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Moribund

[Mathhammer] Making ship armour count

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Just read through this post, I'll definitely be using these rules in my campaign. However, instead if adding 12 damage to macro batteries, just add 12 pen like in ground combat. I do not see this as any different to current rules (obviously including resolving hits separately). Unless of course I am horribly wrong

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It doesn't really have any benefit to do it that way, you're just forcing yourself and the players to remember to remove 12 from armour all the time instead of just saying 'Your master of etherics reports that the ship has approximately 3 armour in the prow and 2 on other facings' and going from there. 

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I've been using mathhammer in my game and so far not much voidship combat has happened, however i do have a query - should the -12 armour be applied to small craft too? I know for the most part it's turret ratings etc but running an adventure the other day it called for hits to the front armour of the Explorers shuttle ( a gun cutter in this instance) and without a max damage roll it was unlikely to penetrate the armour. Has anyone had any experience with Mathhammer on smaller craft?

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As far as I can tell, the Mathhammer hack is all about fixing combat on the ship to ship scale- which means adjusting the effects and rules for Macrocannons, Macrocannon broadsides and lances, mostly.  When you talk about weapons impacting small craft, there are two things you might mean, and you haven't specified- but I can guess from context.

 

The first is small craft in spaceship-scale combat, wherein you have squadrons of fighters, bombers and assault craft flying about willy nilly.  Unless you use N0-1-H3r3's rules for large weapons hitting small craft, then only turrets and other small craft are relevant and damage isn't really rolled anyway- Mathhammer is irrelevant here.  I don't think this is what you mean though.

 

The second possibility is using small craft in close-ups, such as using a Rhino, Chimera or Valkyrie to move the party around.  In that case, you are probably using things like Lascannon, Krak missiles, twinlinked heavy bolters and maybe the odd Turbolaser.  In this case, you aren't using ship-scale weapons, so Mathhammer is still irrelevant.  However, I can tell you that I have adopted a house rule in my games such that any weapon generally intended for an anti-armour role gets it's pen tripled when used against vehicles.  This means Lascannon, melta weapons, dark lances, krak missiles, Autocannon, plasma weapons, and in some cases even assault cannon or heavy bolters.

 

Basically, I want a Lascannon to be able to knock a Valkyrie out of the sky in one shot- or even cripple a Leman Russ if the shooter gets lucky.

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Sorry i should have specified - i was referring to the adventure Fall From Grace, wherin whilst on approach to an ork infested station the pilot has to do a Pilot(Space)-10 check, with each degree of failure being a hit on the front armour at 4d10+5. The adventure was written when Into The Storm was out and so likely factored in the stats for the Arvus Lighter, Aquilla Shuttle and Gun Cutter listed therein.

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I don't see any reason to apply mathhammer to shuttles.  Mathhammer is about fixing the stacking of macrocannon obviating all other kinds of weapons.  That 4d10+5 is the damage done by weapons in flak turrets, not starship components.

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Has anyone used small craft heavily in a Mathhammer game?  I'd like to know what the result was, if so.

 

Edit: in the "squadrons of bombers" sense, as opposed to the "whee, we're in a guncutter" sense, which I already stated I feel is inapplicable.

Edited by Annaamarth

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Yeeeees, but the combined hits of macrocannons do substantially more damage than lances when used by characters with higher skill. Hence the house rules.

Edited by Errant
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After reading the thread, it seems In theory that there'd be the following:

 

* Ships take longer to destroy by sheer damage, avoiding the "one or two shot salvo of doom" effect.

 

* Storm represents broadsides well.

 

* Tearing represents lances well.

 

* Alternative tactics such as boarding or hit and runs are more viable, especially against smaller vessels.

 

* Solo NPC crewed vessels are actually worth using.

 

 

 

Would anyone else would like to share their experiences with Mathhammer changes?

Edited by Decessor
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I thought I'd add our group's experiences here.  I kept very extensive notes.  Our campaign ended in June after a nearly 3 year run up to rank 8.  We fought 24 starship combats in that time.  The largest battle had 17 vessels participating, but some of that was narrated.  3 of the battles had 10 or more vessels participating.  3 battles had 3 PC-commanded vessels.  The larger battles were the best because both sides had multiple NPC-commanded vessels and so were at a somewhat equal disadvantage.  As the PCs got spread out in their squadron it degraded the one supership that destroyed everything in range.  We started the campaign RAW, and switched over to Mathhammer after 7 battles.  We went back and forth with some of the changes.  Details are as follows:

 

1.  Armor -12 / macrocannon and bomber hits applied to armor separately / torp damage -12

 

This worked beautifully and everyone was happy with the outcome.  PC vessels were damaged, sometimes heavily, and the players all felt they'd earned their rewards.

 

2.  Broadside batteries had the Storm quality.

 

Once again, this worked and all were happy.  Both PC and NPC ships were advantaged by the rule, PCs more, but NPC capital ships became viable.  You didn't see PC frigates charging NPC cruisers with the full knowledge that they were going to win.

 

3.  Lances are tearing.  Lances score additional hit every 2 DoS.

 

We tried both.  We tried both together.  Separately, they were ok.  Together, they made lances too powerful.  Final assessment?  The second was better.  Tearing lances make crippled ships go *BOOM* resulting far too often in ships being sucked into the warp, especially in fleet engagements.  That made for further adventures, but not adding to the overall fun.

 

4.  Stygies macrocannon penetrator rounds

 

Were never used.

 

5.  Rak'Gol Howler cannon

 

We simply didn't change them and considered the ships they were firing at to have their normal (not -12) armor.  I still stacked the damage from them and they did lots of damage.  The players didn't mind one bit.  They feared the Rak'Gol in all aspects, starship combat, on the ground, and in the corridors of their ships, and that was just fine.  They were scary aliens and it didn't matter that their stuff was applied differently and after debriefing the crew they said these were some of their favorite battles.

 

My thoughts?

 

Dedicated carriers with 24+ squadrons are hard to deal with in small battles.  They dominate the battlefield.  Their squadrons don't take enough incoming hits, often none at all when using the detailed casualty method, and those can almost always be replaced with a small craft repair deck.  It would probably seem more plausible if the attrition rate were higher.  I'd say the turret rating - BS method needs some work.

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Has anyone ever tried something like this?

 

Instead of making each hit count against armour and adding +12, add up all the hits from one weapon component. No RAW salvos. 

 

I bring this up because the few times our bombers did not simply mangle or outright destroy a flock of frigates, their attacks did nearly nothing against our Dicator's armour. That's not really in keeping with BFG, and it gives the players a feeling of invincibility that needed to be address with lances or torpedoes. 

 

I agree that lances and torpedoes should be the ship killers in the game (as well as other special weapons). But I've found that with +12 to everything, weapons that dealt say 1d10+4 by default were tearing up escort class ships far too easily.

 

Consider this, using the Average Damage roll as 5.5:

Mars Pattern Macrocannon vs Armour 15

Mathhammer: With three hits it will deal 16.5 damage on average

"One Salvo": With three hits it will deal 10.5 damage on average

 

Sunsear Las-battery vs Armour 15

Mathhammer: 18 damage with 4 hits

"One Salvo": 7.5 damage with 4 hits

 

 

Now, let's try it against a Cruiser:

Mars Pattern Macrocannon vs Armour 20

Mathhammer: 1.5 damage on average with 3 hits

"One Salvo": 5.5 damage on average with 3 hits

 

Sunsear Las-battery vs Armour 20 

Mathhammer: -1.5 damage with 4 hits

"One Salvo": 10 damage with 4 hits

 

 

This is rather simplistic modelling, but this is what I've encountered in 8 months of gaming, say 10-12 space battles in that time. 

 

Perhaps it is good and right for a cruiser to not fear escorts unless they're packing lances and/or torpedoes. But it seems to drain the tension when facing the most common weapons and opponents. A cruiser should be able to slap around 1-2 escorts, but it should still take some hits. 

 

It'll also force my hand, as it did my former GM, to escalate with numbers and weaponry instead of tactics. 

 

This pretty much abandons the need for +/- 12 to anything. Broadsides I haven't thunk through yet. 

Edited by Marwynn

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Has anyone ever tried something like this?

 

Instead of making each hit count against armour and adding +12, add up all the hits from one weapon component. No RAW salvos.

That's my standard houserule.

2 RT groups, each running for (significantly) more than a year. It worked out alright.

It's not perfect, but it's fast, simple and not too broken.

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Macrocannons are still a strong choice, we're still not entirely sure lances are good enough to be worth their cost, but it works out alright I think.

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Yeah, lances seem underpowered compared to a standard macrobattery with this. It may actually justify giving them Tearing though, and lance batteries hitting for every 2 DoS instead of 3.

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Lances vs Macrocannons are kind of a thorny issue, and in my experience, the result depend heavily on the skillof the gunner.

Still, if you can disable enemy shields, lances can be a really nasty weapons, obviously especially so against ships that would normally rely on armour (ie. Ork front armour).

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I found that giving lances tearing meant lots of explosions.  Hit a crippled ship with a lance and your chances of an explosion start running towards 100%, depending on the specific lance weapon.

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I found that as well, especially with a Starflare Lance house-ruled to hit with every DoS.

 

Perhaps Proven (X) might suffice instead of Tearing.

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I think in my next game I will have lances behave more like they did in BFG.  They will not be affected by range, and each strength point fires separately with DoS having no meaning beyond crits.

 

I also want to add a rule to incorporate the essence of the blast marker effects in BFG without overcomplicating things.  Somehow, and easily, I just want all that stuff being thrown through the void to affect navigation, augurs, torpedoes, and small craft.

 

Anything that increases the attrition rate of small craft can't be bad.

Edited by Errant Knight
Tenebrae and Marwynn like this

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I'm tempted to still penalize Lance weapons when firing at long range though. It's been a while, but I don't think Lances could fire at more than their listed range in BFG right? Only the Gunnery weapons shifted left or right?

 

Blast Markers are something that should have been included with the space combat of RT. Instead of placing down Templates, why not just mark the VU of space (we use hexes) as having a Blast Marker? Any travel within 1 VU of that Blast Marker will suffer a shield hit and -1 Speed. Attack Craft will probably need to take a Command Test or return home. Shooting can be penalized -10.

 

It can even grow in scale, depending on how many Blast Markers are placed down. All Blast Markers interfere with Attack Craft, regardless of level. Blast Marker 1 reduces a ship's shields by 1. Blast Marker 2 also reduces speed by 1, regardless of how many Blast Markers the ship passes through. Blast Marker 3 also affects shooting.

 

But that just gets complicated. Best to have it represent titanic losses of power, explosive debris fields, and so on all at once.

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Macroweapons were penalized at long range but given a bonus at short range, just as they are in RT.  Lances received neither modification, and that's how I'll run it.  The double range in RT is at the correct scale.  Weapons in BFG had ranges of 30/45/60 which in RT corresponds to 6/9/12 doubled to 12/18/24.

 

Heck, I might halve weapon and movement ranges in the next game since I'll be hosting on roll20.  Otherwise the scale gets such that it's hard to see.  Then again, maybe I'll learn the medium better.

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So let me see if I understand Mathhammer vs. RAW with regard to ship combat.

 

Say the players managed to arrange a gunfight between two identical Ork Roks to bet on the outcome.

 

Ork Roks have an armour of 20 all round and the primary weapons have these characteristics:

2x microbatteries

Strength 1d5+3

Damage 1d10+2

Crit rating 6

Range 6

Keel slot (all around fire arc)

 

Under RAW the only way the Orks could damage each other is to combine fire with both sets of macrobatteries or just wait until they scored a critical hit and take the one automatic damage that does. I'm not sure if I understand the rules correctly but does multiple degrees of success on a hit stack in the same way combining salvos does or is it just a case of multiple hits resolving against armour individually.

 

Under Mathhammer the Roks only have an armour value of 8 and so individual hits are actually able to beat the ship's armour and combining fire is not needed (or possible).

 

Is that correct?

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