[Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

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Pyromancer
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[Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby Pyromancer » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:54 pm

I'm preparing an adventure in the Borderland subsector. In it, Inurin has united and managed to make a deal with the 3I, getting two old 20.000dton battlecruisers. They are OLD, TL9 designs upgraded to jump-2 a few hundred years ago, and most sensors and some of the secondary weapons are removed, but they do have spinal mount particle accelerators.
It is my intention that this tips the balance of powers in the vicinity, but skimming through the Drinax stuff, I wonder if this is too much. What do you think?
I might run Pirates of Drinax a few years from now. Would the presence of those two "monsters" ruin it?
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby PsiTraveller » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:25 am

The Torpol Cluster has the Torpol system with a Gionetti class light cruiser at 30 000 tons and TL 15 according to http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Gionetti_c ... ht_Cruiser

So you have a J 5 fst strike cruiser one week away from your home planet. Torpol got it through the same kind of deal you are talking about, a "trade route security assistance scheme".

Oddly enough, I am writing up a scenario that involves Inurin and surrounding planets to arm up the Drinax area. Send me a PM if you want to trade ideas.
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby Pyromancer » Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:04 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:25 am
The Torpol Cluster has the Torpol system with a Gionetti class light cruiser at 30 000 tons and TL 15 according to http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Gionetti_c ... ht_Cruiser

So you have a J 5 fst strike cruiser one week away from your home planet. Torpol got it through the same kind of deal you are talking about, a "trade route security assistance scheme".
I didn't find anything on this, neither on the traveller wiki nor in the Drinax books. It would definitely feel out of place in a region where a hand full of J-2 400dton ships is considered a respectable navy.
Oddly enough, I am writing up a scenario that involves Inurin and surrounding planets to arm up the Drinax area. Send me a PM if you want to trade ideas.
Great!
My background so far: Inurin has united some ten years ago (although not all factions are entirely happy with this) and has established a mining colony on Ergo. They mine lanthanum, and by agreeing to sell it exclusively to the 3I have secured the deal on the two battlecruisers.
They managed to steal away a bunch of experienced miners from Argora (PRQ is pissed), who form the core of the colony. They also have a security force a few 1,000 strong that protect the colony from the local warlords. That's the situation.

I now want to run two adventures with two different groups.
Group one consists of spies and infiltrators from Tech-World. Tech-World has gotten wind of the deal, and want to stop their neighbor. They have started up the production of warships and weapons, but can't manage more than a ~500dton ship every few months. But they are modern TL14 ones, at least.
The group has the mission to prepare for an invasion (or raid) of Ergo and/or Inurin: Travel the land, scout the locations, find allies, prepare sabotage, and make a plan.

The second group will later play the Inurin side, having to deal with everything the first group has cooked up.
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby Pyromancer » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:13 pm

That's a picture of the battlecruiser in question:
Image
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby PsiTraveller » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:49 pm

Cool pic! Interesting ideas regarding the new commercal entity in the area.

oops, I made a mistake in the capabilities of the Torpol ship.

From The Torpol Cluster product. http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/199 ... ol-Cluster
pg 6
"This defence system provides a measure of protection to vessels near the station, but is incapable of reaching far out into space. For this purpose, Torpol maintains a flotilla of fighters at the highport and a single large defensive craft. This is a (very) old Imperial Gionetticlass light cruiser, a huge ship by local standards, which was provided several decades ago under a now-defunct ‘trade route security assistance’ scheme. The cruiser is in relatively good repair considering its age, but is not jump capable and several of its systems have been replaced with locally produced alternatives of lesser capability. Still, a light cruiser that was once a unit of the Imperial Navy is more than a match for most threats encountered in Trojan Reach sector."


So unless you write in that the ship gets new Jump Drives Inurin is safe.

Seeing as Terch-World is a GeDeCo supported and Imperial backed operation, is it Tech-World or GeDeCo that could cause issues? GeDeCo may want a cut of the profits, and access to the mineral resources of the Red zoned Ergo system. They may want to put in a fuelling stop to charge more money for J2 ships headed to Byrni.
From pg 98 of book 1 of the Drinax adventure.

"Only a few parsecs antispinward of Drinax is the planet Tech-World. The ugly name - the product of a botched advertising campaign by the General Development Corporation - speaks of the planet’s ambition. On Tech-World, there are no limits to scientific research, and no fetters on what a scientist can attempt. The colony’s foundation was bankrolled by the General Development Corporation. Most of the researchers come from the Imperial subsectors of the Trojan Reach, especially worlds like Neumann. Others are eccentrics and radicals, drawn to a world where they can conduct virtually any experiments. GeDeCo tolerates its collection of mad scientists, as long
as they occasionally produce something useful and keep the automated starport operational. Tech-World is an island of advanced technology amid the backward worlds
of the Reach."

You could tie in a diplomoatic and trade idea into the Demon's Eye adventure and swing a liberated Tech-World free of GeDeCo control, in exchange for food and new recruits for Tech-World training institutes. (upgrade folks from Inurin). GeDeCo now becomes the bad guy and you have ships from Vorito and pirates from Theev to contend wth all the way up the trade route to Fist. This could tie all the adventures into the sub plot of the Drinax campaign and allow a campaign to proceed on several levels, straight piracy, targeted piracy against PRQ ships, GEdeCo ships, trade and diplomacy. For players this allows a wider range of skills to be used in any adventure you give them.
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby Pyromancer » Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:30 pm

I'm not quite sure yet what the role of GeDeCo will be...
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby allanimal » Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:18 pm

The first part of the Pirates of Drinax campaign doesn't make sense if Torpol has a couple of battle cruisers. No way would a pirate gang with a few 100-200 ton ships raid the place....
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby Pyromancer » Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:35 pm

allanimal wrote:
Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:18 pm
The first part of the Pirates of Drinax campaign doesn't make sense if Torpol has a couple of battle cruisers. No way would a pirate gang with a few 100-200 ton ships raid the place....
So, are there other "Pirates of Drinax" supplements from Mongoose that you can't use with the "Pirates of Drinax" campaign, or is it just "Pirates of Drinax: The Torpol Cluster"? Is this a case of "old version" vs "new version"?
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby allanimal » Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:32 pm

Pyromancer wrote:
Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:35 pm
allanimal wrote:
Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:18 pm
The first part of the Pirates of Drinax campaign doesn't make sense if Torpol has a couple of battle cruisers. No way would a pirate gang with a few 100-200 ton ships raid the place....
So, are there other "Pirates of Drinax" supplements from Mongoose that you can't use with the "Pirates of Drinax" campaign, or is it just "Pirates of Drinax: The Torpol Cluster"? Is this a case of "old version" vs "new version"?
The Campaign proper did not change much at all between versions, so yeah, the Torpol Cluster supplement mentions this defense system but the campaign does not.

I have not noticed yet any major issues with the other products, but I started the Drinax Campaign with my group long before 2nd edition was announced, and they played through a lot of the parts that the Torpol Cluster and Theev supplements cover long before those supplements were available. So I haven't really combed them for incompatibilities. I can't recall specifics, but I seem to remember things described in the Theev book (I think...) that are incongruous with my campaign, but that may be due to how events unfolded with the PCs there, and not due to incompatibilities. I will try to re-read these older supplements and take note of stuff like that.

But I think things can be logically reconciled. Die example, as a result of the events in the campaign, Torpol could be investing in setting up this defensive system described in the supplement. So it may not be there for the first arc, but by the end it could be. (My campaign is well over two years running in both game time and real time - and they are not quite 2/3 finished...
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:01 am

The Drinax related material is
Pirates of Drinax: Theev
Pirates of Drinax: The Torpol Cluster
Pirates of Drinax: Gods of Marduk
Pirates of Drinax: Ship Encounters
Pirates of Drinax:Revolution on Acrid
Pirates of Drinax: The campaign and the books therein
Marooned on Marduk was also written by Mr. Dougherty so we can add that to the list as well. :)

Having the ship in system does not have to be a problem: It was on a training exercise on the far side of the system when the attack happpened. It was escorting a convoy of high value ships/ a diplomatic mission/ a famous rock star etc, to the Jump point to protect against piracy. It could have had a system failure and been under repair. There are any number of reasons/ excuses.

This could also be an exploitable moment for the more paranoid types. A data search and hacking attempt could find subtle clues that point to the ship being purposefully positioned to open the world up to attack. The whole scenario could be a GeDeCo ploy to sell more ships, a Highport upgrade etc. All very in line with the subtle master plan of Monsieur Jaskarl.
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby Pyromancer » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:10 pm

If you were a leader of a faction on Inurin (pre unification), how would you arm your country?

Say, you have 7-8 million people, sparsely populated land, but thoroughly industrialized, with population centers around a few big rivers, the rest of the land is mostly empty woodland and prairie. And you have 3-4 neighbors of roughly the same size that you don't like and don't trust.

TL is 5 (~early 20th century). You can probably buy higher TL stuff from traders, but spare parts would be a problem.

My thought is to base the military on domestically produced equipment: Infantry with assault rifles, MGs and bazookas; perhaps 200 decent tanks (T-55 equivalent), a few recon planes.
On top of that, there comes imported stuff: Even the cheapest TL 10 radios will be orders of magnitude superior to anything domestically produced, and they are small, so getting them in bulk shouldn't be too difficult. They can't be repaired locally, so I would buy stockpiles full of replacement. The rest of the money goes into high tech stuff for a small elite force. Laser rifles, combat armor, perhaps a hovertank or two, a few modern planes, a hand full of modern missiles.

Does that sound sensible? What would you do?
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby PsiTraveller » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:18 pm

The traveller wiki has some crazy Land tank listed for Inurin: http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Inurin_(world)

The Mark III Titan is a land battleship. http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Mark_III_Titan

Or you go a more sane approach like you have listed in your post.

The problem is the temptation to get higher tech material from off world. Drinax (40 000 nobles) conquered Asim with a few Free traders full of TL 14 Hawk Warriors). Look at page 236 of book 1 of the Drinax adventure.
A few million credits spent of world outfits a unit of power armour, laser rifles and flying rigs, just as you mentioned. Even Carapace Armour for the regular troops and modern TL12 medical gear would have a huge impact.

High tech mercenaries or small strike squads with deniability of direct involvement (player characters) can use higher tech gear to perform specific missions. With only a few million people you run into the ratio or troops to population. How many soldiers will you be able to support. This gets into a meta conversation of income for your 8 million citizens, access to raw materials etc. In the U.S. Less than 1% of population serves in the military. With that number you have 80 000 soldiers to oufit.
http://www.npr.org/2011/07/03/137536111 ... s-military

And again, hiring a single Far Trader with a missile rack and a few tons of Ortillery to target hard targets of your neighbors is a peachy way of settling the score.
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby Pyromancer » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:51 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:18 pm
The traveller wiki has some crazy Land tank listed for Inurin: http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Inurin_(world)

The Mark III Titan is a land battleship. http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Mark_III_Titan
This makes a great historic backdrop. I will put a statue of one of those at a prominent place on Inurin, with people remarking how stupid military technology was 100 years ago.
High tech mercenaries or small strike squads with deniability of direct involvement (player characters) can use higher tech gear to perform specific missions. With only a few million people you run into the ratio or troops to population. How many soldiers will you be able to support. This gets into a meta conversation of income for your 8 million citizens, access to raw materials etc. In the U.S. Less than 1% of population serves in the military. With that number you have 80 000 soldiers to oufit.
I think I will set it a little bit higher than that.
And again, hiring a single Far Trader with a missile rack and a few tons of Ortillery to target hard targets of your neighbors is a peachy way of settling the score.
Yes, you have to invest in a few high tech weapon systems to counter that possibility. But you can't entirely rely on them. Finding the right mix is the trick.
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby PsiTraveller » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:36 pm

This all opens up the discussion about what protection exists against higher tech planets taking over lower tech neighbors. In the Imperium there could be Navy protection of systems, and the idea of all planets in the Imperium are on the same side. Out in the Wilds it could be a different story. GeDeCo sells kingdoms as a business model, taking concessions and payments from the newly installed rulers.

Drinax did it to Asim. A few traders and scouts packed with TL 14-TL15 warriors and they took out the rulers. Oghma and the Sword Worlds threaten orbital attacks to get raw materials and treasure from the lower tech folks at the bottom of the gravity well.

The arms race will between the balkanized Inurin will be to buy the best tech for the best price. It is the Dreadnought paradox. You can have all the best TL 5 tech, but a few people in TL 14 power armour are going to take apart your TL 5 tank division in an afternoon.
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby Pyromancer » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:15 am

PsiTraveller wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:36 pm
This all opens up the discussion about what protection exists against higher tech planets taking over lower tech neighbors. In the Imperium there could be Navy protection of systems, and the idea of all planets in the Imperium are on the same side. Out in the Wilds it could be a different story. GeDeCo sells kingdoms as a business model, taking concessions and payments from the newly installed rulers.

Drinax did it to Asim. A few traders and scouts packed with TL 14-TL15 warriors and they took out the rulers. Oghma and the Sword Worlds threaten orbital attacks to get raw materials and treasure from the lower tech folks at the bottom of the gravity well.
As a nation on a low tech planet, you have to get your hands on missiles. A hand full of launchers are enough to deter the occasional pirate ship or the free trader that your neighbor might hire. And they are low tech enough so that you probably can do the basic maintenance yourself.
The arms race will between the balkanized Inurin will be to buy the best tech for the best price. It is the Dreadnought paradox. You can have all the best TL 5 tech, but a few people in TL 14 power armour are going to take apart your TL 5 tank division in an afternoon.
High tech equipment is expensive. How many T55 knockoffs can you produce for the price of one imported TL 14 battle dress with a fusion gun? 50? 100? More? Of course, sensibly deployed, the one battle dress is more than a match for a TL 5 tank battalion, but if it breaks down, or if the soldier makes an operating error, or if the enemy lands a lucky hit, you have a big problem.
I think the sensible thing to do when it comes to high tech equipment would be to have it, but not to rely on it. Keep it in reserve, use it as a force multiplier or to counter the enemy''s high tech equipment.
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby steve98052 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:05 pm

If you're a TL5 nation on a balkanized world surrounded by hostile neighbors, what higher TL items do you get?

1. The best vaccines you can get, even if that means shipping them in on a two year trip all the way from Solomani Rim Sector. Starvation and disease cause at least as much harm during wars as direct military casualties at TL5, so take disease out of your way. If a single shipment is too much, split the cost with allied nations. (You do have allies, even if yourimmediate neighbors are all hostile, right?)
2. A vaccine lab from the nearest friendly middle TL world, to prevent and react to emerging threats (such as annual influenza) that aren't addressed by the distant import standard vaccines. It's a more costly investment because you not only need stuff, you need to recruit a few technicians to live on your backwater world. Share with allies.
3. Fusion power plants, two for each urban center, on the smallest mobile platforms that are practical, so they can be shipped off to the nearest friendly middle TL world for maintenance. The reason for getting two is so the power stays on when one is away for maintenance. Build stout bunkers for them.
4. Lots of advanced batteries of all sizes.
5. Nuclear weapons for a mutually assured destruction deterrent.
6. Combination military radios and smart phones for your entire military, and cell stations that are mobile for easy replacement when local repairs aren't practical. Your civilian population can use the network too, if they pay their share of the cost.
7. Targeting lasers for all of your small arms.
8. High TL cloth armor and comparable helmets. Heavy duty armor costs a fortune, but moderate protection is cheap.

On an adventurer scale, you don't have to think about purchasing power, but on a nation state scale, a TL5 nation has very low per capita purchasing power for imports, so higher TL stuff needs to be selected carefully. Buy the lowest TL import that's good enough, not just for maintenance (which probably means sending it off-world anyway), but to get your money's worth out of your purchasing power.

See the classic Trillion Credit Squadron for a simple purchasing power model, or GURPS Far Trader for something written by economists writing for the Traveller universe.
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Re: [Drinax] Arming up the Borderland subsector

Postby Epicenter » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:17 am

Pyromancer wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:51 pm
This makes a great historic backdrop. I will put a statue of one of those at a prominent place on Inurin, with people remarking how stupid military technology was 100 years ago.
The land battleships did work at one point or else they wouldn't be noted as "breaking a stalemate" suggesting that the power that built them went on to win the conflict(s).

This would mean it'd In fact, they'd probably be remembered romantically (extremely fondly). Good comparisons would be how people call for the return of battleships today; it'd have been the Manhattan Project of their day, the "war winning weapon." Armchair militarists on the world often calling for the return of land battleship idea to win wars anytime conflict or the threat of conflict emerges ("imagine how deadly this would be if we put in a fusion reactor instead of the oil boilers and crystal-aligned armor instead of face-hardened iron!") in a similar vein to how any visit to a naval warfare forum will result in threads about how to battleship will return again as a dominant weapon or how RPG forums periodically are hit with threads about how to make swords deadly weapons of the future.
Pyromancer wrote:
Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:54 pm
They are OLD, TL9 designs upgraded to jump-2 a few hundred years ago, and most sensors and some of the secondary weapons are removed, but they do have spinal mount particle accelerators.
The Imperium isn't going to have TL9 starships lying around. If they did, they'd be old ships, kept around in museums; perhaps they're some notable ship or just an example of what naval technology was like centuries ago.

If the Imperium sells them a warship, you're likely looking at like TL12, maybe TL13. I think you are correct if the Imperium doesn't want to a world too dominant, they'd probably sell the world "nerfed" warships - the hull, power systems, maneuver drive, and so on all would all be high tech. However, the ship might not have much in the way of weapons; like no spinal mount, but it might have bay weapons.

However, if I might make a suggestion, one or two TL13 starships isn't actually going to be overpowering. It'd be like how some nations in Africa or something purchase like five Sukoi-27s. It makes a bold statement and is certainly going to make enemies of the world think twice about causing trouble, but they'd be too valuable to use. I'm sure players might think "well we could set up some ambush and provided we can determine the time and the place, we can destroy these ships" ... I'm a believer that players are not significantly more bright than someone in the Inurin military - if the players can think of a scenario like that, so will the Inurin military. The maintenance drain on having weapons that are superior to what they have would also be significant; they'd be stuck in a situation like modern-day India where they have these shiny weapons, but logistical burden of keeping them operational and training the crews would be pretty great.

It's likely to trigger an arms race in the region, at least enough to deter attacks by Inurin; they don't need a comparable military force, just a few TL13 SDBs or something and they'll mortgage their worlds to the Imperium and its megacorps to get them (win-win for the Imperium). However, a pair of TL13 starships isn't going to stop a determined fleet of small commerce raiders; yes, a force of small converted Far Traders may lose one or two ships in a raid, but before even ten merchant hulls are lost, that world is going to be reclassified as an Amber Zone and merchant traffic is going to dry up, which is something Inurin definitely cannot afford, given the promises they made to get the ships in the first place.

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