Low tech ships - Need help

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DivineWrath
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Low tech ships - Need help

Postby DivineWrath » Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:26 pm

For fun, I decided to try to design a few low tech ships. I found that I could go as low as TL 7 on many of the steps, but I've ran into problems.

Low tech weapons. The only weapons I see at TL 7 are missiles and torpedoes. I'm hoping for more variety, such as firearm ships weapons. I'm trying to avoid relying on missiles being the only weapon for fighters.

No TL 7 software. Not even Manoeuvre/0 or Library. I'm wondering if the ships will be able to fly? If so, do they suffer penalties? I'm questioning whether or not to even buy a ship computer...

No TL 8 sensors. The lowest they go is TL 8.

Fission power plants. I'm not sure how much fuel they use and how much it costs. I'm expecting the numbers will be different than what is used for fusion.

Buying missiles. Do you buy missiles individually, or as a pack? What I mean to say is, is the price 250,000 Cr for a single missile or is that the price for a dozen standard missiles?
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:00 pm

Well, if TL7 is current day, then I would say that Missiles are the only real option for a space craft. While we are experimenting with Lasers etc. they really are prototypes of TL8 weapons and may not realistically be used on a small spacecraft.

Regarding everything else that is TL8. I would suggest that you use the Prototype Rules in HG. They let you build something 1 TL early, but at a higher cost and size. Perfect for those experimental spacecraft from a TL7 society. Prototype software makes sense too. It is custom built, so is much more expensive. Even sensors could be prototypes - Radar has a pretty short range in space terms.

Sounds like an interesting project.
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AnotherDilbert
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:12 pm

DivineWrath wrote: Low tech weapons. The only weapons I see at TL 7 are missiles and torpedoes. I'm hoping for more variety, such as firearm ships weapons. I'm trying to avoid relying on missiles being the only weapon for fighters.
You can use small weapons, such as auto-cannons. The range sucks, though.

DivineWrath wrote: Fission power plants. I'm not sure how much fuel they use and how much it costs. I'm expecting the numbers will be different than what is used for fusion.
HG, Fuel, Power Plant, p17 wrote:Chemical power plants require ...
Other power plants require fuel tankage equal to 10% of their size (rounding up, minimum 1 ton).
There is no given cost for fissionables or antimatter, perhaps since they are not commonly available.

DivineWrath wrote: Buying missiles. Do you buy missiles individually, or as a pack? What I mean to say is, is the price 250,000 Cr for a single missile or is that the price for a dozen standard missiles?
I think ammo costs are per Dt, so per 12 missiles.
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby msprange » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:26 pm

We did a TL7 ship for the Great Rift (which, as a referee, you just have to get your players on!). For sensors, I will be recommending they look out of the windows...
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby msprange » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:26 pm

We did a TL7 ship for the Great Rift (which, as a referee, you just have to get your players on!). For sensors, I will be recommending they look out of the windows...
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DivineWrath
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby DivineWrath » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:35 pm

Which book can I find this ship in? Bonus points if you can get me a link.
baithammer
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby baithammer » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:44 pm

You can use the Primitive and Advanced Spacecraft option prototype to bring in more advanced weapons.
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby msprange » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:47 pm

DivineWrath wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:35 pm
Which book can I find this ship in? Bonus points if you can get me a link.
Not released yet, but you'll see it on Drivethru before Christmas (look out for the Great Rift).
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DivineWrath
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby DivineWrath » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:52 pm

baithammer wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:44 pm
You can use the Primitive and Advanced Spacecraft option prototype to bring in more advanced weapons.
I'm trying to stick to TL 7 or lower whenever possible. So I'll be using stuff like chemical power plants, even if TL 8 fusion is right around the corner.
msprange wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:47 pm
Not released yet, but you'll see it on Drivethru before Christmas (look out for the Great Rift).
Not yet released? I'll keep an eye out for it then.


Anyways.

I'm thinking that a ship firearm like weapon would do 1D damage, would have a range of short, and cost maybe 0.25 MCr. Maybe give it the autofire trait.

How important would a shipyard be to TL 7 world? I'm trying to design a starport and I'm not sure what kind of class to make it. I was thinking class B until I saw it needed 10,000 tons minimum for the shipyard. I don't want to waste space so I'm trying to figure out how much demand there will be for TL 7 ships.
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby Sigtrygg » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:30 pm

We've had pretty good radar since TL6, there is no sensible reason not to have spacecraft with radar. Ladar is currently available at TL7, not to mention IR sensors, radio detection sensors etc.

The TL restrictions on spacecraft sensors are a bit silly IMHO
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:37 pm

DivineWrath wrote: I'm thinking that a ship firearm like weapon would do 1D damage, would have a range of short, and cost maybe 0.25 MCr. Maybe give it the autofire trait.
Image
You will not hit anything that can manoeuvre at 1000 km (Short) with a cannon, but perhaps Close (~10 km), and certainly Adjacent (<1 km).
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:59 pm

This would get 100 tonnes into orbit in a few minutes, or to the Moon in a few hours, very cheaply:
Image
20 Dt, MCr 2.6, station keeping M-drive, 3 G reaction drive with 2 hours fuel, 10 Dt cargo.

I'm presuming that a degraded Basic sensor package and Manoeuvre software is available at TL7.
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby Condottiere » Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:47 pm

1. There's no advanced/primitive option for hulls; you'd want technological level nine for self-sealing, and eight for artificial gravity.

2. Drilling a hole through a planetoid pole gives automatic artificial gravity and is cheaper.

3. Early prototype manoeuvre drive factor one is worth it; early prototype jump drive somewhat risky.
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby baithammer » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:15 pm

The basic sensors at TL8 refer to high powered sensors capable of working out 10,000+ km ranges, vehicles book has rules for lower tech sensors.

If I interpret the vehicles rules correctly it is possible to get sensors that work out to 5,000 km.
DivineWrath
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby DivineWrath » Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:18 am

Well, I think I'm done with the TL 7 Class C starport. It is 75,000 ton station that meets the qualifications for a Class C starport in all ways except sensors and M-drive. Sensors is a still a problem as TL 7 doesn't allow for even the most basic of sensors. It has no no reaction drive because there is no rating 0 reaction drive. Maybe I should take a rating 0 M-drive and pretend its reaction drive. Other than that, I think it looks good. It has 6000 tons for a hamster wheel to simulate gravity and its used for living quarters and other stuff.

Why are torpedo bays TL 9 when missile bays are TL 7? A torpedo barbette is TL 7.

I'm thinking of these as new ship weapons. I want them so I can make fighters that can use something other than missiles. Let me know what you guys think.

Ship Machine Gun, turret weapon, short, 0 power, TL 7, damage 1D, magazine 12, auto 4. Replacement ammo 20,000 Cr for a full magazine. A spare magazine takes up 1 ton of space.

Ship Cannon, turret weapon, short, 0 power, TL 7, damage 2D, magazine 4. Replacement ammo 60,000 Cr for a full magazine. A spare magazine takes up 1 ton of space.
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby Epicenter » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:58 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:37 pm

You will not hit anything that can manoeuvre at 1000 km (Short) with a cannon, but perhaps Close (~10 km), and certainly Adjacent (<1 km).
I wonder about that at times; I think it's an "implications of technology" thing. At TL7 a ship won't have fancy reactionless M-drives; every "dodge" is going to require precious reaction mass. A TL7 warship might actually have to consider "do we want to use reaction mass to dodge this or will the armor of the ship be able to handle it?" (eg; will they get a low damage roll or a high one)
msprange wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:26 pm
We did a TL7 ship for the Great Rift (which, as a referee, you just have to get your players on!). For sensors, I will be recommending they look out of the windows...
I am assuming you're referring to the players being forced to use some low-tech kitbash in the Great Rift so there's no resources to develop sensors.

I think the idea of "low tech star travel" is a field just begging for proper treatment in MgT. A lucrative potential. Think of it fulfilling what "Hard Times" did for MegaTraveller all those decades ago.

Even in a "What if we let von Braun take us to the stars" timeline, I think sensors are possible on a starship beyond just visual inspection, especially once a civilization starts building purpose-built starships in orbit, ones that can never land on a surface without burning up on re-entry or crashing spectacularly. For instance, at lower tech levels the computing power doesn't exist for a lot of apeture sensors so you'd literally need to build a larger sensor array and stick it on a starship. While the engineering hurdles to mount a 100m wide radar dish onto a starship would be great, it is within the realm of the feasible since you don't have to worry about launching all that extra mass into orbit (it's being built in space) and there's no atmospheric drag. A pair or trio of starships might fly with a huge kilometers-wide array between them like a huge fishing net to get the apeture they need for their low-tech sensors.

Now I guess it could be argued that by the time you get all that to work you'd be at TL8 from the research but I think majority of the critical components would be at TL7. It'd be larger, bulkier, more fragile, less efficient, and much more expensive but I think you could still make sensors with a range of 10,000km at TL7. Probably even at TL6. TL5 ... maybe not.
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:52 am

Epicenter wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:58 am
I wonder about that at times; I think it's an "implications of technology" thing. At TL7 a ship won't have fancy reactionless M-drives; every "dodge" is going to require precious reaction mass.
Short range is something like 1 000 km. With a muzzle velocity of 2 000 m/s or 2 km/s it would take 500 s or 8 minutes before the round hit the target.

If the target boosts for a minute at 1 G it will get a speed of 600 m/s (in a random direction). Before the round reached the position the ship was it will have moved 288 km.

Even a short burst of acceleration now and then will make the target unhittable.

Even with reaction drives we can still have hours of acceleration.
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby Condottiere » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:58 am

One thousand two hundred fifty klicks, I think.

You could also slingshot around orbit a couple of times, before setting out for your destination.
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby Reynard » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:41 pm

I'm noticing you can't carry enough reaction mass to go anywhere beyond maybe to the nearest moon. I'm sure people are very happy with the initial discovery of maneuver technology just to explore their own star system. I bit like what we're experiencing on Earth today.
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Re: Low tech ships - Need help

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:59 pm

There is an old saying - once you are in orbit you are halfway to anywhere in the solar system.

The delta V to achieve orbit is the killer, once in orbit that same delta V (if you could refuel) is enough to get you to just about anywhere in the solar system. It may take a few weeks, months or years. depending on how far the target is.

For TL7 setting building an orbital refueling station is a must, as is a moon base if you happen to have a nearby companion like we do here on Earth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta-v_budget

For combat in such a setting I would seriously consider going with quasi-vehicle combat scale since ships will be nowhere near as fast as gravitic maneuver drive ships with their near infinite delta V.

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