church.

A prolific speaker and preacher, he spoke at conferences, retreats, public lectures, and Church gatherings of all kinds, many of which were recorded. Father Thomas performed countless duties on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America, including representing the Church at intra-Orthodox gatherings and ecumenical meetings.


Planets of the Corridor - Lanzhou and its Allies

The second stop in our tour of the Corridor is Lanzhou. A tech powerhouse with a big population behind it, Lanzhou might be able to challenge the Empire directly, but so far is trying indirect means to blunt Imperial ambitions.

Lanzhou and its allies are in Yellow.

Lanzhou B-628743-13 On Trade Route 86 million people 

Lanzhou is divided into eleven provinces which manage local affairs and send representatives to the National Assembly. The planetary government is gridlocked on domestic issues by the presence of competing political parties and regional interests. While formally democratic, the provinces are under the control of warlord landowners. With the highest tech-level in the Corridor, and a large population, Lanzhou's export-driven economy exerts a wide influence on its neighbors. Lanzhouan culture is highly unified, and Chinese is the official language. There are 6d ships in port at any one time. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Planets of the Corridor - The Imperial Client States

Talaveran Client States

Talaveran planets are Red, Client States are Purple

Holtzmann (Talavera) C-331496-12 On Trade Route Ni Pr 85,000 people

Holtzmann is cold and snowy. It was once ruled by the Duke of Holtzmann, the Duchy being granted by King Roger I, as one of the last conquests before the end of the Time of Expansion. For the last 90 years the Duchy has been vacant – the Ducal family killed itself off in a fratricidal power struggle, and King Pedro IV chose not to grant a new noble patent. Succeeding rulers have followed the precedent, so currently the de facto government is the Admiralty staff at Naval Base Holtzmann, with the base Admiral as head of state. The admirals have left the running of the non-navy population to the already existing bureaucracy. 3,250 miles diameter, air pressure is 0.18 atm. Hydrosphere is ice ponds scattered about. Nearly all of the population is employed at the starport and naval base. Major industry is starship parts manufacturing. All citizens are Imperial subjects. Naval base and starport have access to TL 14 equipment. Holtzmann is a cold rock; the only native life is a few varieties of moss and lichens. There are 2d ships in port at any given time.

Science for your Game - Stellar Luminosity and Spectra

The Hertzsprung-Russel Diagram of Stellar Luminosity

I have used the Heaven & Earth program to detail star systems, and recently I've (re-)acquired Book 6: Scouts, so I can use the extended system generation procedures. But without some kind of visual reference, the Spectra & Luminosity attributes of stars was always vague to me. This diagram provides some much-needed context to understand the variation among stars.

For me the most important thing is the average temperature each spectral type. As I have been learning a little bit about exoplanets, I'm discovering how difficult it is to find planets in a star's habitable zone such that some kind of life might exist there. Traveller takes liberties with astronomy in this regard in order to have planets where humans can breathe the air, and where alien animals are a common occurrence. The extended system generation process gives out a lot of planets that are way too hot or too cold for life-as-we-know-it to exist, and it is a serious challenge for humans to create habitats on those planets. 

Even the basic world generation system creates lots of planets with challenging surface conditions, which I consider to be one of the system's strengths - and this system was designed in the 1970's before the search for exoplanets had really gotten going, so the designers were just speculating. Seems they weren't too far off.

So referees, instead of the next world your PCs visit being another subtropical paradise, send them to a world with a mean surface temperature of 400 K, orbiting a white supergiant which is blasting out cosmic radiation at hull-melting intensities. That'll get their attention!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Introducing Holtzmann's Corridor

Holtzmann's Corridor is considered a border area in my TU, far from the Big Four and their conflicts; but it is an active region full of adventure possibility. Many systems are only lightly populated and lightly travelled; there's lots of exploration still to be done.

The Talaveran Empire (TE) and the Lycosky Trade Protectorate (LTP) are competing for markets for goods and for exclusive shipping rights & routes. The conflict extends to diplomacy, espionage and even covert military action. Stavanger & Lanzhou are in competition with each other, and trying to balance the influence of the Empire and the Protectorate. Dekalb is aggressively pushing its own agenda for regional dominance. They are coming into direct conflict with the Talaverans over Worosha.
Talaveran ships and citizens are all over the Corridor, sometimes acting as official agents of the Empire, other times as free traders/adventurers. Expect to see them on every world. Sometimes they are there to help, sometimes they're bossing the locals around.

The LTP currently limits itself to control of trade lanes but they want to establish regional dominance of their own.

Holtzmann's Corridor Map

Color Code:
  • Dark Red - Independent planets
  • Red - Talaveran Empire
  • Purple - Talaveran Client States
  • Yellow - Lanzhou and its allies
  • Blue - Stavanger and its allies

Subsector Data

Name Location Port UPP TL Bases Remarks

Armstrong's World 0101 B 7A7582 10
Ni Lanzhou
Cadawala 0602 D 3426B8 10
Na Stavanger
Chapolco 0305 B 584620 10
Ag Ni Stavanger
Dekalb 0604 A 885883 9

Faldor 0407 E 5836A7 6
Ni Lanzhou
Lanzhou 0404 A 628743 13 S In Lanzhou
Mavramorn 0605 C 34374A 10
Pr Stavanger
Narok 0304 B 6556A4 11
Ag Ni Lanzhou
Pampati 0406 E 55463A 6
Ag Ni Lanzhou
Ramsa 0501 E 229633 8 N Ni Stavanger Amber 101
Schamel 0402 E 5A1422 6
Ni Pr Stavanger
Stavanger 0505 A 361851 12
Ri Stavanger
System 908 0201 X 532000 0

System TV-311 0608 X 8A8000 0

System TX-318 0808 X S00000 0

Tabraz 0405 C 6678DB 6
Amber 104
Tagus 0203 D 12045C 10
Pr Ds

Tartarus 0502 X 600000 0
Red 000
Dimitrov 0801 C 7B1482 8
Ni TCS Amber 305
Dorothua 0702 B 426437 8 N Ni TCS
Ferrocore 0302 D S00410 9 S As Ni TCS
Kemasiik 0606 B 68466B 5 N Ri Ag TCS
Miltramos 0805 B 9A2469 10 N S Ni TCS
Vangoffs World 0705 B 262732 11 S Na TCS
Worosha 0603 C 466662 7 S Ri Ag  TCS
Holtzman 0401 C 331496 12 N S Ni Pr Empire

Holtzmann's Corridor has a total of 26 worlds, including four Barren worlds. The total population of the Corridor is 717,000,000. The highest population is 230,000.,000 at Dekalb. The highest Tech Level is D (13) at Lanzhou.  Kemasiik and Miltramos are controlled by Van Goff's World. Worosha is controlled by Dekalb. The Tartarus system consists of a massive black hole.

Coming eventually will be closer looks at the main planets of the Corridor, Lanzhou, Stavanger, Dekalb, Narok and Holtzmann. 

Here's some news reports from the Corridor Interplanetary News Net:

Negotiations are ongoing between Kemasiik, Miltramos and several shipping outfits of both the Empire and the Protectorate, to establish a permanent trade route between the two planets, which currently route shipping through VanGoff's World. VGW has expressed its displeasure at the proposed route.

A potential change of government is occurring on Chapolco, as the current chief of state faces a vote of no confidence.

A government building on Narok has been damaged by a terrorist bomb set outside. Reports of damage, fatalities and responsibility are not yet available.

A large-scale building plan has begun on Miltramos, constructing an entirely new city located near to a large palladium deposit.

Pirates continue to harass shipping between Miltramos and VanGoff, with local naval
forces seeming incapable of interdicting the pirates. 

See these posts also: