Andre Norton's Traveller

heron61

Banded Mongoose
I've been rereading some of the old Andre Norton SF that I grew up reading, and finding books like The Zero Stone, Android At Arms, and Forerunner Foray to still be excellent. The most obvious and simplest conversion if (at least from my PoV) Traveller, since it shares most of the same assumptions as Andre Norton's SF novels, and in fact Norton's work is clearly one of (many) sources for Traveller. However, a few major changes are necessary.

Setting Changes

Spacecraft: In addition to human space craft mostly being rocket-shaped, jump drive works notably differently. A drive's jump rating does not indicate how far a ship can travel in one jump, but how long it takes the drive to travel one parsec. So, a Jump-1 ship has a hyperspace speed of 1 parsec/week, while a jump 5 ship has a hyperspace speed of 5 parsecs/week. Also, fuel for spacecraft is some highly energy dense solid (presumably some sort of radioactive or perhaps hydrogen rich solid), and spacecraft only need to refuel over few months. Instead of large fuel tanks, spacecraft would have hyperspace drives that took up almost as much space.

I'm also not sure you need or want differences as great as Jump 1-6, and some small craft (life boats) could also jump so, if I were to go into a bit more detail I'd say that for craft 100 tons and up, there are 3 jump drives:

Jump 2 (2 parsecs/week), Early Stellar, the jump drive & fuel takes up 20% of the ship's tonnage.
Jump 4 (4 parsecs/week), Average Stellar, the jump drive & fuel takes up 40% of the ship's tonnage.
Jump 6 (6 parsecs/week), High Stellar, the jump drive & fuel takes up 60% of the ship's tonnage.

Also, small craft as small as 10 tons (a lifeboat with one or two emergency low berths) could have Jump 1 (1 parsec/week), and here, the jump drive & fuel takes up 40% of the ship's tonnage.

Weapons: Conventional firearms are very uncommon except among pre-stellar cultures. The dominant lethal weapons are needlers (gauss weapons) & lasers (sometimes called blasters). However, both are highly illegal except when used by the military, the Patrol (interstellar police), and on ships visiting worlds lacking intelligent life which are specifically dangerous. Any other use of lethal firearms is a serious crime. Instead, the most common hand weapon is the stunner, which is available to any intelligent being without a criminal record. In Mongoose Traveller terms, use the TL 12 stunner on p. 100, but also give it a broad beam mode that affects all targets within 4 meters of one another, but uses 5 charges per shot.

Tech Levels: Tech Levels 1-6 are used as normal. Higher tech levels are basically only Early Stellar (use TL 11), Average Stellar (use TL 13), and High Stellar (use TL 15). Also, for any world with intelligent native life that is below Early Stellar, in general characters are not permitted to bring any devices above the local tech level outside the area of the Starport. Exceptions are often made for search and rescue and law enforcement, but that's about it. However, high tech may be freely used on uninhabited world or newly contacted and on worlds with a Tech Level of Early Stellar or higher. Also, all colony worlds which do not actively and specifically reject high technology are treated as having a Tech Level of at least Early Stellar. Also, robots are in common use, but true artificial intelligence is essentially unknown.

The Ancients: The existed, but were not Droyne. Instead "Forerunners" are simply a name for the dozens of ancient and now-extinct species that possessed interstellar travel, sometimes had incredibly high technology, and are now extinct.

Nobility & Social Standing: High Social Standing indicates significant wealth and power, and provides a DM to Cash Mustering-Out Rolls as well as to all appropriate skill rolls, but there are no noble titles or interstellar nobility. Individual worlds may have titled nobles, but almost all of them have Tech Levels below Early Stellar.

Aliens: Most of the conventional Traveller major races do not exist.

Instead of Aslan, Salarika are cat-people, but are more similar to domestic cats and have Notable Dexterity (+2), Weak Strength (-1), Weak Social Standing (-1), and Natural Weapon (Claws).

The long-lived reptilian Zacathans have Notable Intelligence (+2), & Notable Endurance (+2), Slow Metabolism, and are all naturally Psionic, although powers other than Telepathy, Clairvoyance, and Awareness are quite rare (-4 DM to all other powers).

Psionics: Psionics is not forbidden, although using it for criminal purposes is highly illegal. The rules are also somewhat different. Psi Points recovery is now 1 point/10 minutes. Also, add the character's Intelligence or Endurance DM (whichever is higher) to their total number of available Psi Points. Use the rules in Traveller Book 4: Psion, with the following changes:

Psi is rare, but Psi Strength does not decrease with age. The Advanced Psionic Talents (Psion p. 6) of Ship Integration and Temporal Manipulation do not exist. Machine Integration and Dimensional Manipulation both exist, but are exceedingly rare (-4 modifier), and the Dimensional Manipulation power of Create Portal does not exist. Instead Manipulate Portal can be used to open (or close) an existing Portal, and all powers other than Locate Portal can only be used in Close range of such a portal (which can be either be natural dimensional weakpoints or portals created using exceedingly advanced technology. Also, ignore energy & momentum considerations for Teleportation & move the Assault power from the Telepathy Power to the Psionic Attack power.

There are a number of ways to amplify psionic powers. Technological means exist (the Psi Enhancers from Psion, p. 84), but there are also seemingly low-tech or natural objects that also improve the character's Psionic Strength DM by between +1 & +4. In addition, some animals (both naturally and genetically engineered) exist who both have limited Psionic power and who can amplify the Psionic Powers of individuals that work with the animal. These animals add their Psionic Strength DM to the user's and can spend up to half (round down) of the Psi Point cost of any Psionic Power the character wishes to use. Both physical contact and a strong bond of loyalty with the character are necessary from one of these animals to aid the character in this fashion.

In addition, all characters with Psi automatically learn Telepathy. Also, reduce the Base Cost for Life Detection & using Telepathy to detect (but not project) emotions to 0, and reduce the cost of telepaths sending thoughts to other psions or reading the surface thoughts of other unshielded psions to 0.

Add a power to Clairvoyance:

Psychometry
The character must use this ability on a specific object or location. This ability allows the character to pick up strong emotions and images of past events associated with this object or location. The intensity of the emotions and the presence of psi powers matters far more than how long ago these events too place. Unlike other Clairvoyant abilities, this ability has no additional cost due to range if used within Personal range, but the additional range cost increases to 1 for Close range. This ability cannot be used at ranges longer than Close.
Clairvoyance, Psionic Strength, 10-60 seconds, Average (+0).
Costs 1+ Range (special)

Finally, reduce the Psi Point costs for range for telepathy & clairvoyance (from the Psionic Range Table), (p. 153 Traveller) by 1 point (to a minimum of 0).

Distance to Target - (Telepathy or Clairvoyance)
Personal: ------------- +0
Close: ---------------- +0
Short: ---------------- +0
Medium: -------------- +0
Long: ----------------- +1
Very Long: ----------- +1
Distant: -------------- +2
Very Distant: --------- +2
Continental: ---------- +3
Planetary: ------------ +3

On-Line Resources
Here's a moderately good timeline for her SF setting: http://jade-dragon.wikidot.com/ansftimeline

Also, if you aren't familiar with Andre Norton's SF, a number of her works are available free online:

If you don't mind ebooks, there are a number of ones available for free. Baen books has two of their combo editions of Norton's work available for free https://www.baenebooks.com/s-81-andre-norton.aspx?categoryID=1 Star Soldiers and Time Traders. The first is Star Guard and Star Rangers, two of her oldest books, both are quite good. The second consists of the first 2 (of 4) Time Trader novels - The Time Traders (which is quite good) and Galactic Derelict, which is excellent, but the Time Traders series is not part of the SF setting described able.

Project Gutenberg also has a number of her novels for free: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/7021, including the last two Time Trader novels (Defiant Agents, and Key Out Of Time, the first of which is good but a bit odd, the second is excellent). They also have Storm of Warlock, which is also exceedingly good and is part of the SF setting described above.

Plague Ship and Voodoo Planet (a short novel which is well better than the title implies) are both good, but are also the 2nd and 3rd Solar Queen novels, which are also part of this setting. The first novel of the series is Sargasso of Space and is best read first. Star Hunter is also well worth reading and is part of this setting.
 

dragoner

Mongoose
The Solar Queen series with a wandering free trader vs the megacorps is a natural for Traveller, I'll bet that was the inspiration for that in the first place.
 

GypsyComet

Mongoose
dragoner said:
The Solar Queen series with a wandering free trader vs the megacorps is a natural for Traveller, I'll bet that was the inspiration for that in the first place.

Both the Solar Queen books and the two Eet books (Uncharted Stars, Zero Stone), Poul Anderson's Falkayn/Van Rijn stories, and a few bits of Tubb's Dumarest cycle. The merchants as a drafted service at all levels is pure Norton, though.
 

heron61

Banded Mongoose
GypsyComet said:
dragoner said:
The Solar Queen series with a wandering free trader vs the megacorps is a natural for Traveller, I'll bet that was the inspiration for that in the first place.

Both the Solar Queen books and the two Eet books (Uncharted Stars, Zero Stone), Poul Anderson's Falkayn/Van Rijn stories, and a few bits of Tubb's Dumarest cycle. The merchants as a drafted service at all levels is pure Norton, though.
Definitely. Also, Norton's interstellar criminal Thieves Guild, with it's secret headquarters in Forerunner (aka Ancient) site (Waystar) is a perfect addition to Traveller.
 

heron61

Banded Mongoose
GypsyComet said:
dragoner said:
The Solar Queen series with a wandering free trader vs the megacorps is a natural for Traveller, I'll bet that was the inspiration for that in the first place.

Both the Solar Queen books and the two Eet books (Uncharted Stars, Zero Stone), Poul Anderson's Falkayn/Van Rijn stories, and a few bits of Tubb's Dumarest cycle. The merchants as a drafted service at all levels is pure Norton, though.
Definitely. Also, Norton's interstellar criminal Thieves Guild, with it's secret headquarters in Forerunner (aka Ancient) site (Waystar) is a perfect addition to Traveller.
 

ShawnDriscoll

Cosmic Mongoose
heron61 said:
A drive's jump rating does not indicate how far a ship can travel in one jump, but how long it takes the drive to travel one parsec. So, a Jump-1 ship has a hyperspace speed of 1 parsec/week, while a jump 5 ship has a hyperspace speed of 5 parsecs/week.

I've seen this comparison made a few times before. Speed and distance are the same thing though when talking about jumps.
 

heron61

Banded Mongoose
ShawnDriscoll said:
heron61 said:
A drive's jump rating does not indicate how far a ship can travel in one jump, but how long it takes the drive to travel one parsec. So, a Jump-1 ship has a hyperspace speed of 1 parsec/week, while a jump 5 ship has a hyperspace speed of 5 parsecs/week.

I've seen this comparison made a few times before. Speed and distance are the same thing though when talking about jumps.
The difference is using these rule mods, ships can simply keep going, so a Jump-2 ship could make a 8 parsec jump without having to hop from one system to another, it would simply remain in jumpspace for 4 weeks and then emerge as its destination, (up to) 8 parsecs from where it started.
 
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