Ships at the Dawn of Jump

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Tom Kalbfus
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:37 am

phavoc wrote:I suspect the early explorers would not have an air/raft. They are exploring space and if they find something interesting it would be followed up by a properly equipped ship with the right personnel. The onboard scientist and lab would be oriented towards collecting system and planetary data. To properly explore a planet or even an orbital body would require a much larger ship and a more robust crew complement. The early jump ships might even sacrifice an ability to land on planets to save power/space.

As for armaments, I would think the first ships would have no weapons at all. In theory they haven't found out just how crowded the universe is! Plus there would be no extrasolar pirates. Even intrasystem piracy may be a relatively minor thing. After all, where are you going to go and sell the cargo/ships without eventually having them return to the inhabited areas and getting caught?
You have to remember Prometheus was settled by slower than light spaceships, if a Jump Drive ship is going to go there, there is a possibility of violence, so minimum armaments is recommended if only to prevent the Jump Drive from being stolen. I would think the first jump drives would be unique and one of a kind, so the first jump ships would tend to be large, probably from 1000 to 10,000 dtons, depending on the budget of the country of company which builds it, that way a lot of colonists can be transported at once, and the early fusion reactors would tend to be huge as well, smaller ships would rely on more compact fission drives.

I think Proxima b might also be a colony world. Since the ESA seems to be developing Prometheus, I think NASA would send a colony to develop Proxima b.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Condottiere » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:53 am

Legacy canon.
DivineWrath
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby DivineWrath » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:10 am

Good catch regarding ship sizes. It seems that I still have more to learn about making ships for HG2e. I'm now changing some of my ship designs I designed for this topic. I get at least 30 dt more space for my scout to work with.

I was going for small as possible because I was planning on a mothership to take a scout with it. Both were supposed to be 6x jump-1. If they can't secure a fuel source, the scout would be used as an emergency ship to return home with. Maybe its not the best use of resources, but it would allow scouting 6 jumps out and return instead of being limited to 3 jumps before being forced to return. If the mothership carried additional fuel, then the scout could reach another 3 parsecs, for a total of 9, before it needed to return home.

Of course, these 2 ships I was designing have 2 problems. First, they are designed under the assumption that you can't know anything about a system, such as if it has a source of fuel before hand. I'm presently assuming that every jump being made blind to what they might find, at least until someone comes back with data. Second, it assumes that data on 9 parsecs, or even 6 parsecs out, is worth getting. Quite bluntly, when you add space for 6 parsec jumps, there isn't much room left over for cargo or passengers. Hard to do business, colonization, or even science experiments that far out.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:06 pm

Book 3: Scout is a good source for understanding what J1 explorers would know before and after entering new unknown systems. Survey and Exploration is used for typical scout mission but is just as valid for any exploration campaign. Pre-jump assessment gives star presence plus gas giants are known. An explorer could carry the extra jump fuel in case something makes it necessary to jump out before reaching a gas giant or there is no GG and no other accessible source of hydrogen when performing system assessment.

I hope my game store has MY copy of HG2e today. I built the explorer at work during break and trying to use a pdf on a tablet makes mistakes too easy. I need a real book. I'll rerun the numbers and create a 200t explorer for comparison. No reason some civilizations opted for other first explorer designs. I went with 100 tons as a lead in to what would become the iconic scout over the centuries but explorers could be other sizes and configurations. Maybe the lab ship was originally a J1 explorer with extensive survey facilities rather than focusing on preliminary surveys. I usually consider multi-hundred ton vessels as built to spend much more time in one location to assess a system's value while explorers are small, cheap and meant to pathfind rather than evaluate. It's a big multi-universe galaxy.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:38 pm

DivineWrath wrote:Of course, these 2 ships I was designing have 2 problems. First, they are designed under the assumption that you can't know anything about a system, such as if it has a source of fuel before hand. I'm presently assuming that every jump being made blind to what they might find, at least until someone comes back with data.
Reasonable assumption. Even if sensors indicate the presence of hydrogen it might be contaminated or not accessible with current equipment.

But as soon as you have located a fuel source such as a GG you can use it as a fuel source for further exploration. Outside of rifts you would rarely need to jump more than 3 - 4 Pc to the next system?
Reynard wrote:No reason some civilizations opted for other first explorer designs. I went with 100 tons as a lead in to what would become the iconic scout over the centuries but explorers could be other sizes and configurations. Maybe the lab ship was originally a J1 explorer with extensive survey facilities rather than focusing on preliminary surveys. I usually consider multi-hundred ton vessels as built to spend much more time in one location to assess a system's value while explorers are small, cheap and meant to pathfind rather than evaluate. It's a big multi-universe galaxy.
I certainly agree every civilisation will use their own traditions.

Small mobile ships for exploration and bigger, less mobile ships for science&survey seems like a good idea.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:05 pm

Had a relaxing day at the game store. Still no hard copy HG2e. Pttb... Found the mistakes made on the power plant tonnage and the operational endurance fuel capacity gaining some tonnage. I looked over the design and put it into a Grappling arm useful for sampling in space, Aerofins for safer landings and now has the cargo space (12 tons) similar to the scout ship which represents the carried life support for 10 weeks away from any base. Still a tight exploration vessel. The extra weeks now allow for the two to seven weeks for the System Overview and the Overall System description phases mainly they have enough information to decide if and what the value of the system might be.

I then built a 200 ton version using the same components as the 100 ton redesigning any percentage based displacements. This ship has a 12 week endurance rather than 10 because of fractional tonnage adjustment. With the leftover space, I added 4 more researchers for Astronomy, Planetology, Biology/xenology, Geology and Chemistry science specialization plus the added laboratory space. I added more cargo space to represent added life support and sampling capacity (20 tons). There's still 31 tons left over and I'm having a time what to fill it with. A launch is redundant to a ship that can land. Maybe another air/raft but does the small crew require it? More scientists? What science is added or doubled? Another Jump 1? Risky. Except for the 4 extra scientists, its functions are almost identical at over MCr.14 more than the hundred tonner with that 31 tons of unused space. Adding more researchers means this vessel is a surveyor meant to sit in system longer so the extra space might be more life support and solar panels. Still, it won't be enough to perform a sustained one to twelve month Mainworld description phase (1 - 12 months). Too big for an explorer and too small for surveyor without support.

The explorer is good for the early period of initial discovery of a civilization's stellar neighborhood gathering info to determine how they will proceed and what needs building next. They can also return to systems for more information possibly taking different crew especially the research position and equipment. I'd say one of the most important construction projects back home will be preparing transports for extensive survey over much longer time and acting as supply lines for more exploration. Actual colonization could be years or even decades away. At the same time mobile research vessels could the vanguard between the explorer and actual outposts.

One other option I was looking at is the 159 ton Frontiersman from Scouts with a 50 ton module section that could be adapted for what's found on various star systems with some having the ability to be dropped planetside as shelters and station. Larger vessels could carry larger numbers.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby AndrewW » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:53 am

Reynard wrote:There's still 31 tons left over and I'm having a time what to fill it with
Workshop, never know when you might need to do some field repairs.
Medical Bay for those accidents.
Multi-Environment Space for samples.
Probe Drones.
Biosphere.
Library.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:17 am

The workshop and probe drones I left in from the original 100 ton design earlier. I was considering a medical bay and a medic with a stateroom as another researcher in space medicine related to such voyages. The Multi-environment space was also considered for any live samples (and those mandatory critter on the loose scenarios which the medical bay could be useful). I thought better of biosphere and library as for much larger vessels with larger crews such as a cruiser warship with extensive scientific capabilities....
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby DivineWrath » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:19 am

Well, I took the time to design some TL 9 ships that could get 12 parsecs out and return. All of them have enough fuel to make 6 parsecs (or 3 parsecs and return), but by working together (by carrying fuel for each other), a single ship can get 12 parsecs out and return. The largest is 4000 dt and carries enough fuel to refill the other 3 ships. The next is 1300 dt and can refuel the 2 remaining ships. The next is a 400 dt that can refuel the last ship. The last ship is 100 dt ship and it carries probes.

I'm calling them leap ships, as their purpose is to help other ships to jump further ahead. The sizes are currently about as small as I can make them. They can't do much else. I didn't leave much room for extra activities. In fact, I threw some solar panels on them so they can idle and wait while wasting little fuel.

I might just toss them into a pile and push it aside. They currently have little utility beyond allowing other ships to jump beyond them. Path finding really. In fact, they're specialized to each other, down to the last litre of fuel. They might not work well with other ships.

How important would it be to have systems like workshop or laboratory? I'm not exactly building these ships to go fly into an asteroid belt. Nor am I sending them in person to go investigate a world with water or into a gas giant (that is what the probes are for). I'm expecting them to collect data and return home. In fact, I'm stressing the point that they play it safe and return home. They're going to be the first ships in many systems so its better they return home with pictures and data so that plans for proper exploration can be made.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby AndrewW » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:20 am

Reynard wrote:I thought better of biosphere and library as for much larger vessels with larger crews such as a cruiser warship with extensive scientific capabilities....
Library could be useful for research as well as occupying the crew on longer missions.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:57 am

Hmmm. Then again, it's not a traditional bookshelf library but a place for resources for the team to reference data as well as tools to collect information for analysis and storage. Could have presentation equipment such as holographic projectors the team can gather around and conference. Good compliment to research laboratories on a ship.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:13 pm

Reynard wrote:There's still 31 tons left over and I'm having a time what to fill it with.
If I understand you right you have fuel for 2 Jump-1? In such case I would suggest a lot more fuel.

Fuel for 4 jumps would allow you to jump 2 Pc out and back again. That is what I would consider minimum for an explorer.
Fuel for 6 jumps would allow you to jump 3 Pc out and back again. That would be slightly better.

Around Terra we need to lump at least 2 Pc to get anywhere, and 3 Pc to spinward. Fuel for 6 jumps seems like a good idea?
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby AndrewW » Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:43 pm

Reynard wrote:Hmmm. Then again, it's not a traditional bookshelf library but a place for resources for the team to reference data as well as tools to collect information for analysis and storage. Could have presentation equipment such as holographic projectors the team can gather around and conference. Good compliment to research laboratories on a ship.
One thing I did on a ship:

"One of the laboratory spaces is setup for holographic display for analysis which can display data from the sensors in real time."

For some stellar research stuff you might want to take a look at Scout, a few things in there that might prove useful.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:57 pm

I was basing it on the scout but trying to flavor it as the low tech predecessor so some things would be different. The lab is the answer when sensors are not that powerful. Explorers are more hands on until higher tech sensor suites are developed. That's why the crew are normal ship compliment rather than specially trained scouts plus a dedicated researcher in one or more sciences. Sylea and, later, the Imperium will consider the grappling arms and aerofins superfluous.

When I get another day off to study the 200 ton ship carefully, I want to take the suggestions for incorporation. Personally I see this as the ship with longer endurance and more researchers plus facilities to perform the actual survey mission, Phase II.

Next important category of ship during the Dawn of Jump would be transports, people movers and freighters or combinations limited by their Jump 1 range and speed to cope with colonization and regular trade.

Unless the civilization bumps into a hostile contact or the homeworld faces more than one group actively staking claims and being aggressive, warships might be an unjustified expense but jump capable cutters might be a security feature as in later higher tech levels. These times might make the wild nature of early system development easier for 'aggressive' traders to take less than legal means for profits. With port facilities fewer and father between, these system guards could be mobile patrols.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:33 am

DivineWrath wrote:Well, I took the time to design some TL 9 ships that could get 12 parsecs out and return. All of them have enough fuel to make 6 parsecs (or 3 parsecs and return), but by working together (by carrying fuel for each other), a single ship can get 12 parsecs out and return. The largest is 4000 dt and carries enough fuel to refill the other 3 ships. The next is 1300 dt and can refuel the 2 remaining ships. The next is a 400 dt that can refuel the last ship. The last ship is 100 dt ship and it carries probes.
Interesting idea. You could play shell games with drop tanks instead.

Make a 1000 dT ship with max engines. It can jump with 14400 dT drop tanks. Load it up with 15944 dT tanks and tow it into position. Let it jump, dropping just as much tanks as is needed each jump. By my quick calculations you can jump 29 times with the carried fuel, so 14 Pc out and 14 Pc back, with a single jump in reserve. The internal power plant tank is topped up with 4 dT fuel from the drop tanks for each jump.

Code: Select all

Jump  Ship     Tanks
      1000    15 944,0
 1    1000    14 400,0
 2    1000    12 996,4
 3    1000    11 720,3
 4    1000    10 560,3 
 5    1000     9 505,7
 6    1000     8 547,0
 7    1000     7 675,5
 8    1000     6 883,2
 9    1000     6 162,9
10    1000     5 508,1
11    1000     4 912,8
12    1000     4 371,6
13    1000     3 879,7
14    1000     3 432,4
15    1000     3 025,8
16    1000     2 656,2
17    1000     2 320,2
18    1000     2 014,7
19    1000     1 737,0
20    1000     1 484,6
21    1000     1 255,1
22    1000     1 046,4
23    1000       856,7
24    1000       684,3
25    1000       527,6
26    1000       385,1
27    1000       255,5
28    1000       137,7
29    1000        30,7
You better have a good astrogator and engineer, TL9 drop tanks are notoriously unreliable...
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby steve98052 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:12 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:Jump drives are new technology, basically experimental, they are not necessarily very reliable. I would suggest spare drives in case they break down when you are 10 jumps out. Also a few extra Engineers to keep everything working.
Spare jump drives are pretty much mandatory.

According to one source I read a long time ago -- canon, I think -- early jump drives failed about one jump in ten, by melting into slag. If you're lucky, you might get 20 or more jumps out of a single drive before it melts down. If you're not so lucky, it might melt on the first jump. If you're really unlucky, you might see two in a row that melt on first use.

Good practice would be not only to carry a spare, but to carry enough spares that you can make it back to the nearest repository of replacement drives even if you melt one on each jump. So, if you get three good jumps out of your first drive, you better turn back unless you have four spares.

On the other hand, power plants and maneuver drives are reasonably well understood technology by the time jump drives are built. You wouldn't need spares of them unless you had plenty of extra space, which spacecraft almost never have.
phavoc wrote:I suspect the early explorers would not have an air/raft.
Even under ship building rules that don't count extra space for streamlining (some do, some don't), an air/raft is a much safer way to explore the surface than the risky business of flying an entire starship through an atmosphere. I think they'd be standard equipment, unless the fuel shuttle doubled as a planetary lander.
Reynard wrote:Interesting. I wonder why there have been 100 ton scout vessels for 40 years?
For one thing, ships are expensive. Even if a ship could make better use of the mandatory minimum size of a bridge or jump drive with a larger ship, if your budget only allows for a 100 dton ship, that's what you get. If you want a ship that can be operated solo, that's what you get.

But another reason is that rules vary. In some rule sets, jump drives are a straight percentage with no minimum other than the 100 dton minimum for a starship.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:33 am

steve98052 wrote:Spare jump drives are pretty much mandatory.
I'm afraid that I used MT TLs. In Mt Fusion, Manoeuvre drives, and Jump drives all are invented at TL9, so all of them are new tech.

In MgT2 fusion is TL8, but M-drives and J-drives are both TL9, so both M- and J-drives are new and potentially unreliable.

When you are six months (10-20 Pc) from the nearest repair facility (or human), you want a spare or at the very least the personnel and spare parts to repair your drives.


If you have a 10% chance of turning your J-drive to slag every jump, you will not be going very far... Hopefully that is only true for the very first prototype drives.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:32 am

steve98052 wrote:
AnotherDilbert wrote:Jump drives are new technology, basically experimental, they are not necessarily very reliable. I would suggest spare drives in case they break down when you are 10 jumps out. Also a few extra Engineers to keep everything working.
Spare jump drives are pretty much mandatory.

According to one source I read a long time ago -- canon, I think -- early jump drives failed about one jump in ten, by melting into slag. If you're lucky, you might get 20 or more jumps out of a single drive before it melts down. If you're not so lucky, it might melt on the first jump. If you're really unlucky, you might see two in a row that melt on first use.

Good practice would be not only to carry a spare, but to carry enough spares that you can make it back to the nearest repository of replacement drives even if you melt one on each jump. So, if you get three good jumps out of your first drive, you better turn back unless you have four spares.

On the other hand, power plants and maneuver drives are reasonably well understood technology by the time jump drives are built. You wouldn't need spares of them unless you had plenty of extra space, which spacecraft almost never have.
phavoc wrote:I suspect the early explorers would not have an air/raft.
Even under ship building rules that don't count extra space for streamlining (some do, some don't), an air/raft is a much safer way to explore the surface than the risky business of flying an entire starship through an atmosphere. I think they'd be standard equipment, unless the fuel shuttle doubled as a planetary lander.
Reynard wrote:Interesting. I wonder why there have been 100 ton scout vessels for 40 years?
For one thing, ships are expensive. Even if a ship could make better use of the mandatory minimum size of a bridge or jump drive with a larger ship, if your budget only allows for a 100 dton ship, that's what you get. If you want a ship that can be operated solo, that's what you get.

But another reason is that rules vary. In some rule sets, jump drives are a straight percentage with no minimum other than the 100 dton minimum for a starship.
What kind of Jump Ship could you get for the cost of the Space Shuttle?
Lets go with Cr7.45 billion and Cr9.3 million per flight What kind of vehicle could NASA build and operate with this kind of budget? This is assuming the Jump Drive is a new thing along with a maneuver drive, and NASA puts astronauts onboard. The money is appropriated by Congress.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby phavoc » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:27 pm

steve98052 wrote:
phavoc wrote:I suspect the early explorers would not have an air/raft.
Even under ship building rules that don't count extra space for streamlining (some do, some don't), an air/raft is a much safer way to explore the surface than the risky business of flying an entire starship through an atmosphere. I think they'd be standard equipment, unless the fuel shuttle doubled as a planetary lander.
You snipped the wrong portion. I said that you probably wouldn't see them on early explorers because the idea was planetary surveys needed to be done by experienced crews with the right gear.

Early explorers are mapping the system from space, or orbit. There is no need to be landing places that you don't need to be going. That's not a good use of a precious resource, not to mention expensive ones.

I agree that it's far less risky to explore with an air raft than a starship - when it comes to looking at something close up. No need to take an entiRE ship down to a planet, just in case something nasty is lurking. And same goes for small crewed exoration vessels. No need to risk the pilot, or the navigator, or the engineer by sending them down to a planet. That's what exploration vessels with redundant crews and expendable planetoligists are for.

Just make sure not to wear red when exploring strange new worlds.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby steve98052 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:33 pm

phavoc wrote:Early explorers are mapping the system from space, or orbit. There is no need to be landing places that you don't need to be going. That's not a good use of a precious resource, not to mention expensive ones.
A first survey is likely to be government basic research rather than corporate exploitation. Pride affects both, but it affects government more. If a government is voting money to send people in a starship to explore, they'll want to see footprints.

Apollo tested things in Earth orbit, then lunar orbit, but they landed people very soon after. If a ship is reusable (even if the jump drive may not be), they'll probably include the air/raft, or more likely, some kind of hardened lander.
Just make sure not to wear red when exploring strange new worlds.
Funny. I had the same thought before I scrolled down and saw that you already wrote that.

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