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Old 04-25-2018, 05:22 PM   #1
Sorenant
 
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Default [Spaceships] Paying more for better system?

I've finally decided to check Spaceships and I must admit it's better than what I thought (though I still need to get my head around the combat system) but one thing stood out for me: All systems have same capacity. For example, you can't pay more for a better Control Room with higher Complexity, get some Jet Engine that costs 2x but is 1.5x better than an ordinary one, or pay premium to get better handling.
Does one of the other books of the Spaceships line or some Pyramid article covers this?

Edit: By the way, does incoming missiles counts as streamlined?

Last edited by Sorenant; 04-25-2018 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 04-25-2018, 06:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Paying more for better system?

I'm going to answer those questions in reverse order.

Missiles are indeed streamlined - check the SM for targeting them against their weight, and you'll see this is the case.

Better handling can be had - but it has a mass (and monetary) cost associated with it, and only works in atmosphere. The relevant system is the Maneuver Enhancement, from Spaceships 7.

For the engines, while some of the other books have plenty of additional options, about the only way to pay more to get better performance is if you're able to pay extra to get something of a higher TL.

A better Control Room, I'm not sure about. My gut reaction would be to work out what computer would be included by default in it, then apply modifiers to that. For example, using TL 9 and SM+10, the C7 of the Control Room is doable with a 400 lb, $100K computer (a Mainframe). You could spend an extra $900K and sacrifice 3600 lb of cargo space to upgrade that to a Macroframe (total $1M and 4000 lb), or just spend extra cash to the tune of $1.9M (end cost $2M) to upgrade your Mainframe to Fast, in either case getting C8 instead of only C7.
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Old 04-25-2018, 06:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Paying more for better system?

There is an exception tot he lack of "upgrades". Some settings can have "Super" FTL units that give the sort of bonus you're talking about.

Mostly though, superior performance comes from choosing a different technology though that almost always will cost more.

There are some more systems in (I think) 4 for SM+4 fighter types and 7 for stranger and anachronistic tech.
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Old 04-25-2018, 09:21 PM   #4
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Paying more for better system?

As mentioned, there's not much provisions in Spaceships for systems that are just better than standard, without going up a full TL. However, there are some reasonably simple house rules you can use. I've used these before in a couple of games with space travel, and they've worked pretty well.

First, if you figure your setting is reasonably close to the next TL, or you've got characters with appropriate invention skills and advantages (like Gadgeteer), you can allow them to buy or build prototype versions of the next TL's systems. Usually, these will have bugs or flaws, which can be used to keep them under control, and provide adventure hooks. For engines, a good flaw is "functions about half-way between this TL and the next in effectiveness". For example, if you're at TL 10 and have standard reactionless drives, you could allow the ship to have prototype TL 11 standard reactionless drives, that produced 0.75 Gs of thrust per system, better than the TL 10 0.5 Gs, but not quite up to the full 1 G of "mature" TL 11.

Note that this approach is only barely a house rule anyway - it does basically fit into the standard rules for inventions and guidelines for what sort of tech should be available.

The next option is to allow systems to be optimized for certain tasks. For this, use the normal rules for equipment quality (p. B345) to apply to a specific skill roll usually made with that system, for the normal cost increases to the system. For instance, your engines could be optimized for emergency thrust tasks. For 20X their normal cost, they'd count as fine-quality equipment, giving +2 to anyone rolling the relevant repair skill for them to give more thrust.

In general, don't allow this to apply to rolls that are directly affected by the ship's stats already. For example, don't allow people to buy Fine control room systems to get a boost to handling, since that's already covered by the Maneuver Enhancement system that Varyon mentioned. Similarly, upgrading your guns to get better effective Acc should be disallowed. But specific subsets of such tasks are probably reasonable, like buying maneuver drives optimized to give bonuses in very tight quarters, or to improve vehicle Dodge only, or weapons specifically good at targeting a single class of ships.
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Old 04-25-2018, 09:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Paying more for better system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Missiles are indeed streamlined - check the SM for targeting them against their weight, and you'll see this is the case.
Good to know, it's important for point defense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Better handling can be had - but it has a mass (and monetary) cost associated with it, and only works in atmosphere. The relevant system is the Maneuver Enhancement, from Spaceships 7.

For the engines, while some of the other books have plenty of additional options, about the only way to pay more to get better performance is if you're able to pay extra to get something of a higher TL.

A better Control Room, I'm not sure about. My gut reaction would be to work out what computer would be included by default in it, then apply modifiers to that. For example, using TL 9 and SM+10, the C7 of the Control Room is doable with a 400 lb, $100K computer (a Mainframe). You could spend an extra $900K and sacrifice 3600 lb of cargo space to upgrade that to a Macroframe (total $1M and 4000 lb), or just spend extra cash to the tune of $1.9M (end cost $2M) to upgrade your Mainframe to Fast, in either case getting C8 instead of only C7.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
There is an exception tot he lack of "upgrades". Some settings can have "Super" FTL units that give the sort of bonus you're talking about.

Mostly though, superior performance comes from choosing a different technology though that almost always will cost more.

There are some more systems in (I think) 4 for SM+4 fighter types and 7 for stranger and anachronistic tech.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
As mentioned, there's not much provisions in Spaceships for systems that are just better than standard, without going up a full TL. However, there are some reasonably simple house rules you can use. I've used these before in a couple of games with space travel, and they've worked pretty well.

First, if you figure your setting is reasonably close to the next TL, or you've got characters with appropriate invention skills and advantages (like Gadgeteer), you can allow them to buy or build prototype versions of the next TL's systems. Usually, these will have bugs or flaws, which can be used to keep them under control, and provide adventure hooks. For engines, a good flaw is "functions about half-way between this TL and the next in effectiveness". For example, if you're at TL 10 and have standard reactionless drives, you could allow the ship to have prototype TL 11 standard reactionless drives, that produced 0.75 Gs of thrust per system, better than the TL 10 0.5 Gs, but not quite up to the full 1 G of "mature" TL 11.

Note that this approach is only barely a house rule anyway - it does basically fit into the standard rules for inventions and guidelines for what sort of tech should be available.

The next option is to allow systems to be optimized for certain tasks. For this, use the normal rules for equipment quality (p. B345) to apply to a specific skill roll usually made with that system, for the normal cost increases to the system. For instance, your engines could be optimized for emergency thrust tasks. For 20X their normal cost, they'd count as fine-quality equipment, giving +2 to anyone rolling the relevant repair skill for them to give more thrust.

In general, don't allow this to apply to rolls that are directly affected by the ship's stats already. For example, don't allow people to buy Fine control room systems to get a boost to handling, since that's already covered by the Maneuver Enhancement system that Varyon mentioned. Similarly, upgrading your guns to get better effective Acc should be disallowed. But specific subsets of such tasks are probably reasonable, like buying maneuver drives optimized to give bonuses in very tight quarters, or to improve vehicle Dodge only, or weapons specifically good at targeting a single class of ships.
Oh well, too bad there's no official ruling for this. Regardless, I like Kelly Pedersen's house rules, it's not as comprehensive as I wanted* but it's based on RAW which is very nice. Thanks for the help and suggestions, much appreciated!
*dST doesn't change with TL so you can't have make a spaceship, in fact a mecha, that is stronger than another of the same size like you often see in animes (eg GM vs Hygogg); Lack of option to improve sAcc from the hardware side makes it harder to distinguish specialty models like normal GM and GM Sniper (maybe give conventional guns to GMs and EM guns to Sniper?); There's no way to make a jet plane like Yukikaze (from Sentou Yousei Yukikaze) that comes with a small supercomputer onboard that hosts an almost volitional AI. Anyway, as Snoopy once said, you play with the cards you're dealt.
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Old 04-25-2018, 10:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Paying more for better system?

I think there are a couple of ship systems which have enhanced versions- comms/sensors, maybe power plants?, stardrives?

In any case, if you're seriously getting into ship design, I fully recommend the design spreadsheet, http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=62539, which supports heaps of optional rules, both published and those come up with by the spreadsheet designer, ericbsmith.
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Old 04-25-2018, 11:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Paying more for better system?

Here's my take:

TL8 spacecraft are built on such thin margins that worse equipment than standard is a collossal risk, and better equipment is exceedingly hard to find (at least in space-hardened grades). In essence, an upgrade significant enough to warrant a change in statistics calls for paying full price for an upgrade to TL9. And that's before you consider that most spacecraft are bespoke.

At higher TLs, spaceflight is developed enough that there is some variation in available tech. At TL10, only cutting-edge ships are made exclusively with TL10 components. Many ships use TL9 variants. They might be extremely recent designs, but they have essentially the same performance as they did in the previous tech level.

All of that said, as a GM I would still throw in the option to buy cheap, refurbished, or poorly-maintained ships which are statistically the same as others with the same loadout. The difference is 10% or more off the top, with the addition of quirks.

Said quirks could be anything from "The cargo holds are awkwardly shaped, take a -2 to orders to load or unload quickly," to "The reactors on this line were always tempermental. After any severe shock, roll HT to see if the cooling turbopumps jam." The discount probably varies more according to the personality of the seller than by the severity of the quirk(s).
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Old 04-26-2018, 02:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Paying more for better system?

I borrowed a bit from 3rd edition Ultra Tech, etc and put Build Quality guidelines in my Spaceships House Rules.
If it saves you time...
Build Quality
Overall build
HT#, Reliability, HT bonus, +1 for +1 CF, +2 for +4 CF, HT penalty, -1 for - CF, -2 for - CF.
H#, Handling, +1 for +1 CF or +2 for +4 CF; -1 for - CF, -2 for - CF. Spaceship Limit 5.
S#, Stability, +1 for +1 CF or +2 for +4 CF; -1 for - CF, -2 for - CF. Spaceship Limit 5.
RB# Styling: Reaction Bonus +1 for +1 CF, +2 for +4 CF, and +3 for +9 CF; Reaction Penalty -1 for - CF, -2 for - CF.
Individual systems
TL: Cutting Edge, performs as TL+1, CF+2; Experimental = TL+2, CF+9; eg drives get more δv, power-plants run longer.
Quality: Good-Quality, Gives +1 to operation skill, or adds +1 to existing modifier +4 CF;
Fine-Quality, Gives +2 to operation skill, or adds +2 to existing modifier +19 CF.
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:12 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Paying more for better system?

There are no special official rules for Spaceships on the improved things, but I think you could use the generic GURPS rules for better/worse equipment(things like Rugged, Expensive, Fine, Very Fine, Cheap and for computers all computer modifiers) and not break anything.
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Old 04-26-2018, 06:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Paying more for better system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorenant View Post
All systems have same capacity. For example, you can't pay more for a better Control Room with higher Complexity, get some Jet Engine that costs 2x but is 1.5x better than an ordinary one, or pay premium to get better handling.
Some systems have improvements, some do not.

Take armor, for instance. Suppose you're in TL9 and you're deciding on armor for your ship. What do you choose? Easy, you say, advanced metallic laminate is the only armor available at TL9. Not so! That is just the latest form of armor available; the earlier forms are probably still going to be in use in older or less advanced ships. Consider the Star Flower-class tramp freighter on page 6 of GURPS Spaceships. It's TL11^, but it's got metallic laminate armor, which is TL8. You don't need the most advanced armor for a freighter; you go with something cheaper.

There are a bunch of systems that work this way. No, you can't improve your control room (it's just a room), but you CAN improve the communications and sensor array built into it.

The engine systems often have a list of options at the end of the text that let you improve them. For instance, a nuclear thermal rocket has an option to use water instead of hydrogen as fuel, to produce three times the thrust at a cost of one-third the delta-V.

So not every system has improvements available, but a lot of them do.
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