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Old 06-18-2020, 05:21 PM   #661
jason taylor
 
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Rutters:

Traveller's Almanacs especially for merchants. They can come in several forms. Some come in periodicals (famously the JTAS) from private interest groups of various kinds. Others from governments: it is common for consulates to sell collections of commercial and navigational intelligence as a service to merchants flagged on their world.

Most famously are the rich collections carried by various merchant houses. A common format is an illuminated codex-style carrier with sheaths for the dataholders of recorded debriefs of captains organized by date as well as space for side notes. If you did not know you might think you are looking at a religious manuscript.

It is common for a merchant house to maintain a regular service of analysts to refine the information for previous debriefs and issue them to captains bound for given regions.

The information contained in them will include such things as contacts, resources of a given area, secret stashes of emergency wealth in whatever form, bank account codes, deposit boxes, etc, as well as navigational information and survival guides for a given system. Also might include political intelligence as well as economic as this can be relevant to operations. The head of a merchant house if forced to flee (say from a war or revolution at home), can often use the information within to revive corporate power.

The rutter of an extinct Merchant House is a priceless work of art and kept in museums. They are certainly unfencible and anyone who intends to steal one must work on commission.

A Great MegaCorp like the Tukeras might maintain an entire library of rutters at it's home office.

An adventure with this might involve using one to track down accounts. It could also be a MacGuffin a bounty hunter is hired to find. Or an Imperial investigator looking for unsavory goings on might be trying to find it and decipher the meaning. Or on the flipside if the PCs are looking to avoid Imperial Entanglements they might try to hide it.
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Old 08-06-2020, 05:25 PM   #662
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IISS Survival Archive: This is a library containing a collection, from various sources of writings on survival technique that date as far back to the Ziru Sirku. Aside from the articles on general methods they include the results of surveys of various worlds and areas of space. Most are open to the public to download as a general service but some parts of the Archive are forbidden namely those dealing with classified information: worlds that are still Red Zones, or clandestine surveys especially of worlds in rival astralcracies. The other area that is cordoned off is articles that have not yet been released for publication and are still under review.

The articles contained here are often produced by IISS personal. That is not a requirement and submissions from civilian services or even rival geostrategic intelligence agencies are welcome. The JTAS has submitted many contributions as has the AAB. There is often an exchange in that regard with such groups. The criteria for inclusion is whether the article, "seems right" and fits with the other sources available though authors must be willing to publish their identity (much as the US Army published German field manuals of the Eastern front after the Terran Second World War but made a point of identifying the source).

Copies of the results are sent to Imperial Consulates. They are given to Imperial Citizens for free and to non-Imperials for a nominal purchase price as part and parcel of the Imperium's avowed status as protector of interstellar commerce and travel.

The headquarters of the Archives is the archival section of the Order of the Arrow. It has an entire wing devoted to it and the decor is similar to the rest of the Order's complex, containing art and ceremonial objects representing cultures from various parts of the Imperium as well as exhibits of events and famous people of the history of exploration. The most famous exhibit is a series of full size portraits of Lorette Strider in her grand tour of Hawaii to visit and lecture at the Observatories and Traffic Control Stations of Mauna Kei, Spaceport Hawaii at Keeau, and the old Wet Navy base and spacer recovery station of Pearl Harbor. Reproductions of this are widely available and often used as screensavers or skins for handcomps.
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:27 PM   #663
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Possible aspects of Starport Culture:

Backrooms:

These are places for preferred customers kept apart from the normal public. The Starport oligarchy of owners, investors, captains, builders, etc meets there to talk shop, gamble, and possibly negotiate some business arrangement. The room is decorated according to the tastes of the owner (this was inspired by Harbor and Town, a Maritime Cultural History by Wolfgang Rudolf). They will usually be kept by the owner of a local business with a good name.

Spacer Shrines: Religious Centers geared toward serving passing spacers. These can be of all sorts (this was inspired by the above, as well as mention of places like it in Moby Dick, and Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald). Not to mention a mild elaboration of the "chapels" in Starports. It is common for spacers to come wishing for a safe voyage and some leave a gift behind for propitiation.

Boarding Houses: Apartments for spacers off-season or while awaiting employment. Some provide meals with their services and they can be surprisingly good (again, a la Moby Dick). Others are fronts for nefarious activity.

The Board: This gives information about shiping schedules. It can be face to face or on the datanet. Usually it is both (obviously they have that in airports already, I remember the one in PDX).

Kintledge stores: stores that sell and buy general merchandise that was carried to fill up holdspace. Sometimes starships deal direct to the public from a temporary store at their berthing space but other times a specialty store will deal in this. These are often perused for the odd items that will turn up there.

Names and Logos: In the hospitality trade there will be all kinds of variation in the title and the sign of the business based on whatever whimsy of the owner. Just as equally it will receive a nickname which is a corruption of it's more formal version.

These are just some odds and ends
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Old 08-12-2020, 11:59 AM   #664
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Parasite banking. This is usually used for discrete transactions. Several accounts will be opened, usually at several different banking establishments to avoid notice by the host. The accounts loaned to patrons with an appropriate password. Someone managing such a system can in effect have a full scale underground bank.
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Old 08-14-2020, 12:09 PM   #665
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Regimental Feuds:

A tradition in several polities going back thousands of years to before spaceflight. Military units will have a traditional rivalry expressing itself in practical jokes, bar brawls, unusual enthusiasm at contests of martial athletics, etc. Some of these date to some historical event like having spiritual ancestors on opposing sides in some ancient conflict. An example in Great Britain on Ancient Terra was assigning the Coldstream and Grenadier Guards to opposite sides in a general review because supposedly one had taken Parliament's side in the English Civil War, one the King's and parade directors didn't want the embarrassment of having them quarrel. Similarly several regiments in the Armies of the Third Imperium came from member states who had once been perennial opponents, and still remember it.
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Old 08-17-2020, 08:12 AM   #666
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Cloverleaf Street:

At the waterfront of Lorton on Overnale. Officially part of Interworld Bazaar though one of the oldest. It is considered a historic sight and as a result no warehousing, heavy industry or other unaesthetic business are permitted to exist here, though trading in drafts for such products held elsewhere is common. The Cloverleaf guild, representing businesses along the Street is given special privileges by the government in return for keeping strict standards in the area.

It's peculiar name is from the local custom of dividing goods three ways, like clover petals. These include foodstuffs (now extended to include all biologically based products produced locally), raw minerals (especially from the belts), and offworld goods. In the beginning of the settlement of Overnale, this area was a strategic point and a business which established itself on the Street had a good chance of dominating much of the world's commerce, on a few occasions allowing leverage into interstellar shipping or offworld holdings.

Anchors include the Baron's Hotel, still owned by the planet's senior Imperial Noble dynasty. It also includes Chandler's of Overnale, also known as THE Chandlers, as it is the house flagship (the original Chandlers were allowed the distinction of having their name attached to their occupation by monopolizing the outfitting of the traffic that passed through the world in earlier times). Another anchor is one of the few Gigs not in a major port, though there are those who say this is a sign of anticipation. Favorite sites which are not noted businesses in themselves but kept by the guild collectively, includes Vintners Park. Despite the name, the park mostly exhibits varieties of Uffleberry bred chiefly for blossoms. However every year the Ufflewine and Ufflebrandy Festivals are notable attractions. Another sight is the Old Exchange which is centuries old, and still a noted place for traders.

Smaller retail shops and restaurants are interspersed up and down the Street. Competition is stiff for a site, but the potential profits attract many.

The Street, is a hub of the negotiations between local political and economic leaders, and the luxury establishments their serve to lubricate. It is also the site for the artistic and academic life of the planet, with several establishments being noted gathering places, some of them serving rival schools of opinion and drawing their imagery from the clique that assembles there.
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Old 08-17-2020, 08:45 AM   #667
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La Mariana:

A chain of restaurants, bars, and cafes operated by the Seastar house, which name is an obscure etymological interpretation of Queen Mary (itself named after a famous Terran luxury oceanic vessel), the Empress Marava which was the foundation of the house's wealth once upon a time. As a pun La Mariana takes it's name from it's operators but also evokes a famous establishment on Hawaii of old Terra.

The specialty is reproductions of old Hawaiian Cuisine of various kinds, prepared by highly trained staff. There are also a line of drinks and the establishment prides itself in it's mastery of beverage making as well as foodmaking. Their Blue Hawaii is a cult classic among some circles of drink lovers. Curiously on the menu is an Irish coffee, from an obscure legend that the drink was invented to tide passengers over in the flying boat era of the early twentieth century (Gregorian system), an era with aspects impinging on Hawaiian history.

The decor is as might be expected Hawaiian in nature. Live singing performances are regular and on Karaoke night, patrons can sing themselves. A giftshop and bookstore is maintained, (or a simple rack or table carrying such things in a smaller branch) again based on Hawaiian themed topics including history, fiction, music, whatnot, including several versions of a classic serial drama set in Hawaii*, one version of which features the original bar. The decor is changed seasonally to provide variety, and includes still shots, paintings and moving art as well as stored artifacts and of course architectural style.

An offshoot of this is the catering business done by the establishment. It's best chefs, bartenders, and baristas have sometimes prepared food for high noble feasts, and worked with genuine product shipped expensively from Terra.

*This drama is a curious combination of the words for "type of chemically propelled projectile", and "hired personal intelligence officer" denoting the protagonist's name and profession.
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Old 08-17-2020, 09:40 AM   #668
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The Emperor's War Game

This is a military exercise, held once a year by the regiments of the Imperial Guard in a training area on Capital (Core). The only regiment that does not take part is, by tradition, the Marine Guard, that has the duty to guard the Palace at this time.
While it is a genuine exercise that should sharpen or at least maintain the skills of the participating soldiers, critical voices state that "The Game", as it is called, has become something off a circus act.
It is not only that the Emperor, his family (all holding the courtesy-rank of a colonel in one or more of the regiments) and the court watch the exercise, many members of the moot and a huge crowd of celebrities, remittance men and other oxygen-wasters discover their patriotism and "show support for our troops" at this time. To please the (very influential) crowd, ambitious staff officers often stage visual impressive manoeuvres with lots of noise and pyrotechnics.
Among the spectators are also diplomats of other nations, be it Zhodani, K'kree or Solomani. If the Emperors War Game impresses them or lulls them in a false sense of security is anybody's guess.
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Old 09-04-2020, 06:25 AM   #669
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Pyramid Chess

Supposedly inspired by a throwaway line in a novel from Terra written the century they first landed on their moon. But not created until around the four hundredth anniversary of that event. This elegant chess varient is beloved by those teaching naval stratetgy because it is amazing at teaching three dimensional thinking in tactical situations. Plus the problem of handling more than one p roblem at a time is also stressed.

The gameboard is pyramidal in structure. Eighty-one squares on the bottom board and only one square on the top. The classic winning move is to put the enemy King in Checkmate while getting your Queen to the top square. However, as there are half a dozen ways to win or lose, focusing on those two alone is a quick way to lose.

The game has spread outside the Third Imperium because it's linked to the Imperium's admirals being good at lateral thinking and winning battles.

If, on a scale of one to five, Chess is ranked a difficulty 2 game, and Go is ranked at 5, Pyramid Chess is surprisingly a three because of the simple elegance of its rules. But it is as efficient as Go in teaching tactical and stretegic thought.

Not is popular as chess or playing cards in cultural imagery or metaphor, but the striking imagery of the game gets used.
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Old 09-08-2020, 01:31 PM   #670
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Kitlings:

Called so because a bag of these is often found in a traveller's "kit". Of unknown origin, these are a type of dumpling like food made with baked bread wrapped around an interior of some sweet, savory, or sour food of various types; preserves are an old standby as is cheese. Some versions have a softer space making it possible to penetrate with a kebab skewer.

They can be eaten plain as finger food, or dipped or covered with sauce and eaten with a spoon. Indeed there are a number of ways to eat this versatile standby.

Interestingly enough they have found their way off of ships and onto respectable tables. There they can be served in a number of ways. You can buy them at a stand in some Starports or at any number of stores and restaurants.
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