01 April 2013

Metagame: Still More Notebook Transcriptions.

Greetings and Salutations My Dear Readers and Followers,

Today, as you can see from the title, we shall again dive into the Notebooks of the Institute and hopefully leave you more informed about the Permatic Imperium than you were when you arrived. Let us begin.

The first little bit concerns World Class Starships (WCS), also known as World Class Vessels (WCV) since they are significantly larger than even Battle Class Starships. While we are all familiar with the Adventure or Battle Class starships of most Traveller Universes (TUs) that is generally the size limit for starships among the Major Races, yet in that one movie that helped inspire and launch Traveller into gaming history there is those classic lines,

"It's headed for that small moon. I think we can get it before it gets there."

"That's no moon! That's a space station!"

Think about that. The first thing the characters think when they see the Death Star is that it is a small moon. But it's not, it is just a bloody super huge starship. (One with really bad port design, but hey have you ever tried to design a bloody moon-sized starship, some shit is going to get overlooked. It happens. And then your firm has to explain the big dude in black who likes to choke people to death with his magic powers why the Emperor's pride and joy is so much space dust around Yavin IV.) And then in the last movie we see an even bigger one that takes a Super Star Destroyer to the side and is still significantly bigger than one of the most massive Battle Class Starships there is this side of Galactica and even she is only about the size of the regular Star Destroyer. (Do you ever wonder what a Star Cruiser or Star Battleship might look like? I mean destroyers are usually kinda little ships.) The point of this rambling is that I do wonder what a World Class Starship might be like, so I wrote some notes in the Notebook and now I share it with you.

The first thing is that like the Death Star to be a World Class Starship it has to be the size of a world now this could be say as small as a Size 1 (1000 mi/1600 Km), but for true World Class you are looking at like Size 5 (5000 mi/8000 Km). So, big mucking place, lots of space and movable.

Next is style, or how do you use that space. I figured that there are two basic styles, the Interior or Exterior. The Interior style has the habitation and general use space in on the inside of the Hull of the WCS, basically a Dyson Sphere with Jump Drives. The other is the Exterior where the Sophonts on board live on the exterior of the Hull and treat it like any other world. In the end I decided that Size dictates Style. Size 0-5 are alway Interior Style taking maximum advantage of the structure's volume, often these WCVs will have artifical grav and a proto-star powering the Jump+ Drives (more on that in a bit). Size 6-A will generally be of the Exterior style and Size B-F may be of either Style.

Now about the Jump+ Drives, yes, there are more high TL goodies in Traveller5 than we have seen before. I know I helped write some stuff in the Equipment List that the TL was way above the standard TL-F Max of the 3rd Imperium. Of course mostly those were Ancient artifacts, but there were some things that one could have if you want to play High-TL Traveller, which I do. :D Well, one of the cool things about T5 and starships are the new Drives and Power Plants. J-6 is no longer the limit kids! For ATUs that is. Though it might explain some thing I saw in the book, that I am not going into that now, but suggests Strephon's Scouts might have their hands on some better Drives than folks know. Grand things seem to be afoot in the OTU, but back to mine.  Thing is Traveller5 has gone back to the roots of Traveller and the most beloved Classic Traveller (CT), it allows the Referee to have an ATU with no problems. It is much more the Little Black Books we all grew up on. No real Imperium weighing it down with Setting (though it is used in the examples of the mechanics and I honestly dig the OTU, I was a Canonista in fact, no really), but a set of Core Rules for a Traveller group to make their own TU.

Sorry, sort of scattered today, but also excited as the Book and Swag are indeed shipping. I am getting a pretty stuffed box soonish.

So, back to my blathering about ships that are worlds. Since T5 has new Drives and PPs, I figure that if you are building these giant World Ships then hey, you might as well install Uber-Drive and Uber-PP. Now I have to admit that while the Jump+ Drives are there and awesome (along with a whole Chapter devoted to How Jump Works that should have killed the Holy Jump Wars, but in fact started some brand new ones. Such is life.) the proto-star as Power Plant is not in the T5 Core Rules (actually a bunch of stuff had to be cut or the book would have been a good 1000 pages, no really, a lot had to be cut due to page count restrictions, But hey, that means plenty of Supplements. :) I am pushing for Traveller 5: Atomic Rockets, but that might just be me. I don't think so, but it could be). The proto-star is straight ass pull as they say. But then Marc was designing PPs for Starships that players would ride in, not on. Which does get to the question of how do they Jump about the galaxy? Well, Traveller has two ways to go since back in the day, Grid or Bubble. Here I figure Grid for the Interior, but Bubble for Exterior (though you could use Grid, but that is a bit dicier for flora and fauna). I assume both can and may make use of Bubble Jumps as that allows for a certain amount of stuff you could bring along. Like satellites maybe even, especially if they are grav motivated and then they just land before jump like ships do. The Bubble though is really best used for the really good sized World Ships since they will generate a Jump Bubble big enough to contain the Atmo without to much loss or chance of Misjump. And yes, there is a now a formula for computing how large a Jump Bubble is. I haven't used it yet, I probably should now that I think of it. *shrugs* I did say they were notes, not fully thought out, worked through the Rules and checked for bugs, but basic "what if"s. Plus, you get what you paid for. :p

Last thing, World Ships do not have Deckplans, they instead are mapped to the appropriate World Map. The new T5 Mapping Symbols can be used as they are to map out the World Ship, they are spiffy and cover a lot of stuff. And now I find myself wondering, do you get Homeworld Skills from a World Ship, do they generate RUs like a World does? *hold up finger, briefly* Hold on a sec. Sorry, had to write that in the Notebook. Thanks for waiting.

Next on the hit parade is dying in the Frozen Watch. (See what I did there? I know "Bad, Craig.")

So, I turned the page and I got to the Frozen Watch issue. What issue, you ask? What happens when you get wasted on the HMS Lucky Strike while you are in Frozen Watch? Yeah, my head is an interesting place at times. Okay, so what does happen, I mean aside from you being not just technically dead, but now really dead? Well, from the notes I have it seems you get a "gong and possible Limited Pension", so let us consult the list of Traveller Medals. Well, first off there is the old Wound Badge. Though I am not sure you get one if you die, we can stipulate that you get one. (Anyone know if you get like say in the US a Purple Heart if you get zapped?) Thing is I can't really see you getting the MCUF (Meritorious Conduct Under Fire) since you were not doing anything, just waiting to get thawed out and then do something. Basically "...there is no 'conduct' involved in being in a Frozen Watch Berth in a state of technical death while the ship containing said berth is engaged in combat with the enemy. A sophont is only capable of such 'conduct' required for the award of a Meritorious Conduct Under Fire after they have been revived from their assigned Frozen Watch Berth with their shipmates and are capable of getting to and performing the duty of their station. However, the Court does find that said sophont may still be eligible for and be awarded a Campaign Ribbon for service in the Campaign in this question" Hasson v. Imperial Navy Personnel Command, (0027 PI) Imperial Admiralty Court Registry, 2d. I can also see the Limited Pension for any dependents you might have left behind. On the other hand I have another note here that wonders if they just don't warm up your clone and have you finish your Term. Nice part is it's not like you'll have nightmare about your death, nor will you have to wonder what you did, you just were there as body in stasis.

The next page is pretty short. We have Shoreside Intel. Many so called Patrons will be the fronts for several possible intelligence services. These could be Imperial, Royal or even Corporate Intelligence services, military, diplomatic or commercial the current trend seems aimed at the Parthians and the Free Spinward States. Information on the rimward and trailing areas of space are still sought after, but not as much these days. This doesn't mean that every Patron a Traveller meets and takes employment from is a front for some spook group or another, it just puts in on the table. Another thing I see mentioned is the need to work out some sort of pay scale for peacetime, wartime and deployment time, housing, things like that for members of the Imperial or Royal Services. Yeah, I am all sorts of stupid like that.

And on the next page, it seems I have a list of the twenty-four disputed systems. No, UWPs, just a list of Hexes and Bases. There are seven Scout Bases, one Waystation, three Navy Bases and three Depots and one lonely Research Station Delta.

On the next page is a bit about Low Berths and using VR, but I will save that for next time as the Ship's Cat is getting persistent in his desire that I give all my attention to him for a while. Rightly so I guess.

Okay, one last thing, I am looking at some past posts regarding the Imperial Army (which from what I gather is rather a hotly contested point in the OTU) and I see that there are some noted Corporate Armed Forces, two Navies, one Army and one Scout Regiment (I am figuring they use cavalry style unit designations in wartime). So, I have decided I should probably address them. I am not going to lie, I am not going to look up who owns those forces, but go into their obligations by having those forces counted on the Imperial Starcharts, Surveys, and Censuses. You see the Imperium recognizes the need for a company engaged in interstellar commerce to have security forces and maybe even small military forces, but past a certain level and those forces start to look dangerous to the stability of the empire. So the deal is that you can either hire mercenaries or have a true army or navy. If you take the later way you are treated at times of war like an Imperial Armed Forces asset. This means that your primary task switches from things like protecting company assets to engaging the enemy in front line combat. It also means your forces are now under the Imperial Code of Military Justice (ICMJ) and can be seriously hosed if your forces commit war crimes or flee from battle or other military offense that might be overlooked or prosecuted as lesser offenses if committed by Merchant Spacer forces. This is a standard part of an Imperial Charter (IC) as opposed to the more common Limited Imperial Charter (LIC) which only Imperializes the company's forces in very limited circumstances. That part also grants Corporate Armed Forces reciprocal rights to Imperial Base access and use of facilities, this includes fuel, armaments, and life support supplies.

One quick thing, regarding the Imperial Navy, I had in the past been undecided as to what size the Imperial Naval forces attached to a Navy Base was. I have decided that they have not Armadas, but Fleets attached. I looked it up and Task Forces and Group just don't fit. So back to Fleets it is which means the Imperial Navy has sixteen Fleets floating about space. Plus there are the Royal Navy units. I have not yet figured out how many and what kind of assets His Royal (as opposed to Imperial) Majesty commands, but Permatic has some 5280 RU on its own. As High Lord of Permatic, Vladimir II has quite a bit of resources and infrastructure to throw around and might just have a Fleet or two of his own. Right now I am leaning toward three RN Fleets with about three to four Royal Marine (RM) units apiece. I know that at least one of them is the 1st Royal Fleet, His Majesty's Own Permatics and at least one of the Royal Marine units is the 9th Royal Marines, which for some reason has an 84th Assault Squadron. But then the Imperiums stretch far back in time and some units have linages, crests, mottos and yes designations that may go back thousands of years and several star empire ago such as the Bibickian First Forces which hail as far back as the Second and the unit history has the First Imperium, sadly they were lost with Rufus the Immortal when the Great War was lost.

Well, it has a been a long day with yet another long day ahead so this is where I shall truly close. I bid you a good day or night as it be when you get here and then leave. Be well. (Yeah, I "Be Well."ed you. :p Can't lie, Rustin is right, that movie is just sick fun.)


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