Friday, March 28, 2008

You Might As Well JUMP

Hokay. Some notes here.

I saw a good die roll out there to determine actual jump time:
124 hrs + (2D x 6 hrs) for a range yielding a result of 136-196 hours (that is, 5.7 to 8.2 days) which seems to me to be a pretty good approximation of the "about a week" which book 2 gives us. I think that the die roll actually comes out of a MegaTraveller book, but I'm not sure - but I do like the simple mechanic.

I'd subtract half the navigator's skill level, rounding down, from the multiplier - a good navigator can plot a somewhat quicker course, and a narrower window of time for arrival.

A fleet jump, programmed with computers linked, takes the modifier of the navigator on the command ship; each ship still makes a separate roll: there's enough variables from ship to ship, even in the minuscule differences offered by the realspace separating the ships from their launchpoints, to create differences in travel times.

So, surprise attacks by fleets are going to be tricky.

Not impossible. Tricky.

Assume a fleet in possession of a world spots a newly arrived ship; by the time it arrives, depending on the distance the ship chooses, minutes to hours will have passed. When it does arrive, how will the fleet respond? It could as easily be a merchant as a carrier if it's out of scan range. Do you send a fighter to probe it? A cruiser? Certainly not a carrier. It'll be hours before your probe gets there, and the intruder will have moved - maybe deeper out from the system, maybe in towards an outer world, or maybe it just sits. Plenty of time for a carrier to deploy fighters or riders. Maybe even enough time for other ships to arrive.

If it's wartime, and an attack is expected, a more robust response to a single ship might be warranted, but even then, how many ships do you commit? Even boiling possible locations down to "Mainworld, Gas Giant and Outer System," an attacking fleet might plan to have its fleet hit any number of these locations. If ships start arriving in the outer system, committing the fleet to attack them will prove an error if ships then start arriving at the gas giant and the mainworld.


Blogger Omer Golan said...

This kind of jump mechanics have to major implications:

1) Large carriers have yet another advantage - if a 5,000-dton carrier is enough to defeat the target world's fleets (and from what i know about YTU, for many worlds it would be), and could deploy its entire fighter complement in a single combat turn (it should do so), then it could jump to a far closer point to the world itself than a multi-ship assault fleet. In other words, the carrier would be able to launch far more surprising attacks than a multi-ship fleet.

2) Multi-ship fleets would jump to the Oort Cloud in order to assemble after the jump; any real planet would probably have defenses which might be able to take out a single ship before the rest arrive, while the Oort Cloud has too many far-between objects to guard well. This also means that large battles don't always occur near the mainworld but sometimes further out as the defender sends part of his fleet to intercept th invader (if picking a large number of jump-flashes alerts him to the presence of a hostile fleet rather than a single merchant.


On another note, does higher TL make jumps more precise in both time and location?

Also, does higher TL (or a better computer) allows one to analyze a jump flash and gain additional information from it about the ship's size or even the manufacturing polity (like Babylon 5's "jump signatures")?

1:50 AM  
Blogger Festeria said...

1) Yep.
2) That sounds about right to me! I figure that
pre-stragglers would certainly hightail for oort.
3) I've actually saved changes to Jump for tech 16+;
breaking the 100D rule. Higher precision might go with
4) I'd put that less to computer power and more to
Navigator sophistication, skill - and numbers. So a
carrier or frigate would generally be easier to peg
than, say, a patrol cruiser.

5:42 AM  
Blogger Festeria said...

It seems sensible that there would be a difference in the jump flash relating to tonnage, since energy expenditure and tonnage have a lot to do with each other in jump. Bigger ship, bigger flash - but if it's happening light seconds/minutes/hours away plus, it'll be a pretty tiny difference and a good navigator will be useful in telling what the heck that was out there.

5:46 AM  
Blogger Festeria said...

A strike carrier working in frontier worlds would jump straight to the mainworld, deploy, and get its marines in straight away. Bigger fleet actions would need more coordination and caution.

5:47 AM  
Blogger Omer Golan said...

Keep in mind that LBB2 has no separate sensor systems, so a better computer would probably also subsume better sensors, and thus more accurate and detailed data about distant jump flashes.


On another note, the jump rules also provide the difference between a Strike Carrier and a normal Carrier - the former would carry a Battalion or so of marines as well as fighters (it's a whole task-force in one tight package), while the latter would carry mostly fighters and a different ship in the multi-ship fleet would carry the marines.

6:25 AM  

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