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Cheap sand rules check


Quick asside - While writing up an NPC merchant's ship I was looking for corners to cut - He replaced the finely ground, optically opake sand crystals with some sand he picked up from the ground on a local desert world.

I remember this from an older version of trav but don;t know if it was apocryphal.

I reduced the USP by 1 but made refills free.

Opinions from the crowd?
First of all, you still need the canisters the sand goes in. So, unless your merchant is in for some EVA after his space battles to go pick up spent canisters, he's still going to have to pay something for new ones (though it could be significantly cheaper)

As for effectiveness, I'd say it depends on the tech level. (I havn't read the THB section on sand yet.) Some previous edition of Trav. mentioned that after the sand is dispersed, the canisters manipulated the sand to help divert/absorb incoming fire. At lower tech levels, the sand had an iron component and was manipulated by electromagnets in the canisters. Higher tech levels swapped out the magnets for gravitic devices (And, of course, had better sand).

So, I'd say that the economy sandcaster ammo you described would work at a significant penalty at high tech levels (grav. devices can still move it, but the particles are less effective), and not work at all at low tech levels (though perhaps iron filings could be substituted for silica-based sand, again at a significant penalty)

That help?
Evening all,

Unfotunately, T20 has taken a step backwards when describing how a sancaster works. The best description/explanation I have found is in Traveller: The New Eras (TNE) book Fire, Fusion, & Steel (FF&S) Technical Architecture Mk1 Mod1 Jan 1994, which follows:

T20 indicates the the "sand" is composed of ceramic particles that protects a vessel as long as the vessel does nothing. FF&S p58 indicates that the sand is composed of alabative crystals. Further, the sandcaster launcher is equipped with "a generator used to create a field used to manipulate the location and shape of the cloud of crystals. At early tech levels, these fields are electromagnetic, and require magnetic sand. More advanced systems supplement, then supplant, the magnetic manipulation with gravitic manipulation, which allows the use of more effective nonmagnetic crystals."
"These cloulds are placed in the path of incoming beam weapon weapons and the beams expend their energy buring throught the cloud. The sandcaster operator uses integral laser warning sensors to detect fire control locks and anticipate incoming beam fire. Each successful sandcaster hit reduces the beam <damage> and requires that another canister be expended to replace the burned sand." The <damage> was a change I made from the books quote.

Using beach/desert sand would would decrease the effectiveness in blocking energy weapon fire and would act as indicated in the book unless the vessel was equipped with gravitic manipulation generators. GURPS Traveller uses the same. Personally, the use of beach/desert sand is a last resort.