Starship Sizes: Fighters & Titans

Starship Sizes: Fighters & Titans

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Starship Sizes: Fighters & Titans


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I was writing this for EONS magazine, but it turned out I only needed one page and that does not an EONS article make. So here it is for free!

This is just a draft; I have NOT playtested this. It is designed to accommodate different assumptions in starship size while still allowing you to use the Starship Construction Manual. Any comments are welcome.

This makes it a lot easier to build Traveller sized starships or WH40K sized starships, instead of the default Trek-ish scale. You could choose to make all ships use a certain scale, all allow all three scales in your settings. This essentially changes the tonnage range to a lower end of 10 tons up to an upper end of ... well as high as you want to go, really.

The rules are meant to be simple and easy to apply. To build a small ship, simply build a standard one and then apply the adjustments.

Includes a sample micro-scale ship, the Fury Class I Starfighter.
  1. middenface
    Oh excellent.. I can start looking at the ships I have published and see how they work.
    At the moment I have a ship in drydock I am working on. She's the Polixenes Class Modular Courier (and not a Third Imperium ship) 100 Tons.. kind of a modular Type S.

    Attachment 76935
  2. LordEntrails
    First let me say I've never read any of the other WOIN rules/materials. Second, as an aerospace engineer I found this topic intriguing, so I read your download.

    Comment/question;
    Why does the smaller ship always win initiative? Given that spaceship weapon systems are going to be electronic, response/reaction times will not be size dependent. Even if you consider mass and momentum as a factor, a larger ship might have larger/stronger servos. Same when it comes to maneuvering, Response times here are going to be all about weight to force ratios and presumably larger ships might have larger reaction thrusters.

    Note, that when I saw this topic and read the thread, I had assumed you were going to talk about how in different game genre's you would use different technologies and assumptions and how it would effect ship size. Things like;
    - artificial gravity allowing non-rotational ship styles
    - self-repairing systems and materials that would allow smaller crew sizes and therefore smaller ships
    - energy systems like; chemical, nuclear, anti-matter, other impacting things like; thrust, usable mass ratios, propulsion systems...
    - FTL technologies and their impacts

    One of the reasons for my curiosity is current technologies in 2016 make many of the assumptions used to generate sci-fi space ships inaccurate. The easiest one is in terms of crew size. Most fantasy sci-fi assume naval ships to have hundreds of crew members, just because today's water naval ships do. But we can see with modern cargo ships and the Sea Shadow and Sea Slice examples such large crews are not needed, especially if one includes some of the self-healing materials that various labs have announced experimental versions of in the last few years.
  3. Morrus
    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    Note, that when I saw this topic and read the thread, I had assumed you were going to talk about how in different game genre's you would use different technologies and assumptions and how it would effect ship size. Things like;
    - artificial gravity allowing non-rotational ship styles
    - self-repairing systems and materials that would allow smaller crew sizes and therefore smaller ships
    - energy systems like; chemical, nuclear, anti-matter, other impacting things like; thrust, usable mass ratios, propulsion systems...
    - FTL technologies and their impacts
    No, that's not what the article is about. it's just a page long. It's just a simple multiplier to quickly make Traveller sized ships with the rules in the WOIN Starship Construction Manual.

    That all sounds like a very interesting article though! Maybe somebody out there will write it!
  4. LordEntrails
    Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
    No, that's not what the article is about.
    I saw. And after reading it I had that question about initiative.

    That all sounds like a very interesting article though! Maybe somebody out there will write it!
    I agree it would be interesting That's why I was was curious about the thread.

    For anyone interested, Popular Mechanics has an article that is several years old but is a good place to start. Not surprisingly, NASA also has articles on the subject, one from 2006 on anti-matter propulsion for instance.
  5. Morrus
    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    I saw. And after reading it I had that question about initiative.
    It's too big a question to answer if you aren't familiar with how initiative is derived and used in the Starship Construction Manual. Generally speaking, though, yes, better equipment and crew is a major factor.

    It might be better in this article as a modifier; I was trying to keep it super simple, but you're right - a modifier would work better.
  6. LordEntrails
    I think I'll have to go read your starship construction rules
  7. Morrus
    Now updated:

    - INITIATIVE rule changed
    - LUXURY for tiny ships changed
    - Sample micro-scale ship, the Fury Class I Starfighter
    - Minor other changes/clarifications
  8. Ironxxx
    As I understand it according to your guidelines it means hangar bays use less cargo units on smaller ships. I'd have them use the same amount, shuttles and fighters don't decrease in size just because the parent ship does.

    Other than that love these guidelines.

    Created this ship for my players as their intro ship:

    Attachment 76961

    "Esmerelda" CEC XS-1200 Freighter - Class III Undersized Freighter
    Weight 1554 tons; Cargo Units 50 (47 available; capacity 2365 tons)
    Hull Class III (INIT 0)
    Traits Hauler
    Crew 3 (cost 600cr/m); Troops 0; Passengers 0 (0 standard, 0 luxury)
    Command & Control Systems
    Computers 1x Nikitin AU-45 Class 4 Astrogation Droid* (CPU cycles: 3; max FTL: 79; checks: +0d6)1x Frontier Products MM-1 Command Computer (CPU cycles: 8; max FTL: 2; checks: +0d6)
    Sensors Chen-Collins SS-1 (range 2; check +0d6)
    Engine & Propulsion Data
    Subluminal 2x Satellite Concepts SI-1 Ion Engine (power 7 ea; SPEED 4.7; fuel efficiency 1.4)
    FTL 1x Outerdyne DayCorp MH-2 Hyperdrive (power 10 ; FTL 33; fuel efficiency 0.9; 35,937c, 1.26 parsecs/hour)
    Backup FTL -
    Operational Range 24 parsecs
    Defensive Data
    Superstructure 9 DEFENSE 18 E-DEFENSE 10
    Armor -
    Shields 1x Parsec Group SSC-1 Civilan Deflector Screen (power 3 ea; SOAK 1)
    Point Defenses
    Weapons Data
    2x BlasTech Ax-108 Ground Buzzer Surface-Defense Blaster Cannon (range 1; damage 1d6 heat; attack +0d6)
    Facilities
    Luxury NA due to crew size
    Facilities Cabin, Double (1), Cabin, Standard (1), Lounge/Recreation Area (1), Sickbay (1),
    General Systems
    Fueling
    Electronic Warfare
    Tractor Beams
    Cloaking Device
  9. Morrus
    Quote Originally Posted by Ironxxx View Post
    As I understand it according to your guidelines it means hangar bays use less cargo units on smaller ships. I'd have them use the same amount, shuttles and fighters don't decrease in size just because the parent ship does.
    You make an excellent point!

    I think it probably applies to tractor beams, too.
  10. Nerhesi
    How do you determine the smaller crew sizes? Example, the creation of fighters with a crew of 1?

    Did some quick testing with my play-test crew as they were coming over anyways today. We like the intent of the -1d6 for targetting "smaller scale" ships, but it seems a bit arbitrary. It also breaks apart when you start looking at undersized and standard scale ships that are actually the same tonnage. I would think the best way is simply to scale Defense based on absolute size (regardless of scale). So.. perhaps defense 25 for 51-999, Defense 30 for <50 tons. (High defense values won't matter because they will have low soak)

    I'm curious Morrus, if I may be so bold, why the different scale system? I'm an admirer for the simplicity of the starship construction approach you took. As such, I believe the best approach would be to simply to create:

    The templates/number needed for the craft <1000 (which isn't covered in the main book).
    A formula for classes 19+...

    Sample:

    under or equal to 50 tons, starfighter, Crew 1, CU15, Defense 30, Fuel 1, Initiative +2d6
    51 to 300 tons, support craft, Crew 2, CU25, Defense 25, blah blah
    301 - 999 tons, blah, CU 40, Defense 22, etc etc
    <standard construction rules cover the rest>
    Above size 18, +50,000 tons, +200 MCr, +500 crew, +500 CU, -1 Def, +900 fuel, Init -4d6

    Thats it! Then you can use the next 2-3 pages to create specialty components that would be available for the 0-X size classes only and maybe a couple of really massive components too. You won't need a separate chart sheet for scales-sizes then. Basically, extending your current system to cover the bounded lower range (1-1000) and provide a scaling simple formula for things above 500k
  11. Morrus
    Crew divides/multiplies by the same factor, to a minimum of 1.

    I agree that the weakest aspect of this approach is that vessels with the same tonnage can have different "scales" - for that reason, my initial inclination was to cut off the table columns at the points where they overlap.

    Increasing DEFENSE by 3.5 is pretty much the same thing as applying a -1d6 attack penalty. Certainly extending the DEFENSE scale would also work; my main aim was to write something very short and simple though, and not have to design a ton of new components. That's one of the main reasons it's there in the "fan creations" area rather than in a more official location.
  12. Nerhesi
    Crew: So does that mean? Perhaps I missed a rule in the main starship construction guide, but does that mean undersized craft are crew/10?

    Main point discussion:

    Ok, so lets avoid new components and use "scales", I agree with your initial feeling that you should cut off the table where overlap occurs. I feel this should be very explicit such that you would have, for example:

    Scale Size Notes
    Microsized (I) 0-50 tons -1D6 to be hit by larger craft
    +2D6 initiative
    *Weapon changes
    Minisized (II) 51-100 tons -1D6 to be hit by larger craft
    +1D6 initiative
    **Weapon changes
    Undersized (IV) 101-999 tons +1D initiative
    **Weapon changes
    Standard 1000-500,000 tons As per standard rules
    Oversized 500,001+ tons ***


    * = This is mostly the rules you have in-place now - with two minor changes that clean up things nicely and preserve balance.
    Weapon damage should scale down, but not up automatically otherwise that's double the effect for only half the benefit.
    Oversized ships should by treated as simply larger standard ships.

    What this would look like, is the table above, plus the following 3 simple points:

    *Microsized ship weapons do a maximum of 1D6 to Minisized/Undersized scale ships, and 1 damage to standard/oversized scale ships.
    **Mini/undersized ship weapons do a maximum of 1D6 to standard/oversized scale ships.
    ***Above size 18, for every 50k tons, Class increased by 1, add +200 MCr, +500 crew, +500 CU, -1 Def, +900 fuel. Init becomes -4D6.

    In my humble opinion, this would be the best way if you want to keep scales. Yes I purposely proposed the class divisors 1, 2 and 4 not 3!

    The only issue you'd have to worry about is the absolute sized components. I'm not worried about shields or armour, you know - the scale is smaller so obviously they'll be more effective (less surface area, etc). What is concerning would be things such as sensors, living quarters, cargo space, etc.. that really shouldn't "scale" down with size. So we would need to put some explicit limits on which components
  13. Morrus
    Quote Originally Posted by Nerhesi View Post
    Crew: So does that mean? Perhaps I missed a rule in the main starship construction guide, but does that mean undersized craft are crew/10?
    It's in the download we're talking about - the scaling draft rule.

    [COLOR=#3E3E3E]***Above size 18, for every 50k tons, Class increased by 1, add +200 MCr, +500 crew, +500 CU, -1 Def, +900 fuel. Init becomes -4D6.
    Generally, the game's design philosophy (including ships hull sizes) is that the scale expands as you progress up it.
  14. Nerhesi
    Generally, the game's design philosophy (including ships hull sizes) is that the scale expands as you progress up it.
    Oh I see what you're saying now. So the scale shouldn't always progress by 50k tons, it should jump to 75k, then maybe 100k, and so on.
    Ok - add 2-3 more rows?

    I'm just worried about intrinsically making larger things more powerful (except for small craft, because they're not and they match the whole Wing Commander, Starwars, etc flavour). Larger things/craft will benefit from more space anyways

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