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Old 06-19-2015, 07:23 AM   #11
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Spaceships vs Bioships (BIO98)

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Is it really the case that nobody tried building bioships using the rules in Bio-Tech p.98?
Well, BT98 doesn't really have "rules" so much as "Here are some important Traits for building one as a character" along with some fluff about how they are likely to come into being. People using bioships are rare, and people building vehicles as characters are rare, so it makes sense that nobody who belongs to both camps has chimed in yet.

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
I was particularly interested in settings where such a ship-growing coexists with Spaceships-spaceship building methods (and yes, I know that Spaceships has biological options for ships, but said option is something between 'meh' and 'cosmetic, at a cost of eating lots of food' in SS).
Yeah, the SS rules leave a bit to be desired. More realistically, the bioships should probably have around halved ST or so, and there should probably be a special "biological" option for Digestive System - it would do Crushing and Corrosion damage, probably with reduced damage, to represent the way stomachs typically work. They're probably cheaper, as you only have to breed them, not build them, and they mostly just require food rather than more traditional building materials.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:08 AM   #12
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Default Re: Spaceships vs Bioships (BIO98)

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Is it really the case that nobody tried building bioships using the rules in Bio-Tech p.98? I was particularly interested in settings where such a ship-growing coexists with Spaceships-spaceship building methods (and yes, I know that Spaceships has biological options for ships, but said option is something between 'meh' and 'cosmetic, at a cost of eating lots of food' in SS).
BIO98 isn't really a creation system as much as it is a brain storm aid. It serves to give ideas for GM's and details the likely weaknesses and strengths of bioships, as well as common (in literature) variations. The only 'system' I can see is a rough character point to price ratio -- something I've always shied away from for various reasons.

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
It seems really like an either or situation. I can't imagine any settings where they would play well together.
Metal beats flesh in the real world, so coming up with reasons why it isn't so one sided would probably come off very artificial and clunky, no pun intended, for once.
Much of Biotech is written from the perspective that flesh can beat metal in the right circumstances -- mostly due to being able to reproduce. Useful Bioships are cheaper than mechanical ships, and can require less of a tech base to maintain.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:47 AM   #13
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Default Re: Spaceships vs Bioships (BIO98)

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Is it really the case that nobody tried building bioships using the rules in Bio-Tech p.98? I).
I have looked into it. Particularly from the viewpoint of what an unsatisfactory "ship" the so-called "Voidshark" is and what you'd have to change to make halfway workable.

You'd have to change a lot but once you did it would be far cheaper than any thing equivalent from Spaceships.
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Old 06-19-2015, 01:05 PM   #14
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Default Re: Spaceships vs Bioships (BIO98)

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
BIO98 isn't really a creation system as much as it is a brain storm aid. It serves to give ideas for GM's and details the likely weaknesses and strengths of bioships, as well as common (in literature) variations. The only 'system' I can see is a rough character point to price ratio -- something I've always shied away from for various reasons.
Well, yeah, that's a system, as much as the system for designing parahumans, bioroids etc.

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Much of Biotech is written from the perspective that flesh can beat metal in the right circumstances -- mostly due to being able to reproduce. Useful Bioships are cheaper than mechanical ships, and can require less of a tech base to maintain.
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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
I have looked into it. Particularly from the viewpoint of what an unsatisfactory "ship" the so-called "Voidshark" is and what you'd have to change to make halfway workable.

You'd have to change a lot but once you did it would be far cheaper than any thing equivalent from Spaceships.
Price differences were indeed what I thought might be a reason for Bioships and SS-ships to coexist. What did you find so wrong about the Voidshark that you changed? (I'll take a second look after posting this question of mine.)
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: Spaceships vs Bioships (BIO98)

I had bio-ships live alongside metal ships in a space game I ran.

Base idea was that it was early TL9, and FTL travel was impossible.

Humankind makes it to the stars and discovers magic and psi powers exist!

Magic and psi powers are NOT limited to the possible.

FTL travel is achieved by all other races (save one) by use of gates and teleport spells

Teleporting not to a gate/jump point is dangerous.

The energy required for a teleport is immense.

Several of the races use bio-tech (augmented by magic) to make up for TL differences, or just as a matter of 'style' to rely on more magic and less technology.

One race was inheritly psionic, and actually altered themselves- there ships were old members of there race who over time were heavily modified- end result, giant super-smart, psi-teleporting monster that can carry people within it.

The bio-tech vessels would loose in a 'who's got the best guns/armour' fights, but the abilities behind it make them competitive (What does it matter that the ship has no valid missiles if it can mind control 20 crew of an enemy vessel at at time without seeing them, teleport out of the way of incomming missiles and kenetic kill weapons).

Despite negative downsides the party REALLY wanted a bio-ship.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:31 PM   #16
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Default Re: Spaceships vs Bioships (BIO98)

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
...
Much of Biotech is written from the perspective that flesh can beat metal in the right circumstances -- mostly due to being able to reproduce. Useful Bioships are cheaper than mechanical ships, and can require less of a tech base to maintain.
Price may be the only semi-reasonable reason why they exist at all. But still, once you had money you would upgrade to nonliving machine ships.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:10 AM   #17
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Default Re: Spaceships vs Bioships (BIO98)

I ran a Supers campaign with a mix and Bio-ships were competitive because they could have Powewrs.
Never ran a Sci-fi game where they were alongside each other as equals. More weird alians you met on the frontier or forerunner craft.
However they could be competitive in some settings.
Easier to maintain and more self sufficient is one option but they also could be good for long term planning where you seed them and then they do their mission or you come back to harvest years, decades or even centuries later.
In Magic or psi settings they could have another possible edge.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:58 AM   #18
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Default Re: Spaceships vs Bioships (BIO98)

In general, mixing character point based systems with gear-based systems is a recipe for imbalance, at least in GURPS; you should decide which system you're using and then use it for everything.

Realistically, without superscience, bioships are a nonstarter, and with superscience, bioships depend on exactly which superscience you use; various superscience drives could easily be biotech-only.
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Old 06-20-2015, 08:52 AM   #19
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Default Re: Spaceships vs Bioships (BIO98)

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
. What did you find so wrong about the Voidshark that you changed? (I'll take a second look after posting this question of mine.)
I'd hope the problems were obvious but I'll hit some of the high spots.
The Voidshark appear as though it probably obeys the rules for "Life's price tag" on p.65. that is $1000 for every point's worth above the native creature plus $100k.


Weapons: The Voudshark has a 30D "acid" attack. It's even been enhanced with nanites so you can't claim it as a leftover from the base stock. Yet it has a 1/12D of 10 yards and hence can only used against dockworkers basically and the Voidshark would be $240,000 cheaper without it. There's another $10,000 for a attack that can only be used against crew.

The Spines and Teeth aren't very useful either.

Warp: The ship would make a lot more sense as a full computer-controlled bioshell. The ship's "native" ability to use its' Warp ability is nearly zero. Especially at distances greater than its' own body length.

That's a slight exaggeration. If the Voidshark took 8 hours to prepare and blew all but one of it's FP on a "Blind" jump it could routinely jump 10 miles.

Giving the thing an AI brain with a useful IQ and/or a Navigation(Hyperspace) Skill would cost $ but be worth it compared to either _always_ having an active pilot at the Compartmentalized Mind Controls or trusting the IQ 7 ship. Even if your "pilot" is an AI it's not built in.

Oh, the ship has Wild Animal too. That's another non-starter in regular operation

There are other bits and pieces but while the first "Voidshark" (and note that there is nothing shark-like about it) might make an "interesting" rpg encounter they'd ever be allowed to land anywhere and woudl probably be destroyed on sight as menaces.
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:04 PM   #20
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Default Re: Spaceships vs Bioships (BIO98)

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
In general, mixing character point based systems with gear-based systems is a recipe for imbalance, at least in GURPS; you should decide which system you're using and then use it for everything.

Realistically, without superscience, bioships are a nonstarter, and with superscience, bioships depend on exactly which superscience you use; various superscience drives could easily be biotech-only.
Of course they don't work in a realistic setting. Flesh always sucks if you need serious power density like rocketry. It excels for very low power, reliable, self correcting/healing purposes.
I could see them functioning rather well as only slightly mobile space stations.

Photosynthesizing for energy, carbon dioxide scrubbing, oxygen and basic food production, etc.
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