Synchronized Jumps

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-Daniel-
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Synchronized Jumps

Postby -Daniel- » Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:33 am

After I read the small sidebar about Synchronized Jumps I was thinking, other than military fleet jumps, who else would need to do such jumps?

Is there a version of merchant convoy fleets? Would there ever been a need for non-military ships to jump together like that?

What do you all think?
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby Condottiere » Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:51 am

Convoys.

While it would be a target rich environment for a pirate, the effect would be more like a herd of stampeding bison.
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby -Daniel- » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:09 am

Condottiere wrote:Convoys.

While it would be a target rich environment for a pirate, the effect would be more like a herd of stampeding bison.
Interesting, seems like a convoy would make fighting off a pirate easier not give the pirate the advantage, but then maybe not.
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby Condottiere » Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:11 am

Depends on whether the merchantmen are armed or not, otherwise the slowest and weakest would be cut from the herd, while the rest getaway to the sheltering arms of the nearest starport.
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby Reynard » Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:54 pm

Convoys operate where there's evidence of raiding or frequent attacks and the cargo or passengers must get through. This is somewhat different from the spontaneous encounter with an opportunist from the ship encounter table. Really don't need your Q-ships and Patrol Corvettes hours away from arrival as merchants and freighter sit idly and undefended. Military has it easier here as they can have the better engineer to prep such a jump and afford the computers for the extra bandwidth for the specialized software. There needs to be some extreme justification for such expenses for a commercial outfit even a mega-corporation.
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby alex_greene » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:47 pm

Even if they think those ships are unarmed, pirates would never be so stupid as to attack a convoy, even if they are dumb enough to think that they can "pick off the weakest" and imagine that the rest of the convoy would just abandon their fellows to a horrible fate.

Pirates have to board the ships they attack, which means that they are usually not expending thrust - which makes them vulnerable to attack themselves, by Q ships and by those few merchantmen which are armed.

Five ships, maybe, you have a one in twenty chance. But fifty merchants? Any pirate that sees that many incoming Jump signatures that doesn't turn tail and run is looking to spend their days as an expanding cloud of crispy pirate vapour.
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby phavoc » Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:08 pm

-Daniel- wrote:After I read the small sidebar about Synchronized Jumps I was thinking, other than military fleet jumps, who else would need to do such jumps?

Is there a version of merchant convoy fleets? Would there ever been a need for non-military ships to jump together like that?

What do you all think?
Yes. Traveller assumes a wild west sort of space with all the weaponry installed on ships out there. Plus more than a few adventures I've run have involved more than one ship travelling together. Civilian ships have a definite need to be able to travel together.
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby alex_greene » Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:13 pm

phavoc wrote:Civilian ships have a definite need to be able to travel together.
Agreed. Convoys beyond a certain size are unapproachable by pirates. They'd have to choose another target, or go for dry land piracy instead.
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:17 pm

alex_greene wrote:Agreed. Convoys beyond a certain size are unapproachable by pirates. They'd have to choose another target, or go for dry land piracy instead.
Unless the pirate is stronger than you think, or perhaps operates in wolf-packs.
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby alex_greene » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:49 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
alex_greene wrote:Agreed. Convoys beyond a certain size are unapproachable by pirates. They'd have to choose another target, or go for dry land piracy instead.
Unless the pirate is stronger than you think, or perhaps operates in wolf-packs.
Yeah, like that ever happens.

The reason why navies win over pirates is that you can never had a squadron of more than about three pirate ships, before each of the captains sees cred signs flashing before his eyes and attempts to take out the opposition because, you know, why split the bounty seventeen ways when you can split it one way?
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:03 pm

alex_greene wrote:Yeah, like that ever happens.

The reason why navies win over pirates is that you can never had a squadron of more than about three pirate ships, before each of the captains sees cred signs flashing before his eyes and attempts to take out the opposition because, you know, why split the bounty seventeen ways when you can split it one way?
Random example from wiki:
"Ching Shih ... was a prominent pirate in middle Qing China, who terrorized the China Sea in the early 19th century. She commanded over 300 junks manned by 20,000 to 40,000 pirates"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ching_Shih
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby Condottiere » Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:07 pm

You need an exit strategy, and also, a rather weak central government.
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:37 pm

Or a remote central government that due to the distance and travel times allows extensive home rule on the frontiers...
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby Reynard » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:44 pm

Some editions of Traveller let you determine what ship traffic is like at any particular starport. Unless you have many decent Class A starports on commercial routes, you don't always have tremendous numbers of ships in general. Now add the fact, unless they are part of the same corporation or cartel of trade ventures that happen to have scheduled trade, most ships have different destinations and time schedules and the number of ships that could convoy dwindle greatly. Ships in a convoy need extra costly computers to synchronized jump and need similar jump and maneuver capacity. That means these ships are operating at another loss with no guarantee they will need to be part of a convoy. Evoking the evil phrase 'In the real world', how many shipping companies actually send their ships in armed convoys let alone in groups? How many lease coast guards let alone military vessels to escort? As far as I know, none to zilch. The company takes a calculated chance, willing to write off the crew and try to ransom the still cheap ship back.

This is why you don't have convoys listed in the Space encounter table. They just aren't there unless a referee makes one so. And if convoys are regularly known in a system or set of systems the pirates will know too and look for real targets in more vulnerable lands. Only enemy raiders meaning to purposely disrupt commerce would be powerful and organized to hit and run just to wreck a few ships. Convoys are too expensive to be a normal sight.
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby -Daniel- » Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:04 am

Reynard wrote:Some editions of Traveller let you determine what ship traffic is like at any particular starport. Unless you have many decent Class A starports on commercial routes, you don't always have tremendous numbers of ships in general. Now add the fact, unless they are part of the same corporation or cartel of trade ventures that happen to have scheduled trade, most ships have different destinations and time schedules and the number of ships that could convoy dwindle greatly. Ships in a convoy need extra costly computers to synchronized jump and need similar jump and maneuver capacity. That means these ships are operating at another loss with no guarantee they will need to be part of a convoy. Evoking the evil phrase 'In the real world', how many shipping companies actually send their ships in armed convoys let alone in groups? How many lease coast guards let alone military vessels to escort? As far as I know, none to zilch. The company takes a calculated chance, willing to write off the crew and try to ransom the still cheap ship back.

This is why you don't have convoys listed in the Space encounter table. They just aren't there unless a referee makes one so. And if convoys are regularly known in a system or set of systems the pirates will know too and look for real targets in more vulnerable lands. Only enemy raiders meaning to purposely disrupt commerce would be powerful and organized to hit and run just to wreck a few ships. Convoys are too expensive to be a normal sight.
So to boil down this, you feel Synchronized Jumps should only be a military thing then?
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby phavoc » Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:54 am

As I haven't purchased the new HG yet, can someone cut-and-paste what they have listed for synchronized jumping? I sincerely hope it's not like the previous where you are supposed to have a specialized piece of mil-spec hardware. That just seems rather... silly.

With the vagaries of jump space I can see how you need to allow for, yanno, **** to happen. But it seems like a far better idea to simply require the ships to, for example, come to a complete halt relative to each other and remain in the exact same positions (minor Diff), for say 1hr, per parsec, to be jumped in tandem. Each ship makes it's own jump calculations and then compares it with the other ship(s) that are planning on jumping together. This comparison routine is what takes the most time. Once all ships have arrived at the exact same calculations the jump routine is shared with all ships and the systems begin counting down to jump. Movement by any of the ships will require the sequence to be re-started.

That's a reasonable enough explanation as any. It also allows civilian ships to jump together for say a liner being escorted by a couple of armed freighters into less than safe space. FASA from CT had this (King Richard I think). Now, if you want to cut the time in half, that's when it would be reasonable to have a special dedicated jump computer (kinda like a RISC computer) to say halve the calculation and coordination time. Or you could allow it to do the calculations for all the ships. Military craft would almost, by default, have these sorts of devices.
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby Condottiere » Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:06 am

You could send mime sweepers ahead, and clear registered spacelanes.
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby PsiTraveller » Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:16 am

Mime sweepers. Two images, one of guys in face paint cleaning the decks, and the other a robot pushing the mimes off the promenade of a Starport. :)


On a more serious note. This just screams for a new piece of tech or software that links computers together and helps with the Astrogation and integration roll on page 14. The Master Jump Plot system turns each computer within the convoy into a data node on the network and helps coordinate things.

Smaller ships may not be able to afford the bandwidth of the cost of the unit, or even the space (if it is hardware), but military ships would likely have it.


Adventure ideas would be trying to crack the encryption signal and insert bad Jump data in the network, or single out a ship, or stagger the Jump to try and weaken the convoy cohesion.

Anyone else have any ideas?
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby Reynard » Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:27 am

"To synchronise a jump, every ship taking part must have a crew member succeed at a Difficult (10+) Engineer jump drive) check (1D rounds, INT or EDU). If one ship fails in this check, then it may not join in the synchronised jump. If this happens, the admiral may choose to jump without it or give the order for every ship to make the check again, restarting the whole process.

Synchronised jumps use the same Jump Control software as normal jumps, but the software package will require an extra +5 Bandwidth on top of its usual demands."
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Re: Synchronized Jumps

Postby PsiTraveller » Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:32 am

I was thinking of the Master Jump Plot as some method of getting that 10+ Check down a little bit in exchange for more money/software/tonnage for special connector units etc. With the 10+ and a handful of ships you are likely to lose at least one ship. A large convoy will lose a lot of ships unless the Engineers are all pretty good. On an average roll (7) you would need a +3 bonus to succeed for every Engineer.

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