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Old March 6th, 2012, 01:36 AM
Carlobrand Carlobrand is offline
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Default MegaTrav Fighter patrols

So I'm beginning to take a look at MegaTraveller. I'm certain they could have made it more complicated if they really worked at it.

A lot of it is derivative of High Guard - a few changes, but no great trouble there. Some interesting new ideas. At any rate, I'm looking particularly at the sensor rules. Much complexity, but if I begin from the assumption that any space navy worth it's salt is going to have the most effective sensing equipment they can manage, then it looks like it boils down to this:
*Everyone (military) has an Active Object Scan of 7+ and a Active Object Pin of 7+ - just the lower tech folk have to spend a bit more for the privilege. That's vulnerable to jamming, but jamming seems to light you up for the energy scan.
*Passive Object Scan/Pin ranges from 15+ at TL10 to 7+ at TL15. Seems like the densitometer's really only practical around TL14+.
*Most everyone has a Passive Energy Scan of 7+; the TL14-15 folk have a Passive Energy Scan of 3+. This can be rendered less effective by EM Masking (you are treated as if you're a size smaller - it's equivalent to a -2 penalty), but not if the person with the masking is banging away with his active array. Passive Energy Pin ranges from 15+ at TL10 to 7+ at TL15; again only really practical around TL14+.
*Positive modifiers exist for skill and education characteristic (a piece of it, anyway). Negative modifiers exist for range (in 25 thousand Km units).

Now, if I assume the average sensor tech has an average education (less than 10) and at least a skill of 2, then in most cases the maximum range of detection (requiring a roll of 12 on 2d6) is about 150 thousand Km (6 range bands) for fighter-size/output craft, 200 thousand Km (8 range bands) for roughly destroyer-size/output craft, and 250 thousand Km (10 range bands) for anything bigger. Movement rules allow changes of one range band per g-rating, so a 6-g attacking fleet could conceivably close from extreme range to near range very quickly unless the defender was also fast and sought to maintain range.

All of that leads up to this: if I'm a fleet admiral facing these rules, I'm going to put out an inner perimeter guard of destroyers and an outer perimeter of fighters, far enough out that my main fleet assets won't suffer from any surprise. Since each craft rolls for sensors, a squadron of fighters has a better chance of spotting out at extreme range than one or two ships - and conversely they'll be harder for the enemy to spot, so they've got a fair chance of warning me and withdrawing safely. (And if they get caught, I haven't lost much.) The enemy will likely do the same - lead with squadrons of harder-to-spot fighters - in this case, hoping to destroy my fighters or prompt them to withdraw before they can gain any useful intelligence about the rest of his fleet.

So: 1) do I understand that right, and 2) does the game mechanic allow for such layered defenses?
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