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Old 07-25-2011, 07:18 AM   #1
sjard
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Default Converting Jump to Warp.

Somewhat related to the thread in roleplaying in general where I'm trying to decide what system to use for a Star Trek game. The two general choices are trek or traveller. I'm actually leaning towards traveller at this point, but my players don't particularly like the slow travel speeds of the default jump system.

In the RTT book, there is an option to convert to other drive types, warp being one of them. I'll most likely go with GURPS for the system, but right now I'm trying to think through an issue:

What would be the implications of changing from a jump drive base to a warp drive base?

If you're not familiar with that segment of the RTT rules, the basics are that the number of parsecs travelled per week stay the same as for a jump drive of the same rating. The major difference is duration before needing to refuel.

I haven't found anything about a power plant in GT as of yet, but I also haven't gone through the starships book. In RTT it says that the fuel use is twice normal for the power pant.

This works out to about 4 tons of fuel per week giving a Beowulf/Type A a duration of five weeks before needing to refuel.

So, aside from a considerably faster travel speeds due to even a jump 1 ship being able to cross five parsec gaps, what other effect might this have?

Oh, and this would most definitely be an IMTU issue as I already plan to change a few other things (a more level tech distribution for example).

Thoughts?
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Converting Jump to Warp.

An important question related to Warpdrives is, whether the drive allows midtraveller interaction with realspace - communication, sensor usage, combat and so on. This would have far reachign consequences. Otherwise you basically increase the ranges and effective travel speeds, as you write yourself.

What is RTT, by the way ?
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: Converting Jump to Warp.

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Originally Posted by sn0wball View Post
An important question related to Warpdrives is, whether the drive allows midtraveller interaction with realspace - communication, sensor usage, combat and so on. This would have far reachign consequences. Otherwise you basically increase the ranges and effective travel speeds, as you write yourself.
Since warp travel is through real space with a "so it won't blow us up if it hits us" redirection field* (at least if I use it) then interaction is possible. However, I would keep the no FTL radio thing. Communication is still that of the fastest ship. For a non interactive version they have a Hyperdrive variant as well.

So in this case it is basicly being able to go farther on a single tank than anything else. But it is the bits I can't think of that I'm asking for help on.

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What is RTT, by the way ?
Rikki Tikki Traveller, aka Mongoose Traveller.

*this bit may require adding space opera style force fields, but I really don't see this as a major issue. It would make fights last a bit longer, but would in mechanical detail have no difference than adding extra armor to a ship.
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:56 AM   #4
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Default Re: Converting Jump to Warp.

GURPS Space has a nice discussion of different sorts of FTL drives and their consequences.

I wouldn't start with Traveller rules to play a Star Trek game. The two are pretty different in most base assumptions and background.

Jump-1 is not very "slow", actually. 3.26 lightyears per week is about 170c, which is about Warp 5.5 on the TOS scale. If you remember Kirk ordering the ship out of orbit at the end of every episode, the Enterprise was usually cruising at warp factor 1 or 2. Anything over 6 was an emergency, and a risk.

The problem is that space is big, really really big, and the Traveller maps show that better than the TV show. One interesting thing about http://www.travellermap.com/ is that you can zoom out to galaxy scale. That enormous map you're used -- 11,000 worlds in the Imperium, a year from end to end if all you did was travel, all the surrounding states, more space than you know what to do with or could possibly detail -- is a tiny little patch on the galaxy. So Trav might feel slower because you have a better appreciation of just how far you could go. Federation space is pretty small. Memory Alpha lists 911 pages for "planets" -- and that's every place that ever got mentioned on any show from any season or movie, most of which I don't recognize. It's 1% the size of the Imperium; no wonder you can get around it faster.

In practice, Star Trek ships travel at the speed of plot. They show up at the next planet at the start of the adventure (one per week, just like Jump-1...) Time pressure to get to another planet a known distance away just isn't a common plot element for Trek. Plenty of "rushing" to help out with some emergency delivery or technical aid, yes, but not a lot of examination of a map and calculation of transit time, detailed calculations of how much fuel it takes, how much food / "replicator energy" the crew is going to consume, etc.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: Converting Jump to Warp.

http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=81848

This one started in very similar manner - First i chose to go with 3D cartography instead of traditional 2D roadmaps of maps which after one initial test play indicated a need for rather strong method for cutting FTL travels shorter as number of objects in range gets catastrophically out of hand with 3rd dimension.

But it then got 'slightly' out of hand and it was decided to separate it from Traveller into its own setup.

Quote:
What would be the implications of changing from a jump drive base to a warp drive base?

If you're not familiar with that segment of the RTT rules, the basics are that the number of parsecs travelled per week stay the same as for a jump drive of the same rating. The major difference is duration before needing to refuel
IIRC warp drives (even Mongoose Trav) used common the bigger the drive in relation to ship the faster it will be method - however speed would increase in scale with normal J ratings.

So it would remain roughly the same for J1 (at max jump) and W1 rated ships - jumps takes a week and travelling 1 pc at W1 would take a week - but when drive ratings would no longer match for the given 'trip' it would turn 'sour' as J6 still takes a week to travel mere 1 pc while W6 takes just a day and a change for it.

Quote:
I haven't found anything about a power plant in GT as of yet, but I also haven't gone through the starships book. In RTT it says that the fuel use is twice normal for the power pant.
Fusion plants needs refueling every once 200 years in GT:S - assuming GT follows same guidelines as GURPS Vehicles gives for fusion power plants - so with warp drives it would be one every 100 years. Not exactly a major concern. Assuming you still want 'mild fuel limitations' then it might be better to give a houserule to demand warp drives to require LH2 for say coolant or retaining the 'plasma' field warp drives surround the starship or what ever.

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So, aside from a considerably faster travel speeds due to even a jump 1 ship being able to cross five parsec gaps, what other effect might this have?
'Traditional' Traveller obstacles like the Rim gap (which IIRC canonically halted Vilani advance towards the Rim 'at the gates' of Sol when Solomani were still sharpening pointy sticks with flints attached to them) or Rifts would essentially cease to exists.

So, it would have massive implications to the game universe. No longer could one defend have fronts in intersteller space - warp drive powered fleets could boost in FTL past the front lines and start the war by flattening the Capital. Commerce raiders and pirates could strike practically anywhere. Quite a bit of Traveller canon past would need to be rewritten - like the Vilani J2 & jumptapes (from GT:IW) advance to Sol - instead of proud Solomani homeworld it would have ended up been prospering Vilani colony - or colonization of Spinwards Marches (Corridor would no longer be any real obstacle). Instead of K'kree Vargr conflict being small scale due difficult passages through rifts it would turn into open battleground with vegetarians and carnivores (possibly). Aslan might spread like wildfire towards Spinwards Marches or Zhodani.

Probably missed something but i think that could work as a starter for the 'effects'...

Quote:
Oh, and this would most definitely be an IMTU issue as I already plan to change a few other things (a more level tech distribution for example).

Thoughts?
Doable as usual but you need to consider the implications really, really carefully. I started doing roughly similar scheme and ended up actually ditching Traveller universe in search of something different.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: Converting Jump to Warp.

There is also the question of FTL-combat. Are there FTL-beams ? Warp missiles ? How close can a ship under warp go to a planet ? For example, to drop out for a few seconds, launch missiles, and warp away ?

And related, FTL detection ? No FTL-radio = no FTL-detection ? In that case you could approach a target at 1.1 c and be undetectable.
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Old 07-25-2011, 10:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: Converting Jump to Warp.

An imporant question in my eyes would also be whether you go for game universe design or campaign design. I think you could run a perfectly well capaign without thinking all consequences through, if you just focus on what is important to the game at hand and what is not. Depending on the nature of the campaign, this might include overall military strategy, ancient history, large scale economy, which could be left open for now.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: Converting Jump to Warp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
I wouldn't start with Traveller rules to play a Star Trek game. The two are pretty different in most base assumptions and background.
I started this one because if I had not yet decided if I would go Trek or Traveller. If Trek, I probably won't use the Traveller rules as I have a trek system. This is purely on making changes to a Traveller game. Just asking for the implications of, all else the same (as far as assumptions go, if not specifics) how it would change things.

The main things I can see, using the jump fuel as warp fuel, is that for lower ratings, small rifts won't be an issue. Larger ones still will. As I mentioned, the Beowulf/Type-A free trader with a drive-1 rating could only go for five weeks (and five parsecs) before needing to refuel. This gives it effectively a very slow Jump-5 for distance on a single tank.

The speed increase, however, comes in when looking at subsector map, and that five parsec gap you just took five weeks crossing would have taken you 14 weeks plus time for refueling along the J-1 route.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: Converting Jump to Warp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
'Traditional' Traveller obstacles like the Rim gap (which IIRC canonically halted Vilani advance towards the Rim 'at the gates' of Sol when Solomani were still sharpening pointy sticks with flints attached to them) or Rifts would essentially cease to exists.

So, it would have massive implications to the game universe. No longer could one defend have fronts in intersteller space - warp drive powered fleets could boost in FTL past the front lines and start the war by flattening the Capital. Commerce raiders and pirates could strike practically anywhere. Quite a bit of Traveller canon past would need to be rewritten - like the Vilani J2 & jumptapes (from GT:IW) advance to Sol - instead of proud Solomani homeworld it would have ended up been prospering Vilani colony - or colonization of Spinwards Marches (Corridor would no longer be any real obstacle). Instead of K'kree Vargr conflict being small scale due difficult passages through rifts it would turn into open battleground with vegetarians and carnivores (possibly). Aslan might spread like wildfire towards Spinwards Marches or Zhodani.

Probably missed something but i think that could work as a starter for the 'effects'...


Doable as usual but you need to consider the implications really, really carefully. I started doing roughly similar scheme and ended up actually ditching Traveller universe in search of something different.
I most likely won't go with the OTU as a basis, at least not without altering some timeframes. If I create the setting details from scratch, this isn't an issue. If I modify the Third Imperium setting, I could always handwave it that the warp drive version is a somewhat newer developement than the now mostly retired jump drive. That would keep everything stable up to only a few hundred years prior to game start.
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:51 AM   #10
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Default Re: Converting Jump to Warp.

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Originally Posted by Pomphis View Post
There is also the question of FTL-combat. Are there FTL-beams ? Warp missiles ? How close can a ship under warp go to a planet ? For example, to drop out for a few seconds, launch missiles, and warp away ?

And related, FTL detection ? No FTL-radio = no FTL-detection ? In that case you could approach a target at 1.1 c and be undetectable.
I've toyed with the idea of something along the lines of a slow FTL Telegraph for communications and detection. You could spot something coming, and some idea of when and where it will get where it is going, but no identification. maybe have a max range as well, no more than 2-3 parsecs.

For the comms, you can send short messages at about the same as a drive-1 ship, but it can't be very long or complex. At best think Teletype messages.

As for the missile thing, I'd keep the 100D limit, and also keep the restrictions on no FTL on anything smaller than about 100 dtons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sn0wball View Post
An imporant question in my eyes would also be whether you go for game universe design or campaign design. I think you could run a perfectly well capaign without thinking all consequences through, if you just focus on what is important to the game at hand and what is not. Depending on the nature of the campaign, this might include overall military strategy, ancient history, large scale economy, which could be left open for now.
Mostly a campaign workup. I don't intend to create a long term universe for those areas the characters won't be going into.
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