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Generic FC / SFB Warships - In Anticipation of PD: Traveller
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domingojs23
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:45 pm    Post subject: Generic FC / SFB Warships - In Anticipation of PD: Traveller Reply with quote

Dear Steve and Friends,

With the imminent release of Prime Directive - Mongoose Traveller, the question will arise (forgive me if this has already been tackled elsewhere), as to what starship combat rules system will one utilize. SFU ACTA is also forthcoming, we already have SFU Starmada, but many of us who plan to game SFU Traveller will want to use FC or SFB as the starship combat ruleset.

The attraction of PD-MGT is that some may wish to interface their campaigns with the "Official" Traveller Universe (OTU) Setting. The major difficulty in using FB or SFB is its lack of an official ship construction system - of course this is understandable due to the nature of the license for the SFU. So, is it possible that we may see FC/SFU conversions of OTU ships ? Hopefully, but not likely as we did not even have any starship conversion formulas for D20 / Gurps.

So, a possible compromise is for ADB itself to come up with "generic" basic warships for FC / SFB with as many modification options as possible, and for different tech levels. SFB already has generic starbases and civilian ships, but no warships yet as far as I am aware. Such generic warships ships then could essentiallty serve as OTU naval vessels with a little tweaking.

Thanks !

Gary
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was under the understand that

everybody already knows all of thise

it's already been discussed on this forum

there is already a plan to handle it

the plan has already been explained on this forum

However, I do not understand the plan and will let Mike West take care of it.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two points to consider:

1) You cannot have a coherent ship construction system built in the mold of the Traveller generation system that will make SFU ships. It won't happen. The attempt will be made, but there will be clear, unavoidable language stated multiple times that any such ship is purely in the realm of your own players' universe and can never be considered for inclusion into the SFU, whether SFB, FC, any other system, or even PD itself.

2) The Traveller universe and the SFU are flat out incompatible, and any attempt to make them so will alter one or both to the point of being unrecognizable. Let's have some fun with this point.

The technology progression is so different, that the tech levels used by Traveller Prime Directive will be completely different from TL 9+. That means TPD will be getting goodies in TL10, that the TU wouldn't see until TL17+. The reason is that the technologies used by the TU and SFU are completely and totally independent.

The astrographic scale is totally different. Realize that the entire Charted Space of the TU fits into little more than a single F&E hex. Seriously, the scales are that out of whack to each other. This also means that a character in TU will spend his entire life travelling the same distance that an SFU character, on a small freighter, covers during a good night's sleep.

The tactical scale is totally different. When that fearsome Tigress super-dreadnought finally gets into range to take an extremely long distance pot-shot, the Federation frigate is finally at range to start transporter operations. And while that Tigress is firing as fast and as hard as possible doing (maybe) some damage to shield boxes, the Federation frigate is blowing massive holes in the Tigress. (And that is only if the frigate is silly enough to get that close. If it parks at range eight, it is pumping overloaded photons and phasers into the Tigress, while the Tigress still isn't in range.

Oh, and to tie the last two points together, the speed scale is totally out of whack. Sublight ships in the SFU drive circles around TU ships. The TU ships are barely moving, in comparison. Against a standard shuttle, much less warp capable ships, a TU ship is literally stationary.

So, having some kind of construction system is utterly irrelevant to trying to tie the two systems together. In point of fact, they are flat out incompatible due to their inherent and intrinsic assumptions. Changing either one to fit the other would make the changed system completely unrecognizable. Trying to meet in the middle would leave both systems unrecognizable. They just don't fit with each other.

PS:
Point of clarification. This is not to say there is a problem having the SFU/Prime Directive use the Traveller game system. That works very well and, except for the aforementioned ship construction, looks like it will fit together quite nicely. It is the two game universes that are incompatible.
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domingojs23
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mike,

Points very well taken !

Ok, let's aside the Traveller setting, and focus on FC.

What about then the idea of generic warships for FC ? Sort of like a very "vanilla" tournament cruiser, but with options to slap on your own weapons and other ships' systems, like "sprinkles" on ice cream. There are a number of reasons for this, one being facilitating the creation of ones' own game setting and new/original empires. The idea would also in a way take the premise of SFB "Module C4: Fleet Training" a step further, allowing one to create new ships for training purposes.

Btw, is there already something like SFB Module C4 for FC, or one in the works ?

Thanks !

Gary
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The_Rock
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ken Burnside has a ship construction system in his game Squadron Strike that allows for these multi-universe interactions. At conventions he runs some hybrid SFU/Bab5/Star Wars fights, with ships from all 3 universes. You might want to check out his system to handle ship building and interaction (e.g. combat) in PD-T. No guarantee this would work, since I have no knowledge at all of Traveller, but on its face it looks like something that would accomplish what you are trying to do.
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generic warships?! This sounds like a ship construction system in another form, which FC/SFB just doesn't lend itself to. Ship construction systems inevitably lead to munchkin power-gaming designs IMX, simply because some players are munchkins. (Myself included. Very Happy )
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of the iconic SFU ships will be presented in Traveller starship terms. It is intended that a slightly modified form of the Traveller space combat system (which is mapless and meant for roleplaying, not boardgaming) will also be addressed. So, some of this is fully planned on being addressed.

On the totally different subject of simulator empires in Federation Commander, no, there is no plans for a "C4" for Federation Commander right now. That is not to say it won't happen in the indeterminate future, but, as far as I have seen, there are no plans for something like it. Do not, however, that the Frax were done in a recent Captain's Log.
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Dal Downing
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gary, what are you looking for the Barbarians out of C4 or are you looking for something like The Heavy War Destroyers with the Non Weapon Options taken to a extreme? I mean the Orion Weapon Option rules already cover half of what you are looking for it seems.
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Klingon of Gor
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an old Traveller veteran, I think that some sort of Traveller/Fedcom mashup would be a step up for Traveller, and a step down for Fedcom. Traveller's ship design and combat rules were always one of it's weakest aspects. And I can live quite comfortably without a ship design system, which would be highly susceptible to abuse.
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leathernsteel
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The excellent design of all the SFU ships is one of the main reasons I love the SFU!
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Kang
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Klingon of Gor wrote:
And I can live quite comfortably without a ship design system, which would be highly susceptible to abuse.

IIRC, early versions of SFB had a system for adding bits to ships and the corresponding point value adjustments - to be used within reason. As you say, this was indeed abused by people making 'superships'!
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domingojs23
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Friends,

Many thanks for your input on this ! True, a generic ship line is essentially a ship construction system by another name - truth be told this is what I wished we had in the SFB / FC system !

But perhaps you all could enlighten me as to why we don't have such a system is it to avoid - (1) abuse of the system with the creation of monster ships, or (2) possible complications with the Paramount license ? Point (2) I could understand, but (1) is a bit hard to comprehend as most other ship combat games have a construction system, and I believe that most gamers would use the system responsibly. "Munchkin Power Gamers" would be deservedly ostracized !

Dal, thanks for reminding us about the Orion options - I guess I will content myself with this for the mean time. Indeed, the Orions have basic hulls and pick-and-choose weapons options, and more-or-less covers what I wanted.

Cheers,

Gary
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Point #1 was indeed, most definitely the reason the "point value replacement system" has gone the way of the dodo.

Many of the top rated players would use it resopnsibly, but in my experience this is what I encountered far more often:
Munchkin: "Well, since I don't wnat to do anythign but fight - I don't need labs."
You then took a Federaiton CA and replaced the labs with phasers, photons, or both.
And, "I'm willing to cram a bit more power into her!", so out went half the hull spaces and in went AWRs.
Then it was: "You know, I've never used a probe and you have to get really deep into the DAC to hit a Aux Con or Emer... and I really like Wild Weasels and Suicide Shuttles!"
So now you lose command stations and the probe launcher and replace them with additional shuttle boxes.

And on it went.

Eventually you got tired of showing up at the FLGS and facing uber-ship after uber ship after uber-ship.
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Darkwing
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scoutdad is absolutely right. It starts off simple enough, an underpowered ship replaces some labs with APR for no additional cost. Then ALL the labs become APR. Next (since he's got all that extra power) a couple of tractors become phasers or heavy weapons. After that it gets bad.

Everything becomes a pocket battleship (except the battleships, which become monstrosities that can tackle an Andromedan base by themselves). Any tactics go out the airlock as all a player has to do is fire off a volley and watch the other ship burn...unless the other guy has modified his ship the same way. What it comes down to is once you start doing that no "stock" ship stands a chance because it's designed like a starship that needs to perform missions that might or might not involve blasting every enemy in space from the stars and the "mods" are nothing but killers.

Sometimes it's fun to let someone in your group experiment with a design they dreamed up, but everyone should understand that this is not FC or SFB, it's an experiment using one of the aforementioned games' rules.

I, for one, hope NEVER to see the chaos of an official way to modify ships in either game system.
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Mr_Tricorder
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darkwing wrote:
. . . What it comes down to is once you start doing that no "stock" ship stands a chance because it's designed like a starship that needs to perform missions that might or might not involve blasting every enemy in space from the stars and the "mods" are nothing but killers. . .


Bringing the conversation back to PD Traveller:
The big difference here is that SFB and FC are wargames and 99.9% of what you're doing is space combat, so of course you would be tempted to outfit a ship with extra reactors and weapons in place of non-combat elements. Prime Directive, however, is a roleplaying game and space combat will almost definitely make up a much, much smaller percentage of what goes on. You're far more likely to actually use those labs and probes and "hull spaces" (crew quarters, rec deck, and most other areas of the ship in which roleplay can happen).

In the Traveller game I've been playing, we've used our ship for transporting refugees, salvaging a derelict ship, defending against an attack, and even moving a damaged planetary power reactor into space where it could detonate harmlessly. One of the guys in our group designed the ship from scratch using Traveller's ship design guidelines and adhered to the cost rules very strictly. We nearly lost it in combat and should have lost it from the exploding reactor had the GM not worked out a way for the ship to be miraculously saved and reworked the campaign to make it fit. I would love to be able to transfer this same level of design "realism" and knowing exactly what your ship can and can't do in a game of Prime Directive.
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