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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Two-Part Traveller Tuesday: Un-kinking the Kinunir

And here is Part 2.

This is not whining. This is complaining.

Before I begin, I'm going to pre-segue into a mild rant about energy weapons in Mongoose Traveller. You see, in the core book, we get this chart:

Okay, that's all good and fine. Then High Guard, Traders and Gunboats, and Fighting Ships come out, all with ships of various sizes, and many of them (typically warships) sporting triple turrets of particle beams.

Then errata for High Guard comes out, and one erratum in particular says:

Why yes, Mongoose, I'm immediately going to correct all of the ships in all of the books put out since you forgot to implement this rule in HG. (Not.)

So in my Traveller universe, I ignore this ruling. Not only is it easier for me, but I also have a good rationale for it.  You see, on exactly the same page in the core rules as the Turret Weapons table, we also have this:

Kindly note how the triple turret is Tech Level 9 whereas a Particle Beam, above, is TL 8. And THAT glaring inconsistency hasn't been errata'd either*, so I feel completely justified in saying that my TL 15 Imperium has figured a way to cram three particle accelerators into a turret, thank you very much.

I bring this up mainly so that when I show you my ship designs, you won't say "Did you forget that you can only have one PA per turret?"  My answer is that I didn't forget; I have instead quite plainly chosen to ignore it.

The Kinunir

With that out of way, I'm going to show you how I fixed the Mongoose version of the Colonial Cruiser.
I fixed it up because 1) I expected it would feature heavily in a recent adventure of mine -- alas, it did not -- and 2) the stats are not only full of errors (such as having quadruple upgrades where rules-as-written only allow for triple) but are also poorly designed.

Therefore, here is my version of the Colonial Cruiser, where I merged Mongoose rules with what I felt the Classic Traveller version intended.

I expect there will be some disagreement about these stats among purists, so here is my reasoning for the changes:
  • Tech Level 15 seemed a bit odd, but the cruiser is a new design, and both Classic and Mongoose decree that it's TL 15. 
  • Numbers of crew and marines aboard are taken from Classic Adventure 1. 
  • This ship, by dint of having impressive weapons and a marine platoon (one squad of which is Orbital Assault), is pretty obviously designed for both space combat and light planetary invasion. Therefore I gave it both Reflec coating and Radiation Shielding, because why not add "free" armor?  It doesn't cost tonnage, just money, and when did the military ever give a fig about spending too much?
  • Added a Nuclear Damper for similar reasons. 
  • Also, I can't understand why ANY ship isn't self-sealing to help prevent explosive decompression. 
  • Jump 4 for a ship that's basically designed to kill pirates and invade breakaway backwaters seems excessive. Reducing jump rating to 3 frees up quite a lot of space, and puts it in the same jump range as the Type T Patrol Cruiser, with which it normally operates as a flotilla.** 
  • This allows me to up the Thrust to 5 Gs. We now have quite a respectable anti-piracy, anti-insurgency ship. 
  • Weapon upgrades -- okay, these are probably overkill, and the ship would do fine with just regular weapons. But hey, Mongoose started it, and I figured I could do better. "Accurate" or "Variable Range" make more sense to me than "Resilient", as the ship should be actively trying NOT to get hit. Being able to engage at greater range or with greater accuracy increases ship survivability without sacrificing combat effectiveness. 
  • I broke down the staterooms by rank mostly so that it made sense to me.  Note that there are no spare staterooms; I figure a ship like this is going to be pretty cramped and can't afford to have rooms standing empty.  If a notable passenger needs a room, they can double up with one of the officers. Non-notable passengers can just curl up on the barracks floor.
  • Added things like a medbay, briefing room, repair shops etc because it just plain makes sense. 
  • Emergency low berths added for those medical cases who can't be fixed by the ship's sawbones. 
  • Orbital drop capsules added to comply with classic version. 
  • Added an air/raft, because the Marine commander probably wants to travel on his own without depriving the armor squad of its G-Carrier. 
  • I replaced the fairly useless Pinnace with the MUCH more useful and versatile Raptor OSV from Noah Ternullo's excellent Apparition Class Starship, Multirole Deep Intruder. (Stats not included because you really ought to buy his PDF!) It performs the same functions as the pinnace regarding shuttle duties, orbital insertion and boarding hostile vessels, but it's also armored and can provide fire support for marines. The only thing that's lost in this manner is cargo hauling capacity, and since the Kinunir itself is streamlined and can make landfall, I don't think this is an issue.
  • Oh, hey, escape pods!  That's a good idea for a warship.  No, there aren't enough for everyone aboard, but between the pods, the Raptor, and the orbital assault capsules, I'm confident that everyone alive can make it off the ship.  

So, there you go. That's how I'd turn the Kinunir from a joke to a credible pocket warship. 

Art by the always-excellent Ian Stead

* Obviously, the answer is that at TL 8 the only way one can mount a particle beam on a ship is by using a barbette, but could they be arsed to mention that?  Nope.

** I thought I had read that somewhere but now I can't find the source. Still, it makes sense to me:  a flotilla of 3-5 400 dton Patrol Ships being headed by a Kinunir makes for a dandy pocket fleet.

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