[Mathhammer] Making ship armour count

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van Riebeeck said:

Braddoc, the base rules have the flaw that one can stack all battery hits together, in essence making the armour redundant against a stacked salvo once the armour value has been beaten. A simple example, if you manage to do 21 points of damage against an armour 20 ship with your first sunsear battery, the second sunsear battery stacked with it will not be hindered by armour at all, which makes lance weapons almost completely useless. That second stacked sunsear can do its full four hits without the armour coming into the equation at all, as if it were a STR 4 lance, but then one with a fraction of the power cost and far easier to mount on a ship. The idea here is to ensure that armour is dealing with each individual hit, so that lances are getting efficiency back, especially against well armoured ships.

FvR

Ah, I see; but by reducing the armour and not adding battery damage together, would that invert the problem?  Meaning that if you sunsear does 1d10+3 (average of 5+3=8 damage) vs armour of 6, it still makes an average of 2 damage per hit, times 4-7 (using the idea that the single void shield blocks a single blast from the volley) you get around 8-16 damage per 'shot'.  Comprated to a lance that does 1d10+2 (so 8 damage) with..what another hit every 1/2 DoS, averaging 8-24 damage, not counting the void shield.  Now you have a decent lance damage output, yet the batteries have lost their offensive capabilitites to really bomb the hell out of the other ship, and seems (to me) with that method they are only used as a way to drop the other ship's void shield to make sure that Lance doesn't get blocked by it.

Volley after volley, the batteries will do respectable damage, yet the critical rating for batteries are 5+DoS while lances are 3+DoS; still mkaing the lance a more heavy hitter to me, as the crit rating is way more obtainable with a lance than batteries.  Mt PCs got plasma broadside, and score cits every other hit, thanks to the low DoS requirement; I'm certain that if they were using a lance (plasma broadside, one on each side) they will be using it everytime as their show-stopper.

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Braddoc, a lance will still be STR 1, so do an average of 7,5 to 9,5 damage with a hit. For an investment of 9 power and 4 space, that is still not that much. Same for a lance battery, that soaks power, which will at at most do 24 to 28 damage with an average of 15 to 19 damage. Very impressive, but not overpowering considering the power needed. And shields still have a far greater effect on lances then on batteries. With this idea, 2 DoS on a Macro hit will give a Macro a chance to inflict damage, the lance hit is completely negated.

FvR

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van Riebeeck said:

Braddoc, a lance will still be STR 1, so do an average of 7,5 to 9,5 damage with a hit. For an investment of 9 power and 4 space, that is still not that much. Same for a lance battery, that soaks power, which will at at most do 24 to 28 damage with an average of 15 to 19 damage. Very impressive, but not overpowering considering the power needed. And shields still have a far greater effect on lances then on batteries. With this idea, 2 DoS on a Macro hit will give a Macro a chance to inflict damage, the lance hit is completely negated.

FvR

((Wait, when you crit with a lance, doesn't it 'crit' or if it,s stopped by the sheild, forget doing a crit?))

True; but a macro salvo before going Lance will make the shields a non-issue and will land direct damage, which will not be stopped by armour.

So Lance max damage is 24-28, yet a Sunsear makes (with 4 hits, 1 negated) Max 36 damage, which will be stopped by 15-20 armour, for 21-16 'real' damage.

Of course, that's using the classic battery/lance c-c-c-c-combo, a hammer and a scalpel.

BUT, I admit than when we move to double sunsear, damage becomes way more important. BUT, so is the power/space that goes behond the lance's requirements: double sunsears are 12 power, 8 space, 2 SP; quite an investment that's worth it, but it will make for a rather barren ship; good for fighting and little else.  Cannons are like mortar shells; used to bombard, they do lots of damage, yet the bolt-action rifle is more precises, and can fire through that bunker slit.

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If a crit is stopped by void shields or armour it still does 1 point of damage and has the crit effect.  I don't factor that 1 point into my damage numbers, but it wouldn't make very much difference if I did.  Lances ARE more likely to crit than most macros, but crit rating of 3 vs 4 only makes a lot of difference for a narrow range of Ballistic Skills (31-60).

With your 8-16 damage estimate for macros you aren't factoring in that getting multiple hits requires multiple degrees of success.  In actuality you deal anywhere between 0 and 42 damage on successful hit, but I've done all the math and at 50% BS against armour 6 dual sunsears deal an average of only 4.31 damage.  Sure that's down from the Rules As Written's 5.37, but not so much that a lance becomes a better choice.  A Titanforge lance and Mars Cannon does 3.85 under those conditions.  At higher armour the lance is a better choice in terms of average damage with my rules as opposed to the original rules, where the macros still have a higher average damage.

I choose to compare Dual Sunsears to Titanforge Lances and Mars Cannons, because they have approximately the same cost in power and space.

I suppose you can compare Maximum damages, in which case the macros will probably be better, but that doesn't really reflect how the two will play in the game.

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Moribund said:

If a crit is stopped by void shields or armour it still does 1 point of damage and has the crit effect.  I don't factor that 1 point into my damage numbers, but it wouldn't make very much difference if I did.  Lances ARE more likely to crit than most macros, but crit rating of 3 vs 4 only makes a lot of difference for a narrow range of Ballistic Skills (31-60).

With your 8-16 damage estimate for macros you aren't factoring in that getting multiple hits requires multiple degrees of success.  In actuality you deal anywhere between 0 and 42 damage on successful hit, but I've done all the math and at 50% BS against armour 6 dual sunsears deal an average of only 4.31 damage.  Sure that's down from the Rules As Written's 5.37, but not so much that a lance becomes a better choice.  A Titanforge lance and Mars Cannon does 3.85 under those conditions.  At higher armour the lance is a better choice in terms of average damage with my rules as opposed to the original rules, where the macros still have a higher average damage.

I choose to compare Dual Sunsears to Titanforge Lances and Mars Cannons, because they have approximately the same cost in power and space.

I suppose you can compare Maximum damages, in which case the macros will probably be better, but that doesn't really reflect how the two will play in the game.

Ah, All right; I thought you never did any damage when you critted (in case when the void shields stops the lance shot), just the crit effect.

Yeah- I worked with the base that you get max DoS with a volley or with a lance for the damage; and i admit it would make space battles last longer than a couple of rounds of volley with a crit every turn from the PCs.

But, if you'd like, I would like your opinion on the other trademark Naval weapon; torpedoes.  your armour ruels are good against cannons and lance, but your average plasma torpedo does 2d10+14 damage; then having thick armour would be good, while haivng 6 might..be difficult to survive.

how can it be done? Lower damage to 1d10+4, as it will still be sucked it by armour, and not being super killer.

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He already touched that subject. Simply reduce torpedo damage by 12, exluding vortex torps though, since they ignore armour.

Basically Plasmas do 2d10+2 (minus enemy armour), and vortex still does 2d10+5 against every enemy.

Nova cannons also remain unchanged.

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Voronesh said:

He already touched that subject. Simply reduce torpedo damage by 12, exluding vortex torps though, since they ignore armour.

Basically Plasmas do 2d10+2 (minus enemy armour), and vortex still does 2d10+5 against every enemy.

Nova cannons also remain unchanged.

Still 2d10?  Wow...well at least they are still the prime long range hard-hitter 'adventage' like that, while still not being too powerful

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Moribund, any chance you would be willing to consider the effects of making HI into a percentage based value similar to Crew Population and Morale?

Would it completely wreck the curves or would it make it easier to balance around since Armor values and void shields would become the primary defensive stats?  Would it be necessary to apply some sort of modifiers after damage is dealt to reflect the difference in sizes, or could the system be made to work as is?  I'd be interested in reading what you think about it.  Would it be a worthwhile change or worth it?

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Moribund, any chance you would be willing to consider the effects of making HI into a percentage based value similar to Crew Population and Morale?

Would it completely wreck the curves or would it make it easier to balance around since Armor values and void shields would become the primary defensive stats?  Would it be necessary to apply some sort of modifiers after damage is dealt to reflect the difference in sizes, or could the system be made to work as is?  I'd be interested in reading what you think about it.  Would it be a worthwhile change or worth it?

Well, the rules give us a couple different levers to pull in order to adjust the relative combat endurance of a particular vessel.  There is armour, void shields, and hull integrity.  You suggest eliminating hull integrity as an adjustable option, and I have to ask what you hope to accomplish by doing that?  Hull Integrity is a useful stat.  It allows you to differentiate between something being tough because of its sheer size as opposed to any particular effort being made to armour it.  Take the Universe-class Mass Conveyor for instance, its armour is only 12 but its Hull Integrity of 65 makes it much more durable than the Orion Star Clipper despite having the same armour rating and them both being transports.  This reflects that one is a huge monstrosity and the other is a far smaller vessel.

If you did change Hull Integrity to a system like crew or morale, it would open up design space for point-based status effects like those crew and morale use.  I don't think that it is worth the headache you get from making Raiders far tougher than they used to be.  You can always still inflict status effects at easy to calculate thresholds of Hull Integrity, like half and quarter, for a similar effect.

The change would also make combat last longer, which may be desirable.  The longer combat lasts the less likely PCs are to be killed by a single lucky shot.  However, I think a better way to achieve this would be a simple doubling of Hull Integrity.  You would have to do something about losing Morale and Crew, since they get problematic when Hull Integrity goes over a hundred.  Losing one point of Morale and Crew per two points of damage would keep it similar to the existing system.

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Well, the main point of having HI being a % system is that it would match with Crew Population and Morale.  That way you wouldn't run into the situation where Raiders and Frigates run out of HI far sooner then crew/morale, and where Cruisers/Grand Cruisers are depopulated before reaching 0 HI.  I can understand Morale being an abstract % based value.  What somewhat baffles me is that Crew Population is a % and yet HI is not.  Crew Population and HI are both very relative concepts that vary hugely from ship to ship, and it seems to me that if you are going to abstract one aspect such as the health of the crew, that abstracting the condition of the ship to match it would make sense.

Essentially what I'd like to see is some internal consistency linking a ship's resource pools in terms of crew morale, population and hull integrity.  Right now with two percentage values and one arbitrary "hit point" value, there are some oddities in the system.

If a ship's size needs to be factored, perhaps a modifier of some sort can be appied when transferring damage recieved to the HI track.  To use the example from the other thread, damage dealt by a cruiser to an escort would be doubled when applied to the smaller ship's HI to indicate the difference in the size and number of guns used.  In return, damage inflicted by the escort to the cruiser would be halved, though it could never be reduced below 1.  Any weaponry which ignores armor would also ignore this modifier.  It would also help solidify macro batteries as primarily anti-shield and anti-frigate/light cruiser/destroyer weaponry and lances as the premier capital ship killing weaponry.  It would also help prevent frigates/raiders from blowing up cruisers/grand cruisers single handed.

I haven't had a great deal of experience with the RT ship combat system yet which is why I find these threads very interesting.  It just seems clear from all the threads (including this one) that the system "as is" has some quirks.

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Moribund,

Do you have a spreadsheet that you can share with the rest of us that shows the simulations you've run?

thanks

HTH

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Moribund said:

I've been unsatisfied with how macrocannons outperform lances.  So I've done an awful lot of calculations to try and find house rules that change the game in a favorable manner and make the choice of lance vs. macro interesting.

Here's what I've worked out:

Armour should count against each macrocannon hit, but armour should be reduced to account for the change.  Specifically armour should be reduced by 12.  That makes an armour 15 Raider have an armour of 3, an armour 17 Frigate gets an armour of 5, and an armour 20 Cruiser has an armour of 8.

The value 12 was chosen because the breakeven point between lances and macros with this rule is between 6 and 7.  With an armour of 6, Dual Sunsears deal more damage than a Titanforge Lance and a Mars Macrocannon.  Once armor reaches 7, the lance is more effective.  By reducing armor by 12 that makes lances only worthwhile against the heaviest frigates, light cruisers, and cruisers.

It takes a little longer to figure damage, but it also makes armour work more like it does in personal combat.

Making this change to the rules does a few different things:

Armour is in general more effective when it gets up to high numbers.  Raiders take a little bit more damage than the RAW, but cruisers, particularly with armoured prows, are nigh invulnerable to macrocannon fire.

The influence of Ballistic Skill on damage is reduced.  This hardly means that BS doesn't matter; you still do more damage as your BS goes up, but the rate at which it increases is slower.  This means that NPC ships can still do respectable damage and your Voidmaster won't blow up everything in a single volley.  Say your ship is equipped with dual Mezoas and is firing on a frigate.  If your BS is 50 the expected damage is virtually unchanged between these rules and the RAW (7.38 vs 7.52), but with a BS of 30 you deal twice as much damage as you deal with the RAW (2.48 vs 1.12).  However, at BS 70 you deal less damage than you would with the RAW (12.56 vs 15.79)

High plus weapons like Ryzas and Pyros effectively become armour piercing, i.e. their relative effectiveness increases as armour increases.

Lances deal more damage against cruisers.  This was the effect these house rules were intended to make and they achieve that without any other changes to how lances or macrocannons work.

Under this system a single cannon has a better chance to deal damage.

Mars Cannons aren't quite so bad.

Other things to consider:

If you change broadsides so that they inflict double the amount of hits (essentially giving them Storm), but reduce their strength to 3 (or 4 in the case of 1d10+1 Sunsears), they work better with this system.  They are also much more capable in the hands on NPC ships without becoming too overwhelming in PC hands.  They are downright frightening to lightly armoured ships though, but that seems acceptable.

Reducing the damage torpedoes deal by 12 makes them function identically under this system as they function in the RAW.

The effectiveness of bombers is subtly changed, and probably requires further examination.  Their damage per hit may need to be reduced.

Reducing Sunsears to 1d10+1 makes them an interesting choice, rather than straight up better than Mars or Heculators. They deal more damage against lightly armoured opponents, but less against heavily armoured ones.

Since armour is more effective, bonuses to armour probably shouldn't stack.  Adding Excess Void Armour, Armour Plating, and a Reinforced Prow together can make even lightly armoured craft extremely resistant to macro fire.  Excess Void Armour may be too powerful all by itself.

Some alien races use variant rules that change effectiveness under this system.  Rak'Gol macros probably need adjusting to deal enough damage.  Eldar are even more fragile than they were and may need a small armour increase or some other change to compensate.

Just some thoughts on this. Having done my own simulations very similar to your  own, I like your solution, as I hadn't thought of it. However, the one downside is that it removes the need for the broadsides as presented in the original rules. (2 attempts at strength 6 with ballistics at say 110 would yield better damage than one attempt at effective strength 12.)

In fact, I'm not sure how reducing the strength of the macrocannons but giving them storm makes broadsides more effective that 2 attempts at regular strength?? If you can,mind explaining that one?

thanks

HTH

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HeavensThunderHammer said:

Just some thoughts on this. Having done my own simulations very similar to your  own, I like your solution, as I hadn't thought of it. However, the one downside is that it removes the need for the broadsides as presented in the original rules. (2 attempts at strength 6 with ballistics at say 110 would yield better damage than one attempt at effective strength 12.)

Where do you get this from? AFAI understood he reduces strength and replaces it with storm, but doesnt change the number of rolls.

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Voronesh said:

HeavensThunderHammer said:

Just some thoughts on this. Having done my own simulations very similar to your  own, I like your solution, as I hadn't thought of it. However, the one downside is that it removes the need for the broadsides as presented in the original rules. (2 attempts at strength 6 with ballistics at say 110 would yield better damage than one attempt at effective strength 12.)

Where do you get this from? AFAI understood he reduces strength and replaces it with storm, but doesnt change the number of rolls.

What I want to know is if his proposed option is actually better than rolling each gun component individually,as Void Shields only count against the first salvo per RAW.

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Buh? Weapon components are always calculated separately, due to how Void Shields function. Rolling separately shouldn't have much of a different effect. I don't really see how it applies to the original topic though.

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Void shields work once per ship/squadron firing on them.

So it doesnt matter if you roll every strength point individually or lump them into a huge single roll. If a frigate gets hit with void shields up, itll receive number of hits - one for the void shield.

I really dont know what the problem is. Moribunds change nothing about void shields, they only change stuff that happens after the void shields go down. And make broadsides actually useful.

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How would ramming interact with this change?

I realize the reduction in armor also reduces the ramming damage, but does this make the 2d10 from Cruiser sized ships +1d10 armored prow +1d10 power ram + Prow Armor into too strong a force?  How would it balance out?

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Shouldn't affect raming at all, as the raming ship will do 12 less damage, but the victim will soak 12 less damage as well.

And yes, being ramed by a cruiser with power ram and armoured prow does hurt, a lot!

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Hygric said:

And yes, being ramed by a cruiser with power ram and armoured prow does hurt, a lot!

Yes, but it only hurts once.

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Hygric said:

Shouldn't affect raming at all, as the raming ship will do 12 less damage, but the victim will soak 12 less damage as well.

And yes, being ramed by a cruiser with power ram and armoured prow does hurt, a lot!

I guess my concern was if this makes ramming too powerful.  If the most devatating weapon in the galaxy is a battle cruiser with the aforementioned components at Flank Speed slamming into an enemy, I'm not sure that makes for compelling space battles.

In the RAW you can combine salvoes of macro batteries into attacks dealing easily 4d10 (plus the various mods) damage, or more.  So the ramming damage does not seem quite so brutal.  But with this houserule, and the removal of salvo combinations, ramming suddenly becomes one of the most destructive single attacks in the game, alongside multi-torp salvoes and direct novacannon hits.

The entire point of this change was to open the field to different weapon types and tactics.  Rather then mass-stacking Macrobatteries as the end all solution to any encounter.  I don't think it will happen in my game, but I am not sure turning the game into "who can ram who first" makes for an improvement.  There are also Ork ramships to consider...

I don't think a major overhaul of the ramming system is in order, as ramming is a very limited attack.  Its just something that I encountered in my game because my players are running around with a battle cruiser with some archeotech and machine spirit options that boost its speed.  It didn't take my players too long to figue out that a speed 7 battle cruiser rigged for ramming was very effective.  It hasn't happened yet, but I would just prefer ramming to be a fairly rare thing rather then the ultimate battle field option.

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I was just about to post my own special houserules, when I stumbled upon this topic and realised that Moribund had come up with quite similiar ideas.

Allthough we both reduced armor by 12 and tread each Makro hit seperatly vs. armour, I did some further changes to fighters and the lot.

I'd like to present my rules and discuss them :-)

Void shields: Shield ratings counts like toughness bonus in groundfights. I.e. shield rating of 1 will substract 1 point of damage from each and every hit with a macro and lance.

Torpedos: Substract 12 damage, vortex stay the same. Torps ignore shields, which makes them even better vs. capital ships.

Lances: Get armour penetration of 8. They would be designed to ignore armour up to the level where normal warships wont get further layers of adamantium.

Broadsides: Receive a +10 to hit Bonus and follow the Rules for full-auto-fire. I like the storm-rule of Maribund, too, but saturating fire should have a higher chance of hitting eldar.

Fighters/Fighter-Bombers/Bombers: Speed 10/9/8, bonus/malus of +10/0/-10 to hit and evade, damage vs. ships is 0 / 1d10 / 1d10+2. They generally ignore void shields once they are close enough to a ship. They can stay in combat for hours without need to resupply.

Shooting at small craft / torpedos with macros or turrets: Shooting with makros has a malus of -20 to hit. Shooting with turrets (i.e. crew value +10 for each point of turret rating) only possible at 1 VU. Shooting at small craft suffers a further -x to hit, while x is the netto-piloting value of the small craft pilots. Each succes scored to hit removes 1 torpedo or 1 wing of attack craft.

Dogfighting: Compared Piloting test by both sides. Winner destroys 1 wing of fighters for each succes. Same goes for torpedos, estimating their piloting value to 0.

-> so small craft lack in fire power vs. medium or heavy armored ships, but make up in mobility, evading hits while drawing fire plus are a quite formidable defence vs. other small craft and torpedos.

Evading hits: Just like groundcombat evasion, you roll piloting + manouvre and each succes evades 1 hit of makros or lances.

Rak'Gol: each natural 10 on the 1d5 (aka 1d10/2) damage dice will reduce their targets armor value by 1, due to grinding off the armour.

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ForTheEmperor said:

I was just about to post my own special houserules, when I stumbled upon this topic and realised that Moribund had come up with quite similiar ideas.

Allthough we both reduced armor by 12 and tread each Makro hit seperatly vs. armour, I did some further changes to fighters and the lot.

I'd like to present my rules and discuss them :-)

Void shields: Shield ratings counts like toughness bonus in groundfights. I.e. shield rating of 1 will substract 1 point of damage from each and every hit with a macro and lance.

Torpedos: Substract 12 damage, vortex stay the same. Torps ignore shields, which makes them even better vs. capital ships.

Lances: Get armour penetration of 8. They would be designed to ignore armour up to the level where normal warships wont get further layers of adamantium.

Broadsides: Receive a +10 to hit Bonus and follow the Rules for full-auto-fire. I like the storm-rule of Maribund, too, but saturating fire should have a higher chance of hitting eldar.

Fighters/Fighter-Bombers/Bombers: Speed 10/9/8, bonus/malus of +10/0/-10 to hit and evade, damage vs. ships is 0 / 1d10 / 1d10+2. They generally ignore void shields once they are close enough to a ship. They can stay in combat for hours without need to resupply.

Shooting at small craft / torpedos with macros or turrets: Shooting with makros has a malus of -20 to hit. Shooting with turrets (i.e. crew value +10 for each point of turret rating) only possible at 1 VU. Shooting at small craft suffers a further -x to hit, while x is the netto-piloting value of the small craft pilots. Each succes scored to hit removes 1 torpedo or 1 wing of attack craft.

Dogfighting: Compared Piloting test by both sides. Winner destroys 1 wing of fighters for each succes. Same goes for torpedos, estimating their piloting value to 0.

-> so small craft lack in fire power vs. medium or heavy armored ships, but make up in mobility, evading hits while drawing fire plus are a quite formidable defence vs. other small craft and torpedos.

Evading hits: Just like groundcombat evasion, you roll piloting + manouvre and each succes evades 1 hit of makros or lances.

Rak'Gol: each natural 10 on the 1d5 (aka 1d10/2) damage dice will reduce their targets armor value by 1, due to grinding off the armour.

This looks good, but I'm not sure about Evading hits... PCs can already avoid a lot of damage from enemy ships very easily.

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How so? With voidshields only granting a passiv bonus on incoming macros and lances and discarding all rules for command-tests, orders and so forth I'd say that armor value and evasion skill are the only sources of damage reduction.

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ForTheEmperor said:

How so? With voidshields only granting a passiv bonus on incoming macros and lances and discarding all rules for command-tests, orders and so forth I'd say that armor value and evasion skill are the only sources of damage reduction.

*Necro!*

I was just thinking of how easy it would be for a PC to then max out their pilot and the ship's evasion to be dodging massively accurate macrobattery fire every turn.

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Not sure whether to make a seperate thread, but its the same topic.

I was considering a way to make lances better than macro cannons, at least in most ship to ship combat. I was thinking of something a bit simpler though, and that was just preventing the combining of macro volleys. ie: if a sword frigate fires on something, the ships armor would count against both of its macro batteries.

Would this work? or would a ships armor be too high on average? I haven't had a chance to play much rogue trader, so i'm not sure how many modifiers both PC's and NPC ships tend to end up stacking.

thoughts?