Sunday, May 5, 2024

A radical change, but its familiar depending on our perspective.

While I'm making rules that give CE Rockets and comparable theoretical performance - which limits the delta-V budget to around cap at around 7-10kms, barely enough to escape earth orbit by itself - without the help of Boosters, Sky hooks, and catching a ride on Deep Space Ships that tender. 

Operations have to be overhauled... but that's not a bad thing. I wrote for GURPS, I write procedures as the Management Representative for our ISO, and I implement IT systems - getting many processes to work together and finding out where they run into problems is my whole thing. I am an example of how a System Designer can find work loving the arcane art of Game Systems and Worldbuilding. 

The image of a deep space ship (DSS),with ion thrusters producing 10s of N of thrust per metric ton. Moving megaton ships (our largest container vessels are half a megaton) - decelerating and accelerating for days. Like the ship that rescued The Martian. 

Orbiters are your 100-400DT ships the PCs use Sky hooks, Multi-Stage Boosters, and Inertia banks to slow down to re-enter and launch. Note that a space shuttle orbiter is a 30DT ship. The PC's ships is 10x bigger than the space shuttle. Of course, they are using Air-breathing boosters that switch into Rockets - and a Skyhook swoops in and picks them up to bring them to Low Orbit - where they begin using their fuel. 

The fundamental changes - that orbiters can only use batteries - fuel cells they have fuel occupying 40-60% of their mass is their fuel.  They may not have JUMP capabilities, at least up to the TL9. They have to rely on deep spaceships. 

DDS is needed to travel in interplanetary space with Ion Drives. The high stakes rolls of being able to catch the DSS with the least amount of fuel energy, and damage. The Rolls of Re-entry, where you can damage your ship and complications as you re-enter the atmosphere, plus the logistics planning to acquire boosters or launch vehicle services and sky hook costs 

Only DSS have the fission (and in military and larger ships, fusion power plants). These have 100+ MW power plants to help charge the orbiters and fire their ion thrusters. These have huge accelerator coils and huge planes of Radiation. PCs have to plan which Star system they are going to —it's just the same—it's just that they are jumping with other ships. 

Worlds are a blend of solar punk and cyberpunk - conflicting world views and the middle way. Millions of habitats orbiting gas giants, and the largest Habitat - giving security and citizenship. Giant spinning space elevators plunging to extract and forge materials. 

The time scale is just the jarring thing. Months disappearing - pretty much the experience of most of those of us 40s and up - months passing us by with tons of obligations. Our Pathfinder game is on hiatus because of our GM's family obligations for months- it doesn't bother us because we have so much to do. That's pretty jarring with Anagathics, hibernating sleep, and alternating crew.  PCs wake up to a change of status quo -- how different is it from traveling to different countries? The only "home" is the ship and the crew for decades. 

For when I teach students operating costs - and what are the risks of the requirement of each item. It pretty much gives the PCs the options of what costs they prioritize - and determines what problems they are planning to entertain. Example: If they choose to avoid paying taxes - they believe the benefit outweighs the risks dealing with the government - if they plan to keep salaries low, avoid maintenance, de-prioritize security etc... My experience as someone whose family biz deals with a lot of Gov't projects - and the kind of personalities that conspire to pass the cost to the next sucker (the reason behind my strong Open source and Transparency focused business, why people get CC-BY-SA when they buy our products).

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