How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

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WingedCat
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How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby WingedCat » Fri May 03, 2019 8:13 pm

Matt and I were discussing some material I wrote for JTAS defining the "collopha": a 100,000 ton land animal, which is specifically supposed to be able to haul crashed spaceships to a downport, and its game stats. One of the questions was, what level of Athletics (strength) should it have? He agreed to let me crowdsource it - so I turn the question to you.

This is only about the game mechanics. "How can such a large creature exist" is off-topic for this thread: this is also setting up how a robot this large, or any other non-ship/vehicle this large, would be reflected in game mechanics. It is suspected that this article may be cited as precedent for how to handle other large things in Mongoose's ruleset, such as construction equipment at a starport.

As this is needed for something intended for publication soon, I request an exception to the normal policy of this forum and ask that discussion end next Friday, May 10th 2019. At least, discussion that will matter for defining what goes into this specific JTAS article.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri May 03, 2019 8:51 pm

We might rate it at about STR 1,000,000 or so, but that is just ridiculous. It is just outside the normal scale.

Just define about how many tonnes (or Dton) it can drag and carry.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby DickTurpin » Fri May 03, 2019 8:58 pm

My initial reaction was "Wow. Good luck with that". The good news is that animals generally do not have specific characteristics generated so you can just say that it can drag any item up to its weight.

If you really want to nail it down, maybe it can drag 1/8th its mass as a trivial task; 1/4th as an Easy task slowing to 3/4 speed; 1/2 as a Routine task, slowing to 1/2 speed; 3/4 its weight as an Average task, slowing to 1/4 speed and requiring an END check every 10 rounds to continue, its full weight as a Difficult task at 1/10 speed and requiring an END check every 5 rounds; One a half it weight as a Very Difficult task, 1/10 speed, END check every other round, or twice its weight as a Formidable task, 1m/round, END check each round. Filed END checks require a rest period equal to the Task Timeframe. Since animals do not have an END score, it might be a rest period instead of a check for them.

This does not really address mechanical devices, but that may be for the best. Mechanical devices can just be built with lift capacity ratings, with an assumed 10% safety margin, with no special rules required.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby MonkeyX » Fri May 03, 2019 10:19 pm

Gotta agree with @dickturpin that just detailing how much it can lift is what’s needed the problem then comes down to melee damage, presuming it has an attack of some sort. I’d suggest maybe using the destructive dd scale. This would signify something vastly stronger than any human.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby Moppy » Fri May 03, 2019 10:24 pm

A superhero game would need a STR score for this creature. I can't see why it's relevant in Traveller, and you risk doing something with the game rules that they weren't meant to handle.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby WingedCat » Sat May 04, 2019 9:02 am

I am thinking a grav sled would often be used for hauling larger spacecraft (to let it haul things more massive than itself), with one of the challenges being to haul the wreck onto the sled in the first place.

What about ranking Gigantic? Gigantic 1 (which anything with just "Gigantic" has) could carry about 100 tons with no effort, 200 tons with a Bane to physical actions, and push or pull (with a sled for long distances) up to 1,000 tons. Each level multiplies this 10-fold. Each level also multiplies Hits, damage, and Armour (if any) by 10, and applies any other differences between Spaceship scale (which Gigantic 1 things exist at) and Ground scale. (For instance, a Traveller gets DM+2 to hit a spacecraft or a Gigantic 1 thing, and so gets DM+4 to hit a Gigantic 2 thing. Likewise, just as spacecraft and Gigantic 1 things ignore AP from Ground scale weapons, Gigantic 2 things ignore AP from Spacecraft scale weapons.)
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat May 04, 2019 9:30 am

Why are you introducing fantasy monsters to Traveller via JTAS? There is no scientifically plausible explanation for a land animal of this size unless you are detailing JMISBEST's uber empire... :)

More seriously I didn't realise the new JTAS would have articles about science fantasy as well as science fiction.

You gigantic scale hack would probably work - gigantic creatures use the starship scale of things, very large are treated as vehicles.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby Moppy » Sat May 04, 2019 10:10 am

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 9:30 am
Why are you introducing fantasy monsters to Traveller via JTAS? There is no scientifically plausible explanation for a land animal of this size ...

More seriously I didn't realise the new JTAS would have articles about science fantasy as well as science fiction.
Psionics aren't science fantasy?

I'm OK with giant monsters. Who's to say they don't exist in some combination of atmosphere, gravity and ancient genetic engineering?

If you need a (currently) scientifically plausible explanation for things, start with the jump drive, psionics and anti-gravity.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat May 04, 2019 10:53 am

Once you add too many fantastic elements you cross the line from science based fiction to science based fantasy. I've argued many times that the Third Imperium as a setting is close to science fantasy because of the number of magic technologies. If most of said technologies are explainable in a coherent and consistent manner then you can cross the line back from science fantasy. Traveller postulates a far future setting where there are multiple magic technology breakthroughs, each one adding to the Clarke scale, but as long as they are consistently applied and don't totally contradict what we know then all is well. Psionics are included in CT because it was a common trope of the science fiction Traveller was inspired by.

TL 8-9 - near future, understanding gravity (the science fiction element) leads to grav based m-drives, artificial gravity, acceleration compensation, heat sinks and jump drive (researching grav tech was how the Terrans discovered the secrets of jump drive according to canon).
TL12+ far future, manipulation of what we currently understand to be the strong and weak force (obviously out understanding is lacking - but see black hole physics) lead to damper and meson technology.

Psionics are a stretch to explain scientifically but if you handwave the multidimensional nature of the universe and postulate technologies that interact with the extra dimensions then you can just about make it consistent. TNE was going down the path of rationalising psionics with jump dimensions and even beings existing in those dimensions.

Gigantic creatures of this type have to be explainable within the setting to be plausible - google the real world physics of animal size and them build up from that. How does a creature one thousand times more massive than the largest dinosaur get enough to eat? Does it absorb energy psionically? Does it absorb it from jump space? How much water does it need?
How does it move its own body? Naturally occurring biological 'grav modules'?
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby Pyromancer » Sat May 04, 2019 11:28 am

WingedCat wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 8:13 pm
Matt and I were discussing some material I wrote for JTAS defining the "collopha": a 100,000 ton land animal, which is specifically supposed to be able to haul crashed spaceships to a downport, and its game stats. One of the questions was, what level of Athletics (strength) should it have? He agreed to let me crowdsource it - so I turn the question to you.

This is only about the game mechanics. "How can such a large creature exist" is off-topic for this thread: this is also setting up how a robot this large, or any other non-ship/vehicle this large, would be reflected in game mechanics. It is suspected that this article may be cited as precedent for how to handle other large things in Mongoose's ruleset, such as construction equipment at a starport.

As this is needed for something intended for publication soon, I request an exception to the normal policy of this forum and ask that discussion end next Friday, May 10th 2019. At least, discussion that will matter for defining what goes into this specific JTAS article.
"What's the Str (or Athletics) level of this creature?" is basically the same question as "What's the strength level of a Type A Free Trader?" It doesn't make sense to give it a numerical value on the character scale, because you won't make a strength check on the same scale as characters. If you want to have rules for it, you have to make something up. "Can exert X Newtons of force (this translates to lifting Y kg in 1 G), roll END if you want to continue to exert force every Z minutes." Something like that.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby phavoc » Sat May 04, 2019 11:37 am

I wouldn't try to put a strength rating on it because it's setting a scale that would be considered outrageous for the game (and completely unnecessary).

Today we rate things in 'horsepower', which has an origin in the strength of a single horse. Since this is a unique and one-off type of creature, then the rating system should also be unique and one-off. It would probably be better to just say it's capable of pulling X number of tons.

I would have to concur with the others, that such a creature is certainly fantastical and if you are placing it in a sci-fi setting, you need to at least pay some lip service to how such a creature would exist. And, of course, why it would exist. Being so big I would expect it to move rather slow, and at that size it would need to be a plant-eater (or omnivore) rather than a carnivore. I'm not sure something is even possible at that size on land a thousand times the size of the largest land dinosaur.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby Moppy » Sat May 04, 2019 1:06 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 10:53 am
Gigantic creatures of this type have to be explainable within the setting to be plausible - google the real world physics of animal size and them build up from that. How does a creature one thousand times more massive than the largest dinosaur get enough to eat? Does it absorb energy psionically? Does it absorb it from jump space? How much water does it need?
How does it move its own body? Naturally occurring biological 'grav modules'?
does it live in low gravity? space? is the world it's on airless? does it even need water? is it silicon or carbon, or what?

it doesn't need to be naturally occuring. vargyr in the traveller setting were engineered by the ancients. humaniti migjt have been "adjusted". what else was?

note that vacuum living space beings that are small planet size are canon, i have seen them somewhere.

edit: Was it agents of the imperium? I can't remember how big they were in there.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby Pyromancer » Sat May 04, 2019 3:38 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 10:53 am
Gigantic creatures of this type have to be explainable within the setting to be plausible - google the real world physics of animal size and them build up from that. How does a creature one thousand times more massive than the largest dinosaur get enough to eat? Does it absorb energy psionically? Does it absorb it from jump space? How much water does it need?
How does it move its own body? Naturally occurring biological 'grav modules'?
One realistic way to have such a large land animal could be something similar to a cross between a sea anemone and an armillaria, with distributed "nodes" connected by "veins", forming a net-like creature that could span whole continents without violating physics at all.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby WingedCat » Sat May 04, 2019 6:20 pm

Trust me, I am aware of the "how could such a creature exist" concerns, and the JTAS article addresses them. :) (Not every detail - I don't have pages and pages for this - but at least a paragraph.)

That said, I draw your attention to this from the first post.
WingedCat wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 8:13 pm
"How can such a large creature exist" is off-topic for this thread: this is also setting up how a robot this large, or any other non-ship/vehicle this large, would be reflected in game mechanics
I invite the mods to delete any further comments in this thread about "how could this creature exist", that do not mention game mechanics. The need is for game mechanics that work for creatures, robots, and any other such thing of this size, regardless of how it came to be. Debates on how the creature could exist are likely to bury and/or prevent discussion about game mechanics.

So, if you really must discuss the creature itself, please make or find a separate thread. Please do not discuss that here.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby Moppy » Sat May 04, 2019 9:13 pm

WingedCat wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 6:20 pm
I invite the mods to delete any further comments in this thread about "how could this creature exist", that do not mention game mechanics. The need is for game mechanics that work for creatures, robots, and any other such thing of this size, regardless of how it came to be. Debates on how the creature could exist are likely to bury and/or prevent discussion about game mechanics.
Such use of censorship would drive me away from the forums.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby Reynard » Sun May 05, 2019 1:36 am

Watch this.

Saying that, were you actually referring to 100,000 displacement tons? Now we have something to work with. Large world with an unusually light, rocky body core making gravity lower. Dense atmosphere. The creature at that size is an incredibly large gas bag that feeds on a rich, dense soup of life forms in the atmosphere (Atmosphere 9 - dense, tainted). Very few water bodies leading to a parallel development of a massive air 'whale'. By product of the food is the light gases for flotation. Durable and long lived. Special harnesses attached able to haul many loads including ships up to 1000 tons, the standard size that make Downport landings. Simple, non-violent prodding methods direct the creature. Same method is used to divert the same creature away from habitations.

Game stats? Plot device. Describe its form and awesome enormity and how it settles above a ship shadowing it, latches on and they hear the groan and creaking of the ship pulled loose from the canopy below. The ship looks like a remora attached to a bloated, glistening and undulating mass gulping tremendous amounts of the living fog as it's guided back to the port. Later it will go back to hauling cargo containers and construction pallets.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby Linwood » Sun May 05, 2019 1:48 am

I like Reynard’s solution. Keeps it simple.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby phavoc » Sun May 05, 2019 4:55 am

WingedCat wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 6:20 pm
Trust me, I am aware of the "how could such a creature exist" concerns, and the JTAS article addresses them. :) (Not every detail - I don't have pages and pages for this - but at least a paragraph.)

That said, I draw your attention to this from the first post.
WingedCat wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 8:13 pm
"How can such a large creature exist" is off-topic for this thread: this is also setting up how a robot this large, or any other non-ship/vehicle this large, would be reflected in game mechanics
I invite the mods to delete any further comments in this thread about "how could this creature exist", that do not mention game mechanics. The need is for game mechanics that work for creatures, robots, and any other such thing of this size, regardless of how it came to be. Debates on how the creature could exist are likely to bury and/or prevent discussion about game mechanics.

So, if you really must discuss the creature itself, please make or find a separate thread. Please do not discuss that here.
You came seeking input. You don't get to control said input. Take what you get or don't ask the question. If you think off-topic comments, or worse, comments that YOU don't personally believe are appropriate belong on this thread then I suggest you get off the internet altogether. Your request is insulting to everyone and unrealistic.

You've received a number of inputs. Based upon your response I would hazard a guess that you have yet to hear what you want to hear. Someone asking "how could such a creature exist" is entirely valid. You postulate a creature that nature says shouldn't be able to exist in the first place. If you simply want handwavium to justify it's existence why pose the question in the first place?

A creature of that size has formidable energy requirements that must be met. Meeting it's energy requirements has linkage to size, to locomotion, to everything about it. And knowing HOW it works is a predecessor to providing you game mechanics on how to implement it. Based on your proposed mass (100,000 tons), it's got to be gigantic. This means a gigantic circulatory system with multiple organs, perhaps even multiple brains. Do you think such a thing is germane to your question about game mechanics? I would say yes because defining the creature itself means you answer the questions you seek.

To distribute such weight you'd want to spread the mass around, so it could take on a centipede-style shape rather than a larger four-footed animal that would be bearing 25,000 tons per leg if it was four-footed. Having many multiple legs to move it's mass is similar to how technology today transports heavy items while distributing the weight along multiple axles and wheels. Distributing mass is a game mechanic.

You'd also have to determine just how it would move crashed spaceships (you didn't provide a size, but if they are 'crashed' then probably no larger than 1,000 tons displacement. Which relates to skeletal structure to spread the load along the body (as well as how it's made up, which relates to how much damage it might take). Does it engulf the space ship somehow? Roll over it? Dig underneath it? Wait patiently while a crane(s) lift the cargo onboard? Are there tentacles that can act as loading, or perhaps straps while it's loaded?

All of the above questions are just as germane to your animal as they would be to a robot, mechanical transporter, or even a grav-based vehicle. The game mechanics would come down to how much it can transport, how much damage it can take, how much energy is required, and how you control it. As an NPC or mechanism much can be handwaved (going into detail of how gunpowder is detonated doesn't do much for RPG shooting of a gun... pew-pew-pew! taking three rounds of ammunition doing 1D6-2 is sufficient to describe the Marduk Arms TL-6 auto-pistol that your character is being shot with).

Some inspiration on transporting large objects - https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/trav ... ealed.html - perhaps one or more of these images will help with your article.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby Condottiere » Sun May 05, 2019 10:17 am

Image

You have a set of character statistics for ground vehicles, you have another one for spaceships.

In terms of actual lift capacity, muscles tend to allow a little leeway, compared to just mechanical point of failure.
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Re: How to model high strength entites (archive/lock after 5/10/2019)

Postby WingedCat » Mon May 06, 2019 9:05 pm

Moppy wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 9:13 pm
Such use of censorship would drive me away from the forums.
Apparently I stated my intent incorrectly. Here is an attempt to restate:

* Take a look at any animal listing in Mongoose Traveller's books.
* Notice that there is some narrative description above, and below that, a box listing hits, speed, traits, skills, and so forth.

I am asking, "what do I put in that box?" I have been given leave to ask for your help with that specific topic.

I fear that discussion of what goes in the narrative will crowd out and prevent discussion of what goes in the box, which is itself a form of (usually unintended) censorship. I am not asking that you do not discuss what goes in the narrative, merely that in doing so, you do not prevent discussion of the game mechanics.

Discussing the narrative in another thread would be one way to accomplish this goal. I would even be able to participate in that thread after the JTAS article has been published. I had taken it as obvious that the law makes it a bad idea for me to participate in that part until then, for much the same copyright reasons why I may not simply repost the article here*. If that was not obvious, I apologize, and I now state it explicitly.

* Even if that might be the only way to prove in advance that "how can this creature exist" is being addressed. It is not a hundred-page thesis detailing every single subsystem**, since my co-author and I only have a few paragraphs to work with, but I can at least promise that the entire creature is not a single, undifferentiated, monolithic blob of handwavium.

** Though I might add the existence of such a thesis into the narrative.

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