Rules check please - Starship combat damage

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District268
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Postby District268 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:24 pm

DFW wrote:
District268 wrote:Having re read the quote, it appears to me that to calculate damage when you hit is "total damage= weapon damage+effect-armour" ie the higher you role over the target number, the greater the damage. Seams clear to me.
"then the armour 4 applies against each of these attacks. Damage is 1d6+Effect-4, 1d6+Effect-4 and 1d6+Effect-4. ... and I've started using the rule that a roll of a six on a damage dice also degrades armour by one in my home games."

Where in this quote does it mention the "to hit roll" influencing damage? "Effect" is from the damage table on pg. 150 of main rule book...
Surely how it works is "1d6+effect-4", the total is then compared to the table on page 150 to give the total number of hits which you then role on the location table on page 151? Therefore, the "effect" that is added to the damage dice is the "effect" to hit.
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Postby DFW » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:39 pm

District268 wrote:Therefore, the "effect" that is added to the damage dice is the "effect" to hit.
Except, no where is he talking about to hit rolls. So, one would have to assume he doesn't know the combat system well enough to know the difference.

I'm not willing to bet that he doesn't. Again, show where he talks about to hit
rolls influencing damage. Assumptions don't count...
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Postby rust » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:04 pm

District268 wrote:
Surely how it works is "1d6+effect-4", the total is then compared to the table on page 150 to give the total number of hits which you then role on the location table on page 151? Therefore, the "effect" that is added to the damage dice is the "effect" to hit.
I am not sure, but since it obviously describes a house rule, and one can
of course introduce any kind of house rule one likes, I am not certain why
it should be important for the "rules as written".
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Postby Ishmael » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:35 am

Here is what it says for vehicles, drones and robots from the SRD. I read "as normal" to mean adding the effect to the damage as per personal combat.
To determine the effects of an attack on a vehicle, first determine how much damage the vehicle suffers as normal. Many vehicles will have one or more points of armour that reduces the damage. Consult the Vehicle Damage table to determine how many ‘hits’ the vehicle suffers.
Here is what the SRD says about determining starship damage
The effects of damage are determined by subtracting the ship’s armour from the damage rolled by the weapon, then consulting the damage table to determine the number of hits inflicted. Then roll on the Location table for each hit.
The High Guard SRD is equally silent on adding effect to damage.

How odd that there is no mention of effect even though the same exact table is used for the number of hits to apply. It appears as if barely hitting does as much damage as a direct on-center hit.

The consensus from this thread
http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/phpBB ... 49&start=0
seems to be that adding effect to damage is a good thing.
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Postby DFW » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:43 am

Ishmael wrote: It appears as if barely hitting does as much damage as a direct on-center hit..
Yep, it is hit or miss. The minimum # to hit means you hit with the full force so you can't go up from there. @50km it is chance to hit something small and vulnerable on the hull.
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Postby rust » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:45 am

Ishmael wrote: It appears as if barely hitting does as much damage as a direct on-center hit.
Hmm ... given the distances and speeds of a space combat, the gunner
can hardly do more than tell his computerized weapon system to fire at
a specific point source on the sensor screen, but I do not see how his
skill could influence whether the beam or missile will hit barely or cen-
ter on.
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Postby Ishmael » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:01 am

I think is stinks that starship combat then becomes a special case that uses a very slightly changed rule that is different than any other form of combat listed. If the long ranges and speeds take the effect away, then does it mean effect does not apply when using vehicles beyond a certain range and speed? At what point does effect no longer matter?

What if the starship combat takes place is a slugfest in close visual range and matched vectors?

I'll say that effect should be added in order to make combat rules unified throughout all forms of combat.
That and my belief that exceptional rolls should give exceptional results.
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Postby rust » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:13 am

Ishmael wrote: I'll say that effect should be added in order to make combat rules unified throughout all forms of combat.
While I would agree from the rules mechanics point of view, I would dis-
agree from a realism point of view - but here I am already beyond the
Traveller rules, because I do not believe that a human gunner makes
any sense on a starship beyond deciding what target to attack, and in
most cases a computer could do this just as well, and a lot faster.

Which is why I also do not use effect in vehicle combat whenever a wea-
pon system instead of a weapon directly aimed by a person is used - if a
computer does the actual aiming, the skill of the human giving orders to
the computer is irrelevant, even a child without any gunnery skill could
tell the computer "Hit the tank on the left".
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Postby Ishmael » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:41 am

While I understand your point of view and agree to a certain extent, I still feel effect should be used.
All effect does is give better results for a better dice roll regardless of any gunner's skills at the time of firing. An abstraction of all the unknowns that can make one shot be devestating while a similar shot just scorches the paint?

It also makes for more involvement by the players in scrunching their faces up all silly trying to 'will' the dice to roll higher when just getting a hit isn't quite good enough. :lol:

Clearly, in the game, gunners do something important that can affect the chances to hit, so what could it be?
Perhaps the gunners perform maintenance on the guns and thus better skilled gunners have better maintained and hence better performing guns ( I dunno....less play in gimballed mounts,yet not too tight and sticky maybe? Swivels well greased? control harness connections clean and tight and shielded from interference that could give a gun the 'jitters'?)
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Postby rinku » Fri Jul 30, 2010 3:41 am

My take is that what the space gunner is doing is enabling *any* kind of hit on a target. A typical Traveller starship is about 20-30 metres across, and every G of evasion thrust can move it by 10ms^2. Typical engagement range might be 500km. That's roughly equivalent to shooting a human sized target that can dodge in any direction rapidly at a distance of 50km. Can't be done by eye and hand alone, and there's no real chance of locating or targetting a vulnerable spot. Plus the human sized target in question is in fact an armoured ball.

The only real equivalent in dirtside warfare is air-air missile combat between aircraft; possibly air-to-air laser combat if they ever get it working.

I'm cool with the occasional lucky hit to prevent total immunity from all damage, in which case put in a house rule that a roll of 12 or effect 6+ causes a point of damage (I favour the latter). There's scope to run things a little different if the situation is extremely in the firer's favour (i.e. the ships are adjacent on the same vector and the target can't maneuver and the gunner wants to blow away a sensor array. Sure, make a skill roll to do that. Might even give him a bonus modifier.)
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Postby Captain Jonah » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:31 am

Something to consider.

As I have siad before, lasers and dinky little missiles are no better than point defence. The Imperium frowns on heavily armed civilian ships but allows you point defence for self defence. If you choose to get into a fight where you are firing your point defence weapons at each other that is your problem.

A pirate ship is in an illegal career using a probably illegal ship yet carries legal weapons. Stick a few Pbeams on your pirate, crew cooked, ship stopped, job done. Naval ships with pure laser fit are defensive in nature, screening heavier ships from incoming missile and torpedo fire.

Standard ship weapons are very bad at taking down an armoured target. Yep. Seems reasonable to me. You want to threaten another ship, fit decent weapons. Oh you may get arrested a lot or shot on sight by everyones navy when they spot your "merchant" has a set of triple pbeams mounted.

There is still a gap between the point defence stuff and the bays. Bring back a proper heavy missile, bring back a heavy laser, bring back the turret and barbette fussion gun. Give the smaller warships some punch instead of trying to upgun the point defence weapons :D

With regard to + effect, if you want it go for it. It is entirely possible that a skilled gunner looking at the evade pattern of the target can work out the best trageting pattern and keep the laser on target for a few seconds longer or gets his missiles to detonate that bit closer so more of the warheads blast cone hits the target etc. Its your game :D
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Postby Mytholder » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:51 am

Briefly (and bearing in mind that these are not 'official' answers).

1) The original intent was that Effect be added to damage, even in ship combat.
2) Admittedly, that rule was conceived under the old Timing/Effect rules, where Effect was capped at 6.
3) Under the current rules, it's possible to get much higher Effects.
4) Armour (in both personal and ship combat) needs to be looked critically in any future edition.
5) So does ship damage.
6) Is it realistic to add Effect to damage in space combat, given the ranges involved? Probably not... but it's not realistic to have human gunners in the mix, either. Traveller's as much Star Wars as anything else.
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Postby Captain Jonah » Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:23 am

Plasma / Fusion weapons

Plasma / fusion weapons are bulky and take extra space in turrets, a double turret can hold one weapon, a triple turret can hold two weapons.
Barbette, a single heavy weapon in a large turret (2Dtons in size) on the hull with power and support structure in the hull. Takes 5dtons in total
Small Bay, a single very heavy weapon in a very large turret (5dtons) on the hull with power and support in the hull. Takes 50dtons
Large bay, twin very heavy weapons or a single huge weapon in a huge turret (10dtons) on the hull with power and support in the hull. Takes 100dtons. Twin weapons fire together and count as a single attack when used (twin or single is for image or background, has no effect on rules)


Plasma Turret, TECH 10, RANGE CLOSE, DAMAGE 2D*, COST Mcr2, TONS 1 turret
Plasma Barbette, TECH 10, RANGE CLOSE, DAMAGE 3D*, COST Mcr4, TONS 5
Plasma light bay, TECH 10, RANGE SHORT, DAMAGE 4D*, COST Mcr7, TONS 50
Plasma heavy bay, TECH 10, RANGE SHORT, DAMAGE 6D*, COST Mcr14, TONS 100

Fusion Turret, TECH 12, RANGE SHORT, DAMAGE 3D*, COST Mcr3, TONS 1 turret
Fusion Barbette, TECH 12, RANGE SHORT, DAMAGE 4D*, COST Mcr5, TONS 5
Fusion light bay, TECH 12, RANGE MED, DAMAGE 5D*, COST Mcr8, TONS 50
Fusion heavy bay, TECH 12, RANGE MED, DAMAGE 8D*, COST Mcr16, TONS 100

*Plasma and fusion do NOT inflict crew radiation hits, instead plasma weapons ignore four points of target armour, fusion weapons ignore 8 points of armour.
Both plasma and fusion weapons create and fire packets of high energy gas/matter contained in an Emag bottle at launch. They degrade quickly over time and have a shorter range when compared to other weapons. Also the energy packets are accelerated to fairly fast speeds but are direct fire and are inaccurate against fast agile targets. Double any evade or range penalties when using these weapons. I.E. Fusion weapon is -2 at medium, -4 at long, Plasma is -2 at short, -4 at medium

Plasma / Fusion turret and barbette weapons are class 5 permits and available to accredited star merc units or to individuals able to hold such permits (sector/subsector auxiliary, hurscarle unit etc).

Each of the "Special" weapon types has an effect in additon to damage. Particle weapons are the simplest and earliest tech, They inflict crew radiation hits and have a decent range. Plasma / fusion weapons increase firepower and because you are firing packets of star mass at people tend to burn through/ vapourise thin armour. Meson weapons bypass armour completely.

Feedback please, polite only :D
Damage and range of fusion weapons in the main rules and High guard are both less than Pbeams yet they are 4 tech levels higher, there must be some point in developing them into weapons as Pbeams have better stats all round hence the armour pen which cuts though everything but frontline warships.
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ACTA-SF: Who are we, GORN. What do we want, Cruisers that can turn.... Wait, OK Escorts... Wait. I'll get back to you !
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Postby Captain Jonah » Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:09 pm

Laser Barbette.

Intended to add punch to "civilian" ships such as Star Mercs, Hurscarles or route protectors where the ship owner does not have a class 6 weapons license. These are found on the civilian version of the common close escort replacing the Particle beam weapon which is illegal in non military hands.

The Weapon consists of a large turret on the ships hull (2Dton) mounting a pair of beam emmiters which fire in sequence, one firing while the other cools and recharges its capacitors. In this way a powerfull beam can be maintained without the dangers of overheating or loss of energy yield common in smaller beam weapons. The barbette takes up a total of 5Dtons of ships volume as is normal.

Laser Barbette, Tech 7, Range Medium, Damage 4D, Cost Mcr5, Tons 5

Update to Plasma / Fusion. Ndampers do not work on both Plasma and Fusion (edited see below, main rules say they do). Sandcasters do work on hi energy weapons but act to reduce the armour penetration rather than the damage.
Last edited by Captain Jonah on Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Traveller: Nonsense, those rumours about me and crashes, no truth in them at all. I never had a landing I didn't walk away from!

ACTA-SF: Who are we, GORN. What do we want, Cruisers that can turn.... Wait, OK Escorts... Wait. I'll get back to you !
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Postby DFW » Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:36 pm

Captain Jonah wrote:Update to Plasma / Fusion. Ndampers work on both Plasma and Fusion. Sandcasters do work on hi energy weapons but act to reduce the armour penetration rather than the damage.
Sounds good except for this last part. The energy coming from a fusion weapon and causing damage is the result of fusion that has already taken place within the weapon. "The horse has already left the barn", so to speak. A nuke damper wouldn't do anything against the stream hitting a ship.
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Postby Captain Jonah » Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:12 pm

True enough, happy to ignore it.

However the main rule book says it does which as you say makes not much sense but there you go.

Its an optional rule so just drop the Ndamper :D
Traveller: Nonsense, those rumours about me and crashes, no truth in them at all. I never had a landing I didn't walk away from!

ACTA-SF: Who are we, GORN. What do we want, Cruisers that can turn.... Wait, OK Escorts... Wait. I'll get back to you !
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Postby rinku » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:04 am

DFW wrote:
Captain Jonah wrote:Update to Plasma / Fusion. Ndampers work on both Plasma and Fusion. Sandcasters do work on hi energy weapons but act to reduce the armour penetration rather than the damage.
Sounds good except for this last part. The energy coming from a fusion weapon and causing damage is the result of fusion that has already taken place within the weapon. "The horse has already left the barn", so to speak. A nuke damper wouldn't do anything against the stream hitting a ship.
Well, that's not what the standard rules say (p.150). My guess is that the ND they present is damping down the rads instead of preventing the reaction from happening (despite the text on p112). Presuambly the rad hit from particle beams is not affected since that's an effect from the N-PAWS beam hitting the hull, so the damper has no range to work with. But it has no effect on plasma weapons in any case.

Thought: as presented in space combat, a nuke damper should be of use against something like a solar flare (at least the radiation bit).
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Postby justacaveman » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:48 am

If gunner skill has no effect on combat, there doesn't appear to be any reason to have gunners.

Realistically a gunner's skill won't have any benefit at all in space combat. There is absolutely nothing that a human being (or alien) can do that a computer program can't do better. Video games have to be programmed to miss human targets because human reactions are so slow. The only real human input in space combat would be to tell the computer that it is okay to engage the target. After that, there is nothing else for the gunner to do.

So why does Traveller even need gunners? Because gunners are not about hitting the target, it's about involving the players in space combat. Effect is part of every skill roll, leaving it out of space combat just because the writers failed to explicitly mention it doesn't stand the test of reason. You shouldn't need to repeat a standard game mechanic over and over, to know that you use it. Do you need the rules to constantly remind you that the standard mechanic for rolls is 8+ on 2d6 (Two six-sided dice.)?

I use gunners, pilots, and all of the other unnecessary living beings in space combat because it good for the players to be involved. I use Effect because it is good for the player's involvement. In truth there is nothing that the players do in space combat that can't be done better and faster by computers, but it doesn't make a very fun game.
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Postby BP » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:21 am

Yep. Realistically, starships would have no need of any human crew - just occupants who stated their wishes.

I'm reminded of listening to a recording of a modern tank 'battle' - the commander simply repeats 'Fire. Fire. Fire.' dozens of times, till the computer can be heard in the background repeating something to the effect of 'No targets remaining.' several times till the man realizes the battle is already over...
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Postby locarno24 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:37 am

Oh you may get arrested a lot or shot on sight by everyones navy when they spot your "merchant" has a set of triple pbeams mounted.
The triple pop-up turret. Ideal for those sort of situations....

Hmm.... I'm tempted to put together some sort of 'missile variants' article after a few thoughts that have popped up in some recent threads. A medium weight missile (3D6/4D6 range) would be an interesting one to include.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.

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