Galaxies In Shadow

David Johansen

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And I built a table of contents! I also found that somehow the organisms and star systems chapters wound up in the middle of the technology chapter so I fixed that.

Next up, probably finish building some settings I've written up over the years and play with it a bit.

In the longer term there's illustrating it. I've got lots of art but I'd like to do a consistent, clean, sharp line-drawing style for the whole book.

I'll be breaking it down into a basic book and supplements too. That way I can illustrate it in sections but the core is done but breaking it into modules also provides the oportunity to fill in areas that need some more detail and structure.

Marketing and selling it? I don't know. I don't want to fall into the supplement and editon mill trap that so many game companies fall into. Sure I'd like to make some money from my work but I don't want to develop the kind of infrastructure that forces creators to ruin their games with endless development churning.
 

David Johansen

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Annnnd Word Perfect's table feature scrambled the weapon and armor tables some how. I hate when it does that. If you wonder why I use tabs instead of tables it's because Word Perfect's tables are busy trying to be a spread sheet and all smart and shit instead of being a good way to display data.
 

David Johansen

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Okay, I've fixed it. I don't know why, when, or how it happens but sometimes it just autosums the entire table and makes a mess.
 

David Johansen

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If I strip out the races, alien generation, world generation, non-adventurer careers, and any activities outside of combat I can get it down to 100 pages. That would let me do modules or integrate a setting. I don't know, is it better as a monster rules volume? I generally feel those are better for fans of existing systems and not so good for people coming in. If I cut a bit more, it'd be down to 96 pages which is about the limit for a saddle stitched volume. Which would work for a boxed set. On the other hand the other stuff it covers is what makes Galaxies In Shadow stand out. When you look at it and say, "why would I play this overly complex percentile sf game when I could play BRP," my answer is that there are rules for building colonies, overthrowing governments, robbing banks, and developing new technologies.
 

David Johansen

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Well, I got some playtesting in today. I wasn't as prepared as I'd like as I spent the afternoon debugging a star system generating javascript. So much for generating a sector with the push of a button. Oh well, it'll get there and I'll learn something by doing it. Anyhow, I've got the one player who can't ever seem to wrap his head around things and he had an awful time of it. I feel bad. But the other player pretty much made his character without much direction. We didn't get much play in but the one guy made a governor of a utopia world. Naturally it's the most horrible prison planet I could dream up and the utopia society is up in idyllic arcologies up in the mountains.
 

David Johansen

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Just out of curiosity I googled Galaxies In Shadow and it came up with an rpg.net Art of Game Design thread from 2006 which had the original draft of the interpersonal rules, which had these personality trait based modifiers to activities.

Aggressive
mutually exclusive with Friendly
+10 to, Bargain, Force, Intimidate, and Melee Attacks
-10 to Befriend, Request, Seduce, and Parrying


Brave
mutually exclusive with cowardly
+10 to resist Fear
Must make a Willpower roll to exercise discretion in the face of insurmountable odds

Calm
mutually exclusive with Temperamental
+10 to resist panicking
-10 to react to surprise

Cerebral
mutually exclusive with Physical

Cheerful
mutually exclusive with Depressed
+10 to Befriend
-10 to Intimidate

Contented
mutually exclusive with Greedy
+10 to resist Bribery and Seduction
-10 to Bargain

Cowardly
mutually exclusive with Brave
+10 to react to surprise by running away
-10 to resist Fear

Cruel
mutually exclusive with Empathic
+10 to Force
-10 to Befriend

Depressed
mutually exclusive with Cheerful
+10 to make economic forecasts
must make a Determination roll to start any long task

Diplomatic
mutually exclusive with Offensive
+10 to Bargain and Convince
-10 to Intimidate and Force

Dishonest
mutually exclusive with Honest
+10 to Deceive
-20 to Deceive people who know you

Empathic
mutually exclusive with Hateful
+10 to Figure Them Out
-10 to resist Requests

Friendly
The character is outgoing and helpful.
mutually exclusive with Antagonistic
+10 to Befriend and Seduce
-10 to Intimidate and Provoke

Generous
mutually exclusive with Miserly
+10 to Befriend
-10 to Bargain

Greedy
mutually exclusive with Contented
+10 to
-10 to resist Bribery

Hateful
mutually exclusive with Empathic

Honest
mutually exclusive with dishonest
cannot improve Embezzlement or Lying Skills
+10 to Convince people who know you

Imaginative
mutually exclusive with Practical

Impulsive
mutually exclusive with Patient
+10 to react to surprise
-10 to resist Convincing

Industrious
mutually exclusive with Lazy
+10 to Determination rolls for repeated tasks
-10 to

Gentle
mutually exclusive with Sadistic
+10 to Befriend and resist Provocation
-10 to Provoke or Intimidate

Humble
mutually exclusive with Proud
+10 to resist Provocation
-10 to resist Intimidation

Kind
mutually exclusive with Cruel


Lazy
mutually exclusive with Industrious
+10 to
-10 to Determination rolls for repeated tasks

Miserly
mutually exclusive with Generous
+10 to resist Salesmanship
-10 to Bargain

Modest
mutually exclusive with Sleazy
+10 to resist Seduction
-10 to Seduction

Offensive
The character is given to speaking their mind to anyone at any time without concern for the feelings of others.
mutually exclusive with Diplomatic
+10 to Provoke
-10 to Befriend and Request

Outgoing
mutually exclusive with Shy

Passive
mutually exclusive with
+10 to resist taking direct action
-10 when requesting direct action

Patient
mutually exclusive with Impulsive
+10 to Determination rolls for long tasks
-10 to react to surprise

Physical
mutually exclusive with Cerebral

Polite
mutually exclusive with Rude
+10 to interact with mainstream society in general
-10 to interact with outsiders and fringe elements

Practical
mutually exclusive with Imaginative

Proud
mutually exclusive with Humble
+10 to Deceive others about the character’s own greatness
-10 to resist Provocation

Rowdy
mutually exclusive with Sober
+10 to Provoke
-10 to resist Provocation

Rude
mutually exclusive with Polite
-10 to interact with people in general
+10 to resist interpersonal interactions

Sadistic
The character is just plain mean and enjoys the suffering of others.
mutually exclusive with Gentle
+10 to Force and Provoke
-10 to Befriend and Seduce

Shy
mutually exclusive with Outgoing

Sleazy
mutually exclusive with Modest
+10 to Seduction
-10 to resist Seduction

Sober
mutually exclusive with Rowdy
+10
-10

Temperamental
mutually exclusive with Calm
+ 10 to Intimidate
-10 to resist Provocation

Thrifty
mutually exclusive with Wasteful
+10 to Repair worn out parts
-10 to

Wasteful
mutually exclusive with Thrifty
 

David Johansen

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I spent some time coding a star system generator this week. I'm not sure how to share it as most web browsers are a little gun shy of javascripts from unsecure sources.
 

David Johansen

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Here's a sample of the output. It still won't generate a world with no moons and doesn't generate world data for a planet sized moon of a gas giant. Nor does calculate the distance between stars and planets or occlude planets that are too close between companion stars. But it works!

Galaxies In Shadow Star System Generator

1/6/7, MV Main Sequence Redstar
Asteroid Belt Micro under 0.125g gravity, Trace atmosphere, Minimal water, Frozen Water, Atmosphere Frozen at Poles Barren
 Ring  

Medium Planet, 9000km diameter Medium beween 0.75 and 1.25g gravity, Thick atmosphere, Traces water, Temperate, Frozen at Poles Bacteria and Algae
 Asteroid  Asteroid  

Small Gas Giant Crushing, between 2.5 and 5g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Plentiful water, Hot, Scalding in Tropics Protozoa and Primitive Plants
 Small Planet  Medium Moon  Small Moon  Tiny Moon  Tiny Planet  Small Moon  Medium Moon  

Asteroid No gravity, No atmosphere, Drowned in water, Frozen Core Barren
 Ring  

Huge Gas Giant Compressing, over 10g gravity, Super Dense Solidatmosphere, No water, Hot, Scalding in Tropics Prions
 Tiny Moon  That's no moon...It's a space station  That's no moon...It's a space station  Tiny Moon  Asteroid  Large Moon  Medium Moon  Medium Moon  Small Planet  

Medium Gas Giant Crushing, between 5 and 10g gravity, Solid atmosphere, Submerged in water, Temperate, Frozen at Poles Protozoa and Primitive Plants
 Small Moon  Large Moon  Large Moon  Tiny Moon  Asteroid  Tiny Planet  

Huge Planet, 15000km diameter Crushing over 1.75g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Saturated water, Frozen Water, Atmosphere Frozen at Poles Barren
 Medium Moon  Small Planet  

Large Planet, 12000km diameter High, between 1.25 and 1.75g gravity, Dense atmosphere, Flooded with water, Frozen Core Barren
 Medium Moon  Medium Moon  Asteroid  

Huge Planet, 15000km diameter Crushing over 1.75g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Excessive water, Frozen Atmosphere Barren
 Small Planet  Ring  Medium Moon  Medium Moon  

Huge Planet, 15000km diameter Crushing over 1.75g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Flooded with water, Frozen Core Barren
 Medium Moon  Asteroid  Tiny Moon  Tiny Planet  

Medium Planet, 9000km diameter Medium beween 0.75 and 1.25g gravity, Average atmosphere, Flooded with water, Frozen Core Barren
 Asteroid  Small Moon  Medium Moon  Small Moon  Medium Moon  

Asteroid Belt Micro under 0.125g gravity, Trace atmosphere, Plentiful water, Frozen Core Barren
 Ring  

Small Gas Giant Crushing, between 2.5 and 5g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Traces water, Frozen Core Barren
 Tiny Planet  Medium Moon  Medium Moon  Ring  Tiny Planet  

Medium Gas Giant Crushing, between 5 and 10g gravity, Solid atmosphere, Drowned in water, Frozen Core Barren
 Medium Moon  Medium Planet  Large Moon  Tiny Planet  Large Moon  Ring  Large Moon  Small Planet  Large Moon  

Medium Gas Giant Crushing, between 5 and 10g gravity, Super Dense Solidatmosphere, Saturated water, Frozen Core Barren
 Tiny Planet  Asteroid  Small Moon  Medium Planet  Asteroid  Large Moon  

Medium Gas Giant Crushing, between 5 and 10g gravity, Solid atmosphere, Saturated water, Frozen Core Barren
 Medium Moon  That's no moon...It's a space station  Asteroid  That's no moon...It's a space station  Medium Moon  That's no moon...It's a space station  Small Moon  Small Planet  That's no moon...It's a space station  Small Planet  

Huge Gas Giant Compressing, over 10g gravity, Solid atmosphere, Saturated water, Frozen Core Barren
 Medium Moon  Large Planet  Tiny Moon  Small Moon  That's no moon...It's a space station  Tiny Planet  Asteroid  Medium Planet  Medium Planet  Medium Moon  

Asteroid Belt Micro under 0.125g gravity, Trace atmosphere, Submerged in water, Frozen Core Protozoa and Primitive Plants
 Ring  Asteroid  

Huge Gas Giant undefinedgravity, Collapsed Matteratmosphere, Traces water, Frozen Core Barren
 Large Moon  Small Moon  That's no moon...It's a space station  Ring  

Medium Gas Giant Crushing, between 5 and 10g gravity, Solid atmosphere, Endless Depths of water, Frozen Core Protozoa and Primitive Plants
 Asteroid  Large Moon  Small Planet  

Huge Gas Giant Compressing, over 10g gravity, Super Dense Solidatmosphere, Submerged in water, Frozen Core Protozoa and Primitive Plants
 Tiny Planet  

Small Gas Giant Crushing, between 2.5 and 5g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Saturated water, Frozen Core Barren
 Asteroid  Large Moon  Medium Planet  Large Moon  Ring  Small Planet  Tiny Moon  

Asteroid Belt Micro under 0.125g gravity, Trace atmosphere, Submerged in water, Frozen Core Protozoa and Primitive Plants
 Ring  Asteroid  

Large Planet, 12000km diameter High, between 1.25 and 1.75g gravity, Thick atmosphere, Drowned in water, Frozen Core Prions
 Medium Moon  Small Moon  

Asteroid No gravity, No atmosphere, Traces water, Frozen Core Barren
 Ring  

Tiny Planet, 3000km diameter Minimal between 0.125 and 0.25g gravity, Thin atmosphere, Flooded with water, Frozen Core Barren
 Asteroid  Asteroid  

Small Planet, 6000km diameter Medium beween 0.75 and 1.25g gravity, Thick atmosphere, Excessive water, Frozen Core Barren
 Small Moon  

Medium Planet, 9000km diameter High, between 1.25 and 1.75g gravity, Dense atmosphere, No water, Frozen Core Barren
 Ring  

Medium Planet, 9000km diameterMedium beween 0.75 and 1.25g gravity, Average atmosphere, Minimal water, Frozen Core Barren
 Small Moon  Medium Moon  Small Moon  Small Moon  Ring  

Medium Planet, 9000km diameterMedium beween 0.75 and 1.25g gravity, Thick atmosphere, Limited water, Frozen Core Barren
 Asteroid  Medium Moon  Asteroid  Tiny Moon  

Small Planet, 6000km diameter Low between 0.25 and 0.75g gravity, Average atmosphere, Plentiful water, Frozen Core Barren
 Asteroid  Tiny Moon  Small Moon  Ring  

1/6/7, MV Main Sequence Redstar
Small Planet, 6000km diameter Low between 0.25 and 0.75g gravity, Average atmosphere, Average water, Temperate, Frozen at Poles Bacteria and Algae
 Asteroid  Tiny Moon  Tiny Moon  

Small Gas Giant Crushing over 1.75g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Limited water, Hot, Scalding in Tropics Prions
 Tiny Moon  Ring  Small Moon  Medium Moon  Tiny Moon  

Huge Planet, 15000km diameter Crushing over 1.75g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Drowned in water, Warm, Small Frozen Poles Protozoa and Primitive Plants
 Medium Moon  Medium Moon  Asteroid  Small Moon  Medium Moon  

Huge Planet, 15000km diameter Crushing over 1.75g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Flooded with water, Temperate, Frozen at Poles Protozoa and Primitive Plants
 Small Moon  Asteroid  Asteroid  Small Planet  

Small Planet, 6000km diameter Low between 0.25 and 0.75g gravity, Average atmosphere, Drowned in water, Frozen Core Barren
 Asteroid  Asteroid  Asteroid  Tiny Moon  

Large Planet, 12000km diameter Crushing over 1.75g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Flooded with water, Cold, Frozen to Tropics Protozoa and Primitive Plants
 Tiny Planet  

Huge Planet, 15000km diameter Crushing over 1.75g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Limited water, Frozen Water, Atmosphere Frozen at Poles Barren
 Tiny Planet  Large Moon  Tiny Planet  

Large Planet, 12000km diameter High, between 1.25 and 1.75g gravity, Dense atmosphere, Excessive water, Frozen Core Barren
 Medium Moon  Tiny Moon  Ring  Small Moon  Small Moon  

Medium Planet, 9000km diameter Medium beween 0.75 and 1.25g gravity, Thick atmosphere, Flooded with water, Frozen Core Barren
 Ring  Asteroid  Asteroid  

Small Planet, 6000km diameter Low between 0.25 and 0.75g gravity, Average atmosphere, Excessive water, Frozen Core Barren
 Ring  

Small Planet, 6000km diameter Low between 0.25 and 0.75g gravity, Average atmosphere, Plentiful water, Frozen Core Barren
 Tiny Moon  Tiny Moon  Tiny Moon  

Huge Planet, 15000km diameter Crushing, between 2.5 and 5g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Limited water, Frozen Core Barren
 Asteroid  Asteroid  Medium Moon  Medium Moon  Medium Moon  Small Planet  Medium Moon  Tiny Planet  

Huge Planet, 15000km diameter Crushing over 1.75g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Average water, Frozen Core Barren
 Asteroid  Tiny Moon  

Large Planet, 12000km diameter High, between 1.25 and 1.75g gravity, Liquid atmosphere, Limited water, Frozen Core Barren
 Large Moon  Large Moon  Small Moon  Tiny Planet  Asteroid  Tiny Planet  
 

Nobby-W

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I spent some time coding a star system generator this week. I'm not sure how to share it as most web browsers are a little gun shy of javascripts from unsecure sources.
You could wrap it up in something server side, although this would mean you'd have to find somewhere to host it and shell out for hosting fees.
 

David Johansen

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Yeah, I'm getting to where I need a web page anyhow and the little bit of web space I get from my ISP is insufficient for what I want to do.

Anyhow, here's an upgrade to an undeveloped portion of the rulebook. It should go in the core eventually but I don't want to mess with the table of contents at the moment.

Genetic Engineering
Manipulating the traits of animals through selective breeding is one of the earliest technologies a herding society develops. As more advanced technologies are developed it the pattern for life is encoded in strands of deroxy nucleaeic acid or DNA. Even in the present, genetic engineering has leapt forward with crisper III technology. The capacity of advanced societies to adapt and change may well make humanities descendants as alien as anything that ever graced the cover of a pulp magazine.

As mentioned in character creation, building a character on a pool of points represents the results of selective breeding and building one on a larger pool of points represents significant genetic engineering. Beyond these options, the referee can chose to reduce or increase the points allowed to represent deliberately weak slave races or super races. As more points are allotted the points should probably be considered in terms of specialized packages rather than simply allowing the players to take whatever they want. Creating super beings takes a significant investment. Genetics corporations may well produce new models for each passing year. If forced growth and neural programming are available they may well come with a fixed skill package and a shortened life span, so people will need to upgrade in a few years.


Directed Breeding Programs
The most basic and hands on method of genetic engineering is selective breeding. Producing a color change or reproducing or removing a minor mutation can be achieved in a single generation by allowing individuals with the desired trait to breed or preventing those with the undesired trait from breeding. Increasing or reducing the size of an organism requires a sizable herd to select from and takes many generations. Producing a superhuman that can see into the male and female side of the racial memory takes hundreds of generations.

Genetic Engineering
The default for genetic modifications is that a zygote or egg is altered and allowed to grow into a full organism. This means that any alterations grow into the entire organism as part of its natural cycle. If the changes are physically or chemically incompatible it may prevent the organism from surviving to maturity.

Genetic Therapy
Actively altering existing genetics is harder and slower. Billions of cells need to be replaced and reprogrammed and it can’t be done in an instant. Genetic therapy is usually used to cure conditions rather than to totally reshape the body, which is a horribly invasive and painful process. Genetic therapy is used to naturalize organic grafts.

Cloning
A simple, related technique that produces identical duplicates of an organism is often used as a starting point or manufacturing method for genetic engineering. Early cloning still requires a natural womb as gestation tanks are staggeringly complex. It seems likely that egg laying species will be easier to clone as eggs are already a natural gestation tank.

Grafting
Printed and cultivated appendages and organs can be surgically bonded to an existing organism to give it a tail, wings, or perhaps another heart. This essentially allows new traits to be added to the organism. Creating the neural pathways to control the grafts and suppressing the immune system’s inclination to attack parasites requires gene therapy.

Cultivated Symbiotes
Instead of permanently grafting appendages it may be possible to grow them as symbiotic organisms. These creatures graft themselves to their host and feed on their blood in exchange for the specialized capacities they offer. Cultivated Symbiotes are a very advanced genetic engineering technique.

Brain Swapping
Growing a new organism and transferring the brain or neurally programming a copy is another technology entirely, though one with some awkward implications regarding identity and the rights of the original and copy. With psychic technology a true transfer of consciousness is possible but still leaves a functional husk and questions surrounding its personhood. Can it relearn and become another person entirely?

Reduced Gestation Time
The gestation time for a species can be reduced at the cost of a smaller organism or a less viable offspring. In nature marsupials and sea horses carry their infants in pouches until they are larger. If gestation tanks are unavailable raising infants in incubators will allow for faster population growth, and may be used to rapidly increase the population of colonies. Each stage of reduced gestation time halves the normal gestation time.

Increased Litter size
A species can have its birthrate increased by increasing the size of litters or clutches of eggs. This generally requires a larger mother or smaller infants and shares many problems with reducing gestation times.

Fast Maturation
In nature some animals take a long time to mature while others grow more quickly. A species can be modified to grow to full size faster. This generally requires a great deal more high energy food than the normal growth rate. In time, rapid growth tanks will allow organisms to be grown to full size in factories but the neural and muscular development that comes with natural activity is another technology entirely. “Quick and Floppies” may be good for organ harvesting but are a long way from being a usable product on their own.

Life Span Extension
The various chemical and genetic methods of extending the natural life span of organisms provide an increase in the racial age of majority.

Longevity
Aging is a product of accumulated micro-toxins and genetic duplication errors. Genetic therapy can do a lot to reduce the impact of aging. Improved double the species’ aging rate per step. The aging factor, can also be reduced to deliberately create a short lived species.

Immortality
Immortality means the species doesn’t age, however they still suffer atrophy, injury, and obsolescence. There are two stages of immortality technology. The first is a series of treatments that prevents aging. Generally the treatments are needed annually but more advanced versions come in a handy pill which is taken daily. This of course is a great money maker for pharmaceutical corporations and can have huge political implications. Especially if the treatment is a naturally occurring product that comes from a single lightly populated desert planet. The second form of immortality is generally a result of genetic engineering that creates a species that does not age. Such beings are usually created at full growth and to a template that ensures they will fill their intended role for eternity.

Modifying Racial Traits
Genetic engineering can be used to modify a species by adding or removing traits. This can also be done with genetic therapy but the process is long and painful and the result of failed experiments is often death. Nature tends to favor specialization and species with lots of extra traits seldom prove viable in a natural environment.

Modifying Racial Structure
Changing the very structure of an organism is best done with genetic engineering. It’s always easier to start with something that’s already close to what you want. Genetic therapy approaches to alter the skeleton or size is often lethal. Trying to turn a arthropod into an anthropod is madness but you’ll show them. You’ll show them all!

Modifying Reproductive Systems
The genetic modification of species reproductive cycle is complex but can be used to tailor a species to a social role or to make cloning easier. It might also mitigate some of the nastier issues of natural competition for reproductive opportunities.

Cloning Apparatus
The equipment for making clones is fairly simple as single cells are quite small, it’s the scanning electron microscope and laser that are a bit bulky. Still, a cloning bay is probably no larger than a breadbox. It’s the gestation tank that’s the problem.

Gestation Tanks
A mechanical device that replaces the womb or egg as an environment in which the zygote can grow into a viable organism before being exposed to the hazards of the environment is exceedingly complex and needs careful adjustment for each species. Once developed they have some advantages as they can integrate a growth tank cycle or act as a VR neuromuscular development tank to allow the organism to be better developed. Advanced gestation tanks reduce the gestation time for the species by half which can be combined with genetically engineered reduced gestation time for really quick turn around. Gestation tanks must be large enough to contain the organism, and count as machinery.

Growth Tanks
A mechanical device that speeds up a species’ maturation can be fairly simple. Cells duplicate when they’re fed. A growth tank doesn’t offer much stimulus and muscular and skeletal development need to be provided for or the results are weak and floppy clones.

Bio-Printers
With the advent of three dimensional printing, a lot of what is known about life has become, printable. Meat and organs printed from cell cultures will likely be available in the near future. Even printing an entire organism is not out of the question. This may make gestation and growth tanks somewhat irrelevant. While three Dee Printing is fairly slow and cell cultures take time to grow, and organisms are incredibly complex. It’s quite possible that children in the future will print hamsters on their home bio-printer for their science project. In game terms, a bioprinter is a useful tool for creating transplants and skin grafts in the sick bay or a common kitchen appliance, much as a fabricator is a useful feature in an engineering bay.

Organ Plants
One interesting possibility is hybrid plants that grow organs for transplant. Such farms and hydroponic operations make an interesting setting feature and get away from the issue of growing clones for their organs. 3D printed organs may make this irrelevant but modified plants might also be used to grow the tissue cultures used in bio-printers. Trees full of hearts swaying in the breeze are certainly atmospheric and creepy.

Creating Species
There comes a point when you’re not just playing god. Creating a species from scratch is a complex task. The in game method is basically taking the organism creation rules and writing down whatever the would be deity wants. On the simpler end, hybridized, anthropomorphic animals and chimeras are modified versions of existing species and may explain all the furry people with animal heads wandering around in space operas. One decision that is quite important is whether the species will be capable of reproduction. Creating a viable species capable of multiplying in the natural habitat is much more difficult than one that lives in a carefully tended aquarium.

Neural Programming
The ability to guide and accelerate neural development is key to creating that army of cloned super soldiers. Using the mind of an existing person is the easiest approach, especially if the soldiers are all clones of the mental template. While printing a copy of a brain might produce this result, there’s always the problem of neuromuscular development. Virtual reality uploaded directly to the cortex provides an opportunity for basic neuro-muscular development if the growth tank is at least twice as large as the organism. Neural programming can also be used to add or remove personality traits from individuals.

Psychic Traits
If psychic powers are a genetically keyed ability in the setting it is possible to clone them and modify a species to have them. It is even possible to use genetic therapy to give psychic powers to living individuals, though at great risk to their mental health and personality.
 

David Johansen

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And the space travel chapter with the math to make sure everyone runs back to Traveller!

Space Travel
The great, empty distances between the stars are full of dangers. Vacuum, radiation, micro-meteors, and even running out of food and fuel can be fatal to humans and other explorers. Even the math involved might be enough to kill you. The planets are all moving at different rates determined by their mass and the star’s mass and the distance between them. The orbits are elliptical and the planets slow down and speed up as they go. The “launch window” is the time when the destination is approaching the tk but will pass it by just enough for the space craft to match velocities without needing to expend valuable fuel to decelerate. Over interplanetary distances, being a fraction of a degree off course could be deadly. In most popular science fiction super-science drives make it possible to cross the solar system in a day.

The distances presented here are in light-seconds and light-years. Astronomical units and parsecs are based on the position of Earth in the solar system and are not particularly universal. For those who aren’t clear on the concept, a light second is the distance light moves in one second and a light year is the distance light moves in a year. They are measures of distance, not time. As far as modern science is concerned, the speed of light is a universal constant and cannot be exceeded. The mathematical theories that suggest it can be all rely on “negative mass energy” which is to say less than not existing at all. Science fiction has always had unrealistic elements ranging from time-travel to anti-gravity and faster than light drives. You can’t emulate your favorite movie or television show if you’re too mired down in the science.

If the campaign is a space opera focused on the exploits of a band of heroic adventurers the referee can probably hand wave all that away and just assume that they can travel a number of light-seconds per day. If they’re feeling really ambitious the travel time can be divided by the ship’s top speed (½ fuel duration x acceleration usually, you need to maneuver and slow down). With reality taking a day off, chases can be resolved with piloting skill rolls. But in the end the heroes will always get there just in time and the villains will always get there first no matter how unlikely that seems.

Simplified Plotted Movement
If you can live with circular orbits and straight courses, it’s easy to represent planetary motion and launch windows. Use a ruler and pencil to mark out the positions of the star and planets on a sheet of paper at a scale of one light minute per centimeter. Next, draw a circle with a compass to show each orbit. Roll 1d10 x 36 to find the planet’s location along the circle and mark it using a pencil and protractor. At this point you can measure the distance between the planets by measuring it with a ruler. Orbital motion is given in degrees per day with Earth moving roughly one degree per day.

Interstellar Travel
Interstellar maps are done in a ‘well’ ten spaces wide by ten deep. The distance tables show the distance between any two points within the map. The basic scales for the map are one light year per space, ten light years per space, one hundred light years per space and so on, increasing by orders of magnitude and allowing the blocks to be seamlessly integrated in blocks one size larger.

The faster a drive system is, the harder navigation becomes as the margin of error increases.

Instantaneous transit is instantaneous. The space craft gets there the moment it leaves. This requires really precise navigation because there is no ability to make course corrections en route.

Hyperspacial drives remove the vessel to another dimension with a different relationship to time and space. While the journey takes a fixed amount of time, like instantaneous transit, it’s hard to navigate when you can’t see. If real space objects have shadows in hyperspace it becomes easier but is still less precise.

Space warp drives and other such real space faster than light systems allow real-time navigational corrections but they are also the most dependant on a spacecraft as they are passing through space rather than going around it.

The Math
Here are some useful formulae for computing travel times. They may require a scientific calculator. Their use in play is entirely optional.

Circumference = 3.1416 x radius x 2
Distance = ½ Acceleration x Time ^2
Velocity = Acceleration x Time
Travel Time = Distance / Velocity
Gravitation Force = 6.67x10-11 x Mass One x Mass Two / Radius^2
Circular Orbital Velocity = = 0.25 x Circumference / √(2 x Orbital Radius / Gravitational Force)
Year Length = 6.2832 x Radius / Orbital Velocity

Distances are usually given in meters, time in seconds, velocity in meters per second, acceleration in meters per second squared. There are 1000 meters in a kilometer, 3600 seconds in an hour, 299792 kilometers in a light second and 9.46053 x 10 12 kilometers in a light year. Where possible, units have been used in such a way as these conversions aren’t used in play but sometimes it’s handy to know them.

When you’re looking at orbital velocities for simple circular orbits. In essence the planet has to move a distance equal to a quarter of the orbit’s circumference by the time it sweeps out a ninety degree angle or it will drift off or drift in.

Note that while the speed of light is an absolute physical limit, most space craft have a limited top speed as a result of limited fuel that is well below the speed of light. Faster than light drives have a fixed velocity because they’re mainly a plot device and we’re lazy.
 
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