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Etheric

[Mathhammer] Are lances a trap?

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GalagaGalaxian said:

Would giving Lances a few more points of +X damage and maybe the Tearing trait from the equipment armory make a decent difference?

The answer I've found is not in boosting Lances up, but in not allowing Macrobatteries to combine their salvos. Now armor matters a bit more and so do the weapons that ignore it.

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Won't that just risk turning ship battles into VERY drawn out slug fests? I'm not thinking of PC ships with excellent BS scores and top-of-the-line weapons here, but NPC ships with standard Mars batteries and 30 crew ratings. Even a max # of hits from a Mars Battery is 4d10+8, for an average of 30 damage before armor. Assuming against a light cruiser thats about 11 damage, and thats only IF you get max hits, with 30 crew rating you're more likely to get far less, rending NPC batteries useless against many ships. Even a frigate can shrug off 2d10+4 a lot of the time.

Granted, I haven't done any in-depth math other than rapid ballparking, and I defiantely agree double-battery salvo-fire is somewhat overpowered vs battery+lance, but I'm not sure removing salvo-fire completely is the answer. Some kind of penalty beyond only being able to score a single critical yes, but not complete removal. What that penalty could be, however, I have no idea.

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I'm desinging a ship for our upcoming campaign, and came across this very problem. It is kind of odd that the advantage of lances is supposed to be that they ignore armor, however, when combining salvos, the second (and third, and fourth, and so on...) macrobattery also gains this benefit. And since macrobatteries are much better at producing pure damage, there really is no reason to mount lances on your ships. Unless you for style points, or something. I'm thinking of suggesting to the GM we remove the rule for combining salvos, or at least make it not totally negate the armor for the second and subsequent macrobatteries.

 

K.

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 Personally, I capped the combined salvo's hits to the highest strength of the guns used. Makes it good for a low-skill crew to use it, reduces the monstrous damage of broadsides when used by high-skill crews (ie, any of the shooty Explorers above Rank 1).

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Errant said:

 Personally, I capped the combined salvo's hits to the highest strength of the guns used. Makes it good for a low-skill crew to use it, reduces the monstrous damage of broadsides when used by high-skill crews (ie, any of the shooty Explorers above Rank 1).

Good call. I've capped the Strength of Salvos to 8 hits. As my explorers were one-shotting battlecruisers with twin mars broadsides. The players agreed as I painted a picture of every space battle ending in a space-hulking by round 2. Eventually they would lose initiative. I probably should have gone further but I didn't want to limit NPC vessels too much. With 8 hits it is still sometimes worth salvoing the broadsides against very high armour opponents and lighter frigates rocking twin sunsears are unaffected - and so can still threaten even triple voided grand cruisers a little.

Since the dynasties master of ordnance has BS 73 and the void tactician talent it was getting rapidly ridiculous. Throw in some strategic action help and some RT leadership and no vessel is safe. 

The only time my explorers wanted lances was when they desired surgical orbital strikes. They could blow up cities but not a single building and that made them sad.  

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I like the suggestion of limiting the volley hits to a max strength of a single part. One of the ideas we've been toying with in addition to the lance rules was nominating one battery as the primary. the primary gets normal damage, including inflicting the critical hit if caused, but the others add their damage bonus to the roll rather then a full damage roll.


for instance firing a cruiser with a plasma battery (d10+4) and two macrocannon broadsides (d10+3, due to munitorium), gets four degrees of success (high BS + components +actions make this relatively likely)


Plasma battery primary (d10+4)x4=38


Macrocannon broaside x2 (3x4)x2=24


so this attack would do 62 points of damage, minus the targets armour. now, I may not have the max strengths of the plasma battery in correctly, but it seems to produce a decent incentive for volley firing without being overwhelming.
 

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Another suggestion for boosting lances, could be any of these:

- Allow them the chance 2 rolls on the critical table, and pick one (aka tearing) [To simulate better accuracy than a battery]

- Allow them to be able to crit twice with one shot (based on DoS) [To simulate a deeper hit into the enemy ship]

- Give the tearing ability on the damage roll (I think someone else also suggested this btw)

 

I will probably start using tearing on both damage and critical chart, as my pc's are also starting to see that lances are subpar to batteries, and I really want lances to be a great part of the game as well.

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What other fixes are options?  Have people considered the simple fix of not allowing macrobatteries to combine salvos?  I decided to do a little math on the subject.

 

Etheric's original values are a little off.  He underestimates the average damage for macrobatteries because he doesn't consider that they can't do less than zero damage.

So the two options I've considered are eliminating the combination of salvos and no combination of salvos and reduced armor by 5 (to 15).

 

DPR for Scenario 1: 40% BS

Lance + Macro: 1.14

Dual Macro: 1.07

Dual Macro (No salvo): 0.45

Dual Macro (No salvo + Reduced Armor): 0.87

 

DPR for Scenario 2: 50% BS

Lance + Macro: 1.9

Dual Macro: 2.41

Dual Macro (No salvo): 1.02

Dual Macro (No salvo + Reduced Armor): 1.87

 

DPR for Scenario 1: 60% BS

Lance + Macro: 2.85

Dual Macro: 4.28

Dual Macro (No salvo): 1.80

Dual Macro (No salvo + Reduced Armor): 3.20

As you can see, the change of not allowing salvos to combine succeeds in making lances more effective against heavily armored targets.  In addition, also reducing armor ruins the effect.  However, this change does make Strength 3 macrocannons almost completely useless against heavily armored targets.  Their effectiveness against more moderate armor warrants further investigation.

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I havn't crunched the numbers but I'd agree that not allowing seperate macrocannon volleys to combine is the way I'd go. If this nerfs pure macro ships too much I might pinch squadron fire from Battlefleet Koronos to make up for it. Run a variant like you can sacrifice one macrobatteries fire to give another macrobattery +10/+20 to hit and +1/+2 to strenght.

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Hidaowin said:

I havn't crunched the numbers but I'd agree that not allowing seperate macrocannon volleys to combine is the way I'd go. If this nerfs pure macro ships too much I might pinch squadron fire from Battlefleet Koronos to make up for it. Run a variant like you can sacrifice one macrobatteries fire to give another macrobattery +10/+20 to hit and +1/+2 to strenght.

I have been playing with the house rule of not combining macrobatteries for quite some time and it works out fairly well.  I too am considering using the BFK rule as you mention to allow a ship to group macrobatteries since it seems to provide a sane benefit compared to the standard combining rules.

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I did some calculations using method proposed by Hidaowin. I assumed that when combining macrobatteries you gain +10 to hit and add half a bonus of damage of omitted battery and increase Strength by half Strength of omitted Battery (rounding up). Example:

Dual Sunsear Laser Battery becomes:  Strength 6, D10+3 Damage, +10 to hit
Dual Ryza Pattern Plasma Battery becomes: Strength 6, D10+6 Damage, +10 to hit

I averaged damage rolls. By adding +10 to hit, both Ryza and Sunsear score Critical Hits when a Lance would score a Crit. In bracets I put armour values that I assumed are typical for given ship class.

Dual Sunsear Laser Battery Damage Output
Hits  Raider (15)      Frigate (17)   Cruiser (20)    Cruiser Ar. Prow (24)
 2             0                          0                       0                               0
 3             2                          0                       0                               0
 4           11                          9                       0                               0
 5           19                        17                       6                              2
 6           28                        26                     14                            10

Dual Ryza Pattern Plasma Battery Damage Output
Hits   Raider (15)     Frigate (17)   Cruiser (20)     Cruiser Ar. Prow (24)
2                0                          0                        0                               0
3                8                          6                        0                               0
4              20                        18                       3                               0
5              31                         29                    15                             11
6              43                         41                    26                             22

Assuming that Titanforge Lance + Mars Pattern Macrocannons will do on average 10 damage (assuming both hit and macrocannons will take away Void Shields) it is obvious that with this Home Rule lance armament becomes better at busting armoured targets. Dual Sunsear must score 3 DoS (but remember the +10 bonus) to be equal to lance against raiders and frigates. It needs full 5 DoS to be more effective against Cruisers. Ryza generally is a 1 DoS better universally than Sunsear.  Now assuming your average pirate raider with dual Mars Macrobatteries (damage output equal to Sunsears) with Competent Crew. It has 10% to damage a Frigate (assuming average damage rolls). It cannot hurt Cruisers (on average). Using existing rules and averaging damage they need to get one less DoS in combined to hit rolls to get the same results but without the +10 to hit.
I would increase the bonus to hit to +20 for short range of omitted battery and reduce it +0 for longe range of omitted battery. The Rule I investigated should mitigate the PC ship from dealing enormous damage and crippling ship with one volley but still capable of dealing huge damage with  competent gunner.

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  I ran Gyg's House Rules with some Ballistics Skill values to get a damage per round value

40% BS            Dual Sunsear (HR)           Dual Sunsear (RAW)              Mars + Titanforge Lance

vs Raider (15)       3.23                                         3.63                                             1.85

vs Frigate (17)       2.72                                         3.04                                             1.69

vs Cruiser (20)       0.64                                        1.07                                              1.14

 

50% BS

vs Raider (15)       5.98                                        6.64                                              2.87

vs Frigate (17)       5.27                                        5.77                                              2.63

vs Cruiser (20)       2.04                                       2.46                                               1.90

 

60% BS

vs Raider (15)       8.74                                       10.14                                              4.08

vs Frigate (17)       7.82                                         8.99                                              3.76

vs Cruiser (20)       3.44                                         4.34                                              2.85

 

This houserule does deal less damage to armored targets than the RAW, but it still outstrips the Lance + Macro combo at higher BS levels.  It does deal less damage overall, but this rule makes massive devastating hits more likely which would result in more swingy combat.

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An elegant fixe I've found somewhere, to solve the salvo problem :

- the salvo does no longer exists.
- However, now, when a ship fires against another, the targets shield is out after the first batteries or lance hit, and come bakc online only at the end of the attacking ship turn.

that means :
- you can use the usual combo of batteries then lance as usual ;
- if you have two or more batteries against a target, only the first volley has to deduce hits from the shield. thus, having several batteries still hit hard, but as the armor is not deduced just once but twice or more, it is now less efficient than the lance/battery combo against heavily armored targets.
hell, it can also help "gothic"-style ships to be cruiser-killers as intended, even alone. use a small lance to fry the shield, then fry the ship itself.

 

 

 

 

 

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Erm... the second bit (about the shields) is how the game works already. Against a single ship, the shields only count for as many hits as there are shields, and then they go down (for that particular attacker). Every ship attacking has to first get through the shields, and then all their attacks hit the hull.

I'm not sure how your "house rule" is any different, which (no offence intended) leads me to suspect you didn't understand how the shields work in RT.

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My apologies, I was in an hurry, and was not clear enough ; and as well, as it is not my idea at first, i just posted it here to get opinions... the last part I forgot to add, was that the attacker chooses which weapon he fires is reduced by the shields. In normal rules, the attacker can only choose which hits are discarded by the void shields if he combines the damage of multiple macrobatteries.

Example : the player ship fires two Sunsear macrobatteries on a Cruiser. The player got 3 hits from the first battery & 2 hits from the second. The player elects to use the second battery's hits to batter down the shields, leaving the cruiser exposed for 3d10+6 damage from the first.

 

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If anyone still interested another portion of statistics:

I present the Mean for Sunsear Combo vs Titanforge&Mars Macrocannons combo using both Home Rule and current rules for macrobatteries. As always
I averaged the output damage. I calculated it for BS 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70. I calculated it for different classes of ships.

                                             BS 30     BS 40    BS 50    BS 60     BS 70
Raiders armour 15
HR Batteries                      1,1              3            5,8         8,6        11,4
Old Batteries                    0,77          3,47       6,61       10,19    14,21
Lance                                  0,9            1,6         2,5          3,6          4,9
Lance+Sunsear                0,9            2,4         4,1            6           8,1

Frigate armour 17
HR Batteries                      0,9            2,6          5,2          7,8        10,4
Old Batteries                    0,65           2,97        5,77        9,05     12,81
Lance                                 0,9             1,6           2,5          3,6        4,9
Lance+Sunsear               0,9             2,2           3,7          5,4        7,3

Cruisers armour 20
HR Batteries                      0                0,6            2            3,4        4,8
Old Batteries                   0,16           1,03          2,4         4,27      6,64
Lance                                0,6              1,2            2              3          4,2

Cruisers Ar. Prow armour 24
HR Batteries                      0                0,2         1,2           2,2         3,2
Old Batteries                  0,06              0,67       1,7          3,15      5,02
Lance                                0,6               1,2           2              3          4,2

It shows that now Lances are better than Sunsears against Cruisers with BS up to 40 or to 50 in case of firing against Armoured Prow. 
Proposed Home Rules lessen the damage while providing better chance to inflict damage for competent crew (Your average Pirate is sligthly more menacing). For Ryza batteries Lance still stands no chance but Ryza eats power like mad and costs the most SP (dual Ryza that is). 
Bear in mind that I ignored the effect of Mars macrobatteries other than knocking shields in this simulation. Employing batteries with better strength and damage increases its potential against Raiders and Frigates, providing higher BS.  Sunsear and lance combo with high BS could produce two Critical Hits with descent probability.

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after reading through the books, the new sunhammer lace from into the storm looks decent with a range of 9. if your making use of the firestorm frigate, you should pair it with the sunsear. the trick is to use the sunsear to knock the shields down, you only need to hit to do so, then use the lance for damage.

the lance ignores armor and has the chance on a good roll to really put the hurt on something. it has less to do with mathmatical calculations and more to do with simple luck and how you drop your dice. I only have a sword class frigate but i use the sunsear simple for the extra range.

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 After a lot more math I've come up with numbers that incorporate the damage from critical hits.  The weapons are Dual Sunsear Laser Batteries using the rules as written (S), dual sunsears without salvoing (NS), and a Mars Pattern Macrocannon combined with a titanforge lance (M+L).  The targets are a 15 armor Raider ®, a 17 armor Frigate (F), and a 20 armor cruiser with 2 void shields ©.  The Ballistics skill is listed for each table.

40%   S       NS       M+L

R      3.64    2.23    1.97

F      3.06    1.68    1.81

C      1.19    0.49    1.26

 

50%   S        NS      M+L

R       6.66    4.13    3.08

F        5.80    3.23    2.85

C       2.66    1.13    2.18

 

60%     S      NS      M+L

R      10.16   6.18    4.35

F        9.03    4.92    4.06

C        4.58    1.94    3.25

 

As I expected, adding in crits didn't change the numbers a whole bunch.  I did not expect that the No Salvo option would deal less damage than the Lance against a Frigate at the lower BS ratings.  Oh well, it isn't a perfect solution.  I'll consider developing a 30% BS table to see if anything is too funky with NPC vessels using normal crew.

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Are salvoes the problem or are Sunsear-salvoes specifically the problem?

I've heard criticism that the Sunsear is itself overpowered and a default choice over the Mars macrobatteries which is the most common Imperial Navy battery load out. The problem is that their Mars batteries depend on salvo fire to be viable. Nerfing salvo would make Mars an even worse choice.

Some proposed solutions include increasing the SP cost of Sunsears and giving Mars batteries the ability to ignore resist critical damage in the same manner as the Armoured Bridge which I like.

 

 

My proposal: Ban direct-energy weapons (Sunsears, Ryza, Pyro, Hecutor) from salvoing. After all lances can't salvo either. Kinetic weapons like Mars, Thunderstrike, Stygies and Lathes batteries can salvo as normal. Incidentally all the better batteries are the direct energy ones. 

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guest469 said:

Are salvoes the problem or are Sunsear-salvoes specifically the problem?

The extra point of strength does make them better than the Mars Pattern, but they were chosen because they have approximate power/space parity with a valid lance and macrobattery combo.  The mars pattern cannons are cheap, and thereby appropriately wimpy.  I don't believe a division of salvo power falls between energy and kinetic though, most macros outdamage the Sunsears including the kinetic (and cheaper) Mezoas.

I could potentially run a thunderstrike/starbreaker combo vs doubled Mars macros and see how the numbers turn out, but could that prove the Mars cannons suck?

Also, how do you guys run crits?  The text says a weapon scores a critical hit when its "successes" equal or exceed its crit rating.  I took this to mean 1 + DoS, the same number as hits for a macrobattery.  Apparently Sam Stewart has ruled that it means DoS, which throws all my calculations off.

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Part of the issue is that Sunsears are just too good compared to the other macrobatteries. One less strength, one worse crit rating would do a world of good for opening up options for starship weapons.

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Kalec Fash said:

Part of the issue is that Sunsears are just too good compared to the other macrobatteries. One less strength, one worse crit rating would do a world of good for opening up options for starship weapons.

It's hard to fault the Sunsears for their combination of range, strength, and crit rating.  It is good, but they are also expensive, in terms of space and power, compared to the other battery (non-broadside) macrocannons.  The Ryza is the only one that is strictly more expensive than the Sunsears.  Everything else uses either less space, less power, or both.  The Sunsears may warrant an extra SP, but one less strength and one less crit rating means the only thing they have over the Mars Pattern is range for 1/3 more power and twice the space which seems a steep price.

Hmm, dropping the damage by a point may be a fairer trade-off if you think the Sunsears need rebalancing.

I'm working on a comparison of different macrobatteries in terms of mean damage per round.  I'll post it in the next few days.

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I'm sort of shocked this issue has  never been addressed by FFG.

 

In BFG, Lances could be brutal (I played the hell out of BFG, and pretty much mastered Imperial Fleets).  A squadron of Firestorms backing up a Dauntless could rip most capital ships to shreds, let alone in concert with a squadron of Sword Frigates (Or even Cobras).  Hell, the Dauntless and 3 Firestorms combo crippled the Planet Killer (Admittedly, after it had the most atrociously bad luck I've seen and lost all its shields in an Asteroid Field)

 

I also never really considered the Gothic to be underpowered either.  It was especially brutal as an Escort Hunter as it was statistically a near guarantee of 2 hits per broadside.  First one pops shields, next destroys. 

 

In a way I'd say that's the real issue with Lances in Rogue Trader, they're underpowered.  Yes, they ignore armor.  But that's still not usually enough to destroy a ship.

 

If BFG against anyone but Eldar they hit 50% of the time no matter the enemy's armor.  While the Macrocannon sorts hit at best on a 4+, but only against the wimpiest escorts.  Usually they only did on a 5 or 6, and against some ships (Like Cruiser Prows) only on a 6.  (all rolls on a d6)

 

In general I'd think adding an additional d10 to all lance weapons' damage would not be a bad thing to emulate the power of them in BFG.  Or maybe even an additional +3 or 4 damage in general (Slightly weaker on average than another die, but more consistent)

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the only fairly simple fix i have seen is removing salvoing and yes this does make mars pattern near worthless accept to knock down shields (the broadsides ok) only other way to adreas it fairly simply whould be either uping armor values or uping damage of lances and as mass macrobattery fire has quckly proven to be almost to strong removing the salvofire makes the most sense

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