Implications of Warp Drive

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
User avatar
Darzoni
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 279
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:37 pm
Location: You have always been here.
Contact:

Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Darzoni » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:20 am

So in my Traveller game, I decided that ships use the Warp Drive option instead of Jump Drives. I'm... still working through the logical implications of this choice. Taking some of the standard ships and figuring out their capabilities in terms of warp travel has been interesting, to say the least.

Obviously most ships see improvements in travel range, because they no longer have to devote 10% of their mass per parsec for jump fuel. Stellar empires would probably be a bit bigger or widespread than they are in standard Traveller... or end up fighting a lot more wars over territory because of the increased ship ranges. Communications is likely quicker, since even a Warp 2 ship is going to make a 1 parsec run in 3.5 days. A 6 parsec run for a Warp 2 ship is just 3 weeks (6 weeks of fuel), for example.

But this brings up a really interesting problem. Most ships can stay out and about for more than a month, meaning they aren't always in the shipyard for that monthly maintenance. So is there any guidelines for tonnages required to haul around parts for ship maintenance?
Jeraa
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 552
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:01 pm

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Jeraa » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:25 am

Long distance travel takes the same amount of time with warp drives as it does jump drives. The only time warp drives are faster is when traveling a shorter distance then their maximum.

A jump 6 drive travels 6 parsecs in a week. A warp 6 drive travels 6 parsecs in a week.
A jump 6 drive travels 3 parsecs in a week. A warp 6 drive travels 3 parsecs in 3.5 days.

If it takes 6 months to get a message from the core worlds to the frontier with jump drives, it will still take 6 months to get it there with warp drives.
Galadrion
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 233
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:36 am

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Galadrion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:35 am

The big differences are going to be in places where traffic is currently restricted by astrography - in particular, the rifts. The Great Rift, for example, is no longer a barrier even for Free Traders, as long as enough fuel is carried to keep the drives running that long.

Warp drive effectively changes the era which Traveller reflects; instead of it being the Age of Sail, it becomes the Age of Steam. (And, for close-range stellar communities, the Age of the Pony Express.)
User avatar
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3163
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby locarno24 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:36 pm

So is there any guidelines for tonnages required to haul around parts for ship maintenance?

High Guard warships give a guide, because capital ships don't have to put in for repairs every month:
Ships are able to operate for one month without needing to go into a spaceport for maintenance, assuming an adequate supply of fuel. This is increased by one month for every 1% of total tonnage dedicated to cargo. If fleet support vessels are in attendance then another three months can be added to the time needed before maintenance is required.
So 1% volume dedicated to spares (replacement components), consumables (patches, oil, o-ring seals, etc) and/or maintenance tools & test equipment gives you a month without needing shipyard repairs. Strikes me as not a bad rule for starships too - given that 2 dTons is a comprehensive armoury locker for a squad of marines, the same volume being an effective equipment and stores locker for a couple of technicians on a trader doesn't seem to stretch the imagination too much.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
jwpacker
Mongoose
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:56 am

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby jwpacker » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:59 pm

I'm not entirely sure that the Third Imperium would exist in any way similar to what you see in a universe limited by jump drives. With the ability to communicate faster (not over the longest distances, but over shorter ones) you'd have less reason for a laissez faire empire and as much feudalism.

You also find yourself in situations where fast ships can react to military actions more quickly. Fewer instances of fleets passing one another in jump space, arriving in the system that the enemy just vacated and the like.

And yes, if you can carry enough fuel to eventually travel hundreds of parsecs without refueling, you're going to see plenty of travel across the dead zones of space, and that changes the character of the Solomani expansion into space significantly. Might even have allowed them to live peacefully with the Imperium for a while instead of immediately contesting for worlds.

So, were I to use warp drives, I think I'd abandon the whole of the Third Imperium and start from scratch, as daunting as that might seem.
Rikki Tikki Traveller
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3438
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:20 pm
Location: Arlington, TX USA

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:19 pm

I'm not sure I agree that Feudalism would be non-existent and therefore the 3I couldn't exist.

It seems to me that the MAXIMUM speed of communications hasn't changed, so you still have a limiting factor to communiction from the core to the frontier.

What you gain is faster short-range communications. Thus the COUNTY becomes much more important than it is in the OTU setting. Worlds within a couple of parsecs of each other will have much faster communications, but at the subsector level, you have basically the same communications as you have in the OTU.

Therefore, a County of a half-dozen worlds will be more tightly knit within the subsector, giving more power to the Counts and about the same to the Dukes, but the Counts, being more powerful, might cause MORE tension within a subsector, rather than less.

Also, since ships can carry more cargo/passengers, the COST per ton/passenger for transportation will be lower, making trade more common and thus tying the worlds even more closely together, but again, predominantly at the County level.

Warships will be more powerful, since they can mount larger weapons and more ammo and more Armour - most warships will be armoured at the TL maximum, with room to spare.
My friends call me Richard.
You can call me Sir.
jwpacker
Mongoose
Posts: 134
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:56 am

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby jwpacker » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:50 pm

But don't most of those points tend to lead towards a greater chance of balkanization? I'd think that faster, more heavily armed and armored ships, combined with greater ability to project power locally would lead less to powerful counties than to smaller, fragmented empires based around the local clusters.

Less grand empire than Kleinstaaterei, if you will...
User avatar
Darzoni
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 279
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:37 pm
Location: You have always been here.
Contact:

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Darzoni » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:48 pm

Pretty much threw out the 3I when I started the game, though I still mine it for ideas. The unifying factor is an exterior threat in the form of a very touchy & reactive TL 18-20 alien civilization on the borders of humanity. The 'human empire' exists in the form of a very active military body contributed to by all member states. This contribution can be personnel, materiel, or financial in nature. Half the reason this military exists is to keep very big guns pointed at their angry alien neighbors, the other half is to keep people inside human space from poking Smaug.
User avatar
Darzoni
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 279
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:37 pm
Location: You have always been here.
Contact:

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Darzoni » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:08 am

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:
What you gain is faster short-range communications. Thus the COUNTY becomes much more important than it is in the OTU setting. Worlds within a couple of parsecs of each other will have much faster communications, but at the subsector level, you have basically the same communications as you have in the OTU.

Therefore, a County of a half-dozen worlds will be more tightly knit within the subsector, giving more power to the Counts and about the same to the Dukes, but the Counts, being more powerful, might cause MORE tension within a subsector, rather than less.
It would be a lot more complex, I think. On the other hand, the county-level forces would be able to react a lot faster than in the OTU. But if the ships are more armed and armored, then the nobility would probably be a lot more careful about who they put in charge of ships. Less chance of some nutty admiral kicking over the Iridium Throne.

I imagine that the county-level forces would have some kind of rapid-response ships with a high rated warp drive. A Warp 6 ship can travel 1 parsec in approximately 28 hours, after all. I would think that the government would restrict Warp 5 and Warp 6 drives to authorized individuals/institutions though, to try and minimize what could be an extremely ugly piracy problem.

Not sure how much it would reduce passenger fare or freight costs. My brain fails to find a starting point.

I've yet to tinker with capital ships that use Warp drives yet. Maybe this evening.
User avatar
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3163
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby locarno24 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:09 am

I'd agree; a bubble up to (say) 6 parsecs across becomes a lot more governable - you can ask a question and get a decision back within a week.

Two or three adjacent stars can be managed on a more-or-less daily basis - but, once travelling 6 parsecs or more, you don't see any speed increase. So definitely small knots of systems. Whether they'd be one-man-in-charge, or little leagues of worlds, I don't think it matters.

With regard to warships - they're not inherently more armed or armoured, but obviously the fuel space can be spent on armour. I would imagine small gunships would be more common - if local trade is easier and more profitable, it's worth spending more to protect it, and if local government is centred at the three-four star system group than a subsector, you're going to want cheaper ships. The fact that these are also more capable than a jump-ship on a per dTon basis is just a plus.


WRT trade costs, let's do a quick thought experiment with a modified far trader (the Star Hunter was the first ship to come to hand) with a crew of four - pilot, astrogator, engineer, medic (astrogator and medic doing double duty as gunners where needed).

That leaves two empty staterooms (which we'll ignore or use as common rooms), and the 38 dTons of cargo (which we'll assume you manage to fill every time).


OTU/Jump Drive
Assuming negligible layover time, you can make two return trips between adjacent systems in a month. That means you've shifted 152 dTons.

In doing so you've spent Cr 45,991 on crew salaries, maintenance and life support.

You've also burned 172 dTons of fuel, which, assuming you bought it refined, costs a further Cr 86,000.

That's a net cost of Cr 131,991 to divide up across 152 dTons, or a base cost of Cr 869/dTon

YTU/Warp Drive
Assuming negligible layover time, you can make four return trips between adjacent systems in a month (only takes 3.5 days). That means you've shifted 304 dTons.

In doing so you've spent Cr 45,991 on crew salaries, maintenance and life support.

You've also burned 24 dTons of fuel, which, assuming you bought it refined, costs a further Cr 12,000.

More importantly, assuming your ship is suitably redesigned, the 40 dTons which were used to hold your jump fuel can now hold 40 dTons more cargo, which over your four return trips is another 320 dTons of cargo.

That's a net cost of Cr 57,991 to divide up across 624 dTons, or a base cost of Cr 93/dTon

To translate - in a warp drive universe interstellar commerce has one tenth the overheads, meaning (inter)globalization is far more viable. You're less likely to see a variation in TL amongst the prosperous classes on worlds in a region, because it's so easy to buy the latest off-world software/gadget/etc.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
User avatar
Darzoni
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 279
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:37 pm
Location: You have always been here.
Contact:

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Darzoni » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:45 am

locarno24 wrote:
To translate - in a warp drive universe interstellar commerce has one tenth the overheads, meaning (inter)globalization is far more viable. You're less likely to see a variation in TL amongst the prosperous classes on worlds in a region, because it's so easy to buy the latest off-world software/gadget/etc.
Fortunately I am using a slightly different definition of TL for interstellar powers. TL indicates what the industrial infrastructure is capable of producing for a given world/colony. There has not been a Dark Ages like in OTU.

I suppose I could sit down and crunch the numbers and determine what the changes in rates would be. I'll have to first go design a 'standard' trader, likely a redesign of the Fat/Far Trader. I've also considered making Warp Drives slightly less bulky (but no less expensive) than an equivalent Jump Drive.

Thanks for giving me a starting point for recalculating the economics. I'm going to guess that the farther away you transport something, the closer the prices will be to the main rulebook's. Mail would definitely not be as profitable as it normally is, at least within a cluster of worlds.
Rusty_Unycorn
Stoat
Posts: 78
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:05 pm

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Rusty_Unycorn » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:13 am

Thanks for hashing this out guys. I'm writing up a setting that uses the warp drive rules (and takes place in a cluster that has a 20 parsec or more void between it and the rest of the universe)
ImpReg: Ship Design: Section VI: Sub-Section 2: Item 2: All Ships must carry a minimum of one (1) Coffee Maker per Crewstation.
Darrian Fangirl
Captain Jonah
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1758
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:58 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Captain Jonah » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:22 pm

locarno24 wrote:
OTU/Jump DriveThat's a net cost of Cr 131,991 to divide up across 152 dTons, or a base cost of Cr 869/dTon

YTU/Warp Drive

That's a net cost of Cr 57,991 to divide up across 624 dTons, or a base cost of Cr 93/dTon
Good work. Nothing wrong with a bit of Math :lol:

Your figures neatly support the OTU cost of Cr1000 per Dton and would suggest a Warp society having a base of Cr100 per Dton shipping costs.

More than that you are shifting four times the cargo each month at one tenth of the cost per Dton. That is a massive improvement in Trade across the board and will be reflected in passenger prices as well.

However it will kill any chance of ever paying off a mortgage without Illegal stuff or some serious brokerage skills.

You may be hauling 600Dtons plus a month but you are making a tiny profit at that level. 624Dtons at Cr7 per Dton is Cr4,368 a month. You would need to be looking at least Cr200 per Dton to make it viable to pay off a mortgage if you are doing well.

At Cr100 per Dton the big shippers would have a strangle hold on shipping and only a handful of independents with ancient family owned ships would exist, small free trade types would be very inefficient further strengthening the big company stranglehold.

The cheaper and easier the transport of goods becomes the harder it is for the small ships to make money since they cannot afford to pay the mortgage off the reduced profits where as the big companies can slowly expand buying ships outright.

The small ships out there would be maybe converted explorers or old military vessels or just so old they come from the expansion period before the big shipping lines took over. When small ships took small cargos to the fringe worlds that were just being settled. Few people would now build a sub 1000Dton cargo hauler because its not worth it with the margins so tight.

This would however fit in more with the Firefly theme. The small ships would be forced to cross the line on deals, haul cargos the big lines will not touch and do the deals that a lawyer never saw.

The major lines are not going to risk their reputation on some petty smuggling run, they hire some fools in a run down old tub to do it for them :lol:
Traveller: Nonsense, those rumours about me and crashes, no truth in them at all. I never had a landing I didn't walk away from!

ACTA-SF: Who are we, GORN. What do we want, Cruisers that can turn.... Wait, OK Escorts... Wait. I'll get back to you !
Rikki Tikki Traveller
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3438
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:20 pm
Location: Arlington, TX USA

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:13 pm

If the cost to ship is so low, then likely you would have to adjust the cost of the ship as well. Just drop the price of a ship by a factor of 10 as well.
My friends call me Richard.
You can call me Sir.
Captain Jonah
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1758
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:58 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Captain Jonah » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:25 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:If the cost to ship is so low, then likely you would have to adjust the cost of the ship as well. Just drop the price of a ship by a factor of 10 as well.
Well the cost to ship is going to lower prices across the board a bit but no where near that much.

A crate of say computer components worth Cr10,000 costs Cr1,000 to ship so the entire load is worth Cr11,000 at the far end. Say the shipping cost is only Cr100 then its worth Cr10,100 at the far end.

If there are 100 units in that container you are looking at Cr110 per unit in the OTU and Cr101 in the warp world. The sales mark up will add more on top but its only a small price decrease. It will be the volume that will drop prices more since there will be very little that is rare.

As far as a ship goes, even bringing in parts at every stage of the process isn't going to lower the price ten fold. Ship in the ore, 500Dtons of unprocessed ore. Save Cr45,000. Ship the 200Dtons of processed ore to the smelter to be fabricated save Cr18,000. This will continue across everything to the point where you can reduce the price of the ship by a few hundred thousand. About what the salesman adds on to make up his commission :lol:

If you divide the cost of everything by 10 you have changed nothing, its still OTU costs and balances. On the other hand if items remain the same but they are mode widely available you end up with a Firefly sort of situation. Big shipping lines crushing out the small guys who cannot make money shipping legal cargo.

The money made hauling a load is far less than the money to be made smuggling, looting old shipwrecks, raiding trains etc. Out on the fringe where the big ships don't go you can charge 300, 400 maybe even 500 per Dton becasue there is no one else available. But once a world gets big enough to make it worth the big ships coming in your days of honest business there are over :twisted:

Want a nice new laser rifle, well you can haul cargo for months to scrape the money together or help with that slightly less than honest job the guy who owns his own moon is offering.

It seems much more like the Firefly Verse where it is not really possible to make an honest living as a small independent. An old worn out ship, a loyal crew, a verse full of illegal opportunities awaits :lol:
Traveller: Nonsense, those rumours about me and crashes, no truth in them at all. I never had a landing I didn't walk away from!

ACTA-SF: Who are we, GORN. What do we want, Cruisers that can turn.... Wait, OK Escorts... Wait. I'll get back to you !
User avatar
Darzoni
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 279
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:37 pm
Location: You have always been here.
Contact:

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Darzoni » Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:36 am

Any way I slice the numbers, you would have to have a small crew, an old beat-up ship, and a flexible sense of ethics to make it in a Traveller 'verse with warp drive. At least if you've got a mortgage to pay on the ship; large firms that can afford to buy the ships outright aren't going to be bothered by that.

Fortunately for me, two things are true. One, my PCs have a small crew, an old beat-up ship, and a flexible sense of ethics. Two, a PC rolled the Scout Ship benefit.

They ran cargo for a month and decided it was boring as hell and something they would only do if they happen to be headed that way anyway. They are presently going to hose down some cattle rustlers on an agricultural world to collect a bounty.

I'll probably have a scout officer hand them a mission when they get back to their ship.
User avatar
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3163
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby locarno24 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:56 pm

A crate of say computer components worth Cr10,000 costs Cr1,000 to ship so the entire load is worth Cr11,000 at the far end. Say the shipping cost is only Cr100 then its worth Cr10,100 at the far end.
Hence the comment that you'll see a lot more off-world stuff; if an offworld computer is only Cr101 rather than Cr110, compared to Cr100 for a locally built one, it's a lot easier to start selling an interstellar 'brand' of goods from a central location.
They ran cargo for a month and decided it was boring as hell and something they would only do if they happen to be headed that way anyway.
I always figured that was kind of the point of trade in traveller - to be almost, but not quite, enough to make ends meet with. :mrgreen:

Note that in my little maths work, above, I also assumed the hold full to bursting; big corporations, with regular, scheduled flights, logistics departments, warehouses and offices who can secure work even before the ship arrives, can realistically do that.

Unless they have some serious Broker skills, Jeff and Craig in their rusty type S can't come close...
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
Captain Jonah
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 1758
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:58 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Captain Jonah » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:18 pm

Hence why Jeff and Craig with their, Ahem, flexible ethical outlook will be off robbing trains, looting wrecks, conducting illegal salvage or smuggling prize beef herds while pretending to be honest traders :lol:
Traveller: Nonsense, those rumours about me and crashes, no truth in them at all. I never had a landing I didn't walk away from!

ACTA-SF: Who are we, GORN. What do we want, Cruisers that can turn.... Wait, OK Escorts... Wait. I'll get back to you !
User avatar
Darzoni
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 279
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:37 pm
Location: You have always been here.
Contact:

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby Darzoni » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:46 am

locarno24 wrote:
Note that in my little maths work, above, I also assumed the hold full to bursting; big corporations, with regular, scheduled flights, logistics departments, warehouses and offices who can secure work even before the ship arrives, can realistically do that.

Unless they have some serious Broker skills, Jeff and Craig in their rusty type S can't come close...
Yeah, it seems more likely that the PCs will be working for somebody one way or another. Though if big corporations are doing regular runs, piracy is probably more common on the longer runs (defined as longer than a week in this case). Thus, corporations would probably be sticking to 1 or 2 parsec routes for safety reasons. The little guys are probably the ones doing the 3+ parsec routes.

I also imagine that smaller ships are going to do mail runs, though these kinds of mail runs are probably the Express type mail that need to be there NOW and not shipped on a big company's schedule. So I figure the 25,000cr paycheck for 5 tons of mail would still apply.

On the other hand, maybe a big company occasionally does need to make those long runs. In which case they might be interested in hiring Jeff and Craig as escorts. This might be especially true for pleasure cruisers/spacefaring hotels. ("Welcome to Fhloston Paradise!")
User avatar
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3163
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: Implications of Warp Drive

Postby locarno24 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:30 pm

Though if big corporations are doing regular runs, piracy is probably more common on the longer runs (defined as longer than a week in this case). Thus, corporations would probably be sticking to 1 or 2 parsec routes for safety reasons. The little guys are probably the ones doing the 3+ parsec routes.
Depends. Remember that the value of the warp drive defines this; having access to warp-4 drives makes a 3+ parsec route still less than a week...and guess who can afford high-end drives for their ships?(Hint: not the players)

Equally, a high-warp courier is now something Jeff and Craig can't even hope to compete with on the mail runs; a warp-1 or warp-2 craft playing courier on a 1 or 2 parsec route won't even have arrived by the time the 'proper' courier is already back with the reply. Unlike the OTU, where even an X-boat would take a week to reach a backwater, there is no reason not to have an express craft for every system worth communicating with.

The players will really be confined to the backside end of nowhere; the interstitial systems outside your little Kleinstaaterei bubbles, and the population 4< systems that the corporations can't be bothered with.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests