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khaine1969

Starship combat system doesnt work

328 posts in this topic

Was considering running an AOR/EOTE game with some rebels doin there thang...up until I really looked into the starship system, and WOW this is junk. consider the following.

A) PC #1.Badass pilot has agility 6, pilot space 5, and is flying an a wing moving at speed 5

B) PC #2.Captain invalid with agility 1, pilot space 0, in a ywing sitting stationary

C) Minion group( say 3) of goober tie pilots in tie fighters.

 

As the system stands now when the ties get within range of the PCs (say they are flying together) It's actually easier to hit the super ace in the awing( due to the ywings shield) then the gimp in the (stationary) ywing because the system makes no allocation for pilot skill, pilot agility, target speed, or target maneuverability.

The only exception to this is the pilot talent that adds a setback die per rank to the attackers roll. and note the pilot tree has this only once, and the squad leader twice.

So the ywings shield makes up for the awesome skill of the awing pilot for free.

The system needs to be COMPLETELY reworked to allow for the above factors (speed, skill, handling) to play a standard part in the dice pool for the attacker, or changed to somekind of opposed roll.

Starship combat is a huge part of the starwars setting and this system falls completely flat ( and that's before you even get into the goofy range band setup)

Would love to hear the developers input into why they excluded everything that makes a pilot/ship combo effective and decided on this system.

 

Just a thought

T

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Pilot A should consider using Evasive Maneuvers to upgrade the difficulty of checks against him. His high skill would then come into play if the enemies try to counter his EM with Gain The Advantage.  Perhaps use that high speed to move in and out of range of those TIEs.

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The difference between the good pilot and the not good pilot is there ability to pull off space combat maneuvers. The Higher Piloting Skill and the +3 handling on the A-wing vs +0 on the Y-wing means a lot. The main maneuver you use in dog fighting is "Gain the Advantage". You could also use piloting skill (and handling) if you fly into some sort of terrain like and asteroid belt. Piloting skill is used when ships are Jockeying for position.

But if you don't like it FFG publishes a really excellent fighter combat game that you could just modify for your RPG space combat rules. I recommend liberal use of ejector seats.

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Was considering running an AOR/EOTE game with some rebels doin there thang...up until I really looked into the starship system, and WOW this is junk. consider the following.

A) PC #1.Badass pilot has agility 6, pilot space 5, and is flying an a wing moving at speed 5

B) PC #2.Captain invalid with agility 1, pilot space 0, in a ywing sitting stationary

C) Minion group( say 3) of goober tie pilots in tie fighters.

 

As the system stands now when the ties get within range of the PCs (say they are flying together) It's actually easier to hit the super ace in the awing( due to the ywings shield) then the gimp in the (stationary) ywing because the system makes no allocation for pilot skill, pilot agility, target speed, or target maneuverability.

The only exception to this is the pilot talent that adds a setback die per rank to the attackers roll. and note the pilot tree has this only once, and the squad leader twice.

So the ywings shield makes up for the awesome skill of the awing pilot for free.

The system needs to be COMPLETELY reworked to allow for the above factors (speed, skill, handling) to play a standard part in the dice pool for the attacker, or changed to somekind of opposed roll.

Starship combat is a huge part of the starwars setting and this system falls completely flat ( and that's before you even get into the goofy range band setup)

Would love to hear the developers input into why they excluded everything that makes a pilot/ship combo effective and decided on this system.

 

Just a thought

T

Pilot A has Brilliant Evasion and with a maxed attribute and skill rank will easily win the opposed pilot check against the TIEs and can't be shot at all by the TIEs for 6 turns.  Sounds like the Y-wing is the poor cousin.

Edited by 2P51
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There is also a whole skill tree at the ace pilots disposal to help him in the combat. Granted, Defensive Driving, the only talent that makes the ace harder to hit, comes pretty late in the tree. It is however pretty early on the squad leader tree.

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True, but your missing the point I think, this is an extreme example obviously to illustrate the point, the maneuvers are something anybody can do, and to be honest gain the advantage sucks...all it really does is cancels the ties evasive if they even bothered to try them. and if the Awing pilot uses evasive he hampers himself which really doesn't do anything to support or utilize his superior skill, or speed, or the handling of the ship.

There should also be a maneuver or action that allows a skilled pilot to outfly his opponents to the point that "i'm behind you and you can't even shoot at me" but the system makes no allocation for facing either ( which is kinda dumb considering most fighters have fixed weapons)....that's what gain the advantage SHOULD do.

 

T

And one talent, buried at the very bottom of one tree that says "blah, blah you can't shoot me period" is not the answer, the system is totally off and needs serious work.

Edited by khaine1969
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Was considering running an AOR/EOTE game with some rebels doin there thang...up until I really looked into the starship system, and WOW this is junk. consider the following.

A) PC #1.Badass pilot has agility 6, pilot space 5, and is flying an a wing moving at speed 5

B) PC #2.Captain invalid with agility 1, pilot space 0, in a ywing sitting stationary

C) Minion group( say 3) of goober tie pilots in tie fighters.

 

As the system stands now when the ties get within range of the PCs (say they are flying together) It's actually easier to hit the super ace in the awing( due to the ywings shield) then the gimp in the (stationary) ywing because the system makes no allocation for pilot skill, pilot agility, target speed, or target maneuverability.

The only exception to this is the pilot talent that adds a setback die per rank to the attackers roll. and note the pilot tree has this only once, and the squad leader twice.

So the ywings shield makes up for the awesome skill of the awing pilot for free.

The system needs to be COMPLETELY reworked to allow for the above factors (speed, skill, handling) to play a standard part in the dice pool for the attacker, or changed to somekind of opposed roll.

Starship combat is a huge part of the starwars setting and this system falls completely flat ( and that's before you even get into the goofy range band setup)

Would love to hear the developers input into why they excluded everything that makes a pilot/ship combo effective and decided on this system.

 

Just a thought

T

Pilot A has Brilliant Evasion and with a maxed attribute and skill rank will easily win the opposed pilot check against the TIEs and can't be shot at all by the TIEs for 6 turns.  Sounds like the Y-wing is the poor cousin.

That is what I thought, but I can't find the rule. Only the "evasive maneuvers" which upgrades one of the difficulty dice, and must be over come by a "Gain the advantage" maneuver which requires a apposed piloting check.

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True, but your missing the point I think, this is an extreme example obviously to illustrate the point, the maneuvers are something anybody can do, and to be honest gain the advantage sucks...all it really does is cancels the ties evasive if they even bothered to try them. and if the Awing pilot uses evasive he hampers himself which really doesn't do anything to support or utilize his superior skill, or speed, or the handling of the ship.

There should also be a maneuver or action that allows a skilled pilot to outfly his opponents to the point that "i'm behind you and you can't even shoot at me" but the system makes no allocation for facing either ( which is kinda dumb considering most fighters have fixed weapons)....that's what gain the advantage SHOULD do.

 

T

And one talent, buried at the very bottom of one tree that says "blah, blah you can't shoot me period" is not the answer, the system is totally off and needs serious work.

There are Talents a pilot can obtain that will allow them to do what you are talking about, but you can't be a day one noob and accomplish that.  That isn't remotely reasonable to expect from a starting player or brand new pilot.

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Even using the handling of the target ship as a die pool modifier in some way would do a lot. but still doesn't account for relative speed or sheer skill vs skill.

 

T

Edited by khaine1969
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I think a lot could be simplified by simply requiring an apposed piloting check to get a shot (with forward fixed weapons) against an opposing ship of silhouette 3 or smaller ship.

It would play out a lot like the battle of Yavin:

GM: TIE #1 rolls to engage Luke, ROLL, success. Luke you have a fighter on your tail.

Luke: "Biggs where are you"

Biggs: I try to engage TIE #1, Roll, ah crap.

Wedge: I try to engage TIE # 1, Roll, success. I make my attack. Roll success. yea 1

That is not actually how the rules work though and I am a big fan of actually reading ALL the rules and seeing how they work together before making changes.

On a related not, the Squad Leader Talent Tree does have a few more, and easier to get, defensive talents.

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Keep in mind that gain the advantage carries over until the end of the player's next turn, when they could aim and line up a shot. The game is about narrative, and the tie and awing could duel on gaining the advantage (dogfighting) for several turns before one of them "wins" and the shot is taken. Also, combats should rarely be in open space, creating interesting terrain and objectives can really make the battle work.

I can reply in more depth tomorrow, where I can include a sample narrative of your example scenario.

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I was kinda in the same zone only along the actual roll to hit. I think the problem comes from using silhouette as the base. Consider..

You shoot at me..your pool is stat/ skill as usual, the difficulty is my pilot skill upgraded once if your bigger then me, twice if your double my size, then boosts or setbacks equal to the opposite of my handling (positive handling gives setbacks). with a possible boost or setback depending on whether your faster or slower then me.

 

T

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Agatheron your not getting my point. considering no talents, and no manuvers( just forget them for a sec) a faster target is harder to hit....period, a more maneuverable target (either thru skill, or handling) is harder to hit.... period, the current system doesn't support either of these facts.

 

T

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I was kinda in the same zone only along the actual roll to hit. I think the problem comes from using silhouette as the base. Consider..

You shoot at me..your pool is stat/ skill as usual, the difficulty is my pilot skill upgraded once if your bigger then me, twice if your double my size, then boosts or setbacks equal to the opposite of my handling (positive handling gives setbacks). with a possible boost or setback depending on whether your faster or slower then me.

 

T

I know this is going to sound hypocritical since I basically did the same thing you did. But the game system is written as a complete whole. Changing rules runs the risk of making other rules (or talents) worthless, or way op.

As the rules are written now, if you really want to be an awesome hot-shot in a fighter you get there through by talents from the Ace and Squad Leader Talent tree. That is just how this game works.

For example if my rules were implemented, then it would make the Talent Brilliant Evasion redundant, and as it stands a PC need to sped 75 points to get that talent (including the prerequisite talents in the cost)

I am not saying that no one should use house rules, but you really need to know the whole system and what be able to tell what you are really doing to the rules before you make changes.

Remember the rules can't just exist in the GM's head the PC have to be able to go home read their book and plan their advancements, without giving you a call to find out how your rules are different from the book.

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Also as a quick aside your argument is moot anyway. brilliant evasion only works on against a single vehicle, so would be useless against a minion group.

 

T

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It's more narrative than that. You could give the same exact argument for personal combat. Someone running across a field is more difficult to hit than someone standing in the middle of the field. And you know what, they can be because you add a Setback die to hit the guy running.

 

In a space battle, where it's assumed the enemy is moving, I'm sure going to add a Boost or two to hit some loser sitting still in his ship.

 

The system only sucks from a bad GM'ing point of view, if you are leaving out the entire narrative dice bit of the game.

 

Gunnery in space is based on silhouette because its the targeting computer doing the aiming, and it's assumed the ships are moving.

 

Piloting skill and maneuverability are going to play a huge part in avoiding being shot. The Piloting Skill says "During a space conflict, pilots may jockey for position to determine which shields face the enemy and which weapons may be brought to bear. When opponents attempt to negate these efforts, the winner is identified through an opposed Piloting (space) check."

 

Using Evasive Maneuvers and Gain the Advantage is also how this all works.

 

You can't say "forget all that" talking about maneuvers and Talents, because that's how the game works. It works through Talents, maneuvers, and actions, and the GM and players properly using the dice.

Edited by Grimmshade
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In danger of sounding like a bastard, but sometimes keeping an open mind and trying to understand something on its own premisses, instead of forcing preconceptions and ideas of "how things should be" onto things, can be both rewarding and eye opening.

 

From my understanding of the rationale behind the system, they use size difference as opposed to range and speed due to high-tech targeting computers. Of course, it's not a perfect rationale, but there it is. The system isn't perfect, but it will be improved over time, I'm pretty sure of that. We'll be getting more career books that could enhance and expand upon what we already have. Although I doubt they'll rework it as per your ideas of what constitutes an effective "pilot/ship combo" system. It is fairly effective as is, if you'd just care to look and test it.

 

Now, whether skill ranks should make all the difference or not is certainly an interesting discussion, but from my understanding of the system design, specialisations and careers matter. So if you're a Ace/Pilot or a Solider/Commando, both can have 5 ranks in pilot, but the Pilot will have access to talents, an extension of skill, proficiency and experience, that makes all the difference. An Ace/Pilot should always, given approximately the same XP, have an advantage over any other Career/specialisation combo in space combat, even if their ranks in pilot are equal. So removing talents from the equation is rather stupid, as talents are an important criterion for comparison between careers/specs and analysis of the system. Removing talents, manoeuvres and actions strips down and removes vital parts of the system, so it is no longer the system it is intended to be. So, criticism based on that is not criticism of the system, but one cog in the system, which is pointless and rather meaning and valueless.

 

Now, I understand the desire for a system that follows a more conventional tactical design, but that wouldn't fit this game. The spirit of the game is narration, cinematics and a logic based on what we witness in the films and tv-series. Does that make is a bad game? Not in my opinion, although some certainly believe so. I'd just encourage you to try and accept the game on its own premisses instead of forcing your own onto it. At least test it out, ignore lack of "realism", but try the game as is, using the options that are there, following its own internal logic, suspend your doubt and disbelief, at least for a session or two. I think this game captures the Star Wars feel more so than any other incarnation, at least so far. Of course it won't capture a proper hard sci-fi feel, it's not meant to.

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It won't break the game to include both range and speed into the to-hit difficulty. Personal combat includes both range and silhouette. Range should matter since the entire point of the climactic scene in Star Wars was Luke trying to get close enough to the thermal exhaust port to hit it. Personally, we consider all those factors and we upgrade the final difficulty by the target's ranks in Pilot. A bit more complicated but it works for us. 

 

As far as Gain the Advantage, that action is only useful against ships that either used Evasive Maneuvers or moved all their shields to one spot. Since TIE Fighters don't have shields, at best you are trading one attack to remove one Setback. Not a very good trade off. 

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Now, I understand the desire for a system that follows a more conventional tactical design, but that wouldn't fit this game. The spirit of the game is narration, cinematics and a logic based on what we witness in the films and tv-series. 

 

This would be true if the game actually followed the logic of the movies. Lando can fly the Falcon through swarms of enemy TIEs without getting vaporized. Yet Lando certainly isn't an "Ace" pilot, he's just a guy who is pretty good at flying. Same with Obi Wan who hates flying yet he survives in space battles just fine. The game shouldn't require players to buy specific Talents from specific Specializations just to survive a few rounds of space combat. That goes against what we see in the movies. 

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Sure. Although it wouldn't be unthinkable if perhaps Nien Nunb (the co-pilot) had dipped into the Pilot career, nor is it unthinkable that Lando did, or that Lando perhaps dipped into Squadron Leader. This isn't perhaps reflected in the stat write up in JoY sure, but it's also spelled out there that those stats does not represent all aspects of Lando - or somesuch thing.

 

As for Obi-wan, we don't know what sort of specs F&D will have available and what they'll offer. Considering he's been leading troops in a war, it's not unthinkable that he has dipped into Squadron Leader, although it's as likely that he dipped into some other officer/commander spec instead.

 

Either way, it's not like you'll automatically die if you don't dip into Pilot. You'll survive and I think the game pretty well reflect what we see in the films. Not for brand new characters certainly, but for experienced ones. I mean, sure Gain the Advantage seems underpowered for many, and from a perspective it is, but I'd be so bold as to say that's based on an approach to gaming which isn't consistent with how the heroes act in the films or TV-series. Now, people game as they want, and they should, but there's also a reason for the game being designed as is, which might not conform to established notions about how things have been in the past. Trying to adapt to that, to test it on it's own premisses, might be rewarding, but of course it might also be really boring and tedious, and then you should adapt the game to your needs. However it doesn't mean that there's something wrong with the game, nor your group's play style, they just differ.

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I

 

From my understanding of the rationale behind the system, they use size difference as opposed to range and speed due to high-tech targeting computers. Of course, it's not a perfect rationale, but there it is. The system isn't perfect, but it will be improved over time, I'm pretty sure of that. We'll be getting more career books that could enhance and expand upon what we already have. Although I doubt they'll rework it as per your ideas of what constitutes an effective "pilot/ship combo" system. It is fairly effective as is, if you'd just care to look and test it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I think the TC is extreme in saying the system doesn't work using the existence of advanced targeting computers to justify the system doesn't work either because based on what we see on screen there are no such systems for Starfighters in Star Wars and we don't see much evidence to prove that even capital ships have such systems.

 

And honestly I'm not sure where the proof that cap ship weapons.have ranges of thousands or even hundreds of kilometers comes from since every capship engagement I saw on screen appeared, at least to me, to take place at much closer range than that.

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I'm not entirely sure I get exactly what you're saying.

Although I think we are now entering the realm of wild speculations. Whether or not the targeting systems we do see on screen in ANH during the death star escape and later attack, assists or are just digitalised crosshairs we cannot know. To me it's reasonable to assume that they are not merely digitalised crosshairs, but do assist in targeting quite actively - I buy the, perhaps rather thin, rationale as presented by FFG. Of course some may disagree and that's fine, but it is the foundation upon which the assumptions for the space combat system is laid. As I understand it.

 

Your point of the range of capital ship weapons is appreciated though.

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I love these "OMG Spess Combat is Borken" threads, because it's almost always the the same points.

 

What do you guys want? A video tutorial of a cartoon in an orange flight suit talking you through the entire system with cheesy animations to illustrate every point, talent, action, and maneuver?

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