Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Reynard
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:24 pm

We see how governments love to add extras at the taxpayer expense. Grav vehicles are coming in vogue at TL 9 and an air/raft could be deemed necessary 'just in case' just as the starship itself is streamlined for planetary forays 'just in case' there might be a time there's something interesting. I'm sure the air/raft manufacturers will be happy and donate to those civil servants' next election.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Jeraa » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:34 pm

Just make sure not to wear red when exploring strange new worlds.
Unless you are Scottish. Then you are fine. Having a first name seems to help too.
phavoc
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby phavoc » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:09 pm

steve98052 wrote: A first survey is likely to be government basic research rather than corporate exploitation. Pride affects both, but it affects government more. If a government is voting money to send people in a starship to explore, they'll want to see footprints.

Apollo tested things in Earth orbit, then lunar orbit, but they landed people very soon after. If a ship is reusable (even if the jump drive may not be), they'll probably include the air/raft, or more likely, some kind of hardened lander.
Agreed. Something that effects the discussion is when in the timeline of exploration that these ships are exploring. In the early stages the ships are simply far too valuable to risk, so even sending crew down is risky to the return of the ships (this assumes that travel itself is early enough that it's risky and ships already aren't returning for whatever reason).

And, as you pointed out, government exploration is going to want to bring back evidence to show off to taxpayers. Corporate (i.e. private) exploration is about exploitation, but government is interested as much in science as they are exploitation. Depending on just how precarious the tonnage is on early scouts will dictate whether or not the space set aside for an air raft would be better suited to probe drones, additional supplies, fuel, etc. Putting crew down is a luxury that small ships won't always have.

Once it has begun normalized, then it's more likely to add in the capability to "boots on the ground" via an air raft.

For the Apollo program the early trips were to test the hardware like you said. But the ultimate goal was to put astronauts on the surface of the moon. Since then though we've been happy enough to send robotic probes to the explore. But we've not had the political will to do much more than put guys up in orbit, at least we have a constantly manned space station.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:26 pm

An air/raft can reach orbit but it is a slow and cumbersome process. An air/raft is what you use to flit around when you have already landed.

If you want a lander a small craft is in order.
Reynard
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:26 pm

I went with the air/raft because a launch takes up far more room plus the explorer is, in fact, a landing craft. The air/raft is a conveyance medium for the crew to reach locations inaccessible to the ship. Apollo took the moon buggy to get the team around easier than walking and have some room for equipment and sample collecting. It's not that they are going to do the job of the Surveyor class ships but explorers are there to determine if there's something worth surveying whether on a planet, a moon or an asteroid. Not always but... Plus there's the player adventure issue.

The explorer I show here could be reimagined differently. Rather than a versatile ship, it's mission is strictly preliminary observation, get in ,look the place over then go home with the data. No a/r needed and the configuration could be even dispersed to save money. It would still have more structural integrity than anything we've put in space. It won't add more displacement for much else except maybe 4.4 tons fuel to stay longer and complete all phases of overall exploration. Using the beltstrike calculations for life support supplies, there would be plenty of room as 1 ton devoted to Life Support = 150 man-weeks. This could allow for an extra mission to a second destination if there's a fuel source at the present location then back along the route to home. The second jump fuel already in the tank again allows a jump to a system with unknown fuel presence.

I was looking over the technology level advancement calculations in Pocket Empire and it seems tech level 9 can routinely last for 300 years, more or less. This means plenty of time for a space faring civilization to establish and grow (or fail) relying on slow travel. I know a lot depends on the configuration of star systems as to have well such entities can develop with the limitation of distances. Make me wonder how space travel, communication, trade and social cohesion fares under such conditions. Even jump 2 vastly broadens the field for a race to expand In many ways. Would fuel depots at J2 points be common and would starport creation be critical more frequently?
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby DivineWrath » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:32 pm

A problem some people have mentioned is that J-Drives and M-Drives are new and should have a risk of breaking down. However, I think this should be a risk that happens at earlier TLs (if at all). Prototype and early prototype stuff can have defects. They also make it possible for earlier TLs to build stuff. If we really want these drives to be at risk of breaking down, perhaps we should push the TL back a level or two.

Alternatively, these drives could be built at budget level to reduce costs, and opens the door to defects. However, I don't think there would very many people who would knowingly buy a ship where the multi-million dollar jump drive has the risk of melting each time its used. Especially if hope of rescue is slim because of how few ships there are.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:59 pm

I believe the Disadvantages and Advantages in HG2e cover prototype issues. As part of a campaign, you could have issues with new technology and equipment as a plot point. The explorers in use might be the ones that, in fact, did not explode or disappear in to quantum dust during jump. Same with fusion power plants and maneuver drives. These problems are probably true with each new version of a tech category no matter the tech level. Look at computers today. In some ways, the more complex the item the easier it fails. What we see in Traveller is that point the majority of tech has stabilized enough to get the jobs done.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby steve98052 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:17 pm

DivineWrath wrote:A problem some people have mentioned is that J-Drives and M-Drives are new and should have a risk of breaking down. However, I think this should be a risk that happens at earlier TLs (if at all). Prototype and early prototype stuff can have defects. They also make it possible for earlier TLs to build stuff. If we really want these drives to be at risk of breaking down, perhaps we should push the TL back a level or two.
When I brought up the point that very early jump drives melt down fairly frequently, I wasn't aware that thrusters were also in their early stages. But a tech level is a pretty grainy measurement. If it takes a society 20 years to work the bugs out of thrusters, but the first jump drives appear 50 years after the first thrusters, thrusters have been reliable for 30 years by the time jump drives appear.

Additionally, even if both jump drives and thrusters are unreliable, I don't recall reading that thruster are prone to melting down. If a thruster breaks down, field repairs may be possible, but if a jump drivr melts, repairs amount to sending the slag to a refinery to recover scarce elements and building a new one. Also, their operating patterns are different. Thrusters are meant to operate continuously. A jump drive operates in a big pulse that kicks the ship into jump space, and it falls back into normal space about a week later.

Also, thrusters are additive; 20 dtons of thrusters could be one big drive, two 10-dton drives, or 20 one-dton drives. If they're unreliable, build them as an array of little ones. It's a lot less distressing when the chief engineer reports, "Our number 19 thruster failed, so we're down to 95 percent thrust," than if the entire engineering department screams, "The jump drive melted!"
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Condottiere » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:27 pm

Synchronization could be an issue, so while Tee Five may have originally hinted at nine times nine, I tend to stick to a maximum of nine driver modules.

Though Star Wars has a four three four arrangement on one of their ships.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:11 pm

The drives we know and love are from the 54th century. They are the result of thousands of years of development and refinement. Even then jump drives need a maintenance cycle after every jump, and the drives needs a thorough maintenance cycle every year.

We of course have no rules for the reliability or lack of it for drives soon after they are invented, but as a firm believer in Murphy I would assume they are a great deal less reliable after a few decades of refinement than after a few millennia of refinement.

It's entirely up to the Referee to make up the rules for such a setting.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby AndrewW » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:38 pm

Condottiere wrote:Though Star Wars has a four three four arrangement on one of their ships.
The Corellian Corvette. Such as the Tantive IV.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:20 am

Until outposts and colonies really get going, ships are going to have to deal with how to get planetside. Most 'starports' are going to be in the E or D range for some time they prove worthy enough for resources to put something better in place let alone any highport capacity. I think that will shape the capabilities of ships for some time. They need means to be able to move goods and supplies between downside and orbit. There are two options that come to mind is streamlining which is expensive but allows ships to make direct port contact. The other is orbital vessels that use intermediates to deliver goods.

One vessel to start is in Supplement 10: Merchants and Cruisers, the Antique Trader. Antique is relative as this would be state of the art at the Dawn of Jump. With 263 tons of cargo, these could be regulars for interplanetary trade especially on jump one routes and could be the evolution of the private contractor.

The second method when port facilities are non-existent or minimal is the interface craft. Either the mainworld keeps such a vessel on call or star faring craft carry one to load/unload cargo at either end. I created such a vessel that adds another feature - modularity. The jump capable 1000 ton freighter carries seven 50 ton modules and a 70 ton interface craft that rides attached externally. The modules have different functions such as cargo, people movers featuring 90 low berths and an independent power supply for transporting large number relatively cheaply. Another are pods that act habitation units, power centers or storage facilities for early settlements. The Interface craft takes the module from the main ship ventrally so it can be dropped in place as the craft lands or hovers in place. Other modules can be picked up with or even people going into low berth for travel elsewhere. Modules can be evaluated and constructed for specific missions on a particular world or be ready made for common missions. As the settlements create permanent residences and facilities, the modules move on to other worlds.

Larger vessels probably fare better with the interface vehicles as they can be ungainly for their size at small ports.

I still need to clean up and double check the designs before I put them here.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:55 pm

Well, had a little free time and hope the numbers were done right.

I took suggestions for the 200 ton explorer. With its endurance and larger field facilities, I think of it as a surveyor rather than a short term explorer designed to sit on a system longer for more detailed analysis of its potential.

TL 9 Early Surveyor 200 tons MCr. 73.96
Hull streamlined No armor
Jump 1. Maneuver 1g. TL 8 Fusion power plant (65 power), Fuel 44 (2 x Jump 1 and 12 weeks standard operation).
Standard bridge. Computer/5 with Maneuver/0, Library and Jump Control/1. Sensors - Civilian.
Weapons - none.
13 x Staterooms (Pilot, Astrogator, Engineer and 10 scientist).
Options: Fuel scoops, Fuel processors (40 tons per day), Air/raft in docking bay,10 x Probe drones, Aerofins, Laboratory (10 researcher), Workshop, Library.
Cargo 11 tons.

The research includes 2 associates each in astronomy, planetology, biology/xenology, geology and chemistry at basic levels.
More extensive observations would need larger and probably more permanent facilities in orbit especially for exotic atmospheres or dangerous conditions and planetside research outposts. The Surveyor is meant to be mobile so many systems can be observed economically.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:08 pm

Once worlds are deemed worthy for an outpost or colonies, transport ships come into play. The needs of a world can vary greatly from the very beginning to its steady growth and progression. One big issue until a population is large enough and has the resources, facilities and labor pool specific to the ability for creating and maintaining a highport is planetside interface. The not obvious method are ships that can naturally access a downport. Especially for outposts and small population colonies, downports will also be less than major traffic hubs for decades. One solution is a ship with diversity. External cargo mounts have a few disadvantages as they can't be reattached once released, planetside travel is dangerous and there's no access to the cargo if necessary. ECMs are best used with orbital facilities. The other option is a versatile modular ship able to carry a wide variety of units for many needs. As many worlds might not have the capacity for an interface craft, the ship itself carries one. The Bulk Modular Freighter beside carrying modular units also has staterooms for small numbers of travellers making their way between locations. As with other people movers during this time period, the majority of people use low berth for cost effective transport. The ship is built cost effective too using a light, dispersed, non-gravity design. It also features enough fuel to not need a fuel source at the destination and can return shortly after transfers are achieved.

TL 9 Bulk Modular Freighter 1000 tons MCr. 110.405
Hull Non-gravity, Light, Dispersed No armor
Jump 1. Maneuver 1g. TL 8 Fusion power plant (310 power), Fuel - 2 x Jump 1 and 8 weeks standard operation.
Standard bridge. Computer/5 with Maneuver/0, Library and Jump Control/1. Sensors - Civilian.
Weapons - none.
28 x Staterooms (Pilot, Astrogator, Engineer x2, Maintenance, Medic, Steward, interface pilot, Passengers x 20).
Options: Docking clamp type II, 70 ton Interface craft, Medical bay, Workshop, 50 ton modules x 10.
Cargo 4.8 tons (Mostly passenger baggage and mail deliveries)

Interface craft 70 tons MCr.5.543
Hull Non-gravity, Streamlined, Light No armor
Maneuver 1g. TL 8 Fusion power plant (22 power). Fuel - 36 weeks operation
Standard bridge. Computer/5 with Maneuver/0 and Library Sensors- Basic
Weapons - none
Cargo - 4.45
Options - 50 ton modular space, Acceleration benches x 5 (20 passengers), Aerofins
The modules fit in the ventral space of the craft and can be set in place planetside as the craft hovers. The reverse for picking up modules at groundside.

Two typical modules are the Cargo module for bulk transport of goods. They are also structured for habitation modification. The People Mover module carries 90 persons in low berths using an independent fusion power plant plus an emergency backup power source with 40 weeks of fuel and 3 tons cargo space for sundries. Other modules vary widely such as self contained research stations, small mining facilities and prebuilt habitats.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:22 pm

I converted the Antique (now I'm calling Early) Trader from Merchants and Cruisers page 69 and it crossed fairly clean so it's the same for HG2e but here a little cheaper.
(Errors have ben edited)
TL 9 Early Trader 400 tons MCr. 58,89
Hull streamlined No armor
Jump 1. Maneuver 1g. TL 8 Fusion power plant (130 power), Fuel 44 (1 x Jump 1 and 4 weeks standard operation).
Standard bridge. Computer/5 with Maneuver/0, Library and Jump Control/1. Sensors - Civilian.
Weapons - none.
8 x Staterooms (Pilot/Astrogator, Engineer, Steward. Passengers x5). Low berths x 10.
Options: Fuel scoops, Fuel processors (40 tons per day), Low berths x 10, Re-entry capsules x 8.
Cargo 263 tons.

These ships will be in the early decades of the Dawn of Jump parts of government and company fleets serving both important settlements and the backwater systems that still need product, people and communication but aren't effective for larger vessels. As the civilization progresses, older Traders can be decommissioned and sold to private ventures who take the risk and rewards.
Last edited by Reynard on Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reynard
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:57 pm

There may come a time civilizations at the dawn of jump come into conflict either from outside aggressors or balkanized system groups. With threats of military actions will come the need for defense of Important systems. Orbital Defense Platforms become the line of defense at the 100d mark or around valuable resources within a system along with System Defense Boats. At 100 tons, these units can be constructed at shipyards and transported by jump tenders elsewhere. Crews normally rotate out around the time of refueling and resupply for R&R.

TL 9 Early Orbital Defense Platforms 100 tons MCr. 20.154
Hull Dispersed, reinforced, Emission Absorption Grid. Armor - 7 points Titanium steel
Maneuver 0g (Station keeping). TL 8 Fusion power plant (25 power), Fuel - 8 weeks standard operation).
Smaller bridge. Computer/5 with Maneuver/0, Library and Fire Control/1. Sensors - Civilian.
Weapons - HP#1 Triple turret (missile/missile/missile).
4 x Staterooms (Engineer, sensor operator, turret gunner and open).
Options - 72 missiles (24 rounds/launcher), 2 ton common area, emergency power plant, 4 x re-entry capsules, repair drones.
Cargo 2 tons.

A Torpedo version adds the Torpedo barbette and takes a ton from cargo to allow a resupply of 3 torpedoes. The open stateroom is removed. Basic power is reduced during sporadic station keeping maneuvers.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:34 pm

Reynard wrote:Weapons - HP#1 Triple turret (missile/missile/missile).
With Reduced Size you can squeeze in a small bay.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby steve98052 » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:55 pm

Reynard wrote:I8 x Staterooms (Pilot, Astrogator, Engineer and 10 scientist).
I would argue that early drives need a lot of engineering attention by fairly advanced engineers -- maybe two jump engineers and one each for maneuver and combined power and life support.

On the other hand, I seem to recall reading that the first use of jump was microjumps within the solar system, so maybe the equipment is more reliable after some time in the "if we can't fix the jump drive, at least it's only a few months back by maneuver drive" era.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Reynard » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:42 pm

First of all I need to fix the entry errors for passengers and low berths for the Trader. Something cut and pasted wrong. I'm at work right now. I believe it should be 5 passengers (not scientists) and 10 low berths.

I'm not sure if there is a Disadvantage for engines needing more crew. Since it's not in the regular rules it must be assumed devices and systems we see are the optimal model after all the failures and glitches from prototypes have been eliminated.
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Re: Ships at the Dawn of Jump

Postby Jeraa » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:28 pm

Reynard wrote:I'm not sure if there is a Disadvantage for engines needing more crew. Since it's not in the regular rules it must be assumed devices and systems we see are the optimal model after all the failures and glitches from prototypes have been eliminated.
There is, at least indirectly. The number of crew needed depends on the size of the drive/plant. So the Increased Size disadvantage (and the Early Prototype modifier) can also increase the number of crew needed. Requiring more power (Energy Inefficient disadvantage) would also require a larger power plant, which may also require a larger crew. Using cheap materials (the Budget modifier) gives 1 disadvantage, so with Increased Size or Energy Inefficient is can be possible to get a non-prototype drive/plant that may require more crew than normal.

Likewise, the Size Reduction and Energy Efficient advantages can reduce the number of crew needed.

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