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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 July 22nd, 2017, 04:35 AM
Thot Thot is offline
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Default An old galaxy

Traveller's Third Imperium is old by human standards, but not as old as the galaxy itself - compared to what might have to be expected out there, it is a rather young institution.

For an upcoming campaign I plan to have the players be pushed from 22nd century Earth (which at the time is isolated and has had no first contact yet) into a really old galaxy, with interstellar empires whose history goes back a billion years or more. I make a few changes to the standard assumptions in Traveller on the technology side:
  • instantaneous FTL, which can be triggered once local gravity is below roughly 8 m/sē (a number that increases as technology progresses), jump rating expresses jump distances on a logarithmic scale ranging from a few AU (jump 0) to a few hundred light years (jump 6) and requires no fuel, only energy and time to spin up the drive,
  • no reactionless thrusters, no inertial compensators, and artifical non-spinning gravity is high technology), The prevalent form of maneuver drive is an electric propulsion that scales up with the available energy (so if the players find a better reactor for their ship, their drive becomes more efficient).
  • because of the real phenomenon of quantum entanglement, FTL communication is available under certain circumstances).

Consequently, some known civilizations stretch not for thousands, but tens of thousands of light years. The whole galaxy is basically settled, with a few patches that have not been exploited yet for one or the other reason. The Sol system is in such a patch.

But hell, a billion years is... quite a long time. I don't want to fall into the trap of "and then nothing happened for twenty million years" that some fantasy settings seem to embrace, but of course it will be impossible to truly flesh out a billion years of history. I also don't want to introduce some kind of memory-deleting catastrophe before a certain point. It should truly be a billion years of known history. I'll probably draw very broad lines that become more detailed as the present approaches in the annals, with detailed episodes added when a given adventure warrants it.

A few core concepts:
  • The First: A billion or so years ago, the very first interstellar civilization appeared. They and many of those that followed them are still around, as I don't buy into the "everything must die" meme for civilizations in this setting.
  • Individual immortality and eternal youth are solved problems, even on pre-contact Earth. Basically any civilization that can jump to the stars can comparatively trivially solve the riddle of aging, and some species never had it to begin with. Of course, an individual's memory of an incident will become less and less accurate the more time passes. Someone who is a million years old will not know more things than someone who is a thousand years old, unless using technological aid. (I'll probably manage this rules-wise with some kind of upper cap on skill points, species-wide or even universal - learn more than that, and you forget other stuff).
  • A multitude of civilizations and species. No single empire swallowed them all, never, after the initial appearance of the First. There were always (at least as long as anyone can remember or read in the galactic annals, see above) thousands of empires with tens of thousands of species. Part of the reason is the incredible complexity of massive star-spanning civilizations, which may lead to collapse and secession now and then, an inherent morality that effectively prevents highly developed species from committing genocide (most of the time), and of course the "lesser" (or better "later") species' will to survive and forge their own destiny.

So I am looking for inspiration, brainstorming, anything you might be thinking right now. Thanks for answering.
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