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FT Combo: Super Carriers and FTL

From: "Atcliffe, Phillip" <Phillip.Atcliffe@u...>
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 12:56:49 -0500 (EST)
Subject: FT Combo: Super Carriers and FTL

On Sun, 25 Oct 1998 11:38:53 +1300 Andrew & Alex <> 

>> Has any one tried putting together a supercarrier with the same 
number of fighters (about 144 [later revised to the true figure of 
80-90]) as an American naval carrier? <<

Sort of. Just for the hell of it, I once did a large-scale design 
(FT2 rather than FB) of the Battlestar Galactica with the Vipers 
represented at a one-to-one ratio (i.e., 150 of 'em in 25 FGs) rather 
than the smaller version that I did for the UFTWWWP. After I added 
weapons, it massed out at about 500, and the points cost was something 
huge that I can't remember (7000?). Never tried it in a game, because 
it seemed just too big to be usable. The Cylon Base Star, which carries 
300 fighters (!) would have been even worse!

Then, on Sun, 25 Oct 1998 23:40:41 -0500 John Crimmins 
<> wrote:

>I've begun some more tentative work on my FT campaign, and I have 
become many people use the "standard" GZG Jump system for 
FTL? Thanks to David Brin, I'm working with the assumption that there 
are a number of different ways to circumvent the laws of physics.  
Other than employing an engineer with a really bad accent, of course. <

Shades of "The Web and the Starship" -- never played that game, but it 
sounded interesting, albeit rather long to play.

[Lots of interesting ideas re FTL snipped]

> So how do other people work FTL? I have a few more alien races to 
deal with, and I need some different ways for them to get around. I am
personally fond of the Pournelle Alderson Drive, so I am probably going
work that in with one of the minor powers. Any other thoughts? <

This will depend on certain basic assumptions that underlie your 
universe. If I've understood you correctly (bearing in mind that I know 
nothing about GW's warpspace, and am quite happy to keep it that way), 
the FTL systems that you have mentioned seem to effectively be 
teleporters (as is the GZG T-K drive), i.e., the ship pops from one 
location to another without traversing the intervening distance, rather 
than having to travel from here to there a la Star Trek warp drive. 
Other teleporter-type FTL methods from various SF sources include:

-- Telesthetic travel, from SPI's StarForce
-- Hyperspace jumps as described by Isaac Asimov
-- StarGates, as used in the first season of the Buck Rogers TV series
-- Phase shift, from the Dorsai books

All have similarities, and all have differences that could be exploited 
or increased to give the various races their own unique characteristics.

Alternative methods of going FTL fall into one of two (or more, but I 
can only think of two at present) categories: FTL in normal space, and 
FTL by means of hyperspace. (Note that there will be a lot of 
duplication in terminology here, which could be confusing.)

The first group, exemplified by ST warp drive, manages somehow to 
travel FTL without leaving the universe (though they may wrap a bubble 
of "subspace" or whatever around themselves), so that ships can and 
have to interact with astronomical phenomena like stars, planets, dust 
clouds, asteroids, etc. -- and, of course, each other, so FTL combat 
becomes a possibility. Other such drive systems include:

-- the various drives (phase-shift, mass-relaxation, etc.) from the 
Hooded Swan books
-- Inertialess travel, as described by "Doc" Smith in the Lensman books

The second group get around FTL by leaving this universe and travelling 
in another space/dimension/whatever. They usually don't have to worry 
about dealing with astronomical objects, although things like gravity 
wells sometimes intrude and the other space may have its own hazards; 
whether or not ships can interact in the other space is open to 
question -- some can, some can't. Examples of this kind of drive 

-- Star Wars hyperspace travel
-- Babylon 5 hyperspace
-- Dillingham warp drive, from H. Beam Piper's "Space Viking"
-- "Outsider" Hyperdrive, from Larry Niven's Known Space series

And then there are hybrids. In a way, the Alderson Drive is a hybrid 
drive (uses hyperspace to achieve a teleport-like jump), and it might 
be argued that the T-K drive is, too. Anne McCaffrey has her brainships 
travel in "hyper", which is a kind of otherspace drive, but they can 
use Singularity points to make teleporter-style long-distance jumps. 
And Pernese dragons teleport through _between_, an otherspace <g>.

So, the big question for your campaign is, how many of these kinds of 
FTL will you allow? As I said, it's my impression that the drives that 
you have included so far are teleporters, so you may want to restrict 
FTL to that kind of movement for the campaign. Whatever you choose, it 
generally boils down to what sort of equipment does a ship need to 
carry, and what, if anything, is also needed (e.g., jumpgates of 
whatever kind) to go FTL? That's up to you.

"If you let a smile be your umbrella... 
   you'll get wet teeth!"
   -- a forgotten comedian, quoted by me: Phil Atcliffe

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