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limelight

Paper starfighters

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I have been searching through some of the forums looking for some info on this topic but I haven't seen it discussed too much.  Why are starships...fighters in particular so fragile???  

 

Not only are they very easy to hit (unless I am missing something) one or two hits and the character is possibly dead or completely out of the fight.  

 

I have tried to come up with a house rule to at least give the ship itself a toughness score, maybe based on class of ship, but haven't found the solution.

 

A character gets a Toughness score based on Brawn then adds Armor, ships just get a Soak. In the case of an A-Wing its a 2 Soak and 6 Hull.  I love the game and narrative aspect of the dice, etc.  People will argue that "its a narrative game" so don't worry so much about the points.  But the weakest part of the Star Wars games is the narrative space combat system.  So much of Star Wars is the ships and they are almost unplayable IMHO.

 

Has anyone tried anything yet? Am I missing something in the rules?

willmanx and usgrandprix like this

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Fighters in the hands of a skilled pilot character upgraded do much better.  However there's really nothing in the movies that would lead me to believe that they are meant to be anything other than kites with weapons that easily go boom when hit.

FangGrip, UHF, Jshock and 4 others like this

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Fighters in the hands of a skilled pilot character upgraded do much better.  However there's really nothing in the movies that would lead me to believe that they are meant to be anything other than kites with weapons that easily go boom when hit.

I agree. They survive a glancing blow or two, but a direct hit and FWOOM! They go up in flames.

cvtheoman likes this

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If you are doing a straight upe head to head 1v1 dogfight it petty much boils down to whoever goes first, wins.

Your are also thinking this is a video game where it is you against a million zillion fighters.

Use the squadron rules and disposable minions. Dont fly solo but operate as part of a 2 or 4 man flight. Better yet a squadron

I am working on some better rules to aid in fighter jock survival. I just need my new CRB and Gmk

kaosoe, knasserII and Col. Orange like this

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I realize that in the movies its a glancing blow then they go boom.  That is what the minion rules are for.  In a game such as this characters are the "stars" of the story so I'm not sure myself or my players want a vehicle combat system that is a) two hits you're dead and b) whoever goes first wins.  

 

I am a longtime GM of WFRPv3 and EotE.  I enjoy both systems and how gritty they can be.  I am just looking for a little more survivability in space combat.  I am not talking about a video game vs 1000 ships, even a simple fight in a fighter against 2 or 3 ships that hit well enough to trigger Linked 2 or 3 and its lights out.

 

I am thinking of assigning a basic Brawn score for each class of ships...that might do it and I don't think that would be too unbalancing.

 

thanks for the thoughts

Edited by limelight
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A common misconception about this system is the idea that once a ship's hull trauma threshold is exceeded, the ship is destroyed. This is true of minions, but not of PCs or Nemesis characters. A ship might be disabled, but if the PC is in it, it is not automatically destroyed unless it gets a critical hit of 154 or higher.

 

Edit: Initial post used incorrect term for HT Threshold.

Edited by Yoshiyahu
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I realize that in the movies its a glancing blow then they go boom.  That is what the minion rules are for.  In a game such as this characters are the "stars" of the story so I'm not sure myself or my players want a vehicle combat system that is a) two hits you're dead and b) whoever goes first wins.  

 

I am a longtime GM of WFRPv3 and EotE.  I enjoy both systems and how gritty they can be.  I am just looking for a little more survivability in space combat.  I am not talking about a video game vs 1000 ships, even a simple fight in a fighter against 2 or 3 ships that hit well enough to trigger Linked 2 or 3 and its lights out.

 

I am thinking of assigning a basic Brawn score for each class of ships...that might do it and I don't think that would be too unbalancing.

 

thanks for the thoughts

If you are a long time player then expecting starting characters to be particularly good at anything isn't realistic. Why should an A wing of all craft be able to survive multiple hits?  It's a kite.  Every RPG dealing with space combat is the same, if you fly something that is fragile you will get shot up easily, that's pretty universal.  So if they want to survive more than a couple hits fly something better.  

Edited by 2P51
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I've done a bit of work with starfighters and here's some things I've learned:

 

  • You seem to have noticed, but you need to make sure the players understand they need to fight to the abilities of the aircraft and not the character inside. It can be pretty jarring of a transistion. A couple flight school encounters to demonstrate this may help.
  • (What you have been missing-->)Apply setbacks to everyone often. This can be for conventional terrain like asteroids, or more unconventional effects like the chaos of a major battle. Once you start stacking three or four setback dice on those to-hit rolls the NPCs have a lot of trouble landing hits, and executing maneuvers. The PCs on the other hand will have talents like Skilled Jockey and maneuvers like copilot that negate those setbacks.
  • Encourage destiny point usage. Remember it should be a back and forth. Those little bonuses add up.
  • Watch the enemies, don't throw huge numbers of opponents at the players, allow a leadership or piloting or warfare check to cut enemies off from the larger group so fights are more manageable and you can narrative end the larger battle once the players score some kills, but before they get splashed themselves.
  • Teach the players how to leverage the mechanics and maneuvers. They ned to know when to gain the advantage and when to accept the disadvantage. They need to know how to cheat the movement and range system to isolate enemy fighters. And so on.
  • Use your blasted sensors
  • Use your blasted missiles
  • Keep your blasted feet off the seats
  • Use your blasted astromech
  • Y-wings, with their large crew complement, are a good starter fighter. They allow the players to do a lot with a little and better stack effects. Use the blasted table on pg 248. USE IIITTTT......
  • A-wings are NOT for beginners unless the gm is going to stack the odds heavily in the players favor. Wait till they get the hang of fighter combat and the Tricky Target talent.

 

thanks for some good feedback. 

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Limelight, could you perhaps speak a bit more on what you'd like to see from starfighters?  I'm pretty 'noob' at this myself, but perhaps if you elaborated a bit more it could avoid misconceptions and help with suggestions/houserules.  

 

I just took a peek at the most classic match up in Star Wars, the X-wing versus the TIE fighter (TIE/LN I belive is the 'grunt ship' from the movies).  The TIE does indeed seem to be pretty soft as a target, like you say.  2 Armour and 6 Hull means it's gonna get taken out in two attacks by an X-wing with it's 6 damage lasers, 1 if they get 2 advantage to trigger the second hit.  Giving it some more soak could indeed make it last longer.  However, the other way around... The X-wing has 5 armour and 10 hull.  The TIE also has 6 damage lasers.  So, if a TIE pilot hits an X-wing, it's already only doing 1 damage + successes.  That's gonna take quite the pounding to take down!  If you implement a 'brawn rating' you're going to be in danger of having X-wings be literally immune to fire from the classic TIE/LN.  

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Well fighters die in droves in the films, usually in one hit.

 

I guess if you wanted tougher ships you could make soak silhouette plus armour.

 

And X-wings have been fixed to a "mere" 3 armour so they no longer are flying tanks.

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Pilots in SW survive by not getting hit. If you are going to change the rules, I'd adjust on the to-hit procedure before the damage soaking rule. We use range, sil and speed to determine difficulty and then upgrade the difficulty by the target's Pilot skill. It's a bit more complicated we think it's worth the extra effort. 

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In my ship combat, I made Hull Threshold the point where bad things will probably happen but the ship is not immediately destroyed. Any maneuver beyond a simple moving forward can easily lead to the ship breaching or breaking up. This does give a little leeway from just "you are destroyed."  It also allows crazy TIE fighter squads a chance to get an attack in or two before going out.

 

Hull Threshold-

Ships that are beyond hull threshold are at risk of breaching and breaking up.

On Maneuvers, all difficulties are upgraded from difficulty to challenge die.  

Any roll made by the ship to move or attack that suffers a failure means the ship is breached and losing oxygen.

Any roll of a despair means the ship has broken up into separate pieces. 

If a ship takes double it's hull threshold in damage it is broken up.

A ship that takes double it's hull threshold in one attack is immediately destroyed.

Any attacks made on a ship with it's hull threshold exceeded make critical hits on half the normal number of advantages.
 

Even with this normal starfighter combat is not making it more than 3 or 4 turns, but it is a little less lethal.  Also you get to circle the broken up TIE fighters and make rude gestures at the defeated pilots.  You can't do that if they all blow up.  

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Hull Trauma Threshold is much the same as Wound Threshold for player characters. Just because it is exceeded does not mean your ship blows up and you are dead. That's fine for minions in Tie fighters and such, but does not apply to ships piloted by player characters. Your ship can shut down and/or take critical hits (with the possibility of dying). Once you are shut down it is much the same as going unconscious. Its up to your compatriots to pull your fat out of the fire. But if you are going to be having regular starfighter battles, it behooves you to get skilled at them. Be it equipment, talents, or maneuvers, learn them well and take advantage of them.

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In my ship combat, I made Hull Threshold the point where bad things will probably happen but the ship is not immediately destroyed. Any maneuver beyond a simple moving forward can easily lead to the ship breaching or breaking up. This does give a little leeway from just "you are destroyed."  It also allows crazy TIE fighter squads a chance to get an attack in or two before going out.

 

Hull Threshold-

Ships that are beyond hull threshold are at risk of breaching and breaking up.

On Maneuvers, all difficulties are upgraded from difficulty to challenge die.  

Any roll made by the ship to move or attack that suffers a failure means the ship is breached and losing oxygen.

Any roll of a despair means the ship has broken up into separate pieces. 

If a ship takes double it's hull threshold in damage it is broken up.

A ship that takes double it's hull threshold in one attack is immediately destroyed.

Any attacks made on a ship with it's hull threshold exceeded make critical hits on half the normal number of advantages.

 

Even with this normal starfighter combat is not making it more than 3 or 4 turns, but it is a little less lethal.  Also you get to circle the broken up TIE fighters and make rude gestures at the defeated pilots.  You can't do that if they all blow up.  

 

O_o... are you sure this works the way you think it works? I may need to run the numbers, but offhand this actually looks significantly MORE LETHAL the RAW... the only difference is A: you keep flying after exceeding your HT instead of being dead in the water, and B: You can then end up killing the pilot (like the actual Player Character inside the ship) on a single bad roll he makes trying to limp back home....

 

ProTip: Make sure you fully grasp the official rules before implementing house rules.

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Pilots in SW survive by not getting hit. If you are going to change the rules, I'd adjust on the to-hit procedure before the damage soaking rule. We use range, sil and speed to determine difficulty and then upgrade the difficulty by the target's Pilot skill. It's a bit more complicated we think it's worth the extra effort. 

Care to elaborate?

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Unless a few exceptions, in movies and Clone Wars, starfighters use to blow up (or get disabled) with a single shot. Freighters and bigger ships use to stand some more "rounds" and get easily damaged but they survive.

 

Maybe this wanted to bring to us the "SW feeling".

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Do freighters other than the Falcon actually survive hits? If you use the Falcon as your benchmark for freighter durability, then your test is going to be questionable at best.

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Anakin's "strange freighter" could be there too. Uses to sustain a few hits before collapse (things that always do XD). Also other freighters/shuttles in Clone Wars that resist but, as I said, are a more durable than starfighters.

Edited by Josep Maria

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The only constant I've noticed is that ships flown by "main characters" survive hits better than ships flown by "lesser" characters. It's too bad that Pilots don't get a talent that adds to their ship's HTT to represent this.

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The only constant I've noticed is that ships flown by "main characters" survive hits better than ships flown by "lesser" characters. It's too bad that Pilots don't get a talent that adds to their ship's HTT to represent this.

Well, that's in theory accounted for by the fact that they'll take more marginal hits (fewer success results adding to damage/advantage landing linked hits) due to their defensive talents.

 

Really though, setting the base attack difficulty as the target's speed/manveuverability seems to make more sense (e.g. a TIE going at full pelt is 5/3, a B-Wing will be 3/0). Then if Take The Advantage negated their speed, it'd be a substantial advantage worth spending an action on.

Equally though it'd mean low-level pilots would have a much harder time hitting. If you added tons of obstacles it might discourage people from just hitting top speed instantly as they'd keep failing the piloting skill checks, but...

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I've done a bit of work with starfighters and here's some things I've learned:

 

Dude, I'm saving that out into a document called "Starfighting 101".  Good stuff :)

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