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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Traveller Thursday : Multiple Hull Coatings

I've been busy working on a real-life project that I ought to be able to talk about soon, which is why posts have been rather thin lately. I have time for a quickie, though.

Quick question: what Traveller tech level would it take to effect the following transformation sequence for a real-life vehicle?

If you're familiar with this 90s series, keep in mind I'm not asking about any of the weapons. I just want to know what TL you think is needed to have the red car transform into the gray car while still being able to move.

I asked this question of my Secret Cabal of Evil GMs and the answer was "somewhere between TL 10 and 12."  This suits me just fine for the purpose I have in mind.

My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.
2nd Edition High Guard (still in beta testing) has explicitly stated that TL 10 Reflec coatings and TL 10 Stealth coatings are mutually exclusive. Now while I can see a point to be made where you can't have both operational at once -- anything which reflects visible light is, by definition, not stealthy -- I don't see why you couldn't have both on the same ship and switch between them.

Sure, it's going to be expensive. But I think it's possible, and it's the kind of thing that militaries would put on craft like system defense boats and small craft.

2e also has the Holographic Hull option, which includes projectors embedded within the hull to change color, add graphics etc. I recall a previous edition of Traveller (MegaTraveller, I think, but it could have been New Era) mentioned that many warships had holographic hulls which allowed them to switch between "peace mode" that used bright colors for the name and unit logo loud and proud for easy identification,  and a "war mode" that was camouflaged and made it difficult to determine what ship it was (and therefore not have its capabilities be obvious). 

So I think it is quite reasonable to assume that ships past a certain TL ought to be able to switch between stealth and reflec. I chose TL 12 just to err on the side of caution. 
Configurable Hull (TL 12)
This option allows a craft to switch between hull coatings. This is an outer-layer only change, and therefore it does not interfere with armor, the jump grid, or atmospheric integrity of the ship. It does not allow the addition of the same coating more than once. It costs MCr 0.1 per ton of hull, in addition to the coatings. It takes one turn, during the Ship Action phase, to switch hull configurations. 
Now you can build fighters with advanced stealth systems that can "turn on" armor against laser point defense right as they begin their strafing run, and then "re-stealth" as they break away to avoid missile interception. 

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