Raiding Masking Screen H2O for Ion fuel

jedion357's picture
June 22, 2015 - 5:55pm
Rules question here:

if you needed to use masking screen "fuel" for ion engines how much fuel would you get out of that?

some examples:

1: HS6 research vessel designed with ion engines instead of atomics and with masking screen for defense (though its also intended that MS water is for extended range fueling the ion engines) Masking screens must create a cloud of ice particles to protect the whole ship thus the larger the ship the more water required for one masking screen "shot" so how to equate a MS shot by hull size into fuel?

2: freighter crew is low on fuel and they are closing on a wreck/derelict with a MS and intend to raid the water for fuel, they'll need to carry some parabatteries over to connect to the water tank heaters and melt the ice then string a pumping hose between ships and drain the tank dry.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
June 22, 2015 - 7:16pm
For starters, unless the ship had processing equipment to convert the water to liquid hydrogen the ADF will be ½ (meaning one hex of acceleration every other turn) per the ion fuel rules. Also per the rules, each drive stores 10,000 units of fuel and uses one unit per ADF point used, so you really do not need a lot of fuel...less than 500 units per drive for a jump.

Now here's where it gets masking screen charge consumes 25 cubic meters according to the rules. The Ion A drive of a 31 cubic meter HS:1 vessel and the Ion C drive of a 4,710,000 cubic meter HS:20 craft both hold 10,000 units of fuel. Going by this logic (if you really want to abuse the word logic), 10,000 units of liquid hydrogen will fit in a 31 cubic meter craft, as will 25 cubic meters worth of masking screen recharge. It's still up in the air if a MS recharge is larger or smaller than 10K worth of LHyd...but I would probably rule the MS recharge is larger since the screen is a MHS:4 system and a HS:1 ship can have ion drives.

Realistically, there should be a formula that determines how much fuel and MS recharge is needed per hull size, but the rules being what they are it's a universal number that works from HS:1 to 20 (or in the case of the masking screen, HS:4-20). Since I have ruled the MS recharge takes up more space than 10K worth of fuel ---based on the rules as written, mind you --- it's safe to say a single MS charge would fill one Ion drive to capacity, meaning you would have 10,000 units worth of ADF:½ fuel that gets consumed at the rate of 2 per ADF point used.
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