Archive for November, 2000


From: Foxtaur <>
Subject: TL8 Drop Troops
Date: 2000/11/30
Message-ID: <eRpV5.160806$>
X-Deja-AN: 699461392
Sender: Daniel Boese <>
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Organization: Bell Solutions
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NNTP-Posting-Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2000 05:19:54 EST

 First, some background:

 I'm working up a nifty little TL8 setting, where the PCs will be aboard 
the HMSS Sir Isaac Brock. This ship usually just quietly orbits the Earth; 
but whenever the higher-ups decide to intervene in a military hotspot, the 
Brock is quite the useful tool. It has around sixty nukes it can drop if 
the mission is just to utterly destroy a given target (tactical nuclear 
warheads have lost some of their social stigma after being used so 
liberally by both sides in the decade-long European/Islamic war); but when 
the object is to do a /controlled/ amount of damage, the Brock sends in 
its dropships.

 The Brock carries one company of drop troopers - about 160 men - split 
into four platoons. Four dropships - the "Detroit", "Queenston Heights", 
"Stony Creek", and "Beaver Dam" take the soldiers from whatever orbit the 
Brock happens to be in to the target zone. Depending on the specific 
mission, either the dropships will land, or the troopers will either 
parachute out (letting the dropships leave the area in a hurry). If one 
dropship is knocked out, the remaining three can carry the entire company.

 Now, my questions:

 You're probably familiar with Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" (which the 
movie bears little resemblance to), and you might have read the "Alien 
Legion" series of comic books. Within 'standard' TL8 limits, and taking 
into account that this company is yet-another assembly of the 'best of the 
best' (or, like Nomad, 'worst of the worst' <grin>), these are the closest 
examples I can think of of the type of military group I'm trying to write 
up. I have some ideas which I'd like your opinions on, and I'd also like 
to see what ideas you can come up with. :)

 Given how common CBRN weapons (chemical, biological, radiological, 
nuclear) are, and that the occasional mission will be on the moon or at an 
orbital colony, armoured vacuum suits are an absolute minimum. And given 
how heavy those are in addition to a standard combat load, exoskeletons 
also sound like a good idea. When I add up all the available options for 
such a suit (plus an emergency medkit) the total comes to 532.2 lbs and 
$294,755 per suit - and that's without any weaponry or extras. Given that 
the Brock herself cost about $2.5 billion, I suppose that's not completely 
unreasonable... is it?
 (Also, given CBRN warfare, the Brock carries a P4-secure Full Genetics 
Lab to deal with any nasties the troopers might discover.)

 For TL8-level weapons, the only sourcebooks I have are Basic, Space, and 
Cyberpunk. I've also declared that batteries have 1/10th the energy of 
standard powercells, which means that man-portable lasers aren't 
especially useful.
 My latest ideas for arming these fellows is to split them into 4-man 
"Fire Teams", carrying four vibro-blades, three Assault Chainguns, an EM 
Mortar or automatic EM Grenade Launcher, various grenades, and ammunition. 
I also want at least a one-shot anti-vehicle weapon, but the Mortar is the 
closest I can find. Given how much money has already been sunk into the 
Brock, the guns might as well be "very fine" and the vibroblades "super 
 Visible cybernetics have about the same social stigma as current 
prosthetics ("You mean you cut off your arm?"), but are still better than 
not having a given limb at all. The military would probably be willing to 
pay for certain biomods, though, should the soldier volunteer. (Bio-Tech, 
page 63; Jointwork, Muscle Graft, Eye Upgrade, and Bone Stimulation seem 
 One thing I haven't quite worked out is what sort of parachuting gear the 
troopers might use. Heinlein's troops had the advantage of a TL10-level 
Personal Reentry Kit; the only other thing my books list is the Backpack 
Parawing from Cyberpunk.

 Should I try to come up with one or two drop-attack-aircraft, for when 
a nuke's too big but fragmentation-mortar-shells are too small? What sort 
of craft would you design?

 Here's what I've come up with so far for the Brock herself and her 
dropships. How do they look to you? What changes do you suggest?


Space Submarine: "HMSS Sir Isaac Brock"

                    Spaces  Mass     Cost    Notes
Hull, 2M cf, SL    (3160)   200      12      Area: 100 ksf.
Total Compartment.     -     40        .4
Turrets, large, 2   <200>    40       2.4    Area: 20 ksf.
cDR: 1                 -    900      36      "Advanced" armor.
Radical Stealth        -    120     180
Radical Cloaking       -    240     360
Large Bridge           4      9       3.2
Enhanced Sensors       1     12      23      Scan: 34/33. Power: 1.
 Astronomical          -       .1      .5
 Planetary             -       .12     .25
Life Support, total   66    165       3.3   Capacity: 330. Power: 1.5.
Cabins               330    330        .99
Crew, 150              -     15       -
Missile bays, 2        2      2        .006
 16 Hvy Nukes          -     22.4     2.112
 40 Lt Nukes           -     12       3.44
Entries, lrg, 3        3      9        .033
Halls, 3              30       .6      .09
Surgeries, 3           1.5     .42     .15
 Ursaline              -      -        .858  330-man, 2-year supply.
Fission Core           1      4        .61
Fission Power        200    800     160      400 MW.
 Fissionables          -      -     320      2 year supply.
Solar Panels           2     24       2.88   Area 96 ksf. 3.8 MW at 1 AU. 
Batteries             10    250      50      450,000 MWs.
Light Sails            2    100     100      Thrust: 20. 30 sq. mi.
Nuclear Pulse Drive  300   1200     240
 Fuel Tank          1000     25     170
 N Pellets             -  12000     300
Genetics Lab, P4      20    100      10      G:Bio-Tech, page 21.
Dropship bays, 3     315      1.5     0.009
 Dropships, 3          -   3561.69  300.459  Includes mass of marines.
Cargo Space          872.5    0       0
 Cargo                 -      0       0
Heavy Laser         <100>   500      90      Power: 10,000.
Heavy P-Beam        <100>   500      90      Power: 29,000.

SM: +11
cSM: +1
ASig: -7
 When using light sails: -1
PSig: -7
cHP: Hull: 1500
     Turrets: 300 each

Total Mass: 21,183.83 tons.
Total Cost: $2,459,817,000.00
sAccel: 1.416 Gs
Burn Endurance: 1h 8m 34.2s.
Delta Vee: 57,100.2 m/s
Top Air Speed: 4,330.1 mph.


Dropships: "Detroit", "Queenston Heights", "Stony Creek", "Beaver Dam"

                    Spaces  Mass    Cost    Notes
Hull, 50k cf, SL     (80)   200      12      Area: 10 ksf.
cDR: 1                 -     75       3      "Advanced" armor.
Radical Stealth        -     10      15
Radical Cloaking       -     20      30
Cockpit                0.5    2.5     1.1
Basic Sensors          1     12       4.6    Scan: 32/31. Power: 0.5.
Passenger Seats        4      5.6     0.036  60 men. Power: 0.03.
 Entry Module, small   0.5    2       0.007
 Crew, 60+pilot        -      6.1     -
 Surgeries, 2          1      0.28    0.1
Fission Core           1      4       0.61
 Fission Power         1      4       0.8    2 MW.
 Fissionables          -      -       0.16   2-year supply.
Nuclear Pulse Drive    1      4       0.8    Thrust: 100.
 Fuel Tank            70      1.75   11.9
 N pellets             -    840      21

SM: +8
cSM: -2
ASig: -10
PSig: -10
cHP: 150

Total Mass: 1,187.23 tons.
Total Cost: $100,153,000.
sAccel: 0.084 Gs.
Burn Endurance: 24 hours.
Delta Vee: 71,319.0 m/s.
Top Air Speed: 866.0 mph.
Time to reach Earth Orbit: 4 hours, 49 minutes, 42.6 seconds.
Time to escape Earth Orbit: 6 hours, 49 minutes, 42.6 seconds.


 (And if you're wondering: The Brock was originally American, but during 
some political shenanigans involving arms limits, was transferred to 
Canada, who then lent it to NATO. Canada is a country caught in the middle 
between the US/Islamic and Europe/China power blocs; Canadians try to be 
as un-American as they can be, given how close they are. (For example, 
after Fidel died (at as ripe an old age as TL8 medicine can buy), in order 
to avoid becoming Yet Another American Territory, Cuba declared itself 
part of Canada... <grin>)

 After establishing the setting with the players, I intend for the main 
plot to involve the Brock swinging around to Mars after the Phobos and 
Deimos colonies are lasered into oblivion by undeclared attackers... I'll 
probably have the ship swing around Venus, both because it can be a 
shorter route, and for any Venusian intrigue I can come up with - perhaps 
having to acquire fuel for the Nuke-Pulse drives from uncooperative folk, 
within a time limit that can't be changed as the Brock swings around on 
its Hohmann orbit...

 Do you have any other plotworthy ideas?

 Any other comments at all? :)

Thank you for your time,
The Rrangoon species is available at