SDB's vs. Warships

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
rust
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby rust » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:14 pm

In my settings most developed planets have at least some armed satellites in orbit.
Therefore a ship follows the official flight corridor and lands where ground control
tells them to land (and where the customs officials are waiting to inspect the ship)
or is treated as a hostile intruder and dealt with by the defense satellites. No need
for an expensive SDB to handle smuggling.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Condottiere » Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:39 pm

For smuggling it's probably drops and hand offs, since a scheduled flight is a lot less suspicious, unless the planet has poor sensors, there are sensor blindspots, or flight control has somehow been got at.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby phavoc » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:14 pm

I'd think there would be a number of traffic control/scan sats in orbit. Some defense sats, but unless they were in a position to be attacked with no warning, most would probably sit on a station or a warehouse simply because its far cheaper to do that than deploy them and then have to pay the maintenance costs.

Custom enforcement and checking on ships would be done using smaller ships. There'd be a couple of real warships nearby, or at least positioned to rapidly intercept anyone stupid enough to fire on a customs cutter. Or some fighters that could be scrambled quickly. For smaller ships, they can't hope to outrun a fighter, and they would be quite deadly to a standard PC starship. I don't let anyone run around in armor level 15 unless they are military or have Imperial letters. It's like when playing D&D, and characters always wanted to wear their plate mail everywhere in town... it attracts too much attention and town guards don't like it, so they don't let it happen. I would think planets would do the same. PC ships armed with 50 ton weapons bay and they don't work for a planetary government would never be allowed anywhere near a station or someplace they could cause problems with that sort of weaponry.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:43 pm

phavoc wrote:I'd think there would be a number of traffic control/scan sats in orbit. Some defense sats, but unless they were in a position to be attacked with no warning, most would probably sit on a station or a warehouse simply because its far cheaper to do that than deploy them and then have to pay the maintenance costs.
If you are not deep in settled area, you keep them deployed. You only have a few hours notice if you are invaded. Too short of a period to drag them out of storage, test, and deploy.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby phavoc » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:55 pm

F33D wrote:
phavoc wrote:I'd think there would be a number of traffic control/scan sats in orbit. Some defense sats, but unless they were in a position to be attacked with no warning, most would probably sit on a station or a warehouse simply because its far cheaper to do that than deploy them and then have to pay the maintenance costs.
If you are not deep in settled area, you keep them deployed. You only have a few hours notice if you are invaded. Too short of a period to drag them out of storage, test, and deploy.
Yes. Unless you were French. Then you'd have the most kick-ass version of anti-ship satellites on any drawing board around! And your orbital fortresses would be able to stop any attack... on an arc of 30 degrees towards the outer system perimeter at 200 diameters. The rest of the frontier is protected by impenetrable forests, err the vacuum of space!
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Condottiere » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:54 pm

You have to assess the threats.

Mostly it will be Space Patrol, SAR, chasing down criminals and people who don't want any Imperial entanglements. I remember coming across some analysis on the economics of piracy. Using a skiff to hijack a megafreighter has got be the best return on invest; unfortunately, it will be very hard to make it disappear, let alone ransom it.

Then you have the construction of a purpose built pirate galleon. It's unlikely that any shipyard within Imperium borders will oblige you, and they probably keep track of all decommissioned Destroyer Escorts and above, so that they suddenly can't be remilitarized. You could hijack one from a lackadaisical planetary navy, but even if they don't notice it's missing, again it will be hard to make it disappear.

So, we're back to the skiffs and either a stealthy, fast mothership, or a hole in the wall hideout either on a remote moon or in the asteroid belt. Likely targets would be small valuables and cargoes and passengers held for ransom.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Reynard » Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:24 am

I'm beginning to suspect monitors are built using High Guard while those relatively cheap System Defense Boats, and I stress the boat there, are built with typical off the shelf components as for the Core rules. By extension, a battle rider is a type of monitor just as SDBs can be transported between systems in large cargo transports.

Essentially, ask ten people what an system defense boat is and they'll give a hundred viable descriptions depending on the need, resources and, of course, tech level. All are built specifically to guard a particular star system whether from mundane space traffic violators to actual fleets as a lower cost, lower maintenance vehicle.

It boils down to what is its mission design? It sounds like the vast majority, especially the examples out there, are really not meant to handle warships which typically are part of squadrons and fleets (and created from High Guard) except in the most dire last ditch situation. Any system deemed important enough to need real protection without tying up a Jump fleet will have mobile monitors and stationary armed bases with SDBs as harassing forces not involving capital ships.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:14 am

Condottiere wrote:
So, we're back to the skiffs and either a stealthy, fast mothership, or a hole in the wall hideout either on a remote moon or in the asteroid belt. Likely targets would be small valuables and cargoes and passengers held for ransom.
Even that won't work if in an inhabited system (TL 9+) as you can't hid your in system movements. You have to find an "empty hex" hide out.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby phavoc » Fri Nov 15, 2013 6:05 am

The only issue I have with the "you can't hide in space" comments is that, thus far at least, we really haven't tried to do it. Granted we ain't exactly out there just yet... but here on earth we are certainly constantly battling the other side in hiding in plain sight.

If trends hold out the way they have with every other tracking technology, there will be ways to defeat or spoof every other tracking technique.

Say, for example, you could not ever hide in the IR band. Ok. So what would a defender do if you could spoof his IR tracking? So instead of an invasion fleet of 26 ships inbound, you've got 18,000 targets englobing you and you can't tell which is real and which isn't until you close to say 150,000 KM? In that case you have "warning", but if you cannot isolate the real from the decoy, your tracking isn't going to be worth too much. Knowledge is one thing, useful knowledge is far different.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby GypsyComet » Fri Nov 15, 2013 6:49 am

The idea that every world will have a huge assortment of astronomy instrumentation and always be looking at every arc second of sky is overly Terra-centric, IMO. In a time when you can just go and look at stuff close up, astronomy is going to evolve into a deep sky science, likely only pursued on a few worlds. Even ports are going to be more worried about close in traffic control.

Piracy in the Imperium depends on a couple of assumptions and some understanding of the economic model. Very few people really get the economics, and many contest the assumptions, which are:
-backwater systems really are *backwater*; when the mainworld only has 400 people in residence, it is simply not going to have the infrastructure for high security or the attention of the Navy.
-"Piracy" follows a much broader definition that just ship-to-ship boarding actions

If piracy was just boarding actions, the career in CT/MT would have a *much* nastier Survival roll.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Infojunky » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:37 am

GypsyComet wrote: If piracy was just boarding actions, the career in CT/MT would have a *much* nastier Survival roll.
Yep.

Consider this the "Pirates" we see in Films generally didn't exist in the swashbuckling sense, Mostly the used small fast boats and ships to close rapidly on relatively unarmed and unsuspecting ships taking them with surprise and speed. Look at how the pirates in the Western Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia operate right now.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby locarno24 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:13 am

Even that won't work if in an inhabited system (TL 9+) as you can't hid your in system movements. You have to find an "empty hex" hide out.
Or an inhabited system which doesn't give a monkeys where your credits came from as long as they're good. Which is why piracy is more relevant in regions like the trojan reach, with a large area of space populated by one- and two-system powers, than either core imperial space (nowhere to operate from unless you find the aforementioned uninhabited or low-tech system or similar well-hidden operational base) or the imperial borders (because that's a natural gathering point for light warships and patrol vessels which are massively out of your class).
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby rust » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:57 am

GypsyComet wrote: Very few people really get the economics, and many contest the assumptions, which are:
-backwater systems really are *backwater*; when the mainworld only has 400 people in residence, it is simply not going to have the infrastructure for high security or the attention of the Navy.
True, but the huge majority of such backwater systems are unlikely to export
or import enough goods with enough value to pay even for the maintenance
of a pirate ship. These systems are not the Spanish Main with treasure fleets
full of Aztec and Inca gold and silver, what pirates could find here would be
more like livestock in cold sleep, spare parts for mining equipment and such,
transported on tramp ships several decades old and in bad repair. Over the
years I have played a lot of backwater / frontier colony settings with detailed
economy systems, and every one of them would have starved any pirate who
would have attempted to survive in the region.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:50 pm

phavoc wrote:The only issue I have with the "you can't hide in space" comments is that, thus far at least, we really haven't tried to do it.
Not relevant. Physics works the same out in the asteroid belt as it does in Earth orbit. It isn't a point of real argument. Only one of science education.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:55 pm

GypsyComet wrote:The idea that every world will have a huge assortment of astronomy instrumentation and always be looking at every arc second of sky is overly Terra-centric, IMO.
With a SIMPLE, SIMPLE TL 7 computer & camera, it can be set up on a CHEAP satellite to scan the ENTIRE system in a few hours.

You may not like the idea but, that has ZERO bearing on whether or not it is SO simple that no world of a certain TL range would NOT do it.

The people working planetary gov would ll have to have lobotomies to NOT do it. You can house rule that only those with 3 Int or less work those gov positions...

The question for a GM is then, why would there NOT be a constant scan when it is basically child's play.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Somebody » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:17 pm

F33D wrote:
GypsyComet wrote:The idea that every world will have a huge assortment of astronomy instrumentation and always be looking at every arc second of sky is overly Terra-centric, IMO.
With a SIMPLE, SIMPLE TL 7 computer & camera, it can be set up on a CHEAP satellite to scan the ENTIRE system in a few hours.

You may not like the idea but, that has ZERO bearing on whether or not it is SO simple that no world of a certain TL range would NOT do it.

The people working planetary gov would ll have to have lobotomies to NOT do it. You can house rule that only those with 3 Int or less work those gov positions...

The question for a GM is then, why would there NOT be a constant scan when it is basically child's play.
In my experience most players do not care that this scanning can be done IRL. Even less so when they want to play a pirat campaign. Neither do most GMs. So IMTU and all Traveller TU I have played in or would consider worth playing in - stealth in space works. Just like jump drives, thruster plates, artificial gravity etc.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby phavoc » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:24 pm

F33D wrote:
phavoc wrote:The only issue I have with the "you can't hide in space" comments is that, thus far at least, we really haven't tried to do it.
Not relevant. Physics works the same out in the asteroid belt as it does in Earth orbit. It isn't a point of real argument. Only one of science education.
You are being overly dismissive and missing the point. I never said anything about changing the underlying physical model of the universe. All I said was that nobody yet has worked on this because we aren't out in space yet. Plus nobody has done this in reality either, so I was extrapolating from current tech to future tech. That is, I believe, how Traveller itself came about. And that (extrapolation) is pretty much how every conversation about future tech is based upon. Unless Grandfather brought you back through time to lecture us on what's impossible vs. improbable.

40 years ago people said you couldn't build a cloaking device, but they are working on that now (and have a semi-working model). Physics used to say black holes couldn't exist, then they said they captured everything, then it was oh, some things escape, but only as energy particles, then it was, oh some matter does escape, and just recently an article in Nature magazine there's a black hole that is spewing out iron and nickel. So our understanding of the physics continues to change as we continue to expand our knowledge base.

It's rather arrogant to state things like this can never exist when we have yet to fully define and understand all the laws of the universe. I'll cut you some slack if Grandfather sends me the memo you know everything there is and all that will ever be. But until then, I'll continue to speculate that **** can change as we learn more and figure out ways to do stuff that used to be "impossible".
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:51 pm

Somebody wrote:
In my experience most players do not care that this scanning can be done IRL. Even less so when they want to play a pirat campaign. Neither do most GMs.
It's is even in the MRB. So, house rule away. But, if you have a player that passed 7th grade Physical Science class he's going to have a ball end running you by using the non physics in your game. It would be almost as massive a change as if you said that gravity doesn't exist in your game...
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby F33D » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:51 pm

phavoc wrote:
You are being overly dismissive and missing the point.
No. I'm being 100% accurate.
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Re: SDB's vs. Warships

Postby Condottiere » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:51 pm

So that;s why the Planetary Security Agency was photographing the night sky and keeping it all in a database.

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