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P-47 Thunderbolt

Death Star under-powered! (silhouettes and gunnery)

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So, this is an extreme example, but in Dawn of Rebellion, the Death Star is silhouette 20, making it very difficult for it to even hit a SUPER STAR DESTROYER!!! Even if you cap it at formidable, that still seems extreme, particularly when you realize that that would mean that a POINT-DEFENSE CANNON would be unable to hit a SUPER STAR DESTROYER (sorry for the caps, but YIKES [whoops did it again]). My tentative proposal is that we keep the same silhouette difficulty table, but we base it off the "preferred silhouette" of the weapon, I.E. a Point Defense Cannon has a "preferred Silhouette" of 2, allowing it to have an average roll against both starfighters and something like missiles (the big ones) (even though shooting down missiles isn't a feature in this game) while a Heavy Turbolaser would have a "Preferred Silhouette" of 7 (Hard against 5, easy against 9). I don't think this is necessarily the best option though as it requires making either a formula for applying to all weapons, or going through by hand and assigning a preferred silhouette to each one.

I think that because of their size and maneuverability silhouette 3 and 4 vehicles should still have the same difficulties, especially because their weapons are often fixed.

One alternative would be to just limit the silhouette of the firing ship to 8 regardless of the ship's actual size (although the difficulty would be the same for targeting it).

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4 minutes ago, Desslok said:

Honestly, if you (be it PC or GM) is firing a Planet Killer - be it Wave Motion Gun, Reflex Cannon, BFG or a Death Star, you have moved beyond game mechanics into a realm of handwavium where dice are not necessary.

No, I just meant any weapon on the Death Star, not specifically its superlaser. I picked the Death Star because it is the most extreme example.

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I wouldn't handle a turbolaser turret bolted onto Death Star firing on a Star Destroyer  Mon Cal Cruiser any different than I would count a planetside cannon shooting at that same Cruiser. The Death Star's silhouette wouldn't be a factor as in much the same way Hoth's silhouette wasn't a factor in the Rebel's big Ion Cannon hitting ISDs in Empire. The Death Star is too big to count as a ship. 

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18 minutes ago, micheldebruyn said:

I wouldn't handle a turbolaser turret bolted onto Death Star firing on a Star Destroyer  Mon Cal Cruiser any different than I would count a planetside cannon shooting at that same Cruiser. The Death Star's silhouette wouldn't be a factor as in much the same way Hoth's silhouette wasn't a factor in the Rebel's big Ion Cannon hitting ISDs in Empire. The Death Star is too big to count as a ship. 

I was using the Death Star as an extreme example, but I extend that point to many smaller ships as well. Also I used the SSD because it is the second biggest recorded silhouette, not because it was a practical scenario. How do you handle a planetside cannon?

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13 minutes ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

I was using the Death Star as an extreme example, but I extend that point to many smaller ships as well. Also I used the SSD because it is the second biggest recorded silhouette, not because it was a practical scenario. How do you handle a planetside cannon?

Base it on the silhouette of the cannon itself. If it's firing off planet the actual machine itself is going to be very big.

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1 minute ago, MrTInce said:

Base it on the silhouette of the cannon itself. If it's firing off planet the actual machine itself is going to be very big.

Okay so it's similar to what I suggested in the original post where you base the difficulty off the weapon's "preferred silhouette."

And just to clarify, I'm not asking for help with the Death Star, I'm asking for help with the system in general.

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33 minutes ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

I was using the Death Star as an extreme example, but I extend that point to many smaller ships as well. Also I used the SSD because it is the second biggest recorded silhouette, not because it was a practical scenario. How do you handle a planetside cannon?

Can you give me a non-extreme, practical example of the problem?

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1 minute ago, micheldebruyn said:

Can you give me a non-extreme, practical example of the problem?

Sure! (I was giving an extreme example because it is often the best way to initially illustrate the problem). An Interdictor (silhouette 7) has a LOT of Quad Light Laser Cannons which have Accurate 1 and are basically anti-starfighter weapons. Now it's going to target a starfighter (silhouette 3) that puts it at a difficulty of Formidible (PPPPP) plus Shields, Upgrades, etc. now let's take one group of weapons (5 Ventral, forward) with the Imperial Gunner NPCs that sets a positive dice pool of YYYB. Not impossible to hit, but very close, especially considering that it is 5 anti-starfighter weapons targeting the same fighter. On the flip side of the coin, a Vigil-class corvette firing at a starfighter with its 3 Twin Light Turbolasers would have a difficulty of hard (PPP) with a positive pool of YYG. I think it seems unreasonable for it to be so much harder for a dedicated anti-starfighter weapon to hit a starfighter than for an anti-capital ship weapon to hit a starfighter. Especially since the rules do not change depending on speed (which I agree with).

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2 hours ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

Sure! (I was giving an extreme example because it is often the best way to initially illustrate the problem). An Interdictor (silhouette 7) has a LOT of Quad Light Laser Cannons which have Accurate 1 and are basically anti-starfighter weapons. Now it's going to target a starfighter (silhouette 3) that puts it at a difficulty of Formidible (PPPPP) plus Shields, Upgrades, etc. now let's take one group of weapons (5 Ventral, forward) with the Imperial Gunner NPCs that sets a positive dice pool of YYYB. Not impossible to hit, but very close, especially considering that it is 5 anti-starfighter weapons targeting the same fighter. On the flip side of the coin, a Vigil-class corvette firing at a starfighter with its 3 Twin Light Turbolasers would have a difficulty of hard (PPP) with a positive pool of YYG. I think it seems unreasonable for it to be so much harder for a dedicated anti-starfighter weapon to hit a starfighter than for an anti-capital ship weapon to hit a starfighter. Especially since the rules do not change depending on speed (which I agree with).

Those are the only guns it has, so they're probably not intended for starfighters. The 24 TIE Fighters it carries are its anti-starfighter arsenal.

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13 minutes ago, micheldebruyn said:

Those are the only guns it has, so they're probably not intended for starfighters. The 24 TIE Fighters it carries are its anti-starfighter arsenal.

That is irrelevant, it is an anti-starfighter class of cannon, regardless of its intended purpose on whichever ship it happens to be on. Also, what would you use them for if not for anti-starfighter? They would barely be able to hold their own against a corvette. (5 + 1 success = 1 damage past armor).

Also that is beside the point and misses the question entirely.

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While it might be a bit of work, you might want to re-work the cannons on ships and starbases a bit. Make those anti-starfighter cannone Silhouette 3 or 4, regardless of the Silhouette of whatever they are mounted on. Have thoe heavy turbolaser batteries at Silhouette 6 or 7, making them ideal anti-capital ship weapons, but not so much anti-starfighter.

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

Sure! (I was giving an extreme example because it is often the best way to initially illustrate the problem). An Interdictor (silhouette 7) has a LOT of Quad Light Laser Cannons which have Accurate 1 and are basically anti-starfighter weapons. Now it's going to target a starfighter (silhouette 3) that puts it at a difficulty of Formidible (PPPPP) plus Shields, Upgrades, etc. now let's take one group of weapons (5 Ventral, forward) with the Imperial Gunner NPCs that sets a positive dice pool of YYYB. Not impossible to hit, but very close, especially considering that it is 5 anti-starfighter weapons targeting the same fighter. On the flip side of the coin, a Vigil-class corvette firing at a starfighter with its 3 Twin Light Turbolasers would have a difficulty of hard (PPP) with a positive pool of YYG. I think it seems unreasonable for it to be so much harder for a dedicated anti-starfighter weapon to hit a starfighter than for an anti-capital ship weapon to hit a starfighter. Especially since the rules do not change depending on speed (which I agree with). 

The minion group of 5 Imperial Gunners firing 5 ventral mounted quad light laser cannons would be attacking with YYGGB (2 agi characteristic, 5 gunners with 1 gunnery skill for every gunner after the first because it's a minion group. Plus 1 boost for Accurate item quality.)

Generally speaking, most silhouette 3 starfighters have defense 1, so on average they'd be rolling against PPPPPS.

YYGGB vs PPPPPS should hit just shy of 50% of the time. That doesn't seem too unreasonable to me.

 

Edited by Demigonis

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19 hours ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

An Interdictor (silhouette 7) has a LOT of Quad Light Laser Cannons which have Accurate 1 and are basically anti-starfighter weapons. Now it's going to target a starfighter (silhouette 3) that puts it at a difficulty of Formidible (PPPPP)

Unless you apply the Starfighter Defense special rule... Then it's only Daunting. 

If you have an entire fire arc fire at a single Starfighter (which has it's own issues I'll discuss in a moment) you'll have between 4 and 9 quads targeting that fighter depending on how you count. For the sake of discussion lets assume it's 5. As Demigonis  points out that's a skill of YYGG, with a Boost for Quads being accurate, and since the gunner don't have much else to do, lets say they also aim for an additional Boost. Assuming you're using say... an X-wing, your shields, on a good day will be 2, so the base highest difficulty is PPPPBlkBlk. The gunners have a 58% chance of scoring at least 1 success on you, around 30% of scoring at least 2 Advantage, and a 16% of at least 1 Triumph. While something like 85% is typically considered "reliable" 58% is still quite reasonable.

Even then it's still kinda not worth fretting over. The Blanket Barrage is supposed to support that sort of scenario more appropriately than trying to individually target light weapons against attacking small craft.

And don't get me started on Encounter Design, Narrative, and Military Doctrine.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Ghostofman said:

Unless you apply the Starfighter Defense special rule... Then it's only Daunting.  

Ah! Thank you! I forgot about Starfighter Defense. I had thought there was something like that in place but was having trouble finding it.

Starfighter Defense "When firing auto-blasters, blaster cannons, laser cannons, and quad laser cannons, capital ships (and only capital ships!) count their silhouette as one less."

The Blanket Barrage action could also help a ton against starfighters.

Edited by Demigonis

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7 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

While it might be a bit of work, you might want to re-work the cannons on ships and starbases a bit. Make those anti-starfighter cannone Silhouette 3 or 4, regardless of the Silhouette of whatever they are mounted on. Have thoe heavy turbolaser batteries at Silhouette 6 or 7, making them ideal anti-capital ship weapons, but not so much anti-starfighter.

That's one of my initial suggestions actually, I'm just not sure how practical it is overall because you have to figure it out for each one and then remember them all (or have a cheat sheet that you refer to constantly).

3 hours ago, Demigonis said:

The minion group of 5 Imperial Gunners firing 5 ventral mounted quad light laser cannons would be attacking with YYGGB (2 agi characteristic, 5 gunners with 1 gunnery skill for every gunner after the first because it's a minion group. Plus 1 boost for Accurate item quality.)

Yeah, I was counting it as 5 upgrades, rather than 5 skill points. My bad.

2 hours ago, Ghostofman said:

Unless you apply the Starfighter Defense special rule... Then it's only Daunting. 

If you have an entire fire arc fire at a single Starfighter (which has it's own issues I'll discuss in a moment) you'll have between 4 and 9 quads targeting that fighter depending on how you count. For the sake of discussion lets assume it's 5. As Demigonis  points out that's a skill of YYGG, with a Boost for Quads being accurate, and since the gunner don't have much else to do, lets say they also aim for an additional Boost. Assuming you're using say... an X-wing, your shields, on a good day will be 2, so the base highest difficulty is PPPPBlkBlk. The gunners have a 58% chance of scoring at least 1 success on you, around 30% of scoring at least 2 Advantage, and a 16% of at least 1 Triumph. While something like 85% is typically considered "reliable" 58% is still quite reasonable.

Even then it's still kinda not worth fretting over. The Blanket Barrage is supposed to support that sort of scenario more appropriately than trying to individually target light weapons against attacking small craft.

And don't get me started on Encounter Design, Narrative, and Military Doctrine.

I guess I should take another look at those special attacks. Those are something I haven't ever used or thought about using because they seemed sort of confusing. Like I'd have to look them up every single time I wanted to use them.

Please do get started on Encounter Design, Narrative, and Military Doctrine. I think it might be helpful. I certainly understand the Empire's foolishness in fighting a force focusing on Starfighters without point-defense though (assuming that's what you're talking about). "Hmm, let's fight a military that relies on a state on the art (sometimes) Starfighters. What will we use, you ask? Large capital ships with no point defense, and fighters with no shields, life support, or armor. What could go wrong?"

49 minutes ago, Demigonis said:

Ah! Thank you! I forgot about Starfighter Defense. I had thought there was something like that in place but was having trouble finding it.

Starfighter Defense "When firing auto-blasters, blaster cannons, laser cannons, and quad laser cannons, capital ships (and only capital ships!) count their silhouette as one less."

The Blanket Barrage action could also help a ton against starfighters.

I didn't know Starfighter Defense was a thing! Where is that rule? I still don't think it goes quite far enough, but it's certainly an improvement.

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My take on this is that the Death Star is large enough to not actually count as the vessel when using its close-range defense guns.

The only time you count the Death Star as its own vessel is when it's firing the main planet-killer laser.

The defense towers are their own entities.

They just happen to be bolted on to the planet sized vessel.

I mean, they're far enough apart that you can only be engaged by one or two at a time. And any starfighter engaging back would be engaging the towers, not the Death Star itself.



As for other "actual" ships, I'd go with Demigonis on that one.

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5 hours ago, OddballE8 said:

My take on this is that the Death Star is large enough to not actually count as the vessel when using its close-range defense guns.

The only time you count the Death Star as its own vessel is when it's firing the main planet-killer laser.

The defense towers are their own entities.

They just happen to be bolted on to the planet sized vessel.

I mean, they're far enough apart that you can only be engaged by one or two at a time. And any starfighter engaging back would be engaging the towers, not the Death Star itself.



As for other "actual" ships, I'd go with Demigonis on that one.

Yeah, the Death Star was just an extreme example used to make a point. I agree with you on the rest of it.

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On 8/2/2019 at 1:24 PM, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

Please do get started on Encounter Design, Narrative, and Military Doctrine. I think it might be helpful. I certainly understand the Empire's foolishness in fighting a force focusing on Starfighters without point-defense though (assuming that's what you're talking about). "Hmm, let's fight a military that relies on a state on the art (sometimes) Starfighters. What will we use, you ask? Large capital ships with no point defense, and fighters with no shields, life support, or armor. What could go wrong?"

So I took some time to get my thoughts in order in the hopes this won't be a 20 page response.

 

So these three things are all interlinked when you talk RPGs. The Narrative of the Campaign and Adventure will dictate portions of your encounter design and the behavior of your opponents.

Up front, your story will dictate things like how difficult or complex an encounter will be.

You may want the players to Adventure on Tatooine a bit, so instead of making the purchase of a new hyperdrive a simple couple of rolls, you make the only vendor that has one a toydarian that's force resistant. 

You may want a combat encounter that's not a challenge, but a simple shootout to establish the bad guys and put the players on a socially bad footing. So instead of a complex encounter with all the features and opponent types possible, it just a short range shootout with so e ungroupped solo minions. It's quick and ugly and the players don't get touched, but now you're all set for the real bad guy to show up mad that "You killed my brother! Shot him down like a dog in he street!"

And then opponent doctrine and behavior will also factor in. So if you decide that a Stormtrooper Squad is 8 troopers organized in two fire teams of 4, then when you drop Stormtroopers into an encounter you may tend towards having them in groups of four.

 

Now... Sometimes you may want to understand things a little better to make sense of them, and FFG has actually put some thought into it, so let's look at:

On 8/2/2019 at 1:24 PM, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

"Hmm, let's fight a military that relies on a state on the art (sometimes) Starfighters. What will we use, you ask? Large capital ships with no point defense, and fighters with no shields, life support, or armor. What could go wrong?"

So these are actually some very real discussions that real militaries struggle with. 

Do we use big ships that can carry tons of firepower and can be disabled for months by 3 missiles, but are virtually unsinkable? Or do we use a dozen small ships that in total carry the same amount of firepower but can be sunk by one missile, but that requires a dozen missiles to each hit a ship to go from 100% to 0%?

In the case of the Empire they went bigger, not just replacing a dozen missile Corvettes with a missile cruiser, but replacing an entire carrier battlegroup with a super battle carrier. Yeah a Star Destroyer is a resource hog, but you also don't have to worry about shuffling ships around.  A single Star Destroyer can handle dozens of mission profiles, and a few can do pretty much anything with little support.

Likewise, the TIE series actually makes sense when you really look at it.

Again, in the real world there's an argument of capable multi role craft vs. specialized craft. Make a fighter that does it all well, and you'll save money on training and support, but the development will cost a ton, and in any single mission set a cheaper purpose built fighter will often perform noticably better.

Now, FFG noticed something here, Shields aren't that big a deal. In the films they are nice but they only add a couple solid hits of survival to a fighter. It's not like the video games where Shields add a ton of survivability as a favor to the player.

So when you look at a TIE critically using FFGs number, it can make quite a bit of sense. 

Shields don't add a huge measure of protection, so dump em. Now the pilot doesn't have manage Shields that won't really help him anyway. Dump the life support and have the pilot rely on a vacuum suit, now a hull breach is a non issue. For weapons, most fighters this size like the Z-95, carry light lasers, so mounting medium lasers on the TIE is a step up, allowing a TIE to hit above it's weight and even threaten like capital ships. And we see from the films that a TIE is a pretty simple craft. Getting an X-wing or Y-wing up and running takes time and effort, where we often see TIEs deployed en mass at the drop of a hat.

So, a TIE may not be the most flexible fighter out there, but a TIE pilot never has to argue with an astromech, plot a hyperjump, manage his Shields, prioritize in flight repairs, choose when to use missiles or guns, worry about a loss of cabin pressure, or a dozen other things. In exchange he's got a speed of 5 (again, higher than most scrubby local fighters, pirates and outdated rebel junkers) he's got a handling of 3, (also more than most other craft) and his guns are enough that one or two good hits and most other fighters are toast.

Now this isn't to say there isn't a struggle of doctrine here. Doctrinally speaking the Empire is in WWII where the Rebellion is in Vietnam or Korea. But again, such things happen. When the guided missile came about, the US wrote off mounting guns on thier Fighters. The Russians continued to do so. Then in Vietnam it was found that guided missiles weren't reliable enough, and probably never would be, to totally replace cannons. 

 

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When dealing with ships much larger than a player star fighter, treat them as terrain with extra upgrades, where despairs are hits. That is pretty much how the movies look.

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