KABOOM! Frontier Nukes

Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
June 1, 2011 - 10:57pm
I'm curious how the GMs in this forum have either handled or would handle a thermonuclear detonation in a SF campaign. While not an issue with my more recent gaming group, I ran into the issue with my old gaming group. I can still hear a couple of the players saying,

"Aw c'mon now, an exploding nuke would do waaaaaay way way more damage than THAT!"

I know that Knight Hawks addressed the general unpleasantness of a ship's atomic engine detonating, and how it totally vaporized poor Bagrat (hell, never liked that guy anyway), but might there be any write-ups that SF gamers addressed this topic?

(tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick...) Kiss

My SF website izz: http://ragnarr.webs.com

Comments:

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
June 1, 2011 - 11:22pm
Actually there is a lot of source material on how much devastation different nukes do in the real world that can be used for planet based nukes. Essentially, I describe anything at ground zero and within the kill zone is destroyed and too hazardous to approach to get an accurate sense of how much damage was sustained without sickening the overly inquisitive player character

Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
June 2, 2011 - 8:35am

The problem I ran into with the old gaming group was that a small nuke (1 megaton?) detonated on a huge, huge (really really big) omg size space station. The PCs got out of there just in the nick of time (sadly) but the question came up about the scope of damage to the station. I didn't want the entire station vaporized (game balance issue) but knew that even a small nuke detonating was going to at the very least ruin the paint job on the walls of the station (which was very very big as I mentioned; so big that if I were to include a thumbnail picture of it here, you'd have to back away from your computer screen so far that you STILL wouldn't be able to take in the awesome magnificent big-ness of the station.)
Wink
  

My SF website izz: http://ragnarr.webs.com


jedion357's picture
jedion357
June 2, 2011 - 7:38pm
Well this is not a real answer to your question but I just happen to remember writing an article on radiation sickness for the Frontier but IIRC it has not been published in the SFman yet

I was just reviewing it and doing an edit; if you send me your email I'll give you a sneak peek.

At anyrate the article includes a game mechanic that matches all the other AD game mechanics for poison, infection, and etc.

It catalogs a dozen methods of radiation exposure that could occur in game with a table to tell the referee what the basic effect should be: Mild, Medium or servere based on time of exposure: Brief, Moderate, or prolonged.

There is a separate table of radiation vectors that tells the referee who to rate the exposure on the first table.

Finally there is a whole section that details the actual radiation symptoms experienced by humans which is provided purely for the referee's info and is about adding color in game, added to that is symptoms by race includeing the Core Five and Zebs races (not mechanons). This final material is really about color and has a few optional rules tacked on.

Post Script what is not in the article is the damage caused by a nuke- which something that is not scaled for AD action but KHs action. We could extrapolate what a nukes damage should be from the damage done by a Torp weapon in KHs. I beleive that somewhere there is info on how much damage regular AD weapons need to do to add up to one Hull point; simply multiply this times the damage done by a torp and theres your blast- except that the blast is not like burst fire, the full amount of damage goes against everything in the area of effect.

Finally its tough to asign a simple damage roll to a nuke as you get damage from the blast wave, overpressure and radiation and individual circumstances will mitigate these effects.

heres a fun site with a google maps application for showing nuke damage
http://www.labnol.org/internet/damage-caused-by-nuclear-bomb/6176/
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
June 2, 2011 - 8:12pm
According to D20 Future a 1 megaton nuke does 16d8 damage
RE: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?309235-d20-modern-a-nuke-does-how-much-damage-!

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
June 2, 2011 - 9:24pm
Well the info you provided is a good start for me as far as radiation damage. I'm wondering if it would also be a good start to use a structural/hull pt. damage scale such as:

 (1) atomic A engine exploding = 1 megaton = 10d10 hull points dmg.; blast radius = 10k km
 (1) atomic B engine exploding = 2 megatons = 20d10 hull points dmg.; blast radius = 20k km
 (1) atomic C engine exploding = 3 megatons = 40d10 hull points dmg.; blast radius = 40k km

This way, if I get into a similar situation were a 1 megaton explosion on a space station does a random amount of damage.

My SF website izz: http://ragnarr.webs.com


thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
June 2, 2011 - 11:46pm
10-100
20-200
40-400
yeah, waaaaay more than that!

Mostly I have a problem with the low end being too low. Within 1,000meters and it doesn't melt a vehicle, drain a screen, slag the hard-armor placed over the skiensuit, and cook the guy inside all that... it's too low. [imho]

Think I would prefer a tighter range and an exponential climb:
1Mt - 1d10x100 = 100-1000 firestorm 2d10x5km; 1d10km cloud; 1d6km Kill blast
2Mt - 2d10x200 = 400-4000 firestorm 4d10x10km; 2d10km cloud; 2d6km Kill blast
3Mt - 3d10x300 = 900-9000 firestorm 6d10x15km; 3d10km cloud; 3d6km Kill blast

How it works:
Those caught in the Kill blast will:
 Die instantly (no save, all hard protection is worthless),
 Take Double firestorm damage (no save, all protection takes full damage and becomes worthless),
 Die instantly (no save, all soft protection is already gone),
 take rads equal to twice firestorm damage (no save)
 Take Double firestorm damage (no save, all protection takes full damage and becomes more worthless),
 Die Instantly, (no save, this time they might get lucky and realize they didn't want to be there, but it won't hurt, there will be no brain to register the pain.),
 Make a pretty "ghostly shadow" on the ground or nearest wall,
 if they are still alive they may roll initiative, but the bomb always goes first at this range.

Those caught in the cloud radius will;
 go blind (no save, protection is worthless)
 roll initiative, success means they feel the nice warm breeze that they can't see coming.
 take the firestorm damage
 if still alive, consign to dieing a slow uncomfortable death from radiation.
 (equal to firestorm damage in rads once in a lump sum for the duration of the day, for a quick reference)
 wait for the pretty clouds to roll by, (but they won't be able to see it, and may go voluntarily insane waiting, before it finally arrives in a few minutes.)
  Die a long slow painful death from radiation build-up.

Outside cloud radius,
 Try not to look at the blast or go blind, protection is worthless, hard cover helps, indoors is best.
 (roll initiative and hope to go first, then make a reflex check to look at something else)
 wait for the firestorm to roar through, (voluntarily insanity is possible at this point)
 take the firestorm damage (find some nice article about rad-buildup now, kill-blast radius in rads per minute should be ok for quick reference, but it will probably be a slow uncomfortable death for quicker reference, inside the cloud when it eventually arrives much later, will be much higher. The cloud will be late for lunch, so eat early and be waiting, then breath deep and die slow.)
 wait around until they wish they had been closer, voluntarily go insane, try to outrun the cloud, or get hit by extra firestorm damage from turbulence and return blasts, (these can be delt with as much smaller damage rolls, but will subside within an hour or so, probably less, if this part is skipped thats ok too.)
  Die a long slow painful death from radiation build-up.

  I am being modest, they are much nicer than that, but I was thinking about giving a decent chance of survival. There is the secondary environmental damage, that comes from the damaged atmosphere and terrain, and the occasional flying chunks of debris, but lets not nit-pick. There have been better write-ups for various games, but if you can find one that is more lenient than this, kewl, a superheroes game!Cool Superman wins!

There are smaller ones, btw... maybe you were looking for something that only takes out a city block or two, and leaves lots of long slow painful death in the rest of the city?
Might allow half damage after half range, but it really gets silly there if you try and taper the damage with range evenly.
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
June 3, 2011 - 6:00am
And remember a nuke exploding in space only has a small area of effect.  Just the inital fireball and then the outgoing gamma radiation.  Most of the damage from ground based detonations are due to the fact that they are going off in an atmosphere.  That is what carries the heat, shockwave, etc.  In a vacuum, there is nothing to carry the energy away and so the blast area is very small.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
June 3, 2011 - 7:45am
  yeah, wasn't sure how much drop off for a spacestation, seems that there would still be a lot of damage with a direct hit.

  outside no-contact - think it would all be in rads, but that would still be a pretty large effect, and instant death effect close in, don't think that blast drops much... but still the same rad counts, and secondary effects; vaporization inside the kill zone, total blindness in the inner flash zone,  just no fireball, concussion, cloud and fall out, vacuumed flashback, and the outer edge is reduced, but the extreme ranges still suffer lots of sudden rads, possible mortal rad-burns, and will likely die a long slow painfull death, with no real cure possible, but if luck is unfavoring, lots of treatment to make sure the suffering lasts, I suppose.

  direct-contact surface - if the vehicle isn't greater than 10 kilometers in diameter, it's slagged, this isn't reentry temperatures, its flying through a sun. Outside the kill zone areas, there isn't much left of the ship to wory about how much of the ships internal compartments are still holding some shape, secondary structural stresses from the sudden loss of the rest of the ship kills prety much vacs a ship smaller than the cloud radius, and vented atmosphere can cloud into small puffs, and plasma formed from the material of the kill-zone blast will be washing over the rest of the ship, say out to a third the range of the firestorm. then there is still all the rads to kill anyone unlucky enough to be in a surviving suit and floating vaced, with electronics all fried no beacons or radio contacts from a survivor will guide rescue teams.

  internal penetration - you can pretty much use what the regular effects are, it may cause splash damage into ships inside twice the kill radius. That will end up surface damage to those ships, plasma clouds scorching the outer hull, if those plasmaballs aren't dodged, which should become exponentially easier with range from the 'zero-vessel'. Rads still kill in a long slow painful, and not really very treatable, death, out to around two-thirds of the total radius.

  Again best to either be inside the kill zone, or outside twice the firestorm, everything else is an inhumane nasty death, survivors can still be pretty sure of being 'unfit for duty' soon, and become logistics drain to the rest of the military, as resources need to be routed to any care-taking attempts. That is if any survivors can be retreived before they die in vac, which is unlikely.

  The advantage is that it completely destroys the environment and leaves no permanent environmental toxification, fallout and rad-clouds are minimized or don't manifest, no collateral damage past the time of the initial blast.
  The problem is it leaves no environment to protect from the cosmic radiation and airless vacuum of space, and no real hope of rescue. Electronics are fried, radiation messes with communications, becons and radio are effectivly off line, and it's now a big void that a survivor is flying through at 100's or 1000's of miles per second...

Nukes are Nasty, in any environment.
Surviving is actually rather likely outside the kill zone if you try, unfortunately for the brave survivors that try.
By the time any rescue teams can find survivors, they are already dead, and just haven't been told yet.

Anyway, that is the realistic use of nukes, smaller ones still are not any more fun.
 Ships and stations, taking a direct-contact or closer, are going to be destroyed, with 99% of the survivors lost.
 Most near-miss contacts, will suffer the same being inside the kill radius.
 Most everything else will be so far from an accurate targeting, that it will probably be a lost rocket anyway, and for game purposes can be ignored, or have some Story Drama secondary effects of little system-mechanic consequence resolved.
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
June 3, 2011 - 8:11am
Really digging your responses here guys! Always love any reference in gaming text to PCs and "dies instantly". My gaming group here laughs to tears whenever a happless PC gets into a situation where a saving roll goes south and he's (she's, it's) instantly vaporized! It's cruel I know, but it's always always always a complete hoot! 
My group here is a sick bunch fer sher.

Kind of surprised though that AD and KH never really addressed nukes other than in KH with the exploding ship and poor Bagrat not getting (snickers) far enough away in time.

My SF website izz: http://ragnarr.webs.com


thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
June 3, 2011 - 11:44am
  Most games either avoid nukes, or fiat them into a position of oversized grenade... doesn't surprise me at all.
  Even Twilight 2000, Rifts, and Aftermath, which pride themselves on being harsh realists.,. basically give two options, ignore all the complicated stuff that makes it a pain to use, or condense it to a take massive damage and keep going like nothing happened.
  I prefer a simple three effect rule:
    1.) Die
    2.) Wish you were dead and then Die
    3.) Wish you were dead and become useless...
      and Die when your body fails to keep you alive in a gunfight due to sudden nausea, muscle pains, and uncontrollable shakes.

  Other than that, the typical cinematic rules can be found in a few games. Nuke explodes damage is dealt, move on, it's just an oversized grenade (and grenade kill zones are ignored also so, whatever).

  Personally I don't think it matters if it is a small squishy Human, a 300 foot dragon, or a 1km Autobot named Metroplex, or a 10km Deathsphere, a direct contact nuke vaporizes, or slags, all targets at ground zero, Ifit is a hard-sci-fi military genre setting, and where else are you going to have nukes flying around? Otherwise there may be some exceptions made.

  In a Robotech: Masters or Invasion era game, I wouldn't bat-an-eye at a Veritech Pilot outmaneuvering the blast in the secondary zone. Nor would it be too much to let a Cyclone Pilot burn out his CADS-1 Shields and survive. In a Masters of the Universe d20 game, He-man, She-ra might get badly burned for an episode, but they will be back next week it's ok, Skelator and Hordak are already radioactive beasts and partially walking dead, so they will regenerate and be back next week also. In a Supers game, as long as Superman is smart and doesn't try to catch the full blast, he is a solar-powered alien anyway, and just 'hulks-up' when he absorbs the direct power of several suns.

  In a Star Frontiers Game, I am more inclined to give 'one hit one kill' on ships, stations, and ground bases that don't have PC's onboard, and allow a couple years of critical rehab and reduced health, for the survivors that can call 'temporary script immunity' by being main characters.
  But for the most part, I would avoid nukes in the Frontier as being 'outside the scope of the genre'. "Silly Dictator, Atomics are for Rockets." is a mantra for an Einsteinsonade, and using nukes changes the genre to a Rocketpunk, and in a Rocketpunk the people who use Atomic Technology for mass-destructive ends, die by their creation, it's "The Law". So, nuclear equipped ships suffer 'one-shot-one-kill' effects when internal crits damage their onboard nukes, and the good guys win (sort-of, in a Rocketpunk there are no 'goodguys', just very-lucky morally-handicapped individuals that will die-later, when the greater villain has been dealt with).
  So, it depends on what effect you are looking for. Imho, gamers should know their genres and tropes, there is plenty of discussion for it, and nukes are rather out of place in the scope of a basic SF game. Smile I wouldn't put them in the hands of most PC's, and would only use them sparingly in setting backdrop.
  KH's game might be different, being a military focus, with military ships in mind, but use of nukes would still be restricted to mission needs, and not player fiat.

  Just my opinion, anyway... for why the reason it is not being covered in the rules. There are of course exceptions to all of those generalities I made, some situations might call for something more specific in guidelines, I just don't see a great need, and likely neither did the original creators.
  IIRC Gamma World had more, just ignore the mutation effects, Twilight 2000 is another good source, and that is if you find the SFman Article lacking for some reason. It is a worthy article for the radiation effects if you like it.

Calculators are out there on the web too.
Graphic Radius Calculator
Nuke Effects Calculator
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
June 3, 2011 - 12:22pm
Found some things about space detonations.

1) Blast: As mentioned, in the vacuum of space this does not occur. There is a smaller wave of vaporized bomb material, but this is minor at orbital distances. The larger the target the larger this wave will be, but danger could be reduced to the immediate kill zone (1d6km) and likely easily avoided.

2) Ionizing radiation: Is reduced in an atmosphere. In space this range would increase, and effects tapper far less, possibly not at all.

3) Fallout: Is largely a non issue, the radiation all expands in every direction, clouds will be small and moving quickly away from the blast unless trapped inside some larger component that was also flung away. Plasma will likely cling to any remaining parts of more solid objects that they formed from.

4) Light and heat: Is still present in lethal quantities, but expands rapidly and diffuses a bit more. No secondary backblasts or turbulence, it is all over more quickly in one expanding wave.

5) Material Mass: The size of the target will determine the size of the effect, more than a ground target does. The material consumed in the initial blast will expand and consume more of that target, and the resulting plasma and debris material will be flung away from the impact or detonation at speeds that can cause moderate damage to nearby objects within a few kilometers.

  I am pulling from multiple sources, few people have apparently given much discussion to this, and it is apparent no tests have been made to confirm theories. Most seem to give an assumed effect that this is a one-hit-one-kill situation at this scale, and no survivors are likely.

So, there ya go.
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

jacobsar's picture
jacobsar
June 3, 2011 - 4:33pm
It would depend alot on how rugged construction we are assuming for frontier tech.
 Here is a rugged rocket that actualy used nuke blasts as proppelant.
There is a vid with released docs from this era I will post a second link when I find it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion)
Reasonable men adapt to the world around them; unreasonable men make the world adapt to them. The world is changed by unreasonable men.
Edwin Louis Cole

jedion357's picture
jedion357
June 3, 2011 - 5:50pm
Side note: David Weber's Honor Harrington series uses conventional nukes and "bomb pumped lazers" which are also a nuke as the standard munition in star ship combat. the missiles with bomb pumped lazer warheads have more stand off range where as a conventional nuke requires the missile to virtually hit the ship. Most navies rely on the bomb pumped lazer head but still carry the conventional nuke in their magazines.

You may wish to give this series a read for ideas about nukes in space.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
June 3, 2011 - 5:56pm

  Right, the propulsion system uses micro-bursts to push the vehicle forward... but it hasn't been built yet.

  The shock plate assumes a blast from specific point directly behind, not a side or front burst, and not a direct impact... if it misfired and somehow hit the backside or inside of the plate, it would be all over for ship and crew.
  A direct contact on the propellant magazines, even if the ship was armored (which would add more weight and bulk and run into the escalating mission-payload-ratio-rebalance-shuffle), wouldn't be pleasant. an EMP causing just one failure in the magazine and cooking off a pulse unit internally, is all it would take. Don't bother sending a rescue team, repeat the "they knew the risks." cliche and keep going.

  Btw, those are 0.15 to 10Kt pulse units it's firing, not 1Mt Nukes.
  From the wiki:
   A 10 kiloton of TNT equivalent atomic explosion will achieve a plasma debris velocity of about 100 km/s, and the destructive plasma fireball is only about 100 meters in diameter. A 1 megaton TNT explosion will have a plasma debris velocity of about 10,000 km/s but the diameter of the plasma fireball will be about 1km.

   The Megaton Missile Wins! Those figures are not assuming a direct contact blast on a larger vessel, which will cause a rapid exponential increase of the fireball, based on the size, mass, and design of the vessel it consumes while fueling itself. And again any part of the target vessel that survives that will have severe structural integrity failure that begins to cause massive cascading damage to the rest of the design.
   Big Hole, Ship Sinks! Nuke wins! Suck Space, Sathar Scum!!! Wink

  All that just to travel the stars in an atomic blast propelled slinky!! Foot in mouth I like the Orion Design aesthetic, I might go to Mars in one if I had the chance, but I wouldn't want to be in one up against the Sathar!

Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
June 3, 2011 - 10:24pm
This is awesome stuff. The calculators (Graphic Radius Calculator
and Nuke Effects Calculator) are double awesome!
I remember this episode of Bab5 where there was this flashback during the Earth/Mambari war; nukes were hidden on asteroids and the earth ship (hiding in the asteroids) lured a Mambari warship towards it. When it got near one of the nukes, BLAMO! But as you guys were saying, nuke exposions in space have a much less destructive range of effect compared to atmospheric detonations. Would you suppose there would still be an EMP effect like upper atmospheric detonations would have?

My SF website izz: http://ragnarr.webs.com


thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
June 4, 2011 - 6:43am
  Yeah, smaller by assuming the firestorm isn't larger than the kill-zone, but still pretty much just as deadly otherwise. 1km and 100km of overkill radiation, is still a big boom!
  I remember that, eat that you non-barbaric super-science space alien!! we got NUKES! and we were not afraid to use 'em!!Laughing Taste my self-destructive war-tech!!
 ahh, sometimes its good to be the guys that could have exterminated themselves, before getting to the interstellar race. (could see G'kar saying that)
 
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

dmoffett's picture
dmoffett
July 1, 2011 - 2:28pm
?does any one have any idea how rare a 1 Megaton bomb actually is. Most bombs in the US and soviet arsenals measure between 40 to 150 kilotons and these are the big H-bombs. The Largest ever built was supposedly 50 Megaton and named the Tzar-Bomb. Dont know if it was ever tested.

Secondly Bomb size for nukes like any other explosive is not on a linear scale it is a curve. There is a point where you get nothing more from the effort of makeing bigger bombs, simply because you are blowing your own bomb apart before it has effect..

Just food for thought.
The bombing starts in five minutes.

Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
July 1, 2011 - 9:08pm
The situation I was talking about with my old gaming group was that they were working for an unsavory type of thug that wanted the PCs to steel a couple of new prototype fighters from a space station. Thing is they rigged the atomic engine of a hull size 2 scout ship INSIDE THE SPACE STATION to detonate mere minutes after they departed with the fighters. Tick tick tick... BOOM! The PCs looked in their rearview mirrors to view the aftermath, and I told them a third of the space station was now gone. Their response was, "a REAL nuke would do waaaaaay way way more damage than that!" As I had no way to measure what damage would or wouldn't have happened, that's what I went with (also didn't want that space station gone for other reasons). Lots of info for detonations on planets with atmospheres, but there's little on vaccuum detonations other than the helpful posts on this site.

My SF website izz: http://ragnarr.webs.com


thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
July 2, 2011 - 1:11am
  I would call that a fair play given the circumstances... but yeah, it was just an engine, a real nuke going off internally could have left the whole station slagged... with little hope for survivors without script immunities... yeah, smaller sizes and diminishing returns, I consider even small nukes over-kill however... outside the engine explosion and capitol-ship scale weapons, I pretty much avoid nukes...

  Not that everyone necessarily need pay any attention to these factors, my reason for avoiding nukes in Star Frontiers...
  As cool as it sounds to have Buck Rodgers and Rocky Jones sling tac-nukes over their shoulders and take on Ming, the dynamic of the genre makes a harder ethos shift into the 'punk-zone at that point... and 'punk-zone consequences are elevated to match the changed landscape of the logos... the lost innocence of the classic space ranger, and the humanity of the moon baron equalize their pathos, the bomb wins but the heroes-no-more are forever tainted as mere protagonists...
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
July 2, 2011 - 9:55am
@TSC: I agree. It was more one of my old gaming group rather than the entire group that was Mr. Nuke'em. He was a fun friend to hangout with and all, but as ex-military during Vietnam, he approached almost any situation with an overkill approach. Sure do miss him, and if god lets us play SF in the afterlife, I'm sure he's nuking them there too.
Wink

My SF website izz: http://ragnarr.webs.com


thespiritcoyote's picture
thespiritcoyote
July 2, 2011 - 1:52pm
  I am sure The Dude abides RPGs... but playing a game of In Nomine or Exalted might break down into lots of "wouldn't happen like that" debates ... Innocent
Oh humans!! Innocent We discover a galactic community filled with multiple species of aliens, and the first thing we think about is "how can we have sex with them?".
~ anymoose, somewhere on the net...

so...
if you square a square it becomes a cube...
if you square a cube does it become an octoid?

dmoffett's picture
dmoffett
July 10, 2011 - 6:47pm
Fragging an engine with a 12cm sphere of uranium or plutonium? Definately not 1 Megaton. Thats about the size of the Trinity test bomb, and/or about the same size as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki 15 to 25 kilotons max. Probably equal to a critical double damage hit of a standard KH Torpedo (because you are already inside the station not shooting through the hull of the station). They are atomic bombs of about the same size after all.... To get over the 40 kiloton yeild size you need a Hydrogen bomb, wich is far more complex than the standard uranium or plutonium burst. The initial energy of the fision must be directed into the Tritium/hydrogen3 before the fision reaction blows it all apart... It was not easy for for the engineers to get the things to work right in the first place. They had to focus the fision energy into the fusion part of the bomb in just a few nanoseconds, ie before the devise was destroyed, resulting in what is called a fizzle... Hydrogen bomb that does not detonate properly is called a fizzle.
Because of the propaganda over the last 66 years about atomic and nuclear weapons in general, people attribute far to much power to these weapons. It is possible to do almost as much damage as the Hiroshima bomb with a Fuel Air Explosive... Radiation excluded from the last statement, But the blast and the firestorm could be just as devastating... that from a conventional explosive. I am just saying. Nukes are not as badass as people think they are.
Can an Abrams Main Battle Tank survive a nuclear blast close to ground zero? Yes Absolutely, It was designed to do just that! A lot of people don't even realize that, or refuse to believe such a thing is possible. Never the less... it be true. The word Close in the above statement refers to just that close...in other words, not in the "black body" zone. The Black Body zone, is the zone in which everything is vaporized at somewhere around 15 million to 150 million degrees Kelvin (depending on the size of the device, and depending on nuclear or thermonuclear) so about 1/4 mile from the device; Those temperatures drop exponentialy fast outside the zone. In otherwords outside the zone it can be survivable if you have the proper amount of cover. The above temperatures last only 2 to 3 microseconds by the way.

Just food for thought.
The bombing starts in five minutes.

Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
July 10, 2011 - 11:02pm
So then, are you agreeing with my old gaming group that a HS.2 atomic engine scout ship detonating inside a space station would've done far more damage than I ruled (1/3 of the space station wheel going blamo), or are you agreeing with my amazing referee 'shoot-from-the-hip-cause-I-dunno' ruling of 1/3 of the space station wheel going blamo? For perspective, the space station in question was the largest type listed in KH.
Money mouth

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jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 11, 2011 - 4:53am
Captain Rags wrote:
So then, are you agreeing with my old gaming group that a HS.2 atomic engine scout ship detonating inside a space station would've done far more damage than I ruled (1/3 of the space station wheel going blamo), or are you agreeing with my amazing referee 'shoot-from-the-hip-cause-I-dunno' ruling of 1/3 of the space station wheel going blamo? For perspective, the space station in question was the largest type listed in KH.
Money mouth
I'm curious to here moffits response but I have to think that number one the vacuum of space will limit damage somewhat as a significant portion of damage from a nuke involves its interact with the atmosphere. Yes riding out a nuclear blast from inside the black body zone is at the top of the list of things to avoid but the drop off in damage much further out will be even more steep because of the vacuum. What would totally destroy the space station, assuming your 1/3 is correct is the dynamic forces involved in a spinning wheel space station; I bet that the station will dramatically and awesomely rip itself apart within a short time after the blast, but we probably need someone of our rocket scientist to sound off on that.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Deryn_Rys's picture
Deryn_Rys
July 11, 2011 - 8:20am
I'm by no means a rocket scientist, but for what it's worth, as a long time Administrator/Referee who has had to make plenty of off the cuff decisions. One of the chief things that your gaming group seems to not be putting into the equasion is the level of Frontier technology. In my opinion, based on the fact that nuclear missiles are available to ships in the Frontier and to those pesky worms I would logically assume that whomever built that multimillion credit piece of space property (read space station) would have built it using the technology, building techniques, and materials that have been developed to maximize the survivability of the station.

With the risks of not just intentional damage from nuclear missiles, such stations have to deal with the threat of damage by space debris travelling at high rates of speed hitting them, and such things as space craft suffering drive problems accidently slamming into them, including the possibility of such a mistake causing the ship's atomic drives to hyper ignite and blow up, and without the advent of energy shielding (deflector shields, forcefield reinforcement) these stations must instead be built to withstand such damage probably by using hyper dense alloys, reinforced frames, double hulls and the like.

So more than likely your space station was built to survive the damage caused by such a small ship being destroyed in a docking port, and your decision to make the damage as dramatically large as you did was generous on your part.  
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"Hey guys, I think it's friendly." -Famous last words
"You go on ahead, I'll catch up." -Famous last words
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Captain Rags's picture
Captain Rags
July 11, 2011 - 8:33am
Ah, I feel better now. That decision waaaay back in like 1986 nagged my brain somewhat ever since. The old gaming group eventually moved on; one to CA, another busy being way married with crypods, and the other gone to that big gaming convention in the sky. But for some reason, that 1/3 boom decision bugged me. I think the biggest bomb I'll let my new gaming group ever get their greedy hands (tentacles) on will be a space firecracker.Wink 

My SF website izz: http://ragnarr.webs.com


jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 11, 2011 - 3:58pm
Frontier Tech built by the lowest bidder= not standing up to a nuke
Fortress- likely, its built on the government dime, but civilian station? not likely, IMO.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Deryn_Rys's picture
Deryn_Rys
July 11, 2011 - 4:54pm
I'm sure that there are Frontierwide standards in place for any station or for that matter spacecraft which is capable of sustaining life in space, and I think that most civilian space stations would have been built by a mega corp so they wouldn't necessary be built by the lowest bidder, but by company employees. Also I figure with a price tag in the upper hundred thousands of credits, a company who is dropping that much coin isn't about to hire out a contractor with a less than stellar reputation. 

I mean if I had the money to build a space station I wouldn't hire a contractor who accidently hooked up the zero gravity toilets to the airlock, I'd hire out the one who will assure that my investment would be viable for several decades so I wouldn't have to keep flushing good credits into that zero gravity toilet.

"Hey guys I wonder what this does"-Famous last words
"Hey guys, I think it's friendly." -Famous last words
"You go on ahead, I'll catch up." -Famous last words
"Did you here that?" -Famous last words

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 12, 2011 - 3:12am
That assumes that the manager responsible for the project has a good work ethic and that he isn't looking out for his own future. Whether its skimming money or simply forcing the project to come in under budget so that he's seen as an effective manager that aught to be promoted. After all he wont be around when problems are evident.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

dmoffett's picture
dmoffett
July 17, 2011 - 2:07pm
@ Captain Rags,
I agree with the result in game of 1/3 of the station being gone if a nuclear detonation where to be set off inside the hub. But for different reasons than the shooting from the hip answer. Like I said. For Instance: Take KH Space Station with 100 to 200 hull points. Next take standard KH Torpedo. Assume double damage hit because you are inside the station thus negating the Armor and screens around it. That is all I was saying about that. As far as the yield of a KH torpedo, I can't see it being Greater than 40 Kt. High Technology aside... there are only so many atoms of fisable material inside "X" amount of fuel.

Aside from reactors not being designed to blow up.... remember the Manhattan Project. They had nuclear reaction and fission in 1939-40. Yes they could have melted down that pile under the bleachers in that stadium at the University... but it would not have blown up like an Atom Bomb. It took them until 1945 to make a bomb that would work... In other words reach critical mass with enough fuel all at the same time causing an explosion.

This is the rare case where it is easier to create than to destroy.

Lets take a look at the worst nuclear disaster in History: Chernobyl. Poor reactor design, backup cooling system was either non existent or non functional I forget which. Primary cooling fails The core starts to melt down... nothing can stop it.... all the water that the core is in boils until the container explodes and the core continues to melt (never itself exploding in a spectacular bomb like explosion) It continues to melt and burn everything it touches until it settles in deep bedrock still melting and creating a brand new element (Chernobylite). Meanwhile the main reactor building is an inferno the fire department can't handle, and the fires are spewing radioactive ashes for miles and miles. The fire department does not have enough radiation suits to battle the blaze, and fireman are dying left and right due to maximum gamma radiation exposure. They can't put the fires out. The NATO can see it on satellite but does not want the soviets to know we can see it so we say nothing... The Soviet Government lets this disaster build for 7 to 10 days before they even acknowledge to the world that they have a "minor" problem. (The Soviets were still trying to show the world the face of their Perfect Utopian Society. They would never admit failure on anything until the world called them on the carpet) That mentality is why Chernobyl was as huge a disaster as it was. They could not stop it and would not admit that it even existed. Until President Reagan showed their ambassador the satellite photo's they refused to admit there was problem or that the reactor even existed. But still the only Explosion was the water flash boiling away... It did blow the roof off of the reactor building. The Graphite that is used to absorb loose neutrons catches on fire now and spews forth radioactive material into the now open sky.. this lasts for several days.

The whole point of all that is this. Engines are like reactors, not bombs. If you rig an engine to do the wrong thing. It still should not explode it should melt.

Assuming the PCs had the knowledge to make one explode the first paragraph is the damage estimate I would use today. In 1986 I would have made the same call as Captain Rags because I was not as educated on the subject being about 14 to 15 years old then.

Here is a great quote I heard from one of our Nuclear Biological Chemical instructors from way back when. "The biggest surprise that most Americans will face in the event of an all out nuclear combat with the Soviets is that they lived through it." If you want to know why... here is the short answer:
Most of our arsenal is/was aimed at their arsenal and vice versa, not at each others population centers as the Hollywood types would have you believe. Blowing up cities makes for better movies though.

As for a building contractor doing shoddy work... If I was PGC or Streel and somebody screwed my billion credit space station up like that; my Corporate thugs would go after him with a pare of pliers and a blowtorch.
The bombing starts in five minutes.