Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

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Prodromoi
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Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby Prodromoi » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:22 pm

I'm drawing up a specialised variant of an existing MgT2 ship from High Guard for an adventure. I've noticed, however that the rules for the crew requirements (page 21 of High Guard) don't correspond exactly to some of the existing designs in the back of the book. I think it's a case of "rules as written" vs. "rules as intended" but I'd be interested to see if this has already been noticed and addressed.

Caveat: I realise that, stated on p20 of High Guard, a note that the crew requirements are a "should have". However, the designs I'm referred to are military ships that seem to adhere to the rules - but under a slightly different interpretation.

Case (High Guard page 21, referring to military ships:
One "maintenance" officer is required per 500 dtons.
One "administrator" is required per 1000 dtons.
One "officer" is required per full 10 crew.

Reading this "as written", a 500 dton ship needs one maintenance officer; a 400 dton ship does not.

However, the designs for military ships at the back of High Guard seem to interpret the rule as needing these officers for that tonnage or part thereof.

The 200 dton SDB (page 124) has an one maintenance staff, one adminstrator and one officer.
The 400 dton Gazelle close escort (page 130) has one of each, again.
The Fleet Courier, Patrol Cruiser, 400 dton SDB all follow the same pattern.

It might be that the navy has decided to add in technically unecessary crew, but this seems unlikely as all the other crew positions on these ships match the requirements (and also thematically, it would seem unlikely!).

Conclusion
This isn't shown in the errata document (yet!) but I suspect the Crew Requirement chart on page 21 should say "or part thereof" when referring to the tonnage (for maintenance and adminstrator) and for officer, refer to "per 10 full crew or part thereof".
Linwood
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby Linwood » Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:54 pm

Historically military vessels tend to be overcrewed to better support damage control during battle and to provide bodies for prize crews. I suspect that will still be true in the far future, although maybe some of those bodies will be in the frozen watch.
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:02 pm

Prodromoi wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:22 pm
I've noticed, however that the rules for the crew requirements (page 21 of High Guard) don't correspond exactly to some of the existing designs in the back of the book. I think it's a case of "rules as written" vs. "rules as intended" but I'd be interested to see if this has already been noticed and addressed.
Game examples in RPGs rarely get updates when game rules do. See nature of beast.
Last edited by ShawnDriscoll on Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
AndrewW
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby AndrewW » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:11 pm

Prodromoi wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:22 pm
The 200 dton SDB (page 124) has an one maintenance staff, one adminstrator and one officer.
Pilot x3, Engineer, Maintenance, Medic, Gunner x4, Administrator this is 11 crew so 1 officer. (Not counting the captain who has other stuff to do then keep an aye on the others). Even if some of the existing staff are officers they are still part of the crew. In the case of the SDB that officer is likely the executive officer. On larger ships the officers would fill roles such as Chief Gunnery Officer and so forth.
Prodromoi wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:22 pm
Conclusion
This isn't shown in the errata document (yet!) but I suspect the Crew Requirement chart on page 21 should say "or part thereof" when referring to the tonnage (for maintenance and adminstrator) and for officer, refer to "per 10 full crew or part thereof".
More like a minimum of 1 for military ships.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:22 pm

RAW is actually clear, whether intended or not:
Core, p6 wrote: Rounding: Unless otherwise stated, whenever you are asked to divide in Traveller, always round down.

The Officer requirement is clearly not "or part thereof":
HG, wrote:1 per full 10 crew
E.g. the Gazelle has 1 officer for 19 crew (plus a captain) and the small SDB has 1 officer for 11 crew (plus a captain).
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby Moppy » Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:17 pm

Important for roleplay so I'd be happier if they provided crew that allowed you to easily form watches. 19 on a system patrol boat might be captain + 2 crews each of pilot, engineer, 3 gunners; and 8 boarding/inspection personnel as 2x4.

This should allow you to run your boat stress-free for extended patrols; you wake up the other crew when you go to battle stations. I'm sure you can go into a lot of unncessary detail about how exactly the watches are divided up but the above no-brain easymode for quick roleplay approximation.

I guess you can treat the rules as a guideline, or as a minimum for normal efficiency.

Gunner jobs are usually assigned to a turret in traveller but engineers might well assume only 1/2 or 1/3 are working at any one time outside of combat. edit: TBH they probably only have one turret crewed outside of combat, anyway.
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:09 pm

We hardly need several watches of Gunners? Combats don't last all that long.

We would need complete watches of bridge and engineering crew, so perhaps 4 officers, 4 pilots, 4 sensor operators, and 4 engineers at a minimum. That is much too much for small ships.

I generally assume automation stand routine watches on small ships and the crew is called when something happens.
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby Condottiere » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:31 pm

The real issue is fatigue, proper maintenance, and keeping an eye on that everything is running correctly, whether instruments or human resources.

In the short term, you can short change crew requirements with little or no penalty; medium term someone is going to have to do overtime to catch up, and possibly a bit more to discourage this behaviour; long term you're asking for trouble to the point that the annual maintenance cost is going to go up, or worse, it has to go into the shop.

Administrative officer could be flexibly applied.

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AnotherDilbert
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:51 pm

Normal small ships generally only need bridge crews for a few hours a week or so, for the run to/from the jump-point. Long term exhaustion isn't a problem.

Since one Engineer is apparently enough we need no continuous engineering watch.
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby Condottiere » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:11 pm

Ironically, in large engine compartments you can reduce the numbers of engineers.

For smaller starships, the threshold seems to be thirty five tonnes, which you could give some leeway: below that, the engines probably could look after themselves in the short term.
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby Moppy » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:57 pm

When you think about there's very little difference in the size of a large smallcraft engine (cutter, shuttle) and a scout courier or free trader engine. Yet the engineering crew requirement for the ships is much higher. One presumes this is safety and maintenance for longer voyages.
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:09 pm
We hardly need several watches of Gunners? Combats don't last all that long.

We would need complete watches of bridge and engineering crew, so perhaps 4 officers, 4 pilots, 4 sensor operators, and 4 engineers at a minimum. That is much too much for small ships.

I generally assume automation stand routine watches on small ships and the crew is called when something happens.
I based this on a 6 turret boat hence 2x3 gunners. Some fraction of the gunnery crew must be training or doing maintenance even if only 1 turret is crewed and ready. A senior gunner usually has some technical ability relating to the weapon system. (edit: Or there is a tech stationed in the turret control room)

These days watch keeping for civilian boats usually has 3 teams not 4. 8/24 hours work as you expect but it might be 2x4 hrs at weird times. Military can do 12/24 e.g. 6 on, 6 off, repeat.

The whole ship can be automated if you really want to, but you should have a navigation and engineering watch.

A crew member can sometimes have two jobs for combat and non-combat - e.g. duty station is cook or clerk, battle station is damage control or gunner. Back when marines were regularly carried on warships, they often operated a turret. All of this brings down the crew requirement in a manner not represented in Traveller. Most smaller ships are under-crewed. Today on yachts you might see the chef standing a navigation watch.
Condottiere wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:11 pm
Ironically, in large engine compartments you can reduce the numbers of engineers.
True, but multiple engineering compartments, or engines, will increase personnel requirement. A large military ship will probably have at least two maneuver drives each in a differrent compartment. I do wish Traveller had proper rules for doing this beyond the "backup powerplant" rule.
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby phavoc » Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:21 am

Look to current world small craft. A WW2 PT boat had a crew of 12-14. They had three engines and 4 machinist mates. And a cook who generally doubled as a quartermaster.

Small craft like an SDB won't have a Captain as the commander. They would have a LT as the CO, and an Ensign as an XO. They are simply too small to need a true Captain. Likewise small escort ships would have junior officers as their commanders. A patrol cruiser would be the same, though perhaps it may have a senior LT as the commander. And if they are carrying a marine contingent that would probably have a junior officer, or at least a senior non-com commanding the group.

Frigates (which Traveller doesn't really have a concept for, at least in published designs) in the 2,000 Dton range would be the rough equivalent of wet-navies that start putting junior captains as the commander to gain command experience with their own vessel. Smaller navies, especially planetary ones or those paid for by nobles and such, would be the natural place to see rank inflation. But professional navies would (most likely at least) follow the normal ranking system that you see with Western navies. I'm not as familar with the Chinese or Russian navy, but I suspect they are closely aligned.

I agree it would be nice to see some rules around how to handle multiple engines. It would make sense to have more than one for larger vessels. Smaller ones simply don't have that sort of tonnage luxury. I would suspect that many smaller ships, especially those with distributed engines, would not have much direct access to them, thus any repairs would need to be done in zero-G vacuum.
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby Moppy » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:16 am

Just how many captains are there on board anyway?

For Commonwealth and American navies the commanding officer of a warship is typically given the job title of "captain" regardless of their rank, which is probably from Lieutenant (pronounced LEFT-tenant in Commonwealth) for a 20 meter inshore patrol boat to Captain for a capital unit. If "captain" would be confusing (for example, the ship also has a company of marines under a marine Captain) then various service-specific traditions come into effect to rename ones that don't command the ship (e.g. the marine boss might be called "the Major" to avoid confusion).

On a civilian ship there is international legal stuff that defaults to English, and the title of the commander of a ship is a "Master" (regardless of rank) for everything except when talking informally to passengers, as it's too tiring to keep explaining why there isn't a captain on their cruise liner.

These days the difference between major surface combatants (corvette, frigate, destroyer, lcs, cruiser etc) can be defined by naval role, politics or language. It's pretty hard to pin down without specifing which navy one is referring to.
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby Moppy » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:21 am

Follow up to previous message:

US Mark 6 patrol boat (2019).

At 25 meters (85 feet) with a heavy gun, 10 sailors, 8 troops and a fast boat for them, it's very similar to a Gazelle. Short-ranged but Gazelles use drop tanks.

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

https://navaltoday.com/2019/05/23/us-na ... rol-boats/
Normal crew complement for a MK VI patrol boat are two crews with five personnel each, plus eight passengers who are normally VBSS [Visit, Board, Search, Seizure] teams (18 personnel total). The crew of ten usually consists of one captain, two coxswains [helm], two engineers, two weapon console operators, and two gunners.
I know that's 9 not 10 but the armed forces doesn't normally recruit professors :-)
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby Old School » Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:28 pm

In the U.S. Navy, an officer with the rank of Captain (0-6) would command a cruiser or larger vessel. A destroyer or frigate is typically commanded by a Commander (0-5). This Commander will typically be referred to as the “Captain” by the ship’s crew, but written orders will Address him or her as CO, or Commanding Officer.

So while a sailor might say “This is Commander Smith, Captain of the Duncan, official paperwork will show “CDR Smith, CO, Duncan.”

The same is true for Lt. Commander or Lieutenant put in command of a smaller vessel.

When a USMC or Army Captain (0-3) is aboard a Navy Vessel, official paperwork will still refer to the proper rank, but Sailors on board will address and refer to the officer as “Major”, to avoid confusion with the ship’s Captain.

The frozen watch is an interesting concept for a science fiction navy. This might make it easier to pack for crew on vessels, however, I think that future navies will have no issue stuffing 4 or 6 crew members in a space much smaller than a Traveller stateroom, just like they do today.
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby Moppy » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:40 pm

Old School wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:28 pm
When a ... Army Captain (0-3) is aboard a Navy Vessel, official paperwork will still refer to the proper rank, but Sailors on board will address and refer to the officer as “Major”, to avoid confusion with the ship’s Captain.
Talking to the cargo seems like a sign of stress. Advise this sailor's section head to keep them under observation, and see that the sailor gets shore leave at the first possible opportunity.
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby phavoc » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:19 pm

Oh yeah... totally forgot about the commander/lt. commander for the navy. Commander is the army equivalent of captain, and commander is the army equivalent of major. A navy captain is the same as an army lt. colonel.
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Re: Crew requirement figures (High Guard rules vs. designs)

Postby Condottiere » Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:57 pm

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