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Etheric

[Mathhammer] Are lances a trap?

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Please find all the holes in my theory here.  I'm used to mathhammering up a probability simulation in most systems, but I'm afraid my way of simulating degrees of success may be off.

I've been thinking about the roles of ships lately.  I've been presuming that raiders/destroyers are specialized in taking out high-armor targets like cruisers, while frigates are better at running down lightly armored targets (like destroyers).  I've been mostly basing this off of the fact that destroyers can carry lances and (most) frigates can't.

After thinking about it a bit more, I wondered if that was really the case at all.  Sure lances ignore armor, which is awesome, but they only fire one shot, compared to the massive salvos that macrobatteries can put out.  So I decided to test it out.  At first I was going to call the tread destroyers v. frigates, then after remembering the payloads of some frigates and transports, lances v. batteries.  I was expecting each class of weaponry to have only a tight lead in each of their specializations.  Now after running the figures, I have to wonder: are lances -- in their non-battery form at least -- a trap?

Let me also put it out there that I'm not factoring in crits into my simulation.  I might go back and work on the probability of those later, but they dilute the straight comparison of damage in a hard-to-quantify way.

Here's the comparison:

Titanforge Lance Weapon + Mars Pattern Macrocannons v. 2x Sunsear Laser Battery

My reason for choosing this matchup was their proximity in requirements (the lasers use one less power and two more space), and the practicality of the combinations (You can go down to a Thunderstrike in the lance combo, but the Sunsears will still only use one more power, and you are sacrificing on the range of your salvo).  Ryzas are also acceptable substitutes for the Sunsears, and for not that much more.  However, I liked running the comparison with the batteries having the slight resource advantage since we're seeing if they can beat the lance on it's home turf -- anti-cruiser combat.  Also the longer range of the Sunsears meant I could ignore that variable in the equation.  Also the batteries have the advantage of not needing a prow slot for smaller ships.

The target I'm running them against is a standard AV20 vessel with double voidshields, the highest AV in the core book.  I'm making the assumption that the batteries increase in power against low-AV targets in a point-for-point basis as the target's armor lowers, wheras the lance doesn't receive any benefit until the armor significantly drops to within the damage range of the Macrocannon.  The three scenarios I'm running are with a 40% chance to hit, a 50% chance to hit and a 60% chance to hit.  It's fairly easy for the starting RT crew to have at least one member with BS40, and it's also pretty easy to either use situational bonuses, extended actions, or experience points to get that up 10-20 points.  Now, the math:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scenario 1: 40%

Lance + Macrocannons

The cannons will fail to penetrate on even a max roll.  They do the job of knocking out the shields 30% of the time.

The Lance hits an unshielded target .3*.4=12% of the time with an average damage of 9.5

DPR: 1.14.

Dual laser batteries

Here's where the math gets complicated.  The first battery gets 4 hits 10% of the time, 3 hits 10% of the time, 2 hits 10% of the time and 1 hit 10% of the time.  The second battery has the same odds.  The chance, therefore, of any particular combination is 1%.

On average, 5 hits will do 2.5 damage, 6 hits will do 10 damage, 7 hits will do 17.5 damage, and 8 hits (the max) will do 25 damage.

This means the batteries will do .04*2.5+.03*10+.02*17.5+.01*25

DPR: 1

Victor: Lance... but not by a lot.

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(apparently I hit the line limit in the last post... the forums won't let me add any additional lines to it... or the bottom of this one, although I can add lines in the middle... weird, and when I publish, there's a lot of extra lines that I couldn't access in the text editor.  If a mod wouldn't mind merging these, I'd much appreciate it.)

Scenario 2: 50%

Lance + Macrocannons

Similar math as the last scenario.  .4*.5=20%

DPR: 1.9

Dual laser batteries

Although each battery can't use any additional successes, the increased accuracy adds an extra set of max-strength hits to the probability, resulting in:

.06*2.5+.05*10+.04*17.5+.04*25

DPR: 2.35

Victor: batteries, by a larger margin than the last scenario was won by the lance.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scenario 3: 60%

Lance + Macrocannons

Predictable math.  .5*.6=30%

DPR: 2.85

Dual laser batteries

Again, add anther set of max-strength hits to each battery, draw up another matrix, tabitulate and:

.08*2.5+.07*10+.06*17.5+.09*25

DPR: 4.2

Victor: batteries again, and they are quickly magnifying the gap.  Also note that the chance of doing damage at all is now even.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Conclusion:

Lances, at least in their core book form, are a trap.  This makes me a little sad, as I really liked the idea of different weapons having different purposes, therefor making choices interesting.

Please tell me I'm missing something.

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 Well, obviously you're missing the Crit Rating for one thing; there's nothing more likely to ruin a captain's day than having his void shields set on fire (Emperor, how I hate ship fires) after losing a stack of hull points. It's one of the best possible ways to take down a larger vessel than your own, swatting out its most powerful components one by one and leaving it a wallowing wreck in the void.

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The other thing that is significant in comparisons is the number of degrees of success needed for full effect. The Macrobatteries need several degrees of success to dothe maximum amount of damage, while any hit from a Lance will hurt unless the Void Shields haven't been taken down.

Macrobatteries take down the shields, then the Lance hits for the real damage. That's the combo that my own PCs have been consistently using to great effect in my RT campaign. Sure, the Strength 6 Macrobattery Broadsides can do more damage if they roll good enough for the maximum 6 hits, but on a typical round the Lance is what does the damage.

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Tantavalist said:

 

The other thing that is significant in comparisons is the number of degrees of success needed for full effect. The Macrobatteries need several degrees of success to dothe maximum amount of damage, while any hit from a Lance will hurt unless the Void Shields haven't been taken down.

Macrobatteries take down the shields, then the Lance hits for the real damage. That's the combo that my own PCs have been consistently using to great effect in my RT campaign. Sure, the Strength 6 Macrobattery Broadsides can do more damage if they roll good enough for the maximum 6 hits, but on a typical round the Lance is what does the damage.

 

 

But that's just it, I'm not comparing with the broadsides.  I'm comparing with the long-range, non-top-damage-tier battery.  Heck, if they were Ryzas, the lance would have been blown out of the water a long time ago.  And if you consider how much easier it is to get in range with the laser batteries, you almost should be considering the lance from one scenario with the battery from the next scenario up.  The batteries also look even better against targets with even a point or two less AV.

As for crits, batteries currently have a couple of neat crit effects, one of which is for those especially fond of fire.  Both of those effects are on the high-damage batteries with good crit ratings, and one of those batteries is pretty darn cheap.  Now, I agree, crits taking out the cruiser's void shields, or a weapon arc, are really good.  However, the possibility of doing those crits isn't as unbalanced as you might think.

Although the lances have the best crit rating in the game they still have to get through the shields.  Remember, void shields negate hits, so if your lance doesn't hit, how can it crit?  Looking back at the three scenarios:

40%:

Lance+Macrocannon = It's impossible to crit with the macrocannon, and to crit with the lance, you have hit with the battery twice first, therefore .3*.1=3%

Double batteries = It's impossible to crit in this scenario.

Victor: Lance, but are you really going to count on a 3% chance?

50%

Lance+Macrocannon = Still impossible for the macrocannon to crit, and to crit with the lance you still have to hit with the battery twice first, therefore .4*.2=8%

Double batteries = Either battery the opponent's shields before by itself if it reaches its crit rating, but they can't crit twice since they are firing in salvo.  Therefore .1+.9*.1=19% chance to crit.

Victor: Batteries, by more than double.

60%

Lance+Macrocannon = Now the battery can crit, and it will the target's shields by itself if it does so.  The lance still needs the macro to hit twice in order to crit.  Therefore .1+.5*.3=25% (Now we're talking)

Double batteries = Same song, second verse, therefore .2+.8*.2=36%

Victor: Batteries again.  Not by the same magnitude, but remember, their damage at this point is almost double.

Conclusion: At low accuracies, the crit difference is negligible.  At higher accuracies, the batteries actually have a HIGHER chance of critting, contrary to what the weapon's stats tell you at first glance.

Yes the lances have a more consistant damage output, wheras the batteries rely more on spikes, the lances are still hitting rarely enough that combat is going to last quite a few salvos at lower accuracies, giving the batteries time to even out their performance.  At higher accuracies, the batteries can reliably put out the hurt (9% chance at 25 damage anyone?), outperform in average damage, AND more reliably cause debilitating crits.

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Mordechai Von Razgriz said:

 

By the Way, with a PC Ship, you will have higher Stats than 60% usually. They will try to stack MORE bonus :

- Put your back Into It !

-Aid the Machine Spirit

-Lock On Target

Usually, you will see at least 70% chances to hit , 80% or more later on the game.

 

 

Sounds like a request.

70%

Lance+Macrocannon = .6*.7*9.5=3.99 DPR.  Crit chance of .6*.4+.1(from the chance of getting a crit with your macrocannon)=34%.

Double batteries = .1*2.5+.09*10+.08*17.5+.16*25=6.55 DPR.  Crit chance of .3+.7*.3=51%

80%

Lance+Macrocannon = .7*.8*9.5=5.32 DPR.  Crit chance of .7*.5+.2=55%

Double batteries = .12*2.5+.11*10+.1*17.5+.25*25=9.4 DPR.  Crit chance of .4+.6*.4=64% chance of crit.

Conclusion:  As the accuracy goes up, the story doesn't change much.  You still crit more and do significantly more damage with the batteries.  Yes, the lances are closing the crit gap, but the damage gap is widening.  At 80% you'd have to go up against a AV 24 ship to break even.  Even then the batteries still have the crit edge.

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Very interesting.  Definitely something to consider.

In Battlefleet Gothic the role of lance weaponry is to take out the uber-high armor targets, and is generally less effective against lighter opponents.  (And practically useless against Eldar.)

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 To an extent, I think this makes sense. I'm not quite prepared to say that I'm happy with the situation, but taking a lead from BFG, it can be noted that the Gothic Class Cruiser is generally viewed somewhat poorly. Not completely poor, by any means, but that a four-lance broadside is just not that effective. Even on Lock-On it could only, on average, hit three hits per broadside. Maximum four.

The point is that the Gothic was handy, but not terribly useful in promoting manoeuvring or indeed the killer 'execution moves'. It had utility, but generally there were better choices.

In that regard you might see why I'm torn on saying 'therefore I'm happy with the RT situation'.

One one hand: RT ships probably don't need lances. (Though in terms of crippling enemy ships to be captured... the good criticals offered by lances have obvious appeal.)

On the other: Would a Battlefleet model work correctly under this paradigm? I.e. would a battlefleet have much to gain from Lances over Macrobatteries? My first thought is representing the logistics of storing ammunition, but that thought doesn't carry very far.

My question then: how devastating is this seeming trap? 

 

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The Gothic cruiser has it's uses, but only when it's paired with another cruiser that's armed with macrobatteries. The accompaniment knocks out the shields and the Gothic closes in for the serious damage.

Anyway, I personally didn't care much for the weapon components, being something of a BFG nut and wanting to pursue something that was more in scale with what was established in that game, so I made up a whole new list of starship weapons. Can't say I changed how lances work, though.

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I might be reading your calcuations wrong, but I can't see where you factored in the lance making additional hits into the equation. Lances get an additional hit for every three degrees of success. Your assertation that lances only fire one shot suggests to me that you may have missed this rule when doing your calculations. In your first example (40% chance of hitting), when rolling for the lance battery, on results 40 through 11 you only get one hit. But there's a 25% chance of scoring a second hit (three DoS, on a roll of 10 or lower). This aids in dropping void shields (even if the batteries fail to down the void shields completely, you can still score additional hits with the lance to break through) and also increases the damage spike as now you have two armour ignoring rolls against your opponent.

Additionally, not only does the chance for a second hit become comparatively greater as you increase your chances to hit, once you reach a target number of 61 the lances have the opportunity to inflict three hits on their target (six degrees of success). If you were somehow capable of reaching a target number of 91 to hit, the lances would be capable of inflciting four hits, but that's a stupidly high number and I wouldn't commonly expect to see it.

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Cannonball said:

I might be reading your calcuations wrong, but I can't see where you factored in the lance making additional hits into the equation. Lances get an additional hit for every three degrees of success. Your assertation that lances only fire one shot suggests to me that you may have missed this rule when doing your calculations. In your first example (40% chance of hitting), when rolling for the lance battery, on results 40 through 11 you only get one hit. But there's a 25% chance of scoring a second hit (three DoS, on a roll of 10 or lower). This aids in dropping void shields (even if the batteries fail to down the void shields completely, you can still score additional hits with the lance to break through) and also increases the damage spike as now you have two armour ignoring rolls against your opponent.

Additionally, not only does the chance for a second hit become comparatively greater as you increase your chances to hit, once you reach a target number of 61 the lances have the opportunity to inflict three hits on their target (six degrees of success). If you were somehow capable of reaching a target number of 91 to hit, the lances would be capable of inflciting four hits, but that's a stupidly high number and I wouldn't commonly expect to see it.

 

No ship weapon may score hits in excess of their Strength.  Lance weapons have a Strength of 1, while most Lance batteries are Strength 2 with a few rare exceptions at 3.  Perhaps you missed that part of the rules?

-=Brother Praetus=-

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Brother Praetus said:

 

Cannonball said:

 

I might be reading your calcuations wrong, but I can't see where you factored in the lance making additional hits into the equation. Lances get an additional hit for every three degrees of success. Your assertation that lances only fire one shot suggests to me that you may have missed this rule when doing your calculations. In your first example (40% chance of hitting), when rolling for the lance battery, on results 40 through 11 you only get one hit. But there's a 25% chance of scoring a second hit (three DoS, on a roll of 10 or lower). This aids in dropping void shields (even if the batteries fail to down the void shields completely, you can still score additional hits with the lance to break through) and also increases the damage spike as now you have two armour ignoring rolls against your opponent.

Additionally, not only does the chance for a second hit become comparatively greater as you increase your chances to hit, once you reach a target number of 61 the lances have the opportunity to inflict three hits on their target (six degrees of success). If you were somehow capable of reaching a target number of 91 to hit, the lances would be capable of inflciting four hits, but that's a stupidly high number and I wouldn't commonly expect to see it.

 

 

 

No ship weapon may score hits in excess of their Strength.  Lance weapons have a Strength of 1, while most Lance batteries are Strength 2 with a few rare exceptions at 3.  Perhaps you missed that part of the rules?

-=Brother Praetus=-

 

 

Not so. On page 219 of the core rules, the strength statisic states "Strength: This is the maximum number of hits a
macrobattery can land on an enemy ship." Stating this only applies to macrobatteries and not to lances. Furthermore, on page 220, strength is referenced again but also specifically for macrobatteries and not for lances. The lance rules are seperate, the text being: "Lances operate in a similar fashion, but with several distinct differences. When firing a lance, a character makes a Ballistic Skill Test with any appropriate modifiers. A successful roll scores one hit, plus one additional hit for every three degrees of success."

You might have been able to conclude that the rules on pg. 220 are supposed to apply to lances as well as macrobatteries (given that lances 'operate in a similar fashion') but the text for strength on pg. 219 is crystal clear: strength is only relevant for macrobatteries. So I'm honestly not sure why lances have a strength rating at all, given that the strength rules on both pg. 219 and pg. 220 are only ever applied to macrobatteries and lances themselves operate under different rules.

That said, regardless of the designers intent for lances, the rules as written (strength being irrelevant for lances, and their ability to get additional hits) are necessary to keep lances competitive with macrobatteries if the math above is any indication.

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Cannonball said:

Not so.

Actually, it is the case. Otherwise, the Lance Battery would be completely irrelevant, as the only advantageous difference between a single Lance and a Lance Battery is the Strength score.

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

 

Cannonball said:

Not so.

 

Actually, it is the case. Otherwise, the Lance Battery would be completely irrelevant, as the only advantageous difference between a single Lance and a Lance Battery is the Strength score.

 

 

Then unfortunately, lance batteries are irrelevant. Because I've quoted the rules above and strength applies only to macrobatteries specifically. If you can refute that, please do but the rules in front of me as printed do not agree with what you're saying. And if the math in this thread is any indication that is a good thing because otherwise all lances are irrelevant as macrobatteries are simply the better option.

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Cannonball said:

N0-1_H3r3 said:

 

Cannonball said:

Not so.

 

Actually, it is the case. Otherwise, the Lance Battery would be completely irrelevant, as the only advantageous difference between a single Lance and a Lance Battery is the Strength score.

 

 

Then unfortunately, lance batteries are irrelevant. Because I've quoted the rules above and strength applies only to macrobatteries specifically. If you can refute that, please do but the rules in front of me as printed do not agree with what you're saying. And if the math in this thread is any indication that is a good thing because otherwise all lances are irrelevant as macrobatteries are simply the better option.

You are basing all this off of the use of the word macrobattery in the definition of strength?!?

You do realize that you are the only person who reads it that way?

Most of us, when looking at the use of lances, take the bit on page 220 to mean 'replace the word 'macrobattery' with the word 'lance' in all the above rules. Then your problem just dosent exist, because then the definition of strength (including the mod for it being a lance) would read:

  • Strength: This is the maximum number of hits a lance can land on an enemy ship.

 

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Um..yes, I am basing my interpretation of what the rules say on what the rules actually say. How else are you supposed to read game rules? The definition of strength is in the general weapon characteristic rules. It is not in the macrobattery specific rules (those are on the next page and those are what the lance specific rules reference). And in the general weapon characteristic rules, strength only applies to macrobatteries. I won't argue against the possibility of a misprint in the general weapon characteristic rules (that is, it should say 'weapon' instead of macrobattery) but as printed, the rules function differently despite the apparent common interpretation (which I can see as a very, very easy mistake to make given the existence of lance batteries and such - in all probability, it shouldn't say macrobattery in the general characteristic rules and should apply to all weapons even though it doesn't).

However, let’s stop the discussion here for the moment because it's going to side track the thread too far. What I suggest should happen is someone should calculate the average damage of lance + macrobattery with my interpretation of the rules. If it evens out the discrepancy between lance + macrobattery and macrobattery + macrobattery then I would argue - no matter who is actually correct - that my interpretation of the rules is better for the game because it stops macrobattery + macrobattery being objectively far superior to the alternative. I would even argue this if macrobattery + lance came out slightly ahead of macrobattery + macrobattery given lances are the more expensive option and macrobattery + macrobattery is better against lower armours. I will concede the argument if my interpretation ends up swinging the favour too far toward lances + macrobattery however because that's just as detrimental.

EDIT: I'm not the person to look too for statistical proofs, but working at 50% accuracy we have: 

Maccrobatteries have a 50% chance of missing, 10% chance of scoring one hit, 10% chance of scoring two hits (1+1 for DoS) and a 30% chance of scoring three hits (1+2 for two or more DoS, maxing out its strength of three).

Lances here have a 50% chance of missing, a 30% chance of one hit and a 20% chance of two hits (1+1 for three DoS). There's no chance of scoring three lance hits at 50%.

I won't go any further because I'm not confident in the accuracy of my calculations so if someone else would do the math, I would be very appreciative.

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Just to point out, it does apply to all weapons, just as the other users say. That is how I have been told to apply the rules during playtesting, and as such your figures are incorrect for failing to take that into account.

As N0-1 stated (and as one of the writers for RT, could be considered an authority on the rules), without the Strength aspect applying to lances as well as macrobatteries, the differences between Lance Batteries and normal Lances would be nothing. There'd be no point in Lance Batteries.

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Ah, but currently there is no point in lances given macrobatteries are better in all but the most specific situations. So I wouldn't dare to use lance batteries as a good example of what is and what isn't pointess. Hence my suggestion to run the numbers using my interpretation and see if there is a positive effect on game balance - that would suggest an easy target for errata if nothing else.

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Before the RAI vs RAW argument escalates, let me say this:  no matter how many of us look at the rulebook and say "of course it means strength applies to all weapons" any campaign running under that rule is running under a house rule (if Cannonball is correct in his quoting, I don't have my books in front of me).  Even if everyone in the world runs under that rule, including playtesters, it is still a houserule.  There was a errata update 3 months ago, and that wasn't covered, so the RAW stands as being the "official" though a little bonkers rule.  Cannonball is indeed correct in pointing out that my calculations only apply to most (my assumption) games, not the official rules.

I also like the argument that you can't use invalidation of the lance battery as a reason to adopt the houserule, as single lances are, in a way, invalidated by the existence of macrobatteries.  Unless there is a bit of the book Cannonball is missing, then I have to accept that he is RAW correct.

However, I would also like to point out, that the invalidation of single lances is an obscure, easy to miss thing that has to be proved by some number crunching, wheras the invalidation of lance batteries is an easy thing for the developers to notice and avoid.  Therefore, the common houserule of strength applying to lances is in all likelyhood RAI correct.

I would still run that strength affects lances in my game, but I also would probably run giving light cruisers at least 25 armor and regular ones 27.  Frigates are probably fine where they are.

But just because I would run things that way in my game, doesn't mean Cannonball's suggestion wouldn't possibly be a more elegant (and RAW-legal) solution to the whole problem, and it would be rude to completely dismiss the actual rules in favor of my own house rules when discussing things on an open forum.

So as soon as I'm home and snuggled up with my spreadsheet program, I'll do a bit of crunching and see what turns up.

AND I'll re-read the starship section of the book, just to make sure Cannonball isn't missing something.  Having strength be an irrelevant stat on an entire class of weapons, and then print that stat (with varying numbers) for that weapon just seems a little weird.  (but then again, having lances be outclassed against all printed ship hulls is also a little weird)

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Aye, I agree with all your conclusions, Etheric - including your thoughts on RAW, RAI and the weirdness thereof. I absolutely believe they intended strength to affect Lance batteries, but also believe that isn't how things have actually been written (this is partly why we have errata after all: to clear up mistakes between the designer's intentions and what they've actually put in their books). I also believe that - like they intended strength to affect lances - they didn't intend macrobatteries to be strictly superior to them either. Which is why I'm very interested in how the numbers turn out under my reading of the rules.

I'm not entirely sure how to make lance batteries work if my reading is accepted...perhaps reduce the DoS required to score the extra hits by one of every point of strength above the first? Or make lances score one hit per point of strength on a successful roll plus one additional hit per three degrees of success (so a strength two lance battery would score 2 hits on a successful BS roll + 1 per three DoS). Etheric's idea of simply increasing light cruiser and cruiser armour and then ruling strength applicable to all weapons is also a potential solution. Whatever the proposed solution, it should definitely be checked for mathematical soundness before being adopted however.

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Cannonball said:

Aye, I agree with all your conclusions, Etheric - including your thoughts on RAW, RAI and the weirdness thereof. I absolutely believe they intended strength to affect Lance batteries, but also believe that isn't how things have actually been written (this is partly why we have errata after all: to clear up mistakes between the designer's intentions and what they've actually put in their books). I also believe that - like they intended strength to affect lances - they didn't intend macrobatteries to be strictly superior to them either. Which is why I'm very interested in how the numbers turn out under my reading of the rules.

I'm not entirely sure how to make lance batteries work if my reading is accepted...perhaps reduce the DoS required to score the extra hits by one of every point of strength above the first? Or make lances score one hit per point of strength on a successful roll plus one additional hit per three degrees of success (so a strength two lance battery would score 2 hits on a successful BS roll + 1 per three DoS). Etheric's idea of simply increasing light cruiser and cruiser armour and then ruling strength applicable to all weapons is also a potential solution. Whatever the proposed solution, it should definitely be checked for mathematical soundness before being adopted however.

Actually, this post is a good example of the 'trap' of this thread.

This is a Role-Playing Game that we are talking about, not a wargame. The rules dont have to be fair and balanced, or even particularly correct, because there is a Game Master to adjust that during the game. This is not a competition of Players Vs GM, so the guiding light is to have fun not to have mathematical soundness. Right or wrong, balance is whatever the GM says it is.

If you are really that enamored of 'mathmatical soundness' then you should go play BFG.

By the way Cannonball, your idea would make the Star-flare Lance from Into the Storm waaaay to powerful. 3 hits with an additional hit per 2 successes.With a (post-adjustments) 65 to hit, that gives you a 25% chance of crippling a frigate on one hit.

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May I suggest that a better analysis would be to determine the percentage chance of each damage result instead of the average damage result, this is often a better measurement of how well a something works. I'll look into it myself but in the meantime if anyone else knows the results then they should post them.

Kaihlik

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korjik said:

 

Actually, this post is a good example of the 'trap' of this thread.

This is a Role-Playing Game that we are talking about, not a wargame. The rules dont have to be fair and balanced, or even particularly correct, because there is a Game Master to adjust that during the game. This is not a competition of Players Vs GM, so the guiding light is to have fun not to have mathematical soundness. Right or wrong, balance is whatever the GM says it is.

If you are really that enamored of 'mathmatical soundness' then you should go play BFG.

By the way Cannonball, your idea would make the Star-flare Lance from Into the Storm waaaay to powerful. 3 hits with an additional hit per 2 successes.With a (post-adjustments) 65 to hit, that gives you a 25% chance of crippling a frigate on one hit.

 

 

Explain to me how it is fun to be given two options, and be told one is better at something than the other, but when you actually use them they don't work that way, and to have it turn out you made a BAD choice.  In fact, that's the cornerstone of competitive gaming.  In a competitive games it is okay to have "trap" choices.  Not everything should be equally valuable, and making better choices should put you at an advantage over someone who made poor choices.

However, in a non-competitive game, choices should be interesting.  Interesting choices are important in competitive games too, but they aren't as necessary, as some of their fun is replaced with winning and losing.  The choice between a seneschal and an archmilitant is an interesting one.  One excels in warfare, the other in subterfuge.  Neither one is inherently better than the other.  This is not the case as it stands with batteries and lances.  The players are told lances are better against high-armor targets (by the rule that says they ignore armor), and they are better at delivering critical hits (by having a better crit rating).  This is misinformation.  This is like having the seneschal be categorically better in warfare, while still retaining its superiority in subterfuge.  There have been and still exist systems with rules like that.  They are not well designed systems.  You can still have a lot of fun playing with those systems, but the systems are supposed to be there to support your game, not the other way around.

You're absolutely right about the GM being there to adjust balance, and that's part of what I'm doing.  This imbalance is something that most GMs wouldn't see, and I personally wasn't sure about either.  I did the math in order to inform people that there was an imbalance.  The next step is to discover some tools people can use to correct that balance in their own game.  That's one of the points behind these forums.  To connect with others outside your social group, and share ideas.  I was hoping someone might share with me their own ideas about how to fix this imbalance, like Cannonball did, or maybe I could think of a few ways of my own that might help other groups looking for a solution.

Math is a tool, I'm using it as a way to quantitatively answer a question.  I'm not sure why you are so against that.  I think you do care a bit about balancing too, after all, why else would you care if Cannonball's suggestion would be too powerful?  He, or his GM would just balance that in his game.  If you have a suggestion to make lances an interesting choice, or if you have reason to believe they are already an interesting choice, please share it.

Kaihlik: You make a good point, and I was thinking about it when I was doing the math.  I would be interested in the results of that as well.  However, I doubt it would seriously impact the numbers too much.  After all, it would make the most difference in the macrobattery department which has to punch through armor, so you're talking about a roll of at least 3d10+6 before I start counting damage done.  When you roll that many dice, the results are a bit more predictable (it forms a nice steep bell curve).  Think of craps and how the probability is of rolling 7 is so high compared to every other number.  Now roll even more dice.  That 5-hit scenario didn't add as much to the battery DPS as the 6, 7, and especially 8-hit scenario.

Of course, if someone wants to prove me wrong, please do so.  I am, after all, a humble liberal arts major.

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