PILGRIM: Travels in Space
Term and Technology Replacements for d20 Future
- Induction Engines are replaced with Plasma Induction Drives. The two function the same. A plasma induction drive functions by producing plasma in a fusion process, whilst simultaneously generating and controlling a gravitational field within the drive output. This provides and propels plasma through specialized fusion torches, which are included in the system and are the primary output method.
- Heavy lasers, and laser weapon technology in general, are replaced with mass drivers. They provide the same function. Mass drivers are weapons which accelerate masses at high speed by sending them down a tube layered with electromagnets, pulling the mass at very high speeds.
As I find more elements I’d like to change concerning technology, I will post them here, but for now, these are the major changes, mostly reflected in name changes and changes in application.
- VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) Systems: Certain ships of Light or Ultralight size can adapt their engines to become capable of taking off and landing without the need of a runway, flat surface or landing grid. By rotating their engine outputs downward, ships can lift off and slow their descents easily, granting access to difficult terrain and unusual landing locations. Unfortunately, the expense for this adaptation is a decrease in speed and maneuvering ability while in the atmosphere or in space.
Tactical Speed Penalty: -500 ft. (-1 square)
Purchase DC: 21
Human technology is generally at the end of PL6 and close to the start of PL7 (consult the d20 Future Sourcebook for information on PL Levels). Plasma induction drives and the limited gravity technology afforded by that level of energy have slowly started to become more common among cities, vehicles, and vessels. Much of the technology of PL6, like fusion reactors, virtual networks, and genetic engineering are still in regular use, thanks to their affordability and adaptability.
Early attempts at interstellar travel begin at this point. Closer to home, spacecraft can and do regularly travel between planets, especially in the Inner Planets, where humanity is abundant. This is made easy thanks to expensive jump gates, which orbit large bodies and provide high-speed transit between major worlds at the pace of days instead of weeks on conventional drives. Spaceports on planetary bodies with atmospheres are outfitted with landing grids, massive gravitational systems that slow the descent of vessels and gently guide them down, or even up into the atmosphere. Limited computer networks operate using this gate technology, but most planetary bodies feature their own independent internets, which share data packets at a slow pace.
Hovervehicles, previously only accessible to military personnel, have become intensely popular among monied individuals. Wheeled vehicles still remain in strong circulation, but regularly see diminishing sales every year. Hover vehicles are perfectly capable of traveling up to the upper atmosphere, but traffic control restricts their use to up to 2,000 ft. or less.
Robotics is still limited (functioning at a PL6 level for our purposes), due to a greater demand being placed on programmed manufacturing robots, which require little in the way of intelligence. However, some important strides have been made in producing robots with simplistic artificial intelligence, enough so where they can interact with humans and learn from their experiences. Nevertheless, they are exorbitantly expensive. Most robots that are seen are simple, performing tedious functions or serving in combat roles. Cybernetics has seen a broader appeal, with limbs, body parts, and senses receiving technological replacements or upgrades. Severe pushback exists for virtual connections to the human brain, so few individuals exist with the ability to jack into a network using only their own mind.
Genetic engineering and exposure to radiation (a relatively more common problem with space travel and life on Earth) has led to minute mutations and genetic changes to appear in the human population. Most of these mutations are limited to differences in appearance or minor attributes. Severe mutation is often a taboo topic in society. While it’s not outright attacked, most people tend to see mutants and gene-splicers as second-class citizens.