House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

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dragoner
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby dragoner » Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:10 pm

GypsyComet wrote: The immediate problem becomes line obsolescence and/irrelevancy. Every ship published to date, across a dozen or more books, assumes ONE fuel model. The minute Mongoose publishes such a set of options, even in a sidebar like that for warp drives etc, some folks are going to abandon the standard model and determine that all those ships, including three books of nothing BUT ships, are not on their shopping list anymore.
This is a joy, throw away every published ship; I'd much rather use what is there. As far as gurps goes, people should play it if they want to, but this is the forum for mongoose.

Changing two to four not only is the easiest and quickest solution, but it dovetails with original CT nicely.
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby Somebody » Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:22 pm

Actually it should be resonable simple to upgrade existing ships:

Assign a "Power Output" to the standard plants
Assign a "Fuel per Power output unit and hour" to the plants
Assign a "Power consumption value" to drives, computers, life support, weapons etc.

Optional: Split "Life support" in Gravity, Oxygen, Heat, Water

And that's it basically for the PPlant Fuel. Old ships simply get a few new stat block entries (PFD-Errata sheet) that interested groups can download.

The main "stumbling block" are weapons but even that could IMHO be worked out.

=====

If you go for a "design your plant" system instead of standard plants then you need a formula that can reproduce the "standard" plants (hopefully there was one when they did them SPs). But that is not needed IMHO, the SPlants work fine. Just add a blurb along "can have multiple plants" and maybe (like 2300AD did) a "power synchroniser taking iirc 1/10 the volume of the plants)
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As for the other Traveller rules sets: Looking over the hedge at "how did they solve/not solve problem x" can be helpful. Those are old, well tested systems with a lot of data and playtests on "what works and what not". And at least MT and TNE should not have (big) licence problems if Mongoose decides to "borrow" from them
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby Condottiere » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:25 am

The real fun about energy cost accountancy is balancing the books and yelling in the middle of combat, "All reserve power to the forward shields."
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:23 am

phavoc wrote:That's rather silly logic "it's a game, keep it simple". I'm not looking for FF&S level of complexity, but High Guard introduces a great deal of non-simple issues. Adding in supplements like Merchants and Cruisers, Central Supply Catalong, Sector Fleet, et al, all introduce additional complexity. Hell pretty much every supplement outside of the CRB introduces complexity and makes the game "less simple".
It's not about logic, it's about playability. I don't see the supplements you list as adding "complexity" at all, just different options.

For those who feel their gaming will be enhanced by more book keeping, then there are other versions of trav, or write your own.

Just another thought about fusion power plants in MgT, we seem to be working on the assumption (and, of course, these are fictional assumptions about a technology which doesn't exist and may never exist in this form, or even at all) that they run a bit like petrol engines, and the more power we need, the more fuel we burn. What if they are much more binary, essentially off, no power, no fuel consumption, or on lots of power (much of which might have to be vented if there is not immediate use for it), steady fuel consumption?

So long as there is internal consistency, then this would be just as good a starting point as any other.

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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby alex_greene » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:51 am

Fusion power plants would still be able to produce variable output. Increased demand for when the power is needed, for instance to operate the big weapons, and reduced demand when the ship's just coasting in sublight, running on basic life support with passive sensors.

They'd be able to intensify or loosen the pinch field - presumably a combination of grav and MHD fields - to increase or decrease the efficiency of the ongoing fusion reaction, a bit like the choke in an internal combustion engine. And if they needed to get a bit more out of the plant - a bit of overclocking, as it were - they could inject some deuterium and lithium ions into the mixture. The equivalent of activating a shot of pressurised nitrous in a performance internal combustion engine.

The thing about the fuel consumption issue is that, when the rule was introduced in the Traveller Core Rulebook, it was assumed that the ship would have a fairly regular routine - Jump in, spend one week in system, Jump out again - and the fuel would automatically be taken care of when the ship refuelled for each new Jump. I don't honestly believe they thought of scenarios where the ship would have to spend extended periods in-system, or where the ship was at risk of running out of fuel before it could reach planetside. Nor that so many people would obsess over the issue so much.
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby Condottiere » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:13 am

If it's fixed, but the ship isn't using it, I'd channel the excess into storage banks.
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby alex_greene » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:01 pm

It seems to me that most vessels intended for long-distance travel, such as the characters' ship, should come equipped with fuel scoops, fuel processors, solar panels, backup chemical batteries and even solar sails for slow in-system travel, if they've got time on their hands (or they know that there's an enemy nearby using neutrino sensors to detect the ship's fusion plant and main drive by their neutrino emissions).
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby Reynard » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:39 pm

This is beginning to sound more like paranoia than just wanting cheaper ship operations. I hope it's not from experience by GMs routinely stranding players in very deep space with no ready access to fuel. Most systems in Traveller have gas giants, water and/or refueling stations.

If players regularly jump into unexplored systems, and even then sensors make it possible to detect gas giants from parsecs away with a little time (Traveller Book 3: Scouts pg. 88), they need a bigger fuel supply not a rewrite of the rules. The majority of ships in the core book alone have two weeks fuel, enough to get to any realistic destination and still have plenty of fuel for an emergency or special trips. Checking the core book again I notice only small craft regularly have a week endurance. Some ships, especially military, do have extra endurance filling their mission profiles.

I think people want cheap Jump capacity. The game provides rules for drop tanks and construction of tanker ships to cover such necessity.
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:45 pm

alex_greene wrote:Fusion power plants would still be able to produce variable output. Increased demand for when the power is needed, for instance to operate the big weapons, and reduced demand when the ship's just coasting in sublight, running on basic life support with passive sensors.

They'd be able to intensify or loosen the pinch field - presumably a combination of grav and MHD fields - to increase or decrease the efficiency of the ongoing fusion reaction, a bit like the choke in an internal combustion engine. And if they needed to get a bit more out of the plant - a bit of overclocking, as it were - they could inject some deuterium and lithium ions into the mixture. The equivalent of activating a shot of pressurised nitrous in a performance internal combustion engine.
Good bit of handwaving :D , and you may be proved right sometime in the next three centuries, or perhaps not. Assumptions of easily variable, and controllable, output from small fusion plants, which so much of this thread has been based upon, are just guesses as to how a fictional technology may work.

Like some of our other game assumptions, e.g. controllable grav plates, FGMPs and psionic powers, there is nothing necessarily wrong with the ideas in MgT, which is where I tend to part company with posts which argue for greater "realism" based on their, unprovable, assumptions. Especially when those assumptions seem to need more book keeping to support them.

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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:56 pm

alex_greene wrote:I don't honestly believe they thought of scenarios where the ship would have to spend extended periods in-system, or where the ship was at risk of running out of fuel before it could reach planetside.
The CRB author would have to comment on his thinking regarding your first point above, but as it is quite clear that there will be a large number of spaceships using m-drives that are not jump capable, and are likely to be hauling cargo and passengers in-system, then perhaps he was happy with the fuel consumption figures for ships which would only travel in-system.

Regarding the second point, "inaccurate jumps just dump the ship somewhere I the inner system requiring a long space flight", I am always used this to mean a space flight of a few days, so the typical ship with 14 days fuel will still be ok, 7 days in jump, if inaccurate, you still have 7 days fuel to get to the starport or GG.

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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:58 pm

alex_greene wrote: Nor that so many people would obsess over the issue so much.
:lol: :lol:
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby alex_greene » Sat Feb 22, 2014 4:51 pm

The whole thing can do with being reviewed anyway. It's not just the issue of fuel: there could be commercial fusion plants, designed to power ships with a heavy thrust output such as tugs, as well as fusion plants designed for endurance operations - such as the Watchdog-class picket ships designed to hang around at the edge of blockaded solar systems scanning for in-system activity.

There could be fusion plants built to power up performance M-drives, for instance in sublight racing yachts built for in-system races and regattas.

And then there could be power plants intended for use in vessels such as police cruisers, where sheer power is needed for thrust and manoeuvrability.
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby phavoc » Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:23 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:It's not about logic, it's about playability. I don't see the supplements you list as adding "complexity" at all, just different options.
Background and explanation isn't a bad thing. I think a number of people have agreed that isn't the case with them.
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:For those who feel their gaming will be enhanced by more book keeping, then there are other versions of trav, or write your own.
Why does it seem that whenever somebody questions the order of things the response of "go away - we don't want your stinking questions" come up? It would be just as rude (but totally applicable) to tell you to go away too with your response if you don't like the thread.
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:Just another thought about fusion power plants in MgT, we seem to be working on the assumption (and, of course, these are fictional assumptions about a technology which doesn't exist and may never exist in this form, or even at all) that they run a bit like petrol engines, and the more power we need, the more fuel we burn. What if they are much more binary, essentially off, no power, no fuel consumption, or on lots of power (much of which might have to be vented if there is not immediate use for it), steady fuel consumption?
Today, with fission power, you can adjust the power output and extend/reduce the life of your fuel, right? It's true for civilian power plants as it is for military ones. The book just plain got it wrong with the explanation of nuclear power as it exists today. Since we don't have working fusion tech, contragravity, jump drives, or are flying amongst the stars, I'm sure most players are well aware that this is a science-fiction game we are playing. I'd like to point out that 1/3rd of that label is "science". So any person wanting to apply science to their game is perfectly within the defined context. "Fiction" comes around when you start talking about uplifted dolphins, ancient beings and kitty-cats and doggies with nukes and starships. The "game" is where you want to combine the former two and still have fun.

This thread was started to discuss the never-ending discussion regarding the apparently huge fuel consumption that entails powering a Traveller ship's fusion reactor. Exactly why this is a big deal has to do with one thing - tonnage. A different fuel burn rate means you have more tonnage to play with with which to do other things.

If you (or anyone else - I don't want you feel I'm singling you out, just using your quote of my quote) are fine with the rules as they are, then feel free to ignore the thread. If you would like to be a useful contributor, please share with the rest of us your thoughts. But if you only want to tell the rest of us to "just accept it or go find another game", kindly don't respond. Or start your own thread where you can discuss why exactly the game is perfect just the way it is and there should never,ever be a discussion about a rule, a deckplan or the underlying reasoning for such things.

And do please keep in mind the "you" is the euphemistically "you" - NOT any one individual.
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby Condottiere » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:35 pm

I see starship travel and maintenance as one of the central features to Traveller. much as you should keep track of how many bags of oats you plan to take along on a D&D outing to feed the ponies.
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby Condottiere » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:57 pm

1. A thought occurred to me: continuously adjusting the power plant to generate the electricity needed to run the ship systems that are currently active, may cause a faster component failure rate, and therefore be more expensive to maintain.

2. Speaking of failure rates, when do starships need to be docked for an overhaul?
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby leopard » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:56 pm

Even back 20 odd years ago when I was designing ships on a semi regular basis (high detail if a player would ever get near the bridge, less so for NPC type ships where I didn't care how many staterooms they had, just drives and weapons) I used a basic spreadsheet - not during the game but during the design phase.

Ships then had several power levels, often in the end slightly fudged so they became simple multiples of endurance, you had a 'cruise' power setting, 1-2G from the drives (even on craft that could do more), all non combat systems - that was the baseline, you had 30 days of that. Maybe 1-2 days of 'all systems at the red line' on top of that, a 'hotel' loads setting with the drives shut down, used in jump space or on a planet. Aimed for circa 90 days of that as a minimum, so 1 day of cruising gave you three days of hotel. Worked out your 'emergency' endurance, basically life support and radios, that tended to be a very long time. And if you only power life support to part of the ship (and turn the gravity off) you can run that on emergency batteries for a while.

Point is, you know this when you build the ship, so when the players end up in the middle of nowhere they have a rough guide from how many days cruising to how long they have to solve the problem - e.g. thrust for a day or so then power down and cruise the old fashioned way.

Exact details are up to the GM, as the GM decides exactly where they are, if you want it to be 'close' to running out by the time they find safety then by a miracle thats what happens. If the players get lucky with an ingenious plan there will be just enough fuel left for it to work..

I like the level of detail MT brought, Hard Times especially, but never let it get in the way of the story. If the players needed to be short on fuel then the power plant started to play up and burn more than usual, just enough more for the story to work. Most players get used to this and see whats happening, so on occasion you throw a spanner in without a specific plot point - if nothing else its a good way to grow engineering skills investigating and a way to burn excess cash fixing things.


As for the practicalities of the design.. in a spreadsheet have a column for "power level" as a percentage, multiple fuel or power by that for that power setting and you have an easy way to turn the ships weapons into dead weight. I had four such settings, easy to have more.
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby Reynard » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:32 pm

Here's a slightly relevant question; do modern nuclear powered vessels, namely ships, run at full power? Does the power plant generate a certain amount of that goes to the engine to move the ship and it's the engine that determines how much power is needed for various speeds while the power plant also sends energy to other systems.

Naval vessels have an optimal cruise speed which, I believe, is the most energy efficient and runs at this level of power the majority of time.

No up on it too well but I think any nuclear power plant adds and subtracts control rods to respectively lower and raise power generation but that is fission. I am assuming a fusion plant adjusts power output by the rate of injected fuel so it too doesn't run binary - full power or no power. Both types probably run at an optimal level during the task the majority of its operation time and emergency conditions don't last long enough to be sufficient drains on the fuel supply without also damaging the plant.
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby leopard » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:41 pm

Did wonder on adding an efficiency curve, sort of like running at half power uses 75% of normal fuel etc. the nominal output level being the most efficient for that drive. you can then get +10% power for +25% of fuel etc, for a while
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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:54 am

phavoc wrote:
Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:For those who feel their gaming will be enhanced by more book keeping, then there are other versions of trav, or write your own.
Why does it seem that whenever somebody questions the order of things the response of "go away - we don't want your stinking questions" come up? It would be just as rude (but totally applicable) to tell you to go away too with your response if you don't like the thread.
....
If you would like to be a useful contributor, please share with the rest of us your thoughts. But if you only want to tell the rest of us to "just accept it or go find another game", kindly don't respond.
....
And do please keep in mind the "you" is the euphemistically "you" - NOT any one individual.
Well, as the euphemistic "I", or not, while this is still on a public board, then there is no reason for me not to post. You seem to have got rather tetchy about some responses, but they were meant with good intentions, I don't think anyone has suggested your questions "stink", to quote you, or have been as negative as you suggest. The mentions of other systems were not intended to affront, but to point out that, while one of the advantages of MgT is its simplicity, there are other alternatives which will meet the interests and enthusiasms of different players. And that is no bad thing.

It is interesting that in one sense you feel you are correcting what you see as errors in the game system, but you don't want people who don't share your perspective to respond. The title of the thread really says everything, "fixing", but you seem unhappy when it is suggested that not everyone sees this as "broken".


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Re: House Rules - Fixing Ship Fuel Operational Times

Postby CosmicGamer » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:15 pm

Egil Skallagrimsson wrote:
phavoc wrote:Why does it seem that whenever somebody questions the order of things the response of "go away - we don't want your stinking questions" come up? It would be just as rude (but totally applicable) to tell you to go away too with your response if you don't like the thread.
....
If you would like to be a useful contributor, please share with the rest of us your thoughts. But if you only want to tell the rest of us to "just accept it or go find another game", kindly don't respond.
....
And do please keep in mind the "you" is the euphemistically "you" - NOT any one individual.
It is interesting that in one sense you feel you are correcting what you see as errors in the game system, but you don't want people who don't share your perspective to respond. The title of the thread really says everything, "fixing", but you seem unhappy when it is suggested that not everyone sees this as "broken".
As I've said before, when comments lean toward "it's broke" then it implies that the author, Mongoose, Mark, and anyone who plays by the rule is wrong. It's natural for people to want to explain their positions.

There shouldn't be issues when someone says they don't like a rule, or don't understand a rule, and suggest alternatives and look for feedback and suggestions. People should be able to play any way that's fun for them. I'm open minded and can jump right in and help with an alternative set of rules even if I'm fine with the original and would never use the alternative. I'd still question why the changes were needed. The reason for the change helps determine what needs to be done. Often I can come up with options that still fall within all the rules.

For example, if the main issue is that someone wants ships to have longer operational range then simply consider the standard ship designs as standard are more for the core worlds where there is lots of ship traffic and AAA ship services. Ships on the raggedy edge may be more likely to use custom designs that include larger fuel capacities or modified standard designs.

For example, if the main issue is that someone wants to reflect a more realistic, but more complicated and detailed power consumption it is probably a waste of time discussing the Mongoose rules and seams good advice, to me, suggesting alternative rules that may be more suitable or a better starting point for reference when creating custom rules.

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