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Help Needed on Cold Weather Gear

Posted: Sat May 30, 2020 1:20 am
by cerebrolator
I'm about to run my first MGT 2e Traveller game (and have almost no experience with any other versions). My players will be facing challenges on a planet with wide temperature swings because of a thin atmosphere. Daytime temps reach about 10 degrees C and nightime temps about -40 degrees C. I don't have the Traveller Central Supply Catalogue yet (should arrive on June 8th), so I can't check to see if this is addressed there. My players need cold weather clothing to protect them while they do some pretty vigorous exploring of the environment. I suppose that vacc suits could work but they seem like they would be very bulky and make things like climbing difficult. Therefore, I came up with some basic ideas on cold weather clothing that they could purchase.

I did some quick pricing based on a google search and it looks like the gear for the arctic or antarctica would cost at least $1500. (Please feel free to correct me if you have some experience with these kinds of things - I don't have any experience). I then came up with a couple of cheaper price options and gave each of them a DM that they would provide to the hypothermia rolls described on page 78 of the Traveller Companion. I'm listing these things below and would really appreciate your thoughts. If this has already been done somewhere else, please let me know. If it's in the Supply Catalogue, please let me know.

+10 DM cost 1500 Cr and weighs 5 kg
+8 DM costs 1275 Cr and weighs 4 kg
+6 DM costs 750 Cr and weighs 3 kg
+4 DM costs 500 Cr and weighs 2 kg
+2 DM costs 250 Cr and weighs 1 kg

Re: Help Needed on Cold Weather Gear

Posted: Sat May 30, 2020 1:33 am
by Geir
There is a section of Survival Gear that covers cold weather protection in the Central Supply Catalog, mostly increasing the amount of time until the effects of cold weather begin to be an issue or providing protection down to -60C. But more importantly, if you bought the hard copy of the CSC, you should also have gotten the PDF, which would give you instant access to it. If for some reason you didn't, you should send Matthew Sprange (msprange@mongoosepublishing.com) a note.

Re: Help Needed on Cold Weather Gear

Posted: Sat May 30, 2020 1:43 am
by cerebrolator
Thanks for the response! Sounds like maybe I should wait for the CSC before I run my session.

Does the pdf apply if I bought it from amazon? I should have thought about buying it from Mongoose for the pdf.

Re: Help Needed on Cold Weather Gear

Posted: Sat May 30, 2020 2:25 am
by Geir
cerebrolator wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 1:43 am

Does the pdf apply if I bought it from amazon? I should have thought about buying it from Mongoose for the pdf.
Don't know, but it never hurts to ask Matthew about it.

Re: Help Needed on Cold Weather Gear

Posted: Sat May 30, 2020 2:39 am
by cerebrolator
Sounds good. Thanks for the advice.

Re: Help Needed on Cold Weather Gear

Posted: Sat May 30, 2020 8:33 am
by AnotherDilbert
If you will face about 0 °C at day and down to -40 °C at night you just need a tent and a good sleeping bag, unless you intend to be out and about at night?

Something like:
https://www.marmot.com/cwm--40-sleeping ... eping-bags

Say 2 kg and Cr 200?


If they have a vehicle they can easily carry a portable power generator and powered heat suits (CSC), good down to -60 °C.

Basically I would say it's not much of a problem with a bit of mid-tech equipment. It would only be a problem if they are stranded without any decent equipment.

Re: Help Needed on Cold Weather Gear

Posted: Sat May 30, 2020 1:19 pm
by cerebrolator
You're right. Hypothermia probably wouldn't be a danger if they have adequate clothing. Perhaps you, or someone else, can give me some suggestions on running the adventure "High and Dry." SPOILER WARNING.

A key part of the adventure is climbing a mountain. To make it an interesting challenge, the adventure requires END checks to avoid altitude sickness. If the players have breather masks, then the altitude isn't an issue. The world this occurs on has a thin atmosphere and is cold, so I thought that I would make the temperature a potential problem since breather masks eliminate the threat of altitude sickness. Do you have any advice on what I can do to make the climbing part exciting? There are a couple of places where an athletics check is necessary to move forward but I'm looking to spice up this scene with some potential environmental threats. (If the Travellers don't make it to the top of the mountain before nightfall, then temperatures really could become a problem. Since they're ascending the mountain on foot, they won't be able to carry a lot of gear. So that presents a time-based threat; maybe that's enough.)

Re: Help Needed on Cold Weather Gear

Posted: Sat May 30, 2020 10:34 pm
by Condottiere
Going by Everest climbs, cold and oxygen deprivations, both easily overcome by high tech equipment.

So, Murphy's Law.

Re: Help Needed on Cold Weather Gear

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:30 pm
by Garran
If they have proper gear (and vacc suits would work just fine, especially the higher-TL ones since they aren't particularly heavy) then they should simply get up without incident.

Two reasons:

1) That segment strikes me as edition hangover. "Everyone has to make a whole bunch of the same roll over and over just to get one thing done" was a very common feature of adventure writing from decades ago (and not just for Traveller), but it's rarely done now. Likewise, the aspect of nothing much is actually happening, nor there being any meaningful plot points or decisions involved (go faster or go slower isn't much of a plot point) - it's just an excuse to stack penalties /damage / RNG you-die, which was also common then and generally shunned now.

2) If the players/PCs make a point of being prepared for a known hazard, that foresight should actually pay off. Negating it with a handwave "because challenge" both feels and is arbitrary, and the message that it sends to the players is "don't bother". They may or may not call you out directly for it, but in future you're going to be faced with "No, we're not going to prepare for X, no matter how important you say it is, because it won't matter anyway." or "We're not doing anything until we have 10x the preparation reasonably needed - which more or less means we do nothing." from the players, and they won't be wrong to think that way.


End result: you can't make this part exciting. It's die-rolling tedium by design. Even when I first read it during the playtest my assessment of it was four pages of wasted space for all but the most incompetent and ill-prepared PC groups.

Give them a few lines of exposition about the terrain, and the changes the PCs see as they get high up the mountain, then move on.

Re: Help Needed on Cold Weather Gear

Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:23 pm
by NOLATrav
Garran wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:30 pm
"Everyone has to make a whole bunch of the same roll over and over just to get one thing done" was a very common feature of adventure writing from decades ago (and not just for Traveller), but it's rarely done now.
...

End result: you can't make this part exciting.
My players did indeed simply wear the vacc suits they already had, but adding some crunch to the gear selection (and hopefully therefore some meaningful player choices) is not necessarily a bad thing.

But I disagree about the excitement in such a situation. Additional rolls ultimately serve only to reduce the chances of success, and I agree that’s not great design. So I had each player roll a single climbing check, if they failed they took their Effect in damage, possibly tearing their vacc suit. It was a tight, tense little round of throws, a Traveller in the middle failed but the next in line succeeded with a high Effect so I ruled they were able to help and minimize the damage taken and avoid a suit breach. Not exactly high adventure but it was quick and threatening and then we moved on.

Re: Help Needed on Cold Weather Gear

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:01 pm
by Linwood
A scary hazard in cold-weather conditions is immersion. Not all survival gear will do a good job if wet. (Wool still insulates well but most other fabrics don’t.) So wading through very cold water, falling through the ice, etc. could provide an additional survival challenge. I suggest in those cases the amount of time the equipment protects the character should be shortened, perhaps drastically.

Wind chill is another factor to consider. If the characters are traipsing around the tundra in stiff 100-kph gusts even the best high-tech equipment may not provide a lot of protection. Smart players will want gear that can create a quick and effective windbreak in those environments (unless they have survival cabins or similar).

Re: Help Needed on Cold Weather Gear

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:52 pm
by Garran
Neither of those are likely to come up during the adventure in question: between atmospheric and geographic conditions they won't spend any time on open plains (the main segment takes place on a mountain in a rugged area), and it's very unlikely that someone's going to dunk into the tiny lake at the summit (and if they do, they'll have the ship nearby to retreat to at that point).

They *might* wind up in water at the very end if everything goes poorly, but at that point conditions are liable to be... anomalously warm.