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The need for more diverse ship weapons.

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I have noticed that some posters have wondered at the lack of variety of ship scale weapons.  So the obvious thing to do is create some new ones.

That is why I propose as weapon brain storming thread.  Any ideas for some unique or interesting ship weapons for PC or even xeno ships?

 

    

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Tau weapons. Biggest and most fearsome among them are probably Gravitic Launchers. The missiles they fire are much like torpedoes, but they use guidance systems that beat anything the Imperium's come up with. Drone-controlled, they intelligently pursue their targets rather than blindly follow a signature. Their ion cannons should also act like lances, punching through armor with ease, and railgun batteries should be pretty similar to macrocannon batteries.

Of course, there's no point in taking such heretical weapons if they don't offer an advantage over Imperial weapons. Grav Launchers I've already covered (smart torps, basically). Ion cannons could possibly have a higher crit rating than lances due to being better at vaporizing sections of a ship completely rather than simply cutting through them. Railgun batteries could have a good Strength, great Damage and range, but a low Crit Rating owing to the relatively "clean" hits they make compared to Macrocannons.

Aside from the obvious problems a Rogue Trader would have with crew morale and relations with other Imperials for using such weapons, Tau weapons should have hefty power requirements compared to their Imperial equivalents, but maybe require a little less space due to the increased automation. A particularly evil GM could also have the AI controlling these weapons go rogue (har) on the Rogue Trader at precisely the wrong moments, maybe firing on targets that IT deems a threat, like that Imperial Navy Cruiser parked next to your ship and whose Captain was invited to a dinner in your dining hall. Resupplying railguns should be a non-issue--make a piece of metal of the right size and proportions, then shove it in the tube--but Gravitic Launchers should be extroardinarly difficult to rearm, as not only would you have to get the munitions from an alien empire, but you'd also have to know a trader stupid or ballsy enough to transport AI-controlled devices across space and risk the wrath of the Imperium.

Stats? Ehhh... I don't know if I've been playing the game long enough to come up with my own stats for these things. Just offering some ideas.

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Fabian Grax said:

 

Tau weapons. Biggest and most fearsome among them are probably Gravitic Launchers. The missiles they fire are much like torpedoes, but they use guidance systems that beat anything the Imperium's come up with. Drone-controlled, they intelligently pursue their targets rather than blindly follow a signature. Their ion cannons should also act like lances, punching through armor with ease, and railgun batteries should be pretty similar to macrocannon batteries.

Of course, there's no point in taking such heretical weapons if they don't offer an advantage over Imperial weapons. Grav Launchers I've already covered (smart torps, basically). Ion cannons could possibly have a higher crit rating than lances due to being better at vaporizing sections of a ship completely rather than simply cutting through them. Railgun batteries could have a good Strength, great Damage and range, but a low Crit Rating owing to the relatively "clean" hits they make compared to Macrocannons.

Aside from the obvious problems a Rogue Trader would have with crew morale and relations with other Imperials for using such weapons, Tau weapons should have hefty power requirements compared to their Imperial equivalents, but maybe require a little less space due to the increased automation. A particularly evil GM could also have the AI controlling these weapons go rogue (har) on the Rogue Trader at precisely the wrong moments, maybe firing on targets that IT deems a threat, like that Imperial Navy Cruiser parked next to your ship and whose Captain was invited to a dinner in your dining hall. Resupplying railguns should be a non-issue--make a piece of metal of the right size and proportions, then shove it in the tube--but Gravitic Launchers should be extroardinarly difficult to rearm, as not only would you have to get the munitions from an alien empire, but you'd also have to know a trader stupid or ballsy enough to transport AI-controlled devices across space and risk the wrath of the Imperium.

Stats? Ehhh... I don't know if I've been playing the game long enough to come up with my own stats for these things. Just offering some ideas.

 

 

But BFG tau weapons and tau ships in fluff are less powerfull than the imperial ones of the same class? So why should they be given better stats?

Why not use eldar,yu'vath or other species weapons? Or give the choice to mount archeotech or demonic weapons?

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Because if they aren't better in some way there's no point in taking them. They don't have to be uber pwnzer weapons, but there has to be something there to entice a Rogue Trader. Besides, I find it hard to believe that Tau weapons would be inferior to most Imperial weapons anyway. Let me demonstrate my point. How do you load a Macrocannon? You get dozens of men to haul the new shell in via a winch or some other primitive means. How do you load a Tau Railgun? You press the button that says "load," then a machine loads a shell into the railgun.

Railguns > Macrocannons. And if the fluff disagrees, well, the fluff is wrong. Yes, I went there. I'll grant that the Imperium has some terrifyingly powerful weapons and tricks up its sleeve, but let's be honest, they barely understand how much of it works, if at all, and they operate their machinery in the most hilariously inefficient manner possible. It's good for character, I suppose, but not so good for a technologically advanced civilization. In addition, while their weapons are powerful, that probably has more to do with scale than anything. A Macrocannon shell is what, the size of a hab block? The Tau, on the other hand, can probably do considerable damage with a round the size of a car. And let me remind you that the Tau railgun is one of the best anti-tank weapons in WH40K on the tabletop. Why would it become less effective at a larger scale?

So, I must completely disagree that Tau weapons would be inferior. If their ships don't perform as well in combat, then it's probably because their ships aren't quite as laden down with guns as their Imperial foes are. They haven't had to spend endless centuries fighting wars in space like the Imperium, so while they may have the ability to build extremely destructive ships they haven't quite mastered the art just yet. I'd say their weapons batteries would be smaller, perhaps, than Imperial equivalents, but certainly not *worse,* because that beggars all logic. Lastly, wouldn't it be nice to have some stats on hand on the off-chance that the Rogue Trader runs into a Tau ship, regardless of what your opinion of them is?

Anyway, I apologize to the OP if I'm diverting from the subject. Just offering one possible suggestion. I'd also suggest Necron weapons for those really lucky and crazy Rogue Traders but that would probably really set people off ("Noez they aren't around yet!"). ;p

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First off, installing either Necron or Daemonic weapons on a ship is just asking to burn multiple fate points.  sorpresa.gif

As for the Tau, the only official information on their ships comes from the Battlefleet Gothic game.  One of the expansions included write ups of the Tau fleet.  Per BFG, the Tau ships tend to be smaller and less powerful than their Imperial counterparts despite the fact that Tau tech is quite good.  The Tau are an up-and-coming race, and they do understand their technology, but their fledgeling Tau empire is teensy compared to the Imperium.  The Imperium, on the other appendage, is in a dark age, and losing knowledge... but they are falling from the Dark Age of Technology and they have a million worlds or so.  Evidently the Tau haven't figured out how to build very large ships or very powerful plasma reactors... yet.  Or, they simply can't afford to build that many large ships.

In the BFG game, Tau do have very good ordnance, and in quantity.  Their macrobatteries (railguns) are longer ranged than Imperial macrobatteries and have extended firing arcs.  (Tau broadside weapons can also fire into the prow arc, meaning every weapon on a Tau cruiser can hit a target in the prow arc.  That's one of the race's signature features.)  They use Ion cannon for lances.  These also have extended firing arcs but are quite short ranged.  However, Tau ships do not mount nearly as many weapons as a comparably sized Imperial cruiser. For example a Tau Lar'Shi has a strength 4 macrobattery and 1 launch bay in each broadside, along with another strength 4 macrobattery and 6 torpedo tubes in the prow.  The Lar'Shi, by the way, is the Tau's newest and best cruiser;  their answer to the Imperial Lunar class.  The total firepower is considerably less than a Lunar or Dictator... but the ability to concentrate fire ahead of the ship makes it competitive in a 1 on 1 duel.

Cheers,

- V.

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Fabian Grax said:

How do you load a Macrocannon? You get dozens of men to haul the new shell in via a winch or some other primitive means. How do you load a Tau Railgun? You press the button that says "load," then a machine loads a shell into the railgun.

Not quite. The Macrobatteries employed by the Imperium - and their equivalents found amongst other races - are not a single type of weapon, but rather a broad category of weapon types employed in the same manner. The Imperium frequently employs laser- and plasma-based macrobatteries, while projectile-firing macrocannon are often mass drivers similar in function to railguns (and we know that the Imperium can employ that sort of mass driver technology... the Nova Cannon is an example of that technology on an even more massive scale).

 

The background for the railgun batteries found on Tau starships (in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada) states that their power consumption is such that, even with Tau technology behind them, the individual guns have to be fired one at a time in carefully-timed sequences. This is, invariably, a less effective method of producing the area saturation barrages typical of macrobattery fire than the near-continual fire of the immense batteries of "crude" guns employed by the Imperium, or the accurate fusillade of Eldar starcannon batteries.

An individual railgun of that size may be superior to an individual macrocannon (arguably; Tau technology is good... but the Imperium isn't exactly lacking when it comes to technology, they just happen to wreathe theirs in mysticism and limit understanding of it to a chosen few)... but the manner in which they're employed makes them less effective collectively than the batteries of other species.

As for the Gravitic Launcher... it wouldn't work on an Imperial ship. The Gravitic Launcher's firing mechanism is tied to the gravity drive system that provides Tau ships with propulsion, faster-than-light travel and their shields. Without the gravity drive (a fairly large and cumbersome piece of technology in general, but getting smaller with each iteration of the design) to provide second-stage propulsion, a Gravitic Launcher is literally just a big railgun.

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I must insist that any spaceship weapon that expects you to load ammunition via the manual labor of huge gunnery crews (numbering in the thousands in the case of torpedoes, I believe) easily fits the definition of "crude." It's like if we had modern rifles, but had to reload them in the same manner as muskets. I mean, that's just doing it wrong. Aside from that, that explanation of the power requirements makes more sense than simply suggesting that the Macrocannons are more powerful than Railguns, which I'd never believe unless the Adeptus Mechanicus itself was "convincing" me otherwise. And pity about the Gravitic Launcher. Still I think there should be something there to entice a Rogue Trader into committing techno-heresy, just as he might with other alien weapons. Better range and damage for Railguns, but (based on what you've said) lower Strength.

First off, installing either Necron or Daemonic weapons on a ship is just asking to burn multiple fate points.

Well, yes, but how else is a Rogue Trader going to show off how hardcore he is unless he mounts incredibly risky components on his ship? And if the RT's already given himself over to Chaos I could easily see him taking Daemonic weapons. I guess the main advantage of a Daemonic weapon would be that it would be harder to take out since it's no longer following all the laws of physics and it probably operates on its own without the need for a crew. I don't think anyone would want to work in a daemonically possessed gunnery pit anyhow. :o

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Crude but effective none the less. Listen the whol;e Imperial navy is Less Star Trek/Wars and More Wooden ships and Iron men IIIIIINNNNNNN SPPPPAAAAAAAACCCCEEEEEEEEE!

But anywho ......... Hmmm converting Starwars weapons to 40k....... Some of the larger Crew weapons do use Capacitor "Shells"..... Hmmmmmmm indeed.

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Macrobatteries less powerful than railguns.

Let me check my Bombardement Macrobattery, uhrrmm nope.

Check the Hecutor pattern plasma broadside, uhhhmm nope.

BTW as an apt comparison, it doesnt matter if the 120mm tank cannon is loaded by an autoloader or a human person. Both can kill another tank equally well (especially if its the same cannon)

You are making an assumption about a weapons techological refinement based on the way it reloads? Its like making an assumption on another persons personality based on how he writes posts on a forum.

I do have the feeling that you are equating Technological prowess with killing power etc. Which isnt quite right, 40k has a great example, you only need to look at the Orks. Having a higher technological standard helps, but in no way defines your overall capabilities.

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Wrong, I used the loading mechanism as the best and most obvious example of why the Imperial macrocannon is technologically inferior to the Tau railgun. It doesn't affect the firepower, per se, but it may affect the overall efficiency of the weapon. And your comparison about a 120mm cannon with an autoloader and a 120mm cannon with a human loader doesn't work because that's the same weapon, whereas the macrocannon and the railgun are completely different weapons and operate on different principles. And again, why would a Tau railgun be less powerful when it's brought up to the scale of a starship? What, do the rounds run out of inertia... in space? :P Hell, without an atmosphere in the way it would be even more deadly. As for plasma broadsides, well, the Tau also have plasma weapons, and theirs are arguably better because they aren't constantly melting their faces off. Is it likely that the Tau also have plasma weapons on their ships? I would say so--and they're probably better, too!

Now, if you were to tell me that a "large"  macrocannon battery was more powerful than a "small" railgun battery, I would believe that, but it would be a fairly obvious conclusion to draw anyway. Finally, as far as technological prowess not necessarily equating with killing power... tell that to the Necrons.

Once again, I'm not saying that Tau weapons should be instant-win killy cannons. It would be heretical to use them and based on what N0-1_H3r3 said they'd be able to inflict fewer hits overall on their targets. The idea is simply to entice a Rogue Trader into being tempted into taking them for whatever reason. Maybe he just wants to flaunt his status or maybe he has an idea for outfitting a support frigate, same as any other "forbidden" weapon. I think we're getting a little too worried about whether it's "fluffy" (and frankly the fluff is often inconsistent and badly written) instead of concerning ourselves with much more important questions: Is it fun? And is it cool?

Yes, we can't throw the fluff out the window completely but let's not blindly shackle ourselves to something that isn't an absolute, either. It's an unnecesary diversion to coming up with Cool Stuff.

 

 

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 There is a ship background called Xenophilious (spelling might be off) that requires the ship to have a Xeno component. Why not a Tau weapon?

Heck the previous crew of the ship (or even the current Rogue Trader) could have done the Tau a favor (or pretended to join the Greater Good) and had a Tau weapon installed. The Imperium may not like it, but avoid the wrong Imperial commander in the Jericho Reach and no one will even turn their heads so long as you kill enemies. Or stay out in the Expanse or on the frontier away from main Imperial powers...or even use that disguise thing on the Xenos parts.

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Fabian Grax said:

Wrong, I used the loading mechanism as the best and most obvious example of why the Imperial macrocannon is technologically inferior to the Tau railgun. It doesn't affect the firepower, per se, but it may affect the overall efficiency of the weapon. And your comparison about a 120mm cannon with an autoloader and a 120mm cannon with a human loader doesn't work because that's the same weapon, whereas the macrocannon and the railgun are completely different weapons and operate on different principles. And again, why would a Tau railgun be less powerful when it's brought up to the scale of a starship? What, do the rounds run out of inertia... in space? :P Hell, without an atmosphere in the way it would be even more deadly. As for plasma broadsides, well, the Tau also have plasma weapons, and theirs are arguably better because they aren't constantly melting their faces off. Is it likely that the Tau also have plasma weapons on their ships? I would say so--and they're probably better, too!

Now, if you were to tell me that a "large"  macrocannon battery was more powerful than a "small" railgun battery, I would believe that, but it would be a fairly obvious conclusion to draw anyway. Finally, as far as technological prowess not necessarily equating with killing power... tell that to the Necrons.

Once again, I'm not saying that Tau weapons should be instant-win killy cannons. It would be heretical to use them and based on what N0-1_H3r3 said they'd be able to inflict fewer hits overall on their targets. The idea is simply to entice a Rogue Trader into being tempted into taking them for whatever reason. Maybe he just wants to flaunt his status or maybe he has an idea for outfitting a support frigate, same as any other "forbidden" weapon. I think we're getting a little too worried about whether it's "fluffy" (and frankly the fluff is often inconsistent and badly written) instead of concerning ourselves with much more important questions: Is it fun? And is it cool?

Yes, we can't throw the fluff out the window completely but let's not blindly shackle ourselves to something that isn't an absolute, either. It's an unnecesary diversion to coming up with Cool Stuff.

Let the picking stuff apart party begin gran_risa.gif.

1. So you are basing all assumptions on a loading mechanism. Hrmm Every heard of the fact that the Imperium developed Planetkiller torps and the Tau dont? Based on that little fact i could make an assumption that all Tau technology MUST be inferior since they lack firepower that is comparable.

2. Railguns do not even have the most powerful statblock in the 40k armoury. Multimelta at short range is more powerful. A Leman Russ with a long barreled cannon utilising AP ammo has a more powerful statblock as well (yeah oi cant remember the name of that tank 3rd edition earyl IG dex).

3. Plasma Weaponry of the Imperium is less safe to use, but packs a better punch. Tau Plasma weaponry is actually inferior when we are talking about weapons of war. Unless safety is your concern, which quite obviously should not be a concern within the universe of 40k.

4. Necrons, i actually play that army, so dont tell me about technology equates killing power. I have killed a Land Raider with Necron Warriors. Something a Tau sniper with a rail rifle simply wont achieve. So this case actually proves that technology can improve killing power, but doesnt have to (Monolith).

Final note: Why do you need to stoop down to Tau weaponry, when you can simply look to Imperial Technology from the age of the Imperial Truth. Nothing the Tau have compares to that technology. At least i havent seen Nova cannons or high accuracy torpedoes amongst their armouries (YET).

Also if 40k history is to be believed to be consistent, then the Tau are simply 400 years before  their own Dark Age of Technology. Now THAT would be a fun book cycle to be written by Black Library. Will the Tau use Servitor technology as well, will they invent some different type of tehcnology? Every 40k race of age simply doesnt use electronics as a dominant piece of technology; except the Tau. And history does repeat itself :). After the Tau DAOC, wait for the first Tau psykers that attract the Ruinous powers.

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Fact of the matter is Tau have nice efficent weapons that till the ran into the Imperium suited their needs just fine. Then they ran into folks who have cannons big enough to throw BUILDINGS at them and ships who even the smalls ones are like a Kilck and a half stem to stern and pack a LOT of fire power. Also just cause it might not be "classy" Crude teck can do the job just as well as the shiny stuff. In a Cain Novel an Ork Gargant took on 6 Necron Monoliths and at the end of the day IT was the one still standing and not the Necrons.

Orky Know-wotz beat da Shiny Boyz Flash bits RIGHT PROPPA!

Ahem.... Anyway in the long run everything evens out in the end. Tau got the nice Ipod stuff and the know how to improve their stuff and bring more force multipliers to bear, The Imperium has bigger stuff, more man power, and sees NO PROBLEM with firing Big Old Cannons at somebody IN BROADSIDES. Just to round things out Orks have more Numbers and a Blatent disregard fo the  laws of physics and are still a very deadly threat even though there tek is made with Duck tape and Bailing wire

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Just a few fun facts to note about Imperial macrobatteries: There are tonnes of them, and no two are exactly the same.

There are Gravitic Macrocannons listed in Into the Storm, Grav-culeverin Macrobatteries, so it is not out of the Imperium's reach. It's not even Archeotech.

Some Macrobatteries are basically rail-guns, some are giant bolters, some may as well be great big sling shots. The technology varies from forge world to forge world based on which company is building it and what STC designs they possess.

Imperial Technology is incredibly advanced in some cases: They have Melta-cannons, Plasma Broadsides, Disruption Cannons, and Stygies Cannons that basically fire a massive lump of pure adamantium - hows that for brute force! They have lances that are so supremely powerful (Godsbane) that they could gut frigates like a dead fish. The lack of technological know-how doesn't diminish the fact that these technologies were designed in an era where Humanity built primitive Necrons (The Iron Men of the DAoT), far, far beyond that of Tau. The difference between the two, as has been said, is that the Tau understand and continue to improve upon their designs and tech, while most Imperial ship crews no longer know how to operate the auto-loading mechanism of their cannons, and so make do with gunnery crews in the thousands. I would not say that Tau weaponry is any more advanced then Imperial ordnance, the difference is that the availability of the highest level tech of tha Tau is infinitely greater then that of Archeotech because the Tau are still making it. Look at Pulse weaponry compared to the basic armamnts of even the Space Marines, the best humanity has to offer: The pulse weapons match or surpass bolt weapons in almost every way.

But i digress. I think treating Railgun batteries as a sort of lance-macrobattery hybrid would make the most sense, and give them the equivalent of an Auto-logis Targeter for the Tau weapons only to reflect that they still make great use of heretical tech. For stats, I'd draw it up something like this:

Tau Railgun Macrobattery: Power: 10 Space: 4 SP: 4 Strength: 3 Damage: 2d5+3 Crit: 3 Range: 10

High Penetration: When firing a Tau Railgun Battery, count the armour used to defend against those hits as 3 lower.

This is, of course, off the top of my head, but I think it does the concept justice. Bear in mind that when facing Tau ships, I would load them out lighter then a comparable Imperial Cruiser, maybe two broadsides of these (just increase Strength to 5 and damage by 1 for a Broadside), a lance and a pair of hangar bays for a Battle Cruiser and scratch the bays for a Light cruiser, maybe put the lance on the Dorsal mount and put Torpedoes on the Prow.

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@OP: the Stryxis weapons would be nice: the beam that basically kills the organic stuff inside the starships but doesn't damage the ship = prime way of getting a new starship for the collection if you ask me.  Beats the hell out of boarding parties :) 

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Actually, the Stryxis have remarkably good technology.  Their void shields are flat out better than Imperial standard, and they've a better warp drive too.  There's a 40% chance the Stryxis shorten a warp journey by 1d10 months, to a minimum of one day.  Want!

Cheers,

- V.

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Vandegraffe said:

Actually, the Stryxis have remarkably good technology.  Their void shields are flat out better than Imperial standard, and they've a better warp drive too.  There's a 40% chance the Stryxis shorten a warp journey by 1d10 months, to a minimum of one day.  Want!

Cheers,

- V.

Holy moly.

Where is that little piece of information hidden?

I sense heretical dealings with the RUinious Powers.

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Voronesh said:

Vandegraffe said:

 

Actually, the Stryxis have remarkably good technology.  Their void shields are flat out better than Imperial standard, and they've a better warp drive too.  There's a 40% chance the Stryxis shorten a warp journey by 1d10 months, to a minimum of one day.  Want!

Cheers,

- V.

 

 

Holy moly.

Where is that little piece of information hidden?

I sense heretical dealings with the RUinious Powers.

Battlefleet Koronus, page 96.  The Stryxis Xebec light cruiser, on the same page, has three void shields, and I doubt that's a typo.  That's why I commented that their void shields are better than Imperial... 

Cheers,

- V.

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Ahh thanks.

 

Didnt give that section too much of a looking to, mostly because it is lacking in stats to build alien ships yourself.

Hrm yes, but the extra shield does make them that little bit tougher.

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Hantheman said:

 

 Yu'vath ships and weaponry lengua.gif

That's probably an insta heresy brand in Calixis tho.  

 

 

Nah id just hit them with mysterious chaos influences continually. And the follow up RT group gets to hunt this nemesis of halo artefact mutated ship horrros. Edge of the Abyss has a nice idea for that.

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