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Bomber/Fighter speeds?

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Does anyone else think the statted values in BFK could use some work?

 

Human Bomber Speed 6VUs - can operate for 6 turns

 

Human Interceptor Speed 10VUs - can operate for 4 turns

 

As it stands bombers struggle to catch up with a cruiser before they have to return to base.

 

Unless you start the ship to ship encounter right next to each other (which should be unlikely) you are going to struggle to get bombers to a target who doesn't wait around for them.

 

An additional problem with the current speeds is that you have to bring the carriers in close or you will lose squadrons who literally run out of fuel/oxygen trying to return to base and that's not how carriers should be used.

 

It gets worse when your fighters escort bombers since they now move at speed 6 but still only have 4 turns before they run out of air.

 

Personally I have never seen any sci fi where fighters and bombers were so slow relative to the big ships - it seems a bit out of whack?

 

Has everyone houserule'd this or do you start ship encounters right next to each other?

 

 

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Simple fix I did was remove the maximum time they can spend out of the carrier. Lorewise the reason for that is that fighters and bombers are described as being self-contained craft equipped with life support, food, crew quarters, etc.

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The relative speeds are weird too though.

 

A lot of this stuff is based on WW1/2 - in WW2 a frigate could do around 20 knots where a bomber would exceed 200knots - if we carry that over to RT we would have bombers moving at 90VU. 

 

No ship could simply outpace a bomber - they could either try to hide or try to shoot them down.

 

In WW2 carriers engaged other ships from incredible distances with bombers flying for hours (sometimes ditching their depleted planes after their bombing run).

 

I guess the reason we don't get this in our rules is that they are based on the minifigs game and the distances involved would not fit on a table?

 

No real need to limit an rpg to such rules though.

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It would change the style of the game completely I think. 

 

Maybe just assume that because they are such small vessels they can't fight enough fuel/powerful engines on such small ships?

 

I think they wanted the fighting style to be more 18th century ship of the line.

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This is one of those situations where a direct translation made a mess: the official void combat system is a d100 port of Battlefleet Gothic, and while good for what it is, several things got missed on the first pass. in BFG, there is a separate ordinance phase after the standard movement phase for each player-strike craft, mines and torpedoes move then, after the big ships-and move in both ordinance phases, making them about twice as fast on average. in BFG, standard fighters move 30cm and bombers 20cm, while 'average' escorts move 25-30cm and capital ships 20-25cm. Since strike craft get to piggyback their carrier then double move, most big ships would have to go all ahead full to match speed-and most cannot keep pace with fighters even at maximum engine burn. As for endurance, that is represented in BFG by putting launch limits in place; you cannot just dump strike craft every turn until you swarm your enemy-ones that expend fuel and munitions get recalled and replaced by fresh squadrons. In that respect, the rules are mostly OK, since the expectation is a ship commander cycling through 3 sets of squadrons rather than have the same squadron out for 10 turns waiting to make an attack run.

 

Basically, the big problem was not accounting for the movement rates in BFG, which is fairly sound. Simple answer is double the VU speed and call it done; removing flight time limits is unrealistic, and most ships that are not Eldar or Necron should have to turn tail and burn AAF to outrun strikecraft they cannot deal with. Most any big ship that tries to outmaneuver a carrier or make a fighting retreat should get easily run down by bombers/assault boats moving half-again to twice as fast.

Edited by ViperMagnum357

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Removing flight time limits is unrealistic, and yet Furies havd onboard Plasma Reactors, crew quarters and can be used to perform weeks-long sweeps? An arbitrary 2 hour engagement time limit is what sounds unrealistic to me.

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I have touched on this problem in a previous post although oddly enough I can't find it. The problem is indeed the deletion of the second attack craft turn, which is taken at the end of the enemies turn in BFG, effectively giving attack craft two moves for every single ship move. This applies as well to torpedoes, by the way, which suffer from the same speed problem and cannot hope to overtake a fast raider in the raw rules.

My solution to this problem is twofold. If there are only two sides in the fight, just use BFG rules and move side A's attack craft and torpedoes again after side B moved its ship and attack craft( so you get a actions of Ship A; Craft A; Ship B; Craft B; Craft A; Ship A; Craft A; Craft B; Ship B; Craft B; craft A and on and one and on...) or if I wish utter simplicity/there are more sides in the game I just end each turn with an additional attack craft/torpedo turn. This last solution has one great disadvantage in that it gives a huge advantage at the last ship to move if it fires torpedoes, doubling their direct range.

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I'm wondering if a small part of it was simply trying to make the rules seem kind of crap. Material in these books tries to convince us that the Imperial Navy doesn't actually like fighters/bombers, thinking of them as just another useless, limited-ammunition ordnance, where the "carriers" are wasting space on docking bays, where other big guns could be allocated. Add to that the scale of a 40K ship, even the "smaller class" ones, and it starts to look like even these Millennium Falcon-sized "fighters" won't be packing enough punch to damage a miles-long voidship. Sure, they can say they skipped the rules in the first book, to save space, but part of it does seem to be fluff, too. If the rules look silly, you might be less likely to use them, like the Navy.

 

Granted, people here, and Mathhammer, will show that, in certain uses, carrier vessels can be ungodly, so they can be a good system to use, but it's sort of hard to give the players the feeling of being in on it, since fighters blow up so easily, that they just feel like another gun, so you might as well have another gun. Also, if they DO work so well, and they can, then what is the Navy's actual reasoning, beyond they are stupid? Don't know, but it helps to make them look correct. Of course, I am a big carrier fan, so I'll hope you can soldier through, and find a good way to make them work, for you.

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In point of fact, strike craft do not have reactors, relying on fuel not too different from a Chimera or Leman Russ-so flight duration is a real concern. Strike craft, though expensive by the standards of say, the reckoning of a ground commander who could get a company of tanks for the same resource investment; are functionally ammunition to the concern of a fleet officer who might only see a serious engagement once every few years and expect to be restocked regularly. Strikecraft are literally referred to as 'ordinance', the same call sign for torpedoes and mines. And when you get right down to it, the attitude makes sense due to the limitations of standard imperial tech. A whole squadron can get blown away by one lucky salvo from the defensive battery on a single Cobra destroyer, and bombers/assault boats have to fly into turret crossfire with 50/50 survival odds without fighter cover or a torpedo spread to draw fire; or perhaps a bit better with it-instead those fighters drawing fire and getting shot up. In naval combat, even a single escort or capital ship can destroy swathes of strikecraft easily without a more pressing target, and strikecraft large enough to do appreciable damage severely limit squadron size and reserves. End of the day, the same old imperial reasoning-logistics, with strikecraft having the naval survival equivalent of a guardsmen with a lasgun.

 

If you look at which forces get equipped with reactors, you have power armor with basic fission stacks because nothing else will provide sufficient power; fusion reactors for titans, ordinatus and other Mechanicus toys that require their constant supervision, and everything else runs on fuel so an enginseer is not required to keep each one running. The long duration strike craft like the Faustus are specifically kitted as such, and are not representative of the basic models sent on attack runs.

Edited by ViperMagnum357

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According to BFK the fighters and bombers are both equipped with crew quarters so even if they use fuel its clear they aren't going to run out in a few hours which makes the current 2 hour and 3 hour limits look very odd indeed.

 

"Like the Fury interceptor that often accompanies it, the Starhawk (bomber) has cramped living quarters that allow
these spacecraft to be used for extended assignments" BFK Page 140

 

The very weirdest thing though that really makes me shake my head is that they made these things with reinforced hulls to protect the pilots - its not very grim dark of them - I thought the imperium design philosophy was shoddy but functional with no worries about safety because life is cheap?

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Also, if they DO work so well, and they can, then what is the Navy's actual reasoning, beyond they are stupid?

 

I think again its modelled on WW2 - aircraft carriers were originally not favoured compared to battleships but attacks like Pearl Harbour slowly changed views.

 

In the WH40K realm the Imperium (which is incredibly conservative) simply sees no need to change and regards building dedicated carriers as a waste of resources.

 

Additionally because they have few carriers they don't have the logistic chain to supply them with the necessary replacement craft which just reinforces their uselessness in the eyes of the fleet. It will probably take a number of heavy defeats by carrier armed opposition before they will even begin to re-consider.

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The fuel limits represent combat speed, with weapons charged and everything dialed up to full power. In one of the Soul Drinkers novels, there is a flight of interceptors on picket duty, running low power for days on end-with the expectation they would only be able to move to engagement readiness for a couple of hours before exhausting fuel. In a standard engagement where a small craft was unable to return to the carrier due to battle damage, either adrift or a damaged hanger, the craft is supposed to sustain itself for several days until return or rescue in possible. Keep in mind the aftermath of a major engagement can last several days, as stragglers are run down or chased off, damaged ships are brought under control, enemy ships are boarded or hulked, saviour pods located, and the present danger of leftover enemies returning for a parting shot at damaged craft. It would be ridiculous for strikecraft not to be sustainable for a week or more on their own. There are even a couple of scenarios in BFG that allow an ambusher to have strikecraft deployed already before the engagement, lying in wait for days while the fleets maneuver before engaging.

 

As for fleet carrier tactics-there is an in-universe explanation, the Gareox Prerogative, which was an M36 initiative to focus exclusively on strikecraft, taking cues from successful pirate hunts. It escalated into an open conflict where traditional big gun ships destroyed the carrier based fleets in a short civil war, settling the matter in the most Imperial way possible.

Edited by ViperMagnum357

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You got a source for them not using onboard reactors? Because according to the wiki page and the Imperial Armor books on Navy aircraft most if not all Starfighters and their ilk, aka Furies, Starhawks, and Sharks, use either a large fusion plasma engine or equivalent powerplant. This makes sense considering their size at around 40-60m in length and the thrust necessary to feasibly keep up with larger spacecraft.

 

As to the Soul Drinkers novels, all fan-fiction which the Black Library books inevitably are is colored by the subjective opinion of the author and really shouldn't be used as any sort of reference for canon.

Furthermore in BFG there was no limit to how long starfighters could stay on the field, they kept going until they performed an attack run or were destroyed, simple as that. This limit feels arbitrary and pointless in the context of the game and only serves to limit the creative use of strike craft.
 

 

The very weirdest thing though that really makes me shake my head is that they made these things with reinforced hulls to protect the pilots - its not very grim dark of them - I thought the imperium design philosophy was shoddy but functional with no worries about safety because life is cheap?

 

Imperial designs are not shoddy friend, wherever did you get that idea. The Imperium in fact places great emphasis on protection for all its standardized vehicles.
Look at the Leman Russ, its front armour is equivalent to that on a Land Raider, or the Chimera that has the front armor of a Light Tank. Not to mention the other Imperial Navy craft like the Valkyrie or Thunderbolt fighters that are extremely sturdy and robustly built for their size. The game even acknowledges this durability in the special rule for Imperial strike craft which is literally called Durable.

Edit:
I should also add that in the Basic Rules of BFG strike craft and other ordnance was only moved during the Ordnance Phase, as only ships are moved in the Movement Phase.
 

Edited by SCKoNi

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In BFG, a full game lasts 5-7 turns, so the endurance is a rough match, if a bit on the low side. The BFG rulebook, first section on ordinance flat out states that no strike craft has the means to operate independently at combat speed, and have to both rearm and refuel after a run-also a balancing mechanic for why you cannot start with strikecraft already launched unless you have the time to lay a trap. Navy Strikecraft use plasma thrusters, not substantially different than contemporary afterburners in function-burning liquid fuel for thrust, rather than a reactor. Smaller craft, like the Thunderbolt, Lightning, and Marauder that get used in ground operations only, instead use afterburning turbofans, also fuel hogs. Granted, there is nothing stopping you from putting a reactor in one, and the 'variable' entry in powerplant suggests this may happen, but that is very a expensive investment in something you can reasonably expect to get blown up. And unlike a slagged Titan or trashed Superheavy tank, odds are good there will be little or nothing to find and salvage afterwards. And FYI, so far we have not got the full technical specs on strikecraft anywhere-after looking through my copies of IA, I was surprised at how little info we get for technical specs in general.

Edited by ViperMagnum357

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A part of "at the end of enemy turn" thing is initiative - they get to adjust to that enemy's move.

Other than this, yeah, sketchy, and one-number Craft Rating is a joke.

Maybe small craft needs [armor rating] and according to their loadout, attack rating for weapons generalised as long/medium/range + number of salvoes? This means interceptors can take potshot with impunity using only missiles at long range, or press it and have another shot, but catch some return fire.

This also allows to have squadrons of those heavy guncutters as flying turrets or assault boats.

In cases of power fields or holo-fields on small craft, they have [shield rating] chance of negating each "hit" - holo-fields should have frustratingly good base value, but halve it for weapons with full auto or spread (Rak'Gol flechette cannons), and be generally useless against weapons that are both rapid-fire and wide area (i.e. flak turrets). Maybe even discard overload chance for fields, since usually there's an engineer on board to handle this.

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