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Author Topic: A sky full of stars  (Read 6977 times)

marauder648

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A sky full of stars
« on: 08 August 2022, 08:44:46 »
This chap did an amazing write up on stars and how jump/charging distances would be a bit different with real stars and some pretty heavy mathmatics.

http://evildrganymede.net/wp/2022/08/07/battletech-realistic-gravity-based-jump-point-distances/

And it got me thinking. Realistically a star system like Canopus or Betelgeuse are not going to have planets in them. These kinds of stars live short, violent lives and are putting out so much solar radiation and heat that planets simply won’t form, or if they did, its not going to be much but accreting matter because the solar radiation would boil any ice away and would be stirring up the rocks and dust too much for them to clump to start gravitating other rocks etc towards them and start growing.
So this obviously raises a problem when you have, say the Magistry of Canopus with its capital in the Canopus system, which, according to wiki is 10,000 times brighter than Sol and 71 times its radius. The Canopus system would be a radiation scarred hell of barely accreting matter and intense solar winds.

So what did they do? Perhaps a canonical refugees that would eventually found the Magistry of Canopus would have know that Canopus as a star system was basically uninhabitable and dangerous. And instead settled in a comparatively nearby star system, one that’s far less spicey and radioactive but one that on the star charts was one of those unimaginative collections of letters and numbers. And then they called that Canopus in honour of the massive blue-white giant that’s comparatively nearby?

Perhaps Beltegeuse is an inhabited system, but out in its distant Oort cloud, mining the resources and there's O'Neil cylinder or something as the Capital. Just don't say the star's name three times...

« Last Edit: 08 August 2022, 08:48:33 by marauder648 »
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Starfury

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #1 on: 14 August 2022, 23:20:32 »
No no, we all know the Canopians secretly madeca deal to sacrifice cat girls to appease Betelgeuse...

Daryk

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #2 on: 15 August 2022, 10:37:23 »
Interesting link there, Marauder!  I had done some of those calculations in college about 30 years ago (as I mentioned in the forum thread a decade ago), and found an extremely convenient field strength of 3.45x10-6 N/kg.  I think the real world astronomical data has been updated over the years, as I was using a table from a text book written in the 1980s (as I suspect FASA was at the time).

Moonsword

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #3 on: 16 August 2022, 18:10:21 »
MODERATOR NOTICE

I'm trying and failing to see why this was put in Fan Articles instead of somewhere like General Discussion, or possibly Off-Topic.  Fan Articles is not a dumping ground for random links and some comics, nor is it somewhere for non-canon musings.

For now, this is going to General Discussion.  If it doesn't turn BattleTech oriented, to Off-Topic it goes.

EDG

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #4 on: 18 August 2022, 15:12:43 »
I'm trying and failing to see why this was put in Fan Articles instead of somewhere like General Discussion, or possibly Off-Topic.  Fan Articles is not a dumping ground for random links and some comics, nor is it somewhere for non-canon musings.

For now, this is going to General Discussion.  If it doesn't turn BattleTech oriented, to Off-Topic it goes.

The article linked to (which I wrote) is definitely "Battletech oriented", it's a detailed look at how arrival jump points are calculated, and what they'd look like if they were calculated realistically. It's not a "random link" or a comic (though I guess it'd count as "non-canon" since it'd require some changes to the setting). I'm not sure why OP added a huge comic to the post that had nothing to do with what I was saying though.

Thanks for posting my article Marauder648 - I've been trying to log into the board for weeks but it refused to send an activation mail (I had to ask someone via the Catalyst FB page to sort that out).
« Last Edit: 18 August 2022, 15:14:35 by EDG »

Daryk

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #5 on: 18 August 2022, 15:32:17 »
Welcome to the forum!   :thumbsup:

The "prove you're human" stuff goes away after 10 posts.

EDG

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #6 on: 18 August 2022, 15:37:44 »
I've actually reposted this to the Fan Designs forum now (with more explanation and without all the distracting stuff) since that seems to be the best place for it.

(also, I'm glad that "prove you're human" stuff goes away!).
« Last Edit: 31 August 2022, 21:05:41 by EDG »

Prospernia

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #7 on: 18 August 2022, 23:09:00 »
Yeah, jumping's the easy part; using enough fuel to arrive at your planet, that is, align with the orbits of the worlds, is another task.  You'd literally have to fall towards the planet, then use enough fuel to slow down to try to get into an orbit.  It's like firing bottle-rocket and a speeding bullet.

For most stars, I look up them up online on sites like SolStation. 

Betelgeuse should have planets, in the habitable-zone, a bit, these were previously frozen ice-worlds and moons of gas-giants; however, Betelgeuse is losing mass and it's creating a nebula round it, so there should be a lot of debris in that system.  Also, it's going to go supernova, like soon, if it's not already done so.

Once determining-factor if a star has habitable-planets is it's age. A star in the millions of years probably won't have planets or any habitable-ones.  A star in the late billions, 5-12, probably won't have any habitable-planets, as that would be enough time for magnetic-fields to cease and runaway-greenhouse/icehouse effects to take place.  Venus may have been habitable 3 billion years ago and Mars was habitable about 500 million-years after the creation of the Solar-System, then it went downhill fast.

With the discovery of super-Earths and Torch-Orbit gas-giants, other planets may seem bleak, but those are the easiest to detect, so we can find them easily. Imagine a game on a Super-Earth, with twice as much gravity, movement is halved; it would also have a thick-atmosphere, probably be hot a little like Venus so you'd need heat-sinks and the high-pressure might be like fighting underwater were there's a chance of a hull-breech with every hit (swarm LRMs would be brutal).  Also, don't let your life-support get hit.

Torch-Obrits are the worse, because a gas-giant forms at the ice-line in the accretion-disc, then falls inward, absorbing or ejecting terrestrial-planets.

So, my theory is, all these worlds in the Battletech-universe, with high-populations and lush-planets are basically lies, now: They used them to get you to settle them.

S.gage

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #8 on: 21 August 2022, 14:31:21 »
...
And it got me thinking. Realistically a star system like Canopus or Betelgeuse are not going to have planets in them. These kinds of stars live short, violent lives and are putting out so much solar radiation and heat that planets simply won’t form, or if they did, its not going to be much but accreting matter because the solar radiation would boil any ice away and would be stirring up the rocks and dust too much for them to clump to start gravitating other rocks etc towards them and start growing.
So this obviously raises a problem when you have, say the Magistry of Canopus with its capital in the Canopus system, which, according to wiki is 10,000 times brighter than Sol and 71 times its radius. The Canopus system would be a radiation scarred hell of barely accreting matter and intense solar winds.
...

While the conditions may be more difficult to form planets, the accretion disk's stability is related more to the initial angular momentum of the cloud that made the system. That does not guarantee the planets necessarily survived to become habitable. All reasonable points.

I am most concerned about the habitability of M-type stellar systems myself.
M-type stars are very, very likely to be active stars, meaning the worlds could be blanketed in radiation and electronics may need replacement often. That may be fine for some sci-fi/fantasy settings, but one with K-F drives, orbital infrastructure, and terrestrial society using more than magic swords, it seems like it might realistically be unfeasible for most M-type dwarfs.
For terrestrial colonies, M-type stars habitable zones are so close to the host star, they are probably tidally locked like Mercury. That seems inauspicious as a place to settle, although Dan Abnett describes the world "Hubris" in his Eisenhorn novel, "Xenos", as tidally locked, and all human settlements ring the planet between night and day. It is a neat idea; I don't know if it is feasible. Microgravity colonies are a completely different matter, but these are even more vulnerable to how active the stars are.

Ultimately, this may be a circumstance of the best 1% or less of M-type systems were cherry picked (see below).

The article linked to (which I wrote) is definitely "Battletech oriented", it's a detailed look at how arrival jump points are calculated, and what they'd look like if they were calculated realistically. It's not a "random link" or a comic (though I guess it'd count as "non-canon" since it'd require some changes to the setting). I'm not sure why OP added a huge comic to the post that had nothing to do with what I was saying though.

Thanks for posting my article Marauder648 - I've been trying to log into the board for weeks but it refused to send an activation mail (I had to ask someone via the Catalyst FB page to sort that out).

I read your article, and it is very good. I was wondering, did you try fitting the data to functions with 2+ independent variables? For instance the threshold for luminosity starts to dominate the calculation for very bright stars? At first glance, it does not appear this way, but I thought I would ask.

...
So, my theory is, all these worlds in the Battletech-universe, with high-populations and lush-planets are basically lies, now: They used them to get you to settle them.

Good points, although it may not be necessary to lie about how nice the place is. The number of stars in the Inner Sphere alone is so high, 2,000-3,000 habitable worlds means colonist cherry picked the 0.01% with the best conditions, iirc.
« Last Edit: 21 August 2022, 14:38:10 by S.gage »
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Daryk

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #9 on: 21 August 2022, 14:43:06 »
I'm almost 30 years from my Astronomy minor.  Please refresh my memory as to why M-class stars are so likely to be active.  :)

S.gage

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #10 on: 21 August 2022, 15:03:10 »
I'm almost 30 years from my Astronomy minor.  Please refresh my memory as to why M-class stars are so likely to be active.  :)

Newish observations, so don’t feel bad for missing it in class. This is more observation than reason/theory:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_dwarf#Habitability

A 2017 paper observed that most M-type stars are flare stars.

Hypothesis? Well, taking our metaphor from chemistry, whether in a test tube or in living cells, *ideally* we can tweak reaction conditions to get one product. For larger stars, this thermonuclear reaction condition is the (almost) standard condition. Remove some of the reactants or pressure (grav), or alter the energy of the reaction, perhaps this allows occasional side-reactions, changing the energy output, etc.

I should know the theory; sheepishly, I do not have an excuse why I can’t do better than a hypothesis.
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S.gage

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #11 on: 21 August 2022, 15:17:01 »
I'm almost 30 years from my Astronomy minor.  Please refresh my memory as to why M-class stars are so likely to be active.  :)

Apparently, two papers from this year observe K-type sub-dwarfs are also very likely to emit more X-ray and UV radiation early in the star’s life. Possibly enough to make them bad candidates for extraterrestrial life.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-type_main-sequence_star#Planets
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Daryk

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #12 on: 21 August 2022, 15:23:01 »
Thanks for the links!  I'm reading the first one now, but just received a PM I MUST respond to...  :thumbsup:

Daryk

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #13 on: 21 August 2022, 15:34:39 »
Oh, that second one was MUCH shorter.  Unfortunately, Wikipedia is living up to its reputation for vagueness by not citing how likely flares, tidally locked planets, or high X-Ray/UV radiation is.  Anyway, THANK YOU for the links!  :thumbsup:

EDG

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #14 on: 21 August 2022, 16:02:10 »
a lot of M V stars are Flare stars, maybe that could be in part due to their relative youth (all M V stars are young by default, since their total main sequence lifespan can be tens or hundred of billions of years, much longer than the current age of the universe!). But there's a heck of a lot of M V stars out there - about 75% or so of the stars in the galaxy are M dwarfs - and not all of them are active... so I think numerically speaking there'd still be many M V stars out there that had survivable levels of flare activity.

Even around flare stars I think there could be scenarios where the planets can survive and be habitable (strong magnetic fields, thick atmospheres etc), with life adapted to the flaring. It'd probably still be quite hostile from an earthly perspective though.

Daryk

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #15 on: 21 August 2022, 16:08:17 »
Excellent counterpoint, and to bring it back to a BT focus: that means even the K stars marked as habitable in canon are realistically plausible along with a large number of other "uncharted" stars.

cray

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #16 on: 21 August 2022, 18:33:11 »
Campaign Operations' system generation rules penalize the habitability of M- and K-class stars. Flares and UV output are mentioned there.
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Daryk

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #17 on: 21 August 2022, 18:46:14 »
Perfect!  :thumbsup:

S.gage

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #18 on: 21 August 2022, 21:07:48 »
a lot of M V stars are Flare stars, maybe that could be in part due to their relative youth (all M V stars are young by default, since their total main sequence lifespan can be tens or hundred of billions of years, much longer than the current age of the universe!). But there's a heck of a lot of M V stars out there - about 75% or so of the stars in the galaxy are M dwarfs - and not all of them are active... so I think numerically speaking there'd still be many M V stars out there that had survivable levels of flare activity.

Even around flare stars I think there could be scenarios where the planets can survive and be habitable (strong magnetic fields, thick atmospheres etc), with life adapted to the flaring. It'd probably still be quite hostile from an earthly perspective though.

Campaign Operations' system generation rules penalize the habitability of M- and K-class stars. Flares and UV output are mentioned there.

Cherry picking systems based on the star’s activity is also a simple explanation helping explain why the Inner Sphere is so sparsely colonized. At first glance, one might believe it would be easy enough to find candidate stars to settle. But among M-type stars alone, if 1/750 is habitable after activity and the presence of suitable planets (not tidally locked, etc), that means 0.1% of habitable stars in any region of space could be M-type dwarfs, and that would still be enough to make a much more densely populated Inner Sphere.
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S.gage

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #19 on: 21 August 2022, 21:56:17 »
I’m sorry, I keep on referring to the density of the Milky Way, but no numbers.

Let’s use Sol as an example. Stellar density near Sol is ~110 stellar masses in the area 30 ly x 30 ly x 30 ly, roughly 1/4 of what you can reach with a 30-ly jump from Terra (with 3D map). Sarna reports 23 systems near Terra. Solstation lists 29 A-, F-, and G-type stars near us, including Sol. For the list, go here.

The largest local stars excluding Vega (specifically, Sol, Sirius, Caph, Procyon, Rigil Kent., Tau Ceti, Fomalhaut) constitute less than 5% of the local stellar mass. This leaves a lot of mass, especially for smaller and dimmer stars!

In addition, there are stellar groups with density far closer to 50,000 stellar masses in a 30 ly x 30 ly x 30 ly region!
« Last Edit: 22 August 2022, 08:33:27 by S.gage »
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EDG

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #20 on: 21 August 2022, 21:58:46 »
To be clear, you're never going to avoid tidelocked worlds around M dwarfs, they're inevitable unless the system is literally only a few million years old - it's simply a side effect of the habitable zone being so close to the star. That said, being tidelocked doesn't really preclude habitability, it just makes conditions more restrictive and narrows it down to specific geographic zones on the planet.

(if you're a few AU from the M dwarf then tide-locking won't be happening, but that's deep in the outer zone and you're only going to find gas giants and their icy moons, and dwarf planets/KBOs out there)

marauder648

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #21 on: 22 August 2022, 12:51:02 »
You could also use those planets that are tidally locked for mining, something on the night and day side, yes it would be somewhat extreme to put it mildly, but if there's resources there to grab, there would be a firm that would make it worth it.

And what we know of the Battletech universe is that habitable worlds, even if there leaning more towards marginal in more cases than not, are pretty darn common. And the population on most of those is fairly low, although on others its huge (Dell for example)
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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #22 on: 22 August 2022, 16:30:11 »
This threads kind of always make me smile.  Given what we thought we know 40 years ago and what we thing we know now.  It is going to be funny to see how much of what we think we know now is wrong in 40 years on worlds we still we not be any closer to getting to meaning what we think we know will still be wrong.

EDG

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #23 on: 22 August 2022, 17:27:48 »
This threads kind of always make me smile.  Given what we thought we know 40 years ago and what we thing we know now.  It is going to be funny to see how much of what we think we know now is wrong in 40 years on worlds we still we not be any closer to getting to meaning what we think we know will still be wrong.

The irony is that they could have done what I did here and calculated the jump distances correctly based on gravity 40 years ago too, nothing's changed on that front since then since that's just basic physics (knowledge about extrasolar planets has increased considerably since then though!).

S.gage

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #24 on: 22 August 2022, 17:40:09 »
You could also use those planets that are tidally locked for mining, something on the night and day side, yes it would be somewhat extreme to put it mildly, but if there's resources there to grab, there would be a firm that would make it worth it.

And what we know of the Battletech universe is that habitable worlds, even if there leaning more towards marginal in more cases than not, are pretty darn common. And the population on most of those is fairly low, although on others its huge (Dell for example)

That is kind of what I was thinking. Even if it is an icy terrestrial planet or some moon of an ice giant, it might be more habitable than a tidally locked terrestrial planet in the habitable zone. If you are on a moon, you most likely get the added bonus of gas/ice giant magnetic field to protect you if your star has a hiccough. And you completely side-step the question about how well life adapts to drastically altered seasons and crazy weather patterns you are likely to see on a tidally locked world with a short orbit, because your habitat is completely artificial.

This threads kind of always make me smile.  Given what we thought we know 40 years ago and what we thing we know now.  It is going to be funny to see how much of what we think we know now is wrong in 40 years on worlds we still we not be any closer to getting to meaning what we think we know will still be wrong.

Yes and no. Some of the errors are not new, for instance Vega is > 100 ly away from Terra in BattleTech, although it is closer to 30 ly away in real life. I just roll with it because your can make your sci-fi setting realistic, but still accept that it is a sci-fi setting.

The irony is that they could have done what I did here and calculated the jump distances correctly based on gravity 40 years ago too, nothing's changed on that front since then since that's just basic physics (knowledge about extrasolar planets has increased considerably since then though!).

Yes, some times I wish they caught the little mistakes. Just because it is a little off, that does not mean they did not try.
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Daryk

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #25 on: 22 August 2022, 18:10:28 »
Shortcuts generally don't age well, especially when they involve real world science...  ^-^

Prospernia

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #26 on: 23 August 2022, 16:00:37 »
If one were to observe around own Solar-System from, say Proxima-Centauri, you'd find this system has three habitable-worlds in the habitable-zone!  Wow!  Until you take a closer look at Venus and Mars.

The chances of a a world having a breathable-atmosphere by chance; if you visited Earth during any other time besides the last 300 million years ago, the atmosphere would have not be breathable and your PCs would have suffocated if they went outside sans breathing apparatus. That's nearly 90% of the Earth-history.

Weyland-Yauntani terraform-structures should be very common in the Inner-Sphere and every world should have one.   Building Better Worlds! 

With this in mind, Battletech-games should be a lot more creative; the hostile-environment rules should be used more often.   Battletech movement and fall damage should be constantly recalculated based on the gravity and air-pressure.  etc.


To be clear, you're never going to avoid tidelocked worlds around M dwarfs, they're inevitable unless the system is literally only a few million years old - it's simply a side effect of the habitable zone being so close to the star. That said, being tidelocked doesn't really preclude habitability, it just makes conditions more restrictive and narrows it down to specific geographic zones on the planet.

(if you're a few AU from the M dwarf then tide-locking won't be happening, but that's deep in the outer zone and you're only going to find gas giants and their icy moons, and dwarf planets/KBOs out there)

Tidally-locked worlds around an M-Class star are, avoidable; consider this: the actual habitable-zone around an M-Class is very small and the chances of a planet forming there are also small.  So, the majority of terrestrial-worlds that form around an M-Class would be frozen ice-worlds in the dark.  However, the majority of habitable-worlds in the Inner-Sphere would be around M-Class just because M-Class stars are the most common.


. . .

Good points, although it may not be necessary to lie about how nice the place is. The number of stars in the Inner Sphere alone is so high, 2,000-3,000 habitable worlds means colonist cherry picked the 0.01% with the best conditions, iirc.

If the early colonists could cherry-pick a habitable-world, that would mean, that the Inner-Sphere is full of star-systems with no planets or hot-Jupiters with no sustainable-world to land on and that means in between the Inner-Sphere Map, there are thousands of extra jump-points.

S.gage

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Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #27 on: 23 August 2022, 18:33:29 »

If the early colonists could cherry-pick a habitable-world, that would mean, that the Inner-Sphere is full of star-systems with no planets or hot-Jupiters with no sustainable-world to land on and that means in between the Inner-Sphere Map, there are thousands of extra jump-points.

That’s exactly right! When asked about this before on the forums here, TPTB said you could jump through uninhabited systems, but doing so is done at great risk especially in the Inner Sphere. JumpShip failure in such a system is likely certain death, because most Inner Sphere JumpShips do not have HPGs. Standard radio transmissions between the uninhabited, hostile system where your ship is stranded and the nearest habited system may not be heard for years.
« Last Edit: 23 August 2022, 18:44:47 by S.gage »
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Prospernia

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  • Posts: 244
Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #28 on: 25 August 2022, 11:56:57 »
Now, just imagine playing an Aerotech game in the Canopus-System; I'd literally have to use ALL my asteroid-counters and then bust out the asteroid-counters from Interceptor and Leviathan.


That’s exactly right! When asked about this before on the forums here, TPTB said you could jump through uninhabited systems, but doing so is done at great risk especially in the Inner Sphere. JumpShip failure in such a system is likely certain death, because most Inner Sphere JumpShips do not have HPGs. Standard radio transmissions between the uninhabited, hostile system where your ship is stranded and the nearest habited system may not be heard for years.

Well, I guess that's the risks you take by using Dead-Space Jump-Points.

But, that leaves the possibility that no system can be totally secure from invasion as an army can appear out of nowhere, like the Word of Blake. 

Just another possibility, but who knows what's out there in the, 'Barren-Systems".  I mean you could have a system in which they thought was barren, but they might have missed a few worlds; who knows what lies within the Inner-Sphere?  Perhaps the Ozawa MA is just waiting to make a move against House Kurita.

EDG

  • Sergeant
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  • Posts: 116
Re: A sky full of stars
« Reply #29 on: 25 August 2022, 12:39:36 »
 It'd be impossible to put a base in every possible system that a jumpship could use along the route though, there'd be thousands of combinations (within a 30 ly range). But I think it stands to reason that there'd be some known/standard routes (probably the ones requiring the fewest jumps) between major systems that should have some kind of outpost in them at least.