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Old March 24th, 2013, 04:53 PM
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Default Round Trip?

I could never understand why Traveller ship design didn't allow for ships to travel from point A to point B and back again without a fuel scoop?
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Old March 24th, 2013, 04:57 PM
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Perhaps because it required too many tonnage tied up with fuel, and this tonnage is better used in payload (armor/weaponry and such if military, cargo and passengers if merchant).

See that at some jump capabilities, this is outright imposible, as you'd need more than your volume for fuel to have round trip capacity (except in MT, where jump fuel needs are lower).
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Old March 24th, 2013, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Rigel Stardin View Post
I could never understand why Traveller ship design didn't allow for ships to travel from point A to point B and back again without a fuel scoop?
The problem is the volume based nature of the jump drive and it's fuel. You can easily design a ship that can do a Jump 3 round trip. A J4 round trip is more difficult, as you simply have less and less to work with. And a J5-6 is impossible. (Note, TNE uses completely different numbers -- you can get enough fuel for a round trip J6 in a ship in TNE.)

But predominant reason you don't need to do that is the same reason I can drive my car from Southern California to San Francisco and back without needing to have a 1000 mile internal range. They have gas stations in San Francisco. (That's not just hearsay, I've been there and checked myself!)

When you have an infrastructure that supports it, you can delegate more responsibilities to it. Wilderness refueling is just such an infrastructure. Considering the expense of moving volume through jump, plus the expense in terms of time of comparing short jumps to long jumps, combine with the relatively "cheap" capabilities of wilderness refueling, no wonder ships are designed for one way trips.

The only place this is an actual problem is for the military and exploration. Not so much for civilian traffic in a populated arm of space.
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Old March 24th, 2013, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rigel Stardin View Post
I could never understand why Traveller ship design didn't allow for ships to travel from point A to point B and back again without a fuel scoop?
I deal with it in two ways in MTU.

One is reduce the fuel for Jump by half, and then I have enough for round trips using the standard tankage.

The other is figure that in established areas, a one-way fuel trip is not a problem, similar to modern aircraft refueling at every stop. Ships that need the round trip ability pay a lot more for more efficient Jump Drives which allow for the round trips. This way, I get a lot more distinction between military and civilian ships, as military ships typically need the round-trip ability.
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Old March 24th, 2013, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by timerover51 View Post
I deal with it in two ways in MTU.

One is reduce the fuel for Jump by half, and then I have enough for round trips using the standard tankage.

The other is figure that in established areas, a one-way fuel trip is not a problem, similar to modern aircraft refueling at every stop. Ships that need the round trip ability pay a lot more for more efficient Jump Drives which allow for the round trips. This way, I get a lot more distinction between military and civilian ships, as military ships typically need the round-trip ability.
I like this. Another alternative (with the half jump fuel usage) is that military and scout vessels have tankage as designed (and therefor round trip capability) but that many civilian freighters and liners can cut their tankage down and have more cargo capacity, as they only travel to systems where they can buy fuel. Frontier tramp freighters may also go with tankage as designed, since they may need it for the return trip. A neat way of handling this while still being able to use a lot of published designs.
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Old March 24th, 2013, 11:58 PM
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Terrestrial airplanes and ships generally don't - why, generally speaking, would a starship need to carry fuel for a round trip? Hydrogen is ubiquitous - and a trade vessel certainly wouldn't waste the space...
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Old March 25th, 2013, 01:33 AM
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I like this. Another alternative (with the half jump fuel usage) is that military and scout vessels have tankage as designed (and therefor round trip capability) but that many civilian freighters and liners can cut their tankage down and have more cargo capacity, as they only travel to systems where they can buy fuel. Frontier tramp freighters may also go with tankage as designed, since they may need it for the return trip. A neat way of handling this while still being able to use a lot of published designs.
Why not cut everything by half price as well? Makes the goods cheaper and traders can get more profits more easily.

I never quite understood the rationale behind trying to change the "physics" of the rule system, the foundational fundamentals that the "universe" is based upon.

One could argue that the current Free Traders exists AT ALL because of the "one way trip" design using the current mechanics, otherwise they wouldn't have the free space necessary to carry much of anything. With a "1/2 price" fuel load, the 200 Ton trade is no longer the bastion of skin-of-my-teeth sustainability, rather it will be a 125-150 ton trader that will be ubiquitous. Why? Because it's CHEAPER than a 200 ton trader. A more efficient entry level ship than a 200 ton with all that extra space. The 200 ton trader wouldn't exist for the same reason the 250-300 ton trader doesn't exist now. You don't need that extra capacity to spend extra capital upon up front in order to get by and make a profit (the economics of trading with a 200 ton ship is for another thread entirely).

When you have something like the Traveller universe, changing the foundations of the system has consequences. Round tripping battle fleets are a much different doctrine than what they have today, where penetration raids are risky and expensive, where running away is less of option. Your border areas suddenly got much deeper, as now the enemy can travel twice as far in 2 weeks than it could before -- without refueling. Tanker trains are MUCH more viable than before. The Rift may not even be a rift at all any more. Oh goody, here come the Aslan, arriving at Core quite early.

So, anyway, be careful what you wish for.
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Old March 25th, 2013, 01:49 AM
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So, anyway, be careful what you wish for.
Good points, also. Hmm.
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Old March 25th, 2013, 05:31 AM
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All I’m trying to point out here is early star travel is hinder by the rule set provide by the game. Traveller assumes at the point a races is ready to start expansion key elements are in place for round trips to take place. When in fact, most of the time those elements are missing in real world scenarios. The moon landing would have been delayed by years had we taken the outlook present to us by Traveller. The discovery that the moon had water would spur exploration. Columbus’s voyage would have been seen as a failure without the means of returning to Spain. The belief that the world was flat would have continued for centuries without the sail.

The Traveller setting makes the idea of a one way trip possible because there is a refueling point in (almost) every system. People who play a non-Traveller setting come up with ways to bypass this. I point this out because, exploration and hostile neighbor scenarios don’t fare well under the Traveller rule set. That is why people bend the rules.

In exploration scenarios Traveller makes races wait until fuel scoops technology is available before a race can start expansion. In reality, mankind would make ships that carried extra fuel for the return trip or come up with a better way to power their ships or make them more fuel efficient. The point of exploration is to get there and back, returning home would prove that it was possible and to report your findings. A one way trip to another world would be meaningless without the information they would bring back.

In the hostile neighbor scenario, ships without fuel scoops would end up in enemy territory without a way to return. Tankers would be more important than battleships because without them there would be no way your force could return to friendly territory without them. Even under a trade scenario with hostile neighbors, all the trade federation has to do is cut off your ability to refuel and that would end your crews’ chance of returning to friendly space.

Timerover51, Whartung and Bytepro also make good points as well.
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Old March 25th, 2013, 06:06 AM
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The biggest headache the one-way rules cause is for exploration and space combat. Just about every air wargame rules out one-way suicide missions, except those that cover World War 2 Japan, as people simply will not perform them in large groups.

Halving the fuel requirement for jump frees up more cargo space for ships on regular routes, which does make it easier to pay the bills. For those who say that this makes the game easier, I have also boosted maintenance costs and require insurance if a ship is carrying cargo and/or passengers. As a GM you need to know how to give with one hand and take away with the other. As I go with a small ship universe, it makes it easier for a Free Trader or Far Trader to survive, and provide some fun.

Making the Jump Drive more efficient but also more expensive does differentiate ship types more, and make military ships quite a bit more expensive.
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