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Hypercognitive

Patron: Merchant
Required Equipment: Vehicle

Players’ Information:

The way the guy — Ambrosius Kemp, the owner of an export business over in Startown — was waving his hands around and sweating, I’d have thought he was gonna keel over any moment. He had called us in to talk to us about a job, but the more he talked, the more agitated he got. He kept going on about how time was running out and how he’d be ruined if we couldn’t help him. I watched him; if he didn’t calm down soon, his time was gonna run out. A sneaked a glance over at Vajra, and she must’ve thought so, too; her fingers were inching closer to her sidearm.

The Colonel finally got Kemp to calm down long enough to explain what it was he wanted. Kemp sat down — actually, he more like collapsed — behind his desk, and took a deep breath before starting his spiel. Seems he has a partner, name of Aquino, who had one of those cybernetic drives installed in his brain so he could better keep up with the number-crunching and the day-to-day. That upgrade made Aquino a whiz-kid who doubled the company’s income in a matter of weeks. Trouble is, in those same weeks, Kemp noticed Aquino acting more and more strange. Finally, Kemp decided to do something, but Aquino beat him to it; he checked out of town. But not before helping himself to the company’s most sensitive data and a big slice of the company’s finances to the tune of Cr5,000,000. One of us let out a low whistle at the figure. I started imagining all kinds of things I could do with that kind of puli. Kemp wrecked my daydream by repeating that loss would ruin him.

He paused, and the Colonel had to prod him for more info. Kemp knew he had to locate Aquino fast. He made a lot of commcalls and called in most of his favors, but he finally found out where Aquino was: aboard the planetary hyper rail, headed for the world capital. Another low whistle, from myself this time. Hyper rails are the last word in maglevs, and this planet wasn’t that big; the train would get to the capital in a matter of hours. No wonder Kemp kept saying time was short. Worse, Kemp said that the capital was also the subsector headquarters for Periva Factors, a big brokerage firm that had been trying to get its hooks in Kemp’s firm for a long time. He was certain that’s where Aquino was headed. If he made it, Kemp could say bye-bye to everything he’d built over the years.

Kemp wanted us to intercept the hyper rail, locate Aquino, and get him back to Kemp, who’d have people waiting to deal with that pesky implant. For our trouble, he’d pay us one-tenth of the amount Aquino ran off with. Five hundred thousand for grabbing a guy off a train and bringing him home? Not too shabby.

The Train
The Train – Image from wikimedia – CC-BY-SA-2.0

Referee’s Information:

The hyper rail will reach its destination in six hours. It makes two scheduled stops, one two hours into its trip, the other two hours later. It spends 30 minutes at each stop before continuing. If the adventurers choose not to board the train at the stops, they will have to come up with another way to do so while it’s moving at hundreds of kilometers per hour.

Once aboard the hyper rail, it’s up to the players how they find Aquino and remove him from the train. The referee should determine what security arrangements are in place. At a minimum, it’ll have an Anti-Hijack program (similar to the program mentioned in Book 2: Starships) and an armed guard or two.

While the implant is active, Aquino has total recall and cognitive function that gives him an equivalent INT of F.

1. All is as represented.

2. Kemp is lying; he’s actually guilty of gross corporate malfeasance and has been embezzling funds from the company. Aquino finally had enough, downloaded the evidence, and headed for the World Court in the capital. If the group succeeds in returning Aquino, Kemp will kill him as soon as the adventurers leave.

3. As 1, except Aquino’s not responsible for his actions; the implant malfunctioned and caused temporary insanity. Aquino will be subject to periods of paranoia and rage until the implant is deactivated.

4. Kemp only thinks Aquino has betrayed him. In actuality, Aquino’s actually bent on committing an act of corporate sabotage. He downloaded only copies of the company’s files as bait, and included a computer virus designed to infect and destroy Periva’s system. If he succeeds in his mission, Periva Factors’ operations will be irreparably damaged and the company will be out of business in a month.

5. As 1, 3, or 4, except that a third party has found out about Aquino’s mission and wants to help itself to the secrets locked in his head. 1D+2 crack assassins (adjust for PC strength) will attempt to kidnap Aquino and head for parts unknown.

6. As 1, except that the train is also carrying a valuable cargo, which is guarded by a contingent of planetary troops. The soldiers will consider any disturbance as an attempt to steal the cargo and act accordingly.

Traveller RPG playlist for Spotify

My thoughts about the Traveller RPG playlist for Spotify was to include good (and some bad, but still fun to listen to) music that could be an inspiration for Traveller.

A really good Referee could arrange the list, so that it matches the current game. (E.g. play Vargr Moon when meeting the Vargr, play 1-0-0-1-0 when working with computers and play The Joker when meeting a Space Cowboy. etc…)

I didn’t want to include any theme song from science fiction movies or TV in the list since these shows are not Traveller. The only exception (since I think it is very close to Traveller) is the theme from Firefly by Sonny Rhodes (who look a bit like a Zhodani). But his original version isn’t on Spotify so it is not in the list.

Why are those tracks on the playlist?

  1. Oxygène – Part IV (Jean Michel Jarre)
    A nice futuristic track. Oxygen is needed by most sophonts in Traveller. Why not play this when there is a hull breach.
  2. Love Missile F1-11 (Sigue Sigue Sputnik)
    It’s one of the bad (or annoying) tracks, but it’s about missiles by a band named Sputnik. We played this a lot in the 80s. At one time we filled a jukebox in a Bayswater pub with coins and only selected this song and “Touch Me” (since you could not select the same song twice in a row).
  3. Blinkar Blå (Adolphson & Falk)
    A good futuristic track. I haven’t figured out if this is about a Nuclear Power Plant or about SETI yet.
  4. Vargr Moon (The Lord Weird Slough Feg)
    I had to include one of their tracks from their Traveller album.
  5. Life on Mars? (David Bowie)
    One of Bowie’s classic space themed songs. Play it when visiting an ice-capped world.
  6. Lunar Bay (FGTH)
    A nice one (but not that well known) by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Play it when landing on a moon.
  7. Spaceface (Simple Minds)
    I have played lots of music by Simple Minds when playing Traveller. This one can be played when doing a space walk.
  8. Satellite Of Love (Eurythmics)
    This version of Lou Reed’s song is the one I think work best as an Inspiration for Traveller.
  9. Seconds (Human League)
    A song about an assassination, a not too uncommon theme in Traveller.
  10. Planet Earth (Duran Duran)
    A song about a well-known planet… May work better in the Solomani Rim.
  11. Space Oddity (David Bowie)
    Another one of his classic space themed songs. Another one to play when doing an EVA.
  12. The Only Star in Heaven (FGTH)
    A cool song about a Star by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Space is a place called love.
  13. Blue Skinned Beast (Madness)
    Something to play in the StarPort bar. Three cheers to the blue skinned beast hip hip!
  14. Declare Guerre Nucleair (The Hives)
    A band that tries to manipulate you must be on the list. Play when using Striker rules.
  15. Jet Boy Jet Girl (Chron Gen)
    Space punk to play when in orbit. I’m gonna take you ’round the world. (Ça plane pour moi)
  16. Sweat In Bullet (Simple Minds)
    Another one to play when using Striker rules. Airmobility, dressability, tranquil.
  17. Rocket Man (Elton John)
    When Travelling. Oh no, no, no, I’m a rocket man.
  18. 1-0-0-1-0 (Adolphson & Falk)
    About computers. 1-0-0-1-0, vi måste tala samma språk. Adolphson & Falk made an album in English, but the translations of the songs were really bad. 1-0-0-1-0, we have to talk the same language.
  19. Out Of Space (The Prodigy)
    This one is for the Scouts. I’m gonna send him to outer space, find another race.
  20. In the year 2525 (Zager And Evans)
    In the year 4545, Cleon I rules the Imperium.
  21. The Joker (Steve Miller Band)
    This just had to into this list. Some people call me the space cowboy.
  22. Starman (David Bowie)
    Another one of Bowie’s songs. There’s a Starman waiting in the sky.
  23. Venus (Bananarama)
    A song about a planet? Anyway, I think that this version is the best one. We played this a lot on the jukebox in the cantina at Lv7 in Luleå.
  24. Les chants magnétiques, Pt. II (Jean Michel Jarre)
    I have studied astrophysics, and know about the magnetic fields in Space. \nabla\cdot\mathbf{B} = 0
  25. Loving The Alien (David Bowie)
    Something for the Scouts, or when visiting Zeta 2.
  26. Back In Standard Gravity (Liberator)
    To play when you have landed.
  27. Dancing With Tears In My Eyes (Ultravox)
    Play when having problems with the ship’s Powerplant.
  28. Foundation (Spandau Ballet)
    This song must have been inspired by Asimov. In the Foundation series, Cleon I was the last emperor. In Traveller Cleon I he was the first one (in the Third Imperium).
  29. Tout Petit La Planète (Plastic Bertrand)
    Could be played when visiting a small (size < 4) planet. (Or use my house rules for too small planets.)
  30. The Robots (Kraftwerk)
    Play when meeting robots.
  31. Intergalactic (Beastie Boys)
    Intergalactic, planetary, planetary Intergalactic.
  32. Astronaut (Gordon)
    Swedish Ska. From their album “Oh my God, it’s full of Stars”.
  33. Spaceship (Miss Li)
    We can build a spaceship and fly away.
  34. Planet Claire (The B-52’s)
    Faster than the speed of light.
  35. Surfing With The Alien (Joe Satriani)
    Suggested by Jim Kundert.
  36. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Pink Floyd)
    Jim Kunderts suggested another Pink Floyd song, but I like this one better.
  37. Spaceman (Babylon Zoo)
    Or should it be Babylon Zho? Suggested by Jim Kundert.
  38. Sailing (Christopher Cross)
    Suggested by Don McKinney, for Classic Traveller
  39. Supernova (Mike Oldfield)
    Suggested by Jim Kundert.
  40. The Traveller (Joe Satriani)
    Suggested by Andy Slack.
  41. For A Million (Alphaville)
    Suggested by Jim Kundert.
  42. Navigator (Lesiëm)
    Do you think of the navigators from Dune?
  43. Battle Without Honor Or Humanity (Tomoyasu Hotei)
    Suggested by Jim Kundert. Not the Kill Bill version.
  44. The Honeythief (Hipsway)
    Suggested by Don McKinney, for MegaTraveller
  45. Also sprach Zarathustra (Deodato)
    From Todd Bradley’s playlist. But I preferred this version since it didn’t sound so 2001.
  46. I Am A Dalek (The Art Attacks)
    Sorry! I just had to add this.
  47. Gamma Ray (Beck)
    From a Super Nova or from a really powerful laser?
  48. Stellar (Incubus)
    Meet me in outer space.
  49. Hangar 18 (Megadeth)
    Is there a crashed Vegan Scout-ship hidden in Hangar 18?
  50. Knights Of Cydonia (Muse)
    If the Face of Mars in Cydonia isn’t just a strangely shaped mountain, then what it is? Adventure!
  51. Escape From the Atmosphere (Mannheim Steamroller)
    Suggested by Don McKinney, for dealing with the Zhodani in Mongoose Traveller.
  52. Space Truckin’ (Deep Purple)
    Suggested by Bill Clark.
  53. I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper (Sarah Brightman)
    Flashing lights in hyper space.
  54. Short Change Hero (The Heavy)
    Suggested by Nils.
  55. Worst Day Since Yesterday (Flogging Molly)
    Suggested by Nils.
  56. 2000 Light Years from Home (The Rolling Stones)
    That will place you somewhere in the Chtierabl Sector.
Music Listener
I am listening to the Traveller RPG playlist – Image from wikimedia
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Traveller Inspiration: Free e-books

Traveller was first published 1977, and was inspired by even older science fiction. While this means that the computer rules used in traveller might feel a bit obsolete, it also means that for some of the books it was inspired by, the copyright has expired. (The computer rules are quite easy to ignore or modify anyway, so that doesn’t matter much.)

At Project Gutenberg, some works that has inspired traveller can be downloaded in several formats that will fit your e-book reader. It is also possible to read them directly on the web.

Here is a suggestion of five books for you to download:

1, Space Viking by H. Beam Piper

In Space Viking, there is a group of planets called Sword Worlds that are named after legendary swords. Doesn’t that seem familiar… The image below of the spherical ships  is from the book. They look a lot like the Mercenary Cruisers from traveller.

2, Deathworld by Harry Harrison

Jason dinAlt is the hero of the Deathworld books. In the Traveller Supplement 1, 1001 Characters, you can find his stats as hero #3, the Rapscallion Gambler. Jason dinAlt is skilled in gambling and also has a psionic talent, that can help his gambling. In Traveller, gambling is a skill, and psionics isn’t impossible.

3, Gambler’s World by Keith Laumer

Jame Retief is a Diplomat for the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne. In Traveller Supplement 4, Citizens of the Imperium you can find his stats as hero #5.

4, A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Hero #1 of the Traveller Supplement 1 is John Carter. In the Solomani Rim (0239), there is a small planet named Barsoom.

5, Triplanetary by E. E. Smith

Triplanetary is a Lensman prequels. Kimball Kinnison of the Lensman series is hero #2 in the Traveller Supplement 1. GDW also published a game called Triplanetary before they published Traveller.

Mercenary Cruiser?

Image from Project Gutenberg. Copyright expired.