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Kepora

How to balance vehicles?

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My friend - my groups' GM - was doing some playtesting for an upcoming campaign, and - according to Rules as Written, player characters are completely and utterly helpless against vehicles. He did playtesting, found that an anti-tank rocket just BARELY kills a swoop bike by 1 point of damage, and that it would take TWO to kill a normal, unarmored landspeeder (think Luke's X-34 from A New Hope). He took an AT-PT next, and threw rockets at it. Only one point of damage per rocket could get through. To quote my friend - the disparity between personal and vehicles scales is just way too massive, to the point were designated anti-vehicle weapons can barely scratch a TIE FIGHTER.

 

Is there seriously something we're overlooking, or was this just a major oversight by FFG? If the former, what are we missing? If the latter, how do we fix this?

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It's.... complicated.

 

OK, so first, yes, the missile tube isn't an amazing one-shot anti-vehicle weapon. I'm betting this is a game design thing, if it takes 2 missiles to HT a landspeeder, then while the players using it are going to have a time with it, it also means a GM can shoot a missile at the players without KOing their car in one shot. And it's kinda consistent, taking out a main battle take with an RPG isn't exactly a sure-thing, and hitting your average car is far more likely to kill the driver than actually disable the vehicle, simply because on a vehicle there's a lot more empty space than there is critical mechanics.

 

Now, there are a few things you may not have considered in your test:

 

Vehicle design: Make use of the narrative and remember that a vehicles design will have an effect. So like when I shoot a Swoop, I'm less concerned about doing Hull Trauma to the swoop, it's an open topped vehicle, so activating Blast means I can hit the driver. There's a lot of other vehicles where killing the crew is far easier than killing the vehicle, especially when you're talking Blast 10, Breach 1. So be thinking about that when doing encounter design.

 

Crit rating: On a Missile Tube (and most "anti-vehicle" weapons) that's only 2. Remember HTing a vehicle isn't the only way, it's just the most... Obvious? Predictable? Trackable? Survivable? Whatever... the other (and actually only permanent) way to take a vehicle out is through Critical hits. Unlike critical injuries, Critical hits don't require you to do any damage, just exceed the Armor rating, which even at personal scale a Damage 20, Breach 1 weapon can do to vehicles with Armor 3. A crit of 2 makes it pretty darn easy to Crit. Against a multi-crewed vehicle like an AT-ST it's still a dangerous gamble, as you'll need to inflict enough crits to disable the vehicle, so you'll need to land multiple hits to rack up enough Crits to either get a "destroyed" result, or do sufficient damage to render the vehicle combat ineffective. Though if you're talking Armor 1 vehicles and below, a Disruptor might be a pretty solid choice too, as Vicious works on Hits and Injuries....

 

Minions: In other cases the Crit might simply be enough. A one-seater piloted by a Minion means you can use the "Minions are killed by Crits" rule if you like. So in the case of that AT-PT, if that's a minion in the drivers seat a single crit from a single missile can be enough to call it done...

 

Behavior: Not everyone fights to the death. After a vehicle takes enough damage (through Crits or Hull Trauma) it's not insane that the crew would call it quits.

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I think its simple, and I talked about it many times in threads about vehicle combat and PCs attack vehicles or attacked by. The short version is, military craft is superior to civilian craft in most aspects, and both categories are built for different tasks and roles.

 

If a civilian wants to hit well, he needs a big gun, like a missile launcher, and even this wont harm an armored target with simple stock gun and/or ammo.

Edited by RusakRakesh

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Equal number of wheels seems to be a good start. Spaced evenly on a wide base structure/frame.

Seriously though, I find the vehicle scale rules do not match up with what we see in the media. We see characters blasted aside from vehicle weapons, not to mention lightsabers deflectecting TIE lasers. Blasters weilded by troopers taking out landspeeders. Sure, some vehicles need to be durable, and nigh invulnerable to hand held ( and some vehicle weapons) but the current system doesn't seem to work the best.

Edited by That Blasted Samophlange

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Seriously though, I find the vehicle scale rules do not match up with what we see in the media. We see characters blasted aside from vehicle weapons, not to mention lightsabers deflectecting TIE lasers. Blasters weilded by troopers taking out landspeeders. Sure, some vehicles need to be durable, and nigh invulnerable to hand held ( and some vehicle weapons) but the current system doesn't seem to work the best.

All that said, while I agree that there is an issue here, I have yet to hear a solution that does not wind up causing more problems than it solves.

So, by default, I fall back to the comments above from Ghostofman, while still not being entirely satisfied by the results.

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One thing I have considered, is vehicle scale adds silhouette value to damage, rather than the current increase, when attacking personal scale targets. As well as gaining knockdown quality.

Personal scale targets attacking vehicles, the vehicle gets the silhouette added to armour.

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Using a 5x multiplier for vehicle/personal scale damage, rather than 10x, lets some of the heavier small arms threaten mid-sized vehicles.  Far from an insta-kill, but enough to steadily chip away if the vehicle doesn't deal with them.  I've played with this for a while and it has been satisfactory for civilian weapons and vehicles; I haven't run a combat-heavy campaign though so I'm not sure if it would hold up in situations with military-grade equipment.

 

Another possibility is to convert the weapon's damage to the target's scale before adding damage from Successes or Talents.  The vehicle/personal scale rules don't specify when during the attack the conversion occurs or give detailed examples, so it may be easier to convince your group (or yourself) to go along with it.  This puts small arms at 0 and repeaters at 1 (the existing rules round down, and that's probably a good thing) but lets a decent shot (1-2 successes) damage most civilian speeders, and a great shot or a heavy weapon threaten military armor.

 

One thing I have considered, is vehicle scale adds silhouette value to damage, rather than the current increase, when attacking personal scale targets. As well as gaining knockdown quality.

Personal scale targets attacking vehicles, the vehicle gets the silhouette added to armour.

 

That's a really elegant idea!  Im'ma go do math.

Edited by Joker Two

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Add Silhouette to vehiclular Damage/Armor when attacking/defending against personal scale.

 

1x Silhouette:

08 Damage = AT-ST Blaster Cannon

09 Damage = Blaster Rifle

09 Damage = X-Wing Laser Cannon

10 Damage = YT-1300 Laser Cannon

11 Damage = CR-90 Laser Cannon

11 Damage = X-Wing Proton Torpedo

15 Damage = Heavy Repeating Blaster

15 Damage = CR-90 Turbolaser

18 Damage = Star Destroyer Turbolaser

20 Damage = Missile Launcher

 

02 Soak = Speeder Bike

05 Soak = Stormtrooper

06 Soak = AT-ST/X-Wing

07 Soak = YT-1300

10 Soak = CR-90

12 Soak = Rancor

18 Soak = Star Destroyer

 

So 1x clearly isn't enough (especially taking into account the low hull threshholds of most smaller vehicles.

 

2x Silhouette:

09 Damage = Blaster Rifle

11 Damage = AT-ST Blaster Cannon

12 Damage = X-Wing Laser Cannon

14 Damage = YT-1300 Laser Cannon

14 Damage = X-Wing Proton Torpedo

15 Damage = E-Web Repeating Blaster

16 Damage = CR-90 Laser Cannon

20 Damage = Missile Launcher

20 Damage = CR-90 Turbolaser

26 Damage = Star Destroyer Turbolaser

 

04 Soak = Speeder Bike

05 Soak = Stormtrooper

09 Soak = AT-ST/X-Wing

11 Soak = YT-1300

12 Soak = Rancor

15 Soak = CR-90

26 Soak = Star Destroyer

 

Looking better, but sil 3-4 vehicles still have awfully low hull threshholds to take damage that easily.  Let's try one more just for comparison.

 

3x Silhouette:

09 Damage = Blaster Rifle

14 Damage = AT-ST Blaster Cannon

15 Damage = E-Web Repeating Blaster

15 Damage = X-Wing Laser Cannon

17 Damage = X-wing Proton Torpedo

18 Damage = YT-1300 Laser Cannon

20 Damage = Missile Launcher

21 Damage = CR-90 Laser Cannon

25 Damage = CR-90 Turbolaser

34 Damage = Star Destroyer Turbolaser

 

05 Soak = Stormtrooper

06 Soak = Speeder Bike

12 Soak = Rancor

12 Soak = AT-ST/X-Wing

15 Soak = YT-1300

20 Soak = CR-90

34 Soak = Star Destroyer

 

That...actually looks really good.  Starfighter cannons will send most of a minion group flying, and sit right on the edge of incapacitating a Player Character.  A heavily armored Wookiee might be able to take a "near miss" from a corvette's cannons.  An AT-ST is as difficult to damage as a rancor, but with its lower hull threshold won't take as much of a beating (and frankly I think the rancor's soak might be arbitrarily high in the Core Book).  That E-Web in Empire Strikes Back is a threat to the Falcon, and a careless fighter jock can be taken down with a shoulder-fired missile (which is about on-par with a ship-launched version).

 

I'm gonna have to try this in play now.

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The other part of the equation...Consider talents. Like the Heavy's Barrage, Heavy hitter sniper shot, true aim, deadly accuracy Lethal blows, targeted blow, Brace. All of these increase the damage output of a shot.  

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One thing I have considered, is vehicle scale adds silhouette value to damage, rather than the current increase, when attacking personal scale targets. As well as gaining knockdown quality.

Personal scale targets attacking vehicles, the vehicle gets the silhouette added to armour.

A Heavy Blaster Rifle shouldn’t do more damage just because it’s being fired by a larger person.

A quad laser cannon shouldn’t do more damage just because it’s being fired by a bigger ship.

Factoring Silhouette of the attacker into damage doesn’t make sense unless you’re talking about hitting someone/something with the entire vehicle/object in question.

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One thing I have considered, is vehicle scale adds silhouette value to damage, rather than the current increase, when attacking personal scale targets. As well as gaining knockdown quality.

Personal scale targets attacking vehicles, the vehicle gets the silhouette added to armour.

A Heavy Blaster Rifle shouldn’t do more damage just because it’s being fired by a larger person.

A quad laser cannon shouldn’t do more damage just because it’s being fired by a bigger ship.

Factoring Silhouette of the attacker into damage doesn’t make sense unless you’re talking about hitting someone/something with the entire vehicle/object in question.

 

Not to mention silhouette already factors in in the fact that difficulty is effected by size, bigger things are easier to hit.

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One thing I have considered, is vehicle scale adds silhouette value to damage, rather than the current increase, when attacking personal scale targets. As well as gaining knockdown quality.Personal scale targets attacking vehicles, the vehicle gets the silhouette added to armour.

A Heavy Blaster Rifle shouldn’t do more damage just because it’s being fired by a larger person.A quad laser cannon shouldn’t do more damage just because it’s being fired by a bigger ship.Factoring Silhouette of the attacker into damage doesn’t make sense unless you’re talking about hitting someone/something with the entire vehicle/object in question.

I understand what you are getting at, but somethings to consider:

Heavy blaster rifles are personal scale weapons. What i suggested is that when a personal scale weapon attacks a vehicle scale target, said target would add its silhouette to armour. Rather than the fractional damage currently.

Quad laser cannons DO inflict more damage to personal scale targets already. My suggestion lessons the value somewhat, while allowing the weapon to do more damage. We see in the films and shows, at least I see it this way, that handheld weapons inflict damage just as often as they are ignored and shots from vehicles are deflected by lightsabers or fail to completely obliterate a hero, usually they send them reeling.

I think you misunderstand the intent of the idea. It is less about a bigger vehicle (personal vs personal and vehicle vs vehicle are unnaffected) firing bigger versions of weapons, but an abstraction based on the power and durability of certain vehicles. Combat already abstracts a lot in this game. Firing a shot from a blaster pistol does not equate one roll of the dice, though it could. My hope is that we can get a more cinematic feel by altering the damage scale of vehicle vs personal interaction.

The hope is that by having the damage inflicted and recieved based on silhouette, a system that already has much abstraction doled out when determining size, that players will get more interaction in vehicle vs personal scale combats, rather than the current lopsidedness.

Were this a simulationist style game, I would ageee totally eith what you say, but it is not (nor should be), as that does not suit Star Wars at all.

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The hope is that by having the damage inflicted and recieved based on silhouette, a system that already has much abstraction doled out when determining size, that players will get more interaction in vehicle vs personal scale combats, rather than the current lopsidedness.

Were this a simulationist style game, I would ageee totally eith what you say, but it is not (nor should be), as that does not suit Star Wars at all.

I understand the goal, but I disagree that what you have proposed is a good way to do that. Again, I think we’re back to the issue of a “solution” causing more problems than it solves.

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The hope is that by having the damage inflicted and recieved based on silhouette, a system that already has much abstraction doled out when determining size, that players will get more interaction in vehicle vs personal scale combats, rather than the current lopsidedness.Were this a simulationist style game, I would ageee totally eith what you say, but it is not (nor should be), as that does not suit Star Wars at all.

I understand the goal, but I disagree that what you have proposed is a good way to do that. Again, I think we’re back to the issue of a “solution” causing more problems than it solves.

Then I think you dont understand the implementation. You mention blaster rifles being fired by a bigger person, something I did not mention. You misunderstoo, and applied the idea to personal scale weapons. This is NOT what I said.

As to a bigger ship doing more damage than a smaller with the same weapon, why wouldnt it make sense in a way? A larger vehicle could concievably have more power to devote to the weapon, that a smaller vehicle may not. Rember the movies to make mention of switching power to deflector screens, so why not weapons?

My thought is this: if a group of minion First Order Stormtroopers couldn't damage Poe's X-wing on Jakku, then he should have been able to fly off right then and there. Would have made a differrent movie.

Now, how do you represent that in game? Currently, those Stormtroopers wouldnt likely do enough to damage his ship, unless several despairs were rolled - and that is a fine way to work that, except when it comes to players trying the same thing. The players cannot inflict the necessary damage to affect, and reinact something that is done on screen with personal scale weapons. This causes a disconnect. Sure the players can hope for a triumph, but that is quite the gamble, and not everyone builds characters that are able to roll the necessary triumphs to be useful.

The current mechanics don't follow what we see in the movies. If you agree on that, how would you suggest the machanics be changed?

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Then I think you dont understand the implementation. You mention blaster rifles being fired by a bigger person, something I did not mention. You misunderstoo, and applied the idea to personal scale weapons. This is NOT what I said.

No, I did understand, and that’s precisely why I pulled out the example of applying this mechanism to personal-scale weapons. With personal-scale weapons, it is much more obvious to see why this concept just doesn’t make any sense.

As to a bigger ship doing more damage than a smaller with the same weapon, why wouldnt it make sense in a way? A larger vehicle could concievably have more power to devote to the weapon, that a smaller vehicle may not. Rember the movies to make mention of switching power to deflector screens, so why not weapons?

Then a bigger ship has more of the 20mm cannons, or maybe it also has 30mm cannons, but the 20mm cannons that the bigger ship are identical to the 20mm cannons that are mounted on a smaller ship, and each one of them has the exact same probability of doing the same amount of damage.

Making the 20mm cannons do more damage just because they’re mounted on a bigger ship, that’s just plain silly.

My thought is this: if a group of minion First Order Stormtroopers couldn't damage Poe's X-wing on Jakku, then he should have been able to fly off right then and there. Would have made a differrent movie.

Now, how do you represent that in game? Currently, those Stormtroopers wouldnt likely do enough to damage his ship, unless several despairs were rolled - and that is a fine way to work that, except when it comes to players trying the same thing. The players cannot inflict the necessary damage to affect, and reinact something that is done on screen with personal scale weapons. This causes a disconnect. Sure the players can hope for a triumph, but that is quite the gamble, and not everyone builds characters that are able to roll the necessary triumphs to be useful.

The current mechanics don't follow what we see in the movies. If you agree on that, how would you suggest the machanics be changed?

Go back to my previous posts on this subject. I agree that there is a problem, but I have yet to see a proposed solution that actually works.

When I say “works”, I mean that it solves the problem we’re trying to solve, and it doesn’t cause more problems than it solves.

Acknowledging that there is a problem is not the same as agreeing on a particular solution — or that a solution is even possible.

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Yet the example I gave never said that more damage is inflicted on personal scale damage. Only when vehicle scale is involved.

Cannons? As in munitions with shells/types of projectiles? I think that is not quite an apt comparison to mostly energy weapons. While there is some hand mounted weapons, such as a missile tube that is currently pretty useless against vehicles.

If you are not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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We have this houserule that blaster damage done against a single vehicle during one round adds up and is applied at the end of the combat round. We made this to somehow incorporate the things we see in te clone wars, where some troopers shoot at a tan with their blasters seemingly doing nothing and then it blows up or breaks down. In group terms, that is still not a lot of damage they can do to something like an AT-ST, but givn wnough time, they can bring him down with needle shots.

The AT.missiles speed this process up tremendously and thus are notcounted to the blaster damage.

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It's never come up but my initial thought was to just create a heavier Limited Ammo 1 Slow Firing 1 missile, that used the anti vehicle mine warhead.  That would suffice for me.  Everything else we saw in the movies I just chalked up to criticals or lots of Triumphs on a roll.

Edited by 2P51

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Yet the example I gave never said that more damage is inflicted on personal scale damage. Only when vehicle scale is involved.

Cannons? As in munitions with shells/types of projectiles? I think that is not quite an apt comparison to mostly energy weapons. While there is some hand mounted weapons, such as a missile tube that is currently pretty useless against vehicles.

If you are not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

Why would a rifle on a star ship do more damage than a rifle on a different ship? That is the problem with your idea you are saying the same thing mounted on something else will behave differently and that is just silly. Not to mention there already is a mechanic. When you aim at something bigger you are more likely to hit it. 

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Here is my stab at a house rule for this:

 

Any weapon with Breach is converted to vehicle scale damage prior to adding damage from successes.  So, a missile tube does Damage 2, Blast 1 with Breach 1, and successes add damage at vehicle scale.  Similarly, lightsabers either do 0 (for damage < 10) or 1 (for damage >= 10) Damage, Breach 1, +1 damage per success.

 

Any other personal scale weapons that target vehicles are also converted to vehicle scale prior to adding successes, but if their base damage is <10, it takes 3 successes to add +1 damage, or 2 successes if base damage >= 10.

 

Missile tubes are now threats to AT-ST's.  Leia can blow up a speeder bike with her blaster pistol if she gets at least 3 successes and a nice crit, and Luke can slice one up with his lightsaber pretty easily.  If Chewie punches a TIE fighter, he pretty much can't get through the armor (he'd need 9 successes), but a stormtrooper with a light repeating blaster has a chance to damage a TIE fighter if he can get 4 successes.  Those guys trying to shoot the Millenium Falcon as it blasts its way out of Mos Eisley are pretty much not going to do anything though (would need 8 successes assuming stock Armor 3).

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I haven't had opportunity to try it, but I think its possible that the real way characters can, and were intended to, deal damage to vehicles is via critical hits. Cinematically, I think this works. If a group is being chased in an open speeder by enemies in another speeder, they don't have to *destroy* the pursuing vehicle, just disable it (damage to steering, disabled repulsor, etc). A trooper firing at the PCs' speeder just needs a lucky hit to disable a repulsor coil. Maybe they break away to end the encounter, but the vehicle can't make it to the final destination.

 

The tweak that may allow this to work is that *any* damage that gets through armor can trigger a crit. For example, suppose an attack with a blaster rifle (damage 9, crit 3) hits a Skyhopper (Armor 1).  The roll produces 2 successes (11 damage) and 3 advantage. Since 1 damage (1/10 of a vehicle scale damage) would surpass armor, damage is technically done even though it's not a full point, and the adv can be used to activate a critical hit. Track the fractional damage or not, it's not really a big deal.

 

The rules regarding critical hits that could allow this under some interpretations are:

 

"Remember, and attack's damage must also has to exceed a target's armor to deal a critical hit, which is important when firing small arms at something using armor instead of soak."

 

To trigger a critical hit, damage has to exceed armor, not necessarily deal a full point of damage. It's a little nitpicky, but so are so many other rules in this game.

 

In this paradigm, heavy blaster pistols, rifles and anything bigger can actually pose a limited threat to pretty much every speeder in the CRB. Walkers and *any* spacecraft, though, remain largely immune to any character scale weapons, even the missile tube. If that's unacceptable, perhaps provide an armor piercing missile with breach 2 and no blast quality (I'm thinking HEAT rounds designed for armor penetration) as an alternate missile type; The missiles already have crit 2. Against a target with armor 4, this option could trigger a critical hit with just 1 success and 2 advantages.

 

With all the adv that can be generated with boost dice, these rolls shouldn't be too terribly difficult. Again, I haven't tried this, I'd be curious to see how many crits it would take to effectively disable a vehicle and if it 'balances vehicles' to the OP's satisfaction.

Edited by LethalDose

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I've handled this by making a slight modification tot he Crit rules; a crit can be activated even if damage did not exceed soak/armor, but for every point of soak under, the crit takes a -10 penalty; this can take it to less than 0, in which case the crit is ignored. Sop, when shooting a vehicle, armor is converted to soak, so dealing 9 damage to an armor 1 vehicle and activating a crit would take -10 to the crit roll, while 9 damage to an armor 2 vehicle will take -110. I came up with this rule actually when they were fighting a giant beast with a soak of like, 12 or something; by the time the battle was won, they had only done about 5 or 10 points of damage, but whittled it down with crits, which I thought was really cool.

 

I've also been throwing around the idea of changing vehicle scale to x5 instead of x10; I think if I did that, personal scale weapons with Breach should probably have their Breach ratings increased by 1 to compensate; otherwise, a lightsaber is only ignoring 5 points of soak, which, while still potent, I don't really feel it's enough.

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I came up with this rule actually when they were fighting a giant beast with a soak of like, 12 or something; by the time the battle was won, they had only done about 5 or 10 points of damage, but whittled it down with crits, which I thought was really cool.

 

You created a beast with substantially more armor than a 6-8 km battlecruiser, pitted it against your players with hand-held weapons, and then came up with a 'cool rule' to accommodate the situation that you think should be broadly applicable?  :blink:

 

Yeah that's my idiotic fault. I misread 'soak' as 'armor' with the page context.

Edited by LethalDose

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