Archive for the Design system Category

Subsidized merchant DataCard

Posted in Design system, Intercept, Rules with tags , , , , on December 1, 2013 by Mr Backman
Image courtesy of mr Ian Stead http://biomassart.wordpress.com/

Image courtesy of mr Ian Stead http://biomassart.wordpress.com/

“What a piece of junk!” – Luke Skywalker
“You came in that thing? You’re braver than I thought.” – Leia to Han 
“Would it help if I got out and pushed?” – Leia to Han
“It might!” – Han to Leia
“She’s the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.” – Lando Calrissian

Subsidized merchant DataCard

I have updated the DataCard and Intercept rulebook, get ’em while they’re hot, at the downloads page 2013-12-01

The design system holds everything there is to know about your ship but to use it for an Intercept space battle you need to fill in its DataCard. The DataCard holds all data crucial to space battles where the Ship.xls hold everything there is to know about the design. Print out DataCard.pdf and fill in your designs. We will use the Subsidized merchant as worked examples on how to fill in the DataCard. There is a ready-made Subsidized merchant and Launch document in the Designs.zip and eventually I’ll fill out the rest of my designs. OK, let’s get on with the worked example shall we. The little thumbnail above is the entire DataCard but I will break it down into pieces a comment on each part s it gets filled in. As always, go to the downloads page to look for the latest version of everything – the rules, the design system and sometimes also the DataCard may all get updates now and then.

DataCard1

First we write the ships name at the top left of the DataCard. To the right of the name we see some rows of checkboxes. The one labeled Turns can be ignored as it is used by the Deterministic optional rules indicating how many steps of turn the ship has for each of the four turns. The row labeled AB Initiative side A check the odd boxes and side B check the even boxes. These are used for tie breaking Initiative. The lowest row of boxes labeled Frac thrust is where you check the turns where your fractional thrust gives you an extra G. Look up Fractional thrust in the rule book for details, our Subsidized merchant happens to have  no decimal thrust when loaded or unloaded so we leave them unchecked.

DataCard2

To the right is a box for Size; +8 for our example. This is the target number for all Pilot rolls (and a Tactician rolls too, however unlikely in a Subsidized merchant).The Comp# box should hold your computers model number. Make sure there is room for the computer dice pool. These can can be used to improve all Pilot, Tactician, Attack, Defense, Sensors or Repair roll by rolling one or more dice from the pool and picking the two highest D6, every four turns the computer dice pool is replenished by the current Model #. We write 1: for our Model-1 computer. To the right of that are four boxes were we write the beam to-hit numbers for 1, 3 and 10 squares range and the missile to-hit value, all taking our ships Size into account. Look up the numbers and subtract Size to get your ships target numbers. These are the base numbers your enemy roll against to hit your ship. We write 4+, 7+, 10+ and 6+ respectively.

Write your ships Thrust Gs (Loaded/Unloaded)  in the Thrust box.  The last box in the top row, the Fuel box, holds how many GTurns worth of fuel the ship has, loaded/unloaded. The box is large enough for you to tick off fuel use when playing. Only ships with Fission or Fusion thrusters have this value, Impulse drives expend no fuel when thrusting and neither does a Floater, our ship write 10/20: here. Yes, the sub is known for its extremely low delta-V, that old-timer who belittled the sub crews has obviously never flown one as their low delta-V requires careful planning and experience.

DataCard3

The next row should hold the ships Streamlining type; Open frame, Normal, Streamlined or Airframe, also add the areobrake damage modifier for speed here. The name of the streamlining should be entered but also the damage modifier for speed which is important when doing areobrakes or landing. The damage per speed modifiers is from the areobrake table in the rulebook, in the section on planets.

  • Open frame The ISS or other irregular structures. +6/1 speed but you shouldn’t really do any areobraking with these. If you areobrake facing is off by two or more your first speed brake will be treated as Open frame. Hulls with Critical damage are always treated as Open frame.
  • Normal A car or a subsonic aircraft. +3/1 speed. If you areobrake facing is off by one your first speed brake will be trated as Normal unless it is Open frame. Hulls with Severe damage are always treated as Normal or worse.
  • Streamlined A jetfighter or the space shuttle. +1/1 speed. This is the minimum streamlining for reasonably safe areobrakes and atmosphere landings. Hulls with Light damage are always treated as Streamlined or worse.
  • Airframe The SR-71 or other extremely streamlined hypersonic designs. +1/3 speed. Areobrakes and atmosphere landings are safe unless your facing is off or brake more than your frame can handle.

We write Streamlined +1/1 and 7% 1 for the percentage of wings an extra areobrake (1 for every full 5%). Wings is only used for aerobraking in Intercept but may be more important in roleplaying situations, especially for the Subsidized merchant.

DataCard4

Below this there’s a large box where all the ships Signatures should be entered. If your battle takes place where the Sun factor is not +6 you should enter the actual value to get properly modified Signatures. Remember that if the Sun factor is, say +5 you should subtract 5 from Visual(Hull) when the ship is in the Shadow column, instead of the usual 6. Note the Sun factor at the top of your map sheet as a reminder.

DataCard5

The box with the ship status check boxes can be ignored as they are only used in-game to indicate status changes, I’ll show you their picture anyway.

DataCard6

Below that there are some boxes for the Sensitivity of your sensors. We enter -1 for our Optical (Visual/IR) and -5 for our small radar. Note that radar Scans are the only ones using any significant amounts of power.

DataCard7

To the right of this we have the crew box where the numbers and special notes of our crew are entered. We write 1 Pilot, 1 Astrogator, (2) Sensor ops, 3 Gunners and 2 Techs. The parenthesis around the Sensor ops value indicate that Gunners and Sensor ops serve dual roles; if any attacks or defense-rolls were made in a turn we get -2 on our Scan factor as the same crew members were doing both tasks.

DataCard9

To the right of this there’s the hit location box where damage, continuing damage, jury rig repairs and frozen watch revival is tracked. There are also check boxes for the current location of the repair crew. Enter the ARM and DAB values for you design here. The Subsidized merchant has these values: Hull +20 ARM +25 DAB Surface +15/+17 ARM +19 DAB Crew +20 ARM +22 DAB Payload +20 ARM +22 DAB Power +20 ARM +22 DAB Thrust +17 ARM +19 DAB The Surface part has 4 check box rows for Top/Front, Left, Right and Bottom/Rear and should be applied damage based on what facing the attk came from. The Power part may have two values; the left for full power and the left when Silent running, only ships with vulnerable radiators have two values there.

The column of check boxes labeled RC tells the current location of your Repair Crew. Check its location whenever it moves to a new location,Repair Crew takes the same damage when that location is hit. To the right of the RC column there is one labeled JR which stands for Jury Rig. Jury Rigged locations are treated as having one level less damage for damage effects purposes.

The check boxes labeled L, S, C and D are used for the damage level of a location and they stand for Light, Severe, Critical and Destroyed. Damage to an already damaged location work like this:

  • New damage level is higher Replace the old damage with the new, uncheck JR but CD remains.
  • New damage level is equal Add one damage level, uncheck JR but CD remains.
  • New damage level is lower Keep the old damage level, uncheck JR but CD remains.

The CD column stands for Continuing Damage which is damage that may get worse over time, like fires and the like. A hit gets Continuing Damage if the Damage roll turned up as a 6. Each turn, after repairs and if repairs failed, roll a D6 per CD; 1 and the CD is removed of itself, 2-4 has no effect and 5-6 increases damage one level. If a non-Hull location gets Destroyed from CD remove the CD there and add a CD to the Hull location, even if the Hull is completely undamaged. A Destroyed Hull, as you can imagine, destroys the ship. Yes, a tiny hit in the Surface location can, with lots of sheer luck, eventually destroy the entire ship.

DataCard10

The three boxes labeled Volley A – C are used to note endurance expenditure for missiles with longer endurance than one turn. If more than 3 volleys are in flight at the same time simply note this on a separate piece of paper. Below all is the area for weapons and mounts.

DataCard13

The right part holds the number and types of various weapon. Sand casters, Meson screen and Nuclear dampers write their ARM values in the PEN column and missiles treat the Range column as the controller range. Our Subsidized merchant has two sand-casters, two lasers and two missile launchers, one for each of the two large turrets mounted  Left and Right.

The right part holds the mounts of the ship and their respective locations. Our ship has 2 Large Turrets mounted on the left and right, each with one Sand-caster, one 10 MW laser and one Small missile launcher.

It should be self-evident how this work for your own designs. Note that different missiles can have different parameters and a ship may carry more than one kind so all variants should be noted so somewhere and each volley clearly noted what type it holds. A single volley can only hold one type of missiles but the launcher can choose which type it launches, even from a magazine.

Well, that is all folks. Look at the Lauch values and see if you understand how that design is put together. Note that the Small turret mounted on top is NOT standard issue but a modification done for my daughters Launch and can be a pretty nasty surprise to anyone believening that the Launch of a Subsidized merchant is harmless.

Custom crew

Posted in Design system, Intercept on November 17, 2013 by Mr Backman
Nostromo Crew courtesy of http://alienseries.wordpress.com

Nostromo Crew courtesy of http://alienseries.wordpress.com

Crew? I pilot the ship, I astrogate for hyperspace, I scan with my sensors and if I see something I don’t like, I shoot it with my lasers. Repairs? Hah, my ship is too scared of me to ever break down.

Sir Charles Pancroft, Baron of Centry, on the merits of a one man ship crew.

Centry/Glisten/Spinward marches 023-1013

Custom crew example

Intercept make various assumptions regarding crew size which may not fit your concept of how the ship should be crewed. As an example, Intercept assumes that Gunners and Sensor ops hold dual roles (the lower number of the two is in parenthesis to indicate this). Write your own value, including 0, to override whatever Intercept has calculated. I have added some smarts to the design sheet to help you see what effects your crew numbers will have:

  • Tactician (Pilot) The ship is small enough that the Pilot and Tactician can be the same person without penalty. Instead of using the lowest result of the Pilot roll and the Tactician roll he simply roll once using the lowest skill of Pilot and whatever flavor of Tactician skill he uses (Ship tactics or Fleet tactics).
  • Sensor ops (2) Sensor ops or Gunners crew number in parenthesis indicate that Intercept assumes the two positions are dual-role. If you intend to Scan after combat your attacks and defenses are modified by -2 and your scans are also modified by -2. If you want dedicated Gunners and Sensor Ops to avoid penalties from dual role simply write the number in the light yellow edit column to the right.
  • Gunners (-2) A negative value in parenthesis after the crew type is your Undermanning modifier, ‘(No)’ means you cannot perform tasks by that crew category  because you have less than 10% of the required crew.
  • Technicians (No FW) A ‘(No FW)’ means your Repair Crew must be repaired instead of revived by Frozen Watch because it has more than 50% robots.
  • Low passage? A ‘?’ indicate that you don’t have enough freezers for the numbers you have chosen.
  • Total crew? A ‘?’ indicate that you don’t have enough life support units for the numbers you have chosen.
  • Frozen watch (x2) A ‘(x1)’ or ‘(x2)’ after Frozen watch indicate how many levels of damage you can restore from Frozen watch. You can never have more damage level restores than 2 no matter how large frozen watch you specify.

The design system and ready-made designs have been updated as has the rule book (look at the top row for Ship.xls version and Data.xls version. Ship.xls version should be 2013-11-17 or newer). You can download them all from the Downloads page.

Q: What do you call a timepiece that stops whenever the temperature goes below zero?

A: The frozen watch.

Intercept 3.3 update

Posted in Design system, Intercept, Rules, Traveller on November 10, 2013 by Mr Backman

Laser with mirror

Yeah, it is true, I finally managed to put it together and get it ready to download. there are lots of changes, rearrangements and tweaks, too many to mention all so I will just give you the major points. I have scattered some illustrations here and there in the rules to liven things up a bit and to exercise my limited artistic abilities.

Download the latest version of Intercept and designs from the Downloads page.

Design system

The design system has gotten some changes here and there but now for the first time there is actual documentation on how to design ships in the rulebook. This part is placed at the end, right before the tables and charts, so you can print out the Design rules in a separate booklet if you like.

Mapsheets

There are many changes to how ships interact with planets and these changes are reflected in the new mapsheets. There is one sheet with a small planet in the middle, one with a large planet and also one where a large and small planet are placed far apart to play out scenarios in the Earth – Moon neighbourhood. The mapsheets are now included in the Intercept bundle.

Missile customization

Various missile customization options are tabulated in the rules but maybe not too deeply explained. Read about missile customization here.

Planets

Planets have their own section now with rules on planetary line of sight, gravity etc in one place instead of scattered throughout the rules. The rules for stable orbits now cover polar orbits as well.  The planetary line of sight rules and sun shadow rules have changed considerably so make sure you read up on planets if you use them in the game.

Consolidated Pilot task

A fancy name for the section where various Pilot related stuff is located. You will find rules for docking, ramming, landing on planets, crashing into planets, voluntary and mandatory areobrakes etc. This section is a good place for a Traveller referee to get less ad-hoc and more believable rules for ship to ship and ship to planet interaction with more choices and participation by the players while still taking the characters skill into consideration.

Traveller integration

A page on how to integrate Intercept with Traveller has been added, to be filled with rules and tips whenever someone actually bothers to give me feedback. For me, Intercept is Traveller so I see no real point in writing conversions for various Traveller versions, the most likely one to get this treatment will be the Mongoose version of Traveller which I like in many ways, mostly for its adherence to the original LBB version. Just subtract 1 from your Mongoose or Classic Traveller skill level to get the D to use in Intercept, GURPS players should use (skill – 10) / 2.

Custom missiles

Posted in Design system, Intercept, Rules on November 1, 2013 by Mr Backman

Missile schematic

Isn’t it a drag that regular 50 kg missiles endurance is only 15 minutes? One measly turn of full thrust. Wouldn’t it be nice to have missiles that start drifting and can be turned on when they are close to their foe. What about decoy missiles that mimic your ships signature? Frag missiles, missiles with sensors, longer range controllers, higher thrust missiles, the list goes on and on.  What if you could custom build missiles to your own specifications?

I am in the process of rewriting Intercept for its 3.4 release with some major changes in the pipe I though I should give you its custom missile rules as an appetizer. These rules will work with the old as well as the new, upcoming rules. So, without further ado, here comes the custom missile rules. Updated Design system, Rules and Maptemplates are available here.

Missiles

Misslles in Intercept are operator guided from the launcher and comes in three sizes;

  • Small missile. 50 kg with 15 minutes endurance. They are sometimes called rockets and are all fission powered, they the only legal missile size for private ships.
  • Medium missile. 500 kg with 30 minutes endurance. They are sometimes called torpedos, fission powered at TL 9- and Fusion powered at TL 10+.
  • Large missile. 5000 kg with 1 hour endurance. They are sometimes called heavy torpedos, fission powered at TL 9- and Fusion powered at TL 10+.

The standard capabilities of missiles can be seen in the following tables (which are also in the rulebook and will shown on your ship designs as well.

Missile tables

Modifications

The above basic missile parameters can be modified to achieve certain goals. Most modifications alter the Thrust Gs of the missile and can be seen as modifications of the final dry mass of the missile. Modifications cannot modify the Thrust Gs to less than 0 and if modified down to 0 the missile will drift only, useful for decoys and sensors missiles but not much else. 0G missiles cannnot attack ships, even if they land on the same square as a target, a 10 000 km square is pretty huge after all.

Endurance

  • Half endurance (+1G, x1/2 endurance)
  • Double endurance (-1G, x2 endurance, x2controller range)
  • Triple endurance (-2G, x3 endurance, x3controller range)
  • Quad endurance (-3G, x4 endurance, x4controller range)

Endurance modifications affect how long the missile can thrust, smaller engine leaves room for more remass and vice versa. Missiles endurance will start ticking as soon as they launch regardless of endurance. If you want to launch them drifting you must add the Cold start option below. Double, triple or quadruple endurance also affects Controller range with the same multipliers, half endurance does not reduce controller range.

Cold start

  • Cold start (-2G, double price)

Normally it is the launcher that starts the engine for the missile but if you want to launch your missiles driftig you should add the Cold start option. Cold start does not allow you to turn on or off the missile at a whim, once started the engines cannot then be turned off and they will continue to burn until their endurance limit is reached. Cold start option doubles the price of the missile.

Frag

Frag missile (PEN-6, DAM-6, +3 DM)

If you want your missile to fragment before hitting thus increasing the hit chance at the expense of penetration and damage you should consider the Frag option. Giving a missile the frag option does not modify Thrust and does not affect price, it merely changes how the missile deals damage. Frag missiles are favorites among pirates as they can easily take out weapons and sensors of a ship (making them blind and defenseless) without unduly damage the ship and its cargo.

Decoy

  • Vis & Radar decoy (-1G per +2 Vis & Radar)
  • IR decoy (-1G per +2 IR x4 drift endurance)
  • Neutrino decoy (-1G per +2 Neutrino x4 drift endurance, double price)

Decoy mods come in three varietys Visual & Radar, Infrared and Neutrino. There is no way to alter a missiles Mass signature, not at the Tech Levels Intercept deals with (6-16). Visual & Radar decoys are metal foil balloons, IR decoys are burning magnesium or thermite charges with the appropriate oxidizers, Neutrino decoys are short halflife radioactive compunds that mimic regular powerplants or thrusters. Decoy modifications really does nothing more than increase the signatures of the missile. IR and Neutrino decoy modifications run 4x as long as the missiles endurance and but they go online at launch like all decoy mods, even if the missile has the Cold start option. After the IR and Neutrino decoy mods have lasted their endurance the missile goes back to its regular, pre modified, signatures. Visual & Radar modifications are always on and have unlimited endurance.

Sensors

  • Sensor(-2G, double price, Vis/IR rating from table below, double controller range)

Missiles can be equipped with low powered Visual/IR sensors so you can do your sensing from the missile instead of your own ship, this may help you scanning near planets or avoid performing Scans with Sun blinding. Missiles with sensors must be within Launcher range and arc at all times as does all missiles. THere is no endurance limit to sensors, they may start sensing as soon as they are launched regardless if the missile has Cold start or not. The acual sensors Sensitivity value comes from the table below:

Missile sensors

Launcher range

All missiles are operator guided and have a maximum range that depends on the missile type and TL of the launcher. Missiles beyond this range are auto­matically lost. Launcher range is based on missile size and TL but is also multiplied by Endurance modifications and the Sensors option. Note that half endurance missiles does not reduce launcher range.

Launcher ranges

Missile price

  • Cold start (price x2)
  • Neutrino decoy (price x2)
  • Sensor (price x2)

Small missiles cost 10 000 Cr, Medium missiles cost 100 000 Cr and Large missiles cost 1 000 000 Cr.

These prices are modified for some of the options above which should be all multiplied together to get the final price of the missile. Note that the Neutrino decoy option will only double the price once, regardless of how many levels of Neutrino decoy you give the missile.

Well, that is all for now folks, and remember; it is not the missile that kills you, it is the sudden stop of the missile.