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A potential solution to Macrobatteries.


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#1 WittyDroog

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:28 PM

 So I might be way oversimplifying the issue here, but a friend who is researching RT (I myself play Black Crusade, and as such haven't had the time to deeply examine the RT rules, forgive me if I missed something) is trying to solve the hiccups the game has. During a discussion he seemed to have a solution to the nagging issue of macrobatteries that seems much simpler than other extensive rule overhauls found here:

The rules state that the attacker determines which shots hit shields and which hit the ship. This seems to lead to people pelting the shields with puny shots while lumping a massive strike against the ship. What if, regarding macrobatteries, the defender actually chooses the order of hits? It still allows batteries to stack as they don't quite pack the punch to fight normally, but it forces the attacker to think more carefully about how he stacks his batteries instead of just lumping them into one single strike. Sure this might lead to two strikes of equal size, but that's significantly smaller than one heavy hitter right?

Does this sound like a sound solution or is there something we're overlooking?

 



#2 Errant

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:48 PM

Look, the problem with macrobatteries (And attack craft, for that matter) is that with equal degrees of success, they will exceed lances in potential and outright damage. The problem isn't that the attacker gets to say that his Mars-pattern macrobattery is absorbed by the shield while their Hecutor-pattern plasma battery punches straight through, it's that combining the hits allows you to reduce their armour to zero just through the +1s. The reduce-armour-by-12 solution may sound difficult particularly given the edge-case weapons like Rak'Gol Howlers, but once you've gotten used to it i find it far more elegant.



#3 WhiteLycan

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:12 AM

2 mars pattern macrobatteries hitting a lunar cruiser with 12 shots (meaning 2 BS rolls with 5+ DoS, which is incredibly easy to obtain) deal 55 damage on average.

The same barrage of hits, with your rule, will deal... 55 damage on average.

Average of 1d10+2 is 7.5.

7.5 x (12hits-2voidshields) - 20armor = 55 damage

Doesn't matter with 7.5 you remove, it stays the same.

Just stick with the -12 armor rule.



#4 Decessor

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:30 AM

Wittdroog, there is actually precedent and sound reasoning in universe for using up the weaker hits on the void shields first. I believe it is battlefleet koronus that describes how weapons of different speed have to be fired in sequence so they''ll hit around the same time (macroshells are far slower than laser or lances for example). So given this amount of coordination to begin with, it makes sense for captains to time these shots so they hit in a favourable sequence.

The big problem with marcobatteries has already been laid out: the sheer total damage from combinbing beats any other method for causing damage. I haven''t run rogue trader in a long time but is a real problem and one I''d have to mull over were I to run another campaign.



#5 WittyDroog

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:46 PM

 Well like I said, I was likely oversimplifying things, but it seems like there has to be a simplier solution to the problem than these extensive overhauls. Not allowing batteries to stack makes them too weak as I understand? Could there potentially be a limiter on how many shots can be stacked onto one another, maybe derived from some part of the ship''''s statistics? If the problem is that macrobatteries are too powerful when stacked, then why not address the stacking issue rather than a complicated work-around? What about the idea that, as someone pointed out, achieving 5+ degrees of success is incredibly easy► Doesn''t that seem to be flawed in some way from a gaming standpoint (I understand that hitting a ship can be a simple matter, but when it breaks the game so badly…)►

 

I promise over the next day or so I''''ll get caught up in the nitty gritty of the rules so I can be more informed.



#6 Larkin

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:34 PM

 Actually, it''s allowing the HITS to stack that is the problem. AKA, a STR 3 Macrocannon will almost always do damage to a ship if 3 DoS are rolled (minimum 15 damage (who uses thunderstrikes►) max 30) and once armour and void shields are overcome, every other hit acts exactly like a lance. This makes the lance practically useless except to low BS gunners.

The Mathhammer thread''s solutions are quite elegant and make Lances very deadly and give single Macrocannon hits the ability to do a bit of damage, instead of requiring multiple hits. It also makes "Ironclads" possible to include and be effective.

Summary of the Mathhammer

Armour Values are reduced by 12

Resolve each hit against armour (all macrocannons and bomber strikes)

Broadsides Gain Storm and reduce str by half

Lances gain Tearing

Torpedoes reduce their damage by 12

There are edge cases that need looked at, but for the most part those are what is changed, and they all follow the same idea.



#7 WittyDroog

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:40 PM

 Well I''ll look into it, but I will say upfront that something doesn''t feel right about it. I think my experience of playing Battlefleet Gothic are coming through and so expectations of how weapons should operate aren''t clicking for me. But I''ll check it out.



#8 WhiteLycan

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 12:45 AM

So you''re more willing to address the issue of players stacking their Characteristics so high it''s hard for them to fail a Test than not even addressing the issue of macrobattery overpowered-ness, simply using the rules that almost every single person on these boards either uses or at least agrees with► This may come off as rude, though it''s not intended that way: Why are you here to debate/discuss rules when you haven''t even opened the book► If you don''t even know the rules, how can you possibly begin to discuss their flaws►



#9 Decessor

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 03:51 AM

There is a disconnect between how macrobatteries and lances are described in the background and how they actually play out in Rogue Trader. Frankly, I''d be tempted to at least try the mathammer proposed fixes to get the "proper" feel of the weapons.



#10 WittyDroog

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:39 PM

WhiteLycan said:

 

So you''re more willing to address the issue of players stacking their Characteristics so high it''s hard for them to fail a Test than not even addressing the issue of macrobattery overpowered-ness, simply using the rules that almost every single person on these boards either uses or at least agrees with► This may come off as rude, though it''s not intended that way: Why are you here to debate/discuss rules when you haven''t even opened the book► If you don''t even know the rules, how can you possibly begin to discuss their flaws►

 

 

 

Primarily because I'm actually speaking on the behalf of someone else who isn't a member of the forums, a messenger, if you will. And the point is to address the nature of the macro-battery which is why the suggestion was made in the first place. Obviously I was operating on the assumption that forcing a player to divide how he stacks the hits in order to halve their effectiveness instead of letting him strike them all as one hit would be sufficient in taking some bite out of the attack without completely negating the effectiveness. Apparently that's not enough as I'm being told so I concede that it's not an effective solution then until it's been tested (though by example it seems it would be fruitless anyway). I said earlier, if you read, that I would look into the proposed solution, but I also expressed that it seems like the problem could be handled differently in an easier fashion. It just seems odd that the rules could be completely broken as opposed to just having a single mechanic that required tweaking or rewording. Forgive me for attempting to look at it from another angle.

And while I know it's not your intent to sound rude, it did sound a bit. It's okay though, I only cried a little bit. ;)



#11 Larkin

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 06:00 PM

 Honestly, the slight hostility you're getting is due to the fact that this has been talked to death. Read the Mathhammer thread (or just look at the page numbers) to get the background.

It's also been playtested extensively. I've been running an RT game for over a year, and we started with a No salvo rule. Then my players got good BSes and were ignoring lances in favor or bombers and macrocannons. We recently started using the Mathhammer rules (with a few more of my personal changes) and my players like them a good bit more. It makes frigates with Lances dangerous again.

Also don't be surprised that the system is broken. It happens quite a bit in several different gaming systems. That's why it's so good to have a community willing to work out other solutions.



#12 Errant

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 08:09 PM

 What changes would those be, Larkin?



#13 Larkin

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 06:59 AM

I just added storm to Broadsides, without subtracting from total strength. They can get an insane number of hits, but each checks against armour so in my mind it'd be plinking a ship to death.

Storm becomes Storm (1). When ships fire in a formation (BFK) they add Storm (+1) to the base ship in instead of +1 strength, provided they all have the same armament. That means 5 frigs with Mars pattern macrocannons firing in a formation have mars pattern macrocannons with Storm (4) and +40 to hit. Makes formations of small ships very dangerous to the aformentioned plinking. Also works for lances, so firestorm frigates can kill capital ships in a big enough group. This may need balancing, but my players were already thinking of how to use it to their advantage.

Torpedoes do regular damage -12min0, so some torps do a bit more damage than before. This was so I didn't have the possibility of rolling negative damage. I had already impressed how dangerous torps were to ships, so my players aren't worried too much.

All in all my group has one more big space battle left, and I'm going to run through all of these rules to see how they work together, then refine it before we start our next game.



#14 WhiteLycan

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 05:41 PM

 Adding storm to broadsides but no halving their strength is a big mistake in my opinion. A single mars broadside scoring 5 DoS will net 12 hits. Against a 3 armor frigate or raider, that'll average out to almos 50 damage in a single hit. That's worse than stacking 6 hits with RAW, where you'll only average 23 damage. With that rule you'll literally double the problem if your players realize this. 



#15 Mordechai Von Razgriz

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 07:59 PM

Just for your Information, a Strengh 3 Storm Broadside is already lethal enough. I do have currently an online rank 5 RT campaign, using the Mathammer fix. My players are on a cruiser, with 2 broadsides, Jovian Missile on the prow & 2 launch bays. The Master of Ordnance is a 75 BS Arch-militant.

They can, and have, one shot raiders & frigates with prow & 1 broadside only, and can kill a freakin' cruiser in two rounds in two volleys + 1 aircraft run. And they have just upgraded their prow batterie to Bombardment canons…

With your variant, Larskin,  they will be able to kill 1 frigate easily with just one broadside, and will often one shot a cruiser with 1 broadside + prow batterie. No way. They are already rampaging through ennemy fleets like a space Honey Badger, I won't give it Lostock glands, a power armor & lightning claws….

 

 


Cum historia mutat valde, Razgriz revelat ipsum; Primum Monstrum scelestus est.
Cum potentia sua Monstrum fondet mortem in terram, Deinde moritur.
Cum somnus finit, Razgriz surget iterum, Magnus heros est.

Game Master of http://excathedra.forum-gratuit.net/, Rogue Trader PbP campaign.


#16 Larkin

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 04:41 AM

 Like I said, it'll probably need a bit more work, but I haven't gotten to test it out yet. Honestly, the small ships I'm not worried about, it's the capital ships that I don't want one shot. They'd already 1 salvo frigates and cruisers due to hit BS, Bombardment Cannons, Plasma Broadside, Bombers and a Voidsunder Lance Battery :-.

Also White Lycan, with the mathhammer each hit counts against armour. So it'd be 12 1d10+2 hits against armour of probably 6.



#17 WhiteLycan

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 09:53 AM

… 15 armor RAW = 3 armor Mathhammer

1d10+2 = 7.5 Average
(1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10 = 55 / 10 = 5.5 + 2 = 7.5)

7.5 damage - 3 armor = 4.5 damage

12 hits - 1 void shield = 11 hits

11 hits * 4.5 damage = 49.5 damage

 

I can't simplify that any further. I got the class of ship wrong because I wasn't at my books but, nonetheless, 1-shotting a ship with 15 RAW armor is laughably easy using your rules. Anything below a frigate is going to die in one hit. Frigates will die in 2, cruisers might too. That's less time than RAW rules require.

You can't balance something for a specific scenario. If you try, you break the game even worse than it already is. Trying to make macrocannons more powerful against cruisers just ends up making macrocannons ridiculously overpowered against smaller and more lightly armored vessels no matter what size of vessel is firing the weapon. With your rules, not only is a cruiser broadside overpowered against a raider, but a raider broadside is overpowered against a raider.

And the fact that you don't subtract 12 damage from torpedoes is just plain absurdly broken. Torpedoes, which already do a good deal of damage in RAW, now have targets with 12 less armor. Plasma torpedoes, the most common of them all, deal 2d10+14 damage. Say you use the average torpedo bay with 4 STR. It's pitifully easy to get 3 DoS and for all 4 torpedos to hit. Even if 2 of the torpedoes get shot down by turret fire, you're still going to do 34 damage with TWO hits. If none of the torpedoes get shot down, you're doing 68 damage. If you're using a 6 STR torpedo component, that's 92 (NINETY TWO) damage. Vs. a cruiser. You could kill a grand cruiser in one torpedo salvo.



#18 Vandegraffe

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 03:22 PM

Oh, Throne.  Not this topic again…  (Nothing personal, it really has been discussed at length.  But, it appears we need to visit it once more.)

Yes, macrobatteries are broken if used with typical PC level ballistic skill.  With all due respect to the folks on mathhammer, there is a simpler way to fix it:

  • Apply each hit individually against the ship's armour.
  • For macrobattery* and bomber hits, divide the ship's armour by three, rounding to the nearest whole number.
  • Macrobattery broadsides resolve as full-auto attacks, and get 1 hit per degree of success.  All other macrobatteries resolve as semi-auto attacks, and get 1 hit per 2 degrees of success.
  • For all other attacks, use the rules as written.

That's it.  Ever hear of something called the "KISS principle"?  This patch brings ship combat in line with personal combat.  In personal combat, if you hit someone with three bolts from a bolter, they apply their 'soak' (armour + toughness) to each hit.  With this, if you score three hits from a macrobattery in starship combat, the target also gets its 'soak' against each hit.  This also means that even a dinky little Iconoclast with an incompetent crew can score some damage against the PC's… and the most terrifying thing my players ever faced was the repair bill. 

* For things like ship explosions or atomics, GM discretion is required to determine if a given attack counts as a macrobattery.

Just my 0.02 thrones worth.

- V.



#19 Errant

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 04:45 PM

 Personally I've always found subtraction easier than division.



#20 Vandegraffe

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:31 PM

A spot of clarification, then.  Do the math:

Rules as written, most ship armour typically is in the 15 to 24 range.  Fifteen is a Cobra destroyer or the like, and 24 is the mighty reinforced prow of a Lunar cruiser.  (Yes, yes, I know some extreme builds can go outside that range - I said 'most', and the few exceptions don't change my conclusions.)  And, most macrobatteries do 1d10+2 damage, with a few specialized types doing 1d10+3 or 1d10+4.

With mathhammer rules, subtracting 12, the Cobra has a 'soak' of 3. and a Lunar has a 'soak' of 12 from the prow.  That means each hit from an average macrobattery will do 1d10-1 damage to the Cobra, and 1d10-10 to the Lunar.  Average damage is therefore 4,5 points to the Cobra, and zero to the Lunar.  (In fact, the Lunar cannot be hurt at all.)  Even if you switch to a 1d10+4 macrobattery (quite rare_, the average damage to the Lunar's nose is a mere 0,3 points per hit.

With my rules, dividing by 3, the Cobra has a 'soak' of 5. and a Lunar has a 'soak' of 8 from the prow. That means each hit from an average macrobattery will do 1d10-3 damage to the Cobra, and 1d10-8 to the Lunar. Average damage is therefore 2,8 points to the Cobra, and 0,3 to the Lunar.  Again, if you switch to a 1d10+4 macrobattery (quite rare), the average damage to the Lunar's nose is 1,0 points per hit.

That smooths out the extremes a little.  Small ships aren't quite as fragile, and big ships can still be worn down.  It also restores some of the flavour of Battlefleet Gothic, where a Lunar's prow armour was very tough, but not invulnerable.

Cheers,

- V.

 

 

 






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