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Making the Viper Scout Sloop viable


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#1 Lady Kataline Jianwei

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 01:47 PM

Hi folks. I'm putting together a fleet and while I have settled on 4 Orion Class Star Clippers this thread is not about them. I've built an Orion I'm happy with. What I'm not happy with is the Viper Scout Sloop.

 

On the plus side this thing is cheap. And fast and nimble. And can detect really well. On the down side, it has no space, 1 weapon mount and a hull made of paper. So far I've come up with builds that make it the fastest thing ever (speed 24 for 2 rounds, cruising speed of 21) and nimble with a maneuverability of 45. I've made a build where it can detect (56 rating).

 

Otherwise this thing is useless. Due to houserules I'm looking at cheap ships to make into cookie cutter builds and the choices were Orions and Vipers. We're getting Orions. But now I have given myself the challenge of making the Viper useful.

 

So far we've come up with making it a boarding ship with boarding all day every day. Then I found out that due to boarding rules it would have issue fighting every other ship in the game due to being so tiny.

 

We've made it into a mine layer but that has limited application and limited uses.

 

We've made it into a stunner ship using a Disruption Macro, but that is more an annoyance/stalling tactic.

 

We've made it into a Zapp Brannigan ship where we would throw it at our foes in ramming actions until it exploded, hopefully taking out other ships with it. We even have some poor atomics we could stuff in the holds of the first wave of ships. The problem with the last one is the captain and command staff in general are shockingly moral for 40k and can't stomach that. It's crazy to actually care for ones crew. 

 

So any ideas or did the writers just really make this ship to show everyone that no matter what ship you start with, it could be worse. You could be in a Viper.


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#2 Erathia

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 03:37 PM

Grapple Cannons are (I think) more useful than you give it credit for. When engaged in a Grapple, neither ship can take a Manoeuvre or a Shooting action, but no one else suffers a penalty for shooting AT them. Thus the massive Grand Cruiser your enemy is so proud of suddenly finds its aim being thrown off by this tiny speck of a vessel that none the less manages to throw off its firing profiles enough that it suddenly can't defend itself. The only problem with your vessel is you still have to end within 1VU of your enemy, but it's still a great support ship in capital-ship combat.

 

Also thematically your ship is amazing, because this is exactly what you want out of a long-range scout ship. Incredible manoeuverability and detection means it can scout out invading fleets AND escape to rejoin the main force if needed.

 

Also the morale bonuses work on the ship that has the larger crew population value, but the actual bonuses only kick in when they have a relative crew value bonus, meaning their crew percentage has to be at least 10 points higher than you, and given that it should begin boarding actions in its first round of combat that should never (initially) be a problem, so stack this thing with Murder Servitors and a high Fellowship leader and you have a pretty good vessel.


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#3 Iku Rex

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 03:56 PM

Also the morale bonuses work on the ship that has the larger crew population value, but the actual bonuses only kick in when they have a relative crew value bonus, meaning their crew percentage has to be at least 10 points higher than you, and given that it should begin boarding actions in its first round of combat that should never (initially) be a problem, so stack this thing with Murder Servitors and a high Fellowship leader and you have a pretty good vessel.

I take it you're talking about this rule from page 215:

 

"The ship with the larger Crew Population value will receive a +10 bonus to its character’s Command Test for every full 10 points difference in Crew Population between the two ships. The ship with the higher remaining Hull Integrity provides a +10 bonus to its character’s Command Test for every full 10 points difference in Crew Population between the two ships."

 

IMNSHO it's an obvious copy-paste error. It's supposed to be:

 

"The ship with the larger Crew Population value will receive a +10 bonus to its character’s Command Test for every full 10 points difference in Crew Population between the two ships. The ship with the higher remaining Hull Integrity provides a +10 bonus to its character’s Command Test for every full 10 points difference in Hull Integrity between the two ships."



#4 Lady Kataline Jianwei

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 04:16 PM

Grapple cannons would help out greatly in initiating the boarding and sustaining it but the issue lies in the low HP value of the Viper. At 25, the only thing in its weight class is an Iconoclast Destroyer. A Viper is going to be at a disadvantage in the boarding with most Frigates, and as you climb the ladder of ship tiers that disadvantage only grows.

 

But I do see your point. Suiciding the ship to tie up a larger ship to be dealt with later in the battle would make it rather useful. You just end up with an empty ship at best or an exploded ship at worst.

 

And I'm considering getting one just for scouting. We do a lot of exploration so having one to roam ahead of the fleet would be a nice thing to have. In battle we will have it sit in back with the Universe which we converted in to a carrier and plan to operate under the "Oh dear sweet God-Emperor don't shoot me" defense.


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#5 Erathia

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 04:27 PM

That is an important change to how the boarding bonus should work. On the other hand it still hasn't been subject to an errata, and the rationalization I came up for it was that no matter how large your crew is, it would still be a pain to redirect crew to the single spot where the boarders are. Since boarders have so little going for them I'm prepared to stick with the RAW here.

Also an interesting question is whether or not you HAVE to initiate boarding. You could just suicide on, then just be a highly annoying leech on the side of the

This is more a boarding change though. The strategy is even better with an Iconoclast destroyer, but sometimes you don't always get the hull you want.

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#6 Alasseo

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 07:16 PM

It's actually rather good as a "stealthy" scout, or covert insertion craft- give it an Empyrean Mantle, maybe a Cypra-2 drive (if you're playing with Archaeotech), and suddenly when on Silent Running people are at -35 to spot it. If you can then get a Shadowfield on top... wow, it's like -55.
Yes, that is loading Archaeo- and Xenotech onto one itty-bitty ship, but as a theoretical exercise I like it.

Throw a Storm Drop Pod Bay on there, and you have a ship that's still clocking in at a stock Speed of 11, that can shmooze in under everyone's auspex at Speed 6, drop a company onto someone's head planetside and be away faster than most dedicated hunter/killer escorts, and they'll only have maybe 1 turn knowing you're there before you're gone.
I've written up (always as GM) a couple versions of a scout sloop (decommissioned and sold to the Inquisition) for my campaigns (going back to the earliest days of Dark Heresy), and they've generally always accepted that it's going to be sub-par in terms of combat, but it can do fast'n'sneaky reeeeaaaally well.

Fluff-wise, the Viper is excellent for a covert insertion ship for the fast'n'sneaky reasons, and if it is or was (as mine was) owned by the big =][=, there's a lot of power authority in having a voxponder code identifying it as an official Inquisitorial transport. Even outside Imperial space, there's a chance it'll buy enough time to turn it into a stern chase, or even just disengage into silent running. If the =][= didn't have a chance to physically pull, slag or wipe the right cogitators, there's a chance the ship still has the override codes as well...
For that matter, the =][= is hardly the only institution that uses ships of this nature- the Officio Assassinorum killships tend towards the tiny, fast and stealthy, which would also buff the justification for drop pod bays. It's a rationale I can see a lot of other organisations using as well.

However, that's all story-based.

Mechanically, the best concept I can think of for it is sneaky spec-op team insertion. If you've sufficient space and power left, the stealthy-stealthy approach would also be a pretty good way to manufacture the right conditions for minelaying to be sucessful. It's true you don't get many uses, but if you've got a collier/tender ship, or a base you can return to, that's less of a problem, particularly if your Dynasty has a passable Profit Factor (and let's be honest, no matter how much you trick out a Viper, if it's your starting ship, you're going to have a pretty good PF, as there's only so much you can spend before you run out of Space).
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#7 Lady Kataline Jianwei

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 07:54 PM

The stealth scout intrigues me. And if we look upon the Viper as a noncombat support ship it has great value as basically a glorified shuttle. Which brought me to this thought: Can you store the Viper in a Universe? I feel this will ultimately come down to a GM ruling.


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#8 Marwynn

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 08:12 PM

I think it'd be better to store some system defense ships inside a Universe and let the Sloops do their own thing.


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#9 Erathia

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 08:13 PM

By default no, since that space has been partitioned off for crew quarters and separated into cargo bays while it was designed. However you are not the first person to think that way, and CaptainRemiVandigrath has waved his fingers, shouted "Tech-Heresy", and created The Princely Prosperity, which was designed to do just what you want!

 

I seem to be having trouble linking to the thread directly, so I'll have to type it out. If this doesn't work, search for forums for Shipception.

 

http://community.fan...ption/?p=944825


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#10 Lady Kataline Jianwei

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 08:21 PM

I'll go check it out. Thanks.


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#11 Errant Knight

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 09:58 PM

Give it the best augur you can get your hands on and run it as a recon vessel.  Best in the fleet.

 

Then keep it screened by larger ships.



#12 Lady Kataline Jianwei

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 12:39 AM

Okay ladies and gents, I built a Viper for recon. Detection can be boosted if it has the Adventurous and Haunted backgrounds for +16, but as that is out of my hands I just put what is for sure. Please ignore some of the short hand. I use word to build ships having made a separate document of all the parts for I can copy paste.

 

Silent Running Scout: Viper Scout Sloop (SP 27 to Buy)

Crew: 30

Speed: 11        Maneuverability: 35   Detection: 40

Hull:25            Shields:1         Armor:            14        Turrets:1

Crew:100/100             Moral: 101/101

Power: 40/45  Space: 29/29   SP:8

Trade:             Military:         Criminal:        Exploration:150                      Creed:

 

Weapons: (0/0/0)

 

Components in (Power/Space/SP modified total):

Essential: (28/27/1)

Augur Array, X-470 Ultimo: +10 Detection, +15 Detection vs silent running enemy ships +5 BS to hit ship, 6/0/0

Bridge, Exploration T, R, F: +5 detection , +50 Exploration AP, 4/1/1

Engines, Jovian 2 Raider/Frigate: +45 power/10/0

Gellar Field: Standard, 1/0/0

Life Sustainer, Vitae, T, R, F: (4/2/0)

Quarters, Voidsmen, T, R, F: Standard crew quarters. 1/3/0

Void Shields: 1 Shield, 5/1/0

Warp Engines, Strelov 1: Standard, (10/10/0)

 

Supplemental:(12/2/7)

Observation Dome: +50 Exploration, +1 moral 0/1/1

Trophy Room: +50 Exploration, Trade or Criminal AP, 1/1/1

Hydraphuran Jamming System: Scans vs vessel at -20, 4/0/1

Empyrean Mantle, T, R, F: +50 Criminal AP, Detection vs vessel is 2 steps harder when silent running, 3/0/2

Augmented Retro Thrusters, T, LC: +5 Maneuverability, 4/0/2

Upgrades

Starchart collection: reduce travel speed by 1d5, +25 Exploration AP


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#13 Kasatka

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 07:39 AM

Teleportarium, Murder Servitors, Storm Drop Pod Bays, Converted Cargo Hangar Bay - these are all massive force multipliers for such a small ship if you do plan on using it in combat.


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#14 Errant Knight

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 09:20 AM

Teleportariums should be strictly controlled by the GM.  Assuming there's multiple ships in the squadron it would be foolhardy to mount a teleportarium in a ship as fragile as the Viper.  Put them in your larger ships.  If you have 4 ships in your squadron and 4 teleportariums, something has gone wrong in your game.

 

Really, the Viper is a scout.  Trying to turn it into something else makes little sense.  Other ships will be more efficient in any other role you might give it.  Play ships, like anything else, to their strength, not their weakness.



#15 Kasatka

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 09:40 AM

Oh of course you should, but it seems that this group has a fleet of Orions and wants a Viper to be doing something different (ie not being a fast, maneuverable trade ship). So i was just putting other options out there. OP has already covered all the things the viper is good at to be honest...


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#16 Lady Kataline Jianwei

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 04:15 PM

Oh of course you should, but it seems that this group has a fleet of Orions and wants a Viper to be doing something different (ie not being a fast, maneuverable trade ship). So i was just putting other options out there. OP has already covered all the things the viper is good at to be honest...

 

We haven't had a play session yet so things are nebulous but Kastka more or less nailed it. We're getting cookie cutter Orions as our picket ships and the Viper is in the same price range, so I've been trying to come up with a "good" layout of the ship using bog standard parts. And ultimately, yes it is a scout ship and must be used as such. Which we're okay with. 99% sure we will get the ship I proposed above to roam ahead of the main fleet.


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#17 Marwynn

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 04:25 PM

If possible, go with a Warpsbane Hull in exchange for the Thrusters. SP might need to be adjusted.

I'd make that an Explorer vessel. Chart new routes and recon systems.

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#18 Kasatka

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 09:16 AM

I must ask - why are you getting multiple ships to start with? I find the game often breaks down when multiple ships come into it later on, and unless you're starting with virtually no PF you couldn't possibly have enough SP to so many Orions and a Viper at start...


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#19 Lady Kataline Jianwei

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 02:29 PM

I must ask - why are you getting multiple ships to start with? I find the game often breaks down when multiple ships come into it later on, and unless you're starting with virtually no PF you couldn't possibly have enough SP to so many Orions and a Viper at start...

This isn't the starting ship. We started with a Secutor LC thanks to a 70SP/20PF split. Through salvage and purchase we then moved up to having a Sword F and Endeavor LC. Then we had a huge and fun ship battle (7 ships our side (NPC Navy help) vs 21 various  Cortelax Confederacy ships). During with something incredibly stupid happened. The enemy flag ship and our flag ship got into a turning battle. Our NPC pilot was't the best so it took 5 turns to end the endless circle where both ships tried to maneuver around each other but couldn't bring enough weapons to bear to actually get through the void shields. Our Sword was a smoking wreck just barely functional and our Endeavor was otherwise engaged during the turning battle.

 

Basically, the additional ships are a reaction to that one 5 turn battle segment. Our group has a motto "This is stupid" due to the amount of stupid things we do or have happen to us. So we agreed that having some small fast ships on hand to harrass/herd/pin in a bigger ship might be a good thing to have. Or at least try out. This is our first RT game so the GM is being rather generous. We're also at the point where our personal ships are as pimped as they are going to get barring archeotech additions.

 

And if worst comes to worst, we have the option of mothballing ships to have them not count against our fleet upkeep limit. Additionally, we're planning to mount an assault on Inquiry, and I've learned through my years with this GM that if he suggests getting more of something, its usually a good idea to do so.

 

That said he suggested 4 Orions. With some feed back from above I've decided on 3 Orions and the Viper posted because the idea of a dedicated silent running scout for a fleet seems cool. If it blows up oh well. At least we tried. And our PF is pretty hefty at 90 so getting another one is relatively easy.


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#20 Alasseo

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 03:09 PM

For reference, you can't use the Hydraphur Jamming system while on Silent Running, as they work by blinding/dazzling sensor looking at them. Hard to lock on and hit you, yes, but it's fairly obvious there's something there.
Of course, there are a number of things which will cancel your Silent Running- including Active Augury and Focused Augury, unless you fit the ship with the Passive Detection Arrays from Hostile Acquisitions. Admittedly, those do not provide a bonus to Detection, but it does potentially let you get in closer without being spotted.

As an option to keep your ship unholed having been spotted, though, the Jammers are a pretty good trick as you speed off.

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