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Monthly Archives: August 2012

[Traveller] TL 11 Robot Horses

I had some time the last few days. I spent some days in the mountains with my girlfriend, just us, with cold showers and no internet or phone reception. And only one computer. Yeah, we should have no computer at all and enjoy the countryside, but I guess we are too addicted to our technology. Lots of fun was had because of a document we had to send at the beginning of the week: we went to the only open hotspot in the town downhill. But that hotspot didn’t want to connect to our devices. So we had to use an unsecured other hotspot in the backyard of an insurance agency a local pointed us to. When did wifi hotspots become so important to us that we can trade them in casual conversation?

I planned my Traveller campaign a bit better though, and considering the Wild West vibe I try to give it I decided to create some windowdressing for it: robot horses. Because what says space western more than robotic horses?

Yes, I was inspired by Bravestarr and the likes.

The problem came with the method I tried to create them with: I tried to use the Robot book for Mongoose Traveller, and that didn’t work as well as imagined. The Robot book is basically for people who want to play robots or droids, while this one was mostly for the sake of background material. I guess one could play it as a character though.

Robot Horses (TL11): On some worlds where the environmental situation is adverse and where roads cannot be constructed reliably (often desert or agricultural worlds with low population) robot horses are being used in lieu of real animals. While real horses and other animals are definitely cheaper they also can be affected by different biological and environmental agents.

Robot horses, often more a gimmick in the beginning, can be used to replace those. There is no actual reason for them to have the typical form of horses, but as they are most often brought in as a replacement for already existing animals in the beginning, they often keep these traits even after they have replaced their inspirations.
They do have some features that keep them in use despite their expense and gimmicky nature though: they are able to move through areas inpassable by many other vehicles, they are more intelligent and obedient than real animals, able to perform independent actions, can be used for both transport and other menial tasks, and they do not need food.

One of the more interesting things about them for planets with comparatively low tech level is the low tech level of most components. Only a few absolutely necessary components of the robot have to be produced off world, most of the robot can be serviced by a more or less talented mechanic.

TexTech RoboSteed Basic (TL 11)
Characteristics: Str B, Hull 4, Structure 4, Int 3 (-1)
Skills:
Body: Size 4 long basic frame, Size 4 sprawling legs
Armour: 6
Input/Output: basic optics, audio sensor, basic vocoder, tactile sensor
Gadgets: satellite GPS
Computer: Linear CPU, memory stick TL9 1x, inhibitor
Software: PP 1
Cost: 23,900 credits

Pretty much everything about the basic version is rather, well, basic. Most of the contents can be replaced easily even in an TL8 environment. The satellite GPS is TL9 and if broken is often left like this. The tactile sensor is TL10 and might need to be replaced with a completely new unit if broken. The most high tech in the robot is the software, which brings the robot up to TL11, other than that most of it can be serviced locally even technologically moer basic areas.

TexTech RoboSteed Deluxe (TL13)
Characteristics: Str B, Hull 4, Structure 4, Int 3 (-1)
Skills:
Body: Size 4 long basic frame, Size 4 sprawling legs
Armour: 6
Input/Output: basic optics, audio sensor, basic vocoder, tactile sensor
Gadgets: inertial GPS, faux biological cover
Computer: Serial CPU, memory stick TL10 1x, inhibitor
Software: PP 2
Cost: 30.000 credits (special offer!)
The deluxe version of the RoboSteed was introduced with big fanfare but remained unsuccessful: it’s too high tech to allow proper maintenance at the low-medium techlevel RoboSteeds are usually employed  in. In most cases it is an expensive status symbol for people with money, rarely it is being used in productive settings. Most people would just use regular horses as a status symbol though.

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[Traveller] Satboys

Vela 5B in Orbit

Vela 5B in Orbit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Satboys
Needed: planet with low to mid tech level and/or low population

Artifical satellites are one of the main tools of interstellar civilization. Often they are one of the first important steps for low tech civilizations to become technologically advanced, and be it only through the use of better communication technology than before. Consequently it’s a common sidejob many spaceship captains do when asked: just bring a small satellite up there for the greater good and a few extra creds.
Greg Winchester is someone with a plan: the only thing that stands between him and riches is the fact that his company does not have the facilities to launch some recently acquired TL 10 satellites into space. And that’s how the characters come in: some interested people are needed to get the satellites up into orbit with either their own ship, or with a chartered tram freighter that sometimes comes through. Easy enough, wouldn’t it be?

Complications:

  1. Everything is as presented, the only differences are of mechanical nature
  2. There is a rival to Greg’s company, and these people long had the same plan that he had. Their methods are a bit different though. They have hired a small team to make life diffcult for the characters.
  3. as 2. but the people hired are supposed to depose of them in orbit. No satellites means nobody around to trace back a murder or two in orbit
  4. Coincidence as it may be, but there is already a satellite in that orbit. Although not known down below the government does like to keep tabs on it’s citizens/spy satellites are in high use on this balkanized world
  5. as 4. but instead of a normal satellite this thing has nuclear weapons installed, for the greater good…
  6. as 5. but that was exactly what Greg thought they would find. He is in the employ of one of the planets secret services and supposed to destroy those. Oh. if there were not thse pesky space marines defending this thing…