Scaling Systems in Warships in Spaceships & Vehicles
cobalt_phoenix Mar 6 2017, 06:29 Group: Heroes, Status +10 Quote Post
Hello again, everyone.

I've been pondering an idea lately that is intended to make the Warships system function in a way that allows for large ships to meet the descriptions given to them in campaigns such as S*D.

The problem I've been running into can be demonstrated with fortress ships. How can a 12,000 HP vessel (even with 6,000 bonus HP) be able to carry a 25,000 strong Marine division (along with the thousands of vehicles and thousands of tons in supplies needed for them to operate), over 200 small craft (most of which are fighters), and a massive battery of weapons that are powerful enough to devastate anything smaller than itself in combat without sacrificing sensors, crew, engines, and defenses? To date, that has proven to be pretty much impossible. At best, I can get a regiment (only 5,000 troops), about 100 fighters, and a couple of heavy turrets onto the ship, and then I get bogged down in the various problems of getting all of the rest of it into the same hull.

To solve the problem, I've come up with three basic solutions (one of which is the topic of this thread; by far this is not an exhaustive list of options, by the way):
1.) Make the ships bigger (which only makes adding systems that much more of a headache, especially with super-heavy hulls).
2.) Make the systems smaller (which allows for smaller vessels to greatly increase their capabilities, and still proving to be an equal headache when filling in super-heavy hulls).
3.) Scale the systems to make them more effective when in larger hulls.

Options 3, to me at least, is probably the best. Also, it works with the way I happen to view HP, which is as a unit of mass. When I look at the descriptions of the ships in Warships, I see that there are some funny things going on with how they are described, especially with their masses. For example, here is all of the ships for which a mass range (or average) has been presented, as well as the mass per HP for the hull:

- Scout, 30 HP, 100-200 tons; 3.3 to 6.6 tons per HP
- Escort, 40 HP, 1000 tons; 25 tons per HP
- Frigate, 120 HP, 2000-3000 tons; 16.6 to 25 tons per HP
- Destroyer, 160 HP, 8000 tons; 50 tons per HP
- Heavy cruiser, 400 HP, 50,000 tons; 125 tons per HP
- Battleship, 1200 HP, 150,000 tons; 125 tons per HP
- Dreadnought, 3200 HP, 600,000-1,000,000 tons; 187.5 to 312.5 tons per HP
- Fortress ship, 12,000 HP, 3-5 million tons; 250 to 416.6 tons per HP

Since Warships treats HP as mass (the engine ratings are based off a thrust to mass ratio, expressed as a percentage of the hull; there is also the fact that the drivespace detection systems present a detection as an object of a given size, express in HP), these numbers should be generally uniform. In reality, while some ships seem to agree on mass per HP (the heavy cruiser and the battleship have HP of the same mass), there is no rhyme or reason. The escort is 1/3 larger than the scout, yet is 5 to 10 times the mass, which makes no sense. The escort is also 1/4 the size of a destroyer, but is 1/8 as heavy.

While it can be assumed that the bonus HP can offset some of the differences, that isn't enough to explain the shifts. It isn't until you start getting into the heavy and super-heavy hulls that you start actually seeing enough bonus HP to make a significant difference, and even then it is still not enough.


So, now that the background is out of the way, here is the proposal. It consists of 3 aspects.

Aspect One
Basically, almost all systems scale upwards in effectiveness as they are used in larger hulls. Furthermore, their price and power demands scale upward at the same rate, while HP costs remain the same. This includes engines, power plants, sensors, crew systems, defenses, and misc equipment. The two exceptions are armor and most weapons, which I'll get to after I discuss the basic concept.

All scaling uses a rule of 2^n, where n is the number of shifts up (based on hull type, not toughness). So, for example, a shift from an SC hull to a Light hull would be one shift, and thus the system is scaled by double. A shift from SC to heavy is three shifts, so the system is eight times as effective (2 to the third power).

The systems are automatically preset to a level of SC, so for almost all systems, the scaling is going to be upward.

For an example, take the basic bunkroom.
- An SC bunkroom is 3 HP, 0 PP, $40K, and houses 20 people.
- A Light bunkroom is 3 HP, 0 PP, $80K, and houses 40 people.
- A Medium bunkroom is 3 HP, 0 PP, $160K, and houses 80 people.
- A Heavy bunkroom is 3 HP, 0 PP, $320K, and houses 160 people.
- A Super-heavy bunkroom is 3 HP, 0 PP, $640K, and houses 320 people.

Aspect Two
Bonus HP is no longer part of the ships. As it is a rating of mass, you can't have invisible mass added to a ship without dramatically changing it.

As a consolation, the shifting basically means that the mass of a single hull point is constantly doubling as you jump between ship size categories. That means that a super-heavy HP is 16 times heavier than an SC HP.

Aspect Three
As I mentioned before, there are two exceptions to the basic scaling rule.

The first exception is armor. It doesn't scale at all. An armor that costs 10% of a ship's HP is the same regardless of ship size. This takes into account the methods of mounting the armor to the ship, as well as the much larger mass of the armor when applied to a ship of larger size.

The second exception is for most weapons, specifically projectile, beam, and specialty weapons. Missile weapons rely on fixed sized missiles, so the launchers scale just as a normal system (an SC missile launcher (2 HP) has a capacity of 8, while a heavy missile launcher (2 HP) has a capacity of 64).

The rule for most weapons will instead be that their intended size is tied to their firepower. When installing such weapons on larger or smaller hulls, the weapon's HP (not power, cost, or damage) is adjusted accordingly (note that negative shifts mean that the weapon gets bigger). For example, take the tach rifle.

- A tach rifle is 12 HP, 8 PP, $30M,and Medium firepower. It is preset to medium size.
- When loaded into a Light hull, the tach rifle costs twice as many HP (24 HP), while all other stats remain the same.
- When loaded into a Heavy hull, the tach rifle costs half as many HP (6 HP), while all other stats remain the same.
- A Super-heavy hull could mount a tach rifle for 3 HP (two shifts up, 1/4 the size).


As an additional note, it is possible to purchase the larger systems and install them on smaller ships (basically going in reverse down the chain). In this case, the HP cost is what increases, while the increase in cost, power, and effectiveness remain the same.

For example, a Heavy bunkroom being installed in a Light ship hull would cost $320K and would hold 160 people, but would be two steps down and 4 times the size (12 HP).


My hope is that this system will allow larger ships to carry remarkably more powerful equipment without adding too much to the headache. As the HP cost for most systems remains the same, the number of systems installed shouldn't dramatically increase. However, as they are more effective, the systems installed will give larger ships the bigger edge.


As always, any critiques or comments are welcome. I'm still trying to work this out, so I may introduce it into S*D New.
uncle_jimbo Mar 6 2017, 19:10 Group: Grid Cop, 5éme Corbin Quote Post
As I suggested offline, I think it's valuable to state both what you're changing and why it's beneficial to a roleplaying game. You're concerned, as I am, that the things that can fit into a ship don't scale properly, particularly things whose size we know independently, such as other vehicles, passengers and trade goods. This means that game statistics aren't useful to describe or predict what a given ship can carry, which becomes limiting to get a sense of what's plausible for a scenario involving a large ship. If we want a fortress ship to have 200 fighters, or to have some grade of general rather than a colonel or brigadier, we can just say so, as the campaign setting already did, but it corrodes the sense of verisimilitude and the potential for multiple designers to work consistently in the same setting.

Since you're multiplying by 2 cubed, that seems more likely to have the right effect than I thought before.

So what's a Hull Point, if it can contain between 6.7 and 106.7 human bodies? Is it still a useful measure? Do we gain anything but further complexity by talking about ship classes? We can put those back in later. You're building using mass, while I think that capacity for systems has something (but not everything) to do with volume, but with reasonably consistent shipbuilding methods, that should make no great difference. It would be simpler to see whether a revised system gives reasonable results, and I think it would reduce potential errors, if expressed in something closer to actual units. Such a shipbuilding rule could look rather similar to Traveller, just changing the names of various systems.

Being a revision to Warships, I think this will need a complete recalculation of the size, number and effects of weapons, which requires some thinking about what damage means, but that also can come later.

Do the numbers work out?

This post has been edited by uncle_jimbo on Mar 6 2017, 19:16
cobalt_phoenix Mar 7 2017, 05:15 Group: Heroes, Status +10 Quote Post
Wonderful points and questions, so let me try to tackle them.


Author
As I suggested offline, I think it's valuable to state both what you're changing and why it's beneficial to a roleplaying game. You're concerned, as I am, that the things that can fit into a ship don't scale properly, particularly things whose size we know independently, such as other vehicles, passengers and trade goods. This means that game statistics aren't useful to describe or predict what a given ship can carry, which becomes limiting to get a sense of what's plausible for a scenario involving a large ship. If we want a fortress ship to have 200 fighters, or to have some grade of general rather than a colonel or brigadier, we can just say so, as the campaign setting already did, but it corrodes the sense of verisimilitude and the potential for multiple designers to work consistently in the same setting.


As you can see in the first post of this thread, the "what" is already up for view.

The "why" is just what you pointed out. The scaling problems in Warships are there, and many times, it doesn't make a lot of sense. As you point out, that makes the game statistics less useful, though a good GM can try to fudge the data and make it seem to work (especially true when much of the data is unknown).

Also, as you note, it is possible just to say "it is this way because I want it to be this way" (in reference to a fortress ship carrying 200 fighters). And, as you point out, it does take away from the setting when someone else can't replicate the standard set in the literature.

Which is where the "why" comes in.

I want to be able to replicate a fortress ship, as they are described in the S*DCS. I want to be able to build the CSS Vition to meet the data provided for the ship in the Hammer's Star entry. I would love to see the Lighthouse actually completed in such a way that it matches what we know about it. Hence, this method is intended to make the game statistics presented in Warships match the concepts presented in Alternity and the S*DCS, as well as other settings.

I also think it can help to explain why some systems get better on larger ships, even though that doesn't necessarily make sense. For example, why does a stardrive get better when it is installed in a larger vessel? If it is all about the size of the drive, then you should be able to install a larger drive and gain a dramatic increase in FTL speeds (for example, installing a drive that is 10% of a armored cruiser's hull would be equal to the drive of a battlecruiser, so it should be the same base range). If is all about the ship's size, what makes the ship's size special? If it is about the toughness of the hull, wouldn't that make civilian ships generally slower in drivespace when compared to military vessels? None of those are really answered.


Author
Since you're multiplying by 2 cubed, that seems more likely to have the right effect than I thought before.


Well, it is 2 to a power, not necessarily cubed. The power is the number of shifts up or down the scale. So a shift of 1 level up would be 2 to the first (equaling 2), while a shift up of 4 levels would be 2 to the fourth (equaling 16).


Author
So what's a Hull Point, if it can contain between 6.7 and 106.7 human bodies? Is it still a useful measure? Do we gain anything but further complexity by talking about ship classes? We can put those back in later.


I have no problem coming back to those later, but let me throw out another question for you.

What was a hull point before?

As I noted in the first post, the mass of a hull point varied heavily, and the variation was without rhyme or reason. Think about this: if you use the mass of the scout as a guide for the mass of a single hull point, a fortress ship would tip the scales at 39,600-79,200 tons (59,400-118,800 tons if you count the FS's bonus HP). If you go the opposite way and use a fortress ship as the basis, a scout should mass 7,500-12,498 tons. If you use any other ship I listed, they would all fall somewhere between those values.

However, the HP is all the same, right? A 3 HP bunkroom is always a 3 HP bunkroom, so 2 bunkrooms should be twice the mass, right? Which should also mean that a 3 HP weapon system has a mass the same as a bunkroom, correct? If the HP is all the same, the growth in ship masses should be linear.


Author
You're building using mass, while I think that capacity for systems has something (but not everything) to do with volume, but with reasonably consistent shipbuilding methods, that should make no great difference.


Basically, yes, that is what I'm doing with mass. I agree that volume is important as well, but that is much harder to figure out. What's the volume of a fortress ship? We only know they are between 2.5 and 4 kilometers in length. We don't know their beam, height, or even how many decks are "standard". With only one dimension, we can't calculate volume effectively at all using the data given in Warships (or in any other game source, for that matter).

However, mass is somewhat dimensionless. A piece of metal with a mass of 1 kilogram is always one kilogram, regardless of how thin it is, what it's shape is, or anything else. That's why I think it is a good indicator of how big a ship would be.


Author
It would be simpler to see whether a revised system gives reasonable results, and I think it would reduce potential errors, if expressed in something closer to actual units.


I am working on a couple of examples now using the original Warships systems (none of my own or anyone else's house equipment) but with this tweak. I'll get them posted when they are done. I'm wanting to include both a design using original Warships rules as well as a tweaked version, for a comparison. They aren't going to be super-heavy hulls, but instead two SC, two Light, and two Heavy (one of each military, one of each civilian).

Also, they may not be a fixed rating attached to each HP. I have no problem with a range. For example, it could be that an SC HP has a mass of 3.5 tons, with a plus/minus of 1 to 5 percent. For a scout, that would be a ship that is 105 tons on average, with a range of 99.75 to 110.25 tons (I would round that to 100 to 110 tons personally). As the ship's get bigger, the base HP mass is multiplied too, but the range remains constant. So a destroyer would have a base mass of 1120 tons and a range of 1064 to 1176.

(Note that the above paragraph only gives an example from the top of my head, and is not what I'm proposing as a base mass for an HP)


Author
Do the numbers work out?


That's what I'm trying to figure out right now.


Author
Being a revision to Warships, I think this will need a complete recalculation of the size, number and effects of weapons, which requires some thinking about what damage means, but that also can come later.


They already did that in the basic rules of Warships (and Alternity in general).

A weapon's damage is affixed to its firepower. When used against a ship with a toughness equaling the weapon's firepower, damage goes unchanged. When used against a ship with a lower toughness grade, the weapon's effects increase (not necessarily the amount of damage, but the type of damage changes).

For example, an SC weapon is fired at a Light ship. It scores a hit which produces mortal damage. However, because the target is one degree tougher than the weapon, the damage is reduced to wound damage.

The upgrading/downgrading is all shown on page 15 of Warships (I've included a screen cap of it, just for easy reference). Personally, I don't think that the alteration I'm suggesting would not work with the system as it is displayed, but I agree that it will need to be investigated through play testing.

ADDITIONAL: I see no problem with tweaking weapon HP to make it easier to divide within this rule set.

This post has been edited by cobalt_phoenix on Mar 7 2017, 19:06

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cobalt_phoenix Mar 9 2017, 06:25 Group: Heroes, Status +10 Quote Post
Author
I am working on a couple of examples now using the original Warships systems (none of my own or anyone else's house equipment) but with this tweak. I'll get them posted when they are done. I'm wanting to include both a design using original Warships rules as well as a tweaked version, for a comparison. They aren't going to be super-heavy hulls, but instead two SC, two Light, and two Heavy (one of each military, one of each civilian).


A quick update on this.

First, I decided to expand on the number of ships and add a couple of medium hulls (both civilian and military).

Second, I'm using conservative concepts for both sets (original and scaled), with full concepts behind what the ships are supposed to do. The concept for the intended purpose for the ships will be identical between the two sets (so the comparison will be easier). If, for example, if the light ship is a frigate (it is) intended to serve as a system defense/piggyback escort in one system, it will be carried over into the other system.

For an example of what I mean when I say "conservative", I'm not using light armor at all, as it is listed as being both 0 HP (regardless of size) in the reading but 2.5% of a ship's HP on the table. While I'm not using a fixed armor type, I'm making it always medium or heavier. I'm intentionally making sure there isn't a doubt as to whether or not the tweak works.

Another example is that I'm using Jimbo's rule for stardrives. Specifically, that a driveship can carry up to 10% of its primary hull in HP, but to carry more, it needs a bigger drive. The fleet carrier I'm working on actually devotes a full 10% to its drive, just to allow it to travel with 1600 HP in piggybacked ships.

Also, one of the medium-hulled ships will be a 480 HP armored cruiser serving as an assault ship. The ship is intended to carry a battalion of Marines along with equipment and vehicles. The intent is for the ship to push through defenses and land on the planet before deploying troops. Once there, it serves as a forward base, an artillery positions, an area defense system, and a hospital (36 troops in the sickbay). For the battalion, I'm using the Warship's standard for troop numbers (8-man squads, 1 SGT per 4 Marines, 1 officer per 4 SGT; with 4 officers added to serve as commanders). With those numbers, a battalion consists of 640 Marines (5 companies, each with 4 platoons), 160 SGTs, and 44 officers. There are also 2 20-HP hangers, each holding 2 skycars (5 HP each, by reckoning) and 5 skybikes (2 HP each). The ship also has 4 docking clamps to carry 4 fighters/2 cutters/mix of the two, which serve as escort and ground attack craft.

Third, I'm not going all out on determining gaming statistics for these examples. I'm working up what systems I can get into a ship of the given sizes in both the original and tweaked versions of Warships, and then coming up with basic statistics. Those will only include:

- Cost
- Crew, Troop, & Passenger numbers
- Endurance
- Maneuver rating, Acceleration, and Drive rating
- Carried small craft & vehicles
- Weapons
- Sensors
- Cargo

There will not be a damage diagram or system layout for said diagram. The weapon stats will not be listed (as they don't change), though systems whose effectiveness changes due to scaling (cargo, sensors, hangers) will be noted as needed.

Hopefully, that will be useful enough. I don't see how assigning systems to a damage diagram will be all that helpful.
cobalt_phoenix Mar 15 2017, 14:14 Group: Heroes, Status +10 Quote Post
I'm still working up the ship examples, and will hope to get them posted soon.

However, I am already eyeballing the rough price tags and capabilities of the scaled ships, and trying to make some estimates.

For example, one of the sample ships is a liner hull (heavy civilian ship) used as a colony vessel. Under the original Warships rules, this vessel carries a crew of 120 people, 480 colonists (in life suspension units), 14,500 cubic meters of cargo, 20 HP of vehicles in a hanger, 80 HP of ships on docking clamps, and has a total cost of $308,280,000.

If I were to just scale the systems but leave the total HP for each as is, I would see the following increases (remember that it is 8 times the size of the SC standard):
- Cost would go up to roughly $1.4+ billion
- Crew would increase to 960
- Suspended passengers would increase to 3,840 colonists
- Cargo would increase to 116,000 cubic meters
- Hanger size would increase to 160 HP
- The docking clamps could stow 640 HP of ships

I admit that I am going to dial back on some of the systems, since I don't think I need 640 HP of docked ships (it exceeds the 10% limit anyway). But many of those stats would remain, and for good reasons. The price increase is rather high (I subtracted the hull cost and the cost of weapons before multiplying by 8, and then added back in the hull cost only, hence the "plus" sign; I can always add more weapons or transfer the HP I saved with smaller units over to other systems, which would also increase the price tag), but not extremely high, especially given the size of the ship and the other statistics.

All in all, I would say this idea has some promise.
cobalt_phoenix Mar 20 2017, 02:33 Group: Heroes, Status +10 Quote Post
A quick preview of the examples I'm doing for this. This is a Light civilian hull, specifically intended as a diplomatic shuttle.

I will say that some things are interesting looking at these two.

For one, the scaled ship is almost double the price tag.

Both ships have roughly the same sub-light and FTL speeds.

The scaled ship carries more crew (over half again as many, in fact), more passengers (by just a slim margin, though that was by choice), more weapons (3 versus 2 weapons), more cargo (four times the volume), and even a hanger for a launch (which the basic ship isn't large enough for).

More importantly, what needs to be remembered is that the scaled ship has fewer HP. In this case, I used an industrial hull (96 HP). The basic ship (using original Warships rules) had 106 HP for systems. The scaled ship only has the 96 HP.

As this is the first scaled vessel I've worked up, I must say I'm excited to see what happens with the rest of them, especially as they get bigger.

I ended up creating a super-heavy hull, in this case a fortress ship (carries just over 12,000 crew, 200 passengers, and 2,000 troops, with a healthy amount of combat vehicles and over 1440 HP in a fighter wing) and is armed with 12 quad Boson guns and 4 fusion bore (all of those in turrets, of course), among other weapons.

From my math, I should be able to get a full 25,000 troops with ground vehicles and plenty of cargo in less than 10% of a fortress ship hull with scaling. The brigade-sized unit I have on the basic design (those roughly 2,500 troops with vehicles) take up about 6.23% of the hull. Multiply all of that by 16 times and you have what the same amount can carry (over 40,500 troops and almost 4100 HP in ground vehicles). And that is 6% of the hull.


Anyway, enjoy. This is the first full comparison I've finished. I've got all of the original base designs done (using original Warships rules), and I'm working on the scaled versions right now.

And yes, I know it is color coded. That was intentional, to help avoid confusion.


Attached File ( Number of downloads: 1 )
Attached File  Warships_Scaling_System__preview_.pdf
uncle_jimbo Mar 20 2017, 09:11 Group: Grid Cop, 5éme Corbin Quote Post
I'm interested in the "Range" statistic. Over 10 to 20 starfalls for a warship or commercial craft, stardrive recharge time should converge fairly quickly towards the average, unless the owner applied some serious resources (primarily, training) to achieve faster turn-around.

For a scout, I think you'd either have to plan for the worst case of maximum recharge time, or design for some measurable chance (which over a large fleet and long operating life, becomes a predictable percentage of missions) that a ship sent to its maximum rated range wouldn't be able to return. edit: This would mean that despite equivalent technology and even construction, some cultures' scout ships could operate at different ranges than others. It wouldn't even require willingness to sacrifice crews - one exploring culture could have a strategy to advance its forward bases, or its survey cruisers, quickly enough to be certain of recovering extreme-range scouts.

This post has been edited by uncle_jimbo on Mar 20 2017, 09:31
cobalt_phoenix Mar 20 2017, 12:59 Group: Heroes, Status +10 Quote Post
While I'll get more into this later, there are some assumptions that can be made.

For one, a ship like this diplomatic shuttle isn't necessary flying to an uncharted or uninhibited system. It would almost always travel between colonized worlds in relatively safe areas of space. As such, it should have relatively good access to dark matter fuel. The range stats are more a realistic distance the ship can go before supplies and/or fuel run out (whichever is tighter).

Second, I have ways of getting a drive ship to have a range in excess of 3000 ly using the original rules. I doubt that the idea is that original, but it works very well. I've worked up two ships for this using the trick, and they are both capable of operating for a couple of years.

ADDITIONAL:

As promised, I'll get more into it.

Author
I'm interested in the "Range" statistic. Over 10 to 20 starfalls for a warship or commercial craft, stardrive recharge time should converge fairly quickly towards the average, unless the owner applied some serious resources (primarily, training) to achieve faster turn-around.


My decision on how to figure out the "range" statistic is based primarily on the supplies (including the crew stores and the reactor fuel life) and determining how many starfalls that translates to.

For example, that diplomatic shuttle I posted in the preview has 100 days of stores with a full crew load and 180 days of reactor fuel in the mass reactors. The limiting factor is, of course, the smallest number, which would be the ship's crew stores. The ship itself would be able to have much longer range if it was automated.

From there, I had to figure out how long it actually takes for a starfall. The starfall itself takes 5 days in drivespace, but the recharge time is also important. It requires 1d4+1 (2 to 5) days for a recharge.

With those numbers, I can start to crunch numbers. The average die roll for a d4 is generally 2. So, the numbers are as follows:
- The minimal time for a starfall is 5 days travel with 2 days recharge, a total of 7 days
- The maximum time for a starfall is 5 days travel with 5 days recharge, a total of 10 days
- The average time for a starfall is 5 days travel with 3 days recharge, a total of 8 days.

Now, take the limiting factor (in this case 100 days) and divide by those numbers, rounding down (if you run out of food, air, water, or fuel while stuck in drivespace, you could potentially survive for a brief time, though it is up for debate as to whether you can survive long enough to get fresh supplies).
- 100 divided by 7 gets you 14.286, or 14 starfalls
- 100 divided by 10 gets you 10, or 10 starfalls
- 100 divided by 8 gets you 12.5, or 12 starfalls

After that, multiply by the number of starfalls by the ship's drive rating. If the ship can only make 5 ly per starfall, that translates to:
- 50 ly minimal range
- 70 ly maximum range
- 60 ly average range


I will also admit that the range for the diplomatic shuttle was a little bit different than some of the others. For example, I have a colony ship using a liner hull I just finished scaling (all of the civilian hulls are done with both standards, so now I'm working on scaling the military vessels). The ship has enough stores for 1000 days (it uses a recycler system for a boost) for the crew, while the passengers are kept in suspended animation, and the drive is rated at 30 ly per starfall.

Using the above numbers, that should translate to a range of 3000 ly minimum, 4260 ly maximum, and an average of 3,750 ly.

In reality, though, the ship is designed to travel only for 2/3 of its time, and the other 1/3 is used to construct the colony using the materials it carries in its hold. Roughly, you are looking at a travel time of, say, 310 days in one direction, 365 days of construction, and the rest of the time for the return trip (giving the crew a slim margin of just 15 days in remaining stores).

With that in mind, the actual range for such a ship is more like 930 ly minimum, 1320 ly max, and 1140 ly average. To be sure, that is a very long distance away from its home. If used in S*D, such ships would be based in the Stellar Ring and dispatched to colonize systems as far as Hammer's Star (which would easily be within that range). These vessels would be loaded up on a single planet located deep in heavily populated space, and then allowed to traverse the area until they arrive on the very limits of the frontier (hell, Insight could use them to colonize the Verge).

Of course, they are expensive, and they still don't carry as many people as one may like for a new colony (I would think 10,000 or more would be needed to set up a colony capable of long-term sustainability, which would include the children of the main colony crew, so perhaps 5,000 adults and 5,000 children, at the least). In that case, though, you can always send two or more of these vessels to the same world, and either let them build separate facilities or work together to build a single large one.


Author
For a scout, I think you'd either have to plan for the worst case of maximum recharge time, or design for some measurable chance (which over a large fleet and long operating life, becomes a predictable percentage of missions) that a ship sent to its maximum rated range wouldn't be able to return. edit: This would mean that despite equivalent technology and even construction, some cultures' scout ships could operate at different ranges than others. It wouldn't even require willingness to sacrifice crews - one exploring culture could have a strategy to advance its forward bases, or its survey cruisers, quickly enough to be certain of recovering extreme-range scouts.


In general, I agree with both points.

However, something important must be remembered. 12 starfalls is not only representative of distance, but of time. After 12 starfalls, a ship with 100 days in stores has burned up 96 days worth. That leaves them 4 days before they run out of food, water, and/or air (with a mass reactor, they can provide power for another 84 days). In that case, an maximum operating radius may be a better way of describing the ship's range.

Assume that the ship is suppose to return to its point of origin after its mission. That means it can do 6 average starfalls, spend up to 4 days on its mission, and then return with 6 starfalls. If it is a relatively straight line journey, and the pilot doesn't screw up a die roll and have the ship go in a random direction, it would effectively have an operating radius of roughly half its average range.

What you advocated at the end there is an interesting idea. For example, you could assume that the ship doesn't go back to its point of origin, but instead meets up with another ship or base to resupply. In that case, it could use 8 of its 12 starfalls to travel to its objective, and then 4 starfalls to get to the resupply point. That increases the operating radius to 75% of the average range.

Of course, it would work better if there was some method to send the data gathered by the survey cruiser back to its point of origin, which is likely to be the location where the next batch of colonists eagerly await a new home. Given the size of FTL comm systems though, I would think that would really only work at PL8. Still, it is a potential.

This post has been edited by cobalt_phoenix on Mar 20 2017, 17:31
cobalt_phoenix Mar 23 2017, 05:46 Group: Heroes, Status +10 Quote Post
While I'm still finishing the examples for the idea of scaling, I have finished enough of them to give some preliminary feedback for the idea, as well as some potential recommendations (though these could be subject to change in the near future).


First, I will say that so far, the idea is doing what I wanted it to do.

The ship's are being a closer match, in my opinion, to what is seen in the descriptions provided in sources such as the S*DCS which came out before Warships. A quick example is of the assault ship I developed.

I used the hull of an armored cruiser. The intended mission of the ship is to deliver a relatively large group of soldiers onto the battlefield of a planet, complete with vehicles and supplies.

Under the original Warships rules, I had 576 HP to play with (480 primary HP and 96 bonus). After it was complete, the ship carried a combat unit of about 850 troops along with 4 skycars and 20 skybikes, all in a hanger (a unit I would consider to be battalion in terms of strength). The vessel could also had 4 docking clamps for 40 HP (so I wouldn't have to increase the size of the stardrive), which could carry either 4 fighters or 2 cutters (a mix of the two is another potential). The ship is armed with 2 pulse plasma cannons (my term for a plasma cannon after it has been modified for automatic fire, as per the rules in Warships) and 6 point-defense guns (all weapons in turrets). It also includes repair bots, jammers, and medium neutronite armor. It also carried about 250 crew members and cost about $325 million.

Under the scaling system, I was able to fit about 2,500 troops along with 8 skytanks, 12 APC's, 8 skycars, and 40 skybikes (what I'm calling a brigade, composed of 2 battalions along with a third command/support battalion). The ship is also capable of carrying an entire ground support squadron of 120 HP (usually 8 fighters in hangers and 2 cutters on docking clamps). Crew size also increased to about 800 personnel, and weapon load out increased to a heavy particle beam, four pulse plasma cannons, a dozen twin laser cannons (for point defense, as power was dramatically increased), and four missile racks (scaled to a 32 HP capacity and a rate of fire of 16 pt per round). Cost was also dramatically greater, at $583.5 million (not including the missiles). Oh, and because of the scaling, all of that fit into a ship with only 480 HP (no bonus).

Now, my intent was to create an assault ship, as they were described in the S*DCS (page 29), to the best of my ability. While the vessel built with the original rules would work, you would need a lot of them to get an army to a planet. Assuming a division is 25,000 troops, you would need 30 of them to move a single division (note: by army I meant a field army or larger, which would take in excess of 90 such assault ships to move). By contrast, roughly 10 to 15 of the scaled versions would move an entire division, a field army would require about 30 such vessels.

To me, at least, the scaled version is closer to being an assault ship. It has more weapons to provide troops with vital supporting fire, it can carry a far more troops, it has a much greater capacity for small craft, and (for the capability) it is more reasonably priced. Assuming you are moving a field army with 35 of them, you have a total ship cost of roughly $1.9 billion, as compared to the roughly 100 needed to move the same sort of force at a rough price of $32.5 billion. That makes the scaled ships a more reasonable method for shifting troops between the battlefields of the Stellar Ring (again, that is just my opinion).



Second, some initial recommendations.

1.) Reduce the cost of the Engineering systems.
This is more an idea to slash the cost of power plants, engines, and drive systems. The scaling effort will cause such systems to dramatically increase in price from the base, so this would actually help to reduce some of the cost increase for larger vessels.

It would also help to push the ability of a PC group to get their hands on a ship. It is an option, though it is not entirely necessary.

Oh, and this is not advocating a cost reduction in weapons in any way. Even if all other systems have the prices reduced, weapons should always be expensive, and military-grade (especially all missiles) should be very expensive.

2.) Add in some new small craft systems.
This would include such technologies as the microinductor. Their small, but they are remarkable in increasing the capabilities of small craft.

3.) Expand on the capabilities of some systems.
This would include communications systems, as well as the workshop, fabrication facility, and nanomanufacture bay.

For the comm systems, an effective range and a number of channels would be helpful. Basically, adding anything is likely to be helpful.

For the three repair systems, I know they are provide an ability for effecting repairs to mortal damage (with a ranging penalty or bonus to the effort). However, in Warships chapter 1 (page 16), none of these systems are mentioned. In fact, the section mentions that wound damage can only be repaired with either repair bots or a nanite repair array (both defense systems) and mortal damage can only be repaired by a nanite repair array. I think that expanding on these systems would be very helpful. Even if it still means that a ship can't repair wound or mortal damage each round of combat without the defense systems, more clarification as to just what these three miscellaneous systems do would be helpful. Can a ship crew with a workshop repair wound damage in combat, but at a slower rate? Could a ship with a fabrication facility repair a point of mortal damage each day?

4.) Alter the coverage of command, computers, and defense systems
Basically, I would suggest some rework to the coverage provided by some of these systems.

For command systems, perhaps making a command deck only cover 50 HP. With scaling, that would provide a coverage range of 50 SC / 100 L / 200 M / 400 H / 800 SH. Currently, it is 100 SC / 200 L / 400 M / 800 H / 1600 SH (which means the command decks for the scaled ships are pretty small for their size).

A similar issue I have seen is with computer cores. The cost is going up, but the size of the core is staying relatively small. I can see cutting it back to 1 HP per 100 HP of ship as a good base line.

For defense systems, I would ditch the 5% rule for damage control systems (damage control, repair bots, and nanite repair array). As the scaling increases the coverage range, that means these systems get cut down in size while power increases. Instead, a potential 1 HP per 20 HP of ship works out to a 5%. It could also be reduced so that it is 1 per 10 (a 10% rate). Another option would be to keep it at 5% of the hull, but increase the effectiveness (ie the amount of damage that can be repaired). That of course means that larger vessels would be able to repair more damage each round of combat, making it that much harder to kill them.



That's it for now. I'm going to try to get the examples finished up by the weekend and posted on here for review.


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