Tchklinxa's picture
May 17, 2016 - 4:48am
SF has several Pirate 'organizations' that appear in it.

However I was thinking on the nature of pirates in RL vs SF. In SF we seem to have Pirate armies, versus just the owner operator small business pirate ship of old.

I think there should be room for the following: the small time pirate operation, small organized groups, big groups, rival groups/ships, pirate coves, pirate extended families.

Privateers: Pirates that have a piece of paper authorizing them to be pirates against a specific enemy of said government (Sir Francis Drake)... mercenaries/pirate line could be pretty thin.

Pirate group also seems to be very human on Volturnus.

If a government where to actually invade a "pirate island" I doubt they would kill everyone in the settlement or would they? 

I am thinking of making some rival or competing groups to RD, Privateer captains/ships and so on.

Anyhow just some thoughts...

 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."

iggy's picture
May 27, 2016 - 5:26pm
All detection is limited to in system.  Another star system is too far away for something as small as a ship to be detectable.  I would think that a scan looking for a ship on the other side of the system's star would be blocked by the immisions of the star.  So, scanning is pretty limited the closer you ar to the star.  Also, the further away the ship detected in the scan, the longer it takes for the computers to determine the ship mass, velocity, and direction.

I see scanning this way.  Principle is broad radar, thermal, and visual scans. 

The computers take the noise level radar data that you get and watch for any patterns in the noise that could represent an actual radar return and not just background radiation.  Then the computer flags those polar and azmuth angles for the operator.  The operator can then choose to put a strong radar sweep around those coordinates and see if something substancial is reflected.  This would detect a ship at the furthest radar range.

The computers take continuous thermal images and compare hot spots logged in the database.  If anything changes location or does not belong to the known themal signatures of the sytem for the ship's present location then that coordinate is feed to another thermal camera equiped with a strong power telescope and a series of long exposures is made to check what is there.  At the extreem range of the telescope all that would be seen is a dark grey pixel.  This pixel would brighten as the object gets closer and spread to other pixels.  The hotter the object the brighter the pixels.  Eventually enough pixels are filled for a discernable shape of a ship to appear.

Much the same as thermal because all they are is camera systems operating on different wavelengths of light.

In fact, I shouldn't separate thermal and visual because they are all part of optical scanning and a good optical scanning array would have imagers for various spectra from gamma, to x-ray, to ultraviolet, to visual, to infrared, to microwave, to radio.  The difference is passive scanning where you are watching and analyzing patterns in the spectra observed and active scanning where you send out a burst of an electromagnetic signal and watch for part of it to bounce back to you like radar does with radio waves.

Another part of scanning to remember is that all of this is bounded by the speed of light.  The further out an object emitting or reflecting an electromagnetic signal is, the longer it is going to take for the signal to get to your detectors.  The result is that you know where the object WAS, not where it IS.  So, you have to track the object successivily and build up enough data to determine it's trajectory so you can know where it IS by knowing where it WOULD BE from your last observed location.  Now, if the object is a space ship and can thus change it's trajectory things are all messed up.  Where the object WAS observed no longer determines where it IS now.  The space ship changes it's thrust vector and now the computers have to start again gathering enough data to determine the new trajectory so you are blind until enough observations have happened.  The further out the space ship is the longer this blind period is.

TerlObar may have some of this knowledge, but discovering things space ship size like asteroids or comets that are out by the jovian planets from Earth takes days and weeks.  Once they see the object then they can keep tracking it but the first discovery is hard and time consuming.  So, scanning for other ships in a system is tedious and takes diligence.  Computers will do most of the work but the PCs will still have to make the final judgement calls for early dection if they do not want to wait for the ship to be too close to identified by the computer.

This brings me back to the thoughts I posted earlier.  You will see ships coming in advance and chases will be long long drawn out events taking days before brief episodes of action take place.  Go wath the movie Master and Commander.  They chase for days and dance around each other for hours before they engage for battle.  Just drop the final hand to hand combat as part of the broad sides because the ranged weapons of space and speeds involved mean the looser is dead adrift before any boarding takes place.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
May 28, 2016 - 2:14am
rattraveller wrote:
The detection process has one other little flaw. It assumes the engines are on. Once you reach the speed you want, since space is frictionless you don't need engines anymore.

Actually you wouldn't need thrust, but the drives are still on while coasting as you need them to power the rest of the ship's systems. This was actually spelled out in Dramune Run concerning the Gullwind's bank of parabatteries that are used as emergency power when the drives are off. 

The one exception I see here would be chemical drives since they are only used to accelerate from the point of origin and shut off until the destination where it slows down on the other end...to which I rule that an extensive electrical power system would need to be invoked (thus furthering my theory that it would take a prohibitive amount of space for chem drive fuel to attain jump velocity, since it has the same ADF as an Ion drive even the largest system ships would have too much space dedicated to ship power with drives off to permit such a fuel payload).

JCab747 wrote:

Isn't another problem about traditional KH rules the fact that there isn't supposed to be any time during Void travel? If you accelerate to enter it, how and who would have figured out a way to decelerate in the Void when there is no "time" to do so?

Actually the rules state that a few seconds are spent in the void but with no specification as to how many. I simply rule one second per light year travelled. This would all be part of the astogator's calculations, and the ship would be programmed to decelerate via reverse thrust rather than spinning the tail around as there simply wouldn't be enough time for such a maneuver.

Reverse thrust can be explained by airliner engines, the rear cowls fold over the afterburner like a clamshell ths redirecting the thrust forward; this is why you feel a burst of deceleration when landing and you can actually hear the engines whining at a higher pitch in the process. As far as sci-fi settings go, you can also see this via General Greivous' ship in Revenge of the Sith just before it breaks apart...you can see the same principal was invoked by Lucas for that scene.

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

My SF website

ChrisDonovan's picture
May 27, 2016 - 10:21pm
Which I never got.  If you reverse the hot exhaust back into the engine itself, aren't you going to burn the turbine components?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
May 28, 2016 - 2:26am
ChrisDonovan wrote:
Which I never got.  If you reverse the hot exhaust back into the engine itself, aren't you going to burn the turbine components?

The thrust doesn't reverse through the engine itself, rather it is redirected over the engine cowling instead. Here's the clam shell version Lucas mimicked in SW for Greivous' command ship:

...and an alternate method where side flaps open up on the cowl for redirecting the thrust:

Come to think of it, Lucas utilized that one as well...if you caught the fully restored pod race sequences from Episode 1 in the deleted scenes we saw Sebulba "flash" an opponent next to him utilizing a similar method. Anakin even mentions it in the theatrical cut when he explains how he lost his last race but managed to save the pod racer.

So it is entirely feasible to have such a system that redirects thrust forward on a Star Frontiers engine nacelle to permit a deceleration sans flipping the tail around 180º. It doesn't have to be as efficient as flipping the tail around --- and on the airplanes it isn't as efficient either, hence brakes for the landing gear in addition to the reverse thrust --- rather it simply needs to slow the ship down just enough to bring it back out of the void. 
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Bluddworth's picture
May 28, 2016 - 3:55am
I created a new project (my first) called "A Pirate's Life for Me"  please feel free to join it and contribute.

ChrisDonovan's picture
May 28, 2016 - 5:07am
@ Shadow Shack: I get it now. TYVM.

rattraveller's picture
May 28, 2016 - 9:23am
A space ship may be warm but since heat does not travel in the vacuum of space how are you proposing a ship is detected by heat?
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

TerlObar's picture
May 28, 2016 - 9:27am
Heat does travel, but only by radiation (Infrared wavelengths) and not convection.  So any good IR detector should be able to see a ship thermally.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
May 28, 2016 - 1:24pm
Back to pirate owned civilian craft, here is a pirate freighter which I utilized in my reverse Volturnus trilogy game, updated since I created it for said game years ago. The craft can accomodate up to 18 crew but certainly does not need that many for basic operation. For the newer members not familiar with my house-rule Pod Laser Turret, it is a MHS:2 weapon with a 50K range designed for heavy fighters...simply put it's the Dragon magazine Pod Laser system in a turret instead of fixed/forward firing. 

In my original reverse Volturnus game, a warship disabled the Serena Dawn's drives to allow the freighter carrying the players to move in for a boarding action. Later, it's the freighter's guns that start pelting away at the Dawn (re: the ship starts shaking and convulting in the original game as the players made their way to the lifeboats).

As you can see, there are numerous piracy scenarios where this ship can be utilized:

> Feigning Distress --- when the target gets close enough the PLT weapons attempt to disable the inbound craft. Once successful, this leads to...

> Boarding Actions --- up to 18 crew translates to a fair sized boarding party that can overtake a small civilian freighter crew easily enough, or even a militia scout crew if the pirates were bold enough. Additional crew members w/KH skills can be utilized to commandeer the newly acquired ship, barring that the pirates' hold is large enough to carry the swag home.

> Evading Pursuit --- the craft has above average performance, much like the original host craft presented in Dramune Run. This also makes it equally useful when chasing prey.

> Additional Firepower --- in addition to the pair of turrets, the heavy fighter adds another level of lethal combat to the mix. Even if the freighter is feigning distress, the fighter can be launched at any time to assist in the disabling procedures.

> Support --- such a ship can linger in the background for any pirate fleet maneuvers (re: pirate grade warships) and can even pursue any wounded stragglers if the occassion presents itself. Once the warships disable their intended craft, the freighter can move in to assist with boarding and plundering not to mention the aforementioned hold to carry any large amounts of swag back home.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

JCab747's picture
May 28, 2016 - 5:35pm
Shadow Shack wrote:
Back to pirate owned civilian craft, here is a pirate freighter which I utilized in my reverse Volturnus trilogy game...

Joe Cabadas

Bluddworth's picture
May 31, 2016 - 6:23am
I like the idea of doing a some of the adventures from the pirate's perspective.  However to avoid any conflcits with the timeline or the lore, the adventures will take place on the peremeter of the historic events.  

My first will have the charaters starting on a pirate frigate that is acting as a support / resupply vessel for the pirates on Volturnus, for example.  This character group's actions will not cross the path of the character group or the specific pirate group who's story is being told in the official module.  

This method of "parallel events" is something that is done often with IPs that have an established history and lore in cases where the fan base would lose their minds over any deviation from that lore or timeline.  If you have played Lord of the Rings Online, you'll know what I mean.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
May 31, 2016 - 6:47am
I ran a parallel adventure right here in the SF.us game room using the Clarion Royal Marines militia as the basis of the game. Characters served aboard the SMS Falcon and ran a set of missions that coincide with the module. For example, they were dispatched to investigate the Dark Shadow but were called off for another mission while the Osprey was dispatched to the Shadow. They even had a run in with Garlus Tylappar & the Gullwind that precedes the Dramune Run module...the synopsis of that can be seen in the current issue of the Frontier Explorer. ;)
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Tchklinxa's picture
June 1, 2016 - 11:39am
I am thinking of adding SE rules on how close to a star a ship leave void space... as the tech improves in that game the closer to a star ships can exist void.

I am slao thinking of working on some other ideas... 
 "Never fire a laser at a mirror."