Of Lost Ships, Derelicts and Flying Dutchman

jedion357's picture
jedion357
August 25, 2012 - 4:26pm
Ships get lost, become derelict or sail away like a cosmic Flying Dutchman.

Zeb's Guide wrote:

125-10PF Hundreds of exploration vessels are lost during this time.

32-26PF Thirty two exploration vessels are lost trying to map the Lesser Morass.


The above statements say hundreds which must be somewhere in the area of 200 ships and then the second statement specifically accounts for 32 of them in a particular area. This is a lot of ship over the course of a century and this is just exploration craft.

One has to assume that piracy, misjumps, sathar activity etc must account for even more ships that are not exploration craft.

I would expect that exploration ships are prepared to handle tough situations and thus the number of non exploration ships that are lost must be at least twice again as many as the exploration ships so that on the low end we must assume 400 non exploration craft for a low total of 600. This is excluding lost military ships lost during war which might carry a designation of "presumed lost with all hands" However during peace time lost military ships will be counted in the total. Also the numbers quoted in Zebs is only for a part of the total timeline and we should assume that from the perspective of year 111 FY that the total number of lost ships must be closer to 1000.

Now we should also consider the Yazirian Exodus and their entrance to the Frontier after 3 of the core four had established themselves. Prior to their Exodus they must have sent out explorers and lost some. Lets call it 6-10 and blame that range of numbers on spotty records.

900 years ago when the Sathar discovered Volturnus and the eorna who had a space faring civilization with some sort of extensive space based infrastructure and industry (that is the only explanation of the eorna egg ship). I like to presume that eorna explorers stumbled onto the sathar and that led to the fateful Day of Doom. so there could have been any number of lost eorna ships out there of about 900-1000 years of age but the number would likely be 8-16.

Klikk lost artifacts from 700 years ago- clearly they were a space faring civilization with advanced technology that the Frontier races have not duplicated (the massive war tank). Impossible to speculate on numbers of lost or derelict klikk ships that could be stumbled onto without further hard data on the klikk but it could be any number as well as other military depots or dumped cargos out there to be found.

Certainly the sathar must have lost ships from time to time- Mutiny on the Eleanor Mores module provide evidence of one such occurrence. like with the klikks its impossible to speculate on numbers.

Saurians are a space faring race that have faired poorly against the sathar and were forced to go "BSG" to save their population. Likely they lost some ships before contact with the sathar and many more since contact with sathar. Speculation puts it at about 60-100 but the vast majority of them would have been destroyed due to sathar activity its just that their ultimate fate is uncertain.

It is reported that the zethra found, repaired and operated some ship belonging to some other race and this allowed a group of them to depart from their planet. It is unknown who built this ship but clearly they were able to recover and operate a lost derelict ship.

This does not factor in the Rim but since the ifshnits are explorers par excellance my guess is that their numbers are lower then the UPF's though they have probably lost more ships due to war with the sathar as their first contact with the UPF happened at the time of what the UPF called the First Sathar War and they had already fought with the worms many times prior.

I think all told we can guess-timate a number of approximately 2000 lost ships out there waiting to be found.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

Blankbeard's picture
Blankbeard
February 6, 2014 - 11:06am
Yeah, I understand the potential advantage, I just think that if having a national memorial around it isn't enough, a photographic series isn't going to help.

If you google "USS Arizona archeology" you get some photographs taken by divers who were authorized to go down. They reveal the biggest reason you'll not see this ship on most anything wrecks lists - There's only a few feet of visibility. 

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
February 6, 2014 - 3:08pm
Yeah, I was just there a couple of weeks ago.  You can hardly see anything.  I was actually a little disappointed as I was expecting to be able to see more of the wreck.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
February 6, 2014 - 6:54pm
Well, like they say in Chicago: "If they can make the river green for St. Patrick's Dy, why can't they make it blue for the other 364 days?"

I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 7, 2014 - 3:43am
I've always wondered at the environmental impact of that practice, the local head of the EPA must be Irish.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 22, 2015 - 4:43am
Re: military vessels being a tomb after being sunk

it breaks down a little in space

on the ocean a military vessel suffers significant damage and sinks and is largely inaccessible and damn near impossible to move. in space the vessel does not sink its still in the same "realm" that it operated in before whatever happened happened. it can be tow, might even be repaired and operated

For this reason I think miliatary starships will not be considered a tomb but will be recovered and repaired and the bobies properly interred. should the military vessel "sink" into a planet's atmosphere and crash then the site could very well be a tomb.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Tchklinxa's picture
Tchklinxa
July 22, 2015 - 5:11am
Yeah if they can raise/salvage a ship they will in real life so I think it will be the same for space craft. I have read the stories written by the folks who repaired WWII ships, washing the blood & flesh out of the air ducts and such... the reader's digest of old had some pretty harrowing stories of folks on the ships too.


 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

Stibbons's picture
Stibbons
July 23, 2015 - 3:46am
Hard vacuum will preserve a ship a lot better than being immersed in an atmosphere will, however it might preserve other things, Andre Norton's "Plague Ship" mentions this as a hazard a crew might encounter, a derelict ship, with sealed airlocks, warning lights glowing red on the hull. There are other good reasons to leave a ship as the tale of the SS Richard Montgomery can tell (wiki article here), basically a WWII munitions ship which could, in theory, detonate with a near nuclear-level blast.

There are some useful resources I've ferreted out from DrivethruRPG in this subject. Getting descriptive has received help from a company called "Tabletop Adventures, LCC" who have a "Derelict Starships" product, no maps, but evocative descriptions and encounter cards (plus a remarkably well researched section on what happens to a dead body in space). They also have a space station description which also has a derelict version, so I've picked these up as well. Think DrivethruRPG also do a "Derelict Spaceship" audio track to add some atmosphere.

Or you just break out your copy of "Space Hulk", there are numerous erzatz versions lurking around on the net in pdf form...
Set course for the 80's... (My Livejournal)

iggy's picture
iggy
July 23, 2015 - 5:57pm
A vacuum preserves things nicely given that they are not exposed to the solar wind or other high energy cosmic rays.   Given time the ship's hull will become pitted and brittle.  The ship will not provide sufficient structural integrity or physical shielding.  Throw in micro meteorites and you can really ruin a ship.
-iggy

Malcadon's picture
Malcadon
July 24, 2015 - 6:00pm
Stibbons wrote:
There are other good reasons to leave a ship as the tale of the SS Richard Montgomery can tell (wiki article here), basically a WWII munitions ship which could, in theory, detonate with a near nuclear-level blast.
That concern was vary real, as a fully-leaded French cargo ship, SS Mont-Blanc, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo off Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1917 (during WWI). The explosion was so massive, it detonated with the force of nearly 3 kilotons of TNT! (The Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions were 15 and 20 kilotons, respectfully.) Deaths and injuries in the area were counted in the thousands! (wiki article here)

Putraack's picture
Putraack
July 31, 2015 - 8:32pm
There's apparently a whole series of SF novels that try to translate contemporary SCUBA/wreck diving into space terms:

https://www.goodreads.com/series/59803-diving-universe by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. I read the first book, thought it was OK. I just looked on Goodreads, and there are apparently at least  novels and half a dozen novellas. If it's that popular, maybe I will give #2 a look-see. When I'm done with my current Pern quest, that is.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 11, 2016 - 12:44pm
The Doria Dawn, a Star liner/ freight hauler out of Truane's Star departed Prengular 44FY only to disappear into legend. 

Pirates
Aliens (sathar to mechanons)
Mega-corp plot
Government plot
Or simple misjump

What is know for sure is the ship, 14 crew and 126 passengers have never been seen or heard from again.

Cargo manifests were lost and no end of theories as to why have been put forward and theories as to what was on the manifest run the gamut of tetrarchs artifacts, sathar artifacts, bars of federanium and etc.

Edit: a life boat was found on Laco but this was latter shown to belong to Nova Dawn (a sister ship) that blew up in an equally mysterious event in Cassidine system. 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
February 11, 2016 - 2:13pm
Imagine something like this on a lonely asteriod out in space somewhere:



If only they'd had enough lifepods for all on board...

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 11, 2016 - 2:28pm
Or phased into an asteroid as with the Pegasus in the TNG episode where a moody Riker decides to not help his former Captain continue to cover up a secret. 

Edit: Stasis field tech interacts with alien artifact and causes a ship to phase into an asteroid. Engine pilons snap off and engines overload and blow causing a distant group of witnesses to believe entire ship destroyed but its not. 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
August 17, 2016 - 11:05am
I've reread 1/2 this thread. Going to carefully reread it, incorporate the awesome feedback (asmuch as possible) and dress it up as an article. Legend is basically the chance that the ship will have become a legend or mythical after its loss or because of it. 

Going to make a table with ships on the vertical and three factors that I see impacting derelicts, wrecks, and flying Dutchman: The Robinson factor (discussed early in thread), salvage factor, and what I was going to call the Titanic factor or Legend factor.   

Ratings will be Low, Medium, high and very high with a corresponding table that gives a %chance for each rating. Such that each ship type will have 3 ratings that you roll on for crew having survived, value to be salvaged, and legendaries. 

I suppose there should even be a table to generate a lost ship type on weighted toward the kinds of ships most likely to get lost. 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
August 17, 2016 - 7:35pm
jedion357 wrote:
I've reread 1/2 this thread.

As did I, I always enjoy a nostalgic thread reboot. Cool
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
August 20, 2016 - 8:17am
Here's some tables I'm working on:

Type of Derelict
1-20% Exploration craft
21-40% Pirate vessel
41% Star liner
42-50% freighter
51-75% Military/ Naval vessel (I suppose this could include mercenaries)
76-80% misc service vessels: ag ship, mining vessel, mine layer etc
81-90% small craft: fighters, runabouts, shuttles, small yachts or Privateers (HS 1-2 basically)
91-100% alien: sathar, klikk, zuraqor or other

Cause or the why. 1d10
1. Misjump, low fuel -cant return
2. Misjump, accident damages ship
3. Misjump, something happened to the astrogator
4. Equipment failure, life support (this could include a hull breach that leaves the vessel without air
5. Equipment Failure, Astrogation or helm
6. Equipment Failure, propulsion
7. Hostile Action
8. Hazard- crew is killed 
9. Hazard- ship is damaged
10. Intentional- crew or individuals seeking to hide or run away for some reason.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
August 20, 2016 - 9:42am
Just a wild thought, you are saying there are twice as many pirate vessels as merchant ships? Or that they are lost at a rate twice that of merchants?

Okay what would derelict fighters be doing way out in nowhere? Sure they might have been lost and not recovered since they are small but what would there be to recover besides a heavily damaged small ship that would be very hard to transport anywhere?

Anyway like the chart and details on the cause just think the percentages on the types of vessels are off?
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
August 20, 2016 - 9:54am
rattraveller wrote:
Just a wild thought, you are saying there are twice as many pirate vessels as merchant ships? Or that they are lost at a rate twice that of merchants?

I am going with twice as likely, as I posited in this thread the merchant ships really have little to no reason to stray from the known jump routes while pirates willingly use alternate routes to hide & ambush etc. Also noteworthy, a merchant has few reasons for risk jumping --- even with regards to speeding up the travel time since they end themselves to regular schedules --- while the pirates have many reasons to do so, hence the failed jumps are going to favor the pirates.

I would further posit that the lost merchant ships are most likely going to be independent merchants, as they are the only ones who would have an agenda for smoking a jump. Corporate and business owned craft are going to stick with their schedules.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
August 20, 2016 - 4:17pm
Yeah I went with Shadow's 20% for pirates. Not what I would have gone but he did make a good argument for it. 

It's not just fighters in that category but small craft and would include the HS2 thruster class privateer from Dragon mag. 

Shadow did make an argument on fighters getting lost just because LS ran out. In a battle with a large variety of ships and a fighter drops out for damage it's just not as noticeable as a heavy cruiser or a battleship. After the battle the SAR activities will focus on the battleship. Fighters are far more likely to be over looked. No doubt most in this category are private owners with a tiny yatch, shuttle, runabout, or tiny privateer vessel that go out for a "3 hour tour"

I'm prepping the article now for the next FE so now's the time to make your case before I finalize. 

I'm also thinking to rearrange the cause table a bit then have a modifier for military vessels -1 or +2 - basically the modifier weights the causal results toward "hostile action" for military vessels. So if hostile action was #1 on the table and military vessels had a causal modifier of -1 or -2 and I add language like any value lower than #1 is simply a 1 then there would be 2or3 results that generate "hostile action". The misjump results could be slotted in at #8,9,10 and a ship class that is more likely to misjump than we can give that one a +1 modifier. 


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

iggy's picture
iggy
August 20, 2016 - 5:19pm
Just for convenience of discussion, here is the type of derelict ploted as a graph with Jedion's weighting.

Odds of a given derelict type
Initially I was thinking that the pirates were too high but then ShadowShack's argument swayed me.
-iggy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
August 20, 2016 - 5:39pm
This discussion is good. Clearly many of us have had an initial reaction to shadows contention of 20% for pirates the same as for exploration crews. This tells me that I had better clearly state his rationale in the article as well. 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
August 20, 2016 - 6:14pm
Okay at best pirates should be half of merchants percentage. It is a shear numbers game. Just to keep pirates employed merchant vessels would need to outnumber them by at least 100 to 1. Even then if the pirates took out 1 merchant ship a month that is still losses of over 10% a year and that is not acceptable in any profession. So Either pirates only take merchants every once in a great while or that are more likely there are several hundred merchant ships for every pirate ship and would have a higher loss rate from misjump because or it.

Exploration vessels use the most precise calculations possible. They are not running from anything going out and usually find nothing at the other end. Also there are less of these vessels than of any other type except maybe pirate vessels so no reason they would be even with pirate vessels.

Oh and maybe one other type of vessel should have been included. Colony ships. If the whole Frontier was colonized then there had to have been alot of these vessels with a few hundred beings and and the items needed to start a civilization from scratch. Thinking the joy of finding a lost Yazirian colony ship with a Clan that had some very different ideas of what Yazirian should be on board.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
August 20, 2016 - 7:03pm
 KHs says 10-20% of exploration vessels disappear but that does not necessarily mean that 20% of all missing vessels are exploration craft. I'm open to suggestions.

I like the category of colony ship. I don't think it's percentage is high though. But it will have high Robinson and salvage factors as well as a high chance that it's legendary in status.

Also RE pirates: they may not all actively pursue capturing of ships. Apparently, the Star Devil pirates opted for the honest work of using slave labor to mine rare materials. If you think about it the Star Devil outfit actually resembles a disreputable mercenary outfit more than a pirate band. 

The label of piracy was given then by either Jameson or the eorna for some reason.


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

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 29, 2019 - 10:52am
jedion357 wrote:
Shadow Shack wrote:
Pity that the USS Arizona doesn't get an honorable mention.



Yeah I agree with that sentiment but since all the pictures of the wreck I've seen in the past 30 years are from above the water and not from divers, I'm betting that divers cant get close to photograph it and this leads to it not being a dramatic looking wreck which leads to it being overlooked. Pithy quotes about history, ignorance and repitition come to mind.


Jedion:  I'm glad you were able to dust off a good chunk of the information in this thread for the latest and greatest Frontier Explorer issue.

I've just been nozing around for a few more tidbits for my "Things that go boom!" articles when I noticed this.

In regards to the USS Arizona memorial. Most photos I've seen only show what you have above, a shot from the waterlline. But, aerial photos exist that give the impact you mention, such as:

Image result for aerial picture of the Uss Arizona memorial

Joe Cabadas

jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 30, 2019 - 4:27am
JCab747 wrote:
jedion357 wrote:
Shadow Shack wrote:
Pity that the USS Arizona doesn't get an honorable mention.



Yeah I agree with that sentiment but since all the pictures of the wreck I've seen in the past 30 years are from above the water and not from divers, I'm betting that divers cant get close to photograph it and this leads to it not being a dramatic looking wreck which leads to it being overlooked. Pithy quotes about history, ignorance and repitition come to mind.


Jedion:  I'm glad you were able to dust off a good chunk of the information in this thread for the latest and greatest Frontier Explorer issue.

I've just been nozing around for a few more tidbits for my "Things that go boom!" articles when I noticed this.

In regards to the USS Arizona memorial. Most photos I've seen only show what you have above, a shot from the waterlline. But, aerial photos exist that give the impact you mention, such as:

Image result for aerial picture of the Uss Arizona memorial



Now that is an impactful picture. and gives you a sense of the wreck.

Also back to the discussion about the Arizona not getting a mention as a dramatic wreck; doesn't the US Navy treat the Arizona as if it is still in commission?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 30, 2019 - 7:35am
Yes, I think the Navy does treat the Arizona as if it was still in commission, but I'll have to check on that.
Joe Cabadas

jedion357's picture
jedion357
May 2, 2019 - 6:27am
Unlike the USS Constitution, the Arizona is not perpetually in commission.[59] Arizona is under the control of the National Park Service, but the U.S. Navy still retains the title.[2] Arizona retains the right, in perpetuity, to fly the United States flag as if she were an active, commissioned naval vessel.[59]

A fact I did not know: the memorial straddles the wreck but does not touch it. Many of the guns were salvaged and reused for shore defense batteries or reinstalled on a new ship- the Nevada.

2.5 quarts of oil leak daily into the harbor.

RE: honorable mention- a derelict is floating and boardable but clearly the Arizona is not however this gives me the thought of PCs boarding something cruiser to Battleship sized after a battle and everyone is dead on board.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!