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splad

The problems starship combat

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While the ground combat is ok for me. I find the star ship mechanics terrible. 1 turn can take a while and that is not in my mind in line with the cinematic star wars experience and their seems a set couple of talents that are used to try to make your character competent in space combat. If you are against multiple foes don't expect to fly like Poe Dameron. So what can be done to make the system work and hopefully more likable.

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Actually, the core book (at least Age of Rebellion) suggests how to play out a "That's one **** of a pilot!" scene. The Tie Fighter Pilots are Minions, so you could easily have a bunch of Tie Fighters fly as a Minion Group. A pilot with skills on the level of Poe Dameron (the best pilot in the Resistance) could the Gain the Advantage on the whole Minion Group and blast them to bits in one round (if he's very good, that is). :)

 

 

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Well the Tie has 6 HT and 2 Armor. 

X-wing Canons du 6 Damage + Success and are Linked 3.

So you just need 2 Successes and enough advantage Triumph to trigger Linked to kill four Ties (or mabye use crits to kill minions).

It is still not as much as Poe, but more then Luke, Wedge and Biggs shot down on scene.:D

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On 8/19/2017 at 9:31 PM, splad said:

While the ground combat is ok for me. I find the star ship mechanics terrible. 1 turn can take a while and that is not in my mind in line with the cinematic star wars experience and their seems a set couple of talents that are used to try to make your character competent in space combat. If you are against multiple foes don't expect to fly like Poe Dameron. So what can be done to make the system work and hopefully more likable.

If you step back and look Starship combat is personal scale combat with a couple add ons...
And you can fly like Poe Dameron if the GM sets the combat up right.

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1 hour ago, Daeglan said:

If you step back and look Starship combat is personal scale combat with a couple add ons...
And you can fly like Poe Dameron if the GM sets the combat up right.

It's not really the same since the whole group often shares a single threshold and set of critical hits that determines when they are all out of the fight. In personal combat, it's not unusual to have a character or two go down (and then get brought back with stimpacks or other means) while the rest keep on acting. The default model of the whole group sharing a single ship makes this model fail when starships are concerned. It also doesn't help that single-person vehicles are proportionately much more fragile than characters. Nobody in personal combat ever has a WT of 6, but many speeders and some starfighters do.

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I'm not missing anything. The dice rolling mechanics are the same, but it doesn't actually play the same way. If all the PCs shared a common WT and ST and only one of them could move (but the rest got dragged along) it might play out like a fight with the players in a light freighter. Optionally, to emulate starfighter combat, make sure every badguy is using a linked weapon that can drop most PCs with a single roll that produces 1 success + 2 advantage (on Linked).

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I haven't had any problems with star ship combat. Kind of. Only problem is that PC pilot is too much like Poe Dameron (but pacifistic). He escaped group of TIE fighters with Wayfarer...

32 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

I'm not missing anything. The dice rolling mechanics are the same, but it doesn't actually play the same way. If all the PCs shared a common WT and ST and only one of them could move (but the rest got dragged along) it might play out like a fight with the players in a light freighter. Optionally, to emulate starfighter combat, make sure every badguy is using a linked weapon that can drop most PCs with a single roll that produces 1 success + 2 advantage (on Linked).

That (single WT/ST) is kind of unavoidable when PCs share a ship. (To be honest, star ship combat is my least favorite part of this system.)

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1 hour ago, kkuja said:

That (single WT/ST) is kind of unavoidable when PCs share a ship. (To be honest, star ship combat is my least favorite part of this system.)

The effect it has is to make such combats all-or-nothing, where the bad guys can't get in very many hits or the scene becomes a total loss. This contrasts significantly from personal combat with five PCs, as we've had characters downed and recovered in an encounter. This is actually another point--there's no fast patch equivalent to stimpacks for starships to keep a damaged ship in the fight. Damage control can only repair a small amount of HT once per encounter, and that's regardless of whether the ship is small or huge (which makes no sense).

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On ‎20‎/‎08‎/‎2017 at 3:31 AM, splad said:

While the ground combat is ok for me. I find the star ship mechanics terrible

To each their own. I find the space combat quite acceptable, but I know a lot of people have issues.

On ‎20‎/‎08‎/‎2017 at 3:31 AM, splad said:

1 turn can take a while and that is not in my mind in line with the cinematic star wars experience

Now that one surprises me. Space combat is not, in my experience, detectably slower than ground combat (after all, it's the same rules).

A key thing to remember is that a 'turn' is more than a few seconds - it's enough time to pull a couple of high-G manoeuvres (or not, in the case of Stay On Target) and snap off a reasonable burst from your fighter's guns.

Getting the 'narrative mindset' where, for example, you're always moving (because fighter) but not actually doing move actions unless you're trying to do something specific (fly to XYZ position in space/relative to other ship A) other than just 'participating in the dogfight' feels odd, but does work.

On ‎20‎/‎08‎/‎2017 at 3:31 AM, splad said:

their seems a set couple of talents that are used to try to make your character competent in space combat.

There are quite a few talents for space combat - most 'pilot-ey' specialisations have at least one or two. But yes, being 'good' at space combat (just like any other field) generally requires talents and skills.

Defensive Driving and Tricky Target are the big two for making you tougher, but there are plenty of gunnery, piloting, and general purpose talents that matter.

On ‎20‎/‎08‎/‎2017 at 3:31 AM, splad said:

If you are against multiple foes don't expect to fly like Poe Dameron. So what can be done to make the system work and hopefully more likable.

If you want to be Poe Dameron, you can be. But, I would suggest, you shouldn't expect to be Poe Dameron with a 100XP starting character, anymore than you should expect to be Anakin Skywalker in a lightsaber fight with a starting character in Force & Destiny. Poe Dameron/Soontir Fel/equivalent are serious nemesis-level characters of the kind you should expect to be taking on the entire group of PCs and giving them a fair fight.

Ultimately, a starting player with an Ace career is not Luke Skywalker or Wedge Antilles. They're competent, but just competent - They're the Tarn Misons and Hobbie Klivians.

If you really want them to be more impressive, then the obvious one is to give them more XP to spend!

Force & Destiny includes rules for what it calls 'knight-level play', which hands out a big whack of extra XP to allow players a decent chunk of their talent tree from day one. Throwing this in will let your prospective rogue squadron players have enough of the talents to really distinguish themselves from their peers (and their opponents).

Secondly, never - or almost never - have 'just a dogfight'. The players are invariably doing something (or trying to stop something happening) and doing it somewhere. If someone played through ground combat by having their players facing off against a parade of cardboard cutout stormtroopers at medium range in an empty room with no cover, it'd be boring. Which is why I find it weird that the same people expect to find taking on a parade of  cardboard cutout TIE fighters in an empty cubic volume of space interesting.

Always have 'background terrain'. Stay On Target includes Threat/Advantage tables for dogfights in debris/asteroid fields, dustclouds/ion storms and within huge battles. Furthermore, adding terrain adds background effects like setback dice to attacks and piloting checks - which has three good effects: firstly, it makes better pilots better generally (because the better your dice pool, the less proportionately important a black die has), secondly it makes everyone a touch tougher (because black dice are good at cutting down advantage which helps reign in the Linked trait, a common compliant about the system) and thirdly it makes talents like Skilled Jockey (which most piloting specs can buy for cheap) actually matter - an ability to ignore setback dice on piloting checks is irrelevant if you're not setting the game in circumstances which add them on a regular basis.

On ‎20‎/‎08‎/‎2017 at 9:04 AM, Ilderfant said:

Tie Fighter Pilots are Minions, so you could easily have a bunch of Tie Fighters fly as a Minion Group. A pilot with skills on the level of Poe Dameron (the best pilot in the Resistance) could the Gain the Advantage on the whole Minion Group and blast them to bits in one round (if he's very good, that is).

Very much so. Generic TIE pilots are definitely minions - this means less dice rolling (due to only making one skill check for a group, easier to track kills (because it's just hit points), faster to kill (strain causes damage, any critical is an instant kill, and linked can chain through the entire minion group), whilst still being a potentially dangerous opponent.

A really good ace in an X-wing with an astromech can probably take on a trio of three-ship TIE fighter groups and kill the lot of them in short order.

6 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

It's not really the same since the whole group often shares a single threshold and set of critical hits that determines when they are all out of the fight.

True, but that's the "group in a patrol boat or freighter' model, which generally means that whilst they share a single hit threshold, it's generally a fairly decent one.

6 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

It also doesn't help that single-person vehicles are proportionately much more fragile than characters. Nobody in personal combat ever has a WT of 6, but many speeders and some starfighters do.

Yeah - I would be hesitant to do a 'speeder dogfight' as anything other than a chase, because speeders and speeder bikes are really made of wafers. Again, without terrain to make incoming fire less scary, you can lose a bike very fast (which is correct to what you see in Endor, but kind of painful for the dude on the bike at the time!).

An X-wing or equivalent tends to be around the 10 mark for thresholds, which could be worse (which I admit is not the same as 'good').

4 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

Optionally, to emulate starfighter combat, make sure every badguy is using a linked weapon that can drop most PCs with a single roll that produces 1 success + 2 advantage (on Linked).

Yup; pretty much. To be honest, the "past trauma threshold, your ship is disabled" is the one thing I'd generally ignore - you want to keep fighting (and potentially blow up!) then fine. Unmatched survivability actually lets you do that as a default ability, I think.

Still, the key tends to be that getting 1 success and 2 advantage with a minion group isn't that easy. Firstly, if you're planning on using a group of 4 TIEs in a minion group, that's a scary opponent and your players should justifiably be worried about it. a pair of minions seems a touch less powerful.

that's GGYPP plus setbacks, boosts and difficulty upgrades. If both sides are doing evasive maneuvers, then GGYRR.

That gives the pair of TIE fighters about a 1/8 chance of landing a hit with 1 success with 2 advantage - which is 2 7-damage hits, with soak applied separately to each.....which, whilst it should leave an X-wing pilot feeling distinctly uncomfortable, does not take him out.

And that's ignoring any other setback dice or difficulty upgrades thrown out there; a fighter pilot who knows what he's doing has probably got deflectors shunted double front (2 more black dice), and will have attacked first with some advantage to throw into making himself a harder target (maybe a third black die) plus his talents (in an effectively Silouhette 2 jammer-equipped A-wing, Tricky Target makes it a 3-dice difficulty), plus any setbacks for the environment....the attack roll can get pretty hard fairly quickly.

 

2 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

The effect it has is to make such combats all-or-nothing, where the bad guys can't get in very many hits or the scene becomes a total loss.

Agreed. But that, to me, is very much the dogfight 'feel' - you can't get out and fix your ship mid-dogfight.

for a large ship with potentially a dedicated mechanic, I agree there's some mileage to better hull trauma recovery (indeed, I'm surprised a talent along the lines of "you may attempt damage control X times per combat encounter" hasn't popped up in one of the mechanic specs yet).

 

2 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

This is actually another point--there's no fast patch equivalent to stimpacks for starships to keep a damaged ship in the fight. Damage control can only repair a small amount of HT once per encounter, and that's regardless of whether the ship is small or huge (which makes no sense).

The closest I can see is Hold Together!, which does this pretty well - converting Hull Trauma to System Strain, which is a lot easier to recover both after the fight and during it. For double bonus, look at the E-wing/R7 Astromech/Hotshot combination in  Stay On Target - the E-wing has a slightly higher hull trauma threshold than a basic X-wing (14) but more importantly, an R7 in the astromech slot gives you Hold Together!, which lets you dump an attack's damage into system strain - which the Hotshot's High-G training can then leech off into personal strain. By flinging the ship into some seriously ridiculous maneuvers, the E-wing becomes remarkably hard to put down for its basic stats.

 

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6 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

I'm not missing anything. The dice rolling mechanics are the same, but it doesn't actually play the same way. If all the PCs shared a common WT and ST and only one of them could move (but the rest got dragged along) it might play out like a fight with the players in a light freighter. Optionally, to emulate starfighter combat, make sure every badguy is using a linked weapon that can drop most PCs with a single roll that produces 1 success + 2 advantage (on Linked).

It doesn't play the same way because you are treating it differently. It is literally the same rules as personal combat with a couple addons. But if you are effectively putting the players in an empty room you are going to have problems. You need terrain. You need to be using minions. Exceeding hull threshold is not boom. Emergency repair patches are stim packs. A mechanic can recover a lot of wounds if they use a repair patch. 

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6 hours ago, Daeglan said:

It doesn't play the same way because you are treating it differently. It is literally the same rules as personal combat with a couple addons. But if you are effectively putting the players in an empty room you are going to have problems. You need terrain. You need to be using minions. Exceeding hull threshold is not boom. Emergency repair patches are stim packs. A mechanic can recover a lot of wounds if they use a repair patch. 

Reread those patches. They do not do what you think they do. Ships are not droids per the rules.

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6 hours ago, Daeglan said:

It doesn't play the same way because you are treating it differently. It is literally the same rules as personal combat with a couple addons. But if you are effectively putting the players in an empty room you are going to have problems. You need terrain. You need to be using minions. Exceeding hull threshold is not boom. Emergency repair patches are stim packs. A mechanic can recover a lot of wounds if they use a repair patch. 

I repeat again: It's not terrain (which I use), it's not minions (which I use), it's the all-or-nothing of having the whole team sharing a single HTT/SST which may be smaller than a single PC is used to working with on their WT/ST in personal scale along with very limited options on restoring HT. And while exceeding that HTT isn't an automatic "boom," it does usually mean that the vessel is out of the scene, and any bad guy with a still operational craft can likely destroy it with ease should they wish to do so (and not every enemy is merciful).

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1 hour ago, HappyDaze said:

I repeat again: It's not terrain (which I use), it's not minions (which I use), it's the all-or-nothing of having the whole team sharing a single HTT/SST which may be smaller than a single PC is used to working with on their WT/ST in personal scale along with very limited options on restoring HT. And while exceeding that HTT isn't an automatic "boom," it does usually mean that the vessel is out of the scene, and any bad guy with a still operational craft can likely destroy it with ease should they wish to do so (and not every enemy is merciful).

1. not as limited as you think.  Emergency repair patches come to mind.
2. No it is not out of the scene. As the players can still do repairs.
Reread them again. Since the specifically mention being used on ships. The Age of Rebelion rules are more clear. But Edge specifically mentions vehicles. It is just droids that get the bulk of the rules. Second paragraph says item, VEHICLES, or droids. The Age of rebellion books description is better.

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It does mention patching holes in vehicles. However, whilst I'd love it to say so (and it'd balance up with personal scale well), it doesn't say repair patches remove hull trauma to vehicles, just heals wounds to droids.

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13 hours ago, Daeglan said:

2. No it is not out of the scene. As the players can still do repairs.

Man, I made the same distinction to you months ago. You ignored where I pointed out you were missing the practical spirit of the rules and just repeated your point like you're doing now. Since you're trying it on a regular who's been with the game for years I'll reiterate.

"Additionally, the ship's systems shut down, it reverts to emergency power, its sublight drive sputters out, and the ship is adrift. At this point, the ship is a near lifeless hulk, effectively out of combat, and is likely being evacuated."

Players can reenter combat with significant and dangerous penalties only after a Hard Mechanics check that's only possible "scavenging...parts from ruined systems, raid the hold for any spares, and bypassing damaged components."

So even if players are allowed to prep for the check in one round, they could fail the check. If reentering combat, their ship is highly at risk for reverting to the same inactive state, barring a catastrophic Critical.

It's a lousy place for players to be in at best, and easily a scene ender. That's the point being made as I read it, and pretty much the point of this thread.

 

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Effectively out of combat unless the bad guys are determined enough to want to finish you off. If so, they can leisurely keep pouring fire into your drifting hulk until the Critical Hits pile up enough for the ship to blow. Hope you made it to the escape pods...

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Yeah, space combat would work a lot better if most PCs were taken out by running out of System Strain- then running from a losing combat is just a matter of repairing yourself above the threshold and hitting jump (which on a multi person ship can be done in one turn), and you can feasibly be taken down in a combat you win and repair the ship afterwards. But then HT is serving the role of 'long-term resource that carries over between encounters' that criticals serve in personal-scale combat. 

Relying on Hold Together to do that isn't much of a fix though as it costs destiny points and is limited to specific ships or classes.

As it stands, this really harms any attempt to make interesting combats where the goal isn't "Kill all the bad guys" because if you get unlucky and your X-Wing is splatted in a single attack*, the party member now cannot jump to safety and is at best a prisoner of the Empire.

*X-wings have Armour 3, HT 10. Medium laser cannons have base damage 6. An attack roll with net 3 successes and 2 advantage is not hugely improbable, especially if the target isn't a great pilot.

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, wilsch said:

Man, I made the same distinction to you months ago. You ignored where I pointed out you were missing the practical spirit of the rules and just repeated your point like you're doing now. Since you're trying it on a regular who's been with the game for years I'll reiterate.

"Additionally, the ship's systems shut down, it reverts to emergency power, its sublight drive sputters out, and the ship is adrift. At this point, the ship is a near lifeless hulk, effectively out of combat, and is likely being evacuated."

Players can reenter combat with significant and dangerous penalties only after a Hard Mechanics check that's only possible "scavenging...parts from ruined systems, raid the hold for any spares, and bypassing damaged components."

So even if players are allowed to prep for the check in one round, they could fail the check. If reentering combat, their ship is highly at risk for reverting to the same inactive state, barring a catastrophic Critical.

It's a lousy place for players to be in at best, and easily a scene ender. That's the point being made as I read it, and pretty much the point of this thread.

 

And exactly how is different than personal scale where you can exceed your wound threshold be out of a fight and have a buddy do a medicine check to get you back into the fight? One of the problems I see is far too often people seem to think their options are fight to the death. The correct course of action would be to do the mechanics check and....RUN AWAY...Just like in personal scale you should do the medicine check and...RUN AWAY.  Dont reenter combat. That is dumb.

Edited by Daeglan

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1 hour ago, Daeglan said:

And exactly how is different than personal scale where you can exceed your wound threshold be out of a fight and have a buddy do a medicine check to get you back into the fight? One of the problems I see is far too often people seem to think their options are fight to the death. The correct course of action would be to do the mechanics check and....RUN AWAY...Just like in personal scale you should do the medicine check and...RUN AWAY.  Dont reenter combat. That is dumb.

Because after a Medicine check and a few stims you can go into the next encounter and still contribute. If mid-encounter the party wants to run away, they can jab you with a stim to get you on your feet and you can all book it.

After patching up your leaking ship, it is reduced to speed 1, handling -3, and cannot shoot. You can't contribute again until you reach a dry-dock. If mid-encounter the party wants to run away, you have to make that Hard mechanics check all on your own or you're left behind.

"Run from combats where you're outmatched before you get crippled then!" isn't a counterargument either, as a lucky TIE fighter shot can take down a pristine X-Wing. If you roll poorly on initiative you might not even get a chance to bug out before your ship is wrecked.

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17 minutes ago, Talkie Toaster said:

"Run from combats where you're outmatched before you get crippled then!" isn't a counterargument either, as a lucky TIE fighter shot can take down a pristine X-Wing. If you roll poorly on initiative you might not even get a chance to bug out before your ship is wrecked.

To be honest, this is how the movies worked.  Most fighters were destroyed in a single attack.  Wedge, Luke and Vader are the only 3 fighters (OT) that survived a hit without being destroyed.  All TIEs went down in a single hit.  The Falcon survived multiple hits, but has a much higher HT and Armor than most fighters.  

If you are concerned about survivability in vehicles, you have 3 real options:

1.  Get in a Sil 4 or higher vehicle.  With a minimum crew of Pilot, 1 gunner per gun, and mechanic. 

2.  Be a highly tricked out pilot (especially with the Rigger specs, those make fighters awesome).

3.  Lead a squadron of expendables.  

Or all 3.  Otherwise, you need to rewrite the combat rules from scratch.

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17 minutes ago, Edgookin said:

To be honest, this is how the movies worked.  Most fighters were destroyed in a single attack.  Wedge, Luke and Vader are the only 3 fighters (OT) that survived a hit without being destroyed.  All TIEs went down in a single hit.

True, but that doesn't mean it makes for a good game.  Even those old XWing vs TIE Fighter games gave you options and some chance of surviving multiple hits.  TIE minions should probably flame out on contact, but if everybody is that fragile it's hardly a good game experience.

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I'm a fan of giving the ships shield points.  Say 5 points per shield rating.  As those shields wear down so does the setback die.  That way once you start taking hull damage you can decide to bugger out or not.

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1 hour ago, whafrog said:

True, but that doesn't mean it makes for a good game.  Even those old XWing vs TIE Fighter games gave you options and some chance of surviving multiple hits.  TIE minions should probably flame out on contact, but if everybody is that fragile it's hardly a good game experience.

That beside the point of a good game experience the objective was to experience the 'Star Wars' experience and to give them anything else becomes a cousin of what as a group that is trying to be achieved IMO. If the argument for realism is given and I've seen it i remind this is a genre experience. Space combat is a terrifying group threat and the height of excitement. So often i have seen that pilots complain the lack of something to do is worrisome for the system. I think for chances of survive-ability in any scene is the gm giving good game balance in your opposition. The other would be opening up the stock choices for the pilot. If you look at even FFG's xwing game their is plenty of choices in how to fool your enemy in doing certain maneuvers and it is beyond me why that wasn't reflected in the rpg.

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