Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ship Design Changes - Part Two

More on my ship design changes for my Traveller setting.

One change I've made in this setting when comparing Civilian (CT) and Military (HG) ship designs is in comparative damage levels.

Military ships with weaponry equivalent to a cilivian ship will inflict FIVE TIMES the damage as compared to a civilian model. This reflects a number of changes for the military design: better, more detailed engineering, more power, etc.

Conversely, Military ships are able to take FIVE TIMES as much punishment compared to Cilivian ships.

What this means: players who encounter a military ship, for whatever reason, had better be on their best behavior. If that ship is hostile, they better run, or surrender and hope for mercy...

I've read posts in other forums, detailing more 'logical' or better methods to 'accurately' depict weapons mounts/hardpoints on Traveller ship designs. Usually, this type of change is desired by people wanting their ships to have the numbers of weapons found in various science fiction designs. I personally have NO problem with this concept. However, since I am no mathematician, nor a structural scientist/engineer, I have to rely on others for their input/ideas.

With the limitations I have in place in my Traveller setting (Civilian versus Military designs), and the fact that players will NOT be receiving any military ships or hardware what-so-ever (I'd be crazy to allow this; my players are all engineers and programmers - they know a few things!), I don't really need to worry about this issue. Any military ship the players encounter will have MORE than enough firepower to deal with a pesky civilian ship...

In effect, there are no changes to a ship's available hardpoints in this setting.


Modular Hulls
The Mongoose Traveller rules (which these rules borrow heavily from) allow a ship hull to designate up to 75% of its volume allocated as MODULAR. This gives ship designers great flexibility, and I incorporated this concept into these setting rules.

Ships may be designed to use heavy-duty grapples to carry other components, such as external cargo pods, or even entire starships. This is entirely legal, as long as the ship can still move (1-G+, or Jump-1 for interstellar travel) with the added volume.
   A grapple takes up 3% the volume of tonnage it is designed to hold (round up to the nearest half-ton), and costs MCr 1 per ton of grapple.

Increased Structure
This Mongoose option is available for ship designers in this setting. However, it makes little sense for a Civilian (CT) ship to utilize it, as most CT designs are not capable of withstanding large amounts of combat damage - especially if they may be facing actual Military-design ships. Therefore while available, it makes little sense for most ship designs to utilize this feature. Save the cost, and use the volume for armor or, more importantly for cilivians, cargo space.

Increased Hull Rating
See Increased Structure, above. Same availability, same reasons not to use it.

Armor is important for surviving combat. It also takes up valuable ship volume, a no-no for traders who wish to turn a profit. And it costs credits.
   Civilian (CT) ships designers may purchase armor as in the Mongoose rules. Military-grade (HG) ships use formulas derived from the old High Guard rules.

Stealth Coatings
Stealth coatings are available for CT/Civilian ship designs. A number of factors limit this feature's use, however.
   One, it is expensive. MCr 0.1 per ton of ship.
   Two, Imperial (and other) authorities have a tendency to 'disapprove' of civilian ships utilizing this option. For some reason, they tend to believe ships designed with stealth will be used for smuggling, piracy, and/or blockade-running. And they are usually correct.

Electromagnetic Masking (EMM)
While this option is available, its use tends to be restricted by the Imperium (and other) interstellar governments. See Stealth Coatings, above. Also, this option requires actual ship volume, which is better used for cargo capacity with most civilian designs.

Reflec Armor
This type of armor is used to reflect laser attacks. This is a good, relatively inexpensive option for many captains, and it can easily be included without the added inconvenience of a refit or overhaul.
   However, this option is USELESS against missile attacks, which are a favorite of commerce raiders and pirates everywhere.
   It is also nearly useless against the more powerful military ship energy weapon attacks (plasma, fusion, etc).

LCD Hull
Ships may be designed with LCD, or liquid crystal display, hulls. For most commercial ships this is a useless extravagance, and the ship is given a specific paint job. For a small trader, selling wares out of his open cargo bay, or a young noble, however, this may be a relatively-inexpensive advantage.
   With proper programming, and/or a good graphic designer, the ship can change its outward appearance to reflect its products, services, etc. Or it can be used to change one section of the hull, with changeable messages.
   Note that a designer MAY designate only a small portion of the hull as having this option. Minimum cost is MCr 0.25, even if a smaller area is desired.
   This option costs MCr 0.05 per ton of hull.
   Note that combat damage will affect the appearance of the design.

This ends (for now?) the setting changes for CT ship design in my campaign.
Feel free to ask questions, make comments, etc.

Next up - Bridges, Computers, and other electronics options.