Ship Breakdown While At Near Jump Velocity

iggy's picture
September 18, 2011 - 9:23am
I'm putting together a scenario where a tramp freighter is making it's rounds through the Frontier. It is on it's way from Fromeltar to Theseus with stops in Prenglar and Timeon.  The ship does not need to stop in Dramune, Cassidine, or new Streel.  Typically I have seen this as the ship jumps to the system then while at near jump velocity changes it's vector and calculates the jump to the new star.    By KH rules the capability to jump is governed by the engines.  Atomics need overhauls, ion drives do not.  The stop at Prenglar is for atomic engine overhaul. I want the ship to breakdown when it reaches Cassidine due to typical marginal maintenance of a tramp freighter.  This breakdown needs to involve calling for a tow.  But, if the ship just entered the system from a jump it is traveling at near jump velocity.  So my question is what should the ship breakdown be?

Second related question is if I switch to ion engines so that the overhaul at Prenglar doesn't need to be part of the plan, what should the breakdown in Cassidine be?

rattraveller's picture
September 18, 2011 - 9:54am
If a ship returns from jump and still has the velocity of the jump they are not going to need a tow they are going to need grappling hooks to stop them from hitting something. No engines mean no way to slow down and you just keep going and going.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
September 18, 2011 - 11:48am
A blow out in the Modulated Ridiculous Conduit seems most likely to me.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
September 18, 2011 - 11:57am
An ADF:0 drive failure followed by a failed 96-00 repair roll (or is it 99-00, whatever the rules state to mandate dry dock repairs) will require a tow...
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Ascent's picture
September 18, 2011 - 1:24pm
The problem is that there needs to be available tow ships between their entry to the system and their destination, otherwise the ships will have to come from their destination and stop them after they overshoot and then tow them back. But that's only if there are tow ships available with a high enough ADF and maximum speed to catch the runaway ship.

"Runaway Tramp" is a good name for the adventure. Of course "Silver Tramp", "Cassidine 1-2-3" and "Velocity" bring up some nostalgic ideas for making it more exciting.
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TerlObar's picture
September 18, 2011 - 1:58pm
And I'd have them slow down somewhat before the drives fail.  If they are just barely under jump speed, then there is a good chance that they can't be rescued.  Since 1% c is a hard speed limit, the rescue ship can't exceed that when trying to catch them.  So unless you manage to get a ship out on their path and can get it accelerating to the point that it manages to match velocity with the damaged ship right when it is close to the damaged ship, it could be months or years until the slight speed differential allows it to catch up.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
September 18, 2011 - 4:26pm
Ascent wrote:
But that's only if there are tow ships available with a high enough ADF and maximum speed to catch the runaway ship.

Maximum speed would be sub-Void speed. Any ship, regardless of ADF (with ADF:1 being the minimum), can attain that speed, given sufficient fuel. In the case of atomic and ion drives, fuel supply isn't an issue considering full tankage well exceeds any insystem travel needs...but even a chem thruster with enough fuel can attain those speeds at a rate of ADF:1 (not likely, as it would basically consist of a cockpit and thrusters strapped to a colossal fuel tank to do so). Re: 0+1=1, 1+1=2, 2+1=3, etc etc etc all the way up to (Void Speed)-1.

So let's just say for the sake of simplicty that Void Speed = 100 hex/turn, it would take 99 turns for a ship with ADF:1 to accelerate from a dead stop to to 99 hex/turn to match velocity with a disabled sub-Void Speed craft.

Now the real trick is plotting a trajectory to intercept, rather than attempt to overtake/pass the drifting craft...because if you overtake that velocity you simply end up entering the Void.

Regardless of drives and ADF, the disabled craft in question can expect a delay measured in days --- if not tendays --- as a tow craft can be dispatched accordingly, assuming any are available. Lots of subspace communication would be needed, reporting positions to the destination station etc since they would be well out of radar range the entire time. In other words, lots of insystem astrogator work on behalf of both the disabled craft and tow craft.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

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Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
September 18, 2011 - 6:38pm
After reading all the posts, I'm about to have a breakdown!Foot in mouth