21 May 2012

[T5 ATU] Career: Divers

Dear Readers, 

First, let me say that as of yet the players are unaware of this bit of their characters' Society and Culture. Basically, as usual, they are itching to roll dice and skip all your politics and pretty colors. Players, I tell ya, no damned respect for a in depth worked on hard sandbox. Nope, just want to blow some shit up. *sigh* Well, they will be getting that. Brushing up on my  T5 combat rules, just for them. Then on to arming the badguys. Ah, a Referee's work is never done. 

Second, I was thinking about the overall arc of the Permatic Imperium, which is that of course there are Elder Races (K-Scale Type II and III Civilizations) out there and they may be coming around to see what's what soonish, by their standards. And then I thought about our own species and what if we are it on the galactic scale and then off oddly, as is usual, off to the utility of garbage dumps and how important they really are to the descendants to figuring out what fuck really did happen back then. Like how thankfully the Romans were just a huge bunch of taggers and graffiti artists. We learned quite a bit out actual Roman civilization from what some wag wrote on a wall. Probably in the dark, with some brushes and dye he stole, because he's all "street" like that. 

So, I have decided that in my SATU the Imperiums of History have had Official Dumps, where they just toss stuff into an interstellar archive and time capsule.These Dumps are of course Red Zones with both strict enforcement and lethal traps and such left by the various Empires (including the current one). They are also, the one place that anyone can put anything with no surveillance or penalty or reward. Whatever goes in the Dumpster (a Collection Point for a random Dump) is off limits and not to be investigated or otherwise tamped with. You can't not be prosecuted for dumping things in a Dumpster, even if what was Dumped was say fruits of a crime, treasonous confession, weapons, or even sophonts. Now if you do Dump one of those normally prohibited items in a Dumpster and it or they make it back out, well then, now things are really cooking because unlawful Dumping is a major Capital Crime and it comes with some of the worst penalties they can administer in the Far Future. This is where the Divers come into play.

Divers are an elite organization that makes the Scout Service pretty damned cushy if you ask a Diver. "Ooo, I am Scout, I count rocks and do the Census, and they let me carry the mail. Sometimes I even get to Discover stuff." It is sort of true. Once the Scouts Discover a Dump all they can do is report it and defend it until relieved by an Imperial Dump Defense Force, a combined arms unit devoted to defending Dumps from unauthorized salvagers and Rouge Scholars (sort of like the evil version of a Rhodes Scholar, smart and devious. Make for good Villains, always running around and trying to Know What Man Was Not Meant to Know.) DDFs are sort of an elite postings as they do have some stringent quals, but the duty can be pretty dull.

Divers are legally authorized, registered, bonded and all that good stuff professional Dump(ster) Divers. They are the one group of folks allowed to go in to an Imperial Dump and retrieve stuff. So Mister Smarty Sophont thought he would dump his container of bodies in the Dumpster and the Imperial Marshals Service hired a Diver to go in and get them. Oops on you if the Diver makes it out. And "if" is a big part of the equation. Dumps are notoriously dangerous places. When a Rouge Scholar has made a potential mistake and dumps the result into a Dump, well, have fun with those gray goo swarms, you would be amazed how many there are. I mean the Dump System has been around for more than five thousand years of humaniti striding the interstellar stage and lot of folks have Dumped some very interesting things in there over time. Another common employment is by (psycho)historians and other researchers of the past. However, in cases of pure research the original source material is not brought out, just a bonded copy. 

The Skill set I am thinking of for the Career are (in the order they were laid on the notebook page):
Jack of all Trades, Engineering, Hostile Environment, Zero-G, Programmer, Comms, High-G, Navigator, Talent, Fighter, Trade, Recon, Liaison, Language. Leader, Bureaucrat, Admin, Streetwise, Gambler, Advocate, Survival.
This leaves three slots for repeat receipt of say JoT, Fighter, Language or some other combo. Or the addition of three other skills. 

Still have to work out if there are Branches, I suspect not, though... Dangnabbit, I can see how they would mimic the Scouts in having an Administration and Field Branch. Okay, Branches up in the air. Missions are also, still up in the air at this point. Off the top of my head though, I can see 
Research (You go into a Dump to find some diary Professor Widget thinks is for sure in this one), 
Retrieval (the Imperial Navy has reason to believe there are some AM Creators in the Dump, bring them out would you), 
Court (yep, you pulled something out and it went to Court, so did you), 
Intel (technically you can't talk about, realistically you probably don't want to anyway)
as Operations for a year of a Term.




  1. I like the idea of Dumps, and Dumpster Divers - do you imagine dumps being on planets, in deep space or in stars?

    I'm thinking that if I've made some Grey Goo and wanted to dump it, tossing it into a star might be safer than leaving it lying around on a rock; likewise Nasty Weapons and AM Creators.

    Now, there might be a good reason why folks in YTU don't dump in stars, so there might be a case for dumping at the bottom of a steep gravity well for keeping stuff in - like a gas giant or massive sub giant - which means your divers will have somewhere to dive!

    I can see Divers being tasked by the MoJ to retrieve suspected evidence from a Dump.

    Interesting career.

    1. You are either the second person to dig the concept or you have a different handle on CotI. Either way is good to have feedback.

      I tend toward gravity wells and worlds, stars can't be mined later, so it is spaces and places that can hypothetically be reached by a Diver. Though perhaps just over the edge of black holes might be possible, but then there is the chance of total loss which goes against the meme of the Dumps. I also lean toward them being very heavily shielded with various Screens and lots of IDDF destroying the harmful things that occasionally escape. So yeah, heavy worlds, perhaps gas giants and secondary, barren worlds are prime candidates for a Dump.

  2. I don't do COTI anymore - had a bad experience with a resident "expert" a few years ago and decided I didn't need the aggrevation.

    Pity the time scale is so short as David Brin's fallow world idea from the Uplift series would fit nicely with what you're describing as a Dump.

    Perhaps the Dumps are more along the lines of Deep or Safe Storage - hard to get in and out of - rather than the complete destruction in a star and the idea still works, and has some logic in it's favour as the moral qualms, for example, that persuaded a civilization to get rid of nuclear weapons to prevent nuclear war may prove outdated when the alien brain eater fleet suddenly shows up to conquer the planet. Being able to pull some H-Bombs out of Deep Storage way ensure your civilization is still around to hand-wring about it later. ;)


  3. I am going to go with Ranke2 and Whipsnade. They are pretty much the resident ass munch know it alls that talk down to noobs and mods alike. Too bad, CotI it is a pretty cool place, aside the aforementioned Ranke2 and Whipsnade.

    You got it with the Deep/Safe Storage concept. As my Patron at Court put it: "I think the idea is terribly wonderful. It makes me think of eternal caches of archaeological wonders and horrors."

    Which also does a good job describing Dumps.

    1. Heehee, good call on Whipsnade. I am unaware of any positive contribution he has made, or if he even actually plays anymore (the same can be said for a lot of us) but his pomposity and arrogance were/are astonishing.

      Some years ago, I started helping Beech out with his BurrowWolf webcomic as he had got stuck, story-wise. We got it moving and he put some pages up and then announced it on COTI. Whipsnade and his pilotfish basically crapped all over it - accused the writer (me) of stealing ideas from Battle Star Galactica (which is rather difficult as I watched the 70's/80's series but not the reboot) and the artist (Beech) of "inaccurately showing ships manoeuvring in space" and so "was not Traveller". It was at that point I decided that I couldn't be bothered with blowhards.

      Funny thing is that Don McKinney later told Beech that Marc Miller quite enjoyed the BurrowWolf pages he had seen. Hope he follows it in the Freelance Traveller webzine.

      Just thinking about exploring a dumpsite - wow! You could really run a haunted house/Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom type game as the players push deeper into the strange structure of the Dump. It could even use non-Euclid type geometry (like the film Labyrinth) if built by a sufficiently high tech Precursor Empire. Passageways that fold back on themselves in the presence of containment fields design to prevent quantum devices leaking out.

      Oooh, fun!

    2. It wasn't a good call, just hanging out and watching them run folks off. They can be butt munches. Marc on the other hand is a pretty cool dude.

      As for Dumps, oh yeah, high tech dungeon crawls are for sure possible. I like the non-Euclidian passages.


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