Spaceship vs. Starship

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Moppy
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Moppy » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:54 pm

Min-maxing doesn't imply imbalance or that the system is broken. There might be multiple design strategies (example: battleships vs battle riders, large hulls vs multiple small hulls) all of which can be min-maxed separately. They could even be non-transient (A beats B, B beats C, C beats A) in the manner of "rock paper scissors".

Balance only really means that there are multiple viable srategies and no single one dominates. It's independent of min-maxing.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby phavoc » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:51 pm

Moppy wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:33 pm
Weapon bays might be large mounts. This would give Traveller ships a spinal, large mounts, turret mounts, missiles, and (in Mongoose) a point defense system.

I get what you're saying about armor thickness on small craft, but hit points that ensure they are disabled faster. (Mongoose gives 1 hit point for every 2 or 2.5 dtons).

Note that heavy armor is no guarantee of protection from lighter weapons. On a space craft at space battle ranges, your sensors are very important. You won't hit jackshit manually aiming at space speeds and ranges. Those sensors are going to need to be exposed to do their job, and probably don't like it when their fancy antennas get hit by lasers.

From history, Leyte Gulf saw battleships taking heavy damage from cruiser gunfire and being sunk by destroyer torpedos. I won't count HMS Hood as that was an outdated design.
"Bay" has always been an odd term for larger turrets, in some instances, and actual bays, in others. And in Traveller the 100 ton bay is the largest weapon (aside from spinal mounts). A 10k dton cruiser can have the same weapon mounts as a 100k dton battleship or a 500k dton dreadnought. The only difference is the number.

A 'small' heavy fighter at 80dtons can have armor factor 15, as can a 500k dton dreadnought. If it's just hit points then why have them equivalent in armor factor?

Actually, heavier armor IS proof against lighter weapons. Starships and tanks have heavy armor to start and are impervious to small arms. Going back to wet navies a destroyers 5' gun could not penetrate the deck armor of a battleship. It could, however penetrate the lightly armored main area of the ship, where no critical systems or areas were. So essentially the DD's only real weapon against their larger targets was their torpedoes (which Traveller does not have an equivalent, aside, perhaps, from nukes). Spinal mounts also don't have a wet navy equivalent.

Yes, sensors, airlocks and all kinds of external systems are going to be outside of your armor. However that's where you have redundancy because externally you will be taking hits. This is no different than say how a tank or armored vehicle has weak spots. But it's hitting them exactly in the right place to take advantage of that is the difficult part.

Cruisers (heavy at least) usually mounted 8' guns. The shells were insufficient to penetrate a first-line battleships main armor, but sufficient to do damage to unarmored areas. That, however, is not typical way you sink an enemy. At the same time the battleship could direct it's fire towards the cruiser and sink it with a just a few hits from it's main guns, or at a minimum cripple it. The change to all big-guns with the HMS Dreadnought meant that battleships didn't mount multiple classes of weapons any more (such as 10, 8' and 5') to engage different kinds of enemies. Whether or not that would remain true for space battles is a matter of debate, much like the switch to all big-guns.

As far as Leyte Gulf is concerned, it was a battle that was one of desperation on both sides. Even the escort carriers like the Gambier Bay and Princeton engage Japanese destroyers and even cruisers with their single 5' gun. USN DD's and DDE's also engage the enemy to protect the ships they were escorting. Their only other choice was to run, which they would do.

The Hood is an interesting issue. It had multiple faults. The first was that the idea that battlecruisers can mount battleship class weapons and be in the line of battle was a faulty assumption. Not being armored to the same level as a battleship meant they were glass cannons. The second major fault was the design of the magazine protection for the turrets. Torpedoes are the bane of all naval ships because of the need for buoyancy. :) Aside from that ships that were properly built could withstand a lot of damage before they were put out of action. Even the might Bismark had a fundamental flaw in the protection of it's steering system. Many ships that were built in the 1930s, while upgraded, suffered similar flaws since naval warfare was changing and the older designs were already in place. By the time the war was in mid-stream the era of the battleship was already over.
Moppy
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Moppy » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:20 am

I am not going to defend the rules system because from a wargames point of view they are broken almost to the point of refundable, but they sort of work for role playing if you don’t look at how they are doing it. Both armor and size do increase the damage a ship can take.

I think “no unarmored critical systems” and “impenetrable deck armor” is a bit of a misnomer and easily disproved by the history. Things still catch on fire, armor does not cover every part of the ship, and I don’t remember who it was but someone got a shell or bomb down the funnel and was NOT happy about it. As you say such “critical hits” are uncommon, but they cannot be ignored because they keep happening. Battles dissolving into a confusing mess (such as Leyte Gulf) is another such thing that keeps happening.

I am sure you know this, and meant to say that each type of battery on a dreadnought was homogenous, and not that they only had one battery size.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Condottiere » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:05 am

That's the difference between an abstract concept like factor, and actual thickness and composition of armour.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Moppy » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:55 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:05 am
That's the difference between an abstract concept like factor, and actual thickness and composition of armour.
Some of the editions base factor on thickness.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby phavoc » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:56 pm

Moppy wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:20 am
I am not going to defend the rules system because from a wargames point of view they are broken almost to the point of refundable, but they sort of work for role playing if you don’t look at how they are doing it. Both armor and size do increase the damage a ship can take.

I think “no unarmored critical systems” and “impenetrable deck armor” is a bit of a misnomer and easily disproved by the history. Things still catch on fire, armor does not cover every part of the ship, and I don’t remember who it was but someone got a shell or bomb down the funnel and was NOT happy about it. As you say such “critical hits” are uncommon, but they cannot be ignored because they keep happening. Battles dissolving into a confusing mess (such as Leyte Gulf) is another such thing that keeps happening.

I am sure you know this, and meant to say that each type of battery on a dreadnought was homogenous, and not that they only had one battery size.
I agree with you on the rules being broken.

For the most part, with some obvious exceptions, naval designers had to work with the materials, science and projected weaponry of the time. Plus they have to live within their means (real budgets, maintainability, mass, etc) that players don't. For the most part they were successful. Armor was layered, decks were armored to protect against plunging shells, side armors were strengthened down to the waterline. No ship had the tonnage to fully armor everywhere to the same level the decks and turrets were. As torpedoes became more of an issue, torpedo bulges were developed, as were double and triple bottom keels. However, to your point, nobody made defenses against someone dropping a 2,000lb bomb through the funnel and blowing out the bottom of the ship like Rudel proved to the Russians when he sank the Marat that way.

And, like history has shown us time and time again, as new offensive weaponry was developed, new defenses were developed, so the offensive weaponry changed. This cycle has been present since humans figured out rocks & clubs could be used as weapons.

When I mentioned the battery issue, I was referring to the fundamental shift away from mixed batteries on capital vessels to having one size for the main armament. Prior to Dreadnought ships would mount various calibers (in multiple batteries). Dreadnought changed that by having a ship equipped with main guns of a single caliber, and then some lighter secondary weapons. This model fundamentally changed capital ship armaments going forward. Secondary weapons, such as 5' guns on USN battleships, were designed to attack smaller targets that came into range that the bigger guns could not target due to size/speed/range.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Condottiere » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:35 am

The assumption appears to be a uniform thickness around the hull, with the obvious weak points, like cargo hatches, airlocks, weapon emplacements, having equivalent protection.

Probably not the case with the manoeuvre drives, hence the fancy for up the kilt shots.
Linwood
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Linwood » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:07 am

The critical hit rule for 6+ Effect on a attack check more or less simulates this.
Sigtrygg
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:07 pm

How do you armour the engine exhausts?

How do you armour the beam emitters - if they can shoot out something can shoot in.

A sensor stalk still has to have some link with the internals or how does it get its data into the ship without being spoofed?

There are always points of weakness - except the General Products hulls of Puppeteer manufacture...
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby esmdev » Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:21 am

Without the jump drive and jump fuel requirements maybe you could build a battlerider with twin spinal mounts. That way even when your crew is drunk and seeing double you've got one spinal for the both of them. :)
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Old School » Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:04 am

Doc Holiday wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:21 am
I have two guns, one for each of you
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Condottiere » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:42 am

While it's possible to have two spinal mounts, in whatever contrived way, I've always argued that for Traveller it should remain the classical one per hull.
Moppy
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Moppy » Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:57 pm

I do not consider multiple spinals physically contrived. It just breaks the game system.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:38 pm

Moppy wrote: I do not consider multiple spinals physically contrived. It just breaks the game system.
What would break? Two smaller spinals does exactly the same damage as a single bigger one.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Moppy » Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:12 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:38 pm
Moppy wrote: I do not consider multiple spinals physically contrived. It just breaks the game system.
What would break? Two smaller spinals does exactly the same damage as a single bigger one.
I'm assuming you mean Mongoose 2. In which case, additional critical hits and something else I forgot, maybe damage resistance.

Though now you mention it, their spinals are installed in modules and it might not be too bad to allow such a system to rapid-fire at reduced power as if they were separate smaller mounts. You would surely see changes to ship designs as a dreadnought could rapid pulse against multiple cruisers.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:18 pm

Moppy wrote: I'm assuming you mean Mongoose 2. In which case, additional critical hits and something else I forgot, maybe damage resistance.
Crits are unlikely since spinals will be dodged. A few crits are easily repaired in the same round.

You don't want to split fire on several targets, you want to concentrate fire on a single target to kill it, since partially damaged ships are just as effective as undamaged ships. Only killed ships decrease return fire.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Moppy » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:44 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:18 pm
Moppy wrote: I'm assuming you mean Mongoose 2. In which case, additional critical hits and something else I forgot, maybe damage resistance.
Crits are unlikely since spinals will be dodged. A few crits are easily repaired in the same round.

You don't want to split fire on several targets, you want to concentrate fire on a single target to kill it, since partially damaged ships are just as effective as undamaged ships. Only killed ships decrease return fire.
Why install one if it will be dodged?

The second is situational, but I agree in the general case of an equal points death match with no long-term strategic considerations.

But consider historical examples where wounded soldiers or damaged ships are pulled out of the line to preserve them, or where you have to deal with strategic repairs.

Edit: I probably need to say this as I don’t know if we have roleplayers or war gamers here, but if you can make lots of repair rolls in a fight, everything would be repairable outside of combat and repair units wouldn’t be required (except for hull points). We must therefore assume things repaired in combat with these dice rolls are temporary, and the system breaks after.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby Old School » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:38 pm

Hopefully we’re all roleplayers here, participating on an RPG forum. I beleive the rule system specifically ststes combat repairs are temporary, no need to assume.

Two spinal mounts (or more) would be more effective than one large weapon in taking on multiple smaller opponents, i.e. a dreadnaught vs. multiple cruisers, as each spinal mount could still be large enough to one shot a cruiser. That’s an odd circumstance, but not totally out of the question.

I beleive Matt is on record that nothing in the rule system prohibits multiple spinal mounts, but that they are not allowed in the OTU.
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:28 am

Moppy wrote: But consider historical examples where wounded soldiers or damaged ships are pulled out of the line to preserve them, or where you have to deal with strategic repairs.
Sure we could withdraw damaged ships, but it is impractical in open terrain-less space. We would have to accelerate away out of range which takes considerable time, time enough for the enemy to finish off the damaged ship...
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Re: Spaceship vs. Starship

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:37 am

Old School wrote: Two spinal mounts (or more) would be more effective than one large weapon in taking on multiple smaller opponents, i.e. a dreadnaught vs. multiple cruisers, as each spinal mount could still be large enough to one shot a cruiser. That’s an odd circumstance, but not totally out of the question.
Multiple small spinals might be able to one-shot a destroyer, if it could hit it, but hardly a cruiser.

E.g. a Plankwell could just about one-shot Ghalalk-class cruiser (since it lacks defences). There is no way it could carry several spinals each capable of the same.

Old School wrote: I beleive Matt is on record that nothing in the rule system prohibits multiple spinal mounts, but that they are not allowed in the OTU.
I don't know who wrote it, but that is explicit in HG (p29).

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