Friday, May 9, 2014

Escape Pods for Classic Traveller

I recently reread The Traveller Book, rolled a character, rolled up his home world, started on a subsector, and modified the starship rules slightly. I changed the fuel consumption of power plants to match the rules in Book 5: High Guard. In the process, I created a new starship component. The escape pod was a sci-fi trope long before Star Wars came out.

Escape Pods

Escape pods are a safety component of many commercial starships, as well as other spacecraft. In the case of a critical emergency, passengers and crew can use an escape pod to evacuate the ship -- think of lifeboats on the Titanic. The escape pod has basic propulsion, flight controls, streamlining, a distress beacon, and life support. If it is close enough to a habitable planet (within 30 diameters), the pod will automatically land on the surface using autopilot. If not close to a planet, the auto-pilot program will move the pod a safe distance from the mother ship and then follow on a parallel course.

Escape pods come in two types: standard and low berth. The standard escape pod holds up to two passengers on acceleration couches with life support for two weeks. The low berth model holds up to four passengers in an emergency low berth indefinitely. A survival kit is stored on-board for each passenger.

Escape pods take up 1.5 tons each and cost Cr 500,000 for the standard model, and MCr 1.5 for the low berth model.

Upon re-entry, throw 5+ for the pod and the passengers to survive the landing. DMs: Attending ship's boat pilot of expertise 2 or better: +2. If using a low berth model, roll again to survive low passage.

Survival Kit: Filter/respirator, 4 liters water, food for 30 days, 30 cold-light sticks, manual torch, LR commlink/beacon, manual generator, 4 signal flares, survival rifle, 500 rounds ammo, tarp, cord (300 m), rope (50 m), grappling hook, 24 climbing spikes & hammer, machete, binoculars, sheltersuit and heat pump, water purification filters and pills, raft, compass, fishhooks and line, waterproof matches (5+ roll for success), and survival manual packed in a durable synth-canvas carrying case (50 x 40 x 15 cm.). Total kit weight is 23 kg. (Modified from Double Adventure 4: Marooned/Marooned Alone.)

Adventure Seed: On entering a system, the characters pick up a distress signal. Homing in on it, they find a low berth escape pod drifting through the system. Throw 3D to see how many years the pod has been drifting. For each 6 rolled, add another die to the total.

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How's that look?