Modernising Classic Traveller Progress

I made the commitment and I have done a fair bit of work to date on this.  Mainly this work has been behind closed doors though so I intend to share in this post the details of what I have been up to.  I had initially considered updating the computer rules (for ships and the like) being that I am skilled in that area but I have decided not to just yet as it is the least of my concerns for the system.  First and foremost was I wanted to write some computer programs to handle some of the more irritating rulesets in game.

Computer Program Progress

The very first thing to tackle for me was the trade system.  Now there are two trade systems that need to be considered in this.  There is the basic trade system that pops its head up in CT-B02 Starships and there is an alternative system included in CT-B07 Merchant Prince.  I put it to my players what they wanted me to do first as I fully intend on making both and collating it into an application for those that want it.  While they offered suggestions I wrote the code for planets and their UPP (Universal Planetary Profile) which is a requirement in either system.

In the end, although they all prefer the Merchant Prince style they generally pushed me to try the basic version first.  As there is some crossover I thought this was a wise choice anyway.  I now have a program that handles:
  • inputting planetary profiles and recognising their components
  • calculating the trade profiles of planets
  • a random planet generator (inclusive of scientific naming if the planet has been tagged but not explored)
  • The basic trade system now in operation.
New Planets!
It is written in Java and I could put it in Applet form and put it up on the site for use apart from I am not sure if I can upload Java files here on blogger.  I will investigate this and consider it.  I do, in the long run, intend to share this material as a Java application from an executable JAR file but that is a while off as I hate dealing with GUI’s.  The Applet I would put up to play with if I can will be functional, not pretty.  I will have to wrestle with pretty when I package it finally.

The above points detail where I am at for the moment.  It is good progress considering my workload at the moment.  What I plan to include in the final product are the following:
  1. Character Generation (basic and all expanded)
  2. Combat calculator (enter weapon type, range zone, armour type, str, dex and other modifiers and it gives back your Die Modifier)
  3. Starship rules (All formulae included to build, fly and navigate etc)
  4. Equipment Lists (Custom and Official)
  5. Robot builder
I am also looking out for suggestions of what to include, so if you have them let me know in the comments.

Modernisation

This is my overall attempt to bring Classic Traveller into the current stream of consciousness for sci-fi.  Admittedly I have done less work here and also it may actually annoy my players who like the “Blakes 7” or “Lost in Space” style sci-fi that the Classic Traveller emulates.  I don’t really and would prefer this to be a modern sic-fi styled game.  To do this I intend to add a variety of new weapons and weapon effects like immobilisation grenades, EMP grenades and weapons etc.  But I also figured that this should be the last place that I end up, the more general day to day life and equipment needs to be improved to offer a modernised experience.

So I have done some of my best thinking in a locale that seems to get my creative mind the most active (in the shower) and I decided to start with nanotechnology.

Nanite Technology

Sensor Dust (TL 11+): Polymer coated sensor that attach to surfaces at the molecular level.  The dust forms a neural network styled structure to record and store information on nearby sensory information.  Normally used by planetary security, local security and to a lesser level home users to record sound, vision and tactile information.  Home use information comes with its own software and requires a connection to a storage server that is automatically decoded.  For wider use such as multiple level buildings, town, city or planetary use the storage is included with the nanite and to download and analyse the data an AI is required to make all connections and visualise the data in 3D space, real time or slow and fast time.  
Nanite production facility
The nanites polymer coating is included to help resist elements and they are considerably hardy.  The home use nanites are not Polymer coated (to reduce cost) and a single application will last for around 3 months real time before most of the nanites begin to fail and thus need to be restored with another application (Applications are applied in aerosol similar to a bug bomb application, no known side effects are recorded for contacts with any biological form).  The polymer coating designed for larger areas acts as a solar energy support and also protection from water and base alkalinise.  Acidity does eventually erode this coating and destroy the nanite.  It is hardy though and they are guaranteed for at least a years operation in even tainted atmospheres.  

Concentrated acid attacks have been known to be used in areas by criminals though in order to destroy the sensory recording.  There is no way to check if the acid has been effective or not as you cannot “hack” these devices without the ID imprinted AI that supports them.  Application of wide area nanites is done in much the same way as crop-dusting was done in earlier times with ships releasing them over the target area.  The process of sweating and cleansing guarantees the nanites do not bond for more than a day after contact with a human although there is a safety delay of 1 day before the nanite activates to stop privacy intrusion becoming a factor.  Home application 50 CR; Multi-Story Indoor application 5 CR per square metre; Small town/village application 1 MCr; Medium settlement application 10 MCr; Large settlement/city 50 MCr; Metropolis application 250 MCr+;

Cureall (TL 13+): This nanite application is deigned to be injected into the users circulatory system as an immunisation at birth or via a hospital injection.  It is designed to combat all diseases of the blood and/or diseases that are circulated via the circulatory system.  The Cureall only needs to be applied once in a lifetime and the nanites recreate themselves using the bodies own resources.  The effects of the Cureall is amazing and has destroyed 98% of all encountered diseases (including tumours and cancer) in those that have had the immunisation.  It has also stopped any occurrence of cholesterol induced heart failure, aneurysms and death due to blood loss for anyone that has taken them.  The nanites are programmed to repair damage and destroy other contaminants.  It also has the added ability to allow only a 0.10 alcohol percentage to soak into the system before cleaning and destroying any alcohol that enters the system above this amount.

The Cureall was a technological breakthrough and has greatly improved the quality of life in the Imperium.  The Imperium invested in one dose per known citizen and delivered these to each system via the navy over a period of 3 years.  This caused widespread panic in some communities who believed the nanites to be some form of tracking device.  It also caused some systems to stockpile the technology and not to deliver it to the populace at large, rather selling it on for large profits to the Black Market which then took it further afield.  In fact, the further toward the edges of the Imperium the system you lived in was found, the less likely you are to have the Cureall technology applied to you.  
Cureall application in an Imperium Hospital is applied free of charge in most cases. If your planet does not have stocks you can pay anywhere up to 20 KCr to obtain a single shot on the black market.  More if the TL of the planet you are on is less than 13 (price modifier is multiplied by the difference between planet TL when lower than 13 so if on a TL 11 planet the price modifier is x2).

Starship

Void Leviathan (TL 18+): Rumoured to exist only.  The Void Leviathan is believed to be a living ship related to the exceptionally rare Star Whale.  The Void Leviathan is capable of much larger “Jumps” (intelligence suggests up to Jump 18) than conventional Jump drives using a natural manipulation of the time and space continuum that is not the same principles as the Jump drives currently used in the Imperium.  These ships are only rumoured though it is believed that there are around 18 in operation within the Imperium currently.  Pilots of the Void Leviathan need to be dramatically altered using a bio-mechanical process so that they (and they alone) can communicate with the ship consciousness and operate systems on board.
Pilot design?
Void Leviathan’s are vat grown and compartments can be “grown” at request to the consciousness.  The consciousness of the ship is independent and free thinking.  It cannot be forced to do anything it does not want to and at times may react without any communication to the altered pilot at all.  One pirate organisation is said to have actually invented a device that can cut the consciousness from its own operation at the flick of a switch, essentially trapping the conscious inside of itself with no means of action or communication.  Again, this is a rumour only.  No price is available all though there is heavy rumour that these ships are being bred by the Imperium in secret birthing facilities that circle gas giants in red zoned systems.

Conclusion

That is as far as I have progressed so far.  I hope the direction is something you approve of.  If you have any comments, let me know!  Feel free to use these in your own Traveller games and if you want to use them in a professional capacity please contact me.  Images that have been used today have been sourced under the Creative Commons License from Steven Sanders “So Close to Symbiosis”.  Until next time, keep rolling!

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