Thursday, March 7, 2019

Traveller: Supernova! -- The Local Stellar Neighborhood

Mapping

I looked at Solomani Rim and the GURPS Interstellar Wars map of Sol subsector and it looks interesting. But I am not using the Imperium and there's a big gap rimward from Earth. So I have no incentive to stick to the same map.

Sol Subsector - circa 2170
Stellagama Publishing's Near Space takes the latest astronomical data about the local solar neighborhood, including the current knowledge of exoplanets and brown dwarfs, and presents the nine subsectors centered on Sol.

Near Space
Stellagama added a number of brown dwarf stars to the area because they are difficult to find and they fill in some gaps. (Any star labeled "HSC" is one of the invented brown dwarfs. HSC = Hypothetical Star Catalogue.) In general, I ignored the added brown dwarfs, except in one instance: within 1 parsec of Sol. I used the same dodge that Traveller used -- a planetary body at 1 parsec from Earth to serve as a Jump-1 bridge to Alpha Centauri and Barnard's Star. Once we get to either of those stars, we have access to a nice big chain of systems all accessible by Jump-1. 

Mapping Software

With my map selected, I could start building up the planets of the sector. I just needed a subsector mapper. I looked at a couple but settled on Alex Schoeder's Traveller Subsector Generator. You can either generate a random subsector or input a list of your own worlds. The feature that sealed the deal was that TSG will connect each world to a page in a wiki page in Alex's CampaignWiki.Org, a wiki farm for RPG campaigns. So when you generate the subsector, you specify the name of your campaign wiki, and the software adds a link in the SVG file for each hex with a star pointing to the system page in your wiki. The map becomes the way to access all the planet data.

Filling in the Planets

Near Space gives size, atmosphere, and hydrographics for each planet. What I needed was what else was in the system. So I needed to generate the details of the rest of the system. I turned to GURPS Traveller First In to supply that. The random rules star system provides details like orbits, gas giants, asteroid belts, and terrestrial planets. The system also gives the Life Zone of the star. The world generator provides more details of planets, such as surface temperature, orbital and rotation periods, climate, atmospheric composition, and ecosphere (something I'm most interested in). 

For additional planetary data I turned to GURPS Interstellar Wars again. I pulled some of the details about the planets from these descriptions, removing references to the Imperium.

I can now generate all the content I need for this campaign as I go. I don't need to have all the systems spelled out, just the ones close enough that they could reach them in a game. Then based on the party's direction, I can build as I go. I now know where the other sentient races live, and I can plan accordingly.

I am very excited about this project.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Traveller: Supernova -- The Scout Ship

I'm starting a classic Traveller campaign (described here) where the crew is exploring after a nearby supernova event. I've been putting my prep notes here.

A few years ago when I was prepping to run a similar campaign online, I redesigned the Scout/Courier slightly using the High Guard fuel rules (posted here).

Then two weeks ago when I started gathering the resources to prep this, I found my copy of the Steve Jackson Games' Sulieman-Class Scout/Courier deck plans. In that set, they give three variant Suleiman Class scouts: the Seeker mineral survey ship, the Detached variant with 6 staterooms, and the VIP courier with a master suite instead of two staterooms.

Today I give you the modified Detached Scout/Courier using the same house rule as my previous design.

Detached Scout/Courier (Type S)

TL-9, 100-ton hull-streamlined, Jump-2, Maneuver-2, Power plant-2, fuel scoops, 24 tons of fuel tankage, 8-week operating range, bridge, computer model 1-bis, 1 hardpoint, 1 triple turret, 6 staterooms, 2 emergency low berths (each holds 4), Air/raft, and 9 tons of cargo. MCr 30.51 (with standard design discount).

The original design allocated the extra fuel space to cargo and an emergency low berth for up to four people. This design adds two berths and an additional emergency low berth for a total of eight people.

This is the ship my player get to explore the local area.

Other Posts about Supernova!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Classic Traveller Campaign: Supernova!

I'm going to be running a classic Traveller game with my biweekly face-to-face group. I tried this same idea earlier online but ended the game after 3 sessions because of a change in my schedule. I'm going to blog about my development process for the next few weeks.

Elevator Pitch

HD 147513, a white dwarf star in a binary system 42 light years from Earth, destroyed itself in Type 2a supernova, the most violent explosion in the universe. No space travel was possible for decades due to the gamma radiation. Earth was lucky, but the gamma radiation damaged the ecosphere and started a long worldwide depression. Earth has now recovered enough to mount a scouting mission to check on their colonies and outposts. 

The players have been recruited by the Union of Nations, successor to the United Nations. They get a scout ship, some star maps, advanced sensors, and the latest high-tech gear. Their mission is to explore the nearby stars and see what is out there. What survived? 

Resources

For me, the first step is gathering resources. My collection contains most of the classic Traveller books, plus most of the GURPS Traveller books. I'm going to use The Traveller Book for rules. Simple, easy to obtain (POD for $20 on DT). I will add Citizens of the Imperium for more careers, but I imagine most of the players will take the main five careers. Animal Encounters will surely be used. 

Subsector Maps
I'm not using the Imperium, but I want to use the stars near Earth, so what better resource than Solomani Rim for maps and UWPs? 

But wait. There is something better. GURPS Interstellar Wars. This is the Sol-area when the Imperium found them. There are stars listed as unexplored on the map. The tech level is lower. It's a perfect match for what I want. I'll ditch the politics, but keep the UWPs and some details of the systems. Make some small confederations and pocket empires.

But wait! There's more. One of the products from Stellagama Publishing, known for their support for the Cepheus Engine, is Near Space. Near Space has nine subsectors around Sol with scientifically accurate data on exosolar planets.

Another GURPS Traveller title, First In gives everything to know about the Scouts and exploration. How do you scan and chart a system? It also has an enhanced star and world generation system that provides additional details from the standard Traveller UWP.

I'll be using the Near Space maps and physical planetary data, pulling some specific planet details from Interstellar Wars, and then filling in the system details using First In's star generator. 

Deck Plans
One more thing from Steve Jackson. Deck Plan 5 Sulieman-Class Scout/Courier. These are pretty 25mm scale maps with either hexes or squares. Nice looking and come in three variant floorplans.

50 Starbases from Judges Guild will provide maps and random tables for when they try to land.


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Project Poll

So I have several projects in various stages, and I'd like some help focusing on one thing. The projects are:

The Narcosa Stashbox: a complete set of rules for playing in Narcosa as natives built from The Black Hack that includes an adventure, "Farmer Longbottom's Pipeweed".

Neko Rōnin Yūgi (Cat Wanderer Game): this game is inspired by Usagi Yojimbo, a comic series by Stan Sakai. Anthropomorphic animals live and adventure in feudal Japan. Samurai, monks, priests, and wizards. It is also built from The Black Hack.

Under the Dark Ice: This is a game of ice age humans struggling to survive in against the weather and dark supernatural forces. From the Black Hack.

Her Majesty Queen Victoria's Royal Space Force: Victorian gaslight fantasy where ships sail the Luminiferous Aether between the planets and colonize Mars, Venus, and Mercury. Built on the Cepheus Engine.

Time Hackers: Travel through time to prevent the destruction of time by enemy agents, or take the temporal tourist package and experience Woodstock, the court of Queen Elizabeth, or hunt an allosaurus in the Jurassic jungle. Built on the Cepheus Engine.

Pick the one that you most want to see in comments.

Thank you for your input.