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Old 09-27-2019, 11:54 AM   #41
Michael Cule
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Default Re: How to Depict a Broken FTL Drive (and other Superscience)

I think what the GM needs to do is design the control interface and allow them to figure out what is wrong from the error messages.

Don't make it just winken-blinken-und-der-flashing-lights. Have actual text turn up.

The next problem is finding someone who can read that language or at least a multi-lingual manual.

"'When the sprurtzmakker is infobulated the Ping-sensor will flash bright Tongspitzen-fruit colour.' Does that look like Tongspitzen fruit to you?"
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Old 09-27-2019, 02:47 PM   #42
Flyndaran
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Default Re: How to Depict a Broken FTL Drive (and other Superscience)

*Turbo Encabulator.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLDgQg6bq7o
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:04 PM   #43
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: How to Depict a Broken FTL Drive (and other Superscience)

dOne thing that the GM could remember is to make sure at least something is comprehensible to the PCs. DS9 Civil Defense was one of the better ones but one problem is that most of what they were doing was just having a lot of superhacking and justified it by fancy words.
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:19 PM   #44
doctorevilbrain
 
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Default Re: How to Depict a Broken FTL Drive (and other Superscience)

I love that crazy technobabble! You should watch the video after it.It's pretty funny too. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 09-27-2019, 11:50 PM   #45
LokRobster
 
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Default Re: How to Depict a Broken FTL Drive (and other Superscience)

Quote:
Is the corrosiveness of an acid at all related to its effectiveness in a battery? Could someone recommend a substance to inflict on my crew?
I haven’t studied acid and batteries a lot, but at it looking now, it’s weak: for a car battery it is typically 30-50% sulphuric acid, the lower concentration allows produce a smaller current of electricity over time. In comparison, the vats of boiling acid (120C) that I work hands-on with in the semiconductor industry are 85-95% H2SO4. It heats up fast in contact with water or H2O2. The smell is notable and the hydrogen let off by many reactions (if it’s out dripping on things) can lead to more fire/explosion risk. For exposure, You feel it it immediately if you get it on you, and much more than a tiny drop will be acid damage from GURPS High Tech. Cloth turns into goo right away. If it’s dilute, you may not notice until you do the laundry and there’s holes in your clothes. It won’t eat steel bulkheads as much as discolor and etch the surface and edges, even at full concentration. Plastics used in electrical applications resist it fairly well, so immediate degradation of wire insulation is unlikely. Acids are used in many ways industrially, batteries need not be the only source.

Other systems might also use NH4OH, a strong base (liquid), and lots of its reactions put off ammonia gas. Ammonia gas goes from irritating to deadly depending on density, mildly noxious air would make a good “dangerous over time, but not immediately deadly” device. The damage or effects vary, so you can dial it either way as the crisis continues and needs more or less pressure on the PCs.

A very nasty acid to encounter is dilute (1-50%) HF. (Hydrofluoric Acid). Used for etching glass, or silicon chips, and probably has some uses on a ultra tech ship. No smell, looks and feels like water. It doesn’t burn when it gets on your skin. If you breathe mild concentrations of the odorless vapor, you’ll get nauseous (but may not know the source). If it gets on your skin, and you ignore it (like water or sweat), you’ll start feeling pain a few hours later. That’s the calcium in the bones decaying. Treated quickly, it can be countered by giving a stronger source of calcium for the HF to react with. Untreated, the extra calcium in the blood leads pretty quickly from the intense pain stage to cardiac arrest
...anyway typing this, I realize you probably don’t want to inflict real-life HF dangers on PCs. The stuff is very much a “hey that’s not fair” substance that doesn’t make a for a fun plot or challenge.

The good news is that the 5 gallon jug of water successfully put out the fire. The bad news is that it wasn’t water. And you die
.

No, I haven’t used HF in-game yet.
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Last edited by LokRobster; 09-27-2019 at 11:53 PM. Reason: Repetition
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Old 09-28-2019, 12:26 AM   #46
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: How to Depict a Broken FTL Drive (and other Superscience)

Chemical batteries seem unlikely past TL8, as they have low energy density. Capacitors, especially 1+ farad capacitors with 10,000+ volts per metric ton of hyperdrive, would seem more likely. Of course, that much energy is quite dangerous.
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Old 09-28-2019, 01:32 AM   #47
Anthony
 
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Default Re: How to Depict a Broken FTL Drive (and other Superscience)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Chemical batteries seem unlikely past TL8, as they have low energy density.
The theoretical maximum energy density of all ordinary matter power sources is limited by the strength of chemical bonds, and the highest achievable energy densities are from chemical reactions; a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell (which is a type of chemical battery) is pretty close to the upper limit on energy densities for systems that don't rely on nuclear or (at extreme scales) gravitational storage. The reason you use things like capacitors is for power density.

Not that it matters here. Any system capable of powering energy weapons is going to have one or more exciting failure modes, it's just a question of which.
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Old 09-28-2019, 01:48 AM   #48
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: How to Depict a Broken FTL Drive (and other Superscience)

I tend to assume that that power cells at TL 10+ involve superconductor loops for energy storage. Of course that might involve refrigerant.
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Old 09-28-2019, 02:41 AM   #49
RogerBW
 
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Default Re: How to Depict a Broken FTL Drive (and other Superscience)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Cule View Post
Don't make it just winken-blinken-und-der-flashing-lights. Have actual text turn up.
"Error 252 contact your system administrator."

"I am my system administrator."

"Error 252..."
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Old 09-28-2019, 08:57 AM   #50
Flyndaran
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Default Re: How to Depict a Broken FTL Drive (and other Superscience)

What if whatever damaged the drive also damaged the systems diagnostic?
"Error 17956-A-154. Error XYJ-X-008" "That means a mutiny and we're under water?! The A.I. is borked."
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