Citizens of the Imperium

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-   -   Alternative Techs and Backgrounds (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=39058)

timerover51 May 13th, 2018 01:03 AM

Alternative Techs and Backgrounds
 
I am not sure how much the designers of the game looked at possible alternative technologies to the standard ones, but I suspect, not a lot. The same would hold true for some groups here in the U.S. that might be able to function after a nuclear war. Here are some ideas.

During World War 2, a very large number of vehicles in Europe, primarily spark-ignition ones, were converted to run on wood producer gas, made by burning wood with an insufficiency of oxygen. The technology never disappeared, as I know of a few missionaries that converted pick-up trucks to run on wood gas overseas, where gasoline was extremely expensive. When gas was hitting $4 a gallon and higher here, there was considerable discussion on a forestry forum that I was on on how to convert to wood. Basically, the unit took up about 1/4 of the cargo bed, and the trucks ran fine. Given the situation in TW2000, I can see a fair number of people doing that.

Another option is alcohol as a motor fuel, and also as aviation fuel. In the early 1990s, I was doing a lot of research at the National Archives in D.C., and came across the post-WW2 Naval Technical Mission to Japan report on the use of alcohol by the Japanese as alternative aviation fuel. I was talking with the EAA in Oshkosh about the report, but they did not take a lot of interest in it for some reason, mainly because of the headache of getting the FAA to okay it. In the TW2000 situation, that might not be a problem, and the report could have been circulated by photocopy. I have a PDF file of it, as well as the hard copy file, and a microfilm copy. That would be an alternative to both motor fuel and 87 octane aviation fuel. Note, 87 octane gasoline is what is Regular Gas now.

Then you have the steam tractors associations, operating steam-powered tractors, using either oil, coal, charcoal, or wood as fuel. Plans for them are around, and again, I can see people in the early stages of the war starting to produce some, both here and in the UK. Then there are the Amish and Mennonite communities, still using horse power for farming and other power needs, and producing some very fine crop yields. The interesting thing about the community around Arcola, Illinois is that they are not too far from the small oil refinery near Evansville, Indiana that picks up oil produced by small wells in Illinois and Indiana by trucks for refining.

There is also a couple of companies in the business of making steam launches that have been around a while. They build the boiler and engine, along with the hull, and you buy the kit. They also sell the boiler and engine separately if you have your own hull. The boilers can run on oil, coal, charcoal, or wood, depending on what you want. Again, those might be very popular in the run-up and early stages of the war, both here and abroad. In the US, that gives you the ability to use the Inland Waterways System of the Mississippi-Ohio-Missouri Rivers and related systems, which opens up the entire midsection of the country.

Lastly, you have the large number of re-enactment groups, from the Revolutionary War to World War 2. A friend of mine has a replica 20-pound Parrot muzzle-loading rifle. There is a group in Rockford with a couple of 12 pound Napoleons. Another friend of mine does Revolutionary War, 1830s mountain men, and World War 2 re-enactment. Some of those groups have a fair amount of firepower, including operational machine guns. Then you have a lot of 75mm Pack Howitzers used as saluting guns at colleges and the smaller military bases. As a far number of our allies were still using those guns for artillery, ammunition was still being made. You also have the very large number of persons in the U.S. with firearms, so it would not be just the military with modern weapons.

BlackBat242 May 13th, 2018 02:21 AM

Then there are the non-firearms - as illustrated by one Jack Churchill in WW2:

http://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-...urchill.html/2

http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/dai...ed-of-warrior/

aramis May 13th, 2018 03:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timerover51 (Post 586870)
I am not sure how much the designers of the game looked at possible alternative technologies to the standard ones, but I suspect, not a lot. The same would hold true for some groups here in the U.S. that might be able to function after a nuclear war. Here are some ideas.

By TNE, yes, they did. There are a large number of alternate technologies in Fire, Fusion & Steel.

timerover51 May 13th, 2018 03:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlackBat242 (Post 586871)
Then there are the non-firearms - as illustrated by one Jack Churchill in WW2:

http://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-...urchill.html/2

http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/dai...ed-of-warrior/

Believe me, I have read about Jack Churchill, and a good friend has one nasty crossbow, which I hope to try out. The long bow is still a fully effective weapon in the right hands. The main groups that I am aware of or know someone in are the Revolutionary War and forward re-enactors. One group has an operational M-3 light tank, to include a firing 37mm gun. Another group has an operational M-4 Sherman. In the 1990s, the Kenosha Military Museum had a fair number of operational armored vehicles, including a couple of M-60s. and at least one T-55 that the operator bought from Israel.

timerover51 May 13th, 2018 04:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aramis (Post 586872)
By TNE, yes, they did. There are a large number of alternate technologies in Fire, Fusion & Steel.

That does not exactly help Twilight 2002 version 2 though. I did not get into wind power at all, but that is also something that was making a comeback in the 1980s and 1990s, along with small-scale hydropower. The Back to Basics book has a lot of data on alternate technologies, including a methane digester.

The tug engine in Pirates on the Vistula does not make a lot of sense. Assuming that you actually could get 800 horsepower out of two converted Diesel engines, which I seriously doubt, the fuel required per hour would be somewhere between 1200 and 1600 pounds of coal or 2400 to 3200 pounds of wood. The tug and barge combination does not make a lot of sense either, as a push tug for a barge would have a flat front, as the ones on the US rivers do, for connecting to the barge. Another question would be as to whether or not there are any locks on the Vistula that would have to be negotiated.

BlackBat242 May 14th, 2018 12:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timerover51 (Post 586873)
Believe me, I have read about Jack Churchill, and a good friend has one nasty crossbow, which I hope to try out. The long bow is still a fully effective weapon in the right hands. The main groups that I am aware of or know someone in are the Revolutionary War and forward re-enactors.

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is an international living history group with the aim of studying and recreating mainly Medieval European cultures and their histories before the 17th century (from late Roman times [~600AD, but a little earlier has been allowed] to the early Renaissance period, before 1600). A quip often used within the SCA describes it as a group devoted to the Middle Ages "as they ought to have been", choosing to "selectively recreate the culture, choosing elements of the culture that interest and attract us". Founded in 1966, the non-profit educational corporation has over 30,000 paid members as of 2017 with about 60,000 total participants in the society (including members and non-member participants).

Most of the groups & members are in the US & Canada, but there are a significant number of groups in western Europe (UK, Germany, Norway, etc) as well as New Zealand, Australia, and a small number in Japan.

All of the martial arts from that time are well-represented - archery (both regular bows & crossbows), mounted archery, melee combat with simulated swords, polearms, etc (made of rattan, but most members have some form of "live steel", most of which is NOT decorative-grade, but actually usable - much of which was made by members, sometimes from scrap tool steel & leaf springs, but some hot-forged from steel stock and shaped and hardened by the smith), fencing, and so on.

Members also study most non-combat arts - brewing, herbalism, weaving, metal casting (I know one here in Utah that cast small bronze cannon - functional ones), and so on. They make the armor that is used in live combat - from padded cloth and leather to steel plate armor that qualifies as historical reproductions, etc.

Lots of flavor to throw into a T2K game.

timerover51 May 14th, 2018 01:40 AM

My idea is to open the game up to groups like that, rather than just have all of the players be members of the military. You also have the inland Coast Guard stations, along with the ones on the Great Lakes, to plug into the game. I have downloaded a lot of the inland waterway charts, along with the ones for the Great Lakes, and there is all sorts of possibilities there.

Add in the survivalists who might have done a lot of preparation, and you no longer have the game just military. I would have to check to see how much is made of the National Guard overseas in the game, as you also have all of the assets in the National Guard armories, and then you have the college ROTC units and armories.

The Mississippi River south of St. Louis to the Gulf has no locks, so you have a lot of unimpeded water to travel on if you want to have some river adventures.

aramis May 14th, 2018 01:55 AM

The SCA actually moved the cutoff to 1650 to enable the Rapier period (and more heraldry).

Period rapier and Cut & Thrust styles use rebated steel and lightest practical touch. Calling standards vary a bit by kingdom, but bruises are rare in Rapier, and uncommon in C&T.

Also note: a lot of SCA armor is bullet resistant... Many fencers & C&Ters are using 2 layers of spectra - it WILL stop a small caliber round. (Inside the ribcage, but it WILL stop it.) Some have padding under the spectra. At the very least, 4 layers of trigger for rapier.
Many guys use pickle barrel in place of baleen and/or boiled leather. (Cover it in cloth or thin leather, and it looks great.) The rest tend to use a mix of dead roadsigns and sheet steel in 10 to 18 gauge.

giant.robot May 17th, 2018 01:48 AM

Besides historical tech don't forget modern muscle powered tech like bikes. Mountain bikes make for pretty effective off-road vehicles, bikes in general have seen military service for a century in just about every major conflict.

Modern (as of late 90s T2k setting) bikes of all types are lightweight and reliable. They're also going to be readily available (at least in the early years of the war) as millions of people already own them and they can be found in just about any Target or Walmart not to mention dedicated sporting goods stores. Mid-war and post-war bikes will be rougher as they'd be recycled or scratch built by shade tree mechanics with crappy welding torches but still plenty useful.

Cargo trailers for bikes are also pretty useful, good ones can haul hundreds of pounds of stuff. A couple bikes can haul the same amount of crap as a light pickup truck without the fuel expenditure. They also need a fraction of the other consumables an ICE vehicle needs like coolant and lubricants.

I see cantons and other post-Twilight communities being lousy with bikes. Everyone from messengers to scouts to light infantry would be riding around on two wheels. Someone that can repair or rebuild bikes would be as valued as someone that can keep gas powered vehicles running.

timerover51 May 18th, 2018 03:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by giant.robot (Post 587034)
Besides historical tech don't forget modern muscle powered tech like bikes. Mountain bikes make for pretty effective off-road vehicles, bikes in general have seen military service for a century in just about every major conflict.

Modern (as of late 90s T2k setting) bikes of all types are lightweight and reliable. They're also going to be readily available (at least in the early years of the war) as millions of people already own them and they can be found in just about any Target or Walmart not to mention dedicated sporting goods stores. Mid-war and post-war bikes will be rougher as they'd be recycled or scratch built by shade tree mechanics with crappy welding torches but still plenty useful.

Cargo trailers for bikes are also pretty useful, good ones can haul hundreds of pounds of stuff. A couple bikes can haul the same amount of crap as a light pickup truck without the fuel expenditure. They also need a fraction of the other consumables an ICE vehicle needs like coolant and lubricants.

I see cantons and other post-Twilight communities being lousy with bikes. Everyone from messengers to scouts to light infantry would be riding around on two wheels. Someone that can repair or rebuild bikes would be as valued as someone that can keep gas powered vehicles running.

I forgot about bikes because of my disability, as I have not ridden one in something like 40 years or so. I am not so sure about the "crappy" welding torches, as there is going to still be some electric power being generated for arc welding, so you should be able to produce good welds.

I also forgot about the number of horses that would still be around for recreational and other riding. Driving around the past couple of days, there are quite a few riding horses in my area of the county. Those could also be put to use for both personal transportation and wagon hauling. Out in Lake Geneva, you had the carriage rides with horses.

Down in the area of the Southwest, you are going to have a lot more horses available and horses can survive perfectly fine on grass alone, as can cows. Dairy cattle do produce more milk when feed a grain ration, but will produce it from grazing also, just not a much.

There are also several herds of sheep in my area being raised for their wool, along with goats for milking. Looking things over, there is quite a lot in the U.S. for developing a post-attack recovery.


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