Doomed Crew?

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Stumondo
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Doomed Crew?

Postby Stumondo » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:07 am

Hi, I was hoping to get some input ona game I'm currently running. Some bits just opinions, others rules I either can't find (just using traveller core) or don't have.

Quick background to the current situation. My players ship was under attack. Two sensor and two fuel hits. They're desperate so they rush a jump in atmosphere.
They mis-jump. I rule that a mis-jump puts them in a random hex and all systems take a hit.
They've two seriously wounded crew who they've thrown in cryo berth. 4 crew are OK.
They are in an empty hex. I'll be rolling randomly to see if anyone comes across them.

My questions. They have no fuel. Does that mean no powerplant, no life support, no cryo berths? It could be weeks before their found.
On the random table (page 139 core rules), empty space gives a -4 to the" tens" roll. Does a negative indicate a reroll or no encounter?
Finally, the book doesn't mention jumping in atmosphere. I assumed it makes no odds rules-wise, but I was thinking it could do damage to the surrounding area. Thoughts? Or is it cleared up in another book?

Thanks for your time
Jeraa
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby Jeraa » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:33 am

They have no fuel. Does that mean no powerplant, no life support, no cryo berths? It could be weeks before their found.
No fuel means no power, so no life support or cryoberths. (I assume you meant low berths. Those depend on the ships power supply. If you actually meant cryoberths like on page 92, those have internal power supplies that can last up to 1 week on their own.)

Does the ship have a small craft of some kind? The main ship may have no fuel, but the small craft could. The could stay in there until help arrives (if it ever does.)
On the random table (page 139 core rules), empty space gives a -4 to the" tens" roll. Does a negative indicate a reroll or no encounter?
It is treated as a 0. In my book at least, there is a column next to the modifiers that lists the possible range of numbers you can get. With the negative DMs, the minimum number is always 01.
Finally, the book doesn't mention jumping in atmosphere. I assumed it makes no odds rules-wise, but I was thinking it could do damage to the surrounding area. Thoughts? Or is it cleared up in another book?
Being in the atmosphere makes no real difference. However, being within 100 diameters of the world when you jump does. You receive a -8 on the check to see if you have misjumped if you are still within 100 diameters of the world.
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby Easterner » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:00 am

Of course they have power. It's called a battery.

Why do they have no fuel? In MgT every ship has an operational reserve.

However there are no hard and fast rules for your situation. RP it out is the answer.
Jeraa's rules interpretations are correct however previous canon does disagree on 1 point. Low Berth's in theory last forever once your in them. In GURPS DARKMOON a prison is recovering low berths from a 600 yr old wreck on ocean bottom(IIRC) some, not all, still work and passengers are being revived.

As to Fuel hits RP them out. On 1st hit have a player roll difficult task to seal leak, bonus for self-repair and repair drones. 2nd hit repeat as above as formidable task.

Best case some fuel survives (drain from boats if available) fix leaks. Set course for nearest star system and arrive in 2 years.

Worst case. Climb in lows under battery power and hope you get resuscitated in time to play TRAVELLER: THE NEW ERA.
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby phavoc » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:26 am

You can run it a number of ways. They still might have some fuel onboard left in the tanks, as most ships carry 2-4weeks of maneuver fuel in addition to their jump fuel.

If they are just sitting still, you might let them run the power plant at minimal settings, or they bring it online to charge the batteries only then turn it off. Auxillary power should have their life support on minimal for quite a while.

But being in an empty hex means they are kind of screwed. Have fun torturing them!
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby CosmicGamer » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:52 am

The OP mentioned that the ship took damage due to the missjump so perhaps the fuel storage took damage and what little fuel was left was lost.

I always figured that ships had some emergency power. Batteries, capacitors, whatever. Now how long this will last... Probably very limited. I don't know if high guard addresses emergency power. Perhaps even an emergency solar array that could be deployed?

I always thought low beths had their own battery or capacitor or some other future tech mechanism for maintaining the occupant if power was interrupted or lost.

Question. Why would low berths need a bunch of power? Is there anything in their description that says they need power between when someone goes in and someone comes out? Assuming the primary issue is keeping cold, wouldn't the ship losing power and life support make things awfully chilly?
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby F33D » Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:56 am

Stumondo wrote: My questions. They have no fuel. Does that mean no powerplant, no life support, no cryo berths? It could be weeks before their found.
Emergency low berths are probably designed for mis-jumps. Should have years of internal power.

Stumondo wrote:On the random table (page 139 core rules), empty space gives a -4 to the" tens" roll. Does a negative indicate a reroll or no encounter?
The -4 is for empty solar systems. An empty "hex" means no one will ever come across them. Best bet is to use emergency beacon, go into emergency low berths and wait a few years for the signal to reach a populated system so they can send rescue.

page 140 mrb: "Most ships carry emergency low berths where the crew can freeze
themselves and wait for rescue."
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby AndrewW » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:05 am

CosmicGamer wrote:I don't know if high guard addresses emergency power. Perhaps even an emergency solar array that could be deployed?
High Guard does have the option for solar power, but the ship would need to have this already.
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby DickTurpin » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:09 am

A misjump into an empty hex in a badly damaged ship is really bad news for the crew but does not have to be a death sentence if you don't want it to be. Water can be used as unrefined fuel so after the fuel tanks are repaired water can be diverted from life support (which isn't working without power anyway) to get the power plant working for a short time. With power they have a small amount of movement available.

The lack of resources is the main problem. The GM can put anything in the area that he wants to give the characters a fighting chance. A rogue planet/asteroid could provide ice for fuel. An abandoned ship or wreck could provide spare parts, fuel, rations, etc. Even a working small craft could give them more mobility to search for anything useful in the area.

There could be an abandoned (or active) research outpost, pirate base, military research center, etc. that the crew could contact or visit for supplies. What they find there is up to you but could give them enough supplies to jump to an occupied system or at least survive long enough to have a possible rescuer wander into the area.

Survival will be hard, and it may take months to get back to civilization, but if the players manage to make it out alive they will have a story to talk about with other players for years.
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby Jeraa » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:58 am

While there should be some sort of emergency power available, High Guard indicates that they are optional - you have to dedicate space and credits for them. (page 42)
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby Greg Smith » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:45 am

One bad roll causing a misjump should not be the death of characters - it should be the route to ADVENTURE!

Of course, first they will have to work to survive....
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Captain Jonah
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby Captain Jonah » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:01 pm

Disclaimer! All notes and calculations below are rough, approximate and may be wildly inaccurate. I’m getting old, my memory isn’t what it used to be. :oops:

An empty hex is an area 1 parsec across. Consider it a cube 3.26 LY on each side and you have 34.65 cubic light years.

While for OTU/YTU purposes that area is called empty because it has not inhabited worlds or areas that anyone has bothered to explore it is most definitely not empty.

Space is full of things, dwarf stars, wandering planets or planetoids, asteroids, comets, alien wrecks, non visible nebulae. As much as you can think of and more.

So they are in a hex no one has bothered to properly explore. They have one huge problem. Fuel. Everything else is fixable if they can get power to the ship. Firstly they need to survive for a while to use sensors to find ice/hydrogen clouds etc.

The ship will have ambient life support for days just from the air in the inhabited areas. Consider a far trader. 156Dtons of that ship is not fuel; this is the staterooms, cargo, engineering etc. These are all areas that the crew enter and which have breathable air. Say that one third of that represents actual empty space and the rest is solid objects. That gives you 51.5Dtons of cubic air in the staterooms, cargo hold, corridors, bridge, common room etc. As a very rough calculation of the time it would take a human adult to exhale enough CO2 to fill a cubic area to a level considered beginning to be dangerous (3%). A human adult produces roughly 1.7 cubic feet of CO2 an hour (double for moderate activity and triple for heavy activity. It’s rough and in cubic feet so no complaints :wink:

T = vol of air in cubic feet x 3% / number of people x hourly production of CO2.

A Dton is 13.5 cubic metres by calculation but round it to 14 cubic metres because the rules do. A cubic meter is 35 cubic feet so a Dton is 490 cubic feet meaning the Far trader has roughly 25,200 cubic feet of air.

So T = 25,200 x 0.03 / 1 x 1.7

T = 445 hours.

This is one person. If there are ten passengers and crew aboard this will give them 44.5 hours of air. This can be extended considerably by putting as many of the crew as possible onto vacc suit re-breathers but there is a physical limit to the volume of breathable oxygen in the air even if you can scrub out enough of the CO2 to keep people awake and active. You don’t mention how big the ship is but with only 4 active crew even something the size of a scout should have enough remaining air to last a few days.


A decent engineer should be able to find enough remaining fuel in the pipes to keep minimum power for a week or so (any properly designed system will have lock offs in place to seal off ruptured fuel tank sections so there should still be fuel in the pipes from the tanks to the power plant plus to last a while on tick over).


The ship has water. The crew drink it, they wash in it etc. As covered under life support in another topic a single crewman is going to use or need about 20 kilos of water a day for all uses. A ship is going to recycle but is still likely to have several days or a week’s worth for every person (2 x staterooms). Double this value again to represent the fact that the ship has water in pipes, filters and heaters/coolers all over the ship. You said 6 crew but made no mention of passengers. If they have 6 staterooms you could be looking at as much as 3360 kilos of water in the ship. This can be cracked for hydrogen and oxygen by any competent engineer (this is energy intensive but you have a fusion plant that can move the ship at FTL speeds). Since it is H2O you are going to crack roughly twice the volume of H or 6700 kilos (about half a Dton). You may be going thirsty with only the soft drinks in the galley but that is power to last a while if you run the power plant on minimum. Yes I know the rules don’t cover that, they were written in the 1970s, make something up or set it at half or quarter power as the minimum to maintain a viable fusion reaction within that size of fusion chamber.


Now that they are alive and likely to remain so for a week or three they need to find a source of fuel (and adventure). This is where the ref comes in. That huge alien wreck, millions of years old. A floating city with a frozen lake at its heart. A system where the sun has burnt out leaving that water world dark and frozen. Gigaton ice balls drifting across the void. Einstien Rosen bridges. One of grandfathers long lost Jump portals. A huge turtle with four elephants on its back holding a disc shaped world.

The players can stay alive, what they find thereafter is limited only by your imagination :wink:
Last edited by Captain Jonah on Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby alex_greene » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:35 pm

Or you could watch the Firefly episode "Out of Gas."

Stranding a ship in an impossible situation is a good cliffhanger ending. Some ways of getting around it could have included:-

- The cargo bay holds twenty tons of water at 4 degrees C (no colder, because ice expands) slated for a waterworld. Maybe not enough to get the Jump online, but enough to keep the power plant running for a few weeks. Enough to explore that weird sensor reading a few light minutes away that turns out to be a wandering planet.

- Perhaps there is a cache of fuel no more than, say, twenty light minutes out. Refined fuel, just sitting there in massive fuel containers, thousands of tons of it. With an automated defence system and a government or coroprate logo for an organisation nobody has heard of before.

- Kuiper Belt objects are scattered throughout the area. Some of them are just ice, but others are large artifacts of indeterminate but great age. The largest of them looks like a huge, drifting cone of metal, dozens of kilometres long - an inter planet-killer. Something, in fact, like this.

Image

- Same Kuiper Belt, but no planet-killer. Just some Belters who've lost their mining license, so they've turned to illegal ice mining. And they won't like poachers sticking their noses in on their turf, poor as it is.

- An abandoned ship, one that's even nicer than theirs - and big, too; big enough to put their own ship into the cargo hold with room to spare, with its power plant and life support still fully functioning and plenty of fuel for a Jump to safety. With a highly advanced computer system, advanced sensors, propulsion, armaments, the thing could practically fly itself. As for why it's abandoned, well ... did you hear something? Out there, in the dark at the end of the corridor? :D

And that would leave one small question I'll bet none of you have asked.

Who would try to sell twenty tons of water to a waterworld?
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby AndrewW » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:15 pm

Captain Jonah wrote:Disclaimer! All notes and calculations below are rough, approximate and may be wildly inaccurate. I’m getting old, my memory isn’t what it used to be. :oops:
That's one of the problems with you biological units.
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby Stumondo » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:51 pm

Thanks for all the replies. I was shocked to get more than one :-).

Just the few things I didn't make clear. The no fuel is from 3rd fuel hit.... Fuel tank destroyed. I agree with the ideas o of batteries and fuel in the pipes, and I'll using them. Never even thought of the drinking water (though I'm sure my players will).

There are no passengers, and they have 6 state rooms. 6 characters, 5 players and one NPC.

I had decided at the start of the campaign to only populate hexs with what the dice decide. I've no o issue with just using the -4, the subsector is heavily populated (50% of hexs), and not everyone has jump-2.

I guess my big issue is that two of the player characters are seriously wounded and on cryo bays. Even then, unlikely top survive the unfreezing process without a proper doctor. Mainly I don't want them sitting out a session or more while the crew tries to save the ship.

Oh yeah, they've now spare parts
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby Hopeless » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:53 pm

What kind of ship is it?

And is it using the regular stats froma book or is it one developed by you or your players?
Stumondo
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby Stumondo » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:00 pm

It's one they designed. 400 tons, took a lot of nice bits and bobs, their mortgage is about 1 million a month if that helps gauge. 50 tons allocated to cargo if memory serves (they keep the details of the ship)
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby Lemnoc » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:57 pm

Greg Smith wrote:One bad roll causing a misjump should not be the death of characters - it should be the route to ADVENTURE!
Says it. I would consider this the seeds for a really great scenario of limited options, Apollo 13 style. Give the players a short list of things they absolutely must do and the time required to achieve each, and let them hash out how to prioritize it. If they fail they're going to be corpsesicles. Throw in a cheat, like a water-ice source within careful limping distance away.

For inspiration, read some accounts of how ships in historical times have survived locked in Arctic ice, sometimes for more than one season. Hint: the engineer is a very creative and popular person on the boats that survive.

Also, what Captain Jonah said. :wink:
Stumondo wrote:I guess my big issue is that two of the player characters are seriously wounded and on cryo bays. Even then, unlikely top survive the unfreezing process without a proper doctor. Mainly I don't want them sitting out a session or more while the crew tries to save the ship.
Even if the characters are knocked out, the players themselves could still contribute to the planning and prioritization of tasks that need to go into saving the ship. This is more a brain exercise than RPing per se.
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby mr31337 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:46 pm

CRB p142 says a spacecraft without power can sustain life support for two weeks at most. However, since space is so very cold there must be some emergency power within this 'life support' for emergency heating when you lose power, and if that is the case then possibly power for emergency signal GK comms beacon as well.

I like the idea of an 'operational reserve' of fuel that somebody mentioned, but I have never read of it. Is anybody able to cite please?
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby F33D » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:15 am

mr31337 wrote: and if that is the case then possibly power for emergency signal GK comms beacon as well.
Emergency beacons and the like would be powered by a nuclear battery. Would last for decades.
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Re: Doomed Crew?

Postby Lemnoc » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:54 am

mr31337 wrote:CRB p142 says a spacecraft without power can sustain life support for two weeks at most.
I wonder. These OTU ships with their massive tonnage and elegant staterooms and play areas. The conference centers and workout gyms. If a crew had to wall off big sections of a dead ship and, you know, sleep in a room together without artificial gravity and showers, if every system capable of supporting a 400-ton ship were directed instead to support a 10x10 airlock, what then?

Think Das Boot.

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