[[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

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MongooseMatt
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[[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby MongooseMatt » Thu Nov 12, 2015 2:17 pm

Hi guys,

Okay, I have been mulling over Ion weapons a great deal over the past few weeks. But I think I have cracked it :)

I had been thinking in terms of individual systems being affected, how big ships should be somewhat more resilient and so on. And it was all getting rather complicated with tables and DMs flying about all over the place. What was also worrying me was that we still have not got the capital ship/fleet battle systems in place, and complication at this level is just going to get magnified. Simple is important here.

This weapon is going to be used in combat and so it needs to be simple to use. You don't want to do maths or look up various tables when playing - you just want to shoot the thing, see something blow up, and then move onto the next target.

So, it occurred to me, the one thing all the systems likely to be affected (drives, weapons, screens, computers, etc) all require one thing. Power. So, we can head this rule off at the pass, as it were, by directly attacking the Power of a ship. Reduce that, and the crew will be scrambling around trying to keep the most vital systems online while a big portion of the ship goes dark.

As a final effect, that is exactly what we want.

So, the draft rules currently have a new weapon trait - Ion. Text below...

New Weapon Trait: Ion
By means of massive electromagnetic pulses, overloading or power systems or other exotic effects, ion weapons have the potential to temporarily disrupt critical systems on board a ship without causing permanent damage. This can give a vital edge in combat while an enemy ship recovers or force an enemy to surrender before the disabling attack is followed up by something far more potent.

Instead of dealing damage as usual, Ion weapons use the following rules.

When an Ion weapon successfully hits a target, roll for its damage but ignore any armour the target possesses. Instead of applying damage to the target’s hull, it is instead temporarily deducted from the target’s Power, representing the disabling effects as they spread throughout the ship and the crew working hard to keep the most vital systems online.

This reduction in Power will last until the target completes its next set of actions, in either the current round or the next.

If the Effect of the attack roll is 6 or more, the reduction in Power will last for D3 rounds.

Hardened Systems: If a system is listed as being hardened (as with /fib computers, for example), any Power required to run it may be ignored while a ship is under the effects of an Ion weapon, so long as there was sufficient Power to run it before the Ion weapon struck.


Now, we can muck around with putting Hardened onto systems other than computers at a later date. However, this rule does fulfil everything we need - ships need to be disabled in varying degrees based on size of ship and power of weapon, and it can be resolved in seconds.

Oh, and you will want the damage outputs of Ion weapons - this is where, I think, attention is most needed to get the trait, well, ship-shape.

Right now, I have them at;

Ion Barbette: 1D x 10
Small Ion Bay: 3D x 10
Medium Ion Bay: 6D x 10

Comments welcomed!
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby wbnc » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:07 am

okay that's a good tweak, and really does make an ion weapon a pain in the butt.

so if i get this right, if you fire first and hit the target the effect hits that round...but if you fire after the target does, it takes effect on its next series of action.
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby phavoc » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:29 am

What about keeping the damage roll, but instead of actual damage you deduct what you rolled from the available power for the next turn (s). That scales up or down, and leaves small ships more vulnerable since they will generate less power, and bigger ships generate more, so it's affecting them, just not catastrophically unless you can get a lot of ion hits on them.
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby Nerhesi » Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:53 am

Hmm... I think you're onto something Matt :)

I'll sum up my quick assessments:

a) I like power degredation
b) I dont like d3 rounds of power degredation - you'll have multiple floating power degradation values.
c) I do like scaling power degradation but becareful of making the barbette too powerful lest you have fleets of ion fighters :) But as you said, we can muck around with values.
d) Hardened systems - so lets say I have hardened Blah which takes 10 power. Then even if you're hitting me with an Ion weapon that is taking 10 power a turn, I can just say that 10 power is going to my hardened system.. ignoring the power-loss. So basically, a hardened system lets me ignore power-loss per turn (due to Ions) equal to it's usage... I kinda like that :)
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby MongooseMatt » Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:42 pm

a) Simple and it works :)

b) Maybe - remember a third of those will be no different to other hits, and we could always move the Effect upwards. However, we should have the facility for a truly massive ion hit.

c) These certainly need a look. I based the barbette on what I wanted to happen to a Far Trader, but it needs a tight look from you chaps across all possible combinations.

d) Hardened systems may need another look (you always get knock-on effects with rules) but, at least for computers alone, they work. It might be better if we just had an ion-resistant hull which reduced ion damage rather than multiple hardened systems, other than computers (because computers alone are easy).
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby phavoc » Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:25 pm

phavoc wrote:What about keeping the damage roll, but instead of actual damage you deduct what you rolled from the available power for the next turn (s). That scales up or down, and leaves small ships more vulnerable since they will generate less power, and bigger ships generate more, so it's affecting them, just not catastrophically unless you can get a lot of ion hits on them.
I was thinking more about this, to keep it scalable and the same across all sizes of ships. An ion weapon hits degrades your power systems, causing a 20% loss in power for two turns. You can purchase ion hardening that halves the damage, but does not totally eliminate the effect. With ion hardening you only lose 10% power for two turns. This allows for the player to determine how they want to reallocate power while they are bringing their other systems back online. If they are lucky the opposing player will miss one turn.

To keep things fair you an ion weapon disrupts X number of energy per turn, but caps at 20% regardless of the hull size. This allows for extra playing activity and some nail biting as players work to bring systems back online.
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby MongooseMatt » Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:48 pm

The problem with percentages is that it does not scale properly - you end up doing more damage to a dreadnought (more systems down) than a scout. With direct deduction, a dreadnought has a big enough power plant to keep (most of) the lights on, whereas a small ship could potentially be rendered completely dark by the same hit.
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby Nerhesi » Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:57 pm

Yeah - generally you don't want percentages when doing damage, you want discrete values.

Otherwise 5 shots will disable anything - and those 5 shots could come from 5 fighters, free traders, or battleships.
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby hdan » Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:13 pm

Maybe rather than actually reducing power, you can record a "power dampening" number that HAS to be paid at the beginning of your turn by spending power points. And once you pay it off, you're good to go.

Under this system, /fib computers and other hardened systems would get to use power BEFORE you have to pay off the dampening, as they are unaffected by ion disruption. Everything else uses whatever is left, if anything. A fully hardened spaceship would effectively ignore ion hits, but I would make that a very expensive option, if it's even allowed.

A really huge hit may inflict such a power dampening number that it will take you quite a while to "Dig out", though your engineers can always attempt to increase power output to speed things along.
/hdan
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby Nerhesi » Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:23 pm

Looks like were all on the same page.

A little detail though, math wise, you want hardened system to reduce power drained from ANY shot, regardless of where it hits. I know it seems counter intuitive but bear with me:

If a hardened system just allowed you to make sure it has power, then it's no that useful at all. Picture a 50 power ship. The computer takes 5 power.

If it is hardened, and I take 10 Ion damage, then I have 40 points left of power. I should still be able to use 40 AND have 5 for my computer. I shouldn't just have 40 and simply be able to assign 5 of those to the computer. That wouldn't make hardening useful.

Instead, hardening, for all intents, needs to make a "portion" of your power allotment immune to Ion weapons. Now rather than figuring out hit locations, the simplest method is to count up which systems (apart from pplant) are hardened, and the power they use is what gives you a per-round "ignore this much ion damage".

Example:
Total Power 50
Hardened M-drive: 10 power
Hardened computer: 2 power
Hardened turrets: 15 power

Meh... ok obviously not th best system.

Basically the gist should be that the more hardening you have, the more reduction to ion damage you get. You can't just say "those systems are immune", because what if 30% of ur systems are immune, but ur hit with enough ion damage to sap all your power... what if most of the firepower hit those systems? Why is everything else gone...
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby Nerhesi » Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:29 pm

If the expensive Rad-shielding option effectively hardens everything - then ignore my whole post above :)
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby phavoc » Sat Nov 14, 2015 1:26 am

A lot depends on what you do with an ion weapon, and how deadly do you want it to be. Percentages is one thing, but if you want to be able to disable a smaller ship with a barrage, then the scale favors larger ships. If you go with star wars ion weapons, one b wing ship could disable a star destroyer with its ion cannon. Is the intent to make it so that if you have a barrage of ion weapons you can disable smaller ships in one hit? Even wirh percentage power hits, larger ships have more power options than smaller ones, because they have more weapon options.

In general ion weapons will skew combat because of how they are designed.
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby Nerhesi » Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:00 am

Absolutely - which which why I should be a near-non-value option for large fleet engagements.

Example, let's say hardening via radiation treatment to the hull gives 90% reduction to Ion dmg. So you'd have to be really committed to disable disable ship like that.

As for percentages, I don't think we want any b-wing disabling a larger ship, hence why you would avoid percentages.

Can a large ship disable a b-wing with ease via barrage? Sure. Can a b-wing disable a star destroyer - heck no
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby phavoc » Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:25 pm

I've respond g on my phone and its not the best for this. The reason I was arguing for percentages was to make it so you could only do UP TO 20% damage via an ion weapon per turn. The reason why was I thought that it would be too easy to disable a ship with an ion weapon. An ion weapon would still retain it's X number of energy drain points, but you couldn't disable a ship in one or two volleys. To me that really skews everything about starship combat.

You could disable a liner or whatever and then just sit there, hitting it with an ion burst every so often for a few days until internal suit power is exhausted and then waltz in and take it (might want to blow an airlock or something, just to remove the internal air). It also makes it the favored pirate weapon to take a ship intact. It used to be that taking a prize after you disaed it meant you had a hulk to start with. Now I suppose it would be the same as the opening scene in star wars and the Imperium got to capture the blockade runner totally intact.
Last edited by phavoc on Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby Captain Jonah » Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:39 pm

Re Msprange idea for Ions, like it, simple and easy to apply, do 30 Ion damage, lose 30 power.

Re hardening. How about a fixed % tonnage and cost based on tons which protects your basic systems power. IE a 200Dton ship has a basic system power of 40, hardened it protects 40 power so if it has 75 and takes 40 Ion it retains a minimum of 40, what it does with that is up to it, it could go to emergency systems and get some movement or power a turret and some weapons.

This doesn't kill a ship but it really does a number on it's capabilities.

So a liner with hardening would keep 120 power, a Merc cruiser 160. A Free / Far trader keeps 40.

Enough to do something but still fairly impacted. Though this doesn't stop a ship moving since it will always retain enough power to go to emergency and pull 1G, depends on how overpowered you want Ion to be, painful or the go to crippling weapon.
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby cliffbates65 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:27 pm

msprange wrote:Hi guys,

Okay, I have been mulling over Ion weapons a great deal over the past few weeks. But I think I have cracked it :)

I had been thinking in terms of individual systems being affected, how big ships should be somewhat more resilient and so on. And it was all getting rather complicated with tables and DMs flying about all over the place. What was also worrying me was that we still have not got the capital ship/fleet battle systems in place, and complication at this level is just going to get magnified. Simple is important here.

This weapon is going to be used in combat and so it needs to be simple to use. You don't want to do maths or look up various tables when playing - you just want to shoot the thing, see something blow up, and then move onto the next target.

So, it occurred to me, the one thing all the systems likely to be affected (drives, weapons, screens, computers, etc) all require one thing. Power. So, we can head this rule off at the pass, as it were, by directly attacking the Power of a ship. Reduce that, and the crew will be scrambling around trying to keep the most vital systems online while a big portion of the ship goes dark.

As a final effect, that is exactly what we want.

So, the draft rules currently have a new weapon trait - Ion. Text below...

New Weapon Trait: Ion
By means of massive electromagnetic pulses, overloading or power systems or other exotic effects, ion weapons have the potential to temporarily disrupt critical systems on board a ship without causing permanent damage. This can give a vital edge in combat while an enemy ship recovers or force an enemy to surrender before the disabling attack is followed up by something far more potent.

Instead of dealing damage as usual, Ion weapons use the following rules.

When an Ion weapon successfully hits a target, roll for its damage but ignore any armour the target possesses. Instead of applying damage to the target’s hull, it is instead temporarily deducted from the target’s Power, representing the disabling effects as they spread throughout the ship and the crew working hard to keep the most vital systems online.

This reduction in Power will last until the target completes its next set of actions, in either the current round or the next.

If the Effect of the attack roll is 6 or more, the reduction in Power will last for D3 rounds.

Hardened Systems: If a system is listed as being hardened (as with /fib computers, for example), any Power required to run it may be ignored while a ship is under the effects of an Ion weapon, so long as there was sufficient Power to run it before the Ion weapon struck.


Now, we can muck around with putting Hardened onto systems other than computers at a later date. However, this rule does fulfil everything we need - ships need to be disabled in varying degrees based on size of ship and power of weapon, and it can be resolved in seconds.

Oh, and you will want the damage outputs of Ion weapons - this is where, I think, attention is most needed to get the trait, well, ship-shape.

Right now, I have them at;

Ion Barbette: 1D x 10
Small Ion Bay: 3D x 10
Medium Ion Bay: 6D x 10

Comments welcomed!

I am joining this discussion late but why are Ion weapons not treated as a Particle Accelerator (cause that what they in fact are) with increased EMP effect?
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby Nerhesi » Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:55 am

Why are they not treated as blue-laser drive-draining guns from starwars? :)

They were designer as a power-affecting/non-hull damaging weapon. I dont think any of us can say they are in-fact anything other than the description they're given... and that seems to be different than particles, as you is stated above.
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Re: [[[Playtest Proposal]]] Ion Weapons

Postby MongooseMatt » Wed Nov 18, 2015 2:11 pm

Good suggestion, chaps, enacting your ideas for hardened systems.
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