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Starship as a Colony


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#1 Dangerbutton

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 11:14 PM

I'll be starting up a new campaign in the coming weeks, for which the players have already made their starship. In so doing, they chose the Clan-kin quarters, indicating that it has less of a crew, and more of a group of people who viewed the ship as their home. With this in mind, I thought it might be interesting to treat the ship as a Colony, according to the rules in Stars of Inequity.

 

There would be some differences, of course. The Size of the colony wouldn't likely increase, because, well, the ship is already maxed out. However, it could go down, . . 

 

While I would still allow an increase or decrease in profit factor from this colony, that will not be the point of having it be a colony. I want it to be a way to get the players more involved with their crew, and viewing them more as people that they are responsible for, than as stats that help them in a space battle.

 

What do you think? Any suggestions?



#2 Erathia

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 11:23 PM

I turned a Universe Mass Conveyor into something similar in my campaign. it's certainly quite workable, as the larger ships have over 100,000 people on them, and a good stock of genetic diversity is important for the family. A Grand Cruiser would also be useful because then you can get the all important Spacedock Piers, meaning you can dock with smaller vessels for "trade" without needing to resupply at a system.

 

Cloudmining Facilities, Asteroid Mining Facilities, Arboretums, Extended Supply Vaults, Medicae Decks... really emphasize the components that aren't as useful for combat, but are very useful for people who would live on your ship for generations at a time.

 

There's an Archeotech component from Faith and Coin that could potentially make this a viable idea. It's the Uebertas Device, and if for some reason your ship had it installed (either it's a copy or you managed to discover literally the only one known), then you would be able to very easily barter your ship's services for planets because you can single-handedly produce a crop capable of feeding an entire population with not too much effort. It would also paint a very large target sign on your back, so you'd want to foster a family loyalty among your crew to prevent espionage.


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#3 Dangerbutton

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 12:28 AM

I like the idea of emphasizing those components not necessary for combat. They have an Arboretum, but none of the mining facilities. Also, the ship is only a Frigate, so space is limited.

 

One thought I'd had is to have the colony increase in size if the players acquire an additional ship. Count all ships controlled by the players as a part of the same Colony. . .

 

Is there any place that shows how Size equates to actual population? I'm not needing a hard number, just a rough estimate, so I can know what size to start the Colony as.The Turbulent-Class Frigate that they have is at roughly 25,000 members of the crew.Well, -8% due to the death cult on deck 13 . . .   Anyhow I was thinking Size 2 or 3, Think that's even in the ballpark? 



#4 Erathia

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 01:03 AM

The main problem is that most of the space on the ship is taken up for the essentials of living on a ship: Crew quarters, power conduits, 50 metric tons of gargoyle statues etc. You certainly have the population necessary for sustaining a colony, but the "Profit Factor" value is the leverage the colony's existence has for other people. What is your ship "producing" that turns it into something that's generating revenue for you?

 

Part of fostering a sense of community means you'll probably have to invest money in making sure people have a good standard of living, don't get sick from diseases, aren't constantly being vaporized in void combat and then also be making things that earn large-scale amounts of money when your ship inevitably has to pull in to stardock for some sort of refuelling.

 

Honestly I would consider a Conquest Star Galleon or Universe Mass Conveyor or at least some sort of Transport for this kind of endeavour. There's a homebrew for a Galaxy Troop Transport here that might also work, though I think thematically it should count as a Transport/Frigate rather than a Transport/Light Cruiser. You need a vessel designed with a lot of empty space so that you can "convert" it into a large-scale production facility.


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#5 Dangerbutton

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 08:10 AM

That's a good point, there. The Turbulent-Class Frigate that they chose does not have a lot of extra space for things like that. Perhaps that's something I can work into the game, though. The players will find themselves needing to somehow acquire some sort of a transport with a lot of space for a thing like this...



#6 Nameless2all

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 10:39 AM

Remember not to force anything on the players.  If the players want to have the ship come to life around them, with being a center of the game, then bringing it more to the forefront is a good idea.  But, if the players want the ship and crew to be background, and more like scenery than part of the cast, then don't go so hard on them if they don't bite.  Obviously, asking the players how they see their ship is the best advice I can give.

 

Some players liked the ships crew coming to life around them, with a few roleplaying endeavors focused solely on it.  Others wanted just numbers with a few command staff that they could interact with, and the odd mishap or warp encounter all they care about.  I would hate to see all these plans you made be all for naught, because your players unintentionally bulldozed right by it.  Happened to me on plenty occasions my friend. 

 

Cheers to the best of it though.  I really like your ideas and concept though!


Edited by Nameless2all, 15 January 2014 - 10:59 AM.

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#7 Kshatriya

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 05:42 PM

If you wanna be technical, most Imperial ships are "colonies." Even smaller ship classes have tens of thousands of people on them, many of them being descended from the original crew. A large percentage of the crew will be born, work, and die aboard the ship. It's just part of Imperial life.


Edited by Kshatriya, 15 January 2014 - 05:42 PM.


#8 Dangerbutton

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 08:02 AM

@Nameless2all - Yeah, I understand that concern. I don't want to force anything on my players that they aren't interested in doing. However, having already run the idea past them, they're all for it!

 

@Kshatriya - That's a big part of why I wanted to treat the ship as a Colony, especially since our ship has the Clan-kin quarters. I plan on coming up with several different clans, and having representatives that the players will interact with.



#9 Tenebrae

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 09:14 AM

I'm not hooked on having a ship as a colony, especially not a functional, mobile ship.

Why not? Because it lacks one central thing for a colony: Resources to be consumed.

 

I suppose you could have a ship-as-a-colony in orbit somewhere, the plasma reactor still providing power, but the ship isn't really going anywhere and the population slowly canibalizing "non-essential components" - like the Warp Drive, Bridge or weapon systems. And even so, they would be strictly limited in maximum size.

 

But a functional ship consumes more resources than it has. There is a need to come into contact with planets, for suplies and either space parts or raw materials to many facture said spare parts. A manufactrium is worthless without things to build stuff from. And yes, broken wrenches can be re-used, but I think the Law of Entropy is too strong in the 40k setting for this to be sustainable.

 

If you wanna be technical, most Imperial ships are "colonies." Even smaller ship classes have tens of thousands of people on them, many of them being descended from the original crew. A large percentage of the crew will be born, work, and die aboard the ship. It's just part of Imperial life.

Not at all wrong, but the difference is important: Ship-board crews consume resources, colonies produce them (in the context of RT).



#10 venkelos

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 09:38 AM

Yeah, a heavily-damaged ship, drifting above a habitable world, acting as a defense for a colony, I can see. Some or most might even try to stay aboard for a while, hauling resources up, but eventually, as tech dwindles, even if intellect doesn't, the air scrubbers will deteriorate, water purifiers fail, foodstores deplete, the plasma genetoria will go dark, and the ship will die. The fact that the ship CAN go to other places for resources, and HAS to, sort of make it not a colony for me, not including also not making anything. Also, while you could certainly pimp your ship(s) out to bypass my limitations, that seems a spendy way for a Rogue Trader to go about making a colony. A ship that moves is much more valuable hauling my cargo, fighting my enemies, or taking me to the next beautiful woman, money-making gala, or long-lost ruin, choked with archeotech I can pilfer. Look at the Light of Terra? It's sort of a "colony" of savages and benighted degenerates. that took 2,000 years, and the ship is next to dead.



#11 Brother Orpheo

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 12:41 PM

There is the Misericord...

If it's possible in "fluff", then it should be possible in play.


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#12 CaptainRemiVandigrath

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 02:08 PM

Yeah, a heavily-damaged ship, drifting above a habitable world, acting as a defense for a colony, I can see. Some or most might even try to stay aboard for a while, hauling resources up, but eventually, as tech dwindles, even if intellect doesn't, the air scrubbers will deteriorate, water purifiers fail, foodstores deplete, the plasma genetoria will go dark, and the ship will die. The fact that the ship CAN go to other places for resources, and HAS to, sort of make it not a colony for me, not including also not making anything. Also, while you could certainly pimp your ship(s) out to bypass my limitations, that seems a spendy way for a Rogue Trader to go about making a colony. A ship that moves is much more valuable hauling my cargo, fighting my enemies, or taking me to the next beautiful woman, money-making gala, or long-lost ruin, choked with archeotech I can pilfer. Look at the Light of Terra? It's sort of a "colony" of savages and benighted degenerates. that took 2,000 years, and the ship is next to dead.


One interesting note here is that colonies do require a big influx of resources (represented by the hit to profit factor) that comes from needing a lot of technology, colonists, wages, and long-tail infrastructure. This is, oddly enough, most of the stuff that ships have already accounted for in their upkeep and purchase costs.

I can see a large transport ship being a traveling colony. It would require upkeep, sure, and shipments of resources that it needs; but it could act as a mobile manufactorum complex able to build whatever other colonies need. It could also be a mobile refinery, or repair facility, or research base, or Ecclesiarchy outreach post.

That way, your ship would be generating products/services that make profit and require mobility.

Size is still a question, but going through an endeavor to purchase more ships, or build additions to the ship, or turn the ship into a void station could all be methods to get around it.

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#13 Tenebrae

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 04:50 PM

There is the Misericord...

If it's possible in "fluff", then it should be possible in play.

Sorry, I don't consider the Misericord anything near a colony. It's just a sad accretion of detritus.

Just because generations of people grow up and grow old there doesn't mean it's a colony, that's just how ship are in the setting.



#14 Dangerbutton

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 06:53 PM

You all raise some valid points about a the trouble a ship-as-a-colony would have in sustaining itself or generating a profit. I don't really intend to have my players view it as a source of profit. Their endeavors will still be their main source of profit.

 

I'm mostly interested in my players recognizing that the ship has a culture of its own, being crewed by people who view it as a home, rather than a job. I'll follow the rules for Colony stats (Complacency, Order, etc), as well as have them experience Calamitous or Fortunate events, just like a colony.



#15 Tenebrae

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 05:25 AM

I'm mostly interested in my players recognizing that the ship has a culture of its own, being crewed by people who view it as a home, rather than a job. I'll follow the rules for Colony stats (Complacency, Order, etc), as well as have them experience Calamitous or Fortunate events, just like a colony.

In that case, more power to you! Go for it!
Just remember that ship's crews have stats already (Crew Population, Crew Morale), which are really supposed to serve these functions.

#16 Nameless2all

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 10:36 AM

And the warp encounters and misfortunes somewhat cover the Calamities that befall Colonies.  Just food for though incase you didn't notice.  ;)


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#17 Dangerbutton

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 08:36 AM

Here's my plan on how to handle the Colony Characteristics:

 

Complacency

  • While Complacency is greater than Size, the crew benefits from +10 Morale.
  • When Complacency is reduced to 0, Order and Productivity decrease by 1d5.

 

Order:

  • While Order is greater than size, all Command Tests to the crew benefit from a +10 Bonus. Also, its Productivity increases by 1.
  • When Order is reduced to 0, the crew suffers -30 to Morale.

 

Productivity:

  • While Productivity is greater than size, all Ship Actions benefit from a +10 Bonus.
  • When Productivity is reduced to 0, the Ship counts as being Crippled.

 

Piety:

  • While Piety is greater than Size, Order and Complacency are increased by 1.
  • When Piety is reduced to 0, Order and Complacency are reduced by 1d5. Until the problem is fixed, rolls on the Warp Travel Encounters happen once for every 3 days of warp travel, rather than 5 (due to less protection from the God-Emperor . . . sinners.)

Note that none of these affect Profit Factor. I've decided not to have the ship affect profit factor at all. I'll leave that to regular Colonies, and all of the cool stuff the players do.

 

Anyhow, feel free to offer suggestions or other ideas on how to work things.






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