Traveller 2300 Game Query

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Hopeless
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1158
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: UK

Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby Hopeless » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:06 pm

How do you handle games in this system setting?

For example say you start a game off with the players finding their characters waking aboard a small prison transport and are freed by another prisoner who seeks their help to escape claiming she was kidnapped off the streets of London.

Would the players really care to check on her claims or just immediately try to seize the ship?

Once they do bother to check and discover whilst the crew aboard the transport aren't exactly competent their captain got a mayday signal off and a group of fighters and a carrier are heading after them with a half decrypted message revealing they're only interested in the package the transport is carrying and everything else is expendable...

Would that work in a T2300 game or would you expect more details?
User avatar
Lord High Munchkin
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1292
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:12 am
Location: Vancouver, where the rainbow ends/Oxford, occasionally, in an ivory tower

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby Lord High Munchkin » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:15 pm

Sounds like it could run as a variant of 'Blake's Seven'.
The desire for a "definitive, ultimate answer" is, in fact, classified by modern psychiatric medicine as a mental illness.
Hopeless
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1158
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: UK

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby Hopeless » Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:06 pm

Rereading the T2300 rulebook trying to get a better handle on the setting as I wanted to be able to run the game properly.

Not so sure they would be interested since last time I ended up buying them their own copy of the Traveller Pocket Handbook just so they've all the information they needed only to discover one had misread the book and was looking to run a Wesley Crusher style character...

Not really that bad an idea but maybe not such a good idea for Traveller if you're looking for high skills...
User avatar
GJD
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: UK

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby GJD » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:49 am

Some of the key things about 2300ad that I have always felt defined the setting were:

1. Nationalities. It's not just a prison ship, it'll be a French or German or Azanian or any of a dozen other countries prison ship, and the carrier will likewise be a from a Tier 1 space-faring nation - as they are the ones with space carriers. This immediately begs some questions about why your characters are on a (insert nation) prison ship and why is there a carrier nearby?

2. Space ships are not common and are hard to fly. If you are on a spaceship and you hijack it, you had better make sure you can crew it and you have somewhere to go, because flying that ship is not going to be easy. You had also better hope you still have range left on those jump coils if you want to go anywhere except where you were headed before they go kablooey.

3. Humanity is not united. There are still lots of national tensions - all over the place.
Hopeless
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1158
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: UK

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby Hopeless » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:32 pm

GJD wrote:Some of the key things about 2300ad that I have always felt defined the setting were:

1. Nationalities. It's not just a prison ship, it'll be a French or German or Azanian or any of a dozen other countries prison ship, and the carrier will likewise be a from a Tier 1 space-faring nation - as they are the ones with space carriers. This immediately begs some questions about why your characters are on a (insert nation) prison ship and why is there a carrier nearby?
I was picturing the prison ship being French but those behind the situation are from another nation using the situation to hide securing a valuable secret they've been duped into carrying for them.
Haven't decided on the nationality of the carrier but don't consider it to be top of the line just one used by another nation to insure there's no problems securing their target, but the game reveals they hadn't planned on their target freeing the other prisoners in an effort to escape.
2. Space ships are not common and are hard to fly. If you are on a spaceship and you hijack it, you had better make sure you can crew it and you have somewhere to go, because flying that ship is not going to be easy. You had also better hope you still have range left on those jump coils if you want to go anywhere except where you were headed before they go kablooey.
That's part of the problem I was picturing they would get aboard without problems because they're paying off the most of the crew for their assistance but the transfer would have to be close to a system so they can transfer their target to something less noticeable however my idea is that during the escape she gets access to the computer core and engineering managing to jump the ship close enough inside the system to draw in attention enough that the carrier will keep clear but in so doing the insystem defences react to an out of control prison ship heading for a crashlanding on a barely colonised world.
3. Humanity is not united. There are still lots of national tensions - all over the place.
Which leaves me wondering who to make the villain of the story, Bavarian? or a non-Tier 1 nation?

The back story I'm considering is that about a decade or so previously the target was part of a high school research group investigating certain advanced projects, disliking her tutor she took her research to a practical stage by herself and when it proved successful her tutor stole her research and when she refused to have anything more to do with him and his project he made sure she was expelled although she then moved onto other things (I'm picturing Int of C and Sciences of 0 before considering what exactly she had been working on).

The tutor took full credit for her research and with the rest of his then team went on to develop some of the revelations she had made but he later discovered she hadn't written up all of the details and even with the best minds of the nation he was working for he was unwilling to reveal the truth as at this point he would literally be ruined.
However not all the members of his research team from when she was present were so unwilling to share their knowledge and that's when certain interested parties began trying to locate the missing member of the research team only one decided to go a step further and arrange her kidnapping and safe transfer to a more secure location... they didn't however plan on her objecting...

Yes needs lots more work and more rereading the core setting book!
User avatar
GJD
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: UK

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby GJD » Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:17 am

It's also worth considering that Stutterwarp in 2300AD is very different to Travellers jump drive. A ship under warp is making lots of micro jumps every second, but isn't actually moving under thrust - most 2300AD ships have very little in the way of reaction drives, mostly just orbital manoeuvring systems. It's also almost impossible to board with a ship that doesn't want to be caught unless you are able to disable the Jerome drive.

Also, since ships outpace their sensor images (since they are moving FTL in realspace, effectively) detection of a pursuing ship is hard, since you are going faster than their sensor information is being transmitted. A grav scanner will tell you someone else is using a stutterwarp within 150 AU, but not range, direction or any other details, just if it's on or off..

The what and the who of the bad guy could also include some for the MultiNats - mega corporations in Traveller terms. Trillon and AmeriCo are the most visible of them, but there are dozens. Also there are terrorist groups like Earth First and Provolution (we wanna be the borg!).
enderra
Stoat
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby enderra » Sat Dec 28, 2013 5:16 am

GJD wrote:A grav scanner will tell you someone else is using a stutterwarp within 150 AU, but not range, direction or any other details, just if it's on or off..
Err, not to derail this, but gravity travels at the speed of light, and if you can detect gravity waves I am assuming you should also be able to tell at least direction. Or am I gravely mistaken?
Still working on my setting: Contact Light
User avatar
GJD
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: UK

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby GJD » Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:52 pm

The grav scanner is a misnomer, it doesn't actually detect gravity, instead it monitors minute fluctuations in the players ship's Jerome Effect field which are due to massive objects or interference from another operational stutterwarp. The signature and intensity of the fluctuations indicate the mass of the object or if it's an operational stutterwarp. It's binary situation - the fluctuations are present - indicating an object or drive within 150 AU - or they aren't.
Hopeless
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1158
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: UK

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby Hopeless » Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:18 pm

Going by what's written at the bottom of page 205 in the T2300 setting book it sounds like something that should be part of any basic sensor package after all if it can detect an incoming stutterwarp drive at up to several light minutes distance then that would give enough warning in case they're in danger of colliding with the arriving ship.
Grav Sensors: (TL11, 4 tons, MLv 4) A grav sensor can detect an operating stutterwarp drive at several light minutes and planets and asteroids at system-wide ranges, although without sufficient accuracy to get any information or provide a targeting solution.
Targets of this nature are known as “Black Globes” (no relation to the Traveller defensive technology of the same name).
I'd say an essential part of a sensor package given the stutterwarp is the main means of travel unless being routinely surprised by any ship coming out of stutterwarp that if they don't immediately run the risk of colliding with a ship in their way because they had no warning they were incoming...
enderra
Stoat
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby enderra » Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:26 pm

GJD wrote:The grav scanner is a misnomer, it doesn't actually detect gravity, instead it monitors minute fluctuations in the players ship's Jerome Effect field which are due to massive objects or interference from another operational stutterwarp. The signature and intensity of the fluctuations indicate the mass of the object or if it's an operational stutterwarp. It's binary situation - the fluctuations are present - indicating an object or drive within 150 AU - or they aren't.
And that is in some sort of canon source material?

I surely hope not. "Massive objects" implies gravity, and the rest sounds like a lot of hokum unworthy of a game that at least attempts to be "hard" science fiction.
Still working on my setting: Contact Light
rust
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5941
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:17 pm
Location: Sonthofen / Germany

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby rust » Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:38 pm

enderra wrote: "Massive objects" implies gravity, and the rest sounds like a lot of hokum unworthy of a game that at least attempts to be "hard" science fiction.
Perhaps the misnomed grav scanner measures the inertial mass, a body's
resistance to acceleration by a force, instead of the gravitational mass ... 8)
Hopeless
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1158
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: UK

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby Hopeless » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:27 pm

I was thinking it sounded like it can detect a stutter warp's tell tail signature alerting the ship or perhaps via a satellite alerting all shipping to an incoming ship whilst it alerts the incoming ship to anything in its flight path... like a planet or asteroid belt which might act like something like the Imperial Interdictor so they'd have some warning if they're about to be dragged out of stutter space within an area they'd rather not end up splat...

The distance sounds useful but only when explained why it would be so useful and why I thought it should be part of a basic package in addition to an automatic part of any satellite network designed to help keep space navigation safe for ship arriving or departing from the star system.
User avatar
GJD
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: UK

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby GJD » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:25 am

It's a suggestion I made on the 2300ad facebook page which Colin Dunn (the 2300AD line writer) liked and ran with. If it gets into print it'll be canon, as the moment it's a suggestion.

The problem is that grav sensors as written are not hard scifi. Gravity waves can be detected locally by using interferometry and very sensitive lasers. But that only tells you of local fluctuations in gravity, it won't tell you that there is an asteroid out there.

The thinking behind the grav sensor tied to the stutterwarp was twofold. Firstly, the operation of the stutterwarp is a black box. We know it works and the outcome of its working - the ship warps in short hops millions of times a second - but not what the actual process is, beyond the vague "it's linked to the quantum tunnelling effect of an electron"* We also know that the operation of a stutterwarp is inimically tied in with gravity - the higher the local g-field, the worse the drive performs. If the drive is thus sensitive to gravity, could the minute fluctuations in the drive field from very distant objects then be used as a sensor.

The grav detector then changes to be a sensitive set of instruments looking for tell-tale fluctuations in the Jerome effect field that indicate a mass at distance. Since the effects are so tiny, they can only be used very crudely to plot asteroidal and above sized bodies very crudely - with much less definition than you'd get with a good optical scope on the run in to a system as you passed through the various light shells of the moving system bodies.

In addition I suggested that another operating drive would generate a kind of "static" detectable as further distinctive fluctuations in the drive field. Of course, all of this is still limited by propagation at light speed, so your detection data may well be several hours old by the time it reaches your vessel.


*but more recent studies have shown that electrons don't tunnel like this anyway...
User avatar
GJD
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: UK

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby GJD » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:36 am

Hopeless wrote:I was thinking it sounded like it can detect a stutter warp's tell tail signature alerting the ship or perhaps via a satellite alerting all shipping to an incoming ship whilst it alerts the incoming ship to anything in its flight path... like a planet or asteroid belt which might act like something like the Imperial Interdictor so they'd have some warning if they're about to be dragged out of stutter space within an area they'd rather not end up splat...

The distance sounds useful but only when explained why it would be so useful and why I thought it should be part of a basic package in addition to an automatic part of any satellite network designed to help keep space navigation safe for ship arriving or departing from the star system.
It's less useful than it sounds, mostly because ships will be travelling at FTL speeds, and thus outpacing their own stutterwarp signal, for much of the journey. If you put amonitoring station at the edge of a system, by the time a satellite gets the trace of an incoming ship, it's already passed the satellite, and is outpacing any radio messages you might want to send. You are much better off just sticking a warning bouy at the system edge.

Incoming ships will have a great view of the current system state anyway, as they will be heading towards the system and seeing successive younger sets of sensor information as they get closer to the system By the time they cross into the system they should have a full picture of where everything is. Remember, stutterwarping ships are still in real-space for most of their journey time (although without periodic pauses for navigational fixes the signal is going to be badly chopped up by the episodic nature of stutterwarp travel)

Once they hit the 0.1g stutterwarp shelf they drop below FTL speeds, but are still travelling at a significant percentage of the speed of light, so your reaction times, if using a grav sensor equipped satellite for Early Warning are going to be very low.
enderra
Stoat
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby enderra » Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:58 pm

GJD wrote:It's a suggestion I made on the 2300ad facebook page which Colin Dunn (the 2300AD line writer) liked and ran with. If it gets into print it'll be canon, as the moment it's a suggestion.
Well, thanks for the warning, I had intended to buy the 2300AD books but if this is what the setting is degenerating to, then frankly I don't even want them for free.
Still working on my setting: Contact Light
Wil Mireu
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 463
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:43 am

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby Wil Mireu » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:02 am

GJD wrote:It's a suggestion I made on the 2300ad facebook page which Colin Dunn (the 2300AD line writer) liked and ran with. If it gets into print it'll be canon, as the moment it's a suggestion.
I was under the impression that Colin had rejected the idea of grav scanners (as described in 2300AD) since they were so unrealistic.

Perrsonally I don't like the idea that stutterwarp is trackable at all, with any kind of technology.
enderra
Stoat
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby enderra » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:21 am

GJD wrote:Remember, stutterwarping ships are still in real-space for most of their journey time (although without periodic pauses for navigational fixes the signal is going to be badly chopped up by the episodic nature of stutterwarp travel)
It spends all its time in realspace, the tunneling doesn't take any "time". There's no "hyperspace" in 2300AD.

You do lose parts of the signal, but not because you miss "time", but because you bypass space and the information (photons, tachyons, whatever) that it contains. You basically skip ahead in the signal's timeline (or you skip back - depending on where it's coming from). It should be possible to calculate these effects fairly well, since we know the speed of stutterwarp vessels and can estimate the distance of each jump ("several hundred meters" is anything from 200-900m), but it's late and I CBA.
Still working on my setting: Contact Light
enderra
Stoat
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby enderra » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:57 am

Wil Mireu wrote: I was under the impression that Colin had rejected the idea of grav scanners (as described in 2300AD) since they were so unrealistic.

Perrsonally I don't like the idea that stutterwarp is trackable at all, with any kind of technology.
I'd do away with the "grav scanner" ship detection too; while in theory you can detect changes in the curvature of spacetimes (gravitational waves), we haven't succeeded in doing so, and there's the question whether instruments could ever be sensitive enough to detect a really small moving object...

I guess you could limit it to really big objects and assume that it's more of a survey scanner to find major objects in a new star system relatively quickly. Would it actually work for that? Judging by our failed attempts at detecting any gravitational waves, I doubt it. One of those things where 2300AD is showing its age I guess.

However, my earlier objection was based on the impossibility to suggest that there is any form of ftl detection that doesn't even point a direction. Wtf?

Anyway, I just checked my 2300AD booklet (1988 version). It actually quite clearly states that the drive is detected "by its effect on the gravitational field" - so the grav sensor is a gravitational wave detector. At least this does away with any notions of a magical supersensor.

As for detecting a starship, should be easy based on the radiation it's giving off. Lots of infrared, if nothing else. Plus, the intermittent nature of the signal (it skips space as it travels) should set it apart quite nicely from any conventional or natural source (a question of resolution of the sensor I guess). So you can track it quite nicely while it's in your system, but before it arrives and after it departs, you can't tell where it's going or coming from etc.

but ymmv. I am not a physicist. Ask one :-)
Last edited by enderra on Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
Still working on my setting: Contact Light
User avatar
GJD
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: UK

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby GJD » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:59 am

enderra wrote:
GJD wrote:It's a suggestion I made on the 2300ad facebook page which Colin Dunn (the 2300AD line writer) liked and ran with. If it gets into print it'll be canon, as the moment it's a suggestion.
Well, thanks for the warning, I had intended to buy the 2300AD books but if this is what the setting is degenerating to, then frankly I don't even want them for free.
That's a rather snarky remark. Magic grav scanners were in 2300AD before Mongoose took it over. I don't see this as a degeneration of anything, but rather an attempt to rationalise what seems to be impossible. If you think you have a better idea, the please do speak up.

G.
User avatar
GJD
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: UK

Re: Traveller 2300 Game Query

Postby GJD » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:00 am

enderra wrote:
GJD wrote:Remember, stutterwarping ships are still in real-space for most of their journey time (although without periodic pauses for navigational fixes the signal is going to be badly chopped up by the episodic nature of stutterwarp travel)
It spends all its time in realspace, the tunneling doesn't take any "time". There's no "hyperspace" in 2300AD.

You do lose parts of the signal, but not because you miss "time", but because you bypass space and the information (photons, tachyons, whatever) that it contains. You basically skip ahead in the signal's timeline (or you skip back - depending on where it's coming from). It should be possible to calculate these effects fairly well, since we know the speed of stutterwarp vessels and can estimate the distance of each jump ("several hundred meters" is anything from 200-900m), but it's late and I CBA.
Nothing is instant. Everything takes time, even if it's only plank-time duration for each jump, you still lose some time when you consider the number of jumps involved.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot], MongooseMatt and 43 guests