Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
phavoc
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:16 am

steve98052 wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:48 pm
It's not just a matter of stomach acid. There are also digestive enzymes that would be present in the intestines with the food. And unless the drug also reduced the activity of gut bacteria, they would continue their activity normally, until they ran out of the digestive contents that they break down into food that we can absorb, generating the various metabolic products that they make along the way.
Yup, but I was just sticking with the stomach. But anything, potentially already exposed to chemicals in your body, would continue to function while Fast drug slows down your metabolism and other body functions. Without an inhibitor of some kind chemistry will keep right on chugging along.
baithammer
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby baithammer » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:38 am

Considering flora is affected by ingested drugs in the real world without being directly targeted, its not a stretch to assume all organism within the body would be under the fast drugs effect.
Sigtrygg
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:03 am

phavoc wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:16 am

Yup, but I was just sticking with the stomach. But anything, potentially already exposed to chemicals in your body, would continue to function while Fast drug slows down your metabolism and other body functions. Without an inhibitor of some kind chemistry will keep right on chugging along.
I don't think you have a great understanding of what the word 'metabolism' means. It is effectively every chemical reaction in every cell of your body. To single out the stomach and say the chemical reactions there would continue at normal pace while every other chemical reaction in the body is affected by fast or slow drug is a bit weird really.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Epicenter » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:26 pm

steve98052 wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:29 pm
But the in-universe explanation is not as obvious; it takes some hand-waving to bring them into line with each other.
The easiest modification to Traveller to bring both in-line with each other is to simply eliminate Low Berths as anything other than a method of emergency survival.

Changes:

* What is now Low Passage is actually passengers in what look very similar to the layman as a Low Beth but actually has a trickle of life support and so on. It's "coffin" like shape is actually a barrier against tampering by the crew of the ship as well as a method to reduce liability for the shipowner. Fast Berths would be licensed and inspected by starports between each use. Starports would have a medical officer from the starport monitoring the dosing and the safe onset of the Fast Drug as well as being in charge of sealing of the the Fast Berth (perhaps using soft metal plates like on modern shipping containers? Perhaps too low-tech). The Fast Berth would have the life support necessary to support the passenger for the duration of their trip so the ship would load it more like freight. Upon arrival the destination another medical officer from the starport would come aboard, inspect the Fast Berths for tampering, sign off, and monitor the revival of the passenger. Because Fast Berths and Low Berths look so similar, the majority of those unfamiliar with the technical aspects simply call them Low Berths. This of course triggers nerds, pedants, and anyone else for whom the difference between the two systems is important. This all describes "licensed" Fast Berth travel - less formal arrangements exist, and it is these that the TAS would warn against.

* There'd be no Death Lottery.

* The Frozen Watch as a feature on warships would likely vanish, replaced by crew in Fast Drug berths. This would cause trouble with some of the references to people in the Frozen Watch surviving the "destruction" of their ship and being revived many years/decades/centuries later, but these examples are few and I don't think it'd take much GM fudging to change them.

There still would be Low Berths but they'd be emergency systems used only in event of a systems failure on a ship, particularly life support when the arrival of rescue was unknown or would simply take too long. Low berths would be powered by some sort of far-future atomic battery that would provide power for centuries. However, this is largely unnecessary - once the ship cools down enough because of the heat slowly radiating away (a process that might take a while), there is no longer any need for any active power system to help the berth; it's for the distress beacon. Because of the slang usage of the term "Low Berth" to refer to Fast Berths, the actual Low Berths would be referred to as Emergency Low Berths. The difference between Emergency Low Berths and "Low Berths" would be a point of "well, actually..." trivia for people.

Those using the Low Berths would accept the chance of death upon revival because:

* Some chance of survival is better than 100% chance of death. Even the danger of dying on revival is better than 100% certain death.

* Rescuers are likely to have a qualified technician/doctor aboard to minimize the chance of death on revival. Even if the ship doesn't have it, they can simply load the low berths aboard and take them to a place (eg; a starport) where there are doctors.
Last edited by Epicenter on Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reynard
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Reynard » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:38 pm

"Fast Drug is normally used to prolong life support reserves or as a cheap substitute for a cryoberth."

It seems officially Fast Drug is already the secondary emergency means of body function suspension. Why modify Traveller when the system already works. Fast drugs are probably more useful as a field application which you can't do with a cryoberth or low berth while fast drug can be carried for a medical emergency. Low berth is long term while fast drug is immediate. Keep the system as it is.
Epicenter
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Epicenter » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:44 pm

Reynard wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:38 pm
Why modify Traveller when the system already works.
It doesn't work in my opinion (and I think the opinion of many on the board here).

Fast Drug is not only cheaper than cryoberths, there's also a lack of that "dying when revived" stuff for cryoberths that exists in the canon for low berths. When an alternative is cheaper and safer and does much the same thing, the original vanishes.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Reynard » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:32 pm

Yet for forty years fast drug has always been the poor man's runner up. There's been more than enough chances to modify the rules concerning the two methods but low berth is the primary means for body function suspension. Other things in Traveller have had major rewrites but not this. Why? Something actually is wrong with fast drug that it can't compete.

Ah, found an entry in T5! "Users are extremely vulnerable while living at such a slow rate...." I have a feeling that means on several levels making it a more dangerous condition than the low berth issue.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Reynard » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:54 pm

Searching other sources, I found a line in Starship Operator's Manual under Cargo and passengers: "Low berth is an inexpensive way to travel among the stars and not any riskier than middle or high passage when there is adequate medical expertise on board.". That's the nail again. People still get hung up on low berths as death sentences. If a ship is serious about not risking passengers' safety it will spend a few credits to have a competent medical person on staff and ideally a Medical Bay. Higher TL ships are a boon too as a selling point. As I said in my last post, fast drug passengers are definitely at risk while using the drug which means you would still need a trained medical person on board as well as accommodations to protect a passenger during the entire trip while in their drugged state. Even a fast drug recipient isn't asleep for the entire time and will need special attendance.
steve98052
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby steve98052 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:07 pm

baithammer wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:38 am
Considering flora is affected by ingested drugs in the real world without being directly targeted, its not a stretch to assume all organism within the body would be under the fast drugs effect.
The problem here is that different organisms respond differently to drugs. That's why so many medical drugs used against pathogens are effective: they interfere with the pathogens' essential functions in some way, but have little effect on the patient.

For example, penicillin family antibiotics interfere with a process many bacteria use to reform their cell walls when they divide, but eukaryotes use a different process, so they are unaffected by that aspect of the drug (though other adverse effects are possible, as side effects).

The idea that a Fast Drug would affect all organisms equally enough that people wouldn't have to worry about gut flora is a stretch, given the variation in life processes.

I would also rule that the human version of Fast Drug could not be used by life forms other than Terragen mammals, or at least Terragen vertebrates. So Vargr could use it without problems (other than maybe dose adjustments), but Aslan, Droyne, Hivers, K'kree, and minor races would be unable to use it -- though they might have their own version.
Sigtrygg wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:03 am
I don't think you have a great understanding of what the word 'metabolism' means. It is effectively every chemical reaction in every cell of your body. To single out the stomach and say the chemical reactions there would continue at normal pace while every other chemical reaction in the body is affected by fast or slow drug is a bit weird really.
I disagree. I don't think it's reasonable to assume the existence of a single drug, or even a blend of dozens of chemicals, that could slow down every chemical process equally. It's even a stretch to think that there's a drug that slows every life process of every organism equally.
Epicenter wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:26 pm
The easiest modification to Traveller to bring both in-line with each other is to simply eliminate Low Berths as anything other than a method of emergency survival.
This is not a bad idea, except that it goes against quite a lot of canon. Another possibility that is more compatible with canon is to rule that Fast Drug requires significant medical oversight if a person is kept on it for more than a short period of time. Your friend gets injured too badly for you to deal with? Give them Fast so they survive until the medics get him or her to a hospital. Someone gets sick during jump and your medic doesn't know how to treat it? Give Fast and monitor him a few times per day for side effects.

That leaves it as a useful emergency treatment, but the expense of periodic medical observation makes it non-competitive with a low berth. (But since canon says passengers can be given Fast and maintained in a low berth without the freezing, maybe they are equipped for the medical needs of a Fast patient -- but then the berth is still required.)

Requiring medical attention for someone under the influence of a drug already makes sense for Medical Slow, so why not also Fast?
Condottiere
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Condottiere » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:39 pm

Low berths are a legacy issue, stemming from Dumarest.

Since then, we've had pretty safe examples from Aliens and Avatar.

Probably the same with the sixty day duration length of the fast drug; our jumps are a week long. You'd pretty much would be having a five jump passage for sixty dazed days, and the crew would have to lock down that lounge area.
Sigtrygg
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:07 pm

Epicenter wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:44 pm
Reynard wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:38 pm
Why modify Traveller when the system already works.
It doesn't work in my opinion (and I think the opinion of many on the board here).

Fast Drug is not only cheaper than cryoberths, there's also a lack of that "dying when revived" stuff for cryoberths that exists in the canon for low berths. When an alternative is cheaper and safer and does much the same thing, the original vanishes.
Fast drug is more expensive for the passenger...
A low berth pays for itself after one thousand trips, or forty years, the length of the ship mortgage.

Fast drug cost the passenger more and you will still need dedicated space to carry the body, space that could be use for freight or speculative cargo instead.

Sorry but fast drug is not a cheaper option for the ship owner.
legozhodani
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby legozhodani » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:31 pm

Also depends on how such a diverse collection of DNA's cope with the drugs.
baithammer
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby baithammer » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:41 pm

Really need to focus on the crunch.

Fast Drug simply slows metabolic rate, so still requires life support and a secure location to be provided. ( You age 1/60th of normal rate and your biological functions are slowed to 1/60th of normal.)

Low Birth is strictly a suspension with its duration dependent on power being provided throughout the sleep cycle. There is a risk that a passenger doesn't make it through the shock of the revive cycle.

Cyberberth is a step up from the low berth in its automated monitoring and medical automation.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Condottiere » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:58 am

What's the technology level, ten?

Have improved variants, possibly at twelve and fourteen.

Tubb specifically states that it's primary use was to freeze lifestock, likely female, who have a more robust constitution than us.
phavoc
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby phavoc » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:16 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:03 am
phavoc wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:16 am

Yup, but I was just sticking with the stomach. But anything, potentially already exposed to chemicals in your body, would continue to function while Fast drug slows down your metabolism and other body functions. Without an inhibitor of some kind chemistry will keep right on chugging along.
I don't think you have a great understanding of what the word 'metabolism' means. It is effectively every chemical reaction in every cell of your body. To single out the stomach and say the chemical reactions there would continue at normal pace while every other chemical reaction in the body is affected by fast or slow drug is a bit weird really.
Well, perhaps if I explain it differently you will understand. Your stomach has gastric juices (which include hydrochloric acid) present at all times. During the time your stomach is digesting food (and, since it's a muscle, it also squishes the food to help break it up) it will secrete additional gastric juice to help with digestion and to replace the fluids that leave the stomach with the now broken up food substance.

Fast drug acts, as you indicated, by affecting a person's metablolism. This would affect the body secreting additional gastric juice because it's part of your overall metabolism. However, as we all learn in Chemistry 101, once you have a fluid in a beaker, until it dissipates or otherwise is rendered moot in some form or fashion, it still has all the efficacy it had when you poured it in. And the same basic rule of chemistry holds true for the gastric juice contained within your stomach. When the Fast drug is applied, it WILL affect the secretion of additional juices. However, it will NOT affect the current amount already present in your stomach. And if you go to the earliest parts of the post you will see the point being made is that any food ALREADY present in your stomach and ALREADY exposed to the gastric juices WILL still CHEMICALLY react.

To your point about the other parts of the body not being affected, those areas get more complicated because of their specific interactions. But the stomach is pretty easy in comparison. We don't need to talk about the bacteria in your intestines that are tied into your body's blood chemistry to make this comparison work.

So do you understand the difference being presented now? It's not weird, it's just chemistry at work.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Sigtrygg » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:47 pm

But the neutralising agents that prevent the acid affecting the gut beyond the stomach are still in their original concentration too, so they will take care of that. :)
Fast drug then slows down all chemical processes, including the secretion of acid.

I find it a bit laughable too, but we are in the realm of magic science here, a bit like drugs that allow you to perceive the future...

An awful lot of Traveller magitech does not stand up to close scientific scrutiny - artificial gravity, acceleration compensation, the lack of heat sinks or radiators, and then there are the drugs.

Could fast or slow drug work as presented in Traveller? Not as far as I understand chemistry and bio-chemistry, but why should it just be physics that gets the handwavium treatment :)
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Reynard » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:25 pm

A couple things to know about the digestive system. The stomach survives all that acid by constantly replacing cells in the wall lining. If the body is drastically slowed down the cells are not replicating and replacing at the rate needed to deal with what acid is there whether or not the stomach produces a greatly reduced amount of acid at the same time. Fast drug doesn't slow hydrochloric acid's rate of affect on the surrounding tissue. Same for bile production as acid leaves the stomach. It's now not produced in normal (relative) quantities so what acid enters might not be neutralized properly.

With low berth and cryoberth this is not an issue.
phavoc
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby phavoc » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:32 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:47 pm
But the neutralising agents that prevent the acid affecting the gut beyond the stomach are still in their original concentration too, so they will take care of that. :)
Fast drug then slows down all chemical processes, including the secretion of acid.

I find it a bit laughable too, but we are in the realm of magic science here, a bit like drugs that allow you to perceive the future...

An awful lot of Traveller magitech does not stand up to close scientific scrutiny - artificial gravity, acceleration compensation, the lack of heat sinks or radiators, and then there are the drugs.

Could fast or slow drug work as presented in Traveller? Not as far as I understand chemistry and bio-chemistry, but why should it just be physics that gets the handwavium treatment :)
Those neutralizing agents would have already been activated in the duodenum (small intestine) with the food that had already been released. That process begins the moment the food is passed. The small intestine begins to secrete a base, which increases the pH level, thus neutralizing the acid.

Your dose of Fast would alter the rate of the stomach both secreting gastric juices AND replacing the mucus lining that protects the stomach. But unless and until an inhibitor agent was introduced the acid itself would continue to be acid and chemically react at a normal rate on the body. I just don't know if that would mean you'd get indigestion or you may actually risk an ulcer. I don't think the latter because of how the stomach lining is replaced anyways, but that's about the end of my knowledge of the digestive system.

From a game mechanic perspective it's either not an issue, or a bored ref could use it for a minor plot point, or even perhaps as a way to introduce some vile wee beastie that a person ate in their food and it ended up eating its way out of it's very slowed host.

I just try to keep hand waviums to a minimum and save them for better things. Traveller is sort of a science-y game.
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby Condottiere » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:39 pm

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legozhodani
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Re: Low Berth vs Fast Drug

Postby legozhodani » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:29 pm

What about animals that naturally have 'slow' drug systems? Such as hibernating bears, brumnating lizards or amphibs' that survive on being frozen. There is a chemistry they are looking in to that may make it possible for us. I assume these creatures have a way around the metabolic problems.

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