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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 25th, 2017, 08:07 AM
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Default The Chemical Rocket Third Imperium

Imagine the OTU - without reactionless thrusters, without Contragravity or anything like it, not even with fusion rockets, but instead, with extremely cheap chemical rockets and chemical rocket fuel. Yes, no artificial gravity either. Instead, there is side-effect-free medication that prevents atrophy and all that.

The whole Imperium offers infrastructure to operate chemical-rocket-propelled spaceships. You can buy the fuel for a credit a ton, as automated ultra-cheap facilities produce it even on remote unihabitated worlds within the Imperium's borders, as long as they have at least a class E starport.

Starships are very usually pure space dwellers, they never land, possibly don't even leave a jump point. They, too, have big chemical rockets attached, but of course they use them rather rarely.

Jump distance is adjusted so that a ship at escape velocity can reach a safe jump distance in about the same time as it would need in the OTU with a standard Traveller maneuver drive. There are no (meaningful) jump fuel requirements, but jump engines need to cooldown for about a week after a jump.

There are landing craft with re-launch capability (small shuttles with massive rockets attached to them, which land vertically and can produce their own fuel once on the ground), escape pods with heat shields that can do a single atmospheric entry and parachute down safely.

No space elevators. The concept is dubious at best, and requires careful balancing even under optimistic assumptions (when you send something up, something of equal mass must come down, which is highly impractical and prone to failure).

Everything in normal space is done with ultra-cheap chemical rockets on H2/O2 basis. Even the most advanced starships of the Ancients used this basic technology.

For reference, here is the % of the ship that is fuel and the delta V that comes out of it (assuming a fairly advanced chemical rocket with 4500m/s exhaust velocity; Terra's escape velocity is a bit over 11 km/s):
Reaction Mass Percentage Delta V
10,0%474 m/s
20,0% 1,004 m/s
30,0%1,605 m/s
40,0%2,299 m/s
50,0%3,119 m/s
60,0%4,123 m/s
70,0% 5,418 m/s
80,0% 7,242 m/s
90,0% 10,362 m/s
95,0% 13,481 m/s
98,0% 17,604 m/s
99,0% 20,723 m/s
99,5% 23,842 m/s
99,9% 31,085 m/s

So.. what would your favorite military, scout, or merchant starship look like under such assumptions? What would your own noble PC's yacht be like?

How would it affect warfare, commerce, politics? What would this Third Imperium look like? What about its rivals?

Last edited by McPerth; July 28th, 2017 at 07:35 AM.. Reason: Fixing table for better readibility
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