Monday, December 23, 2019

Llyrnians

Wicker Orbital Hostage Crisis: On 152-1041, Solomani terrorists seized an entire concourse of the highport at Wicker (Magyar 2728). They took over 200 hostages, demanding repatriation to the Confederation and the immediate release of several elderly Rim War veterans still held in Imperial prisons. Duke Solon Kossuth’s only answer was to cut power and contragrav to the captured section—and then send in his Llyrnian marines, fresh from Massilia sector. Within hours the Llyrnians had retaken the Highport in a bloody, terrifying assault that left no terrorist alive. Most could only be identified afterwards through genetic testing.

Emblem of the elite 3rd Battalion, 1st Fugue Grenadiers: The Llyrnian Marines.

The Llyrnians of Llyrn (Shinalo-6 Gee [F8 V] C433AAC-D) are a minor race native to Massilia sector. Their homeworld is the cold satellite of the gas giant Wenoshee. Lyrnians are trisexual producer/collector cavern dwellers, with Delver, Feeder, and Warrior genders. Delvers build and maintain tunnels, Warriors defend the community, and Feeders bear and care for offspring.

Llyrnian Warriors constantly vie with Warriors of rival communities over territory, fighting ruthless battles in narrow, dark tunnels. Warriors adapt easily to life aboard spaceships and make excellent marines. By tradition, Llyrnian Warriors serve as security troops on Geonee ships.

Adult Llyrnians vary in size by gender, but most Delvers and Warriors are about 1.7m long and weigh about 64kg. Llyrnians have cylindrical bodies that exhibit trilateral symmetry, with three “legs” on the bottom and three “arms” spreading from the top. Three “mouths” open under the arms as feeding organs. The body is covered by a tough external coat made of organosilicates, and the arms end in tough claws. The body ends in a “head” which holds the secondary sensory organs. These include three breathing orifices which also function as olfactory organs, and a visual band that circles the whole head.

Llyrnians breathe oxygen to convert waste products back to organosilicates and sulfur. Llyrnians exhale sulfur dioxide, a waste gas, in order to cool themselves, giving them their infamous brimstone smell.

Like many noble families in Massilia sector, the Kossuths incorporated Llyrnian marines into their personal huscarle units. When Duke Solon raised the 1st Fugue Grenadiers he made sure to include Llyrnian troops, which he freely deployed to bring New Mars subsector under the Imperial heel.

The Black Alberta was a notorious pirate ship that plagued the subsector in the 1030s and 1040s. An older Texas-class light cruiser formerly in service to the planetary navy of Union (Magyar 2927), the Alberta disappeared in early 1003 soon after word arrived of the armistice between the Imperium and the Solomani Confederation.

The rogue cruiser reappeared decades later to harass shipping throughout the subsector and was blamed for the loss of the Allegheny, a 50,000dt Ling-Standard Products ore freighter valued at several billion credits. On 137-1047 the Alberta was lured by a q-ship into a trap in the Iatur (Magyar 2628) system. After a brief firefight the Alberta’s power plant was destroyed, leaving the ship disabled and adrift in the Euxine Belt. Duke Solon’s own Llyrnian marines then undertook a daring boarding action that resulted in the recovery of the Alberta and the massacre of its entire pirate crew.

Following Duke Noah’s abdication, most Llyrnians of the 3rd Battalion resigned their commissions and followed their duke into exile. Most presumably continue to serve the Kossuth family.

Llyrnian Marine C79527
Str 12 (+2), Dex 7, End 9 (+1), Int 5 (-1), Edu 2 (-2), Soc 7
Traits Armor (+3), Claws, IR Vision
Skills Athletics (dexterity) 2, Gun Combat (slug) 2, Melee (natural) 3, Recon 1, Survival 1, Vacc Suit 2
Equipment Accelerator Rifle (3D), Combat Armor (+13)
Claws All Llyrnian Warriors have claws tough enough to rend open vacc suits and even breach combat armor. The claws use the Melee (natural) skill and do 2D damage.
IR Vision A Llyrnian can see clearly in darkness.

Llyrnian marines are justly feared as assault troops, tenacious in boarding actions and close quarter fighting.

Copyright Information

The Traveller game in all forms is owned by Far Future Enterprises. Copyright © 1977 – 2019 Far Future Enterprises. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises. Far Future permits web sites and fanzines for this game, provided it contains this notice, that Far Future is notified, and subject to a withdrawal of permission on 90 days notice. The contents of this site are for personal, non-commercial use only. Any use of Far Future Enterprises’s copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights or trademarks. In addition, any program/articles/file on this site cannot be republished or distributed without the consent of the author who contributed it.

Materials produced by Digest Group Publications (DGP) are copyright © Roger Sanger. Any use of Digest Group Publications' copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this Web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights. Usage is intended to follow the guidelines announced by Roger Sanger on the Traveller Mailing List for preserving the overall Traveller milieu.

Monday, December 16, 2019

The Union Affair

KOSSUTH, Noah Elster. Second Duke of Fugue. K.B., C.S. Born 099-1020 on Orichalc/Massilia, second issue of Count Solon Kossuth of Orichalc and Lady Nicola Aelia SEROVA of Keum. Inherited the Duchy of Fugue in 1074, abdicated 1096. Succeeded by Duke WEEBAS of Adni.

Married (on 094-1061) Dame Camilla Kristina RIGBY of Beta. By this marriage he had issue:

  1. Joanna Rigby KOSSUTH (b. 261-1062)
  2. Lydia Rigby KOSSUTH (b. 261-1062)
  3. Marcus Rigby KOSSUTH (b. 294-1071)
  4. Valens Rigby KOSSUTH (b. 159-1072)

from Urquhart’s Peerage, 232nd Edition (Capital: 1102).


The House Kossuth Coat of Arms.

Noah Elster Kossuth, the former Duke of Fugue, embodied the anxieties over Imperial corruption in Magyar sector. The Kossuths were an old noble family of Solomani descent, originating in Massilia sector and enjoying numerous ties to the Ling-Standard Products megacorporation. Duke Noah’s paternal grandfather, Lyman Kossuth (946–1031), was confirmed by the Emperor Styryx in 977 as the Count of Orichalc (Massilia 0539 B78A974-E). While Lyman was a quiet, unassuming man his wife Juliana, descended from a lesser branch of the Hortalez family, proved far more ambitious. A natural schemer with many connections within the Massilia nobility, she lobbied incessantly for her husband to be promoted to a subsector duke, but to no avail.

Their son Solon Kossuth (b. 987) inherited his mother’s ambition. He was confirmed as the new Count of Orichalc following his father’s death in 1031, but he and Juliana continued to agitate for a dukedom. In 1038 the Emperor Paulo III awarded Solon with the Duchy of Fugue, located in New Mars subsector of Magyar—some 80 parsecs distant. Fugue was a war-ravaged duchy captured in the Solomani Rim War, with its capital at Wicker (Magyar 2728 A541843-C): a poor, frozen hellworld on the very edge of the Imperium. The promotion was considered a humiliating slight, perhaps compelling the Lady Juliana to commit suicide in 1039.

Solon was a cold and resentful man who turned his energies toward bringing his new duchy fully under Imperial control. Many worlds of Fugue were still under martial law, and several harbored ongoing insurgencies. In addition, piracy had grown endemic to the subsector. The Duke quickly raised a brigade of huscarles, the 1st Fugue Grenadiers, which included an elite battalion of Llyrian marines that he had brought with him from Orichalc. Calculating and meticulous, Duke Solon attempted to play up his Solomani heritage as he cultivated allies and methodically crushed opposition. The Duke tirelessly promoted the interests of Ling-Standard Products in the subsector, fully supporting aggressive legal actions to regain LSP property that had been seized centuries earlier by the Solomani Party.

The Duke had five children: Solon (b. 1018) and Noah (b. 1020) with his first wife Nicola, and Kenan (b. 1029), Joshua (b. 1033), and Susanah (b. 1035) with his second wife Marava. The younger Solon was greatly favored by his father: handsome, athletic, and intelligent, he received an Imperial Navy commission with the Daibei sector fleet and was rumored to be a potential candidate for admiralship. But the younger Solon was killed in a training accident in 1047, leaving Noah Kossuth as the next in line.

Duke Solon, who enjoyed pitting his children against each other, regarded the impulsive and entitled Noah with contempt. Noah was considered cruel, prone to violent outbursts, and often fell afoul of the law. Duke Solon openly toyed with naming another one of his other children as his heir, but he died suddenly in 1074 before he could make good on this threat and Emperor Strephon confirmed Noah as the new Duke of Fugue.

Duke Noah soon revealed himself to be both erratic and inept. He saw his office as little more than a means to enrich himself and his family. Kossuths were appointed to several corporate boards and obtained positions in planetary and Imperial government. The duke’s eldest child and heir Joanna (b. 1062) acted as his seneschal, while his sons Marcus (b. 1071) and Valens (b. 1072) were drawn to a series of disreputable—and usually unsuccessful—business ventures. Marcus was murdered under mysterious circumstances in 1093, reportedly by members of the Jarslavi Cartel. Meanwhile the Duke’s brothers Kenan and Joshua were rumored to have dabbled in radical Solomani politics.

In 1094 several members of the Kossuth family were caught up in a corruption investigation conducted by the Imperial Ministry of Justice and the Kline Security Directorate. The resulting scandal, which quickly became known as The Union Affair, involved a complicated scheme to move the Xboat link from Beta (Magyar 3128 C576ADA-9) to Union (Magyar 2927 C974AA8-A). Instead of upgrading the Beta starport to Class A in 1110 as planned, LSP would have received a lucrative contract to construct a new starport and associated shipyards at Union. Justifying such a change required falsifying IISS trade data as well as Imperial Starport Authority reports. Millions of credits changed hands, and many ended up in accounts controlled by various members of the Kossuth family.

Although unsightly, bribery is not actually illegal under Imperial law—but falsifying Imperial documents certainly is. What’s more, the investigation uncovered even more nefarious activities: the Duke’s brothers Kenan and Joshua had been selling TL15 meson gun designs obtained from LSP to agents of the Solomani Confederation. Kenan and several LSP executives were arrested on charges of treason, while Joshua fled to Aldebaran. The investigation also ensnared the hapless Baron of Dirramu, who had married Duke Noah’s daughter Lydia (b. 1062).

The activities at the heart of the Ministry investigation were certainly unseemly, but the associated public uproar was vastly worse: the Union Affair seemed to confirm the very worst suspicions about the Imperial nobility and prompted anti-Imperial riots on Union, Beagle, and Beta.

A more savvy noble might have been able to recover from the Union Affair, but Duke Noah made the situation worse by failing to accept any responsibility. He also refused to acknowledge a summons from his superior, Sector Duke Shulgi Inaari of the Solomani Rim. For many months Duke Noah blamed his troubles on Solomani Confederation agents, and in defiance even mobilized the Unified Army of Fugue to put down the riots and “defend the subsector against foreign incursions.”

The Duke only changed course with the arrival of Duchess Shanika Kerana Adelbert of Walpurgis. She entered the Wicker system at the head of the 413th BatRon and accompanied by several companies of Imperial Marines from the 1,670th Line Regiment. In the face of the inevitable, Duke Noah stood his forces down and surrendered to the Duchess.

She carried a simple offer: Duke Noah could stand trial at Eleusis (Solomani Rim 2109) for various high crimes, including perjury of his fealty oath, abuse of office, dereliction of duty, moral turpitude, and conduct unbecoming an Imperial noble. Even if acquitted the Kossuth family would be ruined. But if found guilty Duke Shulgi would recommend the death penalty as well as revocation of the title of Fugue along with all other noble titles associated with Noah’s children and siblings.

Alternatively, Duke Noah could plead guilty and abdicate his title. And in exchange Duke Shulgi would issue a pardon and would not pursue further action against the Kossuth family. In 1096 Noah Kossuth abdicated and fled Wicker; his current whereabouts are unknown. Emperor Strephon moved quickly to install the Bwap Duke Weebas, a reformer who is expected to clean up the subsector.

Copyright Information

The Traveller game in all forms is owned by Far Future Enterprises. Copyright © 1977 – 2019 Far Future Enterprises. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises. Far Future permits web sites and fanzines for this game, provided it contains this notice, that Far Future is notified, and subject to a withdrawal of permission on 90 days notice. The contents of this site are for personal, non-commercial use only. Any use of Far Future Enterprises’s copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights or trademarks. In addition, any program/articles/file on this site cannot be republished or distributed without the consent of the author who contributed it.

Materials produced by Digest Group Publications (DGP) are copyright © Roger Sanger. Any use of Digest Group Publications' copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this Web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights. Usage is intended to follow the guidelines announced by Roger Sanger on the Traveller Mailing List for preserving the overall Traveller milieu.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

T5 + First In: Stellar System Generation

The two primary methods I use to generate star systems for Traveller games are GURPS Traveller: First In and Traveller5. First In, as might be expected, takes a fairly granular approach and is pretty formula heavy. Not being an astrophysicist myself, I can only assume the additional complexity provides additional accuracy. In contrast, Traveller5 opts for simplicity in exchange for a much less granular product. However, it seems the Traveller5 designers tried to ensure that their results would roughly correspond with a more detailed system like First In. For example, Traveller5 assumes that worlds in orbit 0 or 1 are tide-locked to their star. And that simplification holds up fairly well.

In addition to being more granular, the First In design sequence is also somewhat more realistic than the sequences used by other versions of Traveller. It’s an open question how hard the science of Traveller is supposed to be. Purists might argue that any setting with FTL drives can’t be “hard science fiction,” and certainly many of Traveller’s most direct literary influences are pulp stories, where the emphasis was as much on adventure as science.

But that said, Traveller does retain a certain level of grittiness. And there‘s some evidence that the Third Imperium setting is a little bit harder than the “raw” Traveller ruleset, which can be plenty gonzo if a referee wanted to run it like that. By incorporating just a few elements from First In to Traveller5, we can bring a little more realism to system generation without adding too much complexity.

Planetary Size and Atmosphere

Here’s a good example of where the Third Imperium setting diverges from raw Traveller rules. In Traveller5 a mainworld’s atmosphere is generated by Size plus Flux. But this can easily result in worlds much too small to retain the atmosphere generated. A size 3 world, for example, could have a dense oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere of 8, even though the world simply has too little mass to retain oxygen molecules.

During the T5SS review of Third Imperium sector data, Donald McKinney employed a very simple hack to ensure that the atmosphere code was always paired with a plausible planetary size: If Atmosphere is 1, A, B, or C, adjust Size to 3+. If Atmosphere is 2 or 3, adjust Size to 4+. And if Atmosphere is 4-9, adjust Size to 5+. This simple adjustment goes a long way toward making Traveller worlds that line up with planetary science.

Orbital Zones

Traveller5 does not consider inner and outer orbital zones—the limit points beyond which planets are unlikely to form or be captured. While Traveller5 implies that worlds could be placed all the way out to orbit 17, First In assumes that most main sequence stars rarely have planets beyond orbit 8 or 9.

Rather than grind out a bunch of formulas to determine orbital zones, I use the following reference chart when fleshing out a star system. I keep a version of the following Orbital Zones table in an Excel file and just select the column that most closely matches the spectral type of the primary star. Then I cut and paste this column into a new worksheet that then forms a template for populating the system. Since giants, subgiants, and other stars off the main sequence are fairly rare, this chart works for 99% of the systems I work with.

Main Sequence Stars Orbital Zones
Orbital Zones by Spectral Class Distance (AU)
A0A5F0F5G0G5K0K5M0M5M8 MinAvgMax
 0000000000 0.150.200.30
11111111111 0.300.400.55
22222222222 0.550.700.85
33333333333 0.851.001.30
44444444444 1.301.602.20
55555555555 2.202.804.00
6666666666  4.005.207.60
7777777777  7.6010.0015.00
888888888   15.0020.0030.00
9999999     30.0040.0058.00
101010         58.0077.00115.00

Light gray cells indicate orbits beyond the inner and outer orbital zones. No worlds should be placed there. Light green cells are the Habitable Zone (HZ) orbits, light orange cells are HZ-1 orbits (with hot or tropical climates), blue cells are the HZ+1 orbits (cold or tundra climates), and light blue cells are HZ+2 orbits (frozen climates). The dark blue line indicates the snow line, the point beyond which the largest gas giants are likely to form during planetary formation. Note that this chart reflects GURPS Space 4e data, which slightly tweaked the First In formulas.

One consequence of the chart is the Traveller5 “number of worlds” is occasionally much larger than the available orbits. An M8 V star, for example, only has 6 open orbits—but could potentially have as many as 20 worlds (the mainworld + 3 belts + 4 gas giants + 12 other worlds) under Traveller5. In such cases, one would probably need to count gas giant satellites in order to ever get to 20 worlds.

It’s worth noting that the T5SS review removed most primary stars with less mass than M3 V: another example of the Third Imperium setting using somewhat different rules than Traveller5.

Mainworld Type

Traveller5 uses a simple Flux roll to determine whether the mainworld is a planet or satellite, without consideration to orbit or mainworld size. In First In, tide-locked worlds do not have satellites, period. The maximum size of a satellite is 7, and the satellite needs to orbit a sufficiently large planet. Once you know the mainworld size and orbit, I use a simple method to determine whether the world is a planet or satellite.

  • Orbits 0 or 1, always planet
  • Orbit 2+, size 1 or 2, always satellite
  • Orbit 2+, Size 34567, Roll 2D + Size. If > 9, the mainworld is a planet, otherwise a satellite
  • Orbit 2+, Size 8+, always planet

Forbidden Zones

In First In, “If the star is a member of a multiple star system, planets will not form at certain distances. The presence of a companion star makes a stable planetary orbit impossible in these zones.” The following chart establishes forbidden zones by Traveller5 orbit.

Forbidden Zones
Companion
Distance
OrbitForbidden Orbits
Companion<00
( Close )00,1
 10,1,2,3
 20,1,2,3,4
 30,1,2,3,4,5
 41,2,3,4,5
 52,3,4,5,6
{ Near }64,5,6,7
 75,6,7,8
 86,7,8,9
 97,8,9,10
 108,9,10,11
 119,10,11,12
[ Far ]1210,11,12,13
 1311,12,13,14
 1412,13,14,15
 1513,14,15,16
 1614,15,16,17
 1715,16,17

By looking at the data like this, it becomes clear how hard it is to have a close companion star and a habitable world.

Example: The Wair System

So, if we put all of these tweaks together and apply them to Traveller5 system generation, we get a bit more realism with not too much more fuss. Since I primarily play in the Third Imperium setting, I generally begin with some basic details of the system. The Traveller Map gives us the stars, the number of worlds, and the number of gas giants and planetary belts. We just need to arrange these details into a coherent pattern.

Let’s use, as an example, Wair: a high population world in Alpha quadrant of Magyar sector, bordering Dark Nebula. Here are the Traveller Map data:

Wair T5SS Details
HexNameUWPRemarks{Ix}(Ex)[Cx]NBZPBGWAStellar
0116WairC89A98C-CHi In Wa Pz{ 3 }(C8E+5)[CC8F]--A70111SoCfG2 V M6 V

Pulling the G0 V column from the Orbital Zones table, we pick up the Traveller5 worldgen sequence and roll for the mainworld placement and get HZ+1, which is orbit 4. With its high hydrographic percentage (A), Wair is a good candidate for being a Hoth-type ice world. Because of the world’s size (8), it is a planet.

Magyar 0116 Primary System
Orbit[Primary]G2 V
0  
1  
2  
3  
4WairC89A98C-C
5  
6  
7  
8  
9  
10  

With the mainworld placed, we now locate the M6 V companion. We can use the Traveller5 placement rules for companion stars, but the Forbidden Zones chart establishes some restrictions: since the mainworld is in orbit 4, that precludes the companion from occupying orbits 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. With some fiddling, we determine that the second star is a near companion in orbit 8. This makes orbits 6 and 7 forbidden zones. We can cut and paste from the Orbital Zone table to establish the entire system template.

Magyar 0116 System Template
Orbit[Primary]G2 V
0  
1  
2  
3  
4WairC89A98C-C
5  
6  
7  
8[Companion]M6 V
0 
1 
2 
3 
4 

Now the entire system is ready to be populated using the rest of the Traveller5 Other Worlds sequence. We start by placing the one gas giant, and then move on to placing the 9 remaining worlds.

The Wair (Magyar 0116) System
OrbitBrawG2 V  
0Braw-1Y400356-7Mi Tz 
1NevisY8C7000-0Tz 
2GaleFAB9679-8Mi Ho 
3DourYB20000-0  
4WairC89A98C-CHi In Wa Pz Co 
5BideanSize P SGG 
6    
7    
8MerritM6 V  
 0TruneYDB4000-0Tz
 1OpanYC10000-0Co Tz
 2TeyY8B5000-0Fr
 3MinF3108BC-7 
 4HirtaY300433-7Mi

By using the charts, the system details were generated fairly quickly. The Wair system appears to be a resource-rich, highly efficient economic center that only lacks a nice shirt-sleeve world. The distant secondary world of Min, orbiting the M6 V companion Merrit, seems interesting: a small, airless, pre-high population world ruled by a charismatic dictator. Political exiles, perhaps? Maybe an Aslan community?

Copyright Information

The Traveller game in all forms is owned by Far Future Enterprises. Copyright © 1977 – 2019 Far Future Enterprises. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises. Far Future permits web sites and fanzines for this game, provided it contains this notice, that Far Future is notified, and subject to a withdrawal of permission on 90 days notice. The contents of this site are for personal, non-commercial use only. Any use of Far Future Enterprises’s copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights or trademarks. In addition, any program/articles/file on this site cannot be republished or distributed without the consent of the author who contributed it.

Materials produced by Digest Group Publications (DGP) are copyright © Roger Sanger. Any use of Digest Group Publications' copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this Web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights. Usage is intended to follow the guidelines announced by Roger Sanger on the Traveller Mailing List for preserving the overall Traveller milieu.