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Old 11-13-2019, 07:09 AM   #21
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: FTL 'Fuel' [Space]

A potentially darker alternative is a psionic drive that requires a psionic navigator and which can go faster if the psionic navigator murders a human being during the beginning of the trip.
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:03 AM   #22
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Default Re: FTL 'Fuel' [Space]

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
<shrug> My memory is quite clear but I think it was a very early version. I know thye renamed the game at one point but I only got the one book (alsmot certainly the first one) for it.
Okay, I had to check. In the first version (Traveller: 2300) it is an option - you can, with fuel cells (but not MHD turbines), save the exhaust water and re-crack it using solar power. This is not a fast process, though it is possibly more convenient than finding a chunk of ice and refining it (assuming you have a refinery). It's not presented as standard practice, except in the case of a couple of long-range exploration vessels (which have descriptive text that says they can crack all their fuel in a much shorter time than the rules would allow).

The next edition (2300AD) notes that "Nearly all MHD turbines vent their waste gasses", and that "Many fuel cells recycle their waste gasses", so both can do this if they're set up for it.

In both editions it takes 2MW of power for a week to crack 23 tons of fuel. As a fuel cell consumes 75 tons of fuel per MW per week, you can't run a closed-cycle fuel cell as a perpetual motion engine, using the main rules text. If you use the rates given in the ships' stats, an MHD turbine is 100% efficient and a fuel cell 133% efficient, and that is a problem.

It appears your memory was clearer than mine.
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Old 11-13-2019, 03:24 PM   #23
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Default Re: FTL 'Fuel' [Space]

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Psionic, chi-based, or other 'pretty much magical' FTL drives can potentially have some pretty disturbing 'fuels.' On the safe end, 'you have to sacrifice a live chicken to Damballa every jump' isn't too onerous, and wouldn't be morally problematic for most people, you just need to keep a good supply of live chickens onboard (and white rum, which apparently he really likes). On the other end, sacrifices of sapient beings, or vessels that are somehow powered by a forsaken child (who might die from the strain, or become useless when they grow up, or something like that) would be really hard to justify a non-evil society going along with (unless they don't know about it).
"The Void Captain's Tale" by Norman Spinrad has something like this. The mysterious Precursor derived FTL drive only works with a "Pilot" who has to be a woman with a particular messed up sexual orientation. While Pilots are not strictly speaking damaged by their function as a weird electronic component, they tend to have dysfunctional personalities that do not support healthy lifestyles.

Yes, it is a rather creepy and disturbing book.
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:51 PM   #24
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Default Re: FTL 'Fuel' [Space]

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Psionic, chi-based, or other 'pretty much magical' FTL drives can potentially have some pretty disturbing 'fuels.' On the safe end, 'you have to sacrifice a live chicken to Damballa every jump' isn't too onerous, and wouldn't be morally problematic for most people, you just need to keep a good supply of live chickens onboard (and white rum, which apparently he really likes). On the other end, sacrifices of sapient beings, or vessels that are somehow powered by a forsaken child (who might die from the strain, or become useless when they grow up, or something like that) would be really hard to justify a non-evil society going along with (unless they don't know about it).
The book Deadman Switch by Timothy Zahn has a valuable solar system that has some sort of field around it that requires a human death to get past. So any starship going there carries two death row inmates.
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:04 PM   #25
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Default Re: FTL 'Fuel' [Space]

An obvious "dark" form of FTL might be using sacrificially powered gate magic for interstellar travel rather than actual FTL.
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:46 AM   #26
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Default Re: FTL 'Fuel' [Space]

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Originally Posted by The Colonel View Post
An obvious "dark" form of FTL might be using sacrificially powered gate magic for interstellar travel rather than actual FTL.
Most traditional magical gates are FTL though . . .
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:59 AM   #27
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Default Re: FTL 'Fuel' [Space]

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Most traditional magical gates are FTL though . . .
Yeah I was sort of thinking of bypassing distance with a gate rather than covering it at speed with some kind of drive, but I didn't express it properly. Also, I suspect the distinction gets a bit blurred... possibly some aspect of instantaneous point to point as opposed to fast travel?
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Old 11-14-2019, 03:03 AM   #28
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Default Re: FTL 'Fuel' [Space]

Usually FTL has an implied usage involving some form of space travel using spaceships, IMO.

A spaceship flying through a gate is "FTL", but someone stepping through a similar but terrestrial gate is just "instantaneous travel."
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Old 11-14-2019, 03:28 AM   #29
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Default Re: FTL 'Fuel' [Space]

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Originally Posted by Daigoro View Post
Usually FTL has an implied usage involving some form of space travel using spaceships, IMO.

A spaceship flying through a gate is "FTL", but someone stepping through a similar but terrestrial gate is just "instantaneous travel."
Instantaneous travel for any non-negligible distance is FTL by definition, and messes up causality just as much.
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Old 11-14-2019, 03:32 AM   #30
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Default Re: FTL 'Fuel' [Space]

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Instantaneous travel for any non-negligible distance is FTL by definition, and messes up causality just as much.
By definition, sure, but I was referring to common usage. And it also implies tech rather than the magic gates which were originally referred to.
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