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Rebelarch86

The space combat never worked for our group.

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I've seen and heard this enough that I thought I would give a quick share of how my group streamlined it and now absolutely love it.

First our complaint wasn't that it wasn't tactical. Our gripe was that it was cumbersome, clunky, and un-cinematic.

So we lightened it a lot. Continuing to read is not for the faint of heart. If you are tied to mechanics you will cringe and hunt us down.

A forward on our group: We are extremely hand wavy. Game books are just sources for settings and ideas. We loathe simulation and love narrative. We are all good at improv and all the GMs are facilitators. No one gets left behind, has their build nerfed, or loses viability when we look at a rule and go eh. If you make a character about navigation we are going to make sure navigating space is vital to the plot. All players get reasonable amounts of actions comparable to other players to which they can affect and resolve the plot. They must describe an action not state a mechanic. If there is a likelihood of failure a roll is made.

 

So this whole speed differences, changing speeds, moving up 1 range band, to lose 2, to adding gunk for every so many silhouettes, and constantly having to be aware of relative gunk to other relative gunk was not good for us.

Here is what we wanted and assumed:

  • A faster ship can get away if it wants to.
  • A slower ship can get away from a faster ship if it's clever enough.
  • Ships are in constant motion, lancing, and trading positions so that a ship can fire on his enemy's tail and receive return fire on that enemy's go bc that enemy has repositioned.
  • Weapons are tuned to their optimal range. Closer doesn't always mean easier when you consider tracking and munition type.
  • We were not going to track relative gunk to relative gunk, moving 1 and falling 2 every turn, dropping and climbing speed by 1.
  • Pilot skill should matter more, but
  • We stayed away from opposed rolls and resisted beefing handling since we found a stronger use for piloting skill affecting the combat.

Here are the rules we use:

  • The ship that has the advantage via Gain the Advantage chooses the range band
  • Attack difficulty is based on speed: Attacking a slower ship is easy, same is average, and faster is hard (based on relative movement if the action described calls for it, otherwise it's assumed you're going top speed) We are not tracking whether you are doing mach 1 or 2 when your ship goes to 5, bye gunky felicia, but if you tell a GM you're slowing down to avoid an obstacle or make a hard turn we will remember it on the next attack rolls because it was story driven and relevant.
  • Silhouettes are just fighter, frieghter, and capital with smaller ships gaining boost and giving out setbacks. This plays to our group being freeform. We know a star destroyer is much larger than a CR-90 so we give the boost/ set back but if either one is against a fighter we really don't need to split nut hairs.
  • If a pilot maintains Gta for 2 turns (spent strain for 2 maneuvers that were successful or the other pilot failed their check to gain the advantage and it comes back to the player again) it is not unreasonable for the player to describe a benefical situation, like being outside the opponents arc, under their guns, knew exactly which way they were going to break, chooses where the shot hits.
  • Fighters make attacks with pilot skill since they are pointing with their ship. But blah blah gives them more concentrated xp. XP sinks aren't problem solvers, players and GMs are. Give the starfighter pilot 2 less xp if you want.
  • We adopted the snap roll with the added caveat that using it strips advantage if you had it.
  • Capital Ships don't target fighters. They shoot barrages that create obstacles which trigger pilot checks. Failed pilot checks could mean averting course, losing advantage, getting hit. Depends on the scene being described.

Boost dice are amazing! They are the best friend for conceptual role playing. They mean we don't have to track the gunk like speeds, but can add dice when the action calls for it. The tiefighter reminding us he is going max speed at close range against a slower frieghter so the frieghters guns don't track well is giving out hella set back dice and maintaing a function for that top speed. A wily pilot who slows down making for an easier target, then punching it to top speed next turn has a good chance of getting away, and provides a use for changing speeds. A bwing pilot making a case for his short range blasters having better tracking gives us opportunities to flavor different weapons without carrying extra mechanics from scene to scene. You can add boost and setback for ranges to maintain that function too.

 

If you are a conceptual, abstract, narrative first player, don't be scared to cut the fat. There are great space scenes in this system if you degunk it. I have seen many a group avoid space combat all together bc of the clunkiness, and that's ashame. Hope this gives some people brain storming ideas.

 

 

Edited by Rebelarch86

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I am going to preface this post with "I haven't read all of your OP".

 

It just got me thinking about how I really like the Genesys rules. More streamlined, less mechanical clunkyness, speed, range and piloting skill matter more now than before. I decided to just use those rules over the star wars ones.

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11 hours ago, Archlyte said:

I liked the way you guys used gain the advantage to have that ship determine the range. That's a cool idea.

Yeah it is. Though that is what in the system imho a piloting check can already do … you just start a chase scene. 

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Preface by saying I too am not the biggest fan of space combat rules, but I have found that if there is at least one other player that truly understands the rules at the table makes a huge difference in how the encounter works out. 

I usually have him take care of speed and rangebands and I take care of the other rules and since we do it is a lot more manageable. 

I do prefer the rules as they are found in Genesys since they are a lot less complex but unfortunately I am not sure they would work with the current game and stats. 

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I had a post on this earlier, but the way we solved this in our group is to allow the 'gain the advantage' maneuver allow the ship holding the advantage determine their relative position to the target (including arc).  We then allow all relative movement to be handled using competitive checks between pilots, so an attempt to move 'closer' to a ship can be immediately countered by beating the pilot with a competitive check (and maintaining the distance), similar to a chase scene but on a move attempt by move attempt basis.  

 

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3 hours ago, DanteRotterdam said:

I do prefer the rules as they are found in Genesys since they are a lot less complex but unfortunately I am not sure they would work with the current game and stats. 

Have you figured out how to handle the mandatory movement of up to 6 range bands per turn? ;-)

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3 hours ago, 2P51 said:

I don't really agree with speed setting Difficulty, range is more appropriate.  Never liked the silhouette thing in SW.

As with all this stuff, it's how it makes sense in the theater of your mind. Speed makes sense for us, bc even at our current tech level, air combat happens at 1 mile away and targeting is done by computer tracking. A closer target isn't always easier to hit bc it may be moving through a vector at higher velocity while it is closer to your center point.

 

We assume the weapon range long has tracking perfectly adequate to hit at that range band. And again we are very hand wavy, so we have thrown in boost dice when a ship is closer and not moving faster, as well as set back vs a ship at engaged  that is also going faster to mimic a stragetgy of being under their guns.

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21 hours ago, GroggyGolem said:

I am going to preface this post with "I haven't read all of your OP".

 

It just got me thinking about how I really like the Genesys rules. More streamlined, less mechanical clunkyness, speed, range and piloting skill matter more now than before. I decided to just use those rules over the star wars ones.

I haven't seen genesis yet. I am excited for it, but have a long backlog.

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On 1/25/2018 at 9:55 AM, Rebelarch86 said:

I've seen and heard this enough that I thought I would give a quick share of how my group streamlined it and now absolutely love it.

First our complaint wasn't that it wasn't tactical. Our gripe was that it was cumbersome, clunky, and un-cinematic.

So we lightened it a lot. Continuing to read is not for the faint of heart. If you are tied to mechanics you will cringe and hunt us down.

A forward on our group: We are extremely hand wavy. Game books are just sources for settings and ideas. We loathe simulation and love narrative. We are all good at improv and all the GMs are facilitators. No one gets left behind, has their build nerfed, or loses viability when we look at a rule and go eh. If you make a character about navigation we are going to make sure navigating space is vital to the plot. All players get reasonable amounts of actions comparable to other players to which they can affect and resolve the plot. They must describe an action not state a mechanic. If there is a likelihood of failure a roll is made.

 

So this whole speed differences, changing speeds, moving up 1 range band, to lose 2, to adding gunk for every so many silhouettes, and constantly having to be aware of relative gunk to other relative gunk was not good for us.

Here is what we wanted and assumed:

  • A faster ship can get away if it wants to.
  • A slower ship can get away from a faster ship if it's clever enough.
  • Ships are in constant motion, lancing, and trading positions so that a ship can fire on his enemy's tail and receive return fire on that enemy's go bc that enemy has repositioned.
  • Weapons are tuned to their optimal range. Closer doesn't always mean easier when you consider tracking and munition type.
  • We were not going to track relative gunk to relative gunk, moving 1 and falling 2 every turn, dropping and climbing speed by 1.
  • Pilot skill should matter more, but
  • We stayed away from opposed rolls and resisted beefing handling since we found a stronger use for piloting skill affecting the combat.

Here are the rules we use:

  • The ship that has the advantage via Gain the Advantage chooses the range band
  • Attack difficulty is based on speed: Attacking a slower ship is easy, same is average, and faster is hard (based on relative movement if the action described calls for it, otherwise it's assumed you're going top speed) We are not tracking whether you are doing mach 1 or 2 when your ship goes to 5, bye gunky felicia, but if you tell a GM you're slowing down to avoid an obstacle or make a hard turn we will remember it on the next attack rolls because it was story driven and relevant.
  • Silhouettes are just fighter, frieghter, and capital with smaller ships gaining boost and giving out setbacks. This plays to our group being freeform. We know a star destroyer is much larger than a CR-90 so we give the boost/ set back but if either one is against a fighter we really don't need to split nut hairs.
  • If a pilot maintains Gta for 2 turns (spent strain for 2 maneuvers that were successful or the other pilot failed their check to gain the advantage and it comes back to the player again) it is not unreasonable for the player to describe a benefical situation, like being outside the opponents arc, under their guns, knew exactly which way they were going to break, chooses where the shot hits.
  • Fighters make attacks with pilot skill since they are pointing with their ship. But blah blah gives them more concentrated xp. XP sinks aren't problem solvers, players and GMs are. Give the starfighter pilot 2 less xp if you want.
  • We adopted the snap roll with the added caveat that using it strips advantage if you had it.
  • Capital Ships don't target fighters. They shoot barrages that create obstacles which trigger pilot checks. Failed pilot checks could mean averting course, losing advantage, getting hit. Depends on the scene being described.

Boost dice are amazing! They are the best friend for conceptual role playing. They mean we don't have to track the gunk like speeds, but can add dice when the action calls for it. The tiefighter reminding us he is going max speed at close range against a slower frieghter so the frieghters guns don't track well is giving out hella set back dice and maintaing a function for that top speed. A wily pilot who slows down making for an easier target, then punching it to top speed next turn has a good chance of getting away, and provides a use for changing speeds. A bwing pilot making a case for his short range blasters having better tracking gives us opportunities to flavor different weapons without carrying extra mechanics from scene to scene. You can add boost and setback for ranges to maintain that function too.

 

If you are a conceptual, abstract, narrative first player, don't be scared to cut the fat. There are great space scenes in this system if you degunk it. I have seen many a group avoid space combat all together bc of the clunkiness, and that's ashame. Hope this gives some people brain storming ideas.

 

 

Lots of good ideas there

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On 1/25/2018 at 8:47 PM, Archlyte said:

I liked the way you guys used gain the advantage to have that ship determine the range. That's a cool idea.

That's the part I didn't like,  I figured it meant you were on someone's tail too close for them to shake you

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2 hours ago, EliasWindrider said:

That's the part I didn't like,  I figured it meant you were on someone's tail too close for them to shake you

Well it just seemed to make sense to me that they guy who had successfully used that maneuver had been able to determine the Range of the two ships. I thought it also meant that if you were defensive ouy could go for a farther range situation (within reason I assume), which gave it more utility. Maybe I was just not understanding though. 

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4 hours ago, Genuine said:

I might bring this to our party. If our GM tries to start a space encounter we've started just using Narrow escape to move things along.

Hope you do! Sad news about the narrow escape to skip space combat in a Star Wars setting. Our group used to do the same thing until we settled in this guideline.

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