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Old 06-03-2019, 02:38 PM   #1
Wonazer
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Oregon
Default Shipbuilding in ISW vs Spaceships

I'm familiar with Spaceships, but just got into Interstellar Wars. I've seeing a handful of distinct differences between the two systems. I'm considering designing ISW ships via Spaceships, but I'm worried about consistency. What functional differences are there that I may be missing at first glance?
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:29 PM   #2
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Shipbuilding in ISW vs Spaceships

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonazer View Post
I'm familiar with Spaceships, but just got into Interstellar Wars. I've seeing a handful of distinct differences between the two systems. I'm considering designing ISW ships via Spaceships, but I'm worried about consistency. What functional differences are there that I may be missing at first glance?
Spaceships is after ISW and completely separate. I certainly don't think ISW has anything like Spaceships' scaling. I suspect any similarities might be simple coincidence.

I've never tried very hard to make ships with the ISW ssytem. I'm put off by its' complexity relative to its' output. Also, ISW has very poor comaptibility with earlier versions of Traveller (J2 Beowulf for starters).

Spaceships at least has the virtue of simplicity. I can make Spaceships desgins by counting on my fingers (to 20).
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:06 PM   #3
Wonazer
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Oregon
Default Re: Shipbuilding in ISW vs Spaceships

I know ISW came before Spaceships, ISW as a whole has a few issues that were later solved as 4e matured.

I only prefer Spaceships because I'm familiar with it, but I was worried that I'd break something. I worry too much.

Also, I'm not concerned about other editions of Traveller because I'm not familiar with any other Traveller setting, aside from what I've read in the last week. As is, I think I prefer ISW (over other Traveller time periods) since I was imagining a TL9-10 ish BSG inspired setting for my campaign. I was originally trying to shoehorn Star Wars into a TL9-10 GURPS existence-- it was ugly.

I'm put off by ISW shipbuilding complexity as well -- that's why I was asking about its output. Does it do anything better than Spaceships? If not, does using Spaceships break anything in ISW? Will I have to reimagine existing ISW ships? If not, I'll go with what I already know and run with Spaceships.
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:38 PM   #4
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Shipbuilding in ISW vs Spaceships

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Originally Posted by Wonazer View Post
I'm put off by ISW shipbuilding complexity as well -- that's why I was asking about its output. Does it do anything better than Spaceships? If not, does using Spaceships break anything in ISW? Will I have to reimagine existing ISW ships? If not, I'll go with what I already know and run with Spaceships.
Space combat at TL9-10 with Spaceships tends toward an "eggshells with hammers" paradigm. If you build your Battlestars at SM+15 they might not suffer such problems when dealing with SM+4 Cylon Raiders. At least as long as missile launches take place within visual range.

ISW can be the other way. One of my issues with it is that some Vilani ships have so much armor that a Terran ship of comparable mass couldn't damage it. It would be very hard for the Terrans to win any of those match-ups.
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:19 PM   #5
Wonazer
 
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Default Re: Shipbuilding in ISW vs Spaceships

My concern with TL11+ was one my players brought up: death was inevitable. They realized that TL11 energy weapons were brutal. Short of everyone wearing space armor and having personal shields, a solid shot would end them. I dialed my game back to TL9 (with a few exceptions) as it seemed more reasonable (and survivable).

Is "eggshells and hammer" worse than "plink, plink, plink, red mist"?
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Old 06-04-2019, 10:35 AM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Shipbuilding in ISW vs Spaceships

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My concern with TL11+ was one my players brought up: death was inevitable. They realized that TL11 energy weapons were brutal. Short of everyone wearing space armor and having personal shields, a solid shot would end them. I dialed my game back to TL9 (with a few exceptions) as it seemed more reasonable (and survivable).

Is "eggshells and hammer" worse than "plink, plink, plink, red mist"?
You've managed to bewilder me. I was talking about spaceship combat in Spaceships. That's where the "eggshells with hammers" thing came from. Damage in Spaceships is generally the same across TLs if everything else is equal. Armor divisor does go up but DR does too and if you add Force Screens it more than doubles.

Now you're talking about personal combat and i fiind your player's concerns difficult to understand as well. In UT (until you get to TL12^Disintegrators) lethality to unarmored targets goes _down_ when you switch from TL9 projectile weapons to higher TL energy weapons. A TL11 Heavy Blaster Pistol does 4d damage or an average of 14 pts. That's a weapon the size of a .44 magnum. A standard 9mm cop gun from TL8 loaded with HP does 13.5 pts of wounding. A TL9 15mm Magnum does 4d+1 P++ or 30 pts of wounding to an unarmored target. A TL 9 Gyroc does 6D P++ or 42 pts of wounding and that's with non-explosive rounds.

The lower RCL and hgh ACC of energy weapons can get a target in trouble with multiple hits but that's not the "one solid shot" you mentioned. You won't find Gurps combat with Piercing weapons at lower TLs notably more survivable.
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Old 06-04-2019, 12:56 PM   #7
Wonazer
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Oregon
Default Re: Shipbuilding in ISW vs Spaceships

This is why I love gaming these days as opposed to the early 90s when I started. I can communicate with people who are either smarter or more experienced (or both). I was determined to prove you wrong. I fired up a spreadsheet and began building a weapon vs DR table.

Just as a proof of concept, I ran the numbers for common pistols vs common flexible armors for TL 9-11.

Code:
	                       Die Averages  vs Reflex  vs Nano  vs Mono
TL9 10mm Pistol 3d pi+		                0          0	    0
TL9 Gyroc Pistol 6d pi++	               18     	   6        0
				
TL10 Gauss Pistol 3d (3) pi-	                3	   3	    1
TL10 Laser Pistol 3d (2) burn	                8	   7        6
TL10 Heavy Laser Pistol 4d (2) burn            12	  11	   10
TL10 Gauss Shotgun Pistol, 8d pi++             32	  20	    8
				
TL11 Blaster Pistol 3d(5) burn sur	        9	   9	    8
TL11 Heavy Blaster Pistol 4d(5) burn sur       13	  12	   12
You were right.

I didn't even get into trauma plates in vests, clamshells, rigid, or sealed combat armors, let alone SMGs or rifles... Actually, I'm going to add in rifles and other weapons just to see what the common target (still only accounting for common flexible armors for each TL) would take on average.

Here's a link to the Google Sheet.

So, all that being said... How do I keep combat balanced for a party that has...
  • a pilot in flexible armor and a pistol
  • a marine with space armor and a gauss rifle

I worry that, at any TL, anything that could threaten the Marine would vaporize the rest of the party. How do you handle situations like this?
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:18 PM   #8
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Shipbuilding in ISW vs Spaceships

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Originally Posted by Wonazer View Post
  • a pilot in flexible armor and a pistol
  • a marine with space armor and a gauss rifle

I worry that, at any TL, anything that could threaten the Marine would vaporize the rest of the party. How do you handle situations like this?
Have somebody at the entrance port to a civilized world tell the marine he can't take all that stuff through the gate. :)

When you're not dealing with civilized worlds have the opponents concentrate on killing the marine first.

This has actually happened to me in a Mongoose Traveller game. I mustered out of the Marines with a suit of powered armor and a plasma gun but the first world we went to I couldn't carry anything more than a stun gun though customs. Actually the only things I ever got to use the plasma gun on were psionic trees.
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:30 PM   #9
Wonazer
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Oregon
Default Re: Shipbuilding in ISW vs Spaceships

Yeah, I was figuring things like that. I figured I could occasionally catch the Marine without his armor. I'm also planning ahead for things like cover and line-of-sight for the non-Marines in the party -- basically, put them in situations that are potentially advantageous and put it on them if they get shot. Hehe
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