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In My Traveller Universe Detail what parts of Traveller you do (or don't) use in your campaign.

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  #1  
Old July 21st, 2004, 11:01 AM
Evo Plurion Evo Plurion is offline
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What are your thoughts on manned space fighters vs unmanned, remote- or AI-piloted missiles and drones?

I'm thinking space fighters with pilots, cockpits, and life-support requirements might be a waste of money, space and human (or other) life.
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Old July 21st, 2004, 11:59 AM
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The answer depends on the ruleset being used.
In CT, with Book 2 combat and missile rules (or better yet, the special supplement missile rules) then fighters could be a real threat and could survive the combats.
In HG fighters are almost useless without adopting some house rules for linking fighters to group fire as a battery etc., and they die too easily if hit (hitting them's the problem ).
MT is similar to HG.
Fighters in TNE are very useful. They extend your sensor cover, their missiles are once again deadly and they can survive a few hits.
T4??? I've never used the ship combat system so I can't comment on this one.
GT??? Same as the above
T20 fighters become semi-useful (despite the HG based combat factors) because they can carry nuclear missiles, or fusion guns, or particle accelerators (or if the referee allows, a combination of the above), all of which can damage lightly armoured ships of whatever size. And with the critical hit rule fighters could cause a lot of damage.

I would always go for remote controlled fighters fitted with a robot brain for when the controller is jammed, or even have fully autonomous robot/drone fighters.
Why waste those highly trained and valuable pilots in death traps?
Plus you can put the space the crew would have used to much better use (more armour etc.).

The Imperium has a cultural bias against robots used like this, but other races (the Hivers and the K'kree) have adopted the concept fully.
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Old July 21st, 2004, 12:04 PM
Spyder_GS Spyder_GS is offline
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Fighters are possible. They would have to be small one man vehicles (or AI/drone) with heavy armament to be useful and have to be built in swarms.

I don't feel the OTU is particularly conducive to fighter combat, nor is the ship construction system. The existance of useful fighters would completely skew the entire combat doctrine of the universe. It would make pirates more viable. Making a change like this is very nearly making a change like altering the duration of Jumps. Shortening or lengthening it radically alters the communications and economy of the universe.

That said, I love the concept of fighters and have been slowly introducing them in my universe. The Imperium has a couple of fleet carriers to test the concept and the Zho are not far behind with their first prototype. If successful, it will dictate a major fleet redesign. Point defense will become much more important and navies will have to start building dedicated PD ships...

just my thoughts, hope it helps.

EDIT*** Sorry, I should mention that I use T20 with some minor input from Gurps Traveller.

EDIT again*** Life support isn't any more of an issue for space fighters than they are for scuba divers. You have an environment suit with a 4-6 hour endurance. Self contained. Cockpits are designed to accomodate the extra size. Fighters should not be long endurance vehicles. These craft aren't going to be jump capable so there is no reason to design long-term life support. Leave it out completely and make things simpler.
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Old July 21st, 2004, 12:27 PM
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Fighters were very much part of the small ship OTU paradigm. A 1000t jump3/4 warship could easily carry ten fighters, thus doubling its number of weapons. Plus the fighters can patrol independently of the mother-ship.

High Guard spoiled all that though
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Old July 21st, 2004, 12:44 PM
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Gotta have starfuries! Fighters make to much sense not to exist. Even if for only to prosecute sensor anomolies or scout ahead for the mother ship, it makes sense.
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Old July 21st, 2004, 01:01 PM
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I liked the way the fighters were used in the Battlestar Galactica mini series (the new one - not the one that gave us "Galactica Discovers Earth" ).
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Old July 21st, 2004, 01:03 PM
Andrew Boulton Andrew Boulton is offline
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They certainly have a place. You wouldn't use them against a capital ship, but they can certainly hurt anything smaller than a cruiser. They're cheap and fast, and excellent for scouting and anti-piracy.
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Old July 21st, 2004, 01:08 PM
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In HG fighters are almost useless without adopting some house rules for linking fighters to group fire as a battery etc., and they die too easily if hit (hitting them's the problem ).

Wasn't there a Challenge article about using meson communications to allow 4 or 5 fighters to salvo fire their missles at an attack factor of 7?
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Old July 21st, 2004, 01:33 PM
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Fighters by the rules:

For:
-It eliminates the "100 ton per hardpoint" ratio. The lets you multiply the offensive firepower of ship large enough to field many of them but too small to consider a large spinal mount (say 1000-10000 tons).
-In a universe with nuclear missiles, it pays to spread out your offensive capabilities.
-Fighters, like battle riders, don't have the overhead of starship system like jump drive, jump fuel, etc.

Against:
Unlike modern fighters, fighters in traveller can't go any faster than ships. This nullifies many of the reasons we use fighters today.

Other thoughts:
More generally, they can't mount high USP weapons, which makes well defended (i.e., capital) ships a tough nut to crack, but they are great force multipliers for smaller ships. I would think that this would mean more smaller carriers than we see in CT and MT.

In T20, weapon damage is a little more open ended since small fighters en masse have a better chance to harm big ships since they are not as sharply limited as they are in CT/MT. So it would make more sense to make big carriers in T20.

In either case, it's interesting that owing to the limitations on the potency of fighter weaponry, that battleship style warfare (i.e., spinal mounts) still makes sense.
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Old July 21st, 2004, 01:52 PM
Evo Plurion Evo Plurion is offline
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I should clarify: I didn't say that fighters wouldn't be useful. I said that manned fighters would be wasteful, given that unmanned drones or missiles could do everything a fighter does without risking life.
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