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I've added another file detailing the Sandbox Cluster.  As we get further into our campaign and I have to access these files more often for my players I'll be updating them and reposting.  Note that the systems are laid out with my House Rules in mind (particularly Colonial Endeavors, which has been nearly completely redone), so they don't exactly follow the Stars of Inequity methods, though if you're familiar with those you'll be able to easily follow along.

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1My97hF4Cf0Ifen0PqeEqjGIuKJZilhI_tv07Ls_AZ4A/edit?usp=sharing

 

I'll do a completely different file for a gazeteer on the people and special locations of the Cluster, but that's still down the road.

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While we're on the subject of dates, I did some rough maths based on the 1000-part division of the year:

 

1 month = 83 1 week = 19 1 day = 2.74 1 hour = 0.1

 

So, 4.608.819.M41 to 4.691.819.M41 is a month; ten hours later it's 4.692.819.M41.

 

Obviously you have to fudge it a bit but this seems to work for me.

 

Also, http://www.catholic.org/saints/

Edited by LoneKharnivore

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I'm updating and improving some files, and especially maps, as the campaign progresses.  Sometimes I completely redo files, sometimes I make new ones.  Instead of retracing old ground though, I'll just add the links in as I renovate.  So here are some new/updated files.

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1W30R8sO6voKyspf7dO3ETOTn4EEEahJSXQyztpd8fVs/edit?usp=sharing

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1My97hF4Cf0Ifen0PqeEqjGIuKJZilhI_tv07Ls_AZ4A/edit?usp=sharing

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So, how do you do surveying a planet? Do you just have them roll a tech use for something or what? Also how much would it cost for someone to get one of your Homebrew Orbital Docks... because my players are interested in that.

Edited by Sinpoder

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Tech Use usually isn't enough to survey a planet, at least not for colonization.  Sure, their instruments can probably read the information they want, but can they read the instruments?  Given that most ships can't detect another ship as far away as the Earth is from the Moon I'd say probably not.  And since they are looking for minerals, ruins, and organics, I make them go planetside to find anything worth discovering (maybe some fly-bys with Chiropterans).  A planet with tons of industrial metals might be detectable by them from space, but that's about it.

 

As far as the Orbital Dock goes, I make it a straight SP 60 Acquisition.  It's larger than a ship for that cost, but it doesn't move so I discount it a bit.  They have to to go to a forge world to negotiate for it (the Lathes) and I've yet to see a group make the PF roll without burning some permanent PF just to make sure the roll is successful.  I've also reduced the number of runs it takes to haul the pieces into place.  My players were protesting mightily about 20 Main Cargo Holds worth of equipment so I cut it in half and they felt that was fair.  I rationalized it by saying it wasn't completely modular and there was considerable assembly required at the target orbit.

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Errant this is awesome! i really appreciate the rundown here, I can honestly say i Will definitely be "borrowing" several pieces here. Especailly your Travel rules i cant say enough how ive been annoyed by the RAW set. this simlified version is awesome.

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Glad to give any aid.

 

This next bit probably belongs under Gamemasters, but I'm posting it here with the rest of my stuff.  This is the file of my current campaign's Endeavors.  I still use Endeavors largely as written, and even Achievement Points.  I just like the concept, and it gives my players a notion of what to prepare for, plus it gives them a vehicle to tell me what they want to do next.  My current group is very good about submitting their desired Endeavors to me (they've given me several to chew on already).  Only the first Endeavor is complete.  The second one is still a work in progress as the players are in the middle of it, so don't try to make sense of it.  Like much of my stuff, it's still in outline form.  I don't give the AP bonuses for starship components, but I do still use them.  I make them available as add-ons or side quests.  For example, the players are doing a favor for the Winterscale Dynasty and carrying a load for them to Lucin's Breath in the first Endeavor.  They have 2 main cargo holds and luxury passenger quarters in their Conquest Galleon.  Normally, that would mean +350 AP on a Trade objective.  I don't give that out automatically, but instead make additional cargos and passengers available to the party where they can pick up those extra APs.  Of course, they might come with strings attached...

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pUYrNlzAFnPk09aGkcAqaqaUoiRomHnbbeN9YLXHR0o/edit?usp=sharing

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I've redone the maps in my current campaign.  While they still aren't at the professional level, they are at least now uniform in their iconography.

 

Here is the star chart.  It is the plot device driving the campaign, or it should be when and if the players find it...

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B27-rpfJRdnvcGgxcXBuTUlwcmM/view?usp=sharing

 

 

And here are the maps of each star system.  The outer orbits in blue are the Outer Reaches.  The inner orbits in orange are the Inner Cauldron.

 

 

Crossroads:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B27-rpfJRdnvYnVTOUg5MDFtMFE/view?usp=sharing

 

Dark Fortress:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B27-rpfJRdnvd1EwR0N6R3kwWTA/view?usp=sharing

 

Dark Tower:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B27-rpfJRdnvQzFqOWdCN1ozS0U/view?usp=sharing

 

Far Sight:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B27-rpfJRdnveGVkSXhhbWM2TEE/view?usp=sharing

 

Fear:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B27-rpfJRdnvOGxRajNNelBtblU/view?usp=sharing

 

Head Start:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B27-rpfJRdnvUXBJcXhrRDR2Qnc/view?usp=sharing

 

Next:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B27-rpfJRdnvQlBxQmNucXJsR0U/view?usp=sharing

 

One Way:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B27-rpfJRdnvQV9ENzZ2Q21OVUk/view?usp=sharing

 

Refined:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B27-rpfJRdnvc2lMVldBSmZrWU0/view?usp=sharing

 

 

Finally, I'm reposting the links of the files that explain the campaign and these maps.  Of course, I'm using all my other house rules, so they adjudicate and modify what these files display.

 

 

First, here's the file that lists the mechanics of each of the star systems.  This is the file that explains what each orbit in a system contains.

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1My97hF4Cf0Ifen0PqeEqjGIuKJZilhI_tv07Ls_AZ4A/edit?usp=sharing

 

 

And here is the campaign's general outline, or what I expect or hope will happen.  The parts that pertain to the star chart and its star systems are near the end of this file.

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lq8pr5KjWd0bc23S-uDcvjfSzLhPUGDuvwt5Is4WPaY/edit?usp=sharing

 

 

And again, here is the Endeavor Record.  We play bi-weekly and the players are only a half-dozen sessions into the game, so they are only on the second endeavor.  I haven't even begun to outline the third endeavor, though that's my next assignment.  Of course, they don't read this forum, so it's safe to post this stuff here.

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pUYrNlzAFnPk09aGkcAqaqaUoiRomHnbbeN9YLXHR0o/edit?usp=sharing

 

 

I hope this helps the new GMs out there who aren't sure what to do when drawing up stuff from scratch.  I run a very vanilla campaign and try to keep the cheese to a minimum.  I know lots of people out there like embellishments, but I feel that keeping the cheese to a minimum allows the PCs to shine more brightly without having to resort to PC cheese.  Lots of thanks and credit to Erathia and Phil@Philverse, whose material I borrow from freely.  There are probably more credits due, but I don't currently remember any.

Edited by Errant Knight

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The just realized that the details have been left out of the maps I've posted...things like archeotech and xenos ruins, derelict ork roks and ship graveyards...in short,all the good stuff.  If anyone wanted that, PM me.  Also, download what you want because I'll be closing off the files for renovations.

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Starship Combat

  • Macrocannon and bomber damage is calculated per hit.
  • Armor is -12.
  • Torpedo damge is -12.
  • Lances have no range modifications and each strength point fires separately. DoS count only for crits.
  • Broadsides' Strength are halved and fire twice (STR 5 broadsides would fire at STR 3 and STR 2).
  • Shields go down for the entire round.
  • The Abstract Method is used to keep track of small craft losses. Attack craft used in battle always make a maintenance check after that battle.
  • Small craft form Wings made up of squadrons. A Wing can have as many squadrons as Flight Crew Rating/10 (rounded down).
  • The damage of bombers is 1d10 + Flight Crew Rating/10 (rounded down).
  • Ships firing or being fired at are at -10 for augur checks.
  • Light Cruisers have a 90 degree turning rate.

 

Due to the sheer number of times you've explained this, and then been asked to re-explain it, I apologize for this ahead of time, but is your version of starship combat pretty "quick and dirty (read: "deadly")? Armor is less, by half, at least, and void shields simply crumble from one hit, for a lot longer, while macros definitely get extra shots, and lances still ignore what's left for armor, while the batteries, and rare other Str 2+ lances also get extra shots. I imagine this significantly speeds up starship battles, and I can see where some people wouldn't want the fight to take as long as an actual game of Battleship, but it seems to me that ships in your game, even warships, wouldn't be able to put up with the punishment their job, and the fluff, demands. This transport has served the House of Saul for many centuries, but one round of combat from my cruiser will see four shots to her; two from Mars Macros, and two from a Titanforge Battery. The macros split fire/strength, so two shots, and if I assume one of them gets a degree of success, for a third shot, two shots hit the hull, averaging 10 damage, then the lance battery fires twice (Str 2), for average 18 damage, totaling 28 damage in one round. If I follow standard cruiser logic, and have an escort, it's going to get four hits from two macros, and even without degrees of success, or all hits landing, even though the void shields are still gone, average 13 more damage. That's enough to wreck said 40 wound Transport, and twice will even crater some cruisers.

 

Now, these might be slightly out of date versions of things, but I'm hoping it's just more I'm missing something, or doing poor math, because this just makes me want a cruiser even more, and wonder if every fight in space will mean months of repairs, afterwards? If this came off as idiotic, I again apologize, but could you please help me understand it, make sure I am doing it right, or telling me where I went wrong? It more just feels like the Eldar build everyone else's ships of glass, too, with little anyone can do to strengthen their ships against the rigors of enemy ships.

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As far as your perception of a space battle goes, I'd say you have it right.  A cruiser and an escort will polish off a transport in about 30 minutes of fighting...after hours of maneuvering.  It's that hours of maneuvering I'm still trying to eliminate.  I still want the notion that hours of maneuvering took place before the shooting started; I just don't want to have to spend the time moving tiles around a map.  So, I've gone off to the world of abstract combat.

 

Note that not all the rules above make weapon systems more devastating.  I nerfed bombers.  Heh.

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That's right, Venkelos, but what do you expect from a mighty ship-of-the-line versus a transport?

Very few encounters will be that mismatched, and even if they meet only a moronic transport captain would do anything other than surrender when faced with such overwhelming force. Run some hypothetical transport v escort, or escort v escort, numbers and you'll see that when the opponents are relatively balanced the margins of victory can be quite tight.

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Apologies, I might've oversimplified it, but it seems weird to me for a ship that has stood for millennia will be out of battle in less than a half hour. Two rounds of combat seems a bit one-sided. My other bit would've been a certain expectation that many Rogue Traders won't have cruisers, but will instead use raiders, transports, or frigates, which seems to mean "enemy has cruiser" = must flee. Like I've said in the past, I'm one of those people, on my own, who'd push for the light cruiser/cruiser, at char gen, and accept that the point of Rogue Trader is often the accumulation of more PF, anyway, and this sort of scenario makes me feel justified in it.

 

Granted, I suppose part of it can be how much space combat are you getting into, as well as how many enemies, be they pirates, Chaos, the Navy, are sporting cruiser-analogues. Like I said, I might've done a poor job of setting up my example. Just seems weird that ground combat will still take forever, possibly, if people are using cover, tactics, and mobility, but space combat? No fears, that can be over in a single shot.

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.... Just seems weird that ground combat will still take forever, possibly, if people are using cover, tactics, and mobility, but space combat? No fears, that can be over in a single shot.

Let me attempt to use an analogy.  An Ogryn (cruiser) hitting a normal human civilian (transport) with the a common sword (macrocannon) will probably be over in one round with no cover or concealment implement.  So, each scenario has it advantages and disadvantages. 

 

With that said, utilizing the mathhammer approach, a cruiser cannot one shoot another cruiser in one round on a average basis due to the PC's having such superb stats against the NPC's Nemesis's ship and crew, like some of us commonly found occurring in the regular RT ship combat rules.  Combat between ships of the line should last hours, days, or weeks with maneuvering, flanking or any other simple tactic employed by 3D combat strategists.  Taking a cruiser up against a transport in regular RT rules, with average PC (meaning 50<) and NPC (prob 40>) stats, would last about the same compared to mathhammer.

 

For more information or a discussion on mathhammer, please go here https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/47672-mathhammer-making-ship-armour-count/

 

;)

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Basically, you need a warship to oppose a warship. A transport isn't a warship and nobody should expect one to have a chance against anything more than a solo escort. And even then, the transport has to get lucky.

 

There's a reason why the Imperial Navy's doctrine is frigates operating as screening units to provide point defense/fighting other escorts, and destroyers to maneuver for long-range torpedo strikes against enemy capital ships (cruisers and above) - and they very much do not go in close against major warships without major warships of their own.

 

A major warship can brush aside a number of escorts with ease, and the only thing that can really stop a major warship is another major warship, a good torpedo salvo making it through and scoring hits, or swarming the damned thing under with lesser ships while knowing you're going to take significant, if not prohibitive, losses in the process. Torpedoes are expensive and bulky and between point defenses and the screening units, cannot be depended upon to make it through every time. The most reliable way to stop a major warship is to punch it in the face and start slugging it out with a major warship of your own.

 

 

If you're planning on fighting a fair amount, you need to be serious about it and roll with a major warship. I assume that any aggressive or militant Dynasty either has one or more cruisers and probably would like more if they can manage it, depending on just how aggressive/militant they've been for how long. And any Warrant is probably issued with a light cruiser or better, or an arbitrary equivalent in lesser ships.

 

A cruiser should be expected to able to casually backhand anything short of another cruiser into submission or destruction with ease. "Inside a hostile cruiser's fire arc and range" is a terrible place for an escort or transport to be. Fortunately for escorts and transports, well, escorts, they're much faster and more maneuverable, and so can stay out of range, and even come around into the aft fire arc where the cruiser can't touch them. Fortunately for transports, if it's important enough to send a cruiser after, it's probably important enough to have an escort or two to dance with the cruiser to buy the transport time to run away.

 

 

There is a reason for the "major" in "major warship", after all. Lesser warships aren't going to cut it.

 

 

Think of WH40k space combat as a little bit like WW1-early WW2 naval combat - or even earlier in some respects, really. The only real way for an escort to hurt one of the capital ships is long range torpedo strikes, because an escort isn't going to have the gun power to hurt a bigger ship through its armor, and if it gets into gun range, the bigger ship and its bigger guns are going to hammer it.

The longest part of any engagement is going to be maneuvering for position or trying to evade/chase down runners*. And unless there's something that the defender has to defend, say a planet, station, etc, then it's really hard to force an engagement when the defender doesn't want to fight you.

*Normally, anyways, if it's a couple major warships and there's not all that much they can do to get fancy in their maneuvers, or they end up on parallel headings, then they can just pound on each other for however long it takes for one side or the other to give in or they close to board - and once a boarding action begins it'll put a stop to the maneuvering and slugging.

 

 

And, honestly, my own houserules make the gap between capital ships and escorts even bigger.

I don't have a reduction of torpedo damage, but that's because my houserules give capital ships twice or more the hull integrity they do under RAW, and broadsides that fire twice at full strength. I like to put the "Major" back into "Major Warship", the "Capital" in "Capital Ship". Escorts and transports can and do get swatted out of space like flies by cruisers when they get caught in range, but an escort that strays into the range of a hostile major warship that doesn't have something more important to focus on (such as another major warship) has made a rather serious error and should be expected to suffer accordingly. And a transport that finds itself in weapons range of a hostile cruiser should be surrendering immediately (I'd also consider expressing displeasure with those responsible for ending up in range of said hostile cruiser).

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As Nameless says, it's probably worth having a look at the original thread. There's a 'break point' for Mathhammer (where it starts to behave differently) at 7 points of armour - ie, what cruisers will tend to have after the -12. This means shooting at a cruiser is a very different ballgame to shooting at a lesser ship.

Remember, Venk, that cruisers are rare beasts - maybe one in a hundred encounters, Errant will have better numbers on that - and running away, gathering forces and allies, working out an elaborate plan and then returning to face a mighty foe seems far more exciting than just being able to fight it straight away.

That also has the corollary that if you are in a cruiser the GM has to keep throwing cruisers at you if he wants to make encounters at all challenging.

I disagree with javcs' assertion that a Warrant automatically comes with a cruiser - in the early days, perhaps, but in the Time of Waning?

Edited by LoneKharnivore

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As Nameless says, it's probably worth having a look at the original thread. There's a 'break point' for Mathhammer (where it starts to behave differently) at 7 points of armour - ie, what cruisers will tend to have after the -12. This means shooting at a cruiser is a very different ballgame to shooting at a lesser ship.

Remember, Venk, that cruisers are rare beasts - maybe one in a hundred encounters, Errant will have better numbers on that - and running away, gathering forces and allies, working out an elaborate plan and then returning to face a mighty foe seems far more exciting than just being able to fight it straight away.

That also has the corollary that if you are in a cruiser the GM has to keep throwing cruisers at you if he wants to make encounters at all challenging.

I disagree with javcs' assertion that a Warrant automatically comes with a cruiser - in the early days, perhaps, but in the Time of Waning?

First, I said "light cruiser or better", which would usually translate into scout/exploration cruisers or something pulled out of the reserve fleets and reactivated, depending on what kind of Warrant and what it was being awarded for/who it was being awarded to, and, more to the point, I also said "or an arbitrary equivalent in lesser ships" - which would likely be determined by the civilian bureaucracy and thus have little or no resemblance to the actual utility or combat power of even a light cruiser or what they end up giving him. I expect that the "arbitrary equivalent in lesser ships" often would end up being an escort or two and a light transport or two.

 

 

And I say a light cruiser or better because if you're sending somebody out beyond the borders of the Imperium by himself, there are certain requirements to be met if you want him to survive, much less actively bring new worlds into the Emperor's Light and bring ruin to the Enemies of Mankind wherever he finds them. For many worlds, he will be the first representative of the Imperium to lay eyes on it, much less set foot upon it, and beyond the Imperium a Rogue Trader is the Emperor's Voice - he needs to be be able to back that up with his ship.

Those requirements include, but are not limited to, a long endurance without resupply, as there's no telling when you'll be able to resupply safely, the ability to recover and bring back loot to the Imperium, the combat power and endurance to stay alive and to destroy the Xenos and intimidate reluctant humans into kneeling to the Imperium, while not needing to turn around and head back any time something happens.

A Light cruiser is usually going to durable enough to survive being caught by surprise, and have the speed to run from anything that can take it or the combat power to fight and win anything it can't outrun.

 

Anything pulled out of the Reserve Fleets is likely to be a cruiser or grand cruiser.

 

Sure, cruisers aren't going to be a dime a dozen in private hands. Most Dynasties that (still) have a cruiser or heavier won't have more than just the one, maybe two, as flagships, defending the Dynasty's homeworld/system, and/or serving as a reserve contingency(ies) or they've mothballed it - and they'll likely use lesser ships much more often when they can.

Yet even in M41, the Imperium can build ships like the Lunar in a fairly short timeframe (11 years?) with little infrastructure to support the work, per the fluff. A common light cruiser shouldn't be more complicated. Frankly, the biggest problem in getting a light cruiser to go with a newly issued Warrant is probably the fact that they're supposedly the workhorses of the Imperial Navy.

 

 

That being said, if you look at the NPC Rogue Trader Dynasties, half of them have cruisers, a couple more could have cruisers but aren't militant enough to make it worthwhile (especially Saul) and/or had cruisers and lost them to hostile actions, and most of the rest of them that don't have cruisers? They're blatantly set up to be in opposition to the players as early rivals under the assumption that the PCs have a light transport, raider, or frigate. Ie, Feckward, Fel, Djanko Scourge.

Admittedly, the NPC cruisers aren't exactly optimized the way a PC cruiser would be, but that applies to basically everything NPC.

A good third to half the NPC ships in BFK are light cruisers or heavier, and many of the NPC escorts are in squadrons, or at least, not alone.

 

 

In my opinion, the "official" numbers on the average Imperial Navy shipcount per sector is most likely only counting capital ships (light cruisers and above) and doesn't include the attached escorts and/or probably treats destroyer and frigate flotillas/squadrons as only one ship per flotilla/squadron if independently deployed or doesn't include them when attached to capital ships in fleet formations. And most of the capital ships are going to be light cruisers and the rest of the capital ships are going to spend most of their time at Navy bases/major planets (often overlap there) and the occasional showing the flag mission.

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