Orbital Fortress "Rubber Ball"

AnotherDilbert

Emperor Mongoose
Orbital Fortress "Rubber Ball" class.

A heavily armoured and reinforced planetoid with J-1 and M-1. It can launch 21000 torpedoes per round (each double salvo can destroy up to 5 battleships). It has a large (68 kT) cargo hold for spare parts, to be able to repair battle damage.

The idea is to sit in orbit around a world or gas giant. If a small enemy force tries to refuel we can destroy it. If a too large enemy force threaten to destroy us, we jump out to a prepared fuel cache, refuel and jump back in. This way it would take an enemy at least a BatRon on permanent station to keep the refuelling point open.

It costs like perhaps half a BatRon, but would tie down at least an enemy BatRon trying to occupy our worlds. With enough tanker support it could jump after an offensive fleet to fortify occupied planets.


It can jump with a two of J-1 drop tanks and has J-1 fuel internally, so can jump out, leave a drop tank, and jump back in, hence set up its own deep space fuel caches. With torpedoes in the hold, it can set up deep space ammo dumps.
Code:
TL 15          Hull 900 000                                          545 851,6    
                               Desired    ∆TL    Rat    #      dTon     Cost     Power
Hull                           1000000                    1 000 000            200 000
Config         Planetoid             6            6         200 000    4 000    
Hull strength  Reinforced            3            3                
Armour         Bonded Superdense    99           13         104 000    4 160    
Rad Shielding                        1            1                   25 000    
Repair Drones                        1            1          10 000    2 000    
                                
Fleet Trait: Hardened  100%          1            1                  127 380    
                                
JumpD          Budget                1    -0      1     1    31 837   35 817   160 000
ManœuvreD      Budget                1    -0      1     1    12 733   19 099   160 000
PowerP (TL12)  High Technology             3            1    23 333   35 000   500 000
    Emergency Power                  1                  1     2 333    3 500    
                                
External Load       260 688 dT       2                        
Drop Tank Collar    126 069 dT       2            2     1     1 009      504    
Drop Tanks          126 069 dT                                         3 152    
Fuel, Jump                           1            1     1   126 000        
Fuel, Power                          4          4 w     1     2 334        
Fuel Purification                168 h        168 h     1       900       46       900
                                
Command Bridge                       3                  3       240   22 500    
    Holographic                      1                  1              5 625    
Comp           CORE/100/fib         99     2    100     1                195    
Backup Comp    CORE/90/fib          19     2     90     1                180    
Software, All                                                            184    
                                
Sensors        Advanced              9            4     3        15       16         6
Array          Distributed           9            3     1        30       32    
Extension Net                        9            1     1    10 000   10 000    
Signal Processing   Enhanced         9            2     3         6       24         2
Shallow Pen Suite                    9                  3        30       15         3
Countermeasures     Military         9            2     3        45       84         2
                                
Staterooms, Luxury                  10                 10       100       15    
Staterooms, High                   100                100       600       80    
Staterooms                        100%         8282  8172    32 688    4 086    
Escape Capsules                      1              16564     8 282      331    
Common Areas                       25%          25%     1     8 347      835    
Low Berths                         100          100     1        50        5        10
Briefing Room                       10                 10        40        5    
Library                             10                 10        40       40    
Medical Bay    10% of crew           1                302     1 208      604       302
Workshop                            10                 10        60        9    
Armoury                              1                900       900      225    
Marine Training Facilities         120                120       240       48       240
Brig                                10                 10        40        3    
Cargo                                                        68 058        
UNREP                               60                 60        60       30    
                                
Large Bay                                
Torpedo        High Technology     700     3   TL12   700   245 000   31 500    17 500
Torpedoes      21 000 / round       12                                42 000    

Turret                                
Pulse Laser    Very Advanced      1500     2   TL11  1500     1 500    7 125    19 500
            
Point Defence  Type III, Advanced 5000     1         5000    90 000  110 000   150 000
                                
Screen         Meson,Very Adv     2000     2         2000    16 000   50 000    60 000
                                
Hangar         20 dT                25                 25     1 000      200    
  
Docking Clamp  36 dT               100                100       500      100
Docking Clamp  100 dT               50                 50       500      100
                                
                                
                                
Crew               15000                        
    Command         1364    
    Bridge           100    
        Pilot                3
        Astrogator           1
        Sensor & EW         96
    Engineer        3941    
        Engineer          1940
        Maintenance       2000
    Service         1115    
        Admin             1000
        Medic              114
        Steward              1
    Gunner          6930    
    Flight           350    
    Troops          1200    


Passengers        
    High               0
    Mid              100
    Low                0
It carries 100 medium fighters and 50 jump capable scouts to widen its sensor net and project a little force beyond torpedo range.
 
The problem is it can only be in one place at a time. Gas giants are BIG. It couldn't cover the whole gas giant, so it could be easily avoided.
 
Maneuver one? Captain, it moves like a garbage scow. We can go around it. It has to sit outside the 100D or it can't jump.
 
phavoc said:
The problem is it can only be in one place at a time. Gas giants are BIG. It couldn't cover the whole gas giant, so it could be easily avoided.
Jupiter is about 150000 km in diameter, Traveller missiles have a powered envelope of 300000 km. With a few scouts, as carried by the fortress, we know when the intruders are coming. Manipulating an orbit takes a lot less thrust than moving into orbit from afar, as the intruders have to do.

Decelerating into an orbit from 300 000 km takes almost an hour at 6G. The fortress only has to be in the same hemisphere for some of that hour to be effective.

Unless we can launch the missiles over the horizon of the GG, which should be technically possible, since it is routinely done today, in which case we can launch on any foe anywhere close to the GG.
 
"No, check the jump tasks. Jumping inside the 100D limit is just more difficult."

I do know the jump task. With a DM of -4, you don't want to rely on regularly planning emergency jumps from within the 100D limit.

Tactically, this Bismarck is a one trick pony. It's a single target to start. Once it pulls it's rubber ball maneuver once or twice, the enemy can easily calculate its capabilities. (A lot of people died to get us those plans.) With a mere 1 jump and any drop tanks hanging from it, it's going to become fairly obvious what its range is so the opposing force sends scouts to any of the six surrounding jump exits for sources of fuel including tremendous fuel caches. Once fuel sources are located, they can be secured or, as with caches, destroyed thus you've treed the bear and it's starving. It might have fuel in its drop tanks but it's still limited to the surrounding six locations that are known to the enemy. If such a vessel is that much of a threat, the enemy will do what it needs to take it out. Also, the enemy can make life rough by employing Jumpbreaker missiles to make life miserable. A -8 DM to your jump check is a kick in the pants especially on top of the Ball sitting in the 100D region.
 
I think gee one is commercially under rated.

Deep space ammo dumps can be made by space freighters; the fortress does move so that it can't be Pearl Harboured, but remains in range to protect some strategic real estate.
 
Reynard said:
With a DM of -4, you don't want to rely on regularly planning emergency jumps from within the 100D limit.
Jumping with a risk is better than facing certain destruction in battle. The risk is not great: With a great Engineer (some of all those thousands should be great) you can scrape together a DM+7 = +3[skill] +1[skill aug] +1[EDU] +1[EDU aug] +1[Expert software] succeeding in the risky 2D roll on 1 or better.

Reynard said:
Tactically, this Bismarck is a one trick pony.
Yes, certainly.

Reynard said:
Once it pulls it's rubber ball maneuver once or twice, the enemy can easily calculate its capabilities.
Yes, certainly.

Reynard said:
With a mere 1 jump and any drop tanks hanging from it, it's going to become fairly obvious what its range is so the opposing force sends scouts to any of the six surrounding jump exits for sources of fuel including tremendous fuel caches. Once fuel sources are located, ...
Finding a 0,002 km³ object hidden in plain sight somewhere in a 1 Pc radius, i.e. somewhere in 10⁴ⁱ km³ (100 000 trillion trillion trillion km³), is not trivial. A few scouts are unlikely to find any of them in a few billion years. Space is big...

Reynard said:
Also, the enemy can make life rough by employing Jumpbreaker missiles to make life miserable. A -8 DM to your jump check is a kick in the pants especially on top of the Ball sitting in the 100D region.
When faced with overwhelming odds you jump out before the missiles explode? The first 55000 missiles or so will be destroyed by PD.

If you allow a few enemy BatRons close enough to surprise you with Jumpbreaker missiles that hits before you can jump, you deserve a Darwin Award.
 
AnotherDilbert said:
phavoc said:
The problem is it can only be in one place at a time. Gas giants are BIG. It couldn't cover the whole gas giant, so it could be easily avoided.
Jupiter is about 150000 km in diameter, Traveller missiles have a powered envelope of 300000 km. With a few scouts, as carried by the fortress, we know when the intruders are coming. Manipulating an orbit takes a lot less thrust than moving into orbit from afar, as the intruders have to do.

Decelerating into an orbit from 300 000 km takes almost an hour at 6G. The fortress only has to be in the same hemisphere for some of that hour to be effective.

Unless we can launch the missiles over the horizon of the GG, which should be technically possible, since it is routinely done today, in which case we can launch on any foe anywhere close to the GG.

OTH attacks should be quite possible. So should integrated fleet defense, and counter missle missiles.

This is a recurring issue with Traveller in that that many of the versions don't address the big technical holes. In this case you could say two orbital fortresses in place to do the same. But they wouldn't be able to leave the system, which is a big tactical advantage.
 
A smart enemy won't have to kill it, just starve it.
You take out the support tankers and wait.
This thing fights with one foot in a fuel bucket.
I think this design would be better served with a fission core.

If it jumps out then you don't worry about it for 2-1/2 weeks.
 
So this thing is an impenetrable, unstoppable deathstar with the firepower to destroy entire fleets and escape over and over because of its expert crew. It has an extensive support and supply net that no one can find. I guess it wins.
 
AnotherDilbert said:
phavoc said:
OTH attacks should be quite possible.
It is neither allowed nor disallowed by the rules...
Fair enough. There are many house rules out there.

AnotherDilbert said:
phavoc said:
So should integrated fleet defense,
It is: Point Defence software, Fleet Defence.
I recall the version listed in TCS, which I think was a horrible implementation of the tech. I haven't seen the new version so I don't know if this was fixed or not. A 30/1 ratio is a pretty crappy use of high tech.

AnotherDilbert said:
phavoc said:
and counter missle missiles.
It is: Fragmentation missile.
Another carryover from TCS. I had forgotten about this. I much prefer a better descriptive term. Against missiles I'm ok with the idea of using fragmentation to shred something. But against small craft (especially the armor-factor 15 ones getting tossed out) it would be totally useless - which it's description says otherwise. Of course the core designed ships aren't maxed armored all the time, so then it becomes a bit of a wash.
 
Reynard said:
So this thing is an impenetrable, unstoppable deathstar with the firepower to destroy entire fleets and escape over and over because of its expert crew. It has an extensive support and supply net that no one can find. I guess it wins.
It has exactly the same armour and jump drives as any other warship. It doesn't do anything any other battleship couldn't do. I'm merely describing a tactic, with a ship specifically designed to take advantage of it. What's the problem?
 
I think the moral of the story here is that for every unstoppale fortress your opponent is going to have a unstoppable fortress smasher.

And this is where TCS fails over and over and over since it was first published. Players don't design warships to fit a econic or deployment reality. Players make min/max designs. In reality the min/max design is often a one- off that doesn't get widely used or built.

For a ga me it's ok. But for every unstoppable desin there is a counter.
 
phavoc said:
And this is where TCS fails over and over and over since it was first published. Players don't design warships to fit a econic or deployment reality. Players make min/max designs.
And this is why Trillion Credit Squadron failed at my table not once, but a few times. Rather than a fun game of building naval fleets, it devolved into a Min/Max fest. :|

But for a puzzle to solve, the idea of the "Rubber Ball" is a fun one to read and to think about how it might be countered given enough time and money to do so. :D
 
-Daniel- said:
phavoc said:
And this is where TCS fails over and over and over since it was first published. Players don't design warships to fit a econic or deployment reality. Players make min/max designs.
And this is why Trillion Credit Squadron failed at my table not once, but a few times. Rather than a fun game of building naval fleets, it devolved into a Min/Max fest.
What's TCS got to do with it?

It's just an interesting idea. If it might work a decent navy should have a way of countering it. That would add to the already long req.spec. a naval architect has to work with.
 
AnotherDilbert said:
-Daniel- said:
phavoc said:
And this is where TCS fails over and over and over since it was first published. Players don't design warships to fit a econic or deployment reality. Players make min/max designs.
And this is why Trillion Credit Squadron failed at my table not once, but a few times. Rather than a fun game of building naval fleets, it devolved into a Min/Max fest.
What's TCS got to do with it?
His comment was that some designs are clearly Min/Maxed outside of any real consideration for economic or deployment reality and I agreed and sated the same things hurt the TCS play in my game. The connection is the min/max designing rather than the Rubber Ball design specifically. That is also why the rest of my post you didn't quote went on to say how the Rubber Ball design as a puzzle to solve is fun to both read and to think about how it might be countered given enough time and money to do so. :D

Fun in Traveller is not always found in the play, sometimes it is in playing with the rules such as ship design. :mrgreen:
 
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