AP/SAP on starships

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locarno24
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AP/SAP on starships

Postby locarno24 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:13 pm

Quick query to knowledgeable rules types - how do armour pierceing traits work versus a starship target?

I understand how the Universe of Babylon 5 starship weapons with AP traits would work, but how about ground fire?

A Super AP antitank weapon might easily ignore a dozen points of armour. But you also have that blasted starship damage reduction.

Imagine an 8D6, Full AP weapon, against a titanium armoured ship (2 points of starship armour).

Possible outcomes:

a) 8D6 damage divided by 50 results in 1 damage. Should be reduced by 2 but the 16 points of armour penetration means you ignore this. One single hit inflicted.

b) 8D6 damage divided by 50 results in 1 damage. 16 points of armour penetration also reduced (rounds to zero) means that 2 points of starship armour deflects the hit. No damage inflicted.

c) Something else?


I'm tempted by a) - the size of the hull of a starship means that doing more than a single hit should be nigh impossible with anything shy of starship-scale guns, but it strikes me that an equivalent tech level antitank missile should at least be able to damage external turrets, sensor arrays and other exposed stuff (even if it should really be able to punch through a main armour belt)
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: AP/SAP on starships

Postby SSWarlock » Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:32 pm

I lean towards option A.
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby F33D » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:31 pm

The AP amount is rated for non-ship armour levels. So, B would be consistent with the rules.
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby BP » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:28 pm

So, this tank and this starship get in a fight... :D

Doubt the rules specifically address this - certainly not in any believable way. Especially the armour part.

Starship weapons against smaller targets have an (arbitrary) 50x modifier... but don't recall any mechanics explicitly addressing the other way around. But on the reverse assumption (50:1), I'd treat starship armour factors the same way. I.e. armour x50 = which means one round of the example Super AP would have a snowball's chance of penetrating starship armour 2.

The damage dice mechanics I really don't see applying to small arms/artillery being fired at something the size of a starship. Its pretty much full damage (for a successful task roll) IMO. Like firing at a wall.

In the particular example, the question being - do you allow multiple rounds to account for the armour (cumulative damage)...
locarno24
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby locarno24 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:20 am

Starship weapons against smaller targets have an (arbitrary) 50x modifier... but don't recall any mechanics explicitly addressing the other way around.
Mercenary has them. However, they therefore predate CSC, which introduced the AP/SAP/etc concept.
In the particular example, the question being - do you allow multiple rounds to account for the armour (cumulative damage)...
Well, the one advantage ground weapons have is that the second and subsequent weapons can add half their damage - whether the AP in a barrage of TAC missiles would stack multiple times I'm not sure.
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: AP/SAP on starships

Postby BP » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:56 pm

Mercenary was not well received... don't have that one. ;)

In RL, AP against personal armor is quite different than AP against tank armor - and spaceship armor of the type in Traveller is a complete unknown.

Sounds like you have enough rules - you just need to decide if AP (esp. in barrages), or particular AP, applies to starship armour. ;)
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby F33D » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:09 pm

BP wrote: In the particular example, the question being - do you allow multiple rounds to account for the armour (cumulative damage)...
Logic says no. But, the rules may not be logical.
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby Jak Nazryth » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:50 pm

This is related. IMTU I treat a rail gun Barbette and a rail gun bay as armor piercing VS ship armor the same way as Gauss rifle works against personal armor. Reducing the armor by 1 for each dice of damage.
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:42 pm

I wish someone with a lot more knowledge of weapons and armour than I have would sit down and come up with a LOGICAL and CONSISTENT rule set for scaling armour and damage from personal to vehicle to starship.

In my mind, a big, honkin' (that's a technical term) vehicle gun should be able to damage a starship, but the current RAW don't seem to support this.

I also feel that a FGMP should be able to damage a starship (at least an unarmoured one).

Also, the rules do not address an UNARMOURED starhip hull, how much damage does that take before being affected?

This area really needs work.
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby Jak Nazryth » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:30 pm

Maybe an unarmored ships hull can have 40 or 45 points of (personal armor) to prevent small arms fire and micro meter hits etc... Since it's below 50 (1 point of damage ship-scale) it doesn't register as "armor" in space combat. Maybe even have a "half-point" of ship-scale armor, which equals 25 points of personal scale armor... which falls in the range of all vehicle weapons. Make that "standard" hull damage resistance.
Just a thought.
Then a heavy weapon can puncture an unarmored hull if you roll high enough.

Here is an example.
My players took part in a Mercenary raid on a crime syndicate shipment. While the Merc's were taking on the escort ships, my players took on the armed far trader. The traded blows but the players came out on top. The far trader had no hull and only 1 point of structure left. They got into a heavy firefight in the main cargo area. The bad guys had a G-Carrier and an ex marine turned criminal, both wielding pgmp's. Each time they missed a player, the still rolled damage. A couple of times the bad guy's pgmp's got close to the 50 point mark, one rolled 45 points, another rolled 48 points etc.. If a missed shot got more than 50 points of damage, they could have done the very last structural point and the ship would have stated falling apart!
Lucky for the players, the 50 point threshold was never reached.
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby BP » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:06 pm

My first instinct is also to want a consistent scaling system that addresses, well, everything. But the more I think about it, the more I am certain this should not be solved with a calculator as much as with prose...

For the purpose of writing rules for a game, there is no one who knows anything about spaceship armor or weapons. (Don't get me wrong - there are folks actively involved in these areas, just not for purposes of a sci-fi game targeting the far future.) So its all speculative.

The talent to do this well resides in writing flexible rules - game mechanics that support a Ref adjudicating the outcome of such. Too much detail is too easy to achieve and can too readily destroy suspension of disbelief.

Heck, the use of the word 'titanium' in reference to starship armour just sets my teeth a' grinding and my eyes roll'n for the skies. But, then, ditto for most of the starship weapons. I tolerate them mostly by trying not to think much about them... Start putting numbers and quantitative conditions, from personnel weapons to starship, and my crap meter is sure to go off the scale.

From a gaming standpoint - sure, there is an appeal. From a roleplaying one - not so much. At least via damage dice. Its just way too restrictive. There are just way too many things to adequately define, quantitatively.

Qualitatively, there is a good deal of opportunity - but it also needs to be flexible.

For my part - anti-personnel munitions against a starship? Generally - no way. But... I might make an exception and allow an exceptional roll targeting fuel scoops to have some kind of damage, depending on the nature of the munitions. But it is gonna be exceptional - and totally my call. I don't need numeric rules to say its impossible or can do damage X.

Attack a starship with a stick - I don't care how exceptional the roll - best you can hope for is the broken end don't hit you in the eye, or the nads... a high tech tank AP round, on the other hand, well that depends. Are we talking none, passive or reactive armor; to what degree kinetic or thermal; multi-stage exotic penetrators? - there are a lot of options.

Last thing needed is for some fool to put numbers to things which effectively (though probably unintentionally) results in equating so many layers of chainmail to starship armor levels. Which then opens the door to how much energy is imparted by starship lasers...

These things don't really scale - not based on damage points. The nature of the damage needs to be taken into account. And that is way too complex and stimulation-ist for an RPG (that isn't hiding a wargame).

How does one make up points for a hull... 50 points? So I blast it with my super-duper-power-blaster Mk1 - for 52 points of damage. Is the entire hull gone? If its streamlined, does the Mk1 do less damage? What if I chain 5 Mk1's together and fire at the same time at the same point - does that go thru Armour 5? So is it as powerful as a missile or pulse beam? Did I miss every structural element?

Some general guidelines could work. It certainly should be addressed. But from a rollplay and effect standpoint - more so than from a numerical one.
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby locarno24 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:27 am

For my part - anti-personnel munitions against a starship? Generally - no way. But... I might make an exception and allow an exceptional roll targeting fuel scoops to have some kind of damage, depending on the nature of the munitions. But it is gonna be exceptional - and totally my call. I don't need numeric rules to say its impossible or can do damage X.
That's actually one of my pet hates with both starship and vehicle damage systems - the fact that there is one flat armour value means you can't pull off a called shot. I happily accept that small arms shouldn't damage (armour or hull) an equivalent TL tank. However a decent shot should have no trouble messing up gunsights (sensors), pintle mounts (weapons) and other extremities that have to be outside the main armour belt to function.
So I blast it with my super-duper-power-blaster Mk1 - for 52 points of damage. Is the entire hull gone?
No. As it stands, 50+ damage is one point of starship-scale damage, which means one roll on the damage table for a single hit. Which could just as easily be a sensors, weapons or armour hit as a hull hit, and even if it's a hull damage result, it's only one point of damage - even a 100 dTon ship can take 2 such hits before serious internal damage occurs.
anti-personnel munitions against a starship? Generally - no way.
Oh, agreed, just like trying to stop a truck with a handgun. But something like man-portable fusion weapons are not exactly anti-personnel - in personal combat they are essentially "....aaannd dead." if they hit someone. It's not unreasonable that firing one into the (essentially unarmoured) hulls of many merchant ships should achieve something.
What if I chain 5 Mk1's together and fire at the same time at the same point - does that go thru Armour 5?
That is covered in mercenary. If there's lots of weapons firing at a single ship, each gun after the first adds half its damage before dividing by fifty.
Also, the rules do not address an UNARMOURED starhip hull, how much damage does that take before being affected?
If you want some general immunity to trivial fire, just say that you always round down when converting to starship scale damage - so you have to do at least fifty damage, even to an unarmoured hull.
Sounds like you have enough rules - you just need to decide if AP (esp. in barrages), or particular AP, applies to starship armour.
Essentially, yes. Was just asking if there was an existing intent and/or if anyone had experience that it made ships too vulnerable in games they'd played.
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: AP/SAP on starships

Postby BP » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:49 pm

locarno24 wrote:I happily accept that small arms shouldn't damage (armour or hull) an equivalent TL tank. However a decent shot should have no trouble messing up gunsights (sensors), pintle mounts (weapons) and other extremities that have to be outside the main armour belt to function.
Modern tanks don't have this weakness - it certainly is unbelievable to me. Such are still armored and 'no trouble messing up' doesn't make sense to me. A very, very (very) slim chance - maybe. For certain weapons.

[In the past, I have worked R&D for anti-tank munitions. So maybe I'm less Hollywood in this...]
locarno24 wrote:As it stands, 50+ damage is one point of starship-scale damage, which means one roll on the damage table for a single hit. Which could just as easily be a sensors, weapons or armour hit as a hull hit, and even if it's a hull damage result, it's only one point of damage - even a 100 dTon ship can take 2 such hits before serious internal damage occurs.
A 20 ton launch or 30 ton ship's boat, on a roll of 6 or 8 (~27%), the 'ship is destroyed'.

That's one 50+ point hit with a PGMP or FGMP (10-16 d6).

I can almost buy that (well, at a stretch). Of course, hitting that big target - 73% of the time I somehow manage to not wipe out the hull and structure and takeout something else - or do no damage at all. yeah...

But then there are these +50% rules for multiple shots... so maybe I just use my plasma rife (6d6) and pound the sucker... two good damage rolls and a weapon described as a 'high-powered sniper weapon designed to crack Battle Dress' (6d6) manages to also 'destroy' a 20-ton or 30-ton ship...

Like I posted above - trying to numerically create an all encompassing damage system based on 'points' of damage alone makes for some very unbelievable outcomes. There are just too many ways to 'break' it.
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:54 pm

Didn't MegaTraveller use a single scale for personal to vehicle to starship damage?

Perhaps that is a place to start...

Personally, I am thinking with going with the "Rule of Dice"

Rule of Dice:
One dice of personal damage represents 1 point of vehicle damage. One Dice of vehicle damage represents 1 point of starship damage.

In reverse, 1d6 of Starship damage (beam laser for example) = 6d6 vehicle damage = 36d6 personal damage
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby F33D » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:35 pm

BP wrote: Modern tanks don't have this weakness - it certainly is unbelievable to me. Such are still armored and 'no trouble messing up' doesn't make sense to me. A very, very (very) slim chance - maybe. For certain weapons.

[In the past, I have worked R&D for anti-tank munitions. So maybe I'm less Hollywood in this...]
That's the thing. Based on the operational requirements, space ships (Trav) can not have those kind of vulnerabilities anymore than a submarine can have certain areas of the pressure hull that can't take dive depth... ALL external surfaces have to be able to take micro-meteor strikes at travel speed. Plus, extreme radiation & heat. Over and over again.
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby BP » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:35 pm

Rikki, like the elegance of rule of dice for a board game or wargaming. May be too pat for an RPG, at least without a lot of conditionals and good numeric range.

BTW, are you talking a different damage/combat system, or am I misreading? Ala:
  • Bludgeoning a tank with a club = 2 points of vehicle damage? (Single Hit)
    Pulse rifle does 6 points vehicle and 1 point starship? (Two Singles or Single Hit respectively)
An armored vehicle (1 point) could take damage hit from a club... which sounds preposterous on one hand, except the club could be crystal iron against Titanium (argh) armor and branded in the other hand by a BD sporting trooper. But then, what if the club and armor are made of the same stuff? :wink:

Its real easy to think of cases where damage might be appropriate or it might not - making point based rules very conditional... losing the elegance and KISS of any system designed to scale across the spectrum.

I worked for a while on a system where weapons/munitions had their own UDP (Universal Damage Profile) - but it got so quickly complex (thermal, kinetic - piercing vs. bunching, ionizing, etc.), I dropped it. Codifying things is nice, but is also, inherently limiting (to what the codes allow). :(

A universal damage system that 'worked' and was playable in an RPG would be great.
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:22 pm

Well, my wooden club can indeed damage a vehicle. Take a baseball bat (or cricket bat) to a car and see what happens. You CAN dent it.

However, use that same bat on a tank (with high armour) and you will barely scratch the paint.
So, the system COULD work, with Armour being the deciding factor in how much damage a personal weapon could cause.

SURE, there are LOTS of special situations, after all a person should be able to do an Aimed Shot without the normal penalties (hitting a 10 meter radar dish is REALLY easy when you are only 20 meters away instead of a light second away).

My Rule of Dice is a general rule and a place to start. Using this rule, you can estimate how much damage an FGMP will do to that Scout Ship and how dangerous the Y-Gun is to that same ship.
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby BP » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:41 pm

My example was for an armored vehicle. ;)

But to address your example: that bat on the plastic side panel of some modern vehicles - where's your dent?

To address my example - (conceptually) try that 2d6 wooden bat on one of my friend's 1" thick steel plate bumpers (Armour 2?)... the only damage dice I'm figuring on there is to one's arm. :P

I can dent the metal in most cars with my thumb... but might have some difficulty breaking the windshield in the same fashion - and almost no chance shattering the headlight glass. How does damage points/dice address that?

Understand you are applying a rule of thumb (no pun intended), but as such, it falls apart rather quickly in RP, IMO - too much so to be of much use except as a secret, situational, Referee tool. It works for you - great. Just saying I don't see it as a general 'rule'.
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby F33D » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:05 pm

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:Well, my wooden club can indeed damage a vehicle. Take a baseball bat (or cricket bat) to a car and see what happens. You CAN dent it.
We're talking starships not, "vehicles"...
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Re: AP/SAP on starships

Postby IanW » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:23 am

Under FFS2, starships needed an armour factor of 40.

Very roughly, this is the front armour of a TL6 tank.

There are lots and lots of ground-based weapons that can do bad things to civilian starships.

Personally, I think this makes a better Traveller universe when Our Heroes can sneak up on the landed pirate ship with their FGMP/recoiless rifle/elephant mounted particle accelerator weapon.

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