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Classic Traveller Discussion on the granddaddy of them all, Classic Traveller!

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Old December 7th, 2016, 07:32 PM
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Default Do Air Rafts make Ground Transpo moot?

In studying up on Rafts, iconic pieces of Traveller equipment, I see they are far more versatile than I thought. Seems fueling is infrequent (and I think cheap), they are very quiet I assume, travel pretty fast and as the crow flies compared to regular ground cars, and for God's sake they can even get into orbit if you Vacc Suit up.

In my local's regardless of tech level, I've had ground transportation in use as well. Cars, trucks, taxi's (I've even done this in Star Wars related games, btw).

But would there be any? Besides rural ATV or military type vehicles I mean. Just regular people driving cars? Imagine when you drive 75 miles to visit Auntie Betty on the weekend. Raft would turn your almost an hour and a half drive into a nifty 45 minute jaunt. And teenagers seeing a car as freedom? How about something that could fly anywhere? Go make out on a mountain top 100 miles away rather than Lovers Lane out by the woods, and still be home by 11?

For normal people in populated areas, why go the ground car route? Cheaper? Safer? Better hauling capacity? Regulations?

Also, do you explain sky traffic lane regs in towns and cities (not to mention Starports) to your players. Would populated areas look like the scenes in the skies of Coruscant in Attack of The Clones?

Also starting a general Rafts discussion here, as I could not find any former threads on the subject.

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Old December 7th, 2016, 07:42 PM
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Don't they cost a cool two hundred thousand, making them about a million in today's dollars?
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Old December 7th, 2016, 07:49 PM
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Have you seen the price of an Air Raft?

They're not cheap. Certainly not compared to a Camry or a Ford F-150.

So, on an individual level, most folks simply can't afford one.

However, on a societal level, it's perhaps a different issue.

Air Raft require very little infrastructure. Notably, no roads. They need parking, but not roads. And that parking can be on top of things. Or you can visualize high density down town parking being a parking garage without ramps (stairs, but no ramps), just large openings to float in and out of.

Then there's the "how many people actually need one"?

Well, that's a different question. Now we're in the "what about robo-taxis" realm.

In the end, it all depends on what TL the community was founded at. Much like many developing areas today are not stringing phone wires (or even, necessarily, power…), a new community with Air Raft technology simply won't have normal ground vehicles because it's not worth the expenditure to build the infrastructure to support them. Normal folks will likely ride-share with taxis and buses, which will all be Air Rafts. It's not that the taxi companies don't way to buy cheaper vehicles, it's simply not practical since they can't go anywhere.

Lower tech worlds that were obligated to build roads, then the Air Raft will be optional for quite some time, I would think, simply because the roads already exists, though over time the maintenance may dwindle.
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Old December 7th, 2016, 08:00 PM
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iirc in lbb3 they cost 1MCr. so, not for teenagers on a weekend spin. 'course you can set whatever price tag you want.

aside from price the single greatest limiting factor for airraft usage would be traffic control. aerial collisions resulting in hundreds of pounds of metal and bodies dropping onto people's houses would generate calls for heavy government regulation. the lanes seen on coruscant would be mandatory, computer-controlled, and heavily policed. if, of course, airrafts are common. if they are uncommon then they would be treated as light private aircraft are now - limited take-off and landing zones, flight patterns, etc, unless they stay at "ground level" with the rest of the traffic.

as was pointed out in some scifi story decades ago, the biggest effect of universal airraft (or hovercraft) usage would be reduced road construction and maintenance costs. not a small amount of money.

one social effect of airrafts would be that habitations would no longer need direct road connections, but easily could be one or several miles from the nearest road and across any kind of terrain at all.

on worlds without shirtsleeve atmospheres there would be little call for airrafts. most transport inside the habitats would be by elevators, "people-movers", trams, and trains. airrafts would be rare.
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Old December 7th, 2016, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willie Dewitt View Post
travel pretty fast
Slower than a Helo, with a max speed of 120 kph.... Also affected by wind. And a limited flight ceiling without preparation. So weather is a large issue.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Willie Dewitt View Post
For normal people in populated areas, why go the ground car route? Cheaper? Safer? Better hauling capacity? Regulations?

Also, do you explain sky traffic lane regs in towns and cities (not to mention Starports) to your players. Would populated areas look like the scenes in the skies of Coruscant in Attack of The Clones?

Also starting a general Rafts discussion here, as I could not find any former threads on the subject.
Traffic control is the biggest issue with a all flying transportation network.

Then there is the cost of grav vehicles which generally runs a order of magnitude more than other types of vehicles.

Another factor to consider aerial obstructions, which are the major issue with Helos.

Then there is how do you build your cities? In a all grav vehicle society I would expect the Piper model would dominate, fewer larger/taller buildings with numerous landing stages and extensive internal people transport.

The 'burbs would be different with average house being built around it's landing stage. Instead of Lawns as such a apron of driveway instead so there is room for folks to come visiting.

Just some ideas. In my game I include Landspeeders i.e. grav vehicles limited to NOE altitudes only as well free flight grav vehicles. Because Hover Cars are too cool....
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Old December 7th, 2016, 08:04 PM
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Which is why civilizations tend to develop along rivers; you could have an airboat.
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Old December 7th, 2016, 08:14 PM
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Which is why civilizations tend to develop along rivers; you could have an airboat.
Weirdly that is apt observation.....

Consider Venice, Italy and it's surrounding area.
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Old December 7th, 2016, 08:30 PM
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Instant transport infrastructure.

And you can build canals if the river doesn't go to where you want it to.
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Old December 7th, 2016, 10:22 PM
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What about lifters? They might be cheaper and while you still need the space for a road, you don't need the expensive pavement.
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Old December 7th, 2016, 11:11 PM
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Though I should point out that it is sometimes difficult to get PCs out of their Air/Rafts and into the adventure...

I have heard reports about this topic being discussed by Dave Nelsen and Frank Chadwick at a local con a few years ago.

On related note what do you think of when thinking Air/Rafts? I always go back to the works of H. Beam Piper. Though a related question occurs, how do you feel about short range Gravitic manipulators?
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