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From:     beilby@??????.???.??.au
Date:     Fri, 14 Oct 1994 14:25:59 +1000 (EST)
Subject:  Re: New ships.
Hail listjammers,

   With all the discussion about a spj net.book, and such, I thought I'd
finaly get around to postingsome thought I had about some suport style
ships.

   By support ships I mean the sort of ship that the PC's wouldn't want to
use, but that would be used by the non-adventuring NPC's.  What follows is
the description for two versions of a cylindrical ship, and a couple of small
utility vessels.

   Feedback on these ideas will be much appreciated.


   The design of these ships sprang from thoughts about the type of ship that
miners (non-dwarven) would want to use to go prospecting and mining in
asteriod belts, and what about merchants that want to set up a mobile
market place?

   The basic form of the ship will be an open ended cylinder.  Living space,
and whatever structures are needed will be on the inside, though these will
be limited to single story buildings, to limit the height of the air envelope,
and the tonnage of the cylinder.

   The limited height of the air enveope will mean that the center of the
cylinder will be "above" the astmosphere.  This will allow ships to be
carefully flown into the cylinder, and then moored in the null grav area by
cables that run down to the surface.

   I envisage two major versions, one a ship in the 100 ton range to be used
as a mobile base for mining operations in asteroid belts, and the like.  With
a diameter just large enough to allow small ships such as wreckboats to be
docked in the center.  Movement with ships docked would follow the rules
for towing other ships.

   The second varient would be large enough to allow the docking of even the
largest ships.  (Though maybe not the elven man-o-wars with those wings)  This
version would serve as a true space dock, offering trading posts, repair and
construction facilities.  This one would need either a super-duper helm to
move under its own power, or could have a number of tug vessels to tow it around
when needed.  (the tugs would also be useful for helping ships in and out of
dock.

   For both of these vessels, having something bigger than them come into
contact and causing a gravity shift would be disasterious.  Though for the
bigger version, that might have to be the spelljammer, or something on the
scale of the Rock of Bral.

   I've thought of two possible ways to avoid this.

  The first requires the existence of a gravity field inert material.  That
is, a material that does not react to, or cause planer gavity.  Using such a
material to seperate sections of the cylinder such that it is made up of strips
of normal material running end to end, joined by this inert material, would
mean that if a large ship touched one of them, it wouldn't effect the gravity
of the others.  Though this would mean each of the sections would be smaller,
and would be effected by smaller ships.

   The second solution is of use only when stationary, and in an area
within range of a source of asteriods, or other debries.  The solution is
to attach lots of asteriods and other large rocks to the outside of the ship,
to increase its tonnage above that of any ships that might come into contact
with it.  This would also make good camoflage, and armour.  To do this the tugs
mentioned before would be very handy.


   On the subject of the tugs, I've had some ideas for these suport ships for
the the stations.  The first would be a small vessel, like the the wreckboat,
but having no internal cargo space, high manouverability, a major tactical
helm, and hard points for pushing, pulling and carrying large objects around.
(A major tactical helm would be a helm cabable of luging around 100 tons or
more of ship, but only at tactical speeds.  ie lots cheaper hopefully)

   A second tug varient I've got in mind is for use in the construction of all
those wonderful vessels that zip around in space, that obviosly couln't have
been made on the surface of a planet.  This "ship" would be little more than
a strap on minor tactical helm, with a number of hard points to allow moving
the various bits of ships around once they where in space, or lifting them
from the surface of station.  They would also allow the user to be
able to do more than just sit on the seat.  ie the person using the helm, could
also lend a hand in bolting down the section of ship they just lifted up from
the station.  I'm imagining them as a cross between a NASA jetpack, and the exo
frame forklift thing that ripley used in aliens.
   They would have a pair of main manipulator arms, that would move with the
wearers arms, and sockets for special purpose devices, such as magical cutting
and sealing/welding devices.

  Both these "ships", would have to have helm more like the seats found in a
fighter plane, than house.  ie they would need at least a 5 point harness so
they don't fall out when they touch a larger object and have gravity switch
180 degree's.

        / / / /     __   And how can this be?
   )--/+-+-+-+---  '  \   - Because HE IS THE KWISATZ HADERACH!!!
     (8| Scorpius>\___/                                             //
   )--\+-+-+-+---                                               \\ //   RETINA
        \ \ \ \   Dougal Beilby (beilby@??????.???.??.au)        \X/ A4000/030


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