Spaceship vs. Starship

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phavoc
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Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:05 pm

Technically the only difference is the ability to travel under power between two star systems (aka spaceships have jump drives, starships do not).

But I was reading this article on the National Interest (https://news.yahoo.com/why-russias-navy ... 00621.html) and the design of the Smerch corvette got me thinking about the differences between blue-water naval vessels and shallow water ones, but also how would this translate into Traveller?

By the book rules a ship gets 1 hardpoint per 100 tons. We know this is an artificial line in the sand, but also a necessary one in order to try to bring some sort of norm to the chaos of design rules. However we also know that if there is open space on a hull some enterprising soldier/airman/naval person is going to figure out a way to put more boom on the deck. Look at what PT crews did in the Pacific by mounting cannons, even howitzers, to the forward section of their boats. Or how after the sinking of the Prince of Wales/Repulse (and others) by aircraft navy ships sprouted AA guns wherever they could be mounted. Even the Air force got into the action and some bomber crews modified their plans with more guns/cannon in the nose. Some field modifications got adopted and later became standard options.

The Smerch, like many Russian ships, bristles with armament and visually looks more deadly than their US naval equivalent. All other things aside, without having to worry about the jump field, one would think that there would be many backwater space navies wanting to strap on guns to as many possible places they could to improve the fire capability of their ship. Though I do admit trying to come up with a reasonable design system to reflect this would be challenging.

The game Starfire had the concept of external missile launchers that often doubled the throw-weight of the first salvo (and, similar to the David Weber Honverse missile pod technology, external ordance and missile pods were very vulnerable to AOE nuclear attacks, so they were always used first).

So should spaceships get some sort of advantage over starships? The battle rider and similar sci-fi concepts already give ships the advantage of not having to tote around fuel/jump drives. I'm just idly speculating on this and interested in other opinions and thoughts here.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Moppy » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:34 pm

You're ex-army vehicles. What's your view on this?

Image

Now little missile boats are great when the sea is calm. Over-armed ships suck very much when it isn't. Remember the Vasa, the Swedish warship that sank from being top heavy.

Now you don't have this problem in space, so the issue is just over-stressing your structure.

So, see photo above. Something on that truck is going to break.

If you want to do it, maybe increase the maintenance and it breaks down each time you roll double 6 to hit.

Would be fine for emergency local defense. Budget wise, it's a bit nuts long-term and awful when it breaks down again.

Edit 1: The source for the image is here: https://twitter.com/Mansourtalk/status/ ... 6337617921

Edit 2: I remembered mongoose has the quad turret in optional equipment. However it has no downside. Maybe it should? Maybe 1 hardpoint per 90 tons loses you hull points and you gain a break down roll?
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Old School » Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:05 pm

So should spaceships get some sort of advantage over starships? The battle rider and similar sci-fi concepts already give ships the advantage of not having to tote around fuel/jump drives. I'm just idly speculating on this and interested in other opinions and thoughts here.
No. As you point out, the peculiarities of traveller ship design gives in system ships a massive pound for pound combat advantage already. A Jump-4 ship is no match for even a jump-3 ship of similar size unless it has a huge technological advantage (which comes with a huge price tag). Why add to the advantage that’s already built in?
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby GamingGlen » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:25 pm

phavoc wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:05 pm
Technically the only difference is the ability to travel under power between two star systems (aka spaceships have jump drives, starships do not).
I go the other way: space ships are any vessels that go into space, starships are those vessels that can travel to other stars in a reasonable time (read: has FTL).
Last edited by GamingGlen on Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby GamingGlen » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:36 pm

Moppy wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:34 pm
Edit 2: I remembered mongoose has the quad turret in optional equipment. However it has no downside. Maybe it should? Maybe 1 hardpoint per 90 tons loses you hull points and you gain a break down roll?
Why should it have a downside? Because it wasn't in a previous version of Traveller is not a good reason.

The quad turret has one more weapon that may not be all that proportional useful. Is a quad pulse turret worth the price of an additional +2 damage over a triple pulse turret? A quad turret takes twice the power (1->2) and costs twice as much (MCr 1 -> MCr 2) as a triple turret and this doesn't include the power and cost of an additional weapon. I feel this is an adequate cost adjustment without needing some downside.

(someone must have already done a cost analysis of this or I'll be disappointed in you spreadsheet nerds) :D
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Moppy » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:59 pm

GamingGlen wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:36 pm
Is a quad pulse turret worth the price of an additional +2 damage over a triple pulse turret?
Critical hits. Mongoose laser weapon space combat will typically be decided by criticals before the hull points run out, and the quad crits better. As you correctly mention, the raw hull point loss by itself is not significant.

I haven't done the maths for counter-missile fire.

Might also make mixed weapony more effective on a smaller ship. I haven't checked if quads can mix weapons.

edit: So I was thinking quads had +1 to effect roll over triples, which they don't, so the crits aren't that much better.
Last edited by Moppy on Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Linwood
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Linwood » Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:31 am

And then there was the Vespa 150 TAP....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vespa_150_TAP

I’ve home-ruled missile pods and energy weapon ‘mines’ for my campaign building on the discussion here in the forums on another thread. Given the simplicity of the concept and the potential advantages in first-salvo firepower I find it difficult to imagine that interstellar navies wouldn’t at least experiment with them. I have ruled that they are heavily dependent on datalinks with a master vessel/ station, which builds in some possible countermeasures.

Since the rules also allow mounting vehicle-scale weaponry on spacecraft I’ve toyed with the idea of allowing Gatling laser turrets for close-in missile defense. Not ready to allow that just yet though.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:05 pm

I have several rambling comments:
in original CT there was a major difference between a spaceship and a starship - cost:
Non-starships may be constructed using the basic rules for starship construction, but omitting the jump drives. They may not later be converted to intersteller drive capability, but may be produced for 50% of the price of a comparable starship.
I can see why this rule was quietly dropped.

TNE dropped the hardpoint limitations to go with surface area limitations - later versions of the rules are finally starting to mix the idea that the hardpoint rule represents surface area since the vast majority of a spinal, main or bay weapon is taken from internal volume.

GT ISW did a good job of basing hardpoints on surface area and configuration rather than hull volume.
Last edited by Sigtrygg on Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:17 pm

phavoc wrote: So should spaceships get some sort of advantage over starships?
I don't think they need it; as pointed out they will have the same number of hardpoints, but probably more heavier weapons such as bays (instead of all the jump fuel).
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:52 pm

GamingGlen wrote: (someone must have already done a cost analysis of this or I'll be disappointed in you spreadsheet nerds) :D
Bah!

The quad turret (below) is well worth it against armoured targets (here armour 15):
Image
Triple pulse laser: Average damage: 1.37

Image
Quad pulse laser: Average damage: 2.59

Damage increases 2.59 / 1.37 - 1 = 89%.



Not so cost-effective against unarmoured targets:

Triple pulse laser:
Image

Quad pulse laser:
Image

Still if you include the cost of the entire ship it might be worth it.
phavoc
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:17 pm

Moppy wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:34 pm
You're ex-army vehicles. What's your view on this?

Image

Now little missile boats are great when the sea is calm. Over-armed ships suck very much when it isn't. Remember the Vasa, the Swedish warship that sank from being top heavy.

Now you don't have this problem in space, so the issue is just over-stressing your structure.

So, see photo above. Something on that truck is going to break.

If you want to do it, maybe increase the maintenance and it breaks down each time you roll double 6 to hit.

Would be fine for emergency local defense. Budget wise, it's a bit nuts long-term and awful when it breaks down again.

Edit 1: The source for the image is here: https://twitter.com/Mansourtalk/status/ ... 6337617921

Edit 2: I remembered mongoose has the quad turret in optional equipment. However it has no downside. Maybe it should? Maybe 1 hardpoint per 90 tons loses you hull points and you gain a break down roll?
Looks to be 75-90mm gun/howitzer. I'd suspect that there is a plate in the bed welded to the frame, otherwise the recoil should be ripping out any bolts. Not sure of the accuracy of such a thing, but since we can't see the target one can only speculate. Against a moving target I'd say you'd need to roll a critical hit to be lucky enough to get a glancing blow! However if they are engaging a fixed target, such as a wall, house, bunker, some other idiot mounting a large gun in a small truck... well, then more power to them! :) It's certainly one of the more creative vehicles out there.

Then again, Gerald Bull's giant gun (Project Babylon) was considered kooky, too. Too bad he got double-tapped in the head before he could finish it to see if it would actually work as theorized. The massive Paris railway guns the Germans deployed in WW1 could only fire 50-60 rounds before the barrel had to be sent back to Krupp for re-work. Though being the smart little Prussians they were, the projectiles actually had to be fired in a specific order to account for the barrel getting slightly larger with each round. Ah the wonderful world of artillery trivia!

But, point being, for irregular weapons literally their is no limit except your imagination. The issue, however, is that irregular weapons are NOT standardized, and thus making actual plans for testing, deployment, and maintaining them is near impossible. Which is why organized militaries do things the way they do.

There would probably be a great deal of teeth gnashing and word throwing trying to get player's and GM's to agree on such a thing during a gaming session. Which is why, I think, it's best to not go down such a path. But in terms of game design and space structure, if there's space to bolt something on, it's possible to do a lot of things (remember the scene from Firefly, the movie, where they bolted the gun on the ship as an irregular weapon?). Practically speaking there are just so many variations it's hard to figure out what the offsets are.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby msprange » Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:46 pm

Linwood wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:31 am
And then there was the Vespa 150 TAP....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vespa_150_TAP
We built that in the previous edition:

http://blog.mongoosepublishing.co.uk/?p=759
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Linwood
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Linwood » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:15 am

msprange wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:46 pm
Linwood wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 11:31 am
And then there was the Vespa 150 TAP....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vespa_150_TAP
We built that in the previous edition:

http://blog.mongoosepublishing.co.uk/?p=759
We should bring it back!!!!! :D
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Moppy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:01 am

I've been directed to this subreddit, which collects pictures of actual improvised combat vehicles: https://www.reddit.com/r/shittytechnicals/

The home made vehicles are interesting for me as you can actually see into the designer's mind. I'm not so crazy over the fieldgun-donkeys and machine-gun armed stage coaches.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Condottiere » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:57 pm

1. Surface area saturation would require specified structural support per weapon system, docking clamp, airlock or any other protruding external ship system or structure, and while you could affix missile launchers to hangar doors, I wouldn't recommend it.

2. Any sea going vessel is going to need inherent stability in order to operate, especially during a fire fight.

Image

3. You can always attach additional weapons to the hull, not specified or overlooked in the rulebook.

Image
phavoc
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby phavoc » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:40 pm

Moppy wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:01 am
I've been directed to this subreddit, which collects pictures of actual improvised combat vehicles: https://www.reddit.com/r/shittytechnicals/

The home made vehicles are interesting for me as you can actually see into the designer's mind. I'm not so crazy over the fieldgun-donkeys and machine-gun armed stage coaches.
Thanks for the link. Very interesting. They also had a shot of the Vespa recoilless in there, literally in a field.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby GamingGlen » Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:53 pm

Moppy wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:01 am
I've been directed to this subreddit, which collects pictures of actual improvised combat vehicles: https://www.reddit.com/r/shittytechnicals/

The home made vehicles are interesting for me as you can actually see into the designer's mind. I'm not so crazy over the fieldgun-donkeys and machine-gun armed stage coaches.
Riding shotgun took on a whole 'nother meaning. :D
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Moppy » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:23 pm

+5 to hit seems high for the average ship.

I’d be interested to see a table for +3 or +4.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:54 am

Moppy wrote: +5 to hit seems high for the average ship.
Triple laser:
Image

Quad laser:
Image

1.36 / 0.59 - 1 = +130% vs armoured.


Triple:
Image

Quad:
Image

13.11 / 11.44 - 1 = +15% vs unarmoured.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Moppy » Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:17 pm

Thanks. I am surprised the crit isn't significantly better.

edit: So I was remembering that multiple weapons added to the hit (effect) roll. Which they do not. So I was expecting the quad weapon to achieve the 6+ effect threshold more easily, but it doesn't.

edit: It does add to the point defense roll against missiles, which is there I think I got that rule from. In checking the point defense rules I note another rules RAW wording problem. Double lasers add +1, triple turrets might need lasers to get +2 depending on how you read the sentence, and quads apparently get their bonus with everything regardless of how many weapons are fitted. :-)

I will go back and edit the original post since I was overestimating how many crits were scored.

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