Question on Traveller: Orbital

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The Vrusk
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Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby The Vrusk » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:33 pm

Quick questions:

1. Is this similiar in flavor to GURPS: Transhuman Space, but without all the high biotech and AI? Is it more like Outland (the movie)?

2. Since one of my fav settings, Star Frontiers, never had gravitic technology - their ships were required to use spin habitats or deckplates perpendicular to thrust. They also appear to use a fission-fragment rockets (as well as chemical and ion) ship drives.

Does Orbital go into more detail on how/what life is like on these ships, how to draw a deckplan for a spin habitat, etc?
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby Lemnoc » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:44 pm

The Vrusk wrote:Quick questions:1. Is this similiar in flavor to GURPS: Transhuman Space, but without all the high biotech and AI? Is it more like Outland (the movie)?
I'm sure Paul Elliott will answer, but yes, that's about the size of it. Think 2001, TL 8 bordering 9.
Does Orbital go into more detail on how/what life is like on these ships, how to draw a deckplan for a spin habitat, etc?
Lots of detail on life in space and the solar system. Huge detail on spacesuits and airlocks. Not a lot on deckplans. Great resource for near-tech campaigns.
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby kafka » Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:07 pm

I read it more like Outland crossed with 2001 crossed with Deep Horizon crossed with Red Planet. Essentially, a Hard SF milieu in which you can use parts of Transhuman Space but really that game has evolved too far into computer-human integration that it misses some of the essential grit that makes Traveller superior (including Orbital). So, I would say, Hard SF over Transhuman SF is the basic premise of Orbital...which is why I cannot wait to see more come down the line.
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby The Vrusk » Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:13 pm

Cool. Thanks for replies. Hope the author can answer my Star Frontiers-related queries.

The more I look at fission-fragment drives, the more it sounds like Star Fronters' "atomic drives", even down to using disc-shaped fuel pellets.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fission-fragment_rocket
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby kafka » Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:21 pm

Star Frontiers, I played as a Space Opera, with sophistication of AD&D that was trying to be more adventurous than Traveller. But, I always found the FASA line of Traveller products always sated my desire for scientific mystery that Star Frontiers could never deliver. That said, MegaTraveller (a milieu that I truly love) did make big strides toward emulating SF and hence lost some of its Traveller-ness...but, then, I used the milieu not what was necessarily the holy writ. So, in my opinion Orbital is nothing like Star Frontier, unless you mean the 2010/2001 supplements...
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby The Vrusk » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:53 pm

No - I didn't mean to combine or substitute Orbital for Star Frontiers (SF). Its just that the technology of SF (which is all over the map) does not use gravitic technology. Thus, I am really interested in spin habitats, how to design spin hab deckplans, etc.

Even more, I want to understand narrative elements of working and fighting in such an enivornment. I could care less about the math - these are just props for storytelling after all.
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby AndrewW » Wed Apr 17, 2013 9:07 pm

The Vrusk wrote:No - I didn't mean to combine or substitute Orbital for Star Frontiers (SF). Its just that the technology of SF (which is all over the map) does not use gravitic technology. Thus, I am really interested in spin habitats, how to design spin hab deckplans, etc.
Spin habitats within the Traveller rule set are covered in 2300AD.

http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/rpgs/ ... ebook.html
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby mr31337 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:06 pm

I have a growing interest in Orbital, perhaps as my next campaign setting. Can anybody say what date ranges (approximately) are most relevant to the setting? 2200-2400? Does it have any specific dates mentioned anywhere or is it just broadly 'Earth TL 8'?

Thanks.
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby rust » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:56 pm

mr31337 wrote:I have a growing interest in Orbital, perhaps as my next campaign setting. Can anybody say what date ranges (approximately) are most relevant to the setting?
I do not have it at hand (it is on my Traveller disk), but I seem to
remember that the date is 2100 AD.
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby The Vrusk » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:05 pm

AndrewW wrote:
The Vrusk wrote:No - I didn't mean to combine or substitute Orbital for Star Frontiers (SF). Its just that the technology of SF (which is all over the map) does not use gravitic technology. Thus, I am really interested in spin habitats, how to design spin hab deckplans, etc.
Spin habitats within the Traveller rule set are covered in 2300AD.

http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/rpgs/ ... ebook.html
Cool. Thanks for the tip.
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:22 am

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby kermit » Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:57 am

@The Vrusk

As co-author of Orbital, I'm credited as Developer, I can answer yes to both of these questions. There are some definite parallels with Transhuman Space with regards to space travel and general space technology. But we intentionally stayed away from transhumanism in the sense that there are few genetic, biotech, or cybernetic upgrades to humanity. Some of that technology exists but used only for medical reasons or by those with a dire need (top government agents and the like). Humanity is still human and the real emphasis of the game is on space exploration, scientific discovery and political intrigue. With all of the resources available for Mongoose Traveller you could easily add radical tech to the setting and modify it as you see fit.

I too am a fan of Star Frontiers so I can say that yes, the space vehicles in Orbital are somewhat similar. The decks are stacked perpendicular to the axis of thrust so that they become the floor as the vehicle applies thrust. During the long periods of coasting there is zero-gravity; partially mitigated by shoes with smart glues on their soles, magnetic attachment points and good old velcro. Space vehicles intended for long voyages are equipped with spin habitats mounted on long rotting arms (this is something Star Frontiers ships never had that I can recall).

Furthermore pages 40-118, covering five chapters, provide detail for space vehicles, technology, living in space, working in space and all sorts of topics that might come up in a space based role-playing game. There is further information about life in space scattered about the book. To give you an idea Paul and I covered everything from taking a second job while on long space voyages to designing one's own space suit.

More material is forthcoming, but my source book on Venus has been delayed because I'm moving overseas. Hopefully in a month or so once things calm down for me and I get settled in Germany, I'll be able to get it completed.

If you have anymore questions Paul Elliot should be along soon, and he's the Orbital Head Honcho.
Thank you for the questions and your interest in the setting.

Benjamin Lecrone
Give me a Kennedy class fast missile cruiser and I'll give you an irradiated hulk that used to be a Kafer warship. -- Captain M. Reynolds Fletcher USAF
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby Mithras » Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:08 pm

Ben covered lots there. Thanks ;)

I'm not familiar with Star Frontiers, as Traveller bit me before I found that game.

My main obsession is 'what is it like to ...?' so I took a lot of real-world research and applied it wholesale, from storage onboard ship, to exactly what you get with your all important vacc suit, exactly what components make up an outpost on the Moon, Ganymede etc, and how much they cost, what space do they take up in the cargo hold... its a big tool-kit really, mapping out all the fiddly nuts and bolts to allow games to take place.

If I'd had my way I would have used 2013 space technology, pushed out into the solar system unchanged (with the addition of nuclear thermal rockets tested by NASA in the 70s); but Ben reminded me this was SF and pushed the tech forward enough that the game doesn't feel like your trapped on the ISS for the entire game.

I don't mean to sing its praises too much, but I do want to tell you where the effort went so you can judge whether it would be useful to you... :)
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby crazy_cat » Sat May 04, 2013 8:51 am

Just picked up Orbital - and have only skimmed bits of it so far; but this is I think one of the best Traveller supplements I've seen. A very well worked near future setting that makes sense.
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Re: Question on Traveller: Orbital

Postby Lemnoc » Sat May 04, 2013 4:16 pm

Space Activities Regulatory Agency (SARA).

Love it. :D

It didn't get a lot of promotion around here, but they pulled out the Vacc Suit section of Orbital as a freebie, if anyone wants to get a feel for the detail of this supplement:
http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/1 ... =Vacc+suit

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