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Spinward Marches upside down

How do we perceive a sector? What do we look for? Where is the adventure? I have discussed this before when I tried to find out why a subsector was popular. I may have been partly wrong. It looks like the position of a subsector within a sector also is an important factor.

Using a new function at the TravellerMap one can now rotate a map. (When I write this there is no UI. You have to use the API to do this.)

This is what the Spinward Marches looks like upside down:

Spinward Marches Upside down
Spinward Marches Upside down: Made using the API at TravellerMap.

So what can we see here? My eyes move up to Glisten subsector. Starting from Glisten and running a J-1 ship to Five Sisters subsector suddenly looks like an interesting idea. Lunion subsector also looks like it a good place for adventures since it is so close to the Sword Worlds. (But the Sword Worlds really needs to be stronger.)

Less interesting is the backwater Regina subsector in the lower end of the map. The conflict with the Zhodani is now in an unimportant lower corner. That doesn’t look very exciting or important any longer.

What do you see in the upside down Spinward Marches?

Idol of the Space God

Requirements: A ship and a decent reputation.

Players’ Information:

The characters are approached by an individual seeking passage to a world a few jumps away. He introduces himself as The Revered Smith-Juboru, and needs to bring along 2 displacement tons of personal cargo. In addition to his personal luggage, this turns out to be a large stone idol, about 3 meters tall and bulbous, ancient-looking but carved with outlandish stylized designs and letters in an unidentifiable script. Smith-Juboru claims to be an elder of a religion called the Childer of the New Earth.

The Idol
The Idol – Image from wikimedia – Public domain

Referee’s Information:

The Childer believe that all biological life (not just human life) started on Earth and was transplanted by unknown divine agents to bring life to the universe. They are small in number, standoffish and isolationistic, but keep in touch through “circuit priests,” individuals like Smith-Juboru who travel with their religious trappings to perform yearly rites. A preliminary check at a library data terminal confirms the Childers’ existence, but the religion is too small and diverse to have a large online presence and no specific details of the passenger can be confirmed. The idol will require special handling.


1. Everything is as it seems. Smith-Juboru is a gregarious passenger and engages the crew in lively theological/philosophical debates, but takes no offense if people are irreligious or espouse differing views. When the trip is over, he invites the crew to services on-planet, which involves some rites, followed by several days of celebrations and feasting.

2. Everything is as it seems. Smith-Juboru is a first-class pest who expects the crew to bend to his beliefs. He regularly berates crew members for behavior at odds with the Childers’ strict rules. When the trip is over and assuming the crew actually made an effort to accommodate him and the idol was delivered with no issues, he pays each crew member a Cr 1000 bonus.

3. The set-up is a sham; the idol is a prop. Smith-Juboru is a con artist who travels from Childer community to Childer community defrauding them by masquerading as a religious prophet. During the trip, he will make remarks and perform actions which should make the crew suspect the deception. The Childer at the destination are unaware of Smith-Juboru’s true nature.

4. The set-up is a sham; the idol is real. Smith-Juboru is a smuggler. He has successfully stolen the idol from a Childer community at the last port of call, and masqueraded as a priest to escape; the deception was discovered after the ship took off, and a Childer group takes ship to pursue the PCs. Smith-Juboru has a buyer lined up at the next port of call, and will be in a hurry to disembark when the PCs arrive. The PCs will be asked for assistance offloading and delivering the idol to Smith-Juboru’s prearranged meeting point. There the PCs will see Smith-Juboru accept a briefcase from a man surrounded by heavily armed bodyguards, then the scammer will sneak off, using transportation he stashed nearby for just this purpose. The Childer vigilantes will arrive after Smith-Juboru has left but before the buyer can depart with his purchase. The referee must determine the flow of subsequent events.

5. The set-up is a sham; the idol is a trap. The destination is a sparsely inhabited system near the edge of the territory. The idol contains an EMP-generator which Smith-Juboru will set off as the characters arrive in-system; it will disable any ship system on a throw of 5+ (roll for each system — twice for communications and sensor systems). Smith-Juboru will have locked himself in his cabin and is a good combatant; there he will wait for his partners (in a shuttle nearby) to take over the disabled ship. The referee must determine the flow of subsequent events.

6. The set-up is a sham; the idol is an Ancient artifact. Smith-Juboru is a psionics researcher who has discovered the idol, which apparently functions as a psionically accessed computer. The idol-computer’s capabilities, the effect it has on Smith-Juboru and the crew in-flight, and its ultimate purpose are unknown to any – even Smith-Juboru doesn’t know what it can do. The referee must determine the flow of subsequent events.

Spherical Space Ships

In science fiction we have seen lots of spherical space ships. We remember the ships used by the Space Vikings by H. Beam Piper and the Death Star from Star Wars and the Heart of Gold from the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the ship from E.T. and the Borg Sphere from Star Trek: First Contact and lots of more.

Space Viking - Mercenary Cruiser
Image from Project Gutenberg. Copyright expired.

In Traveller we have the Mercenary Cruiser and the Tigress class. We all know that the Mercenary Cruiser is supposed to be able to land. But in Traveller it cannot do that since it is only partially streamlined and the rules say that it then cannot land. I think it should be able to land under certain conditions. These conditions might be a slow decent and no flying in the atmosphere. For a quick assault, the cutters would still be needed.

Some pretty pictures of the Mercenary Cruiser:

Some pretty pictures of the Tigress:

Peter Elson, who has painted a lot of the images for TTA (that we love) has also made a spherical ship. This ship is also able to land in an atmosphere.

The Long Result by Peter Elson.
The Long Result by Peter Elson.
Posted by permission of the estate of Peter Elson.
© Peter Elson.