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Old 07-21-2017, 08:13 PM   #1
Michael Thayne
 
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Default [Spaceships] Are spaceships unrealistically cheap?

Looking at the prices in Spaceships, it looks an awful lot like they make most spaceships unrealistically cheap. Just as bad, from a pure internal-consistency point of view, they seem noticeably cheaper than other things in the game.

One conspicuous example is the relative cost of spaceships vs. missiles, which tends to favor small kamakazi dogfight drones over standard missiles in seemingly implausible ways. The SM+4 drones in Spaceships 4 have the same order-of-magnitude cost as SM+0 missiles, while the SM+5 hornet has the same cost as an SM+3 missile. But it's not just missiles—aircraft in sources like Pyramid #3/53 are much more expensive than if you tried to replicate them with Spaceships. Does anyone know what's going on here?
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Old 07-21-2017, 09:24 PM   #2
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Are spaceships unrealistically cheap?

If spaceships aren't cheap than PCs aren't going to be able to buy their spaceships.
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Old 07-21-2017, 09:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Are spaceships unrealistically cheap?

Can you actually match the performance with a cheaper spaceship?

Because if you can't, the case that there's a problem is...fuzzy.
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:56 PM   #4
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Are spaceships unrealistically cheap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Can you actually match the performance with a cheaper spaceship?

Because if you can't, the case that there's a problem is...fuzzy.
For missiles, the match isn't perfect (in part because there's no "warhead" or "self-destruct" system available for spacecraft), but if you look at the performance statistics on Spaceships 3 p. 17, those statistics are clearly matchable withe the rules for building spaceships, though 32cm+ missiles (which have double the delta-V) will need a multi-stage design in order to replicate. Basically you're looking at two or three engines, and everything else fuel.

For fighters, I won't do a full build, but it only takes one jet engine to get 1G of acceleration, and the heavier fighters in Pyramid #3/53 are only ~30 tons (SM+5 on the Spaceships scale). An SM+5 jet engine is $300K, compared to the multi-million dollar price tag for the fighters in Pyramid. Very few systems in Spaceships cost more than that at SM+5, so you're not going to get a price tag above $6M, the price of the 10-ton "Fishbed" fighter. So Spaceships understates the price by at least a factor of three.

As for David Johnston2's point, I suspect that's the correct IRL explanation, but it's undesirable for groups who would rather have internal consistency than easy access to spaceships for PCs.
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Old 07-21-2017, 11:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Are spaceships unrealistically cheap?

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
For missiles, the match isn't perfect (in part because there's no "warhead" or "self-destruct" system available for spacecraft),
A standard missile "warhead" doesn't have explosives, it's just a kinetic kill, meaning it could be modeled with a ingot of metal - probably a steel armor system on the front hull. Other warheads (such as Nuclear and Antimatter) cost extra anyways.
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Old 07-22-2017, 12:54 AM   #6
Ulzgoroth
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Are spaceships unrealistically cheap?

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A standard missile "warhead" doesn't have explosives, it's just a kinetic kill, meaning it could be modeled with a ingot of metal - probably a steel armor system on the front hull. Other warheads (such as Nuclear and Antimatter) cost extra anyways.
Actually, it's a smart kinetic-kill, with dual-mode (AP and proximity detonation) capabilities.

OTOH, a bomb with the same warhead capabilities but no significant propulsion is listed in SS4. It's a third the mass of a missile, IIRC. EDIT: And 1/30th the cost!

EDIT: Well, there's hardly anything you could put in your missile that would bring it up to the 1M per ton list price. Almost all Spaceships systems cost less than that! On the other hand, I don't believe you can actually make a HEDM missile that has the required performance if you have to dedicate 6-7 systems to the warhead (even allowing that that includes control systems).
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Last edited by Ulzgoroth; 07-22-2017 at 01:08 AM.
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Old 07-22-2017, 05:54 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Are spaceships unrealistically cheap?

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
If spaceships aren't cheap than PCs aren't going to be able to buy their spaceships.
But if spaceships are arbitrarily cheaper than anything else in a setting not running on genre convention, you can get clever characters wondering why they can't buy new spaceships and strip them down to sell their more expensive components. D&D's ten-foot ladder on a larger scale.
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Old 07-22-2017, 05:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Are spaceships unrealistically cheap?

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But if spaceships are arbitrarily cheaper than anything else in a setting not running on genre convention, you can get clever characters wondering why they can't buy new spaceships and strip them down to sell their more expensive components. D&D's ten-foot ladder on a larger scale.
Well, if they want to build the campain around beeing scrap metal merchants, let em.
Most rolls would be against repair, merchant and the like instead of gun or sword, but what´s the harm?
If they (and you) enjoy the adrenaline pumping world of small business ownership and market observation more than smuggling and dodge-fights, why not roll with it?

Instead of pirates they can fight evil tax collectors and union thugs!
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Old 07-22-2017, 06:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Are spaceships unrealistically cheap?

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Originally Posted by RyanW View Post
But if spaceships are arbitrarily cheaper than anything else in a setting not running on genre convention, you can get clever characters wondering why they can't buy new spaceships and strip them down to sell their more expensive components. D&D's ten-foot ladder on a larger scale.
The components are larger, though. A half-tonne gun is not a good substitute for a personal blaster, even if the price of a die of damage goes down for the big gun relative to the small one.
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Old 07-22-2017, 06:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Are spaceships unrealistically cheap?

I've been thinking the same thing. Like a small fission reactor (sized to put into a SM+5 ship) is just $100K!
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