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Why 1 turret per 100 tons?


I've been working on the designs (and soon to be deckplans) for ships which can carry standard 30 ton cutter modules. My smaller ships mount 1 turret per 100 tons. No problem there. But, what if the players want to carry one of the 30 ton modules with a built in turret? Suddenly the overall ship violates the 1 turret per 100 ton rules.

That got me to thinking: what is in the "in game" rationale behind the 1 turret per 100 ton rule? Structural support needed? If so, why can small craft mount turrets?

Can someone design a ship with turret armed small craft on external mounts and then have the attached small craft fire their turrets when the parent craft does?

Seems like it would make sense that a military ship of 800 tons should be able to mount more weapons than a merchant of the same size as long as power and crew requirements are met. Maybe have power, crew, and computing requirements per turret (and per weapon) that serve as limits?

I imagine that the 1 turret/100 tons rule was originally just a balancing mechanism to keep people from building "death machines" and they justified it by saying it was a structural requirement.
I use CT so these may not apply to your system.

If you're looking for a reason not to have more than one turret per 100 tons, this might work: assume that each turret contains some inherent fire control sensors. The 1 per 100 tons rule is the minimum separation required to prevent these sensors from interfering with each other.

I'll be the first to admit that this is shakey, but since all turrets weigh the same and none of them have any recoil to speak of (plasma weapons excepted) than structural integrity alone won't work as you said.

A military ship *would* mount more weapons in most circumstances. Armed merchants, like the old East Indiamen were heavily armed for their class, but nowhere near what a warship of the same tonnage carried. Economy and need were the reasons then. Guns and crews were expensive so they carried enough to defend themselves against the most likely threats. Same thing might work in Traveller. A 3kdt merchant carrying 30 gunners is going to be less profitable than one with only 10 and if the owners can't justify the expense, they won't arm it that heavily.

It's an interesting problem and the module carrier idea is pretty slick. I'm looking forward to seeing it.
In the OTU it is acceptable to mount small craft externally onto a larger ship (Gazalle for example) and have the ship jump. IMO that means the small craft has to have the jump grid applied to it which is used when the starship jumps. IMTU the normal cost of small craft does not reflect this addition of the jump grid so it would be extra.
The one turret per 100 dtons limit was included to maintain play balance during combat. If a ship has four external armed small craft in addition to one normal armed turret then the ship IMO would be allowed to fire any one of it's weapons once. If there are lasers in the turret but missiles in the subcraft either the laser turret or one of the small craft missiles weapons could fire, not both.
Looking at it another way consider the battle rider carrier having several spinal mounted weapons in the riders. If the riders were still attached to the carrier in a combat round would you permit each of the riders to fire their spinal mounts? If you didn't have the limit then people would use the loophole to create "munchkin" starships and soon the space combat system begins to break down followed by the overall rule system itself. It's a play balance issue.
A fighter squadron carrier, with 10 externally mounted 10dTon fighters, each with a triple turret is one possibility.

30dTon for the exterior mounts. Make it 100dTon for the carrier for a total combined size of 170 dTon. If the "fighters" have no powerplant or drive (and are never meant to detach) you have a USP 7 missile array on a vessel under 200 dTon.

This is quite nasty. Crew is the killer. Each "fighter" (gunnery node?) requires at minimum 1 crew, meaning this 100 dTon vessel needs around 20 crew (or in other words really really crowded).

I've used a similar concept for the rapid launch of fighters from capital ships. The capital ship carried multiple launch carriers (with external mounted fighters) in 2 turns all fighters could be launched... In the first turn the launch carriers leave the capital ship, in the second turn all the fighters detach from their carriers and form into flight wings. The idea is snatched from the shadow vessel fighter deployment in Babylon 5.

Getting back to topic, I don't find the limitation a limitation except at the highest tech levels (15+). Even a 90dTon strike fighter doesn't have a whole lot of room for additional weaponry at TL14.
(6G, max armor, 6 agility, double fusion turret, enough spare power to double tap the turret using double fire, decent sensors/comms)
Given the TNE surface area rates, 1/100 is about right for the 3Td turrets in TNE. Smaller ships in TNE can mount more, but for ships of the line, that's about right given surfacce areas of turrets, radiators, sensor kits, hatches, etc.
Oh, I understand (a little bit) about the play balance reasoning behind only allowing 1 turret per 100 tons, but I'm stuck when trying to come up with a rationale that makes sense in the game itself why a purely military ship couldn't mount more turret per 100 tons.

The play balance issue probably comes from the original CT, which, if memory serves, didn't have power requirements for weapons.

A way to keep the balance would be to make each weapon have size, sensor, power, computing, and crew requirements. Merchant ships wouldn't be profitable mounting too many weapons, but combat ships could make the trade offs.

I haven't seen the TNE rules, so maybe they tried to address the issue from another angle.

Originally posted by Ron Vutpakdi:
The play balance issue probably comes from the original CT, which, if memory serves, didn't have power requirements for weapons.
That's correct. Grafting the High Guard power formula back onto LBB2 designs would provide energy points which would limit beam weapons. Missiles and sand don't have energy requirements, though, so you're still stuck unless you come up with something else.
A Type S Scout could physically accomodate 3 additional turrets and gunners (I think). Thats 4 triple missiles on a 100 ton hull with no cost in energy. So you're either going to have to make all weapons require some energy or come up with something based on the computer or hull volume/surface area.
Fighters that never get launched :confused: In HG's discussion about installing weapons on small craft, it says that the weapon has to be aimed by positioning the craft (just like a spinal mount). Gotta go! I'll add the rest of my thoughts later.
Yes, the externally mounted craft with a weapon hardpoint idea. I first played with this long ago with the cutter and module. Designing the cutter in HG really didn't leave room for a decent weapon so I reasoned the hardpoint was what allowed the carrying of the module and that the module had it's own hardpoint to mount a weapon. There is no free lunch.

I futher used the same reasoning to explain why some of the CT designs did not have maxed hardpoints.

The Sub. Merchant, Sub. Liner, Yacht, Lab Ship, and Safari Ship all have half the allowable hardpoints and one other thing in common, they all have small craft.

I inferred that the small craft allowance required the use/loss of half the allowed hardpoints, on civilian craft.

You'll note that the Merc Cruiser and Patrol Cruiser are both military craft and have small craft and the full allowed hardpoint. But I would not allow carried craft to fire weapons while attached, that's going too far.

If you want a justification for allowing more (small) weapons than the 1 hardpoint per 100t I'd suggest a loose interpretation of the Solomani practice of fixed weapon mounts from CT Alien Module 6 - Solomani. In that you may mount turret type weapons without the requirement of a turret. So it takes no volume but must be fired by aiming the ship. The weapons are at -2 to hit iirc but do not require a gunner as the pilot calls the shots. You are further limited to no more fixed fire mounts than your computer model number or hardpoint limit, and each fixed fire mount can mount only two standard turret weapons rather than three. I think this should be the way to handle small craft weapons too.

Anyway you could modify this rule option by ignoring the hardpoint requirement for fixed forward fire weapons which would allow up to 9 extra weapon emplacements on any ship that mounted a model/9 computer. And why stop there. Why not make it possible to install fixed fire mounts for any number of dedicated fire computers. Or make it a requirement that fixed fire mounts have a dedicated computer. So you might have a 1,000t warship with it's allowed 10 hardpoints and a model/4 computer for ship operations, then add a suite of 5 more model/4 computers for 20 fixed mounts.

Just some ideas.
Alternatively use FF&S1 and weapons are limited by available surface area, which decreases proportionately faster as volumes increase. For example a fighter may have to fixed laser lances and underwing stations for half a dozen missiles, basically the equivelant of a dual laser turret and two missile turrets, because the surface area is available to fit them and their aiming systems, whereas a Tigress class dreadnought runs out of surface area simply trying to get a maneuver drive and screens unless something is cut back on.
What, exactly, is meant by the term "hardpoint"? I'm assuming it has a real-world meaning, not just a Traveller meaning. Beyond being, in game terms, a place on a vessel to stick a big gun, I'm a little hazy.
Originally posted by FlightCommanderSolitude:
What, exactly, is meant by the term "hardpoint"? I'm assuming it has a real-world meaning, not just a Traveller meaning. Beyond being, in game terms, a place on a vessel to stick a big gun, I'm a little hazy.
The TNE term of "socket" probably sums it up best. As I see it, its a reinforced hull point that is pre-wired for power, data and any other links it need (hydraulics?) You can plug in a standard turret with out a months-long refit in a shipyard. I'm not sure there is a real-world equivalent because ships are either purpose-built to mount specific weapons or go to the shipyard for retrofitting.
edit: I think the weapon mounts on aircraft are called hardpoints. These can take a variety of ordnance or drop tanks.
Originally posted by FlightCommanderSolitude:
What, exactly, is meant by the term "hardpoint"? I'm assuming it has a real-world meaning, not just a Traveller meaning. Beyond being, in game terms, a place on a vessel to stick a big gun, I'm a little hazy.
As someone stated Aircraft weapons mounts are called "hardpoints". I think the idea refers to the structural reinforcement needed to prevent damaging the aircraft wings which by comparison are "soft".

As to what they are/how they work: LBB2 did not have anything but turrets for weapon mounts. I understand it to like my father's tractor mounted equipment when I was growing up. He had a toolbar that would fit any tractor with a "3 point hitch". To be real brief, that is a standard method of attaching something to the back of your tractor. Because the attachment points are a set standard between all brands of tractors and equipment makers that toolbar could be equiped with something like a set of planters and any tractor equipted with a 3 point hitch could operate it. As tractors got bigger and more powerful, that rule did not continue to hold true. Instead, they added catagories to the designation which basicly said this hitch will handle anything up to a given size (The difference was the diameter of the mounting pins. A higher caragory tractor could add a bushing to it's attaching arms and mount a lighter catagory hitch.) I can see LBB2 turrets as a catagory I setup. It will not handle a HG barbette which might be a catagory III setup. If you use the idea that a larger, more powerful tractor can handle all catagories just by using a bushing to take up the extra space, then a ship that was designed for a larger trurret could be refitted with a smaller turret that used the same amount of space.

My understanding of a designated hardpoint was that the structural support was installed which left the space free to use. Remember the rules state that the hardpoint takes no space until a weapon is actually installed. The connections and operating mechanisms are what require the space.
A practical reason for the 1 per 100 limit is to prevent shooting off your own turret. I can see where this might not be very evident for a type "S" scout ship, but on other ships adding excessive turrets could have them either actually hitting each other or having the other turret in it's arc of fire. As someone else has mentioned, the larger the ship, the lower the % of surface area.
Originally posted by Andy Fralix:
A practical reason for the 1 per 100 limit is to prevent shooting off your own turret.
Somehow I can envision, at about TL-5 and above, the ability to build weapons turrets that can't fire when pointed at a part of the ship.

Personally, I always handwaved the 1 turret/100 dTons away because it was clearly a design sequence magic threshold that just was what it was (and I happen to dislike magic thresholds, but it exists, and there it is).

I once read a CotI post or TML email where someone was discussing allowing small craft to mount more than one turret in weaponry, at a cost in greater maintenence from "overloaded systems stress", ala the Defiant from DS9; though of course, now I can't locate that.
Hardpoint limits are still a valid concept on a spacecraft, as the number of holes in the pressure hull need to be kept down to keep the pressure hull viable structurally (never mind the leakage inherent with hatches etc.).

Book 2/Mayday had no other limiting factors aside from secondary volume (for gunners, FC, and ammo), but the other design systems all use power requirements in addition. In MT this was significant, in that even a single triple-missile turret affected powerplant size and fuel tankage quite a bit. TNE had no stated limit, but turrets were three tons each and also took surface area. TNE missiles were also HUGE, so ammo storage and reloading time became significant issues.