Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Traveller Tuesdays - Offworld and Orbital Facilities

[NOTE - This article has been updated, there is a section below (indicated in Red), that has been updated, in a later article posted here.]

So, in a planetary system where there is a large enough population, of a technology level high enough, it is quite likely that the population will move out into the high orbit of the main world, and onto other planets and moons in the system.  This is a quick and easy way to determine what sorts of facilities exist within a system.

First, a recap of how the Mongoose version of Traveller determines what sort of bodies exist within a stellar system, other than the main world.  This is based on what is in Book 3: Scout, pages 92-93.  This system determines the bodies of the system that are important for play, not necessarily all of the bodies within the system.  We can take that to mean (within the constraints of "important for play" as being bodies where there are likely to be habitations or facilities, among other things).

First the Jump Shadow of the star is determined.  This is the 100xD (where D is the diameter of the star) sphere within which making an interstellar jump is dangerous.  It is determined by rolling 1d6, to determine how many "orbits" (orbital positions that are likely to contain a body) are within that sphere.

Next, roll a second d6 and add in the number of orbits within the Jump Shadow, to determine the total number of orbits that are of interest around this star.  As mentioned, this system does not concern itself with "uninteresting" orbits, or orbits that are insignificant.  This gives a total number of orbits somewhere between 2 and 12 that are of interest, and some number of those - the ones closest to the Star - are within the jump shadow of that Star.

Keeping in mind how many Planetoid Belts and how many Gas Giants exist within the system, the next step is to determine how many orbits are within the different zones of the system. The possible zones are the Inner Zone, the Habitable Zone, and the Outer Zone.
Gas Giant

This is done by rolling 2d6 - the lowest of the two dice representing how many of the orbits of the system are within the Inner Zone (those orbits where there is just too much heat or solar radiation for life to comfortably exist).  The highest of the two dice represents the first orbit of the Outer Zone.  Any orbits between these two (if any) are considered to be the Habitable Zone.

[EDIT - This section has been heavily modified, taking advantage of interesting results from T5.  The modification have been presented here.  The replaced section has been marked off as a red block quote, scroll down to the regular text, to return from the revised section.]

For each orbit, roll 2d6.  Depending on the Zone, the results of this die roll will determine the contents of that orbit.  This system assumes that there is something in every orbit, even though it does not determine the distance between the orbits.

For the Inner Zone -

  • Double 6s indicate that the system has a significant companion star, and it replaces the last orbit of the Outer Zone.  Ignore further companion star results (i.e. - only one companion star can be generated in this system).
  • Double 1s indicate that a Gas Giant (if present within the system at all) exists.
  • Otherwise, read the lowest dice of the 2d6 rolled, and consult the following chart.

  1. Small Terrestrial world (planet size 1-3)
  2. Large Terrestrial world (planet size 4+)
  3. Belt if available (size 0) or Planetoid (size 1)
  4. Small Ice world (planet size 2-4)
  5. Large Ice world (planet size 5+)
  6. Belt if available (size 0) or Planetoid (size 1)
For the Habitable Zone -

  • Double 6s indicates a companion star (as above) if a companion star has not already been placed.
  • Other doubles suggest a Gas Giant (if available).
  • Otherwise, read the lowest dice of the 2d6 rolled.

For the Outer Zone -
  • Double 6s indicates a companion star (as above) if a companion star has not already been placed.
  • Other doubles suggest a Gas Giant (if available).
  • Or if the total of the 2d6 is greater than half the value of the orbit, then also a Gas Giant (if available).
  • Otherwise, read the highest dice of the 2d6 rolled.
An Ice World

For each Gas Giant, significant Moons may be rolled for.  If the Gas Giant is in the Inner or Habitable Zone, then it will have 1d3 Terrestrial (size 1+) Moons, and 1d6 Ice World (size 2+) Moons.  If it is in the Outer Zone, then it will have 1d6 Terrestrial (size 1+) and 2d6 Ice World (size 2+) Moons.
Terrestrial World Planets will have 1d3-1 moons.  Ice World Planets will have 1d3-2 moons.

Once all orbits are filled using this system, consider the number of Gas Giants placed - if there are more Gas Giants to place, then just create new orbits outside the last Outer Zone orbit, but inside any Companion Star (i.e. "push" the companion star out, to make room for more Gas Giant orbits).

Also consider the number of Belts that the system is to have.  If not enough have been generated, then create new orbits between the Habitable Zone and the Outer Zone, to accommodate the extra required Belts.

Moons of a Gas Giant

Determine location of the Main World -
  •  If there is a Habitable Zone, then the Main World is placed in the middle of the Habitable Zone.  If the middle orbit there matches the Size of the UWP, then that is the Main World, otherwise create an additional orbit in the middle of the Habitable Zone for the Main World.
  • If there is NO Habitable Zone, then roll 1d6.  If the result is a 6, then the Main World is a moon of the first Gas Giant in the system, otherwise the Main World is placed as the last orbit in the Inner Zone.

Now, having determined the planetary contents of the system, the presence and relative location of planetary bodies, gas giants, moons and asteroid belts, the question turns to Offworld and Orbital Facilities.

In order to determine how many such facilities exist, based on the UWP score for the Population, roll on the following table. Add to that number the Tech Level of the world, and subtract 7.  The result is the number of facilities within the system.  Note that if the Tech Level of the Main World is less than 8, all such facilities within the system are operated by organizations/governments other than this systems Main World.

Facilities Generated
Pop 0-2None
Pop 3-41d6
Pop 5-62d6
Pop 7-83d6
Pop 9-104d6
Pop 11-125d6

If there are 5 or few facilities, all of them will be determined on the Small Facility table.

If there between 6 and 10 facilities, half of them (rounded up) will be determined on the Small Facility table.  The remainder will be determined on the Medium Facility table.

If there are more than 10 facilities, then half of them (rounded up) will be on the Small Facility table.  Half of the remainder (rounded up) will be on the Medium Facility Table.  The remainder will be on the Large Facility table (but only if the Main World population is 5+, otherwise, these will also be Medium Facilities).

If a result is rolled more than once, than each additional result gains a roll on the following table:

Repeat Results
1Additional Rival Operation
2Larger than Normal Facility
3Higher Technology Facility
4Dispersed Facility
5Complex of Multiple Sites
6Robotic/Automated Annex

  • In the case of an additional rival operation, it is just that.  Another of the same facility, in a different location in the system, but of a separate governance, or ownership, from the first.
  • A dispersed facility means that it is spread out to cover multiple orbital platforms (if orbital) or on multiple locations on the planetary body it is on (or maybe in orbit around different bodies, or on the surface of different bodies).  All of these working together, and in communication link, supporting each other.
  • A complex of multiple sites means 1d6 of the facility in question, but somehow linked (either as an extremely large orbital colony, or as a surface, or sub-surface, colony on a planetary body in the system).
  • Robotic/Automated annex facilities are a duplicate of the original of the type in question, but only the first is operated by live occupants/operators - this additional facility is operated through automation or by robots.

Small Facility
1Education Facility
2Religious Facility
3Communications Outpost
4Science/Research Lab
5Power Generation
6Sports/Recreation Facility

  • If the world is on a regular Jump route, then a Communications Outpost is likely an X-Boat tending facility.  Otherwise Roll 1d6 - 1-3 In systems communications, 4-6 Interstellar communications.
  • The population of Small Facilities is likely to be a population code of 1d3-1 (if 0, then it means a single individual is operating the facility).  
  • Science Facility roll 1d6 - 1. Biology, 2. Physics, 3. Information, 4. Planetology, 5. Materials, 6. Psychology.  Roll 1d6 - 1,2 - Private, 3,4 - Planet Government, 5,6 - Interstellar Government.  Roll 1d6 - 1-3 - Applied; 4-6 - Theory.
  • Education facilities roll 1d6 - 1. Trade School 2. Martial Arts 3. Religious Training 4. Science Training 5. Private school of Nobility 6. Psionics Training
  • In the case of a Religions Facility or a Sports/Recreation Facility (either a zero grav sport, or a hotel/resort), the population code generated represents the operating staff, there are accommodations for several thousand visitors, on a short term basis.
Medium Facility
4Food Production
5Corporate Facility
6Nature Preserve
  • A Medium Facility is likely to have a population code of either 3 or 4.  Note that this represents the staff.  In the case of a Food Production or Nature Preserve facility, it is likely to be much larger than what would be necessary for the staff, as the facility contains large areas serving their function.
  • A Medical facility is actually a Quarantine port on a 5+ (1d6), otherwise it is a hospital.
  • If the world is a Captive Government, then the Security Facility belongs to the Captor Government, other wise it is a Port Authority facility, watching the Main World population, as well as any incoming or outgoing traffic.

Large Facility
1Commerce Port
4Military Facility
5Fuel/Resource Station
6Alien Population Center
  • A large facility is likely to have a population code of 5 or 6 (except the Residence/City - see below).
  • A Commerce Port is either (1) Retail shopping, (2) Warehousing, (3) Resource Auction House,  (4) Cargo Handling center, (5) Major Financial Center, or (6) Trade Union Community.  Multiple results are each likely to be separate types.
  • A Residence/City Facility will have a Population Code one less than that of the Main World.
  • If the System has a Naval base, then the Military Facility is likely to be a Naval Weapons Station, otherwise it is likely to be a Barracks for either Army or Marines.
  • If the System has an A, B or C Starport than the Fuel/Resource Station is likely to be a Fuel station, ancillary to that at the main Starport.  Otherwise, it is likely to be the headquarters of a Resource Extraction operation (like a Belt Mining facility, or a Mineral Extraction facility).
  • An Alien Population Center is identical to the Residence/City Facility, except that it is populated by either Humans of a widely different culture, or actual Aliens.
 Finally, to determine the location of the Facility, roll 1d6.  On a 1-2 it is in orbit around the main world.  On a 3-4 it is in orbit around some other body in the system.  On a 5 it is on the surface of some other body in the system, and on a 6 it is below the surface of some other body in the system.

Orbital Facilities can be in orbit around just about any body (Planet, Moon, Gas Giant, even the Star or its Companion, although these latter are likely only to be likely for Research Centers).
Surface or SubSurface facilities will only be present on Terrestrial Worlds, Ice Worlds, or Planetoids (in or out of a belt).  They will not be on or under the surface of a Gas Giant.

(note: NASA images from here)


Mr Teufel said...

Hmm. An artefact of this system is that there will always be either no Large Facilities, or two plus.

11/2 = 6 small, leaving 5
5/2 = 3 medium, leaving 2 large.

chuck said...

Good catch. I was thinking of doing a table, sort of like the old cargo tables, that would matrix the world size (down the left) against three columns (small facilities, medium facilities, large facilities) and then give a dice range for each. The reason I picked the simpler (or at least, table-free) version I did, was to eliminate the table! Considering...

Regardless, thanks for the comment.