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Old 02-09-2019, 09:21 PM   #1
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Structural Bracing [Spaceships]

Right now, GURPS Spacecraft have very much a 'eggshells with sledgehammers' problem that is not easily fixable with the current rules. I would like to suggest a solution:

Structural Bracing [Hull]: Structural Bracing consists of redundant structural elements, interior armor, emergency systems, etc that increase the ability of spacecraft to survive. Each component of Structural Bracing increases the ST/HP of a spacecraft by 100% and the HT by 1. It also provides the hull section where it is located Injury Tolerance (2), with every component of Structural Bracing beyond the first increasing Injury Tolerance by +1. Cost is equal to that of a Control Room of the same SM.

So, what do you think? Do you think that it would offer a realistic solution to dealing with the 'eggshells with sledgehammers' problem? Do you have other solutions that you want to share?
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:39 PM   #2
TGLS
 
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Default Re: Structural Bracing [Space

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
So, what do you think? Do you think that it would offer a realistic solution to dealing with the 'eggshells with sledgehammers' problem?
It's a bad idea. People would replace most of their armor with it, as the damage reduction it provides is comparable to reduction armor would provide, in addition to the boost in HP. The HT boost is just gravy, and would let the craft fight on even longer.
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Structural Bracing [Space

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Right now, GURPS Spacecraft have very much a 'eggshells with sledgehammers' problem that is not easily fixable with the current rules. I would like to suggest a solution:

Structural Bracing [Hull]: Structural Bracing consists of redundant structural elements, interior armor, emergency systems, etc that increase the ability of spacecraft to survive. Each component of Structural Bracing increases the ST/HP of a spacecraft by 100% and the HT by 1. It also provides the hull section where it is located Injury Tolerance (2), with every component of Structural Bracing beyond the first increasing Injury Tolerance by +1. Cost is equal to that of a Control Room of the same SM.

So, what do you think? Do you think that it would offer a realistic solution to dealing with the 'eggshells with sledgehammers' problem? Do you have other solutions that you want to share?
I think that is remarkably similar to what EricBSmith's Structural Reinforcement system he created for his GURPS Spaceships Design Spreadsheet from all the eay back in 2011.
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Structural Bracing [Space

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Right now, GURPS Spacecraft have very much a 'eggshells with sledgehammers' problem that is not easily fixable with the current rules.
At the moment two hardened TL10 armour systems will just about stop an average laser hit from a major battery. TL11 is a bigger problem, because X-ray lasers will go through four hardened armour systems.

Missiles are a problem, and probably force a small ship universe. Making an arbitrary statement that PD is too good for missiles to be useful is probably the only useful solution here, though making proximity attacks less useful would be a start - halving damage and making them (0.5) attacks would at least make saturation attacks with smaller missiles not so useful (unless you can get their closing velocity suitably high, of course).

The thing is, if one doesn't want eggshells vs sledgehammers, you have to accept that there's going to be superscience or some other form of handwaving going on. Without insanely good point-defence nukes will rule unless armour is assumed to scale much faster than seems likely, or there are dampers, or strong force screens, or whatever. Without that amazing PD or armour, kinetic impactors will also rule, and so on.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Structural Bracing [Space

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
The thing is, if one doesn't want eggshells vs sledgehammers, you have to accept that there's going to be superscience or some other form of handwaving going on. Without insanely good point-defence nukes will rule unless armour is assumed to scale much faster than seems likely, or there are dampers, or strong force screens, or whatever. Without that amazing PD or armour, kinetic impactors will also rule, and so on.
You don't need much superscience or handwaving for insanely good point-defense. Rather, what you need is just lasers with performance as good as those in Spaceships as well as more realistic rules for missile travel time, rapid fire and computer assisted targeting in space.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:59 AM   #6
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Structural Bracing [Space

To some degree it's realistic, but I'd just have something like
Reinforced Structure
Cost identical to armor modules, but instead of giving DR, gives HP (in the same quantity). Unlike armor, the bonus HP apply to the entire vehicle, not just one segment.
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:08 PM   #7
Jack Sawyer
 
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Default Re: Structural Bracing [Space

I was thinking along the lines of more complicated forms of whipple shields such as discussed here and combined with 'protection scheme' ideas modern warships use (compartmentalization, redundancy, etc.)

Basically you would probably have multiple layers ('armor belts' for lack of a better term) alongside the aforementioned compartmentalization and redundancies. Each 'belt' would be spaced (my thinking was have starship 'decks' between 'armor belts' acting as impromptu spaced armor). Starships might have alot of volume (whether this is desirable or not is another matter) but they might not be all that massive either. The old Andromeda TV show had ships that purportedly ran along these lines.

How workable that is would also kinda depend on the kinds of weapons yields you expected to be tossed around in space warfare, and at a certain point you might have to invoke magitech (like shields) to supplement it (but you could use 'shields' internally as part of the overall armoring scheme instead of bubble-style 'deflector shields', say.)
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: Structural Bracing [Space

Beam weapons aren't actually part of the eggshells with hammers problem. They are powerful, but aren't capable of one shot kills between equals. Its the kinetic weapons that have enough dice to destroy a ship even if they all roll 1's and 2's.



I like to triple spaceships armor. My reasoning is here. Its a high number, but its not out of range for armor in Gurps. Consider that a TL10 SM+10 ship with the best available armor has 150 HP but only 100 DR when it spends 1/3rd of its weight on armor, and compare that to the various forms of Ultra tech armor available.



When working with large objects or monsters I like to use lwcamp's semi-cumulative wounding system. It works well to solve the "death by a thousand cuts" problem.



Unfortunately while the above improves beam weapon combat it doesn't help much with the damage that kinetic weapons do. As a note, kinetic weapons don't scale evenly with size. a SM+6 major battery missile does 36 dDice of damage and has 30 dHP, while a SM+14 major battery missile does 144 dDice of damage and has 700 dHP. Size helps avoid making the missiles as effective. Unless the enemy uses nukes or speeds higher than the baseline.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:56 AM   #9
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Structural Bracing [Spaceships]

One thing that should be a factor is the difference between nuclear and antimatter weapons. Antimatter weapons should always detonate when destroyed by point defense, as the containment field fails. Nuclear weapons can be dialed down for effect though, so they have more overall utility.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:14 AM   #10
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Structural Bracing [Spaceships]

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
One thing that should be a factor is the difference between nuclear and antimatter weapons. Antimatter weapons should always detonate when destroyed by point defense, as the containment field fails. Nuclear weapons can be dialed down for effect though, so they have more overall utility.
This is a case of "read the fine print". Antimatter(TL10) on p.47 ofSpaceships says "This is a clean antimatter-catalzed fusion warhead".

It is not a containment field full of antimatter. The TL 10 version of the portable antimatter trap on p.80-81 of UT weighs 20 lbs and only holds 100 micrograms. Antimatter costs $2500 per microgram too. To get a 10 megaton blast out of antimatter alone you'd need 250 grams at a TL10 cost of $625 trillion if i haven't overloaded my poor little calculator.

Large "pure" fusion explosions are probably very tricky and are almost certainly not something that can be set off by battle damage.
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