Question on space combat modifiers

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Geir
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Question on space combat modifiers

Postby Geir » Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:56 am

The chart on page 156 of the Core Rulebook lists a DM+1 at Short Range, DM-2 at Long Range, etc.

It doesn't list any modifier for Close or Adjacent Range. But does that DM+1 for Short Range also apply for Close and Adjacent Ranges?

For instance, a beam laser would have DM+5 at Short but only DM+4 at Close. Being rather literal, that's the way I've been treating it, but I can argue both sides of the argument. For those of you with more history with the development of these rules, is there a consensus on this question?
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Re: Question on space combat modifiers

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:45 am

Geir wrote: It doesn't list any modifier for Close or Adjacent Range. But does that DM+1 for Short Range also apply for Close and Adjacent Ranges?
No, I don't think so. Note that Close or Adjacent range means Dogfight with its own list of modifiers.
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Re: Question on space combat modifiers

Postby Geir » Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:28 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:45 am
Geir wrote: It doesn't list any modifier for Close or Adjacent Range. But does that DM+1 for Short Range also apply for Close and Adjacent Ranges?
No, I don't think so. Note that Close or Adjacent range means Dogfight with its own list of modifiers.
Makes sense. But, yeah dogfighting. I still have issues understanding dogfighting. It says you can escape a dog fight: "it is automatic if two hostile vessels wish to interact at a close enough range. Thrust expenditure may be done once engaged, but is otherwise done at the usual time. Escaping from a Dogfight is as simple as expending enough Thrust to move beyond Close Range."

Let's parse this:
"if two hostile vessels wish to interact at a close enough range" Does that mean that if one hostile vessel does not wish to interact at close enough range then the dogfight doesn't occur? And if, say a fighter only has weapons capable of adjacent range, does that mean that dogfighting only occurs at Adjacent range and ends when a ship is at Close? What about mixed squadrons with mixed weapons ranges? What about dogfighting with missiles that have no dogfighting range restriction?

"Thrust expenditure may be done once engaged, but is otherwise done at the usual time." Not sure what that really means. I assume it means that regular space-combat thrust occurs during the maneuver phase, then the dog fight occurs, and thrust is determined the dog-fight way until the dog fight ends. Or is it until 60 rounds occur and the rest of the universe awakes from its fast-drug induced slumber and makes its moves at the space combat round rate?

"Escaping from a Dogfight is as simple as expending enough Thrust to move beyond Close Range." But when? The previous "usual time" sentence isn't clear if this can be done during the dogfight itself, after 60 rounds or what? And is this an opposed action? If a ship dedicates one or two points of thrust to escape beyond adjacent or close range, can the opponent simply apply the same amount of thrust to keep up?

As written, the way I see it ,if a fighter manages to engage a starship, the only chance a starship has to fight back is with a beam laser, given that its likely going to be suffering a DM-8 to hit (that's part of where this original question came from). But that beam laser, in a triple mount, can do little more than 1D+2 damaged (+ Effect, but you're at DM-8 so good luck getting a critical). Great against a light fighter, but against a heavy fighter with armour 15, you have zero chance.

Which is another thing. Smaller craft should be restricted from heavy armour: It's easy to put a meter-thick plate of superdense on a battleship, but try putting that on a fighter and there's no room for any components at all and your wings are pretty fat. Side effect of using volume and not surface area as the armour determinant (a reasonable compromise, but like the BMI definition of obesity, it fails at extremes of scale)
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Re: Question on space combat modifiers

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:15 pm

Geir wrote: But, yeah dogfighting. I still have issues understanding dogfighting.
Who hasn't? I certainly don't understand how to use the dogfighting rules, at least not with several ships at different ranges involved.

Geir wrote: "if two hostile vessels wish to interact at a close enough range" Does that mean that if one hostile vessel does not wish to interact at close enough range then the dogfight doesn't occur?
You only use the dogfighting rules if someone wishes to fight. I think this sentence points out that it takes no separate action to initiate dogfight.

Note the first paragraph:
... spacecraft fighting at ranges of less than 10km, or attacking vehicles or Travellers directly, use the normal six second combat round rather than the six minute round used for space combat.
All fighting at <10 km is by the personal combat system, as expanded for vehicles.

Geir wrote: "Thrust expenditure may be done once engaged, but is otherwise done at the usual time." Not sure what that really means.
Agreed, I don't understand it either.

Presumably space combat is stopped between the Manoeuvre and Attack steps if the craft gets too close, and vehicle combat starts.

It probably means that the full thrust rating of the spacecraft is available in the personal combat rounds, but since there is no indication of how "thrust" is to be used in the personal combat system that does not mean much...

Geir wrote: "Escaping from a Dogfight is as simple as expending enough Thrust to move beyond Close Range."
During the dogfight you presumably use the personal movement system with speed bands. I have no idea how spacecraft thrust translates into speed bands... I guess we are not supposed to use a realistic vector movement system?

Perhaps you can use the spacecraft movement system (divided by 60?) to expend trust-points to change range band somehow?

Geir wrote: As written, the way I see it ,if a fighter manages to engage a starship, the only chance a starship has to fight back is with a beam laser, given that its likely going to be suffering a DM-8 to hit...
You can hit (occasionally) if you stack up all available DMs and advantages together with a good roll.

As the Effect of the attack is added to the damage value even beam lasers can punch through heavy armour and fighters have very few Hull points so ships can still damage fighters.

But, yes, generally fighters will slaughter ships in dogfights. Ships have to kill fighters at longer ranges, it might take awhile to get from detection range to dogfight.


I have house-ruled dogfighting to be a part of space combat:
viewtopic.php?p=926994#p926994


Geir wrote: Which is another thing. Smaller craft should be restricted from heavy armour: It's easy to put a meter-thick plate of superdense on a battleship, but try putting that on a fighter and there's no room for any components at all and your wings are pretty fat.
Traveller generally does not allow metre-thick armour on anything. If anything battleships are inappropriately limited to what is basically heavy tank armour. See CT Striker for a conversion between spacecraft armour rating and actual thickness.

FF&S did allow as much armour as you wished, with a scale factor for size, and that lead to even small warships being basically immune to civilian weapons and battleships immune to anything but "spinal-class" lasers IIRC.
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Re: Question on space combat modifiers

Postby Condottiere » Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:55 pm

Like with normal dogfighting, creating sufficient space between the parties involved would terminate that.

That's why speed is life.

With Traveller, it would be determining if and when a range band is stepped over.

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