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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Traveller Tuesday: Heatflec

It's taken me a while, but I have finally been convinced that a reflect coating on starships is a bad idea.
Not only are these good points, but consider also the following:
  • Reflec needs cleaning/polishing to maintain efficiency
  • That polish would be damaged by the thermal effects of atmospheric exit and entry
  • Micrometeorite impact would also damage the mirror coating
  • After taking hull damage, the coating logically ought to be reapplied
So fine. This post is me throwing up hands up in despair about reflec. Let us eschew magically perfect mirror technology and instead embrace magically perfect heat dispersal technology. As was pointed out to me, most Traveller ships are heat traps and the heat has to go somewhere or else it'll boil the crew. So I'll go with the option that makes my life easier.

Thus: Heatflec. (I needed a word for it and it's catchy.)
My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.
Not that we're dumping heat* instead of redirecting light, that meant heatflec needs to work against fusion and plasma weapons as well. Just to keep things familiar, I'll keep the same bonus as reflec did for lasers.

Of course, this increase in performance needs to come with an increase in price as well. Let's increase it to MCr 0.25, which puts it at the same price point as 1e radiation shielding (which to my mind has always been too expensive for what it actually does. 2e changes it to MCr 0.025, which is a little too much in the other direction, I think; switching the numbers with 1e reflec -- MCr 0.1 /dton -- seems about right).

If a GM doesn't want to give armor vs heat but still wants to have a way to radiate heat away from ships without fins, I think it would make sense to steal the numbers from 1e's self-sealing coating and make non-armor heatflec MCr 0.01 per dton.

The delightful part of all is that since we aren't reflecting laser energy with a mirror but are instead absorbing thermal energy, heatflec is 100% compatible with stealth coatings and does not require my configurable hull workaround.

Therefore, we have this as the finished product:

Thermal Dispersion Coating ("Heatflec")
TL: 9
Cost: MCr 0.25 / dton of hull
Effect: This coating provides +3 armor against lasers, plasma and fusion weapons.
Restrictions: This coating may only be added once.

Additionally, I present you with this house rule: When the hull has taken 1/3 damage, reduce heatflec's armor bonus by one. This means that when hull has been dropped to zero (using 1e mechanics; I still like the difference between hull and structure), the ship has no bonus to resisting thermal damage. Of course, at zero hull points the ship has no hull integrity and is completely open to vacuum, so heat buildup is the least of its worries right now.

*No, I have no idea where it goes. I'm good at handwavium bullshittium, but I'm not that good.

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