Sunday, 15 October 2017

Delivering the mail in Stars without Number

Communication between the Stars

It has been a few months since I read my Stars Without Number rules but I believe there is not a lot mentioned about communication between star systems (and I just did a quick perusal again). Even psychics at the height of the Terran Mandate were unable to communicate between worlds.

This fits in perfectly with how planets became completely cut off during the silence that followed the scream. With my Wolf Sector setting there are a few confederations of planets that have pulled together for mutual protection or trade (or have been overwhelmed by stronger worlds).  These confederations of planets will want to stay in close communication. Something that is not possible by at the light year distances between systems.

A logical idea would be small drone ships with jump drives that jump from system to system and transmit and receive the latest information. News, financial transactions, legal documents and entertainment could be transmitted in a few hours while the drone refuels then jumps again. In this case planets could get weekly or even daily updates. This idea has some merit but I have envisioned that the Spike Drive engines are newly rediscovered technology. The latest versions are still massive, even when only a small mass needs to be moved.

Information is transmitted from system to system in Wolf Sector via small, scout starships. Naval ships come daily with government information and news, commercial line mail ships arrive every few days (if you are in the UOS systems) and independant scout ships arrive on a random schedule.

The Rapier Class scout "Talent for Trouble" approaching the planet Tyr.

This communication allows beginning players to buy a small scout ship and supplement their income by hauling the mail. In this case most mail is going to be digital but there is always going to be things that cannot be transmitted.

Ten ideas for items moved by a Mail Ship

  1. Financial documents requiring hard documents.
  2. Gold, gems other hard currencies used to legitimize credits.
  3. Corporate secrets that are too risky to transmit.
  4. Top secret new technology.
  5. Personal gifts.
  6. Illegal pharmaceuticals.
  7. High end luxury foods.
  8. Bottles of Esgari Redwine.
  9. That must have component for a machine that can only be found on the originating planet.
  10. Small animals (pets).

This was just off the top of my head. I am sure I will be able to think of all sorts of small items that could fit on a small starship. The size of scout ship I am thinking of would be 80% spike drive engines and fuel tanks with no room for cargo or even living quarters.

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