Ship Sizes

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
coldwar
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Ship Sizes

Postby coldwar » Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:55 am

http://www.chartgeek.com/wp-content/upl ... n-2013.jpg

Thought this is great to see how big ships really are.

Though, having watched the episode where the Ori come through the supergate, with Carter right beside it, the Ori ship there was massive. See if you can find the Ori Acendancy Mothership.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby tolcreator » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:51 am

coldwar wrote: Though, having watched the episode where the Ori come through the supergate, with Carter right beside it, the Ori ship there was massive. See if you can find the Ori Acendancy Mothership.
It *is* massive... 1.1km long, that's ludicrously big! And the show gives a really good sense of the scale of the thing. That's only a little smaller than the star destroyer that crawls across the screen in the opening of Star Wars. It's longer than 3 USS Nimitzes, laid out bow to stern, and almost as wide.

All those various 10Km+ behemoths however... are the result of some writer just pulling a number out of his ass, and mostly have never been given the same sense of size. Remember a 10km ship isn't 10 times bigger than a 1km ship, it's 1000 times bigger (assuming the same shape). So 1000 times more expensive. It better have 1000 times the performance... able to beat 1000 lesser (i.e. 1Km space dreadnoughts, I'm not talking xwings here) ships, if a warship.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby simonh » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:38 pm

The setting for my current game dwarfs all of those. It's an intergalactic colony ship 80km long. The general design is based on the ship in the 1990s reboot of Metamorphosis Alpha. Here's a link.

I'm not using any other part of that game, and although my campaign is set a generation after the ship was severely damaged and it's occupant's thrown back into barbarism, the setting and background is very different. In fact it's more based on an old BBC radio drama called Earthsearch.

Still, at 80km long it totally dwarfs anything on that chart. Each of the environmental domes along it's side is about 5km across. The conceit of the game is that it was built to escape a disaster that was destroying all life in it's home galaxy. Only a ship of this size could support a drive system capable of reaching another galaxy within a practical time frame, and it was constructed using the resources of an entire civilization and it's allies. Cost was not a consideration because they had no viable alternative.

The ship struck disaster when two of it's three main AI computer cores conspired to seize control of the ship. My players have recently discovered some key secrets about what happened during that revolt and have recovered the Engineering control ring - one of the tokens of office that grant their wearers elevated control over one of the key systems of the ship. Of course the real prize is the Captain's ring that overrides all the other rings. <Insert corny LoTR joke here>.

It's going well. I'll have to do a proper writeup of the campaign some time.

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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby dragoner » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:28 pm

Ha! My players are going through a Dome (Dome 7 to be exact - http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/ ... enture-log ) on an MA inspired colony ship (for which I used Silent Running pictures), with mutants using SD rules, and a frozen world of ruins, and then a private penal colony; Lima is in fact the quite the busy little system.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:43 pm

No Tigress?
coldwar
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby coldwar » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:16 pm

It does make me appreciate Star Trek, Red Dwarf, Farscape and Stargate allot more. Including Alien franchise. Realistic sizes that actually make sense, not only in producing the ships themselves.

Think going bigger then that for me makes little sense or realism.#

Edit: Almost forgot, Battlestar Galactica as well for the above list.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby Reynard » Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:51 pm

But.. but where's the WOW factor for a ship too large to make any sense?!

I think Star Wars got the ginormous ship craze going as well as time factors that sound so grand yet ultimately says their civilizations tend to stagnate for multi-thousand year stretches. Ever notice a Stardestroyer fielded about as many fighters as a typical and much smaller Traveller carrier? Maybe those Star Wars ships were mostly armor.... except the bridge area.

Time to dig out my old blueprints and discover how big a Stardestroyer is in Traveller terms. Maybe see what weapon systems and fighter compliments are in comparison too.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby simonh » Sat Oct 12, 2013 1:24 pm

coldwar wrote:It does make me appreciate Star Trek, Red Dwarf, Farscape and Stargate allot more. Including Alien franchise. Realistic sizes that actually make sense, not only in producing the ships themselves.
I wouldn't be so keen on praising Red Dwarf for it's proportionality. In one episode they get into a supersonic lift to go to the far end of the ship and have time to watch an in-lift movie during the journey.
Reynard wrote:But.. but where's the WOW factor for a ship too large to make any sense?!
It depends what the ship is for. In my game the ship, Horizon, is the entire setting for the game. Making it truly enormous simply expands the scope of what I can do in the campaign. Right now the party are about to help some aquatic aliens, the octopoidal Hydrans, hunt down and destroy their mother. The sentient stage of their species are the adolescents about size of an elephant, but the non-sentient adults are bigger than a blue whale. The ship wasn't designed to contain one, the original plan was that they'd settle a planet before any of original Hydran contingent of the crew achieved adulthood. There's only one but she's wrecking several sections of the ship, flooding whole compartments by breaching hydroponics and oceanic environment zone containment. Already one of the cryogenics levels has been flooded, killing many thousands of the still sleeping colonists.

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Condottiere
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby Condottiere » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:50 pm

Economics would be a natural break on ship size; though not being gravity bound, less so the laws of physics.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby Easterner » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:52 am

The new chart is worthless with Tigress and AHL missing. :D There are actually 4 charts, huge, large, medium and small ship charts.
http://www.st-minutiae.com/misc/comparison/


Big ships can have problems. In my FARSCAPE game the Leviathan's combat team raced to a location of an intruder the Pilot detected. Meanwhile a Delvian engineer has brought the intruder to the center chamber. The two parties missed each other in the vast corridors.
tolcreator
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby tolcreator » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:27 am

Heh... the borg cube is 3040 meters to a side. That makes it about 27 billion cubic meters, or about 2 billion dtons.

According to the internet, a galaxy class has a volume of 5.8 million cubic meters, making it about 400,000 dtons, about the right size for a traveller dreadnought.

So the borg cube displaced 5000 times as much as a galaxy class ship, and was from a higher TL... but they are regularly dispatched by fleets of merely dozens of them :p
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby simonh » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:03 pm

tolcreator wrote:Heh... the borg cube is 3040 meters to a side. That makes it about 27 billion cubic meters, or about 2 billion dtons.

According to the internet, a galaxy class has a volume of 5.8 million cubic meters, making it about 400,000 dtons, about the right size for a traveller dreadnought.

So the borg cube displaced 5000 times as much as a galaxy class ship, and was from a higher TL... but they are regularly dispatched by fleets of merely dozens of them :p
As weapons technology becomes more advanced, surpassing defensive technology, large ships become more and more vulnerable. This is why battleships are a thing of the past, since a much smaller ship, or even a few aircraft, can carry a weapon capable of sinking or crippling one. The only reason we still have aircraft carriers is because they are the only way to effectively and flexibly project air power anywhere in the world. There's just no practical alternative, but they're still terrifyingly vulnerable.

The borg are a little different because their ships are their civilization. They carry everything around with them, so a large proportion of the cube’s volume is probably dedicated to infrastructural functions like manufacturing, maintenance, etc that Starships leave to external support systems like space docks, starbases and planets.

There may also be a limitation on the Borg that they need to travel around in large unitary populations. If they crewed smaller vessels they’d become less connected to the collective and risk lapsing into individualism. This would prevent them using otherwise more optimal ship sizes and designs.

In my game the Horizon is the size it is because they had no other choice. Given their technology level, there was a very large minimum size of drive they could build with intergalactic range. To help compensate for this it carries a huge number of ancillary craft. Some of these are pretty vast themselves, several kilometers long, but still dwarfed by Horizon itself.

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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:18 pm

Larger ships exist today for the same reasons they've existed previously - larger weapons platforms allow you to mount larger weapon systems. Larger vessels can also take more damage than smaller ones. You can mount more variations of weaponry on a larger vessel than a smaller one.

A weapon big enough to destroy a larger ship will just as easily destroy a smaller one. But some weapons a larger ship can simply shrug off, or take damage and continue fighting. A smaller vessel might cease becoming combat effective with a single hit.

Each size and class of vessel has it's purpose and place in a balanced naval fleet. A single Ticonderoga-class cruiser is capable of much more than the 4 OHP class frigates that cost roughly the same amount - especially now that the Navy removed their forward missile launcher. But a single hull cannot be in four places, so each has their place.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby Reynard » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:10 pm

I'm just a little bit upset I can't find my old Star Wars blueprints but I did my research. If anyone has the actual volume of the typical Imperial Star Destroyer, so much the better.

From what I found those wedges are 1600 m long and 1015m wide. Using iffy blueprints found online I estimated the main hull height as 1/4 the width. I just eyeballed the top superstructure as about 50% of the main structure. This gives a volume of approximately 206.248.000 cubic meters or about 5,156,200 dtons. For all that, it carries 72 fighters, 8 (large) shuttles, 9700 infantry, 15 assault transports,5 assault gunboats, a number of blastboats, stormtrooper transports, dropships and a landing craft. It has 37,000 crew and 18.000 passengers, It mounts 60 turbolasers, 60 ion cannons, 2 dual heavy ion cannons and 10 tractor projectors plus Shield defenses. Oh, and accelerates at 2300 g's!! Each costs 3.9 billion Imperial credits. Wonder what the exchange rate to the Third Imperium credit is.

So there's a rough image of a WOW factor ship we're all familiar with. It's humongous eye-candy but is it all that more powerful than typical large Traveller ships?
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby F33D » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:16 pm

Reynard wrote:
So there's a rough image of a WOW factor ship we're all familiar with. It's humongous eye-candy but is it all that more powerful than typical large Traveller ships?
From reading various SW's novels it appears that the weapon ranges pale in comparison to Trav weapons. I don't know who came up with the 2300 G accel. But, the movies don't support that really. Also, SW warships have no armour. Their deflector shield are ineffective against physical objects. Hordes of fighters & missile barrages would wipe them out. The small bay & turret weapons have a range of about point blank only.
Last edited by F33D on Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
AndrewW
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby AndrewW » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:51 pm

Reynard wrote:I'm just a little bit upset I can't find my old Star Wars blueprints but I did my research. If anyone has the actual volume of the typical Imperial Star Destroyer, so much the better.

From what I've got here:

Crew: 37,085 (4,520 officers 32,565 enlisted)
60 Heavy turbolaser cannons
60 Ion cannons
10 Tractor beam projectors

Three TIE fighter squadrons
Two TIE interceptor squadrons
One TIE bomber squadron

Full standard stromtrooper division
12 Landing barges
20 AT-AT walkers
30 AT-ST walkers
Eight Lambda-class Imperial shuttles
15 stormtrooper transports
five assault gunboats

Alternate source has:

A full wing of seventy-two TIE fighters (six squadrons of twelve ships each). As for the Battle of Yavin, a standard Star Destroyer maintained four squadrons of standard TIE/Ins, one squadron of TIE-interceptors, and one squadron of TIE bombers.

By the time of the Battle of Endor, an additional TIE interceptor squadron had replaced one of the TIE/In squadrons.

A variable number of Skipray blastboats and Gamma-class assault shuttles.
9,700 ground troops

An updated version called the Imperial II began appearing shortly after the Battle of Yavin, boasting a heavyily reinforced hull and more powerful heavy turbolaser batteries and cannons. In addtion, there are several Star Destroyer variants for specialty missions.

Rest is pretty much the same between the two sources. So there are some variations.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby steve98052 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:29 pm

Reynard wrote:. . . the actual volume of the typical Imperial Star Destroyer, . . .

. . . This gives a volume of approximately 206.248.000 cubic meters or about 5,156,200 dtons. For all that, it carries 72 fighters, 8 (large) shuttles, 9700 infantry, 15 assault transports, 5 assault gunboats, a number of blastboats, stormtrooper transports, dropships and a landing craft. It has 37,000 crew and 18.000 passengers . . .
So, assuming the 9700 infantry, 37k crew, and 18k passengers are separate categories, that's a total of 64700 personnel aboard.
Dividing your 206M volume estimate by the number of personnel, I get an estimate of 3188 cubic meters per person. I have a suburban detached house in the US that's around 470 cubic meters, and quite comfortable for two of us. So either the Star Wars empire is so extravagant that they can allocate 13.5 times the space per person in a warship than a US residence, the ship is so packed with power and propulsion systems that it needs that kind of space, or the film-makers neglected to apply simple arithmetic to the design of their ships. Given that small ships (such as the Millennium Falcon) have long-range endurance, competitive speed and agility, and reasonable firepower, but they're fairly cramped in terms of personnel space, I think neglected arithmetic is the most likely explanation -- in fact, I'd bet 12 parsecs that's the explanation.

(Edit: corrected BB Code.)
Last edited by steve98052 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reynard
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby Reynard » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:20 pm

Internal space is big too with decks two to three times the height of a Traveller deck. Comparably very hollow.

This sounds something like the K'kree ship thread. Very large ships but much of the volume wasted in accommodation needs. Interesting thought. There were 25,000 Star Destroyers in the fleet, as well as other larger and small fighting vessel. What if we see a similar pattern with the K'kree, enormous yet underpowered ships in great numbers.
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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby simonh » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:38 am

phavoc wrote:Larger ships exist today for the same reasons they've existed previously - larger weapons platforms allow you to mount larger weapon systems. Larger vessels can also take more damage than smaller ones. You can mount more variations of weaponry on a larger vessel than a smaller one.
Except that, as I pointed out, apart from aircraft carriers we don't make large ships anymore, and aircraft carriers don't mount any weapon systems too big to mount on anything else. We Brits discovered to our cost back in the Falklands war that a single missile hit can easily kill an entire ship. Bigger ships are only marginally less prone to instant kills like this and can still be hopelessly crippled or killed by a just a few missile hits. With the new generations of continental range supersonic ship killer missiles like the DF-21D, the BrahMos or the Yakhont this trend has ratcheted up to such a level that even carriers, against a technologically capable foe, are beginning to look like giant white elephants useful only in low level conflicts against medeocrely equipped opponents.

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Re: Ship Sizes

Postby phavoc » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:46 am

simonh wrote:Except that, as I pointed out, apart from aircraft carriers we don't make large ships anymore, and aircraft carriers don't mount any weapon systems too big to mount on anything else. We Brits discovered to our cost back in the Falklands war that a single missile hit can easily kill an entire ship. Bigger ships are only marginally less prone to instant kills like this and can still be hopelessly crippled or killed by a just a few missile hits. With the new generations of continental range supersonic ship killer missiles like the DF-21D, the BrahMos or the Yakhont this trend has ratcheted up to such a level that even carriers, against a technologically capable foe, are beginning to look like giant white elephants useful only in low level conflicts against medeocrely equipped opponents.
Simon Hibbs
This same discussion has been going on for decades. First it was the light attack craft armed with missiles that signaled the death-knell for larger surface combatants, and lately it's been terrorists with speedboats and suicide charges. There's still no substitute for the capability to project power that comes with a naval vessel. And lets not forget that having a full-fledged blue water navy means a great deal.

Today's vessels aren't even built to survive cruise missile attacks. The typical ship mounts a single CIWS, and a few mount both CIWS and a RAM launcher. Naval design seems to have taken a back seat since WW2. The small ships lack the space and tonnage necessary for heavy compartmentalization and additional anti-cruise missile weapon systems. The Sheffield was sunk by an Exocet missile fired from 20nm. It had 2 CIWS weapons systems, and I don't think either of them engaged the missile. The ship was later scuttled due to damage and weather. Had say a Sunburn hit, I would imagine much more damage, possibly even a sinking. Had the Sheffield had more armor, more redundancies to take damage, the outcome might have been different.

The Stark was also hit by an Exocet, fired ridiculously close. Two hit, but only one exploded. It survived, partially because of lessons learned and applied after the Falklands, and partially due to luck. But it, too, had design flaws in regards to some things.

A commonality shared by both attacks is that each time two missile were launched, but only 1 exploded.

Doctrinal changes such as the retirement of the F-14 and it's anti-missile Phoenix system have made carrier battlegroups more susceptible to air strikes. It's true that if you can get some of the larger carrier-killer ships through the defenses, you can sink a carrier. But the amount of effort that requires limits the number of enemies who can afford to do so. Today ships are expensive beyond belief. Today the US struggles to field a 300 ship navy and the accompanying air wings.

This will remain a subject that will never be settled, unless somebody wants to go out and design a moderately-sized surface combatant armed and armored to survive in today's environment. :)

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