Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Hakkonen
Stoat
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:55 pm

Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Hakkonen » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:54 am

Larry Niven's Ringworld is one of my very favorite novels, and lately I've been thinking about a Traveller adventure or mini-capaign set on a ringworld. Here's what I've got so far:

The Travellers are approached by a liaison from a small university. The institute is in possession of some First Imperium-era astronomical records, including some that indicate a strangely regular ring around a star in the local sector. Until recently, this has been regarded as no more than an oddity, as the university lacked the funds to mount an expedition. A few months prior, one of the university's noble patrons passed away, leaving the school quite a generous bequest in her will. They still don't have the money to mount a full-scale expedition, but they can hire a ship to travel to the system and conduct a fly-by imaging study.

Question 1: How much money should the university offer? Part of the payment will come in the form of installing Advanced sensors on the Travellers' ship, if it is not already so equipped.

Arriving in the target system, the Travellers discover that the ring is, indeed, shockingly regular: it is a single contiguous object, over a billion kilometers in circumference and 1.5 million kilometers wide. It is rotating fast enough generate about 0.8g of centrifugal force on its inner surface. Thousand-kilometer-tall walls at each edge hold in a human-breathable atmosphere, and the interior surface is landscaped to resemble many billions of square kilometers' worth of temperate planet.

On closer examination, the Travellers identify some of the exterior features as being many thousands of spaceports. Approaching one, their ship is captured by a tractor beam and pulled into a docking area. There is no answer to their transmissions; the spaceport machinery seems to be running on automatic. A gravitic field generator cancels out their M-drive, preventing the Travellers from leaving. Exploring the port, they discover a number of other spacecraft, of many different origins. Aslan, Vargr, Zhodani... they are clearly not the first to discover the ringworld. Parts of the docking facility seem to have been added on by one or more of these later species, but underneath it all, the original structure resembles Ancient engineering.

The idea I'm going for is that the ringworld has been discovered, lost, rediscovered, colonized, abandoned, and recolonized an unknown number of times over its multi-million year history.

Failsafes prevent the Travellers from disabling the tractor beam and anti-drive field on site, but there are indications that they might be connected to a control center in the ringworld's interior. One of the railways leading up into the interior is still powered...
paltrysum
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 528
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:16 pm
Contact:

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby paltrysum » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:38 am

Sounds like a great beginning. They might never leave. Are you setting this in the OTU or some variant thereof?
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
steve98052
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 868
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby steve98052 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:56 am

There are a few ringworlds in the Traveller universe. The one that I know of that is documented in canon is Leeitakot or Leenitakot, Hinterworlds 1432. There's also a sphereworld, Sphere, Nooq 3201. Both are Lorenverse canon, mentioned in GURPS Traveller Alien Races 3.

There are probably also some fan-created worlds out there too, but I don't know what level of detail they might have.
Tom Kalbfus
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2520
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:09 am

Finding the Control Center is going to be tough, Louis Wu has to literally rely on dumb luck to find it, and that "dumb luck" took the form of Teela Brown, The has a Psi power which manipulated probabilities around her causing her to be lucky. Teela's luck wasn't always the rest of the team's luck, sometimes it was just the opposite. On a world with 3 million times the surface area of the Earth, finding the control center is going to take a lot of luck.


Ringworlds aren't that hard to get off of, if you can push your PC's ship over the edge, centrifugal force will kick it right out of the star system.

Here is a diagram I drew of a ringworld some time ago, it is about the size of your ringworld, which is about 2 au in diameter. This ringworld rotates every 9 days, you can see that there are 10 shadow squares in this picture. The thing is the ringworld rotates once every 9 days, but the shadow squares (not really squares but very long rectangles in fact) orbit the star once every 90 days, so one orbital period of the shadow squares equal 10 rotations of the ringworld, which also means that with every rotation of the ringworld, the shadow squares rotate one tenth as much, so in a 9 day period any particular area of the ringworld passes under 9 shadow squares.
Image
Your ringworld probably rotates a bit slower than mine since it has only 80% of Earth's gravity.
I can think of three ways to make a ringworld, you can use a fictional material such as Scrith, you could use magmatter, a hypothetical form of matter made out of magnetic monopoles. You could also make a ringworld out of ordinary matter, but you will need a lot of it. In fact for a star with the mass of our Sun, you will need just about another Sun's worth of mass, and you will need three rings.

1) Shadow Squares
2) inhabited ringworld
3) Stationary ring on the outside, the outermost ring does not rotate at all, and it is around one thousand times as massive as the inhabited ringworld, this is so the pull of gravity, which is proportional to the outer ring's mass is equal to the centrifugal force of the spinning ring on the inside and the two are seperated by repelling magnetic fields, sort of like a maglev train but on a much larger scale. The gravity of the Sun at 1 au radius is weak, so the stationary ring needs to be much more massive than the ringworld so that the force exerted by the stars gravity is sufficient to compress the ringworld to counteract its tendency to fly apart.

I would expect there to be some sort of AI controlling this ringworld. Whoever is interested in the ringworld probably wants to keep it a secret, because if word got out, the OTU would never be the same.
Hakkonen
Stoat
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:55 pm

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Hakkonen » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:10 am

paltrysum wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:38 am
Sounds like a great beginning. They might never leave. Are you setting this in the OTU or some variant thereof?
Broad strokes. The players I'd be running this for have never played (and may have never heard of) Traveller, so I'm not going to get deep in the weeds of 3I politics, etc.
Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:09 am
Finding the Control Center is going to be tough, Louis Wu has to literally rely on dumb luck to find it, and that "dumb luck" took the form of Teela Brown, The has a Psi power which manipulated probabilities around her causing her to be lucky. Teela's luck wasn't always the rest of the team's luck, sometimes it was just the opposite. On a world with 3 million times the surface area of the Earth, finding the control center is going to take a lot of luck.
One of the weakest parts of The Ringworld Engineers et al. is the idea that there is a single Control Center. Really, there should be a great many control centers distributed around the structure. In any event, I'm referring to the control center for the spaceport's automated systems, rather than for the entire ringworld.
Sigtrygg
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1079
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:23 am

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Sigtrygg » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:40 pm

steve98052 wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:56 am
There are a few ringworlds in the Traveller universe. The one that I know of that is documented in canon is Leeitakot or Leenitakot, Hinterworlds 1432. There's also a sphereworld, Sphere, Nooq 3201. Both are Lorenverse canon, mentioned in GURPS Traveller Alien Races 3.

There are probably also some fan-created worlds out there too, but I don't know what level of detail they might have.
Actually the Leenitakot ringworld is OTU canon since it is mentioned in the canonical Hinterworlds sector write up in Challenge 39.
steve98052
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 868
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby steve98052 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:08 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:40 pm
Actually the Leenitakot ringworld is OTU canon since it is mentioned in the canonical Hinterworlds sector write up in Challenge 39.[/quote]
I stand corrected.

I haven't yet received my Grognard USB (but it's in processing at least), so I couldn't look it up there. But I did see it in the wiki, so I should have guessed.
Sigtrygg
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1079
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:23 am

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Sigtrygg » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:38 pm

I wouldn't trust the wiki, too much fanon and not enough research into extant canon - it gets the UPP of the Leenitakot system wrong for one thing if you compare it with what is in Hinterworlds...
steve98052
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 868
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby steve98052 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:19 pm

When the wiki cites sources, the source citations are generally solid, even if the text itself is not. It would be nice if everything were properly marked as classic canon, Megatraveller canon, New Era canon, Lorenverse canon, etc., or non-canon. But it's not.

There was a UWP update to canon in T5, so the Hinterworlds book may be partially superseded.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 6525
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Condottiere » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:10 pm

As I recall, Teela was the female Kwisatz Haderach, or Cheryl Horowitz.
Tom Kalbfus
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2520
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:30 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:40 pm
steve98052 wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:56 am
There are a few ringworlds in the Traveller universe. The one that I know of that is documented in canon is Leeitakot or Leenitakot, Hinterworlds 1432. There's also a sphereworld, Sphere, Nooq 3201. Both are Lorenverse canon, mentioned in GURPS Traveller Alien Races 3.

There are probably also some fan-created worlds out there too, but I don't know what level of detail they might have.
Actually the Leenitakot ringworld is OTU canon since it is mentioned in the canonical Hinterworlds sector write up in Challenge 39.
The ringworld might be a partial Matrioshka Brain with enough computing resources to easily simulate all the worlds of Charted Space and all sophonts living on them, it could also compute certain fictions such as Jump and Maneuver Drives as well. Lets say also the ringworld simulates itself in its own simulated computer space. So in the simulation, and expedition explores this ringworld, tries to land on the thing, gets caught in a "tractor beam" and suddenly after a brief moment of unconsciousness and a time gap registered by the ship's computer, the ship finds itself sitting on the surface of the ringworld with no memory of having landed the ship. If there are other ships that held back and haven't approached the ringworld, then the stranded ship can still communicate with them, the only problem is such communications seem to originate from the ringworld floor, which acts as a giant antenna, instead of from space. if the stranded ship points its sensors into space, they can find no sign of the ship or ships they are communicating with, so they may come to believe that the Ringworld defenses have somehow disabled the maneuver drive when it reality the maneuver drive would never have worked using real world physics anyway. This is just an idea I had, you can run with it or discard it how ever you like. It might take the crew a while to deduce that the OTU is actually a simulated universe and the ringworld is a real world things, so all the fictional drives don't actually work. How is that for a plot twist?
BigDogsRunning
Mongoose
Posts: 129
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:54 pm

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby BigDogsRunning » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:14 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:30 pm
Sigtrygg wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:40 pm
steve98052 wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:56 am
There are a few ringworlds in the Traveller universe. The one that I know of that is documented in canon is Leeitakot or Leenitakot, Hinterworlds 1432. There's also a sphereworld, Sphere, Nooq 3201. Both are Lorenverse canon, mentioned in GURPS Traveller Alien Races 3.

There are probably also some fan-created worlds out there too, but I don't know what level of detail they might have.
Actually the Leenitakot ringworld is OTU canon since it is mentioned in the canonical Hinterworlds sector write up in Challenge 39.
The ringworld might be a partial Matrioshka Brain with enough computing resources to easily simulate all the worlds of Charted Space and all sophonts living on them, it could also compute certain fictions such as Jump and Maneuver Drives as well. Lets say also the ringworld simulates itself in its own simulated computer space. So in the simulation, and expedition explores this ringworld, tries to land on the thing, gets caught in a "tractor beam" and suddenly after a brief moment of unconsciousness and a time gap registered by the ship's computer, the ship finds itself sitting on the surface of the ringworld with no memory of having landed the ship. If there are other ships that held back and haven't approached the ringworld, then the stranded ship can still communicate with them, the only problem is such communications seem to originate from the ringworld floor, which acts as a giant antenna, instead of from space. if the stranded ship points its sensors into space, they can find no sign of the ship or ships they are communicating with, so they may come to believe that the Ringworld defenses have somehow disabled the maneuver drive when it reality the maneuver drive would never have worked using real world physics anyway. This is just an idea I had, you can run with it or discard it how ever you like. It might take the crew a while to deduce that the OTU is actually a simulated universe and the ringworld is a real world things, so all the fictional drives don't actually work. How is that for a plot twist?
Creepy. I like it! :D
Hakkonen
Stoat
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:55 pm

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Hakkonen » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:27 am

Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:30 pm
The ringworld might be a partial Matrioshka Brain with enough computing resources to easily simulate all the worlds of Charted Space and all sophonts living on them, it could also compute certain fictions such as Jump and Maneuver Drives as well. Lets say also the ringworld simulates itself in its own simulated computer space. So in the simulation, and expedition explores this ringworld, tries to land on the thing, gets caught in a "tractor beam" and suddenly after a brief moment of unconsciousness and a time gap registered by the ship's computer, the ship finds itself sitting on the surface of the ringworld with no memory of having landed the ship. If there are other ships that held back and haven't approached the ringworld, then the stranded ship can still communicate with them, the only problem is such communications seem to originate from the ringworld floor, which acts as a giant antenna, instead of from space. if the stranded ship points its sensors into space, they can find no sign of the ship or ships they are communicating with, so they may come to believe that the Ringworld defenses have somehow disabled the maneuver drive when it reality the maneuver drive would never have worked using real world physics anyway. This is just an idea I had, you can run with it or discard it how ever you like. It might take the crew a while to deduce that the OTU is actually a simulated universe and the ringworld is a real world things, so all the fictional drives don't actually work. How is that for a plot twist?
If the OTU is simulated, that means the Travellers are also simulated. You seem to be implying that the ringworld itself somehow brings them into the "real" universe.

In any event, the idea just doesn't fit the game I want to run. I want this to be an exploration game, not a navel-gazing game.

I think the main encounters will be Droyne, with pockets of other species. At least one of Niven's assumptions holds true: with no source of metals beyond existing devices, once technological civilization falls on the ringworld, it can never rise again. The Droyne (descendants of the Ancients, whose population became too small to sustain their high-tech society at the end of the Final War) and others (descendants of marooned ship crews) will be restricted to the hunter-gatherer level, or primitive agriculture at best. I don't want the Travellers to encounter large-scale, organized resistance; I want the adventure to be about exploration rather than combat.
Tom Kalbfus
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2520
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:06 am

Hakkonen wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:27 am
Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:30 pm
The ringworld might be a partial Matrioshka Brain with enough computing resources to easily simulate all the worlds of Charted Space and all sophonts living on them, it could also compute certain fictions such as Jump and Maneuver Drives as well. Lets say also the ringworld simulates itself in its own simulated computer space. So in the simulation, and expedition explores this ringworld, tries to land on the thing, gets caught in a "tractor beam" and suddenly after a brief moment of unconsciousness and a time gap registered by the ship's computer, the ship finds itself sitting on the surface of the ringworld with no memory of having landed the ship. If there are other ships that held back and haven't approached the ringworld, then the stranded ship can still communicate with them, the only problem is such communications seem to originate from the ringworld floor, which acts as a giant antenna, instead of from space. if the stranded ship points its sensors into space, they can find no sign of the ship or ships they are communicating with, so they may come to believe that the Ringworld defenses have somehow disabled the maneuver drive when it reality the maneuver drive would never have worked using real world physics anyway. This is just an idea I had, you can run with it or discard it how ever you like. It might take the crew a while to deduce that the OTU is actually a simulated universe and the ringworld is a real world things, so all the fictional drives don't actually work. How is that for a plot twist?
If the OTU is simulated, that means the Travellers are also simulated. You seem to be implying that the ringworld itself somehow brings them into the "real" universe.

In any event, the idea just doesn't fit the game I want to run. I want this to be an exploration game, not a navel-gazing game.

I think the main encounters will be Droyne, with pockets of other species. At least one of Niven's assumptions holds true: with no source of metals beyond existing devices, once technological civilization falls on the ringworld, it can never rise again. The Droyne (descendants of the Ancients, whose population became too small to sustain their high-tech society at the end of the Final War) and others (descendants of marooned ship crews) will be restricted to the hunter-gatherer level, or primitive agriculture at best. I don't want the Travellers to encounter large-scale, organized resistance; I want the adventure to be about exploration rather than combat.
Well it was my idea, you don't have to use it. It just sort of makes the point that a single ringworld is in a lot of ways bigger than the entire OTU. A ringworld is darn big! It just sort of boggles the mind. The Traveller setting is mostly a standard science fiction setting where people mostly live on one single planet per star system, and all the rest of the system is ignored. A ringworld works best in a universe where faster than light travel does not exist, and where artificial gravity by generating gravity fields is not a thing.

Once you get past the scale of the thing, the surface of a ringworld is much like the surface of any garden world. You have the indistinct horizons, the arch over your head, and the shadow squares above up, but after a while you get used to that and concentrate on the things you meet on its surface. A ringworld is a giant blank slate, and travellers can only experience the tiniest portion of it. The goal is to get the spaceship towards the edge of the ringword so it may be tossed over the side. Without a maneuver drive, with a bit of engineering skill, a nuclear jet engine can do the job. Since the ringworld has an atmosphere, you can use it as reaction mass for a nuclear jet engine, the jet engine intakes the air and the fusion reactor superheats it expelling it out the back creating an incandescent exhaust which pushes the ship forward through the atmosphere. if the ship has a lifting body, and some control surfaces, it can become a fusion powered airplane.
Sigtrygg
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1079
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:23 am

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:43 am

My explanation for the Leenitakot 'ringworld - it is not a ringworld meant to be inhabited. It is part of the machinery needed to pinch a system into its own pocket universe.
Tom Kalbfus
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2520
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:10 am

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:43 am
My explanation for the Leenitakot 'ringworld - it is not a ringworld meant to be inhabited. It is part of the machinery needed to pinch a system into its own pocket universe.
Its not really a world then.
Sigtrygg
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1079
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:23 am

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:41 am

Correct.
the Leenitakot ringworld's construction looks to be
unfinished, without soils, atmosphere or any provision for life
to live on its inner surface
is what we know about it.

IMTU the people studying it are fixated on the idea that it is an unfinished habitat, the truth is it is part of the mechanism for creating a pocket universe. It could be converted into a habitat...
Tom Kalbfus
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2520
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:08 pm

If you can create something as big as a ringworld, why would you need to create a pocket universe? In a sense, an inhabited ringworld already is its own pocket Universe with 3 million Earth's worth of inhabitable land area.

That is almost as bad as using a Dyson Sphere to trap a starship, as occured in Star Trek the Next Generation. That Dyson Sphere was good for one episode, they had to get the Enterprise out of that trap, once that was done it was onto the Next planet, no one so much as giving that Dyson Sphere a second glance. You would need to cover a wide area of space to get 3 million actual planets after all. And a Dyson Sphere is like its own galaxy, You could have a galactic empire, where one planet in every star system is inhabited, or a Dyson Sphere, one is equal to the other. The thing about Dyson Spheres and Ringworlds is that you don't need an FTL drive to build one, and if you had an FTL drive, you would have no reason to build one. So one might speculate that if someone built a ringworld it is because they don't have an FTL drive and wanted something equivalent to a galactic empire, and they realize that without an FTL drive they will never get one, so they build the next best thing.
Sigtrygg
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1079
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:23 am

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:31 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:08 pm
If you can create something as big as a ringworld, why would you need to create a pocket universe? In a sense, an inhabited ringworld already is its own pocket Universe with 3 million Earth's worth of inhabitable land area.
Why indeed...

You'd have to ask the Ancients or even earlier advanced races the answer to that question. Why did the Ancients make pocket universes?

The Ancients made pocket universes of various sizes for a variety of uses.

The ancients moved worlds into rosettes, built this 'ringworld', and conducted many other mega-engineering projects. They certainly don't need ringworlds for population, the asteroid belt alone could provide enough material to build thousands of O'Neill cyslinders inside asteroids once you have extracted their mineral wealth, enough for a population of hundreds of billions, and that is just in one system.
PsiTraveller
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 794
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:47 pm

Re: Brainstorming a Ringworld adventure

Postby PsiTraveller » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:46 pm

I thought Marc Miller removed all ringworlds from the Trav universe since even a single Ringworld would change the tenor of the Empire completely.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 20 guests