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ArkangeL2

Crew Numbers and Ship stuff

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Hence the reason for this chart.  I'm working on ones that cover the other ships presented, but that's will take a little more time.  However, I think that if we (as GMs) can come to some consensus amongst us about scale/numbers, then we at least have a reference if one of us were to post an adventure for others to make use of.  Just a thought cool.gif.

Because of the inconsistency with the ships and their sizes, this little bit of trivia can go a long ways towards making our games that much more believable - especially if you do any convention play.  I hope I'm making sense on this.  If you guys think a chart for the other ships (Eldar, Tau, Chaos, etc.) would be useful, let me know and I'll put forth the effort to post what I come up with.  Of course, we can always hash out what changes are needed.

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Crimsonsphinx said:

 

But a cobra is about half the size of a cruiser, more or less.  Bearing in mind a sword has a huge armoured prow compared to the cobra.

Definately less,  Granted i don't have my Imperial fleet anymore, but a Cobra Destroyer was less than half that of a light Cruiser (Dauntless for example). In fact, IIRC a Cobra without it's prow is about the same length as a weapon battery that you glue to the side of a Capital ship.

Either way you can roughly compare the an imperial escort to a star destroyer, which if you think about it is actually a lot smaller in physical shape due to the mass involved.  As numbers for 40k ships are somewhat rare, I have looked into numbers on star destroyers for us to consider.

On consulting wookieepedia, a star destroyer has 9235 officers, 9700 combat infantry, 27850 enlisted men and 27 gunners.  This is not including all the various tie-fighters, bombers, AT-ATs etc. 

So its quite concievable that a sword frigate has 50,000 souls on board.

 

If your talking Sword or Firestorm class escorts, then yes. Imperial (Star wars) class star destoryer is rated at 1606 meters. But a Cobra class Destoyer is around the 1000 meter mark (Infact, this is smaller than a D'deridex class Warbird).

 

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Preview we got. It is the icon with the page and magnifying glass on left of the bar above the window I'm typing this in.

**** knows whats up with quotes.

For that matter, you can edit - or at least I can. There should be a line saying something like

Edit | Reply #28 | Published on 03 January 2009 - 21:36:43 

above your own posts. The edit link goes away after a while though.

--------------

My own criteria for almost anything in 40k is to try to push things - make everything as old, big, spiky and skully as you can stand. Then make it twice as old, big, spiky or skully. Then add some more skulls. And then, and only then, are you getting somewhere.

So, think of a number - I can tell you now it is to low by half. Maybe even a factor of 10.

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Dezmond said:

Preview we got. It is the icon with the page and magnifying glass on left of the bar above the window I'm typing this in.

**** knows whats up with quotes.

For that matter, you can edit - or at least I can. There should be a line saying something like

Edit | Reply #28 | Published on 03 January 2009 - 21:36:43 

above your own posts. The edit link goes away after a while though.

--------------

My own criteria for almost anything in 40k is to try to push things - make everything as old, big, spiky and skully as you can stand. Then make it twice as old, big, spiky or skully. Then add some more skulls. And then, and only then, are you getting somewhere.

So, think of a number - I can tell you now it is to low by half. Maybe even a factor of 10.

Thanks for the Edit location. Preview didn't work though. At least it is not as bad as the FoW site...

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What I was basing my rough estimation on a star destroyer and cobras man power is that in star wars, the ships are much more technologically capable.  They don't have armies of servitors, thousands of men per gun turret etc.  40k does.

It is perhaps foolish to consider using any of the warships as a ship in dark heresy.  I am sure smaller navy ships of patrol or smaller classes exist, where you can have a much smaller number of soldiers.

In Eisenhorn and Ravenor they both travelled aboard freighters, and even they are absolutely massive in gothic, some even match cruiser sizes in length.  These could have a lot smaller crew, not needing marines or vast armies of servants/scribes etc.

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Dezmond said:

We can posit an entire range of smaller vessels below the heavy hitters of the Navy. The ones from BFG are just those tough enough to stand in the line of battle.

Spot on. happy.gif The cobra destroyer is the smallest warp capable warship the Imperium produces - as far as the current background goes. I'm not saying the Imperial Navy doesn't operate smaller vessels - of course it does,  Aquila landers, one man fighters etc,  but I'm not aware of canon vessels smaller than a cobra  that are warp capable.

But just because it's not in the canon, doesn't mean it shouldn't be. Personally I agree that we CAN posit smaller craft, and that this would be a colourful addition to the 40k canon.

At the risk of boring everyone to tears with the constant Patrick O'Brian analogies, the Royal Navy never just operated line of battle ships and frigates, they also operated smaller ships like sloops and tenders that were true sailcraft (and by anaology to BFG, warp capable) rather than launches, which were just rowboats (and, by further tortuous analogy, in-system, non warp capable craft.)   

Of course, there is a seperate and equally frustrating debate about precisely how small ships can get in 40k and still be capable of warp travel...

 

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So while we're on the topic of as-yet-non-canon small Imperial Naval ships, here's a few thoughts...

Have a look at this neat little Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rating_system_of_the_Royal_Navy

It sets out the "rating system" of warships during the Napoleonic era. 

Below I set out how these ratings could arguably transfer to 40K:-

 

First Rate vessel - Battleship

Second Rate vessel - Grand Cruiser or Battlecruiser

Third Rate - Cruiser

Fourth rate - Light cruiser

Fifth rate - Frigate

Sixth Rate - Destroyer

Unrated - ? 

It's this last category which interests me. To quote the wikipedia article on these points:-

"The rating system did not handle vessels smaller than the Sixth Rate, the remainder simply being "unrated". The larger of the unrated vessels were generally called sloops; but be warned that nomenclature is quite confusing for unrated vessels, especially when dealing with the finer points of "ship sloop", "brig sloop", "sloop-of-war" or even "corvette" (the last a French term which was not used by the British Navy until the 1840s). Technically any unrated combatant vessel was included in the category of "sloop-of-war" - in theory, the term even extended to bomb vessels and fireships."

So you have a whole host of smaller vessels (which can really be any size you want for the purposes of your game) which could neatly be described as Imperial Navy vessels - sloops, brigs, sloops of war, corvettes.... Cool! happy.gif  

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Crimsonsphinx said:

What I was basing my rough estimation on a star destroyer and cobras man power is that in star wars, the ships are much more technologically capable.  They don't have armies of servitors, thousands of men per gun turret etc.  40k does.

It is perhaps foolish to consider using any of the warships as a ship in dark heresy.  I am sure smaller navy ships of patrol or smaller classes exist, where you can have a much smaller number of soldiers.

Quite possibly, though I was entertaining the idea of giving my acolytes a ride on an Imperial Warship, making it some kind of big thing, really drum it up. Just to see their faces when one of the more astute players realise it is just a Cobra Destroyer.

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Lightbringer2009 said:

Of course, there is a seperate and equally frustrating debate about precisely how small ships can get in 40k and still be capable of warp travel...

 

The smallest ship that i am aware of in BFG, other than the Cobra Destroyer is the Space Marine Cobra equivalent (Hunter?)

 

Just had a thought, would it not be easier to take the 40k fighters and bombers and scale up? I don't have any of the Imperial Armour books myself, but they do give exact lengths in there.

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Of course, there is a seperate and equally frustrating debate about precisely how small ships can get in 40k and still be capable of warp travel...

 

The smallest ship that i am aware of in BFG, other than the Cobra Destroyer is the Space Marine Cobra equivalent (Hunter?)

 

Just had a thought, would it not be easier to take the 40k fighters and bombers and scale up? I don't have any of the Imperial Armour books myself, but they do give exact lengths in there.

 

I do apologise for these multiple posts, but the board is starting to get to me.

 

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Corvettes are something that I've noticed a serious lack of (as in they aren't there).  It also seems to me that the Falchion escort is the smallest vessel in the line, but I may be wrong on this.  But if we're talking small craft, what about gun-boats and the like?  I know BFG canon lists the Fury Interceptor, Starhawk Bomber, and Shark Assault Boat as the "smallest" type of attack craft.  But these ships carry between 2 - 4 (for Furies), and more for the larger craft.  I'm assuming these ships are non-warp capable.  But I do recall a novel where a fury-type craft was carrying a few crew, an engineseer, an astropath, and the pilot.  I think that ship was capable of making short "jumps" through the warp, but I could be mistaken.  In 40K, we have the following "types" to go on for Imperial ships of the line:

Battleship

Battlecruiser

Grand Cruiser

Cruiser

Light Cruiser

Frigate

Destroyer

Escort

Attack Craft

That gives 9 types of ship classification.  Lightbringer makes good sense, IMHO, with the analogy between old Napoleonic-era sailing craft and what's found in the 40K setting; it's a good reference point.  I know in 40K everything is BIG and MASSIVE with lots of gothic skulls and such.

Even though we have MASSIVE ships to deal with here, with equally massive crew numbers, don't forget (and some people have already mentioned it) that there are servitors, scribes, preachers, AND we need to also account for food, water, air, and waster disposal.  Yes, the Imperium has ways of making food that resembles old Hard Tack and Salt Pork (mmm...tasty) with corpse starch rations and the like, but the sheer amount of food required to feed tens of thousands of crewmen is staggering!  Water too.  Then you have to worry about life support - with the recyclers on board a standard ship, this would be reduced but it's still a requirement.  I also imagine that a lot of the waste produced is also recylced (ewww...potty pie), but that would be a given.  We also need to consider room for fuel and munitions, not to mention storage for "warp-matter" to power the Geller fields and Warp Drive (this would require special containment since it's so radioactive normal exposure renders a man to ash and slurry within minutes - see Star of Damocles for a visual).

Also, can anyone explain why on earth you would ever need thousands of crewer manning a single laser turret?  I can understand 20-50 guys in there, but seriously...thousands?!  What would they do in there?

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+++++Also, can anyone explain why on earth you would ever need thousands of crewer manning a single laser turret?  I can understand 20-50 guys in there, but seriously...thousands?!  What would they do in there?+++++

 

Well, you have the guys who haul on ropes to align the guns. The guys who haul on ropes to run out the gun again after the recoil pushes it in. The guys who are lowered in to the barrel to clean the focusing elements between shots. You have the teams running the cogitators for the on-mount fire control, not to mention the guys operating the optical range finders. There is an extensive Adeptus Mechanicus crew overseeing the wellbeing of the turrets Machine Spirit - they perform the rituals and prayers which sooth it in times of stress. The weapon has a lot of moving parts, so many small children are require to run through the machinery lubricating joints and unjamming cogs. Vast amounts of heat is generated by firing, so the coolant teams must use giant hoses to spray down the glowing skyscraper sized machinery with liquid-iceytheion. After the gun has been run out again, the enormous breakers must be returned to firing position and the great feed lines which supply the energy needed for firing must be reattached.

Imagine a great industrial hell.

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I'm going to make a counter argument for lower numbers of crew.

Firstly modern ships are quite packed, but they don't stay on board for years at a time, they have support and change in and out, an imperial ship chould spend many years in the warp let alone anywhere else, storage space would need to be higher in relation to the crew and crew space per man would need to be higher.

Secondly from the Inquisitors Handbook there is vast areas of "Nightmare Holds" in void ships where monsters roam.

Thirdly even the Nimits has "marines", ie Land Forces to take part in combined actions.... while Imperial Ships may well have dedicated fighting forces for ship based actions, I've always assumed a very small number of them, with existing ratings just having to fight!

I think there are "Packed" areas but that some areas could even be abandoned entirely. I'd suggest something like a 25-30% reduction in your numbers based on current millitary vessels.

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 Well, the last table of figures shown (I'd quote if I could trust the function) is definitely out in terms of crew numbers (for the Dictator, at least).

In Shadowpoint, the Dictator-class cruiser HDMS Lord Solar Macharius was quoted as having a crew of 16000 souls just prior to entering battle. Now, even allowing for the fact that a Dictator has an attack craft wing aboard, and so probably has a larger crew requirement than a Lunar (which we know is the same size as many Dictators were refitted Lunars), that still gives us a rough guesstimate on crew sizes for that rate.

On a related note- the launch capacity of four is for squadrons, and I personally believe it is a limit imposed by the number of command and control links, not necessarily by the number of fighters/bombers aboard.

The (semi-)official rule of thumb (according, I believe, to Mr Chambers) is 1500 per hit point, rather than the 2000, but I reckon 1800 per is more likely to be closer to accurate.

There is an old short story (Cross the Stars, iirc) which contains a brief passage guesstimating the crew of a Lunar, based on the size of one gun crew (it also contained the dimensions for one gun bay, and the note that there were 40 such bays on one side of one gun deck, although it neglects to state how many gun decks there are.

Overall, I tend towards using the Traveller/T20 rules for crew size after roughly figuring the ship's displacement-tonnage based on the models, then adding a fudge factor of maybe 15-20%

The smallest canonical warp-capable ship is in Angels of Darkness, and is 750m long. Gav Thorpe states that warp-capable vessels can't be built much smaller than that, although he neglects to say how much smaller, and whether or not that is an absolute physical limitation (you can't fit a geller field generator, a warp drive, a plasma drive and the crew compartments into a hull that small), or merely a limit on practicality (a smaller vessel can be made warp-capable, but it would end up costing more than a larger starship).

I must admit, I like the idea of the 'unrated'  small ships, and I have actually used it to a degree- using a 'decommission' naval sloop (780m long, with virtually all her ship-to-ship weaponry stripped out, leaving point defence and one plasma turret) as a base/transport/cover for an acolyte cell (their cover was a scion of a Great House on the Grand Sneer in his own private yacht. Unfortunately, the cell of acolytes in question got themselves in a pissing match with the Navy, and got shot down in an Eagle assault shuttle, so the ship is currently sitting in high anchor over Landunder, waiting for somone with Inquisitorial codes and the right password (and enough funds to pay their docking fees) to show up. My current group has their own ship anyway, so if anyone wants her, the ship is currently squawking the name MRS Yppei, although her real name is the Tactus Quod Vado; her captain is Lt Camus Khilles, IN (ret), and the authorising password is 'verus ut rutilus per'. Exactly how much is owed for docking fees, I leave to whoever claims her for their group (they left her paid until 837815m41), but I'd like to know her fate if anyone does use her and lose her.

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Good stuff, Alasseo. Your point about the crew size of an Imperial Cruiser is a good one - I must admit, I've not read the shadowpoint books...

But you know, I do wonder if anyone from GW has ever actually sat down and tried to put together a reasoned approach to the crew number issue... Andy Chambers (and I mean no disrespect by this) clearly just took a very straightforward "these ships are huuuge" approach and left crew numbers very vague. I recall a WD article he wrote ages ago where he spoke about the importance of leaving things a little vague in 40k, an approach I can see the merit in, but which causes confusion when later GW writers try and tie the figures down a bit.

Gordon Rennie has come up with a crew complement for his ships: I think his numbers are a little low, but I'm not a published 40k author! But how do his figures square up against the OTHER 40k authors? 

And Black Library are known for throwing up inter-author inconsistancies...I imagine one problem here is that while we chat away happily on our forum coming up with well reasoned crew sizes, there's a risk that out there somewhere is a GW author writing the phrase "The Cobra Destroyer had a crew size of over 20 million souls..."   

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Lightbringer2009 said:

 

Good stuff, Alasseo. Your point about the crew size of an Imperial Cruiser is a good one - I must admit, I've not read the shadowpoint books...

But you know, I do wonder if anyone from GW has ever actually sat down and tried to put together a reasoned approach to the crew number issue... Andy Chambers (and I mean no disrespect by this) clearly just took a very straightforward "these ships are huuuge" approach and left crew numbers very vague. I recall a WD article he wrote ages ago where he spoke about the importance of leaving things a little vague in 40k, an approach I can see the merit in, but which causes confusion when later GW writers try and tie the figures down a bit.

Gordon Rennie has come up with a crew complement for his ships: I think his numbers are a little low, but I'm not a published 40k author! But how do his figures square up against the OTHER 40k authors? 

And Black Library are known for throwing up inter-author inconsistancies...I imagine one problem here is that while we chat away happily on our forum coming up with well reasoned crew sizes, there's a risk that out there somewhere is a GW author writing the phrase "The Cobra Destroyer had a crew size of over 20 million souls..."   

 

I agree, there seems to be a hint of a case where Authors are trying to put a stamp of authority on canon by thier own writings. We need a statement mentioning a number with a "fudge" of "X"

 

 

Though if said "fudge" factor was bigger than 15% then i would consider that a cop-out

 

[EDIT] Was drunk, forgot the correct spelling

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Quite a few of the basis for crew calculations on here seem to be discussion extrapolated from modern battleships and aricraft carriers.  As ponted out previously this leads to truly titanic crew numbers when scaled up to 40k warships.

 However, such vessels are not sealed of from their environment and/or need the extensive life support that a spaceship would require.  On that train of thought, wouldn't submarines be a better model for this kind of extrapolation?

For example:

A US Navy Ford-Class supercarrier: Length: 333m     Beam (width): 41m    Crew:  4,660

Montana-Class Battleship:  Length: 280.6m  Beam: 36.9m    Crew: 2,789

vs.

Seawolf-Class Nuclear Submarine:  Length: 107m  Beam: 12m   Crew: 140

 

Even given that volume is mutiplied by 8 (2 cubed)  for every doubling of dimensions, this still comes out to significantly smaller crew complements proportionally (If my quick math is anywhere near correct)

 

 

Edit: also even if one did extrapolate from submarine numbers, the crew would have to be cut down some due to the sheer space the thrusters that push the ship would take up.  Even given that a nuclear sub has a reactor (as would a starship) the sublight thrusters/steering, warp drive, and gellar field generator seem like they would take up much more proportional space than a oceanic naval vessel's engine and propellors.

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Actually even given submarine levels of crew density a standard 3km heavy cruiser works out to have a crew of over 3 million. A sub's smaller crew complement is balanced by it's much smaller size. A sub the size of a battleship would actually have the crew complement of a battleship, maybe even slightly more. Remember that size increases by the cube when we are talking about solid objects. So take the proportional increase in length and cube it to get the number you need to multiply the crew by.

Example:

Imperial Heavy Cruiser 3km / submarine 107m = 3000/107 = the cruiser is approx 28 times as long.

Assuming the two vessels are roughly similar in shape (a long tube) then cube it 28x28x28 = 21952.

An Imperial Heavy Cruiser thus has the volume of maybe 22000 submarines. Multiply 22,000 by the sub crew complement of 140 and we get 3,080,000.

 

Even a 1.5km Imperial Frigate would have a crew compliment of some 380,000 (1/8th the volume of an Imperial Cruiser, so 1/8th the crew).

The crew figures for 5km battleships get truly impressive. It works out to well over 14 million using the above assumptions. If you assume a ship a staggering 8km then the crew complement would be a mind boggling 58 million.

 

Personally I say go with these huge figures, they fit in with the sheer massiveness of 40K. If it's not overblown to ridiculous proportions then it has no place in 40K. This setting is meant to be more extreme than any other. In any case it's not as if our own world hasn't built thousands of examples of insanely huge death machines for real.

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Shockwave said:

 

I know people are wanting to get as close to canon as possible, but how about we get something more logistically sound?

 

 

Where is the fun in that?

--

Cubed! of course, cubed! Man am I getting rusty. I thought those numbers were coming out less epic than I expected.

+++++Personally I say go with these huge figures, they fit in with the sheer massiveness of 40K. If it's not overblown to ridiculous proportions then it has no place in 40K. This setting is meant to be more extreme than any other.+++++

Right on, right on! When you are dealing with an 8km battleship, 60 million crew is logically sound! Its an entire nation strapping rockets to its rear and going to war!

TREMBLE AT THE POWER OF THE GOD EMPEROR OF MANKIND!!!!!!111!!!!1!1!!!!?@EW"!!!^&"!!!!!!!!!

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Random thought on the subject of small warp capable vessels:

How big was the Marines ship in Bloodquest? What crew did it have? Was it even warp capable? (i forget)

Personally I see that there has to be the possibility of small warp capable vessels, if only so we can have 40k-esque Millenium Falcons etc. Years ago i ran an Inquisitor campaign with a group of characters on the run from the Inquisition in an archeotech vessel that was tiny (say 500m) and warp capable.

On a further note, perhaps the size of Imperial ships is simply a matter of the arms race with xenos. When the great crusade started out maybe they had small warp capable ships and equivilant crews. Then they come up against Ork kroozers or the Eldar  and get blasted apart in a single lance blast. Suddenly bigger is better....

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