Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

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paltrysum
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Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby paltrysum » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:46 pm

The description in MgT2 High Guard says its 20-ton launch is contained in a docking space but the visual depicts it on the outside of the ship. Based on this and the traditional design of the Type R Subsidised Merchant, shouldn't it be a docking clamp instead?
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ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:53 pm

I thought docking space was a game term, to designate an area either inside or outside a ship? A physical name would be ship hangar, for determining tonnage displacement. Maybe it got renamed.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby Jeraa » Fri Aug 25, 2017 5:03 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:53 pm
I thought docking space was a game term, to designate an area either inside or outside a ship? A physical name would be ship hangar, for determining tonnage displacement. Maybe it got renamed.
THe entry for Docking Space clearly indicates it is entirely internal.
This is an internal bay in which a smaller auxiliary ship or vehicle can dock. When sealed, the docking space completely covers the auxiliary ship. It normally takes 1D minutes for the auxiliary ship to enter or leave the larger ship.
The only difference between a Docking pace and a Hanger is volume - hangers are larger, allowing access around the vehicle to allow for repairs and maintenance.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby paltrysum » Fri Aug 25, 2017 5:36 pm

It creates an odd problem for the subsidised merchant. The ship is streamlined, which it should be unless it only intends to service orbital ports, but having a launch clamped to the external surface makes the ship unstreamlined. Ways to solve this issue:
  • Detach the launch every time you intend to land your Fat Trader on a planet with an atmosphere and let it...I don't know...fly around in orbit while you're at the downport.
  • Come up with a way that it could have a retractable "streamline screen" that goes over it whenever you want to land; not canon mind you, but just a thought.
  • Call it docking space even though it's clearly mounted on the external surface of the ship and just hand wave the discrepancy.
  • Fly the launch into your cargo hold whenever you plan an atmospheric reentry; sort of negates the purpose of having it clamped instead of docked during such operations.
I'm not really comfortable with any of the above, but those seem like the most obvious conclusions. I think I might just institute a house rule that if both the launch and fat trader are streamlined, the combination of the two is also streamlined. Otherwise, why have it clamped?

EDIT: Did a little futzing around with the numbers and one nice solution is upping the tonnage of the trader to 420 (to address the issue of jump and maneuver with a launch sitting on top) with the docking clamps installed. You gain a significant cargo space increase in your trader.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:50 pm

The Subbie has always been like this. Technically it uses an internal space for the launch, with the costs and advantages that entails, yet it is reskinned to carry the launch externally on the deck-plans. I have never had a problem with that.

Let's call it a docking clamp, but you have invested in extra streamlining to make sure the ship is streamlined with or without the launch.

As long as the ship designer does not try to cheat to get a free lunch, I'm quite OK with reskinning.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby paltrysum » Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:11 pm

Here's the key phrase:
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:50 pm
Let's call it a docking clamp, but you have invested in extra streamlining to make sure the ship is streamlined with or without the launch.
I can live with that. It's a imitation of the design rules. So basically this makes it a "streamlined docking clamp."
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Reynard
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby Reynard » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:27 pm

I have to believe the artist erred. I've seen another excellent rendition of the Subsidized Merchant and the launch is in the same location but surrounded in an enclosure with the access aft.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:40 am

Looking at the illustrations in the original The Traveller Adventure it looks like the launch is actually carried in/on a retractable platform - it lands on the back and then sinks down into its 'bay' to be covered by a retractable canopy preserving streamlining.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:49 am

Retractable platform? Canopy? What illustration would that be, I can't find any such?

It does say (TTA, p130):
Riding piggyback on the upper surface of the ship is its 20-ton launch.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:37 am

Yep, but it could have a recessed housing.
p45 - no visible launch but there is what looks like a hatch
p114 - bulge at the back but lacks any of the features of the launch (zoom in upper left of pic.)
p127 - no launch visible
p129 - no launch visible.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:30 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:37 am
Yep, but it could have a recessed housing.
Thanks,

p45: Could be a hatch, but it looks the same as the mid of the ship.
p114: Very small picture and a bad angle, there might be something there, or not...
p 127: Tiny picture, can't see anything.
p 129: Bad angle, I'm not sure we would see the Launch even if it was there.

Sorry, I do not see any hint of any recessed housing. The deck plan leaves no room for anything like that.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:30 pm

Deckplans are notorious for their errors, and there is the famous 20% wiggle room :)

A recess able platform or a covered housing for the launch explains the lack of docking clamps and the maintenance of streamlining - don't you just love how Traveller can not ever get the rules right for their iconic ships :)

CT LBB2 never went into such details, the more you complicate the design system the harder it is explain little foibles like this.

I have a vague memory of docking clamps mentioned in the TNE version - will have to check.

A solution if you want to use docking clamps would be to mage the subbie 380 tons, with drives for a 400t rated craft. Under the MgT rules as written you would have to leave the launch in orbit or fly it down separately to the ship to land.

Personally I will just continue to say the launch clamps on to the back and maintains streamlining because it too is streamlined.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby kustenjaeger » Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:36 pm

I happened to have TNE beside me: p374 says "10-ton Launch and External Grapples".

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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:05 pm

Interestingly TNE had streamlined grapples:
External Crapple: Types listed are for unstreamlined(USL), streamlined(SL), and airframe(AF) hulls of the carrying ship, not the carried craft. Note that the volume of craft carried in external grapples is not subtracted from the available hull volume of the carrying ship, although the volume of the grapple is. Remember that the volume of the carrying ship plus all externally carried craft is used when calculating the required amount of maneuver drive and jump drive.
By selecting the type of grapple that corresponds to its hull streamlining, the vessel may carry externally mounted craft without compromising its streamlining configuration, so long as the externally mounted craft also meets that configuration. If the grapple or craft's configuration is lower than that of the overall hull, the ship is limited to the lower configuration if it is carrying the craft. If the craft is detached, the hull's configuration may be used.
Where streamlined grapples are much bigger and more expensive than unstreamlined grapples.

The Subbie has AF (airframe ≈ streamlined in MgT) grapples, so is streamlined when carrying the launch.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby Reynard » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:59 am

"don't you just love how Traveller can not ever get the rules right for their iconic ships"

Rules are correct, the artwork is wrong. With the introduction of a docking bay option, it looks like Mongoose decided to re-evaluate the Subsidized Merchant by containing the Launch rather than having it ride outside screwing up streamlining. Why streamline a ship then mount a launch on top?
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:09 pm

Don't the Gazelles have the same issue?
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby phavoc » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:32 pm

Reynard wrote:
Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:59 am
"don't you just love how Traveller can not ever get the rules right for their iconic ships"

Rules are correct, the artwork is wrong. With the introduction of a docking bay option, it looks like Mongoose decided to re-evaluate the Subsidized Merchant by containing the Launch rather than having it ride outside screwing up streamlining. Why streamline a ship then mount a launch on top?
It's not hard to engineer it so that the launch is blended into the airframe and doesn't affect streamlining.

F-15s have conformal fuel tanks mounted to the airframe that work the same way. Granted they are bolted on, but they are demountable if desired. Since a launch is streamlined it doesn't need any other type of cover.

Which is also a possibility. A retractable covering for the launch could be installed. But that's not listed in the design.

The bigger obstacle to all this is having paying passengers climb up a ladder to get into a launch. For crew or military personnel its ok. But not paying passengers.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby Reynard » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:28 am

"Docking Space
This is an internal bay in which a smaller auxiliary ship or vehicle can dock. When sealed, the docking space completely covers the auxiliary ship."

They use 'docking space' in the design. That's why I say the rules are correct but the image is an artifact of older images. I've seen another picture of a subsidized merchant with the docking bay as a dorsal cowl. Nothing wrong creating a subsidized merchant with an external clamp. Use the docking space for one more ton of cargo and the 1 ton dock clamp and the 20 tons of launch is integral to the total ship tonnage. Big difference is while the launch is attached the merchant loses streamlining, the launch can be targeted and takes 3 full rounds to launch or dock compared to 1-3 rounds for a docking space.

The Gazelle has the gig docking space aft on Deck 1.
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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby Condottiere » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:46 pm

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Re: Subsidised Merchant: docking space or docking clamp?

Postby msprange » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:04 pm

Just to weigh in here (and this only applies to the current edition, YMMV on others).

I get where you are coming from with the external positioning of the Launch on the 3D picture of the Subbie (page 184 of the Core book), but here's the thing... That is not the Launch you are looking at but its housing. If you look on the deck plan, it shows a docking space (with access to the lower decks) that can fit a Launch inside (you can see the docking hatch marked in green - that opens, Launch flies in).

Consider it a third deck...
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