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Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Sat May 12, 2018 3:59 pm
by ochd
At the end of my last session, the Travellers barely survived a starship combat near the surface of a planet. The opponent was reduced to zero hull points and so crash landed. The Traveller's harrier, meanwhile, only has 8 hull points left (out of a possible 88 maximum), so I ruled that it had suffered several hull breaches that would need to be fixed before they can launch into space again. This raises a couple of questions for me going into the next session.

1. As I understand it, a starship is still operable even at 1 hull point. It will carry at least 8-9 critical hits from sustained damage, but it's possible that even with that many crits the ship can still operate. Therefore, it seems that I was wrong to say that the ship *needed* to be repaired before launching into space again. It would certainly be wise to repair it before doing so, but not a necessity. I guess in that case, I would need to say either that I was mistaken about their being hull breaches or the hull breaches are in parts of the ship not critical for its operation (e.g. the cargo bay or unused staterooms). What do others think?

2. Assuming the Travellers do want to repair the hull points and other critical hits on the Harrier, how much spare part tonnage will they be able to recover from their defeated opponent? It was a 400 ton ship, reduced to zero hull points while 10-20km above a planet's surface (with a very thin atmosphere).

Thanks,

Dan.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Sat May 12, 2018 11:18 pm
by Reynard
If it crash landed, there will be a lot of scrap. There may have been some usable parts if it had survived in orbit but it was an unpowered rock with no heat shielding during its plunge.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 1:51 am
by Tom Kalbfus
Reynard wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 11:18 pm
If it crash landed, there will be a lot of scrap. There may have been some usable parts if it had survived in orbit but it was an unpowered rock with no heat shielding during its plunge.
What about the Roswell scenario? Lets say a tech level 6-7 planet shot down a starship, and somehow the fusion power plant and the Jump Drive was not damaged, the fuel tank was ruptured, but the authorities were able to figure out what fuel the power plant and jump drive ran on, and they used local technology to repair the rest, would say a government of this world be able to build a working starship from this wreck?

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 3:53 am
by Linwood
Maybe but....

Unless the power plant and jump drive were both functional I don’t think they’d have a realistic chance. But even if those systems were nonfunctional they’d likely be able to accelerate their own tech progress.

But even if they could get both of those systems running they’d still have to figure out jump navigation. That could be just as big a leap in knowledge as the actual jump systems themselves are depending on your view of how jump drives and jumpspace work.

If you have High Guard, I’d look at the rules for primitive spacecraft for thoughts on how a patched-up ship like this would work rules-wise.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 9:10 am
by CaladanGuard
I take a starship at 0 hull as not destroyed, but non-functional. So many hull breaches, power conduits/cables cut, systems with critical damage, that it no longer works as a spaceship. As a rough guide I tend to figure that another half it's maximum hull points in damage (once it reaches zero) will turn a ship into an expanding cloud of small pieces. Until that point, it can be salvaged as an (almost) complete ship, or repaired....somewhat.

It would take some pretty extreme engineering to get a ship like that flying again, especially without putting it into a drydock(spacedock?/vacuumdock?) somewhere but I like to leave options open for players. So it's always worth a shot.

So on the OP, a ship with 8 hull points, has whatever damage the GM decides it has ;) But still operates as a functional spaceship, yeah. I would probably let them pull quite a lot of a 400 ton ship as spare parts too. A circuit board here, a hull plate there, and an air filter right there too. As long as they have the time to spend, they can get all they need and more to patch their own vessel up.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 5:42 pm
by AnotherDilbert
ochd wrote: 1. As I understand it, a starship is still operable even at 1 hull point.
Basically a ship is fully operational at 1 Hull and completely destroyed when reduced to 0 Hull. Critical hits can be (temporarily) repaired fairly easily.

ochd wrote: Therefore, it seems that I was wrong to say that the ship *needed* to be repaired before launching into space again.
The Referee is never wrong (but occasionally misunderstood). If you said the ship needs repairs, then the ships needs repairs.

I would say it is excellent use of Referee override to say that a heavily damaged ship needs repairs.

ochd wrote: 2. Assuming the Travellers do want to repair the hull points and other critical hits on the Harrier, how much spare part tonnage will they be able to recover from their defeated opponent? It was a 400 ton ship, reduced to zero hull points while 10-20km above a planet's surface (with a very thin atmosphere).
The defeated ship became inoperable, fell 10 km, crashed into the ground, and now the players want to search the smoking crater for spare parts? I would call them optimists...

If the ship had no speed when it started falling in standard gravity it would hit the ground with a speed of about 450 m/s or 1600 km/h [1000 mph for the metrically challenged]. I would not expect to find much undamaged machinery or hull plating to scavenge.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 8:23 pm
by Condottiere
It's like hit points, a general average.

A clean hit could split a ship in two, retaining eighty percent (if divided) hull points.

You could Swiss cheese the hull, and it would retain it's structural integrity.

In the interests of the story and time, the Dungeon Master probably has to decide in advance what happens when you reach certain percentages of damage, especially if the hits are contiguous.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 2:37 am
by NOLATrav
The journey from 88 (100%) to 8 (10%) hull points is where the story is. Less an accounting of hull hits, more an account of each hit.

10% of hull integrity is basically confinement to the bridge... after a struggle to keep other areas of the ship operational, escaping areas that are suffering decompression, narrowly avoiding an exploding plasma whatchamacallit, dodging loose 10 ton cargo containers, getting people into vacc suits/rescue bubbles while the fluidic compensators spew fluid everywhere, etc etc.

Or maybe confinement to an engineering space or the port side staterooms, if the bridge was hit.

I suspect a ship in this condition could still fly but not enter/exit atmosphere, even a Very Thin atmo, without risk of sustaining even more damage. If I were them, I'd go salvaging in the air/raft.

Not sure there should be rules for this, it's more of an interpretive dance isn't it?

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 6:50 am
by ochd
Thanks for the responses.

'Interpretive dance' describes in a nutshell how I have found refereeing Traveller to be, and I find it helpful to check with others every now and then that I'm not doing the chicken dance (popular as that is on the continent at the moment :D )
after a struggle to keep other areas of the ship operational, escaping areas that are suffering decompression, narrowly avoiding an exploding plasma whatchamacallit, dodging loose 10 ton cargo containers, getting people into vacc suits/rescue bubbles while the fluidic compensators spew fluid everywhere, etc etc.
I might have to borrow this as my opening statement for the next session. :)

Dan.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 5:39 pm
by phavoc
A ship with severe damage could transition to/from an atmosphere easily so long as it had gravitic lifters. It would need to do so very slowly, say 50 to 100kph, but it's entirely possible and should be supported by their remaining structure.

The extreme stress of deorbiting are only encountered at speed. Beyond that a craft could have experienced a great deal of damage and still float on anti-grav. Just look at some battle-damaged aircraft from WW2 to see what's possible.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 5:39 pm
by phavoc
A ship with severe damage could transition to/from an atmosphere easily so long as it had gravitic lifters. It would need to do so very slowly, say 50 to 100kph, but it's entirely possible and should be supported by their remaining structure.

The extreme stress of deorbiting are only encountered at speed. Beyond that a craft could have experienced a great deal of damage and still float on anti-grav. Just look at some battle-damaged aircraft from WW2 to see what's possible.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 7:30 pm
by Reynard
M-drive Critical Hit Effects severity should make landing more challenging.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 11:23 pm
by baithammer
It is unlikely the ship would have systems left as each hit above 10% of starting hull is a crit due to sustained damage.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 11:05 am
by Reynard
Time to get in the re-entry pods and capsules and esca.... you never installed them?

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 11:33 am
by ochd
baithammer wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 11:23 pm
It is unlikely the ship would have systems left as each hit above 10% of starting hull is a crit due to sustained damage.
Actually, it's still pretty likely that it will have most systems functioning. The ship will have suffered eight severity-1 critical hits. Given the 2D6 distribution of the critical hits location table, it's the weapons, armour, hull, m-drive, and cargo that are the most likely to suffer multiple hits, raising the severity level to 2 or more.

Dan.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 1:14 pm
by AnotherDilbert
Critical hits can easily, but temporarily, be repaired with the Repair Systems action.

Re: Questions on starship hull points

Posted: Mon May 21, 2018 7:35 am
by Condottiere
Unlike organic beings, spaceships don't regenerate naturally, and even technological level ten hulls' self sealing should fail after some point.

You probably have to patch up a critically compromised hull before you attempt an atmospheric landing.