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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Traveller Tuesday: Missile Missive

So, a funny thing happened on the way to the space battle...

I was writing down the stats for various missiles (with them spread between the Core Book, High Guard, and Trillion Credit Squadron, I needed them all in one place) when I noticed a curious and troubling fact on p. 147:

Yes yes, I am aware that High Guard changed default missile thrust to 10 G.They also changed the chart. Roll with me a moment. 

Huh. "Can be tracked as additional craft in the battle."  That's interesting, considering this chart from earlier in the section on space combat...

Take a look at that "thrust to change" column. Interesting.  And now, people's exhibit three:

So... if I'm tracking missiles like ships... and missiles move at Thrust 5... and I'm shooting at a distant target... then according to the rules.... wait. Go back to that example. Why does it cost 5 thrust to go both 1 kilometer AND 8750 km from Medium range? Shouldn't it cost more thrust to, y'know, go a further distance?

OK, so let's ignore this range band nonsense, because otherwise you'd never use the 50 in the Distant category... unless you were closing in combat, or returning fire... in which case whoever got pegged as the "Distant Party" would be at a significant disadvantage, having to pay (50+25+10+5+2+1+1=) 93 thrust, whereas the "Adjacent Party" would only have to pay (1+1+2+5+10+25=) 44 thrust.  That's half price for exactly the same distance.  Woo, home team advantage!

Of course, this also means that the chart I listed at the beginning is wrong, because
  1. It doesn't factor in the "Home Team" advantage, and
  2. The numbers are wrong anyway. 
Think about it. According to the chart, a thrust 5 missile shooting at a distant target would hit that target in 10 turns, but if we tracked it according to the rules of the game regarding thrust, it would hit in either 5 or 10 turns, depending on position. 

The refrain of "WTF, Mongoose?" is often heard in my game. 

All right, so let's make things simpler and more logical. We will just assume that all distances coming and going are the same, and the best way to calculate needed thrust is to add up the thrust cost from the range you're at (which is always Adjacent, because your missiles always launch from your ship and you're always at adjacent range to yourself) to the range you're trying to hit. And, of course, we completely throw out that useless missile chart.

Here, then, is the master chart I constructed for each missile in Mongoose Traveller Canon. (High Guard people, rejoice!  The boost of missile thrust to 10 G per the rules has now been added in!)

So there you go. Now missiles in Mongoose Traveller make sense.


  1. The thrust 5 thing still boggles my mind.

    As any fighter can outrun a missile. Heck there's plenty of speedy starships that are Thrust 5.

  2. Also, those fighters we saw were thrust 12, so they can outrun pretty much any missile other than Long Range Missiles.

  3. True, but at least that's less crazy than if they were thrust 5 missiles.

    Hmm no jumpbreaker on that chart.
    Well their thrust/end should be the same as basic

  4. No?

    Oh jeez, I bet they were in a different book (Scoundrel).

  5. The penalty for distant is for sucky navigators who came out of light speed too soon. (or whatever its called in this game). If you are that far out and in a fight, either jump out of trouble or into the thick of it and kick some ass.

    At least thats my interpretation.

  6. Ahhh . . . I long for the good old days of doing ship-to-ship combat using either straight Book 2 or Mayday. Mixing it in with Book 5 and TCS is where things start to get sticky. Thanks for doing the chart, Erin - very useful.

  7. Thanks for the missile chart. That's very handy. For the record I like it, and I think it was Mongoose's intention that all the distances coming and going were supposed to be the same. I think their explanation was lacking, but I'm glad you worked it all out, because it's been bugging me too.

    Mongoose was trying to simplify something that was somewhat complex in the original Traveller, intrasteller movement. The original Traveller used high school physics formula to calculate travel times over various distances. It assumed constant acceleration to half the distance, and then constant deceleration untill you reached your destination. I think Mongoose is trying to handle that, but without all the math.

    To answer a questions:
    Thrust is not velocity, it's acceleration, and its effect on velocity is cumulative. It takes only 5 thrust to go from medium to long because it's assumed that by the time you've entered medium range (from a stand still) you've already accumulated a tremendous amount of velocity based on putting out 4G's of thrust over a period of time. Your velocity is already high. Where as if you start with 0 velocity, to travel a kilometer over a short period of time the investment you need to build up that speed and so you spend your 4Gs.

    I don't look too closely at this, as it is a game, but I do like it to make sense. Thanks.

  8. I'm glad you like it! May it serve you well. :)


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