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Old 04-26-2022, 02:34 PM   #31
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Default Re: Handling cinematic spaceship fights and other sci-fi stuff

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Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Here's the benchmark I go by film reference only!

Han wants 10,000 whatevers in advance. Luke balks, saying they could almost by their own ship for that. Let's take him literally. So a simple spaceship costs more than 10,000, but not much more.

Luke sells his used landspeeder, an old model that isn't in demand anymore, for around 2,000, the amount of money they agreed to pay Han in advance. If we suppose this is comparable to selling an older model used car, then a new speeder might cost 10,000 to 15,000 easily. That is, its price is probably comparable to that of a simple, used spaceship.

So if you set the cost of a simple spaceship as about five times the cost of a ground vehicle, you're probably in the ballpark. Buying a spaceship would be comparable to buying a boat.

So if you want spaceships as common as they appear to be in Star Wars, just set their prices at about the same cost as an equivalent boat. This explains why some guy can afford to fly around in an old freighter but only military forces can afford cruisers and destroyers.
IIRC (and it has been 2 decades? since I watched OG Star Wars). Luke offers to sell his speeder and Obi-wan says that with the money he has that should be enough. No real way to know that number but my 2 creds is that 1000 is closer to Luke's contribution than 2000.
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Old 04-26-2022, 07:24 PM   #32
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Default Re: Handling cinematic spaceship fights and other sci-fi stuff

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Your ships will be cheaper if you don't build them to oversized standards.
Traveller ships are not built to over-sized standards. They are built to shipping standards. A Free-Trader is not a 'stock light freighter', though it often fills a similar role in a Traveller campaign. A Free Trader is large enough to carry something resembling profitable cargo that's legal, and that's why it's so much bigger than Millennium Falcon. That ~1400 cubic metre cargo hold (and the jump fuel to move it, which is the other source of size inflation in Traveller makes for a big ship compared to Falcon, which seems to have less 'cargo' space than your average suburban home's garage.

Note that a WWII 'Liberty' ship, considered small today, displaced (i.e. massed) about 16,000 tons loaded, and had a volume of over a million cubic feet (so 2,000 - 3,000 displacement tons in Traveller terms).

Even in the Star Wars universe the Falcon, presumably with less internal free space than the stock freighter she once was due to the much more powerful engines, etc., seems to only be profitable to operate when running spice, guns, fugitives, and other illegal cargoes.

That said, I agree that Traveller ship sizes are not the model to use if you want a Star Wars like atmosphere, where ships are common, cheap, and not these massive, fuel hogging, bricks of crysteel that can happily skim gas giants and swim in oceans without damage (and that's the civilian ones).
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Old 04-27-2022, 05:17 AM   #33
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Default Re: Handling cinematic spaceship fights and other sci-fi stuff

The inspiration for the Falcon, wasn't freighters, it was the DC-3 (6,000 lbs of cargo).
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Old 04-28-2022, 01:52 PM   #34
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Default Re: Handling cinematic spaceship fights and other sci-fi stuff

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EDIT: If you wanted Spaceships anyway, what you'd basically need to do for your setting is take a look at each module, figure out why it's expensive, then come up with a reason why it isn't in your setting (maybe there's a really cheap way to produce the durasteel that's used for armor plating, the drives rely on One Weird Trick that's actually pretty cheap and easy to do once you know it, for life support force fields need some material that is unknown to Earth but abundant in you setting, etc). Or maybe there are ubiquitous nanofactories and you just need feedstock (scrap metal) to make the ships. But it could readily have other effects on the setting (realistically, if armed and armored spaceships are dirt cheap, human-scale arms and armors are going to be virtually free).
I'm not sure what "durasteel", or "life support force fields" are supposed to be tbh. The small ships are basically just tin cans with engines strapped on to them. Oxygen and such is literally just stored in oxygen tanks along with other cargo.

There isn't really anything terribly expensive about (producing) shuttles compared to cars aside from some of the materials used to make the starship engines, and the minimal plating.
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Old 04-28-2022, 02:09 PM   #35
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I'm not sure what "durasteel", or "life support force fields" are supposed to be tbh. The small ships are basically just tin cans with engines strapped on to them. Oxygen and such is literally just stored in oxygen tanks along with other cargo.
"Durasteel" is the name of a common construction material in Star Wars (alongside Plasteel, although Durasteel is IIRC higher-grade, which is why I suggested it for armor plating). "Life support field" is basically a version of a force field that doesn't protect the vessel at all, but does keep atmosphere in (think of the fields over the hangars in Star Wars, which allow ships to fly through but keep the hangar pressurized so you don't need EVA gear to move around in it, or go through an airlock to access the rest of the ship). Essentially, it gives the ship Sealed and Vacuum Support without needing the advanced engineering necessary to typically give a ship those traits - so if you can make a generator for such a field on the cheap, you can make a space-worthy vehicle similarly on the cheap.
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Old 04-28-2022, 07:11 PM   #36
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Default Re: Handling cinematic spaceship fights and other sci-fi stuff

I like the suggestion of just adding a divisor to the prices to get Spaceships to where you want. Honestly, I can't see this impacting the game except for how available a ship is for the group.

You can of course just hand-wave pricing and give the PCs a ship. Or a lease on a ship with what you consider a reasonable monthly payment to keep the crew flying and hungry for more adventure.

You can and likely should just make it up. Sure, the economics in Spaceships likely had some relation to real-world counterparts. But since most of this hasn't been invented yet (especially Star Wars levels of technology), tuning it to fit your setting/campaign is much preferred to following some artificial requirement to adhere to what is in the books.

It's a toolkit not a dogma. :-D
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:10 AM   #37
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Default Re: Handling cinematic spaceship fights and other sci-fi stuff

Maybe just dividing stuff works, but it isn't like I want them to be able to buy huge weapons and stuff cheaply. That stuff is fairly expensive in-setting. It is just basic ship frames, engines, and control systems that are cheap.

It is a bit like the price difference between buying a car and buying and armored jeep with a weapon mount.

A quick glance at the other space ship threads gives me the impression ships are mostly the kind of things huge companies and nations build, and I'm guessing their high-TL ship components are going to get more expensive than modern rockets, not cheaper? It really doesn't sound like a system meant to handle a setting where a bunch of random pirates that live in an asteroid build ships.

Do you think it will be useful?
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:38 AM   #38
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Default Re: Handling cinematic spaceship fights and other sci-fi stuff

Handwaving is pretty good in a spaceflight rich setting.

If it's too expensive then who can afford one? Not many, and if it's precious then they're usually expensive (and strong) for a reason.
Making adventures less common.

And giving everyone a great income so people all over the galaxy can buy ships that cost million credits each, well that's just pushing the problem around anyway.

Spaceship material is super cheap, super durable, and simply has a weakness to spaceship weapons, like blasters, torpedoes, etc.

Solves it pretty well.
So what if spaceship material is as common as bubblegum? If blasters are also common.
Bam, presto, now you have your mopeds and cars in space.

Car >>>>>>>> human and many small animals.
But also car <= other cars, metal spikes at high velocity, rocks, etc.

Now put that into space. In comparison to an unarmed human or animal, a spaceship is unassailable.
But agains other spaceships and spaceship weaponry, it's like chucking a stone off a highway overpass into a windshield.

And just like cars are different, like, you wouldn't want to ram a little city shopping car into some massive titan of a jeep for example, you can still have you really fancy destroyers and gigantic capital ships.

Last edited by Lovewyrm; 05-02-2022 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:55 AM   #39
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Default Re: Handling cinematic spaceship fights and other sci-fi stuff

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Do you think it will be useful?
It can make for a decent jumping-off point and unified design system if you aren't comfortable just fiating everything. Given how you've described things, you'd probably want to decide what components are in those dirt-cheap civilian ships (probably Control Room*, some type of power plant, some type of drive, a single module of steel armor to allow it to be streamlined**, maybe a Force Screen generator and some Fuel Tanks) and apply an appropriate cost reduction to those, but have either a lesser cost reduction - or use full cost - for "military" equipment (Enhanced Sensors, ECM, Weapons Batteries***, better armor/power plants/drives/Force Screens, etc).

*The Control Room includes basic sensors.
**Spaceships requires at least one module - 5% of the vessel's mass - be armor for a ship to be streamlined; this is both for game balance (the negative consequence of being streamlined is reduced armor DR), and a bit of realism (a streamlined vessel needs more of its mass to be the outer frame). Note I'm assuming you want streamlined spaceships, but that's not strictly necessary.
***You can, of course, have separate civilian and military tiers of weaponry. I remember the spaceship design book for one of the d20 Star Wars settings separated the weaponry into blasters, lasers, and turbolasers. The blasters, with red beams, were cheap and thus what the Rebellion used. The lasers, with green beams, were more expensive (but also more effective) and were what the Empire used. The turbolasers were similar to the lasers, but even more powerful and only mountable on capital ships.
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Old 05-02-2022, 11:15 AM   #40
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Default Re: Handling cinematic spaceship fights and other sci-fi stuff

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A quick glance at the other space ship threads gives me the impression ships are mostly the kind of things huge companies and nations build, and I'm guessing their high-TL ship components are going to get more expensive than modern rockets, not cheaper? It really doesn't sound like a system meant to handle a setting where a bunch of random pirates that live in an asteroid build ships.
In all seriousness, have you considered bioships?

To first order, the costs of a non-combatant starship are hull, engines (FTL and STL), and power plant.They don't have to be squishy: something more like wood or nacreous shell is also possible. If these come cheap because they can be grown, your costs are reduced to the add-ons (controls, habitats, etc.) that are an order of magnitude cheaper.

Instead of parachronics being invented, early deep space voyages discovered a species of parachronizoid (IW, p. 73) lurking in interplanetary space. By hollowing out unused space and implanting simple control interfaces, they were able to harness the creatures' teleportation and world-jumping abilities.

Your random pirates can exist because their ships are largely self-repairing, given enough time, energy sources, and feed stock. It also makes salvaging non-bio systems easier, because they are mostly self-contained. They can be treated more like commodities than is usually possible with ultra-tech manufacture.

GURPS Spaceships works pretty well for this. You would want Spaceships 7, which adds a lot of biotech options to what's in Spaceships 1.

Last edited by thrash; 05-02-2022 at 11:18 AM.
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