1) Fancy 2) Canine Ambush

A fine image of fancy nobles can be found here. It’s easy enough to write up a patron who fits, but harder to build a PC character who can enjoy that kind of lifestyle.

Commission: Impending Ambush is not bad, for inspiration for some Vargr-on-Vargr shoot’em up, TL 8-9 style.

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A Stratosphere Network of Skyscrapers

From a skyscraper competition, submitted by Mingxuan Dong, Yuchen Xiang, Aiwen Xie, Xu Han of China:

The project proposes a mega hex grid that evolves around the earth circumference at a stratosphere heigh, the principle that support this hypothesis is that it seem to be that in a building the larger the span is, the scale and the unstableness will proportionally increase. But if the span is large enough within the scale of the earth, the unstableness brought by the size decreases inversely. In this case the network of buildings and bridges connected to each other, covering the entire circumference of the earth, will no longer need structural ground support and can be suspended in the air by the effect of the earth gravity. The elevated bridges and buildings that relate the grid can reach any height with out worrying about overturning, earth-quakes, floods and any other natural disasters.

Stratosphere Network of Skyscrapers by Carlos Arzate

Looks like a wealthy TL 13 world to me!

(Higher tech levels might use more antigrav in the Traveller universe… depending on the expense.)

Also see: Future Architecture: 7 Surreal Award-Winning Skyscrapers

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Tips for the Aspiring Gun Runner

From the current fracas in Sweden:

Approximately 257 bomb attacks were reported to police last year, up from 162 in 2018, according to the country’s National Council for Crime Prevention. No details were given as to the most frequent type of explosive, however Swedish media has reported the heavy use of bombs crafted from vacuum flasks packed with explosive material, according to Reuters.

[…]

The grenades — dubbed ‘apples’ by criminals — are smuggled into the country from former Yugoslavia. They are plentiful in the black market for weapons after the wars in the Balkans and are sold cheaply, or even handed out as freebies upon purchase of assault rifles. Stockholm police recently put a figure on it: less than £890 can buy you five automatic weapons and ammunition with 64 hand grenades as a sweetener. The grenades can, of course, be sold on. The street price in Sweden is about £100. –Spectator

Sweden Has ‘Lost Control’ After Bombings Spike 60% In 2019, Says MP – ZeroHedge

“Why use hand-made local materials, when you can get professionally made weaponry at 60% off! Discounts go to shocking 80%, if you are buying TL 7-10 arms. BUY NOW!”

I have a suspicion that a good-sized percentage of gun runners in the Imperium have unofficial ties to Solomani ethnic groups. And plenty of arms merchants in the Confederation have pro-Imperial/pro-alien ties.


This raises the question: how do you have a civil war in this day and age?  Having a civil war is aspirational, but is it achievable?

The population of Sweden is now 10.1 million, of which 8% are of the Islamist persuasion.  The first question is, who owns the guns, and how many are there?

This site says civilians in Sweden are estimated to hold 2,296,000 guns, legally and illegally, of which about half are rifles.  There is a big hunting tradition in Sweden.  As of the year 2011, licenced firearms per 100 head of population was 6.5, and registered guns per 100 people was 18.9.  So the average gun-owner has three of them.

The Swedish government is thinking along the same lines.  They are currently trying to restrict weapons use by hunters.  Magazines and ammunition are to be registered with the police and be kept apart from the weapons.

The Islamist elements have most of the hand grenades in civilian possession, principally the M75 hand grenade from the former Yugoslavia.  Hand grenade attacks in Sweden peaked at 40 in 2016.  The Islamists also have more explosives on hand.  In the first nine months of 2019, there were 97 explosions in Sweden.  Even the BBC has noticed.  A litany of horrors could be written about Sweden, with all the murders and rapes and knifings and so on, but just consider that there is an explosion just about every second day.

The defense forces in Sweden have 139,180 firearms, and the police a further 38,000.

All in all, there are plenty of guns to go round to have a civil war with.  This won’t be a brutish affair conducted with knives and sticks.

Sweden: The Wages Of Self-Loathing Is Civil War by ZeroHedge

Frankly speaking, who cares how many guns you have, if you are not willing to use them to defend your family, liberty, and property?

First, you arm your soul. Then your mind. Then your hands.

I prefer the American way: they armed and disciplined their minds and souls first. So when the Right Sort tried to provoke them to armed lawlessness, they refused… and won.

That’s how you do it!

(Christians should be scribbling notes just about now.)

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Killing Your Own Generals

I don’t think this could be pulled off at an Imperial or Domain scale. But it’s just doable at the sector scale, and definitely possible at the subsector scale & planetary scales.

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Homology, and Deep Moles

I read that the creator of the above video prefers to remain anonymous.

Which brings me to this video:

A truly terrifying Vilani nightmare!

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"Effect of writing science fiction on understanding of geological concepts"

From The Teacher’s Corner

Abstract: Students in an introductory college geology course engaged in one of two exercises to learn more about the concept of cross cutting relationships, a major principle in stratigraphy. One exercise involved writing a report on the concept, the other involved writing a science fiction story based on the concept. Preliminary results suggest that students who engaged with the material within the context of science fiction writing gained a deeper understanding.

As a professor of geology and a science fiction writer, I became curious this past academic term about how science fiction writing might influence students’ perceptions of science or their understanding of science ideas. Science fiction is fiction of course, and not intended to be real science. However I thought that science fiction writing might engage students in thinking about science concepts and perhaps provide an educational tool comparable to other science learning methods.

Effective storytelling has always been a good tool in conveying ideas, even subtle and very complex ones.

Sure, you could just teach axioms such as “All Empires Die” or “Everything Has a Price”: but a well-played-out Traveller campaign, with good input from both Referees and Players, has a way of cementing the lessons in.

Not only is the truth is grasped, but how and why the truth works out in (simulated) reality.

While the study was focused on geological concepts, we might suggest that Darwinists have been writing science fiction for decades and publishing it in the scientific journals. Perhaps reviewing those might help students even better grasp the concept of how to do good science fiction.

Writing Science Fiction Helps Students Understand Science Better at Uncommon Descent

I doubt it: Darwinism relies too much on the Stuff Happens Law, which strains credibility to – and past – the breaking point.

It’s why Star Wars — with profit and loss, love & hate, pain and love — looks and smells more real than Star Trek. (Star Wars’ Buddhist foundations also looks and smells more real than Star Trek’s atheistic-collectivist utopia.)

Of course, Traveller is also grounded in Darwinism, seasoned with some Greco-Roman Imperial politics, a bit of a Superman/Great Man complex (best symbolized by Grandfather), and psionic magic.

Still, I am here due to

  • easily-made starships!
  • easily-made sectors!
  • a real, honest-to-goodness Map of Charted Space!
    • (How on earth you are supposed to work without a map is beyond me)
  • A decent level of actual science!
    • M A T H is actually useful here!
  • Actual limits to what the PCs can and cannot do

and most gloriously

  • The focus is on the single group of free men and a starship, with just enough Imperial social/political/military/economic structure to lean on, or warp, or break, or deepen, or flat-out ignore as needed.

A nice trinitarian balance between a single setting; a stable, easy-to-understand ruleset, and a multitude of possibilities.

“There is only one Traveller, in the Little Black Books, and Marc Miller is its prophet!”

I’m a heretic, of course, but more along the lines of the Protestant/Catholic break, not the Christian/Muslim break.

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The Tax Collector

From RadioFreeEurope /RadioLiberty

—<Quote on>—

Meet Russia’s New Prime Minister, An ‘Enforcer Who Knows Where The Bodies Are Buried’

Mikhail Mishustin made a name for himself at Russia’s tax service.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s new prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, has a reputation for getting things done.

During his near-decade long tenure at the helm of Russia’s tax service — whose army of roughly 150,000 employees oversees tax compliance and collections — Mishustin tripled the amount of money his agency delivers to the budget.

Coming during a period of slow economic growth amid sanctions and falling oil prices, those results earned him accolades from the government and made him a logical choice to replace Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who announced on January 15 that his government would resign.

—<Quote off>—

Yes, I know that RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty is not exactly an unbiased news source: but that’s not the point right now.

The point is that Mishustin is a walking Traveller storyline.

42-1104: Disappointed with weak Imperial Revenues and weary of stiff resistance from the major Houses, Planetary Governments, and Corporations, Duke Louis has raised Sir Mikhail Mishustin to the position of Lord of Coin within the subsector. Sir Mikhail is expected to use both Mishustin family forces, various Imperial military units, and certain ‘irregular assets’ to secure a full and stable revenue flow for the subsector government.

One interested party which has proclaimed full support for the new Lord of Coin is the Imperial Civil Service. The major heads of the subsector bureaucracy has issued a join declaration, granting Sir Mikhail the personal and unrestricted right to full access of their compete financial records.

Chancellor Elina Ribakova, of the notable world of ___________, has declared her opposition to all unlawful and nontraditional means of Imperial Taxation. The Lord of Coin’s response, while crude, may be summarized as ‘The law and tradition is that you pay what you owe now, or pay far more later.’

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