Monday, 8 June 2015

Library Data: Coturnix Inc Update 003

Datestamp: 217-1105 1235

Connecting to server...
Authenticating credentials...
Credentials confirmed - starship computer, BARONESS GRANTHAM

Transferring update requests....
Downloading entry 1 of 82,517...
** What's with all the X-Boat traffic?  Seems awfully busy for an Amber Zone - Cat **

Here's yet more Library Data for the Traveller game I'm running.  Once again, it's a mixture of things we've established in game and things I've had percolating away in my head.

Archduke: High rank of nobility, above Duke but below Prince.  The Third Imperium is divided into six Domains, each of which is ruled by an Archduke - the Emperor is also Archduke of Sylea.  Archdukes have less political influence over their demesnes than than Earl or Duke do over their planets and sectors but Emperor Strephon has increased the powers of Archdukes over the course of his rule.

Church of the Chosen Ones: Vargr religious sect which believes that the Ancients not only “invented” the Vargr race by genetic manipulation of Terran carnivores, but that the Ancients also returned to the Vargr several times and improved the race to the point that it could take its rightful place as the leader of their part of the galaxy.

The Church consider the Ancients somewhere between a high-tech species and deities.  Some Church members even believe that the Ancients are not dead but absent and will return again.

Downport: The planet-side facilities of a starport, used to differentiate it from the orbital Highport.  The vast majority of starports of Class C or below are purely Downports, while Class A and B tend to be mostly Downports with some Highport support.

Droyne Sexuality & Reproduction: Droyne reproduction is tied to their caste, a physiological change they undergo in their teenage years.  To some extent this means gender is chosen since caste changes ultimately derive from diet - following social rituals, most Droyne communities specifically change the food intake of an adolescent to induce the transformation into the desired gender.

Drones are the primary reproductive caste. They have hermaphroditic traits that makes them both the fathers and mothers to their Droyne children. The other five castes do still serve a reproductive purpose in that their various pheromones induce fertility in Drones - Drones in isolation will struggle to breed without technological assistance.  Single births are by far the most common, and Droyne are raised amongst Drones for their first few years before education sees them spend time with the other castes to find their likely specialization.

"Gender" does not translate well into Oynprith, with "caste" being their closest equivalent.  The bulk of Droyne have no gender or sex drive as most Sophonts would understand it, something which makes their psychology seem particularly unusual compared to Humaniti, Aslan or Vargr norms.  Choosing to live a different social role than ones caste suggests - say, a Soldier caste wanting to work in a job usually reserved for Technicians - is treated akin to homosexuality amongst gendered races, being something conservatives might consider "unnatural" or "against the will of the Coyns".

Free Trader, Type A1: A common design of 200 ton interstellar vessel and a staple of the interstellar routes.  A Jump-1 vessel, its range is limited to Mains but mortgage and running costs make it affordable to the tramp traders on a thousand worlds.

Free Traders can carry almost 90 tons of cargo and ply the stars shipping freight and passengers between a sector's major worlds.  Most designs have ten staterooms and twenty low berths installed.

Grav-Belt: Wearable anti-gravity transport device.  A Tech-Level 12 invention, Grav Belts are much more expensive than mundane vehicles built with gravitics due to the miniaturisation required of key components.  Top speed is usually around 300kmph.  Mostly used by explorers, special ops soldiers and extreme sports practicioners -  see Grav-Ball.

Gvegh: Primary language of the Vargr.  Different tongues are used in different parts of Vargr space and amongst different ethnic groupings but Gvegh is the most common and usually seen as the Lingua Franca of the Vargr

Gvegh's character set has twenty two characters, five vowels and seventeen consonants.  Galanglic equivalents of consonants: d, dh, fz, f, g, gh, gz, k, kh, l, n, r, s, t, th, v, z.    Galanglic equivalent of vowels: a, e, o, u, ue.

Gvegh can be spoken by Humans but the harsh consonants and frequency of g, k and h sounds produces a very hard, throaty language they struggle to speak for long times without discomfort.

Haut: Surname prefix used as a mark of class by many junior Vilani nobles.  For example, Pavo Haut-Griggori would be of the noble Grigorri clan, though almost certainly not in posession of a major title like Baron or Count. 

Highport: An orbital facility which is being used as part or all of a planet's Starport.  Due to the difficulty of construction and maintenance, they are more common on high tech worlds and those with Class A or B starports.

Highports usually supplement a world's planet-side facilities and are designed for use by ships not small or aerodynamic enough to land - they have basic starport facilities like refueling and commerce as well as a shuttle service connecting to the Downport below.  A handful of worlds have only Highports, usually because of conditions on the planet - for example, an atmosphere may be too stormy for easy landing.

Hot 'n' Spicy: Girl group whose pop music is currently popular in Imperial society with children and teenagers.  Their members have stage personae named for different spices: Pepper, Chilli, Mint, Clove and Sage.  Considered by some to be overtly sexual for their target audience, they have had most of their success in the Rimward sectors.

Jump Capsules: Single use vehicles used for moving a single person from orbit to a planet's surface.  Imperial Marines and similar military forces use Jump Capsules to carry out planetary assaults; the stellar equivalent of parachuting troops into a combat zone.  Due to their small size and fast speed, they are all but impossible to detect on sensors.

Kengrran: A Human who has fully integrated into Vargr culture, adopting their way of life.  Gvegh langauge term and often used as a term of endearment.

K'Kree: Major race and dominant member of the Two Thousand Worlds polity, to the Coreward and Trailing of Chartered Space.  They are rarely encountered in Kline due to the sheer distance from their territory, though very occasionally Xeekr'Kir merchant ships pass through.

K'Kree, also known informally amongst Humans as "Centuars", are quadrupeds with a roughly humanoid torso and equine head.  Evolving from herbivore stock, they are militant vegetarians and find consuming the flesh of living creatures a perverse act. ** Better sense of smell than us, too, so they'll know you've been eating "corpses" - Chomsky **  ** Better sense of smell than you lot, maybe... - Bekhap **

K'Kree live in large extended family groups or herds and are psychologically unsuited to being in small numbers long-term.  Their ships are built substantially larger than is normal in Charted Space, to facilitate the crew members bringing along several family members for company.

Kufoezghu: Gvegh language name for Church of the Chosen Ones.

Little Black Box: Famous treatise on starship operation and stellar physics, written by Lt. Marc M. Millar of the Imperial Navy.  The book has seen six separate revisions by it's original author - the earliest was more a general overview for beginners, the later ones substantially more detailed but far harder to decipher.

The first two editions are still considered excellent primers in astrogation, stellar mapping and starship construction principles for beginners.  Later editions received poor critical reception and other modern texts are usually considered superior.  ** I swear, this book wasn't written in Galanglic - Chomsky **  ** That'll be the sixth edition - Jeremiah **

Long Night: The period between the collapse of the Second Imperium or "Rule of Man" and the rise of the Third Imperium.  This period saw galactic civilization break down into individual planets or small sub-sector sized unions, with much scientific knowledge being lost and cultures regressing to pre-stellar tech levels.  Solomani and Vilani populations who shared their worlds interbred, producing the genetic fusion that is standard amongst Imperial populations in Rimward sectors.

Isolation during the Long Night saw many Vilani and Solomani planets develop their own dialects, religions and cultures while isolated from outside influences. Pocket empires centered around worlds like Vland, Sylea and Terra conquered their neighbours but true galactic civilisation took a long time to re-establish itelf.  When the Sylean Federation expanded out through it's neighbours, the Long Night came to an end as the first Emperor of the Third Imperium was crowned.

Merchant (K'Kree ship): See Xeekr'Kir-class Merchant

Parperides: Planet in Kline subsector, sector coordinates 2917.  Universal World Profile C765335-9.  Despite "garden world" status, with almost identical conditions to Earth, Parperides has only eight thousand inhabitants who are ruled by a self-perpetuating oligarchy.

Several past attempts to colonize Parperides have failed due to the native mega-fauna - giant reptile-like creatures roam the land.  Settlements struggle to keep these highly aggressive creatures from wreaking having on any urbanisation or agricultural projects.   ** Reptiles? mega-fauna?  Does that mean DINOSAURS? - Cat ** ** I think a hunting trip could be on the cards when we're finished on Vallance - Chomsky **

Parperides mainly sees traffic due to it's placement as the only viable place for a Jump-2 craft like a Far Trader or Scout to travel from the Kline main to Skyhaven and onwards to the rimwards subsector of New Mars.

Rsukal: An involuntary movement of the ears or tail that reveals a Vargr’s true state of mind. Gvegh language term.  ** You just can't help it - Dor ""

Slota: Planet in Kline subsector, sector coordinates 2815.  Universal World Profile C6A5754-A.  Slota's population of four million live in the cave system beneath the surface, ruled over by a Feudal Technocracy and far from the thin, unbreathable atmosphere

Slota's ecosphere has only primitive animal life, mostly fungal or piscene in nature.   The atmosphere and hydrosphere are rich in heavy metals with particularly high levels of lead present on the world: what life does exist is poisonous to Human and Vargr.

The economy of Slota is very inefficient, the mining of various metals and harvesting of petrochemicals the only real industries.  The population are highly militarized with all adults serving two years of conscription in the Invasion Defence Force - every household is expected to have access to small arms in the event of external assault.

Strephon, Emperor:  Forty-third emperor of the Third Imperium. Born on 202-1049, proclaimed emperor by the Moot in 1071.  Married Empress lolanthe in 1079, who gave him Grand Princess Ciencia in 1088.  With no other children, the next in line to the Iridium throne are his twin nephews Prince Varian and Prince Lucan.

Strephon has presided over the Fourth Frontier War as well as attempts to recentralise the Imperium, by reinstituting the value of the rank of Archduke.

System Defense Boat: A type of military ship equipped for combat with no jump drive capability.  System Defense Boats or SDBs are either constructed in the system that requires them or transported there via a jump sled where they patrol borders, conduct customs checks and act as a deterrent to potential invaders.

Because SDBs require no fuel for jumping they can fit more weapons than a similarly sized jump-capable ship would - consider that 40% of a standard Imperial warship's volume must be set aside for fuel to give it a Jump-4 capability.   It is considered a basic principle of stellar warfare that an SDB will  defeat a jump-capable ship of the same size in combat, all else being equal.

System Transport, Type S/A0:
A variant of the 100 ton hull used for Scout ships, re-purposed for transport.  The jump drive has been removed and replaced with improved sub-light drives to serve as an in-system transporter of cargo

System Transports can carry 36 tons of cargo and are encountered in systems such as Sol where multiple inhabited planets make them viable.  Most designs have four staterooms, but as they are usually converted from old Scout ships several variants with different internal arrangements exist.

Vargr (Language): See Gvegh

Vilani: The largest group of Humaniti in Charted Space, the Vilani developed on Vland and spread out across the stars when the Solomani hadn't mastered TL1.  Their culture remains a large part of the Third Imperium, blended with the Solomani whom their nobility intermarried with at the collapse of the First Imperium.

Vilani society was socially stratified and worlds on which they dominate retain a stringent class system.  They tend to be much more wary than Solomani are of technological or cultural change, prefering tried and tested solutions to problems.

Visual identification of Vilani compared to Solomani is very difficult.  Confirming a person's heritage usually involves genetic testing, though some giveaways like blood types unique to Vilani heritage can provide strong clues.

Vland: Planet in Vland subsector, sector coordinates 1717.  Universal World Profile A967A9A-F.  The home-world of the Vilani and capital of the First Imperium, Vland remains a cultural center-point for the Third Imperium and the Vilani across Charted Space.  Thirty billion Sophonts live here under an Impersonal Bureaucracy.

Vland has a rich and multifaceted ecosphere but one in which most of the life is not safe for consumption by humans as it evolved from entirely separate origins to them.  Early Vilani struggled to find safe food to survive and modern-day visitors must take care if eating wild foodstuffs.

Vland is renowned for millennia of art and culture, which attracts a host of visitors - it is one of the most popular vacation destinations for interstellar tourists.  The people are highly welcoming of outsiders but stringent legal codes and cultural expectations can bamboozle outsiders. 

x-Boat Network: Interplanetary communications network maintained by the Third Imperium.  A fleet of Jump-4 express boats or "x-Boats" travel between key communication hubs, from which slower courier vessels spread messages around the intervening area.

The x-Boat network has a quick turnaround time with specially designed tenders waiting at prearranged points to collect x-Boats, transfer the crew and messages onto fully primed ships for the next leg of their journey, then refuel and maintain the x-Boat for use in a future journey.  Turnaround time between a message arriving and departing a system can be as little as ten minutes.

Xeekr'Kir-class Merchant - A K'Kree design of 6000 ton interstellar vessel.  A Jump-2 vessel, it is designed for long range travel to service a whole subsector's cargo needs.

Like all K'Kree designs, it is far larger than standard for its purpose - it masses the same as an Imperial Navy heavy escort but is in fact a small merchant vessel.  Most designs have living quarters as a single large area sized for 80 K'Kree's comfort, massing the same as over seven hundred regular staterooms. ** The living quarters are basically a fake grassland, complete with actual grass - Nandi ** ** Squidgy decks and holographic sky on the roofs?  Their ships are broken - Cat **

Yacht, Type Y - A common design of 200 ton interstellar vessel.  A Jump-1 vessel, extensive fuel reserves mean this craft can jump twice without refuelling so can potentially reach system off the Mains.

Designed not for commerce but for entertainment, Yachts are usually in the hands of nobility who use them for private travel.  Most designs have fifteen staterooms installed of which one is a double-sized suite.** Very comfortable, just a shame about the company - Bekhap **

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