Friday, July 31, 2015

Traveller - The Salesman

Here is an idea for Classic Traveller settings.

This started with a reply to a previous posting of mine.  With a small Class C starport, I don't see a lot of automated repair equipment.  Especially for the smaller and poorer ports.

I was imagining the "Repair Facilities" being merely a tool rack that the starship crew could make use of.  if Necessary, "Bubba", the starport's mechanic would assist, for a small fee (or favor...).

This is not about that favor...

How does Bubba get his tools?  He's on a small jerkwater system well off the X-Boat route.  Does he wait for the Snap-on-parts van?

I am imagining a small parts company based on Regina.  They have a deal with Oberlindes, or Al Mora to ship parts to depots in each subsector of the marches.  Each Depot has a stable of franchisees with ships.

The Snap-On-Parts ship is in corporate livery, and has a dedicated cargo space (5 or 10 tons) for parts inventory.  There's also a custom large G-Carrier (In corporate livery also).

You pay the company for your franchise, you buy the stock, and are assigned a route.  At each starport you offload the G-Carrier, and travel your route on that planet.  After a week or so, load back up and head to your next location.

I'll handwave the economics of this, because Lazy tonight.  Maybe a later post for that.  Tonight, let's talk adventure seeds.

Our party is the crew of the Snap-On-Parts ship.  Owner aboard/captain, gunner, steward/supercargo, engineer.

Each week they land on a new planet, and must go forth to talk to locals.  If they want, they can try to find some speculative cargo (you left 10 more tons of cargo space, right?) to sell at the next stop.  perhaps a passenger or two can be found.

What if that next contact wanting tools is a pirate, wanting to hijack your ship?

What if that next contact wanting tools is running a top secret naval installation?

What if you land in the middle of a gang war between rival mechanic shops?

What if you land on a planet in the throws of a neo-luddite revolution?

What if you have rivals from EvilPartsCo?

What if you have an unscrupulous rival from Snap-On?

Referees can see the hooks from high orbit, I'm sure.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

System of the Week - Xuquer

 Xuquer (Aragon 0206) Has a Class B starport.  Xuquer Highport is capable of major and minor repairs.  The only shipyard makes the occasional small (Under 30ton) craft for local use.  Refined fuel is available.  The TAS maintains a small faacility at the Downport.

Xuquer is 8950 Km in diameter, with a standard, tainted atmosphere.  The planet's surface is 37% water

 (Map courtesy of the map generator at )

Xuquer has a population of 1,120.  The Planetary Government is a representative democracy.  Law Level is 3, Machine guns and automatic weapons are not allowed.

Xuquer hosts both a Scout base, and a Naval base.  There is one planetoid belt, and four gas giants. in the system.

Because of the low population, Xuquer is a Non-industrial world.  Most of the population is involved in either the starport, or supporting the two bases.  There is some exploration of the hinterlands away from the Downport.  There are also two large hunting preserves.  One is owned by Antonio Miguel De Jarandilla, current Viceregal Admiral of the Fleet.  The other is owned by Gaspar Baltasar De Aragon, Current Viceregal Minister of the Interior

For the Referee -

Xuquer        0206 B674323-8  2 Lo Ni              114 Ar
Starport – Class B
Size –  6  Med World 8,800-10,399 Kms Dia.
Atmosphere – 7 Std Pressure tainted atmosphere
Hydrosphere – 4 Wet world, 35-44% water
Population  - 3 1,000 to 10,000 (1,000)
Government – 2 Representative Democracy
Law Level –  3 Low law Machine Guns, Automatic Weapons prohibited

Tech Level – 8 Digital Age (1990 AD)

Population Modifier – 1
One Planetoid belt
4 Gas Giants
Low Population, Non-Industrial

This is another excellent candidate for a complete set of animal encounters!

18 People...

Referee's notes.

Eighteen People.

One of the disadvantages to using randomly generated systems is that occasionally you get something, weird.  Like a large population of victorian steampunks on a Venus-like world that should kill them off...

And then there's Utrera.

Eighteen People

There are only eighteen people in the ENTIRE STAR SYSTEM.

For a referee, that's a long night of generating NPCs, and you have the entire population of an entire star system statted out.

For a person, imagine having only 18 people in your star system.  Who would you choose?  Why would you be doing this?

Let's compare this to some 21st century places.

Pitcairn Island claims to have a population of Fifty-Six souls.

The Principality of Sealand claims a population of "50+" per Wikipedia.

Eighteen People.

How can this be a viable human outpost?

Heck, the Class C starport would require MANY more people than this system has to offer.

Let's do the numbers...

Utrera (Aragon 0109) Is a low population, non-industrial world.  

Utrera has a Class C starport, Capable of major ship repairs.  Ships may obtain unrefined fuel only.  The Travellers Aid Society maintains a small hostel by contracting out to a local Bed and Breakfast establishment, but has no staff on planet.

Utrera is a small world, with a diameter of 5880 Kms.  The Atmosphere is standard pressure, but requires filter masks due to environmental contaminants.  This is a dry world, with 12% surface water.

(Map courtesy of the map generator at

Utrera has a population of 18 people.  The government is a participatory democracy.  Law Level is 1.  Limited legal barriers exist.  Tech Level is 9, Early Stellar technology.

There is one planetoid belt, and four gas giants present in the system.

There are no military bases.

For the Referee Part 2

Utrera        0109 C472121-9    Lo Ni              114 Ar
Starport – Class C
Size – 4, Small world 5,600-7,199 Km
Atmosphere – 7 Std Pressure, Tainted atmosphere
Hydrosphere – 1 Dry world 5-14% water
Population -1  10-100 People
Government –  2 Participatory Democracy
Law Level – 1 Low law level - Body Pistols, Explosives, poision gas prohibited.
Tech Level –  9  Early Stellar technology

Population Modifier – 1  10 People
One Planetoid belt
4 Gas Giants

Low Population, Non-Industrial

Thursday, July 16, 2015

System of the Week, Mataro

Mataro (Aragon 0108) Has a Class E starport.  Minimal facilities are present, and only unrefined fuel may be purchased

Mataro is a large world, with a diameter of 16,288 Kms.  The Atmosphere is a dense and tainted mix requiring filter masks.  The world's surface is 97% covered by water.

Map courtesy of the map generator at

Mataro has a population of 80 million people.  The population lives partially on the few islands, and partially on artificial island cities.

The government is a captive government.  Mataro is run by the system of Aragon as a colony.  Aragon encourages emigration to Mataro, and uses this world as a safety valve.

Law Level of 2 prohibits Portable Energy Weapons.  The Technology Level is 7 (Circa 1970 AD).  The Technology is limited by Aragon.  It IS possible to import higher tech items, but one must import via Aragon first, and the paperwork has a tendancy to get lost...

Mataro's system has two planetoid belts and four gas giants.

For the Referee

Mataro        0108 EA9A762-7    Wa                 824 Ar

Starport – Class E
Size –  A, large 15,200-16,799 Kms
Atmosphere – 9 Dense, Tainted
Hydrosphere – A 95-100% water
Population 7 10 Million to 100 Million
Government – 6 Captive Government or Colony
Law Level – 2 Portable Energy Weapons outlawed
Tech Level – 7 Ca 1970
Population Modifier – 8  80 Million people
Two Planetoid belts
4 Gas Giants

Friday, July 10, 2015

System of the Week - Terragona

Terragona (Aragon 0106) has a Class C starport, capable of major starship repairs, but offering only unrefined fuel.

Terragona has a diameter of 13,002 Km and an exotic, insidious atmosphere.  With a "Hydrosphere" covering 64% of the world's surface.

 Map courtesy of the map generator at

The world population of 800 million people are members of a representative democracy.  The Law Level of 5 prohibits personal concealable firearms.  The Tech Level of 4 is early machine age, roughly equivalent to that of 1889 AD.

The system sports two planetoid belts, two gas giants, and a Scout Base for the Vice-Royal Scout Corps.

The only trade classification is "Fluid Seas" to cover the toxic brew of Flourine and Chlorine in the lower atmosphere.

Terragona is a scientific curiosity.  Despite it's earth-normal size, it has a venus-thick atmosphere.  The lower levels are toxic mixes of Florine, Chlorine, and sulfur dioxide.  Most of the population lives in great floating cities in the narrow oxygen-nitrogen band of the atmosphere.  There are mining and manufacturing facilities on the surface.  Trade between cities is carried in airships and zeppelins.

The government is classified as a representative democracy, but is technically a constitutional monarchy.  There is a ceremonial noble class, and Queen Beatriz Graciela Montemayor is the sovereign of the planetary system.  She mostly gets along with the Vice-Royal government, but there have been disagreements in the past.  Despite the low tech, this world is an important population center for the Vice-Royalty.

Commercially, the various nasty chemicals in the atmosphere result in raw materials that are desirable in industrial processes.  A brisk trade is the result.

For the Referee

Terragona     0106 C8C6845-4  S Fl                 822 Ar

Starport – Class  C
Size – 8 Large, 12,000 to 13,599 Kms
Atmosphere – C Exotic, Insidious Atmosphere
Hydrosphere –  6 Wet world, 55-64% covered in liquid
Population  - 8 – Moderate 100 Million to 1 Billion
Government –  4  Representative Democracy
Law Level – 5 Personal Concealable firearms are prohibited
Tech Level –  4 Mechanized age (Circa 1880)

Population Modifier – 8  800 Million people

Two Planetoid belts
2 Gas Giants
Scout base
Fluid seas.

This one gave me a lot of trouble.  The combination of such a hostile environment with a fairly low tech level left me stymied.  Until a friend of mine suggested Steampunk could work "After all, they all wear masks and goggles, right?"

I'm totally handwaving the planetary science away for the Rule of Cool.  Imagine a Mad Steampunk world, drawn by Antoni Gaudi.  Complete with flying cities and airships floating serenly over the implacable fluorine seas and Chlorine clouds...

Required reading for this world,

Gaudi on wikipedia
The Prologue to "The Uller Uprising" by H. Beam Piper.  On Satan's Footstool at Project Gutenberg.

System of the Week - Santander

Our next System of the Week is a favorite of mine so far.  Cowboys and rangewars!  In SPAAAACE!!!

Santander (Aragon 0105) has a Class A starport.  Starships may be constructed here, but the Jimenez Spaceyard is quite small, and can only construct 60 tons of hull in a single month.  Despite this they have made quite a name for themselves in the small luxury ship market.

Santander is 7536 Km in diameter, with a thin, tainted atmosphere, and 32% Hydrosphere. 

(Map courtesy of the map generator at )

The tainted atmosphere reflects common dust storms, rather than actual chemical contaminants.  Locals are used to the dust, and with Bandannas or simple filter masks can deal.  The livestock can handle the dust fine.  Offworlders report allergic reactions, or other difficulties until they are acclimated.
Santander has a population  of 60, 000.  The Government is a Balkanized system.  Overall Law Level is 5, with personal concealable firearms prohibited. 

Tech Level is 12, an Average Stellar technology level.

Santander's system includes three planetoid belts, and 4 gas giants.  The Vice-Royalty maintains both Scout and Naval bases in the Santander system

Santander is classified as a Non-Industrial and Poor world.  The Per Capita GNP is 10,240Cr, with a GNP of 614 MCr.  The annual total military budget is 18.432 Mcr.

Despite the Travelers Aid Society classifying Santander as "Balkanized" there is a central government.  However it is quite weak.  There are six major "Haciendas", or large private landed estates,   which run cattle, sheep, and other herd animals on the open rangeland of Santander.  The Central Government controls the Downport, and little else.  The  Haciendas usually co-exist peacefully.  However, there have been range wars in the past 50 years.  The TAS Classified Santander as "Amber" travel status until as recently as five years ago.  This travel status was upgraded back to normal at that time.

For the Referee.
Santander     0105 A543475-C  2 Ni Po              634 Ar
Starport – Class  A
Size –  5
Atmosphere – 4
Hydrosphere – 3
Population  4
Government – 7
Law Level – 5
Tech Level – C
Population Modifier – 6
Three Planetoid belts
4 Gas Giants
Scout and Naval bases
Non-Industrial and Poor world
Per Capita GNP = 10,240
GNP = 614.4 Mcr
Military budget = 18.432 Mcr

This world is one of my favorites so far.  The combination of low population and low water percentage seemed to evoke a western feel.  And the image of High-tech vaqueros or gauchos riding grav-cycles is too much to resist.

RAW for a balkanized world would take the starport and break it up among the world powers.  With such a small population, I made the tweak that the entire shipyard was under one entity.  This didn't seem to affect much strategically, since the production rate is so low.

Also, I fudged the overall military budget in a similar manner.  It will be broken up amongst the Haciendos to use for their own private armies.