02 December 2013

Can't Wait Until Tuesday

Something that gets one down about Traveller and gets one up too is the tech.

In many ways it's pure handwaviumdoubletalkide.  In others it's simply contemporary technology you could buy at the store in 1985.

It has a grit that attracts fans of crunchy sci-fi in the same way that Known Space from Niven does.  Niven is pure space opera in his technology, but it's SO internally consistent you forget he's just behind the curtain waving his hands.

Traveller has this kind of consistency because people have been pounding the inclusions out of Marc W Miller's raw iron for nearly forty years.

It leads one to aim rather lower in ones explanations of how things work because you want them to retain that grittiness that lends realism to a not very real universe.

It's why I can, in detail, tell you what the major controls are for piloting a Type S.  It's why I actually thought about the practical problems associated with wearing a space suit 24/7.  You flat cannot wear an A7L longer than a few hours at a time; you'd go insane.  It's not made to be worn for much longer than it was and the discomforts are additive.

The debates and thoughts about the tech are why when the deck-plan says "iris valve" I read it as "powered hatch".

It's why I thought about giant windows in the huge ballroom shown on the deck-plans for a luxury passenger ship and how you'd deal with one breaking.  Even considered layers of redundancy.  Emergency doors are concealed in the walls and their tracks have flip over covers so there's no coamings to trip over.  Then there's rescue balls under every single seat and lots that pop out of the walls and ceilings.

I thought about your air supply should you be caught in your skin-tight with nothing but your bag helmet while manning the nav-station.  You get a detachable bottle that's with the acceleration couch, which has a larger non-removeable bottle too and those are both charged with a network of air lines throughout the ship.  You can take your umbilical hose and plug into that network at any of several points spaced conveniently about the ship.  Those plug fittings have a non-electrical visual and tactile indicator to show if there's pressure in the line at that point and there are check valves to isolate perforated sections to allow the remainder to keep working.

I thought about gravity failures because that's one system that's sacrosanct in virtually every movie or TV sci-fi depiction.  In particular the Klingon's having no idea how to deal with zero-G despite being mighty space warriors.  A fucking cub scout in The Third Imperium learns zero-g because "be prepared" is still the scout motto!  The spacer section of that huge passenger ship doesn't have giant rooms or capacious corridors.  You are never more than arms length from a wall or a hand-hold because you need to be able to MOVE if you're going to do anything useful; and that could mean life or death.

I think too much, but these details seem to be appreciated by my players!  They did keep coming back week after week when I wasn't the only choice.

1 comment:

  1. If you ever run a campaign by way of the internet and are in need of players, I would be all over that. Nothing makes me happier than not being the only one who's put in time and effort into the workings of a campaign. Almost every character that I play comes with a complete backstory, a full personality, and usually at least a detailed sketch of what they look like. If they have a house/apartment/room/etc, there will usually be a sketched layout of that, with an itemized listing of the stuff kept there.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have some GURPS: Traveller to read...


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