Sabotage to a Jump Engine


Cosmic Mongoose
Odd question for the Hivemind. How easy is it to sabotage and destroy a Jump Engine?

If you were hired onto a ship as an agent, with a mission to destroy the Jump Drive, how tough would it be? How delicate are the ships components?

You can destroy a truck engine by putting sugar or metal filings into the fuel system, or draining the oil, messing with the coolant etc. This can result in a completely trashed motor. If a single agent on a ship wanted to cause problems how badly could they damage a Jump Drive? Some ships have massive tonnages of Drives, so the question might become an issue of cascading failure or localized destruction of just a piece of the Drive. Then again if a piece of a Jump Drive is damaged does that not prevent the ship from Jumping?


Emperor Mongoose
Outside of screwing up the astrogation and engineering checks, mechanically:

1. Hacking the engineering controls: interfering with the normal transition process, or you have a runaway reactor that overloads the capacitors, or it goes offline. The problem is I have only a vague idea of how a jump drive works and what it's made off, so it's pretty much guesswork.

2. Hacking the navigation controls: you transition from an entrance point other than calculated for, despite your gyroscope assuring you you are in the correct place.

3. Fuel spoilage: presumably there are sensors in the fuel tank to detect this, and I would guess there's some leeway for impurities. You could place limpet mines on the outside of the tanks to blow at the moment of transition, though I don't recall any rules on what happens when you jump with insufficient fuel.


Banded Mongoose
Are you trying to destroy it or just disable it temporarily?

Are you just trying to stop the ship from jumping or do you want (or are okay with) the whole ship being destroyed in the process?


Cosmic Mongoose
Condottiere said:
You could place limpet mines on the outside of the tanks to blow at the moment of transition, though I don't recall any rules on what happens when you jump with insufficient fuel.
The fuel is burned and the energy dumped to the Jump Capacitors prior to transition. You'd activate the explosive bolts on empty drop tanks at this point. Then, you'd transition.


Banded Mongoose
Canonically we don't know. Or - someone might know, maybe it's in a novel or an old GURPS Traveller supplement somewhere, but I don't.

If we apply game logic, Unrefined Fuel is worth a -2 to Jumps. That seems like a good baseline, with some deliberate sabotage being worth more. Would probably depend on access and time, so a crewman would be more dangerous than a passenger.

I think though I would simply lean on the game mechanics, and take the Effect of a successful appropriate skill check as the penalty to the Jump roll. Engineer - J-Drive, Mechanic and Stealth all seem appropriate. Others could be justified, Computers to hack control software, or Electronics to disrupt some vital component.


Cosmic Mongoose
From a combat perspective, you need two vectors of damage, or an equivalently large single action.
On the critical table, the first critical hit to a jump drive causes a DM of -2. The second disables the drive. A third destroys it.
A critical occurs on an attack roll which causes damage that has an effect of 6 or greater, or when ten percent of the hull points are destroyed.
For a 100 ton hull, you need 4 points of external damage for one critical, while a 1500 ton ship needs 66 points of external damage. Of course, there's no guarantee you'd roll back to back 10's...

While this does not give you an exact answer to your question, it does provide scale, for extrapolating the difficulty of disabling various sized drives/ships.

If you are hoping to sabotage without explosives, then you are looking at skilled agents (more skills than being sneaky, shooting and blowing stuff up). Either way, you'd probably want a task chain, involving some combination of stealth, electronics(Computer), recon and engineering (jump) skill to locate the best place(s) to mess up; and then stealth. deception, mechanic or engineering(jump) to non-explosively gum up the works (de-calibrate or remove/fry some vital component(s) and spoof the sensors to make it look good), or explosives to set any charges.

Large and small ships, military and civilian all have their own unique security advantages or exploitable weaknesses, which can only be guessed at ahead of time, as roleplaying will open some doors while closing others.
Edit: For added suspense, a non-explosive sabotage attempt task chain effect could be included in the jump activation chain and the misjump roll.


Emperor Mongoose
A worm(hole) programme, that either corrupts the jump programme, or refuses to let it load.

This might be the easiest, since you don't need access to engineering.


Banded Mongoose
Pirates of Drinax also had a jump drive event that causes an explosion in the drive room due to alerting the hydrogen levels needed (I believe). It dies a fair bit of damage and kills several engineers so it might be a little heavy duty.