New Speak

Hilariously, there are going to be Imperial bureaucrats who will INSIST that she’s speaking in English.

“English acronyms of English words, yes? Therefore, English!”

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Engineer’s Delight

“Modern-era commercial civilian recreational sub-machineguns”.
And thus with this single utterance did Gun Jesus bring his disciples unto the transcendent state known as “Peak ‘Murica”.
And some were confused, and they knew not what to make of this.
But many indeed rejoiced.

Thinking up hobbies for the crew just got easier.

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Training Cadre and Languages

Quora: When Russian and Chinese armies train together, what language are they using?

Huijian Wu, CTO (2005-present)

I went to ask one of the officers who had participated in the Russian-Chinese military training and he told me the situation.

1. Between intermediate and senior commanders, both sides have Chinese and Russian interpreters.

The exercise also used a special version of the Russian-Chinese command information system, which solves the language barrier between the two sides and improves the effectiveness of command and control. The system can be linked to the command centres of both sides, connect various combat units and even reach the end of the individual platforms of both armies if necessary.

2. Between battalions and companies or ordinary soldiers, they communicate in English and also in simple Russian and Chinese.

Here is a video of them communicating in simple Chinese, Russian, plus onomatopoeia and body language

There are also translators the size of mobile phones (there are many of these in China, ranging in price from $200 to $800, which can be used when there is no internet access).

3. As a result of frequent Russian-Chinese military exercises over the last decade or so, there are now many officers in the Russian and Chinese forces who are fluent in Russian and Chinese.

Quite a lot of times, off-world mercenaries will be hired to train local forces: it could be basic training, or equipment training, or advanced tactics. Communication is needed here, and not all locals can speak Anglic/Galanglic.

Also, note that the Third Imperium is, unofficially, a bilingual organization. Even up to the sector level – i.e. the Spinward Marches – one language can predominate (Anglic in that case). But there are plenty of regions where Modern Vilani and the various dialects of Anglic compete, and Imperial forces in those areas are expected to be competent/fluent in both languages.

And at the highest levels, fluency in both tongues is expected.

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Guest From the Future

From Soviet Woman from 2061: Sci-Fi Art Contest

—<Quote begins>—

Thirty years ago, Soviet television miniseries Guest from the Future, based on science fiction novel by Kir Bulychov, was aired on TV. The series starred Natalya Guseva as Alisa Selezneva, a girl from the future that travels to the present. Many Soviet schoolboys fell in love with her, and sent bags of letters to her. This phenomenon was called “Alicemania” (Алисомания) and had a large scale.

Alisa Selezneva
Alisa Selezneva

The sci-fi series was a great success in the Soviet Union and was often re-aired to this day. Many still have fantasies of Alisa. To commemorate the Guest from the Future character, art community «СССР-2061» organized the art contest. It intents to illustrate a Soviet girl from the future. The imaginary future that will never happen, but still lives in the hearts of many.

Test pilot
Test pilot
A Girl From Earth
A Girl From Earth
Ticket to Moon
Ticket to Moon
The second generation on Mars
The second generation on Mars
Longing for home
Longing for home

[…snip: see the original site for more…]

—<Quote ends>—

Of the pictures, it’s the third picture – with the clearly alternate-universe merger of the USSR and China – that is interesting from a sci-fi perspective. That, plus

  • a less murderous Stalin, with fewer purges & artificial famines?
  • a Germany that never launches Barbarossa,
    • too poor after an internal and costly civil war, like Spain?
    • a ho-hum, cautiously conservative Fascist ruler like Franco or a smarter Mussolini?
    • as race-based as ever, but with a greater respect for Russia and/or Communism?
    • a suspicion that Lebensraum would cost more than it’s worth, and/or territorial expansion satisfied after the Reich eats Austria and the Saarland?
  • a better economic policy, along the lines of Yugoslavia or post-Deng China. “At least everyone can eat now!” Even better if they follow the ‘soft capitalism’ approach of Sweden and France, but wrapped with the Soviet banner.

Space Soviet

Such a mix could have lead to the fairly prosperous, if still somewhat regimented, society depicted in the images above.

There are a fair number of high-prestige “Public Service” organizations run by the State, but even more low-prestige private groups making money – and heavily taxed, instead of being outlawed outright, or effectively run by government bureaucrats.

Vilani Support

And of course, there could be a hidden Vilani hand supporting this Russia/China Socialist Union, allowing a surprising amount of unexplained wealth and technology to arise in the Red World. If the Collective types get fusion via a low-profile Vilani starship transmitting the schematics and scientific data to Moscow, Washington is going to have a problem.

And if the US finally does get her own jump drive – probably by carefully analyzing the jump flashes of the Vilani, coupled with a few defectors and some good SIGINT analysis and computer hacking?

No doubt, they would discover that all the best worlds within a 50-parsec range have already been picked off, either by the Vilani or by her subject allied races, including the Russians and the Chinese.

A Dangerous, but Still Open, Future

Interestingly, none of this means the defeat of the Free World (now, in 2021, the Limited-Freedom World).

The Vilani, powerful as they are, are still deeply stagnant. And even the “New Economic Policy” Communists still think like risk-averse focus-on-the-numbers engineers, not risk-welcoming focus-on-the-consumer entrepreneurs.

Moreover, the Terran Collectivists are rapidly growing dependent on Vilani licensed technology… while quickly absorbing the Vilani distaste for innovation.

Even so, the Collectivists will have an advantage for at least one century, maybe two: and the wrong move can mean being crushed like a bug. “Preferably by the ungentle Red Army – now with grav tanks! – and not by the frankly genocidal Vilani Imperium.”

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Imperial Scouting Basics

Quora: How did Europeans make such incredibly accurate maps of whole continents without any kind of aerial observation as to their shapes?

James Flack, Lived in England, Scotland and France

Triangles. Lots and lots of triangles.

The military need maps, so they employed map makers. The UK’s mapping agency is still known as the Ordnance Survey today.

The basic technique is simple geometry.

Identify three points 1- 2–3- hilltops or tall buildings are good.

Now measure the straight line between two of the points- your baseline-, and measure all the angles. Yes, get out the ruler (actually a surveyor’s chain) and physically measure it. The longer and more precise your baseline measurement, the better.

This allows you to calculate all the lengths.

Now construct another triangle using two of the samepoints 1–2–4, and calculate the lengths.

Now do 1–2–5, and so on. This gives you a basic grid, and you can measure from your grid points to points inside the grid.

and you get to this.

If you look at this survey of India

You can see the chains of triangles

In some places, there weren’t good high points to use, so they were built to order.

George Everest was in charge of that survey of India. When it found a very tall mountain, it was named after him.

If this answer is behind a paywall, it is against the wishes of the Author.

The Imperium must have her maps, and she must have her roads.

Well… actually, the Roman Empire never got the kind of accurate maps the British Empire enjoyed. And Britain depended more on sea lane control than road networks.

(But she did like her railways, and laid down a fair number of roads in her day.)

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Positional Flights

…but the airline needed that aircraft to fly the following day out from Minneapolis, so they now needed to get that aircraft over to Minneapolis so they called in a standby crew…


Before we go any further, I just want to point out a little bit about these type of positioning flights. So they are quite rare obviously, because the airline doesn’t like to fly around with empty aircraft. And because of that, there’s always a bit of feeling of doing something special when you’re operating a positioning flight. There’s no cabin crew onboard, there are no passengers on board, and because of that you also as a pilot have to do some extra stuff…


In this case for example the crew just needed to get the aircraft over towards Minneapolis to be used the following day. And because of that, it’s likely that it was quite good and a kind of festive spirit to the… to the operation. Other things that you also need to remember is that when you’re operating an empty flight like this, the aircraft doesn’t handle like it normally does. You’re much lighter, so the performance is going to be different. It’s going to be able to do things that it normally cannot do. Knowing this this actually poses some quite significant threats, because the way that you operate an aircraft needs to be exactly the same – no matter if you’re operating with or without passengers or cabin crew. Okay, that’s just to keep in mind.


The CRJ 200 took off from Little Rock airport, and almost immediately it was apparent that this aircraft was not being flown the way it was supposed to be. Because only five seconds after takeoff, at an altitude about 450 feet, the first out of several very large pitch shock inputs came from the cockpit. The first one caused a lateral g-loading of 1.8 g’s and it pitched the attitude up to 22 degrees nose-up and caused a 3,000 feet per minute climb. This was done really quickly, followed by a stick shaker event, and then a stick pusher event, as in when the aircraft is pushing the nose forward. That was followed by full forward inputs on the yoke which leveled the aircraft off and caused a lateral loading of about 0.6 g…

When Pilots treat the Aircraft as a TOY! | Air Crash Investigation

A positioning event looks to be a great way to get the PCs in the cockpit of a starship they have no business in.

I wonder what games the PCs are going to indulge themselves in, and how long it will take until they are declared ‘overdue’.

A Word of Wisdom from the comments:


Lessons learned:

– The most dangerous skill level to have is when you know enough to get yourself into a dangerous situation, but not enough to get out of it. Beginners and masters tend to know there are limits to what they can handle, it’s the intermediate level that is most likely to get in over their heads.

– Breaking the rules is a bad idea for many reasons, but one of them is that when you break the rules and get into trouble, you may be more likely to focus on covering your mistakes instead of asking for help. But whatever you do, don’t lie about your situation when help is offered!

– The +1 rule. There is always one more factor in the situation you aren’t aware of (the unexpectedly dangerous engine design), always one more thing that goes wrong than you expected (not being able to start either engine for no apparent reason), always one more mistake that you are making that you aren’t aware of (trying to get to an airport that is no longer in glide range). If you push the limits to the point of there being no margin for error, the +1 is going to get you.

– Don’t minimize your gut feeling or sense of threat. When you start getting that sneaking suspicion that “something’s wrong, this might be a bad situation”, you are often already deep into a bad situation and need to recognize that immediately. Don’t keep acting like everything’s fine.

– There is no safe way to do unsafe things. Even if there are no passengers on board, you can still get people on the ground killed.

Traveller – and other games, like Flight Simulator – is the place to break the rules.
Not out there, in the real world, where real blood is on the line.

“If you push the limits to the point of there being no margin for error,
the +1 is going to get you.”

More correctly, it’s going to mash your brains in.

Always leave a margin for error.

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The Excellent Art of Thomas Wievegg

In The Clouds
In The Clouds
by thomaswievegg

That building is an excellent question, in and of itself.

by thomaswievegg

”Bob was one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy, he was stubborn, vegan and a man of principle.”
Click here and you can see Bob’s “phase 2”!…

Alice and Nora
Alice and Nora
by thomaswievegg

Free traders should consider giving up tomb raiding and arms smuggling… in favour of selling baby walkers.

“That’s where the real money is! Especially with the baby boom going on…”

There’s too much good art here, and I want you to go and see his two portfolios (and his website) so…

Outpost: A more typically Traveller scenario. There’s nothing like being sniped at from a mountain range two kilometers away…

Belly of the Beast: Very Scouty. Fifty-fifty that said scout is about to enter that long, long list of the entirely-too-curious dead…

Pipes: Just straight-up sci fi. A visual question though from a Traveller perspective: if there’s water nearby, why are all the pipes (mostly) ignoring the lake?

Nexus: Beautiful sci-fi.

Dust, rust and sand: A good match for the Empty Quarter stereotype within the Third Imperium.

Explorers (v.2): The biggest problem in Traveller… is that the scout crew isn’t entering a Suleiman Scout. The dog that did not bark! (And note the WH40K fanart that DOES exist!)

Strapped In: It’s a tough way to die… and you know it’s happened more than once.

First Encounter: Scouts are going to Scout.

Rush: Yes: a battle scene for the Mercs.

Delivery Ward: Very Traveller. But more than a little monstrous. *Solomani shudder*

If these monuments could talk: Traveller assumes 5000 years of interstellar Imperial history. Sometimes, the PCs should see that history…

redrocks: “Do you like being in Blood Vargr Space? I don’t…”

Aviator: There are quite a lot of different angels among the human religions. Some prefer kinetic weapons: others prefer projectile weapons.

Exile: Every Ruling House has an emergency backup plan. Some are stranger than others.

Dodge Dart: Just taking an air/raft on a ride. The one with the anachronic hull styling.

2hr fun: The Scouts are carrying real rifles? Must be a wartime mission…

Bangs: Admire the latest Court fashion… and don’t ask about the eyes.

space suit character concept: Traveller Referees are practically obligated to provide at least one Big Surprise in a spacesuit in every campaign. Hopefully, a nice surprise, and not something like these Russian, Japanese, and Swedish horrors.

“But at a distance, they looked human to me!”

“You need to get some replacement eyes.”

Wolf Tattoo: This is actually a nice tattoo for a pro-Imperial Vargr/human unit. Not sure how the Vargr members will get it on their arms, but they’re a creative bunch: they’ll think of something.

Drone patrol: Sure, it’s a stereotypical incident, but it’s pure Traveller all the same.

Futuristic beach:

“NOW I know how I’m going to set up my palace.”

“Stop dreaming.”

“Give up my goals? No way! I’ve got Noble Blood cruising through my veins! I am going to reach my destiny – you’ll see! The money, the girl, and the title”

“YOUR destiny is linked with a breached hardsuit and a radioactive environment!”



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Johnny Cage vs Scorpion

I have no idea how to get this into Traveller.

It would be fun to try, though.

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The World of Anu

I can see quite a number of interesting conflict points, without any further description. But go to the original link, and check out the description anyways: it’s quite useful for a Traveller game.

The 3D spinning globe is here.

by Sanrou

Necrocampus continentale AN. (NCAN) are the largest living organisms on Anu. Some individuals can be seen from space (4.a) and they form whole biomes of their own, with its structures resembling a terrestrial tall grass savanna (1). Their bodies are segmented into “cells”, that are independent modules of the same organism that can rearrange themselves in different configurations.

[…snip: go to the link for more…]

There is an entire (invertebrate) ecology tied to the world: go to the portfolio for more images and information.

Anu is a small and rocky planet with 31% of Terra’s gravity, a denser atmosphere and 0.17º in axial tilt

With the low gravity and extra 02 in the atmosphere, some of the invertebrates are not tiny.

Fortunately, the focus of the world is the ecosphere & lifeforms, not a bug war. Although some Referees might want to change that, I’m more of the exploration frame of mind myself.

The Contact specialists can go quite a number of ways here, from the landmass-scale lifeforms to the more intelligent critters to an aquatic or airborne sophont race. Or more than one local sophont race… or the (living or dead) relics of an extinct intelligent race.

An interesting world, Anu.

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The 1969 Apollo Guidance Computer

Really, this is just for the hardcore spacers in the audience.

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