Sunday, March 29, 2015


I wrote an article for a free electronic magazine a couple years or so ago (Freelance Traveller), detailing how I changed tracking of life support in my campaigns. I like to think some people liked it, while some Traveller purists probably thought it was... not so hot. To each their own, of course. While I like to run a technical game, my gaming group doesn't have that much time, so I streamlined the rules a bit for them.

Under the method I developed, I used the Free Trader as a guide. Reducing each stateroom's size by 1-ton, I combined the ten saved tons into a Life Support Module (LSM). I then made this a 'Standard Size' module, setting it at MCr 2.5 cost, while reducing the cost of standard staterooms to MC 0.25. My reasoning was much of the stateroom cost would be for life support needs. Adding a bit for efficiency, and still using the ten-stateroom size as a guide, I set the Standard LSM at 500 man-days of support: each passenger utilizes one 'man-day' of support per day on the vessel (of course). I then developed other sizes of LS Modules (Small, Standard, Large, Huge), along with the costs needed to replenish or 'refill' the modules.
   Using this system, ships can now track individual life support usage, rather than tracking 'staterooms' used, as under the original CT system. This system also has the added benefit of making it possible to track LS usage for long duration cruises, such as exploration, when restocking the supplies could be a problem...

Some other changes I've made for this setting.
   - Low Berths: I don't, personally, see low berths as taking up an entire half-ton of space in a starship. True, there will be some needed space for power, support, etc, but these should not actually take up THAT much space, should they? In addition, unlike normal CT rules, low berths require NO upkeep each month, i.e., no monthly life support upkeep costs. The way I see it, if a low berth (emergency or otherwise) can remain operational in space for decades, or even centuries, and (usually) keep the occupant alive, then there should be no monthly support costs for them. Such maintenance requirements are met during a ship's Annual Maintenance.
   Low Berths take up a mere quarter-ton of space each, and cost MCr 0.05 each, so 20 of them take up a mere 5-tons, costing MCr 1.
   - Standard Staterooms: As mentioned above, I reduced the volume of standard staterooms, making them 3-tons each. The cost for each is also reduced to MCr 0.25 per unit. These are treated in all other respects as standard CT staterooms.
   - Full Staterooms (Suites): These are full 4-ton staterooms, usually reserved for important crewmembers (say, the Captain), or for High Passengers. Such individuals are either more important, or pay more money for passage, and thus require more room... Cost is MCr 0.5 each.
   - Crew Stateroom: These are cramped, 2-ton rooms, holding only a single crewmember (or desperate mid-passenger). Cost is MCr 0.15 each.
   - Suites: As the name implies, larger suites for High Passengers, taking up 8-tons of ship space, and costing at least MCr 1 each. Some fancier, higher-class units may cost more...
   - Bunk: As the name implies, a bunk plus a little storage space for the crewmember. These are usually reserved for troops, mercenaries, and so forth. These take up a single ton of space, and cost MCr 0.1 each.

Size            Days   Tons  MCr    
Small           200         5       2.5
Standard     500        10      5
Large         1000       20     10
Huge          2000       50     20

Size            Tons   Cr_______
Small           0.25     10,000
Standard     0.5       25,000
Large            1         50,000
Huge             2       100,000

UNIT                              Tons     MCr
Low Berth                        0.25     0.05
Emergency Low Berth     0.5       0.1
Bunk                                 1          0.1
Crew Quarters                 2          0.15
Stateroom                        3          0.25
Full Stateroom                 4          0.5
Luxury Stateroom            8          1+

Anyone who's actually read that Freelance Traveller article may notice that the numbers I first posted there are different than those I list here. Further research and thought forced me to change the numbers, though now I don't remember the exact reasons why. Whatever the reasoning, these are the numbers I'm using for this setting. And that original article was more of a 'this is how I did it' style article, than a detailed critique of Traveller's life support mechanism. Hopefully someone out there thought it was ok, and maybe found some use for it. If so, I'll feel like I've actually contributed (a little) to the game's legacy.

This will probably be my last post regarding significant changes for my campaign's ship design rules. I am, essentially, borrowing the Mongoose Traveller charts for ship fittings (armories, labs, and the like), as well as versions of how they incorporate stealth systems, ECM, and the like.

I still haven't decided how I'm running ship combats yet...