Laser changes and the tactical use of missles

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Geesuv
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Laser changes and the tactical use of missles

Postby Geesuv » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:48 pm

I've been interested in Traveller for a long time but have never gotten the chance to run or play it. So when I look at the rules and systems I'm not really sure how the end up working out during play.

I picked up the High Guard supplement today and I noticed the changes made to Beam and Pulse lasers. These changes seem odd to me, making the pulse laser more powerful and less accurate and lowering the damage of the beam laser (an Elite II player in my childhood)
So my first question is this, are these changes necessary? I found the original rules pretty apt. Using Pulse lasers more as short range point defense guns and beam lasers as more of an attack weapon.

My second question is to do with the missiles as presented in the core book. I was surprised to find they were no more powerful than lasers (except perhaps the crew damage from nukes, but still...) So the way I see it, they take forever to get to the enemy, they can be shot down by prepared opponents, take up more space and have limited shots.
Am I missing something? It doesn't look like missiles have any solid advantage over other, more direct, weapon systems.

These are just things that have occurred to me while reading the books. Theres likely to be more random and likely inane questions from me down the line...
Thanks!
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Postby hdan » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:57 pm

Historically, pulse lasers have been shorter range and more powerful than beam lasers. The main rulebook (IMHO) got it wrong by changing that balance. HG restores it.

Don't have my rules handy, but I believe that missiles can't be blocked by Sandcasters and tie up a ship's lasers in point defense. So you either get missile hits on the enemy OR they don't shoot at you for a turn.
/hdan
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Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:00 pm

The changes to the lasers was made so that MGT matched previous versions of Traveller. You get a choice, powerful and inaccurate or less powerful and accurate. Depending on what you are using them for, both have their uses.

Missiles were also of the same power as lasers back in CT. With the options available in HG, you can give some variety to your missiles. One thing that DID change with MGT was the size of the missiles. In CT, missiles were 0.2 tons; in MGT missiles are only 0.08 tons. So MGT made the missiles smaller but with the same damage. Missiles have the advantage of RANGE. Lasers are pretty short ranged weapons (short for a Pulse laser and Medium for a Beam laser); that is there advantage. Also, a weapon can only fire once per combat turn, so if a ship is shooting at incoming missiles, it is not shooting at you!

Nukes should be rare except for the military, and even there, they will be only rarely used.
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Postby locarno24 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:09 pm

Agree on range - missiles are capable of striking at any range (even distant!) without an accuracy penalty, whilst beam and pulse lasers aren't especially capable beyond a knife fight.

Missiles are also nice and low-tech;at TL6, you can slap your full 3 tech upgrades on any missile weapons built for a jump-capable ship, making them much more dangerous than a comparable energy weapon (high yield, accurate smart missiles are very nasty against lightly armoured ships)
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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Postby Geesuv » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:42 pm

Also, a weapon can only fire once per combat turn, so if a ship is shooting at incoming missiles, it is not shooting at you!


Are you sure? I was under the impression reactions happened independently of whatever else you did in a turn. The fact that a gunner can keep shooting down missiles until he misses seems to support this.
But, again, I'm a little vague on the rules and may be missing something.

Oh, and an additional question, how do double, triple and whatnot turrets with multiple lasers work when shooting point defense? This doesn't seem to be covered...
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Postby BP » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:51 pm

Might add, missile barrages can allow for a lot more hits in a future turn than lasers.

And missiles not only have some range benefits - they also keep on pursuing their targets - even while one flees!

Missile systems are also cheaper IIRC (with balance being they cost more operationally, are limited and require additional tonnage).
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Postby DFW » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:01 pm

locarno24 wrote:Missiles are also nice and low-tech;at TL6, you can slap your full 3 tech upgrades on any missile weapons built for a jump-capable ship,


This is another oddity (inaccuracy) in the rules. The missiles, as described are above even our current TL 7 capability to make. More like late TL 8 or TL 9...
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Postby BP » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:08 pm

Always used the TL 7/8 comparisons to RL as 'rough guidelines' - with M-Drives starting at TL 7 - which would mean we would already have Gravitics.

The TL upgrades give missiles a possible slight edge for lower TL designs.
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Postby DFW » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:23 pm

BP wrote:with M-Drives starting at TL 7 - which would mean we would already have Gravitics.


That's actually incorrect. Reaction M-drives start at TL-7 Gravitics starts at TL-9. So, there is no M=drive for missiles at TL-6. See HG and Main Rule book.

Just another internal rules conflict.
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Postby BP » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:03 pm

Rated 1 & 2 M-Drives are listed as TL-7 (HG pg 50).
Core pg 4 states TL 9 -'development of gravity manipulation'
Core pg 103 Air/Raft uses 'anti-gravity technology' and starts at TL-8

(Sad - know these page numbers... gonna need a new books soon!)
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Postby DFW » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:13 pm

BP wrote:Rated 1 & 2 M-Drives are listed as TL-7 (HG pg 50).
Core pg 4 states TL 9 -'development of gravity manipulation'
Core pg 103 Air/Raft uses 'anti-gravity technology' and starts at TL-8

(Sad - know these page numbers... gonna need a new books soon!)


Yes, Core says anti-grav starts at TL 9, THEN states it exist at TL - 8 (grav Car) 1&2 M-drives @ TL-7 in HG are reaction drives...

So, the rule in core has two different TLs listed, OR the air raft is a typo. The only way to know is if the MGT Designer pipes up. In the meantime. The overarching rule in core is, TL -9 grav tech appears...
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Postby BP » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:57 pm

DFW wrote:...In the meantime. The overarching rule in core is, TL -9 grav tech appears...

Subjective - and breaks the TL levels in a design system, not to mention conflicts with the definition of Air/Raft... ;)
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Postby rinku » Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:38 pm

Late TL8 was the original tech for CT air/rafts. This does not mean that other gravity manipulation technology appears at that point, and in fact gravitic M-Drives only appear at TL9 and grav vehicles other than air/rafts at TL10 in Book 2 (1981 edition).

MegaTraveller changed all grav tech to TL9; MGT has restored the original.

I'd say that a TL8 air/raft is basically contra-grav only tech - it can reduce the gravity vector but does not provide lateral thrust; this can be provided by a turbojet or something. It's a model-T version.
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Postby DFW » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:04 am

BP wrote:
DFW wrote:...In the meantime. The overarching rule in core is, TL -9 grav tech appears...

Subjective - and breaks the TL levels in a design system, not to mention conflicts with the definition of Air/Raft... ;)


Actually, objective as it is written as a core rule. The ship design system jibes with the rule, see HG. There is NO where in the ship design system that states TL 8 as gravitics. I don't really consider the vehicle design book as it is shot full of weirdness.

One possible typo does not a core rule change. ;)
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Postby DFW » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:05 am

rinku wrote:I'd say that a TL8 air/raft is basically contra-grav only tech - it can reduce the gravity vector but does not provide lateral thrust; this can be provided by a turbojet or something. It's a model-T version.


That would be the only logical answer to the question based on the other rules.
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Postby far-trader » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:31 am

Rikki Tikki Traveller wrote:...Missiles were also of the same power as lasers back in CT.


Not that it matters a lot but actually no. Another small difference between CT and MGT core it seems. CT Book 2 missiles did 1D6 hits (damage table rolls) for each successful attack (1 missile hit) compared to just 1 hit (damage table roll) for each successful attack (1 laser hit). So they could be the same but odds were that missiles would do more damage, sometimes quite significantly so (up to 6 times the damage), making anti-missile laser fire and ECM quite valuable in combat vs missiles. Missiles were deadly...

...at least until CT HG nerfed them and added Nukes that civilians shouldn't use to the rules. The best CT HG comparison for the 1D6 hits missiles from CT Book 2 (imo) would be Nuclear Missiles. So I house ruled that the 1D6 hit missiles were in fact Nukes, and instituted a conventional explosive warhead version that did just 1 hit for civilian use. Which may be what MGT decided to do for the core rules, skipping the nerfing step in HG :)
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Postby far-trader » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:35 am

DFW wrote:...Just another internal rules conflict.


Think of them as subliminal suggestions for house rules and ref creativity ;)
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Postby DFW » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:29 am

far-trader wrote:
DFW wrote:...Just another internal rules conflict.


Think of them as subliminal suggestions for house rules and ref creativity ;)


I'm getting a message from the beyond...
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Postby rinku » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:34 am

MGT High Guard multi-warhead missiles can be used to restore the CT civilian rules.

Mongoose can't really be blamed for the missile mess. As has been mentioned, the original High Guard confused things back in 1979, and it wasn't until Special Supplement 3 out of JTAS 21 (1984) that we even had official rules for missile thrust values (and this in a space combat system that was based on vector movement...)

But from a game balance point of view, missiles should be deadly, since they can be countered and have limited shots. To my mind, a base 2D6 damage for conventional and 3D6 damage (with restricted availablity) for nukes feels right. You can always reduce the turns of thrust if you feel they need limiting a bit.
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Postby RumRogue » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:51 am

rinku wrote:But from a game balance point of view, missiles should be deadly, since they can be countered and have limited shots. To my mind, a base 2D6 damage for conventional and 3D6 damage (with restricted availablity) for nukes feels right. You can always reduce the turns of thrust if you feel they need limiting a bit.


Thats not a bad idea.
If I were to use this, then I would still keep the 1d6 / 10 thrust missiles and those be kinetic-kill vs explosive.
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