Apoc's hyper-lawyered take on Barrage Damage

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Apoc's hyper-lawyered take on Barrage Damage

Postby apoc527 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:54 am

I just typed this all out in barnest's excellent little PbP down in the forums, but I wanted to share it all with you.

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Rules question for your most esteemed GM:

I've always thought that Barrage rules were a good idea, but poorly explained. As long as one accepts that the barrage rules are a major abstraction and does some very strict reading of the rules, I think they actually can work pretty well.

The part that has always confused me, though, is how individual weapon damage gets taken into account. Under some of the examples, it doesn't. But there is one sentence that DOES explain what you are supposed to do and I'm wondering what you think about it.

On page 74, the third sentence under the boldfaced heading "Barrages & Defenses" says, "Add up the protection offered by the defenses, and then subtract it from the individual weapon damage score to determine final DM."

This sentence is key, IMO, to making the barrage attack rules work right.

Unfortunately, in the example that actually ends on page 75, they don't follow their own rule and it has created vast confusion on these forums.

In that example, the Bucephalus fires a 200-Nuclear Missile-Long-2 barrage at the Victory. The Bucephalus rolls a 7 on the 2d6 +0 (range) +3 (skill) + 4 (fire control) -2 (dodging enemy) for a total of 7+5 = 12. In the next little example, the Victory calculates her defense DM of 7, and so the example gives a net barrage score of 5, which results in 50% damage. I believe this is incorrect. I believe the final barrage score should be 7, doing 100% damage.

Here is why:

The sentence I quoted above instructs the player to "subtract it (the protection offered by defenses) from the individual weapon damage (in this case it's 2) to determine the final DM." So, subtracting the IWD, which is 2, from the total defenses DM, which is 7, gets us a -5 DM.

Now, you might be saying, "well that's odd, if I subtract a -5 DM from the attack roll, won't I be ADDING +5?" Yes, but that's not what the rules say. It just says "defenses such as armor or sand provide a DM to the attack roll." It doesn't say, "add up the defenses and subtract that number from the attack roll." (And yes, I know I'm lawyering the crap out of these rules, but they DO work if you read them super strictly!)

So, we simply apply the "final DM" of defenses to the attack roll of 12 and we get 7, not 5.

Why does this matter? When I did the math, it makes a HUGE difference when using powerful weapons, especially when armor is around in large quantities.

For example, let's use the simulation in your game that didn't quite finish due to the radiation leak.

You were rolling attack and subtracting 8 for armor and 4 for range regardless of the weapons being fired. The range DM is standard. However, if you had used the above interpretation of the rules, the DM from defenses (only armor, in this case) would have differed between the heavy particle beam bay and the particle beam barbettes. In fact, by a lot!

Take the barrages from
http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/phpBB ... 555#657555 that post. One heavy bay got an 11, one barbette got a 9.

Armor on those ships is 8, and heavy particle bays do 9 barrage damage and that is also their individual weapon damage. Defenses subtracted from IWD is 9-8=+1 DM. So, instead of 11-8 (armor)-4 (range) = -1, miss, you'd have 11+1 (armor) -4 (range) = 8 = 125% damage!

But for the particle barbette, which does only 4d6, defense DM becomes 4-8=-4, so 9-4 (defense)-4 (range) = 1 = 0% and thus no damage. If we give the particle barbettes the same roll (11) for sake of argument, you end up with a 3, which does 10% damage.

So, final damage (assuming that both attacks were 11s) would be as follows:

4 heavy particle beam bays at 9d6 and 125% damage = 45 damage split between two sections.

16 particle barbettes at 4d6 and 10% damage = 6 damage split between two sections.

And that is why that one little sentence is so important and (IMO) makes or breaks the barrage damage rules.

(takes breath)
Last edited by apoc527 on Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby apoc527 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:00 am

Oh, and this is also why most turreted weapons will bounce off heavy capital ship armor.

That rule is WHY you would bother with heavy particle bays!
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Postby barnest2 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:01 am

This is very interesting. As I have said in my PBP, I'm willing to try it, I'm just waiting for player responses...
I think the important bit is that it means you can kill very very heavily armoured ships :D
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Postby locarno24 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:35 am

In a word, yes.

The individual weapon damage being thrown into the mix as well is the thing that lets big guns work in barrages - otherwise there is effectively no difference between a barrage of 90-Beam Laser-Long-1 (30 Long Range triple beam laser turrets) and a barrage of 90-Particle Beam-Long-9 (10 big particle cannon bays).

Now barrages are an abstraction, but nevertheless we know that if one works out the fire longhand, the beam lasers cannot hurt an armour 7 target. With massed, massed fire, extreme gunnery skill and so on, it can be forgiven having a few shots strike vulnerable points, or hit the same spot simultaneously, but such a barrage will never be more effective than a volley whose component shots can punch through that armour. For that matter, why bother recording the individual weapon damage if it's not used?
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 Rikki Tikki Traveller » Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:53 pm

Thanks for posting this, I had missed that on my (many) read throughs of Barrage Attacks.

You are right, that one sentence may be the key piece I was missing to make it all work.
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Postby apoc527 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:07 pm

barnest2 wrote: I think the important bit is that it means you can kill very very heavily armoured ships :D
You can, yes, but you need heavy heavy weapons to do it still, which I think works beautifully!
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Postby apoc527 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:11 pm

locarno24 wrote:In a word, yes.

The individual weapon damage being thrown into the mix as well is the thing that lets big guns work in barrages - otherwise there is effectively no difference between a barrage of 90-Beam Laser-Long-1 (30 Long Range triple beam laser turrets) and a barrage of 90-Particle Beam-Long-9 (10 big particle cannon bays).

Now barrages are an abstraction, but nevertheless we know that if one works out the fire longhand, the beam lasers cannot hurt an armour 7 target. With massed, massed fire, extreme gunnery skill and so on, it can be forgiven having a few shots strike vulnerable points, or hit the same spot simultaneously, but such a barrage will never be more effective than a volley whose component shots can punch through that armour. For that matter, why bother recording the individual weapon damage if it's not used?

Those are exactly my thoughts and why I'm convinced that my interpretation above is (or should be) correct. Otherwise, large bays are basically pointless and we know from working out damage "longhand" that this is far from true. It *should* be easier to damage ships in barrages with heavy weapons and this interpretation does just that.

As RTT said, it also seems to pull the whole thing together in a cohesive, functional system. What's not to like?? :D
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Postby SSWarlock » Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:04 pm

Oh, well done! Thank you for sharing this, apoc527.
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Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:35 pm

Here is a quick little example of how that rule applies:

Consider two ships: the Attactrix and the Defendrix.

The Attactrix has 10 triple beam laser turrets in one Barrage and 10 50-ton Particle Beam Bays in another Barrage. Defendrix has Armour 10. Encounter is currently at LONG range. For simplicity, things like gunner skill, dodging, Sand etc are going to be ignored.

Attractrix Barrages:
30-Beam Laser-Long-1
60-Particle Beam-Long-6R (R is for the Radiation Hit)

Again for simplicity assume both Barrage rolls are a 9 on 2d6:

Beam Laser:
9 + 1(damage dice) -1 (range) -10 (armour) = -1 (No Damage)

Particle Beam:
9 + 6 (damage dice) +0 (range) - 10 (armour) = 5 (50% Damage)

The Beam laser barrage bounced off the armour. The particle Beam barrage inflicted 30 points of damage.

As you can see, that extra +5 DM from the damage dice made all the difference in the world. Even if the Range DM had been the same for both weapons, the result would have been almost the same.
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Postby apoc527 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:03 pm

Yep. A critical sentence for sure. Otherwise, any ship designer who doesn't merely throw as many cheap laser turrets on his ship as he possibly can is criminally negligent. With the effective DM from individual weapon damage, all weapon types have value.
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Postby zero » Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:10 pm

Lol, after that laser turret comment I'm going to have to see if I can make my merchant ship's one hardpoint get in a triple turret rather than a double turret now; I dont want anyone thinking I havent prepared my armourless 100dton craft with a single beam laser and sand caster for the worst! :lol:
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Postby billclo » Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:50 pm

Rikki,

Thank you VERY much for the explanation of how barrages are supposed to work. That makes a lot more sense now.

Hee Hee, maybe now I can go test my first Command Cruiser versus a Planet Class Imperial cruiser to see how it fares. :D
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Postby DFW » Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:17 pm

locarno24 wrote: Now barrages are an abstraction, but nevertheless we know that if one works out the fire longhand, the beam lasers cannot hurt an armour 7 target. With massed, massed fire, extreme gunnery skill and so on, it can be forgiven having a few shots strike vulnerable points, or hit the same spot simultaneously,
And, this is why Barrage damage is illogical. To make it logical, a triple beam laser turret hit would do 3D6 NOT 1D6 3 times as, the beams are definitely striking the hull close enough to "barrage".

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Postby barnest2 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:35 pm

Btw, these rules have now been tested down in the pbp. They work perfectly, making ship to ship combat lethal and very interesting.
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Postby apoc527 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 5:02 am

barnest2 wrote:Btw, these rules have now been tested down in the pbp. They work perfectly, making ship to ship combat lethal and very interesting.
Sweet, I was pretty sure that was the key, but glad to hear it work out in play.
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Postby barnest2 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:13 am

Indeed. Watching a light cruiser cut apart a pair of frigates was very satisfying. Capital ship combat is no longer a case of pounding each other very very slowly. Not it's fast, dangerous, and much more exciting. Thanks much :)
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Postby Burocrate » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:12 am

barnest2 wrote:Indeed. Watching a light cruiser cut apart a pair of frigates was very satisfying. Capital ship combat is no longer a case of pounding each other very very slowly. Not it's fast, dangerous, and much more exciting. Thanks much :)
As one of the players I can tell you there was a tremendous change in tempo. Our ship's first combat felt like it would last till both sides had spent all of their torpedoes and moved into knife fighting range. This new barrage system (and a few lucky rolls) turned a lopsided battle (in our favor) into a bloodbath. As with any combat system using randomly generated numbers, low numbers lead to disappointing results. Because of some poor numbers in the beginning of this encounter, the Gunnery Officer was nervous about not striking any telling blows so he threw every torpedo and beam at all enemy targets within range.
I was already frustrated that the opposition was sacrificing two ships to give a third time to escape and alert their side to our presence in that system. Not to mention my expectation of high armor on the initial target, a space station. So I was very happily surprised to read that our two gallant foes were reduced to shattered hulls when the torps finally closed the distance. Then the station took a real beating and finally…the escaping ship was crippled. It was like Christmas morning to see the destruction our weapons rained upon our enemies.
By all the Odd Gods of Space, I hope our Captain and XO have the good sense to avoid fair fights!

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