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2300AD & 2320 Discussion of the original 2300AD from GDW, the revised 2300 from Mongoose Publishing, or QLI's 2320AD.

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Old December 14th, 2018, 10:49 AM
Brandon C Brandon C is offline
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Default Stutterwarp as a WMD?

On another board, a poster was looking for a non-abusive FTL drive for his campaign. I brought up the stutterwarp drive, with a brief description of what it was and how it it worked.

Another poster chimed in and said that, like all pseudo-velocity drives, a ship could be accelerated to useful fraction of c and flown into a planet.

When I asked how, he said that once the ship was in orbit around a world, let the ship fall in, turn on the drive to regain orbit, turn it off, let, the ship fall, etc:

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Falling builds velocity. You gain altitude with the stutterwarp drive, which does not change your velocity. Then you fall again... Now, doing this in the band where the stutterwarp is effective will be fairly slow, but you can do it in a different star system from your target, then warp in, line up, turn the drive off, and your now fractional-c spaceship is a weapon of very massive destruction.
If this was possible, it should have already been done in the ~150 year history of the stutterwarp by a military or terrorists, but I don't remember any references. Did the game designers just not consider this or is there an obvious technical reason it wouldn't work?

My first guess would be power plant duration: I don't think a ship with a fuel cell or MHD turbine has enough fuel to build up a dangerous velocity and then reach the target world in another star system explorations ships might, but I'd have to work out how long it would take the ship to reach, say, 0.1 c). Ship with nuclear plants tend to be large military ships and very large commercial ships.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 12:44 PM
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I guess it would work, if you avoid your ship to be disintegrated in the atmosphere reentry.

In 2300 AD setting ,most ships are not streamlined, nor able to enter into atmosphere, and those that are must be very careful about the reentry vector, and all those details that IRW avoid your ship to end up as the unfortunate Challenger.

And even in those latter cases, I guess the reentry speed they can sustain wothout disintegrating is limited, and probably at a level where this danger is also limited.

Those are, IMHO the main limitation to use a ship this way as MDW. This does not avoid, though, to be used as a kamikaze with a fission or fusión plant working (if it has so, as most comercial ships work on MHD power plants), nor to carry (as an example) steel ingots or balls (that I guess could reach the surface, albeit dimished in size due to atmosphere friction) to be released at those speeds, producing less damage tan a full ship, but that equivalent to small meteorites (even more, as their speed could be higher) along a large área if they are released as "shotgun pellets", so to say...

The, again, the main reason not to use those tactis would be the political effect they might have.

See that in the several wars that have affected colonial powers (e.g. CAW or German Reunification War) no orbital facilities have been attacked, nor have colonies have been bombed or space bombardment used. Not even a colony invasion has ever been tried (see this thread, specifically post #5, about my view on this issue).
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Old December 14th, 2018, 01:05 PM
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If you attempt this tactic your ship's stutterwarp builds up a charge as if it is travelling the LY distances it can in a low gravity region.

Long before it achieves a real universe velocity that even gets close to a small fraction of c you have a choice - discharge in a gravity well or risk explosion. Your chance of drive explosion increases exponentially the longer you go past the discharge limit.

This ties in with my theory of why stutterwarps build up such explosive potential in the first place.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 01:24 PM
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In my example above the ship would only have travelled distance = At²/2 = 0.5 × 60 000 000² / 2 = 9 × 10¹⁴ m ≈ 0.03 Pc.

Energy charge buildup shouldn't be a problem?
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Old December 14th, 2018, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherDilbert View Post
In my example above the ship would only have travelled distance = At²/2 = 0.5 × 60 000 000² / 2 = 9 × 10¹⁴ m ≈ 0.03 Pc.

Energy charge buildup shouldn't be a problem?
No, it would not, as the limiting factor in this case is distance (7.7 ly), not time. Fuel, though, could be a true problem if your power plant is MHD (or fuel cell)...

This could be done, time allowing (it would need to be quite planned) at another system and then move to the target, as the ship keeps its speed and momentum when stutterwarping.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
If you attempt this tactic your ship's stutterwarp builds up a charge as if it is travelling the LY distances it can in a low gravity region.

Long before it achieves a real universe velocity that even gets close to a small fraction of c you have a choice - discharge in a gravity well or risk explosion. Your chance of drive explosion increases exponentially the longer you go past the discharge limit.

This ties in with my theory of why stutterwarps build up such explosive potential in the first place.
IIRC, the tantalum coils don't explode if the range limits are exceded, they just decay quickly and irradiate the whole ship, killing al lthe crew (and bing left useless), but I havenever read in the rules that they explode.

Nonetheless, as you're not the first one (and some of you with extensive 2300AD knowledge) to tell or hint they explode, could you please tell me where it is said they do?
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Old December 14th, 2018, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by McPerth View Post
I guess it would work, if you avoid your ship to be disintegrated in the atmosphere reentry.
If the ship gets in the atmosphere, it's well within the Wall: the stutterwarp can't get it out and the ship will crash.

Quote:
Those are, IMHO the main limitation to use a ship this way as MDW. This does not avoid, though, to be used as a kamikaze with a fission or fusión plant working (if it has so, as most comercial ships work on MHD power plants), nor to carry (as an example) steel ingots or balls (that I guess could reach the surface, albeit dimished in size due to atmosphere friction) to be released at those speeds, producing less damage tan a full ship, but that equivalent to small meteorites (even more, as their speed could be higher) along a large área if they are released as "shotgun pellets", so to say...
Outside of large military ships and very large commercial ships, I don't think any other starship uses a nuclear plant, and if pirates or terrorists steal one of those, someone *will* notice and the search for it will be extensive.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon C View Post
If the ship gets in the atmosphere, it's well within the Wall: the stutterwarp can't get it out and the ship will crash.
I'm afraid ither I did not explain myself well or I dont understad you well...

I meant for the final crash. You mount up your speed for some months at a uninhabited system, they you fly your ship to your target, that will likely have atmosphere, and then the likely effect, 2300AD ships being as they are, is that the ship will disintegrate in atmosphere.

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Outside of large military ships and very large commercial ships, I don't think any other starship uses a nuclear plant, and if pirates or terrorists steal one of those, someone *will* notice and the search for it will be extensive.
I'm not sure nuclear power plants are so rare in 2300AD setting. See that fuel cells or MHD ships have quite short autonomies, and wilderness refuelling, while not unheard about, is rare.

A ship not expected to move along settled space, as an esplorer ship, would be likely to be nuclear powered, as both fission and fusión power plants have quite longer autonomies, and the missing of such a ship (that use to perform long exploration trips) will not be so noticed...
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Old December 14th, 2018, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McPerth View Post
I'm afraid ither I did not explain myself well or I dont understad you well...
Sorry, I misunderstood you.


Quote:
I'm not sure nuclear power plants are so rare in 2300AD setting. See that fuel cells or MHD ships have quite short autonomies, and wilderness refuelling, while not unheard about, is rare.

A ship not expected to move along settled space, as an esplorer ship, would be likely to be nuclear powered, as both fission and fusión power plants have quite longer autonomies, and the missing of such a ship (that use to perform long exploration trips) will not be so noticed...
I don't have Star Cruiser, so I don't know what the size and cost of nuclear plants are in the GDW version.

In MgT 2300AD, the smallest fusion plant is nearly double the size of a Thorez and costs more than 4x as much. The smallest fission plant is about a third the size of a Thorez and costs half as much as that ship.
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Old December 14th, 2018, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon C View Post
I don't have Star Cruiser, so I don't know what the size and cost of nuclear plants are in the GDW version.

In MgT 2300AD, the smallest fusion plant is nearly double the size of a Thorez and costs more than 4x as much. The smallest fission plant is about a third the size of a Thorez and costs half as much as that ship.
Neither do I have Star Cruiser, but the Killiecrankie ship shown in Challenge #37 was not told as a large ship, and was nonetheless fission powered (precisely due to the need for endurance).

When I tried to convert it to MgT 2300AD, it could be done as a 600 dton ship, so far from the largest merchant or military ships...

And, also for MgT 2300AD, my own designed jump frame, when not carrying any interface module, is 400 dton, and equiped with a fission plant large enough to power it at decdent Warp Efficiendy when carrying all 8 ones, and so being 2000 dtons... See the different perfromances of both desings, the one in the OP, MHD powered. and the redesign in post#5, fission powered.

In fact, once you need a power plant sized M or more, the Fission one is quite more efficient, as in 70 dtons you have it with quite long endurance, while an MHD would need 26 dtons just to fuel it for a day, so, even descounting the mass of the power plant itself, 3 days of endurance use more volume than the fission plant itself...
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