Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Moppy » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:57 am

Old School wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:10 am
The Harrier is too small to go up against a true combat vessel i.e. a destroyer or cruiser, that I agree with. But it could certainly destroy a type T corvette, a paramilitary vessel twice its size. I think the Pirates campaigns we’ve written about on this thread have shown its capabilities against Broadswords and Gazelles as well.

IMTU, military grade weapons aren’t commonly available on the open market for private buyers. That is a house rule, for certain, but so is your comment that “a real warship will have rad shielding”. RAW, Imperial navy ships don’t have radiation shielding until you get to cruiser size vessels. None of the destroyers or fleet escort vessels include it.

The Harrier is proof of technology over raw firepower. It would shred your free trader launching 24 missiles a turn, despite the trader’s obvious firepower advantage. Even with military sensors and radiation shielding, I’d take the Harrier. The only thin its own size that would overmatch is another particle beam equipped ship that also had radiation shielding.

But if we’re playing a game in which small combat vessels commonly come with radiation shielding, we have to give shielding to the Harrier as well. In that case, the only thing its own size that outmatches it would be a high tech level SDB. Ands thats the point of an SDB, that it can overwhelm a jump capable ship its own size.
You should probably play out some High Guard. I suspect you might be thinking in terms of CT.

The Gazelle is a terrible design in Mongoose. In CT High Guard it worked because it had a model 5 (6?) computer and there was "relative computer factor" DM in combat which made it very good against other ships of its size. Mongoose changes a lot of things and they chose not to redesign the ships. Rad shielding on a combat hull is required and either they have it, or the whole Imperium is bonkers or Mongoose rules need adjusting.

Considering the "missile bay free trader" which is a terrible design due to poor electronics, no radiation shielding, and other reasons, it still has a huge amount of firepower. Put that firepower on a rad shielded, lightly armored combat hull with proper electronics, and it'll be very much more effective.

Remember also that crew casualties (from rad) don't matter in the short term as anything built for combat will have CPU power to run virtual gunner and it will keep firing until you physically break something.

edit: Basically I regard your position as odd since who would win? A harrier with barbette firepower or a Harrier with bay f irepower? It's pretty obvious, isn't it? (And yes it can fit if you don't try to put cargo in a combatant).
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:32 am

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Last edited by Old School on Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:36 am

Typed a long response, then decided that, as usual, there’s no point in arguing on the internet. Moving on.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:52 am

Okay, can’t resist your edit. Harrier vs. Harrier would almost certainly come down to who lands a high radiation shot first. In a particle beam battle, the rules favor the barbette over the bay due to accuracy. Accuracy is far more important than damage dice in that scenario. Particle barbette vs. missile bay would very likely result in the death of the crew of the missile Harrier. The fate of the particle barbette Harrier would likely depend on how many salvos the missile harrier got off before dying. Faster missiles would certainly increase the odds of destruction.

Free trader vs. free trader, the one with the missile bay would defeat the one with two beam lasers. Is that the point you’re trying to make?
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:01 am

It also depends what’s in the Harrier’s second turret. A triple laser turret can be a fine anti-missile weapon.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:13 am

Assuming those missiles get that far. The first couple of salvos won’t.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:36 am

Kulthea wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 1:58 pm
Lady Nitrane is a reluctant heiress. There's always the 'true' heir (a hermit on Noricum) or Prince Harrick who is on Clarke. Or of course GeDeCo could come up with someone else (and they're going to "take care of" the travellers, whatever that means). The loyalty of the planets will be tested for sure, and I'm wondering how to handle that too.

The next session starts in about 20 hours (I'm in Australia) and in about 24 hours time we'll know more. Stay tuned.
Hmmm. . .lost track of Harrick. Thought he was dead. How does Nitrane consider herself the heir, then?

So I’ll be up and on my way to work in about eight hours. Should give you enough time to finish your session and type it up :D
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Kulthea » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:35 am

Old School wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:36 am
Kulthea wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 1:58 pm
Lady Nitrane is a reluctant heiress. There's always the 'true' heir (a hermit on Noricum) or Prince Harrick who is on Clarke. Or of course GeDeCo could come up with someone else (and they're going to "take care of" the travellers, whatever that means). The loyalty of the planets will be tested for sure, and I'm wondering how to handle that too.

The next session starts in about 20 hours (I'm in Australia) and in about 24 hours time we'll know more. Stay tuned.
Hmmm. . .lost track of Harrick. Thought he was dead. How does Nitrane consider herself the heir, then?

So I’ll be up and on my way to work in about eight hours. Should give you enough time to finish your session and type it up :D
We started the campaign with Nitrane on SOC 15 and something like 6th in line to the throne. That seemed appropriate for that SOC given the population, but then Oleb died, Harrick rescinded his claims and moved to Clarke, and people like Princess/Queen/Empress Rao, Lady Hil and Lord Wrax also died. Basically the party - all from Drinax and now Arch-Dukes - are probably 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in line assuming that none of the Vespexers count, and that Harrick is true to his word.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Moppy » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:16 pm

Old School wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:52 am
Okay, can’t resist your edit. Harrier vs. Harrier would almost certainly come down to who lands a high radiation shot first. In a particle beam battle, the rules favor the barbette over the bay due to accuracy. Accuracy is far more important than damage dice in that scenario. Particle barbette vs. missile bay would very likely result in the death of the crew of the missile Harrier. The fate of the particle barbette Harrier would likely depend on how many salvos the missile harrier got off before dying. Faster missiles would certainly increase the odds of destruction.

Free trader vs. free trader, the one with the missile bay would defeat the one with two beam lasers. Is that the point you’re trying to make?
For a Harrier duel you might keep the barbette and upgrade the other mount, because the ship does not have rad shielding(?!). But at least one mount will continue to fire after a rad hit because of virtual gunner.

I don't like particle bays in this ruleset. Accuracy aside, the main benefit of particles is range and radiation, and they are very similar to the barbette for those.

A 100-ton missile bay doesn't fit in any reasonable Harrier refit, but the 50 bay is still a clear advantage in direct combat over triple missile turret (12 v 3 launchers). In universe a Harrier isn't designed for direct combat and might want a mixed laser/missile/sand turret so it doesn't take damage from single potshots, and for precision-shooting at things that it doesn't want to be radioactive, and for cargo.

I don't understand your comment about the first couple of missile salvos not going far enough. Advanced missiles are immediate at Long range (Harriers have stealth, what's the starting range?) and face 1 turn of jamming at VLong. Missiles also don't go away if the launching ship is killed. I guess you're starting to attack at distant? Certainly possible, and might be correct.

If we assume particle and nuclear is military-restricted to stop free traders installing them, then not rad-shielding (para)miltary combat craft is very strange. I'd assume nukes and advanced missiles on a warship (or state-sponsored blinged-out ego ship for a pirate king) and I'd assume that if you're allowed to carry nukes, you're allowed to use nukes in space as there is no fear of fallout.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:28 pm

A 100-ton missile bay doesn't fit in any reasonable Harrier refit, but the 50 bay is still a clear advantage in direct combat over triple missile turret (12 v 3 launchers). In universe a Harrier isn't designed for direct combat and might want a mixed laser/missile/sand turret so it doesn't take damage from single potshots, and for precision-shooting at things that it doesn't want to be radioactive, and for cargo.

I don't understand your comment about the first couple of missile salvos not going far enough. Advanced missiles are immediate at Long range (Harriers have stealth, what's the starting range?) and face 1 turn of jamming at VLong. Missiles also don't go away if the launching ship is killed. I guess you're starting to attack at distant? Certainly possible, and might be correct.
A Harrier, or any vessel who's primary armament is a particle barbette, would not willingly initiate combat against a vessel who's primary weapon is a missile bay at anything other than very long range.

At Very long Range, even advanced missiles are subject to two rounds of countermeasures, and that's before factoring in the movement of the target. Countermeasures cannot be taken in the round of impact, but they can be taken in the round the missiles are launched, and in the following round while the missiles are still in flight. The Harrier has a thrust of six, meaning it can run away and lower the effective thrust of even advanced missiles to 9, gaining an extra round or two of countermeasures. And with an operator of professional competence, two rounds is all it needs to eliminate 12 missiles. Even with bad back to back countermeasures rolls, point defense with a triple turret has a good chance to pick up the stragglers, and 1 or 2 missiles are far from a guaranteed successful attack. And I can add a second sensor operator, and even a third, at minimal loss of space, so I can target multiple salvos per round. You also have to be in pursuit (i.e. maintaining range by matching my Harrier's thrust) to keep firing, which subjects you to additional particle beam attacks. The odds are not in your favor. Radiation shielding probably swings those odds, but still not a slam dunk. 12 missiles a round might be enough, but its unlikely. Your going to need some luck with the dice rolls to succeed.

Medium missile bay, advanced missiles, equivalent thrust, and rad shielding, and yes, you could defeat my harrier. But at 200 tons, even an SBD is going to have to make serious compromises to fit a medium missile bay.

So no, the answer of who would win, a particle barbette Harrier or a missile bay Harrier, is not quite as obvious as you seem to think.
If we assume particle and nuclear is military-restricted to stop free traders installing them, then not rad-shielding (para) miltary combat craft is very strange. I'd assume nukes and advanced missiles on a warship (or state-sponsored blinged-out ego ship for a pirate king) and I'd assume that if you're allowed to carry nukes, you're allowed to use nukes in space as there is no fear of fallout.
the concept is simple: those small patrol vessels are designed to combat smugglers and pirates, not warships. Same principle as police forces not carrying military level weaponry, and not being prepared to defend against the same. Its not their role, and therefore not in their budget. Police forces have very few armored vehicles (most have none), U.S. Coast Guard vessels have less armament than US Navy Vessels. Even within the U.S. Military and its absurd budget, 2nd line troops often get 2nd rate equipment. Lesser powers often use cast offs from the major military powers.

You assume that every military vessel from every power in space is going to have all the bells and whistles. that's a universe of unlimited availability and an unlimited budgets. That may be YTU, but it's not mine. To each their own.
Last edited by Old School on Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Jackstar » Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:47 pm

silburnl wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:20 pm
Seeing that blog (hi Kulthea, I'm part of that spike) reminded me that I'd been meaning to start one of my own, so I did:

So pulling all that together, I reviewed the first interception my players did.

Regards
Luke
Your players seem a bit more like pirates than mine. 318 game days after starting (217 real days) and they have done their first act of piracy, bravely capturing a light frieghter with their fleet of 4 ships.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:26 pm

Lol. The campaign really doesn’t require much in the way of piracy.

My players seem to have decided that pirates are less powerful enemies than the Imperium or the Hierate, so its easier just to steal ships from the pirates.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:33 pm

Mine are reluctant to pirate as well, though they have committed atrocities in the various heists they've pulled off, so I'm not sure where they draw the moral line. Other than the Treasure ship, they've only taken two piracy scores in the 1.5 years of game time that they have been in the employ of Drinax. King Oleb is highly displeased with this, which adds a nice level of tension to each of their visits to Drinax. They're afraid to ever admit that they have engaged in speculative trade of any sort lest he throw a tantrum and threaten to take back the Harrier.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Moppy » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:06 pm

Please stop trying to remove the particle beam for comparisons. The other mount is the one you replace.

Starting range is uncertain due to stealth on both sides (or arriving from jump), which is why I put question mark on it.

I agree that the patrol ships are poorly equipped and poorly designed for combat (especially in Mongoose rules). That was one of the whole points this was based around. Being "able to fight a Gazelle" doesn't make something particularly good at combat.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby PsiTraveller » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:29 pm

My players used the Particle beam as a terror weaon / threat when they fought other pirate gangs.
The Social Merchant Prince character set up spec trade deals and cut Oleb in for a percentage each time. Almost no piracy of regular merchant ships, but still several million in trade money to Oleb.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby paltrysum » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:22 pm

Moppy wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:06 pm
I agree that the patrol ships are poorly equipped and poorly designed for combat (especially in Mongoose rules). That was one of the whole points this was based around. Being "able to fight a Gazelle" doesn't make something particularly good at combat.
Which begs the question: Does the Imperium eventually modify its ships or build new ones that are better equipped to deal with the kind of pirates who are found in the Reach? As you go deeper into the "Pirates of Drinax" campaign, you find out that Hroal has a pocket warship, Petyr Vallis has a flotilla of ships including two Fiery-class and several PA-equipped ships, and Admiral Darrokyn is sporting a 1,000-ton ex-navy warship, possibly a Chrysanthemum or something similar.

Pirates of Drinax campaigns can last for many years of game time and the Imperium is described as having a presence in the Outrim Void. While they only have one naval base in the entire region (at Dpres, far from the central setting of this campaign), they do have several client states and are often described as having patrolling destroyers go into this lawless realm from time to time. They have escorts that attend convoys on the Hierate and Florian routes; Treasure Ships that make their way to Tyokh; and in "Game of Sun and Shadow," the Imperium sends an entire punitive fleet into the region. In such an environment, over such an extensive period of time, does the Imperium get smart in your campaigns and start adding radiation shielding to their ships and equipping them with small or medium missile bays?
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:31 pm

If particle beams have always been common with pirates, then the Naval patrol vessels would commonly have radiation shielding. I believe that the pirates only have particle beam weapons because they are needed as a plot device for Treasure of Sindal. I'm either going to change that plot slightly and take the particle beams away (a far trader with twin particle barbettes, really?), give the navy patrol vessels shielding, or both.

But I can see it going the other way. The navy has what it has, and since the rise of Theeve, as well as some Aslan built ships, the top tier pirates now have particle weapons. Would the navy rush new ships to combat this new threat way out here in the boonies? I kinda doubt it, especially if you include the start of the 5th frontier war taking place around the same time. Even the Navy has a budget and the Trojan Reach fleet is going to have to live with what it has, and that's if it's lucky. Sometimes you have to fight with the Army (or Navy) that you have. History is full of those examples.

So I can totally see (and might be talking myself into it as I type) a campaign in which the pirates have newly gained firepower the patrol vessels are ill equipped to deal with, and due to circumstances, aren't going to get new ships for a long time. That creates a more lawless environment, and a more tense political situation if the navy starts losing ships and crews to pirate battles. Not necessarily a bad environment for a campaign. If the Imperium can't enforce its will, who can?
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:35 pm

Meant for a longer entry, but the beginning is done, so why not throw it out there. More to come soon.

At long last, the B Team is Back

When we left the B Team, it was in pursuit of Dr. Jali, and had recovered what was left of Vagabond Soul in Exe system, but had failed to detect Jali’s ship, Lord Gerald’s Fancy until it had jumped out.

Leaving the free trader/shop of horrors behind, the B team jumps out in pursuit. The religious conference on Mirage is 16 weeks out, and ten jumps away. Jali has one full day head start. I used the optional jump rules from The Traveller Companion to time jumps down to the hour, and to reward superior skill and rolls. By those rules, they only gained a few hours on Jali from the three jumps, but it really didn’t matter. Their plan was pretty sound: to catch up with Jali at Fist, which is a choke point on the jump 2 route. In Cordan and Wildeman, the B Team was refueling at starports, while Jali was refueling at gas giants. The 3G Lady Miria could get to the starport and back in just a few hours, whereas Jali had to get from the 100D limit of a gas giant and back at 1G, which takes 25 hours or so, plus time to skim. I also tried the skimming rules from the Companion. Oh my, skimming is quite dangerous friend. Skipped over that pretty quickly.

So they made up time in a hurry, and correctly guessed that Jali would attempt to refuel at the smallest of Fist’s three gas giants. Along the way, Junior Sanchez, who had so far managed to get himself infected by nanotech twice in the same week, spent a lot of time with Lemuel, learning about nanotech, Neumann, and the Church of the Immortal Protector. I’m not saying he was converted, but that kind of experience will make you question your life choices.

Once at their destination, they refuel at the gas giant, and are contacted by the Emuar, an Imperial Type T Corvette on patrol, watching for suspicious ships refueling. Lt. Commander Argane has heard of the Lady Miria and some of their exploits. He signals his intent to board for a routine inspection, which the travellers consent to. They are a little coy as to why they are still in orbit in the wisps of the upper atmosphere after refueling, but claim they are in route to Tobia on business to reconnect with old colleagues. Argane is suspicious, but just hanging around in low orbit isn’t illegal, so the Emuar moves on.

Shortly afterwards, a small ship is detected on approach to refuel. They ping the approaching vessel, but it transponder is set to covert mode so it doesn’t respond. It does respond to the [/i]Emuar[/i], however, due to its Naval codes. The travellers hear the Emuar attempt to hail the ship by name,
Lord Gerald’s Fancy. Jali does not respond.

The travellers then hail Jali, and she responds to Lemuel. She’s horrified at having killed the crew of Vagabond Soul, but is even more determined now than before to continue her quest. She is convinced she can end the swarms and save Neumann. She needs Archon level nanotech, and asks for the Traveller’s assistance. First and foremost to draw off the Emuar so she can refuel, and then to obtain the nanotech on Mirage.

Lemuel is terrified that the Emuar’s crew will meet the same horrible fate as the Vagabond Soul if they board the Fancy. Jali cannot control the defense mechanisms of her infection. Lemuel suggests the team save the Emuar’s crew by diverting them somehow. Chadwick tells him that marines in combat armor will be well defended, but Lemuel is incensed, shouting that the boarding party killing Dr. Jali isn’t an improvement in the situation.

The team ponders this. Jali needs to be stopped (or does she?), and their alliance with Tech World depends on their actions. Telling Cmdr. Argane the truth seems ill advised. Could they get to Jali first, claiming they believed her ship to be unresponsive because it’s in distress? It’s vectoring for a low orbit / refueling run, so probably not. They suggest that Jali submit to being boarded, play it cool, and the Emuar will leave. Unless of course the Emuar knows that the ship is stolen. Jali’s voice and speech are noticeably different when she responds. With a menacing, clipped tone she responds that she will defend herself and her mission from any boarders. Okay, then.

Suddenly, their sensor screens flicker and then go dark. As the team attempts to the diagnose the malfunction, they hear the beginning of a distress call from the Emuar. It too has total sensor failure. Then the comms fail as well, leaving our heroes flying blind in the silent void.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Kulthea » Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:03 am

Old School wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:03 pm
In the meantime, this campaign I follow (who’s GM posts on here very occasionally) has been very busy:

http://piratesofdrinax.blogspot.com/
Next entry is up, where the travellers discover more about Theev, are advised to lay low for a while, and come up with some ideas on how to do that.
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Re: Pirates of Drinax - GMs thread

Postby Old School » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:19 pm

Kulthea wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:03 am
Next entry is up, where the travellers discover more about Theev, are advised to lay low for a while, and come up with some ideas on how to do that.
Good stuff. I’m thinking Harrick might have a change of heart under the circumstances, as will many of the systems that pledged their allegiance to Drinax. Pirate lords with superbly equipped, well hidden bases isn’t sounding so bad right now. My players want to rebuild the kingdom, but with a different capital. That will be interesting if and when the time comes.

One thing i haven’t given much thought to: Is GeDeCo right? In other words, with the Aslan doing as expected and destroying the nascent empire, will the people of the Imperium be motivated to militarize the Border and protect the borderlands and tlaiowaha independent worlds?

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