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The_Shaman

On the Virtues of the Lathe Cruiser: or why not just get a Dauntless?

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Hi, I have recently been bit by the RT bug again and did some basic theorycrafting if I start or get a game running anytime soon, and I was looking thought the ship hulls/templates. What struck me as odd is that the two AdMech light cruisers from Into the Storm both feel a bit odd for explorator vessels - and while the Secutor is mentioned to be a mostly military vessel, the Lathe is described in the text as more focused on exploration and augury - except its detection is notably lower than the Dauntless. I looked through the errata, but all I could find is that later errata removed the prow weapon slot, leaving it with the same weapon slots as its competitor from the core book.

 

So...am I missing some obscure update somewhere, or is the Lathe notably worse in what is supposed to be one of its areas of expertise? Because it would seem like a pretty bad choice overall, even if you like the concept - in which case, the same book has the Thulian exploration package, which either ships can take (and the speed loss is something the Dauntless seems much more equipped to handle).

Edited by The_Shaman

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Lathe has slightly higher armor and hull than the Dauntless.  At least the Secutor can equip bigger shields and has a dorsal gun and a better turret.  Really, if you want more ship varieties, you are going to have to homebrew them.  I did just that a few times...

 

Swiftwind Merchant Trader

Description: Designed to be a 'jack of all trades' trader, capable of defending itself against light attack, and more sturdy than a Vagabond, faster than a Carrack, but not have the extreme speed of the Orion, the Swiftwind is a solid investment for any merchant.  This design dates back to M37, and it is believed that it was the basis of a custom, improved, albeit slower, design made in M38 in the Kormishoshi shipyards.  Alas, that improved design never quite made it to market, so the Swiftwind is as good as this ship type gets for most traders.

Type: Transport
Dimensions: 2.5km long, .5 km abeam approx.
Crew: 21,000 crew approx.
Speed: 6 Manoeuvrability: +15 Detection: +10
Armour: 13 Hull Integrity: 40
Turret Rating: 1 Space: 38
Weapon Capacity: Dorsal 1, Keel 1
Cargo Hauler (1)

SP: 25
Cargo Hauler: This vessel was designed for transport, and no amount of retrofitting can fully change this. This hull comes pre-equipped with a Main Cargo Hold. The hull's Space has already been reduced to account for this, however when constructed the ship must be able to provide 2 Power to this component.

 

Vaught Class Light Cruiser

Description: Designed to be relativly quick and easy to produce, it was made to rapidly increase the size of new system fleets. The focus of this class was always for easy production, for Frigate-like quantity over quality. Due largely to its ease of construction, upkeep, and common pattern, its not rare to be seen in the hands of a rogue trader.  Many admirals consider it a deathtrap, but others insist that they miss the point, it is more correctly thought of as a super heavy frigate and not a light cruiser at all, tonnage notwithstanding.

Speed: 6
Man: +12
Detect: +8
Armor: 19
Hull: 55
Turret Rating: 1
Space: 55
SP: 50
Weapon Capacity: 1 Port 1 Starboard 1 Prow

<Mass, Crew, etc: Light Cruiser range>

Special: Simplicity, due to its simple construction, maintenance is relatively easier than expected for a ship of its class. All repair tests are at a +10 on board

 

Name: Harvest-class Protected Freighter

 

Description: The Harvest class transport was designed for hazardous supply runs and for use in planetary assault with the Imperial Guard. To that end, it is heavily armored and very reliable, with redundant systems designed for easy repair in case of battle damage. Some Rogue Traders have chosen Harvest-class vessels for blockade runs and even invasions, as the sturdy vessel can shrug off enemy fire as well as many military frigates. Further, this ship is technically capable of making unassisted planetary landings, and returning to the void unaided, like many frigates can, though this is rarely done.

 

Class: Transport
Dimensions: 3.4 km and .4 km abeam
Mass: 11 megatonnes
Crew: 27,000
Accel: 2.5 gravities max
Speed: 5
Maneuverability: +0
Detection: +10
Hull Integrity: 45
Armour: 16
Turret Rating: 1
Space: 41
SP: 30
Weapon Capacity: 1 Prow, 2 Dorsal

Cargo Hauler: This vessel was designed for transport, and no amount of retrofitting can fully change this. This hull comes pre-equipped with a Main Cargo Hold. The hull's Space has already been reduced to account for this, however when constructed the ship must be able to provide 2 Power to this component.
Troop Transport: Part of the core hull of this vessel is set aside for transporting troops and their equipment, and this cannot be completely changed. This hull comes equipped with a Barracks Component. The hull's space has already been reduced to account for this, however, when the ship is constructed it must provide 2 Power to this component.

 

 

Anvil-class Repair ship

 

Description: The Anvil-class is the current standard mobile repair vessel of the Calixis and Koronus Battlefleets. The Anvil is designed to tend to the needs of a task force on the move. It has powerfully augmented engines for tug duty which, when unburdened, are capable of matching cruisers at speed and they are armed and armoured enough to take care of itself. It is fully equipped to perform any repair that does not require a full spacedock. Rogue trader dynasties will often try to acquire one of these vessels to service their explorer/trade fleets.

Hull: Transport
Speed: 5 Maneuverability: +0
Detection: +5 Hull Integrity: 52
Armour: 15 Turret Rating: 1
Space: 44 SP: 32
Weapon Mounts: 2 Dorsal
Crew: 30,000
<Mass , Crew, etc.: Light Cruiser range>

Surrogate Power Source: Anvil-classes are routinely called upon to provide power to damaged vessels and are equipped with additional generators; add +10 Power to the ship's drive output.

Service Vessel: This vessel was designed to repair and service navy warships and no amount of retrofitting can change that. This hull comes pre-equipped with one Manufactorum and one Spacedock Piers. This has already been factored into the amount of hull space available but 9 Power must be provided for them.  Unlike normal ships which have Spacedock Piers, this ship will often be smaller than the ships it is servicing.  While it can service four smaller vessels as normal at a time (ships smaller than a light cruiser in size; use hull integrity as a rule of thumb for 'smaller'.  Appreciably smaller ships tend to have a hull integrity equal to or lower than 40.) like normal, it can also service larger ships -- but doing that means it can only service one such ship at a time, and requires the Anvil to make a Challenging (+0) Pilot (Space Craft)+Manoeuvrability Test; failure means the ship waives off or, at high degrees of failure, collides!

 

Victus-class Heavy Frigate

 

Description: Created with two duties in mind: heavy escort and exploration, the Victus-class combines heavy firepower with heavy armour to make a tough opponent for any prospective void pirates who would want to prey on the vulnerable transports under the Victus' protection.  They were also given powerful augurs, as they were used for deep exploration, often in detached parts of Explorator fleets, as the heaviest generally available, non-Astartes ships that could use the safer and extremely fast Markov warp drives rather than the riskier Miloslav, as well as conceivably land and take off of many worlds under their own power.

Mass: 10 megatonnes
Crew: 26,000
3.3 km and .4 km abeam
Speed: 7
Man: +15
Detect: +18
Armour: 19
Hull: 45
Turret Rating: 2
Space: 43
SP: 40, Weapon Capacity: 2 Dorsal

Edited by Gavinfoxx

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I find the Secutor to be a great hull. Apart from the potential to mount 2 Void Shields, it also has the ability to bring 3 weapons to bear against a target since it has a Dorsal, Prow and Broadside slots and an extra point of Turret to boot. You're essentially trading 3SP for increased survivability both with shields and Hull, and a whole other weapon slot with which to bear. You lose a lot of versatility turning it into a warship, but it makes a great warship. It's true that Cruisers would be better, but this one is cheaper and can be thought of trying to pack the firepower of a cruiser onto a lesser ship.

 

Edit: The Lathe is pretty worthless though. As are all other Hulls that are not the Orion.

Edited by Erathia

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I did attempt to "fix" this problem in my campaign by saying Light Cruisers had the Raider/Frigate turning rules, but yes I forgot to factor in the SP cost. As written Light Cruisers are not that great.

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Eh, I think a few do a decent job, though a few minor modifications would not be amiss. The Daunless strikes me as an ok hybrid between the big boys and frigates, the Secutor seems good at what it does and the torpedo version... well it would be great if it could get exchange the Voss torpedo tube for another pattern. I was a also a big fan of the carrier one until the errata stated that it only had the escort bays. It´s usually small things that irk me in the ships of this class, but the Lathe seems the outlier that got really messed up somehow when they were designing them. With the other stats it had I´d be expecting something like +10 detection, +1 speed and the extended stores by default  (with space adjusted accordingly). 

 

Then again, I´m also a fan of what the Star Galleon can bring, so maybe it´s just my taste :)

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I have two house rules for light cruisers:

 

1) Escort-like turning radius (90 degrees)

2) May have up to one Cruiser-only component

 

That means bridges, or shields, or (even the plasma drive). It's something that gives the light cruiser some bonus considering how much they cost. Secutors benefit greatly from it. 

 

Also, since my group doesn't have any light cruisers on hand, it means I can create a threat out of a single light cruiser. 

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I toyed around with the second option, but I found the first to be enough of a change. Most weapons get typed as either Light Cruiser and above, or Battlecruiser and above. The only exceptions being Landing Bays - in which case most people's hatred of asymmetrical ship design will make them stay away - or Nova Cannons which I don't think thematically work for a Light Cruiser.

 

The idea of taking a ship and doubling its default maneuverability while taking away the really strong weapons and components of a full Cruiser seems like a really good tradeoff. My group can credit a couple of void victories to being able to make that turn and bring its non-damaged broadside into play, which would've been impossible with a Cruiser. On the other hand, they once were ambushed so hard that their lack of full armour and hull integrity almost saw them wiped out and forced them to run and abandon a colony to the Dark Eldar because it was that or death. 

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Hi, I have recently been bit by the RT bug again and did some basic theorycrafting if I start or get a game running anytime soon, and I was looking thought the ship hulls/templates. What struck me as odd is that the two AdMech light cruisers from Into the Storm both feel a bit odd for explorator vessels - and while the Secutor is mentioned to be a mostly military vessel, the Lathe is described in the text as more focused on exploration and augury - except its detection is notably lower than the Dauntless. I looked through the errata, but all I could find is that later errata removed the prow weapon slot, leaving it with the same weapon slots as its competitor from the core book.

 

So...am I missing some obscure update somewhere, or is the Lathe notably worse in what is supposed to be one of its areas of expertise? Because it would seem like a pretty bad choice overall, even if you like the concept - in which case, the same book has the Thulian exploration package, which either ships can take (and the speed loss is something the Dauntless seems much more equipped to handle).

 

I am having a total brain fart.

 

Please remind me which book the Dauntless is in.

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Well, most good ship designs were saved for BFK for obvious reasons. I imagine part of the lack of difference is due to the two ships were very similar in Battlefield Gothic and the adaptations may have been rushed.

I now have the idea for a whiny sector heir who hates their parents because they got him a Lathe when they PROMISED him a Cruiser for his first rejuvenat treatment. He didn't even get a Dauntless but a Lathe! Now all the other nobles will laugh at him.

 

Throne, no one's life is worse than his with his stupid, outdated Lathe Light Cruiser.

Edited by Erathia

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core, page 196

That is the weirdest bit, we are not talking about some obscure design, the Dauntless is THE light cruiser in the core book others can't help but be compared to.

 

 

Perhaps because there is little about the Dauntless that makes it stand out, other than perhaps it's space and ship point cost. 

 

Personally, by the time I was done reading RT, none of the hulls stood out as being worth taking over any other, with the exception of the example Rogue Trader ship Saber. Sure, it doesn't have the hull integrity or space of the Dauntless, but it's equal or superior to the Dauntless in most other respects ( and 5 SP less as well ). 

 

If I was in the Saber and looking to upgrade, I wouldn't even bother with a Dauntless, I would find, beg, or steal the 3 more SP to get a Secutor.  

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Which raises another important point, hulls are theoretically rare and massive undertakings, and the reason for "inferior" hull builds is perhaps some Magos had a really great idea for a new Hull that he produced and worked and spread to his local subsector, but was an inferior design as a whole. You then go shopping for a Secutor down at ye olde shipyard, but all they have on sale are these Lathe models that they'll give you a really good deal on because no one's parting with a Secutor.

 

At that point your options are to buy the Lathe as an upgrade, go out and kill someone who owns a Secutor, or wait and hope that a Secutor is sent for mothballing that you can then retrofit.

 

The only time I've allowed my players to purchase an intact ship outright was when a Rogue Trader's finances collapsed and he had to sell off his ships to repay some debts to the Cold Trade. Even then they didn't get to design the ship, I did. Otherwise they buy a hull, buy components, and then spend a long time retrofitting it into a usable state. Or kill someone and take theirs. That's by far the most common technique.

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Which raises another important point, hulls are theoretically rare and massive undertakings, and the reason for "inferior" hull builds is perhaps some Magos had a really great idea for a new Hull that he produced and worked and spread to his local subsector, but was an inferior design as a whole. You then go shopping for a Secutor down at ye olde shipyard, but all they have on sale are these Lathe models that they'll give you a really good deal on because no one's parting with a Secutor.

 

At that point your options are to buy the Lathe as an upgrade, go out and kill someone who owns a Secutor, or wait and hope that a Secutor is sent for mothballing that you can then retrofit.

 

The only time I've allowed my players to purchase an intact ship outright was when a Rogue Trader's finances collapsed and he had to sell off his ships to repay some debts to the Cold Trade. Even then they didn't get to design the ship, I did. Otherwise they buy a hull, buy components, and then spend a long time retrofitting it into a usable state. Or kill someone and take theirs. That's by far the most common technique.

Yes and no.

New ships - in general - can't be that rare, otherwise the Imperium would long ago have run out of ships.

The problem is that they're basically all pre-orders. So, sure, there are a bunch of hulls being turned out ... but they're not for sale - they've already been sold, and probably mostly to the Navy. Sure you can place a custom order ... but unless you're willing to pay a very hefty premium to bump someone else's order, that order of yours isn't going to be delivered for years, depending on just what you ordered - because building (or rebuilding) ships takes a long time - and that's assuming that the hull and all components can be locally sourced. And if you want a secondhand/used ship, well, most who own ships don't sell their own ships very often, so the market isn't very large, and mostly consists of captured ships that the people who captured it didn't want to keep.

It's why private ownership of ships is basically unheard of - even Rogue Traders don't personally own their ships, their Dynasty does. Why? Because by the time you as a private individual has the resources to buy a ship, and either have it built or fully rebuilt to your desires, you're probably pretty old, if not dead of old age, and it's your heirs who receive it and will be the ones to use it; if not, you personally probably inherited a whole lot - and so are an heir yourself, and thus had a head start, but the ship'll still take a while.

For that matter - a viable 'wedding gift' between Rogue Trader Dynasties would be a customized and fully refitted/new ship for the couple's firstborn. By the time it's ready, the kid will likely be somewhat experienced and of age to take command.

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I'm okay with some designs being generally weaker if it's reflected in the ingamee representation - the SPs. If the Lathe costed 5-6 less it would be ok as it would have a solid niche. It would be the baselinee, the dauntless would be the fast, thee Secutor the heavy and so on. It is the mismatch that feels wrong.

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There are plenty of good Canon hulls that have not, for baffling reasons, made it into game.  you might check the various Ships of the Imperial navy and Ships of the Chaos Legions pdfs for a selection.

 

Are there really that many IN hulls not in the game yet? There's not much real variation to be had. 

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I know the following aren't in:

 

Vengeance Grand Cruiser
Jovian Battle Cruiser
Dominion Battle Cruiser
Mercury Battle Cruiser
Endurance Light Cruiser
Siluria Light Cruiser
Havoc Frigate
 
Also the Dominator and Gothic cruisers aren't in, though I think BFK says those are basically Lunar Hulls with specific components.
 
Chaos Hulls are in the game, but completely unstatted. I know my rough attempt to approximate Space/Power for one of the Chaos hulls resulted in some power/space requirements that were radically different (usually much less) than Imperial vessels, so I gave up because if I actually stated those my players would go nuts when they found out a Chaos lance has more range and half the power.

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So the Battlefleet Bakka stuff? I think a blank battlecruiser hull could accommodate both the Jovian and Dominion. The Mercury I felt we got in the Chalice, with the uprated speed and extra chance to go boom. 

 

The Endurance and Siluria I'd like to see. We do have the Havoc "merchant raider" though. 

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Which raises another important point, hulls are theoretically rare and massive undertakings, and the reason for "inferior" hull builds is perhaps some Magos had a really great idea for a new Hull that he produced and worked and spread to his local subsector, but was an inferior design as a whole. You then go shopping for a Secutor down at ye olde shipyard, but all they have on sale are these Lathe models that they'll give you a really good deal on because no one's parting with a Secutor.

 

At that point your options are to buy the Lathe as an upgrade, go out and kill someone who owns a Secutor, or wait and hope that a Secutor is sent for mothballing that you can then retrofit.

 

 

 

The problem I have with this, is that it smacks of 'DM cheese' - basically it sounds like the DM is essentially saying "this is the story line and nothing the players do is going to change it".

 

Now, I can see establishing how common a ship hull is, based on how many Ship Points it cost. The higher the SP the less likely that the party will hear that that particular hull type is available ( this is not saying that its free and clear to salvage or that the players will not have to put forth some effort ).   The other thing that should be an issue is the Profit Factor of the players party, that is to say the higher the PF, the more likely it is that the party finds out about that a particular hull type could be had for the right amount of effort.   Now you might even throw in a classic acquisition test, in a highly populated just to hear a rumor about a hull for sale. 

 

 

Yes and no.

 

New ships - in general - can't be that rare, otherwise the Imperium would long ago have run out of ships.

The problem is that they're basically all pre-orders. So, sure, there are a bunch of hulls being turned out ... but they're not for sale - they've already been sold, and probably mostly to the Navy. Sure you can place a custom order ... but unless you're willing to pay a very hefty premium to bump someone else's order, that order of yours isn't going to be delivered for years, depending on just what you ordered - because building (or rebuilding) ships takes a long time - and that's assuming that the hull and all components can be locally sourced. And if you want a secondhand/used ship, well, most who own ships don't sell their own ships very often, so the market isn't very large, and mostly consists of captured ships that the people who captured it didn't want to keep.

It's why private ownership of ships is basically unheard of - even Rogue Traders don't personally own their ships, their Dynasty does. Why? Because by the time you as a private individual has the resources to buy a ship, and either have it built or fully rebuilt to your desires, you're probably pretty old, if not dead of old age, and it's your heirs who receive it and will be the ones to use it; if not, you personally probably inherited a whole lot - and so are an heir yourself, and thus had a head start, but the ship'll still take a while.

For that matter - a viable 'wedding gift' between Rogue Trader Dynasties would be a customized and fully refitted/new ship for the couple's firstborn. By the time it's ready, the kid will likely be somewhat experienced and of age to take command.

 

 

Maybe.

 

But is this an issue of fluff being pushed into the game?

 

 

This kind of bothers me, because it doesn't have to be this way.  

 

In the core book, we have an example of the Saber, which was a burned out wreck, that was purchased ( and totally refurbished ) by a RT for his own use - all within his lifetime.

 

The point I am trying to make is that sticking to the fluff, is not only impractical, but impossible, unless you start making a bunch of house rules.   What RT party is going to sit around with their thumb up their collective ....., waiting 5 years for their ship to be refurbished with the engines they found/salvaged on the last trip or waiting 3 years to have the destroyed dorsal gun replaced?

 

I'm not saying that repairs and customizations need to take place overnight, but some allowance needs to be given for practical turn around time and the same can be said for custom builds.

 

I'm okay with some designs being generally weaker if it's reflected in the ingamee representation - the SPs. If the Lathe costed 5-6 less it would be ok as it would have a solid niche. It would be the baselinee, the dauntless would be the fast, thee Secutor the heavy and so on. It is the mismatch that feels wrong.

 

How would you characterize the mismatch ( or even fix it )?

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The Lathe is described as a self-sufficient long range monitor cruiser, but this is not shown in its stats, which in that regard are clearly infeerior to the standard Navy light cruiser. I would go for something like either +5 detection and 48-50 SP for a cheap monitor variant you customize with SPs, or +1 speed, +10 detection and extended stores built in at its current cost for a specialized monitor vehicle as per its description, probably the second. Both presume the loss of a dorsal slot from the errata.

If nothing else, considering its role the Lathe should not have worse detection than the Dauntless under any circumstances.

Edited by The_Shaman

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