Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Lots of Space, or: In Space, Noone Can Respond To Your Signal GK.

I don't envision a crowded Traveller Universe.

Following LBB2's lead, when you're on your way in or out of port, sometimes you don't encounter another ship. And that's the big, civilized ports. Once you reach orbit, sure it'll get crowded - but even at an A or B port, it's not exactly the Long Island Expressway.

This suggests to me that when you're in trouble in space, you really are in trouble. Oh, sure: pop out a distress call in a fully developed system, and you'll get ships coming to your aid in an hour or so, depending on how far out you are, and how heavily populated the system is. But it strikes me that the less developed ports aren't going to have nearly that much traffic, and if your drives give out, you could be waiting for days before help finds you. If you're contending with a pirate, you're pretty much going to be on your own... even if there is someone available to help you, unless they're really heavily armed, all they'll be able to do is drift by later and pick up folks in vacc suits.

Of course, LBB2 isn't specific on how often one checks for a ship encounter; it's pretty clear that the ship encounter table is intended as an example for one to follow. Now, I generally roll once per leg of a journey: A ship arrives in system and heads for a gas giant, roll once. The ship heads from the gas giant to the mainworld, roll again. Or if the ship pops insystem and heads towards the mainworld right away, just the one roll.

It's imperfect. I'm lazy.

I saw one fellow on CotI, Aramis I think, who first rolls against a world's population to see if there's an encounter, checking a couple times a trip: That'll have the effect of making them generally scarcer, which is good to my mind.

Really though, one ought to come up with better tables. Not just fixing the typos of the LBB2 encounter table, but making something that fits the LBB flavor but at the same time reflects one's own TU and the worlds in it. I think I talked about this back in Ought Six, or something. But hey. I'm lazy.


Blogger Craig A. Glesner said...

I would think that for truly good tables you might want to cross index the chances by starport type and bases, and the world's Pop, Law Level and TL.

It seems to me those a the primary factors.

A high population, oppressive world with a Class A starport is probably going to have its local Space Guard or whatever come and check out a new ship and will if their TL is high enough have enough ships to cover the most commonly used Jump points, traffic lanes and of course gas giant.

A low pop world with a low level might not have a Space Guard and thus might be the hangout for those less than law abiding types.

But this is just my two CrImps.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Festeria said...

Those are certainly all factors.

The Mister Persnickety in me would also want to modify the roll based on potential access. It would be weird to find a Free Trader or a Subbie in a system normally accessible only by J-2 or J-3. No?

7:39 AM  
Blogger Craig A. Glesner said...

Too true.

5:33 PM  

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