Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Radioactive Decay and the Paractical Explorer

My Sunday IRC game is really taking on a life of its own. It's a StarCluster 4 - Out of the Ruins game, where the PCs are members of a bootleg scouting expedition, exploring a nearby star system while the Church's official expedition tries to pull itself together. They have already located at least two habitable worlds as moons of a gas giant, though possibly marginal, and have also located traces of the Eldar! A communications satellite and a weapons satellite, in the centers of impact craters on some icy gas giant moons in the outer system. Judging by the ratio of P239 to daughter products, if the weapons load was pure plutonium, the Eldar left something like 175 thousand years ago. This approximately confirms the time the Groar geneticist has estimated judging by genetic drift in the Bintaur, who were made by the Eldar. If the weapon were partially U235, however, that would screw up everything, as U235 is the major daughter product of p239 decay. Yes, my Sunday games frequently turn on just such a thing! Why?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


I've been busy running Sabre and Planet for my face to face group, and it has been a blast! Four Louisianan Civil War re-enactors run through the woods near Port Jackson, and suddenly, they aren't in Louisiana any more! Beau, Cash, Brett, and Bahama are suddenly on their own in a new world where nothing they know is valuable outside their skills. They have black powder muskets and revolvers but precious little ammo. Their smart phones are only kept alive because Brett had a solar charger, and there is no way to use them as phones now anyway. Just the apps and stuff actually on their phones can be used.

They have rousted some nasty monsters out of a ruined castle on a lake, and are trying to make friends with the nearby villagers. How can they fix up this mess of a castle with trees growing through it? How can they earn the money to pay for the improvements they need? Will Beau and Bahama hook up? And what about the families they left behind?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Gravity Train Redux

Remember that "Gravity Train" concept? Good news - it's thoroughly practical. Bad news - NASA already thought of it! Here is a study on using just such a device to induce hypergravity on earth: NASA PAPER

In it is a mention of a study done by NASA in 1975: "In the 1975 NASA study, "Space Settlements: A Design Study,” an orbiting space settlement capable of supporting a population of ten thousand is described in detail. The orbiting space settlement envisioned in this study is shown in Fig. 5. In this design, the 1790m diameter space station wheel rotates at 1 RPM inside a non-rotating ring shield to produce 1g at the wheel rim bottom. The wheel rim modules can be viewed as train cars running on a circular track in which the track is the ring shield."

So that's that. Yes, it is practical, but I was not the first to think of it. I still intend to offer this as an option in my games, but I don't get to name it! :D

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Join the Gravity Train!

So, I had an idea. I am asking my scientific friends have you ever seen anything like this? It's a different approach to the classic rotating habitation ring for starships. Refer to the following utterly unscaled schematic. Comments would really be amazing, people! :D

The Bowley-Bailey Gravity Train

The Track Ring contains three maglev tracks on the inside. It is oriented in a plane perpendicular to the thrust, and connected to the ship by cables fore and aft in a cross-braced pattern like a wire car wheel. The fore maglev track contains a single/two train(s) - single if it goes all the way around, double if not, with the trains 180 degrees apart. the train(s) on this track go either clockwise or counter clockwise at a speed calculated to give sufficient centrifugal gravity for sustained healthy living on the floor of the train at a ring diameter of x. The aft track holds an identical set up, with the cars running in the direction opposite to that on the fore track.

The center track holds a small train, the Sync Car. This car is designed to match speeds with either of the other two trains, and lock in with a side air lock, so that passengers can move between the main train and Sync Car at speed. When the passengers are set, the Sync Car slows down and joins airlocks with a spur - the Fixed Station - coming out from the ship just far enough to reach the top of the Sync Car. The Fixed Station is under micro-G (except under thrust) like the rest of the ship, including the Sync Car when it is stationary. The Sync Car would have a left and right airlock, to join with either of the main trains, but the top airlock would be part of the Fixed Station

Note that the Ring should be of sufficient diameter (x) that the coriolis effect will not be too noticeable, and that the Gravity Train cars can be of whatever width and height gives sufficient internal area and volume for living and working space, and may be of more than one level. The two main trains rotate in different directions to counter torque, with the movements of the small Sync Car compensated for as necessary. It would be possible to run the two trains as different shifts, as required.

I came up with the main features of the design, with my writing partner Albert Bailey suggesting the cable bracing. It LOOKS like it should work! It is more flexible and simpler than a hub-and-spoke rotating section, with the airlocks being the biggest wear points, as there are no bearing surfaces. It runs in a vacuum, so there is no air resistance, and would be cold enough to use superconductors for maximum energy efficiency.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

9 Months, Nine Role-Playing Games!

Since July 2017, nine games in nine months, five new games, four new editions.

Since July 2017, nine support products in nine months.

All SF Games...

I don't think anyone has ever done anything like this before! Not bad for a one man outfit!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

StarCluater 4 - Sabre & World Released

Just released - StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World, a Sword and Planet game using the StarCluster 4 system.

StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World is a role-playing game based on the classic Sword and Planet sub-genre of Science Fiction novels. These started over a hundred years ago with Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series, which had a recent movie released based on it.

In these books, people from Earth are somehow transported to a different world, where there are other people who look very much like us with minor differences. These books are full of adventure and discovery, and are great fun to read.

Sabre & World helps you create your own Sword and Planet world to adventure in, where you and your gaming group play characters from Earth or natives to this world, human or not so human! Enjoy!

Sabre & World is available in print from Lulu and in pdf from One Bookshelf and Precis Intermedia.

Master Plays - Jedi Dice Tricks

Here's my latest thing for StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World: Master Plays. If your character has a mastery (Rank +5) in any skill specialty, now tou can play Jedi Dice tricks!