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Quoth

Utilising launch bays

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After nearly a year irl time of meaning a carrier, I'm well aware of how devastating bomber are, but are there any fancy tricks you can do with your craft?

I'm thinking things like forward scouting, ambush, targeted attacks on external components etc

Just something to break upthe monotony of launching bombers and waiting for the to return from enemy ship/hulk.

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By RAW ... not really. Even though the fluff is pretty supportive of using small craft as reconnaissance units, at least.

 

The closest to 'ambush' you can get is a stealthy carrier slipping to within strike range, and launching as much as possible. Or maybe torpedo bombers.

 

 

That being said ... I'd like to see rules supporting a more versatile/flexible usage of small craft, and maybe certain actions/usages would require or benefit from a variant on the basic types of small craft.

Maybe a squadron (in lieu of a specialized small craft wing, fighters can be used) assigned to general reconnaissance can be used to extend detection radius by some amount, or sending them on a 'focused reconnaissance' to look at somewhere/some direction in specific, which would get you more detection range, but less area covered.

Bombers would get to target: sensors (degrade detection/range, may negatively impact target's Ballistic Skill tests to use shipboard weapons), maneuvering thrusters (self-explanatory, I'd think, though may make turning harder as well), engines (reduce speed), defense turrets (reduce effectiveness of turret rating), shield generators (reduce shield strength/recovery), weapons (hamper using shipboard weapons, maybe other effects, depending on weapon system and rolls), and so on.

 

However, adding additional usages for small craft will make carriers stronger, and they're already pretty strong.

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As has been said, augers in 40k are not as neat as sensors in Star Trek, or even Star Wars, so I would think that one could use something we'll refer to as a "reconnaissance fighter" to get more detailed, visually helpful imagery. You're flying along, looking for the Eldar beacon you KNOW is supposed to be floating in the void, somewhere in the vicinity of this dead world, when suddenly your ears explode with the chatter of worried scan-operators from your ship. "We've picked up another ship!" one of them shouts to you, like you're still in the room with them. Turning your head toward your ship, you see a shape moving through the colors of the distant world; massive, on its scale, to be sure, but just a nondescript speck, to you.

 

At this point, I could see launching several scanner-equipped vessels toward the planet, to fly by the object at super-close distance, conduct scans, record images, and such, without your command ship having to get too close, and springing a trap. The fighters are small, maneuverable, and should be able to bug out of the situation, if things go pear-shaped, and bring you back picts of its hull condition, any marking on it, and more thorough scans of its systems, such as if its drives are primed, or its weapons engaged, maybe even life signs, or internal comm chatter. They could weave through asteroid fields, searching for plunder and perils, such as ambushes. Fuel might become the only real issue there, and a small house rule can fix that, so that your fighters can fly for several hours, maybe even a day, reconning the area.

 

Maybe some of this actually IS covered, and I'm typing for nothing, at the moment. Maybe Battlefleet Koronus doesn't cover this, and I'm feeling a part of it might be the intent of the developers to have other material to print ("The Navy doesn't favor attack craft, torpedoes, or several other systems, as they are less efficient then the stacked firepower of a true warship" is as convenient for getting to leave them out, not gum up the starting game with yet more rules, and then throw them back in, to make one of the best books in the RT line, as it might be a true statement of the Imperial Navy's practices), but since the core book doesn't cover fighters, and that means many players won't have access to carrier-style ships, even though the forums have shown just how bad ass they can be, they probably didn't want to give too many options, and make you feel required to get them, this book, and fly a carrier, just to keep a competitive edge, or some noise like that. I personally also like the idea of what I can only refer to as "flak fighters", which would take up a defensive formation around their mother ship, and then move to intercept incoming attacks, mostly things like missiles, or torpedoes. I wish that there was a good way to make Sentinels, which anyone here who ever played Homeworld: Cataclysm might remember as the littlest ships you could make, but that could generate linked shield planes, and twelve, ideally, could surround a bigger ship, and encapsulate it in powerful shields, but void shields work nothing like that, and a squadron of ships, just for another crappy void shield, seems pointless. Flak fighters might seem, and get expensive fast, but it's a cool (in my head) way one might combat the irritation of torpedoes, and if they fire weapons, sort of like your turrets, then they might shoot down ordnance WITHOUT having to intercept one for the team. It's sort of the OTHER problem I have with fighters, where they cannot harm ships bigger than themselves, because 40k ships are just so HUGE, meaning that they are often relegated to escorting bombers, another asset that, as said, might not even be available to you, either because your GM said so, your PF said so, or you chose to fly a different kind of ship. I didn't expect an X-Wing to be able to take down a Star Destroyer, either, but a squadron of them could still hinder the capital ship; not so true in 40k, at least in my opinion. The only way I really like fighters here is if you send them down to a planet, preferably AFTER you bombarded everything from space, and send them in to mop up some of the opposition, and, of course, to escort my bombers, so all my ships make it back.

 

Sort of makes me wonder if anyone has some stories about actually USING the Flight Marshall Alt rank, and if it was cool for them?

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I made some additional attack craft once that could do what you mention.  Never used them yet except in fluff.

 

(pg 14 BK, Table 1-3)            Craft                       Squadron

Additional Attack Craft          Rating      Speed       Size            Special Notes

 

Lighting Interceptor               +12            11             24              None.

 

Flying Fortress                       +3             6              10              None

Bomber

 

Invader Assault Boat              +4             10            12            None

 

Warhawk                                +8              9              18           Double time in void until refuel (total 8 rounds)

Long Range Interceptor

 

Liberator                                 +0              5              8           Double time in void until refuel (total 12 rounds)

Long Range Bomber

 

Wildcat Recon Interceptor        +5             11            16         Triple time in void (total 12 rounds)

 

 

For more information on random fan made material that I have accumilated over the years, see below link.

Edited by Nameless2all

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Hell, Augurs in 40k not only aren't as good as sensors in Star Trek or Star Wars, they are, you know. Not as good as sensors from the 1970's (though I am not 100% sure how Star Wars stacks up to that either, given the engagement ranges).  Seriously, they're downright pitiful.  So having recon small craft might be useful...

Edited by Gavinfoxx

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Ive actually created a ( refit ) battleship classed carrier ( battlecarrier ) designed with nothing but double flight decks in mind ( 3 doubles per side and 2 doubles on dorsal and keel ( yes i said keel...hence one reason i said refit because i always use keel mounts ) ( prow weapon slots were foregone for added armour ) and a Flight Bridge. I always have 2 squadrons of fighters flying constant rotations for added auspex sweeps within the 360* of the ship to help prevent any nasty surprises....and given the standard orders for that ship are that at any given time ALL launch bays have a full squadron of either fighters or bombers ( 50/50 split ) ready to go the minute an auspex gets a positive identification of any hostile or unknown ship ( thats 20 squadrons per round for 12 rounds ( as the number of squadrons each launch bay holds is the same as its ST # and double launch bays have a ST of 12 ) for a total of 240 squadrons.  Yes i believe the navy is wrong in that its FAR cheaper to replace lost fighters/bombers than it is to replace even one lost destroyer class...and a entire wing of attack bombers lead by an entire wing of attack fighters will decimate ANY ship you throw them at in the first round PERIOD. ( the best turret rating another ship can have so far is only a pathetic 4 or 5...vs an incoming first wave of 60 fighters to knock out the turret rating entirely. THEN followed up immediately by the first wave of 60 bombers ( dealing 2x1d5dmg EACH! which the min-max damage is 120-600 with a median 60% damage of approx 400...last i checked the most hull integrity any battleship has is only about 130..and as for any incoming torpedoes or enemy fighter/bomber squadrons....either they can be annihilated with 2-1 odds from first wave fighters in defense/support or let the second wave mop them up before they can close with the carrier....The launch bays are cheaper and easier to get and replace lost craft from than mounting a macrocannon or lance and take up generally less/comparable space and less power and with the flight bridge..all tests to reload and relaunch all squadrons are automatically passed.

 

The ship is outfitted with stealth based systems and strong auger arrays as well as fire suppression systems and chaff/flare type to further enhance survivability ( just dont ask what the SP value of the ship is...lol ) I definitely always use a squadron or two of fighters as forward scouts ( perhaps if someone came up with a suitable bomber classed ( but refitted ECM scout ) type...we could use it instead...perhaps getting rid of any offensive potential for a +1 SPD and bonus to detection ( as well as detection range ) or some such....

Edited by Cobramax76

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The problem is, that ship is awesome in a line battle ... but all that striking power can only ever be in one place at a time. You can't split it up to cover multiple targets or areas the way you can with a destroyer flotilla. And the Navy never has enough hulls to be in all the places they need to be.

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Because of the fact that it relies on its fighter and bomber craft those squadrons and wings of attack craft can be split up into whatever numbers ( 2 fighter/2 bomber squadrons per enemy ship ) and maintain a few fighter squadrons around the carrier for anti-bomber/torpedo duties...the longer the carrier can stay out of the line of fire...the more wings it can launch to harass and destroy enemy ships in the vicinity...A carrier ship looks like a sitting duck by BFG ship combat standards and many would take that bait ( even if it was battleship sized )...and would loose as a result...With a pure carrier ship and a competent commander you can assault and beat a superior numbered and gunned foe with minimal loss. This particular ship was designed to fly into hotzones to be the bait...and then wipe out the opposition with sudden overwhelming force ( many pirate raiders use torpedoes and smaller classed guns ) and with the added fighter squadrons immediately deployable...they elimanate the torpedo threat all but completely...and the bomber squadrons can be hell on any enemy ships that linger too long ( especially since the tactic is to send the fighters in first to take out any enemy ships turret rating completely and then the bombers come in in 2nd strike wing...This ship isnt designed to chase down the enemy and hound its heels like all current designs do ( reactive instead of proactive ) This ship is designed to be proactive and bait the enemy ships to come looking for it then hammer them into oblivion.

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One of the favored tricks in the repi... Repitw.. Repitua... Crud... Back pocket of my main NPC ship master was stealth insertions and hidden bomber traps. Pushing bombers out the launch bays on minimum power, bouncing targeting data off the units sternchasing him, and as they flew to almost point blank, having the bombers power up and use the already painted and locked enemy ships for target practice.

Bombers and assault boats hidden in wreckage. AWACs counter Intel units creating false sensor echoes. Using the carrier to lure enemy ships into ambushes by every bomber his Styx could launch.

Remember, these people's sensors SUCK. It's hard for them to pick up a functioning cruiser with a bit of sensor baffling. What chance do they have of picking up small craft with the same systems?

Edited by SirRunOn

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Not sure who, how, or what, but something I think I might like to see is small asteroids, like those in a field of them (so seeming "innocuous", rather than "was that rock there, before?") with hidden launch bays, used as part of a station defense, or as a trap from some unnecessarily well-equipped pirates, or maybe weird Orks. You might have some areas inside the rock, like the worm in ESB, where there is some atmosphere, or fill out the inside, as needed with all the stuff for crews living, and as the enemy/prey slowly plods through the asteroid field, bombers and more exit the rocks, and blast them to bits, with no carrier vessel giving them away. A bit more prep wprk than I'd like for if there was nothing else interesting there, that might give it away, but it could be a cool extra way to guard, say, a star fort; I don't remember if the J/M warp gate's Maw terminus is in an asteroid-riddled area, or not, but another layer of baffle, and defense, for FB Metis could be cool. Again, not entirely sure how I'd use/arrange for this, but a cool image, to me, of using the bays without the ship attached.

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That was me, Nameless, on the House Rules.  I limit the size of attack groups to...

 

Crew Rating/10 = max # of Squadrons per group

 

This increases the attrition on small craft.  It sometimes actually increases the number of hits scored.  It almost guarantees that Incompetent bombers go in unescorted.

 

I use the same formula for bomber damage...(instead of 1d10+4)

 

Damage = 1d10 + (Crew Rating/10)

 

This just ensures that ill-trained crews don't wreck cruisers in a single attack run...usually.

 

In the end, dedicated carriers rule the void (as long as they are at least cruiser size).  They don't even have a need for escorts because they aren't thin-skinned like a terrestrial cruiser; they have the same armor any other cruiser has.  I decided that didn't bother me as much as the lack of attrition among small craft.  To increase that even more I use the abstract method (instead of the detailed method) for keeping track of small craft losses.  This means we don't count the individual craft, but squadrons and half-squadrons, and that hasn't damaged the game one bit.  To top it all off, I require the players to make an upkeep test for each and every squadron used in a battle at the end of that battle.  Rugged Quality and Small Craft Repair Decks each add +10 to that test.  I originally didn't like basing it off PF but got over it.  That represents the spare craft and spare parts the Dynasty can afford to carry around.  Carriers still rule but they usually need to re-equip after a battle, certainly after 2, and that makes escorts very desirable.

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