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Anagathics and Military Economy

The real world advantages of a highly trained professional military equipped with the best of practical high technology have been shown dramatically in Afghanistan and Iraq. Expert troops are not merely advantageous, they are overwhelming. With this in mind, it is in our interest to revisit the prohibitive expense listed for Anagathics in the Traveller Universe. Simply stated, conservation of military expertise is so rewarding as to make the cost associated with developing cheap, effective, and available Anagathics too negligible to mention. The advantages of having large numbers of dedicated military experts available are worth paying almost anything. Amortized over a galactic empire over millennia, the development price of low cost longevity treatment drops to nothing.

In very much the same way that the brilliant designers guessed wrong about the development of computer technology, they guessed wrong about medical technology. This could very well be due to the impact of a lot of loud pseudo-science "cluttering the radar" and causing some bad calls. When Traveller was written, many people bought into hyperbolic predictions of overpopulation effects of medical science, while overlooking the ongoing reductions in birthrate in countries that were most advanced. The game is fun to play, but this is one of those irritating holes in the rules that have not stood the test of time. Given the opportunity to be young, healthy, and fit indefinitely, people choose to do so. The assumption that imperial powers will survive choosing to be defended by weaker, stupider, and less trained militaries strains credulity past the breaking point.

There is fairly compelling evidence to indicate that, within the next fifty years, almost everybody with access to current medicine will live about one hundred (100) years of active life. Within this context, it would be a foolish military indeed that forced personnel out after seven (7) terms when it could easily get fourteen (14) terms out of them. The advantages of having seven more terms of serious hard-core veteran availability are substantial. The disadvantages of facing an opponent with that kind of potential should not be dismissed.

To limit the power of the super veterans, character skills can be limited to the sum of the Intelligence and Education scores. A partial mustering out can be performed at the seven (7) term mark to allow the character to gain mental traits that might otherwise be unobtainable in their career field. Another option might be for the characters to enter another, probably safer, career after their first seven terms and stand by as military reserves.

The characters will be in the bloom of youth, effectively 18 years old as long as they are in service. The existing rules for expensive and almost unavailable Anagathics can be utilized as the only technology that works past the age of one hundred (100) and this will give the player characters something to work for.

There are a lot of reasons to not throw people away because they are old. Although super veterans might make the game higher powered, it offers opposition that is substantially higher powered and allows for very much longer campaigns and a lot more deliberate play. If your idea of fun is hack and slash, more power to you, just ignore all of the above. Of course, the Republican Guard and the Taliban used to think exactly the same way, look at how well that worked for them...