Random Starship Questions

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Greysword
Shrew
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:48 pm

Random Starship Questions

Postby Greysword » Sat May 30, 2020 10:42 pm

Hi everyone. I have a few random starship question that has my curiosity.

Thanks for looking and answering!

1) With a Pilot 10- Difficulty, who would even try refueling from a Gas Giant? Even a space jockey with a Pilot 2 or 3 would find this a pretty difficult task. What is the price for failing the roll?

I ask, because many people feel this is a viable alternative for refueling. It seems pretty dangerous, especially for someone with just a familiarity in flying (Pilot 0).

2) Weapon Hardpoints & Turrets
a. Can the Pilot of a free or far trader fire a weapon in a hardpoint? Would this count as two actions?
b. Can a weapon in a hardpoint be fixed aft instead of forward? I was thinking a missile launcher facing aft would give a pursuer pause, even if the missiles won't hit (terrible roll).
c. Can a Turret be locked into place and fired by the pilot (as in a hardpoint)?

3) Since the Scout ships are designed to allow one or two skilled people to handle them, can a Free Trader also be handled by a single skilled person? If so, what skills would such person need in your opinion?

I may have more questions, and I'll post them here.

Thanks a ton for answering!

- Chris
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8258
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby Condottiere » Sat May 30, 2020 11:06 pm

1. Your ship might be streamlined with airfoils; plus, a planned approach using navigational radar to identify calm spots, and task chain it to piloting.

2a. You may want to activate the fire control programme.

2b. Hardpoints are fixed; you may need to split it up to firmpoints if you want to separate them, or have enough tonnage to have two hardpoints, one of which has a fixed mount pointed aft.

2c. I don't recall it being mentioned, but don't see any logical reason against that.

3. Hundred tonne scouts are designed to be operable by one person; anything larger probably needs some form of automation, if you don't want penalties in efficiency.
Greysword
Shrew
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:48 pm

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby Greysword » Sat May 30, 2020 11:40 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 11:06 pm
1. Your ship might be streamlined with airfoils; plus, a planned approach using navigational radar to identify calm spots, and task chain it to piloting.

So how would that look? Extra time can reduce the difficulty to a 9-, but wouldn't that mean a 9- roll several times fro a task chain? Or do you mean make a Sensor roll to get atmospheric data, and astrogation/navigation roll to find a good course, then a pilot roll with (hopefully) a boost from the other tasks?
Condottiere wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 11:06 pm
2a. You may want to activate the fire control programme.

Isn't that expensive? It's like MCr2 (or something) for the program, right?

Condottiere wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 11:06 pm
2b. Hardpoints are fixed; you may need to split it up to firmpoints if you want to separate them, or have enough tonnage to have two hardpoints, one of which has a fixed mount pointed aft.

Firmpoints are for fighters, right? Hardpoints can replace turrets? If so, do hardpoints work like Firmpoint?

Condottiere wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 11:06 pm
2c. I don't recall it being mentioned, but don't see any logical reason against that.

This would be great, as it provides flexibility of the turret.
Condottiere wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 11:06 pm
3. Hundred tonne scouts are designed to be operable by one person; anything larger probably needs some form of automation, if you don't want penalties in efficiency.
Is there a big difference between a 100 ton ship and a 200 ton ship? Their both in the "tramp" category, right? Or does the Scout have better software? The big difference seems to be in cargo space. Just curious. I don't mean to be contradictory.

Thanks for the answer, Condottiere!
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4238
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun May 31, 2020 3:20 am

1) Gas giant skimming is more of a military or exploration thing, they presumably have good pilots. GGs are generally too far away to be good refuelling sources for commercial ships.

E.g. take the Sol system: Jupiter is at least 4 AU ≈ 600 million km away from the Earth. It would take a week to get there by m-drive, a week with no income for a trader.

If you need to do it, give the Pilot some help e.g. Expert software, or as Condottiere suggests enabling tasks for sensors or navigation. Failure need not be fatal, just fail to fill the tanks and perhaps some superficial damage?


2a) Yes, this is two action. Can be done with reduced skill. See Multiple Tasks (Core, p59).

2b) Fixed Mounts can point in any direction you desire. Due forward is just the most common. Given the acceleration capabilities of missiles it doesn't matter much in which direction the launcher points, they can easily accelerate in any direction.

2c) As Condottiere says there is no rule, but why not?


3) Very small crews are possible, but would be quite busy in normal ops. If anything non-normal happens that might be a problem. Computer software (Virtual Crew/Expert) can help a lot, see Automated Duties (Core, p155). Robots are defined in Central Supply Catalog.

Minimum skills would be Pilot, Astrogation, and Engineering. If you want to carry passengers Steward and Medic is advisable. Nefarious passengers might find it easy to hijack a ship with a very small crew.

Legal or commercial standards might require certain crew members or certifications, but that is up to the Referee.
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4238
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun May 31, 2020 3:36 am

Greysword wrote: So how would that look? Extra time can reduce the difficulty to a 9-,
Extra time generally reduces the the difficulty one step, in this case from Difficult (10+) to Average (8+) [Timeframes, p59-60].

Greysword wrote: but wouldn't that mean a 9- roll several times fro a task chain?
Enabling tasks in a task chain can be any difficulty the Referee deems appropriate.

Greysword wrote: Or do you mean make a Sensor roll to get atmospheric data, and astrogation/navigation roll to find a good course, then a pilot roll with (hopefully) a boost from the other tasks?
Yes, that would be a reasonable Tasks Chain. Just don't make it too easy, or too many rolls. I find too many rolls cumbersome at the table, slowing down the game.

Greysword wrote: Isn't that expensive? It's like MCr2 (or something) for the program, right?
Weapons are expensive... Automation is rather expensive to encourage using people instead, to have someone to role play with.

If you prefer highly automated ships in your game that is up to you, of course.

Greysword wrote: Firmpoints are for fighters, right? Hardpoints can replace turrets? If so, do hardpoints work like Firmpoint?
Ships have hardpoints, small craft have firmpoints that are a type of limited hardpoints.

A Hard/firmpoint is a slot to mount a turret or a fixed mount.

Greysword wrote: Is there a big difference between a 100 ton ship and a 200 ton ship?
No, not really. The Scout ship is just traditionally operated non-commercially without normal crew requirements.
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8258
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby Condottiere » Sun May 31, 2020 9:55 am

Let's say, in terms of opportunity cost, whether financial or time, it's cheaper to buy raw hydrogen for a hundred bux per tonne at ye local spaceport, and refine it yourself.

Besides a turret being able to turn three sixty, I'd say that missiles can change direction one eighty after launch.
Baldo
Mongoose
Posts: 163
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:31 pm
Location: Italy

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby Baldo » Sun May 31, 2020 12:49 pm

Greysword wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 10:42 pm
I may have more questions, and I'll post them here.
Me too, me too! :wink:

What happens if your double and triple turrets have multiple sandcasters with different types of canisters?
Also, let me know if we done right:

Triple sandcaster armed with sand canisters:
1d6+2 plus Effect against a single laser attack;
8D+16 points of damage at Personal scale against a single boarding party.

Triple sandcaster armed with chaff canisters:
DM-3 against the various Electronics checks and missile attacks.

Triple sandcaster armed with pebble canisters:
3DD points of damage at Personal scale against a single boarding party.

Triple sandcaster armed with sandcutter canisters:
The protection given by any sand canisters the enemy uses that round is 1/8 normal (rounding down).

Triple sandcaster armed with three different types of canisters:
...Can't decide.

Thanks for any input, and sorry Greysword for hijacking your thread :) .
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4238
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun May 31, 2020 4:53 pm

Baldo wrote: What happens if your double and triple turrets have multiple sandcasters with different types of canisters?
Disperse Sand seems to be a Free Action, there is no text limiting you from using sand in the same round as you attack or PD. You seem to be able to use as many Disperse Sand action as you want in a round. Even if we reasonably limit it to once per launcher a triple sandcaster turret can presumably do three different Disperse Sand actions.

You can only attack once per turret, so only one attack on boarders, but you could degrade an incoming laser attack and disperse chaff in the same round.

Baldo wrote: Triple sandcaster armed with sand canisters:
1d6+2 plus Effect against a single laser attack;
8D+16 points of damage at Personal scale against a single boarding party.
Yes.

I don't like 8D+16, since the sandcaster just went from barely able to penetrate BD, to almost automatically killing any BD troops. That is too good, I would prefer several attacks instead, but the rules say 8D+16.

Baldo wrote: Triple sandcaster armed with chaff canisters:
DM-3 against the various Electronics checks and missile attacks.
There is no rule mechanism for stacking DMs like that. If they do stack we can presumably achieve as large DMs as we like by using several turrets, completely invalidating the sensor system. DM-3 is fine for military ships, they have very large positive DMs, but it might make you too close to invisible to comfort against civilian ships.

Baldo wrote: Triple sandcaster armed with pebble canisters:
3DD points of damage at Personal scale against a single boarding party.
No, they link as usual using the Triple Turret rule, so 1DD+2.

Baldo wrote: Triple sandcaster armed with sandcutter canisters:
The protection given by any sand canisters the enemy uses that round is 1/8 normal (rounding down).
Again there is no rule mechanism to stack effects like that. A single turret of sandcasters would basically prevent an entire ship, including megaton dreadnoughts, from using sancasters for a round. Too good?
Baldo
Mongoose
Posts: 163
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:31 pm
Location: Italy

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby Baldo » Sun May 31, 2020 5:52 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:53 pm
Disperse Sand seems to be a Free Action, there is no text limiting you from using sand in the same round as you attack or PD. (...) You can only attack once per turret, so only one attack on boarders, but you could degrade an incoming laser attack and disperse chaff in the same round.
You guessed right, usually we use sand OR chaff canisters (mixed with a fake canister for smuggling or with nasty surprises for hijiackers :twisted: ) in our turrets, but a friend asked me "What if we use both of them at the very same time in battle?", and got doubts.
The Free Action rule sounds good.
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:53 pm
There is no rule mechanism for stacking DMs like that x 2
I suppose an upper limit to DMs and the other effects is necessary, but I definitely think "More Is Better" applies to sandcasters too :lol: . Hmmm...
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:53 pm
No, they link as usual using the Triple Turret rule, so 1DD+2.
Fixed! :)
Greysword
Shrew
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:48 pm

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby Greysword » Sun May 31, 2020 9:44 pm

First, no worries, Baldo! Those are great questions, and I didn't realize the sandcaster had so many options. I need to get High Guard. :D

I made the title generic, so others can ask, as well.

Thanks Dilbert and Condottiere for the follow-ups!

The main take-away is that a turret can be locked forward and controlled by the pilot. This is great, as it makes having two turrets useful for a four-being crew.

I can see why the crew should be more, and I was curious as there are several conversations about solo play and piracy with multiple ships. Sometimes it may be useful for a party of 4 to split between two ships and use the weapons.

The gas giant being quite some distance makes sense, unless it was the target during a multi-parsec jump sequence. If a jump-1 ship needs to hop across a traffic lane or pass through a parsec with a Class E starport, the gas giant refuel may be the best option. I appreciate your help on this, both of you!

There are so many great options and so many great answers others have already thought about in this system! The simplicity yet depth and breadth of the game is astounding.


Now, I have a power management question.

The Free Trader has a Power 60 plant. Basic ship's systems cost 40 and Maneuver drive costs 20. If sensors cost 1, does that mean we need to shut off the coffee pot to run the sensors? No coffee or air conditioning for the flight through the system? :lol:

I guess the real question is, how does power management work in-game? I'm assuming the Free Trader needs to shut down unnecessary systems to use the turrets, not just get extra thrust points.
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4238
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:35 am

Greysword wrote: The Free Trader has a Power 60 plant. Basic ship's systems cost 40 and Maneuver drive costs 20. If sensors cost 1, does that mean we need to shut off the coffee pot to run the sensors? No coffee or air conditioning for the flight through the system? :lol:

I guess the real question is, how does power management work in-game? I'm assuming the Free Trader needs to shut down unnecessary systems to use the turrets, not just get extra thrust points.
It's a role playing opportunity! To operate the sensors you have to shut down some basic systems, with potentially irritating effects. Perhaps there is no artificial gravity in parts of the ship? Perhaps no hot water, so no showers and no hot beverages until the ship enters jump?

In combat you can just lock the ship down and turn off all non-essential systems to halve the Basic Systems power consumption. Not at all as fun.
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8258
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby Condottiere » Mon Jun 01, 2020 9:24 pm

Image

Sponge baths.
Greysword
Shrew
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:48 pm

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby Greysword » Tue Jun 02, 2020 2:27 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:35 am
Greysword wrote: The Free Trader has a Power 60 plant. Basic ship's systems cost 40 and Maneuver drive costs 20. If sensors cost 1, does that mean we need to shut off the coffee pot to run the sensors? No coffee or air conditioning for the flight through the system? :lol:

I guess the real question is, how does power management work in-game? I'm assuming the Free Trader needs to shut down unnecessary systems to use the turrets, not just get extra thrust points.
It's a role playing opportunity! To operate the sensors you have to shut down some basic systems, with potentially irritating effects. Perhaps there is no artificial gravity in parts of the ship? Perhaps no hot water, so no showers and no hot beverages until the ship enters jump?

In combat you can just lock the ship down and turn off all non-essential systems to halve the Basic Systems power consumption. Not at all as fun.
So that's it then, A/C for the High Passage payers only! 8)

Guess one more advantage for the Far Trader!!


Condottiere wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 9:24 pm
Image

Sponge baths.
:shock: LOL!!! :lol:
User avatar
ShawnDriscoll
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2968
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:13 pm

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Jun 02, 2020 3:25 am

Greysword wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 10:42 pm
With a Pilot 10- Difficulty, who would even try refueling from a Gas Giant? Even a space jockey with a Pilot 2 or 3 would find this a pretty difficult task. What is the price for failing the roll?
Referees need to think first why a Task Check is being done for such a thing. That is where the answer lies.
Greysword
Shrew
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:48 pm

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby Greysword » Tue Jun 02, 2020 3:45 am

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 3:25 am
Greysword wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 10:42 pm
With a Pilot 10- Difficulty, who would even try refueling from a Gas Giant? Even a space jockey with a Pilot 2 or 3 would find this a pretty difficult task. What is the price for failing the roll?
Referees need to think first why a Task Check is being done for such a thing. That is where the answer lies.

I guess the GM could waive it, but the rules on MT2e pg 147 says:
A ship with fuel scoops may gather fuel from bodies of
water using hoses. It may also scoop hydrogen from a
gas giant, requiring a Difficult (10+) Pilot check (1D
hours). Fuel gathered in the wild is unrefined, but a ship
with fuel refiners may refine it.
User avatar
ShawnDriscoll
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2968
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:13 pm

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Jun 02, 2020 3:55 am

Greysword wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 3:45 am
I guess the GM could waive it
How is the Referee thinking why a roll is being made a hand-wave? Anyway, the Referee still needs to come up with outcomes for the rolls. Is that hand-waving? The core rules have examples of difficulties to roll for. But has no outcomes. If it did, there'd be no need for Referees for Traveller.
Greysword
Shrew
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2020 9:48 pm

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby Greysword » Tue Jun 02, 2020 8:01 pm

Sorry Shawn, I must have misinterpreted your statement.

I thought you meant the referee needs to assess if the task has a chance of failure thus a roll is needed or not (does this thing warrant a roll). From there, I assumed a binary response: yes a roll needs to be done, in which the rule will be followed, or no a roll isn't required since it's a standard maneuver. I apologize for the misinterpretation.

And to be sure I communicated it right, I was hoping to use the word waive: refrain from insisting on or using, not hand-wave: a pejorative label for attempting to be seen as effective – in word, reasoning, or deed – while actually doing nothing effective or substantial. I meant no malice in the word choice.

Thanks for answering ans clarifying!

- Chris
Condottiere
Warlord Mongoose
Posts: 8258
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby Condottiere » Tue Jun 02, 2020 8:51 pm

Power budgets can be subsidized temporarily with batteries.

Minimum basic power usage is one point per ten tonnes, after which you'll have brown outs.

Manoeuvre drives don't need constant acceleration to get you somewhere.
User avatar
ShawnDriscoll
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2968
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:13 pm

Re: Random Starship Questions

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:47 am

Greysword wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 3:45 am
I guess the GM could waive it
Time frames can be decided on to adjust the DM for a Task Check. The core rulebook is just a guideline. It states many times so.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: SirGamingScotsman and 33 guests