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Fortinbras

Can essential components be run unpowered?

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I have a player trying to cram heavy ordnance onto a light cruiser and squeeze every last bit of power, claiming they'd just "unpower the gellar field" when not in use.   Is this legal?  And if so, other than the obvious (DAEMON INCURSION!!!!!) what are the potential problems with doing so?  Also how long would it take to power back up a gellar field?  I don't think there are any rules in the book for powering/unpowering components on the fly like flipping a switch.   I would presume that powering and unpowering a component takes serious work.  1d5 turns for emergency repairs to an unpowered component, so that would be several hours at least.

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It should be possible.  Unpowered Components which don't take up Space don't even seem to leave part of the ship unlivable.  This means that the Gellar Field really should be unpowered when not preparing for or undertaking Warp travel.

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Warp engines too?  That strikes me as insanely unbalanced.  What's to stop you from loading up a cruiser with a couple of sets of retro thrusters? That's a +10 to maneuver right there, turning your cruiser into a highly agile murder-machine.  

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Fortinbras said:

Warp engines too?  That strikes me as insanely unbalanced.  What's to stop you from loading up a cruiser with a couple of sets of retro thrusters? That's a +10 to maneuver right there, turning your cruiser into a highly agile murder-machine.  

Well, you could just say that when running in normal space, the warp drive is shut down and the +10 to manuver from the retros is already applied to all ships, and that this isnt something that can get changed.

Or, offending a machine spirit as powerful as a warp drive's (by shutting of the power by choice) would make you instant Hereteks.

Or, shutting off the geller field causes an instant mutiny, as the crew realizes that the most minor warp tide will get them all eaten by daemons.

Or, explain to your players that bending the spirit of the rules to get a slight combat advantage means that you will too, and that they are not likely to be able to take on the grand crusiers you want to play with.

Or, just do what you want. The rules arent gospel.

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korjik said:

Or, explain to your players that bending the spirit of the rules to get a slight combat advantage means that you will too, and that they are not likely to be able to take on the grand crusiers you want to play with.

I already said the first opponent I'd send at them would be a suicide-run frigate/raider that blows its warp engines rather than be boarded and captured, sucking them all into the Immaterium with a non-functioning gellar field.  

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By now, I know you're not a fan of novel-based arguments ;) but the thing is, everyone reads about space battles in the different novels etc. There the captains always power up the front shield arc at an expense of their drives or the weapons batteries and so on. I think, this doesn't even take too much time. A few minutes or so. It's not just flipping a switch or turning a wheel, but it's rather quick. But this last point is the reason, why I think that you and your ship's crew are doing it all the time. Automatically. If your pilot is squeezing out every last DoS to speed up, the drives were fed by additional power from... the shields. Then, they land a really good hit at their opponents, because the energy was transfered to their laserbatteries. So my point is, that you actually always try to transfer power from system to system and your (crew's) skill (the dice roll) will determine if you succeeded just in time. You don't have to actively state it for any other reason but storytelling. Did you get my point?

Then, you have the various "+5 bonus to X" extended actions, like "put your backs into it". Of course, you manage to motivate your crew to do a lot better and faster, but I also think some of this includes the power transfers etc.

Why can't you just shut down the Geller Field to give more power to the weapons? Maybe there's a cap to how much energy can be used by your weapons. After this point, there's simply no more benefit in doing so. This cap is already calculated into your weapons' damage dice...

An "Unpowered" component is for me a system that has completely been cut from its energy sources. This means physically, too, and most likely by damage due to a hit. So there are broken conduits, transformators, batteries, etc, which first have to be found and then also repaired/exchanged. This is what takes so much time, at least half an hour. But it's not like you can unpower a component to give another one more power. If, for any reason, the situation should occur that there is not enough power for all of your systems (maybe the generators were slightly damaged or any other story based reason), you could probably choose to power down weapons or so to make some energy free for your life sustainer, or any other power distribution you deem fit. But these are rather rare occasions, since there are no rules to something like a damaged reactor and less power output than maximum.

Finally, I hope to find some rules / clarifications in the new Battlefleet Koronus book. Maybe a list of things that occur should any of your components be damaged or unpowered. (weapons simply won't work, but what about the life sustainer, what consequences are there in the short-run / a space battle?)

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Keep in mind that there is an emergency gellar field.  It basically says that it will automatically switch on if suddenly thrust into the warp unexpectidly.  Besides meaning that there is a way to end up in the warp unintentionally, it also means that the gellar field is in fact not normally on when out of the warp.  There are two ways to take this.  The first is the way you're players are taking it, that it doesn't use energy and that power can be used elsewhere, the second is that this is already taken into account in the simplification of starships to something that can be used in a game system.

Personally I'm inclined to believe the former.  You never use your gellar shield and weapons at the same time, so may as well overpack on power requirements a bit and put those 2 points of power to use firing weapons.  There might be problems if you want to warp jump while in combat, as you'll need to power down a weapon to turn on the gellar field.  And remember this would also go for other components as well, and I personally think makes spaceships a bit more interesting.  Maybe you have to pick between firing your macrocannon battery and using your teleportarium and murder servitors.  Maybe you can turn off the power to the crew quarters to power your weapons (No one should be in them during combat anyway, right?) and so on.

I like this not because it allows for more firepower, but it allows a ship to play a combat role without completely sacrificing its ability to have other cool things.

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Fortinbras said:

korjik said:

 

Or, explain to your players that bending the spirit of the rules to get a slight combat advantage means that you will too, and that they are not likely to be able to take on the grand crusiers you want to play with.

 

 

I already said the first opponent I'd send at them would be a suicide-run frigate/raider that blows its warp engines rather than be boarded and captured, sucking them all into the Immaterium with a non-functioning gellar field.  

Cool. What do they say about great minds? gran_risa.gif

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So you have the warp engine powered down so that a weapon can function. In how many combat turns do you power up the warp engine, and what is the sequance(power down weapon,power up the warp engine)?

In a turn what is the formula to calculate how many vu a ship travels?

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The book never mentions anything about length of time to power up/down something, which seems to indicate it is a fairly quick process that likely takes place in the span of a single turn.  And there is no real need for an order.  You turn off one and turn on the other and the power goes from one to the other.  However, I figure that the warp engines are at least partially involved in normal travel for a ship, as there aren't isn't a 'regular' engine at all, so I don't think you can turn off your warp engine for the sake of weapons unless you want to be a sitting duck.

And as for speed... it travels a number of VU equal to its speed each turn, modified by a pilot test.

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Karoline said:

The book never mentions anything about length of time to power up/down something, which seems to indicate it is a fairly quick process that likely takes place in the span of a single turn.

Or it means you can't go around turning bits off and on, as I've been lead to believe during my playtests.

It might be an idea to send a "Rules Question" e-mail to Sam, Ross and Mack at FFG via THIS LINK. It'd be better to get an answer from the people who wrote the rules than speculate happy.gif

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Blame the Energistic Conversion Matrix for much of these ponderings.  Turning off the Warp Engine is a quick way to get several extra points of speed in real space - if it's indeed legal.  Once it's allowed here, the idea of switching the warp engine off to allow for more powerful weapons is just an extension of that logic.

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Karoline said:

 

The book never mentions anything about length of time to power up/down something, which seems to indicate it is a fairly quick process that likely takes place in the span of a single turn.  And there is no real need for an order.  You turn off one and turn on the other and the power goes from one to the other.

 

My players will be relieved to know they no longer have to roll a tech-use test for emergency repairs to components rendered unpowered by critical hits.

For what it's worth, due to the lack of consensus or anything near a rule, I did in fact shoot FFG a message asking for their input.

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I have never quite understood the need to get an 'official' ruling on a rule. For me, God could come down, point out how I was doing it wrong, show me commandment XI "Thou shall not change the RAW", and all I would say is '****'....

gran_risa.gif

Seems to me that the intention is that you cannot just shut off the power. I seem to remember a paragraph in the book that says unpowered also means no air, but that really isnt important. Thing is, if you want to be able to move around the power, so be it. Just realize that it will make the conversion matrix archeotech really powerful, as crusiers will be able to outrun frigates by shutting off extra systems.

Personally, I would not want to keep track of the power allocation for several ships. One, I have Star Fleet Battles, so that isnt a can of worms I want to see again, and Two, it would either slow things down or just gives the players a bit more of an advantage they dont need.

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korjik said:

 

I have never quite understood the need to get an 'official' ruling on a rule. For me, God could come down, point out how I was doing it wrong, show me commandment XI "Thou shall not change the RAW", and all I would say is '****'....

 

 

This player is particularly obnoxious and doesn't seem to comprehend the idea that turning off essentials just to cram an archeotech lance onto the hull is just a bit irritating, or that if they actually tried to do such a thing I would use it to screw them royally.   As in if I said "WARP STORM ARRIVES, EVERYBODY DIES", they'd try and argue with me that warp storms don't just randomly come and go like that.

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Fortinbras said:

korjik said:

 

I have never quite understood the need to get an 'official' ruling on a rule. For me, God could come down, point out how I was doing it wrong, show me commandment XI "Thou shall not change the RAW", and all I would say is '****'....

 

 

This player is particularly obnoxious and doesn't seem to comprehend the idea that turning off essentials just to cram an archeotech lance onto the hull is just a bit irritating, or that if they actually tried to do such a thing I would use it to screw them royally.   As in if I said "WARP STORM ARRIVES, EVERYBODY DIES", they'd try and argue with me that warp storms don't just randomly come and go like that.

In about every group I've ever been in, taking that approach would just get you booted from the game or, at the least, removed from the GM's seat.  Work out something that makes everyone happy, don't be a passive-aggressive **** that tries to "screw them royally".

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Karoline said:

 

Keep in mind that there is an emergency gellar field.  It basically says that it will automatically switch on if suddenly thrust into the warp unexpectidly.  Besides meaning that there is a way to end up in the warp unintentionally, it also means that the gellar field is in fact not normally on when out of the warp.  There are two ways to take this.  The first is the way you're players are taking it, that it doesn't use energy and that power can be used elsewhere, the second is that this is already taken into account in the simplification of starships to something that can be used in a game system.

Personally I'm inclined to believe the former.  You never use your gellar shield and weapons at the same time, so may as well overpack on power requirements a bit and put those 2 points of power to use firing weapons.  There might be problems if you want to warp jump while in combat, as you'll need to power down a weapon to turn on the gellar field.  And remember this would also go for other components as well, and I personally think makes spaceships a bit more interesting.  Maybe you have to pick between firing your macrocannon battery and using your teleportarium and murder servitors.  Maybe you can turn off the power to the crew quarters to power your weapons (No one should be in them during combat anyway, right?) and so on.

I like this not because it allows for more firepower, but it allows a ship to play a combat role without completely sacrificing its ability to have other cool things.

 

 

First of all, I'm curious about the official answer. But on the other hand, I'm sure, that something so essential as intentionally powering down components to free up energy to boost others would have been covered in the core rules, if there would have been any intention to allow it. Of course, you can houserule everything and thereby make it more complicated. So, I'd go with the latter of your two options.

I think (and am pretty sure about this), the power and space value of a ship is something abstract. Just because you have used up all of your space, but have no "cargo hold and lighter bay" doesn't mean you can't carry any goods. And noone has any kind of hangar right now, still the the rules say, every vessel has (must have) some shuttles, cargo haulers, etc. It's the same with power. You have used up all your power? That simply means you can't install new components that need power. There's just no flipping switches and boost your weapons with incredible Vitae power from your life sustainer...

If you want a more versatile ship, you just can't have a "small" escort sized one. They are very limited and will have to specialize. A bigger one can take more than one role in your fleet, but won't be as good as a specialized ship, just the way it's always been.

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HappyDaze said:

 

In about every group I've ever been in, taking that approach would just get you booted from the game or, at the least, removed from the GM's seat. 

 

 What's passive aggressive about actions having consequences?    If a player uses a minigun to solve a problem that should require a stealth or a negotiation solution, crap should rain down on his head for it.   If a player is brutal and unmerciful to his enemies, should you really cut him a break when he wants his character's head to not be blown off execution-style?  Similarly, if someone wants to skirt the rules using a tactic that at worst is ILLEGAL and at best is clearly one of the most ridiculous attempts at powergaming I've ever seen, something relevant to their choice should occur.   In this case, a warp storm that dumps a few Ebon Geists on the ship shouldn't be out of the question.

Either way, thankfully I'm the one with the books, the quickrule references, the NPC lists, etc., so if they want me to take my GMing and go home, I'll be sure to take the rest of my **** along with me.   Better than playing with a bunch of idiots.

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Fortinbras said:

HappyDaze said:

 

In about every group I've ever been in, taking that approach would just get you booted from the game or, at the least, removed from the GM's seat. 

 

 What's passive aggressive about actions having consequences?    If a player uses a minigun to solve a problem that should require a stealth or a negotiation solution, crap should rain down on his head for it.   If a player is brutal and unmerciful to his enemies, should you really cut him a break when he wants his character's head to not be blown off execution-style?  Similarly, if someone wants to skirt the rules using a tactic that at worst is ILLEGAL and at best is clearly one of the most ridiculous attempts at powergaming I've ever seen, something relevant to their choice should occur.   In this case, a warp storm that dumps a few Ebon Geists on the ship shouldn't be out of the question.

Either way, thankfully I'm the one with the books, the quickrule references, the NPC lists, etc., so if they want me to take my GMing and go home, I'll be sure to take the rest of my **** along with me.   Better than playing with a bunch of idiots.

hoo-freakin'-ra!

I have a few simple rules for when I GM

1: Anything you do, I will do too.

2: Anything you can do, I can do better.

3: I am here to have fun too. If you waste my time with petty powergaming BS, I will not have fun, and you wont either

The point of the game is to break the monsters, not the game. If a player insists on trying to break the game, I wont put up with it either.

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korjik said:

Fortinbras said:

 

HappyDaze said:

 

In about every group I've ever been in, taking that approach would just get you booted from the game or, at the least, removed from the GM's seat. 

 

 What's passive aggressive about actions having consequences?    If a player uses a minigun to solve a problem that should require a stealth or a negotiation solution, crap should rain down on his head for it.   If a player is brutal and unmerciful to his enemies, should you really cut him a break when he wants his character's head to not be blown off execution-style?  Similarly, if someone wants to skirt the rules using a tactic that at worst is ILLEGAL and at best is clearly one of the most ridiculous attempts at powergaming I've ever seen, something relevant to their choice should occur.   In this case, a warp storm that dumps a few Ebon Geists on the ship shouldn't be out of the question.

Either way, thankfully I'm the one with the books, the quickrule references, the NPC lists, etc., so if they want me to take my GMing and go home, I'll be sure to take the rest of my **** along with me.   Better than playing with a bunch of idiots.

 

 

hoo-freakin'-ra!

I have a few simple rules for when I GM

1: Anything you do, I will do too.

2: Anything you can do, I can do better.

3: I am here to have fun too. If you waste my time with petty powergaming BS, I will not have fun, and you wont either

The point of the game is to break the monsters, not the game. If a player insists on trying to break the game, I wont put up with it either.

What these guys said, 100%.

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I would let my players unpower systems.  Sort of.  I have a house rule that you can power down a system to use the power elsewhere.  But you get only half the power back to redistribute, the remaining power is the system running in standby mode.  I would however not let them power down the life support without good reason.

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Fortinbras said:

Karoline said:

 

The book never mentions anything about length of time to power up/down something, which seems to indicate it is a fairly quick process that likely takes place in the span of a single turn.  And there is no real need for an order.  You turn off one and turn on the other and the power goes from one to the other.

 

My players will be relieved to know they no longer have to roll a tech-use test for emergency repairs to components rendered unpowered by critical hits.

For what it's worth, due to the lack of consensus or anything near a rule, I did in fact shoot FFG a message asking for their input.

Unpowered due to a critical hit is going to take repairs, as that isn't simply one of the shells nudging the off switch, but likely a good portion of the power lines to the component being cut off.

Hmm, there is actually mention of no air going to unpowered components.  I figured the power to the life support would have taken care of circulation and stuff like that.  This makes unpowering stuff generally a not so good idea because you really don't want all the tech-priests tending to the warp engines to suffocate.

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Official answer:

Sam Stewart to me
show details 11:53 AM (5 hours ago)

 

Hello Fontinbras,

The answer to your question is "yes, but..."

Yes, there is nothing stopping you from installing a warp engine or gellar field then unpowering it to use energy-intensive weaponry. However. First, rerouting power is not a simple process requiring a few buttons, it's an time and labour intensive exercise that takes hours, maybe even days. I can think of a few GMs who would love to spring traps on their players when their warp drives are disabled, so they can watch them frantically trying to survive while the tech-priests intone the Prayer of Proper and Safe Reconnection and Reactivation.

Second, items like the warp drive and the gellar field are particularly rare and finicky items of ancient technology. While they can be powered on and off, it's not as simple as hitting the on button on your computer. In fact, there could be all sorts of "interesting" complications arising from the continuous shut-down/restart of these systems that the GM could play with, such as the Gellar field "flickering" in the midst of a warp transit...

These are all things that should be considered, and honestly could make games much more interesting.

Hope this helps!

Sam

MY THOUGHTS: 

Well, damnit, I guess I have to allow it.  I think the only thing I can really "get" them on is if the Navigator botches his leaving-the-Warp roll.  They jump out in the middle of whatever enemy ships are in system and immediately get pounded on with half their weapons deactivated.  Also, I might make it a house rule that you might suffer a critical hit event during reactivation on a failed Tech Use roll.  Probably an angry machine spirit event where the systems go haywire.

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Fortinbras said:

MY THOUGHTS: 

Well, damnit, I guess I have to allow it.  I think the only thing I can really "get" them on is if the Navigator botches his leaving-the-Warp roll.  They jump out in the middle of whatever enemy ships are in system and immediately get pounded on with half their weapons deactivated.  Also, I might make it a house rule that you might suffer a critical hit event during reactivation on a failed Tech Use roll.  Probably an angry machine spirit event where the systems go haywire.

Oh look!  Another of your houserules to screw the players even harder, and they better like that, or else you'll take your ball (books) and go home!

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Fortinbras said:

 

Official answer:

Sam Stewart to me
show details 11:53 AM (5 hours ago)

 

Hello Fontinbras,

The answer to your question is "yes, but..."

Yes, there is nothing stopping you from installing a warp engine or gellar field then unpowering it to use energy-intensive weaponry. However. First, rerouting power is not a simple process requiring a few buttons, it's an time and labour intensive exercise that takes hours, maybe even days. I can think of a few GMs who would love to spring traps on their players when their warp drives are disabled, so they can watch them frantically trying to survive while the tech-priests intone the Prayer of Proper and Safe Reconnection and Reactivation.

Second, items like the warp drive and the gellar field are particularly rare and finicky items of ancient technology. While they can be powered on and off, it's not as simple as hitting the on button on your computer. In fact, there could be all sorts of "interesting" complications arising from the continuous shut-down/restart of these systems that the GM could play with, such as the Gellar field "flickering" in the midst of a warp transit...

These are all things that should be considered, and honestly could make games much more interesting.

Hope this helps!

Sam

MY THOUGHTS: 

Well, damnit, I guess I have to allow it.  I think the only thing I can really "get" them on is if the Navigator botches his leaving-the-Warp roll.  They jump out in the middle of whatever enemy ships are in system and immediately get pounded on with half their weapons deactivated.  Also, I might make it a house rule that you might suffer a critical hit event during reactivation on a failed Tech Use roll.  Probably an angry machine spirit event where the systems go haywire.

 

 

No, you really dont have to allow it. Sam is not running your game.

As for getting them, I wasnt kidding about the mutiny if they unpower the geller field. Even the lower decks types know what can happen if the geller field isnt functioning perfectly, and having some crazy psycho deliberately offend its machine spirit seems like a bit much. If you wanted to go a step further, have the ships engineseer excommunicate the players for even seriously suggesting that kind of thing. Seeing as most tech-priests would rather void the crew then offend the ship's machine spirits, that really isnt even much of a stretch. Heck you could also have them hit a small warp storm that drops a bunch of deamons onto the ship unless they manage to divert the power back to the geller field in time. Heck have that happen during the battle, and have all the other ships just turn on their geller fields and be fine, but the players are completely screwed. If that isnt enough, then just start having every enemy ship shut down their warp drive and have some seriously power hungry guns with rather huge amounts of fire power. Or have a grand crusier that is both faster and better armed cause it has a conversion matrix, and has shut down its warp drive and some of its guns.

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