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The Fleet Ship designs, strategies, and tactics.

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  #1  
Old March 5th, 2007, 10:41 PM
Windknight Windknight is offline
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Take an 800 dT TL 15 ship. Give it USP-9 Nuclear Dampers, USP-9 and 15 ranks of armor. Name it Elly, the Armadillo Ship.

I have three questions:

1) Am I correct in assuming that nothing short of a spinal mount or a lucky nuclear missile volley will have a chance of even hurting this ship?

1a) If not, what did I miss or overlook?

1b) If I'm right, why isn't every smallish warship designed like an Armadillo Ship? Against the Broadswords and Corsairs of the world, Elly would be like a 1860s ironclad blasting wooden-hulled frigates.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 11:18 PM
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Is your purpose to simply mangle the rules framework as far as it can go? If so I'd reccomend a buffered planetoid with F-15 hull armour (+6 for the buffered planetoid, for a total AF of 21) and a meson screen, which will basically ignore anything other than a meson gun (including a spinal PAW)

For good measure, why not make it a fighter (skip the meson screen) with a really crappy computer since the only thing that can hit "Elly the fighter" and inflict damage is Meson guns (bays will have trouble with the configuration, and due to HG UPP limittions, anything with a spinal meson gun can't *have* bays) so why bother dodging? (clearly agility is also optional) With a sub-Kton hull you can't actually mount a weapon that will hit a cap ship, so why bother paying for the screens and the computer? You seem to essentially want something that can sit there and not be damaged, and buoilding this as a fighter gives you a really cheap "unkillable rock". Of course if you wanted this to be able to retreat along with you, perhaps building it at ~200 dTons so you can put a jump drive in would be a good idea.

Perhaps a better question would be "What the heck is this for?" If you put this in a line of battle I'd gleefully ignore it until I had eliminated any vessels that were actually a threat, and then point spinal mounts at it.

I could maybe maybe see something like this intended to hold the line while my fleet disengaged, but in Traveller-the-RPG as distinct from HG-the-war-game where the heck could I find crews for these? "I just want some guys to pilot this so that if things really go south you'll sacrifice yourself to cover my retreat." Hmmm... small escorts against the line of battle, now there's a job I'm sure there will be a long line-up for

I realize that I didn't actually address your third question, so I'll take a stab at it: The corsair, patrol cruiser and brioadsword all have roles to fulfill, and those roles are not "sit here and be a damage sponge". Both a broadsword and a corsair would avoid "Elly" like the pimple on a planets butt that they would prefer that she would be, and insert their strike group (or run away with their booty) regardless. The Patrol cruiser would probably send a message like "if you see a merc unit or a corsair running this way can you try to slow them down for me?" as it tried to get a handle on the rampant piracy in the system.

You could make "Ely" attack capable against smaller ships by making her larger, putting big drives in and a large computer, but is one "Ely" class really as useful for customs and patrol duty as 3-4 patrol cruisers? and it's still useless against ships of the line, so perhaps a destroyer instead of a couple of these is a better investment...

(Overanalysis our specialty)

Scott Martin
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Old March 6th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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TL-15 Battle Rider. 15,000 tons, armor 15, M/A-6, Comp 9fib, type N Meson, Screen and Damper both 9, Config 1, scoops and purification.

The best part, after you put in the jump and 10% fuel for retreat to meet up with the tender in deep space somewhere, you still have 380 tons for fun stuff like extra weapons or defenses.

Out the door for MCr 13,828 in a quantity buy.

Add in a 500,000 J-4 2G tender, with screens and defenses, plus streamlined for skimming, and squeeze in 11 of these riders with lots of extra room for supplies. MCr 186,484.

For a total shipbuilding investment of MCr1,020,000 you get 33 Type N Mesons shooting from a platform that is not only hard to hit but that can jump out to meet the tenders if things go wrong. Plus, the tenders give you J-4.

Compare that to a fleet of 70,000 ton TL15 J4 cruisers which give you the same weapons, M/A, and screens, with 1/2 the armor, at MCr 46,000 per. You lose 11 meson guns (only 22 total hulls) using the same budget.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 02:14 PM
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Why so big? On the typical Battlerider tender you carry 6 30Kton battleriders. On that same tender I carry 30-36 Harpy-IIs.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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Factor-N is generally more efficient than factor-J. Also, while J1 is nifty to have, J0 is a lot cheaper per spinal mount. Consider this BR:
BR-K106LJ3-F99909-997N9-0 MCr 12,631.750 10.5 KTons
Bat Bear 2 1 11112 Crew: 121
Bat 2 1 11112 TL: 15

Cargo: 9.000 Fuel: 2,100.000 EP: 2,100.000 Agility: 6 Shipboard Security Detail: 10
Fuel Treatment: Fuel Scoops

Architects Fee: MCr 126.318 Cost in Quantity: MCr 10,105.400

There's some slightly silly features here, such as the weird weapons mix (present to soak up weapon-1 hits), but that's High Guard for you.
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  #6  
Old March 6th, 2007, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:
Factor-N is generally more efficient than factor-J. Also, while J1 is nifty to have, J0 is a lot cheaper per spinal mount. Consider this BR:
BR-K106LJ3-F99909-997N9-0 MCr 12,631.750 10.5 KTons
Bat Bear 2 1 11112 Crew: 121
Bat 2 1 11112 TL: 15

Cargo: 9.000 Fuel: 2,100.000 EP: 2,100.000 Agility: 6 Shipboard Security Detail: 10
Fuel Treatment: Fuel Scoops

Architects Fee: MCr 126.318 Cost in Quantity: MCr 10,105.400

There's some slightly silly features here, such as the weird weapons mix (present to soak up weapon-1 hits), but that's High Guard for you.
Actually the number of Spinals you can hit the enemy with is more important than the factor of the mount. (Even nastier in T20 than HG or MT.) I do agree there is no need for any jumpdrive on this type of ship. (But I would rather field 2 Harpy II to one of these and the Harpy II is less than half the size, is half the cost and a typical Tender can carry 30-36 of them for less than the price of a pair of Drednaughts. (Including the cost of the tender.)
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Old March 6th, 2007, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BetterThanLife:
Actually the number of Spinals you can hit the enemy with is more important than the factor of the mount.
Penetrating armor and screens matters too. Against a target with a factor-9 screen, agility 6, size 2-19,000 dtons, either one hits on 8+ at short range, 10+ at long range.
J: penetrates screen on 9+ (10/36), configuration on 6+ (26/36), total 260/2160. N: penetrates screens on 7+ (21/36), configuration on 4+ (35/37), total 735/2160. That means the factor N weapon hits 2.82 times as often. In addition, a factor J might fail to kill a size-K ship (it does 10 internals), a factor N is grossly unlikely to fail to kill size-E ship (14 internals, 8 criticals). By itself, that's not necessarily enough to push the balance towards the larger weapon, but there's another issue.

You can fit a factor-T particle beam in a modest size ship (using a very similar design, I get 13,000 dtons, 794 ep). Against another size-K ship with factor-F armor, it does 1 free critical per hit. Against a size-E ship it does 6 free criticals. That's a bunch less lethal than either meson gun -- but it hits on a 6+ and doesn't have to penetrate screens or configuration. At long ranges, a meson-J has a total 2% chance of hitting. A meson-N has a total 5.68% chance of hitting. A PA-T has 72% chance. A 13,000 dton ship needs to have a combined firepower*toughness of 6.76x as 5,000 dton ship to win, so we're good if it takes fewer than 5.33 hits to kill a 5,000 dton ship.

A PA-T hit does an average of 14 weapon-1 hits and 1.5 fuel-1 hits per hit, so you better have a lot of expendable weapon categories. Criticals 2, 3, 9, and 11 are mission kills, 4 is a kill unless you have backups, 5 turns you into meat for every other weapon on the board, so I'm pretty sure it takes well under 5.33 hits to get a kill.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 06:47 PM
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'pends on what you mean by "lucky missile hit". using HG2 .05 factor 9 nuke missile salvos will detonate against it, so given enough of these the elly will do poorly. as a police SDB or a short-range patrol frigate coming up against limited opposition it should do well.

one very good military role for the elly would be as an SDB in close-in drop boat suppression. difficult to use nukes against it when your own troops are nearby, and if you bring in spinals to suppress it then the capital ships are in range of planetary defenses.

imtu, one reason there wouldn't be many of them is because tech 15 shipyard space is hard to come by. the major yards are busy with capital ship procurements and maintenance and don't have time for specialty frigates.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 07:18 PM
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As for the Elly: it can also theoretically be damaged by pulse lasers, though they'd need to roll a 2 on 2d6 and that would just result in a weapon-1 hit, or by meson bays, though meson bays suck so you don't need to worry too much about that.

The traditional Munchkin Missile Boat has armor-15, a factor-9 missile bay, and a few secondary armaments, in a hull in the 1000-1500 dton range. They can be oneshotted by spinal particle beams, other weapons have quite a bit of trouble.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 11:36 PM
Windknight Windknight is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scott Martin:
Is your purpose to simply mangle the rules framework as far as it can go? If so I'd reccomend a buffered planetoid with F-15 hull armour (+6 for the buffered planetoid, for a total AF of 21) and a meson screen, which will basically ignore anything other than a meson gun (including a spinal PAW)

For good measure, why not make it a fighter (skip the meson screen) with a really crappy computer since the only thing that can hit "Elly the fighter" and inflict damage is Meson guns (bays will have trouble with the configuration, and due to HG UPP limittions, anything with a spinal meson gun can't *have* bays) so why bother dodging? (clearly agility is also optional) With a sub-Kton hull you can't actually mount a weapon that will hit a cap ship, so why bother paying for the screens and the computer? You seem to essentially want something that can sit there and not be damaged, and buoilding this as a fighter gives you a really cheap "unkillable rock". Of course if you wanted this to be able to retreat along with you, perhaps building it at ~200 dTons so you can put a jump drive in would be a good idea.

Perhaps a better question would be "What the heck is this for?" If you put this in a line of battle I'd gleefully ignore it until I had eliminated any vessels that were actually a threat, and then point spinal mounts at it.

I could maybe maybe see something like this intended to hold the line while my fleet disengaged, but in Traveller-the-RPG as distinct from HG-the-war-game where the heck could I find crews for these? "I just want some guys to pilot this so that if things really go south you'll sacrifice yourself to cover my retreat." Hmmm... small escorts against the line of battle, now there's a job I'm sure there will be a long line-up for

I realize that I didn't actually address your third question, so I'll take a stab at it: The corsair, patrol cruiser and brioadsword all have roles to fulfill, and those roles are not "sit here and be a damage sponge". Both a broadsword and a corsair would avoid "Elly" like the pimple on a planets butt that they would prefer that she would be, and insert their strike group (or run away with their booty) regardless. The Patrol cruiser would probably send a message like "if you see a merc unit or a corsair running this way can you try to slow them down for me?" as it tried to get a handle on the rampant piracy in the system.

You could make "Ely" attack capable against smaller ships by making her larger, putting big drives in and a large computer, but is one "Ely" class really as useful for customs and patrol duty as 3-4 patrol cruisers? and it's still useless against ships of the line, so perhaps a destroyer instead of a couple of these is a better investment...

(Overanalysis our specialty)

Scott Martin
Thanks for the commentary, It made me revise my warship conception a bit.

My purpose was not to mangle the rules further, but to check to see if the rules system was really as mangled as I thought it was.

I don't think my ship would be useless, but as you said, a little armored fighter would be just as good for many purposes, or a smaller gunboat (if I was worried about nukes, mobility, or critical hits from USP-8/USP-9 batteries).

My design intention

Yes, I knew that the armadillo boat would be incapable of hurting capships. It would be a light gunboat, capable of killing the broadswords, corsairs, and gazelles of the universe.

Yes, pirates could certainly avoid Elly, but that would entail passing up any convoys she is guarding. Mercenaries might be able to run past her and drop troops on a planet, but they'd get beat up while flying through and would ultimately be dropping troops under fire.

Role of Other Ships

I probably shouldn't have asked my third question so extreme - of course corsairs and broadswords have distinct roll to fill that a ship loaded with armor can't do.

What I meant to say is, a small vessel designed primarily to fight other small vessels (what I presume a gazelle was made to do) should include armor, just like an 1860s gunship should have iron plating.

Where I was trying to go...

At the very least, the usefullness of armor should be factored into the logic of small ship combat. For example - a convoy of subsidized merchants could just carry an armored fighter or two to chase off pirates, rather than hiring a larger, thin-skinned warship.

That does seem to have the annoying side effect of making the whole notion of small ship combat seem slightly absurd...

Quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:
As for the Elly: it can also theoretically be damaged by pulse lasers, though they'd need to roll a 2 on 2d6 and that would just result in a weapon-1 hit, or by meson bays, though meson bays suck so you don't need to worry too much about that.
Okay, pulse lasers can hurt it... if they're lucky! Really, really lucky...
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