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Non OTU: If I had to redraw the XBoat routes in the Spinward Marches ...

Spinward Flow

SOC-14 1K
Just a bit of fantasy theory crafting here.
If I were in charge of the IISS Communications Office responsible for reviewing the sector wide XBoat route maps for the Spinward Marches ... I'd want to make some changes (go figure). :unsure:

X = Removed route
| = New route

DLT5OJ7.png


As you can see, the main/major revision happens in the Lunion subsector, where almost nothing remains "As Was" following the revision.
  1. Biter/Sword Worlds GETS REMOVED
  2. Adabicci/Lunion gets removed
  3. Tenalphi/Lunion gets removed
  4. Shirene/Lunion gets removed
  5. Resten/Lunion gets removed
  6. Capon/Lunion gets removed
  7. Icetina/Lanth gets removed
  8. Carey/Mora gets removed

  1. Wardn/Lunion gets added
  2. Ianic/Lunion gets added
  3. Spirelle/Lunion gets added
  4. Pirema/Lanth gets added
  5. Mercury/Mora gets added
Such.a "reorg" through the Lanth, Lunion and Mora subsectors would do A LOT to "unclog" the snarled lines of XBoat communications through the middle of the Marches and solve various logistics issues that the old layout would have had. Note that all of the worlds removed from the network (except Biter, of course) would still be within J2 of a transfer node along the reorganized network routing.



Just a fun little "What If...?" thought experiment.

The Rhylanor <> Pirema <> Dinomn link is just one of those NO BRAINER moves that makes me question the competency of the people in charge of the IISS Communications Office, since it reduces the transit time via XBoat from Regina to Rhylanor from at least 7 jumps down to 3(!). Just establish a scout base on Pirema and you're "good to go" for adding (location, location, location!) Pirema to the J4 network.

Likewise, the Lunion <> Ianic <> D'Ganzio <> Lanth link reduces the transit time from at least 4 jumps (or 6 jumps if you're excessively pedantic about "following the lines") down to only 3(!) as well. It also has the knock on effect of shortening the lines of communication between Regina and Lunion, Five Sisters and Glisten, thanks to not needing to take the "Klingon Hook" around through Lanth into Mora and then back into Lunion subsector as had to be done previously.
 
See I don't worry about those routes so much.

I am more interested in the commercial/mail J3 routes. I have plotted out routes starting at the edge of the Vland sector.
 
Since it is a no-OTU tagged thread why invoke the Spinward Marches?

If it were a blank slate I would agree, the x-boat route should be optimised for fast communication. Trouble is that is not what happened.

The x-boat routes were built on existing trade lanes.

Your redrafted x-boat routes would upset a lot of worlds that rely on those trade lanes and x-boats.

Note - Spinward Marches, x-boat routes (the generic term is communication routes), and x-boat are all Third Imperium setting elements.
 
I always suspected the X Boat routes were set up for what was important when the route was added
It's been hundreds of years since then, and this have changed... But the worlds with a node have enough clout that removing them isn't politically viable

What mystifies me is that they haven't added the nodes you mentioned over the course of all those years. A high priority route for the capitals would be really useful.

IMTU, there is one. It's handled by older J4 Navy ships, and it brings news to the local government a couple weeks ahead of the XBoat network. That's considered a feature: being ahead of the public news let's the local Imperial rep always look like they have things under control
 
I always suspected the X Boat routes were set up for what was important when the route was added
They were, the existing trade lanes used by the megacorporations and sector lines.
It's been hundreds of years since then, and this have changed... But the worlds with a node have enough clout that removing them isn't politically viable
Subsector dukes have a vested interest in maintaining their revenue stream.
What mystifies me is that they haven't added the nodes you mentioned over the course of all those years. A high priority route for the capitals would be really useful.
The original Spinward Marches supplement does mention a new x-boat route to be established...
"The Scout Service is currently negotiating the establishment of a Scout base, with the apparent intention of an xboat link from Rhylanor to Dinomn and Regina"
IMTU, there is one. It's handled by older J4 Navy ships, and it brings news to the local government a couple weeks ahead of the XBoat network. That's considered a feature: being ahead of the public news let's the local Imperial rep always look like they have things under control
I have private megacorporation communication routes and then there is the government only/military jump 6 network...
 
Since it is a no-OTU tagged thread why invoke the Spinward Marches?
To avoid any implications that I'm talking about an actual OTU established fact, particularly in the 1105 milieau.
Note - Spinward Marches, x-boat routes (the generic term is communication routes), and x-boat are all Third Imperium setting elements.
True, but none of those terms are EXCLUSIVE to the Third Imperium in the Spinward Marches.
Other polities in the Traveller settings have XBoats in one form or another.
Other polities in the region call the sector the Spinward Marches.
Your redrafted x-boat routes would upset a lot of worlds that rely on those trade lanes and x-boats.
I honestly doubt that.

If worlds were CUT OFF from the communications network COMPLETELY ... yes, I can see how they would have grounds for objection to any changes ... but you and I both know that's not what would happen.

What would happen would be that the worlds taken off the main XBoat routes would simply be served by Scout/Courier deliveries and by Mail Vault/x-mail deliveries to postal unions via subsidized and privately owned starships. The simple fact of the matter is that the reorganization of Lunion subsector (and the knock on effects that would have in the Sword Worlds, Lanth and Mora subsectors) I've proposed would not move ANY worlds beyond J2 range from the nearest XBoat node on the network (believe me, I checked to be sure!).

A lot of the worlds that I removed from the network were low population or inconveniently located for J4 astrogation.
And then there was Biter/Sword Worlds, which shouldn't have been a part of the XBoat network at all ... :unsure:
I always suspected the X Boat routes were set up for what was important when the route was added
Same here. The XBoat routes shown in LBB S3 are basically a centuries old legacy and remains of an earlier era in (sector) history.
It's been hundreds of years since then, and this have changed...
Consider that in order for any changes to "appear" there would need to be a publication update of some kind ... which basically never happened (because publication is hard).

The Second Frontier War (615-620) happened before the XBoat network was established.
The Third Frontier War (979-986) ought to have precipitated a review of the XBoat network within the Spinward Marches after the war during reconstruction. I mean, the Zhodani actually captured Porozolo/Rhylanor for a few YEARS(!) during this war and used it as a base to stage attacks on neighboring Rhylanor/Rhylanor which were ultimately unsuccessful. The war also lasted about 7 years and did a LOT of damage to interstellar shipping lanes and interstellar trade.

It's kind of brain dead to think that after a major disruption event such as the Third and Fourth Frontier Wars, the IISS Communications Office looked at their deployment of communications resources in the Spinward Marches in the aftermath and thought ...

Xgw4Ue5.jpg

What mystifies me is that they haven't added the nodes you mentioned over the course of all those years. A high priority route for the capitals would be really useful.
These days, with our "star trek era technology" in desktop publishing (and web publishing) capabilities, it's just really hard to believe. Edits of the sort that I'm talking about are practically trivial to make and publish.

But back in the day, when LBB S3 was published, NONE of that was an option. Doing "reprints with updates" of LBB S3 simply wasn't available ... and let's not forget that LBB S3 as printed has multiple things in it that got changed later and that Travellermap canonized those updates and modifications. One of the more obvious differences is the Lunion subsector itself (surprise, surprise).

This is what the subsector looks like in LBB S3 vs Travellermap:
Mbxxm6W.png
gG1FmIr.png


Just on immediate inspection, there are some obvious discrepancies.
  • Wardn is an Amber Zone, then not and Amber Zone.
  • Adabicci was not and Amber Zone, then it is an Amber Zone.
  • Ianic was on the XBoat route, then it was not.
  • Tenalphi connected (via J5!) to Strouden before being changed to connecting to Persephone (via J4).
My point here being that changes are not unprecedented ... but in order for those changes to "happen" inside the common collective consciousness of the Referees and Players of the game, changes have to be PUBLISHED to common sources available to all.

It's a LOT easier to publish changes "now" than it was 30-35 years ago(!) ... but I'm not so arrogant as to assume that any changes I propose will automatically be adopted by the Traveller community at large (hence the non-OTU tag on this thread).
What mystifies me is that they haven't added the nodes you mentioned over the course of all those years. A high priority route for the capitals would be really useful.
The two connections that would make the most sense is the Rhylanor <> Pirema <> Dinomn route across Lanth subsector that I highlighted above ... and a Mertactor <> Collace <> Mewey <> Wonstar route across District 268 between Glisten and the Five Sisters.

Routing the XBoat network through Biter/Sword Worlds is just ... dumb ... from a secure communications perspective.
Subsector dukes have a vested interest in maintaining their revenue stream.
This is true. The whole "don't rock the boat" mentality certainly applies with respect to not messing up what is already working just fine.

The problem is that WARS (plural!) tend to pick up the neatly sorted card deck and toss it into the air. It is absurdly unlikely that the cards thrown up into the air will land neatly into the exact same assortment (and location!) that they had before being picked up and thrown into the air.

There's bureaucratic inertia and then there is sheer fossilization.

Like I've said elsewhere in these forums, it makes sense for the IISS Communications Office to perform periodic reviews of the XBoat network to determine if the past arrangement of routes are the "best fit" for their mission. Even if such reviews happen only once per century in a sector, by 1105 the Spinward Marches sector ought to have undergone at least 3 such reviews for updates to the layout of the network already between 700 and 1100, during which time TWO Frontier Wars were fought during the last 2 centuries (the Third (979-986) and Fourth (1082-1084) Frontier Wars already cited above).

Even if you take the perspective that the Fourth Frontier War didn't last long enough or have enough "impact" on the Spinward Marches sector as a whole (hence why it is also called the "False War") AND is also "too recent" to have had any meaningful review changes implemented by the IISS to the arrangement of XBoat routes through the sector between 1084 and 1105 (because, bureaucratic inertia over 21 years) ... the same argument CANNOT work with respect to the Third Frontier War (979-986). The span of time between 986 and 1105 is 119 years during which a "once in a century" review MUST HAVE taken place at some point. :unsure:



But then, what do I know about these things? :rolleyes:
 
The Navy probably has their own courier network, where for the last mile they might hand it off to the Scouts.

Three parsecs probably would allow concentration of technological level twelve equipment, presumably cheaper to procure and maintain.
 
Three parsecs probably would allow concentration of technological level twelve equipment, presumably cheaper to procure and maintain.
XBoats use Jump-B drives (15 tons) from LBB2.77 to achieve their code: 4, while having no maneuver drive or power plant. This means that the jump drive only requires TL=9. However, to achieve Jump-4, the XBoats need a model/4 computer ... which is TL=10. But, because the engineering section only needs 15 tons of drives, a "standard 100 ton hull" without streamlining can be used for XBoats (making them cheaper).

Because the XBoats use LBB2.77 drives instead of LBB2.81 drives (so as to omit the power plant and fuel requirement), their drives are "jump inefficient" and always consume 40 tons of jump fuel regardless of the number of parsecs they are jumping ... so they're basically (small scale) fuel wasters.

15 tons jump drive + 40 tons fuel + 20 tons bridge + 4 tons computer + 8 tons staterooms + 1 ton cargo = 88 tons
So theoretically, there's "12 tons left over" to play with inside the 100 ton standard hull of the legacy XBoats, some of which ought to be devoted to "heavy duty communications gear" as well as the obligatory "extensive data banks" (whatever that means for starship designs).
 
Really? Tell us more. :unsure:
Any particular reason for J3 instead of J2 or J4?
Ok to start with there are 3 standard ships in Book2 with J3. (Type M, C and T)
Then the Imperial average tech level is 12.

Couple that to the idea of Strip Maps, which are maps that the show a route.

Then there is that Subsidized Merchants are defined as having fixed routes. And are more likely to hit the less important worlds along their routes. Note the rules state that a subsidy route's length is 2d6 jumps.

Also consider that your average Merchant ship makes 25 jumps a year at best if following the traditional every other week in jump schedule.

So take all that and you can generate interconnecting lines that can cross a sector...
 
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Because the XBoats use LBB2.77 drives instead of LBB2.81 drives (so as to omit the power plant and fuel requirement), their drives are "jump inefficient" and always consume 40 tons of jump fuel regardless of the number of parsecs they are jumping ... so they're basically (small scale) fuel wasters.
And we're back to XBoats.

RAW, you can't do an XBoat in LBB2'81 due to the 10Td*Pn power plant fuel allocation. 80Td of fuel won't fit into a 100Td hull.

Mechanically, you absolutely can -- the ship can physically burn at most 52 tons of fuel during a Jump*, and that will fit into the hull. There's nothing else it can burn power plant fuel for! There's no maneuver drive or weapons. Computer power draw can be elided with the emergency agility rule, but it doesn't need to be.

If it makes some people happier to call it a house rule, they're free to go ahead and do that.

-------------------------
*Assuming the worst-case of a 10%-overlong (+17.8 hours on the 178-hour standard Jump), that adds 1 ton of fuel to to the nominal 1-week expenditure (4 weeks is 40 tons at Pn-4, so 1 week is 10 tons; 10% of 10 tons is 1 ton, then there's the 40Td for the Jump Drive). Pilot then only gets a half stateroom and there's 1 Td left over. Get really picky and say the power plant has to be running at full power for 1 hr 40 min both before and after the Jump for the power-up and power-down process from the TCS power-down rule of 1Pn change per 20-minute turn (on average though, it's half-power), and maybe you need another ton of fuel (it's actually under 0.4 tons).

The power plant is already cranking out the 2EP needed by the Model/4 computer halfway through its power-up sequence, so Generate can run and be done in plenty of time even if emergency agility isn't invoked.

Second ETA: The real-world example of the International Space Station suggests that the power requirements for life support (excluding artificial gravity and inertial compensation, which are optional in this scenario) are basically a rounding error when measured in terms of LBB5 Energy Points. Use the post-jump powerplant shutdown period to push a few thousand kWh into the jump capacitors and use that to keep the lights and fans on until the tender shows up.

First ETA: I'm not sure it can do back-to-back jumps totaling more than 2 parsecs without refueling though.

Third ETA (yeah, I'm adding stuff out of sequence): I'll grant that this leaves no room for the "vast data banks" included in the '77 version of the ship. Moore's Law suggests they don't need to be quite as vast as one might have thought back in 1977, or even in 1981. Additional space for data storage can come out of the bridge tonnage (no need for a second seat or systems for maneuver drive control) or the drive bay (no engineer required, so no internal access passages to the drives should be necessary either).
 
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If we're being archaic, is the hundred tonne minimum valid?

Otherwise, sixty sixty tonne ecks boats with ten tonne jump drives and twenty tonnes of fuel, and anything that requires larger capacity, gets onboard the commuter that is scheduled every fortnight.
 
Jump torpedoes imply thumb drive plus low berth for passenger(s).
Nah. If you're being archaic enough to allow them, it implies only a jump drive, fuel, a jump cartridge reader, a tape recorder, and a radio transmitter.

Edit to add: Because it's '77 rules and you're not supposed to think about it too much. :)
 
Don't forget the floppy disc.

That was the point, wasn't it?
Yeah, pretty much. Basically, J-Torps got de-canonized after A4 (Leviathan) and were arguably wrong even there, so if you're going back to a rule-set that allows them you're going back to what sci-fi thought was practical at the time. So, sure -- floppies.

The main thing that did them in, other than the 100Td rule, is the '80/'81 requirement for a power plant and a computer of Mod/n = Jn. '77 allowed Jump if the computer could run the appropriate software regardless of model number -- which could be read to allow J-torps to offload the actual computing part to the ship launching them.

Especially since the early conception of Jump was that all the parameters of the Jump were set before opening the rabbit hole, and once it closed behind the ship there was nothing for a computer to do for the drives.
 
But I kind of get your point, and if it weren't so late here (nearly 2AM) I'd have the wit to run the following idea to ground: If you need a live sophont aboard to transit jump space (I assume that's what the low berth was about), what are the limits? A TL-15 AI won't quite do it, but Virus can. Does the live body need to be intact -- that is, would a "brain in a jar" suffice? Would a monkey or dog work instead; that is, exactly what degree of consciousness/intelligence is needed? Does the warm body need to know it's in jumpspace, or even be awake?
 
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