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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 March 31st, 2021, 07:58 AM
Werner Werner is offline
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Default The Moon Mars setting

This is an early Traveller setting, not set in the OTU. It appears in the late 21st to early 22nd century, interplanetary travel is common place, but mostly its is between the Earth, Moon, Mars and some times Venus. It is possible to have private ownership of spacecraft, but to get off Earth, it is necessary to rent a booster. A booster is similar to a high tech version of Starship superheavy. A reusable landable heavy lift booster to get the PC's spaceship into orbit. Launches are done on floating platforms far away from populated areas. Boosters are typically reused about 100 times before needing major refurbishment, its stays in the vicinity of Earth so there is no reason for player characters to own them.

Rockets are typically chemical rockets to lift off from major bodies like the Moon and Mars. Solar panels power the ships at mid cruise. Sometimes PC starships are paired and tethered together so spin gravity can be provided, otherwise they suffer the effects of zero gravity. Fusion energy is available at surface installations, and on very large government owned and corporate spaceships. What does this setting look like, and how would we build Traveller adventures for this? I think all the careers in Traveller exist on one form or another. You have Army, Navy (Space Force), Marines, and Scouts. The asteroid Belt is the frontier, scouts spend some time there, some of the major Scout organizations are NASA, ESA, JAXA, The Chinese Space Agency, and Roscosmos. Scouts also go by the name of Astronauts. There is a Scout base in orbit around Venus for instance, and a platform in its atmosphere.
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Old March 31st, 2021, 10:38 AM
whartung whartung is offline
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What are the ship drives for interplanetary travel? What kind of travel times are you looking at?
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Old March 31st, 2021, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by whartung View Post
What are the ship drives for interplanetary travel? What kind of travel times are you looking at?
Realistically, what would you expect in real life? The Earth and Mars align every 26 months for a transfer orbit, with chemical propellant the transfer takes 259 days (8.63 months) in a Hohmann transfer orbit to Mars and a delta-v of 3.9 km/s, it takes a chemical rocket accelerating at 1g (10 m/s^2) six and a half minutes to accelerate to 3.9 km/s. If you want to get there faster, if you use twice as much fuel, you can cut the travel time down to 233.1 days (7.77 months).

Launch windows to Mars occur at the following dates:
11/2013
1/2016
2/2018
3/2020
4/2022
6/2024
7/2026
9/2028
10/2030
12/2032
1/2035
3/2037
4/2039
6/2041
7/2043
9/2045
10/2047
12/2049
1/2052
3/2054
4/2056
6/2058
7/2060
9/2062
10/2064
12/2066
1/2069
3/2071
4/2073
6/2075
7/2077
9/2079
10/2081
12/2083
1/2086
3/2088
4/2090
6/2092
7/2094
9/2096
10/2098
12/2100
Beyond this just add 25.5 months to the previous date to get the next date, these launch windows are approximate and they will serve for the purposes of a near future interplanetary campaign. Chemical rockets rely on orbital refueling once low Earth orbit is achieved, most likely at an orbital space station/spaceport, it is a wheel-shaped space station looking much like the one shown in the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey, there is the Venture Space Station, the Von Braun Space Station, and also the Armstrong Space Station in Lunar Orbit. Mars has the Zubrin Space Station in low Mars orbit as well.

Chemical rockets are used for the transport of passengers and urgently cargos, other options are available for more patient cargos, such as solar sails, ion drives and the like.

A few additional options exist, but I don't know whether they would be in the range of PCs, there is Nerva rockets, plasma drives, nuclear saltwater rockets, Orion pulse and Daedalus class fusion drives, and steady state fusion drives, these later options would likely be used in any starships heading out to Alpha Centauri, expect a 40 to 80 year trip one way for that destination.

To do a Trader campaign these launch windows are opportunities to earn money, between those launch windows, there is trade with the Moon who's launch window is always open, travel time is from 1 to 3 days.

Landing on Mars and Earth are relatively easy, the atmosphere does most of the work in slowing the ship down, you can land a spaceship with nearly empty fuel tanks, the rocket engines just slow the ship from terminal velocity to a soft landing, and the the passengers and cargos are off-loaded, the ship is then moved to a launch pad and mated to a rocket booster if it's on Earth, if it is on Mars or the Moon, it is simply refueled so it can get back into orbit then it docks with one of the space stations I mention and it is refueled for the outbound leg of the next trip, in the case of the Moon, it needs fuel to go to the Moon and then land. As you can imagine traffic to the Moon is more frequent, people travel back and forth to the Moon on business trips, much like international airliner travel except that it takes a few days rather than just hours to get there.

Take a bit of imagination for pirates to exist. Belters and scouts are synonymous, much of the asteroid mining is autonomous. There is a Scout base in the asteroid Belt on Ceres, and one orbiting Venus. The rest of the Solar System is fairly empty and untraveled except for the occasional explorer.

Last edited by Werner; March 31st, 2021 at 12:03 PM..
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Old March 31st, 2021, 04:14 PM
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Not much to explore except some cold dead worlds, or is there? How about Mars? It appears to be a cold dead world, and the more we find out about it, the more that appears to be the case, but what could be there that would make this setting more interesting? The surface of Mars is very ancient, it holds lots of secrets, and most of those secrets are of the mundane kind. What if the PCs discovered something on Mars that was not so mundane? An artifact of some kind perhaps that still works. Any ideas?
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Old March 31st, 2021, 05:33 PM
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Ion drives powered by nuclear fission reactors...
plasma drives powered by nuclear reactors...
solar sails
solar sails powered by beamed laser stations...
cyclers

Once you have industry off Earth to make the nuclear power plants so no one has to worry about a nuclear powered launch from Earth.
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Old March 31st, 2021, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
Ion drives powered by nuclear fission reactors...
plasma drives powered by nuclear reactors...
solar sails
solar sails powered by beamed laser stations...
cyclers

Once you have industry off Earth to make the nuclear power plants so no one has to worry about a nuclear powered launch from Earth.
The PC class spaceships are land-able, they can land on the Moon, Mars, and Earth, and after refueling they can blast off from the Moon and Mars as a single stage to orbit vehicle, on Earth and also from Venus they need help to get back to orbit, they need a booster. NASA/Roscosmos (the Russian Space Agency) jointly operate an aerial Scout base high in the atmosphere of Venus, it is a governments funded operation where they keep boosters attached to lighter than air platforms to help their scout vessels return to low Venus orbit where the Valkrie refueling station awaits, this is the orbital component of the scout base, it is much like a spaceport but specifically tailored for Scout class vessels. Venus is not as developed as Mars. As you might have guessed these planets are much as they are today. Venus is much like Antarctica, there are research bases floating around in its atmosphere, largely government funded. There are plans to terraform the planet, but it is hard to get government funding to do that, so for now they just operate research bases in the atmosphere, and they have lander's that can reach the surface and even suits that allow humans to walk the surface for a short while, but nothing lasts long on the surface of Venus and mining is very difficult.

Nuclear powered plasma drives are for ships that do not land, they tend to be capital ships, the United States Space Force operates a nuclear powered fleet, these are nuclear powered plasma drive ships, the newest models have fusion drives, they carry smaller subordinate ships, China has a similar fleet for its Space Force. Another operator is NASA and the Chinese Space Agency, they are building and launching actual starships of the slower than light variety, there is a kind of Interstellar space race going on between those two powers, the starships have four fusion powered stages, the first two stages bring each Starship up to 10% of the speed of light using Daedalus class fusion pulse drives, two-stage unmanned flyby probes have already flown through the Alpha Centauri system with sub probes splitting off and flying by each planet of interest at 10% of the speed of light. Proxima b and c had flyby probes and planet b was found to have a thin atmosphere and is a promising target for colonization with a habitable band on the dayside of the planet, the surface looks much like Mars but with active volcanoes and an ocean, there is oxygen in the atmosphere that scientists think is produced by microorganisms in the ocean, because of the high percentage of carbon-dioxide the atmosphere in Traveller terms counts as 4 - Thin, Tainted, carbon-dioxide scrubber filter masks are required for a human to breath that atmosphere, the gravity is a bit high and uncomfortable as well.

I think a good place for a colony on Proxima b would be under water, the ocean provides protection from Proxima Centauri's flares and at a certain depth, about 5 meters beneath the surface the water pressure equals 1 atmospheric pressure on Earth at sea level. The planet is colder than Earth and over half its surface is covered in ice sheets, not exactly a paradise but more habitable than any of the planets in the Solar System besides Earth.

Last edited by Werner; March 31st, 2021 at 06:51 PM..
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Old March 31st, 2021, 07:48 PM
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I got an idea for the artifact on Mars. The PCs explore a lava tube on Mars, they discover the artifact, and after poking around a bit more that they should, it opens up a wormhole between Mars and Titan and the atmosphere rushes through until the air pressure on both sides of the gate equalize. This gives Mars a mostly nitrogen atmosphere with a trace amount of carbon-dioxide, the atmospheric pressure on both sides of the gate ends up at around 75% air pressure on Earth at sea level, Mars is still a dry desert world but the added bulk of the mostly nitrogen atmosphere has a greenhouse effect and warms up the planet a bit. Titan's atmosphere on Mars came with a fair bit of methane and that is a super greenhouse gas. The dry ice in the ice caps sublimated, while the water ice remains frozen, some of the permafrost closer to the equator melts as the crust warms up and liquid water spills out onto the surface.

I'm not sure how long it would take for the atmosphere to pass through the gate, but this might make Mars a more interesting place to visit, once the atmosphere's equalize pressure, the gate could be used to travel to Titan, this might make an interesting visit.

This probably creates a massive global dust storm over the entire planet for about a year as the atmosphere pours through, it might not be safe to be near the gate while this is happening. Titan's atmosphere is 1.19 times the mass of Earth's. The total mass of Earth's atmosphere is 5.5 quadrillion tons, so Titan's atmosphere is 6.5 quadrillion tons half of that is 3.25 quadrillion tons, which is 3,250,000,000,000,000 tons, if it passes through the gate in about a year that means 24,717,385.22 tons of atmosphere has to pass through that gate every second for about a year, this is bound to cause quite a bit of havoc for the Martian colonists.

Last edited by Werner; March 31st, 2021 at 08:02 PM..
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Old March 31st, 2021, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Werner View Post
I got an idea for the artifact on Mars. The PCs explore a lava tube on Mars, they discover the artifact, and after poking around a bit more that they should, it opens up a wormhole between Mars and Titan and the atmosphere rushes through until the air pressure on both sides of the gate equalize. This gives Mars a mostly nitrogen atmosphere with a trace amount of carbon-dioxide, the atmospheric pressure on both sides of the gate ends up at around 75% air pressure on Earth at sea level, Mars is still a dry desert world but the added bulk of the mostly nitrogen atmosphere has a greenhouse effect and warms up the planet a bit. Titan's atmosphere on Mars came with a fair bit of methane and that is a super greenhouse gas. The dry ice in the ice caps sublimated, while the water ice remains frozen, some of the permafrost closer to the equator melts as the crust warms up and liquid water spills out onto the surface.

I'm not sure how long it would take for the atmosphere to pass through the gate, but this might make Mars a more interesting place to visit, once the atmosphere's equalize pressure, the gate could be used to travel to Titan, this might make an interesting visit.

This probably creates a massive global dust storm over the entire planet for about a year as the atmosphere pours through, it might not be safe to be near the gate while this is happening. Titan's atmosphere is 1.19 times the mass of Earth's. The total mass of Earth's atmosphere is 5.5 quadrillion tons, so Titan's atmosphere is 6.5 quadrillion tons half of that is 3.25 quadrillion tons, which is 3,250,000,000,000,000 tons, if it passes through the gate in about a year that means 24,717,385.22 tons of atmosphere has to pass through that gate every second for about a year, this is bound to cause quite a bit of havoc for the Martian colonists.

That's a novel needs writing.
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Old March 31st, 2021, 10:53 PM
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That's a novel needs writing.
Maybe this is the first shoe that drops, the gate leads somewhere to further adventures.
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Old April 1st, 2021, 11:11 AM
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Nitrogen is not a greenhouse gas...
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