Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Variant Low Berth rules for Classic Traveller

Classic Traveller's Low Berth rules make cold-sleep dangerous: upon reviving a Low Passenger, you roll 2d6 (+1 if a Medic is present, -1 if the passenger has Endurance 6-); on a roll of 5 or less, the passenger dies from Low Berth malfunction. This fits a low-tech, interstellar mass-colonization milieu well - with huge ships packed with cold-sleeping colonists, hoping to reach the stars, some of whom will never live to see their destination. Under these conditions, the desperate will risk certain death (a 16.7% death rate even with a medic present) in hope of leaving an overcrowded, polluted Earth for a better job amongst the stars. However, in a higher-tech setting, it makes less sense to have such a risky way of passage aboard a commercial starliner, even if (as in Classic Traveller) no liability or refund is allowed for by law. At least in the big star-lines, that is.

So what I have in mind is a variant rule for Low Berths under CT rules. At Tech Levels 8-10, low berths function JUST AS UNDER THE CLASSIC TRAVELLER RULES. At TL11+, however, they are much safer. If one follows the standard procedure, that is.

Properly preparing a passenger for Low Passage takes 1d6 hours and requires the presence of a Medic (Medicine-1 or better skill). One Medic may simultaneously work on up to 20 Low Berths. When this procedure is used, revival occurs at no DM.

It is also possible, in the absence of a Medic, or when time is pressing, to initiate Emergency Low Sleep. This takes 1 minute (4 combat rounds) to complete, and may be initiated either by outside controls, or by an override switch within the Low Berth itself. The downside of this is that revival, either using the standard procedure or emergency revival (both described below), is at a -2 DM.

Standard Revival takes 1d6x10 minutes and requires a roll 2d6, +1 DM if a Medic is present (again, up to 20 passengers per Medic), -1 DM if the passenger has Endurance 6-. A roll of 5+ is required for successful revival. Failure does not indicate death, however, but rather 3D6 wounds, taken under the First Blood rule (i.e. all from the same characteristic and may overflow to other characteristics). These are treated as any wounds. So a healthy character (with a sum of the physical characteristics of 18 or more) will never die from cryo-shock, though a sickly or wounded character would be at a much greater risk.

Emergency Revival is also possible.This takes 1d6 minutes and can either be triggered by the Low Berth's controls or activated automatically in case of power failure. This uses the procedure outlined in the Classic Traveller books, including the risk of death, BUT does not allow for the +1 DM for the presence of a medic. Note that emergency revival following emergency low sleep is HIGHLY DANGEROUS, and has a 58.3% risk of death (!). The human body should not be handled so roughly!

The Hidden Initiative System in Classic Traveller

Among the various things Classic Traveller is notorious for, it is well-known for its simultaneous combat. In essence, all combatants in a Classic Traveller fight act at once, which could be confusing, especially for the players of newer games, who are used to sequential initiative. So you think that Classic Traveller has no initiative system? THINK AGAIN!

Classic Traveller Book 2, p.42:

So, in essence, when one character is trying to shoot BEFORE another, roll 2d6 for each side, and add THE WHOLE DEXTERITY SCORE. The one with the highest score acts first ("has surprise").

Thanks to the posters mike wightman and Supplement Four from the Citizens of the Imperium Boards for pointing this out.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Greater Wyrm spotted!

A dragon* has been spotted in Rehovot, Israel where i live. I don't think he flies of breathes fire, but he is sure to be a VERY big one.

*In case you wondered, this is a wild Painted Dragon (Stellagama stellio), also called a Starred Agama, and this individual, a dominant male, is a particularly large specimen - about 30cm long. For this species of lizard, this is about how big they can get. They feed on insects, particularly ants, as well as meaty leaves, and flowers (they like yellow flowers particularly). This is also a relative of the Bearded Dragon from Australia, which is a common pet in many developed countries.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lost my Day Job to Cutbacks; Going for some Gaming Work

I am sorry to report that I have lost my day-job, in translation and editing, to cutbacks at the company. As of April 13th, 2014, I'll be without a formal day job, until I'll find a new one. HOWEVER, I am now working on a BIG gaming contract for Autarch, namely Barbarian Conqueror King, a Sci-Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery/Sword & Planet supplement and setting for ACKS (Adventurer Conqueror King System).

Friday, March 21, 2014

Armies' Army 15mm RUSK BTRs have landed!

I'm happy to announce that the four 15mm sci-fi BTRs I have ordered from ArmiesArmy have arrived at the post office today, and they are looking great! Really looking forward to assembling them. They'll serve as transportation for my New Soviet Federation troopers for Tomorrow's War.

Here are א'ם preliminary photos of them:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dragon Ahoy!

The winter is VERY disappointing this year in Israel, and, apart from a week in December, it feels much more like spring than an actual winter. But there are those who enjoy the sunshine, like this Painted Dragon (Stellagama Stellio), who was basking yesterday and today on the rocks near my mother's house in Kiryat Tivon, Israel.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Traveller: Secrets of the Dark Nebula

After posting my Dark Nebula variant on the SFRPG-Discussion Boards, I was asked on these boards by the Evil Doctor Ganymede: "Is there a reason that the planets in the Dark Nebula polity aren't inhabited or named?" So here is the answer, which is pivotal to the back-story of my Dark Nebula variant (i.e. non-canonical) official traveller universe.

Experimental Jump Coils on N3
The 2740's (the distant Third Imperium's calendar speaks of the -1770's) were well within the waning years of the Rule of Man, marked by significant political, economic and social instability. The old, stagnant Imperium, with a thin layer of Terran rule superimposed on it, was going to hell in a handbasket. Soon enough, in 2746, the dreaded Twilight, and, later, the Long Night, would engulf known space, leading to almost two millennia of barbarism and decay.

But instability has its perks. The failing Terran Empire was no longer a coherent government body, and those with connections and a clout could apprehend budgets, resources, even whole worlds, and get away with it in the chaos. Research Unit #72 was one such group of people (in this case, scientists) with clout, and, indeed, they managed to appropriate funds - stolen from the decomposing corpse of the Second Imperium - undreamed of by scientists of more civilized times. With that money, they moved to the deep Spinward-Rimward frontier, to the scantly explored Dark Nebula, to be free from the moral and political constrains of the Core. And there they worked wonders. At least, they tried to.

The Event, as seen from the surface of N3
They tried to develop technologies which will save the failing Rule of Man from its inevitable collapse - artificial intelligence, cybernetics, genetic engineering, and, especially, new technologies for interstellar travel and, theoretically speaking, communications.

The latter technology reached a place that even the great scientists of the Solomani Confederation were unable to replicate, but at a price. On November 3rd, 2747 AD, The Event occurred. Experimental stationary jump coils on the world known today as N3 fired as part of a planned experiment. But they caused an unexpected effect. In an instant, all five star-systems of the Dark Nebula were torn from their place in the Space-Time Continuum, and hurled, through jumpspace (or a similar parallel dimention), as a whole, not in space, but in time. For a whole year, local time, these systems were in limbo - disconnected from our universe. But then they burst back into Real Space - almost three millennia, in Real Space dates, after their disappearance. For that time, the Nebula was a dead zone - an area of space where no solid bodies could be seen, and where anomalies in the Space-Time Continuum endangered any ship entering that space.

In August 5638 AD (1117 Imperial), suddenly the N4 star of the Dark Nebula appeared on the night sky of Taida Na, re-lighting the old cloud (this means they have appeared in real-space a few years before, as it takes the light of N4 a few years to reach Taida Na). Soon enough, rumours have reached both Solomani and Aslan ears that the worlds of the Nebula, hinted upon in legend, are back. And now, their technological treasures are ripe to the plucking, though still ripe with Space-Time Continuum anomalies, mutated animals, crazed survivors and a mad, mad AI.