Large Changes to Space Combat?

vladthemad

Mongoose
So, a player and I are reading through the space combat rules. They have deviated greatly from the previous rendition. Has anyone played with these new rules yet?

The way it's set up, it seems like you are a lot more likely to destroy the ship now before you disable it. With a requirement of an effect of 6+, how likely are critical hits to happen in play? They've increased a ship's hull points by a factor of ten, but haven't increased the damage of any weapon besides missiles. Gone are structure, and the damage roll to actual effect table, which is then used to reference the hit location tables.

This seems like it has a very fantasy RPG character feel to it now. You have hull (hit) points, and you keep knocking away at them and your ship is fine until you get to 0...and then you're dead suddenly dead. Previously, it felt much more realistic, where as a ship was repeatedly hit, systems would begin to fail, sections of the ship were taken out, and you might even destroy the ship if you continued you to fire upon it for long enough.

Also, there are blanket penalties to range on page 156, and bonuses by weapon type. Then on page 158 each weapon is given a range. Are these optimum ranges, or maximum ranges? If optimum, how does that work with the blanket penalties by range on 156, and if maximum, it seems odd that beam lasers work perfect until medium range with their +4 bonus to hit then suddenly they just stop. Pulse lasers are similar, but shoot into long range, and just stop.

I'll have to get a fresh look at these in the morning, and maybe run some mock battles. I'm pretty tired, hopefully I wasn't too incoherent...
 

allanimal

Mongoose
On my reading of the changes to space combat, I have to agree with Vlad.
I like the critical effects table, but I feel like critical hits will rarely happen, and that will dramatically change the flavor of space combat.

Though, Beam lasers at short range with a good gunner will crit frequently, it seems.

But maybe that is not true in practice. I have my weekly Traveller session tomorrow night, and if they happen to get into a space combat (somewhat likely with where we left off last time) maybe we will try it out.

Also, in the past, we were able to target systems to disable a ship rather than destroy it. I don't see a possibility to do this now.
 

Nerhesi

Cosmic Mongoose
I'm not sure that it really has a "fantasy feel".

The new rules basically simulate that no matter that system you hit, you're still causing hull damage. That is way more realistic to me.

As Referee for a 5 player group that has done a lot of military and merc campaigns, I really welcome the changes. Space combat was super slow and depending on how you rolled, engineers simply kept everything going unless you got hull hits. Or, the battle was instantly over due to unlucky 3 system hits on the same system before the engineer got their turn. In a 900 ton vs 900 ton battle, even with meson bays and meson screens, it took nearly 2 hours.

I think gents what we have to watchout for, is now with hull damage being done - that ships aren't instantly 1-2 or even 4-shotted. That'll be a game of balancing the dice of damage on bays and so on. Althoug if they stay they same we should be fine (9d6 from a large particle bay, and a free trader has 40 hull... means 2 shots. A free trader needing 2 shots from a weapon half its size seems fine - if not too fine!)

Anyways - as for the reduction in crits, throughout our thorough testing, we don't have this issue at all. Consider:

Stabilize firing platform (pilot) +1/+2
Fire control, +1 to +5
Skill+stat (+2 to +6 and beyond)
Augmentations (skill wires, stat improvements, etc) +1 to +3
Etc

Getting a +6 effect isn't really that big of a deal considering the only negatives are dodges and range.

I think so far, it's a fine improvement. I hope you guys do your own testing too and more importantly, we keep a close eye on scaling dmg from bays. We don't want things getting too crazy with DD bay weapons instantly smoking a 700 ton ship or so
 

Nerhesi

Cosmic Mongoose
As for weapon accuracy and ranges consider it a rate of fire or some function of that. We look it as a loss of efficacy not some sudden beam-stoppage after medium or long.

They also still seem balanced with that bonus vs the next tier. Consider that now effect adds to damage in space combat, so:

Triple beam laser 1D +4 (accuracy) +2 (the other two beams. 1D+6 total.

A single Pulse laser is 2D+2(accuracy) but with long range.

A triple pulse is 2D+2 + 4(other two pulses). 2D+6

A particle (only one per turret) is 3D, but even longer range and does radiation damage.

This shows some forethought and balancing considerations - now it will be interesting when we start applying high TL improvements like long range beams, or accurate particle beams and so!
 

ShawnDriscoll

Cosmic Mongoose
allanimal said:
in the past, we were able to target systems to disable a ship rather than destroy it. I don't see a possibility to do this now.
Make a called shot instead of rolling for a random ship location. A Traveller sitting in a gunner chair can say they are aiming for a ship's m-drive. Depending on how things go, that ship might be stopped.
 

Nerhesi

Cosmic Mongoose
allanimal said:
in the past, we were able to target systems to disable a ship rather than destroy it. I don't see a possibility to do this now.

Lets keep in mind that you're firing, for over minute, at distances ranging tens of thousands of kilometers.

Aimed "shot" may not be very realistic possibility. I believe in the previous system, it was only possible as an optional rule in smuggler supplement if I'm not mistaken. Maybe it had a certain range requirement too...

In any case, I'm not a huge fan of aimed shots taking into account distance and scale.
 

First Age

Mongoose
ShawnDriscoll said:
allanimal said:
in the past, we were able to target systems to disable a ship rather than destroy it. I don't see a possibility to do this now.
Make a called shot instead of rolling for a random ship location. A Traveller sitting in a gunner chair can say they are aiming for a ship's m-drive. Depending on how things go, that ship might be stopped.

That sounds neat. I couldn't find this in the book? If not there already could it be added? 8)
 

ShawnDriscoll

Cosmic Mongoose
First Age said:
That sounds neat. I couldn't find this in the book? If not there already could it be added? 8)
Referees decide these kind of things. They are not limited to what only the book says. See the most important rule of all on page 2. Traveller Rule Zero.
 

First Age

Mongoose
ShawnDriscoll said:
First Age said:
That sounds neat. I couldn't find this in the book? If not there already could it be added? 8)
Referees decide these kind of things. They are not limited to what only the book says. See the most important rule of all on page 2. Traveller Rule Zero.

Yep, been running Trav for more than 30 years, so safe to say we've cut loose more than a few times. :wink:

But this is a playtest and feedback to improve/develop a set of written rules. Mechanical support for this would be a good addition. If it has been decided that this suggestion falls into Rule Zero then fair enough.
 

ShawnDriscoll

Cosmic Mongoose
Maybe someone will write a Traveller Referee book. I suspect the Traveller Companion will show what a referee's job is. It would solve a lot of issues right now with playtesters not getting how this game works.
 
ShawnDriscoll said:
Maybe someone will write a Traveller Referee book. I suspect the Traveller Companion will show what a referee's job is. It would solve a lot of issues right now with playtesters not getting how this game works.
You usually go to the core book to find out how the game works? With a new version you're likely to get new players, if the core book is vague it's not going to help keep those players...
 

ShawnDriscoll

Cosmic Mongoose
VenomousFiligree said:
ShawnDriscoll said:
Maybe someone will write a Traveller Referee book. I suspect the Traveller Companion will show what a referee's job is. It would solve a lot of issues right now with playtesters not getting how this game works.
You usually go to the core book to find out how the game works? With a new version you're likely to get new players, if the core book is vague it's not going to help keep those players...
This game will have a few core books. Not just this one.
 

vladthemad

Mongoose
Nerhesi said:
I'm not sure that it really has a "fantasy feel".

The new rules basically simulate that no matter that system you hit, you're still causing hull damage. That is way more realistic to me.

The fantasy feel was in reference to other games with hit points. You are completely fine until your hit points reach 0, then you are dead. The same holds true with the new hull points mechanic for the most part. Your ship is completely fine until you reach 0, then suddenly it breaks apart. While that was also what happened when your structure reached 0 previously, usually a ship was out of the fight long before that would happen. Now the way the rules are written it seems like you are a lot more likely to be destroyed before you are disabled.

I don't agree that you should automatically suffer hull damage either with every hit. If a laser blasts your turret to pieces, that's really not likely to cause significant hull damage, and this was represented on the original external/internal damage chart. You might take a hit to a turret, your M drives, or your sensor cluster instead of your hull.

Nerhesi said:
Getting a +6 effect isn't really that big of a deal considering the only negatives are dodges and range.

If that is the case, the rules need a lot of adjustment. An effect of six or up is an exceptional success and should rarely occur. I'm going to need to run a battle with a player tonight to see how things work in practice as well.

I do agree with you that the previous system could bog down game play, and I'm very happy with the idea of giving each position a lot more options, but I think this is too much of a swing in the other direction.

Another concern is that players being players, won't realize that they should pull out of a battle before they are destroyed. With the previous system, you'd see a lot of systems going offline giving them clear indication that maybe it was time to retreat, and even if they didn't their ship wouldn't break usually apart before you were completely disabled. You could give them a chance to repair damaged systems after their enemy had left the scene, and they could limp it back to base with their tail between their legs. Now I worry they will keep slugging it out because they think they are doing well, until a missile hits and tears up their last 10 points of hull...and now you have a TPK.

Nerhesi said:
allanimal said:
in the past, we were able to target systems to disable a ship rather than destroy it. I don't see a possibility to do this now.

Lets keep in mind that you're firing, for over minute, at distances ranging tens of thousands of kilometers.

Aimed "shot" may not be very realistic possibility. I believe in the previous system, it was only possible as an optional rule in smuggler supplement if I'm not mistaken. Maybe it had a certain range requirement too...

In any case, I'm not a huge fan of aimed shots taking into account distance and scale.

Yes there was a range requirement, it was short ranger or closer and added a -2DM. So only 1250km or less with ships hundreds of meters long at times, and any optical enhancements far future equipment gives you. Also the mechanic by no means guaranteed a hit, it only moved you one place on the hit location table in the direction of your intended target. It wasn't a bad mechanic nor overly powerful, and with the Drinax campaign it saw a lot of use.

ShawnDriscoll said:
Make a called shot instead of rolling for a random ship location. A Traveller sitting in a gunner chair can say they are aiming for a ship's m-drive. Depending on how things go, that ship might be stopped.

Referees decide these kind of things. They are not limited to what only the book says. See the most important rule of all on page 2. Traveller Rule Zero.

Maybe someone will write a Traveller Referee book. I suspect the Traveller Companion will show what a referee's job is. It would solve a lot of issues right now with playtesters not getting how this game works.

This game will have a few core books. Not just this one.

You don't seem to understand that a core rule book is supposed to be just that, a core rule book. It should be designed for new players and experienced ones alike, contain everything that's needed to allow a group to run a Traveller campaign, and the book should make no assumptions about the group that's using it. This will be the first book that a new group will buy, and if it's vague, confusing, and difficult to use, it will also be the likely last one.
 
vladthemad said:
You don't seem to understand that a core rule book is supposed to be just that, a core rule book. It should be designed for new players and experienced ones alike, contain everything that's needed to allow a group to run a Traveller campaign, and the book should make no assumptions about the group that's using it. This will be the first book that a new group will buy, and if it's vague, confusing, and difficult to use, it will also be the likely last one.

This!

Unclear rules shouldn't be justified, especially as they can be rectified during the Beta.
 

-Daniel-

Mongoose
vladthemad said:
You don't seem to understand that a core rule book is supposed to be just that, a core rule book. It should be designed for new players and experienced ones alike, contain everything that's needed to allow a group to run a Traveller campaign, and the book should make no assumptions about the group that's using it. This will be the first book that a new group will buy, and if it's vague, confusing, and difficult to use, it will also be the likely last one.
I like to think of myself as an experienced Role Player/GM. and I have dumped rule sets and walked away from them when I found the core rules to be unorganized, confusing, or just slapped together. So I have to agree with Vladthemad. I would want to try and make this core rule book as clear and clean as we can regardless of how easy it would be for an experienced GM to deal with things.
 

vladthemad

Mongoose
Alright, in looking at the new changes regarding turrets, while I like the clarification on weapons firing linked, the damage seems a little low and doesn't reference missiles. Also, the hard limit of a mixed turret being able to only fire ONE weapon in a six minute combat round doesn't seem plausible. In the example given, why can't I hit them with the pulse laser, fire a missile in their direction while I'm burning a hole through them, and cast sand when they fire back a minute or two later?

With missiles now doing 4d6 damage, and the assumption that they don't fall under the above rules because it really wouldn't make sense (It really should explicitly state it), a triple missile turret is now a ship killer. That would be 12d6 if all missiles hit from that salvo. You can also buy six of them for under the cost of a particle beam. As a matter of fact, they are one of the cheapest weapons available. Why would anyone use anything else?

Also regarding missiles, why have they fallen back to the Thrust 5 again? With only a trust of five, numerous ships would be able to outdistance them if they had a decent head start. This was changed in High Guard to thrust 10 and halving the turns to impact.

Missing too is any reference to the fact that particle beams need to be mounted in a triple turret and is the only weapon that can be mounted in that turret. This was in the High Guard errata. Is this an oversight or intended?

Regarding fixed mounts, no cost, hard point usage, or weight seems to be referenced unless I missed it. No hard rules are really given either, only a snippet about Facing and Firing Arcs on p. 155. No other rules seem to mention these.

Lastly, now that the system has been changed to damage caused removing hull points and critical hits based only on the effect of your to hit roll, what's the benefit of doing only +1*(damage dice) with multiple weapons in one turret over separate weapons in separate turrets? Higher damage per hit no longer has an advantage over greater damage overall as it did in the previous rules.
 

Nerhesi

Cosmic Mongoose
vladthemad said:
Alright, in looking at the new changes regarding turrets, while I like the clarification on weapons firing linked, the damage seems a little low and doesn't reference missiles. Also, the hard limit of a mixed turret being able to only fire ONE weapon in a six minute combat round doesn't seem plausible. In the example given, why can't I hit them with the pulse laser, fire a missile in their direction while I'm burning a hole through them, and cast sand when they fire back a minute or two later?

Because doing 2D6 with a pulse laser is firing the pulse-laser for the 6 minute period. Whether it is mostly firing, mostly aiming, or whatever - is completely up to you. To me, it was clear though that you're not firing the weapon "once" in a 6 minute period, it is a consistent set of attacks.

Also damage is actually a little better and more unique now for triple and double turrets. You can now actually penetrate armour you couldn't before. Triple turrets of beam lasers didn't do 3d6 before, they did 1d6 3 times. Now they'lll do 1d6+2.

With missiles now doing 4d6 damage, and the assumption that they don't fall under the above rules because it really wouldn't make sense (It really should explicitly state it), a triple missile turret is now a ship killer. That would be 12d6 if all missiles hit from that salvo. You can also buy six of them for under the cost of a particle beam. As a matter of fact, they are one of the cheapest weapons available. Why would anyone use anything else?

I see where you got confused now, you're adding damage dice incorrectly. The rules for multiple weapons of the same type on a turret means you add +1 (ONE) damage, per dice of damage. So 3 pulse lasers are 2d6, +2 per other pulse, for a total of 2d6+4. 3 Missile Racks in a tripple turret would be 4d6+8.

Why would anyone use anything else? Missiles takes turns to get to me. They can be jammed with a fairly easy roll (it isn't opposed, so guaranteed with a good sensor operator). They can be shot down with point defense (also easy).

Everything else it is pretty much dodge or guaranteed hit... I think it's clear why missiles are actually not the best choice. From their TL and Cost, you can see they're obviously a second tier.

Lastly, now that the system has been changed to damage caused removing hull points and critical hits based only on the effect of your to hit roll, what's the benefit of doing only +1*(damage dice) with multiple weapons in one turret over separate weapons in separate turrets? Higher damage per hit no longer has an advantage over greater damage overall as it did in the previous rules.

Higher damage per hit has a HUGE advantage. You remember previously effect did not increase your damage in space combat. Basically, armour of 12+ and you ignored nuclear missiles, pulse lasers, etc. Previously, I could fire a barrage of 300 Pulse or Beam Lasers, or Nuclear missiles, at a 12 armour target and it would mostly laugh at you. Even with the "Barrage" rules it was highly highly unlikely.

Now this new rule opens up a lot more tactics to loadout and firing and engagement. Hmm.. Perhaps I want that triple Pulse .. that could do 2d6+4, and it has a +2 to hit, and effect adds to damage! Thats a lot better than MGT1 where I could have 15 pulse lasers in 5 turrets and if the target had 12 armour, I just may as well pack up and go jump out :)
 

vladthemad

Mongoose
Nerhesi said:
Because doing 2D6 with a pulse laser is firing the pulse-laser for the 6 minute period. Whether it is mostly firing, mostly aiming, or whatever - is completely up to you. To me, it was clear though that you're not firing the weapon "once" in a 6 minute period, it is a consistent set of attacks.

Also damage is actually a little better and more unique now for triple and double turrets. You can now actually penetrate armour you couldn't before. Triple turrets of beam lasers didn't do 3d6 before, they did 1d6 3 times. Now they'lll do 1d6+2.

That isn't clearly defined in the rules, and neither of those ideas meshes with point defense. The point defense rules as written require quick damage and quick targeting at close range. What's more, it specifically states that during point defense I can continue to shoot one missile after another until I miss one. So, exactly why can I do all this as a split second reaction but not shoot the other weapons in a mixed turret in a six minute combat round?

I see where you got confused now, you're adding damage dice incorrectly. The rules for multiple weapons of the same type on a turret means you add +1 (ONE) damage, per dice of damage. So 3 pulse lasers are 2d6, +2 per other pulse, for a total of 2d6+4. 3 Missile Racks in a tripple turret would be 4d6+8.

Alright, I feel that I'm starting to sound like a broken record because I need to repeat myself an awful lot lately! Again, this is not specified in the rules and should be. There is no confusion. As I noted in the section you quoted, I'm going by "the assumption that they (meaning missiles) don't fall under the above rules because it really wouldn't make sense". As missiles are a special case that use separate mechanics involving distance to target, speed, and really two separate to hit rolls, to use them under the same mechanic as linked energy weapons smacks of an oversight that should be remedied.

Higher damage per hit has a HUGE advantage. You remember previously effect did not increase your damage in space combat. Basically, armour of 12+ and you ignored nuclear missiles, pulse lasers, etc. Previously, I could fire a barrage of 300 Pulse or Beam Lasers, or Nuclear missiles, at a 12 armour target and it would mostly laugh at you. Even with the "Barrage" rules it was highly highly unlikely.

Now this new rule opens up a lot more tactics to loadout and firing and engagement. Hmm.. Perhaps I want that triple Pulse .. that could do 2d6+4, and it has a +2 to hit, and effect adds to damage! Thats a lot better than MGT1 where I could have 15 pulse lasers in 5 turrets and if the target had 12 armour, I just may as well pack up and go jump out :)

That just means that military ships will now have 14 or 16 armor instead of 12, but you're mixing apples and oranges. We don't have barrage rules, high guard, or even bays right now. Commenting about large military ships is getting ahead of yourself. We're talking about the rules as written and civilian ships which in general don't carry (edit MUCH) armor.

Maybe a quick example will explain it a bit better for you. If your Fat Trader has 3 pulse lasers in one turret doing 2d6+4, and my Fat Trader has three turrets with one pulse each doing a total of 6d6, who do you think is going to win? Now, if you want to split hairs, there will be a point at which armor will eventually give you the advantage over me, and as I commented I'm taking into account specifics on cost efficiency or crew needs. I understand that, and also noted that as well.
 

TrippyHippy

Cosmic Mongoose
ShawnDriscoll said:
This game will have a few core books. Not just this one.

It may seem to be a quibble, but this is not right. There is one Traveller Core Rules book (the one we are currently playtesting). There is a 'core range' of books that follow, which will be important too, but it needs to be clear that someone only needs the 'Core Rules Book' alone to play the game.

If you lose that, you lose a lot of potential customers.
 

Nerhesi

Cosmic Mongoose
vladthemad said:
That isn't clearly defined in the rules, and neither of those ideas meshes with point defense. The point defense rules as written require quick damage and quick targeting at close range. What's more, it specifically states that during point defense I can continue to shoot one missile after another until I miss one. So, exactly why can I do all this as a split second reaction but not shoot the other weapons in a mixed turret in a six minute combat round?

First - it seems clearly defined in the rules. There is text complete with examples...

Second, you need to stop thinking about "shooting one missile" or firing "once" in a 6 minute period! Point defense is a drawn out activity... you are shooting at the incoming missiles! Not one shot, one missile! this is the root of your confusion here. A gunner with above average skill can easily shoot down several missiles. An elite gunner can easily shoot over a 10 missiles, while firing a small bay over a 6 minute period!

Alright, I feel that I'm starting to sound like a broken record because I need to repeat myself an awful lot lately!

As above - I you'll notice the text specifically addressing multiple weapons, states MISSILES, pulse lasers, beam lasers. EDIT: I Found it - Page 158 Top left.

That just means that military ships will now have 14 or 16 armor instead of 12

TL still cap armour and this is a non-sequitur. They had 14 and 15 armour before (max). It doesn't change the logical fact that now, because of how multiple weapons work, THEY ARE TAKING MORE DAMAGE. This has nothing to do with barrage rules - you misunderstood that completely so we can drop it.


Maybe a quick example will explain it a bit better for you. If your Fat Trader has 3 pulse lasers in one turret doing 2d6+4, and my Fat Trader has three turrets with one pulse each doing a total of 6d6, who do you think is going to win?

Actually? Maybe the 2D6+4 ( + effect too)? You have to take it in context of the new rules. The 2D6 x 3 required 3 to hit rolls, so you had to split fire control. Then you subtracted your armour once from each, and most importantly... all this resulted in single and double hits! Some of which could do hull!

Now your 2d6+4+2(to hit bonus)+EFFECT (you keep forgetting that), does damage directly to my hull. Everytime. I don't have the Fat trader infront of me, but it could b an interesting test. If you used missiles for this example, 2D6 x 3 vs 4D6+8? Pretty clear. How about a free or far trader with beam lasers? 1d6 vs armour 3 times? Or 1d6+2 vs 4 armour? Again pretty clear.

Regardless - let's separate fact and rules from preference. I agree that perhaps something is required to denote difficulty when hitting multiple flight of missiles (or maybe not they are super powerful now). The fact stands however that multiple weapons are clearly defined, with an example, and that we have more tactical option now because your armour cannot simply ignore attacks (EFFECT + Multiple weapons).
 
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