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Referee's Lounge Discussion of how to (and not to) Referee Traveller and Cepheus Engine games. No edition warring allowed.

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Old November 25th, 2019, 06:03 PM
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Default How to develop a vehicle design sequence

How do i develop a vehicle or equipment design sequence?

Any recommendations for learnimg how to do this?

Thanks
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Old November 25th, 2019, 07:10 PM
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There are three very different approaches that come to mind

Method 1 (GDW's approach for Striker): do a LOT of research, and work out reasonable formulae for how much of what does the thing. Then extrapolate forward. (this did, however, lead to mainframes on ship with the power of Apple III's.)

Method 2 (Marc's approach in t5): do a semi-abstract system that generates "good sounding" numbers that play well.

Method 3 (Firefly RPG, Serenity RPG): Built like a PC, with modifiers that work for the story approach.

There are hybrids of these, and maybe a few more core approaches.
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Old November 25th, 2019, 10:54 PM
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Method 2 is also represented by a Traveller design system published in Space Gamer. It has about the detail level of CT High Guard and about the same process.

Method 3 is also seen in the original Star Wars RPG, where fighters and ships use essentially the same mechanics as people.
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Old November 26th, 2019, 05:03 AM
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I will put in my "odd man out" views on developing a design sequence.

First, you need separate design sequences for ground, grav, aerial(non-grav), nautical, and space vehicles. No one sequence for all. Second, spend some time researching actual vehicles, and how they could be converted into Traveller-compatible versions. Look for common denominators, and do not forget to pay close attention to power requirements. Ignore Traveller rule requirements for space, and then see if you can come up with a sequence that will design, reasonably closely, actual vehicles.

Look at some cross-sections of actual vehicles that you are thinking of designing, and see how much room everything takes. If you are near a military museum or park, go take a look at the vehicles, and if you can, get inside of them. Generally, you will find that there is not a lot of excess room for people.

How early a Tech Level are you thinking of will be a factor as well. For nautical vehicles, Tech Level 4 is the steam era, and Tech Level 5 was also pretty much the steam era for high-powered ships. Steam plants require boilers, which take up a lot of space. Coal or oil fuel does likewise. Crew requirements for coal-fired ships were high as stokers and coal heavers were need to both feed the furnaces, and move the coal to bunkers adjacent to the furnaces.

Civilain vehicles are not going to have armor, and not all military vehicles are going to have armor. Armor does not take up volume so much as it adds a lot of weight to a design. For non-grav aircraft, armor should be quite limited and extend to the protection of the pilot, and maybe a bit to the engine.

There are books on naval archtecture online at archive.org which give a good idea of what goes into a ship design.

Edit Note: I should add that I am not a fan of design sequences.
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Old November 28th, 2019, 05:49 PM
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and you also need to determine why you are doing it: combat requirements, just chrome or story telling elements, realism or good enough, etc. How are you planning on using the system?

Before starting most things, you do need to know what you are going for. Vague requirements lead to vague plans
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Old November 29th, 2019, 03:58 PM
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I'm pretty much a fan of the MgT2 Vehicle Design sequence, going so far as to fudge in Striker armor numbers and weapons.
It's approach is to just quote a performance number for money spent and TL, doesn't even force you to define is it fuel cell/MHD/IC/fusion. Fast dev, get straight to play, yet you have concrete numbers and volume/tonnage carry capacity.
The only problem I have with it is it doesn't work out well for ATV generation as described classically.


Looked at the Striker jet engine numbers and decided like a lot of the tech level changes, it suggests incremental power increases rather then what it seems to actually be.
For jets thats a factor of 3 for thrust per lb of engine pet TL increase, so I have them be A Thing until at least TL11-12 (but limit optimal performance to one atmosphere/G-size combo, emphasizing the defensive advantage of local air forces vs. the expeditionary flexibility of grav vehicles).
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Old November 30th, 2019, 06:37 PM
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I think the MGT2 VDS is a pretty good match to the vehicle combat sequence i.e. pretty abstract in both cases. No point in having a detailed hi-fidelity VDS if you then use rangeband combat and cinematic mechanics.

I dislike both so don't use MGT2.

With respect to CT/Striker aircraft design sequences the frustrating thing is that GDW didn't carry through on the interface combat in the rules. I still to this day don't really know how they intended aircraft agility/MPs, grav fighter agility and spaceship agility to interact.
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Old November 30th, 2019, 07:19 PM
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There are a few ways to do this.
1 - get one of the existing vehicle design systems (top of my head the ones I have Striker, MT, FF&S, MgT vehicles, CE vehicles, T5, GURPS vehicles, EABA Stuff) and adapt to Traveller stats if necessary
2 - take an existing vehicle in the real world and sci fi it - replace wheels/tracks with grav modules, weapons become laser turrets, rapid pulse plasma guns and the like
3 - use the vehicles in CT to reverse engineer your own system - this can be based on spaces/modules or tons take your pick.
4 - pick up lots of different sci fi games and steal their vehicles for Traveller.

Oddly enough I would also recommend MgT 2e vehicles - it has its quirks but in general it is a very quick and useful design sequence. You can always use referee fiat to modify whatever you design.
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Old November 30th, 2019, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coliver988 View Post
and you also need to determine why you are doing it: combat requirements, just chrome or story telling elements, realism or good enough, etc. How are you planning on using the system?

Before starting most things, you do need to know what you are going for. Vague requirements lead to vague plans
Its for realism. For making how things work matter. Its for making things make sense. Dont remember which vds it was, but it went something like your vehicle has a good quality, so now pick a bad quality. I utterly reject that way of doing things. Great ideas posted so far. Any more suggestions on how to learn to do this from a game design perspective would be great.b
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Old November 30th, 2019, 09:48 PM
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