Monday, August 29, 2016

So, What Books Have Influenced Your Campaign?

Seeing how Appendix N from the original Dungeons and Dragons seems to be a thing, and this particular review of A Spaceship for the King, kind of got me an idea of what books are going to influence how I run this particular set of adventures. In no particular order at this point, other than what comes to mind.

  • Space Cadet, Robert A. Heinlein. It's mostly a coming of age tale, but the how and why of "groundhogs" to "spacers" is a good idea for portraying the new recruit into the space service. Also, the various skill sets an officer must have, that don't involve anything to do with operating a space craft are covered. "I will eat pie with a fork," indeed.
  • Starman Jones, Robert A. Heinlein. A workman like coming of age tale, the idea of a farmboy getting off planet and into a controlled profession is an excellent idea. The Earth described in this, with hereditary professions and high technology, could be applied to a high law level world in Traveller.
  • Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein. It's the ur-example of powered armor. IMTU, this influences how Battle Dress operates.
  • The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy. The techno-thriller postdates Traveller by several years, but this one offers a well paced story, and includes a very important enlisted man.
  • Jerry Mitchell series, Larry Bond with Chris Carlson. A series of very accurate modern techno-thrillers about a submariner, covering his career, based on various tours of duty. It's a good way to get an idea for what a navy officer's career is like.
  • Technic History, Poul Anderson. Nicholas van Rijn and David Falkayn are what your everyday group of Travellers are, while Dominic Flandry is an example of the adventures that can be had for serving officers.
  • Casino Royale, Ian Flemming. A deftly written espionage story, with little of the gadgetry from the movies. Also, both sides can have the same goal for different purposes for one mission, yet remain adversaries.
  • On Basilisk Station, David Weber. The initial outing in the long running Honor Harrington series, this first book is a good stand alone. A junior officer is shuffled off after embarassing the high and mighty, and manages to do her duty, above and beyond what is required.
  • Horatio Hornblower series, C. S. Forester. This epic series is a classic of naval literature and adventure. It could be another campaign inspiration, or a possible NPC source. Both filmed adaptations, Gregory Peck and Ioan Griffud in the title role, are good enough.
  • Foundation, Isaac Asimov. Really just the initial book and it's story. Psychohistory, a Long Night, and preserving the ideas of civilization. Does Strephon have pyschoistorians advising him? How well does pyschohistory work in my Traveller universe? Doesn't matter at the level I'm playing at, but some of the ideas on how cultures change and adapt are important, as well as who takes over when the Empire recedes.
And a bonus movie:

  • The Sand Pebbles, directed by Robert Wise. In some ways, this is how I see a lot of Imperial Navy crews on the frontier. They can live the good life because of relatively high wages, and mistreat the locals. A few manage to break out of it, but most are content with their abuses. Junior officers are often finding themselves to make fateful decisions.
Questions, comments, and flames are nice, but venting spleen about the problems of the universe at me is not welcome.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tech Levels and Year

I've seen the question "What year was tech level X first reached?" come around a few times in various discussions online for Traveller. Here's my research on it for Imperial Society:

TL 11, defined as Jump 2, was first achieved during the 1st Imperium. 909 BCE (c. -5422 Imperial) is given in GURPS Traveller on page 47 in the side bar. This may have been the maximum technology level during the Long Night for production purposes.

TL 12, defined as Jump 3 and Meson weapons, was developed by the Terrans around -2284, and deployed within a decade. The Terran Confederation and the Rule of Man are not known to have exceeded this technological development. However, an out of the way lab could have made some TL 13 prototypes...

TL 13 was developed before 624, when the Xboat system was first established. So it roughly corresponds to the Imperial Civil War era.

TL 14 was matured by the late 900's, when the J-5 capable Azhanti High Lightning class Fleet Intruders were produced.

TL 15 breakthroughs were made following the Rim War from 990 to 1002. It is specifically noted the demands of the Rim War led the Imperium to make the breakthroughs required for TL 15.

I have excluded the Darrians, as they mess it all up and their discoveries were not widespread. I have the suspicion much of their work was more theoretical than anything. I heavily relied upon the Library Data in GURPS Traveller, and the history section in Rim of Fire, as well as Mongoose Traveller 1e Core Book to give the dates and defining the technology levels.

Also, this falls seriously close to a fan wank here, but this might also be of some use. It's almost more detail than would be useful in my games, but it's still useful to the fandom at large.

UPDATE: Thanks to a response on the thread I started for this at Citizens of the Imperium, I learned this information. It comes from the MegaTraveller Referee's Companion.


  • The Syleans maintained TL 10, that is basic jump capacity through the entire Long Night period.
  • TL 11 was re-established by -650, with the establishment of the Sylean Federation.
  • TL 12 was re-established by -150, when robot manufacturing commenced. This makes sense, as the Shudusham Concords date from -110.
  • TL 13 was re-established by 300, during the Vargr Campaigns.
  • TL 14 was a result of the X-boat system being built, thus from 700.
  • TL 15 developments were from the Solomani Rim War, and dates from 1000.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sending in the Marines: SGT Guy Valdez, Marine Squad Leader

The Boxing Kangaroo has a small Imperial Marine Detachment of eight. They are led by SGT Guy Valdez, a native of Banadsan/Banadsan (SR 2920). A rather drab and uncomfortably crowded world, it produces a good number of people for the Imperial Service. Guy Valdez wanted off the world, and managed to convince an Imperial Marine recruiter that he was good enough to be one of those chosen souls. He showed it his first enlistment, where he was noted as being an excellent trooper and a candidate leadership.

His next term was an assignment to anti-terrorist operations on the Rim, and his unit was noted as being particularly successful. A reporter wrote a major book about, as did one officer, that were combined into a holovid miniseries. This gave Marine 1st Class Valdez a bit of notoriety, and a small gain in social standing. He was selected for and promoted to Corporal at this time. With the exception of being on a short media tour, he calls this a 'happy time'

The past three years saw him advanced to Sergeant, and his skill set deepened. Working security on for an Explosive Ordinance Disposal team near the Navy base at Ys/Gemini (SR 1732), an improvised explosive device set up as a secondary booby trap knocked his suit of Battle Dress around a bit, leading to a rather nasty scar on his nose and forehead. It has barely slowed him down.

Mongoose Traveller 1e Statistics:

Sergeant Guy Valdez, Imperial Marines, age 29

STR A
DEX 8
END B
INT 8
EDU 8
SOC 8

Athletics 0
Battle Dress 1
Computers 0
Explosives 1
Flyer 0
Gunnery (Turret) 1
Gun Combat (Energy Rifle) 1
Heavy Weapons 1
Leadership 1
Melee (Cutlass) 1
Melee (Unarmed) 1
Stealth 0
Streetwise 0
Tactics (Ground) 1
Zero-G 1

Image is from SJ Games GURPS Traveller: Star Mercs, found at this location.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Library Data Update: Smade's Planet

Smade's Planet/Gemini (SR 2433) has experienced a growth in population and local wealth. Exploiting it's position as a neutral world between two hostile states, it currently serves as a conduit for information across the armistice line, and a deal of tourism. Currently, population is believed to number several thousand, but the anarchy present on the world makes it difficult to know if these are either permanent residents or temporary hires on term contracts supporting tourism or other services. Both the Imperial and Solomani Navies have deployed patrol craft to the system for observation and conduct outbound customs checks, but local consuls are have set up a system to minimize interference on the other nation, and set up temporary visas.

UWP is now D778300-5.