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In My Traveller Universe Detail what parts of Traveller you do (or don't) use in your campaign.

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Old November 13th, 2019, 10:50 AM
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Default Gravitic technology and infrastructure

/(Introduction to Prof. James Ama's standard work on popular gravitics, "The borrowed miracle. An introduction to gravitics as the basis of interstellar society.", Core Books Press, Capital/Core, 131-1116.)/

Most people take gravitics for granted: Cheap, seemingly energy-efficient space transportation from ground to orbit, silently flying vehicles for everybody, artificial gravity onboard spaceships, all that and more is enabled by the mastery of gravity.

But surprisingly few people, even surprisingly few technically apt people, truly understand what it takes to make gravitics work. Of those who do know, most tend to forget in their day-to-day work and travel. This is not just a pity - it is, in fact, dangerous.

During the Long Night, more than a millenium ago, space travel virtually stopped in much of what is today Imperial space. When historians talk about this episode in history and its causes, they tend to emphasize the social aspects of the era and how they hindered space travel. But to those who understand gravitics, the more important part of the answer is the one thing that makes all civilization thrive or fail: Infrastructure.

When you engage a starship's maneuver drive, activate your grav belt or fly an air/raft across the continent, that requires an energy supply. Physicists will tell you, however, that the power that an air/raft's reactor or battery provides is orders of magnitude below what would be needed for the vehicle to actually fly. For a spaceship, the power of the ship's reactor is only the fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the power needed to accelerate the ship to speeds that we all take for granted. The ancient equation "E=1/2m*vē" is a merciless, cold companion of any spacefarer.

Fortunately, the ancient Vilani found a solution for this a very, very long time ago: They built giant space stations in orbit around many stars to collect stellar energy, convert that energy into gravitons and feed those into jump space.

What your gravitic device at home does is no more than open a tiny, tiny rift towards jump space to siphon off some of those gravitons, which are then used for the actual work. (This, by the way, is also the main reason why most Major races discovered gravitics before jump drive: These technologies are very related.)

When local jump space is saturated, the gravitons spread throughout jump space at about the speed of a basic jump drive - which is why many star systems neither have nor need their own gravitic collector stations, as they benefit from close (or not so close, but old) neighbors. This is why we can use exploratory ships many parsecs beyond the last stations, though beyond the edge of Charted Space, their maneuver drives do become weaker.

Gravitic collector stations are no small facilities. Their energy conversion ability is in the range of thousands, in some cases even millions of Zetawatts. They are expensive to build, maintain, and repair. They absolutely need interstellar societies to finance them, as much as interstellar societies need the stations.

This, more than the invention of the jump drive, was the basis and justification for the Vilani Hegemony and the First Imperium, the Ziru Sirka. It built, maintained and expanded the gravitic collector station network without which so many of our daily activities would be impossible. When the Grand Empire fell to the Vargr, the Terrans and others, the maintenance of these stations was more and more neglected - at first because the new rulers had no good understanding of gravitic infrastructure requirements, and later because of cascade effects, economic necessities and, to some extent, simply because the stations, by then many thousands of years old, had outlived their lifetimes. Hence, the Long Night began, with small pockets of interstellar civilization surviving only where newer or more durable stations persisted.

When the Sylean Federation became the Third Imperium, reestablishing such a network with new stations was its primary task. Ever since then, even during the terrible Civil War, gravitic stations have been carefully guarded and attended to.

Fortunately, the stable and immovable nature of the mighty Third Imperium, the biggest and mightiest human star empire in history, ensures that nothing will ever cost us the benefit of gravitic infrastructure again. No neglect, no lack of funding, no terrorism and certainly no fleet of starships will be allowed to harm our network of gravitic collector stations. Our neighboring interstellar powers, small and big alike, follow a similar reasoning. Not even during the most bitter wars has any side violated this mostly unspoken agreement. And of course: Only madmen would want to create the chaos and total collapse that would be the inevitable result of the loss of the collectors. Without collectors, regular ship traffic would consume the gravitons in local jump space within a few weeks, rendering all ships in local normal space immobile.

This book is both a contribution to education of the public and a safeguard. It provides historical context, physics explanations and basic engineering information about not only gravitic devices, but especially about the collector stations that make it all possible. Unlikely as it may seem, maybe one day, in a thousand years or so, such a book will be direly needed. Hopefully not, though. Hopefully, this book will never be more than education for interested laymen, and not the required manual for restarting interstellar society.
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Old November 14th, 2019, 11:52 AM
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Tell me more about feeding gravitons into jump space. Why does this help, and why can't you just siphon a bazillion gravitons out of normal space?
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Old November 14th, 2019, 12:54 PM
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Typical humans, polluting jump space with gravitons no doubt causing universal warming.
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Damn you gravity, you win again...

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Old November 14th, 2019, 01:41 PM
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NanoHadron colliders.
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Old November 14th, 2019, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Typical humans, polluting jump space with gravitons no doubt causing universal warming.
how dare they! but don't worry, greta's on the case.
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Old November 15th, 2019, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Adam Dray View Post
Tell me more about feeding gravitons into jump space. Why does this help, and why can't you just siphon a bazillion gravitons out of normal space?
Because they are tied to matter there. If you want to do the gravitic magic stuff, you need additional gravitons not tied to any matter. Obviously!
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Old November 15th, 2019, 06:31 PM
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I'm not buying into the game or lore value of this system.


We know the gravitics work largely off of the gravity of various massive bodies and interrupts jump, controlled or otherwise.

We also have no provision that one of these graviton generators are out there at systems that are being explored for the first time.

And if craft/ships carry their own graviton generators as part of the gravitic tech that enables grav modules/m-drives/j-drives, then we don't need these stations at all.


More reasonable to assume given the general parameters of gravitic use that large masses are the primary source of gravitons, hence 100D jump limits and 1000D maneuver limits. The ships just use or repulse/manipulate them.

That's not to say you can't use some graviton fluff to explain/create unique not in Kansas moments.



For instance you could explain artificial gravity and inertial dampening as graviton generation which is then concentrated in whatever plate to create the desired effect.

Secret bases in the middle of the void could generate intense graviton fields allowing ships to drop out of jump in the middle of nowhere, refuel rearm and possibly jump beyond the normal border to sneak scout, trade or attack.

Gravitons could be the MacGuffin for extreme compression, used in creating metallic hydrogen for capacitors, superdense metals and/or compression bombs that skip any fission/heat/plasma based trigger and a grav field in the warhead induces fusion detonation.



As always, keep in mind the game and story elements whenever introducing technobabble that may come back to bite your game.
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Old November 16th, 2019, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by kilemall View Post
I'm not buying into the game or lore value of this system.
[...]
Because you haven't grasped the implications of E=1/2 m * vē, I would conclude.

The amount of energy required to propel a ship to a relatively moderate speed of 100 km/s is so high that fusion reactors couldn't provide it in the time the OTU assumes. But if that energy comes from an external source, that problem is solved, and it also explains a few other things in canon, as described.
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Old November 16th, 2019, 06:45 PM
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Your conclusion would be wrong, I well understand the ramifications of reaction mass drive in terms of utterly ruining the golden age rocketry mechanics of Traveller.

But I don't feel the need for gravitons gratuitously pumped into subspace by governments/corps to get around that.

I also don't buy that they would convey enough power by some sort of onboard accumulators to overcome mere TL7 physics.
Instead I'm looking to more of an Alcuberrie/warp type field that 'disconnects' the ship/craft to an extent from it's local space/time and thus neutralizing 'mass' for purposes of moving against said local space/time, and then repulsion against mass for the thrust aspect.

This is my own little take, but I also see gravitic manipulation as key to creating useful power level fusion, as opposed to various magnetic bottle/shield schemes that require too much overhead. This is why the TL8-9 techs merge and require/complement each other.

More importantly, last thing I want for a final frontier/military/trading game is to have to have 'benevolent organization' graviton spewers in order to move at all. The logical consequences causes BIG problems for all manner of play.
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Old November 17th, 2019, 01:03 AM
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Everything in Traveller could be distilled into two technological developments, abundant energy availability in a compact form, and the ability to manipulate gravitational force, the key to locomotion, extradimensional portals, and creation of artificial gravitational force.
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