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R5D8

I'm talkin' about the big Corellian ships now.

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Something that has bothered me through every iteration of this game, but I'll use this game's mechanics to describe it.

Han: "Stay sharp. There's two more coming in. They'll try and cut us off."

Luke: "Why don't you outrun them? I thought you said this thing was fast."

Han: "Actually I don't even have to be fast. Even if I never modified the Falcon's engines, we'd still have a Speed 3 craft compared to a Speed 2 ship. With the way the Chase rules work, any starting PC pilot could probably easily outrun an Imperial Star Destroyer. Especially since I'm such a great pilot and there's nothing out here, no rocks or anything. Plus, their Handling on that thing is atrocious."

Ben: "How long before you can make the jump to light speed?"

Han: "Well, one round I guess if I accept an upgraded difficulty, but I'd better not."

Luke: "Are you kidding? At the rate they're gaining..."

Han: "Look, kid. Did you not just hear me? They can't. It would require one hell of a roll on their part and one awful roll on mine, and that would have to happen several times. Hrm... unless the GM is using some kind of odd minions group mechanic for piloting that thing, but if that's the case, then whether we do or do not get away is completely a decision made by the GM. But technically, the way the rules work, if your landspeeder was able to operate in space, I could outrun them in that."

Luke: "Well, I think you're missing something. What's that flashing?"

Han: "Looks like an invite to me for Holonet and chill."

So, what am I missing? In ANH, the Star Destroyers are fast. In real space, they were able to catch up to both the Tantive IV as well as the Millennium Falcon, and the Falcon had what seemed to be a considerable head start. So they are fast. However, every single iteration of the RPG says that the Star Destroyers must be slow, plodding ships, because they are huge and that's how physics works, and also because we actually do want our heroes to be able to get away. It just doesn't seem to be that way in the movie that the game is based on.

Edited by R5D8

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IMO, it’s not that the Star Destroyers are fast, it’s that they have TIE Fighters, which are fast.

And SDs also have tractor beams.

So, the TIEs can catch just about anything in the galaxy, so long as they get there before it makes the jump to hyperspace. The shoot it enough that it can’t go anywhere and it’s “tied” up defending itself from the fighters, while the SDs move into range and then lock on with their tractor beams.

We don’t know what happened in the few seconds before the opening scene in ANH, but it’s my belief that what I have given above is the most likely explanation.

Note that if you want to defend yourself against a bunch of TIEs, you want lots of quad light laser turrets, but the CR90 doesn’t have any of those. It has only Light and Medium turbolasers, which are hard to use against smaller fast-moving ships.

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I always thought it was the hyperdrive on the star destroyers which made them fast. If something gets away, they plot the same course in the nav-computer and beat the target to their destination with their superior hyperdrive and catch them at the other end.

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I always thought it was the hyperdrive on the star destroyers which made them fast. If something gets away, they plot the same course in the nav-computer and beat the target to their destination with their superior hyperdrive and catch them at the other end.

That's not necessarily true.  The average freighter has a Class 2 hyperdrive, the same as all listed ISDs (other than the Victory-class).

 

I always use a minion group for pilots though, so it is quite difficult to out run an ISD when facing off against an opponent rolling YYYGG.  An average pilot (3 Agi, 1-2 ranks in pilot) is rolling YYG.  Han is probably rolling YYYY at the time of ANH, so he knows it is difficult to outrun an ISD but because he has a ship built for speed and can roll well most of the time he, HAN, is going to outrun them.  But, as the GM of that scene I would make the TIE fighters cause difficult terrain, forcing Han to roll his pilot checks against an Average or Hard DC.  That is going to cut into his successes.  While the ISD is just facing a Simple DC.  Thus the ISD is able to get more successes and close the distance which is why Han is banking on their jump to hyperspace to get away because he knows he will get there long before the Empire does with his .5 hyperdrive.

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I also have found the speed issue frustrating.  I can't think of a single scene in the movies or TCW or Rebels where anybody just runs away.  They either get shot down, hide in some way in clouds or canyons until the enemy gives up looking, or they hit hyperspace.  I don't agree that it's just the TIEs that are dangerous, in clear space the SDs can keep up, they just have a problem changing trajectory.  They also fire plenty of shots, but their weapons are just too unwieldy for small targets, and they apparently can't hit close targets because the small ships can use them as cover.

 

I've been working on a revised "Speedless" space combat ruleset, if anybody wants a look at the first draft and offer a critique PM me and I'll send a copy.

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I've always felt that contrary to game material (both RPG and video games), ISDs should be pretty fast. We don't see them launching TIE Fighters for every chase. The ISDs themselves are gaining on the Falcon and the Tantive IV.

 

Yes the ISDs are large. They also have really big engines. Now we could argue that the Tantive IV may have been damaged before we even saw it on screen since the movie starts in medias res, which could be the reason that the Devastator is able to overtake it. Yet several times ISDs chase the Falcon. I think they should have good speed but poor handling. In ESB, the Falcon is able to outmaneuver them rather than outrun them.

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I've always felt that contrary to game material (both RPG and video games), ISDs should be pretty fast. We don't see them launching TIE Fighters for every chase. The ISDs themselves are gaining on the Falcon and the Tantive IV.

 

Yes the ISDs are large. They also have really big engines. Now we could argue that the Tantive IV may have been damaged before we even saw it on screen since the movie starts in medias res, which could be the reason that the Devastator is able to overtake it. Yet several times ISDs chase the Falcon. I think they should have good speed but poor handling. In ESB, the Falcon is able to outmaneuver them rather than outrun them.

This is what I was getting at.

No, I don't want to put my PCs up against impossible odds and then cackle when they get explodified by turbolaser because they couldn't get away. I also realize that launched TIE fighters are by far a more appropriate challenge, especially to "younger" crews. However, this was more a lament that every game system so far has statted out the ISDs to be these incredibly slow and cumbersome beasts, when they really don't seem to be according to the movies.

Basically, if the ISD shows up on the field, I don't want the answer to be, "We just Full Throttle out of range."

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I agree with a couple things in the thread. I was surprised to see SDs move so fast in this system as compared to previous ones. I'll definitely be borrowing from Tremayne's post if I ever get my PCs to run from a SD. The speed difference will be a difficulty for the SD to overcome, but it's by no means a chase ender. A new crew freshly on the ship might only roll AP for piloting, but the SD pilots in vader's fleet are prolly AAPP or better and remove some of the setbacks from handling. Also, iirc, the SD only has to win 1 chase roll to get a ship in range of its weapons, which could end the chase much faster.

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I've always felt that contrary to game material (both RPG and video games), ISDs should be pretty fast. We don't see them launching TIE Fighters for every chase. The ISDs themselves are gaining on the Falcon and the Tantive IV.

 

Yes the ISDs are large. They also have really big engines. Now we could argue that the Tantive IV may have been damaged before we even saw it on screen since the movie starts in medias res, which could be the reason that the Devastator is able to overtake it. Yet several times ISDs chase the Falcon. I think they should have good speed but poor handling. In ESB, the Falcon is able to outmaneuver them rather than outrun them.

Completely agree.  

 

This holds up in the (admittedly shaky) comparison to real world analogues too, where large ships on the open sea are quite capable of making good time.  A very quick google search gives a rough estimate of 35 knots for a destroyer, with small craft built for speed varying drastically based on water conditions (calm, choppy, etc.) from 50-80 knots but with a rough estimate of 25 knots of maintained speed in (5-7 foot) open sea.  So in the small craft's element it can easily dust off the destroyer, but out in the open water, it's a different story.

 

I think that, perhaps, there's a few in-galaxy reasonable explanations (as opposed to a rule of cool handwave, which is ultimately somewhat of a cop out) we can use to inform what we see in the films, cartoons, and novels:

 

First, scrambling TIEs takes time.  Rather than sit idly while the pilots get suited up, into their ships, warmed up, and scrambled...at which point they'd have to cover the whole distance themselves...it's very worthwhile for the ISD to give chase while the fighters are getting ready, covering what distance they can, even if they really are the slower ship and will never close on their own.

 

Second, we often see the ISDs use their turbolasers as they give chase.  These long range weapons mean that the destroyer doesn't necessarily have to catch the fleeing craft to hit it...and pursuit keeps their target within range of their main weapons far longer than sitting still.

 

Third, while the Empire certainly isn't afraid to throw waves and waves of TIEs away to achieve an objective, they're also not in the business of purposely shooting their own out of the sky.  Not scrambling fighters is an easy way to ensure that your gunners have a clear shot at the fleeing ship.

 

Fourth, just as with the real world example given above, there may be a bit of a balancing act at play here.  We know that ISDs generally don't do atmosphere.  Regardless of the details, we can safely infer from this that an ISD's performance suffers considerably (possibly even to the point of failure) in an atmospheric environment.  So as long as the target ship stays within atmosphere, it holds the advantage.  Unfortunately, that means they can't leave the planet.  So when they *do* leave, it's a race: can the ISD catch them before they make the jump to hyperspace.  

 

To do it they need two things: to be out of the planet's gravity well, and to get a course from their navicomputer/astromech.  Since the physics and technologies involved are well known, it would be reasonable to assume that an ISD has the capability, whether through a battle computer, sensors, or crew/leadership experience, to estimate the shortest distance from a planet that a jump can be made as well as a reasonable estimate of how long it will take to get coordinates for a jump to hyperspace.  They can use these two factors, once the target ship is spotted leaving the planet, to plot an intercept point and drive hard for it, in order to cut them off and disable the ship before it can make the jump.  In this light, the chases you see may not be as linear as they seem on film.

 

Add to this the variable of the other craft changing course, and the plot thickens considerably.  Their shortest path to achieving the first condition is a straight line: straight up from the surface, putting distance between them and the planet as fast as their sublight drives will allow.  This, however, is dead easy to predict and intercept, so the best option would be to detect the star destroyer's position as you're climbing, and plot a course at an angle away from the destroyer, in a direction where its orbital movement won't help it, that will maximize the distance it must travel to intercept, given the time it will take you to reach said point (since you're slower in atmosphere too).  At that point, it becomes very much a test of speed, skill, and timing, as the ISD will know exactly where you're headed, have the advantage of travelling at much faster sublight speeds compared to your ship's atmospheric speeds while you're climbing out of atmosphere, and any change of course you make will drastically cut into any advantage you may have held.

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It's not about outrunning the Star Destroyer, it's about out running it's guns.  It only really needs one hit to disable something important, before the TIEs catch up to you.

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I put my Speedless Space Combat on dropbox:

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/or9qvpw17l73zzc/SpeedlessSpaceCombat.pdf?dl=0

 

Useful critique welcome!

 

looking forward to reviewing this...

 

Well, don't get your hopes up :)  It's not ground breaking, it's very similar to what exists, uses all the same stats, but just takes Speed out of the equation.  It makes Handling the most important combat attribute.

 

I'm kind of viewing this as "Phase 1" of a vehicular revamp.  Phase 2 would be breaking down vehicles into components and redoing shields.

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Light freighters and starfighters running from ISDs don't run in a straight line, typically... they're evading like mad to keep all those capital-scale cannons from hitting them. It's a lot harder to outrun something going in a straight line while you're juking and rolling and so on.

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It's not about outrunning the Star Destroyer, it's about out running it's guns.

 

...which are attached to the Star Destroyer...last time I checked, yes?

 

Which are fairly long ranged.

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It's not about outrunning the Star Destroyer, it's about out running it's guns.

 

...which are attached to the Star Destroyer...last time I checked, yes?

 

Which are fairly long ranged.

 

That's completely irrelevant to the point of relative speed, though.  The range of the weapon isn't changing, and it's travelling at the same speed as the ship it's mounted upon, so the distinction is completely meaningless.  

 

It's like the stupid dad joke about, "it's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the bottom!  Ha-hyuk!"

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It's not about outrunning the Star Destroyer, it's about out running it's guns.

 

...which are attached to the Star Destroyer...last time I checked, yes?

 

Which are fairly long ranged.

 

That's completely irrelevant to the point of relative speed, though.  The range of the weapon isn't changing, and it's travelling at the same speed as the ship it's mounted upon, so the distinction is completely meaningless.  

 

It's like the stupid dad joke about, "it's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the bottom!  Ha-hyuk!"

 

It's not stupid, ask a skydiver.

 

And I don't laugh like that. its more of a Muttly snigger.

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I agree speed is odd, especially considering no speed is used at personal scale. I think it makes sense when your in difficult terrain where it upgrades the difficulty, but otherwise it's kind of a silly thing. A quick stop gap could be for every ship to have the same maximum speed, perhaps 4. Then the rate of acceleration becomes more important, and only expert crew or specially modified ships can go faster.

I put my Speedless Space Combat on dropbox:

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/or9qvpw17l73zzc/SpeedlessSpaceCombat.pdf?dl=0

 

Useful critique welcome!

"Never tell me the odds" is quite complex, I think I would need to run through that in a game to fully understand it. The rest seems quite reasonable.

I like the "sphere of influence" concept, it seems obvious, but for it to be written down helps a lot. I'm imagining the attack on

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It's not about outrunning the Star Destroyer, it's about out running it's guns.

 

...which are attached to the Star Destroyer...last time I checked, yes?

 

Which are fairly long ranged.

 

That's completely irrelevant to the point of relative speed, though.  The range of the weapon isn't changing, and it's travelling at the same speed as the ship it's mounted upon, so the distinction is completely meaningless.  

 

It's like the stupid dad joke about, "it's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the bottom!  Ha-hyuk!"

 

It's not stupid, ask a skydiver.

 

And I don't laugh like that. its more of a Muttly snigger.

 

Your love of awful jokes aside, it still doesn't lend much credence to the argument of "the ship doesn't matter, it's the guns!".  The ship giving chase and staying close is what allows the guns to continue to be effective.  I can't believe that's a difficult mental obstacle for some.

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I found this annoying with every version of SW RPG that's been released. In previous versions of the RPG I allowed capital ships an additional move action, my argument was it's space, there is little resistance and if a Star Destroyer (or other large ship) wants to go fast in a relative straight line, it can. Have you seen the size of it's sublight engines? Yeah a SD has a lot of mass, but some really big-ass engines to push it along and a lot of power, it just falters when it comes to rapidly changing direction (see the Falcon's evasions in ESB).

 

I haven't introduced the really big ships in an FFG SWRPG yet, but following my house rules in the past, I would allow it additional point or two of Speed for comparison on chase checks (but only on chase checks, not stuff like gain advantage actions).

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