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Banjo Tango

General starship combat strategies?

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 Running a DH with a number of RT elements, and I'm planning on running a few ship-combat sessions. I'm a bit hazy on the strategy involved, though....

From my very basic understanding (and please correct / mock if I'm wrong)...

* Most ships can only attack with either a lance or a battery - and only the battery will be effective unless the enemy ship's void shields have been disabled

* Since firing happens at the end of your movement, try to position yourself just within range of your weapons on an opposite heading - this forces the enemy to take a maneuver action or move beyond range before they can fire

Also, any particular extended actions that are commonly applied in combat? "Put your backs into it!" and "Lock on target!" seem to be universally useful (assuming you can fire). Is there any reason not to use extended actions?

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Banjo Tango said:

 

Oh, just saw that lances get an extra hit for every 3 successes... so they CAN be effective against a void-shielded ship.

What criteria do people use to determine which weapon to fire?

 

 

Only up to their strength rating.  This was a question before (I forget who sent it) and the answer came back from the devs that it was limited by weapon strength. 

1.  A ship can attack with all the weapons it has regardless of type, taking into account range and firing arcs.

2.  Who told you the shooting had to happen after the moving?  See page 212 of the core book under actions.

3.  The extended actions used often depend on your players and what they are good at, but they pretty much all see use.

Hope this helps.

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 You can fire as many of your guns as are within range and arc of your target. You don't have to pick between the battery and the lance. You fire the battery, then rip the ship apart with the lance. The Extended Actions you can use depend heavily on what you want to do. Lock on! and Put Your Backs Into It! are a must for upping your chance to hit. Most Rogue Trader careers have little need of them, though depending on the rank your acolytes may need every bonus they can get.

 

As to WHEN you can fire them, there's a slight disagreement. The Description of Ship Actions mentions that you can do them at any time, but the description of Shooting Actions says that you have to do a Maneuvre Action first before you have the option of Shooting Actions. Personally I leave it as the latter in my games.

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Errant said:

As to WHEN you can fire them, there's a slight disagreement. The Description of Ship Actions mentions that you can do them at any time, but the description of Shooting Actions says that you have to do a Maneuvre Action first before you have the option of Shooting Actions. Personally I leave it as the latter in my games.

Missed that one in the shooting section..  more than a slight disagreement I would say. :(

Nothing in the Errata either. 

Wasn't there a rules clarification email address or something like that?

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Errant said:

 You can fire as many of your guns as are within range and arc of your target. You don't have to pick between the battery and the lance.

True, but I thought that most ships had a Starboard / Port / Prow configuration which would force you to choose... I just wasn't looking at enough ships :)

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 The weapons you fire are limited by arc (or rather, you could fire all of them, but any available targets are limited by arc).

It's worth noting, however, that Dorsal weapons can fire at a target for'ard or in one of the broadside arcs, as can Prow weapons on anything Light Cruiser size or larger.

Keel weapons, however, are the real daddy, as they can fire at any target in a full 360 around the ship.

Of course, so far only the Wayfarer station and Orion star clipper have keel mounts (and the Orion has possibly the least space of any hull)

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Standard operating practice for my players (in their cruiser) is to get as close as possible and use their broadsides (with lock on target, put your backs into it and the RTs 10% bonus) to take down voids and smash up the enemy and then deploy the (archeotech) lance array to carve up the enemy ship. 

Hit and run actions almost always focus on taking out the enemies void shields.

Boarding and ramming happen everynow and then, but generally only when my Players are confident of victory, i.e. not against larger vessels.

 

Smaller vessels often try to remain outside slower vessels firing arcs but this often proves impossible if the vessel can fire in the broadside arcs.

 

If you want a challenge for your players use small ships such as raiders in squadrons of 3 to 6 and arm them with a lance and macro cannon battery. This combo, while not deadly, can immediately start knocking off the hull points and scaring your players.

Hit and runs and boarding attacks against my players freak them out utterly. Their cruiser got boarded by an Ork Rok once and they very nearly lost the ship. There is something about the psychology of an enemy actually violating their flying sanctum that worries them.

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Alasseo said:

It's worth noting, however, that Dorsal weapons can fire at a target for'ard or in one of the broadside arcs, as can Prow weapons on anything Light Cruiser size or larger.
Oh! Missed that bit about prow weapons on light cruisers (the players' ship).

And thanks everyone for the advice.

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* The Performer skill can be very effective in battle, especially if you're planning a boarding action.

* A teleportarium, murder servitors and a high command skill adds up to a huge advantage. (Depending on how the teleportarium works in your campaign.)

* Combining your macroobatteries into a single salvo can do a lot of damage. A decent roll with combined sunsear lasers can score three (or four, depending on how you read the rules) double damage hits on a target, for 2*3*(1d10+2)= average 45 damage. Possibly with a crit on top (again depending on how you read the rules). Roll well and you can cripple an enemy ship with a single volley despite armor. (IMO this mechanic is too effective, and should be removed or modified.)

* So, using combined guns with a high strength rating you move into close range (+10 ballistic) and try to add up as many other ballistic bonues as possible. This generally means that the explorator uses Aid the Machine Spirit for a bonus on Lock on Target, the seneschal or rogue trader uses Put Your Backs Into It!, and the rogue trader uses his Exceptional Leader ability to add another +10. Throw in a command bridge and/or a auto-stabilised logis-targeter and you have enough bonuses for an almost guaranteed hit.

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Don't forget that there are all sort so actions that your players can take to help in combat, everything from "put your backs into it" to "Lock on Target" to "lead a raiding party".   If I remember correctly a single turn in ship combat lasts about a hour or so.  So players can do a lot of stuff mid-combat.  Sure their are all sorts of character actions described in the rule, book, but with that amount of time, characters can get really creative with what they want to do with their actions.

One of the things I love about this space combat system, is that it isn't really about the things the ships can do.  I mean they can fire batteries then lances, or they can try to get into maximum firing position while minimizing the firing capabilities of their enemies.  But if you want that you  might as well play Battlefleet Gothic.  What is really fun is that the space combat system is still about what the characters are doing.

I encourage my characters to be creative and use the actions listed in the book as a guide.

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llsoth said:

 

Errant said:

 

As to WHEN you can fire them, there's a slight disagreement. The Description of Ship Actions mentions that you can do them at any time, but the description of Shooting Actions says that you have to do a Maneuvre Action first before you have the option of Shooting Actions. Personally I leave it as the latter in my games.

 

 

Missed that one in the shooting section..  more than a slight disagreement I would say. :(

Nothing in the Errata either. 

Wasn't there a rules clarification email address or something like that?

 

 

The rules clarification address is at the bottom of this web page. It's called "Rules Questions." I've had a question in for months now, with no answer (not this topic). Other times I've had a quick turn around.

I just sent in this question, as it's come up in our game before.

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And here is the answer, very quick indeed:

Hello John,

The second part is a typo, the first part is correct. You can fire before or after moving.

Sam Stewart
RPG Designer
Fantasy Flight Games

 

Nojo509 said:

llsoth said:

 

Errant said:

 

As to WHEN you can fire them, there's a slight disagreement. The Description of Ship Actions mentions that you can do them at any time, but the description of Shooting Actions says that you have to do a Maneuvre Action first before you have the option of Shooting Actions. Personally I leave it as the latter in my games.

 

 

Missed that one in the shooting section..  more than a slight disagreement I would say. :(

Nothing in the Errata either. 

Wasn't there a rules clarification email address or something like that?

 

 

The rules clarification address is at the bottom of this web page. It's called "Rules Questions." I've had a question in for months now, with no answer (not this topic). Other times I've had a quick turn around.

I just sent in this question, as it's come up in our game before.

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Iku Rex said:

* The Performer skill can be very effective in battle, especially if you're planning a boarding action.

* A teleportarium, murder servitors and a high command skill adds up to a huge advantage. (Depending on how the teleportarium works in your campaign.)

* Combining your macroobatteries into a single salvo can do a lot of damage. A decent roll with combined sunsear lasers can score three (or four, depending on how you read the rules) double damage hits on a target, for 2*3*(1d10+2)= average 45 damage. Possibly with a crit on top (again depending on how you read the rules). Roll well and you can cripple an enemy ship with a single volley despite armor. (IMO this mechanic is too effective, and should be removed or modified.)

* So, using combined guns with a high strength rating you move into close range (+10 ballistic) and try to add up as many other ballistic bonues as possible. This generally means that the explorator uses Aid the Machine Spirit for a bonus on Lock on Target, the seneschal or rogue trader uses Put Your Backs Into It!, and the rogue trader uses his Exceptional Leader ability to add another +10. Throw in a command bridge and/or a auto-stabilised logis-targeter and you have enough bonuses for an almost guaranteed hit.

In BFG a Dominator-class crusier at point blank firing up the backside of another cruiser does an average of 4 hits, which would be 25% of the hull damaged if shooting through the shields. Call it around 18 hull damage through the shields. At the same sort of percentages as a pair of sunsears getting 6 hits, you are prolly talking 8 total hits, or about 50 hull damage through the shields.

That is with paired broadsides instead of batteries tho. I am thinking a tweak is in order too.

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 One word of warning - don't let your players design the ship!

I am currently captain of the Eternal Quaestor, an Adeptus Mechanicus heavy-exploration frigate. Through hours of discussion and book poring, i created a frigate with the same armour as a cruiser, incredible sensors (and exploration bonus), and a pair of dorsal Turbo-Pyros Melta batteries. This equated to our first combat encounter against a pair of chaos raiders ending in victory on about turn 2, and since then all the combats have been very brutals as our GM throws harder, more numerous adversaries against us. Oh and with a teleportarium to boot, it's a devilicious ship!

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 There's nothing wrong with the players designing the ship; it's largely intended that they do it themselves anyway, that way it suits what they want to do. I find it makes for a subconscious decision amongst the group about the type of game they want to play;  a ship loaded for combat means they want a more militant game, whereas a ship outfitted with the best sensors and the ability to range throughout the expanse for years without running out of food encourages me to make more exploration-based Endeavours. It just becomes the responsibility of the GM to design appropriate opponents for the vessels.

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Errant said:

 There's nothing wrong with the players designing the ship; it's largely intended that they do it themselves anyway, that way it suits what they want to do. I find it makes for a subconscious decision amongst the group about the type of game they want to play;  a ship loaded for combat means they want a more militant game, whereas a ship outfitted with the best sensors and the ability to range throughout the expanse for years without running out of food encourages me to make more exploration-based Endeavours. It just becomes the responsibility of the GM to design appropriate opponents for the vessels.

I agree with the above. Just handing them a ship YOU designed is cheating, there's a lot of fun to be had when a group decides on their ship and components. Besides, what you as the GM like is not necessarily what the PCs will like. 

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 The OP stated that he is running a DH game, using starship mechanics from RT, hence me suggesting he doesn't allow the players free reign to just customise a ship for all their needs. Sure, give them a choice from some pre-gens, but giving a bunch of acolytes complete control over their vessel could throw a large spanner into the works of the plot and story.

DH is a very different game from RT, where sandbox options and player control are key - it's more about developing the right skills and tools to overcome the growing adversaries you face, thus suddenly obtaining a vessel that is 100% suited to combating your foes seems a bit game breaking.

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Kasatka said:

 The OP stated that he is running a DH game, using starship mechanics from RT, hence me suggesting he doesn't allow the players free reign to just customise a ship for all their needs. Sure, give them a choice from some pre-gens, but giving a bunch of acolytes complete control over their vessel could throw a large spanner into the works of the plot and story.

DH is a very different game from RT, where sandbox options and player control are key - it's more about developing the right skills and tools to overcome the growing adversaries you face, thus suddenly obtaining a vessel that is 100% suited to combating your foes seems a bit game breaking.

Well, the OP also didn't say if he wanted to give his players a fully functional ship or just an armed plot device. Your advice boils down to - take choice away from players. Giving them a choice in designing the ship will bind them to it and probably allow for some plot hooks, giving them a ready ship without any choice will just make it a tool and nothing more. I also like the idea how you approach PCs, the "bunch of acolytes" sooner or later will reach a very high position. In fact if the characters reached rank 5 then they are more or less equivalent to a starting RT crew. So talking about overkill is baseless.

Summing it up, you don't know how the OP is playing, you don't know why he wants to give his players a ship, you just assume a lot, and assumption is the mother to many nasty things.

 

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Iku Rex said:

 

* The Performer skill can be very effective in battle, especially if you're planning a boarding action.

 

I have this image of a PC putting on a play behind their minions, continuing their performance while the bullets and las bolts fly past their head.

 

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borithan said:

Iku Rex said:

 

* The Performer skill can be very effective in battle, especially if you're planning a boarding action.

 

I have this image of a PC putting on a play behind their minions, continuing their performance while the bullets and las bolts fly past their head.

 

Really? I'm seeing a giant hymncaster and someone singing either Rick Astley or Chris deBurgh.  I dunno about you, but "Never Gonna Give ou Up" and "Lady In Red" would be nasty psychological weapons...

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Arag said:

Kasatka said:

 

 The OP stated that he is running a DH game, using starship mechanics from RT, hence me suggesting he doesn't allow the players free reign to just customise a ship for all their needs. Sure, give them a choice from some pre-gens, but giving a bunch of acolytes complete control over their vessel could throw a large spanner into the works of the plot and story.

DH is a very different game from RT, where sandbox options and player control are key - it's more about developing the right skills and tools to overcome the growing adversaries you face, thus suddenly obtaining a vessel that is 100% suited to combating your foes seems a bit game breaking.

 

 

Well, the OP also didn't say if he wanted to give his players a fully functional ship or just an armed plot device. Your advice boils down to - take choice away from players. Giving them a choice in designing the ship will bind them to it and probably allow for some plot hooks, giving them a ready ship without any choice will just make it a tool and nothing more. I also like the idea how you approach PCs, the "bunch of acolytes" sooner or later will reach a very high position. In fact if the characters reached rank 5 then they are more or less equivalent to a starting RT crew. So talking about overkill is baseless.

Summing it up, you don't know how the OP is playing, you don't know why he wants to give his players a ship, you just assume a lot, and assumption is the mother to many nasty things.

 

Well i'm not assuming at all. I'm basing my responses on my personal opinions and what little details the OP posted. It's up to the OP to take they will from all of our posts, so there's no real need to start throwing around accusations. The phrase "if you have nothing nice to say..." springs to mind.

 

Anyway, a further point to factor into starship combat strategies is location. Are you aiming to have your players out beyond the explored areas of the Calixis Sector and Koronus expanse? If so, their starship and set of player skills should be well rounded with specialists in differing areas. In this regard rolling-up or suggesting the players take a ship that complements their skill set without being a niche vessel (unarmed transport, lance equipped frigate etc) would be useful.

Conversely, if you intend to have the players staying largely within 'civilized' space, then a more specialist ship can be incredibly useful, especially if you know you have reinforcements within a few days travel. However it's not worth constructing a specialist ship which requires trickier rolls to benefit from (some of the more advanced weapon systems for example only really come into their own if you can hit with many degrees of success, so having high ballistic skill and or command/tech-use to carry out ship orders to boost the attack rolls is a must).

I don't mean to presume anything, but i can only impart what i consider pertinent information till the OP responds with more specifics. Sorry, if anyone got the wrong idea there.

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