Deckplans - are they worth it ?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings

Are deckplans worth the paper they are printed on ?

Yes - I NEED to know the interior layout
41
59%
Yes - I'm just satisfying my curiosity
15
21%
Not sure - I don't care either way
5
7%
No - a schematic would suffice
9
13%
 
Total votes: 70
Gee4orce
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Deckplans - are they worth it ?

Postby Gee4orce » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:24 pm

I've noticed a trend in the latest MGT supplements for literally pages and pages of deckplans. High Guard takes this to (IMO ridiculous) extremes - with many, many pages of plans that I'm 99.9999% certain I'll never need or use. Scout also has many deck plans of limited utility.

Deck plans can be very useful for the kind of ships players are actually going to own/operate - but 100,000 ton + warships ? why ?

It wouldn't be so bad if the deck plans were actually - ahem - nice. But mostly they are just room outlines, often quite illogical or impossible given the shape of the vehicle (ahem - Type-S I'm looking at you), and of too low a resolution to be readable some of the time.

My other concern is that producing these kind of deckplans is not easy - it presumable consumes a lot of time that could be spent on other, more useful, game aids. They also take up a heck of a lot of room in the books. We're also usually give only one (often pretty poor) illustration of the exterior of the ship.


DP9's Jovian Chronicles had a really nice approach to this for the really big ships: they had detailed, and 'believable' exterior illustrations, as well as cutaway schematics that show the layout of the most important areas of the ship. The also had interior illustrations of key locations too. But they didn't print pages of deck-by-deck layouts. This satisfied the curiosity of the reader as to 'where is the bridge' and 'how far is it from the reactor to the accommodation decks' etc. IMO this meant they could spend more time and talent on quality, rather than quantity.

Do you guys actually find the deckplans useful for anything more than satisfying idle curiosity ? Couldn't that be done with a DP9 style schematic instead ?
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Postby AndrewW » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:42 pm

They can have their uses even on larger ships. The players may be exploring one for example. But I don't think every ship needs a full set of deck plans.
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Postby phild » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:45 pm

I think I'm broadly aligned with you here. Although, apart from anything else, that might be because I find these "walls filled with hydrogen fuel" just a bit weird frankly!

Deck plans would be useful if you wanted to run an adventure or series of adventures that had a lot of piracy or other action actually taking place on board ships. But on the most part, ships are a means to an end and I'll handwave the exact detail of what sits where.

Although I was looking at them today and wondered why it is the m-drives and j-drives are all situated at the back? I'd stick them in the middle of the ship, in the best-protected and least obvious location possible. M-drive especially: that goes down, and you're as good as dead.
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Postby rust » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:52 pm

While I do not use the deck plans in my campaign (no jump drives there),
I welcome them as an inspiration for designing ships for my setting.

So, I could do with less deckplans, but I really would like to see deckplans
of capital ships, too, although not necessarily for every one of them.
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Postby fireyphoenix22 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:19 pm

Deckplans are necessary for some game play,
usually for pc ships within the 1000dton range.

Now i don't think that every book mongoose makes should have a ton of deckplans in them, instead one or two for color.

Instead they should develop a whole series of books of deckplans
designed for different areas like, ships of the solomani rim or from different races like vilani, vargr, hiver's.

Ofcoure that is up to the powers that be, but its something to think about.
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Postby Gee4orce » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:48 pm

phild wrote: Although I was looking at them today and wondered why it is the m-drives and j-drives are all situated at the back?
Well, the handwave for that is M drives emit lots of light/heat/radiation what needs emitting out of the back of the ship. This conveniently looks just like the rocket exhaust we expect to see on a spaceship...

You have a point about J drives though - and arguably for a warship on an attack mission having a working J drive is more important than an M drive because it's your only escape out of the system.
Instead they should develop a whole series of books of deckplans
That's not a bad idea - I think I'd prefer to see a modular set of detailed deckplans though - ie. here's a typical capital ship bridge layout, here's what a stateroom looks like, etc...
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Postby phild » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:55 pm

Gee4orce wrote:
Instead they should develop a whole series of books of deckplans
That's not a bad idea - I think I'd prefer to see a modular set of detailed deckplans though - ie. here's a typical capital ship bridge layout, here's what a stateroom looks like, etc...
Ayup, all printed on light-stock card that can be eased out and used immediately as floor plans. Bingo!
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Postby Somebody » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:02 pm

IMHO:

+ Print the stats/fluff in the books
+ Deliver the plans as PDF for those who need them
+ Use the free space for something useful
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Postby Dave Chase » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:26 pm

Yes, to all the above.

I think a few deckplans for small ships (the kind that players would interact with the most often) should be included in the basic materail.

Then like the AHL (Azhanti High Lightning) Game or the Kinunir Adventure, you have a more detail deckplan as part of the publication. Both games have about the right level and number of deckplans for the size of the ships included with the product.

I would also like to see a basic black & white architect blue print which just shows you the walls, doors and general room descriptions, which does not have to take much space in the book.
Then a color (if possilbe) layout of a deckplan of the same said ship or one of its more common variants of that said ship.

It would be nice if the plans where to a set scale for use if needed (as either a part location or a folded insert.)

I have been doing (as of recently) some of the Traveller Space Craft in color, based on CT drawings (I don't own MgT yet, got to save some money to buy it :)

I and a couple of others are doing custom deck plans with lots of interoir detail also.

Just like pictures or drawings of things found in a game can help your players visualize what they are doing, a good set of deckplans can help them realize and play out where they are.

I would also like to see besides deckplans some spaceport, space stations and some common rooms/business floorplans/layouts for Traveller.

Dave Chase
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Postby kafka » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:46 pm

I voted HELL YES (Yes - I NEED to know the interior layout). However, there is one important cavet. If Deckplans could be made aviable at a low cost say about 50p-1UKP on Drivethrough or similar place. I would gladly take a book of illustrations of ships that did not have deckplans. But, deckplans are so much a part of Traveller...I can never get enough as my drawing/drafting skills are abysmal...as is my ability to use a computer for that purpose.
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Re: Deckplans - are they worth it ?

Postby Zemekis » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:32 pm

Gee4orce wrote: DP9's Jovian Chronicles had a really nice approach to this for the really big ships: they had detailed, and 'believable' exterior illustrations, as well as cutaway schematics that show the layout of the most important areas of the ship.
You mean something like that?
http://www.pr-materiequelle.de/begriffe ... /r1767.htm

It's not Traveller and the text to all these spacecrafts is in German but it gives me a pretty good look at all type of vehicles - large and small.
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Postby fireyphoenix22 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:49 pm

the latest from Comstar Games is a "Golden Age starship 5"
which is supposed to have small craft and a modular space station inside.

They also have been reediting their previous books to conform to mongoose standards.

Now there is talk of "Trader's and Raider's" being developed,
that sounds like what i've been asking for.

Also, not a book of printable deck tiles, as they have been done by the
"Future Armada" series currently at RPG.COM

I would like a book of deckplans of components (ie) bridges, staterooms, engineering spaces, medical bays, and the alike.

you could take what you wanted and create your own larger scale starship, but only use what you need when your charactors interact
with them

see naval architect for traveller t4 gdw on rpg.com for $7.00 us
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Re: Deckplans - are they worth it ?

Postby Da Boss » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:59 pm

Gee4orce wrote: DP9's Jovian Chronicles had a really nice approach to this for the really big ships: they had detailed, and 'believable' exterior illustrations, as well as cutaway schematics that show the layout of the most important areas of the ship. The also had interior illustrations of key locations too. But they didn't print pages of deck-by-deck layouts. This satisfied the curiosity of the reader as to 'where is the bridge' and 'how far is it from the reactor to the accommodation decks' etc. IMO this meant they could spend more time and talent on quality, rather than quantity.
I picked up a few of these books - they are rather splendidly constructed and illustrated. 8)

I am intrigued how they are going manage to work up decent deck plans for the B5 ships when the the designers were IMHO only interested in making them look sleeek and cool on screen - which I approve of.

Hopefully all the odd non noring blocky shapes are not just full of "fuel" sloshing around
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Re: Deckplans - are they worth it ?

Postby phild » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:38 pm

Da Boss wrote:Hopefully all the odd non noring blocky shapes are not just full of "fuel" sloshing around
If you build them in Traveller, that's exactly what they're full of! The USS Enterprise's so-called "warp nascelles" - two huge hollow tubes full of hydrogen if the Official Imperial Starship Draftsmen get their hands on it :lol:
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Postby EDG » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:39 pm

The JC Ships of the Fleet books are really good fluff books for the ships. I wish more ship books were done like that.

But yeah, I see no point in detailed deckplans. Schematics are fine, general outlines are fine, but let's face it, when does anyone actually use a deckplan during an actual game to move minis of the characters around? How often does combat erupt on a ship with a deckplan?
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Postby kristof65 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:06 pm

IMO, every ship under 2000 dTons should have a deckplan (or two) included in the book it's presented in. Above that is a case by case basis - though ideally, I'd like to see all the larger ships have deckplans available, but as an extra "supplement" I can buy. That way the deckplans can actually be useful, and I can pick and choose which ones I want.
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Postby Gee4orce » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:24 pm

I forgot to mention that I'm someone who normally LOVES deckplans or schematics. I have all the JC Ships of the Fleet books (available as nasty scanned PDFs on Drive Thru btw), I have ALL the Star Wards incredible cross-section books.

...but I just find the MGT deckplans a general waste of space. I deckplans appeal to particular people - and I think it's a great opportunity for 3rd party publishers to produce something really useful to those people.
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Postby alex_greene » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:39 pm

Actually, I've been working on plans for a military ship, in which deck plans would be nigh impossible.

Why? Because of the layout, which is labyrinthine.

A military ship's interior tends to be built like a labyrinth, with dead end corridors and plenty of broken lines of sight and short ranges, in case the vessel gets boarded. Providing the enemy with clear corridors and easy access along straight, wide, open centre line corridors would be counterproductive.
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Postby phild » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:54 pm

alex_greene wrote:Actually, I've been working on plans for a military ship, in which deck plans would be nigh impossible.

Why? Because of the layout, which is labyrinthine.

A military ship's interior tends to be built like a labyrinth, with dead end corridors and plenty of broken lines of sight and short ranges, in case the vessel gets boarded. Providing the enemy with clear corridors and easy access along straight, wide, open centre line corridors would be counterproductive.
Would it? I guess that depends on boarding strategies, but presumably most boarding will take weak points around the hull such as cargo bays and docking bays. Make these tight, but make the next corner a nice long straight corridor with some heavy automated firepower at either end. Turn it into a shooting gallery surely?
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Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:56 pm

One of the big complaints with earlier versions of Traveller was that there were all these ships, but not enough deck plans. So, Mongoose produces deck plans for all their ships (like they said they would) and people complain!

I DO like the idea of putting the deckplans out electronically, maybe with a code in the book to let you download them for free.
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