How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

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EvilDM
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How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby EvilDM » Wed Sep 24, 2014 7:33 am

I got myself the Alien Module 5 recently and because I was bored I wanted to roll up the strangest character I can, meaning an uplifted dolphin.

The character creation itself went more or less smoothly (Solomaniti character creation is quite fiddly with all the penalties through race, soc, Home Guard/Monitor benefits, etc.) but when I was finished I looked at my charactet and asked myself "How would I be able to play him at all?"

My problem is that there are hardly any means for the dolphin to travel on land and thus to integrate into a normal campaign.
But lets be more specific.

First, the Dolphin Battle Dress benefit is not explained in the book. Does that really mean the character gets the 1.5 MCr TL13 Type-D battles dress for free?

At first it sounds strange, but there is literally no other way for a dolphin character to move on land. Waldo units only provide arms and the two travel suits make no mention of an anti grav unit (certainly not on the TL 9 version) or any other way to move on land.
And even when you ignore the spending limit and the double cost for dolphins it is very unlikely that a character can afford a 100k grav belt in addition to the other stuff.

So in order for a dolphin character to be viable at all in a mixed campaign he either needs to be a civilian monitor with a very good benefit roll of 7 or a soldier with a little less luck (but it is still only 2/6).
And good luck getting the build in laser through customs.
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby Mytholder » Wed Sep 24, 2014 9:05 am

Remote-control drones, communicating with other PCs over comm channels, other forms of telepresence. Setting your campaign on a water world ala Blue Planet also helps :)
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:56 pm

Also, the dolphin would be perfectly at home in a Zero-G environment...

Yes, it would be VERY hard to have a dolphin character as part of a regular/standard Traveller group; you really need a specialized group that is going to always be doing things in/around water so that the dolphin character can be involved.
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Reynard
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby Reynard » Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:22 pm

Combat armor and battle dress can have the option Grav Assist integral. Very expensive but make a dolphin able to traverse land. I would say if dolphins are common enough, grav belts designed for their form could should be available. The Extended Life Support might be suggested as normal for their life support suits.

Big problem is how they are cared for on ships. Traders and Gunboats mentions in the safari ship section a cargo hold that can be modified for any environment including salt water. That may be a dolphin stateroom. Still, they live a lonely existence in a mixed group.
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby dragoner » Wed Sep 24, 2014 2:55 pm

Better as a patron than a PC I bet (like Jones from Johnny Mnemonic), at least more action if they do get some sort of gear. Like some sort of grav fishbowl with waldoes, still kind of limiting, maybe do a water world adventure with Luriani.
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby GypsyComet » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:29 pm

Feel free to ignore the Solomani specific stuff and just roll an Imperial. Despite what the book claims (Solomani propaganda) there are Phins on watery worlds across the Imperium.
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby ieqo » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:37 pm

If you've already worked out contragrav support, then you don't really need any kind of "fishtank" arrangement; dolphins and other large marine mammals need the water because their organs are designed for a bouyant environment. The CG takes care of that, so as long as whatever kind of "suit" you give them keeps their skin moisturized, their physiological needs are met. That's not to say they'd be comfortable, though. I've always been curious to explore the psychological impacts of uplift. How does walking among and interacting with humans make an uplifted primate feel? Do dolphins and orcas get claustrophobic? Do vargr make better baseball or soccer players? Okay, that last one's a joke. But seriously, while a suit, CG harness, and a suite of drones can allow a dolphin to function aboard ship or in a terrestrial setting, I simply can't imagine any of them that would want to. I'd bet a lot of dolphins burn their draft cards. Oh wait... They can't. But you get the idea.
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby dragoner » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:53 pm

Tank vs suit could be thought of in the "boy in the plastic bubble" sort of way, I think the tank is more comfortable, and could be cooler esthetically. Yes though, grav assist does solve just about everything. I guess one could go look through old Flipper episodes for adventure ideas.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flipper_(1964_TV_series)
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby Reynard » Wed Sep 24, 2014 4:35 pm

Human or dolphin, TL 15 or other, being confined to a suit for very long durations is not physically or psychologically healthy. For an example of this look at most paranoid RPG players who insist their characters wear armor 24/7. Body waste recycling will be a major issue and a special construction feature to their suits compared to catheters or diapers. I'm not sure if dolphins would be comfortable in suits contacting their skin as their ancestors were built for open water conditions whereas humans developed clothing quite a long time ago. Maybe dolphins are trained and acclimated to 'wet suits'. This is why a wet stateroom would be necessary for their health.

I don't have the MgT version of the Solomani book (yet) so not sure what the life paths are subsequently what their roles are in the greater schemes of the galaxy.
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby ieqo » Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:08 pm

For an example, see the movie Dolphin Tail. Took most of the movie for the smart humans to figure out that Winter wasn't smashing every prosthesis they tried against the wall of her tank because the mechanics were wrong: she couldn't tolerate the "sock" that was lining the attachment point.
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:38 pm

I don't think dolphins are all that into dungeon crawls.
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby EvilDM » Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:31 pm

Keeping a dolphin on a ship is less of a problem. Simply switch the gravity off and keep the air humid like described in the book. Movieng on a planet, or when the gravity can't be switched off is much more of a problem.

I just found it strange that there are so many ways to keep a dolphin hydrated when out of the water, from gels to special travel suits, but none of them provides the means to actually travel outside of water unless in zero-g.

The only way for a newly created dolphin to actually travel is the battle dress in which case none of those hydration items are needed.

Also, even though the Type-D is rather weak as far as battle dresses go, on most worlds this will cause problems alone because of the build in laser carbine.
Reynard wrote: I don't have the MgT version of the Solomani book (yet) so not sure what the life paths are subsequently what their roles are in the greater schemes of the galaxy.
Basically they have 2 specific paths, one for civlians and one for military and once they get Battle Dress 1 (fairly common for dolphins and even automatic for the military path) they can take all normal human paths with the usual racism penalties.

The book also lists penalties for wearing a travel suit for to long which can easily be expanded to also include battle dresses (dolphin or otherwise) if desired.

Fun Fact: Even though Dolphins are still seen a bit controversal in the lore, the reaction table in the book when applied gives better Solomani-Dolphin relations (+1DM as long as the dolphin behaves subservient) than interactions between pure blood Solomani ( No DM modifier)
Last edited by EvilDM on Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby GypsyComet » Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:08 am

EvilDM wrote: Fun Fact: Even though Dolphins are still seen a bit controversisl un the lore, the reaction table in the book whe applied gives better Solomani-Dolphin relations (+1DM) than interactions between pure blood Solomani ( No DM modifier)
It's that patronizing Solomani parent, thing. Their "children" obviously owe them a great debt and would never betray them (except maybe by accident). Other Solomani with Party Standing to watch out for, on the other hand...
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Re: How to play an Uplifted Dolphin?

Postby Epicenter » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:37 pm

EvilDM wrote: So in order for a dolphin character to be viable at all in a mixed campaign he either needs to be a civilian monitor with a very good benefit roll of 7 or a soldier with a little less luck (but it is still only 2/6).
In short: Yes.

I don't think the basic chargen is viable at all for generating a playable character unless your party is all dolphin or spends a lot of time in a "Blue Planet" situation. This could probably be fixed at a fairly basic level by reducing a dolphin character's starting money by a certain amount in return for starting with a basic anti-gravity harness (without weapons). More creative solutions exist (like the suggestion of telepresence by a poster above). They all have the same limitation that the dolphin's inherently different skillset means it is the same as playing someone who is severely physically handicapped. The dolphin has special skills to make up for it, like what a dolphin can do in the water, but without specific manufactured situations like this, they'll rarely happen as most games are very biased in favor of "terrestrial two-legs."

Care must obviously be taken by a GM when allowing a character like this in a campaign and care must be taken by the GM when writing situations. An obvious dramatic device - having the dolphin's "suit" get wrecked or something similar - is functionally the same as making one of the human characters temporarily quadriplegic (but it can be medically repaired at the starport!) - it's an "interesting" situation, some groups and players may be able to play with it, but many players will feel picked on or even worse - simply bored, so it has to be handled carefully or not done at all.

Even then, I suspect a dolphin is going to suffer from being "minigame" - the dolphin's skills, abilities, and limitations are going to be so very different from the other characters the dolphin character will require the exclusive attention of the GM at times creating the bad "two games, one table" problem (the closest parallel is like "virtual reality hackers" in cyberpunk games or "high stealth" thieves in fantasy games who go off on extended "sneaking" forays - in both cases one player essentially plays with the GM while everyone else sits around bored).

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