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PzVIE

An Imperial Turbolaser Battery and the Players' Ship

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Posted (edited)

I had the following situation in my game yesterday:

 

My players escaped in their Silhouette 4 ship from the Hangar of an Imperial Frigate and punched it, however, the Fregate's seven port turret-mounted turbolasers had a chance to fire. I looked through my NPC cards and found the Imperial Gunner, which - to my surprise - is a Minion (Agility 2, Gunnery 1 [as a group]).

So what a I did is, I divided the seven turbolasers into 3 groups (one with 3 and two with 2 lasers each) and fired, using YY for the first three lasers, and YG for the two other groups. 

Would you agree to that or would have fired each turbolaser alone? And would you have used that Minion Gunner with Agility 2? I mean, did he even visit the academy? 

 

Whatever. I then looked forward to a fine chase scene with a couple of TIE's on the heels of the player's ship. Oh well. My pilot (240 XP, Agility 5, 3 ranks in Piloting (Space)) had an easy time outrunning those little fighters and they made it to Hyperspace easily. I even threw stones in their way (disabled hyperdrive and navicomputer, had to get that online first, etc.) but instead of cinematic and tense, it was easy-peasy for them. Piece of cake really. With only 240 XP, my players slowly develop those superhero powers I disliked so much when I played D&D/Pathfinder ...

 

Edited by PzVIE
typo

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Agility 2/Gunnery 1 sounds reasonable for rank-and-file types. They're average people who are trained enough to be competent in the field, but they're not exceptional.

In that circumstance, though, I think I'd treat the turbolaser fire as an ambient hazard while they're dealing with the TIEs and fixing the ship - it comes into play as effects of threat and despair rather than being attacks as such. (This also allows a Triumph to remove a TIE in dramatic fashion...)


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Posted (edited)

Also 240 Exp with AGI 5 means he created with 4 and deep dived into the talent tree to get the 5th Point?

I encountered that a lot. you have two options:

1. Let them have their victory and let them celebrate that. Its about that they have their Star Wars moment. This Char shined and should be celebrated. Adjust some encounters which are different like: ECM attacks on the PCs ship. Let them have one or better two tracing device on their ships (classic :) )

 

2. Next Campaing ask them if they are fine to max their abilities only to 3. That will slow down deep specialization. 

 

Cheers! 

Edited by TheSlayer

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Thank you all for your answers! 

 

Two men manning a turbolaser turret, eh? Well, I have to look closer when I watch the movies next time! I wasn't aware of that. Thanks. :)

 

@TheSlayer: And yes, everyone in my group has it's main attribute at 5. I totally dig why Genesys made a cap here.  Your suggestion is an interesting proposal which I will likely pick up ... I guess making a cap at 4 seems reasonable. And, what I surely will do, is handing out much less XP in the next campaign. That way, adding a new talent box or inking a new skill box is much more valuable than having 20 XP to spend after each session. And it will deal with my superhero problem. At least, in the beginning ... 

 

About that Star Wars moments: I'm totally in for it, but I strongly want to create great scenes, not players slashing and firing through the scenes, unharmed, like Anakin through a battalion of clankers. IMHO, the job of a GM is to create such situations (combat, social, or otherwise), but still offer a challenge, so that the players can emerge as the heroes, but they should be aware that they are not supermen. I think it's the job of a GM to help to prevent player deaths (except if they act totally stupid), so I like to have them scratched and bruised, but victorious. 

 

@Garran: Your suggestion is - the way I see it - definitely more in the spirit of this particular game. Less hard rules, more action and narrative. However; I found out that - as much as I like the basic idea - I do struggle with that a lot. One one hand, combat is pretty hard ruled, with actions and maneuvers, strain and wounds, spending threats and advantages, and so on. On the other hand, I encounter a lot of situations where I totally miss rules! E.g., how long does it take for a ship to enter Hyperspace? I guess the correct answer to that is "as long as you like (watch those threats and advantages though), but it doesn't matter in the end as long as the narrative of the scene is tense and star-wars like". However, my players demand hard rules, they want to rely on something, so we created those.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I would've put all the gunners in a group.  That would've allowed me to get one of the stats above 4 and actually do SOMETHING.  With 7 gunners your ability is capped at 5, but then rolling GGGYY is way more effective than rolling GYY, YY, YY separately.  I'm assuming medium to long range at that point.

Don't be afraid to throw some hard punches at your party.  If they have a skilled mechanic they can probably do something to keep themselves running.  

Besides their ship would've been out of the Capital ships firing range in another turn anyways so no 'real' threat of danger.

Edited by sithlord78
Green dice, not purple...

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On 5/11/2019 at 6:00 AM, PzVIE said:

Whatever. I then looked forward to a fine chase scene with a couple of TIE's on the heels of the player's ship. Oh well. My pilot (240 XP, Agility 5, 3 ranks in Piloting (Space)) had an easy time outrunning those little fighters and they made it to Hyperspace easily. I even threw stones in their way (disabled hyperdrive and navicomputer, had to get that online first, etc.) but instead of cinematic and tense, it was easy-peasy for them. Piece of cake really. With only 240 XP, my players slowly develop those superhero powers I disliked so much when I played D&D/Pathfinder ...

The nature of the game. But YYYGG vs PP is only 89% to succeed. vs PPP is only 81%.  In THIS game, the dice percentages catch up to you eventually even when you roll 5 positive dice.  Nothing is a sure thing, nothing is a certain failure.  They'll fail a critical roll soon enough.  As the GM, you have far less control over the game than you did as D&D or PF.  The dice speak for themselves. 

Second point, agree with @TheSlayer.  Let the players enjoy their moment.  Let them do what they were built to do.  How much would it suck to make a pilot who isn't good at what he does?  Who wants to play a Han Solo who wrecks his ship on an asteroid?  Someone's going to make a burly Marauder/Mercenary, too, who can mow down minions a group at a time.  It is what they are built to do.  let the Wookiee have his way.  Let players play what they came to the table to play. 

What can you do to prevent that D&D/PF superhero crawl?  Well, have 'parts' where player get to exercise their BEST skills, but then have parts where they need to execute their secondary or non-career skills.  I start by making a list of such skills and weave them into the story.   For instance, getting into an underworld Galactic Space Race.  Sure, your pilot is likely going to win the piloting part, but what about Negotiating terms of the race?  Gaining a sponsor or entry into the race (Charm, Underworld)?  Knowing who to talk to (Streetwise)?  Knowing the territory (Kn: Core Worlds, O.Rim)?  Facing a faster ship?  Getting that info (Skulduggery, Deception)?   So....in the end, they get to use their best skills, but the other ones better come through, too, just to be able to get into the race. 

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29 minutes ago, sithlord78 said:

I would've put all the gunners in a group.  That would've allowed me to get one of the stats above 4 and actually do SOMETHING.  With 7 gunners your ability is capped at 5, but then rolling PPPYY is way more effective than rolling PYY, YY, YY separately.  I'm assuming medium to long range at that point.

Don't be afraid to throw some hard punches at your party.  If they have a skilled mechanic they can probably do something to keep themselves running.  

Besides their ship would've been out of the Capital ships firing range in another turn anyways so no 'real' threat of danger.

It's always sad when major symbols of power like capital ships are considered no real threat.

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19 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

It's always sad when major symbols of power like capital ships are considered no real threat.

Asymmetry.  Capital ships can't chase a starfighter, but a starfighter can't fight gun to gun against a capital ship. 

Not without a really nice GM...

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6 hours ago, PzVIE said:

Thank you all for your answers! 

 

Two men manning a turbolaser turret, eh? Well, I have to look closer when I watch the movies next time! I wasn't aware of that. Thanks. :)

 

@TheSlayer: And yes, everyone in my group has it's main attribute at 5. I totally dig why Genesys made a cap here.  Your suggestion is an interesting proposal which I will likely pick up ... I guess making a cap at 4 seems reasonable. And, what I surely will do, is handing out much less XP in the next campaign. That way, adding a new talent box or inking a new skill box is much more valuable than having 20 XP to spend after each session. And it will deal with my superhero problem. At least, in the beginning ... 

 

About that Star Wars moments: I'm totally in for it, but I strongly want to create great scenes, not players slashing and firing through the scenes, unharmed, like Anakin through a battalion of clankers. IMHO, the job of a GM is to create such situations (combat, social, or otherwise), but still offer a challenge, so that the players can emerge as the heroes, but they should be aware that they are not supermen. I think it's the job of a GM to help to prevent player deaths (except if they act totally stupid), so I like to have them scratched and bruised, but victorious. 

 

@Garran: Your suggestion is - the way I see it - definitely more in the spirit of this particular game. Less hard rules, more action and narrative. However; I found out that - as much as I like the basic idea - I do struggle with that a lot. One one hand, combat is pretty hard ruled, with actions and maneuvers, strain and wounds, spending threats and advantages, and so on. On the other hand, I encounter a lot of situations where I totally miss rules! E.g., how long does it take for a ship to enter Hyperspace? I guess the correct answer to that is "as long as you like (watch those threats and advantages though), but it doesn't matter in the end as long as the narrative of the scene is tense and star-wars like". However, my players demand hard rules, they want to rely on something, so we created those.

 

 

 

 

Watch the Battle of Yavin in ANH again. We see some of the turbolaser batteries from inside the Deathstar, and there are two men manning each one. 

latest?cb=20130313221509

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2 hours ago, sithlord78 said:

Asymmetry.  Capital ships can't chase a starfighter, but a starfighter can't fight gun to gun against a capital ship. 

Not without a really nice GM...

A chase shouldn't be necessary; fighters and freighters shouldn't be able to outrun turbolaser blasts.

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7 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

A chase shouldn't be necessary; fighters and freighters shouldn't be able to outrun turbolaser blasts.

Outrun? No. Avoid through their smaller size and higher maneuverability making them harder to target? Yes. 

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22 minutes ago, Rimsen said:

It's already in the rules, changing difficulty according to the silhouette differences

I'm my opinion, the SW method of doing it is terrible compared to Genesys. Hopefully 2e will go the Genesys route.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/11/2019 at 8:35 PM, Tramp Graphics said:

It should also be noted that the reason why each gun is given a minion group skill rating of Agility 2, Gunnery 1 (group) is because each gun requires two men to operate. So each gun requires a single minion group of two to function. 

Hogwash.

Ruleswise, any starship gun uses single gunner to do the actual shooting.

You could of course make judgement call and let the entire gun crew count as a minion group wich works pretty well for something like three stormtroopers manning an e-web, but with something like star destroyer where the crew for every turbolaser could be in the dozens when counting fire control officers and such that would mean full minion grups for each individual gun. For the sake of sanity, I'd advise to group turbolasers together with one minion per gun, unless you think it's reasonable for every single gun to fire independently with an effective skill of 5. So while it might take a number of people to operate the gun, only one counts for aiming and shooting. This still lets several guns operate together to coordinate fire by forming a minion group.

I'd also advise the OP to check out the barrage rules from Age of Rebellion.

Edited by penpenpen

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2 hours ago, penpenpen said:

I'd also advise the OP to check out the barrage rules from Age of Rebellion.

Good advice. I actually considered them, but finally didn't use them. Probably I should have.

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17 minutes ago, PzVIE said:

Good advice. I actually considered them, but finally didn't use them. Probably I should have.

Or not, since none of them technically applies to the situation, but a modified version of blanket barrage could work. Set a difficulty to escape based on the kind of firepower thats trying to stop them and have them roll a pilot check to escape. Failure doesn't mean that they're hit, but that they've been blocked from escaping this round ("barrage" is derived from the french word for barrier after all) with threats and despairs inflicting damage on them like with a blanket barrage. And then you of course fire tractor beams at them. ;)

Oh, another thing I forgot to mention. If your PC pilot has a pilot score thats hard to beat, throw in a minion group of fighters to hunt them. Even minion pilots should have an Agility score of 3 or 4, and with a full group cranking up the skill ranks and the excellent handling TIEs have, it should be quite tricky to escape.

A quick note. You generally don't use anti aircraft barrages when friendly aircraft are around due to the inherent risk of lethally embarrasing mishaps. It's up to you if the empire, or the imperial officer incharge of the situation, is more callous than that.

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On 5/12/2019 at 10:17 PM, penpenpen said:

Hogwash.

Ruleswise, any starship gun uses single gunner to do the actual shooting.

You could of course make judgement call and let the entire gun crew count as a minion group wich works pretty well for something like three stormtroopers manning an e-web, but with something like star destroyer where the crew for every turbolaser could be in the dozens when counting fire control officers and such that would mean full minion grups for each individual gun. For the sake of sanity, I'd advise to group turbolasers together with one minion per gun, unless you think it's reasonable for every single gun to fire independently with an effective skill of 5. So while it might take a number of people to operate the gun, only one counts for aiming and shooting. This still lets several guns operate together to coordinate fire by forming a minion group.

I'd also advise the OP to check out the barrage rules from Age of Rebellion.

Except that, as @PzVIE said, the Star Destroyer guns stats specifically state that each has a minion group Manning it with two ranks in Agility and one rank in Gunnery (group skill). That means a minion group of two on each heavy turbolaser.

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21 hours ago, Tramp Graphics said:

Except that, as @PzVIE said, the Star Destroyer guns stats specifically state that each has a minion group Manning it with two ranks in Agility and one rank in Gunnery (group skill). That means a minion group of two on each heavy turbolaser.

No, that's not what he said.

On 5/11/2019 at 12:00 PM, PzVIE said:

I looked through my NPC cards and found the Imperial Gunner, which - to my surprise - is a Minion (Agility 2, Gunnery 1 [as a group]).

While I don't have the Adversary Deck with the Imperial Gunner on hand, at least the basic EotE deck lists the minions with a sample size for a group (in the EotE deck it seems to be 4 for everything, Mynocks, Stormtroopers, Space Port Urchins) with no further elaboration. Should we take this as canonical evidence that Mynocks always group in fours? That Stormtroopers always operate in four man squads? Probably not.

While I can't be sure without reading it, I suspect that the deck with the Imperial gunnery corps lists them with a sample size of two, rather than four, which is what I think @PzVIE (if I'm putting words in your mouth dude, please let me know!) was talking about. Now, it is possible that the card also states that two is the standard crew for a heavy turbolaser, specifically of the type on Star Destroyers, but considering the scant detail in the deck I've seen, plus that there is no mention of any sort of standardized crew either in the write up for the Gunnery Corps in the AoR Core Rules (p418), nor any that I can find in any of the Star destroyer stats or write ups. If I missed it, I'm sure you'll let me know. What it does say, however is:

"The ubiquitous turbolasers that are found on the hundreds of different starships in use in the Imperial Navy, as well as the vast variety of lasers that are deployed in ground installations and the many vehicles employed by the Vehicle Corps, are all fired by members of the Gunnery Corps."

Now, if you take that phrase, combine it with the sample size only found on the card, not in the books, and squint really hard at it, you could possibly surmise that every imperial turbolaser is always crewed by two man teams from the Gunnery Corps. I think that is what you're suggesting. If you really are squinting that hard, then I must say, I'm a big fan of your work, mr Eastwood.

Also, your canonical picture proof is a little lacking.

On 5/12/2019 at 6:52 PM, Tramp Graphics said:

Watch the Battle of Yavin in ANH again. We see some of the turbolaser batteries from inside the Deathstar, and there are two men manning each one. 

latest?cb=20130313221509

I'm not one for size shaming, but methinks your "heavy turbolaser" is a little small. 

vsd30-1024x768.jpg

What you posted isn't much bigger than the Falcons quad cannons, which should put it in the heavy laser cannon to light turbolaser range at the most. The picture I posted is admittedly somewhat conjecture, as it's of Victory-class star Destroyer by Fractalsponge. However, it's just to illustrate that you are wrong on a magnitude scale, rather than discussing the fine details.

Also you decided to prove your claims about the gun crew of a Star Destroyer, while posting a picture of the Death Star. While we can assume there is some kind standardization in the Empire, you can't use an assumption as proof. Especially with it's flawed in other ways.

It's kind of telling that you pivoted towards Star Destroyers, because neither I or the OP mentioned any. If you just skim the text, it's easy to think, but if you actually take the time to read...

On 5/11/2019 at 12:00 PM, PzVIE said:

an Imperial Frigate

...and I think I know what you're problem is. You skimmed the text, latched on to the OP's mention of standardized groups of two and ran with it assuming it was in the rules. In fact, after you've clutched this nugget of supposed truth to your chest to the point that you can confidently espouse as gospel that indeed, turbolasers have a two man crew. The OP even comes back to you on this.

On 5/12/2019 at 12:41 PM, PzVIE said:

Two men manning a turbolaser turret, eh? Well, I have to look closer when I watch the movies next time! I wasn't aware of that. Thanks. :)

But hey, now you've found a picture that kind of, sort of supports your claim, so you're golden, right? That means your assumption about a rule you haven't read (which might or might not exist, I'd love to see if anyone has the card handy) holds up, right! Canon evidence supports it, and that's as good as RAW, right?

Nope, because you didn't take the time to read properly and check for yourself.

I'm not even saying you're even necessarily all wrong, or that it's wrong to let a minion group act as a gun crew.

On 5/13/2019 at 4:17 AM, penpenpen said:

You could of course make judgement call and let the entire gun crew count as a minion group wich works pretty well for something like three stormtroopers manning an e-web,

I'm just saying that I think you're talking out of one of your non-mouth cavities when you, as usual, state your assumptions as fact and decide to persist with it rather than admitting that you might've jumped the gun.

Or you have a page reference that will utterly destroy this argument handy for me, in which case I apologize in advance.

...

Also... on your picture of the Death Star cannon, I think there might be a third guy on that gun.

8244d43d4dba58e885fa465f4cd41c9b.png

You see from the Imperial insignia on his (#2) helmet that he's right face up against it, so it's hard to claim he isn't operating it and is just standing around. So, I still don't know about about star destroyer turbolasers having a crew of two, but as for the Death Star guns, your count looks to be off by 50%.

Don't worry, I missed it too at first, and it's not like either of us hung our entire argument on it.

Man that would really be embarrassing if we did.

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5 minutes ago, Tramp Graphics said:

Agility 2, Gunnery 1 (group skill). The only way a minion will have a Gunnery skill of 1 is if he’s part of a minion group of 2. Otherwise he has no ranks in Gunnery.

No one's disagreeing with you on that Trampy, but it's a big leap going from there to saying all turbolasers have two man crews.

23 hours ago, Tramp Graphics said:

the Star Destroyer guns stats specifically state that each has a minion group Manning it with two ranks in Agility and one rank in Gunnery (group skill). That means a minion group of two on each heavy turbolaser.

You know, I'm sure they do, but I can't find it in any book so if you just get me a page number I can check (with a margin of error of 50%) we can get this out of the way!

But no, seriously, as I explained, he mentioned the Imperial Gunnery Corps from the Age of Rebellion core rules. Not Star Destroyer stats. He didn't even mention Star Destroyers.  I guess this means you didn't read my previous post very closely, which really is an embarrassing turn of events for me.

21 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

you didn't take the time to read properly

No, wait, it's not embarrassing for me. I must have been thinking of someone else.

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On 5/11/2019 at 5:00 AM, PzVIE said:

I then looked forward to a fine chase scene with a couple of TIE's on the heels of the player's ship. Oh well. My pilot (240 XP, Agility 5, 3 ranks in Piloting (Space)) had an easy time outrunning those little fighters and they made it to Hyperspace easily. I even threw stones in their way (disabled hyperdrive and navicomputer, had to get that online first, etc.) but instead of cinematic and tense, it was easy-peasy for them.

Did you throw any terrain at them? That can really slow things down. The base difficulty is Speed or 1/2 Silhouette, whichever is higher, upgraded by the lower. So a Sil4 ship trying to go Speed 4 is rolling against RRPP reds...not a pretty sight...and that's just to "make progress" on their journey.  If they need a few of these to get to their jump point, they will probably have to slow down to have a better chance of success, plus you can still throw setback at them.

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No I didn't use any terrain ... deep space (at least in my imagination) is mostly terrainless. However, in retro perspective, an asteroid field would have been a good idea ...

 

Another thing. I might have played this totally wrong (after 14 Sessions playing with that system ... sigh).

What I did, I used the chase rules. Piloting checks from my Pilot vs the TIE minion groups. My initial thoughts were PCs make two maneuvers, TIEs make two maneuvers, no chance for an engagement anyway. BUT, after I did a little research here, I found this post:

The replay to the OP indicates that the PC's ship takes a relative position to every single TIE group - meaning, even if they get away from one TIE group, the others could zoom in on them. That would have been a totally different outcome, as they can't outrun every group. So if this post is the true intention of the rules, I messed that one up. Totally.

 

@penpenpen @Tramp Graphics Regarding the minion groups of the guns, I just wanted some advice on how you guys handle this - and I was perplexed when I first saw the stats of the Imperial Gunners, as I considered them pretty weak for trained crew. However, if I come into a similar situation in a future adventure, I guess I would simply use the barrage rules as suggested earlier and describe it in a cinematic way, which would be totally in the spirit of the game. 

A single turbolaser or probably two (but no more), would each get one shot; assuming two minions man a gun, each would get YG or even YY (if I assume a crew of three as penpenpen pointed out). 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, PzVIE said:

No I didn't use any terrain ... deep space (at least in my imagination) is mostly terrainless. However, in retro perspective, an asteroid field would have been a good idea ...

 

Another thing. I might have played this totally wrong (after 14 Sessions playing with that system ... sigh).

What I did, I used the chase rules. Piloting checks from my Pilot vs the TIE minion groups. My initial thoughts were PCs make two maneuvers, TIEs make two maneuvers, no chance for an engagement anyway. BUT, after I did a little research here, I found this post:

The replay to the OP indicates that the PC's ship takes a relative position to every single TIE group - meaning, even if they get away from one TIE group, the others could zoom in on them. That would have been a totally different outcome, as they can't outrun every group. So if this post is the true intention of the rules, I messed that one up. Totally.

 

@penpenpen @Tramp Graphics Regarding the minion groups of the guns, I just wanted some advice on how you guys handle this - and I was perplexed when I first saw the stats of the Imperial Gunners, as I considered them pretty weak for trained crew. However, if I come into a similar situation in a future adventure, I guess I would simply use the barrage rules as suggested earlier and describe it in a cinematic way, which would be totally in the spirit of the game. 

A single turbolaser or probably two (but no more), would each get one shot; assuming two minions man a gun, each would get YG or even YY (if I assume a crew of three as penpenpen pointed out). 

 

 

In prior lore,  the Imperial Gunners used helmets with targeting systems that can be represented by increasing the target's edifice Silhouette by 1 (similar to the gunnery goggles from Stay on Target).

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