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ColonelCommissar

Has anyone tried a warship game?

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Not necessarily...

 

Remember the command crew is also the people most appropriate for representing the ship (and the government/organization they represent) in all official matters. So it's actually just as, if not more, likely that the command crew of a large warship will have to go in person to deal with official matters. How would you feel as the Grand Poobah of some colony or undiscovered world to have a kilometer long warship show up and the representative they send to deal with you be some junior officer or enlistedman not authorized to make big command level decisions?

 

I think it boils down to mission. I think the problem is that not every mission you'd run in such a game would be important enough to send the captain down. Thus keeping the command crew involved in all the missions can become difficult. For instance, sure the captain may go speak with representatives from another planet that the Alliance is trying to woo to their cause, but he's not likely to go on a mission to infiltrate a Imperial base. Running the command crew will obviously change up the styles of missions you can run and I think in some ways that can be limiting.

 

That's on the Campaign Design side of things.

 

If you're going for a Trek vibe, then of course the captain can go on all kinds of silly missions. After all, that's how "There are four lights!" came about.

 

If you want to go more realistic, then the Captain and command crew can do a lot... but the covert raid on a bioweapons factory is really  a job for the special ops team you carry aboard... and it's time to work out the multiple character option...

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Not necessarily...

 

Remember the command crew is also the people most appropriate for representing the ship (and the government/organization they represent) in all official matters. So it's actually just as, if not more, likely that the command crew of a large warship will have to go in person to deal with official matters. How would you feel as the Grand Poobah of some colony or undiscovered world to have a kilometer long warship show up and the representative they send to deal with you be some junior officer or enlistedman not authorized to make big command level decisions?

 

I think it boils down to mission. I think the problem is that not every mission you'd run in such a game would be important enough to send the captain down. Thus keeping the command crew involved in all the missions can become difficult. For instance, sure the captain may go speak with representatives from another planet that the Alliance is trying to woo to their cause, but he's not likely to go on a mission to infiltrate a Imperial base. Running the command crew will obviously change up the styles of missions you can run and I think in some ways that can be limiting.

 

That's on the Campaign Design side of things.

 

If you're going for a Trek vibe, then of course the captain can go on all kinds of silly missions. After all, that's how "There are four lights!" came about.

 

If you want to go more realistic, then the Captain and command crew can do a lot... but the covert raid on a bioweapons factory is really  a job for the special ops team you carry aboard... and it's time to work out the multiple character option...

 

 

True. Then again overall Im more in support for a 2 character design for such a game.

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Although there are plenty of adventures you can have aboard ship which the command crew have to do. After all, AoR isn't just about covert raids, though it may appear that way. There are missions you could run for all types of ships that are space-focused, as the captain of an Alliance ship likely holds a great deal of power. Sending them down for a diplomatic mission would be a perfectly decent social mission, but it could also be as good a reason as any for them to get embroiled in ground affairs. Alternately some creative scenario design could create plenty of scenarios where they don't even leave the bridge, as all their problems are roughly a quarter of a million miles distant and covered in turbolasers...

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Way back in the day some friends and I tried a Privateer campaign with a Capital Ship (a Nebulon-B I think) as the centerpiece/home base.  The main characters were our long-running WEG D6 characters who had progressed to some pretty high dice pools.  Those characters were basically set up as the command crew of the ship, and we had secondary and tertiary characters of lower levels set up for different tasks. Which character we played on a given night would depend mostly on what the adventure called for, and a bit on what we wanted to do. 

 

On the plus side it meant we could do darn near any sort of story we wanted, from naval combat to special ops. Every session could be something totally different.  On the down side it sometimes got confusing, and occasionally someones high-level character would be suited to a mission with everyone else's scrub-level tertiary characters and it would turn into a "Zoltan rescues the entire away team from certain doom with a well placed volley of shots" sort of night.  As a GM it was sometimes tough to plan the right toughness level of the baddies because it wasn't always clear which character a given player might opt to play that night.

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Way back in the day some friends and I tried a Privateer campaign with a Capital Ship (a Nebulon-B I think) as the centerpiece/home base.  The main characters were our long-running WEG D6 characters who had progressed to some pretty high dice pools.  Those characters were basically set up as the command crew of the ship, and we had secondary and tertiary characters of lower levels set up for different tasks. Which character we played on a given night would depend mostly on what the adventure called for, and a bit on what we wanted to do. 

 

On the plus side it meant we could do darn near any sort of story we wanted, from naval combat to special ops. Every session could be something totally different.  On the down side it sometimes got confusing, and occasionally someones high-level character would be suited to a mission with everyone else's scrub-level tertiary characters and it would turn into a "Zoltan rescues the entire away team from certain doom with a well placed volley of shots" sort of night.  As a GM it was sometimes tough to plan the right toughness level of the baddies because it wasn't always clear which character a given player might opt to play that night.

 

Not necessarily.  It could also be that the enemy wants a high level character for various reasons.  But that's where story telling and impromptu planning comes into play.

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I have considered this idea on multiple occasions, usually with the players being in charge of a Nebulon-B frigate. Borrowing from the Star Trek reboot, you could thrust the players into command roles even if they're underqualified by removing the actual commanders... One simple idea would be to have an Imperial spy (or an programmed Rebel spy recently rescued) set off a grenade or other explosive on the bridge. When the dust clears, the players are the next in line for various command roles.

 

Maybe said spy even did some more sabotage before he got to the bridge. Now the frigate is experiencing mechanical failure and is temporarily crippled in Imperial space. Etc.

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In Saga edition i runned a Clone Wars campaing where the characters runned a Venator-class Republic Star Destroyer. Two characters where Jedi (Generals), one was a Clone Comando and the other two were "special aids": an Explorer (Bounty Hunter) and and a Scoundrel (Spy).

 

The adventures were a lot like the Clone Wars cartoon, the ship was mostly like a base of operations from where they launched most mission. They had they own ship on board (A YT-1000), but also could use the republic resources when necesary.

 

Overall was very fun, one the highlights was an attack agains a Separatist Blockade where they coordinated the entire forces during the attack (Fighters, ground troops and of course the SD).

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I'd like for my players to eventually get a larger ship that requires a crew. They could basically fill similar roles to what they would do on a smaller ship except now they are in charge of that entire section. Make checks as normal but now instead of assuming the character is doing all the work, the check is now representing the character applying his skills to manage his subordinates. So the Engineering Chief could still make Computer and Mechanics checks just as he would as a single engineer working on a freighter but now instead of him going hands on with every problem, the check is the result of him applying his technical expertise to troubleshoot the problem and get his underlings working to fix the issue.

 

The same concept could be applied to other positions. A character using Gunnery isn't manning a single turret, he's directing effective fire from all the ship's weapons at the target. A pilot could be piloting the ship or maybe he takes to a starfighter and leads an entire squadron into combat. Those two (especially the squadron leader) are probably the more difficult ones since they may require a bit of abstraction to avoid getting bogged down with lots of rolls in a mass combat with lots of individual ships.

 

And of course you can still find reasons for them to head down planetside on their own for tasks of particular importance, sensitivity, or classification (sorry guys, your subordinates aren't cleared to receive this information, you need to do it yourself).

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I'd like for my players to eventually get a larger ship that requires a crew. They could basically fill similar roles to what they would do on a smaller ship except now they are in charge of that entire section. Make checks as normal but now instead of assuming the character is doing all the work, the check is now representing the character applying his skills to manage his subordinates. So the Engineering Chief could still make Computer and Mechanics checks just as he would as a single engineer working on a freighter but now instead of him going hands on with every problem, the check is the result of him applying his technical expertise to troubleshoot the problem and get his underlings working to fix the issue.

 

The same concept could be applied to other positions. A character using Gunnery isn't manning a single turret, he's directing effective fire from all the ship's weapons at the target. A pilot could be piloting the ship or maybe he takes to a starfighter and leads an entire squadron into combat. Those two (especially the squadron leader) are probably the more difficult ones since they may require a bit of abstraction to avoid getting bogged down with lots of rolls in a mass combat with lots of individual ships.

 

And of course you can still find reasons for them to head down planetside on their own for tasks of particular importance, sensitivity, or classification (sorry guys, your subordinates aren't cleared to receive this information, you need to do it yourself).

 

Nice ideas.  How do you feel if the players want to have the crew get trained enough to where there are bonuses applied to the player's skill checks?

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I'd like for my players to eventually get a larger ship that requires a crew. They could basically fill similar roles to what they would do on a smaller ship except now they are in charge of that entire section. Make checks as normal but now instead of assuming the character is doing all the work, the check is now representing the character applying his skills to manage his subordinates. So the Engineering Chief could still make Computer and Mechanics checks just as he would as a single engineer working on a freighter but now instead of him going hands on with every problem, the check is the result of him applying his technical expertise to troubleshoot the problem and get his underlings working to fix the issue.

 

The same concept could be applied to other positions. A character using Gunnery isn't manning a single turret, he's directing effective fire from all the ship's weapons at the target. A pilot could be piloting the ship or maybe he takes to a starfighter and leads an entire squadron into combat. Those two (especially the squadron leader) are probably the more difficult ones since they may require a bit of abstraction to avoid getting bogged down with lots of rolls in a mass combat with lots of individual ships.

 

And of course you can still find reasons for them to head down planetside on their own for tasks of particular importance, sensitivity, or classification (sorry guys, your subordinates aren't cleared to receive this information, you need to do it yourself).

 

Nice ideas.  How do you feel if the players want to have the crew get trained enough to where there are bonuses applied to the player's skill checks?

 

I'm thinking it could work kind of like equipment modifications. Instead of hard points, you only have so much time and resources for training, so you get X expert slots to disperse, and these experts could grant varying effects (not necessarily restricted to just dice bonuses), similar mechanically to modifications to weapons/armor/gear. I would also say that either experts need to be recruited (requiring an adventure for each one you recruit, Mass Effect style) or if they are drawn from the crew, it requires an investment of credits to bring individuals up to that level. If you're going with the crew training option, you could also flavor it as an overall expertise being imparted to the crew instead of a single highly-skilled expert.

 

Or maybe you don't have an overall slot limit (although I would probably at least put a limit of 1 expert per section in place) but instead there is a monthly credit fee to reflect the training to maintain this expertise.

Edited by bonenaga

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How would you feel as the Grand Poobah of some colony or undiscovered world to have a kilometer long warship show up and the representative they send to deal with you be some junior officer or enlistedman not authorized to make big command level decisions?

 

The flipside of this is that, in all likelihood, it would be far more "In the Style of the Republic" to send a diplomatic mission.  It may very well arrive in a warship (especially as a Mon Cal ship, crewed mostly by Mon Cal, but also Quarren, Ishi Tib, Humans, and others...but with a fighter complement of a variety of species as well is a a great symbol of the diverse and cooperative nature of the Republic), but it is also likely to include a delegation from the Diplomatic Corps, which would be responsible for interfacing with the various levels of the planetary Poobahry.

 

In this case, it'd again make perfectly good sense for the players to run multiple characters.  Were it my game, I'd likely have the leader of the diplomatic delegation to be run by a player other than the one who does the fleet admiral.  I'd try to have each player that wanted to do so to be able to run the "leader" of some aspect of the charter.  So in fleet engagements, one player is the fleet admiral, for diplomatic missions, a different player is the Republic ambassador (with other players being junior diplomats, assistants (like Winter), security, records-keeping, etc.), for "covert ops" another player is the team leader, for the fighter wing complement, another player still can be the wing commander/squadron leader, and in the ground forces, another player is the general (if it's a big force), or a lower ranked leader of a smaller force.

 

Obviously, there's not likely to be an even mix of all of these types of action, so it's important to have an open discussion with the player group prior to picking spots and drawing characters, and have everyone work out what their positions will be.

 

 

 

How my groups do it is for the leadership roles, and other roles more then one player wants we put names in a hat and draw them before starting chargen with each player only allowed one leader roll per campaign.

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I run a FFG conversion of WEG's Far Orbit Project. There are slots still available for boarders (aka troopers aka grunts), fighter pilots, and two of the senior officers (one is the ship's doctor, the other is the ship's procurement officer - a 'face' role). Players interested in joining the game (or just lurking it) can check it out here. Requests to join should be posted in the game's OOC thread.

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