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Cargo and its Effect on Performance
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder whether or not it would be appropriate to use a different rule for different craft. Space transports are specifically designed to haul mass amounts of cargo, whereas starfighters and/or capital ships have cargo capacity that is secondary or tertiary to their primary mission. And with capital ships, the cargo capacity value is nearly meaningless. I can't think of any incidents I've encountered in-universe where cargo capacity on a starfighter or capital ship was even an issue, whereas cargo capacity on a smuggler or tramp freighter campaign crops up rather often.
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shootingwomprats
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think something everyone is forgetting is we are talking about a universe that has repulsor fields, ray guns, hyperspace travel, energy shields, etc. The way to explain this is very simple. Gravity control, just like what is used throughout ships. Cargo holds have gravity field that during flight is dialed down. This way is has no effect on the handling of a craft.

Another thing everyone is forgetting is that some vehicles, specifically those designed to carry a load like a semi, drive better under a load than without one. Are you going to take the time to take this into consideration?

Where do you want the crunch to end? By adding this level of detail, will it slow the game down, change the focus or warrant this level of detail for your game style? Now if its an academic question that is one thing, but a game mechanic?
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CRMcNeill
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Location: Redding System, California Sector, on the I-5 Hyperspace Route.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

shootingwomprats wrote:
I think something everyone is forgetting is we are talking about a universe that has repulsor fields, ray guns, hyperspace travel, energy shields, etc. The way to explain this is very simple. Gravity control, just like what is used throughout ships. Cargo holds have gravity field that during flight is dialed down. This way is has no effect on the handling of a craft.

I don't think we've forgotten about it, but we do recognize that the technology will have a maximum upward limit. Specifically, if you keep cramming cargo into a ship, it will eventually surpass the ship's ability to compensate for it.

Quote:
Another thing everyone is forgetting is that some vehicles, specifically those designed to carry a load like a semi, drive better under a load than without one. Are you going to take the time to take this into consideration?

Yes, semi trucks do handle more smoothly when under a load. However, even light loads cause noticeable delays in acceleration, not to mention how quickly the truck gets bogged down going up hills. And since ship speeds in the SWU are essentially a measurement of acceleration...

Quote:
Where do you want the crunch to end? By adding this level of detail, will it slow the game down, change the focus or warrant this level of detail for your game style? Now if its an academic question that is one thing, but a game mechanic?

Some points...
1) The issue of fully loaded vs. empty and how it affects performance has come up at least once in the EU (see Han Solo at Star's End, and the escape from Orron III).
2) The campaign where this is most likely to come up (Tramp Freighters) already has an increased degree of crunch to it. People who enjoy that kind of campaign will more readily accept a little more complexity.
3) Whatever optional rule we come up with here will be just that: an optional rule. No one will have to use it in their games if they don't want, and everyone here has their own style of gaming.

Speaking for myself, I'm okay with a simple rule that can be easily applied as opposed to a massively complex rule that requires a spreadsheet and a lot of in-game calculation.
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Mojomoe
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eh, I like a little of both. That is, my games tend to have a little more crunch, but I generally prefer the rules (or optional rules) to have even further crunch.

I'll explain. After years of GMing WEG, I know the rules abstractions off the top of my head. I can tell you what the modifier is, for example, of a half-paralyzed Wookiee under light stun firing an off-hand bowcaster in a snowstorm - but that's only because the rules get obsessively crunchy enough to allow me to abstract.

For this reason I'm always in favor of more crunch vs less crunch - I study my crunch tables the way Mr. Scott studies engineering diagrams - so that I can abstract it down to a gut check. For this, I'd metabolize the detailed cargo crunch tables, to be able to say "your YT-2400 is carrying 180% of its load capacity with overclocked thrusters? Maneuverability -1D, but Space speed stays the same after Cautious." <-- totally made up.

But that's just to say, everybody likes a different amount of crunch. I gather from you guys that you like to run really low-crunch games. I tend to as well, but my players have a tendency to ask very crunchy questions on occasion that require logical solutions, and I run my rulings as binding: if I say an emergency airlock can be used to vent drive plasma, it WILL come up in a future game and be used against me; I gotta be prepared!

Plus for me, that's half the fun. It's my job to know everything there is to know about the Star Wars universe, its rule, and its mechanics. As my players note, "I am the Galaxy." Smile. So it never hurts to know the cargo encumberence tables off the top of my head, even if actually calculating them in game I would consider far too tedious.

Anyway, end of exposition! I agree that it seems excessive, AND I'm enjoying discussing it!

But then again, I'm the guy trying to make deckplans for the Star Destroyer, so maybe take it with a grain of salt.

ETA - I should also note that I used to run really low-crunch games, but my situation is rather unique: I've been running the same campaign, with the same players, since 1996. Over that amount of time, ruling inconsistencies crop up and my guys notice. I've found a need for occasionally increasing crunch in order to be sure my rulings are logical - just in case an arbitrary call bites me in the butt and ruins an adventure 5 years later. Plus, as a mark of pride to my players, I never say "because I say so." If I don't have a good reason for a ruling, I rule in their favor. It's generally made for a long lasting and very amicable long term campaign. Smile ...So, everyone's situation is assuredly different.
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crmcneill wrote:

Yes, semi trucks do handle more smoothly when under a load. However, even light loads cause noticeable delays in acceleration, not to mention how quickly the truck gets bogged down going up hills. And since ship speeds in the SWU are essentially a measurement of acceleration...


That's because the biggest limit on top speed for a vehicle in an atmosphere is the drag force caused by the atmosphere. Weight carried isn't that much of a limit-except in terms of acceleration. In fact, more weight means greater force pushing the vehicles against the ground resulting in more traction and better handling.

Greater weigth will put more wear and tear on the vehicle, especially if it was designer to perform at high revs -such as a sports car. Utility vehicles are designed to give more torque at the low end of their power curve.

The tricky bit with doing this is that not all cargo capacity in the RPG is the same. With a freighter, cargo capacity at least partially factors in the mass carried. With a starfighter, I think it is really more of a matter of space available. It's the difference better having a cargo hold and a trunk.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the interests of simplicity and decrunchification, here is what I've settled on as a general rule for cargo encumbrance for Space Transports only.
    % used of Cargo Capacity = Penalty
    0-50% = No Penalty
    51%-100% = High Speed Maximum
    101%-150% = Cruising Speed Maximum, +5 to Maneuver Difficulty
    151%-200% = Cautious Speed Maximum, +10 to Maneuver Difficulty

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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a pretty steep penalty. Real World vehicles could haul a lot more.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<shrug> If you can come up with something as basic as this that you think is more appropriate, I'm all ears.
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me see if I can clarify the physics behind my position.

To be limited to cautious speed a vehicle would have to be towing 3 other, identical vehicles. So overloading the cargo hold probably isn't going to have that severe of an effect - unless you are filling the hold up with gold.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So suggest an alternative, then.
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

crmcneill wrote:
So suggest an alternative, then.


Fair enough. I will put something together.
I think there needs to be two tables though. One for freighters and one for starfighters- as cargo space in starfighters is a smaller percentage of the ship's mass. Either than or I'd have to come up with masses for all the ships.

The latter approach is better, but more work.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree two different rules are appropriate. I also prefer some form of hard upper limit for ships trying to haul more than their listed cargo capacity.
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crmcneill wrote:
I agree two different rules are appropriate. I also prefer some form of hard upper limit for ships trying to haul more than their listed cargo capacity.


Problem is there wouldn't be one. The ship would just move slower and slower. But if we go with loss of moves, then the limit would probably be at around 12-13 times it's cargo capacity. To get that much a freighter would probably need external pods, or be acting like a tug boat.

I might be able to use the same table for starfighters by with a modifier. Probably something like x1000. The problem for them will be finding space for it.

Something like conformal cargo pods would seem to make sense for fighters. They could increase the cargo capacity, but knock off a little speed or maneuverability.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

atgxtg wrote:
Problem is there wouldn't be one. The ship would just move slower and slower. But if we go with loss of moves, then the limit would probably be at around 12-13 times it's cargo capacity. To get that much a freighter would probably need external pods, or be acting like a tug boat.

If we were playing with a system that is a realistic simulation of reality, you would be correct. What we have instead is an imperfect simulation in which a ship has a hard limit of cargo capacity (i.e. one that it can't go over) which does not affect the ship's performance in any way. I'm not looking for a way for a rules lawyer to shoehorn 1200 metric tons of cargo into a YT-1300 just because "that's the way it would work in real life." What I want is a rule that is a reasonable simulation of cargo degrading performance that fits reasonably well within the confines of the existing system without requiring too much in-game math to calculate out exactly how many Space units a ship loses because it is overloaded with cargo.

Now, the concept I posted above works perfectly for me; its simple, its penalties apply to the existing Speed and Movement system without having to do math on the fly. If my percentages are off, I can accept that; it was just something I threw together. If you have suggestions for weight percentages that are more realistic, I'm willing to take that into account. However, as far as achieving balance between simplicity and realism, my perspective has experienced a definite shift towards simplicity of late.
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I suppose it depends on what we consider reasonable. And that varies from person to person.

As far as simplicity goes, the RAW is about as simple as you can get. A ship can carry X tons and that's is that. In some cases cargo volume is mentioned (I think they used a 2:1 ratio).

Now if you want to allow for overloading cargo you are adding complexity.

If you are happy with the system you posted, great, go ahead with it. But I don't consider it to be "reasonable" at all. I know better. I know that for most vehicles cargo is not what makes up the bulk of it's mass. I also know that vehicles can tow other vehicles- and at a decent clip. But if you don't care about that., fine.
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