Whats the point of beam lasers now?

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renski
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Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby renski » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:38 pm

Taking a look at the high guard rules, pulse lasers and beam lasers have been modified so that pulse lasers have a -2 to hit, but do 2d6 damage and beam lasers do 1d6 damage.

Using the TL upgrades, pulse lasers can be reduced to a -1 and can have long range or variable range to improve their effectiveness. This makes them fairly good multi-purpose weaponry, and my players have used them to good effect in a couple of engagements.

However, what's the point of beam lasers? ok, they'd be slightly more likely to hit, but 1d6 damage would be useless against anything with decent armour? My players always stay clear of the 1d6 weaponry, knowing it's more or less useless in a fight.

Any thoughts on how to make beam lasers useful again? I could always house rule them to have 2d6 damage again, but then what would be the point of pulse lasers? Ideally it be nice to for the weapons have different abilities making players want a mix of both types of laser.

Renski
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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby Egil Skallagrimsson » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:45 pm

Suggest you review some of the earlier posts on pulse lasers vs beam lasers, and space weaponry in general. There are some pretty involved discussions.

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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby AndrewW » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:16 pm

Don't forget the same TL upgrades can be applied to beam lasers as well.

Can depend on the roll, beam lasers are good for point defense for example.
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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby Jeraa » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:51 pm

Pulse and beam lasers aren't meant to be military-grade weapons to begin with. Beam lasers primarily a defensive weapon - you shoot down incoming missiles with them. Where great damage isn't necessary (a hit on a missile destroys it, regardless of damage done), but accuracy is. Sure, they can be used against unarmored (or lightly armored) targets, but thats just a bonus.

Beam lasers - Defensive weapon. Low damage, good accuracy.
Pulse lasers - Offensive weapon. Good damage, low accuracy.

The change in High Guard was just to bring the lasers back in line with the way they've always been. (But more is needed. CT lasers did 1 hit, while missiles did 1d6. With the boost to laser damage, missiles stayed the same. They should be boosted up to 1d6x1d6 [or 3 to 4d6, which is roughly the same as average]. As it is, there is no reason to take missiles over lasers. Of course, that would also require changing torpedoes.)
renski
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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby renski » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:44 pm

Does anyone know where I might find the CT ship weapon rules? They sound interesting.
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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby BP » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:45 pm

Not aware of any site that cover CT spaceship combat, but books are available for purchase.

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php ... from=&pto=

Scroll down to the CT- Bxx where you will find the individual books ($2.25) and the ST (was free - $7~10?) and DT combinations... Book 2, IIRC, has starship combat. Book 5 is HighGuard (large ship combat).

http://www.farfuture.net/ sell reprints (hardcopy) and CDs. (Pricier, but great bargains)
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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby GypsyComet » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:10 pm

The game "Mayday" is another reference, as the companion boardgame to Book 2's combat system.
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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby apoc527 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:08 am

Personally, I find that the High Guard changes to lasers make little to no sense. Especially since beam lasers get exactly the same accuracy as every other weapon, it's hard to argue that they are "accurate." They are only accurate compared to the -2 that pulse lasers get (note that this is itself, IMO, ridiculous for a speed of light weapon--railguns don't even get a penalty to hit).

So, my advice is basically "change it." IF you want to keep this "pulse lasers do more damage" shtick (which most other games don't support), then I'd give beam lasers a +1 or +2 to hit and make pulse lasers -2 from there (I prefer the +1 for beam, -1 for pulse myself).

I just use the TMB rules (2d6 "military" beam lasers, 1d6 "civilian" pulse lasers). YMMV of course.
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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby Jak Nazryth » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:06 pm

I remove the -2 penalty, which is IMO a dumb game balance mechanic.
Everything else is basically the same.
I agree that missiles seem extremely underwhelming. Even nuclear missile damage gets a yawn, since radiation damage is relatively easy to deal with, drugs, medics, etc...
Does anyone see any REAL advantage for a missile over the basic offensive laser?
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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby Jeraa » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:37 pm

Jak Nazryth wrote: Does anyone see any REAL advantage for a missile over the basic offensive laser?
If you use smart missiles, they can keep making attack rolls until they hit their target, or are destroyed.

Missiles could also include special upgrades - armor piercing warheads, replace the single warhead with cluster munitions, EMP warheads, etc. Missiles may also see more use against ground targets then other spacecraft (should have an area of effect, and they can't be shot down).

Missiles are too easy to shoot down in space combat. The only way to make them effective is to fire so many that the enemy can't shoot them all down. But that gets expensive fast, and you would be better off using lasers anyway. (Cheaper, can't be shot down, and can be used to shoot down any missiles someone is stupid enough to fire)
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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby locarno24 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:13 am

Beam lasers are point defence. Simple as.

The -2 for a pulse laser isn't too bad against one missile, especially if your prospective flak gunner has a decent DEX and a level of Gunner (Turrets), but it starts to get really bad if you're trying to fend off bomb-pumped warheads, giving an extra -2 to hit. Throw in a decent volley of the things, and the cumulative -1 for multiple missiles will also start to bite very quickly.

Yes, beam lasers are no more 'accurate' than any other weapon but they are cheap enough and low tech enough to have the 'accurate' upgrade fitted to them easily. Railguns may not have a to hit penalty but they are specifically not allowed to be used for point defence. Nor are particle beams. Even if they were, only being able to pack a single weapon into a turret or barbette mount means they just won't cut it against a regimented missile attack. An accurate twin or triple beam laser with a Fire Control software, on the other hand, does a passable CIWS impression and can swat entire bays worth of incoming fire.

'civilian' missiles are a pile of poo. I'm not even going to try and defend them. But then that's why they're more or less uncontrolled and available to anyone who can afford them and isn't currently wearing an eyepatch and tricorne. They're 'good enough' against largely unarmoured civilian and non-military pirate ships.

Better missiles are already available, and some of them are *^@&%"!!-ingly scary:

The Nuke. Aimed like a beam laser, hits like a pulse laser (2D6), range better than both. This is the absolute minimum for a proper 'antiship missile'.

The Multi-Warhead Missile. Slower, but if you don't have decent armour, it'll hurt even more than a nuke (D6D6).

The Bomb-Pumped Torpedo. Fired from a barbette and hits like a bay weapon (6D6) and nigh impossible to defend against without proper flak emplacements.

The Ortillery Torpedo. Not designed for use against ships. With truly ridiculous punch (8D6!) I should bloody well hope not.

But there are also quite a few other missile types worth using...

Shockwave missiles. Prevents the enemy using sandcasters defensively for the turn. Nasty as hell if used in a volley along with laser-head torpedoes or a broadside of pulse laser mounts.

Jumpbreaker missiles. Put a sufficiently high DM on your jump calculations that in terms of survival odds you'd be better off putting a gauss rifle to your head than firing the j-drive. Great for pirates.

Incapacitation drones. The EMP weapon mentioned before (more or less). Targetable by non-laser weapons, but again, as expendable ordnance it's verging on overkill to be firing particle beams at them. I'd far rather have three accurate shots than one higher-powered one, especially if someone drops a clutch of the things.
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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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby hdan » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:09 pm

renski wrote:Does anyone know where I might find the CT ship weapon rules? They sound interesting.
The simple version is this: you only roll to hit. If you hit, a beam laser does one "hit", a pulse laser does two "hits" and a missile does 1d6 hits. You roll locations for the hits much like in MgT. There are no armor rules in the basic CT system, but in analogy to the CT gun combat rules, you could easily make a ship's armor be a negative DM to the "to hit" roll.

MgT had to go with a more complex "roll for damage points, subtract armor, figure how many hits" approach in order to accommodate the wider variety of weapons and armors. It's clunkier but gives more variety.

One place I think MgT went wrong is in making missiles so weak. CT missiles (at least LBB-2 missiles) are at LEAST as powerful as a beam laser, and often much more powerful. Nukes were 1d6 times 1d6, so could really ruin any ship's day on a solid hit. This was made up for by the fact that missiles were expensive (and nukes illegal for civilian use), so your typical trader wouldn't want to blow most of the run's profits on a missile shot unless things were really desperate.
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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby Mytholder » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:23 pm

If I were to redo the MgT rules today, I'd boost missile damage by several notches. (Also on the hypothetical agenda - personal armour values).
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Re: Whats the point of beam lasers now?

Postby IanBruntlett » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:26 pm

Mytholder wrote:If I were to redo the MgT rules today, I'd boost missile damage by several notches. (Also on the hypothetical agenda - personal armour values).
It would be nice if Mongoose could collect the adjustments to MgT rules and make them available on the Mg website.
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