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  #1  
Old January 18th, 2019, 11:25 AM
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Default Stellar Masking

I was reading Timerover's question IN THIS THREAD, and it made me think of something that is often ignored in CT. Stellar Masking.

Building on Timerover's question...

Isn't it possible that a certain route--a jump between two worlds--becomes economically non-viable due to the stellar masking?




If you've got a starting point where it takes several days or more to reach a point where the ship is outside of the 100 diameter limit of the system's star AND outside of the same limit from one of the system's bodies (could be a different planet than the main world), and the destination system is similar, then you could be tacking on one to two weeks MORE to the trip to that world.

Life Support costs are 1,000 Cr per person per week.

This could also eat up your Power Plant fuel pretty quickly.





STELLAR MASKING

I guess there's no way to really easily refer to stellar masking in the game. The easiest way, I would think, is to figure the system's star (stars), and then use Book 6 to determine the distance to the habital zone and compare that to 100 x the star's diameter. That way, you can figure an orbit number that gives you a playable rule of thumb showing what part of the system is masked by the star.





FROM A GAME PERSPECTIVE

This might be the very reason that players risk a misjump in a game, jumping within the star's 100 diam limit (and heaven forbid if they jump within 10 diams of the star).
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Old January 18th, 2019, 11:35 AM
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Because star systems are not all orbiting on the same plane like the teacup ride at Disney, stellar masking remains a plot device.
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Old January 18th, 2019, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by GypsyComet View Post
Because star systems are not all orbiting on the same plane like the teacup ride at Disney, stellar masking remains a plot device.
If you map the system, as is done with Book 6, then you know the star's diameter and the distance from the star to all the system's worlds.

See page 56 of Book 6. It wouldn't be that hard to draw a line to show what part of the system was masked.

Elliptical orbits, where part of the orbit takes the world outside of the star's masking would be rare and close to that line drawn. (And, this would be a pretty cool thing to put into a game, where a world has a season outside of the stellar masking.)

Habital Zones aren't usually that wide, when speaking of orbits.

MT's SOM has a nifty chart for rolling near-side/far-side positions (which can just about double time in normal space operations sometimes).
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Old January 18th, 2019, 11:54 AM
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It would be interesting to take an official subsector, like the Aramis subsector from TTA, and look at system, defining the stellar masking of each.

I wonder how it would change the adventure.
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Old January 18th, 2019, 02:12 PM
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Is it worth the effort though? If you have an adventure in mind where the players are going to be doing something during the real space journey from the stellar 100D limit to the mainworld fair enough.

But if all you are doing is saying it takes an extra few hours to get from jump point to world and you are glossing over the additional travel time is it worth the added complexity?

Perhaps one of the reasons for all of those mainworlds built on rockballs is that they are the best place to put the starport, the rest of the system is being exploited for resources by insystem craft. Ther could even be a garden world 'deeper in the well', but the resource exploitation and factories are on the rockball beyond the stellar 100D limit.

Unless I am running an exploration or near future campaign I just ignore jump masking and reason that by the 57th century the mainworld you generate is the one that is most accessible in the system.
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Old January 18th, 2019, 10:13 PM
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If you map the system, as is done with Book 6, then you know the star's diameter and the distance from the star to all the system's worlds.
You can, but the easy version is that Inner worlds are almost always inside the stellar jump horizon, outer worlds are almost always outside of it, and Habitable orbit worlds vary according to plot need. Remember that for much of the CT run, star types were not provided.

From the other direction, it is also worth noting, again, that nearly all of Traveller's system generation processes assume that the orbital radii we see in our system are some sort of universal constant, which they are not.

But this misses my earlier point. Jump Masking by the star is most significant when the system of origin sees the target system edge-on so you have to go *around* the star to get to some subset of its worlds at any given moment. If real world astronomy is any indication, that's pretty rare.

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Originally Posted by Supplement Four View Post
It would be interesting to take an official subsector, like the Aramis subsector from TTA, and look at system, defining the stellar masking of each.

I wonder how it would change the adventure.
If we assume that radio works, the underlying premise of week-on week-off commerce is still viable, as you are calling brokers for loading and unloading as soon as your lag is acceptable, and using an email analog until then.

Looking at the 1116 stellar listing for Aramis via the wiki, there are relatively few Class M stars to gum up the habitable zone inside the stellar jump horizon, so the assumed travel times and panic departures do not appear to be hindered all that much.
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Old January 19th, 2019, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supplement Four View Post
It would be interesting to take an official subsector, like the Aramis subsector from TTA, and look at system, defining the stellar masking of each.

I wonder how it would change the adventure.
somebody made a list of mainworlds that are masked by their star in the Spinward Marches. its about 30 odd, and some of them are like 2 months from the jump limit at 1g.

given the non-linear way that travel time reduces at higher G rate, I am pretty sure some of those 66 days shadows would still be 7+ days deep even at 6g.
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Old January 19th, 2019, 10:34 AM
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I guess most (if not all) those worlds have some way of space station or any minor planet facility in the jump limit serving as main spaceport terminal, so that ships do not really rach the planet (unles they really need to) and can just load/unload caroes and passengers.

Once in this terminal, of course, fast shuttles take the cargoes or passengers to the planet.

Of course, this will afect their trade, as you need this extra time for any movement in/out the main planet.

Its effect on strategic plannning is also something to be counted on, as any fleet trying to attack th planet must stay in system for this long too, and risks being trapped there by reinformements arriving (as they may well need to stay over 2 weeks in system, time may be ample for them to be called and come). This also means that the population and SDBs have ample time ot ready for the incoming fleet...
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Old January 18th, 2019, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyComet View Post
Because star systems are not all orbiting on the same plane like the teacup ride at Disney, stellar masking remains a plot device.
I agree with this.

The overall point is valid, but the mechanics of calculating it, maintaining it, etc. aren't worth the value to the game.

If it were all automated, that could be different (then there's "no cost").

In the lifetime of the players, the systems are essentially fixed in place, the details are the relationships of the individual planet orbits and time of year as to whether the masking is a factor.

And in the end, I bet if you take two "earths", 180 deg out of phase, and just plotted them each month, you could easily get a chart as to whether the systems were masked or not. The variances of the orbits would not be enough to matter in the time span of a typical campaign. And once you have it for one set of planets, you can simply rotate the chart and have it similar for any other two planets.
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Old January 18th, 2019, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supplement Four View Post
Life Support costs are 1,000 Cr per person per week.
Just one punctualization: Life Support costs Cr 2000 per two weeks. While it may seem the same, as I read it, it means that you must pay the full Cr 2000 even if you only use the stateroom for 1 week.

Off course, this does not affect the rest of your reasoning, keeping it equally interesting.
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