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# Making 3rd dimension count in space battles

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Hey, I was thinking about the space battles and the painful truth that while playing them you can't really move up and down with your ship... Unless your battles are more storytelling, or use telescopic standers for marking spaceship's position... Which is either too confusing or too complicated to do (for most but the greatest space battles fans).

Here's what I think: what about inventing house rules that try to resemble the 3rd dimension environment without introducing it fully?

Did you come up with something like that? I'm gonna give it some thought.

For example: RAW may lead to situation when spaceship is "cornered" by two or more vessels just in front of the gravity field, nebula, asteroid field, nearby sun and so on. But is it, really? For cornered space rats there's always up and down where they can flee. How could I include it in the rules?

Edited by Commediante

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Well ships can flee up or down, but they can also be pursued up or down. Two or more ships can flee in opposite directions, including along the Z-axis, so if they take a different path they can't both be pursued, but mathematically that's equivalent to both peeling off to the sides.

I don't bother with it because most Imperium vessels look like they're built to burn in a straight line anyway, and also because the added complexity would make space combat slower and less enjoyable.

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When all participants can move equally in 3D and gravity is negligible, that third dimension becomes little more than a range modifier.

It took me a bit of time to realise as well, but with gravity out of the question, "up" and "down" are irrelevant. Unless you're fighting in a astoid belt, it's fairly unlikely that there are multiple significant objects near you, and if there's just one, xyz-coordinates are silly anyway, just think in radial coordinates.

In empty space it even more irrelevant, obviously.

Erathia likes this

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Yeah, I've always just said that VUs are cubes. Doesn't matter how those cubes stack up, what matters is that you're 1VU away.

Nameless2all likes this

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Unless you're fighting in a astoid belt(...)

I was thinking about something just like that.

Aren't those battles little dull when there are no "map features" like asteroids, nebulas, Antonov rings, gravity fields?

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Unless you're fighting in a astoid belt(...)

I was thinking about something just like that.
Then it matters a bit more, but again, think in radial coordinates (centered on the largest object) and it becomes rather less important. Indeed, 3D just means obejct are easier to avoid.

Aren't those battles little dull when there are no "map features" like asteroids, nebulas, Antonov rings, gravity fields?

I have on occassion had space battles near astroids and it really didn't do much in the end.

also, my players tend to try avoiding fighting in such conditions when they can, and since they usually have better pilots, that's not too hard.

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The complications and math brought in by going 3D brings negligible benefits or improvements in relation to the sheer over complications it introduces. Starship Cpmbat turns already take way too long because of all the negotiation and planning among the players as to which actions they each want to take. Why do you want to make it take longer?

Hell 3D only would ever become a thing anyway when you have an engagement of three ships or more, with two ships you are ALWAYS on a 2d plane, the plane might shift or rotate in space but it's always there. Bring a third ship into it and....I guess it's a question of whether you want to do calculus and how much of it you want to do. Now I'll admit I don't know any calculus at all so if you get into that area you're leaving my dumb wrench bending mud grunt rifle carrying ass behind because you are stepping beyond my training and experience.

Edited by Amazing Larry
Erathia likes this

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Hell 3D only would ever become a thing anyway when you have an engagement of three ships or more, with two ships you are ALWAYS on a 2d plane, the plane might shift or rotate in space but it's always there. Bring a third ship into it and....I guess it's a question of whether you want to do calculus and how much of it you want to do. Now I'll admit I don't know any calculus at all so if you get into that area you're leaving my dumb wrench bending mud grunt rifle carrying ass behind because you are stepping beyond my training and experience.

Technically, if you have 2 ships, they are always on a 1D line and with 3 ships, they always span a plane. But that's a detail

Annaamarth likes this

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Technically, if you have 2 ships, they are always on a 1D line and with 3 ships, they always span a plane. But that's a detail

Hey whatever when I got to my third year of highschool and the graphing calculators came into it I crapped out, up until then I just did math intuitively and didn't actually bother retaining the actual step by step method. So that was me and math honestly, all the way up through algebra my brain was a magic computer that crapped out the right answers for A grades and after that I was a clueless dolt because the actual trained method was alien and poorly understood because I'd never needed it.

My brain still kind of works that way it seems, makes all sorts of connections but I don't really understand the process by which it does it.

Tenebrae likes this

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No worries, just teasing, not mocking.

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Larry, it's not calculus it's trig.  Just saying.

The biggest effect I could see the 3rd dimension adding would be the effect on firing arcs.  Keel would suddenly be blind to the top arc, I suppose, and similarly broadside weapons couldn't affect top and bottom ranges.  I could see this allowing for some interesting wolfpack tactics in the case of three or four raiders hitting a cruiser, but otherwise I don't see it helping much.

There are quick reference charts available through other games that would allow you to quickly check varying ranges, but I wouldn't bother doing this for most games- if I was interested in that, I would use Saganami Island or even the current iteration of aerospace combat in Battletech to simulate my space battles.  Rogue Trader is a simpler, faster system by far- and I'm generally okay with that.

Erathia likes this