Thursday, April 7, 2016

Psi Wars: Alternate Capital Ships and Dreadnoughts

Players will probably never command a capital ship, never mind a dreadnought, unless the GM decides that he wants his campaign to center on one and freely hands it over to the players.  Psi Wars focuses more on plucky heroes who defeat dreadnoughts, or they act as set-pieces, the stage for action, or allies in the background.  The dominate the sky and impact the setting, but they're not a day-to-day concern for most players (or most characters of the setting).  As such, they're all effectively outside of the price-range of the typical player character.  Still, a variety of capital ships and dreadnoughts certainly serves a role in providing varied opposition, or to assist the GM with world-building.

The Sword-Class Heavy Cruiser

The Sword-Class cruiser isn't a bad warship. It's heavy, on the high-end of capital ships. It typically deals ~140(5) damage with its main cannons, which is just enough damage to penetrate its own shields and armor, which means it'll do a pretty good job of killing most corvettes or capital ships. It's secondary battery is only at -3 to hit fighters, gains a +7 to hit thanks to high RoF, and deals about as much damage as a Starhawk's lasers, making it exceptionally well-defended against fighters (though they can still still slip beneath its shields if they get close). The Sword-Class heavy cruiser is a solid escort vessel and a decent capital-killer. It will fail, though, against the Empire-class dreadnought, as it lacks the necessary punch to even penetrate its shields

The Claymore Model

I find the design of the rear, fixed missile mounts to be an odd choice. Perhaps Pulver was modeling the Sword-Class Heavy Cruiser on a specific ship? In any case, it reminds me of the frigates and cruisers of Strike Suit Zero, which focus their fire power on torpedoes as much as they focus on beam weapons. We can rework the Sword to bring its missile front-and-center so its opponents are forced to deal with volleys of torpedoes every turn! We'll further multiply its fire power by trading out its central major battery for a medium battery: That's even less likely to defeat an Empire-class dreadnought, but we have torpedoes for that. These cannots fire on corvettes and lighter capital ships. Finally, we replace the rear missile launchers with another set of 10 rapid fire x-ray laser turrets, to prevent fighters from getting the drop on it by getting behind it, and to cover its retreat. This version lacks a stealth hull (as an escort, it expects people to see it coming)

Front Hull System
[1-2]
Hardened Streamlined Diamondoid Armor (total dDR 140) ($1,200m)
[3]
Secondary Battery (10 fixed mounts with 40cm missile launchers) ($150m)
[4]
Defensive ECM ($300m)
[5]
Multipurpose Array Array (Comm/Sensor 13) ($600m)
[6]
Habitat ($30m)



Central Hull System
[1-2]
Hardened Streamlined Diamondoid Armor (total dDR 140) ($1,200m)
[3!]
Medium Battery (three 3GJ x-ray laser turret) ($150m)
[4!]
Secondary Battery (10 very rapid fire 10mj x-ray laser turrets) ($150m)
[5-6!]
Stardrive Engines (FTL-1 each) ($600m)
[core]
Control Room (C10 computer, comm/sensor 11, 15 control stations) ($60m)

Rear Hull System
[1]
Hardened Streamlined Diamondoid Armor (total dDR 70) ($600m)
[2-3!]
Super Reactionless Engines (12.5G acceleration each) ($400m)
[4!!]
Heavy Force Screen (dDR 200 or dDR 400) ($1,500m)
[5!]
Secondary Battery (10 very rapid fire 10mj x-ray laser turrets) ($150m)
[6]
Fusion Reactor (two Power Points) ($300m)
[core]
Super Fusion Reactor (four Power Points) ($1,000m)
The claymore has gravitic compensation ($30m), Artificial Gravity ($30m). 10 Automeds cost $1m

TL Spacecraft
dST
Hnd/SR
HT
Move
Lwt
Load
SM
Occ
dDR
Range
Cost
11^ Claymore
200
+0/5
13
25G
30000
228
11
130ASV
140/140/70*
x2
$8.45B
*Hardened, with an additional 200 DR (400 with two power points)

The Rapier Model

The description of the Sword-Class Heavy Cruiser describes it as “Fast,” only none of the capital ships, when pulled from the examples, are particularly fast in our rules. This partly deliberate. Pulver didn't want capital ships out running fighters, so most of his TL 11^ cruisers and dreadnoughts have less engines than necessary. This is compounded by our solution of halving reactionless drives twice. The result is that a Sword-class cruiser can only get +1 acceleration per turn on a full burn of all of its engines. Slow indeed! We could certainly double its speed, though, making it a frighteningly quick warship that can keep up with some corvettes!
The Rapier's design is more power-hungry, as it'll consume far more energy as it pushes its envelope with reactionless drives. It's also smaller, both to reflect a more refined model, and to escape the Heavy Capital Ship rules, if those are in place. The ship has far less fire-power, but worries more about how it applies that fire power. With its combination of rapid fire x-ray lasers and its forward-mounted major battery, it makes an excellent corvette/fighter killer, making it a terrifying opponent for most PCs.

Front Hull System
[1-2]
Hardened Streamlined Diamondoid Armor (total dDR 100) ($400m)
[3!]
Major Battery (fixed mount 3 GJ antiparticle beam) ($60m)
[4]
Defensive ECM ($100m)
[5]
Multi Array Array (Comm/Sensor 13) ($200m)
[6]
Habitat ($10m) (3 luxury cabins, 20 cabins, 10-bed automed clinic, two fabricator minifacs, briefing room, gym, lab, 100 tons of cargo)



Central Hull System
[1-2]
Hardened Streamlined Diamondoid Armor (total dDR 100) ($400m)
[3]
Medium Battery (three 10 mj very rapid fire x-ray laser turrets) ($60m)
[4!]
Heavy Force Screen (dDR 150 or dDR 300) ($500m)
[5-6!]
Stardrive Engines (FTL-1 each) ($200m)
[core]
Control Room (C10 computer, comm/sensor 10, 10 control stations) ($20m)

Rear Hull System
[1]
Hardened Streamlined Diamondoid Armor (total dDR 50) ($400m)
[2-5!]
Super Reactionless Engines (12.5G acceleration each) ($240m)
[6, core]
Super Fusion Reactor (four Power Points each) ($1,200m)
The Manticore has gravitic compensation ($10m), Artificial Gravity ($10m), and Stealth hull ($10m) Automeds cost $1m

TL Spacecraft
dST
Hnd/SR
HT
Move
Lwt
Load
SM
Occ
dDR
Range
Cost
11^ Rapier
150
+0/5
13
50G
10000
108.5
10
85ASV
60/30/30*
x2
$3,82B

The Gladius Model

The Claymore is a pretty good model, but we could make a worse model. Similar to the Starhawk Regal, we could design an “inferior” Sword-class heavy cruiser, representing an archaic version from previous wars that might remain in service primarily until superior ones can replace them. This model replaces Diamonoid armor with nanocomposite, x-ray lasers with improved UV lasers, and removes sophisticated electronics. It slims down on some of its weapons, because its weaker weapons need greater power to do as much damage as a Claymore or Sword. It also has fewer power points, so needs to more carefully manage its systems: It'll typically have its shields, and either two engines and one battery active, or one engine and two batteries active.
The result is a capital ship nearly half the cost of its successor. It would also probably lose against a Rapier, which costs less. Obsolete indeed.

Front Hull System
[1-3]
Hardened Streamlined Nanocomposite Armor (total dDR 150) ($900m)
[4]
Secondary Battery (10 fixed mounts with 40cm missile launchers) ($150m)
[5]
Tactical Array Array (Comm/Sensor 13) ($300m)
[6]
Habitat ($30m)



Central Hull System
[1-3]
Hardened Streamlined Nanocomposite Armor (total dDR 150) ($900m)
[4!]
Major Battery (10GJ improved uv laser turret) ($150m)
[5!]
Medium Battery (three 300MJ rapid fire improved uv laser turret) ($150m)
[6!]
Stardrive Engines (FTL-1 each) ($300m)
[core]
Control Room (C10 computer, comm/sensor 11, 15 control stations) ($60m)

Rear Hull System
[1-2]
Hardened Streamlined Nanocomposite Armor (total dDR 100) ($600m)
[3-4!]
Super Reactionless Engines (12.5G acceleration) ($400m)
[5!]
Light Force Screen (dDR 200) ($500m)
[6]
Fusion Reactor (two Power Points) ($300m)
[core]
Fusion Reactor (two Power Points) ($300m)
The Gladius has gravitic compensation ($30m), Artificial Gravity ($30m). 10 Automeds cost $1m

TL Spacecraft
dST
Hnd/SR
HT
Move
Lwt
Load
SM
Occ
dDR
Range
Cost
11^ Gladius
200
+0/5
13
25G
30000
228
11
130ASV
150/150/100*
x2
$5.1B
*Hardened, with an additional 200 DR






The Tarot-Class Light Carrier

The Tarot-Class Light Carrier is a nice enough ship. With 4,000 tons of hangar-space, it can carry 400 typhoon fighters, ~125 starhawks, or 40 Wyverns. It can only launch 800 tons per minutes: 80 typhoons, ~25 Starhawks, or 8 wyverns, though it's unlikely to have more than 50 pilots aboard. The ship is cheaper than any Sword-class heavy cruiser except the Gladius, which means a fleet of Tarots and Swords can support one another: the Tarot providing fighter cover while the Sword deals with heavier threats.
Note that the Tarot can repair or fabricate $1.5m per hour. This gives you a new Typhoon in about 3 hours, or a new Starhawk in about 7. In fact, SS7 suggests that these might be too quick and recommends reducing that value from per hour to per day. Still, a new Starhawk in a week isn't too shabby from a non-dedicated vessel.

The Minor Arcana Model

The Tarot is perfect for its job... but it has a lot of unnecessary bells and whistles. What if we want nothing but a forward projection craft, small and light and cheap, that could take our fighters to the enemy, destroy them, and then return to base? With the speeds that Psi-Wars has, the Tarot's fabrication capacity is a nice-to-have, rather than a necessity, because one can get back from the front lines in a few days, rather than a few years.
The Minor Arcana is smaller, cheaper, with less range, no fabricator, and has less fire-power, but still manages to sport a total hangar capacity of 2100 tons, with a launch capacity of 700 tons... nearly as much per turn as the standard model! It can carry ~200 typhoons, 70 starhawks, or ~20 wyverns. It also reduced cargo where possible, rather than habitats, and thus can still field ~50 pilots. The net result is a solid “on the cheap” carrier, for minor empires or factions with a budget.
Front Hull System
[1]
Nanocomposite Armor (total dDR 50) ($50m)
[2!]
Light Force Screen (dDR 150) ($100m)
[3]
Tactical Array (Comm/Sensor 13) ($100m)
[4-6]
Hangar Bay (300 tons each) ($3m)



Central Hull System
[1]
Nanocomposite Armor (total dDR 50) ($50m)
[2!]
Secondary Battery (Ten 300 MJ x-ray laser turrets) ($60m)
[3-6]
Hangar Bay (300 tons each) ($4m)
[core]
Control Room (C10 computer, comm/sensor 10, 10 control stations) ($20m)

Rear Hull System
[1]
Nanocomposite Armor (total dDR 50) ($50m)
[2]
Habitat ($10m) (25 cabins, 15 bunkroms, 10-bed automed clinic, 2 minifabricators, 40 tons of cargo)
[3-4!]
Super Reactionless Engines (12.5G acceleration each) ($120m)
[5-6!]
Stardrive Engines (FTL-1 each) ($200m)
[core]
Super Fusion Reactor (four Power Points each) ($600m)
The Minor Arcana has gravitic compensation ($10m), Artificial Gravity ($10m), Automeds cost $1m

TL Spacecraft
dST
Hnd/SR
HT
Move
Lwt
Load
SM
Occ
dDR
Range
Cost
11^ Minor Arcana
150
+0/5
13
25G
10000
62
10
120ASV
50*
x2
$1,4B
*Hardened, with an additional 200 DR (400 with two power points)

The Empire-Class Dreadnought

The Empire-Class Dreadnought joins the Typhoon and the Starhawk as iconic for Psi-Wars, and as has been shown in the playtests, they work perfectly fine as written. A standard Dreadnought has sufficient secondary and tertiary cannons to deal with starfighters, and their secondary batteries deal an average of 200(5) damage, which is sufficient to seriously damage or destroy most corvettes. The spinal cannon deals 1400(3) damage, which is sufficient to simply destroy even a Sword-Class Cruiser. The large cannon is inaccurate (-3), and spinal cannons suffer heavily against smaller ships, but with the current rules, it only suffers another -3 against a capital ship, and that it's fixed gives is a +2, so against a capital vessel (+6), they have a +2 total to hit, which is fairly effective from Close range and certainly from Long. The hangar can support 3,000 typhoon fighters, 1,000 starhawks or 300 wyverns, and it can launch 200 typhoons, 70 starhawks or 20 wyverns per minute. The result is a strategic dominance vessel, a warship capable of defeating fleets of starfighters (with its own starfighters), corvettes, and other capital ships, though sufficient enemy fire-power, skill and determination can certainly defeat one.

The Legacy Model

The prequel trilogy feature the proto-star destroyer, the “Jedi Cruiser,” which is a concept I enjoy. Such a powerful vessel would probably have existed for decades, and its model changed, updated and improved. As with my previous vessels, we can apply the same concept, creating a non-optimal TL 11^ design that draws heavily on TL 10 elements, representing an “early TL 11^ design.”
The Legacy is a size smaller than the Empire-class. It replaces its spinal battery with a fixed mount particle beam, and it reduces its tertiary battery to a secondary battery. It retains a (smaller, though still respectable) hangar with a capacity for 1000 typhoon, ~300 starhawks, or 100 wyverns, and downgrades to fusion reactors and nanocomposite armor. The result is still a ship that can destroy most corvettes and capital ships, carries a respectable fighter cover with it, and it's effectively immune to most capital ship fire (barring a good torpedo hit), all for a fraction of the cost. The legacy is an excellent ship, to the point where one wonders what threat the creators of the Empire-class dreadnought had in mind when they created it.

Front Hull System
[1-3]
Hardened Nanocomposite Armor (total dDR 450) ($9b)
[4]
Major Battery (Fixed mount with 100 GJ improved particle beam) ($1.5b)
[5]
Tactical Array (Comm/Sensor 16) ($0.6b)
[6]
Hangar Bay (10k tons, 1k launch rate) ($0.03b)
[core]
Control Room (Comm/Sensor 14, C12) ($2b)



Central Hull System
[1-2]
Hardened Nanocomposite Armor (total dDR 300) ($6b)
[3]
Secondary Battery (10 turrets with 10 GJ improved uv lasers) ($1.5b)
[4!]
Light Force Screen (dDR 700) ($5b)
[5-6!]
Stardrive Engines (FTL-1 each) ($6b)
[core!]
Habitats ($0.3b)

Rear Hull System
[1-2]
Hardened Nanocomposite Armor (total dDR 300) ($9b)
[3-4!]
Super Reactionless Engines (12.5G acceleration each) ($4b)
[5-6]
Fusion Reactor (two Power Points each) ($6b)
The Legacy has gravitic compensation ($0.3b), Artificial Gravity ($0.3b)

TL Spacecraft
dST
Hnd/SR
HT
Move
Lwt
Load
SM
Occ
dDR
Range
Cost
11^ Empire Legacy
500
-1/5
13
25G
300k
13k
13
3500ASV
450/300/300*
x2
$51.83B
*Hardened, with an additional 500 DR

The Mythic Model

What's even scarier and more imposing than an Empire-Class dreadnought? A bigger Empire-Class dreadnought. That's the idea behind the “Super Star Destroyer,” Darth Vader's flag-ship. We can do the same with an Empire-Class dreadnought, and create an even bigger dreadnought.
The problem with this approach is that the Empire-Class Dreadnought is arguably too big already. The Legacy-model is already sufficiently powerful to defeat any ship I've described over the past week, including the Viking-Class assault carrier, below. The standard model is even more powerful, with a spinal cannon that will vaporize a Sword-class heavy cruiser in a hit. It's already a super-weapon. Why would you need an even bigger super-weapon? Well, anyone who has an Empire-class dreadnought is probably more worried about prestige than sense in any case, and I've made the corresponding design more about intimidation than about battlefield supremacy.
The Mythic has superior shields and sufficient armor to ignore most attacks. It doesn't need more hangar space, and barely doesn't need more habitat space (though it has far more workspaces and still needs to carry an army around), thus it has a larger habitat, but it's control room, tactical array and hangar space are all smaller and in a single slot, making is slower and less stable than the smaller Empire-class vessel. What it has instead is fire-power. Endless fire-power. It replaces the spinal mount with a single beam weapon as powerful as the entire Empire-Class's spinal mount, and then layers on additional missile launchers (for planetary bombardment), medium batteries (for destruction of capital ships), secondary cannons (to destroy corvettes) and loads of all sorts of tertiary batteries (for point defense and the defeat of fighters). The result is a fleet center-piece, slow, but capable of single-handedly wiping out the enemy fleet… which one would hope it could do, as it costs as much as most fleets.
Note that it lacks sufficient power to run all systems, and that it retains its rear vulnerability to fighters.

Front Hull System
[1-2]
Hardened Diamondoid Armor (total dDR 1000) ($120b)
[3!]
Major Battery (Fixed mount with 1TJ antiparticle beam) ($15b)
[4!]
Medium Battery (three 300 GJ X-ray laser turrets) ($15b)
[5!]
Tertiary Battery (10 very rapid fire 300 MJ x-ray laser turrets, 10 30gj x-ray laser turrets, 10 64cm (medium) missile turrets) ($15b)
[6]
Secondary Battery (ten 80cm Missile Launchers turrets) ($15b)
[core!!]
Heavy Force Screen (dDR 1000 or 2000) ($150b)



Central Hull System
[1]
Hardened Diamondoid Armor (total dDR 500) ($60b)
[2!]
Secondary Battery (10 turrets with 100 GJ x-ray lasers) ($15b)
[3!]
Tertiary Battery ( 10 very rapid fire 300 MJ x-ray laser turrets, 10 30gj x-ray laser turrets, 10 64cm (medium) missile turrets) ($15b)
[4]
Control Room (Comm/Sensor 14, C12), ($2b) Tactical Array (Comm/Sensor 17) ($10b), Hangar Bay (30k tons, 2k launch rate) ($0.1b)
[5-6!]
Stardrive Engines (FTL-1 each) ($60b)
[core!]
Habitats ($3b)

Rear Hull System
[1]
Hardened Diamondoid Armor (total dDR 500) ($60b)
[3-4!]
Super Reactionless Engines (12.5G acceleration each) ($40b)
[5-6]
Super Fusion Reactor (four Power Points each) ($60b)
The Mythic has gravitic compensation ($3b), Artificial Gravity ($3b)

TL Spacecraft
dST
Hnd/SR
HT
Move
Lwt
Load
SM
Occ
dDR
Range
Cost
11^ Empire Mythic
1000
-2/4
13
25G
1m
13k
15
35kASV
450/300/300*
x2
$661.1B
*Hardened, with an additional 1000 DR for 1 power point or 2000 for 2 power points.

Viking-Class Assault Carrier

GURPS Spaceships 4 includes a variety of carriers, including the Tarot listed above, but for the “mega-carrier,” I prefer the Viking, as it's a touch less ridiculously epic than the Continent. The Viking-Class Assault Carrier can carry up to 200,000 tons, which is a mind-blowing number of fighters (it is, in fact, meant to carry an entire invasion fleet) and approximately 5 divisions of soldiers. A single Viking-Class Assault Carrier, backed by a couple of Empire-Class dreadnoughts, would almost certainly bring nearly any world to its knees (one would hope so, of course, as it's over a trillion GURPS dollars worth of military hardware, not even accounting for the fighters, bombers, shuttles, soldiers and military hardware). The only problem with the Viking-Class Assault Carrier is that it has a few things in it that don't quite fit the given model of gameplay: It includes total life support systems (unnecessary for the speed at which ships travel in Psi-Wars), grav guns (not a present technology) and 64mm missiles (which means it can only fire medium missiles and torpedoes).

The Devastator Model


The devastator model is identical to the Viking Class except for the following changes: Replace the tertiary missile battery with a secondary missile battery, giving it ten 80cm missile launchers (thus, heavy missiles and torpedoes). Replace the ten grav guns in the central Tertiary Battery with ten 300gj x-ray laser turrets, and remove the total life support, doubling the carry-capacity of the ship (it can carry 100,000 soldiers, rather than 50,000). Price remains the same.
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