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Mortifyingly Basic Starship Combat Questions


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#1 Warmaster Picklehauber

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:13 PM

So, I ran my first starship combat (2 rounds before we had to quit for the day) during my last session and a couple of things came up.

Maybe my explorers had especially poor luck with die rolls or maybe they just aren't the shooting type, but their BS skill checks often produced only 1 and 2 hits with the broadsides. They were battling 2 Wolfpack ships, so the WP ships had decent defenses; Armor of 15 and 1 void shield. The best the explorers mustered were 3 successes to hit with their Ryza Pattern Plasma Macrocannons. A single voidshield knocked that down to 2 hits and with a damage roll of 16, they did but 1 point of hull integrity and crew population. 

Is that common?

Common that a single round of starship combat routinely inflicts only 1-2 points of damage between ships? with 30 hullpoints that's going to be an extremely long fight. They then scrambled boarders at the enemy and  managed  successfully to destroy 2 components and damage the third. The ease with which they accomplished task, comparatively, got me thinking "Why does anyone ever bother to shoot, ever? If they tried to do that with ship-class weapons it would take 9-10 rounds at least to do that much damage to their adversaries."

Was I missing something? Is there a buff to checks akin to the ship's Maneuvorability rating that I was failing to add to attack rolls on both sides? When adding Maneuvorability to moving actions, it's not uncommon to see checks of 60-70% netting 4-5 sucesses. There is a Void-master explorer in the group, but she is dedicated to ship's movement and not gunnery.  Her special ability has no effect on damage in combat. I was expecting starship fights to be very deadly, with lots of damage continually inflicted by each side. 

My final issue; when equipping starships weapons points are often listed, for example, as prow 1, dorsal 1, and sometimes another, prow, yielding prow 2.. If a ship shows only prow 1; does this mean that there is only 1 crop of cannon on a single side of the ship? If the enemy maneuvors to the other side of the vessel are there no weapons thereby which to attack. Or are we to presume that if there are cannons of 1 type on each (that is to say both) side(s)? Likewise, if there prow 2, such as with the explorers' ship, does that mean if they purchase Mars Pattern Macrocannon and Ryza Patter Plasma Macrocannons, that 1 side of the ship must be all Mars and the other Ryza? Or is it true that there is 1 cluster of each cannon type on each side? Yielding something like a bunch of Plasma Cannons above a row of macro cannons on both the port and starboard sides of the ship.

I couldn't find the answers to my questions in the core rules. I though to reference this elsewhere, but my copy of BF Koronus is currently not in the same city as I.

 

 



#2 Zoombie

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:46 PM

Answers! Answers!

 

Warmaster Picklehauber said:

So, I ran my first starship combat (2 rounds before we had to quit for the day) during my last session and a couple of things came up.

Maybe my explorers had especially poor luck with die rolls or maybe they just aren't the shooting type, but their BS skill checks often produced only 1 and 2 hits with the broadsides. They were battling 2 Wolfpack ships, so the WP ships had decent defenses; Armor of 15 and 1 void shield. The best the explorers mustered were 3 successes to hit with their Ryza Pattern Plasma Macrocannons. A single voidshield knocked that down to 2 hits and with a damage roll of 16, they did but 1 point of hull integrity and crew population. 

Is that common?

It can be, but remember, you can buff to hit chance: Get in close range, use target lock on, or put your back into it special orders (which give other PCs a chance to do something).

Warmaster Picklehauber said:

Common that a single round of starship combat routinely inflicts only 1-2 points of damage between ships? with 30 hullpoints that's going to be an extremely long fight. They then scrambled boarders at the enemy and  managed  successfully to destroy 2 components and damage the third. The ease with which they accomplished task, comparatively, got me thinking "Why does anyone ever bother to shoot, ever? If they tried to do that with ship-class weapons it would take 9-10 rounds at least to do that much damage to their adversaries."

Was I missing something? Is there a buff to checks akin to the ship's Maneuvorability rating that I was failing to add to attack rolls on both sides? When adding Maneuvorability to moving actions, it's not uncommon to see checks of 60-70% netting 4-5 sucesses. There is a Void-master explorer in the group, but she is dedicated to ship's movement and not gunnery.  Her special ability has no effect on damage in combat. I was expecting starship fights to be very deadly, with lots of damage continually inflicted by each side.

Aight, this is why you need lances. See, lances are able to IGNORE armor completely. So, you use macros to strip down void shields, then a lance to really hammer at the bastard. It's dreadfully fun. Now, boarding…

There are two forms of "boarding". There's hit and run - which is what I think you were using - which requires you to be within 5 void units (VU) before you can do it, then you must roll a Pilot test with a -10 for every turret rating the enemy has. If they fail, they have to run. If they fail by 3 or more degrees, they're SHOT DOWN, which can be quite bad (spinning off into space a'la Darth Vader, or crashing into the enemy ship and being held for ransom)

Now, once they get there, they make a +10 command check versus the enemie's +0 commnad check. If they win, they do 1 damage per DOS, and roll two 1d5s on the critical hit table. You can only pick ONE critical hit! JUST ONE. So, you can only disable ONE component per hit and run.

 

Now boarding ACTIONS are way more fun! They're when you ram the fucker and swing over with cutlasses and las pistols and take the ship by throwing your crew against their crew. This is more fun because, while rammed together, you roll comand tests (modified by how much health, crew and turrets a ship has) and if you win, you slowly grind their crew and moral down until they wave a white flag and you get a free ship.

These two abilities are SO USEFUL. Hit and Run lets you selectively disable components, taking down void shields or weapon systems, while boarding actions give you free ships, to then sell. Also, boarding actions let small, fast ships overpower large, more deadly ships if they have an insane enough commander. I suggest you read about Thomas Cocraine, who was the real life version of Jack Aubry of Master and Commander fame. Cocraine, using a tiny little ship called the HMS Speedy regularly captured whole god-*******-damned galleons. By boarding them. I think he captured hundreds of ships!

Boarding actions are fun.

 

Warmaster Picklehauber said:

My final issue; when equipping starships weapons points are often listed, for example, as prow 1, dorsal 1, and sometimes another, prow, yielding prow 2.. If a ship shows only prow 1; does this mean that there is only 1 crop of cannon on a single side of the ship? If the enemy maneuvors to the other side of the vessel are there no weapons thereby which to attack. Or are we to presume that if there are cannons of 1 type on each (that is to say both) side(s)? Likewise, if there prow 2, such as with the explorers' ship, does that mean if they purchase Mars Pattern Macrocannon and Ryza Patter Plasma Macrocannons, that 1 side of the ship must be all Mars and the other Ryza? Or is it true that there is 1 cluster of each cannon type on each side? Yielding something like a bunch of Plasma Cannons above a row of macro cannons on both the port and starboard sides of the ship.

I couldn't find the answers to my questions in the core rules. I though to reference this elsewhere, but my copy of BF Koronus is currently not in the same city as I.

Aight, there are 5 slots.

Prow: The nose

Dorsal: The upper spine

Port/Starboard: Left/right (right/left?)

And Keel: The bottom

Raiders, Transports and Frigates can only fire forward with prow weapons, everything larger can fire forward, left and right (as they have a larger prow, which can mount turrets)

Dorsal can always fire left, right and forward, making it very flexible

Port/Starboard only fire left and right

Keel is unique in that it can fire in ANY direction, including aft.

Now, macrocannons can be slotted anywhere, but for lances, it has to go into the prow (if you're a frigate, raider or transport). For light crusiers and up, you can stick lances on the dorsal or port/starboard regions.

So, if your ship has Prow 2, that means it can have 2 prow weapons. But, uh, I don't think any ship has 2 prow slots…are you sure that it isn't 2 Dorsal? I think the number comes first, not second, but I'd need to check that.

Hope this helps!



#3 Iku Rex

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:05 PM

Is it common for PC ships to do very little damage? No!

The designated gunner should easily have a Ballistics skill of 50+ . Then you add any bonuses from the ship (such as Combat Bridge, Ship-Master's Bridge, Logis-targeter), other actions (such as Lock on Target [perhaps helped by Aid the Machine Spirit], Put Your Backs Into It!, Exceptional Leader), maybe a Good MIU, maybe short range… It adds up. And on top of that a PC gunner can use a Fate Point.

The trick to getting through shields and armor is not lances, but the (arguable overpowered) salvo (page 220), combined with high Strength macrobatteries.



#4 susanbrindle

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:22 AM

If a ship only has Prow 1, then their ship has one set of weapons on the nose, and no weapons anywhere else. (However, I seem to recall that smaller ships prow weapons can fire port and starboard)

 

Manuevering into a position where you can fire without being fired upon is definitely a part of starship combat.

 

You should definitely be able to score more than one or two hits. With a gunner with a base BS of 45 (If you're going to have space combat, your party should at least have an archmilitant or seneschal or voidmaster who invested in a couple advances for his BS), plus a successful Lock Target check for +10, plus a +10 from the Rogue Trader as a free action, plus a Put Your Backs Into it! for +10, plus a +10 for close-range… you can easily score quite a few degrees of success.



#5 Warmaster Picklehauber

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:41 AM

Zoombie said:

Answers! Answers!

 

Warmaster Picklehauber said:

 

So, I ran my first starship combat (2 rounds before we had to quit for the day) during my last session and a couple of things came up.

Maybe my explorers had especially poor luck with die rolls or maybe they just aren't the shooting type, but their BS skill checks often produced only 1 and 2 hits with the broadsides. They were battling 2 Wolfpack ships, so the WP ships had decent defenses; Armor of 15 and 1 void shield. The best the explorers mustered were 3 successes to hit with their Ryza Pattern Plasma Macrocannons. A single voidshield knocked that down to 2 hits and with a damage roll of 16, they did but 1 point of hull integrity and crew population. 

Is that common?

 

It can be, but remember, you can buff to hit chance: Get in close range, use target lock on, or put your back into it special orders (which give other PCs a chance to do something).

Warmaster Picklehauber said:

Common that a single round of starship combat routinely inflicts only 1-2 points of damage between ships? with 30 hullpoints that's going to be an extremely long fight. They then scrambled boarders at the enemy and  managed  successfully to destroy 2 components and damage the third. The ease with which they accomplished task, comparatively, got me thinking "Why does anyone ever bother to shoot, ever? If they tried to do that with ship-class weapons it would take 9-10 rounds at least to do that much damage to their adversaries."

 

Was I missing something? Is there a buff to checks akin to the ship's Maneuvorability rating that I was failing to add to attack rolls on both sides? When adding Maneuvorability to moving actions, it's not uncommon to see checks of 60-70% netting 4-5 sucesses. There is a Void-master explorer in the group, but she is dedicated to ship's movement and not gunnery.  Her special ability has no effect on damage in combat. I was expecting starship fights to be very deadly, with lots of damage continually inflicted by each side.

 

Aight, this is why you need lances. See, lances are able to IGNORE armor completely. So, you use macros to strip down void shields, then a lance to really hammer at the bastard. It's dreadfully fun. Now, boarding…

There are two forms of "boarding". There's hit and run - which is what I think you were using - which requires you to be within 5 void units (VU) before you can do it, then you must roll a Pilot test with a -10 for every turret rating the enemy has. If they fail, they have to run. If they fail by 3 or more degrees, they're SHOT DOWN, which can be quite bad (spinning off into space a'la Darth Vader, or crashing into the enemy ship and being held for ransom)

Now, once they get there, they make a +10 command check versus the enemie's +0 commnad check. If they win, they do 1 damage per DOS, and roll two 1d5s on the critical hit table. You can only pick ONE critical hit! JUST ONE. So, you can only disable ONE component per hit and run.

 

Now boarding ACTIONS are way more fun! They're when you ram the fucker and swing over with cutlasses and las pistols and take the ship by throwing your crew against their crew. This is more fun because, while rammed together, you roll comand tests (modified by how much health, crew and turrets a ship has) and if you win, you slowly grind their crew and moral down until they wave a white flag and you get a free ship.

These two abilities are SO USEFUL. Hit and Run lets you selectively disable components, taking down void shields or weapon systems, while boarding actions give you free ships, to then sell. Also, boarding actions let small, fast ships overpower large, more deadly ships if they have an insane enough commander. I suggest you read about Thomas Cocraine, who was the real life version of Jack Aubry of Master and Commander fame. Cocraine, using a tiny little ship called the HMS Speedy regularly captured whole god-*******-damned galleons. By boarding them. I think he captured hundreds of ships!

Boarding actions are fun.

 

Warmaster Picklehauber said:

 

My final issue; when equipping starships weapons points are often listed, for example, as prow 1, dorsal 1, and sometimes another, prow, yielding prow 2.. If a ship shows only prow 1; does this mean that there is only 1 crop of cannon on a single side of the ship? If the enemy maneuvors to the other side of the vessel are there no weapons thereby which to attack. Or are we to presume that if there are cannons of 1 type on each (that is to say both) side(s)? Likewise, if there prow 2, such as with the explorers' ship, does that mean if they purchase Mars Pattern Macrocannon and Ryza Patter Plasma Macrocannons, that 1 side of the ship must be all Mars and the other Ryza? Or is it true that there is 1 cluster of each cannon type on each side? Yielding something like a bunch of Plasma Cannons above a row of macro cannons on both the port and starboard sides of the ship.

I couldn't find the answers to my questions in the core rules. I though to reference this elsewhere, but my copy of BF Koronus is currently not in the same city as I.

 

 

Aight, there are 5 slots.

Prow: The nose

Dorsal: The upper spine

Port/Starboard: Left/right (right/left?)

And Keel: The bottom

Raiders, Transports and Frigates can only fire forward with prow weapons, everything larger can fire forward, left and right (as they have a larger prow, which can mount turrets)

Dorsal can always fire left, right and forward, making it very flexible

Port/Starboard only fire left and right

Keel is unique in that it can fire in ANY direction, including aft.

Now, macrocannons can be slotted anywhere, but for lances, it has to go into the prow (if you're a frigate, raider or transport). For light crusiers and up, you can stick lances on the dorsal or port/starboard regions.

So, if your ship has Prow 2, that means it can have 2 prow weapons. But, uh, I don't think any ship has 2 prow slots…are you sure that it isn't 2 Dorsal? I think the number comes first, not second, but I'd need to check that.

Hope this helps!

Zoombie said:

Aight, there are 5 slots.

Prow: The nose

Dorsal: The upper spine

Port/Starboard: Left/right (right/left?)

And Keel: The bottom

Raiders, Transports and Frigates can only fire forward with prow weapons, everything larger can fire forward, left and right (as they have a larger prow, which can mount turrets)

Dorsal can always fire left, right and forward, making it very flexible

Port/Starboard only fire left and right

Keel is unique in that it can fire in ANY direction, including aft.

Now, macrocannons can be slotted anywhere, but for lances, it has to go into the prow (if you're a frigate, raider or transport). For light crusiers and up, you can stick lances on the dorsal or port/starboard regions.

So, if your ship has Prow 2, that means it can have 2 prow weapons. But, uh, I don't think any ship has 2 prow slots…are you sure that it isn't 2 Dorsal? I think the number comes first, not second, but I'd need to check that.

Hope this helps!

You are right I did mean dorsal. I was pretty tired when I wrote up this post. 

You went beyond what I was asking. If a ship has two dorsal slots, then based upon what you have said here,  dorsal (meaning the "back" of the vessel, as in the dorsal fin of a shark) two dorsal slots would allow two clusters of weapons to fire at the same target at the same time. So, with my explorers, their ship could actually fire their Macrocannons and Plasma Macrocannons at the same target, thus making for a harder hit.

By the way, port is the left side of a ship and starboard is the right. burla

 



#6 Ladegard

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:06 AM

Minor correction:  While you're right about port and starboard, your definition of dorsal is off.  Dorsal doesn't mean 'back', it instead refers to the tops side of the vehicle.



#7 Visitor Q

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:58 AM

At first glance ship weapons aren't too effective but with a combination of marcocannon salvos and lance attacks you can really begin to take down enemy ships. 

 

Our group spent all its SP on a Lunar Class Cruiser with marco cannon broadsides and lances.  It really kicks ass but we aren't too skilled.  None the less were able to make short work of three escrot class ships that tried to challenge us.



#8 susanbrindle

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:13 AM

Ladegard said:

Minor correction:  While you're right about port and starboard, your definition of dorsal is off.  Dorsal doesn't mean 'back', it instead refers to the tops side of the vehicle.

 

Minor correction correction: Although top-and-sides is the definition the game uses for Dorsal, "Back" is a valid definition of dorsal, and the one more commonly used. FFG is just really weird for using it to me everything-but-back.

 

 



#9 Warmaster Picklehauber

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:51 PM

It's the "back" in the sense of the back of a horse, on which you could ride. Technically, the top I suppose. With fish and starships, dorsal / back is extremely relative because the lack of a cardinal up or down.



#10 Alasseo

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:13 AM

Zoombie said:

Now, macrocannons can be slotted anywhere, but for lances, it has to go into the prow (if you're a frigate, raider or transport). For light crusiers and up, you can stick lances on the dorsal or port/starboard regions.

So, if your ship has Prow 2, that means it can have 2 prow weapons. But, uh, I don't think any ship has 2 prow slots…are you sure that it isn't 2 Dorsal? I think the number comes first, not second, but I'd need to check that.

Hope this helps!

There actually is one ship with 2 prow slots: it's one of the Voss-pattern Light Cruisers (either the Defiant or the Endeavour class, I can't remember which offhand), but one of those slots comes pre-equipped with a couple of torpedo tubes, so there's no chance of fitting a pair of macrocannon components in there.


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#11 Kasatka

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:58 AM

Something to remember is that it is the facing of a weapon system that determines if it can be combined with others in battery fire, not what position it is mounted in.

For example, a ship with 1 slot on each side (port/starboard) and 2 dorsal slots(left/fore/right) could combine 3 weapon systems against a single target to the left OR right, leaving the other side with just a single weapon system. Or fire 2 to each side. Or 1 to each side and 2 directly forwards.


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