Glorious Rides, Part 1: Alternative Modes of Transportation, Bicycles to Golf Carts

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 14, 2020 - 3:28pm
What follows is an offshoot of some other stories I am working on for Frontier Explorer Magazine -- such as the vehicle construction rules and ground vehicle combat rules.

This stuff seems like it is extensive enough that it needs a separate forum topic and hence a separate story.

I've been out of action for the last three weeks due to illness, so hopefully I will now be more on track with various things.
Joe Cabadas
Comments:

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 16, 2020 - 6:54pm

Star Law ranger wannabe Baul Plart was huffing and puffing as he ran after the pickpocket who had snatched his wallet.

Damn those Vrusk can move fast, he thought as he bounded past some shoppers who were entering the mall entrance. Exiting into the daylight, Plart saw a young Yazarian female was just getting ready to lock up a bicycle nearby.

“Sorry, ma’am, I have an emergency,” Plart declared as he yanked the bicycle away from the bike rack.

“Hey! That’s mine!”

“Mall security.” Plart pointed at his uniform, hoping that would get the point home. Hopping on the seat, he took off pedaling after the fleeing Vrusk, who was already running down an aisle of parked vehicles,

He felt a slight jerk, as the Yazarian tried to stop him, but he broke free from her grasp.

“This is Plart,” he spoke loudly enough so the chronocom microphone on his chest would pick up his voice. “The suspect is outside of the southeast entrance. Where are those security bots?”

With a car just pulling out in front of him, Plart swerved into a parallel parking aisle while still chasing the suspect on the bike. Even as he drew closer, pedaling as fast as he could, the pickpocket clambered into a waiting ground car, which was driven by another Vrusk.

Getting within three meters of the car, his gaze meeting the compound eyes of the thief. The tattooed Vrusk was laughing at him. The car’s wheels squealed as the vehicle suddenly backed up toward him.

Jumping away, Plart just managed to avoid getting as the car ran over the bicycle, mangling its wheels. The criminals sped off.

Dusting himself off, Plart was about to make another report to the security office when Yazarian female came up behind him.

 

“You wrecked it,” she snarled, grasping his arm…

Sometimes while adventuring on the worlds of the Frontier, player characters and their band of NPCs won’t have a hover bike or an Explorer at their beck and call. They won’t be wearing exoskeletons or will be decked out in powered armor, nor is the glijet fueled up and ready to go.

Sometimes, they may need to make do with some more mundane modes of urban transportation. This story will look at some of these alternative ways to get around the city – or even down a country lane or bike path.

In keeping with the vehicle construction rules that were created by writer Larry Moore in issue 15 of Star Frontiersman Magazine (the predecessor publication to Frontier Explorer, which can still be found online), small vehicle such as bicycles, mopeds, golf/utility carts, ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) and the like will have a vehicle size and stamina or structure points.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 16, 2020 - 6:55pm

Bicycles

Characters on a bicycle can typically travel much faster than on foot. Usually only minor maintenance is needed and the only “fuel” required is the food that a character needs to eat. On flat ground, a bicyclist can travel at a leisurely pace of 15 kilometers per hour while only expending one-third of the energy of walking.

Typically, bicycles have a movement advantage on clear and highway terrain. The average Frontier bicycle is made of a plasti-steel composite frame and have airless-tires, meaning that they do not “go flat.”

They can be outfitted with various accessories including a small basket to help carry items or chemical- or battery-powered motor. Motorized bikes are basically light mopeds.

Humans, yazarians and dralasites can use the same style of bicycles. Vrusk models are larger, with far more pedals and a complicated gear system and cost 50 percent more than the average bike, though dralasites have been known to be able to operate them. Satharoids (sathar/sessu) would have their own models that cannot be used by non-similar species.

Revised Text:

Humans, yazarians and dralasites can use the similar style of bicycles. Vrusk models are larger, with far more pedals and a complicated gear system and cost 10 percent more than the average bike, though dralasites have been known to be able to operate them. Other species such as Oskar, Humma, Ifshnits, Satharoids (sathar/sessu) and the like would have their own models that cannot be used by non-similar species.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 14, 2020 - 3:45pm

Purchase Cost: 500 Credits. Rental: 5 Cr. plus 5 Cr. per day

Cruise Speed: Three times walking speed. Top Speed: Three times running speed.

Accel./Decel.: NA/50 m/t. Turn Speed: Running speed

Passengers: 1. Cargo Limit: NA.

Joe Cabadas

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 15, 2020 - 11:58pm
IMHO a Vrusk 'bike' might be more practical if it was not similar to a human version, although I'd also say the same for Dralasites too. Something more akin to a trike with two wheels at the front in which the Vrusk rests in a cradle. The rearmost set of legs could operate something akin to pedals, by pushing back on them.

In my experience with trying to design stuff like this, taking a human analogue and trying to make it fit a non-human doesn't always work and can get a bit over-complicated. Worst still, some races are penalised because their version is simply seen as 'more complex' than the human version, which assumes that the human version is the best and is the default. It's obviously not to a Vrusk, or a Humma, or an Osokar, etc. It's better just to think of analogues - if at some point in their history, the Vrusk (for example) needed a 'bike', how would their physiology have formed the design?

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 16, 2020 - 1:30pm
KRingway wrote:
IMHO a Vrusk 'bike' might be more practical if it was not similar to a human version, although I'd also say the same for Dralasites too. Something more akin to a trike with two wheels at the front in which the Vrusk rests in a cradle. The rearmost set of legs could operate something akin to pedals, by pushing back on them.

In my experience with trying to design stuff like this, taking a human analogue and trying to make it fit a non-human doesn't always work and can get a bit over-complicated. Worst still, some races are penalised because their version is simply seen as 'more complex' than the human version, which assumes that the human version is the best and is the default. It's obviously not to a Vrusk, or a Humma, or an Osokar, etc. It's better just to think of analogues - if at some point in their history, the Vrusk (for example) needed a 'bike', how would their physiology have formed the design?

I will incorporate your ideas into my story! Thanks.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 16, 2020 - 6:55pm

Bicycle Variants

Mountain Bike.  Generally built to be more sturdy with wider tires and shock absorbers, mountain bikes can be used off road in more rough terrain (with limits). They are not as swift on paved roads as normal bicycles and are more expensive.

Tandem Bicycle. An unusual bicycle variant that allows two characters to travel together. While they may not be able to go faster, the tandem riders can expend 50 percent less energy while riding.

Tricycle. Another bike variant is the trike. It sacrifices speed and off road capability for stability and permits the cyclist to carry more cargo in any optional baskets.

Tandem Trike. This unusual tricycle allows two users to sit next to each other instead of one behind the other. One character is the driver, who can also operate the brakes, while both users can pedal. Tandem trikes suffer when it comes to off-road capabilities along with being wider than a normal bicycle or tricycle.

Quadracycle. Also called a surrey – a term which can also refer to  horse-drawn carriage – the quadricycle is a four-wheel bicycle that can come in two-, four- or even six-person configurations. These conveyances are more common at resorts or other entertainment venues but are rarely seen elsewhere.

Antique Bicycles. These can range from ancient wooden hobby horses – bicycles without pedals – to velocipedes or high wheelers (also called “penny-farthing” or “bone-shaker”) bicycles. Velocipedes generally have a slightly larger wheel in front where the pedals are located, with a slightly smaller wheel in back.

High wheel bicycles have a very large front wheel (generally between 90-132 centimeters tall) and a tiny wheel in back. Since antique bicycles did not have gears, the big wheel allowed the bicyclist to move faster. Another benefit was that the wheels allowed them to travel somewhat easier over rough roads. These conveyances could be pedaled fast and were used in early bicycle races.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 17, 2020 - 11:57am

Bicycle Accessories

Bells/Horns. These are simple warning devices that can be attached to the handlebars of a bicycle. Bells are typically manually operated. Horns can include the classic bulb horn, where the bicyclist squeezes a rubber bulb that forces air through a reed located at the throat of the horn. Other bicycle horns might be battery powered or even use a canister of compressed air for a louder sound. 

Baskets. Baskets can be fitted to the front or even the back of a bicycle to increase carrying capacity while reducing encumbrance penalties. Tricycles typically can have a very large basket at the back.

Pouches. These are small, sidesaddle carrying pouches that a character can store small objects in. This increases the carrying capacity of the bicycle without encumbrance penalties.

Water Bottles. Typically this is a 650 milliliter (22 ounce) plastic water bottle with a holding rack that fits on the bicycle.

Nighttime Riding Lights. On many urbanized worlds, bicyclists are encouraged or even legally required to have some sort of lighting if a bike is to be used at night. Mopeds – see below – are required to have lights. For example, this could be simply a character using a normal flashlight attached to the bike with a clip. However, some communities may also require a back light along with reflectors.

Riding lights – a headlight for the front and a rear light for the back – can either be powered by a simple battery (less than 1 SEU) that could last for 20 hours of constant use. Or, the lights are powered by the rider using a dynamo (magento) system. Dynamo lighting does not require  battery, but they will not emit any light when the bicycle is stationary. 

Moped Conversion. For game purposes, a moped will be any motor-assisted bicycle (or tricycle or quadricycle) fitted with a chemical or electrical motor. This motor will propel the bicycle up to maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour (kph). The bicyclist can rest while the motor is running or can also use the pedals to increase fuel mileage – i.e. range.

The chemical motor is basically  small, two-stroke, air-cooled internal combustion engine with 1.5 liter tank. Its maximum range without pedaling is 100 kilometers. ICE engines may be banned on some medium to high population worlds due to pollution concerns.

The electrical motor is powered by a rechargeable battery with the equivalent of 5 SEUs. Its maximum range, without pedaling, is 150 kilometers.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 16, 2020 - 8:04pm

…It had taken some quick negotiating, but Baul Plart had convinced Llalaur – the yazarian – that he had not intentionally tried to damage her bicycle and that he vowed to replace it. For her part, Lalaur vowed that the vrusk criminals would be her life enemy.

The local cops had come in, taken his report and left several hours ago. The crooks had acted fast. They had siphoned off some 812 Credits from his account before the bank put it on hold. They were some kind of local gang – a vrusk-only gang. Very unusual, Plart contemplated as he walked out into parking lot, heading for his ground scooter.

Peaking up over the horizon in the nighttime sky was the crescent of Evergleem, Triad’s moon.

“Hey! Mall cop!” called out a voice behind him, breaking Plart’s reverie. He turned and saw Llalaur and another yazarian striding toward him.

“Yes? Is there something I can do?”

“Yeah, you can help me get revenge for my bike getting wrecked.” The two yazarians had reached him.

“How am I going to do that?”

“By tracking down the crooks,” the other yazarian, a shorter male, said.

Blinking, Plart ran a hand over his chin. “The police are handling all that.”

“Where’s your honor, human,” Llalaur said. “Some thieves steal from you and you want to leave it to the police?”

The male yazarian nodded. “We can find them and get payback.”

“I’m sorry, but who are you?”

“He’s Crank, my clan mate,” Llalaur said. “So, mall cop, are you going to join us?”

Pursing his lips, Plart said, “I guess we can at least find out where the tattooed vrusk are at. Then we can notify the police. But let's get some food first…”

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 17, 2020 - 3:14pm

Scooters

One of the minor commuter vehicles between a moped and a ground or hover cycle are scooters. Most of these vehicles are ground – i.e. wheeled – scooters though hover scooters are popular on some planets. The smallest scooters only can carry one adult-size passenger but the larger versions can carry two adults along with a moderate amount of cargo.  

As with most Frontier vehicles, scooter seats and controls can quickly be rearranged to meet the anatomical needs of any of the Core Four races at no extra cost. Most have what is called a “step through” chassis along with a footboard.

Small Ground Scooter. As like most ground scooters, the basic one-passenger model rides on 26-centimeter wheels. It has a lockable storage compartment under the seat.

Medium Ground Scooter. This scooter can sit one adult and one child-size passenger. It also has a larger storage compartment than the small scooter.

Large Ground Scooter. Capable of transporting two adult sized passengers, it has two sidesaddle storage compartments.

Small Hover Scooter. This is a hover version of the small ground scooter.

Medium Hover Scooter. This is a hover version of the medium ground scooter.

Large Hover Scooter. This is a hover version of the large ground scooter.

Joe Cabadas

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 18, 2020 - 9:46am
It should be noted that bigger scooters go faster. In the modern world maxi-scooters (600-650cc twins) can reach freeway speeds and beyond, and are actuall more powerful than some equivalent sized motorcycles in that regard.

Also, there's an option for the mid-sized+ platform:

All things Lambretta & Vespa : Photo | Vespa scooters, Vespa, Vespa vintage
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 19, 2020 - 11:35am
quote=Shadow Shack]It should be noted that bigger scooters go faster. In the modern world maxi-scooters (600-650cc twins) can reach freeway speeds and beyond, and are actuall more powerful than some equivalent sized motorcycles in that regard.

Also, there's an option for the mid-sized+ platform:

All things Lambretta & Vespa : Photo | Vespa scooters, Vespa, Vespa vintage
[/quote]

Thanks for the critique
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 19, 2020 - 3:15pm

Scooter Accessories

Auto Rickshaw Conversion. Some medium and large scooters are converted to carrying not only the driver (which could be a robot) but also two adult-sized passengers and a moderate amount of cargo. The auto rickshaw has an enclosed or semi-enclosed cabin that offers passengers protection from the elements. The motors and suspension systems of these vehicles have been improved to handle the extra weight.

Auto rickshaws can pull a utility trailer and an additional luggage rack but cannot have  sidecar attached to them.

Basic Entertainment System. This is the Frontier equivalent of radio and speakers.

Basic Collision Warning System. This provides the scooter with various vehicle sensors which will provide the driver with a 10 percent bonus for any Reaction Speed checks to avoid colliding with other vehicles (including bumping maneuvers), pedestrians, animals, trees, lamp posts, roadway obstructions, etc.

Chemical Engine Replacement. On some planets where petrochemicals are plentiful and where laws permit it, an internal combustion engine replaces the scooter’s batteries.

Scooter Luggage Rack. This is a small rack that is added to the back of the scooter. It increases the scooter’s cargo capacity by 50 percent.

Scooter Sidecar. Sidecars can be added to medium and large scooters. It increases their passenger carrying capacity by one character and boosts cargo carrying capacity by 50 percent. Note, a scooters are not powerful enough to both have a sidecar and a utility trailer attached to them. The vehicle’s performance suffers however.

Scooter Utility Trailer. Only the medium and large scooters can pull a utility trailer, which increases its cargo carrying capacity but at the cost of vehicle performance. Note, scooters are not powerful enough to both pull a trailer and have a sidecar attached to them.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 22, 2020 - 5:42pm

The hanging ceiling lamp cast a weak light through the incense smoke. Plart fought off an urge to sneeze and his eyes watered while he settled into place. The divan creaked under him.

Looking at the drab, brownish-gray walls, he asked, “ Are you sure this is the right place?

From across the low lying table, Llalaur leaned forward. “Madam K’lee Yo is a true Triadian shaman…”

“And she’s the best lead we have,” added Crank, who was seated next to her.

“…Especially if you want your vengeance on those crooks, mall cop,” finished Llalaur.

Shaking his head, Plart said, “I don’t know. I didn’t think vrusk were into that kind of thing. Do they have a trade house for witchdoctors?”

“They don’t have trade houses for crooks either like the Zenk crime syndicate,” Crank said. “Be glad the ones who waylaid you aren’t those type.”

“As far as we know,” Plart replied.

Llalaur nodded. “As far as we know.”

A deep clang reverberated in the air from someone banging a gong. The shuffling of feet came from the hallway and moments later a vrusk female passed through the hanging beaded curtain. Wearing a flowing, colorful outfit. Crystal glass jewelry pierced her dull green carapace where it was exposed.

“All rise for Madam K’lee Yo,” came a booming male voice that seemed to fill the air of the room from everywhere.

Plart, Llalaur and Crank got to their feet s K’lee Yo strutted up to them. She gestured to them. “Prithee be seated,” she said, and sat on her own ornate, saddle-shaped seat.

“Ah, Madam K’lee Yo…,” Plart began, but she gestured for him to shush.

Humming some kind of incantation, K’lee Yo rubbed her hands above a scintillating glass orb that floated above the table that was covered with  purple and gold speckled cloth. “Thou cometh seeking thy knowledge,” she intoned. “About those who stole from thou… and from those who art a life foe…” She looked at Plart and Llalaur. “It wilt be 60 Credits for more.”

Grumbling, Plart keyed in the code for his portion of the psychic reading payment. Llalaur provided some credit chits from her waist purse.

“Now, then,” Plart said, “we want to find out about the thieves who’ve been hitting the Sunnydale Mall and stole my wallet.”

“And ruined my bike,” added Llalaur.

“Thus challenging my clan mate’s honor,” Crank interjected.

“Patience while thy seek ye spirts.” K’lee Yo began another incantation while fluttering her hands around the floating glass orb, without actually touching it. “Those thou seek art dangerous… They art tattooed phantoms of ye night…”

“More like one male vrusk pickpocket and a getaway driver,” Plart said.

“Nay. They art number four,” K’lee Yo said while gazing into the orb. “Ye phantoms include three vrusk males and a dralasite. They seekth the riches of others and resolve to plunder more ill-gotten goods if not stopped…”

When K’lee Yo paused for several moments, Crank spoke up. “That’s great, but where can these four ‘phantoms’ be found?”

Humming some more, K’lee Yo said, “Ye phantoms art at the arched rock… on a thoroughfare of green whence men with sticks strike dimpled white spheres…”

“Whence men with sticks…?” Plart began asking when an idea popped into his head. “Are you saying the pickpocket…”

“...and his accomplices,” K’lee Yo said.

“…and his accomplices are at a golf course?” Plart finished.

“Verily dost thou understand.”

“Why didn’t you just say that?”

“Thy describe the sight as ye spirits reveal it to thy.”

Exchanging a look of exasperation with Llalaur and Crank, Plank said, “Well, so we just have to find a golf course where three vrusk and a dralasite hang out at. That shouldn’t be too hard.”

“Naught one,” K’lee Yo pointed at him. “Ye tattooed phantoms art at ye arched rock! Upon that rock thou dost find them. Thy beseech thee to be watchful or thou shalt find only pain tither.” She then made a sweeping gesture with her arm. “That is all ye spirts showth thy.”

The gong sounded and a rather tall and muscular man appeared at the beaded curtain doorway. “Your reading session with Madam K’lee Yo is over. You will accompany me out the back exit.”

Llalaur stood and tugged at Plart’s arm to prompt him to rise. “Thank you, Madam K’lee Yo for hearing us.”

“Thou do fine, child.”

As he turned to leave, Plart asked one more question. “How do you get that crystal ball to float in the air?”

“It tis the power of ye orb of sight.”

“I bet it’s some sort of inertia screen doing it,” Plart said before he and his companions left.

 

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 22, 2020 - 5:38pm

Low-Speed Vehicles

Low-speed vehicles are a class of four-wheeled ground craft that travel at 40 kilometers per hour or less. They are intended for short commutes, such as around a neighborhood, a resort or other entertainment venues or even enclosed space colonies.

While some will think merely of golf carts or various powered utility carts, there are vehicles such as the Polaris GEM (formerly a brand of the old DaimlerChrysler automaker) which offers a range of semi-enclosed to fully enclosed passenger vehicles. At one time, even Ford Motor Company had once purchased a Norwegian electric vehicle manufacturer called Th!nk in the late 1990s.

Yet, after the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001, and a resulting economic downturn, Ford rethought its strategy and sold off Th!nk. The tiny Norwegian company went bankrupt in 2011.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 23, 2020 - 7:51am

LSVs come in either an open or closed cabin design and usually have a lockable storage compartment plus a basic entertainment system (i.e. a radio). The advantages of the closed cabin vehicles is that they will not only protect their passengers from the elements, but also have a HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system. Removable clear plastic rain screens can be added to the sides of the open cabin LSVs.

Two-Seat LSV. This is an entry-level low-speed vehicle. It offers a very tight turning radius for cramped areas. A small, open utility cargo bed can be added to the back, replacing the cargo trunk.

Four-Seat LSV. A mid-range LSV, this four seater offers more legroom along more storage space. It can come with an open or a closed cabin (with four doors) and the storage compartment can be replaced with a cargo bed. If the rear two seats are removed, it can accommodate an even larger cargo bed.

Six-Seat LSV. The largest of this class of vehicles, it can easily sit four adult characters. Again, it is available in an open or closed cabin configuration (six doors). It can have a cargo bed that replaces the enclosed cargo area or two or four of the rear seats can be replaced for even larger cargo beds.

Golf/Utility Carts. Smaller, less powerful and slower than LSVs, golf/utility carts come in three or four-wheel styles. As a golf cart, the vehicle sits two adult size characters in front and has space for two golf bags and a few other items. Some golf carts swap out the rear cargo area for two extra seats so it can carry four passengers, but only the belongings that they can carry.

The utility cart version only can seat two adult size characters and has a small cargo bed in back. 

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 24, 2020 - 6:09pm

LSV and Golf/Utility Cart Accessories

Short Cargo Bed. Replacing the rear cargo area on an LSV or a golf cart, the short bed increases the payload capacity to 150 kilograms when installed. It measures 76 cm wide by 100 cm long.

Medium Cargo Bed. This accessory can be used on the four- and six-seat LSVs. Measuring 76 cm wide by 220 cm long, it replaces the rear cargo area and the last row of seats. The vehicle can haul an additional 300 kilograms of cargo.

Long Cargo Bed. Used only on the six-seat LSV, it measures 80 cm wide by 350 cm long. The vehicle can haul an additional 500 kilograms of cargo.

Short, Medium and Long Cargo Boxes. Mounted over the respective cargo bed, it offers an enclosed and lockable storage area. The cargo boxes are the same length and width as the cargo bed and are 150 cm tall.

Overhead Storage Racks. These storage racks are mounted above a cargo box, allowing the vehicle to carry ladders and other long tools that will not fit in the cargo box. It allows the vehicle to carry an additional cargo equal to 10 percent of what the cargo bed can hold.

Pup Trailer. This is a small trailer that can be pulled by golf carts or LSVs. It increases the payload capacity by 50 kilograms.

Medium Trailer. This trailer can be pulled by the four- or six-seat LSVs. It increases the cargo carrying capacity by an added 100 kilograms.

Long Trailer. The long trailer can be pulled by the four- or six-seat LSVs. It increases the cargo carring capacity by 160 kilograms.

Soft Canvas Doors. For golf carts and LSVs, the soft canvas doors include clear plastic windows. They zip open and can be rolled aside for characters to enter or exit a vehicle while providing passengers a degree of protection from bad weather.

Dash Mounted Fans. These fans can be installed on both the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle (golf carts and LSVs) to help provide cooling in warmer climates.

Joe Cabadas

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 26, 2020 - 2:25am
One suggestion I might add is that anything needing fuel simply uses the same stuff that powers glijets, working from the assumption that that fuel is commonly available. One could also rule that that fuel contains few, if any, pollutants.

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 26, 2020 - 11:54am
KRingway wrote:
One suggestion I might add is that anything needing fuel simply uses the same stuff that powers glijets, working from the assumption that that fuel is commonly available. One could also rule that that fuel contains few, if any, pollutants.

Hmm, that would work!
Joe Cabadas

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 27, 2020 - 7:04am
The KISS rule is never a bad idea

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!