New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

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adzling
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New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby adzling » Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:58 pm

Hi Travellers, our PoD campaign is about to start Treasure Ship and I wanted to include a method for Hroal to board the target vessel without having to dock his pocket warship as it just doesn't seem practical/ safe/ sensible thing to do.

+ I wanted to be able to board while the target ship is still evading/ moving and prevent the target from jumping away during boarding.

Hroal's ship has docking space for 10 x 10 ton fighters and this got me thinking, "why are there no boarding shuttles"?

So I designed one, see below.

Would love to hear the community's feedback, thanks!

10 ton boarding shuttle/ brig/ whatever-you-want-to-call-it

Hull: 10 tons with 12 points of crystalline armor (to ensure the shuttles makes it to the target vessel): 2PP
M-Drive: 6 (pretty quick!): 6PP
Powerplant: Tech Level 12/ 0.6 tons/ 9 power output
Fuel tankage: 0.03 tons (enough for 2 weeks operation)
Cockpit: 1.5 tons
Computer/5
Base Sensor system
Single Turret (on firmpoint) with integral AC-25 Autocannon (from the new Mercenary kickstarter) Mounted to belly/ underside of ship for strafing ground targets: 1.25 tons/ 1PP
Acceleration Benches: 2.5 (10 people)/ 2.5 tons
Forced Linkage Apparatus: TL12/ 2 tons
Cost: 1,595,000 credits (pretty cheap!)

There would be a crew of 1 pilot + 10 marines for boarding.
The ship would blast at max thrust towards the target, when within range it would launch the Forced linkage apparatus in an attempt to snag hold of the target ship.

Once "grappled" the target ship would not be able to jump away due to the excess mass/ lack of ability to form a jump envelope around both ships.

With the airlock and docking apparatus mounted in the nose of the boarding shuttle (the cockpit sits above the main hull), once grappled the boarding shuttle would be pulled up against the 'lock on the target vessel until eventually they are 'lock to 'lock. The boarding shuttle's flat nose would be directly against the 'lock on the target vessel.

thoughts?
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby Geir » Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:20 pm

Technically, fuel tanks need to be a full ton (see Highguard page 17 under Power Plants - oddly, there is no such requirements for power plants or m-drives themselves) so that would limit the seating, but the turret should only eat 1 ton, so you get a little back ( a person - overall you would lose 3 seats).
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adzling
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby adzling » Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:25 am

yeah i noticed that, but decided frag it i can calculate fractions of a ton for everything else so i'll do the same for the dang fuel tankage.

if hewing to the book then scrubbing some armor and upping the armor tl to 14 would be another option instead of cutting marine capacity.
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby Geir » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:23 am

Given the massive disconnect between fusion power plants on spacecraft in Highguard and vehicles in the Vehicle Handbook, perhaps a future version of Traveller can give us a unified design system.

Honestly, the fractional fusion drive is probably more problematic than the fuel tank, but that's the way it was written. I have my own objects to things like armor on small craft and large bays among other things... but back to your design:
It looks like a good one, well suited to the purpose. A breaching tube would be a nice addition, but not on a ten ton ship. Depending whether you interpret 'less than 250kg' to be 'less than or equal to' 250kg, you could have up to four weapons in fixed mounts. In any case you can mount the AC-25 as indicated in 'Smaller Weapons' on page 32 in a fixed mount for 1 ton and no power and, though the rules are vague on it, they should work fine in a single turret at 1 ton total - they're likely less massive than a missile launcher or sandcaster. I suppose you could go as big as an AC-60H autocannon for that 1 ton if you wanted to. There's also the option of my old favorite: a VRF gauss gun, buried in Referee Briefing 4: Mercenaries, though at 4D damage it seems a bit underpowered.
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:37 am

1. Until someone pointed it out to me, I thought engineering had a default minimum of 1(0) tonne volume, which included the fuel tank.

2. So last I looked, High Guard seems pretty firm on one tonne minimum on fuel tank and power plant; manoeuvre drive (and presumably reactionary rockets), seems wide open.

3. Ten tonnes seems pretty much a boarding skiff.


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Last edited by Condottiere on Tue Sep 14, 2021 10:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby Being » Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:45 am

By allowing a 10ton ship to stop any grappled ship being able to Jump radically changes the Boarding rules and does not gel with Jump rules in general. Basically youre making that 10ton launch a super weapon.
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:50 am

There's that, but it depends on proportionality.

If it happened to be a kilotonne trader, I'd close an eye at the extra one percent baggage.
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby cunningrat » Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:25 pm

adzling wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:58 pm
Once "grappled" the target ship would not be able to jump away due to the excess mass/ lack of ability to form a jump envelope around both ships.
That's not how it works. You would need to recalculate the Jump range of the target ship with an extra 10 tons attached to it (see External Cargo Mounts and Docking Clamps in High Guard). Unless the target ship is Jump 1, it'll just take the boarding shuttle into jump space with it.

Sorry. Good idea but that's not how it works. :(
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby cunningrat » Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:14 pm

The way you COULD make it work is to assign 2-3 of the other fighters an escort role. Give them missile racks instead of lasers, and load them with Jumpbreaker missiles. Boarding shuttle clamps on, the fighters enter dogfight range and start firing Jumpbreakers to stop the ship from jumping away.
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby adzling » Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:23 pm

Thanks for all the feedback folks.

Thanks for the feedback regarding the ship not stopping it's target from jumping that's one of things I was unsure about.

Clearly it would, at least, throw off the jump calcs due to the change in mass, right?
That sounds dangerous, no one wants a misjump...

Worst case it (or a group of of them) adds enough mass to a smaller vessel that it cannot form a jump bubble (for example a jump 1 craft that is already at it's weight limit with no spare capacity).

Larger ships with more than jump 1 and / or spare cargo capacity would still jump but would need to recalc afaik.

Agree/ disagree to above?

A few adjustments from the input:

1). deleted the turret and replaced it with the minimum fuel tankage of 1 ton.
2). decreased the power plant size slightly as the turret no longer needs to be powered
This cuts the cost down to 1.365 mCr and results in a 0.1 ton cargo capacity.

This leaves plenty of room to hold the warhead of a Jumpbreaker missile warhead at @0.042 tons (1/12 = 0.083 tons/2 <cause warhead only>) and 83,333 credits (probably less if it's the warhead only).

Alternate option:
Keep the turret and reduce the armor to 5.

Alternate options that take almost no weight but help greatly:
Reflex coating
Radiation shielding

Finally: I am going to create a deckplan for this "Boarding Skiff" as a simple torpedo shape with a single central cabin @ 4 meters long with an iris valve at the front and the rear of the ship (no airlock).

This would allow the skiff to dock to the target's ship airlock as noted in the first post (no 'lock needed).

However it has the advantage of offering the ability for another ship (or skiff) to dock to the rear of the skiff permitting more boarders very easily.

The assumption would be all boarder would be wearing vacc-suits anyway so the loss of the 'lock is not much of a hindrance.

Appreciate the input!
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby cunningrat » Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:50 pm

adzling wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:23 pm
Clearly it would, at least, throw off the jump calcs due to the change in mass, right?
That sounds dangerous, no one wants a misjump...
Worst case it (or a group of of them) adds enough mass to a smaller vessel that it cannot form a jump bubble (for example a jump 1 craft that is already at it's weight limit with no spare capacity).
Larger ships with more than jump 1 and / or spare cargo capacity would still jump but would need to recalc afaik.
If my choice is between a possible misjump and 12 Aslan marines storming my ship, I'd risk a misjump. :) But yeah, they'd likely need to recalculate, taking an extra round or a negative DM.
adzling wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:23 pm
This leaves plenty of room to hold the warhead of a Jumpbreaker missile warhead at @0.042 tons (1/12 = 0.083 tons/2 <cause warhead only>) and 83,333 credits (probably less if it's the warhead only).
Putting the Jumpbreaker missile on the skiff itself is probably not going to work for you. A Jumpbreaker missile hit only prevents a jump for that round and the next. Unless you're thinking the skiff will keep firing Jumpbreakers at the ship that it's clamped on to? Personally, I would say that's somewhere between "really bad idea" and "suicidal" but that's GM's call.
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby adzling » Tue Sep 14, 2021 4:29 pm

Regarding jumpbreaker's, what's stopping the skiff from carrying a handful and then detonating one every 2 rounds?

They do no damage, only throwing off jump check by -8; so detonating them while attached to the target vessel shouldn't do any harm to anyone afaik.

Considering a space combat round is 6 minutes, two rounds = 12 minutes or 120 x 6 second combat rounds.

I think that should be enough to board and take most vessels 400 tons or smaller.

With a docking point close to the bridge you could even take larger vessels in that time frame.

thoughts?
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby cunningrat » Tue Sep 14, 2021 4:38 pm

adzling wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 4:29 pm
Regarding jumpbreaker's, what's stopping the skiff from carrying a handful and then detonating one every 2 rounds?
They do no damage, only throwing off jump check by -8; so detonating them while attached to the target vessel shouldn't do any harm to anyone afaik.
By the RAW, that is perfectly possible. Going by common sense, I wouldn't want to detonate something that causes "localized gravitational distortions" while it's attached to a tiny 10-ton small craft, but that's a GM's call.
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby Being » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:01 pm

You mentioned the Mercenary kickstarter in your design. Have you seen the boarding rules Pg 109. in the Mercenary specialists pdf? They explain how difficult it is to dock with a still manoeuvring ship. Thats why in the scenario it is presumed the treasure ship is already pummeled and stationery. The pirate forces can target her drives to achieve this. If the treasure ship can still maneuver it can simply tumble and make docking impossible. It could only be boarded by Free Boarding individuals.
If the treasure ship has 100 tons cargo space unused then even docking 10 x 10ton Boarding Skiffs wont make any difference to its Jump calculations.
Jumpbreaker Missiles cost Mcr each thats a lot of expenditure.
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby adzling » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:11 pm

Being wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:01 pm
You mentioned the Mercenary kickstarter in your design. Have you seen the boarding rules Pg 109. in the Mercenary specialists pdf? They explain how difficult it is to dock with a still manoeuvring ship. Thats why in the scenario it is presumed the treasure ship is already pummeled and stationery. The pirate forces can target her drives to achieve this. If the treasure ship can still maneuver it can simply tumble and make docking impossible. It could only be boarded by Free Boarding individuals.
I haven't read that yet but thanks for the tip!

Regardless that's why I put a Forced Linkage Apparatus on the Boarding Skiff as it's designed to overcome that:

"Used by scavengers and pirates to board spacecraft, derelict or otherwise, forced linkage apparatuses are close range devices that allow attempts at forced docking.
Attaching the linkage requires a Pilot check; this is opposed by the target’s Pilot skill check if it is manned and under power."

So per the rules in High Guard we're good and can ignore the target ship doing a "tumble" to avoid boarding.

Personally I would permit the target ship to expend thrust points as a positive modifier to their defensive Pilot test noted above.
But in turn I would also permit the Boarding Skiff pilot to expend thrust to add a positive modifier to their Pilot test.
Being wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:01 pm
If the treasure ship has 100 tons cargo space unused then even docking 10 x 10ton Boarding Skiffs wont make any difference to its Jump calculations.
Agreed!
Being wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:01 pm
Jumpbreaker Missiles cost Mcr each thats a lot of expenditure.
Nope they cost 1 mCr per Ton, and there are 12 missiles per ton. Therefore they only cost @83,000 credits each.
And if we only buy they warheads we could probably cut about 25% off the cost ;-)
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby adzling » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:13 pm

cunningrat wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 4:38 pm
adzling wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 4:29 pm
Regarding jumpbreaker's, what's stopping the skiff from carrying a handful and then detonating one every 2 rounds?
They do no damage, only throwing off jump check by -8; so detonating them while attached to the target vessel shouldn't do any harm to anyone afaik.
By the RAW, that is perfectly possible. Going by common sense, I wouldn't want to detonate something that causes "localized gravitational distortions" while it's attached to a tiny 10-ton small craft, but that's a GM's call.
Yeah that's something we would need more nuance on from Mongoose.
As a GM I think it would be fare to impose some sort of negative on the boarding party, either time or a negative modifier to actions due to the gravitic distortion.
But it clearly does not damage at all...
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby adzling » Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:40 pm

checking Mercenary Kickstarter (these rules should be in the new High Guard!!):

"To initiate an effective tumble, the pilot must make a Routine (6+) Pilot check. If the check is failed, the vessel may have some inconvenient rotation but docking or free boarding can still be attempted at DM-1. The severity of an induced tumble is rated by the negative DM applied to attempts to dock with the tumbling ship. This DM is equal to D3 for an accidental tumble caused by control loss and D3 plus the Effect of the Pilot check made to initiate
a deliberate tumble. This DM is applied to any attempts to attach lines, or for personnel to get onto the hull, and conventional docking is impossible."

Seems like it IS possible with a Forced Linkage Apparatus, just difficult....
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:21 pm

I don't believe that hundred tonnes should be the absolute minimum for transitting, and that there's some leeway before variations in actual tonnage take effect at the point of sail(ing).
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 14, 2021 10:17 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:37 am
1. Until someone pointed it out to me, I thought engineering had a default minimum of 1(0) tonne volume, which included the fuel tank.

2. So last I looked, High Guard seems pretty firm on one tonne minimum on fuel tank and power plant; manoeuvre drive (and presumably reactionary rockets), seems wide open.

3. Ten tonnes seems pretty much a boarding skiff.


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Before I forget, apparently fuel tankage can now be any size.
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Re: New Ship Design: Boarding Shuttle - suggestions wanted

Postby adzling » Tue Sep 14, 2021 10:23 pm

Per mg2e high guard fuel tankage is minimum 1ton.

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