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Traveller

Early Colonization: Character Stats

see “Traveller Character Stuff” category

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Genetic Screening

minimum physical stats = min (7, home world TL-5, Soc)

and

minimum int = min (7, home world TL-6, Soc)

in this setting the home world is TL10 so that reduces to min (5, Soc) and min (4, Soc)

so

  • minimum value for str, dex, end = min (5, Soc)
  • minimum value for int = min (4, Soc)

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Edu

max Edu = Int

max starting Edu = min (Int, Soc)

so a character with Int 8, Soc 4 would have a max starting Edu of 4

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Max Skill Ranks

max skill ranks = highest stat + lowest stat

skill-0 and skill-1 count as 1 rank, skill-2 as 2 ranks etc

character with UPP 777777 would have max skill ranks of 14 which could be:

  • 14 x skill-0 or skill-1
  • 4 x skill-2 and 6 x skill-1
  • 2 x skill-3, 2 x skill-2, 4 x skill-1
  • or any combination that adds up to 14

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Early Colonization: Careers

scouts, colonial service, navy, marines

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Common

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Career DMs

Each career has two stats that give a DM+2 and a DM+1

These DMs apply to all stages: enlist / survival, promotion, commission.

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Sequence
  • enlist (first term only)
  • basic training (first term only)
  • gain term skill
  • survival (if fail then roll on survival table)
  • roll for commission *or* promotion
  • if commission gain commission skill (once only)
  • if fail commission then roll promotion
  • if commissioned or promoted gain promotion skill

muster out if not promoted or commissioned in the term

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Survival Table 2D6
  • 2-3 dead
  • 4-6 stat-2
  • 7-9 stat-1
  • 10 scars
  • 11 medal (Soc+1)
  • 12 scars and medal (Soc+1)

scars: first result is cool scars, second is scarred, third is hideously scarred

stat loss:

  • roll 1D6 for stat
  • if Edu long recovery no promotion roll but not mustered out
  • if Soc then some kind of scandal – no promotion, mustered out
  • if soc 8+ or scout then stat loss-1 replaced with cybernetics
  • if soc 8+ or scout then stat loss-2 replaced with stat loss-1 and cybernetics
  • duplicate cybernetic roll is stat loss-2
  • stat loss-2 no promotion, mustered out

cybernetics 2D6

  • 2 eye
  • 3 hand
  • 4 elbow
  • 5 shoulder
  • 6 arm
  • 7 spine
  • 8 leg
  • 9 hip
  • 10 knee
  • 11 foot
  • 12 skull plate

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Careers

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Scouts
  • career DM+2: dex 8+
  • career DM+1: int 8+
  • Basic Training Skill: Joat-0
  • Commision Skill: JoaT-1
  • enlist 8+
  • survival 8+
  • promotion 6+
  • commission 8+ (min Edu 6+)

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Colonial Service
  • career DM+2: Int 8+
  • career DM+1: Str 8+
  • Basic Training Skill: vehicle-0, steward-0
  • Commission Skill: Admin-1
  • enlist 6+
  • survival 6+
  • promotion 6+
  • commission 8+ (min Edu 6)
Skill Tables

personal table:

  • pstat (max 8)
  • mstat (max 8)
  • mstat (max 8)
  • melee
  • gun
  • streetwise

service skills:

  • vehicle
  • steward
  • guns
  • mechanic
  • technician
  • ship’s boat

advanced service skills (min edu 6)

  • survival
  • vacc suit
  • comms & sensors
  • medic
  • trader
  • admin

advanced service skills (fleet) (min Edu 8)

  • ship’s boat
  • gunnery
  • comms & sensors
  • engineering
  • navigator
  • pilot

commissioned skills

  • laser
  • leader
  • tactics
  • trader
  • admin
  • Soc (max 8)

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Early Colonization: Common Ships

The most common ships used by the Navy, Scouts, Marines, Colonial Service in the early days of colonization.

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Modified Drive Table

modified the early part of the table for TL10 and TL11 so early ships have lower jump range

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TL10 A B C D

100    2 2 2 2

200    1 2 2 2

300    # 1 2 2

400    # # 1 2

600    # # # 1

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Scout Service

The scout designs here are based on being able to restrict Drive A to J1 or M1 (instead of J2 and M2) to reduce fuel needs if desired.

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Scout Pathfinder

System astrogation survey

  • class SP
  • 100 dton
  • drives A, J2, M1 (restricted m-drive to minimize fuel) (15)
  • fuel 30
  • bridge (includes computer) (20)
  • 65
  • survey module (8)
  • small medibay (4)
  • small workshop (4)
  • LMS turret (4)
  • raft (in cargo hold) (4)
  • 24
  • 1 crew double stateroom (8)
  • life pod (1)
  • 9
  • Cargo 2

larger state room for long solo trips, can skim and refine fuel

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Scout Ranger Class

for anomaly investigation and ground survey away teams

  • type SR
  • 100 dton
  • drives A: J2, M1 (restricted m-drive to minimize fuel) (15)
  • fuel 30
  • bridge (20)
  • 65
  • small medibay (4)
  • LMS triple turret (4)
  • raft (in cargo hold) (4)
  • 12
  • 4 crew (16)
  • 4 life pods (4)
  • 20
  • cargo 3

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Scout Outpost

  • class AO
  • 100 dton
  • drives A, J2, M1 (restricted m-drive to minimize fuel) (15)
  • fuel 30
  • bridge (includes computer) (20)
  • 65
  • fuel refining (10)
  • small medibay (4)
  • small workshop (4)
  • raft (in cargo hold) (4)
  • 22
  • 1 crew double stateroom (8)
  • life pod (1)
  • 9
  • Cargo 4

provides refueling in early colonization – the outpost will set up by a supply of unrefined fuel and ships can come and take up to 20 dtons at a time from the outpost’s tanks – the outpost then refills

the fuel is provided free for scout service, colonial service etc – occasionally an outpost servicing a research colony or active exploration frontier will be used by a commercial ship passing through e.g. corporate yacht, and these can also be refueled but at the regular price

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Navy

The home world Navy starts off 99% orbital, planetary defenses and system boats with only a few picket duty 300 dton Destroyers capable of jump. Security is handled by the Shore Patrol (military police).

Early exploration showed that some anomaly investigation and “bug hunting” required more fire power than a Scout Service Away Team and this led to the Colonial Cruiser ship design and the formation of the 1st battalion of colonial marines: – originally four squadrons of two troops with each troop transported on a colonial cruiser and intended to operate as an independent unit – the troop itself being a small 12 man platoon comprising: officer, sgt, 2 x heavy weapons specialists and 2 x four man rifle squads in an ATV or assault raft dropped into action via the cruiser’s cutter.

After the disaster at Shudi the Cruiser marine battalions were doubled in size to four squadrons of four troops each for faster casualty replacement. Also further battalion type structures and drop modes were investigated.

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Colonial Cruiser

400 dton warship: well-armed and designed to carry a troop of colonial marines to bug hunts.

  • 400 dton
  • Drives D, J2 M2 (45 dton)
  • Fuel 80+20 (100)
  • Bridge (20)
  • 165
  • Cutter (ATV or Assault Raft) (50)
  • Launch (20)
  • Medibay (8)
  • 3 x LMS triple turrets, 1 x torpedo (16)
  • 94
  • 14 crew (captain, xo, pilot, navigator, 4 engineers, 4 x gunners, 2 x medic) (56)
  • 14 marines (standard troop + cutter pilot and cutter engineer) (56)
  • Life Pods (28)
  • 130
  • cargo 11

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Destroyer

300 dton picket duty – torpedo armed asteroid destroyer, home world has about a dozen

  • 300 dton
  • Drives D, J2, M2 (45)
  • Fuel 60+20 (80)
  • Bridge (20)
  • 145
  • 2 x Launchs (40)
  • medibay (8)
  • workshop (8)
  • 1 x LMS triple turret, 2 x torpedos (12)
  • 2 x torpedo magazines (8)
  • 76
  • 14 crew (captain, xo, pilot, navigator, 4 engineers, 4 gunners, 2 medics (56)
  • Life Pods (14)
  • 70
  • Cargo 9

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Commerical

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Corporate Yacht

Common resources are more profitably extracted from the home system.

Out-system exotics either have mass market appeal or a niche appeal. In the case of mass market appeal it is more profitable for the home world corporations to create a copy e.g. grow a popular exotic in an artificial orbital habitat, than ship it from the source world.

Some corporations have Outsystem Corporate Buyers (OCBs) whose job is to keep track of new exotics as they are discovered so their parent corporation gets the early bonus.

OCBs have been known to get up to shenanigans in pursuit of a good score and a promotion that will get them back home.

  • class Y
  • 200 dton streamined
  • drives B, J2, M1 (25)
  • fuel 40+10 (50)
  • bridge (includes computer) (20)
  • 95
  • meeting room (8)
  • office (4)
  • small medibay (4)
  • small lab (4)
  • 20 (115)
  • launch (20)
  • 2 x rafts (8)
  • 28 (143)
  • 4 crew (pilot, engineer, medic, steward (16)
  • 7 other OCB (double), assistant, gopher, technician/scientist, security x 2, driver/mechanic (32)
  • life pods (4)
  • 52 (195)
  • Cargo 5

OCBs are initially based on the home world but as settlement colonies reach B4 or B5 status corporation will start to open forward offices to base and base their OCB there.

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Supply Ships

These exist in all services in many variations and as technology develops and larger ships become available many are sold off as surplus to commercial operations and Free Companies.

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Near Trader (Freight)
  • type AF
  • 200 dtons
  • drives A, J1, M1 (15)
  • fuel 20+10 (30)
  • bridge (20)
  • 65
  • 4 crew (pilot, engineer, medic, steward) (16)
  • 4 life pods (4)
  • 20
  • cargo 115

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Near Trader (Personnel)
  • type AP
  • 200 dtons
  • drives A, J1, M1 (15)
  • fuel 20+10 (30)
  • bridge (20)
  • 65
  • 4 crew (pilot, engineer, medic, steward) (16)
  • 4 life pods (4)
  • 20
  • 20 personnel (80)
  • 20 life pods (20)
  • 100
  • cargo 15

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Near Trader (Colonists)
  • type AC
  • 200 dtons
  • drives A, J1, M1 (15)
  • fuel 20+10 (30)
  • bridge (20)
  • 65
  • 4 crew (pilot, engineer, medic, steward) (16)
  • 4 life pods (4)
  • 20
  • 100 colonists (low berth / life pod) (100)
  • 100
  • cargo 15

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Near Trader (Livestock)
  • type AL
  • 200 dtons
  • drives A, J1, M1 (15)
  • fuel 20+10 (30)
  • bridge (20)
  • 65
  • 4 crew (pilot, engineer, medic, steward) (16)
  • 4 life pods (4)
  • 20
  • 200 low berths (100)
  • 100
  • cargo 15

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Near Trader (multi-purpose)
  • type A
  • 200 dtons
  • drives A, J1, M1 (15)
  • fuel 20+10 (30)
  • bridge (20)
  • 65
  • 4 crew (pilot, engineer, medic, steward) (16)
  • 4 life pods (4)
  • 20
  • 6 passengers (24)
  • 6 life pods (6)
  • 8 low berths (4)
  • 34
  • cargo 81

the ubiquitous Free Trader design derives from Near Traders sold off as surplus as more advanced ships became available

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Early Colonization: Game Rules

Changes and Modifications for this ATU

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Space Travel

Early space exploration shouldn’t feel too trivial, smaller ships, lower jump ranges and an “edge” which hasn’t been explored yet. At the same time want it to be as compatible as possible with the old ships and the original “feel”.

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Drive Table

Tech level based drive tables can limit ship size and jump range while maintaining compatibility i.e. the table is from an earlier time and tech level.

Limiting the jump ranges early on limits the already explored range.

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TL09 A

100   1

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TL10 A B C D

100    2 2 2 2

200    1 2 2 2

300    # 1 2 2

400    # # 1 2

600    # # # 1

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TL11 A B C D # E F G H

100    2 3 3 3  #

200    1 2 3 3  #

300    # 1 2 3  # 3 3 3 3

400    # # 1 2  # 3 3 3 3

600    # # # 1  # 1 2 2 2

800    # # # #  # 1 1 1 2

1000  # # # #  # # 1 1 1

1200  # # # #  # # # # 1

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Navigation (optional)

Handwavium – jump requires large gravitational forces at both ends to work and needs at least one system to be fully surveyed to generate a jump path meaning:

  • ships can’t jump to empty space or from empty space (random jumps go to nearest system along same direction)
  • after jumping to an unexplored system need to survey it before jumping to another unexplored system

This handwavium creates a bit of geography making systems J2 and above harder to colonize early on.

Compatible with standard rules and OTU by simply saying they figured out how to do it later.

Requires the campaign sub-sector to have a lot of J1 connections to the home system – if not then ignore.

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Classic Malfunctions

These can be used to construct an early exploration limit which fits the classic feel.

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There are two malfunctions in the standard rules: drive failure and misjump.

  • drive failure 13+ with DMs for unrefined fuel, missing engineers and missing annual maintenance
  • misjump 13+ with DMs for unrefined fuel, inside gravity well, some unexplained advantage of scout/naval ships
  • unrefined 100cr and refined fuel 500cr
  • refined only available at A and B star ports

A 1:36 chance of either a drive failure or misjump using unrefined fuel seems too much of a risk for any commercial venture imo which would limit them to A or B star ports and travel between A and B star ports almost always involves stops at lower level ports. Travel away from refined fuel is viable for naval/scout ships because they have special DMs for no extra cost.

If special engines made scouts able to use unrefined fuel and they don’t cost extra then at a cost differential of 400cr per dton of fuel per jump you’d think commercial ships would simply buy them too.

So aim is to re-arrange all this to something which contains the same elements while feeling more consistent.

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Jump Warping Level (JWL)

Rationale – going in and out of jump space puts gravitational pressures on the ship that can warp it slightly and over time the warping can lead to catastrophic failure.

A JWL of 24 is considered the limit of safety which is 24 jumps (a year’s worth) with refined fuel. This creates an exploration limit of 12 jumps (12 jumps out and 12 jumps back).

The maintenance procedure involves a gravitational dry dock large enough to hold the ship which uses gravity fields to push the ship back to its original shape taking roughly between half a day to a day per JWL – average two weeks.

  • refined fuel: JWL +1 per jump
  • unrefined fuel: JWL + mass category per jump

so a 100 dton scout or 400 dton mother ship both add JWL+1 per jump if using refined fuel – using unrefined the cout still adds JWL+1 but hte 400 dton adds JWL+3 – so the scout ship’s exploration advantage is it’s size rather than special engines

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Mass Category

The list of ship size categories on the side of the drive table

  • 100 dtons, MC = 1
  • 200 dtons, MC = 2
  • 400 dtons, MC = 3
  • 600 dtons, MC = 4
  • 800 dtons, MC = 5
  • etc

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Drive Malfunction

Roll 2D6 if attempting a jump with either a missing engineer or a JWL over 24 – drive malfunction on a 13+

  • +1 per missing engineer
  • +1 per JWL over 24

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A jump drive malfunction displays as gravitational distortion which warps the ship – if a malfunction occurs roll 2D6 for when it occurs

  • 2-5: on entry to jump space: 1-6 hits
  • 6-8: within jump space: 1-6 hits
  • 9-12: exiting jump space: 1-6 hits
  • if occurs on entry then take hits in jump space and on exit as well
  • if occurs within jump space then take hits on exit as well

ships may be destroyed depending on where the damage is

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Random Jump

If the jump-drive, power plant or computer are wrecked on entry into jump space or during jump a random jump occurs.

(see book misjump).

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Misjump

The book version of misjump is the random jump described above which is caused by a drive malfunction.

In my jump-drive handwavium the fuel is used to create the jump bubble

roll 2D6 if trying to jump with unrefined fuel or within the gravity well (100D) of a world

  • unrefined fuel DM+1
  • within 10D DM+4 per mass category
  • within 100D DM+2 per mass category
  • 13+ bubble doesn’t form, jump fuel lost, no damage
  • 16+ gravitational warping – as drive malfunction except definitely occurring on entry

similar if trying to jump in too close to a world (e.g. blockade running)

roll 2D6

  • unrefined fuel DM+1
  • within 10D DM+4 per mass category
  • within 100D DM+2 per mass category
  • 13+ bubble doesn’t deform properly, D6 hits
  • 16+ bubble doesn’t deform properly, major gravitational warping, 2D6 hits

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World Stats

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Atmosphere

I’m treating the atmosphere types as harder, more distinct categories based on the sequence of life stages of an earth-like planet.

  • Trace (1): planet cooled, continents and seas formed, microbial mats underwater, heavy radiation
  • Very Thin (2,3): continents dead, life in the seas, some oxygen and ozone, medium radiation
  • Thin (4,5): land life along coasts, life in the seas, more oxygen and ozone, light radiation
  • Standard (6,7): life, plenty of oxygen and ozone, protected from radiation
  • Dense (8,9): optionally treat as unbalanced gases, too hot or too cold, ice age or global warming

alternatives

  • if atmos 2-5 and size 3- can be standard but only at low altitude
  • if atmos 8-9 and size 9+ can be standard but only at high altitude

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Characters

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Psionics

I’m treating psionics as initially triggered by jump travel so it’s relatively recent – no institutes

Eventually enough people get it that psionics can be born as well – start of Zhodani faction as a faction within the culture (and maybe Solomani faction as a resction?)

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Tech Levels

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Ships
  • TL9: fusion, grav, M-drive
  • TL10: J-drive a,b,c,d
  • TL11: J-drive e,f,g,h

TL10 is the default in this ATU, maybe TL11

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Weapons & Armor
  • TL6: rifle
  • TL7: auto-rifle, flak jacket
  • TL8: advanced rifle, cloth, mesh
  • TL9: laser weapons, combat armor
  • TL10: advanced combat armor, reflec
  • TL11:
  • TL12: plasma weapons, battle dress

where

  • flak jacket: partial ballistic cloth – heavy armor
  • cloth: full body ballistic cloth – bulky heavy armor
  • mesh: light version of cloth reinforced with internal mesh – light armor
  • combat armor: improved cloth – heavy armor
  • advanced combat armor: combat armor with improved laser resistance – heavy armor
  • reflec: mesh with improved laser resistance – light armor

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  • standard civilian: flak or mesh, kinetic weapons
  • colonial service: mesh, kinetic weapons
  • navy: mesh, kinetic weapons
  • standard military: combat armor, kinetics
  • marines: advanced combat armor, lasers
  • scouts: mesh or reflec, kinetics or lasers

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Ship Design
  • fuel refining: 10 dton blocks
  • medibay: small/standard/large 4/8/16 dtons
  • workshop: small/standard/large 4/8/16 dtons
  • laboratory: small/standard/large 4/8/16 dtons
  • survey module: small/standard/large medibay 4/8/16 dtons
  • #
  • turrets 1 dton fire control + 1 per weapon (capacitors, reloads etc)
  • single turret 2 dton, double 3 dton, triple 4dton
  • torpedo 4 dton
  • torpedo magazine 4 dton
  • #
  • life pods 1 dton
  • human low berth 1 dton
  • livestock low berth 0.5
  • #
  • naval crews are often double the minimum needed
  • computer dton is subsumed within the bridge

evac

  • ships legally need life boats or life pods for all crew – some will have both, some have life boats and a few extra life pods
  • human low berths are combined low berth / life pod – generally for colonists
  • standard low berths are for livestock but can be used for humans at some risk
  • medibays have 1, 2 or 4 medical low berths

survey modules:

  • small -> basic astrogation survey – planetary objects
  • standard: full astrogation survey – as above plus space anomalies
  • large: orbital planetary survey

fuel refining:

  • variable sized blocks – minimum 8 dtons
  • each block is half holding fuel tank and half purification plant
  • can purify a full tank in 6 hours
  • 8 dton block can purify 4 dton per 6 hours
  • 80 dton block can purify 40 dtons per 6 hours

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Ship Combat

Unlikely to happen but weapon types may be used in other ways

  • book missiles are now torpedos – large, c. cruise missile size
  • torpedo bay has three torpedos, torpedo magazine has 2 reloads
  • turret missiles are small flare/chaff type missiles to confuse enemy sensors
  • missiles and sand have 3 shots and a reload of 3
  • missile fired gives DM-2 to be hit that turn
  • beam energy weapons do 1-6 hits
  • sand is fired to counter energy weapons
  • sand disperses energy – reduces hits by 1-6
  • 4 x weapon points can be combined into a medium laser (power 4 at close range, 1 at medium range)
  • 16 x weapon points can be combined into a heavy laser (power 16 at close, 4 at medium, 1 at long range)

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Early Colonization: Setting Aim

The aim of this setting is a frontier campaign rather than an exploration campaign so it’s not about the first scout ships leaving the home world but a time after colonization has been going on for a while but not long enough for the colonies to develop major cities, industry fleets etc so it has a more Firefly type feel.

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Desired End Result

The end result of the random world generation for early colonization should be something like:

  • settlement colonies: usually standard atmos, pop 0-5, low level manufacturing ability, reliant on home world for their tech
  • supply colonies: refueling colonies along the route to settlement colonies
  • secondary colonies: research, terra forming, exotic resource extraction, penal, religious, military etc (settlement and supply colonies may develop separate secondary sub-colonies)
  • native sentient life: common on standard and dense atmospheres, uncommon on thin and rare otherwise
  • sentience level: monkey/dolphin/ant level intelligence common, hunter gatherer uncommon, special rare
  • weird science sentient life: unnatural creatures (on both habitable and uninhabitable worlds) – rare
  • anomalies: weird science anomalies – uncommon,  Cthulhu Mythos anomalies – rare

monkey/dolphin/ant sentience level = mda level

hunter gatherer level = hg level

sentience level “special” = farmer upwards

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Early Colonization: Historical Notes

Thinking about the historical reasons for colonies and how this might apply to Traveller.

– side effect of imperialism
– resource colony
– strategic significance
– over population
– religious / ideological exodus
– frontier personality
– genetic security

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Imperialism

Up to at least the middle ages border conflict between two neighboring groups was the norm. Neighboring tribes, realms, city-states etc would fight regular wars with their neighbors just because.

If two factions have regular border wars and they wins and lose equally then things remain the same.

If a faction has border wars and wins more often than not then eventually it turns into an empire without trying.

I’d say most ancient empires were like that – a natural consequence of aggression and territorialty with some tribes / nations developing an advantage for a certain time and that advantage leading to winning a lot.

Colonies in this case are often govt created to help control conquered regions e.g. the Roman colonia, where they built fortified towns on conquered territory and settled Roman citizens and ex-legionaries.

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If there are no other interstellar species near the home world then this won’t apply.

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Resource Colony

A second type of empire is resource driven e.g. the European colonial empires, where the European powers wanted access to resources they didn’t have.

In this case a colony is set up in the resource region with or without local resistance and those resources are traded for, produced or gathered in some way for transport back to the home world. If the resource is bulky some processing of the resources naturally follows as do services for the people involved in the above and often security and support for naval forces and colonial administration. This type of colony often start as a commercial operation but become a mixture of govt and commercial over time.

This model works on a planet and maybe also in a solar system but does it work in an interstellar context because of the abundance of resources available on all the planets, moons and asteroids in a solar system?

It might happen in some contexts, for example

  • a home world that has been mining its own solar system for centuries might find that strip mining a particular metal in a nearby system and transporting it is cheaper than deep mining for it in their home system
  • a very heavily populated world might import exotic food stuff from a nearby world

but generally once a species has access to their own solar system they have limitless “land,” limitless natural resources, limitless food etc and so I don’t think general resource colonies are likely in early colonization outside the solar system.

The possible exception is exotic luxury and novelty goods e.g. strange animals, exotic blue wood, giant fruit etc – so more like Hudson Bay trappers or Ceylon tea farmers than corporate mining.

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Some people would pay a premium for the genuine article but i think any discovered exotic item that became popular could probably be grown artificially for a mass market in an orbital habitat in the home solar system so i don’t think resource colonies would be a driving force of colonization.

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Strategic Significance

This relates to things like having a repair and supply base part way between home and a resource colony.

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This would still apply.

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Over Population

Straight forward reason to create a colony – IIRC it happened a few times in Ancient Greece.

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By the time people are capable of expanding into space they will have contraception, low child mortality, high longevity and will have gone through the demographic transition so only people who couldn’t control their fertility would be having population problems.

At the same time space colonization wouldn’t be like earlier examples where landless farmers would emigrate to get farmland or low skilled laborers would move to work in colonial factories – colonists for space would almost all be technically skilled people and the farmers would be hydroponic engineers so the least likely people to not be able to control their fertility.

Last but not least the Traveller ships are too small early on to transport lots of people.

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This could be made to be a reason for early colonizing by hand waving some of the conditions but generally I don’t think it makes sense for early colonization in a Traveller setting – at least for humans. I think colonies would be initially small and slow growing collections of picked specialists.

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Religious Exodus

This has happened often historically for example

  • Carthage is said to have been founded after a dispute over Baal among the Phoenicians
  • Puritans to the USA
  • Mormons to Utah
  • Amish

etc

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I think this option makes sense nb it doesn’t just have to be religion it could be ideological and could also be coerced e.g. a dissident group / criminals sent off to a colony.

If the Cthulhu Mythos is part of the setting then could be cults also – possibly to planets which also have some connection to the Mythos.

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Frontier Personality

I think there will be a certain type of personality that is drawn to frontiers and they will want to go once the opportunity is available.

Assuming colonists are skilled specialists then unless the home world is dystopian in some way their life on the home world is likely to be okay so average people are less likely to want to go.

An exception might be people who come from a less good background, get skilled in the military and are offered land and citizenship on a colony when they muster out after a certain number of years like Roman legionaries.

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I think this makes sense as the main source of colonists: frontier personality types (including rogues) and retired navy, scouts, colonial service etc.

An interesting follow-on from is this process would effectively select for a new sub-species: Homo Astralis or “Traveller” as often the first colonists in a new settlement could be people from an earlier one i.e. as a colony becomes more settled and more like the home world then more average people would move to it from the home world and more frontier type personalities would move further out making colonization self-perpetuating.

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Genetic Security

This didn’t really apply in the past but as soon as its possible to avoid then the threat of asteroid strike or some other cosmic disaster becomes something to avoid.

The first step might be orbital defenses and colonizing other planets in the solar system but if/when possible it would make sense to settle colonies in other systems.

It might not make sense to settle thousands but as mentioned above I think the process would become self-perpuating due to the personality effect.

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I think this would be the main reason for any initial interstellar colonization – govt directed and aimed at creating self-sustaining colonies for species security.

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Other Factors

Standard Traveller-esque premises
– jump drive
– new ships are very expensive
– lots of fuel required for jump
– refined fuel safer for jump
– fusion power as energy source

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I’d say the key points are:

  • in the beginning very expensive ships and at the same time limited incentives for commercial activity outside the home solar system
  • limited trade between home wold and colony when colony is small
  • the need for infrastructure to be built in advance of trade developing

These all point to an initially govt directed colonial effort.

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Government Surplus

In this scenario we’re assuming there’s a commercial incentive for private shipyards to make commercial ships for the home system but there’s no reason for them to make jump capable ships. The jump capable yards would be govt funded so initially the only star ships would be govt.

If we assume that star ships can last centuries and that the govt ships are replaced with upgrades over time then a market in government surplus jump capable ships would develop.

Once a second hand ship market develops the balance of some of the factors discussed might change.

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For example wild Belter clans might become viable once ships become cheaper.

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Conclusion

In creating an early colonization ATU (Alternative Traveller Universe) I will go with

  • prime directive is govt directed search for settlement colonies (genetic security)
  • truck stop refueling and repair colonies along route to the settlement colonies (strategic significance)
  • some larger repair and resupply bases along route if needed (strategic significance)
  • some religious exodus to settlement colonies
  • some religious exodus to non govt directed alternative colonies off the main routes
  • some resource extraction non govt directed alternative colonies off the main routes
  • slow rate of colonists – frontier personality and ex govt service

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Singular or Balkanized Expansion

An initial single homeworld expansion could take multiple forms:

1) global government with single space agancy
2) multiple powers contributing to single space agency
3) multiple powers but single superpower with space agancy
4) multiple superpowers with multiple space agancies.

In the case of multiple factions with their own space agency there would be a risk of conflict. Historically in situations like this the factions involved would often discuss the allocation of territory in advance to prevent conflict.

example: Portugal and Spain dividing the globe outside Europe in 1494

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tordesillas

So for example in Traveller terms if there were two superpowers on the home world they might divide space beyond the home solar system into two sectors and colonize them separately.

A singular space agency is a lot simpler but if a campaign setting does have multiple home world factions each factional expansion will follow the same sequence rules as a single expansion.

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