Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

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Mark A. Siefert
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Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby Mark A. Siefert » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:54 am

Lately, I've been thinking of ways of converting Traveller for play in The Expanse series. One of the few snags I'm hitting is in ship design. On the TV show, The Rocinante appears no bigger than 200 dtons, but is bristling with rapid-fire cannons and anti-ship torpedoes. (In the novels it eventually mounts a keel-mounted railgun) In order to accommodate this design philosophy, I'm going to have to ditch the 1 hardpoint/100 dTon limit.

My question is how badly would this break the system? Is there some other alternative that I'm not considering?
Later,
Mark A. Siefert

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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:35 am

You would break the combat system. Ships with unlimited weapons will easily kill each other in a single round of combat.

Note that bay weapons are effectively not limited by hardpoints, since a 100 dT bay takes a single hardpoint. Ships filled with missile bays can kill many times their own size every round.


You could perhaps consider using "virtual turrets" limiting the ships to 3 turret weapons per 100 dT, so a 200 dT ship could carry 6 turret weapons in any combination of mount?

You could also consider several small rail-guns to be a single weapon, so that a single turret weapon represents several remote operated mounts.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby DivineWrath » Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:51 am

I'm going to play devils advocate.

Many of the sample ships in Highguard don't use up all the hard points they are allowed to have (I'm going figure out the exact numbers). The Dreadnaught Tigress class (the largest ship in the book, it is 500,000 tons) doesn't even use up half of its hard points. One could say that any ship that a Player or GM makes can out gun any of the sample ships. If that is possible, why have hard point limits?

Also many of the heavier weapons use up all the tonnage that comes with the hard points. A 500 ton large missile bay needs 500 tons for the space and the hard points. This leaves no room for engines, power plants, jump fuel, and other systems. At some point you have to stop and set aside room for non-weapon systems to make sure the ship can function (instead of it being a weapons platform with no power).

I'll be conservative regarding small ships. The devs saw fit to give them special limits. I need to go give it some thought before I give it the OK.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:18 am

Just a thought, but smaller scale weapons are not limited like space-scale ones. You could mount several gauss cannons, PGMP or other destructive vehicle weapons on a ship and deal ship-scale damage at very close range.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby Condottiere » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:05 am

It's game balance and halfway mired in legacy materials.

If you're looking for effect, it's bay weapon systems.

If you're trying to justify aesthetics, remember that bays are a collection of weapon subsystems, but if you distribute them apart, they need more volume, and include extra fire control equipment to allow independent targetting, probably special reinforcements along the hull.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby phavoc » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:43 pm

The limit is an abstract rule designed for gameplay. In theory you should be able to utilize ever square inch of hull for something. In reality you probably already are. You have airlocks, sensors, radiators, access ports, etc that would cover the outer hull. You also have to think about what it takes to mount something externally and give it an adequate firing arc. And you have to consider what it takes to structurally accommodate all that internally - power feeds, maintenance access, armor support, internal hull structure....

You could also look at how anti-aircraft batteries changed the look of naval ships during WW2. Before the war started the weapon mounts were pretty well placed and the ships had clean lines. Once the Japanese sank the Prince of Wales and the Repulse you saw navies changing their philosophy. Now they started sticking 20-40mm cannons and machinegun mounts wherever they could. The main guns sprouted AA emplacements - though the designers knew that if the large guns were manned, the AA mounts could not be. But rarely would they both be needed, so it was a design they could live with.

It also may be that the Rociante is overgunned for TV purposes. It looks cool and all that, but it's not terribly practical.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby Solomani666 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:22 pm

Railgun Barbette:
Though the rounds a railgun uses are low technology
armor penetrators, the weapon itself uses electromagnetic
forces to accelerate them to sizeable fractions of the
speed of light, delivering a high dose of kinetic energy
to the target. Railgun turrets contain enough ammunition
for 5 attacks each. Railgun barbettes contain enough
ammunition for 10 attacks each.

Weapon TL Range Power Damage Cost Traits
Railgun Turret 9 Short 5 1D MCr 2 Auto 3
Railgun Barbette 9 Short 6 2D MCr 4 Auto 3

Mass Driver Ammunition:
Tons Per Attack 0.10
Cost Per Attack Cr2000

Note:
Railgun Turrets and Barbettes use the same ammunition type.
The difference in damage is due to the velocity of the projectiles.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby bluekieran » Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:36 pm

I'd build the Roci with a missile turret/barbette, a railgun barbette, and PDCs - and probably not much armour, based on how easily it's penetrated by PDCs in it's turn.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby Condottiere » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:30 pm

Use a fifty tonne railgun bay for close encounters.
Mark A. Siefert
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby Mark A. Siefert » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:54 pm

bluekieran wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:36 pm
I'd build the Roci with a missile turret/barbette, a railgun barbette, and PDCs - and probably not much armour, based on how easily it's penetrated by PDCs in it's turn.
I don't have HG in front of me right now, but can the new point defense turrets be used against ships like the PDCs can? Also, I think that the Traveller missile turrets are considerably weaker than torpedoes on The Expanse.

Here's the concern: Is <i>Traveller</i> supposed to be a generic sci-fi RPG, or is it a RPG for playing in the Marc Miller <i>Traveller</i> universe?
Later,
Mark A. Siefert

"Well Mike, I guess it's just a magical land. I HATE MAGICAL LANDS!"
--Crow T. Robot
"Jack Frost," Mystery Science Theater 3000
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby Condottiere » Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:14 pm

It's generic, with one fairly well developed setting, the Third Imperium.

It would be like TSR stopped with Mystara, and WotC agreed.

As regards point defence, they're short ranged linked laser turrets weighing in at twenty tonnes; I don't see it mentioned, but they may be as effective as sand canisters.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby atpollard » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:07 pm

A house rule that I have long employed to attempt to maintain a sense of "there is no free lunch" is to allow a larger hull to be built with less internal space. For example, build an 800 ton hull with 8 hardpoints but only 600 tons of internal space. The 'lost' tonnage is the cost of the structure and special details needed to accommodate 8 hardpoints on a 600 ton hull. For anything related to the hull, like adding armor, treat it as an 800 ton hull. For anything related to the ship, like MD or JD, treat it like a 600 ton ship.

If you need some way to visualize this, just imagine one of those dogs with all of those folds of skin, or the short wings on an attack helicopter whose purpose is to create extra surface area to mount external ordinance.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby Infojunky » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:00 pm

atpollard wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:07 pm
A house rule that I have long employed to attempt to maintain a sense of "there is no free lunch" is to allow a larger hull to be built with less internal space. For example, build an 800 ton hull with 8 hardpoints but only 600 tons of internal space. The 'lost' tonnage is the cost of the structure and special details needed to accommodate 8 hardpoints on a 600 ton hull. For anything related to the hull, like adding armor, treat it as an 800 ton hull. For anything related to the ship, like MD or JD, treat it like a 600 ton ship.
1st off didn't the reinforced Hull and structure make it out of 1st edition?

2nd, I can understand only needing a Jump drive for the smaller displacement volume, But Manuver would need to be based on the "Whole" tonnage as you are shifting the same amount of mass.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby atpollard » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:15 pm

Infojunky wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:00 pm
atpollard wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:07 pm
A house rule that I have long employed to attempt to maintain a sense of "there is no free lunch" is to allow a larger hull to be built with less internal space. For example, build an 800 ton hull with 8 hardpoints but only 600 tons of internal space. The 'lost' tonnage is the cost of the structure and special details needed to accommodate 8 hardpoints on a 600 ton hull. For anything related to the hull, like adding armor, treat it as an 800 ton hull. For anything related to the ship, like MD or JD, treat it like a 600 ton ship.
1st off didn't the reinforced Hull and structure make it out of 1st edition?

2nd, I can understand only needing a Jump drive for the smaller displacement volume, But Manuver would need to be based on the "Whole" tonnage as you are shifting the same amount of mass.
Sorry, I have not followed the details of the new MgT2ed. This houserule has worked through Classic, MegaTraveller and MgT1ed. You will need to adjust the concept for whatever MgT2ed quirks there are. I presented the logic and two tools for visualization. Figure out how they apply to Your Game.

[MD has traditionally been based on ship volume rather than mass ... empty and full cargo hold freighters have the same acceleration.]
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby Infojunky » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:44 pm

atpollard wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:15 pm

[MD has traditionally been based on ship volume rather than mass ... empty and full cargo hold freighters have the same acceleration.]
That is only partially true....
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby atpollard » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:58 am

Infojunky wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:44 pm
atpollard wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:15 pm

[MD has traditionally been based on ship volume rather than mass ... empty and full cargo hold freighters have the same acceleration.]
That is only partially true....
What page in the MgT 1ed rules described the effects of mass on acceleration for an empty cargo hold?
What page in the MgT 2ed rules describes the effect of mass on acceleration for an empty cargo hold?
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby Infojunky » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:39 am

atpollard wrote:
Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:58 am
Infojunky wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:44 pm
atpollard wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:15 pm

[MD has traditionally been based on ship volume rather than mass ... empty and full cargo hold freighters have the same acceleration.]
That is only partially true....
What page in the MgT 1ed rules described the effects of mass on acceleration for an empty cargo hold?
What page in the MgT 2ed rules describes the effect of mass on acceleration for an empty cargo hold?
Your use of the word Traditional implies the entirety of Traveller, not just the Mongoose edition. Hence my use of the word "partially".

But really the question is How gamist you are, either way works.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby Liodre » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:38 am

I have not seen 'The Expanse', so this is going off a quick internet search.

If you have the CSC, using heavy/vehicle weapons could work. Things like the heavy autocannon do space scale damage, are rapid firing, and seem to fit the look, just reskin them to be rotary cannons. The railgun in there is, essentially, the size of a barrette if you install it on a ship. Use some of the special ammo types to overcome more armor, depending on how armored your ships are.

The smaller weapons don't even need hard points, if they mass less than a ton. See about adding a bunch of those, if they all fire at the same target you still get the +1 per additional weapon die to damage. Get enough and you can do a pretty decent amount of space scale damage.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby atpollard » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:04 pm

Infojunky wrote:
Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:39 am
atpollard wrote:
Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:58 am
Infojunky wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:44 pm
That is only partially true....
What page in the MgT 1ed rules described the effects of mass on acceleration for an empty cargo hold?
What page in the MgT 2ed rules describes the effect of mass on acceleration for an empty cargo hold?
Your use of the word Traditional implies the entirety of Traveller, not just the Mongoose edition. Hence my use of the word "partially".
But really the question is How gamist you are, either way works.
It was true from 1977 to 1993 and from 1996 to 2017. Granted Traveller TNE experimented with reaction based Maneuver Drives in 1994 and 1995, but they were not well received and "Fire, Fusion and Steel" offered Grav Drives as an option. I think 'Traditional' does apply to the entirety of Traveller, especially given the epic unpopularity and short life of the one attempt to try something different. Hence my making a big deal about it being far more than "partially" true.
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Re: Removing Hardpoint Limits: Necessity or Heresy?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:33 pm

My personal view is that is a question of simplification.

Traveller spacecraft move through 4d curved space-time in a realistic manner, yet we generally use simplified movement systems so that we can play the game.

In the same way Traveller spacecraft use thrusters that produce force that results in acceleration by acting on the mass of the ship, not the volume. Thrusters are dimensioned for the displacement of the ship in most editions because it is much simpler. TNE thruster plates, that are explicitly the same as manoeuvre drives in earlier editions, are dimensioned for the mass of the ship.

Displacement tons can be seen as a simplified abstraction representing both volume and mass: "As a rough guide, one ton equals 14 cubic meters".

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