Dogfighting

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
kevinknight
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Dogfighting

Postby kevinknight » Mon Jun 20, 2016 1:16 pm

The entry in the rulebook about the new dogfighting rules are interesting if you have fighters going at each other but how exactly do they work? With the ship combat rounds dropping from 6 minutes to 6 seconds...
1) Do weapons that normally take 6 minutes to fire once suddenly become capable of firing once every 6 seconds? Especially missile launchers?
2) What actions are allowed/disallowed within the new 6 second rounds?
3) The whole winning the dogfighting roll really only seems to matter if you don't have turrets? Is that correct? (yes I see the +2/-2 to hit)
4) Basically if a ship over 100 tons is trying to fight a ship under 100 tons it's hosed? Once a fighter gets into dogfighting range it becomes almost impossible to hit?
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby Nerhesi » Mon Jun 20, 2016 1:23 pm

kevinknight wrote:The entry in the rulebook about the new dogfighting rules are interesting if you have fighters going at each other but how exactly do they work? With the ship combat rounds dropping from 6 minutes to 6 seconds...
1) Do weapons that normally take 6 minutes to fire once suddenly become capable of firing once every 6 seconds? Especially missile launchers?
Yes
2) What actions are allowed/disallowed within the new 6 second rounds?
Nothing is disallowed
3) The whole winning the dogfighting roll really only seems to matter if you don't have turrets? Is that correct? (yes I see the +2/-2 to hit)
So as you've indicated, no - it matters a bit more than just turret availability. There is a 4 point swing in advantages/disadvantages (+2/-2)
4) Basically if a ship over 100 tons is trying to fight a ship under 100 tons it's hosed? Once a fighter gets into dogfighting range it becomes almost impossible to hit?
Difficult... except by other fighters. Yes - that is correct.

I personally, do not change the time-frame for the rounds in any mixed-combat scenario.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:21 pm

The dogfighting rules are very unclear. I do not think they are understandable as written, but must be heavily "interpreted".

I have house-ruled it into:
AnotherDilbert wrote:I would imagine that the dogfighting replaces the Attack Step [p154] of the space combat round, and only the Attack Step, not the entire Round.

Dogfighting does not include a Manoeuvre Step. We cannot move away from the dogfight.
Dogfighting should probably not include an Action Step, otherwise we can do Repairs and EW 60 times per space combat round. On the other hand this cripples the Boarding action.

So instead of
1. Manœuvre Step
2. Attack Step
3. Action Step
we have
1. Manœuvre Step
2a. Short Attack Step
2b. Short Attack Step
2c. Short Attack Step
2d. Short Attack Step
2e. Short Attack Step
...
2z. Regular Attack Step
3. Action Step

So no dogfighting "Rounds", but dogfighting "Attack Steps". This is a big change.
Logically the Thrust used in the Manoeuvre Step is gone and cannot be used in the Attack Step(s), I would imagine. This will slow down fighters a bit, which is a good thing.
From thread viewtopic.php?p=898385#p898385


Each "Short Attack Step" starts with a dogfighting roll, then attack rolls.
Thrust used in the Manœuvre Step is gone and cannot be used in dogfight.
Thrust dedicated to the dogfighting roll is gone and cannot be used for Evasive Action.

kevinknight wrote:2) What actions are allowed/disallowed within the new 6 second rounds?
In my house-rule any action in the Combat Step is allowed in the dogfight, but no action in the Action Step. I even allow the Combat Manoeuvre Docking during the dogfighting Short Attack Step, to allow boarding.
kevinknight wrote:4) Basically if a ship over 100 tons is trying to fight a ship under 100 tons it's hosed? Once a fighter gets into dogfighting range it becomes almost impossible to hit?
Almost, yes. With good Gunners and software you can still hit them occasionally. On the other hand you have some time to shoot at them at longer range, when they cannot shoot back.
Tenacious-Techhunter
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Mon Jun 20, 2016 6:03 pm

Yeah, the Dogfighting rules were always going to be a disaster; they have no concept of energy fighting, no concept of maneuvering into blindspots (the entire point of dogfighting being used against a turreted ship), and have no cohesion between the Starship Combat rules, the Vehicle Combat rules, or the “On Foot” Combat rules. Efforts to clarify the situation just led to the usual forum idiocy.

Because there is no way to relate Dogfighting damage per second to Starship Combat damage per second, you’ll just have to dump those rules entirely, unless you merely want a dogfighting themed combat. :P
kevinknight
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby kevinknight » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:11 am

Ok, thanks guys
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby Nerhesi » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:46 am

NP Kevin. Ignore the time scale everything will be fine.

Literally just make the scale the same thing, and reduce dog-fighting to benefit available to craft if they engage in space combat at super close ranges; becoming a seamless mechanic at that point.
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby arcador » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:53 am

Nerhesi wrote:NP Kevin. Ignore the time scale everything will be fine.

Literally just make the scale the same thing, and reduce dog-fighting to benefit available to craft if they engage in space combat at super close ranges; becoming a seamless mechanic at that point.
This is probably the most hassle free suggestion for resolving the dogfight without having anomalies.
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby nats » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:48 pm

Nerhesi wrote:NP Kevin. Ignore the time scale everything will be fine.

Literally just make the scale the same thing, and reduce dog-fighting to benefit available to craft if they engage in space combat at super close ranges; becoming a seamless mechanic at that point.
I can you repeat this in English please? Don't understand what you mean.
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Nerhesi
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby Nerhesi » Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:24 pm

nats wrote:
Nerhesi wrote:NP Kevin. Ignore the time scale everything will be fine.

Literally just make the scale the same thing, and reduce dog-fighting to benefit available to craft if they engage in space combat at super close ranges; becoming a seamless mechanic at that point.
I can you repeat this in English please? Don't understand what you mean.

Wow - somehow both of us had a grammar-attack there.

Simplest fix:
Change dog-fighting rounds from 1-6 seconds to 1-6 minutes. That's it.

Dog-fighting simply becomes an opposed piloting roll at close/adjacent range, with the winner getting a +2 and the loser getting a -2. This is in addition to the -6 if you're not a small-craft.
collins355
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby collins355 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 5:08 pm

I think this suggested fix is probably fine as far as it goes, and is more useful than the hugely underspecified written rules. These issues were pointed out at playtesting, but seem to have gone into the "too hard basket". Even with the fix, I think you've still got problems integrating with grav vehicles and vehicle combat. The promise of actually finally being able to resolve that type of mixed encounter remains unfulfilled for me. And in my gaming those types of encounters do occur e.g. the local authorities try to use grav vehicles to stop our heroes escaping in their ship and so on.
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby Nerhesi » Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:13 pm

collins355 wrote:I think this suggested fix is probably fine as far as it goes, and is more useful than the hugely underspecified written rules. These issues were pointed out at playtesting, but seem to have gone into the "too hard basket". Even with the fix, I think you've still got problems integrating with grav vehicles and vehicle combat. The promise of actually finally being able to resolve that type of mixed encounter remains unfulfilled for me. And in my gaming those types of encounters do occur e.g. the local authorities try to use grav vehicles to stop our heroes escaping in their ship and so on.
Actually that fix would work for your scenario as well (any mixed combat). Remove silliness regarding how round length differs. Rounds are just rounds.. you can make them 1 minute, 1 second, or 37 hours - as long they're uniform across the entire game.

The problem with this issue is that it is an artificial issue. The issue was created by the added rules, rather than existing before it. It is like saying that in D&D rounds are 10 seconds, but when you mount a horse, they're suddenly 100-seconds. So how do have the footmen fight the horsemen? The answer is simple - dont make the rounds different scale. Completely ignore any sort of different-time scaling and you'll find that you have no problem with any sort of mixed-scale combat.

Remove the idea that round is either minutes, seconds, hours or anything of the sort. A round is simple a round. I think it is a bit of archaic notion anyways to consider the rounds 1-6 minutes ( a hold over from people wanting an archaic protracted naval fleet engagement feeling). With a round being simply a round, you can now have infantry riding grav bikes, shooting at grav vehicles which are shooting at space craft.
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby Condottiere » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:50 pm

I think it could have been solved if ship actions required points, and that small ships manoeuvring just used less of them.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby AnotherDilbert » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:18 pm

Nerhesi wrote:Simplest fix:
Change dog-fighting rounds from 1-6 seconds to 1-6 minutes. That's it.

Dog-fighting simply becomes an opposed piloting roll at close/adjacent range, with the winner getting a +2 and the loser getting a -2. This is in addition to the -6 if you're not a small-craft.
That would greatly simplify combat, but I think you will find that fighters are not very dangerous anymore. The 60 times more damage in dogfight was most of the reason to build fighters.

Fighters are already non-viable in the fleet combat system (in the last public beta).
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:20 pm

Nerhesi, you are right that the problem was created by the added rules, but you are wrong that making all the encounter lengths match fixes things. The damage rates in one mode don’t work with the damage rates in the other mode. Either the Dogfighters suddenly become massively overpowered, or the Starships suddenly become weak bags of kittens. The damage rates at the different timescales have to match. But they don’t, so brokenness.
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby Nerhesi » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:01 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Nerhesi wrote:Simplest fix:
Change dog-fighting rounds from 1-6 seconds to 1-6 minutes. That's it.

Dog-fighting simply becomes an opposed piloting roll at close/adjacent range, with the winner getting a +2 and the loser getting a -2. This is in addition to the -6 if you're not a small-craft.
That would greatly simplify combat, but I think you will find that fighters are not very dangerous anymore. The 60 times more damage in dogfight was most of the reason to build fighters.

Fighters are already non-viable in the fleet combat system (in the last public beta).
That is not true unless you qualify it with your own adhoc biases and measurement techniques to determine what is "balanced". Then anyone can do the same and flip the argument around.

Also, Fighters do not need to attack 60-times a round to take apart a ship.
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:01 am

Nerhesi wrote:That is not true unless you qualify it with your own adhoc biases and measurement techniques to determine what is "balanced". Then anyone can do the same and flip the argument around.

Also, Fighters do not need to attack 60-times a round to take apart a ship.
Thank you for respecting my opinion.

For a single ship being attacked by a bunch of fighters the time-scale means little, true.

But if we have two ships vs a bunch of fighters, the ships can simply separate to Short range. The same fighter can then not engage both ships at once. The ships can then fire at the fighters engaging the other ship, negating the dogfighting -DM.

The fighters will also do damage quite slowly, making them less efficient killers than ships. Killing a ship in 10-15 rounds of 6 s is very quick, killing a ship in 10-15 rounds of 6 minutes is rather slow.
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby phavoc » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:25 pm

Fighters use starship-class weapons, thus if you use the rules as written you have a massive logic break. Fighters, with their much smaller power plants, can now somehow magically come up with 10x the number of energy points to rapidly fire the same weapons? Yeah, that's bunk.

I don't do anything different vis-a-vis starships and fighter craft. One round, one shot, regardless of the platform. Instead I make it harder to hit small craft to give them a bonus for their size. The new rules just suck for this.
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:00 pm

Regarding SPECIFICALLY the number of shots in a round, I have always thought of it as not being 1 shot = 1 attack roll.

I have always assumed (back to CT days), that a ship fires multiple times within a combat round with each weapon, but you only roll one attack roll. SO, we you move into Dogfighting and the time scale changes, you are now rolling for every single shot, not some cumulative shot like you do at the Starship Combat stage.

Missiles obviously work differently.

I have always thought this because I thought it was insane that a TL8 laser weapon would take 20 minutes to recharge when we can do better than that now with late TL7, let alone at TL15.

If you think of the attack roll as NOT being per shot, then the energy balance things disappears too. An EP is just what it takes to fire the weapon as many times as it fires within a combat round.

Of course, I was strongly influenced by Star Wars (weren't we all back then) which showed a stream of pulses following a ship as it tracks across the field of view. Sure some weapons only fired once per combat round (spinal mounts etc.) the turrets fired much more often but the Attack Roll was simplified into a single roll per round.
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:41 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:Regarding SPECIFICALLY the number of shots in a round, I have always thought of it as not being 1 shot = 1 attack roll.

I have always assumed (back to CT days), that a ship fires multiple times within a combat round with each weapon, but you only roll one attack roll.
Agree completely.


Well, given that all interested parties in this thread have been unable to make the rules work, but have felt the need to house-rule dogfights, I would say that the dogfighting rules are less than completely successful.
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Re: Dogfighting

Postby Sigtrygg » Wed Jun 22, 2016 5:05 pm

Dogfighting is totally implausible using traveller technological assumptions.
It should be listed as a cinematic option for those who wish to use Star Wars like fighters in their games.
If you want Star Wars stick to Star Wars, I'll stick to Traveller ship combat - no dogfighting.

That said if a fighter can fire at 10x then so can the target ship, the target ship should also have the advantage in having weapons mounted is swiftly traversable turrets rather than having to spin the whole fighter to get a weapon lock. If the fighter has weapons mounted in those same turrets I can not see how the fighter can get a bonus while the ship doesn't.

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