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Re: B5 style drives

From: "David Reeves" <davidar@n...>
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 10:44:35 -0500
Subject: Re: B5 style drives

hi guys,

i have been fiddling with this idea for a couple of months now,
not too zealously.  i like this idea because it introduces flexibility
ship design and damage outcomes, which produces racial flavor.	(e.g.
race might like one huge engine, while another several smaller ones.)

comments inserted.

> Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 10:56:18 -0500 (EST)
> From: Roger Books <>
> Subject: B5 style drives
> We've been toying with the idea of going to B5 style drives, and
> what we're looking at is as follows.
> A drive costs 4% of the mass of your ship +3% per thrust.

we are close here.  we tested at 5% main drives, 2% per thruster.
> A destroyer, which will go boom soon anyway, would probably
> get 1 drive.	So your thrust 6 destroyer uses (4% + 18%) or
> 22% of its mass for drives, saving 8%, a box or two.	If
> it fails a drive threshold it has no drive.  Not a biggy as
> it would probably be a mission kill anyway.
> A Cruiser needs a bit of redundancy, so we put two seperate
> thrust 2 drives.  This gives is (2x4% + 2x(2x3%) ) or
> 20% for drives.  Dead even with the current setup.  Note it
> could still lose both drives by failing thresholds twice,
> but this is less likely.  This also balances a bit the 
> fact that it is cheaper for this ship to have thrust 6
> drives.
> That dreadnought that you really want powered could be thrust
> 4 with 1 thrust two drive and two thrust 1s.	This would
> be (10% + 2x7%) or 24%.  A bit more mass for a bit more
> redundancy.
> Any thoughts?

we are similar here.  the bigger ships (>= cruiser) have main drive
to avoid catastrophic drive loss with one engine.  however, our angle
to optimize drive/thrust arrangements versus traditional opponent weapon
system's damage results (see below), not so much for sheer redundancy.

i like your redundancy idea -- yet another racial philosophy.  i am 
already imagining a slightly paranoid race with fantastic drive/thruster
clusters, but medium to poor weapon arrangements as a balance....

> Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000 08:10:54 -0800
> From: Sean Bayan Schoonmaker <>
> Subject: Re: B5 style drives
> I prefer the B5 style drive only in as much as they have 1 threshold
> every 2 drive points, giving a more interesting potential damage
> rather than half or nothing.
> Thus a thrust 8 drive makes 4 thresholds. Any failure reduces the
drive by
> one point, so you could loose anywhere between 0 and 4.

additions and differences
we used the same philosophy for thrusters as main drive clusters.  a
gets hardware for the port and starboard side rated at the max thruster 
potential.  IOW, a thruster-2 ship, gets one 2-pt thruster on the port
and starboard side or two 1-pt thrusters on each side.	obviously, the 
low thruster ships do not have too much choice in design.

i like schoon's idea of a variable (slightly unpredictiable) damage
per threshold hit.  however, i am not sure i care for 1 threshold/2
one hit could cause nasty results on average and terrible ones near the
end.  i need to test with it awhile, but how about something less severe
like 1 threshold roll/3 drive pts or even 4???

for damage we tried two methods, "half rating" and "drop by 2".
half rating is a method by which each successful threshold roll halves 
the current rating of the drive/thruster.  keep halving the current
until 0 (destroyed) is reached.  for example, a thrust 8 main drive
progress from 8->4, 4->2, 2->1, 1->0 or destroyed by 4 thresholds.

the drop by 2 method is each threshold decreases the rating by 2 points.

rating go poof in one threshold hit, while large drives remain longer. 
0 is reached, no more thrust.  our group favors the "drop by 2" method

in cases of one big drive or several smaller ones, damage reduces both
about equally.	so why the diff then?  --differing weapon damaging
in our B5 "Entilza" universe.  an enveloping weapon spreads damage
components, while focused weapons (like lasers) damage one or few
therefore, drive/thruster designs are affected differently by each type
weapon hit.  numerous, small thrust clusters are more affected by
hits, where few, large thrusters/drives suffer from the focused hits. 
adheres to our "racial flavor" design goal.

why all this extra chrome, you say?  primary reason: emphasize
more maneuver into the the game and racial flavor.  secondary reason:
interesting damage results.  for our group, we enjoy maneuvering to hit 
opponent weak spots, flying crippled ships out of tight spots, etc. 
tension is where our group finds its most enjoyment; otherwise, a game 
becomes more of a "bang, bang, you're dead".  as such, our ideas may not

appeal to every group, since our definition of fun may not be someone

suggestions are welcome.


ps. for those i promised, i am *still* formally writing up our B5
universe for FT rules.	unfortunately, design changes and real world
has slowed down my effort.

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