Modular Cutters

We have two modular cutters.  We also have 4 modules. I know at least one of them is an ATV module. The rest I'm not really sure about. There has been a bit of talk about beefing these ships up a bit. Thought it'd be good to start a topic about it. According to the Core Rulebook they can have up to three ship weapons installed, but only two of these can be lasers because of strain on the power plant.  In Book 2: High Guard things are a little different. A 50 ship can have up to two ship scale weapons and 5 personal scale weapons. The Cutter's sK power plant (p89) Gives her enough power to fire only one energy weapon.  So I guess the first question is which system would we be using? I figured High Guard but I didn't want to assume. 
Something I've been wondering.  Would folks be interested in selling off the civilian cutters we have and replacing them with something that looks like this? This is a military version of the Modular Cutter that Steve Jackson games dreamed up for their GURPs version of Traveller.  The Text on the cover says that "The Assault Cutter is an armored , reinforced version of the Modular Cutter, popular in military applications." I get the feeling that one of the reasons why we don't use the cutters much is that if we ever got caught in a combat we'd be toast. It's not too hard to kill a cutter with one shot from even the weakest starship scale weapons.  This badboy obviously has a two seat cockpit instead of the regular crew cabin. According to Book 2: High Guard that instantly gains the regular cutter design an extra 3 dtons to play with. Giving the ship reinforced structure, hull and armour would easily take up less than 3 tons. (I think. Just about to go check).  A case could be made for this being a "standard design" that we could simply purchase rather than having to wait around for one to be custom made for us. Maybe after the 5th frontier war there is surplus military gear like this being flogged off to eager mercenary units? Just speaking for myself, I'd be more comfortable getting into a cutter that could take a bit more punishment. 

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Current civilian cutter stats ( High Guard p89 ): Modular Cutter Tons Mcr Hull  50tons Streamlined 1 Hull 1 Structure 1.65 Armour None Manoeuvre Drive sK Thrust 4 5 11 Power Plant sK Rating 4 3.9 7.5 Bridge Control cabin for 2 6 0.25 Computer Model/1 Rating 5 0.03 Electronics Standard DM -4 Weapons None Fuel 1 ton 1 week operation 1 Cargo 3.1 Extras Airlock 1 30ton Module 30 Software Manoeuvre/0 Library/0 Total Tonnage & Cost 50 19.458 According to the small craft design section in High Guard (p60) a two man cockpit takes up 1.5t per crew member rather than 3tons. So straight away the Assault Cutter has 6.1 spare tons (current 3.1+3). A TL 11 sK drive would cost 22Mcr instead of 11, but would only weigh 3.75, saving another 1.25 tons. While I was thinking about armour and a reinforced hull it dawned on me that armouring a modular cutter is a little problematic. Would the armour cover the module? If not then does it make sense to use the ships full 50tons of hull when calculating the cost and weight of armour? Same with the Module. Would it be possible to have an armored module? So here's the pitch - I was thinking that it'd make more sense to treat the modular cutter as two separate vehicles when it comes to things like armour. The cutter itself as a 20 ton craft, and the module as a 30 ton. We're drifting in to house rule territory, but doing it this way does make more sense.  So giving the cutter 4 pts of crystaliron armour and reinforced hull ( +3 pts of hull ) would use up 3 tons That's 15% ( 5% for armour, 10% for reinforced hull ) of 20tons.  In combat this would mean that the module is unarmoured and treated as a separate vessel. 30 tons is 60% of the ship. So each time the ship is hit, on a roll of 8+ the cutter itself takes the hit. 7 or less and the module is hit. (That's about a 40/60% roll) If you wanted to have a Module with +4 armour and +3 Hull it would take up 4.5 tons ( 15% ) of the module's 30tons  When it comes to putting weapons on the cutter the 20ton / 30ton split works really well.  50t ship can have 2 ship scale weapons and 5 personal scale weapons.  20t ship can have 1 ship and 2 personal weapons 30t module can have 1 ship and 3 personal weapons.  So having the 20/30 split adds being the same as a 50to ship as far as weapons go. But it does mean that you'd need a special 30t weapon module if you want to be fully armed.  All this is from p 61 of High Guard.   

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Until I cycle out of the Referee chair, Gevaudan must hold his tongue due to potential conflict of interest, bias or <insert faux pas here>.

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Maybe Jim or Bob could give us a ruling on this? The main part that needs a Referee's nod is the part about the module and the cutter being separate entities concerning Armour and space combat.   The idea: Cost and weight of armour for cutter is based on a 20 ton ship instead of a 50 ton because the armour doesn't cover the module.  Cost and weight of armour for a module is based on it being a 30 ton ship.  In combat, each time the ship is hit the cutter is hit on a roll of 8+ (40% chance). 7 or less and the module is hit (60% chance). Otherwise we'll just go ahead and add armour as if she is a 50t ship. In combat I guess the Module would be hit on a "Hold" result on the combat damage table.  And I'm still not 100% sure what module types we have on board at the moment. 
O.K., that I’m for. :) Add in the 4 modules I’ve requested in armored format. It should be noted that treating the Modules as armored separately could prove problematic during ground combat, when you’ve got a big lump of starship the players are hiding in. It might be more appropriate to give them vehicle armor, and apply the full starship armor to the module only when it’s part of the Cutter. I’ll defer to the more experienced on the gameplay balance issues.
Currently, we have one Sealed, Open-frame Cargo Module (Full), and two ATV Modules, one of which has an ATV in it.

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... so we only have three modules?  I've got this dream ... hear me out ...  Two modules for space/ground combat Module one is for the grunts. It has a boarding tube, is armored, and packs some decent personal scale weapons. Also has room for the grav bikes. This module is mainly for getting our ground pounders into the fight, either by hitting the dirt or by cutting into the hull of a disabled ship.  Module two  is a command/communications module. It'd be equipped with an advanced sensor and countermeasure suite, beefy communication gear and holographic goodness. This module has two roles. In space it's our scout. It snoops up ahead with sensors designating targets for the Ares' long range armaments like the Particle Accelerators and Missiles.  On the ground it acts as a command station, allowing folks with leadership and tactics skill to contribute to a fight without actually having to be present ( Like Gorman in the APC in Aliens... but with groovy holographic gear rather than bad 80s video screens ).  Both modules and the cutters that carry them would be as well armoured and as stealthy as we can make them. Usually they would avoid entering into space combat. Their main role would be to sneak up ahead of the ares and spot targets. But if things go bad they'd want to be tough enough to take a few hits.   The thinking behind the idea:  Our last session got me thinking that sometimes we're really going to need leader people to be using their leadership skills. It's probably not too important during a zombie "turkey shoot" but in biffs where the other guys have guns and armour just like we have things like good recon and good leadership are really going to win the day. Because when the other guys have plasma guns it all comes down to who gets to shoot first. Having a Gorman style portable command center that would let people use a greater range of skills. Comms, Sensors, Leadership, Tactics, Recon, Remote ops. People with skills like that would be better off out of harm's way with the tools that will let them do their thing. They could help detect enemy forces before contact, raise initiative through leadership skill checks, "aid" skill checks, call in orbital strikes based on information fed to them from the grunts up front ... there would be plenty for folks to do in the command module.  In space our weapons have a greater range than our sensors ( about to make a separate post about that ). If a sneaky ship with good passive sensors is up front spotting targets for long range attacks that fire from too far away for the target to spot or effectively return fire against the attacker, we'd be on a real winner.    During boarding actions we're better off sending a small craft to board than boarding with the ares. That way we're save against counter boarding.  I just like the look of those Steve Jackson cutters. More like a gunship and less like a love toy. 

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Reposting, as it’s better off here: Cutter Modules: An armored, secure, luxurious, "Company Heads, VIP, & Entourage" transport module, with room for a cluster of bodyguards and a steward or two An armored and armed "Dropship" module with pintle-mounted weapons, for deploying troops to hostile territory and securing the center of camp An armored "Barracks & Motorpool" module, with Bunks and Company Motorpool, for prolonged stays away from the ship An armored "Company Tent" module, with Company Mess, Briefing Room, Commander's Office, & Officer's suites, for prolonged stays away from the ship The boarding tube should arguably be part of the “Dropship” module; I think the “Barracks & Motorpool” module would have the Grav Bikes and the ATV or G-Carrier covered. There may be some room in the “Company Tent” module for the Sensors and ECM stuff; we could arguably move the “Company Mess” somewhere else, like maybe the “Head Honcho” module... To date, my Imperium Grav Bike has been serving as the “Forward Observer” sensors platform, albeit mostly for ground operations; but you do have a point for space operations, and having some sensors at home base.
While we're putting together the command module, thought it'd be good to put this stuff here for reference to see if we can fit it in: Countermeasures Suite:   A countermeasures suite is specifically designed for jamming enemy transmissions. It is functionally equivalent to an advanced sensor suite, but has a higher DM for counter–measures. Meson transmissions cannot be jammed. The DM for these sensors is +4.  (Takes up 7 tons and costs 6Mcr) Briefing Room:   A specialised briefing room is useful on mercenary cruisers and other adventuring ships, where teams can discuss plans or meet with clients privately. A briefing room gives a +1 DM to Tactics (military tactics) checks made when planning missions on board ship.  ( 4 tons, 0.5Mcr) I was thinking that either the command module or dropship module be equipped with cryoberths and a state room to function as a medical station. I guess the one most likely to be performing medi-vacs ... which I guess would be the dropship?  Cryoberth (TL 10): A cryoberth, or ‘icebox’, is a coffi n-like machine similar to the low or frozen berths used on some spacecraft. The main difference is that a cryoberth works much faster than a low berth, freezing and preserving its occupant almost instantly. A cryoberth can therefore be used to place a severely injured character into stasis until he receives medical treatment. While in a cryoberth, a character’s wounds neither heal nor degrade and all disease and poison activity is halted. In effect, all biological functions are suspended until the cryoberth is deactivated and the character thaws. A cryoberth’s internal power system can function for up to one week on its own, but a berth is usually connected to a vehicle’s power supply. Wt. 200 kg, Cr. 50,000.
7 dTons? Ow... We’ll see... Now, one thing that has always bugged me about the Briefing Room is whether an existing multipurpose room can be a briefing room or not... I’m inclined to say “Why the hell not?”, but I do wonder. If we add “Briefing Room” costs to the “Company Mess”, does that work, or not? It would sure shave off unnecessary wasted space for “Another room big enough to comfortably fit 10 people”... Yeah, an Infirmary should go in the Dropship Module; it’s best there; I knew I was forgetting something...

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I get the feeling that things like the the ship's "Company Mess" as well as the sick bay are all thanks to the 6tons paid for each stateroom. A portion of that 6 ton space is used for corridors and things like "common areas". So if we're going by the numbers on the ships stats rather than the deck plans  ( which are a bit off if you check ) we could reduce the number of staterooms available and turn one of them into into a briefing room.  Having it on board the cutter could mean that we have a briefing area on the ground. That could be handy. 

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I know what you’re trying to say, but that’s not really what I’m getting at, which is, how many different purposes can a common area be specialized to? Only one? Multiple? Unlimited?
Yeah ... I duno.  I guess any empty space could be used for anything. If we have our briefing around the dinner table and just use a regular holo projector it's still a briefing. It just hasn't got the nick-naks to provide the +1like the 4ton Briefing Room does.  I guess the 4 tons is for nicer chairs, coffee machine, groovy holo projectors and wall charts, and maybe a white board with black, blue, green and red markers ( you need all the colours to get the +1 to tactics ). 
Neither interactive whiteboards, holoprojectors, or chairs get in the way of eating dinner. Arguably, the coffee machine will be just off of the mess in the galley. The part I wonder about is “What makes the ‘Briefing Room’ so special that you can’t just tuck the required tech into an existing room serving an additional function some of the time?”. The modules are going to be pretty tight for space as it is; not really much “extra”...

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I was kinda joking about the coffee machine and whiteboard. Point was that maybe if you have a "Briefing Room" that is also usable for other things then maybe it isn't "Briefing Room" enough to get the +1 bonus? Hard to have a serious tactical military discussion if the engineering crew are also in there having their breakfast. 
Yeah, that’s the issue; we don’t need a full Briefing Room and a full Company Mess simultaneously ; so long as the room can only needs to do one at a time, can it do both?
Alby, I’m currently planning out the Cutter Modules as 4 squares wide by 4 squares tall by 7.5 squares long; that’s 30 dTons; strictly speaking, the bottom 5.3 meters or so will be 2 decks, with the “unused” 0.7 meter high portion of the 2 decks going to a 4-square wide Cutter spine... which may leave just enough , maybe half a meter of room, for someone to crawl down to the engineering end if they absolutely must . The modules won’t be much good for sound-proofing... it’ll be pretty clanky in there between floors, I think. Having a Cutter Module 3 squares high wastes a lot of badly needed space; with 4 high, you get 2 fully usable decks; even with that, things are a bit cramped. How high is that G-Carrier, and is that a canon plan for how much space one uses?
When I say “Motor Pool” here, I mean “Motor Pool”; all the vehicles are garaged with enough space for any 1 of them to be repaired at a given time... which mostly means “enough room to repair the G-Carrier, and enough room to move the other vehicles around to fix the thing that needs it”. Plus a fuel cache and pump. Leaving a vehicle out in the open where it can be observed or left behind in a rush is a bad plan. I’m currently prioritizing the G-Carrier, the Air Raft, and the two Grav Bikes. Like you, I see the ATV as a bit of a dead horse in comparison.

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In theory all the vehicles could fit into one module. 10t for the ATV, 8t for the G-Carrier, 4t for the air raft and maybe 2t for both bikes. That's only 24t total so strictly by the numbers we'd have 6t to spare.  But at some point logic kicks in. How do they get in and out? Is there enough room to move around and board these vehicles? And even though the numbers add up, their shape and size hasn't really been taken into account.  (will repost that pic I sent to you here.) In my scribblings I actually went for a 4square by 3 square by 10 square. If we're working with 4squares equaling 1 ton then that comes to exactly 30.  My main thinking behind 3 square height instead of 4 squares is that the cutter itself could be 4 high by 4 wide, but if the module itself is only 3 high it would allow for the spine of the cutter. I tried to illustrate that idea in the central "cross section" images above with both a cylinder and a rectangular module. The black part at the top of each module is the spine of the cutter.  I think the theory behind the ATV module is that 10t is taken up by the ATV itself, and the rest of the tonnage allows access to and maintenance of the vehicle. From High Guard p46: Hangar : Normally, when a small craft is included in the design of a larger one, it is installed into a form–fitting enclosure in the hull of the mother vessel. The scout’s air/raft, for example, is carried in a small compartment in the forward section, with barely enough room for passengers to scramble on board. Most repairs and maintenance require the air/raft to be launched first. Adding a full–scale hangar allows for repairs and maintenance of the small craft when they are back on the ship. The hangar includes spare parts and specialised testing and repair equipment for the stored craft. A hangar requires 30% of the space allocated to the small craft, and costs MCr 0.2/ton.  EDIT: Went to bed with a headache last night. Forgot to finish this...  So according to High guard, if the module is going to act as an actual garage then we need to allow an additional 30% of space for shuffle room and workshop space.  For the image on the right the box representing the G-carrier is really just a place holder. Because it's a 24 square space, with a 3m high roof that makes for 12 tons ... which I figured would easily accommodate a G-carrier. With High Guard's "+30% gives you hanger space" rule then there would even be room to move around and perform repairs. A 12 ton area could also accommodate an ATV. An ATV "hanger" would require 13 tons however. If the module was a rectangular one with a 4.5m (3 square) high roof like in the lower central image then you'd easily have enough space for an ATV hanger. This is where it comes down to the actual dimensions of the ATV. Most modules are portrayed as having a hatch on front leading to the bridge and a hatch toward the back leading toward the engine room. We wouldn't strictly have to stick to that (I doubt the fuel module does) but if we did then itd be good to figure out how the ATV exits the module. G-Carrier isn't such a headache. It could drift in sideways. ATVs need ramps and turning space if they come in from the side though. So maybe if we're having a "garage" module we'd want one with a big roller door on the back or something. Would mean the ATV could only leave the module if it the cutter carrying it was detached. Either that or we could have a hatch on the module's belly and have a big claw release the ATV, dumping it on the ground as the Cutter hovers above. That would look sweet! Dump and run kind of thing.  When we're speaking strictly about volume, both grav bikes displace less than 1dton. So with them it's really just a matter of figuring out how they're stored. I figured they could be mounted on wall racks and made to hover down near the exit when needed. They could also be coupled to the ceiling so that they float down when unfastened. In the pic I just put them there in the open area as if they were "ready to go".  If we're going to keep the ATV, getting all of our vehicles into one module may be a bit of a stretch, but I think it could be done. There may be situations where grav vehicles are no good. High winds and such. Maybe it'd be easier to have the G-Carrier hangered in the "Drop Ship" module seeing that it's more of a combat vehicle, and the rest of them in a "Garage" module?

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I figure we’re ditching the ATV, but you’re forgetting we need to accommodate the Air Raft. Yeah, the G-Carrier may need to be moved to the “Dropship Module”.
You're about to fall in love...  I found this bad boy in the Merchants and Cruisers supplement, p12  There is a civilian and military version. Holds 2x30 ton modules. And how groovy does she look! It's like a tough version of Space 1999s Eagle! So in love.  Stat wise this ship is pretty much a 50 ton cutter x2. She weighs 100tons and can accelerate at 4Gs. The military version has a B-Laser and Sandcaster in a turret as well as a pair of autocannons. We could technically turn one of these into something that looks like Papa Dragon from Avatar though. A 100t small craft can mount up to 10 personal scale weapons. So far it only totes two.  If we restored our jump drive we could carry up to 4 of these. Or maybe two, with an additional 6 modules if the Ref is willing to let us treat modules as ships for the purpose of docking claps.  A heavy variant holds a single 60 ton module. 
Suddenly keen on the Heavy Cutter idea again. Thought I'd try selling it you you guys again... Heavy Modular Cutter Type 1C Tons Mcr Hull  100 dons Streamlined 2 Hull 2 Structure 2.35 Armour (Crystaliron) 4pts 5 0.4 Manoeuvre Drive sP Thrust 4 9 18 Power Plant sP Rating 4 6.3 7 Bridge Control cabin for 2 6 0.25 Computer Model/1 Rating 5 0.03 Electronics Standard DM -4 Weapons None Fuel 1 ton 1 week operation 1 Staterooms Cabin space For 1  1.5 0.05 Cargo 4.2 4.2 Extras Airlock x2 2 0.4 Aerofins +2 DM 5 0.5 Modules 2x 30ton Module 60 1.29 Software Manoeuvre/0 Library/0 Total Tonnage & Cost 100 35.24 There are the stats for the "Civilian" Model. The military model is pretty much the same except that it gives up some cargo space for a turret and weapons.