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Old October 5th, 2020, 06:11 AM
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Default Shugushaag (600Td J5 Freighter, LBB2 2nd Ed.)

This is a re-visit of one of the “Book 2 Loophole” ships I’d posted a while back. Basically, this is the “Prize in the Starship Category” awarded for achieving TL-13 under LBB2. (TL-12 enables Jump-5 in a 400Td hull, but with no significant payload.)

The Shugushaag (Vilani: “Logistics Management”) series of ships was a boondoggle from the start. Collace/District 268 (SM1237) started building 24 of these 600Td J-5 ships to curry favor with the Third Imperium during the False War. The intent was to demonstrate TL-13 Collace’s value as a potential Imperial world by building J-5 ships (normally TL-14) and donating them to the Imperial forces. None were finished before the end of the war. Eighteen were completed, with the Imperium accepting only six. None of them are economically viable at standard cargo and passage rates, requiring either heavy subsidies, charters, or consistently high-profit speculative cargo. The design is obsolete at TL-14 when high-efficiency J-5 Jump Drives and Power Plants become available [i.e. that’s when HG construction rules allow J-5].

There were three variants of the design. These are a Merchant, a Yacht, and an Escort. The Escort is similar to the other two but has 4 or 5G acceleration instead of 2G (depends on design rules and purpose – more on that later), heavier armament, and limited cargo capacity (or none, dependent on design rules). All are built under LBB2 Second Edition rules except as noted.

Distant Merchant (Type M5): Using a non-standard 600-ton hull, the Distant Merchant is a long-range cargo transport. It has a Jump Drive-Q, Maneuver Drive-F, and Power Plant-Q, giving performance of Jump-5 and 2-G acceleration. There is fuel tankage for 350 tons, sufficient for the power plant and one Jump-5. Adjacent to the bridge is a computer Model/5. There are ten staterooms and eight low berths. One triple turret is installed, armed with a missile launcher, beam laser, and a sandcaster. There are two other hardpoints, each with one ton set aside for turret installation. There are no ship’s vehicles. Cargo capacity is 41 tons plus two tons storage space at the unused hardpoints. Two staterooms are available for passengers. The hull is streamlined.
The Distant Merchant requires a crew of eight: pilot, navigator, gunner, medic, and four engineers. Up to two more gunners may be employed if additional turrets are mounted; they occupy the passenger staterooms. The ship costs MCr408.2 individually and takes 24 months to build.

Distant Yacht (Type Y5): Using a non-standard 600-ton hull, the Distant Yacht is a noble’s luxury transport for long-range diplomatic or commercial missions. It has a Jump Drive-Q, Maneuver Drive-F, and Power Plant-Q, giving performance of Jump-5 and 2-G acceleration. There is fuel tankage for 350 tons, sufficient for the power plant and one Jump-5. Adjacent to the bridge is a computer Model/5. There are nineteen staterooms, of which eleven are for crew while two are combined into an owner’s suite; this allows seven more passengers at high-passage standards. Three triple turrets are installed, one armed with missile launchers, one with beam lasers, and one with sandcasters. One armored and pressurized Grav-Limo is carried (stats and costs as GCarrier, its “weapon” is a countermeasures dispenser). There is no cargo capacity. The hull is streamlined.
The Distant Yacht requires a crew of eleven: pilot, navigator, medic, four engineers, three gunners, and a steward. The ship costs MCr413.5 individually and takes 24 months to build.

Note: The point of the Type Y5 is not luxury -- though it's nicely-appointed -- but to demonstrate that the owner is from a world that can build a Jump-5 ship. In the technology-stratified OTU, this is a significant point of honor.

Variant: Distant Liner (Type L5)
: Same as Distant Yacht, with the following changes: Delete the limousine, add two staterooms, delete two turrets (and their gunners), split the owner’s suite back into two staterooms, add a second steward; all crew is in double-occupancy. This allows 16 high passengers and 2 tons of cargo. Cost is 2MCr less than the Distant Yacht.

Variant: Distant Scout (Type S5): Same as Distant Yacht, with the following changes: Delete the limousine, delete four staterooms, add one Air/Raft, add one 10Td Dory (see below). Delete the steward position. Depending on mission, reduce armament to 1 triple turret MLS and eliminate two gunners. Ship has 10 tons cargo capacity, no less than 2 (and up to 6) of which are occupied by small-craft alternate mission equipment. Cost with all three turrets armed is MCr5.5 higher than Distant Yacht.
Carried Craft: Dory: Using a 10-ton (needle) hull, the Dory has 3-G acceleration, 1 ton of fuel, seats 2 including the pilot, and can carry 4Td of cargo[1] or eight passengers[2] or two modular small-craft staterooms[3]. It has a Model/1 computer[4] in place of a small craft bridge and has three fixed-mount sandcasters[5]. The craft costs MCr8.6, plus MCr0.3 for the modular cabins and seating. It is TL-13.
Notes:
[1] Specifically, an Air/Raft will fit.
[2] 8 Ea. Demountable seats occupy 2 tons when stored outside of craft.
[3] 2 Ea. Modular cabins occupy 4 tons when stored outside of craft.
[4] Treat as Model/0 for combat purposes.
[5] There is insufficient power for energy weapons. Sandcaster dispensers can also launch drones or cubesats (if so loaded).
(The Dory was designed under High Guard Second Edition.)

Distant Escort (Type E5): Using a non-standard 600-ton hull, the Distant Escort is a long-range protector for the Distant Yacht. It has a Jump Drive-Q, Maneuver Drive-Q, and Power Plant-Q, giving performance of Jump-5 and 5-G acceleration. There is fuel tankage for 350 tons, sufficient for the power plant and one Jump-5. Adjacent to the bridge is a computer Model/5. There are fourteen staterooms. Six triple turrets are installed; one is armed with beam lasers, two with missile launchers, three with sandcasters. There are no ship’s vehicles. Cargo capacity is 10 tons. The hull is streamlined.
The Distant Escort requires a crew of fourteen: pilot, navigator, six gunners, medic, and four engineers. The ship costs MCr449.6 individually and takes 24 months to build.

In operation, the Distant Yacht is accompanied by two Distant Escorts. When the ships are not in Jump or under planetary defenses, the Yacht’s passengers transfer to the Escorts (split between the two, with the host crews double-bunking to make room) and return to the Yacht before Jump or disembarkation. This transfer is kept confidential; mostly for operational security, but partly because the accommodations are déclassé and it would be embarrassing if it became common knowledge.

If the High Guard combat system is being used, the Distant Escort will have a Size M maneuver Drive (4G) and Armor 2. Crew except captain are in double-occupancy, and add 1.5 staterooms so there’s room to accommodate 4 passengers if everyone including the captain is in double-occupancy. There is no cargo space. This version is 4G, Agility=4. Missiles: 1Btty4, Laser: 1Btty3, Sand: 1Btty6 (one sand launcher is “wasted” under HG stats). This version costs MCr2.75 more than the LBB2-only variant.

If the HG version is not built for use as an escort for the Distant Yacht, delete the 1.5 extra staterooms and make it 5G (but still Agility=4). This version costs MCr14.75 more than the LBB2-only variant.

If High Guard construction rules are allowed, each of these ships are MCr 12 less expensive as they use “flattened sphere” hulls instead of the generic “streamlined” LBB2 hull. Specifically, these ships look like giant over-inflated guitar picks (it’s actually a composite of semi-spheroids but that’s a decent visual shorthand for the shape).

That’s the background justification and LBB2 descriptions of the Shugushaag series. I’ll follow up with some details and use cases (both in-universe and from a referee’s perspective).

Last edited by Grav_Moped; October 5th, 2020 at 07:40 AM..
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Old October 5th, 2020, 06:51 AM
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First detail: No, Collace shouldn't be able to build them, as they only have a Class B Starport. On the other hand, the world is Industrial, and under High Guard a planetary navy can build ships on their home world using their own resources regardless of whether a starport is present.

The Shugushaag ships are therefore domestic naval production. One consequence of this is that their Jump Drives and Power Plants are hardened to operate with unrefined fuel. It also means that they may (referee option) still have miltary/scout grade sensor suites.

Annual overhauls may be available on Collace (despite the starport class) as long as this class is still in service with the planetary navy. Current plans are to retire them 20 years after the (1105IE) start of gameplay.

Last edited by Grav_Moped; October 5th, 2020 at 07:52 AM..
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Old October 5th, 2020, 07:08 AM
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Second detail:

Hull shape and dimensions of the "puffy guitar pick" hull:
The nominal "flattened sphere" is an asymmetric ellipsoid: the aft end is half of a 2:1 prolate spheroid, tangent to the front half, which is half of an ellipsoid that is 4:2:1.

In less technical terms, the back end is an American Football sliced in half lengthwise. The front end is a bigger one, but squished almost flat before being sliced in half width-wise. The open face of the slice is an ellipse, which is exactly the same shape as the open face of the back half. Stick 'em together and you have the hull shape.

The primary hull is 36.25m long, 28m wide, and 14.5m tall.
Primary hull volume as described above is 578.6 Td. That's 96.4% of 600Td: 21.4Td short. (Make it up by hanging 20Td of the drive bay out the back, or just assume that the massive drives make the average density of the ship higher so the overall volume is smaller than you'd expect for a typical ship).

Decks are parallel to the flattest dimension (it's not a tail-sitter).
Atmospheric entry is typically tail-first, riding the drives down then rotating flat for landing on grav lifters.
Takeoff is by hovering on the grav lifters, then rotating nose-up before accelerating.

The hull shape could also be described as a "cone" or "wedge", but shouldn't be. The idea here is that at TL-13, the engineers couldn't get fancy with the Jump Field for J-5 -- no sharp edges, nothing too skinny, no wings, fins, strakes, or other fiddly bits. This was as just as far away from "sphere" as they could manage with any sort of confidence, and it looks... uninspiring.

That's fine for a merchant or escort, but mildly embarrassing as a Yacht design. Which is ok, since it's not meant to look impressive, but to be impressive. ("Can your world build a Jump-5 ship? No? Didn't think so.")

Also, the Merchant and Yacht variants are quite similar. The Yacht's limousine bay door is the Merchant's cargo bay door, and the passenger accommodations are in the space that's the Merchant's cargo hold.

Last edited by Grav_Moped; October 5th, 2020 at 07:53 AM..
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Old October 5th, 2020, 09:36 PM
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Out-of-Universe purposes and notes:
- Provides usable (though not inherently profitable) J-5 capability at TL-13.
- This is helpful if you don’t want TL-14 around for other reasons (i.e., to reserve a technological edge to the hegemonic polity).
- It's useful if you need a concrete example differentiating TL-13 from TL-12.
- In a universe (or polity) that doesn’t have TL-14, it can be a prototype.
- Provides a ship with a large potential NPC crew if needed for narrative purposes.
- Provides an unprofitable ship with heavy maintenance demands, which may be useful for narrative purposes.
Also, the Merchant version was in part a result of needing a ship with a large engineering crew to be killed off by Low Berth revival-roll failures over the span of a few years while awaiting rescue from mis-jump. (That's also why it has 8 Low Berths -- they could be deleted to regain 4Td cargo if desired.) If that ship was rescued, the owner would probably seek out TL-15 Imperial Navy Surplus Frozen Watch Low Berths, which would have a much higher survival rate than the standard ones. This could also be a either a plot point or a MacGuffin for a scenario.
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Old October 5th, 2020, 09:43 PM
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Other observations:
- J5 capability means it can outrun XBoat news but not secret Imperial communications.
- J5 is faster than J4 for distances of 5, 9-10, 13-15, and 17-up parsecs.
o Alternatively, J4 is no slower than J5 for distances of 1-4, 6-8, 11-12, and 16.
o Likewise, J3 is no slower than J5 for distances of 1-3 and 6.
o Use cases based on speed are focused on those specific distances.
o Side note: J5 is no slower than J6 for distances of 1-5, 7-11, 13-15.
- There is no valid economic case for it under standard cargo rules. It might be able to survive on speculation, charters, or with a subsidy.
o In rift zones where the alternative is over-tanked double-jumping (J3 then J2) or drop tanks, it may be viable – but this is outside normal cargo rules.
o It will not be built in quantity for commercial purposes except for rift speculative trading where TL-14 is not available.
o The Scouts would want them for rift or long-distance exploration. They can be maintained at lower Tech Levels, and don't risk exposing cutting-edge Imperial technology if lost
- It’s a High Tech Space Concorde. Fast but impractical.
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Old October 5th, 2020, 09:55 PM
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Scenarios you could use the Shugushaags for:
- Running away from…
- Adversaries with subsector-scope reach
- Bad news (not Imperial-level issues, though -- they have J6 and it will catch up if you can't get out of the Imperium altogether in time)
- Rushing toward…
- Something distant where time is of the essence
- A known safe location at great distance
- Ship is the only available independent (non-Imperial) J5, and you need J5 capability.
- “Independent” is relative, since it's likely tied covertly to some government or corp (in this write-up, it'd be Collace -- adapt as needed).
- Diplomatic mission, with or without Escorts.
- Recovery of missing example
- Trade pioneering (Leviathan on a budget) -- you might want to bring an Escort version along just in case...
- Rift exploration (Scouts?) while not wanting to expose TL-14 assets
- Exploration of something specific but far away
- The Escort version could be a nifty pirate-hunter if the weapon loadout was reconfigured for a bit more offensive capability (they're intentionally sandcaster-heavy, designed to survive and escape rather than specifically to defeat adversaries).
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Old February 9th, 2021, 02:10 PM
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Bringing this post over here for completeness
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grav_Moped View Post
Returning to the Tech Level boost from building ships as though Collace actually had a Class A starport...

(Paraphrasing, mostly)
TL 13 Collace built ships [using the LBB2 exceptions to LBB5 TL constraints] for the 4th Frontier War that were effectively TL14 (Shugushaags) and TL15 (6Boats), though the latter cut fuel and life-support margins to unacceptable levels (this is the in-universe representation of "heavily-disputed rules-lawyering" -- it works, but just barely, and it's not sustainable)..

So while they definitely hit TL14 (for starship construction) during the period they were building the Shugushaag series, the 6Boats didn't mean they had TL15.

What this means is that once they'd built and flown the Shugs, they could then replicate them at TL14 and make the originals obsolete. The next step, to build J5 ships of any arbitrarily chosen size, wasn't taken because Collace renounced indigenous starship construction shortly thereafter.

Without a starport that built and maintained starships, Collace lost the associated TL modifier to the UWP value and reverted to TL13.
(end paraphrasing)



Now I have to write up the orphaned TL14 Shug IIs with the TL14 drive upgrades. Only the drive bay size and fuel tanks change (smaller by 11Td and 20Td, respectively). It'd need a fuel refinery (4Td at TL14) so on net it gains 27Td payload. Crew size is unchanged.

The cost per payload ton decreased by a third while only costing 1/8 more. Not bad. Pity they stopped building them...

And Collace no longer has the tech to support them.
The main reason for this class of ship is that I'm meta-gaming. TL14 makes the TL13 Shugushaag class obsolete, except perhaps the escort variants because LBB5 maneuver drives are so much larger than in LBB2. I mostly want to show how the step from TL13 to TL14 in a "Both-And" (LBB2+LBB5) universe affects ship design.

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Old February 9th, 2021, 04:07 PM
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Default TL14 Variants

Having established that the TL14 upgrades free up 27Td at a cost of MCr52.03 (individual cost of a basic Shug II is MCr459.228), the improved versions are:

Distant Merchant: 68Td cargo instead of 41Td.
It costs MCr52.03 more than the TL13 version.

Distant Yacht: Add a 20Td 6G Fast Launch (MCr7.4 individually, 9Td unused space -- this is a HG2 TL14 design) and 7Td cargo.

The Fast Launch can carry the yacht's Grav Limo unless the Launch is refitted with both weapons and a computer.
It costs MCr59.43 more than the TL13 version.

Distant Liner: Add 6 staterooms and 3Td cargo. It can now carry 22 passengers, (16 High, 6 Low). Alternately, it can carry up to 21 High Passengers if an additional steward is employed (and occupying one of the staterooms).
It costs MCr55.03 more than the TL13 version.

Distant Scout: Stretch the carried Dory small craft to 12Td (which adds MCr0.2 to its cost, but doesn't affect performance). The remainder of the additional 25Td additional cargo (for a total of 35Td, less the Dory's modular seats and cabins) is used for mission-related equipment and supplies.
Such equipment may include a second stretched Dory with its modular seating and cabins, another Air/Raft, and/or additional staterooms for mission specialists (this isn't included in the price).
It costs MCr54.68 more than the TL13 version.

Distant Escort: (Based on the High Guard combat rules version, above): 4G, Agility 4. Armor is Factor 4, not 2 (upgrade to TL 14-15 armor, but 1/2% less of it). Add 3Td cargo. [Edit: needed those 3Td to accommodate the Maneuver Drive upgrade.]
It costs MCr78 more than the TL13 version, or MCr80.75 more than the LBB2 combat rules version.


Note that this is mostly just changing the drives and adding a TL 14 fuel refinery. I'm not applying volume discounts, and they all use LBB2 streamlined hulls (using HG "Flattened Sphere" configuration instead would save MCr12 for each design). This is a TL 14 HG vs TL 13 LBB2 comparison; the HG versions can't be built at TL 13 in HG because of the Jump-5 drives.

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Old February 10th, 2021, 12:59 AM
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And once they couldn't maintain them any longer (because they'd shut down the shipyard, and their best techs and engineers left for greener pastures* at Glisten/Glisten), they sold off the few Series II ships they built. This all happened about 20 years ago (1086 IE).

The Yacht and pair of Escorts couldn't be kept because a major reason for the Shug series is that Collace does all the maintenance in-house for security reasons. Sending them to Glisten/Glisten for overhauls means Imperial technicians would be working on -- and in -- them for two weeks a year, providing ample opportunities to install surveillance equipment and snoop through the ships' logs. And since 3I tech is 2TLs higher than Collace's, they might be able to sneak stuff aboard that could evade their detectors. It's not that they don't trust the 3I, exactly, but... you know how it is.

The Duke of Glisten bought the set for his daughter to use on diplomatic errands. [I'm assuming he has an adult daughter, but don't know if this is canon.]

The others, well -- ok, even the TL 14 versions were a boondoggle; they just lose money at 2/3 the rate of the TL 13 ones. But at least if they're maintained on Collace, that's Cr400,000/year into the local economy each (and a cool half-mil for the Escorts!). Once that revenue stream goes away, Collace as such would rather keep the classic ones around. Besides, if you're buying ships from Glisten, why settle for TL 14 when they can build at TL 15 cheaper and with even more payload?

The IISS bought one Merchant and one Liner for conversion into Distant Scouts, to go with the Classic Shugushaag Scouts they already had.
Spoiler:
The Liner was actually an Escort model built as a Q-ship and registered as a Liner. The Scouts use it for particularly risky long-range missions.

The Imperial Navy would be annoyed if they knew about this -- armed reconnaissance is their turf!

The financier megacorp Hortalez et Cie bought two Liners. They haven't been seen in the Rim-Spinward part of the Marches lately.

The three remaining Merchants were trading somewhere in the Outrim Void, last anyone checked.





*Metaphorically speaking. Glisten/Glisten is an asteroid belt and doesn't have pastures as such.

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Old February 10th, 2021, 01:22 AM
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And again, from an out-of-universe perspective the TL 14 versions aren't terribly special or interesting ships. Jump-5, 2G, 600Td -- you want those specs, build it with High Guard, and this is what you get. And there's no particular reason to pick 600Td.

They're only interesting in the context of the LBB2 "loophole" Jump-5 600-tonners, and that ties into the story of TL 13 Collace's bright and shining moment of TL 14.
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