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Old 01-07-2022, 11:55 AM   #11
Anthony
 
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
For example, the long skinny Space Dominance Vehicles with thick armor caps on one end are the kind of thing a munchkin would build, but they make total sense in-universe.
Min-maxing is totally encouraged in real world design, it's just that the real world has design tradeoffs that are far more complex than anything RPGs even try to model. In terms of non-RPG resources, I was actually thinking of things like kerbal space program.

For your concern about why you don't run SF games, let me let you in on a dirty secret: spaceships are scenery. Actual stats only matter if they're actually used in combat, and spaceship combat systems are generally terrible and to be avoided (the most fun RPG-ish space combat system I've used was a board game called Battlestations).
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Old 01-07-2022, 12:15 PM   #12
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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Min-maxing is totally encouraged in real world design, it's just that the real world has design tradeoffs that are far more complex than anything RPGs even try to model.
Sure, but something like the THS (or GURPS Classic Vehicles, for that matter) armor design system at least lets you interact with some of the tradeoffs faced by real designers.

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In terms of non-RPG resources, I was actually thinking of things like kerbal space program.
I love Kerbal space program but it doesn't support warships without mods and I don't think any mod has managed to support multiplayer. Children of a Dead Earth also has the no-multiplayer problem—back when I played the game I could never tell the difference between a good design and stupid AIs.

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For your concern about why you don't run SF games, let me let you in on a dirty secret: spaceships are scenery. Actual stats only matter if they're actually used in combat, and spaceship combat systems are generally terrible and to be avoided (the most fun RPG-ish space combat system I've used was a board game called Battlestations).
Okay, but what if there was a spaceship combat system that wasn't terrible?
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Old 01-07-2022, 12:40 PM   #13
Anthony
 
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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Okay, but what if there was a spaceship combat system that wasn't terrible?
Then I could probably put up with a spaceship design system that was nonexistent or barely functional.

I suspect spaceship combat systems being terrible is a bit fundamental, though, because in the end space is a kind of boring tactical environment.
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Old 01-07-2022, 01:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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I think the thing I really want is a system that leads to nice in-universe explanations for why ships are built the way they're built.
I have always been partial to the Knight Hawks rules of the Star Frontiers RPG. In addition to a fast-playing but fairly detailed spaceship board wargame, plus a massive wartime military campaign, it is an expansion of the RPG into spaceships and has a complete spaceship-design system, down to the complete list of programs in the ship's computer and the number of airlocks. It not only has costs for everything, but also lists all the spaceship construction centers in the Frontier, the time you have to wait to get into one, and the time it takes to build your ship.

There's no superscience artificial gravity in Star Frontiers, so decks are arranged vertically, and there's only a sense of gravity when the ship is accelerating or decelerating (it turns around to decelerate). Except for the imaginary FTL method, the setting tries to stick to fairly hard science-fiction.

Here's a sample spaceship built using the system.

Constructed at a Class I Center.

Hull Size: 3 (150,000 credits)
Length: 50 m
Diameter: 8 m
Hatches: 1
Engine Mounts: 2
ADF (acceleration deceleration factor): 3
MR (maneuver rating): 3
Engine Size: A
Engine Type: Atomic
Number of Engines: 2 (400,000 cr)
Atomic Fuel Pellets: 3 (30,000 cr)
Standard Crew: 6
Life Support Equipment: 5 kg (500 cr)
Backup Life Support Equipment: 5 kg (500 cr)
Astrogation Equipment: Basic (15,000 cr)
Videocomm Radio: 2 m^3 (1,000 cr)
Videocomm Screen: 0.5 m^3
Subspace Radio: 3 m^3 (20,000 cr)
Intercom Panel: 1 m^3 (50 cr)
Intercom Speaker/Mic (3): 1.5 m^3 (30 cr)
Radar Unit: 5 m^3 (10,000 cr)
Portholes: 5 (250 cr)
Camera System: 10 m^3 (25,000 cr)
Escape Pods (3): 40 m^3 (90,000 cr)
Laser Battery: (3,000 cr)
Reflective Hull: (1,500 cr)
Interior Hull Size: 1
Computer Control Panel: (100 cr)
Computer Level: 3 (20 kg)
Total Computer Program Function Points: 64

PROGRAMS:
Drive: Level 4, 32 Function Points (32,000 cr)
Life Support: Level 1, 2 Function Points (2,000 cr)
Backup Life Support: Level 1, 2 Function Points (2,000 cr)
Astrogation: Level 4, 24 Function Points (24,000 cr)
Laser Battery: Level 1, 4 Function Points (4,000 cr)
Alarm: Level 2, 2 Function Points (2,000 cr)
Damage Control: Level 2, 4 Function Points (4,000 cr)

Star Frontiers and Knight Hawks are available in PDF form at DriveThruRPG.com.

Last edited by Stormcrow; 01-07-2022 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 01-07-2022, 01:20 PM   #15
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

Ooh, that reminds me: the Albedo Ship Sourcebook is also excellent. It has similar assumptions (no artificial grav, etc.), a fairly well thought out FTL system, and harder science and engineering than most.
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Old 01-07-2022, 01:25 PM   #16
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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I . Except for the imaginary FTL method, the setting tries to stick to fairly hard science-fiction.

.
Well, there are those "atomic" engines that consume nothing but spheres of plutonium 20 cm in diamter (1 per interstellar journey or 1 month in-system).

At least that explains why the ships blow up so often.

The "ion" engines consume a quantity of hydrogen that is described by its' cost but not its' mass.

So it's not what I call even "fairly hard science".
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Old 01-07-2022, 02:03 PM   #17
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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So it's not what I call even "fairly hard science".
Trying to participate on these forums is like trying to argue with a swarm of Vermicious Knids.

All right, it tries to stick to things that were generally considered to be fairly hard science in the source materials from which it took them, and which at its publication date in the 1980s could be presented to a lay audience as continuing to be plausible.

Do you also want to dismiss that, or have I gotten close enough to Officially Approved Definitions?
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Old 01-07-2022, 02:06 PM   #18
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

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Trying to participate on these forums is like trying to argue with a swarm of Vermicious Knids.
It all depends on what hard SF means to you. In general any spaceship design system that lets you do much of anything interesting is going to involve a fair amount of dubious physics.
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Old 01-07-2022, 05:27 PM   #19
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

One thing I should clarify—the hardest problem of good space combat rules is probably coming up with sensible rules for kinetic attacks. Ones that actually do things like take relative velocity into account.
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Old 01-07-2022, 05:38 PM   #20
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: What RPG has the best spaceship design system?

Reading about this more, it seems like Traveller has a long history of not paying that much attention to missiles and even having missiles only come in a single size. So probably not what I'm looking for.
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