From: Michael Sandy <mehawk@????.org> Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 00:15:44 -0700 Subject: Re: Boy am I sick of Voyager...
Suppose you were organizing an exploration mission to far off spheres, what sort of flotila would you put together? Presuming your characters are trying to explore, not necessarily settle. I mean, a real Chrisopher Columbus mission. You have a map of the phlogiston river to 5 or 6 spheres which can be reached in a circuit of about 2 years, allowing a month or 3 per sphere, none of which to your knowledge are involved with trade in recent known space. Keep in mind that pirate are likely to try and spy out your heavily equipped and thus highly valuable ships both on the way out and especially on the way back in. Security, physical, magical and psionic is needed while putting the mission together. Likewise PR, to reassure backers and shareholders who may have helped raise funds or contributed persons and material to the voyage. Local magnates may have even _insisted_ upon sending along a ship under their control or at least their crew. Or tried to insist. Prospective ingrediants: 1) An air ship: Assume the flotila may be out a while, ensure the air/food supply by taking either a zeppelin style hot air/Elemental ship, or a Garden ship. Take plants that can survive the phlogiston easily, make test runs into the phlogiston before leaving supply port for the last time. 2) Communications. Have a psionicist who can do Psychic Surgery create permanent mind links to members of each ship, launch boat, prize crew etc... 3) Have a non-helm, possibly non magic powered ship, perhaps use it to probe Crystal Shells with unusual portals. (Cast Augury in the Flow to determine which ship is best to lead with? ) Have several scrolls of "Create Minor/Major Helm" or a ring of Spell Storing with those spells for 'life raft' purposes. 4) All the magical navigation toys you can get. 5) First contact stuff: Helm of Telepathy, anything that increases Reaction rolls. Away team _must_ have at least a mage with Comprehend Languages, or Tongues, or a Psionicist with Mind Link. Not too mention a combat toxicologist, (ie, ranger?) 6) Escort, with such a long journey, food, air, water and space on board are at a premium. A fast ship with little crew required to handle her and an undead boarding crew would work. A boarding crew kept on stasis on on standby, (stasis, pentagrams, summoned creatures, bag of animals) Or heavy artillery that may tak a lot of space, but for its effect requires little crew, or even gnomes. Forget catapults, give me a forward firing trebuchet! Or with some tricky, unfortunately gnomish innovation, have it be reversible to fire backwards as well. Imagine a gigantic two hulled boat, where the weight from the trebuchet falls between them, and the arm of the trebuchet is pulled down to the catwalks between the two hulls. The action of the trebuchet is very smooth compared to catapults, and can fire _really_ heavy objects. A well contructed trebuchet is on earth more accurate than a catapult because it doesn't rip apart its mounting. A catapult is also designed more for a parabola than a ballista. A trebuchet could probably be tricked up to fire anywhere straight ahead to straight up, simply by adjusting what angle the sling holding the projectile is released. The ship might even be able to 'cock' the trebuchet simply by a careful combination of dive and climb maneuvers. (Lots more information available on trebuchets in current Scientific American, August 1995, I think) A trebuchet can be stored 'cocked' a lot easier than a ballistic, catapult or other torsion or spring device. This is the sort of ship you get when designing an artillery device to take out ships without using magic. I'd like to see one of these monsters as a patrol 'boat'. On the subject of patrol ships, ships operating under combat conditions close to an atmosphere and base have much different requirements than ships doing patrol over enemy controlled ground. Operating over your own space, I'd expect _large_ crews, a fast pilot, and little on the way of expense. Board, use mundane artillery, ram and take casualties. 'Target acquisition' might even be done froma ground station. Operating over enemy space, you can't run out of men, munitions, magic safely. Thinking more about the trebuchet, it and the clipper are unusual in having broadsides. It is quite easy for a trebuchet to fire straight up, effectively 'broadside' to its direction of travel. Flying in formation with another such ship or more than one could be nasty, like sailing ships forming a line of battle. Except they attack in a plane formation, some firing 'up' some 'down'. Reinforce the sides and front and rear a bit and fly it like a B-17 bomber squadron. Offhand, I _really_ don't want to see the gnomes mad and motivated enough to build such a fleet. Michael Sandy mehawk@????.org
|Boy am I sick of Voyager...||Michael Sandy|
|Re: Boy am I sick of Voyager...||zz Michael Reilly|