Monday, July 29, 2019

Wafer Tech for Mongoose Traveller

Marc Miller’s recent work has introduced many fascinating new elements to the Official Traveller Universe. Both T5 and Agent of the Imperium added post-humanist tech such as cloning, synthetics, and consciousness transfers that are well worth incorporating into a Mongoose Traveller game.

One such element is Wafer Tech, which is broadly compatible with Mongoose Traveller’s wafer jacks. In addition to allowing characters to connect directly into a computer system, a wafer jack can also be used to run wafers, which are thin chips that contain recorded skills or even personalities. In T5, a wafer jack is a fairly common mustering-out benefit.

One benefit of introducing wafer tech into the game is that it reduces the need for the Jack-of-All Trades skill, which has been problematic for every version of Traveller. As Marc Miller himself recently explained, Jack-of-all-Trades “was meant to gap fill any skills not present in the Traveller party.” Wafer tech neatly addresses this problem without the mechanical headaches.

In T5, use of wafers is limited by two factors. First, a wafer’s effectiveness steadily degrades and can, at best, only be used for a few weeks at a time. Second, use of wafers is mentally taxing and requires daily sanity checks. In T5, Sanity is a seventh characteristic—familiar from Cthulhu games—used to track mental fitness. Fortunately, Mongoose Traveller introduced Sanity in the Traveller Companion and this mechanic is essentially interchangeable with T5. All characters determine Sanity by rolling 2D, and various traumatic mental events can temporarily or permanently reduce this value.

Wafer Tech for Mongoose Traveller

Any skill provided by a wafer automatically degrades at a rate of 1 level every 5 days. After every day of using a wafer, a user must make a Sanity characteristic check. Failure reduces Sanity by 1.

Single Skill Wafers (SSW) convey temporary expertise in a single skill.

Single Skill Wafers
TL Skill Level
Conveyed
Cost (KCr)
13 2 190
14 3 200
15 4 210

Many starships carry a reserve kit of SSW for emergency use. For example, the Starjammer, a Type UF armed packet, carries five single skill wafers-14: Astrogation 3, Engineer (M-drive) 3, Engineer (J-Drive) 3, Medic 3, Pilot (spacecraft) 3.

Emergency Personality Wafers (EPW) contain a recorded personality with memories and experiences. The recorded personality essentially takes over the body of the wafer user.

The recorded personality uses all of the physical and mental characteristics of the wafer user, but has access only to its own memories and skills. The personality has five skills with various levels:

EPW Skill Levels
TL Skill 1 Skill 2 Skill 3 Skill 4 Skill 5 Cost (MCr)
13 2 2 1 1 0 0.95
14 3 3 2 2 1 1.00
15 4 4 3 3 2 1.05

The personality completely degrades after 7 days of use, though skill levels may remain.

The Imperial megacorporation Naasirka provides its most far-flung sector headquarters with an EPW-15 containing the recorded personality of Nashu Zisduurkhaar, a senior executive from the 1000s famed for her decisive and innovative management. Zisduurkhaar oversaw the development of the strategic plan that continues to guide her old megacorporation over 60 years later. The personality is activated to resolve any managerial disputes that cannot wait for guidance from corporate headquarters on Tauri (Vland 1817 A430998-F). The personality has all of Zisduurkhaar’s memories and conveys the skills Admin 3, Advocate 3, Diplomat 4, Leadership 4, and Science (economics) 2.

Entertainment Wafers (EW) contain a less intense personality transfer for entertainment purposes: the user feels like he is the new personality until it dissipates upon awakening from the next sleep period, but he retains memories of the experience. The cost of an EW is Cr100.

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