Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Apologies for not posting anything during October. First I went on holiday (which was good - sun and sea) and then when I got back I was involved in a road traffic accident (which was bad - whiplash and a written off car). However, I've got some posts in the pipline including painting the TFL and Newhope and  I'm hoping to get these up later this month.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Exploratory Survey Vessels

The Taloss class of Exploratory Survey Vessels are designed to operate wherever there is cartographic uncertainty. Unlike the Donosev class this vessel specialises in exploration. The class is regarded as sturdy and reliable and is easily recognised, despite its standard design, due to the pylons and masts protruding from its superstructure.


200 ton standard streamlined hull built at TL10

Jump Drive A
Manoeuvre Drive A
Power Plant A
100 tons of fuel provides for up to four consecutive Jump-1s and allows up to eight weeks operational duration

Aside the bridge is a Model 1 computer

The ship has a crew of six: Pilot/Navigator, Engineer, Medic, Chief Cartographer (academic rank 5 or 6) and two Assistant Cartographers (academic rank 3+)

There are 6 staterooms and 2 Emergency Low Berths

One hardpoint is fitted with fire control and a single turret installed. This is used exclusively to launch survey probes.

The ship has a 4 ton medical bay

The ship has a 6 ton Cartographic Suite

The ship has a 5 ton cargo bay

The ship carries an Air/Raft. Its hanger is located next to the Launch bay

The ship carries a 20 ton Launch, its 13 tons of excess space is used as follows:
1 ton extra fuel allowing for up to eight weeks operational duration
1 x Advanced Base
3 x Small Craft Couches
Cargo Capacity of 4.5 tons (capable of holding the Air/Raft)

The ship can be built in 9 months and costs MCr45

1. The Exploratory Survey Vessel is fully capable of both stella and world surface mapping expeditions. It is designed to stray up to two jumps from a known fuel source (often into previously unmapped territory), map what it finds and then return.

2. The Launch is outfitted as an exploration craft. It is capable of landing a small team on a planet/moons surface and establishing a forward base of operations to investigate sites of unusual or special interest that may have been picked up during the survey.

3. Taloss class ships are frequently found in the service of Mining Corporations where they are used to "sniff" out lucrative mineral deposits in asteroid fields, moons and uninhabited planets. In this role one or both assistant cartographers are usually replaced by a geologist and/or metallurgist.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Designing the ATVs

The mercenaries involved in the Garda-Vilis campaign have access to two ATVs. I could have just made up the stats for these vehicles but there was another way...

I spent all day yesterday wrestling with the Striker vehicle design sequences and, although it was quite a task (given that I left school with no qualification what-so-ever in mathmatics), the conclusion was most satisfying.

Initially I decided to just make up the measurements on which the design process is built but then I had a thought; what if I were to measure up the actual ATV model and then try to render that?

Here's what I came up with.

First, I used two reference points:
1. 1mm measured equals 1ft in real life.
2. 1ft equals 0.3048m.

According to my measurements the main body of the model was:
35mm long = 35ft = 10.668m rounded to 10.7m
15mm wide = 15ft = 4.572m rounded to 4.6m
10mm high = 10ft = 3.048m rounded to 3.05m

Each tyre was:
5mm wide = 5ft = 1.524m rounded to 1.5m

Each turret was:
5mm long = 5ft = 1.524m rounded to 1.5m
5mm wide = 5ft = 1.524m rounded to 1.5m
4mm high = 4ft = 1.2192m rounded to 1.2m

Having quantified the model I then went through the design sequence and made the following determinations.

The Vehicle was built at TL13

Step A - Chassis Volume
150.121m3 (m3 is meters cubed)

Step B - Suspension
Weight 32.1 tons

Step C - Chassis Configuration
Front: Radical
Rear: Vertical
Deck: Horizontal
Belly: Horizontal
Left Side: Moderate
Right Side: Moderate
Usable Chassis Space = 70.8126m3

(I stripped out the turret design sequences and put them at the end, hence the occasional jump in steps)

Step G - Crew
Commander, Driver, Gunner (all seated)
Weight 0.6 tons

Step H - Power Plant
Fusion with an output of 4.5 megawatts
Weight 4.5 tons
Using 6.75L of fuel per hour

Step I - Transmission
Weight 2.7 tons

Steps J, K and L are not used for wheeled vehicles.

Step M - Fuel
6.75L per hour = 162L per day
The vehicle would carry a 30 day supply of fuel.
Weight 3.402 tons

Step N - Chassis Armour
2cm of Superdense armour in all locations.
Weight 57.531 tons

Step P - Obscuration Devices
20 x Prismatic Aerosols
Weight 0.02 tons

Step Q - Laser Sensors
1 x Laser sensor
Weight 0.1 tons

Step R - Electronics
Power 5000 Radio
Power 5000 Radio Jammer
Thermal Imaging
Basic ECM
Map Box
Battle Computer
Weight 0.03005 tons

Step S - Passengers
10 (extended duration)
Weight 2 tons

Step T - Environmental Control
Sealed environment with life support for 13 people.
Weight 6.5708126 tons

Step V - Cargo Capacity
Weight 8 tons (allocated)

Step W - Waste Space


Step D - Turret Dimension
Each turret has 2.7m3 of space

Step E - Turret Configuration
All sides are vertical

Step F - Weapons
1. 1 x Remote mount with a TL13 Laser Rifle.
2. One weapon station in the chassis.
3. No fire control needed as the turret mounts an infantry weapon.
4. Stabilised.
5. Autoloader not required.
Weight for both turrets 0.2176 tons
Cr30,000 for both turrets

Step O - Turret Armour
2cm Superdense in all locations
Weight for both turrets 4.32 tons

Step U - Ammunition Storage
Weight for both turrets 0.4 tons
These are linked power packs that will provide 1000 shots before requiring recharge from the power plant.

Each turret has a sealed environment and mounts a Searchlight.
Weight 0.0254 tons

Each turret has 2.3757m3 of unused space.


A. Weight: 122.51686 tons

B. Flotation: Will not float

C. Ground Pressure: 7 tons per m3

D. Power to Weight Ratio: 36

E. Road Speed: 126kph (78.2928mph)

F. Cross Country Speed: 25.2kph (15.65855mph)

G. Amphibious Speed: N/a. However it can wade in depths of up to 2m.

H, I, J. Not used for wheeled vehicles.

K. Movement Rates: Road 105cm. Cross Country 30.24cm.

L. Movement Effects on Firing: No Effect.

M. Armour Ratings: Front 28, Sides 21, all other locations including turrets 14.

N. Target Size DMs: Low +5. High +1.

O. TL13 Laser Rifle 40 (20), 80 (12), 400 (4)

P. Miscellaneous Equipment (to be determined by the player)

Q. Price: Cr952,680.87


1. I've left all the fiddly decimal places in my calculations here, obviously they will be rounded (up or down as appropriate) for actual game play.

2. This was designed to be a paramilitary/civilian vehicle similar to the standard Traveller ATV. I doubt it will stand up well in a full on war zone. Hopefully it will do just fine for bullying the TFL around.

3. There is enough unused space in the chassis and turrets to fit different weapons and fire control systems. The idea being that these are modular so you fit the systems you require for the mission.

4. I hereby name the vehicle the Lanzer Industries Vanguard Mk1.

Edit: I finally figured out how to determine displacement tonnage. Total volume divided by 14 was, of course, the answer. Which means the Vanguard Mk1 weighs 10.722929 dtons.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Painting the Dogs of War

So today I finally finished painting the mercenaries that I detailed in the post "War for a Price". This first picture shows the three squads and the platoon HQ.

They are represented as being deployed in Battledress and the figures themselves are New Israeli Light Armoured Infantry from the Dirtside range by Ground Zero Games. For 6mm figures these guys are a whopping 8mm in size!

They were undercoated and basecoated in khaki grey, then washed in devlan mud and then dry brushed bubonic brown. The faceplate on their helmets is gold whilst their weapons were painted umber (black being too black for 6mm in my opinion).

On the right shoulder of each trooper was modelled a large shoulder pad. These I painted either red, green or blue as a form of squad recognition, with the platoon HQ painted white.

I based the figures on white plasticard (using cheap super glue) then applied brown basetex, when dry it was dry brushed bubonic brown. Under each base is a number identifying which fire team the figure is in, special notation is made for leaders, medics and fusion gunners.

In this next picture you can see the two ATVs that transport two of the squads (there will be a separate post detailing my efforts to design them using the Striker system sometime in the near future). They are Phalanx Heavy Hi-Mobility Wheeled APCs, again from Ground Zero Games. They were painted in the same colours as the infantry with the addition that the wheels were painted black then dry brushed umber.

OK, what about the third squad and the HQ I hear you say. The HQ deploys in an Air/Raft, Adler Miniatures used to make great looking air/rafts in their Dark Star range but they sold the range to some company in the USA - so the hunt is on for transport for the HQ.

As for the third squad it usually deploys via the 50 ton Cutter, you can see a picture of that below.

Now, the eagle-eyed among you may notice something about my Cutter model, namely that it is a work in progress (also that it is the cardboard inner tube from a roll of Tesco's value tin foil).

My back of an envelope calculations using Supplement 7: Traders and Gunboats tells me a Cutter should be a tad over 6m in diameter and approximately 30m long. This equates to a tad over 20mm in diameter and approximately 99mm long. The tube is 24mm in diameter and over 30cm long. Construction of the Cutter will form a separate post. 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Minds in Motion

One of the more intriguing aspects of the Garda Vilis campaign is the participation of a small group of Zhodani Commandos. Hopefully I'll scrape up enough players so that I can control them as a Ref, as this will allow me to expand their role quite a bit compared to how they are used in Adventure 7: Broadsword.

There are twelve men in total in the commando squad but only ten take the field, however, they are all teleports, which is a great force multiplier. The eleventh man is an attached SORAG* agent skilled in infiltration, he is usually used to scout out teleport locations. The twelfth man is the Director of Operations, a liaison between the squad and higher command. We will be concentrating on the commandos themselves starting, as usual, with their leader.

Name: Captain Echidlaqplil Zhdeshtie-iepr
UPP: 86985A
Age: 34
Psionic Level: 8 (Teleport, Telepathy, Clairvoyance)
Trained on a TL14 world
Decorations: Hero Medal 1st and 2nd Class, Wound Badge x 2

Skills: Leader II, Tactics II, Cbt Rifleman II, High Energy Weapons II, Battledress I, VRF Gauss Gun I, Grav Vehicle I, Forward Observer I, Demolition I, Bribery I, Interrogation I

Service History: Guards Army (Infantry) 1 Term, Guards Commandos 3 Terms. Currently on active service.

The Squad consists of
1 x Team Leader: Morale 11, High initiative
1 x Assistant Team Leader: Morale 8, Average initiative
2 x 4 man Fire Teams: Morale 8, Average initiative

All men wear TL14 Battledress and Grav Belts. They are equipped with PGMP-13s, except for one man who carries a FGMP-14.

In my version of the Garda Vilis campaign these guys are going to operate as a cell, affiliated to the TFL but also with their own agenda. Mysterious agents of chaos if you like whose primary purpose is to act as a destabilising influence. If it becomes necessary to identify them the entire squad will go by the code name "Coldstone".

* if required this character will be generated using the approved supplement "SORAG Handbook of Organisation and Equipment" by Paranoia Press.

Monday, 10 September 2012

We are in Compliance

At the weekend I notified Far Future Enterprises about this blog. I did so because as a part of their fair usage policy they ask people who put Traveller stuff on their site/blog to let them know about it. It is also the reason their boilerplate stuff is in my first post.

Today I received a reply from non other than the man himself Mr Marc W. Miller. He thanked me and said that he had enjoyed reading through the blog. He did not raise any objection to the content.

As a result of this I am pleased to be able to say that this blog is in compliance with FFE's fair use policy.

Relic Hunters

Many moons ago I spent a few years working as an archaeologist for the York Archaeological Trust. What follows is a tip of the hat to those times and the people that inhabited them.


The Archaeological Resource Craft is a standard 95 ton shuttle that has had its 71 tons of excess space customised as follows:

5.7 additional tons of fuel extending operational duration to 12 weeks.

Provision is made for a 10 ton Dirtmover (or 10 tons of dirt moving machinery).

Provision is made for an Air/Raft - two tons of the air/raft's cargo capacity is given over to aerial archaeology and geophysical survey pods and an on board computer to process the information collected.

10 tons is given over to tool and equipment storage including fuel for hand held excavation machines, the air/raft and dirtmover etc.

12 tons is given over to a field laboratory wherein is located the Finds Department. The departments job is to process, protect and store recovered artifacts. It also has archaeometric capability.

A Model 1 computer is installed. It is used as a database and electronic library and is loaded with pertinent data relative to the objective of the excavation. Data from air/raft surveys and the Finds Department is added on a daily basis.

12 Small Craft staterooms are installed.

4.3 tons is given over to cargo space.

 A typical relic hunting mission requires an excavation leader (usually an academic of rank 5 or 6), a specialist to operate the air/raft (academic rank 3+), at least one specialist for the Finds Department (academic rank 4+) and at least one assistant excavation leader (academic rank 3+). All other places will usually be filled by excavation assistants or "diggers" (academic rank 1 and 2) or sometimes civilian volunteers.

The excavation team is expected to be able to operate the shuttle, the dirtmover and other hand held mechanical excavation devices (yes I'm talking about jack-hammers!) therefore two team members pull double duty (but without extra pay) as shuttle crew when needed.

Tip: Have a look at the exploits of Star Trek the Next Generation's Captain Picard to see how archaeology can lead to adventure.

Academic Adventurer

Classic Traveller does have a scientist career path to follow in Supplement 4: Citizens of the Imperium but, to be fair, it is not very good at producing mission specialists of an academic nature. What follows is my (un-playtested) attempt to create a career path for the Academic Adventurer. It is based on my observations whilst attending collage to study for a combined degree of history and social science. Obviously I have taken a few liberties with actual academic structure. Please note, the usual character generation rules from Citizens apply unless changed or over-ridden here.


Enlistment 8+
DM +1 if Intel 7+
DM +2 if Educ 8+

Survival 4+
DM +2 if Intel 6+

Position 10+
DM +4 if rank 1
DM +3 if rank 2
DM +2 if rank 3 or higher

Promotion 10+
DM +4 if rank 1
DM +3 if rank 2
DM +2 if rank 3
DM +3 if published

Reenlistment 5+
DM +2 if Tenure

Upon enlistment the player must choose their Academic Specialism I.E. which subject they are going to study E.G. Xeno-biology, Planetary Ecology, Particle Physics etc. An academic specialism cannot be an already existing Traveller skill. A character with Intel 8+ and Educ 7+ may choose to do a “combined” course; this allows them to choose two specialisms instead of one, however, they must evenly divide any specialism skills acquired between their chosen subjects. A character of rank 2 or higher may re-enlist at rank 1 providing they choose a different specialism.

In an academic context enlistment should be understood to mean passing the requisite entry examinations in order to enter the institution of choice, all characters start at rank 1. Re-enlistment should be understood to mean securing funding for another term of study for ranks 1 to 3 and being retained by the faculty for ranks 4 and above. Position should be understood as undertaking the necessary work to create a dissertation/thesis for ranks 1 to 3 and for research of a paper or book for ranks 4 and above. Position must be thrown for every term until Rank 4 is achieved after which it is voluntary. Promotion should be understood as passing an exam for ranks 1 to 3 and for being published for ranks 4 and above.


Rank 1: Student
Rank 2: Bachelor of Arts
Rank 3: Master of Arts
Rank 4: Lecturer
Rank 5: Professor
Rank 6: Senior Professor

A further promotion beyond rank 6 indicates that the character has been given tenure, meaning that they cannot be dismissed from service except upon the most gravest of circumstances.


1 = Low Passage
2 = Weapon
3 = High Passage
4 = High Passage
5 = +1 SOC
6 = Travellers'

1 = 1000
2 = 2000
3 = 5000
4 = 10,000
5 = 20,000
6 = 30,000

Ranks 5 and 6 that muster out (I.E. retire) may add "Emeritus" before or after their title.


Personal Development
1 = Gun Cbt
2 = Survival
3 = +1 Intel
4 = +1 Educ
5 = Vehicle
6 = Brawling

Service Skills
1 = +1 Intel
2 = Computer
3 = Specialism
4 = Specialism
5 = Research
6 = Gun Cbt

Advanced Education
1 = Vacc Suit
2 = Leader
3 = Instruction
4 = Specialism
5 = Administartion
6 = Research

Advanced Education (must have Educ 8+)
1 = Gravatics
2 = Electronic
3 = Mechanical
4 = Pilot
5 = Liaison
6 = Jack-o-T


Rank 2: Specialism-1
Rank 3: Research-1
Rank 4: Instruction-1
Rank 5: Administration-1
Every time a character gets an automatic skill they also gain Edcu +1.

Research Skill
Research is the ability to coordinate data from disparate sources to answer a specific question or proposition, it is an investigative skill. It can be used in conjunction with computer when attempting to get information from data bases. If a character fails their specialism roll when attempting a task it is suggested that Ref’s might allow the character to “research the problem” – this would allow another roll (this time using the character’s research skill) to attempt the task but at an increased cost in time.

A character with research 2+ and that is also rank 4+ may add the title “Research Fellow” after their name, any character that does this replaces any further automatic skills they may gain with another level in Research.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Vines of Garda-Vilis

Scenario 1: The Raid requires the creation of a small agricultural settlement/village. Some guidelines are given about the general nature and layout of the village but Ref's are expected to make up most of the details. For example, no information is provided about local agricultural produce I.E. what do the villagers grow?

Accordingly, I named the village "Newhope" - the name derives from the aspirations of the first settlers in response to the rich earth of the surrounding area. Thought to be most suitable for the growing of local vines from which a rather potent brew can be distilled.
I decided to make some of the vines (from my back story) so as to give Newhope some character on the tabletop. The inspiration for all this came to me when I was sent a parcel that used beer mats as packaging, then I remembered that a couple of years ago I'd bought some 6mm hedge pieces from Irregular Miniatures, then I remembered that somewhere in my dead lead (I.E. unpainted) collection I had a couple of 15mm scale cleaning bots. My memory on the bots is hazy they might even be official Traveller models, either way they were very small and once repurposed as Agribots looked great (edit: it appears they are based on the janitor-bot picture from Book 8, p52).

Here is a picture of the Agribots, front and back (yeah I know my camera work is bloody awful, let's just call it a quirk of the blog shall we?).

So to start with I measured the length and width of a piece of hedge. It fitted fairly neatly into a rectangle 50mm long and 5mm wide. The beer mats were 90mm by 90mm. The Agribot needed a lane 10mm wide between each row of vine in order not to crush the produce it was supposed to be harvesting. I wanted a 5mm edge to the whole thing so that it could be centrally mounted on another beer mat, which itself would be 90mm long and 75mm wide. I plotted all this out then cut away the relevant bits with a sharp modeller's scalpel. In this photo you can see I'm part way through. In addition I'm using a part hedge piece on the row the Agribot is in to give the look of harvesting in process.

 I only have two Agribots so I also made some templates for just vines.

Here is a fully constructed vine template. You can see that by double mounting I have achieved a sort of terraced effect - this is because the vines grow best in dry soil so the terracing is a cheap form of drainage. The vines were stuck down with PVA glue then painted leaf green, washed with Devlan Mud (alas no longer available) and then drybrushed grass green. I then painted the rest of the beer mat with brown basetex.

When the brown basetex was dry I carefully went round each vine with green basetex (to fill in the odd gap) and then when that was dry I dry brushed all the basetex with bubonic brown. Here is a picture of an Agribot harvesting the vines. First from the back and then from the front.

AGRIBOT DESIGN - using Book 8: Robots
(Because you just know some enterprising player will want to try and tamper with them.)

Lanzer Industries "Crop Master 5000"
TL12 Agricultural Robot

Chassis: Type VIIb cylinder/cone configuration with a 3000L capacity.
Power Plant: Type E Fuel Cell. Output 50kw. Uses 0.30L of fuel per hour.
Fuel: A 216L capacity fuel tank supports 30 days continuous use.
Locomotion: Tracks (power use 20).
Appendages: One Heavy Arm (power use 10) + agricultural attachment (power use 10, 100kg, Cr1000).
Sensors: Basic Package (power use 4).
Brain: CPU, linear (power use 1). Capacity 12.
Storage: Standard. Capacity 12.
Fundamental Logic Program: Low Data.
Fundamental Command Program: Limited Basic Command.
Application Programs: Agriculture IIII (requires CPU 8, Cr1600).
Devices: Spotlight for visual spectrum x 4 (power use 4). Radio 50km range (power use 1).

Total Volume Used: 914.4L (2085.6L produce storage capacity)
Total Weight: 1094.92kg (without fuel or produce)
Total Cost: Cr39,400
Total Power Use: 50kw

Apparent Strength: 200
Apparent Dexterity: 3
Apparent Intelligence: 0.6
Apparent Education: 1.2
Chassis Damage Points: 600 to non-functional, 1500 to destroy
Universal Robot Profile: D240B-01-CC001-V301

The Crop Master 5000 is capable of  planting and harvesting a multitude of crops that grow both above and below ground. Give it a command such as "harvest field 23" and it will carry out the order until the task is completed. Its visual sensors are capable of identifying the crop and (in conjunction with its olfactory sensor) if it is ripe or rotten. It will automatically select the correct planting/harvesting equipment from its arm mounted specialised attachment. Spotlights ensure it can continue to work in sub-optimal lighting conditions and, via its very distant range radio, it will remain in contact with its base broadcasting regular updates of its situation and progress. Storage capacity is mainly in the external hopper and can be used for produce or seeds depending upon its given function at the time.

It is common practise for a group (collective) of farmers to club together to buy one or more of these Agribots. They will then harmonise their planting/harvesting to ensure that each farm gets to use the bot(s) at the appropriate time.