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!


  1. I want to know how much cognitive function someone i Low-Berth has. Can their minds be read by or altered by Psis?

    1. Interesting question.

      Cognitive function would be minimal - almost non-existent until thawed. Regarding psioncs, things are more complicated, especially as I like the idea of Reticulans (gray aliens) messing with the minds of frozen abductees...