# Multi-Warhead Missile and Critical Hits

#### George Kelln

##### Banded Mongoose
Okay fellow Travellers, here the situation that came up in our last session involving Multi-Warhead (MW) missiles and Critical Hits.

Travellers launch a salvo from two missile barbettes (10 Missile in total) attacking with MW missiles a Sword Worlder 800-ton Heavy Gunboat (Armour 12 and two twin pulse laser turrets).

Steps
1. Traveller ship launches a missile salvo of 10 MW missiles.
2. Gunboats detects missile launch (Core Rulebook, Pages 172-173).
3. Now the salvo reaches the Gunboat and each MW Missiles detach splitting into 3 warheads (now 30 warheads).
4. Gunboat's turrets conduct Point Defence vs. missiles DM-2 (Core Rulebook, Pages 172-173).
5. Gunboat turrets shoot down 6 warheads leaving 24 warheads to attack gunboat.
6. Traveller makes To Hit Roll needing a 8+: DM+1 Smart, DM+24 for remaining warheads; the net roll is 32.
7. Effects: 32 - 8 = 24 (but effects cannot be > number of missiles/Warheads) in salvo; so Effects = 21.
8. Roll for damage of 1 Missile: 3D - 12 (Armour)
a) If damage is 12 or less then no damage and all missile break apart on ship's armour.​
b) If damage is 13+ then multiple Damage x 21 (Effects) and determine Critical Hit.​
9. Determine if Critical Hit using 8b
a) The Severity of the Critical Hit is equal to the Effect of the attack roll minus 5. In this case 21 - 5 = 16​
b) Consult Critical Hit Table for location. Rolls M-Drive​
c) So in this case the M-Drive suffers a Severity 6 Critical Hit with 11 damage points left over.​
d) Now here's where it get confusing; Once a location has reached Severity 6, it cannot suffer any more critical hits. Instead, the spacecraft will receive 6D extra damage every time the location suffers another critical hit. These two statement contradict each other.​
Option 1:​
- Damage left 16 - 5 = 11; Hull suffers 6D extra damage​
- Damage left 11 - 5 = 6; Hull suffers 6D extra damage​
- Damage left 6 - 5 = 1; Hull suffers 6D extra damage​
Option 2​
- M-Drive suffers Severity 6 Critical and all remaining damage is NA​
- Any future Hit on M-Drive that would have caused a Critical Hit instead causes 6D on Hull.​
Option 3​
- M-Drive suffers Severity 6 Critical and​
- Hull suffers a 6D extra damage and all remaining damage is NA​
- Any future Hit on M-Drive that would have caused a Critical Hit instead causes 6D on Hull.​

How would you handle this situation?

MISSILE TO HIT
(Core Rulebook 2022, Pages 172)
Instead, the number of missiles remaining in the salvo greatly affects their chances of making a successful attack. Apply DM+1 to the attack roll for every missile in the salvo.

MULTI–WARHEAD MISSILE (High Guard 2022, Page 38)
This heavy missile carries multiple warheads, which detach before impact. This both overwhelms anti-missile defences (DM-2 to all point defence fire) and causes more damage. Just before you make an attack roll, multiply the number or missiles in the salvo by three.

CRITICAL HITS (Core Rulebook 2022, Pages 168-169)
The Severity of the critical hit is equal to the Effect of the attack roll minus 5. Consult the Critical Hit Effects table to determine the nature of the critical hit and how it affects the spacecraft. Any extra damage caused by the effects of critical hits ignores the spacecraft’s Armour.

If a spacecraft has already sustained a critical hit to a location that receives another, use the Severity of the new critical hit or the original plus one, whichever is higher and immediately apply any new effects. Once a location has reached Severity 6, it cannot suffer any more critical hits. Instead, the spacecraft will receive 6D extra damage every time the location suffers another critical hit.

"Once a location has reached Severity 6, it cannot suffer any more critical hits. Instead, the spacecraft will receive 6D extra damage every time the location suffers another critical hit."

How I interpret this is:
M Drive is at Severity 6 and cannot take any more damage. So the damage is spread out to the Hull. If there is another hit on the M Drive, there is nothing left there to take damage so the new damage is spread out to the Hull, cascading the effects as in Option 1.

There could also be a big hole on both sides, and the missile just flies through.

Unless, it's proximity or time fused.

8. Roll for damage of 1 Missile: 3D - 12 (Armour)
a) If damage is 12 or less then no damage and all missile break apart on ship's armour.​
b) If damage is 13+ then multiple Damage x 21 (Effects) and determine Critical Hit.​
9. Determine if Critical Hit using 8b
There is no automatic crit from large missile salvoes, at least not as originally intended:

d) Now here's where it get confusing; Once a location has reached Severity 6, it cannot suffer any more critical hits. Instead, the spacecraft will receive 6D extra damage every time the location suffers another critical hit. These two statement contradict each other.
There is no contradiction, you just ran out of table. Each additional severity is just a bit of damage (that can trigger separate crits by sustained damage).

Between step 2 and 3 the gunboat may have had an opportunity to conduct EW. If the range long or further it is clear as the action phase is after the launch phase and the missiles need one (or more) movement phase to close, its no so clear when the range in medium or shorter and the flight time is listed as immediate - as "conduct EW" is an action not a re-action. I run so missile attacks take place at the end of the round no matter what range they were launched, but I realize this is slightly different to the rules as written.

Step 6 could have had an "Evasive Maneuver" re-action to impose a -ve DM equal to the pilot skill (it is ambiguous if this is the pilots skill or skill plus Dex Modifier - I rule just skill).

Step 5 rules for PD against MWM is also unclear - from pg 38 HG2022 "This both overwhelms anti-missile defences (DM-2 to all point defence fire) and causes more damage. Just before you make an attack roll, multiply the number or missiles in the salvo by three." - since the multiplication occurs before the attack roll, and not before the PD roll - I would have ruled PD had destroyed 6 missiles leaving 4 to to triplicate and thus only 12 warheads attack the gunboat.

I roll one critical per missile (not warhead) that hits - but as "Another Dilbert" indicates there is not intended to be any critical.

But as this was the players desperately shooting down an opponent - I'd have gone "woop woop hurray" with the players. Then if I'd felt they'd got away with it too easy had another ship drop out of stealth and ask for their surrender.

Step 6 could have had an "Evasive Maneuver" re-action to impose a -ve DM equal to the pilot skill (it is ambiguous if this is the pilots skill or skill plus Dex Modifier - I rule just skill).
The beta program said total skill, your DM on a task, so including your skill, characteristic DM, augments, etc...

Step 5 rules for PD against MWM is also unclear - from pg 38 HG2022 "This both overwhelms anti-missile defences (DM-2 to all point defence fire) and causes more damage. Just before you make an attack roll, multiply the number or missiles in the salvo by three." - since the multiplication occurs before the attack roll, and not before the PD roll - I would have ruled PD had destroyed 6 missiles leaving 4 to to triplicate and thus only 12 warheads attack the gunboat.
Agreed, PD kills missiles, not warheads.

MWMs are definitely good enough anyway.

The beta program said total skill, your DM on a task, so including your skill, characteristic DM, augments, etc...
I hope my PCs don't see this.
Dex 13, Pilot 3, Neural Jack plus Expert system would mean -6 DM instead of the -3 I rule today.

Step 6 could have had an "Evasive Maneuver" re-action to impose a -ve DM equal to the pilot skill (it is ambiguous if this is the pilots skill or skill plus Dex Modifier - I rule just skill).

Step 5 rules for PD against MWM is also unclear - from pg 38 HG2022 "This both overwhelms anti-missile defences (DM-2 to all point defence fire) and causes more damage. Just before you make an attack roll, multiply the number or missiles in the salvo by three." - since the multiplication occurs before the attack roll, and not before the PD roll - I would have ruled PD had destroyed 6 missiles leaving 4 to to triplicate and thus only 12 warheads attack the gunboat.

Step 6: I see the Pilot Skill as just the skill without any DM and a Pilot Check as the Skill + with all the DM.

Step 5: This interpretation of the order makes sense: Missile close in on ship --> Ship makes PD attacks --> What missile make it through attack (DM+1 per Missiles) --> A hit the missiles triplicate and cause damage.

Only one point of contention: MWM overwhelm anti-missile defences (DM-2 to all Point Defence fire); this infers that the MWN triplicate before PD fire????

Cheers

George

Only one point of contention: MWM overwhelm anti-missile defences (DM-2 to all Point Defence fire); this infers that the MWN triplicate before PD fire????

It doesn't have to though. Triple warheads would intrinsically overwhelm point defence without any -2 at all; that there is a -2 could mean the minus is standing in for rolling PD after triplication, perhaps to reduce dice rolling at the table.

It doesn't have to though. Triple warheads would intrinsically overwhelm point defence without any -2 at all; that there is a -2 could mean the minus is standing in for rolling PD after triplication, perhaps to reduce dice rolling at the table.
Or it could be some unnamed electronic countermeasures on the MW. The book clearly states that the splitting into three warheads comes directly before the attack roll, which means that the Point Defense occurs before the splitting. So you get the -2 vs Point Defense and then the remaining missiles split into 3 warheads each. The two things do not have to be mutually exclusive. I just think it would have helped for the writers to explain where the -2 vs. Point Defense actually comes from since the -2 vs. Point Defense occurs before the splitting into 3 warheads.

An example for ship combat would have been useful.
The bonus due to the salvo would make it an automatic hit with potential crippling of the target.
A Tigress has 430 small missile bays, so more than 5000 missiles launched per round. That would be enough to overwhelm most defenses (at most a Tigress PD could destroy 1800 for type III PDS + maybe 600 to 800 more for the turrets).
And all depend on a single damage roll. Roll high enough and you'll get an automatic severity 6 critical.

For the fleet combat, a Tigress would be able to shrug off any standard or advanced missile salvo (damage being 5 for advanced missiles -5 for Tigress armor, the result being multipled by the number of missiles... 5-5 = 0, 0 times x missiles is still zero).

I feel I'm misunderstanding something or overlooking a tiny but crucial detail. But a Valor corvette could be a nightmare for most small ships (4 triple missile turrets). Maybe more than the PAW totting Gazelle.

The bonus due to the salvo would make it an automatic hit with potential crippling of the target.
Yes, large salvoes hit unless destroyed by anti-missiles, PD, or EW.

A Tigress has 430 small missile bays, so more than 5000 missiles launched per round. That would be enough to overwhelm most defenses (at most a Tigress PD could destroy 1800 for type III PDS + maybe 600 to 800 more for the turrets).
Yes, missiles are dangerous and missiles are basically the main armament fo the Tigress.

Ton-for-ton, laser turrets are better than PD batteries, especially with good crew skill. Replace the small bays on the Tigress with bigger bays to free up some hardpoints for laser turrets, and you can increase PD performance significantly. Laser turrets can also be used against fighters or other nuisance targets.

Still, fragmentation missiles are probably a better defence. Launch enough counter-missiles and the problem disappears.

And all depend on a single damage roll. Roll high enough and you'll get an automatic severity 6 critical.
Yes, a single damage roll, to make it manageable for even 10-20 missiles, much less thousands of missiles.

No automatic crit is intended. With a +4000 DM for number of missiles, it would be an automatic Severity 4000 crit, completely unreasonable. The effect of the salvo attack roll represent the number of missiles that hit, hence the limitation to the number of missiles in the salvo.

For the fleet combat, a Tigress would be able to shrug off any standard or advanced missile salvo (damage being 5 for advanced missiles -5 for Tigress armor, the result being multipled by the number of missiles... 5-5 = 0, 0 times x missiles is still zero).
Agreed.

I feel I'm misunderstanding something or overlooking a tiny but crucial detail. But a Valor corvette could be a nightmare for most small ships (4 triple missile turrets). Maybe more than the PAW totting Gazelle.
Small salvoes are easily destroyed by EW. A ship with four laser turrets and decent sensors would be able to destroy all the missiles a Valor could launch.

But, yes, missiles are lethal in large numbers. Put e.g. a small bay and three barbettes on the Valor and it would launch 27 missiles per round, and make sure two rounds worth of missiles arrives at the same time to overwhelm defences, and any small ship would be in trouble...

Missiles are a threat-vector a naval architect has to consider.

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Here are two versions for a Multi-Head Warhead (MHW) attack. We (my players and I) are at a bit of an impasse, with both making senses, but the effects of each version very different.

Before I make a ruling, I would like to heard from others in the hobby and if Game Designer would like to weight and let their thoughts perhaps clear up this procedure, it would be greatly appreciated.

If I have missed something, please, by all means let me know.

1) Have a Weapons Lock on Target.

2) Launch MHW missiles at Target with all missiles fired at same target = one salvo.

3) Does Target detect the Launch? Immediate Routine (6+) Electronic (Sensor) Check.
• DM-2 If launching ship has not been detected
• DM+1 for every 10 missile in the salvo (Max. +6)
• Undetected missiles may be picked up by SensOp at the start of every combat round with an Average (8+) Electronic (Sensor) Check.
4) Depending on distance, MHW missiles travel time to target.
• Medium or less Range = Immediate
• Long Range = 1+ rounds
• Very Long Range = 4+ rounds
• Distant Range = 10+ rounds
Every 5 rounds = Number of Missiles in salvo is halved.​

5) If salvo travel is > one round, each round the Target may attempt ECM on salvo
• Difficult (10+) Electronics (Sensor) Check. Effects = number of missiles rendered inert within the salvo.
6) Salvo moves to Close Range (10-km), Target may conduct Point Defence (PD) using Pulse lasers. Average (8+) Gunner (Turret), Effects = number of missiles shot down:
• DM-2 against MWH missiles
• DM+2 Pulse laser Barbettes
Note: See Point Defence Batteries (High Guard, Page 40).​

7) Any missiles left in the salvo moves to Adjacent Range (1-km) and warhead separation; multiply the number of missiles in the salvo by 3. (i.e. 3 missiles become 9 missiles).

8) Missiles Attack the target. Make an attack roll, Average (8+) Check.
• DM+1 Smart per Higher TL difference (Max. +6); use TL of missile or ship which ever is greater.
• DM-2 if fired at Distant Range
• DM+1 for every Missile in the salvo
• DM-1 per Pilot Skill (only) for Evasive Action
9) Impact! If attack roll is successful, target sustains damage.
• Roll damage for 1 missile (MWH = 3D)
• Deduct target Armour
• Multiple by the effects of the attack roll with the effects cannot be > remaining missiles in salvo.
10) Determine if Critical Hit has occurred.
• If attack roll Effects is 6+ and causes damage = Critical Hit
• Critical Hit Severity = Effects minus 5 (i.e. Effects 11 = Severity 6)
• Roll location of Critical Hit and apply Severity penalties
• Once Severity Level = 6 location is destroyed, any new Critical Hits on location instead effects Hull receiving 6D damage.

1) Have a Weapons Lock on Target.

2) Launch MHW missiles at Target with all missiles fired at same target = one salvo.

3) Does Target detect the Launch? Immediate Routine (6+) Electronic (Sensor) Check.
• DM-2 If launching ship has not been detected
• DM+1 for every 10 missile in the salvo (Max. +6)
• Undetected missiles may be picked up by SensOp at the start of every combat round with an Average (8+) Electronic (Sensor) Check.
4) Depending on distance, MHW missiles travel time to target.
• Medium or less Range = Immediate
• Long Range = 1+ rounds
• Very Long Range = 4+ rounds
• Distant Range = 10+ rounds
Every 5 rounds = Number of Missiles in salvo is halved.​

5) If salvo travel is > one round, each round the Target may attempt ECM on salvo.
• Difficult (10+) Electronics (Sensor) Check. Effects = number of missiles rendered inert within the salvo.
6) Salvo moves to Close Range (10-km), warhead separation; multiply the number of missiles in the salvo by 3. (i.e. 3 missiles become 9 missiles).

7) Salvo moves to Adjacent Range (1-km), Target may conduct Point Defence (PD) using Pulse lasers. Average (8+) Gunner (Turret), Effects = number of missiles shot down:
• DM-2 against MWH missiles
• DM+2 Pulse laser Barbettes
Special Note: See Point Defence Batteries (High Guard, Page 40).​

8) Missiles Attack the target. Make an attack roll, Average (8+) Check.
• DM+1 Smart per Higher TL difference (Max. +6); use TL of missile or ship which ever is greater.
• DM-2 if fired at Distant Range
• DM+1 for every missile in the salvo
• DM-1 per Pilot Skill (only) for Evasive Action
9) Impact! If attack roll is successful, target sustains damage.
• Roll damage for 1 missile (MWH = 3D)
• Deduct target Armour
• Multiple by the effects of the attack roll with the effects cannot be > remaining missiles in salvo.
10) Determine if Critical Hit has occurred.
• If attack roll Effects is 6+ and causes damage = Critical Hit
• Critical Hit Severity = Effects minus 5 (i.e. Effects 11 = Severity 6)
• Roll location of Critical Hit and apply Severity penalties
• Once Severity Level = 6 location is destroyed, any new Critical Hits on location instead effects Hull receiving 6D damage.

Here an example for each Version.

In Version 1

1) A 700-ton Corvette armed with 2x Missile Barbettes (5 missiles per barbette) has a target lock on a 800-ton Sobjornen Heavy Gunboat at Very Long Range.

2) Corvette launches both barbettes (10 missiles) = 1 Salvo

3) Gunboat detects missile launch and begins to track salvo.

4) Salvo travel time = 4 Rounds

5) Gunboat conducts ECM 4 times results in a total of 2 missiles rendered inert, leaving 8 missiles left in salvo.

6) Salvo moves to Close Range (10 km) and Gunboat conducts PD with DM-2 for MWH Missile. Result = 2 missiles shot down.

7) Salvo with 6 missiles moves to Adjacent Range (1km), warhead separation, multiplying missiles by 3. There are now 18 missiles.

8) Missile Attack. Average (8+) Check, Dice Roll = 7
+ 2 (Smart)
+ 0 (Range)
+ 18 (Missiles in salvo)
– 2 (Evasive Action)
Hit with Effects of 17 (27 – 10)

9) Impact.
MWH (3D) = 13
Gunboat Armour = 12
Effects 17 x Damage 1 = 17 Damage

10) Determine Critical Hit.
Damage was caused (1 point), Effects 6+ = Critical Hit
Critical Hit Severity = 17 (Effects) – 5 = 12 Severity
Location M-Drive, Severity 6 = M-Drive Destroyed with
6 Severity Points remaining – 5 = Critical Hit, instead 6D against Hull.

In Version 2

1) A 700-ton Corvette armed with 2x Missile Barbettes (5 missiles per barbette) has a target lock on a 800-ton Sobjornen Heavy Gunboat at Very Long Range.

2) Corvette launches both barbettes (10 missiles) = 1 Salvo

3) Gunboat detects missile launch and begins to track salvo.

4) Salvo travel time = 4 Rounds

5) Gunboat conducts ECM 4 times results in a total of 2 missiles rendered inert, leaving 8 missiles left in salvo.

6) Salvo moves to Close Range (10km), warhead separation, multiplying missiles by 3. There are now (8 x3) = 24 missiles.

7) Salvo moves to Adjacent Range (10 km) and Gunboat conducts PD with DM-2 for MWH Missile. Result = 2 missiles shot down. Leaving 22 missiles in salvo.

8) Missile Attack. Average (8+) Check,
Dice Roll = 7
+ 2 (Smart)
+ 0 (Range)
+ 22 (Missiles in salvo)
– 2 (Evasive Action)
Hit with Effects of 21 (31 – 10)

9) Impact.
MWH (3D) = 13
Gunboat Armour = 12
Effects 21 x Damage 1 = 21 Damage

10) Determine Critical Hit.
Damage was caused (1 point), Effects 6+ = Critical Hit
Critical Hit Severity = 21 (Effects) – 5 = 16 Severity
Location M-Drive, Severity 6 = M-Drive Destroyed with 16 points left.
16 Severity Points remaining – 5 = Critical Hit, instead 6D against Hull.
11 Severity Points remaining – 5 = Critical Hit, instead 6D against Hull.
6 Severity Points remaining – 5 = Critical Hit, instead 6D against Hull.

Do these examples look right?

Quick reaction, I may very well have missed something:

1) Have a Weapons Lock on Target.
You don't need a sensor lock, only a detection. Sensor Lock is an additional advantage, but not for missiles.

6) Salvo moves to Close Range (10-km), Target may conduct Point Defence (PD) using Pulse lasers. Average (8+) Gunner (Turret), Effects = number of missiles shot down:
• DM-2 against MWH missiles
• DM+2 Pulse laser Barbettes
Note: See Point Defence Batteries (High Guard, Page 40).​
Yes, PD is a reaction "just as about to strike".
Range is not defined, as far as I know.
Only turrets lasers can PD, not barbettes: "Beam laser barbettes retain the advantages and disadvantages of turret lasers but cannot be used for point defence, as with any other barbette."
No laser attack bonus to the PD reaction, as it is not an attack. A triple turret would get a DM +2.

7) Any missiles left in the salvo moves to Adjacent Range (1-km) and warhead separation; multiply the number of missiles in the salvo by 3. (i.e. 3 missiles become 9 missiles).
Yes, separation after PD, "Just before you make an attack roll, ..."

8) Missiles Attack the target. Make an attack roll, Average (8+) Check.
• DM+1 Smart per Higher TL difference (Max. +6); use TL of missile or ship which ever is greater.
• DM-2 if fired at Distant Range
• DM+1 for every Missile in the salvo
Yes, Smart is min 1, max 6, but not at insufficient range: "Missiles used against targets within Adjacent or Close ranges lose any Smart trait they possess, ...".
Number of missiles in salvo is current number, after EW, PD, etc has reduced the salvo.

• DM-1 per Pilot Skill (only) for Evasive Action
It's your game, but that is not what the 2017 beta program said. Evasive Action is supposed to be a big thing.

9) Impact! If attack roll is successful, target sustains damage.
• Roll damage for 1 missile (MWH = 3D)
• Deduct target Armour
• Multiple by the effects of the attack roll with the effects cannot be > remaining missiles in salvo.
Yes, the last multiplication is by the number of missiles that hit.

10) Determine if Critical Hit has occurred.
• If attack roll Effects is 6+ and causes damage = Critical Hit
No, not for missile salvoes, according to 2017 beta. A missile salvo is not one big splashy hit, it's lots of small hits all over the ship.

• Critical Hit Severity = Effects minus 5 (i.e. Effects 11 = Severity 6)
If you hit with 1000 missiles you don't get an automatic crit of Severity 995, doing an automatic 989 additional 6D damage, that is completely unreasonable and not what was intended.

Missiles are good enough anyway...

Here an example for each Version.

In Version 1

Yes, the numbers look OK. Rules disagreed as above.

10) Determine Critical Hit.
Damage was caused (1 point), Effects 6+ = Critical Hit
Critical Hit Severity = 17 (Effects) – 5 = 12 Severity
Location M-Drive, Severity 6 = M-Drive Destroyed with
6 Severity Points remaining – 5 = Critical Hit, instead 6D against Hull.
As far as I can see, it's 6D damage for each Severity over 6.

So, a Severity 12 crit would take out one system (which may inflict additional damage), then inflict 6D damage six times.

The inflicted damage may inflict additional crits by Sustained damage, which may inflict additional damage, and so on... E.g. on a Scout each 4 damage inflicts a crit, 6D damage may well inflict five crits.

As far as I know, a Sev 6 crit also means that all the effects of Sev 1-5 are in effect, e.g. a Sev 6 Bridge crit means that a few workstations are destroyed and also the computer is destroyed.

Note that a destroyed system can't be even temporarily repaired, so a Sev 6 crit often means the ship is out cold.

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No, not for missile salvoes, according to 2017 beta. A missile salvo is not one big splashy hit, it's lots of small hits all over the ship.
Are you implying that Missiles do not generate Critical Hits?

Yes, PD is a reaction "just as about to strike".
Range is not defined, as far as I know.
Only turrets lasers can PD, not barbettes: "Beam laser barbettes retain the advantages and disadvantages of turret lasers but cannot be used for point defence, as with any other barbette."
No laser attack bonus to the PD reaction, as it is not an attack. A triple turret would get a DM +2.
I used a range just as an example to keep the distance - time line straight.

Only PD turret not barbettes, check.

It's your game, but that is not what the 2017 beta program said. Evasive Action is supposed to be a big thing.
Acknowledge, this rule is confusing as in the book it uses for example: Pilot Skill and Pilot Check (Pilot Skill + DEX).

My player will like this; his pilot's Skill 4 + DEX DM +2 = 6. He'll be spinning pirouettes around missile and laser attacks.

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