SDB's vs. Warships

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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Condottiere » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:50 pm

You can be inspired by any number of real life analogues.

The top of the pecking order should be the battle riders, since it's seems pointless to schlep along anything that couldn't take out a dreadnought by itself.

Somewhere in the lower upper tier anything that could give pause to a battlecruiser.

The lower tiers would have examples like the equivalent of a U-Boot, that opportunistically surfaces to take out a solitary enemy with a single barrage and then disappears. Arguably, smallcraft qualify, if they are optimized for the role.

SDBs probably work best if used in groups and designed as a platform for a powerful offensive weapon, especially if they are intended to do strafing runs, or actually committed to battle.

Shipbuilding programmes tend to be held hostage to economics, interest groups, politics and occasionally, military requirements.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Somebody » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:08 pm

Reynard wrote:First off, where is this Dragon SDB I keep hearing about?
The previous Traveller editions where a lot more universe oriented giving ships a background and naming within the Traveller Universe. That is where the naming comes from. If you compare stuff from say MegaTraveller or T20 with MgT material quite a few of the designs get names and histories and a few get better armament i.e the Gazelle (Escort with droptanks).

I've been reading everything I can find about Traveller SBDs and I see a couple obvious facts. The typical SDB is an armed non-jump ship between 100-1000 dtons and the variety seems infinite. The majority of the very few examples are way undergunned for wartime though. They're the analogue to coast guard cutters. The big difference seems to be armor replacing the J-drive space. I assume this means they endure a little longer in a standup fight.
If that is the extend of your information - you have not read everything. Maybe everything Mongoose but T20 gives us SDBs that go well above 1000dt and carry a spinal. That beast can eat destroyers and worry cruisers. And it can be build with MgT rules.

The amount of weapons on most Traveller rules is limited by hull size with 1 turret/100dt or 1 bay/1000dt. TNE was an exception IIRC. If you want more weapons per dt - houserule.

MgT lacks a "power generated/power consumed" component so the difference between similar sized hulls is less pronounced than i.e in Mega (That is close in many other respects) where the non jump craft can carry bigger reactors for more accelleration, more agility and bigger (more power-hungry) guns or GT where you can boost rate of fire (and hit chance) by using the extra space in a boat for more reactors.

And do not under-estimate armor. Being able to go 6g with enough armor to ignore turrets is a very valuable capability in a defender. A well build 400dt SDB can ignore turret lasers and conventional missiles forcing the attacker to use heavier ships that in turn cost more and have more crew.

What I don't see in published material are the SDBs specifically designed to take on warships, the ship killers. I recently created one inspired by this discussion and need to compare with appropriate opposition for effectiveness then see what will be the most efficient size. I used PT boat specs for a classic wet navy tactic design. As one article states, "By war's end, the PT boat had more "firepower-per-ton" than any other vessel in the U.S. Navy.". That's what a Hunter-Killer SDB should be.

By the way, I think an analogous wet navy sub operating in blue water would be similar to a stealthy SDB design but jump capable too.
For true "anti warship" SDBs look at T20s TA007, the two big SDB (1000dt and IIRC 5000dt) are clearly warship killers. Same for some "monitors" and as CT states "Big SDB are sometimes called Monitors" so they are "same thing, different name"
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:56 pm

Reynard wrote:
I've been reading everything I can find about Traveller SBDs and I see a couple obvious facts. The typical SDB is an armed non-jump ship between 100-1000 dtons and the variety seems infinite. The majority of the very few examples are way undergunned for wartime though. ...

What I don't see in published material are the SDBs specifically designed to take on warships, the ship killers. ...
One thing to keep in mind is that the publisher may not have the best ship strategists on staff. Any given published warship design may not make sense when the weapon/ship/movement/armour rules are really dissected and analyzed.

It is thus with small trader ship designs when cargo/freight/passenger rules are examined.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:07 pm

An interesting wrinkle that has appeared since the rules were written. Some systems have been spotted that have GG's in the torrid zone & not in the outer zones. INSIDE the star's 100D limit.

Given the small number of systems we have seen, this is probably common occurrence. A horse of a different colour indeed.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby phavoc » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:16 pm

F33D wrote:One thing to keep in mind is that the publisher may not have the best ship strategists on staff. Any given published warship design may not make sense when the weapon/ship/movement/armour rules are really dissected and analyzed.

It is thus with small trader ship designs when cargo/freight/passenger rules are examined.
Oh yeah... so true!

Actually I wonder sometimes if there are any 3rd graders on staff with mad math skillz to proof the designs too... :lol:
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Reynard » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:35 pm

I believe 99% of the time game rules are written for gameplay, what feels and works best complicated by time and resource constraints. Seems to work because we keep buying and playing them errata and all.

With that in mind, I like dissecting the games not to destroy them but to understand the workings and maybe expand on them. Traveller is a big win on that note. They gave me rules to create and use ship designs so now I need to see what is possible. The SDBs are a great test bed. So far I'm hearing all sorts of old and new ideas here for the concept.

More than other ship types, I could see System Defense Boat worthy of a sourcebook of their own.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:36 am

phavoc wrote:
F33D wrote:One thing to keep in mind is that the publisher may not have the best ship strategists on staff. Any given published warship design may not make sense when the weapon/ship/movement/armour rules are really dissected and analyzed.

It is thus with small trader ship designs when cargo/freight/passenger rules are examined.
Oh yeah... so true!

Actually I wonder sometimes if there are any 3rd graders on staff with mad math skillz to proof the designs too... :lol:

I know. I cringe when I think how easy it would be for them to commission an excel sheet that would make those errors impossible...
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby phavoc » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:36 am

F33D wrote:I know. I cringe when I think how easy it would be for them to commission an excel sheet that would make those errors impossible...
There are a couple of spreadsheets out there that do a fair job of ship design.

Reynard wrote:I believe 99% of the time game rules are written for gameplay, what feels and works best complicated by time and resource constraints. Seems to work because we keep buying and playing them errata and all.
Yeah, I think that's true. It's an RPG game. Star Fleet Battles and some naval miniature games have a lot of rules.
Reynard wrote:With that in mind, I like dissecting the games not to destroy them but to understand the workings and maybe expand on them. Traveller is a big win on that note. They gave me rules to create and use ship designs so now I need to see what is possible. The SDBs are a great test bed. So far I'm hearing all sorts of old and new ideas here for the concept.

More than other ship types, I could see System Defense Boat worthy of a sourcebook of their own.
I like for the rules to pass the common sense test. I'm ok with things like no shields in the Trav universe (by that I mean things like in SW or ST). But sometimes the standard rules just don't make logical sense (case in point, building small craft under 2k tons, and not being able to build a 1500ton ship (cause it ain't in the chart), or a 6G 1400ton ship (but you can build a 3000ton 6G ship). It's silly oversights like this that are annoying.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby DickTurpin » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:33 am

phavoc wrote:I like for the rules to pass the common sense test. I'm ok with things like no shields in the Trav universe (by that I mean things like in SW or ST). But sometimes the standard rules just don't make logical sense (case in point, building small craft under 2k tons, and not being able to build a 1500ton ship (cause it ain't in the chart), or a 6G 1400ton ship (but you can build a 3000ton 6G ship). It's silly oversights like this that are annoying.
The rules in the Core Rule Book allow you to build a 1500 ton ship, or 1457 tons, whatever you want, it is just usually inefficient since the cost and performance is the same as for a 1600 ton ship. Of course fuel usage would be reduced and hanger space for a carried ship is less so there may be some small advantages in certain circumstances.

Including High Guard rules allows a 1400 ton 6G ship (using a DD drive); or you can just build it using the Capital Ship rules if you want to. I don't understand what you mean about not being able to build Small Craft under 2,000 tons; I expect most small craft are under 2,000 tons. If you mean non-jump capable ships, then they can be any size between 10 tons and 1,000,000 tons (or even larger). Just because it is not on a chart does not mean it is not allowed, only that you might have to figure out what the chart entry would be if it extended to the size of ship you want.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby phavoc » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:21 am

DickTurpin wrote:The rules in the Core Rule Book allow you to build a 1500 ton ship, or 1457 tons, whatever you want, it is just usually inefficient since the cost and performance is the same as for a 1600 ton ship. Of course fuel usage would be reduced and hanger space for a carried ship is less so there may be some small advantages in certain circumstances.
I forgot about the extended drive ratings in HG, which allow you to mount an AA drive that will give you 6G performance. Yeah, I'm aware how the hull system works, if you build between the sizes listed you move up to the next highest rating to determine your ratings. A 1401 Dton ship takes the exact same equipment as a 1600 Dton ship - with the aforementioned wastage of space. Hence while you technically can design the ship, the waste makes it pointless to do so.

DickTurpin wrote:Including High Guard rules allows a 1400 ton 6G ship (using a DD drive); or you can just build it using the Capital Ship rules if you want to. I don't understand what you mean about not being able to build Small Craft under 2,000 tons; I expect most small craft are under 2,000 tons. If you mean non-jump capable ships, then they can be any size between 10 tons and 1,000,000 tons (or even larger). Just because it is not on a chart does not mean it is not allowed, only that you might have to figure out what the chart entry would be if it extended to the size of ship you want.
If you follow the rules as written, you cannot use the capital ship rules to build a sub-2000 Dton craft. The point here is that capital ship construction rules use a percentage related to your displacement, whereas you cannot do so using standard rules. These ships have to use the drive chart which is fixed tonnage.

Non-jump capable ships follow the same rules as jump capable ones. If a ship is 100 tons or less you use the small craft rules. 100-2000 tons you use core book rules, 2000-3000 you can use core book or capital rules, and 2000 - 1million you use capital rules.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Condottiere » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:07 am

1. I read it as capital ship rules apply when you sectionalize the hull. It's unclear if you have to sectionalize once the hull hits 2001 tons.

2. I'm also unsure if you have to have the requisite sized bridge for grappled tonnage, or can happily cruise along with a bridge based only on the primary hull.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Jame Rowe » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:07 pm

Condottiere wrote:1. I read it as capital ship rules apply when you sectionalize the hull. It's unclear if you have to sectionalize once the hull hits 2001 tons.

2. I'm also unsure if you have to have the requisite sized bridge for grappled tonnage, or can happily cruise along with a bridge based only on the primary hull.
I think my objections to capital ships and hull sectionalization are:

(1.) capital ships begin as early as 5000 tons - when there are ships as large as 1 million tons, and when there's a dearth of ships between 4000 tons and 25000 tons (if tonnages top out at 1 mton then make capital ships 50 ktons and higher)
and
(2.) sectionalization may be required for all ships whether civilian or military, without distinction between civilian and military sectionalization.

Though I can see even a civilian ship of size being sectionalized - e.g. operations (bridge, commo and so), quarters, cargo, engineering - but I'd think it'd be different from military.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Condottiere » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:04 pm

Normally, I'd say you could approach this in a common sense manner; unfortunately I harbour under the handicap that I'm not an engineer, nor naval architect, nor is there a Jane's Galactic Warships handy.

The hull needs to be able to withstand the stresses of acceleration and atmospheric re-entry, and despite being in a zero gee environment, that the hull doesn't collapse on itself. So I have to rely on the game mechanics to create a spaceship.

I don't actually think there's an automatic cut off point at 2001 tons, and the reason there's a minimum 100 ton size for a jump translation is to prevent people like me designing twenty ton jump capable camper vans or message jump torpedoes.

House rules can add, remove or adjust these mechanics as is convenient, but it also removes a common structure that all agree are relatively fair or don't favour one side (this becomes really important for war games).

Dispersed structure is automatically sectionalized, a close structure implies sectionalization, a planetoid does not.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:49 pm

Condottiere wrote: and the reason there's a minimum 100 ton size for a jump translation is to prevent people like me designing twenty ton jump capable camper vans or message jump torpedoes.
I'd say you nailed that one.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby darue » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:28 pm

F33D wrote:
Condottiere wrote: and the reason there's a minimum 100 ton size for a jump translation is to prevent people like me designing twenty ton jump capable camper vans or message jump torpedoes.
I'd say you nailed that one.
hi there, been away from Traveller for a long time but am getting back into it. In a live game even :-)

I think I remember it was said somewhere that to make a jump requires of sentient biological life form aboard, for reasons 'unknown' even at TL15. Is that a 'house rule' someone made up or is it in a rule book somewhere?
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:39 pm

It's a house rule.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Reynard » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:43 pm

Looking at the software and interface rules (Core book pgs. 92-93) you could have a computer or robot/drone operate a space/starship. Notice also there's no rule to remove a bridge from ship construction. It's expected that a ship always under human control or observation. There seems to be a prevailing distrust at all tech levels to self sufficient computers and ships. Reminds me about the Daystrom M-5 and that universe's distrust for robotizing everything. Even the highly robotic Star Wars still realize the importance of the sophont element and consequently the Bridge.

However, as I said in the beginning, they give rules to attempt it so, if your group is okay with it, go.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby MrBackman » Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:40 pm

I wrote an article where I tried to rationalize the various aspects of hyperspace and jumping in Traveller. The idea of always having a human onboard was that the human side of astrogation is done at jump exit, not at jump entry, otherwise the astrogation coul be made externally and laserbeamed to the ships computer and no need for onboard astrogators, especially for X-boats who according to some canon sources lack maneuver drive.
Article can be found here:
http://vectormovement.wordpress.com/201 ... r-dummies/
and some ideas on the 100 diameter limit that strains credibility if taken at face value (all ships are way inside the 100 diameter limit of the Milky way so no jumps can take place etc)
http://vectormovement.wordpress.com/201 ... ers-limit/
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:31 pm

A while ago we ran a game pitching one "Destroyer Escort (patrol variant)" (1000dt, two particle beam bays, plus 8 turrets, 8pt armour, 752.81MCr) from p 108 of Traders and Gunboats, against two of the SBDs (200 dt, one particle beam bay, 12pt armour, 134.25MCr each)from p92.

The destroyer "won", just, and partly because it had been allowed some higher crew skills and made some lucky rolls near the end. Both SBDs were destroyed, however, the destroyer was reduced to one structure point, hull gone, armour blasted away, sensors and drives jury rigged a dozen times, half the crew irradiated, most fuel gone, and lucky that so many turrets had taken hits (one more hull/structure hit and that would have been it). Just one of the SBDs could have dealt with a 400t close escort (e.g. a Gazelle) without too much difficulty.

Of course, the need for naval ships to carry large jump drives and devote 40% of their volume to fuel explains the disparity, but does point out how efficient and cheap SBDs are. Yes, one SBD will be destroyed easily by a cruiser or a battleship, but you need to imagine hundreds, or thousands, being deployed. Some will be destroyed, but the large naval unit is going to have some problems.

For example, the Azanti High Lightning costs 31,469MCr. For the same outlay a system could build 234 SBDs of the type above, more than enough to trash the Azhanti. (Perhaps a bad example, the armour on the Azahani, 4pt, is so ridiculously thin, that it will be an easy target).

A more challenging battle might be between a Ghalalk class cruiser, costing 37,469MCr, and 279 SBDs of the type above. Though, if you want to give the Ghalalk a chance, you might want to reduce the SBDs to 150 or so (a total tonnage of 30Kdt vs tge 50kdt of the Ghalalk, and only 20137.5MCr). Even if the Ghalalk survives, I doubt if it will be ready for further operations for some time to come.

NB, in both case I haven't adjusted to reduce the triple particle beam turrets to singles, as per HG errata. That might reduce the number of SBDs attacking by one or two, but that would be more than counter-acted by the two thirds reduction in available particle beam weapons, the only turret weapon which is going to be able to defeat 12pt armour approx. half the time they hit.

Basically, if you intend to attack a rich system, you had better have overwhelming numbers of space ships and capital ships available, even small SBDs are good value money, even before we start to count system monitors or old, no longer jump capable, battleships.

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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:46 pm

MrBackman wrote:I wrote an article where I tried to rationalize the various aspects of hyperspace and jumping in Traveller. The idea of always having a human onboard was that the human side of astrogation is done at jump exit, not at jump entry, otherwise the astrogation coul be made externally and laserbeamed to the ships computer and no need for onboard astrogators,
In my game the calcs are done before and then within an hour after entry, a sentient has to examine various readings to refine the "heading" of the ship in J-space. For your average Tramp this means having an Astrogation pgm run the initial calcs to enter jump then, the Owner/Pilot refines the course after entering J-space. (a Master's Starship Certificate requires Pilot & Arrogation skill of at least 1 in each)

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