Torpedo Boats in Traveller

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Bill Sheil
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Bill Sheil » Mon Oct 25, 2021 10:24 am

NOLATrav wrote:
Sun Oct 24, 2021 5:19 pm
ottarrus wrote:
Sun Oct 24, 2021 5:32 am
Well, I can only say that in repeated 'Law of Land Warfare' briefings I received in Germany ['82-'84], we were instructed that .50 cal. MG's were illegal to fire at troops.
I never served but I recall from that same era my uncle, who was stationed in West Germany for a while, told me a similar tale. Also, my best friend’s father, who served as a commander of an M113 APC in Vietnam, told us the same. .50 cal MGs were only to be used in anti-materiel roles.
For reference it was a (internal) US army instruction from Vietnam only and never anything to do with international law or regulations. nGunners had started using .50cals against speculative targets in the jungle and, because of the increasing ammunition wastage, the order was given that large automatic weapons were only to be used against light armour.

Back to the original quote anyone in a briefing who stated that it was "illegal" to use these weapons against troops was misleading you.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:05 am

1. Considering the tonnage of bombs that landed on Vietnam, it would probably have to be about not wasting the ammunition available, rather than the expense; as I recall, the storage depots only emptied of dumb bombs from the Great Patriotic War only in the Gulf War.

2. As regards Traveller drones, I think volume was five for a tonne, which makes them larger than missiles, but smaller than a torpedo; in theory, you could launch them out of a torpedo tube.

3. Training, and augmented visual aids, would indicate that there would be less temptation to use machine guns as panicked reaction; speculative probing might be inhibited (nowadays) due to the possibility of civilian presence.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:48 am

Bill Sheil wrote:
Mon Oct 25, 2021 10:24 am
NOLATrav wrote:
Sun Oct 24, 2021 5:19 pm
ottarrus wrote:
Sun Oct 24, 2021 5:32 am
Well, I can only say that in repeated 'Law of Land Warfare' briefings I received in Germany ['82-'84], we were instructed that .50 cal. MG's were illegal to fire at troops.
I never served but I recall from that same era my uncle, who was stationed in West Germany for a while, told me a similar tale. Also, my best friend’s father, who served as a commander of an M113 APC in Vietnam, told us the same. .50 cal MGs were only to be used in anti-materiel roles.
For reference it was a (internal) US army instruction from Vietnam only and never anything to do with international law or regulations. nGunners had started using .50cals against speculative targets in the jungle and, because of the increasing ammunition wastage, the order was given that large automatic weapons were only to be used against light armour.

Back to the original quote anyone in a briefing who stated that it was "illegal" to use these weapons against troops was misleading you.
Fair points. It being damned near 40 years ago, my memory is a bit fuzzy, but they MAY have said 'against regulations'. Which, to be fair, is a long country mile from 'illegal'. Of course, most 19 year old PFC's wouldn't know that anyway.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:57 am

Condottiere wrote:
Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:05 am
1. Considering the tonnage of bombs that landed on Vietnam, it would probably have to be about not wasting the ammunition available, rather than the expense; as I recall, the storage depots only emptied of dumb bombs from the Great Patriotic War only in the Gulf War.

2. As regards Traveller drones, I think volume was five for a tonne, which makes them larger than missiles, but smaller than a torpedo; in theory, you could launch them out of a torpedo tube.

3. Training, and augmented visual aids, would indicate that there would be less temptation to use machine guns as panicked reaction; speculative probing might be inhibited (nowadays) due to the possibility of civilian presence.
As I recall, and I'd have to look this up, the we didn't run out of deadfall ordinance in Desert Storm, we ran out of the GBU 'Bunker Busters' that would penetrate several tens of feet of reinforce concrete to get at Iraqi command centers. Of course, those were what the mission profiles required so running out of them was a Very Bad Thing. IIRC, at the beginning of 'Storm, Raytheon had actually shut the production line for those down because the USAF thought we had a sufficiently large supply of them.

But the 'drones' we're talking about are short range 'repair' or 'mining drones'. I would think you'd need a larger, more sophisticated drone to undertake combat tasks. Several non-Mongoose sources have talked about drones being 'piloted' by telepresence [a controller aboard a ship operating the drone remotely] and that seems a pretty good definition of 'drone' as opposed to 'missile' and 'torpedo'. To turn a drone into a capable fighting craft [instead of just a warhead with a driver linked to it], you'd have to give it a larger power plant, a sturdier hull /frame, more sophisticated electronics, and a weapon that's reusable. The K'kree, who use combat drones a lot, prefer a 10 dton combat drone that mounts a fusion gun, for example.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Sigtrygg » Mon Oct 25, 2021 12:37 pm

A wafer personality can be downloaded into the drone...
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Mon Oct 25, 2021 2:03 pm

Yeah, The Boss [Marc] did let that cat out of the bag, didn't he?
I don't know if someone would be willing to become a living weapon like a drone-fighter... In 'Agent', the Bland personality has a sense of 'self', of 'this is me, my body', no matter what form he took. And I'm not entirely sure that a 'Fighter Pilot' personality would want to become a kamikaze.

Beyond just that, it's made clear in the book that, at least up until Year 750 or so, the Third Imperium is keeping a VERY tight leash on that technology... not the skill wafer package, but the downloading of a personality along with the skill set. Yes, the Golden Age is 250-350 years past that, but I still think that if the Wafer Agent Warrant Program is still exists in 1105, the Third Imperium very much wants to keep that technology as secure and emergency-use-only as it can.

I'm also inclined to think that, for technical reason, the program no longer exists by 1105. There is a real inherent danger of misuse by the Imperial nobility if the personality overlay technology became common. Consider:
a] In 350, the year Jonathon Bland was 'downloaded', let's assume the Imperium had reached TL 13. As Bland goes from assignment to assignment, the Imperium has advanced to TL 14 [J-5 drives are TL 14].
b] At TL 13-14, the wafer can only be worn for a month. Let's assume that at a very mature TL 14, they can stretch that to 6 months. By extension, by TL 15 perhaps it's a year.
c] Now imagine some petty planetary dictator or Imperial Duke is sinking a large portion of a world's GDP into a factory that produces clones of himself just so he can repeatedly install the wafer and give himself 'immortality'. THAT would utterly eff-up the setting in very profound ways. Under those conditions, maybe the Virus Plague is actually a relief!
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Mon Oct 25, 2021 5:44 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Mon Oct 25, 2021 12:37 pm
A wafer personality can be downloaded into the drone...
Theoretically yes.... BUT

What about the psychological effects on the personality. A human engram downloaded into a machine with no arms, no legs, no lungs, no sight, no hearing... Tell me anyone would stay sane long enough to learn about the new inputs.... It would take a LOT of R&D to get ONE stable personality; if at all.

Just my Cr.0.02
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Mon Oct 25, 2021 5:56 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:
Mon Oct 25, 2021 5:44 pm
Sigtrygg wrote:
Mon Oct 25, 2021 12:37 pm
A wafer personality can be downloaded into the drone...
Theoretically yes.... BUT

What about the psychological effects on the personality. A human engram downloaded into a machine with no arms, no legs, no lungs, no sight, no hearing... Tell me anyone would stay sane long enough to learn about the new inputs.... It would take a LOT of R&D to get ONE stable personality; if at all.

Just my Cr.0.02
Why does this remind me of Robocop 2..?
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:08 pm

Annatar Giftbringer wrote:
Mon Oct 25, 2021 5:56 pm
Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:
Mon Oct 25, 2021 5:44 pm
Sigtrygg wrote:
Mon Oct 25, 2021 12:37 pm
A wafer personality can be downloaded into the drone...
Theoretically yes.... BUT

What about the psychological effects on the personality. A human engram downloaded into a machine with no arms, no legs, no lungs, no sight, no hearing... Tell me anyone would stay sane long enough to learn about the new inputs.... It would take a LOT of R&D to get ONE stable personality; if at all.

Just my Cr.0.02
Why does this remind me of Robocop 2..?
Yeah, I'm not sure I want to introduce Robocop and Altered Carbon into my Traveller game.
Obviously, your mileage will vary and everybody's OTU is a different on different aspects. And Yaskodray knows we all love speculating on the effects of futuristic technologies - - the 'what might happen' aspect.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:25 pm

1. Considering how paranoid we're getting about artificial intelligence, having one that self destructs through natural causes does seem ideal.

2. Considering how advanced medical science would be, there would be very few physically handicapped humans in interstellar societies.

3. Moving on from Robocop to Forty Kay, you could have fanatically inclined soldiers volunteer to be entombed in a Dreadnought; could also be a spacecrafted drone.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Reynard » Tue Oct 26, 2021 1:29 am

Just so I'm clear, are there rules in Traveller for creating drone space weapons? Droid fighters? Nice to know torpedo bombers will put that fear in opponents.

Be interesting if that means Electronic Warfare could be used for jamming drone control.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby cunningrat » Tue Oct 26, 2021 1:45 am

Reynard wrote:
Tue Oct 26, 2021 1:29 am
Just so I'm clear, are there rules in Traveller for creating drone space weapons? Droid fighters? Nice to know torpedo bombers will put that fear in opponents.
The K'kree have Virtual Crew software that lets them run completely robotic fighters. No one else has done it IIRC.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Reynard » Tue Oct 26, 2021 1:54 am

Oh those rules. Hmm. Now I will have to consider how big and costly a robotic TB destroyer will have to be as a threat and would fleets have to routinely have carrier escorts with these vehicles as countermeasure.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Tue Oct 26, 2021 5:28 am

What more do you need in a carrier-based drone fighter except Virtual Crew software? Add in Auto-Repair, Fire Control etc if needed, but VC handles pilot, sensors and weapons.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby ottarrus » Tue Oct 26, 2021 9:10 am

Condottiere wrote:
Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:25 pm
1. Considering how paranoid we're getting about artificial intelligence, having one that self destructs through natural causes does seem ideal.

2. Considering how advanced medical science would be, there would be very few physically handicapped humans in interstellar societies.

3. Moving on from Robocop to Forty Kay, you could have fanatically inclined soldiers volunteer to be entombed in a Dreadnought; could also be a spacecrafted drone.
You're point Number Three is the precisely the reason why we're worried about point Number One! :shock:

As I say, YTU will vary, but given the attitudes expressed by all 4 major Human cultures on the subject of anagathics, I'm pretty certain that downloaded personality engram programs or systems to extend life is going to be prohibitum machina IMTU. If I want to play Altered Carbon, Robocop, or 40K, I'll play those games. Traveller is about humanity adventuring while using technology as tools, not humanity becoming a tool for the technology.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Tue Oct 26, 2021 11:15 am

Since ion weapons tend to be our equivalent of electromagnetic pulses, percentage of those weapon systems would go up if the number of drones encountered do as well.

It tends to come down to simple economics, can you make it cheaper to operate human crewed spacecraft?
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Arkathan » Tue Oct 26, 2021 4:07 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Mon Oct 25, 2021 11:25 pm
1. Considering how paranoid we're getting about artificial intelligence, having one that self destructs through natural causes does seem ideal.

2. Considering how advanced medical science would be, there would be very few physically handicapped humans in interstellar societies.

3. Moving on from Robocop to Forty Kay, you could have fanatically inclined soldiers volunteer to be entombed in a Dreadnought; could also be a spacecrafted drone.

2. Except that there are a lot of poor people in depressed zones and a lot of lower tech planets where physically handicapped people would be relatively numerous.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Condottiere » Tue Oct 26, 2021 4:36 pm

Hard to predict, but opportunity cost of having a healthy individual contributing to the Domestic Gross Product probably outweighs the costs, personal, familial and social, that looking after that individual entails.

There might be genetic reasons you couldn't reboot the individual's DNA to fix these faults, but probably not enough handicapped people to convince them that being encased as living machines is a viable career choice.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Reynard » Wed Oct 27, 2021 2:05 pm

"What more do you need in a carrier-based drone fighter except Virtual Crew software? Add in Auto-Repair, Fire Control etc if needed, but VC handles pilot, sensors and weapons."

First off, Auto-repair requires repair drones (1 ton minimum). Oh, something else I notice as I work on my TB destroyer drone fighter, High Guard pg. 64 "While ships are vastly complicated to
run, requiring highly trained crews, relatively simple operations can be performed by this software package." Robot ships were not to be innovative thinkers let alone masters of tactics. One reason for low skill levels. They will follow fairly pre-set routines that would need extra commands from a human operator elsewhere. Same goes for dirtside combat robots, still need a team commander. This is fine on automated ore freighters but not so much on a military craft. Difference with a human crew is imagination to see all possibilities beyond pure logic. The robot fighter or warship follows a narrow path while the PCs describe to the referee what they want to try outmaneuvering or outgunning.

My TB destroyer is still very rough draft but it's small, cuts Basic Power by 1/2 (no life support), dispersed hull and no armor (expendable), 7gs for TL12 (same as the Torpedo boomer), Computer 5 to run Virtual Crew/0, a single missile rack on a firmpoint. Still more to come then I'll have an idea how many tons the droid fighter will be.
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Re: Torpedo Boats in Traveller

Postby Sigtrygg » Wed Oct 27, 2021 2:56 pm

Ever read MWM's story 'Names'? Note this story is set in the OTU before 1105...

Some interesting quotes:
Our torpedoes were a strange lot. Their identifiers carried experimental-prefixes.
They were supposed to be self-aware, self-guiding weapons, driven by tiny circuit brains
derived from, in this case, hornets. They lived in a fantasy world constantly engaging
simulated targets and rewarded pulses of joy when they succeeded and jolts of pain when
they did not. All during our journey, all during their lives, they had been honing their
skills to a fine edge.
A technician could wafer transfer to the
warhead for a test drive. It was an experimental process, and the transfer begins to
degrade immediately. It might work for a few hours, but then became increasingly
unreliable. If it worked, after the test drive, the tech could wafer transfer back and report,
or understand, or adjust the torpedo.
The author installs his personality on an entire salvo of torpedoes for an attack, the one that survives and makes it back to the launching ship has its memories transferred back to the author:
I inserted the wafer and the pain was excruciating, but only lasted a few seconds.
Memory washed over me, and I remembered every minute of my experience in the
torpedo. If I thought hard, I could correlate it with simultaneous events at my console.
But it really existed as a separate experience.

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