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Old 03-24-2011, 02:12 AM   #1
Tzeentch
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Default [Spaceships] Eclipse Phase Design Notes (V1)

-- First draft of an Eclipse Phase -> Spaceships conversion document. Been working on updating my Techbook designs and conversions to match Spaceships 8 format so I have not done any EP designs as yet.
-- Yes, I try to write everything as if it was going to be an e23 publication.


X. SPACECRAFT DESIGN AND OPERATION
Pivo stuck to the portal, watching as they descended below the soot-filled layer of clouds and the Earth below came into view. They were in the atmosphere now, descending on a taut beanstalk stretched between the Earth and station above, a massive feat of engineering built from carbon nanotubes. The shuttle car crawled down the elevator cable, bringing them closer and closer to the ruined planet.

Earth’s atmosphere was now choked with a thick dust, the color of rust. The winds whipped over the planet’s surface with breakneck velocity, swirling dangerously in certain pockets. The world’s weather systems had been irretrievably ravaged by the Fall, when transhumanity had seemingly gone to war with a group of rogue AIs known as the TITANs. Bombs, raging fires, chemical attacks, biowar plagues, voracious nanoswarms – even nukes – had taken their toll. It was now an inhospitable place, gripped by nuclear winter. Some of the clouds were formed into unusual shapes, defying the high winds, even seeming to writhe as they moved -- the thriving descendents of self-replicating airborne nanoswarms, Pivo suspected. Who knew what other monstrosities waited for them below, evolved from the remnants of AI war machines?
-- Firewall Archives, 10 AF

Eclipse Phase is set 10 years after transhumanity was almost wiped out in a genocidal conflict with the TITAN’s – self-improving seed AIs that had become infected with an alien virus. Earth was left a devastated hellhole, but the survivors have regrouped and adapted. A patchwork collection of hypercorp oligarchies, collectivist networks, and experimental societies has settled as far as the Kuiper Belt. Some brave (or foolish) groups have even followed the TITANs into the Pandora Gates, wormhole gateways the mad AIs created before vanishing.

This chapter discusses how Eclipse Phase spacecraft can be designed using the GURPS Spaceships rules.

START BOX
Eclipse Phase Glossary
The following terms from Eclipse Phase are used in this book.
Destroyer: A heavily-armed military spacecraft.
Fighter: Small, usually unmanned, combat spacecraft.
Large Lander and Orbit Transfer Vehicle (LLOTV): Surface to orbit cargo transport.
Scum Barge: Temporary habitats created to hold refugees fleeing Earth during the Fall.
Small Lander and Orbit Transfer Vehicle (SLOTV): Orbital “space truck” used above Earth and Venus.
The Fall: The apocalypse; the singularity and wars that nearly brought about the downfall of transhumanity. Dates are referenced as Before Fall (BF) or After Fall (AF). The current year is 10 AF.
END BOX

Design Guidelines
These guidelines explain how to use GURPS Spaceships to create spacecraft suitable for the Eclipse Phase setting.

START QUOTE
Though egocasting is a common method of personal transport and it’s often easier to simply transmit the specifications for various goods and to allow nanofactories to create duplicates, spacecraft play an important role in the solar system, carrying both passengers and valuable cargo.
– Eclipse Phase
END QUOTE

Tech Level
New spacecraft are TL10, but there are plenty of older TL8 and TL9 vessels that were kludged together during the Fall. Older designs are often upgraded to TL10 control rooms and comm/sensor arrays as soon as possible.

Spacecraft Hulls
Except for a handful of bulk carriers, hull sizes beyond 3,000 tons (SM+9) are exceedingly rare for mobile spacecraft. On the other extreme, space habitats are often very large – 300,000+ ton (SM +13 and above) stations are found everywhere. These facilities should be treated as locations, not Spaceships designs.

Spacecraft Systems
Most GURPS Spaceships systems of TL10 or less that do not rely on superscience (TL^) are available in the Eclipse Phase setting. Exceptions and guidelines are discussed below.

Larger and Smaller Systems: These common design options are described in GURPS Spaceships 7: Divergent and Paranormal Tech, pp. 4-5.

Superscience Systems: The occasional superscience relic (e.g. the Pandora gates) left by the TITANs or found in alien ruins can be used, but not replicated.

Armor
Diamondoid armor is available, despite being TL11, due to the settings advanced materials science.

Control Rooms
Most vessels employ some AI crew, so spacecraft often reduce the number of control stations or use smaller systems.
As in the Transhuman Space setting (see GURPS Spaceships 8: Transhuman Spacecraft), the advanced technology used in Eclipse Phase means that you calculate computer Complexity as if they were a full TL higher.

Factory
Also known as cornucopia machines, TL11 nanofactories are one of the technologies that enabled transhumanity to survive the Fall. See Eclipse Phase, p. 327 for additional information.

Jump Gate
Eclipse Phase jump gates, more commonly referred to as Pandora Gates, were (probably) built by the TITANs when they left the solar system. These devices are barely understood by transhumanity and may rely on TL12^ knowledge of physics. None of the known Pandora Gates are large enough to admit a spacecraft.

Reaction Engine, Chemical and HEDM Rocket
Metallic hydrogen HEDM rockets are widely used for small surface-to-orbit rockets and planetary landers. Safety technology is sufficiently advanced that Eclipse Phase HEDM fuel tanks are not volatile.

Reaction Engine, Nuclear Pulse
Pulse drives have been developed, but they were leapfrogged by advanced fusion rocket designs.

Reaction Engine, Fusion
The dominant for of space propulsion technology in Eclipse Phase is the TL10 fusion rocket. The TL10^ fusion torch is unavailable.
Reaction Engine, Total Conversion and Antimatter
Only the antimatter plasma rocket is available. Used in some destroyers, the volatility of the antimatter fuel makes them unwelcome near manned habitats.

Robot Arm
Small craft should use telescoping robot arms (GURPS Spaceships 8: Transhuman Spacecraft, p. 9) instead.

Weapons Batteries
Ultraviolet lasers and electromagnetic guns are the standard weapons. Missile launchers typically use nuclear and antimatter warheads.

Design Features
Many vessels use total automation. Spin gravity is common on manned vessels.

Unavailable Features: All superscience features are unavailable.

Methane and Ammonia Reaction Mass
Methane reaction mass (GURPS Spaceships 7: Divergent and Paranormal Tech, p. 21) is often used for Martian spacecraft.

Regeneration and Self-Healing
Self-Healing (GURPS Spaceships 7: Divergent and Paranormal Tech, p. 22) is used on most cutting-edge TL10 designs.

Design Switches
Three design switches are used:

Advanced Computers
All computers are treated as one TL higher for the purpose of calculating Complexity and running software; see Control Rooms (p. 00).

Exposed Radiators
These are described in GURPS Spaceships (p. 31).

FTL Comm/Sensor Arrays
Quantum entanglement communication (Eclipse Phase, p. 315) allows limited instantaneous communication across any distance.

Travel in the Solar System
All space travel uses the Newtonian Space Flight and Delta-V rules (GURPS Spaceships, p. 37). The Interplanetary Distances table in Transhuman Space (p. 51) is useful for estimating travel times.
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:40 PM   #2
marvin
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Eclipse Phase Design Notes (V1)

Hey Kenneth, what would the Plasma Rockets mentioned in core Eclipse Phase rule book (p. 247) be in GURPS Spaceship terms? They remind me of the Vasimr plasma drives discussed in a recent issue of Popular Science (Nov. 2010, pgs. 50-55, 102). They don't seem to be pulse engines and the VASIMR engines were covered by the old vehicle system (GURPS Mars, pg. 33) but get no mention in the new GURPS Spaceships.

Also, any chance of getting some pointers on designing Cthulhutech spaceships using GURPS Spaceships?

I'm thinking of developing a Transhuman Space campaign in which misuse of the Pandore Gate coincides with some dark unfathomable experiment taking place in a parallel dimension. Brought together by forces unknown, a rift is formed that brings both a battered NEG Fleet, led by the heavily damaged flagship, NES Ashcroft, and a new version of Saturn's moon, Pandora. Of course the tearing apart of the very fabric of existence, even if only temporary, has consequences. What came through the swirling chasm along with the Ashcroft, and where does the Pandora Gate now lead?

Thanks,
Benjamin
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:27 PM   #3
Tzeentch
 
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Eclipse Phase Design Notes (V1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by marvin View Post
Hey Kenneth, what would the Plasma Rockets mentioned in core Eclipse Phase rule book (p. 247) be in GURPS Spaceship terms? They remind me of the Vasimr plasma drives discussed in a recent issue of Popular Science (Nov. 2010, pgs. 50-55, 102). They don't seem to be pulse engines and the VASIMR engines were covered by the old vehicle system (GURPS Mars, pg. 33) but get no mention in the new GURPS Spaceships.
-- VASMIR rockets are in GURPS Spaceships 7: Divergent and Paranormal Tech, p. 16. (BTW I do recommend getting this one, as you'll probably need it for CthulhuTech crossovers).

-- The EP Plasma Rocket (Eclipse Phase, p. 347) has a nominal thrust of 0.01Gs. The Spaceships VASIMR in high-thrust mode is 0.002G. I suspect it's the EP numbers that are more likely to be wildly optimistic :)

Quote:
Also, any chance of getting some pointers on designing Cthulhutech spaceships using GURPS Spaceships?
-- Sure, see separate post.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:03 PM   #4
marvin
 
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Location: Cydonia
Default Re: [Spaceships] Eclipse Phase Design Notes (V1)

Thank you very much. I have Spaceships 7 but didn't think to look there. I figured the GURPS version would be a lot more realistic, which is generally a good thing but it sometimes makes it hard to emulate designs from other games (like Blue Planet and Traveller).

I'll look for your Cthulhutech post.

Thanks again.

Benjamin
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