Small Craft progression

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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby Crucis on Mon 26 Nov 2012 20:19

AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:I'm going to make nuclear warheads and bombs effectively tamper proof in my next campaign. The trigger for warheads will be speed based. Smct just don't move fast enough to set off the warhead. For bombs meant to be used against ground based targets, the trigger will be altitude based. Perhaps a talented electronics genius (Sir Horace Harkness?) could alter the trigger, but the average techs couldn't handle the job.


Alexei, that assumes that the warheads weren't designed with the possible use with suicide shuttles in mind. I could see where some races might not design their warheads for that use initially, but tweaking their designs so that they can wouldn't be difficult, if those races found themselves in a situation where they needed suicide shuttles.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Tue 27 Nov 2012 07:11

I could see suicide shuttles based on planets or SS where the number of warheads/bombs makes a difference. If you looks at ships though, short of colliers or big missile ships, the number of warheads available doesn't make stuffing them onto a smct an attractive option. Perhaps if a ship's Mg's and boat bays were to the rear of the launchers a desperate captain could entertain the thought of using a shuttle for a suicide mission. Even so, most missile ships using 3rd ed rules lack the reload capacity to have a decent number of warheads left by the time the situation gets that bad. The key is that in SSF ammo based weapons have on mount reloads, whereas in 3rd ed all such weapons draw directly from the Mg
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby Dawn Falcon on Fri 30 Nov 2012 07:47

Crucis wrote:I suppose one thing that could make such a tactic less attractive is change the anti-smallcraft to-hit modifier on the fighter kill tables from +1 to +2, though perhaps for point defense systems only.


I'd give a big bonus to "last ditch" point defence fire, and perhaps allow it to come from the entire data-group (if they're in the same hex).
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby Crucis on Sun 09 Dec 2012 15:19

Just to pump a little life into this thread...

A while back I was thinking about a couple of different special purpose smallcraft ...

Planetary Survey Shuttles (PST): This shuttle would be designed and optimized for planetary surveys. Its endurance would be reduced since it expects to have a mothership in orbit of the planet. It has no apparent cargo or personnel capacity. However, it does possess all the equipment needed for planetary surveyors and room for the survey personnel. PST's are essentially mobile labs.

If PST's exist, then perhaps they should be the only smallcraft allowed to do planetary survey work.

PST would be a low TL system. Maybe not something that player races would have immediately, but perhaps at TL3, after it becomes clear that doing planetary survey work only with starships is inefficient.


Scout Shuttle (SST): The SST carries a good smallcraft sensor (not as good as fXr was) and has the same speed and endurance as a standard shuttle, unloaded. It has no cargo capacity or personnel capacity, beyond its crew. Essentially the SST is a flying sensor. (Sensor range as yet to be determined.)

Scout Pinnace (SPN): Similar to the SST, the scout pinnace also retains the ability to transit WP's as well as the same speed and endurance as a standard pinnace, unloaded. It has no cargo or personnel capacity, beyond its crew. Like the SST, the SPN is essentially a flying sensor. (It's likely that the SPN would have better sensor range.)

I see scout shuttles and scout pinnaces as essentially replacing fighters with fXr. fXr has always seemed far too small for its abilities. At least with the SST and SPN's their sensors are far, far larger than any fXr module. Also, SST's and SPN's have far greater endurance and range than any fighter with fXr and a max load of additional life support. In WW2 terms, one might think of these scout craft as being similar to large flying boats, like PBY's, and such being used for recon as opposed to fighters with much shorter legs.

Also, I tend to see these scouts as not having particularly great sensor range compared to a starship with long range sensors. OTOH, smallcraft are more difficult to detect than starships, so there can be an upside there as well.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Sun 09 Dec 2012 15:54

I like the specialized survey and scout smct. Personally, I would allow the survey shuttles at start, as even in the home system a player/npr might use them if they elected not to install (AC) on their ships. For the scouts, I would limit it to pinnaces only due to their far greater endurance and ability to transit wp's. In fact the scout role was essentially used several time in IDG.

One other specialized role I could see for a pinnace is as a buoy tender. I would limit it to the various unarmed buoys like dsb-n etc. With their endurance and cargo capacity, they would be an excellent way for a player to deploys chains of dsb-c quickly.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby Crucis on Sun 09 Dec 2012 16:54

AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:I like the specialized survey and scout smct. Personally, I would allow the survey shuttles at start, as even in the home system a player/npr might use them if they elected not to install (AC) on their ships.


Ah, but that's why I think that they shouldn't get survey shuttles at the start. Players shouldn't get all the nice toys at the start. Besides, PST's would represent an advancement in planetary survey capability.


For the scouts, I would limit it to pinnaces only due to their far greater endurance and ability to transit wp's. In fact the scout role was essentially used several time in IDG.


The difference is that scout shuttles would show up at an earlier TL than scout pinnaces, and SPN's would represent an advancement over SST's. SST's would probably be something like TL4 or 5, and SPN's something like TL8 or 9.

To a certain degree, SPN's would make SST's obsolete, probably due to greater sensor range, endurance, speed, and WP ability. OTOH, you can probably carry twice as many SST than SPN ... but you might only need half as many SPN's as SST's, so it'd balance out. And just taking a wild guess, 1 SPN would (or should) be close to the same cost or a little cheaper than 2 SST's.


One other specialized role I could see for a pinnace is as a buoy tender. I would limit it to the various unarmed buoys like dsb-n etc. With their endurance and cargo capacity, they would be an excellent way for a player to deploys chains of dsb-c quickly.


IIRC, 3rdR or SM#2 changed things in regard to "chains" of communications buoys, replacing them with a single, much more powerful comm buoy that could communicate to another comm buoy across the system. I think that the idea was to simplify matters by reducing the numbers of buoys needed. As for "buoy tenders", I'm not entirely sure I see why regular pinnaces to shuttles couldn't do the job (if they had enough capacity), unless tractor beams were required ... in which case, they wouldn't be up to the task. Besides, I'm not really sure that smallcraft buoy tenders are really necessary. Small FT's could do the job just fine.

And laying comm buoys (outside of a warzone) seems like a civilian task, like a task you could just pay a fee to the ICN or whatever to go off and do, though I have to admit that I'm always wary of making some things too abstract. But this may be one that's simple enough to allow.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Sun 09 Dec 2012 17:51

After reading 3rdR I've found that my buoy tender idea isn't practical. Even a pinnace can only carry 8 buoys and manual deployment is slow.

Given that fighter xr doesn't show up until TL10. it makes sense that it would be an improvement over the versions used in the scout smct. I would give the fighter version the same capabilities as what would be used on the scout pinnaces. The difference would be that the next improvement in the tech would be an externally mounted version in order to free up the cargo capacity of 2nd generation smct including fighters.

Crucis wrote:Planetary Survey Shuttles (PST): This shuttle would be designed and optimized for planetary surveys. Its endurance would be reduced since it expects to have a mothership in orbit of the planet. It has no apparent cargo or personnel capacity. However, it does possess all the equipment needed for planetary surveyors and room for the survey personnel. PST's are essentially mobile labs.


Upon further reflection, I'm tending to agree that these shouldn't be available at start. I have nothing like them in my fiction and I'm assuming TL1 for the FGE when Hermes and Galicia discovered the Centauris wp. My shuttles are standard cargo/personnel carriers. I could see the TFN having them by the outset of ISW-1.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby Crucis on Sun 09 Dec 2012 18:39

AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:After reading 3rdR I've found that my buoy tender idea isn't practical. Even a pinnace can only carry 8 buoys and manual deployment is slow.

Given that fighter xr doesn't show up until TL10. it makes sense that it would be an improvement over the versions used in the scout smct. I would give the fighter version the same capabilities as what would be used on the scout pinnaces. The difference would be that the next improvement in the tech would be an externally mounted version in order to free up the cargo capacity of 2nd generation smct including fighters.


Honestly, Alexei, I'm just not a fan of the "fXr". I just don't think that something that sm all can be that good. I'll find something useful for recon fighters.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Sun 09 Dec 2012 19:58

The only use I can see for "fxr" is to conduct long range strikes on an enemy fleet. The problem is that F2's lack the ability to conduct effective long range strikes due to their limited ordnance loads and endurance. I can see F4's and F5's needing the ability to see targets beyond 20 tH as they may be operating beyond 12 LM of their carriers.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby Crucis on Sun 09 Dec 2012 20:28

AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:The only use I can see for "fxr" is to conduct long range strikes on an enemy fleet. The problem is that F2's lack the ability to conduct effective long range strikes due to their limited ordnance loads and endurance. I can see F4's and F5's needing the ability to see targets beyond 20 tH as they may be operating beyond 12 LM of their carriers.


Oh, there's no doubt that it would help to have at least some "pathfinder" recon fighters that help the strike find their way to the target, or at least find the target once they've been sent in the general direction by their carrier. Agree 100%.

But I don't think that one needs to have a fighter sensor that's the equivalent of the SPN's or SST's to get the job done. I'm thinking that what fighters would carry is something like what I'm thinking of as "Tactical Sensors" (similar in concept to Ultra's and Solar's "Y" sensor), rather than Long Range Sensors, which probably will never get any smaller than smallcraft mounted. And I'm not even sure about that.

I haven't dug deeply into sensors in quite a while. I do like Ultra's split of tactical sensors "Y" from long-range sensors (which it calls "capital sensors" and codes "Yc"), though I don't really like how large Yc is. I don't think that all starships need something like Yc, but I think that most warships would want "Y", since you'd be pretty blind without them.
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