FOLDSPACE: Universe Primer

TECHNOLOGY

I haven’t set an exact tech level for this campaign, but tech level 12 materials are what’re commonly available. Because this campaign is set much closer to our current time than the default Traveler settings, some technology is treated a little differently.

Weapons

Laser weapons are extraordinarily rare in FOLDSPACE. Still being researched and developed, they are only seen in the hands of the military. This applies to both personal and ship-mounted lasers. The primary ship based weapons of choice are railguns (vanilla rules as they appear in High Guard), missiles/torpedoes (vanilla rules) and machine cannons (machine cannons operate the same as pulse or beam lasers but count as physical projectiles, which is important as you’ll see).

Because of the lack of energy weapons, sandcasters and traditional screens are unused in FOLDSPACE.

In place of spinal-mounted laser weapons, older capital ships can be equipped with Macrocannons. Because a ship has to be built AROUND a spinal weapon, in FOLDSPACE they are only an option on newer naval warships or custom-built designs. A Macrocannon is, essentially, a gigantic railgun that uses and magnetizes the entire vessel as it’s barrel (hope you don’t have any metal fillings) and fires shells roughly the size of a small building. Due to the stresses placed on the vessel, a ship must remain stationary and brace for firing during the turn it fires a Macrocannon. A Macrocannon may only be fired once every three turns while the capacitors recharge and a new shell is loaded into position. If the Rapid Fire option is taken, this is increased to one shot every two turns. Shots fired from a Macrocannon ignore Hofstadter fields and reduce the target’s total thrust for the next turn by one. If using the optional rules with miniatures, move the target ship away from the firing vessel in a straight line by 1 unit. Yes, Macrocannon shells impart THAT MUCH kinetic energy. Increasing the tech level of a Macrocannon uses the same table as particle spinal weapons. Each Macrocannon shot takes 1ton of space for every 1,000 tons the cannon itself takes, and costs 35,000cr.

MacroCannon Type   Base TL     Tons        Damage     Cost
A        8         5000        350        3000
B        10        3500        400        4000
C        12        3000        450        5000
D        14        5000        550        7500

All ships are equipped with a Hofstadter field. This screen takes no space and draws no power and is included in the basic cost of construction. A ship may not take more than one, and they can be disabled like any shipboard system. It is assumed to always be on. A Hofstadter field is an energy field designed to slow and push matter away from starships and was originally developed to protect fragile solar sails during long voyages. It reduces the damage a ship takes from physical weapons fire and from collisions by two points, to a minimum of one point of damage. This is calculated BEFORE armor. It does not affect damage from lasers and other energy weapons, or from missiles/torpedoes.

Propulsion

Foldspace drives follow a combination of the rules for hyperspace and warp drives (which, considering they work by creating a tunnel of warped space…). They consume no extra fuel, take twice the space of a traditional drive and use the hyperspace portal size table to determine which rating of drive is necessary for a given ship. A ship traveling through folded space travels at the same speed as if it was using a warp drive: X parsecs per week where X is equal to the ship’s thrust rating (so a ship with thrust 7 would travel 1 parsec a day, a ship with 1 thrust would travel 1 parsec a week, etc.)

While traveling through folded space, a star ship is essentially flying blind. Due to the distortion of space, visual, thermal and other forms of sensors are useless. Only gravimetric sensors or densitometers will function properly.

Solar sails still play an important part in FOLDSPACE but, as solar technology is better in this campaign than in vanilla traveller, they follow a different set of rules. The size and cost of solar sails are unchanged from High Guard. Solar Sails provide power as well as propulsion, improving the ship’s power plant rating by 1 without raising fuel costs. On a ship without a power plant, they provide power equal to a class A power plant. On a ship with a standard maneuver drive, having solar sails generates an additional point of thrust for use in-system. Solar sails may not be used while in folded space and most be stowed away during the trip. In order for a vessel to travel through folded space it’s power plant must be able to power both the foldspace drive AND the maneuver drive WITHOUT assistance from the sails.

Solar sails can also be used for inter-stellar travel in a pinch. However, they cannot generate faster than light speeds, meaning it takes about 4.5 YEARS to travel 1 parsec. Because of this, all starships with solar sails must have a low passage berth for every crew member at normal staffing.

Equipment

Power armor is a bit more primitive and rare in FOLDSPACE than in vanilla traveller. Power armor is a recent development, and usually only elite Naval Marines are outfitted with it. Stylized in the manner of plate mail, it transforms the wearer into, essentially, a walking tank. The outer most layers are made of a newly developed ceramic plastic over a tritanium plate. This ceramic plastic disperses the heat from laser weapons, and craters/ablates from solid rounds, essentially making the wearer immune to small arms fire. Each suit of power armor must be custom made for the wearer’s individual musculature and costs about 5 McR each. Unpowered, power armor weighs 30kgs, but only adds about 7kgs of encumberence while active. A Battle Dress Skill of 1 is required to use power armor, and it provides 17 points of armor. Like battle dress (which will evolve out of power armor) power armor provides a bonus of +4 to the user’s strength and +2 to dexterity. The suit does restrict mobility somewhat, reducing the wearer’s speed to 5 meters per action. As long as the wearer uses his helmet, the armor is fully sealed from atmospheric hazards and has an eight-hour emergency air supply. The suit has a built in computer/1 running Expert Tactics (military)/1 to provide tactical support for the wearer, includes a TL11 Laser Transceiver, IR/light intensifying goggles, eye protection and magnetic grapples.

The Anti-Machine Rifle (or AMR) was originally developed as a way to give traditional infantry a way to take out advanced armored vehicles but, until the development of power armor, was deemed too specialized for widespread use. The rifle itself is essentially a scaled down rail gun with a scope and stands at just over two meters long. The rounds it fires are 20mm spinning rounds with depleted iridium tips and mass-reactive explosive charges. The idea is to get the shell up to hyper-sonic speeds, have it shred its way through the outer hull of a vehicle and then explode. The AMR proved far too heavy and cumbersome for traditional deployment, but has since found a home as a counter for power armor (using one against a non-armored target is considered needless overkill). Characters with 12 or more strength may use the AMR freely, all others must remain stationary and brace the rifle with it’s built-in bipod. AMRs use the Rifle Range table but may not fire at all at Personal or Close range. Each shot does 4d6 damage (see below), single fire, with recoil 3. An AMR masses 8kg. Each magazine holds 6 rounds and costs 800cr. An AMR costs 50,000cr. Shots fired from an AMR ignore the first 10 points of armor of the target. On an attack that scores effect 6+ to hit the shot has hit and exploded something important. Against a vehicle, immediately apply a triple hit to an internal location and then apply further damage as normal. Against a person, well, things are noticeably messier. In addition to normal damage, reduce one of the character’s secondary statistics by the effect value. If the character is on their last statistic (either strength or dexterity), ignore the previous rule: they are just killed outright in a chunky burst of gore (eww).

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