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Old November 27th, 2018, 01:25 PM
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Default Ship Construction

One thing has always puzzled me in the ship construction rules, and looking over the Cepheus Engine rules maybe increases that. The main difference between a merchant ship and a warship is that the merchant ship has either passenger space or cargo space or both. The merchant ship can be armored, can be equipped with military-equivalent sensors, has the same number of weapon points as the military ship of the same hull displacement, and basically be equipped the same as a military ship. In some respects, a merchant ship is a warship with cargo and/or passenger space. That simply does not make any sense. A merchant ship has to recover its cost by hauling cargo and passengers, and the military characteristic additions do not really assist in doing that, but all cost money. At some point, the ship cannot carry enough cargo and passengers to pay all of its expenses in terms of operating costs and fixed costs.

One other question. If a Maneuver Drive 1 can move a ship in hyperspace a parsec a day, or 7 parsecs a week, why is anyone using Jump Drive? Maneuver Drive 1 combined with Hyperspace Drive makes the ship equal to a Jump-7 ship.
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Old November 27th, 2018, 02:31 PM
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If you want to build a civilian ship that maximises cargo, passengers and profit then you do not install armour etc.

You put in what you have to and maximise passenger and cargo capacity.

As to the hyperdrive vs jump drive they are options for how FTL can work - you can pick and choose, tweak, substitute something of your own design.

Back in the day GDW produced T2300 with its stutterwarp technology. Fast forward to TNE and the FF&S book included design systems for both, but only the jump drive exists in the OTU (there are other optional technologies for bespoke setting design).
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Old November 27th, 2018, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timerover51 View Post
One thing has always puzzled me in the ship construction rules, and looking over the Cepheus Engine rules maybe increases that. The main difference between a merchant ship and a warship is that the merchant ship has either passenger space or cargo space or both. The merchant ship can be armored, can be equipped with military-equivalent sensors, has the same number of weapon points as the military ship of the same hull displacement, and basically be equipped the same as a military ship. In some respects, a merchant ship is a warship with cargo and/or passenger space. That simply does not make any sense. A merchant ship has to recover its cost by hauling cargo and passengers, and the military characteristic additions do not really assist in doing that, but all cost money. At some point, the ship cannot carry enough cargo and passengers to pay all of its expenses in terms of operating costs and fixed costs.
This suggests that the military equipment is simply not expensive enough (to buy and/or maintain). if the stuff is cheap, why NOT mount it on your ship?

If the stuff is ILLEGAL, well, that's a cost all of its own, isn't it? If I can by a 50,000km range communication for 10,000Cr and a 500,000km range one for 50,000Cr, then, yea, it all adds up on a multi million Cr Starship, but, really, who's going to quibble for 40KCr? (Yes, I'm making up the prices, no I don't have a canon reference, be happy I'm using kilometers and not furlongs.).
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Old November 27th, 2018, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timerover51 View Post
One other question. If a Maneuver Drive 1 can move a ship in hyperspace a parsec a day, or 7 parsecs a week, why is anyone using Jump Drive? Maneuver Drive 1 combined with Hyperspace Drive makes the ship equal to a Jump-7 ship.
That's a setting dependent question. Most likely, in a setting with Hyperspace Drives, there is no Jump Drive.

Clement Sector, for instance, has neither Hyperspace Drives nor Jump Drives.
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Old November 27th, 2018, 04:53 PM
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The published material underprices high-tech military electronics and doesn't really do a good job of electronics at the best of times. R&D costs for ships get glossed over, even in Trillion Credit Squadron. Many folks have written critiques of this.

Traveller does have an implicit concept of armed merchants though, and in the Book 2 world there's not much difference between an armed merchant and a warship. High Guard and later systems differentiate it more with weapons for capital ships.

The traveller material doesn't make a lot of representation about the legality of ship armaments. While it does imply that armed merchants are par for the course it doesn't say much1 about what technology might be restricted for strategic reasons (outside the Imperial rules of war which get a mention in Striker). This is really left up to the referee.

1 - From memory there are passing references in The Traveller Adventure and a mention of the Emissary, an AHL class cruiser that Oberlindes manages to finagle transfer with intact weaponry. Apart from that it doesn't get spelled out in the rule books.
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Old November 27th, 2018, 05:38 PM
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*** I have never seen CE. My opinion is formed by Traveller. ***

I don't think it's really a problem. You may be using the same building blocks but the result is very different.

Freighters struggle to toss overboard anything that does not directly contribute to making money. Warships struggle to fit all the components needed to be combat effective.

What civilians call weapons is what warships call point defence.

I hope it is clear that I do not consider LBB2 designs such as the Patrol "Cruiser/Corvette" warships, but at best civilian Coast Guards.


Perhaps the most interesting ships are ships that need to be both somewhat combat effective and somewhat economical freighters, such as e.g. privateers, corsairs, and blockade runners?



And, no, if you have access to HyperDrive tech, you will not be using slow, huge, clunky jump drives.
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Old November 27th, 2018, 06:53 PM
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It is an age of sail analogy that is appropriate here. Merchant vessels armed themselves against pirates, privateers and enemy navy commerce raiders. In some cases, such as British East India Company vessels, they were armed almost as well as 3rd or 4th rate naval vessels.

However they were frail hulled with light scantlings and not as heavily built as a pure military vessel.

The majority of smaller merchant vessels had lighter armament as well and less of those guns. More guns means more crew, more accommodation and stores for that crew. When adding the additional weight for those guns to everything else it all reduced the amount of cargo that vessel could carry and the speed of that vessel.
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Old November 27th, 2018, 11:19 PM
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Turreted weapons platforms, specifically lasers, sand bags and standard missiles seem legally available to most spaceship operators.

Whether planetary governments allow them within their atmosphere, or space routes from and to their local starport is another issue.

Spaceship design has always been something you set priorities, and figure out how to keep within a financial and volume budget.
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Old November 27th, 2018, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsy Knights Games View Post
That's a setting dependent question. Most likely, in a setting with Hyperspace Drives, there is no Jump Drive.
Actually, in my sector, both Jump Drive and Hyperdrive is used. However, Hyperspace Drives are considerably slower than the Jump Drive. Hyperspace Drive 1 covers a parsec in a month. Hyperspace Drive 2 covers a parsec in a week. If you need speed, you use the Jump Drive. For range, or simple cargo hauling, the Hyperspace Drive is used. The Jump-2 Far Trader and a Jump-3 600 dTon Subsidized Merchant are widely used. The Rim Scouts and Space Vikings use Hyperdrive-2 ships, while there are a lot of Hyperdrive-1 ships still in use. Small colonies like them as they are cheap to acquire or charter, and tend to be reasonably good size. In a sense, it is like the current transportation system in the Real World, where if you need something somewhere fast, it goes by air. If speed is not critical, then ship it by sea.

I am also re-working the ship construction rules a bit to get a lot bigger difference between military and civilian ships.

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Clement Sector, for instance, has neither Hyperspace Drives nor Jump Drives.
Yes, I noticed that and it is an interesting approach. Your ships could function fairly well in my new sector, as a lot of the worlds are two parsecs apart. There are also some that are more than 2 parsecs from their nearest neighbor.
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Old November 28th, 2018, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whartung View Post
This suggests that the military equipment is simply not expensive enough (to buy and/or maintain). if the stuff is cheap, why NOT mount it on your ship?
I am working on a ship construction rules rewrite that is going to make military equipment a LOT more expensive. The same is going to happen with armor. Also, some of the weaponry carried is going to change. If you are primarily raiding surface targets, you are going to use a different set of weapons compared to space piracy. When you look at the career of Francis Drake, he spend more time raiding Spanish settlements that chasing Spanish ships. The buccaneers of the Spanish Main also did a lot of settlement raiding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whartung View Post
If the stuff is ILLEGAL, well, that's a cost all of its own, isn't it? If I can by a 50,000km range communication for 10,000Cr and a 500,000km range one for 50,000Cr, then, yea, it all adds up on a multi million Cr Starship, but, really, who's going to quibble for 40KCr? (Yes, I'm making up the prices, no I don't have a canon reference, be happy I'm using kilometers and not furlongs.).
One thing that will be illegal is nuclear weapons on civilian ships. Note, Space Vikings ships are NOT civilian ships, but quasi-private warships. I suspect that I will be writing a lot of designers note explaining why I did what I did.
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I march to my own set of bagpipes. Caution: This individual thinks that studying logistics is FUN.

They that go down to the sea in ships,
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These see the works of the LORD,
and his wonders in the deep.
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