O The Pain, The Pain

Well, that didn’t work.

Cobalt-15 had to make his first jump with unrefined fuel, and it went about as well as one might expect.  Using refined fuel, you’ve got a 100% chance of making it home okay.  Using unrefined fuel you have an 11% chance of your drive malfunctioning and sending you off to who knows where.

Traveller is not a game for wimps.

As expected the crew wound up floating somewhere out in the vast and silent blackness of space.  Cobalt and Monk-E can pack the rest of the crew – and one very unhappy mid-berth passenger – into low passage cubes where they can wait for the longshot rescue.  He’ll point the ship in the vague direction of the nearest system, which is more than three light years away, conduct a one week burn to get the ship moving, set the mayday beacon and proximity alert, and then power down himself to wait.

They should arrive in a thousand years or so if they aren’t picked up by wandering scavengers.  This effectively eliminates them from the Traveller campaign, but it does keep them available for a new campaign in a different game system later on.  They aren’t dead per se, just dead to this ruleset.

With the update done, let’s look at the rules:

  • Under the 1977 Classic rules a misjump sends you 6-36 hexes in a random direction.  The distance is determined by rolling 1d6, then rolling that many d6s and totalling the results.  You get an average misjump distance of around 20 hexes, which should put you into a whole ‘nuther subsector.
  • The later quick reference sheet says to roll 1d6 for distance and 1d6 for direction.  We tried that and kept jumping out of the subsector anyway.  Ultimately, when the crew landed in an empty hex after three or four tries, it was time to face facts – the odds of landing in an inhabited hex were just too much for the crew.
  • There are no readily available adventures that I can find titled, “So You Misjumped Into An Empty Hex, Now What?”

That last one is worthy of discussion.  Having at least one published adventure that gives a misjumped crew a second shot at survival seems like a no-brainer to me.  So much so, that I have to wonder if it exists and the fault lies within my google-fu.  With a ten percent chance of needing an adventure like that and thousands of unrefined fuel jumps conducted over the last 45 years, it stands to reason that somebody has written one.

It’s easy to brainstorm possible solutions to this common conundrum:

  • Salvage crew revives you, strips you of anything valuable, and sets you down on a TL2 planet to fend for yourself.
  • A Patron pulls your bacon out of the fire and sends you on a suicide mission.  The odds are long, but they are better than the zero chance you had out in the deep black.
  • Your ship drops into normal space and just over there, a mere three day burn away, is a floating hulk that might just have the answer to your prayers, if you can find it and survive the automated defenses.
  • After you miss a few mortgage payments on your ship, the note holder will send out the repo men.  With the money at their disposal, they can afford a few scout ships with long-range scanners.  They will spread a few simoleons around the water troughs, and if anybody catches a peep of your location, they’ll find you.  Probably take your ship, but at least your crew is still alive.

I’m not going to do any of those.  At least not yet.  This little catastrophe gives me a chance to play with other facets of Classic Traveller, like brawling and critter design and scouting, to better find my legs and develop #BookControl.  With more experience under my belt, maybe I can recover the Blackraven later and try to make good on the unfulfilled promise of those lovable rogues.