High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

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barnest2
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High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby barnest2 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:34 pm

In chatting with another traveller fan, and looking over the rules for capital ship construction in high guard I have noticed something rather irritating. There are several sections of the design system that make very little sense when they are applied too the design of merchant ships (and other ships not designed for combat).
The first of these is in the command sections. Warships have multiple redundant 'bridges', for obvious reasons, but merchants have no need for most of them. In addition, these modules are very large on larger capital ships, taking up an awful tonnage.
Secondly, the crew proportions for merchant ships are very high, especially in terms of the command and the service crew. Most of these are simply not needed because of the tasks that a merchant does not perform in comparison to a warships.

To fix these, I suggest two changes when designing merchant vessels and fleet auxiliaries that should not be seeing combat:
1) Command modules should be reduced to two at maximum on any merchant vessel. Also, for ships of 10,000 tons or more, the command modules should be halved in size.
For example, a 200,000 ton merchant ship normally has 5 x 200 ton command modules. With these changes, the same ship has 2 x 100 ton command modules, a reduction of 800 tons.
2) Ships under 100,000 tons should have a command crew of 10. Ships of 100,000 tons or more should have 2 command crew per 20,000 tons. Service crew should be reduced to 1 man per 5,000 tons.
Under the normal system, the above ship would have a command crew of 100, and a service crew of 400 to 600. With these changes, she would have a command crew of 20, and a service crew of 40.
rust
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby rust » Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:52 pm

On the ship of your example the 20 members of the command
crew would have approximately 2,700 cubic meters of bridge
space (ca. 30 m x 30 m x 3 m) - in my view still far too much
for any merchant ship, I would give them a bridge of not more
than 60 dtons / ca. 810 cubic meters (ca. 16 m x 16 m x 3m),
the maximum bridge size of the core rules.

Edit.:
As for the relation between the size of a vehicle and the size of
its cockpit or bridge, here you see the cockpits of a DC 3 and a
Boeing 747. Sure, the designer of a bigger vehicle can afford to
make a cockpit or bridge bigger and more comfortable, but un-
less there are significantly more things for the crew to do, the
actual size of the workstations will not change that much.
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barnest2
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby barnest2 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:44 am

Agreed entirely. So merchant command modules will have a max tonnage of 60, with a max number of 2 :D
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby locarno24 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:00 am

Except that the 'bridge' is not just the bridge. It also includes things like office space and suchlike - for that matter probably mostly consists of such.


I'd imagine that a corporate vessel (which a capital-class merchant ship must logically be) is probably going to have significantly more office space due to the purser's department, loading & shipping records, etc, which would be present in far greater force than the relatively limited stores on a gunship, simply given the quantity of cargo - and hence handling equipment, interface craft and handling personnel the ship will carry.
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby rust » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:10 am

locarno24 wrote:Except that the 'bridge' is not just the bridge. It also includes things like office space and suchlike - for that matter probably mostly consists of such.
True, but 256 square meters are a lot of area, more than
enough for the actual bridge and sufficient office space -
especially since on a merchant ship the volumes of the
passenger accomodations and the cargo hold are the fo-
cus of the design, because they pay for the ship's opera-
tion plus the owner's profit.

Taking a look at the details, I think that the 20 members
of the command crew will work in at least 2 shifts, so the
actual number of bridge workstations will hardly be more
than 10.
The maximum size of a workstation is determined by the
human anatomy, the person at the workstation has to be
able to see and reach all of the workstation's elements ea-
sily and comfortably. This makes 2 m x 2 m a good size
for a workstation, and with the deck height of 3 meters it
has a total volume of ca. 12 cubic meters.
Ten workstations of 12 cubic meters give a total of 120 cu-
bic meters, and we can add the same volume for access
space on a roomy bridge, so we have a total of 240 cubic
meters.
This leaves 570 of the original 810 cubic meters for office
space, at least in my view this is sufficient.
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby Captain Jonah » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:01 am

Once you start adding in areas that roomy 60Dtons is used up very fast.

You will need a workstation for every crew that is needed to run the ship. Then add half as many again to all for full staffing of the bridge when the navigator, assistant navigator, both pilots, the assistant pilots, the captain, the first office etc etc are all on duty such as departures, jumps, arrivals etc.

Your shifts may well only be 10 bridge crew but there are times when all 20 will be on duty and they will need workstations somewhere.

Then off the bridge you will have workstations which are command points but in other areas. How many command workstations do you have in engineering which repeat to the bridge. What about the workstations in the cargo office (and the cargo office itself for that matter). If it’s a big ship or an auxiliary does it have damage control, that’s several more workstations and an office.

What about sensors, are you taking them out of the deck space allocated for the bridge.

Does your ship have a separate computer core with a few workstations in that room. The pursers office, the captains and first officers offices. The crew or officers briefing room/meeting area.

What about the crew training room with crew workstations for running simulations.

Modern ships designed for long trips have roomy spacious bridge areas, nothing at all like the cockpits of an airliner.

I think the crew of 20 will have at least 25 and more likely 30 workstations between them plus several offices for specialist use. Those workstations may not be used all the time but when you need damage control and don't have a dedicated damage control office to deal with the fact that your bridge just took a hit, well its a bit too late then :twisted:

Starships will have workstations all over the place, close to the areas they relate to and duplicated on the bridge, the cargo officer can work from his chair on the bridge but when he has 12 hours to offload 70,000Dtons of perishable cargo he is going to want to be in his office right next to the cargo area (where he can shout at people) to deal with all those little problems he needs to visit to fix.

High guard allocates too much space, dropping it as suggested to 2 60Dton areas makes a lot more sense. Though once you add everything in that space will get used up fast, which is the way it would be. The bridge is going to be roomy, people need offices to work efficiently but there will be a limit since to much cuts into cargo and passengers.
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:44 pm

I have also used the bridge tonnage to account for the internal WIRING and electronics.

Back to the DC3 vs 747 views above, the 747 has an area about the size of the actual cockpit below decks that is full of wiring. The DC3 has a similar compartment, but it is only about 1/10th the size. When that is added into the "bridge" volume, things are much more proportional (but still not as big as Traveller requires).

Rather than being linear at the larger volumes, it should probably be logrithmic, so it gets larger but too much larger.

Also, merchants are going to make much greater use of Expert Programs to reduce crew size. You may still need 20 Command Crew, but replace 15 of them with Expert Programs and you can reduce your crew that way.

Another change I would make. Do not include Fuel or Cargo in your Service Crew size calculations. That greatly reduces the crews of merchants as well.
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby phavoc » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:44 pm

I agree that the rules are not well suited for the creation of civilian ships. If you look at modern warships today you see some big differences. Compare a 100,000 ton carrier with a crew of 6,000 to a 100,000 VLCC (i.e. oil tanker) with a crew of about 60. Even taking away the roughly 4,000 flight crew for a carrier still leaves you with a crew of 2,000.

Granted a military ship is going to require more maintenance, and manning of weapons stations, sensor stations, etc, the rules really don't allow for much leeway.

I'd say for larger cargo ships (excluding passenger liners, as they have special needs), you should be able to have roughly the same flight crew for a 10,000 ton cargo ship to a 100,000 ton one. You need a captain, some pilots, a couple of navigators, and the rest would be engineering (and not that many since you won't be doing a lot of work on your ship in jump space). A cargo ship should be optimized to cheaply move cargo from point A to point B - and that means running with as few crew members as necessary.

While it would be nice to see some different crewing rules for civilian ships, this is one of those areas that promises to complicate things by adding more rules. Or maybe it would be easier to apply a simple percentage to the existing rules and leave it at that.

As far as the bridge area goes, I think 60 Dtons is probably more than adequate for control. Freighters aren't going to be making a lot of maneuvers, and you probably only need a command station, pilot station, navigation station, and maybe 2 sensor operators (don't wanna run down those itty-bitty ships now do we?). So five stations in all on the bridge. Maybe a spare just to have an even six, or if you want to put an engineering station up there). 60 Dtons is MORE than adequate to create a nice room bridge for six people.
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby rust » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:14 pm

The trend to reduce the crew of merchant ships is still
continuing. The biggest supertankers of the Hellespont-
Alhambra-Class have a total crew of only 37, and some
mariners' unions are already complaining that seamen
on such ships suffer from psychological problems becau-
se of the social isolation during long voyages ...

Link to the German Wikipedia, because the English one
does not mention the crew size (German "Mannschaft"):

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellespont-Alhambra-Klasse
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:49 pm

You can also look at the crew staffing chart for Capital Ships. For ships with as little as 51% of "required" crew, you don't get a negative DM to actions. I would expect most civilian ships to run at that much lower staffing, maybe even willing to take a -1DM or so if they REALLY want to cut corners. Between that and automation/Expert programs, you can make the merchant crew quite small within the rules.

BUT, I agree, the rules as written, really only apply to military ships. The original HG had this problem too and it doesn't look like Mongoose fixed it.
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby BFalcon » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:24 pm

I would not use cockpits to compare to bridge sizes, just a thought... they tend to be different beasts - besides which, on both photos, you've missed out the Engineer's station which is behind the camera on civilian craft, where the military navigation and ECM station would be.

On naval military bridges, electronics are often used to keep the size of the bridge small-ish, but also a smaller structure is stronger, so they tend to have more bridges, as you say, but more spread out and with more in each.

Civilian ships like room to move around, to have the ability to walk across from one side to the other without having to push past other people and do not need the strength that a military bridge would. The ceiling may also be higher to create a more spacious feel. They may also have a Captain's Chair set back from any consoles to allow the officer of the watch to sit down while on long boring watches, while the small bridge crew man their stations.

The electronics, going back to Traveller now, may also be lower-TL than the military, so might need more tonnage just to do the same job at a given TL. A military TL12 computer would be high TL12, while a civilian would be closer to the TL 11 equipment, just to keep the costs down. Some system redundancy might also be built in, even in the civilian craft, particularly in the jump control and navigation systems, being so important. Layout might also make the systems more bulky on a civilian craft, being designed to allow engineers to walk between aisles in the systems instead of crawling around through access tubes like the Naval guys might need to in order to access the same systems.

Just a few thoughts on the matter... :)

Edit: just thought I'd mention that, when playtesting the vehicle book, I did ask Matt if he had plans to redo HG and he said not... but I'm hoping that, if the vehicle book is a big enough hit, that he may reexamine his decision on this - it's one book that I think needs to be right.
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby rust » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:31 pm

BFalcon wrote:I would not use cockpits to compare to bridge sizes, just a thought...
Yes, that was clumsy wording on my part, what I did
mean was unfortunately hidden in the last sentence:
... the actual size of the workstations will not change
that much.
What I was aiming at was that a bridge with the same
number of workstations will require approximately the
same volume of space, independent from the actual
size of the ship, but I failed to turn that into a compre-
hensible sentence. :oops:
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby BFalcon » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:37 pm

rust wrote:...but I failed to turn that into a compre-
hensible sentence. :oops:
Why does that sound so familiar...

Oh wait... I think that they'll be putting that on my gravestone... it's the story of my life... :lol:
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Re: High guard rules: Merchants and auxilliaries

Postby Chernobyl » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:45 pm

phavoc wrote:I agree that the rules are not well suited for the creation of civilian ships. If you look at modern warships today you see some big differences. Compare a 100,000 ton carrier with a crew of 6,000 to a 100,000 VLCC (i.e. oil tanker) with a crew of about 60. Even taking away the roughly 4,000 flight crew for a carrier still leaves you with a crew of 2,000.
That's about right.

Ship's Company of a Nimitz-class (back in the 90's anyway) is about 2800 or so.
Air Wing varies, but about the same, maybe a few hundred more.
On deployment, you can also add in Fleet command personnel (Carrier Group, DESRON, etc) and staff adding a couple hundred more.
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