The "tug" class and mobile base from Star Fleet Battles in Traveller

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Anonymous

Guest
The SFB Tug Starships in Traveller

Sitting in a restaurant waiting for food, I thought about the recent modular ship, and breakaway posts, and realised the SFB tug doesn't exist in the standard ships. I started statting one and then food arrived so you will need to finish the stats if you want to use it.


  • _Star Fleet Battles_ has a class of ship called a _tug_.

  • This is a medium-sized (cruiser) cargo vessel with military FTL performance and light armament (fights as one size class smaller) designed to deploy towed/grappled modular mobile bases that are packed into _pods_.

  • In an emergency the tug can carry cargo pods and be used a fast armed transport.

  • If the situation is dire the tug can carry (EDIT: self-mobile sublight pods) _battle-pods_ or _carrier-pods_ converting it into a full capital warship. (They have Star Trek shields allowing the pod to protect the tug; we could use a black globe).

  • EDIT: Pods can be changed in several minutes to hours, like changing a trailer.

  • Only a tug or construction ship has the equipment to deploy a base. Only the tug has military drive performance and the ability to protect itself against escort-class ships.

  • Tugs are strategic resources, being the primary means to deploy mobile bases, and would not normally be risked in combat. Historically the battle pod was an emergency measure but as the wars dragged on, they saw front line use in major assaults as emergency dreadnoughts.

  • A mobile base has special pods for its systems, and other pods typically cargo or repair. Only the core pods need to be deployed by a construction ship. Once the core is onlined, the base can setup new pods itself which can be delivered by the regular transport network.


Building this in Traveller


HIGH GUARD VERSION --- 50K dtons, carrying 2-3 pods of 50K dtons. Being 50 ktons with full turrets it would not fear raiding escorts even though it lacks spinal and bays. With the additional 150 ktons of spinal, bays and black globes from combat pods it would be a battleship. A mobile base is therefore a 100K dton space station (2 pods) with 0-4 extra cargo/repair pods of 50K dtons each.

ADVENTURE SIZE VERSION --- I tried building this and it BARELY fits at TL 12. Numbers are approximate because "restaurant and paper, no rules reference"


  • TUG SHIP (tech 12) --- 1000 dtons; 2-G; J-3 @ 2000 dtons (J-6 unloaded except TL cap prevents); 600 dtons jump fuel (3 hex fully loaded); 10 triple turrets; fuel processor; 20 staterooms; break-away equipment for a total of 2000 dtons. Crew approx 30-35. Approx 450 MCr. Very tight fit, under 50 dtons remaining. Unable to carry inherent cargo or hull armor (an SFB tug would have heavier than normal shields approximating light armor, and a token cargo bay). Requires TL 15 or a loss of jump range. I feel that range cannot be reduced as it's core to the concept. Mission certainly requires a small craft and maybe a crane arm.

Max of 2 pods from below:


  • CARGO POD --- Empty 500 dton box. Not self-mobile. Uninteresting.

  • SELF-DEFENSE POD --- Cargo approx 450 dtons with full (5) turrets and powerplant for it. Not self-mobile. Uninteresting.

  • BATTLE POD --- Self mobile unit. 500 dton hull, hull armor 12. 1-G thrust, no jump, 288 energy. 4 weeks fuel, and refining. Standard bridge, model/20 computer, improved sensors. (2x) 100-dt missile bay, (1x) 50-dt particle bay, (1x) point defense II, (1x) triple pulse turret. 10 staterooms. Crew 17?. About 25 dtons unused space to dampers, ammo and cutter hangar. Approx 220 MCr. Really needs to be TL 15 to shield the tug with a black globe.

CARRIER POD --- Food arrived and lost motivation. Self-mobile (1-G, no FTL), full (5) turrets, fighters, "awacs shuttle", pilot rescue/cargo shuttle.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
AnotherDilbert said:
See Jump Tug in CT S9 Fighting Ships, p22.

I'm familiar with it, but I feel it's a different concept - the jump ship is not a warship. The tug is.

I think you're right to mention it, though.
 

AnotherDilbert

Cosmic Mongoose
In Traveller it's an unviable concept. Any real warship would eat it for breakfast.

Note that small ships will soon be overwhelmed by damage it cannot discharge, and be destroyed. Black Globes are only really useful for very large ships.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
AnotherDilbert said:
In Traveller it's an unviable concept. Any real warship would eat it for breakfast.

Note that small ships will soon be overwhelmed by damage it cannot discharge, and be destroyed. Black Globes are only really useful for very large ships.

Equal size would be problematic, but battle pods are 1-G SDB (monitors basically). It (Edit: the combined rig) will be OK against a slightly smaller warship. Self defence pods aren’t designed to fight off real warships, just light commerce raiders and pirates. Note that if you design around the black globe then (a) your tug probably has inherent armor (not sure if it fits) and (b) the whole rig will combine capacitors.

The main benefit to this unit is strategic. It explains how mobile bases come into being.

Edit: I am not even sure equal size is all that problematic. With battle pods you have essentially a full warship with some slight overhead for the breakaway and some redundant systems (but maybe slow maneuver drive). I’d need to see it speced at TL 15 to be sure, the TL 12 is too tight on space.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
I think it's similar to my Hydra concept, in that a primary hull has subsidiary hulls attached to it, including gas tanks.

The gas tanks have to be off shored, since the primary hull would contain the principal bridge and jump engines, and once you load up, pure percentages squeeze out non essentials, like fuel.
 

PsiTraveller

Cosmic Mongoose
Drop tanks with a 1st edition rule set would be good, saving the fuel space from both the ship and the carried pods. The 1st edition tanks did not get destroyed after TL 14. 2nd edition removed that sentence so the tanks get destroyed 50% of the time. (8+ on a 2D they survive, 2-7 the tank is destroyed)

If you allow alternate Tech the Collector system would be fantastic for this. While it sets a schedule you can set up a conveyor system of ships in each system. When a ship enters the system the modules disconnect from the 1st tug and go to the second tug. This would negate the need to wait a week for the collection of the exotic particles, but would require multiple ships.
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
If like the Gazelle, the drop tanks are sort of semi integral, it wouldn't matter except in a fast getaway.

On a sidenote, as they are principally secondary hulls, they don't necessarily need to remain vanilla.
 

Reynard

Cosmic Mongoose
The ST pods are 40m diameter by 200m long. That's about 18,422 dtons Traveller relative. The ST tug is a general usage vessel, not really a warship thought it carries two phaser banks, fore and aft, and a torpedo launcher. Might be armed but it's going to wallow like a garbage scow. The primary hull has the same dimensions as used by destroyers/scouts and cruisers. I would need to dig out my very old Enterprise blueprints and measure each deck to determine the tonnage. Just eyeballing the illustrations comparing the pods to the disk, I'd say the primary hull's d tonnage is less than a pod (75%?).In order to lug three of those pods and having no secondary engineering hull, that primary hull is packed with engines and power plant and probably little else.

In Traveller terms, I'm wildly, at the moment, guessing 88,500 dtons with three pods. It carries 4 laser turrets and a decent sized torpedo bay to keep pirates at a distance. If it has a critical mission such as transporting a mobile base to a hazard zone, it WILL have destroyer escorts. The pods are mounted as part of an External Cargo Mount system (the docking clamp is far too small) with each additional pod attached to the pod in front. This makes the tug itself one giant engine with crew amenities and a shuttle bay.

The mobile base can be a dispersed hull structure with components creating that six spoke pattern. It was never meant to be battle capable beyond weak raiders. It is a foundation for add-on modules while a full fledge station can be built nearby under the guns and support of the MB. The MB dispersed structure allows for disassembly and transport elsewhere when it's task is over.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Reynard said:
The ST pods are 40m diameter by 200m long. That's about 18,422 dtons Traveller relative. The ST tug is a general usage vessel, not really a warship thought it carries two phaser banks, fore and aft, and a torpedo launcher. Might be armed but it's going to wallow like a garbage scow. The primary hull has the same dimensions as used by destroyers/scouts and cruisers. I would need to dig out my very old Enterprise blueprints and measure each deck to determine the tonnage. Just eyeballing the illustrations comparing the pods to the disk, I'd say the primary hull's d tonnage is less than a pod (75%?).In order to lug three of those pods and having no secondary engineering hull, that primary hull is packed with engines and power plant and probably little else.

Note that SFB and ST are not quite the same, though there is some overlap from the original Franz Joseph plans.

We're talking about fundamentally different ships (the Fed tug refit from SFB has 6 phasers and a missile launcher, and no photon torps). However that doesn't invalidate what you say; we can have different types of Tug.
 

Reynard

Cosmic Mongoose
This is why I need to discover where my SSDs are hiding. Even so, a Traveller torpedo barbette or bay using nuclear ordinance should be an equivalent to a SFB drone launcher while an antimatter torpedo would suit a photon torpedo.

By the way, don't forget High Guard 2e has warp drive as well as deflector screen and energy shield that could fit the image.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Reynard said:
By the way, don't forget High Guard 2e has warp drive as well as deflector screen and energy shield that could fit the image.

That's true, I had forgotten to look at the optional systems.
 
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