Warp Traveller

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Tom Kalbfus
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Warp Traveller

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:40 pm

What if we used the sample subsector map in the Core Rulebook as the setting in which warp engines take the place of the Jump Drive. I would add this, have the warp engines do double duty as a maneuver drive within 100 world diameters, that is where the warp drive does not operate as a warp drive, because it is too close to a world, then instead it operates as a manuever drive as the same rating as the warp drive. There are still dedicated maneuver drives, called "Impulse engines" here and they do 1 to 6 gees of acceleration, but a warp engine can also do the same job, and starships equipped with warp engines don't need seperate maneuver drives to manuever around when not at warp. What do you think of this idea. Same rule applies for the 100 ton minimum for mounting a warp drive, so smallcraft use maneuver drives same as always. Certain categories of spaceships don't make sense however, the Serpent Police Cutter for instance. The fuel consumption for the warp drive is the same as the fuel consumption of maneuver drive of the same number. The warp drive fuel consumption rule only applies when they ship is actually at warp.

What do you think this setting would be like?
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby simonh » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:38 pm

There will be two main effects.

The first effect will be the same as normal when using warp drives instead of jump drives. Starship range will be greatly increased, and overall travel times over long distances will be greatly reduced for two reasons, even if notional weeks per parsec stay the same. The first reason is because ships won't need to stop to refuel as frequently. The second is that ships will always be able to go in a streight line, instead of having to hop around to intermediate destinations. Runs of empty hex that would completely block an insufficiently powerful jump drive would no longer be an obstacle, so the way ships navigate around the map will be fundamentally different.

The second effect will be that fast warp ships will also always be fast STL ships^. That's not the case in standard Traveller. You can have a ship with a high Jump number that has only a 1G M-drive, or a J-1 ship with a 6G M-drive. With your change, that's no longer the case. Also as a result, fast/long range ships become cheaper and their drives and fuel take up less space on the ship than with regular warp.

Note that as with any campaign using the warp drive option, there are a few issues you need to decide that aren't covered in the TMB:

* Can ships use sensors in warp? can they detect other warp capable ships? Do sensor scans propagate 'instantley' (ignoring relativitly completely)?

* Can ships communicate while in Warp? Is there a Warp radio, or subspace comms like in Star Trek?

* Can they manoeuver in warp, i.e. chnage speed and direction? (And if so are they blind, see Sensors above)

* Can ships fight in warp? If so, how does that work?

* Can unmanned ships, drones or torpedoes operate in warp?

* What happens when a vehicle in warp encounters a gravity field? A planet?

The answers to these questions will have massive impact on how the setting works.

Simon Hibbs

^ Edit: this is my main reason for not liking this aspect of the idea. It makes ships less diverse and therefore less interesting by getting rid of an interesting set of tradeoffs in the design system. What was your reason for introducing it?
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby Reynard » Tue Jun 16, 2015 9:08 pm

"What do you think this setting would be like?"

Duh, Star Trek....
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:47 am

simonh wrote:There will be two main effects.

The first effect will be the same as normal when using warp drives instead of jump drives. Starship range will be greatly increased, and overall travel times over long distances will be greatly reduced for two reasons, even if notional weeks per parsec stay the same. The first reason is because ships won't need to stop to refuel as frequently. The second is that ships will always be able to go in a streight line, instead of having to hop around to intermediate destinations. Runs of empty hex that would completely block an insufficiently powerful jump drive would no longer be an obstacle, so the way ships navigate around the map will be fundamentally different.

The second effect will be that fast warp ships will also always be fast STL ships^. That's not the case in standard Traveller. You can have a ship with a high Jump number that has only a 1G M-drive, or a J-1 ship with a 6G M-drive. With your change, that's no longer the case. Also as a result, fast/long range ships become cheaper and their drives and fuel take up less space on the ship than with regular warp.

Note that as with any campaign using the warp drive option, there are a few issues you need to decide that aren't covered in the TMB:

* Can ships use sensors in warp? can they detect other warp capable ships? Do sensor scans propagate 'instantley' (ignoring relativitly completely)?

* Can ships communicate while in Warp? Is there a Warp radio, or subspace comms like in Star Trek?

* Can they manoeuver in warp, i.e. chnage speed and direction? (And if so are they blind, see Sensors above)

* Can ships fight in warp? If so, how does that work?

* Can unmanned ships, drones or torpedoes operate in warp?

* What happens when a vehicle in warp encounters a gravity field? A planet?

The answers to these questions will have massive impact on how the setting works.

Simon Hibbs

^ Edit: this is my main reason for not liking this aspect of the idea. It makes ships less diverse and therefore less interesting by getting rid of an interesting set of tradeoffs in the design system. What was your reason for introducing it?
There is NASA research on both a reaction-less drive and a warp drive and some people think the two would be related. And the way warp drive works, it seems to me that it would also work for slower than light speeds, there is no reason to suppose it would only work for FTL if it works at all. You basically contract space ahead of the ship and expand it behind, just as the Universe expands, and there are part of the Universe expanding away from each other at slower than light speeds and parts expanding away from other parts at faster than light speeds. You see unlike Jump Drive, warp drive can also be used in place of a maneuver drive. The actually maneuver drive only in this setting is a precursor to the warp drive, artificial gravity is a precursor to the maneuver drive so that is the hierarchy of these technologies. Artificial gravity and anti-gravity is developed at late tech level 8, the maneuver drive at tech level 9, and the warp drive finally at tech level 10. Communication might be achieved with warp torpedoes, though actual starships that use warp drive and carry crews must be at least 100 tons, unmanned warp drones and torpedos can be smaller, lets say as small as 10 tons, but the warping of space would kill any living occupants, only hardened materials can survive the gravitational stresses inside these vehicles. There is no actual FTL radio, but one can send a 10 ton warp torpedo bearing a message at warp 6, upon arrival the warp torpedo enters the gravity well of a planet and broadcasts a message using electromagnetic radiation, lasers, radio or some other light speed medium. So word travels fast, but its not instantaneous and its expensive. Communications torpedoes can be reused, but the warp field causes stress and maintenance is usually required before reuse.

There are no FTL sensors, if an object gets in the path of a warp ship and its too bg to be shoved aside by the warp field, then the warp ship drops out of warp, same as if it entered the gravity field of a planet. Chances of encountering a rogue planet in interstellar space is minute however. A warp ship is effectively traveling blind, it typically drops out of warp every hour to take a sensor reading and then goes back into warp, its no big deal to do this.
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby locarno24 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:30 am

I'd stick to having manouvre and warp drives seperate - as noted, it retains an interesting set of tradeoffs in design.

What would the setting be like?

Well, there are three critical effects for using the warp drive rules, all of which are broadly "good" from the perspective of the universe's inhabitents, but probably bad from the perspective of adventurers, tramp traders and pirates - i.e. the PCs.

1) Things cost less to import/export.
If you use warp drive with a decent (i.e. not Jump/1) drive, you use less fuel per jump and take less time - and have to carry less fuel. Which translates to massively lower running costs, which means that the cost of buying tech from offworld locally in the sector relative to making things locally.

WRT trade costs, let's do a quick thought experiment with a modified far trader (the Star Hunter was the first ship to come to hand) with a crew of four - pilot, astrogator, engineer, medic (astrogator and medic doing double duty as gunners where needed).

That leaves two empty staterooms (which we'll ignore or use as common rooms), and the 38 dTons of cargo (which we'll assume you manage to fill every time).


OTU/Jump Drive
Assuming negligible layover time, you can make two return trips between adjacent systems in a month. That means you've shifted 152 dTons.

In doing so you've spent Cr 45,991 on crew salaries, maintenance and life support.

You've also burned 172 dTons of fuel, which, assuming you bought it refined, costs a further Cr 86,000.

That's a net cost of Cr 131,991 to divide up across 152 dTons, or a base cost of Cr 869/dTon

YTU/Warp Drive
Assuming negligible layover time, you can make four return trips between adjacent systems in a month (only takes 3.5 days). That means you've shifted 304 dTons.

In doing so you've spent Cr 45,991 on crew salaries, maintenance and life support.

You've also burned 24 dTons of fuel, which, assuming you bought it refined, costs a further Cr 12,000.

More importantly, assuming your ship is suitably redesigned, the 40 dTons which were used to hold your jump fuel can now hold 40 dTons more cargo, which over your four return trips is another 320 dTons of cargo.

That's a net cost of Cr 57,991 to divide up across 624 dTons, or a base cost of Cr 93/dTon

To translate - in a warp drive universe interstellar commerce has one tenth the overheads, meaning (inter)globalization is far more viable. You're less likely to see a variation in TL amongst the prosperous classes on worlds in a region, because it's so easy to buy the latest off-world software/gadget/etc.

As a result, expect to see manufacturing bases concentrated on single worlds in a region - because it's more cost effective to have a single big complex cover several local systems - but equally, to have the technology available be much more standardised, because worlds which can't make high TL stuff can buy it in more easily.

2) You can govern a local area more effectively

At a 3-4 parsec wide cluster of systems level (so, less-than subsector), you can maintain much tighter local control from administrative centres. Expect a level of authority between planetary nobles and subsector dukes to represent the real day-to-day management, because you can centralise (which governments like) but a Warp-6 ship can get take a query to another system 1 parsec away, come back with a request for clarification, take additional information there again and come back with the final decision faster than a jump drive ship could get there in the first place...


3) Systems are more heavily developed

If you have a Warp-1 drive, then the system's asteroid belt, gas giants, etc are minutes away, if that. Exit a world's 100D limit and hit warp and you can be anywhere else in the system in a very small period of time. Result: if there is anything worth exploring or exploiting elsewhere in the system, someone will do it. It is far more cost-effective to maintain mining outposts on other worlds or mineral-rich asteroids because frankly you could commute to them if you really wanted to. An inhabited system will be a lot busier throughout, not just near the mainworld.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby simonh » Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:07 am

Tom Kalbfus wrote: There is NASA research on both a reaction-less drive and a warp drive and some people think the two would be related.
Why would anyone think that? They supposedly operate on completely different principles.
And the way warp drive works, it seems to me that it would also work for slower than light speeds, there is no reason to suppose it would only work for FTL if it works at all.
Well that makes sense, but what you said was that close to planets it doesn't operate as a warp drive but operates as a manoeuver drive. So what you're clarifying is that it does operate as a warp drive, just that it's limited to STL speeds when it's in a gravity well. Is that right?

Presumably M-Drives would still be needed for orbital manoeuvers, landing and takeoffs? Warp drives would not be useful for entering or leaving orbit because on exit from warp they don't actualy change your real-space vector relative to your point of orrigin. In other words they change your position, but not your relative motion. You would still need to use an actual M-Drive to match velocities with the destination star system (stars move relative to each other) and with the orbit of the planet you're approaching, and to enter planetary orbit.

EDIT: I thought I should elaborate on that last point. Of you're in an origin system orbiting a planet, your motion relative to a notional galactic standard frame of reference will be a combination of the motion of the star, the planet's orbital motion round the star and your ship's orbital motion round the planet. If you enter warp and arrive in a destination system, on exiting warp you will still have your orriginal motion. Meanwhile the motion of the destination star and the orbital motion of the destination planet round it's star will be different again. Warp drive will not help you in matching velocities; for that you will have to use a real actual manoeuver drive. The same goes to a less extreme extent when moving around within a planetary system. You can use the warp drive to move from one planet to another, but would still need to match velocities with the destination planet's orbital motion. This is all fine if it works like this because it still gives an important role for manoeuver drives.

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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:46 am

simonh wrote:
Tom Kalbfus wrote: There is NASA research on both a reaction-less drive and a warp drive and some people think the two would be related.
Why would anyone think that? They supposedly operate on completely different principles.
And the way warp drive works, it seems to me that it would also work for slower than light speeds, there is no reason to suppose it would only work for FTL if it works at all.
Well that makes sense, but what you said was that close to planets it doesn't operate as a warp drive but operates as a manoeuver drive. So what you're clarifying is that it does operate as a warp drive, just that it's limited to STL speeds when it's in a gravity well. Is that right?

Presumably M-Drives would still be needed for orbital manoeuvers, landing and takeoffs? Warp drives would not be useful for entering or leaving orbit because on exit from warp they don't actualy change your real-space vector relative to your point of orrigin. In other words they change your position, but not your relative motion. You would still need to use an actual M-Drive to match velocities with the destination star system (stars move relative to each other) and with the orbit of the planet you're approaching, and to enter planetary orbit.

Simon Hibbs
Why wouldn't warp drives be useful in getting off a planet? What I am saying is the warp drives still warp space, they just don't warp space enough to go to FTL speeds within a gravity well. But getting off a planet's surface and reaching orbit are still well within their paramemeters, because gravity is nothing but a warp in space itself. The problem lies in the ability to expand and contract space with too much matter in it, such as a planet. A warp drive with the power available to it typical of a starship is not able to blow up a planet, so it can't go FTL while the space behind it is occupied by a planet, it also can't go FTL if there was a planet or other similar large bodies within 100 Earth diameters, the problem is the energies required to tear a planet to shreads is much higher than the energies required to warp empty space in order to go FTL, that is why warp ships drop out of warp when they encounter significant bodies. A warp ship must remove itself to empty space so they can contract the empty space in front of it and expand the empty space behind it, space that is empty is relatively easy to warp, space with something massive in it isn't. All the warp drive can to then is generate gravity fields for propulsion. In other words a simple Manuever drive is a more primitive version of the warp drive, a maneuver drive can generate internal gravity for the spaceship, so can a warp drive, or you can have grav plating for a space station. This is the relationship

grav plating creates gravity, a grav drive can negate a gravity field but needs some other form of propulsion to accelerate in a direction other than up or down. For example an air/raft requires jet engines and rocket to reach orbit, but the grav drive eliminates the need for that to fight gravity
a maneuver drive creates gravity and can maneuver a spaceship from 1 to 6 gees or higher.
A warp drive is a more refined version of the maneuver drive, it can do everything a maneuver drive can do and also go to warp when outside 100 diameters of a massive body. What I mean by that is 100 Earth diameters times the cube root of the mass of the body in Earth masses. (so black holes don't get a pass). The main thing is that warp drives are more massive for the given amount of acceleration they provide, and they have twice the fuel requirements of the power plant they require, that means not only do they require power inputs from the power plant, they also consume twice as much fuel as that power plant itself, even if used for just STL maneuvering within the gravity well of a planet or moon, that means straight maneuver drives are more fuel efficient, and take up less space, so you can add other things to the spaceship that doesn't have a warp drive, such as weapons for instance. In total a warp ship of the same size will use three times as much fuel as a nonwarp ship to get the same acceleration.

Now you tell me if that rule was implemented, would it still make sense for a starship to mount a separate maneuver drive in addition to its warp drive?
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby simonh » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:08 pm

A warp drive that works by contracting space in front of it and expanding space behind it will move you around, but will not change your final motion vector relative to your point of orrigin. When you switch off a warp drive that works this way, you stop moving relative to your point of orrigin. This will be useless for landing on planets or even getting into orbit round them, as I described previously.

Now if the warp drive has a separate mode where it works as a gravity planar, that's different. A gravity planar works by 'tilting' the local gravity field (gravity plane) so the ship 'falls' in the desired direction. A drive working this way does change your motion vector relative to your point of orrigin. This would work fine in an atmosphere. It might have some problems at launch and takeoff because any debris on the ground but within the field would 'fall' alongside the ship, but would eventually drift outside the field and fall to the ground, so you'd have to be a little careful of collateral damage. I think this is what you mean when you talk about the drive working as an M-drive near planets. Is that right?

I'm not trying to be difficult, just trying to unpick precisely how you imaging this working. It's just that 'wrking as a manoeuver drive' and 'working as a warp drive at SLT speeds' aren't the same thing.

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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby Reynard » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:19 pm

Seriously, do you really want to activate a warp field, which normally extends far beyond the ship, while on a planet's surface? That can't end well.
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby simonh » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:08 pm

Reynard wrote:Seriously, do you really want to activate a warp field, which normally extends far beyond the ship, while on a planet's surface? That can't end well.
You say that as if taking a large chunk of the landing pad along with you is a bad thing ;)

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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby F33D » Wed Jun 17, 2015 2:36 pm

simonh wrote:
Reynard wrote:Seriously, do you really want to activate a warp field, which normally extends far beyond the ship, while on a planet's surface? That can't end well.
You say that as if taking a large chunk of the landing pad along with you is a bad thing ;)

Simon Hibbs
I think something along those lines happened when the 1st Intertialess drive in the Lensmen was tested.
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:39 pm

Or a warp field activated within a warp field.
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby Reynard » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:00 pm

There's something very important I forgot to tell you.

What?

Don't cross the warp fields.

Why?

It would be bad.

I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad"?

Try to imagine all existence as you know it stopping instantaneously and everything exploding at the speed of light
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:19 am

I made a chart using the information on Warp Drives, this is what it would look like?
Image
Substitute this chart for the one in the core rule book if you want to use warp drives instead of jump drives. A warp drive needs the same letter power plant but also itself consumes twice as much fuel as that power plant, whether used for maneuvering or for actual travel at warp.
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:40 am

simonh wrote:A warp drive that works by contracting space in front of it and expanding space behind it will move you around, but will not change your final motion vector relative to your point of orrigin. When you switch off a warp drive that works this way, you stop moving relative to your point of orrigin. This will be useless for landing on planets or even getting into orbit round them, as I described previously.

Now if the warp drive has a separate mode where it works as a gravity planar, that's different. A gravity planar works by 'tilting' the local gravity field (gravity plane) so the ship 'falls' in the desired direction. A drive working this way does change your motion vector relative to your point of orrigin. This would work fine in an atmosphere. It might have some problems at launch and takeoff because any debris on the ground but within the field would 'fall' alongside the ship, but would eventually drift outside the field and fall to the ground, so you'd have to be a little careful of collateral damage. I think this is what you mean when you talk about the drive working as an M-drive near planets. Is that right?

I'm not trying to be difficult, just trying to unpick precisely how you imaging this working. It's just that 'wrking as a manoeuver drive' and 'working as a warp drive at SLT speeds' aren't the same thing.

Simon Hibbs
Yes, that is how it works, I provided a chart, which is an alteration of the one in the core rule book to give you an idea, there are warp drives and dedicated maneuver drives, according to this chart, a warp drive of the same letter is 5 times as massive as a maneuver drive and uses three times as much fuel! That is the maneuver drive doesn't require any fuel, the the power output of the same letter power plant, the warp drive requires that power output and also twice as much fuel as that power plant in addition to the power plant's fuel requirements. Thus a ship equipped with a warp drive doesn't really need a separate maneuver drive, though a smallcraft with a dedicated maneuver drive has greater fuel efficiency that a warp drive when maneuvering at sublight, that is where you get your tradeoff between FTL ships and STL ships in this setting. Also the equivalent to the Imperium in this setting is called the Federation, or more officially The United Federation of Worlds, similar to some other setting, but I use the word "Worlds" instead of "Planets" because not all worlds are planets, some are moons for instance, and I wouldn't want to deny a world membership simply because it was a moon instead of a planet.

The Federation as it is often called is more democratically run, it has a President instead of an Emperor, communication speeds are faster than in the Imperium because of the existance of warp torpedoes Warp torpedoes have 10 ton hulls and can travel 6 parsecs in one week, with can be programmed to drop out of warp several times near a world and deliver its message and then go into warp again but it has a maximum range of 6 parsecs, after that it sucumbs to the stresses of its miniaturized warp drive, the gravitational stresses the hull endures would kill a human passenger, so torpedoes are only suitable for delivering messages, or possible warheads at fixed targets, they are impractical for delivering messages or warheads at spaceships, as their movements are unpredictable, unlike say, planets and moons. There are no FTL sensors, so the torpedo travels blind, dropping out of warp every hour to take sensor readings and to make course corrections. Warp torpedoes armed with warheads have to drop out of warp when it hits the 100 diameter warp limit, so planetary defenses can detect the incoming warheads and missiles with their radars and other sensors, and may move to intercept and shoot them down, so that ruins the element of surprise, so they are pretty useless against anything that isn't a natural body, a city or a fixed surface installation on a planet. This also means that starships are often out of communication when they are traveling between the stars, and receive their news and any messages waiting for them when they arrive at a world or space station.
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby simonh » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:22 am

Looks good to me. Does the warp drive use warp fuel when operating in warp mode and manoeuver mode, or does it just rely on the power plant when in M-Drive mode? I think the latter is the most logical, because then it really would work like an M-Drive. After all M-Drives don't consume fuel themselves, they just need a functioning power plant.

So a warp version of the Type-S scout would have a Warp Drive A and Power Plant A, giving warp-2 and 2G of acceleration. It would need 4 tons of fuel per 2 weeks of warp operation and 2 tons of fuel per 2 weeks of power plant operation.

The TMB Type-S has 14 weeks of power plant ops taking up 14 tons of fuel. That doesn't change. It also has 20 tons of jump fuel. If we give it that full allocation of 20 tons of fuel for warp ops it can run the warp drive for 10 weeks, giving it a 20 parsec range. You also get the 2 tons and 4 MCr for the M-Drive back. So the ship can travel 10 parsecs to a target system, spend 3 weeks surveying the system, and come back to the point of orrigin all without refueling and still have a 1 week safety margin on power plant ops.The whole trip would take 13 weeks.

With ships like that the Great Rift isn't even much of an inconvenience, let alone an obstacle. A warp X-Boat could cross the rift in a single trip using only half it's fuel, taking about 4 weeks.

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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby simonh » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:04 am

I've been thinking about how this changes the game. It means anyone with a ship has far more options in terms of where they can go. Fast merchant ships become very attractive because your cargo turnaround rate scales directly with ship speed. In fact it becomes hard to see why anyone would go for anything less than a warp-6 drive, or at least the highest warp factor drive available. Yes a trader with a warp-6 drive is more expensive than a ship with a warp-2 drive, but it can do 3 times as many cargo runs in the same amount of time and is a lot less than 3 times as expensive to build or operate.

That is a problem because it will lead to quite a bland setting with every ship having very similar performance. With standard Traveller, if you want a fast long range ship you have to make some severe stradeoffs to achieve it. With warp drives, building a ship at the extreme upper edge of performance is fairly trivial and in fact will be the default design. The main differentiating factor will be range (fuel capacity), but 6-12 hex ranges are likely to be the low end.

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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby locarno24 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:03 am

F33D wrote:
simonh wrote:
Reynard wrote:Seriously, do you really want to activate a warp field, which normally extends far beyond the ship, while on a planet's surface? That can't end well.
You say that as if taking a large chunk of the landing pad along with you is a bad thing ;)

Simon Hibbs
I think something along those lines happened when the 1st Intertialess drive in the Lensmen was tested.
Ah, science fiction drive tests. Reminds me of something in 40k - the Tau go "We've managed to reverse engineer Gue'La [Human] warp engines! Go Us! Beginning trial in five.....four...three..."

"How about the Gellar Field?"

"The what now? Two....one.....aaaaaaaaaaaagggghh!!!!!!!!!!!"
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I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:42 pm

simonh wrote:I've been thinking about how this changes the game. It means anyone with a ship has far more options in terms of where they can go. Fast merchant ships become very attractive because your cargo turnaround rate scales directly with ship speed. In fact it becomes hard to see why anyone would go for anything less than a warp-6 drive, or at least the highest warp factor drive available. Yes a trader with a warp-6 drive is more expensive than a ship with a warp-2 drive, but it can do 3 times as many cargo runs in the same amount of time and is a lot less than 3 times as expensive to build or operate.

That is a problem because it will lead to quite a bland setting with every ship having very similar performance. With standard Traveller, if you want a fast long range ship you have to make some severe stradeoffs to achieve it. With warp drives, building a ship at the extreme upper edge of performance is fairly trivial and in fact will be the default design. The main differentiating factor will be range (fuel capacity), but 6-12 hex ranges are likely to be the low end.

Simon Hibbs
No need to stop at warp 6, how about warp 10? At higher warp numbers the benefit is not so pronouned. What if warp drives higher than 6 need antimatter? would that make a difference?
TL
Late 8 - Artificial Gravity and grav vehicles
9 - Maneuver drives
10 - Warp 1
11 - Warp 2
12 - Warp 3
13 - Warp 4
14 - Warp 5
15 - Warp 6
16 - Warp 7
17 - Warp 8 and antimatter reactors
18 - Warp 9
19 - Warp 10
simonh
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Re: Warp Traveller

Postby simonh » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:07 am

Tom Kalbfus wrote:No need to stop at warp 6, how about warp 10? At higher warp numbers the benefit is not so pronouned. What if warp drives higher than 6 need antimatter? would that make a difference?
I've been running some numbers and it's not quite as bad as I feared. Most designs I've looked at can, with warp drive, maintain about the same total tonnage of fuel and drives and operate at a warp factor double their jump number for maybe 4 weeks. So a warp-4 scout has a range of about 16 parsecs. A warp free trader can manage about 8 parsecs at warp 2. A Warp Far Trader could be uprated to 2 weeks at warp 4 for a range of 8 parsecs, or 4 weeks at warp 3 for a range of 12 parsecs. All without significant changes to drive and fuel tonnage (maybe a few tons here or there).

Military ships get a bigger advantage from not needing an m-drive, and better fuel efficiency than high rating j-drives. The corsair is a quasi-military design. It can be uprated from j-3 m-3 to warp-4 with 4 weeks endurance for a range of 16 parsecs. That costs a few tons of cargo. The Gazelle gains warp/m 6 and 4 weeks endurance for a range of 24 parsecs.

So it's not as bad as my initial calculations suggested. Most ships are going to roughly double in speed and quadruple in range. That means most military ships are going to go to max out their warp/manoeuver 6 and go to 16-32 parsecs range as a baseline, so cambat vessels will be pretty hommogenous in terms of performance and the main differentiating factor will be range not speed.

Bear in mind though, a baseline of about 8 parsecs range puts a subsector sized region of space within range of basic ships. You asked about how this would affect a game using the example subsector. It means a far trader that would have taken 7 jumps to traverse the main would be able to do it in 2 hops if they wanted to, though it would take 3 weeks. Previously in a campaign the GM would know that only a handful of worlds would be within range of the ship's next jump and could plan ahead accordingly. In a warp universe, the possible number of destination worlds goes up drasticaly. It could be 30 worlds or more. Note that the warp free trader and far trader now have the same range, it's just the far trader can cross the distance faster so now it becomes the fast trader.

Simon Hibbs
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