What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Old School
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Old School » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:21 pm

I don't see any point in robots, your marines will be virtually impervious to their weaponry.

You'll have a huge technological advantage during the assault, in weapons, armor, communications, mapping, and the ability to disrupt their communications. Many of the possible alternatives have little or nothing to do with technology levels: diplomacy, siege, retaliation - either large scale against the planet or small scale against targets affiliated with individuals, etc.

A hostage situation against a barricaded perp who doesn't care about dying (or killing) is not a pretty scenario regardless of who has what tech. From a purely military standpoint, it seems the best option is spoofing their security, comms, surveillance, etc. to keep your assault hidden as long as possible, and then misdirecting their response during the assault itself.

The ability to locate the hostages quickly via scanners cannot be overstated. If success is saving the hostages, seconds count once the enemy knows you are coming.

If the enemy isn't willing to kill the hostages, odds of success should be high. If they are willing to kill them, but it won't be their first inclination (as implied in the scenario), success is possible but no one should be making any promises.
Last edited by Old School on Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
steve98052
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby steve98052 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:53 pm

Ship construction rules say that you start construction of a planetoid hull ship by hauling a suitable (probably nickel-iron) planetoid to a shipyard and drilling out space with fusion boring machines. Thus fusion boring machines are an option. Cutting ordinary rock (mostly granite in the case of Cheyenne Mountain) is probably easier, but I'm not sure. I'd use plasma boring machines instead, to reduce radioactivity.

Don't go through the front door; drill around it to a side tunnel that looks likely to be unguarded, maybe a closet. Run the machines slowly so that the plasma-shocked waste rock can be removed quietly, and so the tunnel doesn't get too hot.

Once the tunnel reaches the side tunnel, send in a fleet of mosquito drones to establish surveillance at a higher resolution than gravitational scanners can see. Even at TL15, they probably can't communicate back through that much distance, but a fleet of them can relay signals back. Infiltrate the entire facility and play fly-on-the-wall. Watch.

If you can figure out how to open the front door from the inside, send in a suitable drone and park it in the nearest inconspicuous location to the lock.

After formulating a plan, send in the Slaughter-Bots. If you want to take the hostage-takers alive, equip the Slaughter-Bots with knock-out drugs.

As long as the surveillance shows that the hostages aren't at risk of a dead-man switch, the job is easy. Command the Slaughter-Bots to kill or incapacitate the hostage-takers, have the unlock drone unlock the door, and send a medical team to take care of the hostages.

If there's a dead-man switch, things are more complicated. Maybe have the Slaughter-Bots take out everyone who isn't holding a dead-man switch at a moment when the switch holders are separated from the others (toilet break, maybe). The moment the rest of the guards fall, have voice-equipped drones lead the hostages away from the danger area.

Except for the plasma boring machines, this entire plan is within the reach of current technology, except that no one has yet built actual Slaughter-Bots, and current technology Slaughter-Bots would probably have to have most of their computing power hosted remotely.

Customary Traveller doctrine makes all actions by robots the responsibility of humans who command the robots, so rather than make the Slaughter-Bots fully autonomous, they'd each ask an operator, "Is this someone I should attack when you give the order?"

Here's the Slaughter-Bots video. It's very disturbing, precisely because it's all within the reach of current technology.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9CO6M2HsoIA
Old School
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Old School » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:49 pm

Per the Vehicle Handbook, at TL15 a tunneller can bore 150 meters an hour. I struggle with the idea that it can do it quietly enough to escape detection from TL8 sensors in a military bunker, however. Would this really be undetected by a modern seismograph? And you can't just unload the tunneller from the truck right on top of the bunker. Starting far enough away to avoid detection may or may not take too long. If the security sensors can be hacked, and at TL15 they probably can (although a standalone seismograph would present a challenge), you probably could use the same hack to get to escape detection all the way to the front door.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Moppy » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:58 pm

phavoc wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:28 pm
Moppy wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:08 pm
What do imperial tunnelling vehicles look like? Do they have military ones?
Doubt there are any military boring machines in existence. Even in the 52nd century.
Ever since Warhammer 40,000 this is a mainstream thing now, so I have to ask. :-)
Reynard
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Reynard » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:21 pm

How about the Grinder Subterranean Assault Capsule? Vehicle Handbook page 40, "Using twelve spinning plasma cutters, the Grinder lives up to its name, slicing through hard rock to deliver soldiers directly into the heart of the enemy. Assault capsules like this are generally used to circumvent enemy defensive positions but are also capable of launching attacks upon underground cities and other settlements. Once the capsule emerges, it possesses no weapons with which to support the squad(s) it deploys but its armour is almost impenetrable."

TL 13, Speed(Cruise) Very slow (Idle) and 16 passengers. The plasma cutters might cut the noise down but something will feel wrong to the people in the base. You would need at least a general location and layout of the base to navigate to it which could be the job of ship's densitometer and maybe the Mineral Detection Suite to determine what the capsule faces and what the optimal route might be.

Assuming this will get you inside by the quickest method and there will be enough confusion at the moment it breaks through, now we determine what is needed to defeat opposition before they react against hostages. Your big limitation is 16 troopers and personnel.
Old School
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Old School » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:42 pm

Well look at that, there is a military version (page 140, not 40). I'll blame the complete lack of organization of the vehicles as to why I missed it :)

I still don't think it is sneaking up on anyone that includes seismometers in their security system, as one would expect at a facility on the level of Cheyenne Mountain. Would come in quite handy were the security system to be defeated first, however. . .
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Reynard » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:31 am

We're given the parameter to assault a valued, heavily secured bunker. I seriously doubt the term 'sneaking' is a tactical reality. This goes doubly for bringing up using Battledress and FGMPs.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Moppy » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:32 am

I would guess detecting a tunnelling vehicle would be a lot like detecting a submarine. Perhaps similar active noise cancellation systems would work.

One thing submarines are said to do, is to emit a sound identical to their mechanical noise but 180 degrees out of phase, thus causing the sound waves to cancel out.
Last edited by Moppy on Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reynard
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Reynard » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:36 am

Compared to a mechanical tunneler, one that vaporized bedrock at a rapid pace might make a very unusual, possibly less pronounced, noise not identifiable and may give the assault team the time they need.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Condottiere » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:54 am

Traveller might not be the best game to game this scenario.

First, you send in tiny drones to recon the situation and bug the decision makers, and figure leverage that could be applied without exercising a military option. Then psychological operations against specific individuals, and if that fails, against their electorates.

You send in special forces teams in stealthed landing craft; they'll try to get as close as possible to the hostages without triggering off alarms.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby locarno24 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:22 am

Meson weapons aren't a bad one to point out. You certainly couldn't use it to snipe individuals (not without massively more sophisticated meson weapons than you get at TL15, anyway - the old Secrets Of The Ancients campaign mongoose did featured guards with Meson Sniper Rifles) but a smaller weapon mount could be used to take out the "secure" power plant or air filtration plant that's buried along with the facility.

The latter is less useful unless you're prepared for things to get messy, but a 50 dTon Meson Gun can probably waste one bit of a bunker complex without obliterating the rest of it, and cutting power and backup power (which isn't supposed to be possible) at the moment your commandoes go in is a classic SWAT trick.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby phavoc » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:01 pm

Reynard wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:21 pm
How about the Grinder Subterranean Assault Capsule? Vehicle Handbook page 40, "Using twelve spinning plasma cutters, the Grinder lives up to its name, slicing through hard rock to deliver soldiers directly into the heart of the enemy. Assault capsules like this are generally used to circumvent enemy defensive positions but are also capable of launching attacks upon underground cities and other settlements. Once the capsule emerges, it possesses no weapons with which to support the squad(s) it deploys but its armour is almost impenetrable."

TL 13, Speed(Cruise) Very slow (Idle) and 16 passengers. The plasma cutters might cut the noise down but something will feel wrong to the people in the base. You would need at least a general location and layout of the base to navigate to it which could be the job of ship's densitometer and maybe the Mineral Detection Suite to determine what the capsule faces and what the optimal route might be.

Assuming this will get you inside by the quickest method and there will be enough confusion at the moment it breaks through, now we determine what is needed to defeat opposition before they react against hostages. Your big limitation is 16 troopers and personnel.
My question is why is this a "military" version? The description fits a tunneling machine. Armor would be necessary to survive in the environment not from assault weapons.

My point is that civilian vehicles used by the military are still civilian vehicles, if just wearing camo paint job.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Moppy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:44 pm

phavoc wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:01 pm
Reynard wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:21 pm
My question is why is this a "military" version? The description fits a tunneling machine. Armor would be necessary to survive in the environment not from assault weapons.
My point is that civilian vehicles used by the military are still civilian vehicles, if just wearing camo paint job.
It depends on the specific example, but military vehicles today have a lot of modifications from civilian models and this is only going to get more pronounced as military technology becomes more specialised.

With armor specifically you would use a different type of armor to resist the pressure of rock on your hull, than you would for weapons fire. One needs to avoid being crushed. The other needs to protect against local, short, hard impacts & lasers etc. It's hard to crush an egg in your hand if apply pressure evenly to all sides, but it's easy to stab though it with a stick.

edit: And of course you want to design the interior layout to resist damage, perhaps with multiple, redundant parts.

You may want it to be able to fit into whatever kind of craft bay your army already uses, rather than be sized for railway tunnels.

You may need to build stealth systems into the vehicle's hull.

You may want a different type of drill. One that doesn't have to operate for economically for hours, but that can drill stupid fast in a very short time and you may want to be able to replace that drill without surfacing.

You have to consider even the most "trivial" of things like the location of the doors and your seating positions. (They had some problems with the NH90 helicopter due to the doors sliding forward which prevented them having a door gunner position). It's fixed now by moving the door gunner to the back, which I'm told the soldiers don't like as gunner can't gesture with the pilots anymore [1]. (The rulebook says this thing has no inherent weaponry, but if it has a window, the guys inside have guns).

While you can probably change most of this in a workshop after, it's expensive, and the presence of armor complicates it.

[1] edit: I just did some google work on this. The original model has the door gunner in the side door, which blocks half the side door so you can't in and out quickly. They wanted a window next to the door instead, like the other helicopters, but it can't go at the front as it slides to the front, and it can't slide backwards because there's some bulge blocking it, so now it's moved the window to the back, where it no-longer obstructs the side door, but would obstruct the rear ramp should they need to use it.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby heron61 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:12 am

I really like the Grinder vehicle, so let's start there. With a densitometer scan, you know where the base is and what likely entrance points are. You also know how close you can get the grinder before you trigger sensors. If you can get within a few dozen meters (which seems reasonable), then you have someone with a portable densitometer checking where people are, and you use lasers, a small robot designed for drilling, or whatever, to send bore a small hole in some robots the size of Creeper Assassins (CSC, p. 73) that are equipped with visilight cammo. I'm betting with TL 15, as long as someone isn't in the room you drill into, drilling a hole 5-7 cm in diameter can be done w/o alerting anyone. One inside, the robots provide better intel, and if you're moderately lucky and the prisoners are locked in cells and not constantly under guard, you can make contact with them via one or more of the robots, and may be able to laser locks open and suchlike. At this point, you have several options - if you can make contact with the prisoners via the robots, then either give the robots small breather masks to deliver to the prisoners or the ability to inject antitoxin. Then you pump in knockout gas or nerve gas, depending on whether you want anyone to question.

The situation is harder if the prisoners are watched, but not by that much. In that case, I'd have laser or stunner equipped creeper assassins ready to zap the guards who are with or watching the prisoners and then carefully station some spider bombs (also equipped with visilight cammo) around so they can blow up everyone else. In either case, kill or disable the hostiles all at once, break through with the grinder, and haul the prisoners and anyone you want to question out. If you don't want to leave any evidence, leave behind a pocket nuke on a timer.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:35 am

heron61 wrote: If you can get within a few dozen meters (which seems reasonable),
I would find this highly unlikely, given the sensitivity of current seismographic sensors.

heron61 wrote: I really like the Grinder vehicle, so let's start there.
It's your game, so you do as you wish, of course.
Reynard
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Reynard » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:19 pm

"I don't see any portable densiometers listed and that might be because it's too small for such a task. Even sensors in the vehicle handbook don't list densiometers. A ship in orbit with the sensor capability should be able to provide an overall layout of the structure that can be interpreted by tacticians well enough to devise a best case route of entry. People and most equipment wouldn't show up as they are too fine a structure with very low relative density but understanding the layout can give clues what is where and functionality. Bursting through a wall is going to make ninjas and spybots moot though a tactic of a tiny recon bot essentially looking around corners for the team before getting blown away can be useful. A non-lethal creeper assassin with two way communication to an operator seem reasonable.

The scenario given provides VERY little information while stressing the obstacles and constraints on the mission. Time is of the essence, diplomacy is unpredictable and you're fighting blind. The mission depends on limited intelligence and it's up to the team going in to use their knowledge, skills and initiative to assess the immediate environment and situations as they arise once in the base. We can assume the mission is to neutralize the base and secure as many hostages as possible, period. Come prepared. FGMPs would not be a great option in such an enclose area. Hate to have the hostages mixed in with personnel when you get trigger happy.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Moppy » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:24 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:35 am
heron61 wrote: If you can get within a few dozen meters (which seems reasonable),
I would find this highly unlikely, given the sensitivity of current seismographic sensors.
Where are the TL 15 stealth systems defined anywhere?

They obviously have a "sound damper" so I suppose I'm asking how good they are.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:10 pm

Moppy wrote: Where are the TL 15 stealth systems defined anywhere?
Defined how they actually work? No, not that I have seen.

Moppy wrote: They obviously have a "sound damper" so I suppose I'm asking how good they are.
Not that I have seen.

MgT1 Scoundrel has some interesting stealth equipment, but no sound damper, I believe.


Traveller is generally short of magic tech of the type found in Star Trek or Star Wars.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby Moppy » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:31 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:10 pm
Moppy wrote: They obviously have a "sound damper" so I suppose I'm asking how good they are.
Not that I have seen.

MgT1 Scoundrel has some interesting stealth equipment, but no sound damper, I believe.

Traveller is generally short of magic tech of the type found in Star Trek or Star Wars.
We have them today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_noise_control

They're common in high end headphones, and in vehicles such as luxury cars.

They're also claimed to be used by military submarines to enhance or evade sonar.
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Re: What tools exist at TL 15 to perform this contemporary hostage rescue mission?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:08 pm

Moppy wrote: They're common in high end headphones, and in vehicles such as luxury cars.

They're also claimed to be used by military submarines to enhance or evade sonar.
I have such headphones. They are not magic... They will do a decent job of cancelling steady tones such as jet engine drone, but not random noise.

Such technology will probably help subs, but hardly make microphones or sonar obsolete.

Concealing drilling through solid rock? I doubt it...

Also note that the tech works by making more noise that hopefully cancels the original noise, at least in a specific direction. In other directions you will get an interference pattern with nodes of weakened and amplified signal.

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