Citizens of the Imperium

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-   -   Extended range stutterwarp drives (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=38428)

Brandon C November 3rd, 2017 02:27 PM

Extended range stutterwarp drives
 
No, I'm not talking about pushing a drive or delaying discharge. I'm talking about a brand new stutterwarp drive with a range greater than 7.7 ly.

The GDW version had two such ships. One was a single German (originally Bavarian) Vogelperspektive-class survey ship with a range of 8.7 ly. The other was the Trilon ISV-5 survey ship in the original boxed set, with a 8.9 ly range. However, this ship was built in large numbers ("... hundreds in use"...) including 30 sent to American forces at Ellis.

I assume the design rules for these extended range drives appeared in Star Cruiser. However, they seem not to have been carried over to the MgT version (unless they make an appearance in the new Ships of the French Arm, which I have yet to see.

Do you think that setting a limit and then allowing it to be broken by design (rather than difficult Engineering rolls) was a mistake?

robject November 3rd, 2017 04:20 PM

I think if it serves a larger purpose and has constraints, then opening up the range is actually a good idea.

As an arbitrary change, though, it wouldn't make sense. In other words, it has to be driven by something, rather than a solution looking for a problem. Even in a homebrew campaign, interstellar travel is either a problem or not. If it's a problem, then scale must be considered.

Just rambling now, but you get my drift. It all comes back to "why". If you've got a good "why" then you've got your reason.

mike wightman November 3rd, 2017 04:36 PM

Sadly it was clarified in various Q&A back in the day that those numbers are typos.

McPerth November 3rd, 2017 05:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 576505)
Sadly it was clarified in various Q&A back in the day that those numbers are typos.

So I read too.

ITTR that this was discussed in this same forum, but Icannot find the thread right now...

Brandon C November 3rd, 2017 05:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 576505)
Sadly it was clarified in various Q&A back in the day that those numbers are typos.

While this is possible for the German ship, it is not a believable excuse for the ship in the core rules, which specifically mentions in the text that it had extended range. No, it sounds like more of an effort to retcon a deliberate design choice than a simple typo.

mike wightman November 3rd, 2017 05:30 PM

They realised it would break the setting so the nerf bat was wielded.
If anyone invents a stutterwarp drive with an extended range everyone would have it in a few years and the bottlenecks in the map disappear.
Note that using TNE FF&S stutterwarp rules you could build higher TL stutterwarp drives with longer range.

Brandon C November 3rd, 2017 05:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 576510)
They realised it would break the setting so the nerf bat was wielded.

However, the multiple stutterwarp drive setup on the Bayern is arguably worse, since it can allow a vastly increased range.

No, whatever they had in mind for allowing a 15-20% range increase was actually less damaging.
Quote:

If anyone invents a stutterwarp drive with an extended range everyone would have it in a few years and the bottlenecks in the map disappear.
Finding an intact Eber starship would do as well.

Brandon C November 3rd, 2017 11:43 PM

Okay, I suppose I should say what stats this redacted drive should have had.

TL: 12
Cost: x10
Volume: x2
Difficulty: +1 (all Engineering rolls involving the stutterwarp drive are increased one difficulty level)
Unreliable: for every day the drive is used, roll 2d6; on a 12 the drive cuts out and must be repaired as an Easy task, increased as noted above

Other possible limitations include Inefficient (x0.85 stutterwarp efficiency) and High Maintenance (requires an engineer to tend to it whenever it is in operation)

epicenter00 November 5th, 2017 09:46 AM

Yeah, there's a few problems.
 
As for the 8.7ly drive thing, it's likely a retcon. Even if it was a typo, I don't think it matter; as mike pointed out, the problem with 8.7ly is that unless are problems with this drive over 7.7ly that are somehow insurmountable, you'd think 8.7ly drives would be everywhere by now; you have to imagine that most people who operate starships would love to have Stutterwarp with a range better than 7.7. There's likely been trillions of livres spent on this effort, ever since the 7.7ly limit was found to break the 7.7ly limit; the mobility advantage is simply too great for militaries.

As for the the 8.7ly drive, if you want to include it I'd really not make it cost so much or take more volume. We already know that a skilled human engineer (what ... who needs a human engineer in 2300?) can extend a Stutterwarp's range by carefully monitoring the charge build up on a coil. This task is baffling to me because 2300 is a much more technology-friendly game than vanilla Traveller is: If a human can do it, a computer can do it better by 2300.

It's likely in this case, that the Stutterwarp maximum has been creeping upwards (and perhaps there was a time in the past when the range was like 6.8ly) as technology in the form of better drives, better coils, and better software has allowed the stutterwarp coil to accrue its charge more and more evenly. The fact that in the basic rules an engineer can extend the range of a stutterwarp by task shows that the 7.7ly isn't a hard limit - it's probably the safety limit at the moment given the state of technology of coils, drive computers, and the software that runs it and that Stutterwarp nerds can regularly fool with the drives to get them better range. The important part is that this task doesn't require you to physically add hardware to your drive; it doesn't cost anything more to run a drive like this. You just need skilled engineers who know what they are doing. This suggests it's likely a software issue.

That civilian ships like the ISV-2 has it means that the military has had it longer; the advantages to longer range mean more for military ships, who don't take the straight line route between two systems (the so-called "sewage tube" in 2300 military terminology) but instead dogleg to change their vector to make interception more difficult (as well as to mask their origin in the case of systems that have neighboring systems within 7.7ly). I'd simply let the German and the ISV-2 have it as being on the cutting edge of civilian drive computer technology. You should likely give it to a few other new build civilian ships. Basically every military ship have it already; perhaps they're already edging up to 9ly. Meanwhile, older civilian ships might have lower than 7.7ly because they're using older drive components or older software; if a civilian ship never jumps more than 6.8ly (for instance) the owners may have never upgraded the systems as improvements came out.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brandon C (Post 576513)
However, the multiple stutterwarp drive setup on the Bayern is arguably worse, since it can allow a vastly increased range.

Bayern's multiple drive system isn't a big problem.

The limiting factor to Stutterwarp is the rarity of drive-grade Tantalum.

The Bayern literally has to get rid of one of its drives to go further than 7.7ly.

So canon-wise, that's the reason why it's not a big problem.

However, there's this 500-pound genre-breaking problem with this "solution" of why the Bayern isn't setting-breaking and the setting-breaking problem is inherent to 2300's own rules:

... there's detonation missiles that use stuttewarp. If Drive-Grade Tanatalum is so rare and precious, why are they knowingly throwing the stuff away in single-use missiles? Over the course of a single conflict, they likely threw away more Tantalum than a dozen Bayerns could use.

So knowing this, it doesn't make much sense. Any ship, particularly military, should have double drive arrangements. Even triple drive arrangements. Cost is obviously not much a deal to them if they're tossing away stutterwarp detonation lasers. In Bayern it's described as some jury-rigged thing that doesn't happen very often to offline a drive, eject the core, put in a new one, then get it started. But this solution has to have been thought of someone before; I find it hard to believe that Stutterwarp has been around so long in 2300 without anyone doing it in a past, particularly navies. And if people do it a lot, inevitably automatic and safer methods to get these drive swaps are going to be thought of...

Brandon C November 5th, 2017 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by epicenter00 (Post 576679)
That civilian ships like the ISV-2 has it means that the military has had it longer

Not necessarily. The civilian survey ship was built by Trilon, who are unlikely to hand over plans to the new drive to even the American government (while not as powerful as Alien's Weyland-Yutani, they are pretty strong). They have only been building the ship since the early 2290's and it wasn't specified when the thirty were turned over to American forces. With a range of 8.9 ly and a reference to extended range in the text, I'm sure this was deliberate at the time.

The German ship probably was a typo.

Quote:

The limiting factor to Stutterwarp is the rarity of drive-grade Tantalum.
Going by the cost of stutterwarp drives (about 10%) of total ship cost and its use in many small craft, it isn't actually rare.

If it were actually rare, the drives should be more expensive and only used in interstellar ships.

By way of comparison, the jump drive of Traveller is about 1/3 the cost of a ship.

Quote:

The Bayern literally has to get rid of one of its drives to go further than 7.7ly.

So canon-wise, that's the reason why it's not a big problem.
It is given the relatively low cost of stutterwarp drives.

The simple fix is to drop all text references to Tantalum being rare and expensive.

Oh, and I suppose one could actually allow brown dwarfs to exist, but that's another thread ...


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