Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

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Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby Geir » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:29 am

Maybe I'm missing something basic, but looking at Highguard and core rules, I can't figure out why anyone would build with a standard hull.
Here is what I've gleaned about hull types:
Hull: Close Structure Streamlined?: Partial Hull Points:+10% Cost:-10%
Pros: Can land on atmosphere 3-
Cons: DM-2 on flight in atmosphere 4+

Hull: Standard Streamlined?: Partial Hull Points:+0% Cost:+0%
Pros: Can land on atmosphere 3-
Cons: DM-2 on flight in atmosphere 4+

Hull: Dispersed Structure Streamlined?: No Hull Points:-10% Cost:-50%
Pros: Cheap
Cons: Armor requires double mass, May not use external cargo mounts

Hull: Streamlined Streamlined?: Yes Hull Points:+0% Cost:+20%
Pros: Enter atmosphere, Airplane-like functionality, Built-in fuel scoops
Cons: May not use external cargo mounts

Hull: Planetoid Streamlined?: No Hull Points:+25% Cost: Special
Pros: Base Armor=2, Cr 4000 per ton
Cons: 80% usable volume

Hull: Sphere Streamlined?: Partial Hull Points:+0% Cost:-20%
Pros: Can land on atmosphere 3-
Cons: DM-2 on flight in atmosphere 4+

Hull: Buffered Planetoid Streamlined?: No Hull Points:+50% Cost:Special
Pros: Base Armor=4, Cr 4000 per ton
Cons: 65% usable volume

So why build a Standard hull? Both Close and Sphere are cheaper Partial streamlined hulls. Close is stronger, Sphere is cheaper. No accountant would ever approve Standard.
That's the first thing. Below are some other design notes, question and my comments, followed by suggestions, some of which would give you a reason to go with Standard:

Highguard: p.12 Heat shielding costs MC 0.1 per ton. With Heat shield: reentry = Easy (4+) Pilot (1DX10 minutes, DEX) . Otherwise you burn up.
No heat shield by default? Other examples scattered throughout the rules assume hypersonic reentry but no designs include heat shields, which triple the base cost of a hull.

Highguard p. 43 Aerofins: A ship with aerofins deployed gains DM+2 to all Pilot checks when within an Atmosphere.
I assume aerofins are only useful for Streamlined, but it's not stated.

Highguard p. 37: Fuel scoops: Fuel scoops allow an unstreamlined and partially streamlined ships to gather unrefined fuel from a gas giant.
Including dispersed and planetoid hulls?

Core: p. 143: Partial streamlining allows a ship to skim gas giants and enter Atmosphere codes of 3 or less, acting in the same way as streamlined ships. In other atmospheres, the ship will be ponderous and unresponsive, reliant on its thrusters to keep it aloft. All Pilot checks will be made with DM-2.
Atmosphere of 3 or less? Not 1 or 0? Okay. That seems new in this edition, but I'm okay with it in principle.

Core: p. 143: An unstreamlined ship is completely non-aerodynamic and if it enters an atmosphere it runs the risk of sustaining serious damage. Such a ship must make a Pilot check at DM-4 when it enters an atmosphere and for every minute of flight. Each failed check inflicts 1D damage to the ship, ignoring any Armour.
This means a giant ship can get down with minimal (%) damage. Shouldn't it be damage in relation to total hull value?

Core: p. 144: Ships have landing gear, allowing them to touch down ‘in the wild’
All, including non-streamlined?

Core p. 147: A ship with fuel scoops may gather fuel from bodies of water using hoses. It may also scoop hydrogen from a gas giant, requiring a Difficult (10+) Pilot check (1D hours).
This makes gas giant skimming way more dangerous than low berths. An average pilot will fail. Done as a cautious, it's time-consuming and still too risky. What does a failure mean?
Do you get a bonus for streamlined, or is it -2 for partial, -4 for non, as above?


So some suggestions that I'm going to use, because, well, rules have to make sense to me. It does mean that some of my designs won't be "portable" to other campaigns, though:

*Streamlined and Standard hulls get heat shielding by default (A benefit of Standard vs. Close or Sphere and more in line with the spirit of the game for Streamlined)

*Aerofins only available on Streamlined hulls

*Fuel scoops are only possible on Streamlined and Partial streamlined hulls

*Landing gear only default on Streamlined and Partial streamlined hulls

*Closed structure hulls can only safely land on Atmosphere 0-1 worlds. For 2-3, DM-2 as if 3+ atmosphere (slight benefit to Standard)

*Unstreamlined hulls do not have landing gear. They can be added as per the aerofin additional mass and cost. They can only safely land on atmosphere 0 worlds.

*Unstreamlined hulls failing atmosphere checks should take 1D% (round up) damage per failed check

*Gas Giant refueling: Average (8+) Pilot (1D hours, DEX) DMs: Aerofins: +4, Streamlined +2, Standard or Sphere +0, Close -2, Planetoid -4, Dispersed -6. Reaction drive only -2. No heat shield -2.
(That's another small benefit for Standard)
(And well, I did say Planetoid and dispersed can't have fuel scoops, so I suppose it would be okay to add them. Just stupid dangerous to use them on anything but ice.)

And another thing. I mentioned low berths as an aside. But 8+ with DMs seems too risky if failure means death. Instead, I suggest:
Failure = Inflict -Effect times D damage, half (round up damage) is permanent. So someone with AAA who takes 15 points damage would be 5A0, healable to 7A5.
If that's too lenient, you could also decrease INT permanently by the -Effect.

Comments? Corrections? Better ideas?
Geir Lanesskog
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby arcador » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:06 pm

A comment from the authors stated that High Guard is not meant to be fully balanced, as the availability of the options written there isn't limited (except perhaps for TL), thus a referee should be careful when granting anything from the book. Some options are clearly better than others. Of course, this puts a bigger cognitive load on the referee, especially if he is new to Traveller.
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:53 pm

Geir wrote: Maybe I'm missing something basic, but looking at Highguard and core rules, I can't figure out why anyone would build with a standard hull.
You haven't missed anything...

Geir wrote: Highguard: p.12 Heat shielding costs MC 0.1 per ton. With Heat shield: reentry = Easy (4+) Pilot (1DX10 minutes, DEX) . Otherwise you burn up.
No heat shield by default? Other examples scattered throughout the rules assume hypersonic reentry but no designs include heat shields, which triple the base cost of a hull.
HG wrote:Heat shielding protects the ship against the heat of re–entry or other heat sources such as proximity to a star. A ship without a functioning gravitic drive attempting re–entry without heat shielding will burn up.
With an M-drive you don't normally need heat shields, thats just for extreme situations.

Geir wrote: I assume aerofins are only useful for Streamlined, but it's not stated.
I would agree, but in a recent thread most disagreed. By RAW any ship benefits.

Geir wrote: Highguard p. 37: Fuel scoops: Fuel scoops allow an unstreamlined and partially streamlined ships to gather unrefined fuel from a gas giant.
Including dispersed and planetoid hulls?
Yes, but they can't actually enter an atmosphere to skim or scoop. If you find a airless moon with ice to mine though...

Geir wrote: Core: p. 143: Partial streamlining allows a ship to skim gas giants and enter Atmosphere codes of 3 or less, acting in the same way as streamlined ships. In other atmospheres, the ship will be ponderous and unresponsive, reliant on its thrusters to keep it aloft. All Pilot checks will be made with DM-2.
Atmosphere of 3 or less? Not 1 or 0? Okay. That seems new in this edition, but I'm okay with it in principle.
"Partially streamlined" basically means can enter atmospheres, "Streamlined" means has wings.

Geir wrote: Core: p. 143: An unstreamlined ship is completely non-aerodynamic and if it enters an atmosphere it runs the risk of sustaining serious damage. Such a ship must make a Pilot check at DM-4 when it enters an atmosphere and for every minute of flight. Each failed check inflicts 1D damage to the ship, ignoring any Armour.
This means a giant ship can get down with minimal (%) damage. Shouldn't it be damage in relation to total hull value?
I think the rules in the Core book is written for the ships in the Core book, so 800 Dt Mercenary "Cruiser" maximum. (D6)% hull damage might be reasonable.

Geir wrote: Core: p. 144: Ships have landing gear, allowing them to touch down ‘in the wild’
All, including non-streamlined?
All ships can land on airless moons.

Geir wrote: Core p. 147: A ship with fuel scoops may gather fuel from bodies of water using hoses. It may also scoop hydrogen from a gas giant, requiring a Difficult (10+) Pilot check (1D hours).
This makes gas giant skimming way more dangerous than low berths. An average pilot will fail. Done as a cautious, it's time-consuming and still too risky. What does a failure mean?
It does not say dangerous or hazardous, the ship does not necessarily explode. I would say you just fail to fill the tanks and need to make another sweep.
Note that a barely qualified pilot (Pilot-1) with a bit of aptitude (DEX+1) and computer support (Expert software) would get a DM+3 on the task and succeed more often than not (58%).

Geir wrote: Do you get a bonus for streamlined, or is it -2 for partial, -4 for non, as above?
Doesn't say, so I would say not.


Geir wrote: *Streamlined and Standard hulls get heat shielding by default (A benefit of Standard vs. Close or Sphere and more in line with the spirit of the game for Streamlined)
Doesn't need it, heat shielding is only for extreme circumstances.

Geir wrote: *Aerofins only available on Streamlined hulls
I basically agree.

Geir wrote: *Fuel scoops are only possible on Streamlined and Partial streamlined hulls
I do not agree, Scoops might still be used on airless moons. It's marginal, but possible.

Geir wrote: *Landing gear only default on Streamlined and Partial streamlined hulls
I do not agree, everything can land on airless moons.

Geir wrote: *Closed structure hulls can only safely land on Atmosphere 0-1 worlds. For 2-3, DM-2 as if 3+ atmosphere (slight benefit to Standard)
Disagree, it's just a marginal cost difference, we don't need to make "Standard" configuration all that superior.

Geir wrote: *Unstreamlined hulls failing atmosphere checks should take 1D% (round up) damage per failed check
Seems reasonable.

Geir wrote: *Gas Giant refueling: Average (8+) Pilot (1D hours, DEX) DMs: Aerofins: +4, Streamlined +2, Standard or Sphere +0, Close -2, Planetoid -4, Dispersed -6. Reaction drive only -2. No heat shield -2.
(That's another small benefit for Standard)
(And well, I did say Planetoid and dispersed can't have fuel scoops, so I suppose it would be okay to add them. Just stupid dangerous to use them on anything but ice.)
I would call that too complicated, I would only call for a roll if someone is chasing you while you skim.
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby Reynard » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:09 pm

Geir wrote: ↑
*Aerofins only available on Streamlined hulls
I basically agree.


"A ship with aerofins deployed gains DM+2 to all Pilot checks when within an Atmosphere."

I see nothing in the Aerofin section limiting them to a particular ship configuration. Aerofins on a dispersed hull is a screen door on a sub though. Even so, the rules (CR pg. 143 Atmospheric Operations) allows partial and unstreamlined hulls to attempt landing or skimming but with serious penalties and aerofins give a bonus DM to the Task and you'll probably need it. Do you really need to land the Liberty Space Station?

Like many options in HG, you have to determine if they fit a purpose in your design. Aerofins give you an edge in world and gas giant atmospheres. Can be useful for chase encounters or acing through turbulence and other bad weather events. Do you expect to experience this often enough to pay the tons and Creds? Want to build on a cheaper hull and still have some stability when making landings or atmospheric maneuvers?
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby Linwood » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:56 pm

Hey, anything with fins just looks cooler.... 8)
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby steve98052 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:23 pm

Linwood wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:56 pm
Hey, anything with fins just looks cooler.
Decorative fins are half the cost of aerodynamic fins and use no extra space. If the player does a drawing of the ship, they're free.
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby msprange » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:03 pm

steve98052 wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:23 pm
Decorative fins are half the cost of aerodynamic fins and use no extra space. If the player does a drawing of the ship, they're free.
Those could be official rules...
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby Reynard » Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:52 pm

Lots of scifi media feature ships with incidental and superfluous structural extensions (japanime, I'm pointing at your vast antenna forests) which could be considered free and mostly appearance within displacement tolerances. Not every vessel must be Star Trek spartan and utilitarian.
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby steve98052 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:04 pm

msprange wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:03 pm
steve98052 wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:23 pm
Decorative fins are half the cost of aerodynamic fins and use no extra space. If the player does a drawing of the ship, they're free.
Those could be official rules...
They could. (Half the price of functional fins might be unnecessarily expensive though.) There are plenty of places in game rules where player-domain actions (such as drawing a starship) have character-domain effects (such as free decorative fins). It's kind of like the extra Bennies (single use bonus) a Savage Worlds character gets when the player does something that's in character with a Hindrance, instead of taking the most practical action.

Example of playing a hindrance, for those not familiar with Savage Worlds:

NPC Vargr Marine: I greet. Merchant Junior Engineer your-rank-is? Corporal Naeng I am. Your name is?
Several player characters (whispering): Be polite! He's trying to be friendly!
Player character engineer: Doggy talks?
Naeng: Doggy pet I have. But doggy not talk.
Several player characters: Our drive monkey here is a bit ignorant about sophont equality here. Please forgive him.
Naeng: Big words confuse. Anglic I still learn.
NPC human Marine sergeant: The engineer is a bigot, Naeng. (to engineer) Apologize to my corporal, monkey.
Engineer: Bite me, doggy.
Marine sergeant punches out engineer.
Game master: You wake up in a ground car taxi. Take one Bennie.
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby phavoc » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:36 pm

msprange wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:03 pm
steve98052 wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:23 pm
Decorative fins are half the cost of aerodynamic fins and use no extra space. If the player does a drawing of the ship, they're free.
Those could be official rules...
This would be like how turrets are treated. They magically add space to a ship (the 1 ton internally for fire control is not part of the turret equation). So while I see them fitting into the ambiguity already present, I don't see them offering up any useful basis for designs.
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby Condottiere » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:20 pm

Sometimes it's just plain aesthetics.

However, Traveller ship design process is meant to be zero sum.

You'd need someone with aerodynamics experience to give the correct ratio of surface area to stabilize flight, since lift, if you use lifters, wouldn't be relevant.

Why would you use lifters? Greater aerodynamic control, and like fly by wire for normal operations, unlikely to crash.
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby Geir » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:59 am

Thanks for all the replies. Though, perhaps an asteroid with fins, decorative or otherwise would be... well, maybe something a Vargr would do, just for show.

My issue is that nearly all the designs in Highguard, even the Tigress! are listed as standard. Standard reinforced, especially seems to make no sense, since Close would accomplish the same thing at less cost. A Lab ship is even standard, not dispersed. Try landing that one. And a yacht, even though it looks pretty streamlined in the picture and has an ATV... maybe it just handles like a rock. And addition of fuel scoops to various designs seems to be random and capricious, not consistent or logical.

The heat shielding still bothers me, too. I would think higher tech armor, crystaliron maybe and bonded superdense for sure, would be effectively heat shields.
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby AndrewW » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:42 am

Geir wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:59 am
My issue is that nearly all the designs in Highguard, even the Tigress! are listed as standard. Standard reinforced, especially seems to make no sense, since Close would accomplish the same thing at less cost. A Lab ship is even standard, not dispersed. Try landing that one. And a yacht, even though it looks pretty streamlined in the picture and has an ATV... maybe it just handles like a rock. And addition of fuel scoops to various designs seems to be random and capricious, not consistent or logical.
The ships in High Guard where based on the ships in some Classic Traveller books and follow those.
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby Geir » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:33 am

AndrewW wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:42 am
Geir wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:59 am
My issue is that nearly all the designs in Highguard, even the Tigress! are listed as standard. Standard reinforced, especially seems to make no sense, since Close would accomplish the same thing at less cost. A Lab ship is even standard, not dispersed. Try landing that one. And a yacht, even though it looks pretty streamlined in the picture and has an ATV... maybe it just handles like a rock. And addition of fuel scoops to various designs seems to be random and capricious, not consistent or logical.
The ships in High Guard where based on the ships in some Classic Traveller books and follow those.
They do. I still have Supplement 9. Yes, Tigress was "standard" in text of that book, but in classic Traveller, Standard originally meant something else: a standard bulkhead division between engineering and the rest of the ship. All the designs in Fighting Ships say standard, but that's not what it meant. You have to look at the configuration digit in the design. Then you'll see that Tigress was spherical, Kinunir was streamlined, Donosev dispersed, etc. The closest thing to "standard" hull in the old Book 5 High Guard was cylinder, a partially streamlined hull.

I can understand trying to follow the spirit of the old classics designs whenever possible, even when they no longer make sense using new design rules. You can always bend a little, but the old designs aren't being handled correctly to correspond to the old way and still don't makes sense the new way.
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby Linwood » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:05 pm

Geir wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:59 am
Thanks for all the replies. Though, perhaps an asteroid with fins, decorative or otherwise would be... well, maybe something a Vargr would do, just for show.
What noble wouldn’t want an Art Deco yacht? Or other styling choices that reflect their own personal foibles and artistic preferences? Something that identifies the ship with their own personal brand as something uniquely theirs.

That could be a lot of fun....
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby BigDogsRunning » Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:18 am

Aesthetics would also be a component of ship design. Cultural aesthetics, regional, fashion, etc.

Once you get past the requirement for pure functionality, aesthetics will start making a bigger difference. Fusion and Thrusters remove the requirement for pure functionality of shape, since you don't need to be aerodynamic if you can simply use your thrusters to come to a dead stop relative to the planetary surface, and then descend at a leisurely 100km, or slower, per hour. A modern box truck has the aerodynamics of a barn door, and yet they go flying down the road at 100km/hr.
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Re: Hull design choices and some random suggestions.

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:30 pm

What matters is structural integrity, which at least Tee Five pays lip service to.

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