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Old 01-03-2020, 08:22 PM   #1
Fred Brackin
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Supernova scenarios

A recent thread about anomalous activity of Betelguese got moved (and rightly so) for lack of Traveller content.

So let us now examine the question of what does the 3i (or some major sub-entity of the same) _do_ when they expect an eminent supernova and how could we use that in Traveller games.

Observation is obvious so let's start as close as is possible. You can have largely automatic instruments in the actual pre-supernova system but you need a Jump-capable ship with its' human crew to get it out. If Jump drones are even possible this might be the place to use them but they are not generally known in other circumstances so we won't try and use them here.

So you have some sort of Lab ship possibly even the basic Kugashin recording all the data and doing a fast-as-possible Jump at what they believe to be the last minute. After you enter Jumpspace the explosive wavefront can pass right through where you used to be without affecting supernovas "don't" affect ships in Jumpspace, right?

Oh well, that's the sort of question they're going to give you the Imperial Science Medal for. Or so you hope.

There is a slight complication. The rest of the galaxy can use the neutrino pulse straight from the Core as a 2-3 hour warning to point their telescopes in the right direction but I have heard that in the supernova system itself there will be so many neutrinos that the secondary radiation would kill organic beings. There'll be no shielding v. neutrinos either unless this is a previously unknown aspect to the "meson" shield.

So you need to start the Jump process at least 20 minutes before the neutrinos will arrive.

This, of course, is the point at which things start going wrong and the real adventure starts wit the PCs trying to get out of the system before the Doomsday Clock strikes "lights out".

So what has gone wrong? A simple technical difficulties scenario would be difficult to make exciting enough for a whole PC group and "Roll to fix the Jump Drive or everyone dies!" arrives at the climactic moment too soon.

So how about the lab ship crew has been infiltrated by a secret group who wants the research believing it to be _the_ Key to building their own Star Trigger. So they're going to re-direct the Jump to the location of their secret compatriots and the PCs are just going to be made to Disappear.

So now you have a desperate fight with (mostly) non-trained combatants fighting to re-gain control of their ship while the ultimate Doomsday Clock ticks in the background.

That's probably the best I can come up with off-hand. I encourage everyone to do better if they can.
Fred Brackin
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Old 01-03-2020, 09:01 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Supernova scenarios

There was a long discussion of an Antares supernova back on the jtas boards, but I don't know if it's archived anywhere any more.
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Old 01-03-2020, 09:41 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Oz
Default Re: Supernova scenarios

Malenfant posted some useful calculations concerning a hypothetical supernova event at Antares on the "Traveller" forum at the Steve Jackson Games discussion boards.
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Old 01-08-2020, 02:15 PM   #4
Desert Scribe
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Austin TX
Default Re: Supernova scenarios

For a great science fictional take on this type of event, and how an interstellar society might respond, check out the novel Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross.
My sci-fi/fantasy wargaming blog: Super Galactic Dreadnought
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