[ Freelance Traveller Home Page | Search Freelance Traveller | Site Index ]

*Freelance Traveller

The Electronic Fan-Supported Traveller® Resource

Questions Answered


Dorothy asks...
In the trade information what does C5 mean?
Freelance Traveller's Editor replies...
Certain worlds are home to comparatively large populations of non-Humans. In the editions where this information is considered important, the fraction of the population, rounded to the nearest 10%, is indicated in the Trade Code section of the UWP. The most commonly encountered codes for this situation are D for Droyne and C for Chirper (Chirpers are biologically Droyne, but have lost the ability to differentiate into the Droyne castes), although some sources also use V for Vargr. So, a world that has a trade code of C5 is roughly 50% populated by Chirpers.

Tim Heard asks...
I'm curious whether there are any known sites where Traveller is played online. Perhaps in a Mux or MUSH setting... Or even PBEM...
Freelance Traveller's Editor replies...
There are several PBEMs that are played on-and-off; good places to ask about them are on JTAS, Citizens of the Imperium, and the various Traveller-related mailing lists.
There is also an on-and-off game played on the psionics.net IRC network; you can make contact with the players and inquire about getting involved by joining #LoneStar; they usually stop in there late evenings Eastern Daylight Time near the end of the week. Rarely, #Traveller on the Undernet IRC network has a game running; #Traveller and #LoneStar are bridged, so that chat in either channel is visible on the other (and you can talk to people in the other channel).
The SJGames MOO for Pyramid and JTAS ("Brubek's" to JTAS subscribers) may also be a reasonable place to find players. Certainly, when there's an announced talk in the Auditorium, you can meet other Traveller players and perhaps make arrangements for future meetings.

From John Murphy
[Subject: 400-ton CP Patrol Cruiser T-class]
This snazzy-looking ship is on the cover of the "adventure-class ships" put out for Traveller by FASA. It is also one of the RAFM Traveller miniatures. Paul Schirf has a TL-12 version of it (Trenchant-class) on his deck plans page. Starship Modeler features it as a design from the first two TNE novels.
But I seem to be unable to find a deck plan or photo of it published in the Classic Traveller stuff. Especially a TL-15 deck plan that matches the ships as presented in Brilliant Lances / Battle Rider (no marines or low berths for instance).
It got a brief write-up in Book 2 of the original LBBs, then didn't even get so much as a mention in the classic supplements that covered virtually every other class of ship. I haven't yet scanned the classic adventures.
So I am wondering, and asking you folks, where did this ship photo/deck plan first appear in Classic Traveller, what subsequent versions are out there, and do any of these tie in with the version in Brilliant Lances?
Jeff Zeitlin provides the answer:
John, it looks like what you've found may be all there is. Nobody else can seem to find anything, either. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Consider the background as published - thousands of worlds, trillions of people, probably millions of cultural assumptions that just don't carry more than a few thousand miles from wherever you find them. Doesn't it stand to reason that you'll find lots of different arrangements for the inside of any ship that meets a basic set of specifications? And different options for space utilization? Even published deck plans can be treated as only one of a large number of possible configurations for a specific class of ship.
Even the configurations in Brilliant Lances and Book 2 disagree on crewing; this is most likely because of the different rule sets that the two designs were generated under (Brilliant Lances appears to be based on the rules and design sequence for Traveller: The New Era).
I'd say that, unless they're credited otherwise, you should take any deck plans or 'photos' to be artist's/designer's conceptions, and one of many possible configurations.

From "Dancefire" [Name not given]
I used a Traveller-based system to create a planet for a sci-fi story. All the time units are "standard;" hours, days, months, etc. How do they relate to each other, and to normal Terran units in real life?
Jeff Zeitlin provides the answer:
I don't believe there's any 'official' statement on the matter, but almost every player and referee I've ever encountered treats the Standard Imperial day and its subdivisions as being identical to their Terran (real-life) counterparts. The week is seven days (also identical), but the month is 28 days (four weeks exactly). There are no 'official' units that are larger than a day and smaller than a year; the Imperial year also has a fixed 365 days - no leap years.
There's an article on Freelance Traveller about the various clocks and calendars in use in Charted Space; you may find it interesting reading, and useful for adding flavor to a campaign. From the Freelance Traveller home page, select the links for "Kurishdam", "Lecture Hall and Library", and "Calendars in Known Space".

From James P. Ward
We would like to know how to figure the base characteristics for animals/creatures for their combat values, i.e., what is the number they need to roll to hit?
Jeff Zeitlin provides the answer:
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your question, but there are guidelines for creating animal encounter tables in the main rule book, on pages 138 through 144. Once you have your animals, use the standard combat rules on pages 51 through 62 for resolving combat - unlike previous releases of the Traveller game system, there aren't separate rules for handling animal combat.
If you really feel that it's necessary to handle combat differently for animals, there is, of course, no reason why you couldn't make up your own rules, or use the Classic Traveller or MegaTraveller rules instead.
From James P. Ward :
Also in the system survey what does PBG stand for?
Jeff Zeitlin provides the answer:
In addition to the characteristics of the main world of a system, the Traveller world generation procedure allows for the generation of certain characteristics of the system as a whole that may be important to your campaign. The specific codes which you are inquiring about have the following meanings:
P - Population Multiplier. The Population Digit in the main portion of the world profile gives the basic order of magnitude of the population of the planet - it represents the number of zeros you would write to express the population. The population multiplier represents the actual first digit of the population. So, if the population digit of the main portion of the profile is a 6, and the population multiplier is a 7, the you know that the world has (roughly) 7,000,000 inhabitants.
B - Belts (planetoid belts). This figure represents the number of planetoid belts in the system, excluding the mainworld if the mainworld size is 0. Planetoid belts are potential sources of salable raw materials such as metals or industrial quality gemstone. The occasional lucky prospector may even find gem-quality stone in a belt. They also make great hiding places for corsairs and for system defense boats.
G - Gas Giants. This figure represents the number of gas giant planets in the star system (like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune in our solar system). Gas giants are potential locations for obtaining unrefined starship fuel, and also for ambushes by corsairs or system defense boats.

From Randall Parker :
Does Imperium Games plan on producing anything related to 'THE NEW ERA'?
Joseph Walsh provides the official answer from Imperium Games:
As it says in the T4 rulebook, there are many milieus that will be supported. "The Virus Era," as it is called in that book, is mentioned.
The original idea was to get milieu books out at a rate of 1 or 2 per year. However, that was changed - at least in the case of M:0 - because it didn't allow enough time for supporting materials for each Milieu to be produced before the next one came out. So, rather than produce a bunch of under-supported milieu books, they chose to push M:200 back from a release date in this year to sometime next year (1998).
As for when "The Virus Era" milieu book will be produced, I can't say for certain. It's too far off to even think about . . .

From Richard Springstead :
Will any of the alien races from the earlier Traveller sets be presented in Marc Miller's Traveller, such as the Aslan, Vargr, Zhodani, Vegan, etc.? What is to become of the Solomani Rim Campaign?
Joe Walsh provides the official answer from Imperium Games:
In a word: yes.
The latest edition of Traveller does not change the familiar Traveller universe, although it will eventually look at it in many different eras (in the series of Milieu books that are planned). The alien races still exist, although we will learn of new ones (we've already learned of some through Aliens Archive).
Imperium Games currently plans to release a series of Alien Hardbound Volumes. At this point, each is planned to include two or three major races, and between two and four minor races. The first one is planned for release in August, and will provide a great deal of detail about Aslan and Vargr. Not only will the familiar material be included, it will also provide typical Aslan and Vargr cities, special equipment used by those races, and so on. The minor races to be included haven't been revealed at this time.
Once we return to the period in which [the Solomani Rim campaign] occurred, there may be a supplement on it. But that'll be quite a while from now. :) 1997 is dedicated to Milieu 0 support material (as well as efforts to undo the errors of the first releases in the T4 line). 1998 will probably concentrate on Milieu 200. Beyond that, we're getting too far in the future for anything more than theoretical discussion. =)

From Dominic Reynolds:
Have you considered the possibility of having some of the documents in PDF format? I realise that this may involve some costly software and formatting effort so may not be viable.
Freelance Traveller's Editor replies...
Although we're equipped to do this, we've pretty much ruled it out for the foreseeable future - the more different forms we provide content in, the less space we have for new content. Instead, we're concentrating on eventually redesigning the site to take advantage of Cascading Style Sheet technology, and eventually providing style sheets that will allow for printing as well as screen display.
(Supplemental Note from Freelance Traveller's Editor: Done! If you look at any article in Print Preview on any recent browser, you should be seeing a printer-friendly rendering of the article. CSS is so nice!)
(Additional Note from the Editor: Since 2010, new articles have been published first in PDF format, in Freelance Traveller Magazine. When a new issue is posted, the articles from the previous issue are inserted into the website.)

From Don Nuelle:
Is dead weight tonnage of a ship equal to the displacement tonnage?
Freelance Traveller's Editor replies...
I suggest you read Ken Pick's article, What Is Tonnage? - it explains the various usages of the word 'tonnage', and explains how and when one can convert between them.
The short answer to your question is "No, Dead Weight Tonnage is not equal to Displacement Tonnage.".
Displacement tonnage can refer to two different measurements - either what Ken's article calls the 'Traveller Ton', or the conventional naval measurement for the size of a warship. In the form of the 'Traveller Ton', it is purely a measure of volume, equal to either 13.5 or 14 cubic meters (depending on which version of Traveller you use). As a measure of the size of an ocean-going warship, it is a measure of the mass of the vessel, which is directly and linearly related to the volume of the ship below the waterline.
Deadweight Tonnage (DWT) is a measure of the cargo capacity of an ocean-going vessel (not a warship). This is purely a measure of mass, not volume, and cannot be converted to a volume measurement.

From Ken Hooper:
Does a traveller typically need to pass through both Imperial and local customs both on arrival and departure (when he visits more of a planet than just the downport)?
More specifically, is it typically illegal to land on a planet directly to a site outside the downport, or depart directly, without visiting either the downport or a highport to pass through customs?
Is there typically a permit or additional customs/inspections required for a ship to land or operate anywhere else on or near a planet than its down-starport?
And to what extent can customs be handled via comms? (i.e. transmit ship's registry, crew and cargo manifests, inspection documents, etc. - so routine processing can be done automatically and without in situ visit - making personal contact unnecessary in most cases).
(I have found customs mentioned several times in various publications and web-postings, but I'm not aware of any clear procedure being defined. Or even an identification of which "hoops" a ship needs to jump through. It of course would vary with local law level and starport type, but I would expect a standard or at least typical procedure. In particular, GURPS: Traveller - Starports implies that Imperial customs is interested in little more than ensuring you aren't a pirate, a skip, or a smuggler, and that you are properly registered and safely equipped - almost all of which can be done on initial arrival - negating the need for any further customs procedures.)
I'm also confused by the entire concept of the adventure "Exit Visa" - I thought visas were typically acquired before entry and provided for departure on or before a specific date - an additional visa is not usually required for exit. An irregularity in a ship's papers I would expect to be more typically handled by sealing the vessel - so no one could board or debark - if not outright boarding and confiscation.
Finally, am I correct in assuming that intercepting and boarding a vessel away from port is unusual? Where there is a port, most ships will be calling at the port - and will be much easier and safer to board and inspect there. My guess is: only ships acting suspicious or which pose a serious potential threat (and occasional random ships) would be boarded away from port. Even if a ship is not planning to call at the port (e.g. refueling and jumping through), the port authority should be able to request/demand they call at the port for inspection if necessary.
Freelance Traveller's Editor replies...
Basically, the answer to your entire discussion above can be summed up in one sentence: "It's your Traveller universe; make it work the way you want.". Many of our readers, and many of the members of the Traveller Mailing List - which I urge you to join (information in Traveller on the Internet) - will be more than willing to tell you how they do it, and how they think it should be done.
One thing to be aware of is that, canonically, the Imperium does not rule any actual territory (other than the starports ceded to them), but the space between the star systems. By implication, there's no need for an Imperial customs service.
Customs in general is for the destination polity to ensure that you are entering legally; most places don't require you to deal with their customs service on the way out - but there have been exceptions, most notably for totalitarian governments. Again, though, you can make it work any way you like in your Traveller universe.
The Exit Visa mini-adventure, rather than representing situations that you might expect in a "real" Traveller campaign, is meant as a "teaching tool" - it has the basic elements of an adventure, in an easy-to-handle format. The reason for needing the exit visa is unspecified; chalk it up to that being the way that that particular Traveller universe works, or change it from an exit visa to something "more reasonable" - a departure clearance (in a heavy-traffic system), a spaceworthiness certificate, a replacement for a ship's document that was lost, destroyed, or damaged, or whatever.
As far as boarding actions go, I'd tend to agree with you that they'll be rare, just like the causes for preventing an ocean-going vessel from making port and boarding it today are rare. In most cases, it will be due to intelligence received in advance, where allowing the ship to port might cause some danger to the port (or the destination country); in some cases, it could be an illegal act. Again, play it the way you like.

From Chad Regimbal:
Can you tell me the difference between the fib and bis computer models on p. 81 of the MegaTraveller Referee's Handbook? What do those codes/abbrev's mean? Also how do they differ from computer models with no such code?
Freelance Traveller's Editor replies...
The 'fib' suffix on a computer model indicates that it's 'fiber-optic backup', meaning that it's a little more resistant to damage from things like EMP or magnetic influences. Other than that, it's identical in capacity and performance to a standard model.
The 'bis' suffix means the same thing that it does in present-day modem standards - it conforms to the specifications for the indicated model, but is enhanced in certain capabilities. In the case of Traveller computer models, it refers to an enhanced storage capacity, so that a Model 1/bis can store as much data/programs as a Model 2, but can only execute programs that a Model 1 can handle.

From Ken Pick:
T20's vehicle design system uses a unique unit of measure to describe vehicle (chassis) size. Is there any fixed conversion ratio between this new unit and the previous units of cubic meters or Trav Displacement Tons?
Freelance Traveller's Editor replies...
Yep! The unit "vl" is defined on p223 of t20, and is equal to 10l or 0.01 cubic meters - so that'd make it 1350 or 1400vl to the TDT (which I've always called Td [Ton(displacement)]), depending on which version of the Traveller Displacement Ton you use.

“Darrin and Christine” asks:
Good day. I was reading the Beyond Book 2 article for Traveller and I have a question: Do missile and laser bays take up one hardpoint each or are they supposed to be similar to High Guard which allows only one bay weapon per 1000 tons?
Ken Pick replies:
Yes on both counts. The missile bays are a direct High Guard retrofit and the laser bays (based on the 10-ton bay in HG’s abortive “first printing”) follow suit. One bay for 10 hardpoints/1000 dtons.