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Moribund

[Mathhammer] Making ship armour count

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TiLT said:

 

Having read this thread, I get the impression that this whole issue has been overcomplicated dramatically. There's a simple rule to make macrobatteries less powerful (reduce armor), and then a whole bunch of additional rules to fix the problems this causes for other weapons. I went with a simpler solution for my game: Reduce the armor for macrobattery attacks ONLY. There's no reason to make any changes to the other parts of the combat rules IMO. As for unusual stuff like the Rak'Gol cannons, I just revert to the standard rules for those attacks.  

Why make things complicated when they can be easy?

 

 

Yeah. I've been wondering if simply removing salvo and adding +12 to macrobattery damage, and making broadsides strength 3 with Storm quality wouldn't give basically the same results without the need to modify a lot of other weapons.

 

By far the easiest way to balance the game.

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My experience from voidcombats in RT so far is that the movement manoeuver "evasive manoeuvres" is rarely used. Every ship only has one movement action per strategic turn and it is very important to get into good positions.

 

Regarding that Macrocannons live and fall with high DoS, wouldn't it be simplest to just make evasive maneuver a better option?

Instead of applying the same penalty to your own shooting, how about only half the penalty? So 4 DoS at Evasion would mean -40 to hit you, but only -20 to hit him. This means up to 4 hits less from the macro-cannon salvo shooting at you.

Or - maybe better - delete the penalty for yourself but the evasion only counts for a single opponent of your choice.

 

The main problem is the difference between player and NPC skill. Why not just also bump NPC crew ratings up by 10 Points? I always thought that the crew ratings were ridiculously low by default... Something like this:

 

Incompetent 30

Competent 40

Crack 50

Veteran 60

Elite 70

 

Considering the support by extended actions this should suffice to give PCs a challenge. This means every ship has a tactic against macro-cannons. You see a ship loaded with macro-cannons? You better start evading!

Edited by Sanguinius40k

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Crew ratings as rediculously low... hmmmm. That's interesting... I view crew ratings as, 'you can almost always find soemone with a [crew rating] of a given skill on your ship, if you go looking'.  If you bump that up, that means that crew often have higher skill than starting specialist rogue trader characters...?

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Crew ratings as rediculously low... hmmmm. That's interesting... I view crew ratings as, 'you can almost always find soemone with a [crew rating] of a given skill on your ship, if you go looking'.  If you bump that up, that means that crew often have higher skill than starting specialist rogue trader characters...?

 

Not overly. Arch-Militants will either start with or quickly gain a Ballistic Skill of over 40, Explorators will be Tech-Using at 50, Rogue Traders will be Commanding with all their social bonuses at some ridiculously high number... for skill tests PCs will always overpower ship crews, but the real difference comes from those pesky guns, because Ballistic Skill can only be advanced 4 times, so an Elite crew could have a better (or comparable) Ballistic Skill than an Arch-Militant.

 

I do think that a +10 bonus to NPC ships works for how they also have their own crew members who are as awesome as PCs, and dedicated gunnery crews could grow in time to be better than a ship's crew. Just make sure to be honest with your crew that this is what you're doing.

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Traditionally I've given out crew bonuses to NPC ships based on their role of approximately double their skill. An incompetent crew is still skill 30, but they might have +20 to macrocannon attacks and +10 to repairs. Gives the players a challenge, encourages me to use the NPCs in certain ways that they can then take advantage of, and becomes a more tactical experience.

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Yes in my opinion, standard crew ratings are a bit ridiculous. Our GM built our voidship for us and he let us start with crew rating 20. It occured that at the start of the campaign we did'nt had any PCs with the Pilot (Spacecraft) Skill. So when going to a planet via Shuttle, we had to rely on NPC Pilots. Those had an effektive Skill of 20 + 30 for Routine Action. So even with some heavy wind we always had to fear for our lifes when landing on a planet. Its very odd that on a spaceship with thousands of voidborn the best you can find is someone with an effective Skill in Pilot(Spacecraft) of 20. Its not that you pick your Pilots randomly out of your crewmembers. You take the best ones you find. So the best pilots out of 30.000 voidsmen have Agility 20 and are trained with Spacecraft? Or do they have 40 Agility and Pilot Spacecraft as basic skill? Doesn't sound reasonable to me.

 

And yes, if you have a crack (50) crew, i think it is okay to have a couple dozen people out of your 20.000 to 100.000 crewmen with a skill of 50 for almost every skill. But i don't want to kidnap this thread with a crew rating discussion.

 

 

I would really be interested how the "evasive manoeuvre" houserule would effect the macrocannon vs. other weapons performance in RT. Would you please crunch a little numbers for me, Moribund?

Edited by Sanguinius40k

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"On that note, the best possible damage you can get out of a macrobattery is 1d10+8.  (Bombardment cannon + good quality + munitorium)  Factoring in the 12 penetration to balance things out with mathhammer, you're still not going to punch through that Avenger's prow armour.  Just barely.  Max. armour is 30, max. damage + penetration is also 30.  You have a shot at the side or aft armour, though, particularly given the wretched handling of that Avenger.  There are a few other macrobatteries that could also damage that side armour, but they're rare."

 

Which is fine, as far as I'm concerned. The absolutely heaviest possible armoured ship in the game rules, should, to my mind, be able to shrug off any macrobattery fire short of critical hits.

 

I'll be trying some of these myself; more than anything, I want the naval combat to feel right, and 'I have laser batteries, I win' kind of ruins it.

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Is there a consensus on what rules should be applied to make Lances more useful compared to combined salvos?

Wether or not it would be a good idea to make a google doc and link it in this thread since posts can't be edited after a while which would make maintaining a consistent house rule document in the forums themselves complicated.

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You should tailor house rules to your group, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to allow anyone to edit house rules that everyone should use.

 

For my campaign, I just leave lances exactly how they are, but I know that others support the idea of giving them Tearing. Regardless, the basic Mathhammer changes do make Lances a viable alternative to combined salvos, because then combined salvos go from "Kill everything in one turn" to "Allow the person with the highest BS to shoot all of the macrocannons, but at the tradeoff of only one critical hit", and you're really unlikely to critically damage a Cruiser or above in one shot.

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It does say on Page 219 that a single character can direct all of the ship's weapons, but my players and I agreed that this didn't "feel" right, and made it so one PC can oversee one single weapon component firing action.

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After a few months of using Mathhammer, I'd like to offer some feedback. This is mostly against Ork ships with heavier armour on the fore and sides than their rear arcs. It also meant that for the larger battles we had an unhealthy amount of tracking necessary for Ork criticals and whatnot.

 

- We added +12 to most things, no salvos.

- We added Storm to Broadsides and Tearing to Lances. The first seemed utterly necessary, the latter only made the Lances even better ship-killers. We're toying with making Lances need only 2 DoS to score an additional hit (and the Starflare requiring only 1 DoS for each hit) instead of Tearing.

 

Using Sunsear Las-Broadsides with 1d10+14 meant that Raiders and Frigates were mostly easily damaged and could be crippled by a good turn of firing. However, anything with 18+ Armour became virtually impervious to macrobattery fire. That's a Sword class frigate.

 

When it did hit, it gouged only a little bit of hull. If we didn't have Bombers to speed things along odds are we'd still be fighting some battles over Damaris at this moment... sure, the vessel would be wracked with fairly random criticals and that's fun, but it's still a slog.

 

We thought about ways to handle this and considered critical hits and I'm proposing this House Rule for our Saturday game (though I don't think we'll be using it for a while):

 

Critical Hit: Instead of rolling on the table, add the last damage roll -12 points to the previous damage roll in one combined hit. 

 

So a Sunsear Las-Battery scored a critical hit. The damage rolls are 18, 16, 19, 20. Take 20 - 12 (that's 8) and add it to 19 (for 27). A Sword class frigate (with Armour 18) would suffer 0, 0, 9, damage per hit instead of 0, 0, 1, 2 plus a random critical. 

 

Thoughts?

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My thoughts are that i'd agree with modifying lance crits rather than have tearing.
As to macrocannon crits, i'd suggest not adding even more maths into the equation lest combat slow down even more. Starships SHOULD take a while to chip away at eachothers defences if all they have are macrocannons and aren't doing anything fancy (Hit & Runs, Lances, Torpedoes, Boarding, Strike craft, various Extended Actions and ship components).

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So, what is the minimum change solution to re-balance? Only giving lances Tearing? I'm asking that as DW GM who wants to have some void battles. And the Argent Crusader has, per description, Lance Batteries. I don't want it to totally suck without revamping all of ship combat.

 

Alex

Edited by ak-73

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What if I don't like armour per shot basis? This seems to be like a too invasive operation.

 

Let's see if I can work my magic here too... the problem is that 2 macrobatteries do too much damage?

 

What you basically have is a set-up of damage x hits versus armour. If the problem is that left side exceeds the right by too much, one would assume the best way was to bring down multipliers on the left. Now reducing strength by 1 might run into trouble with multiple void shields but what about bringing down non-Lance damage globally down by 1 or 2 points per hit (min damage of 1)? And maybe upping lance weapons at the same time, if necessary?

 

Comparing to this http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/39869-mathhammer-are-lances-a-trap/#entry399021 the numbers are:

 

%40 (-1 damage macrobatteries): .04*0+.03*6+.02*12.5+.01*19 = 0.62 < 1.14 for lances (unmodified)

%50 (-1 damage macrobatteries): .06*0+.05*6+.04*12.5+.04*19 = 1.56 < 1.9 for lances (unmodified)

%60 (-1 damage macrobatteries): .08*0+.07*6+.06*12.5+.09*19 =  2.88, pretty much the same as the 2.85 for lances (unmodified)

 

Now the only side-effect is that single macro-batteries are less effective after that change.

 

Alex

Edited by ak-73

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I don't really see how adding the damage pools, adding the weapon damage bonus, subtracting the armour and subtracting damage per hit is less complex than per-hit damage soak. I'd have to try it out, but something about it feels a bit off.

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I don't really see how adding the damage pools, adding the weapon damage bonus, subtracting the armour and subtracting damage per hit is less complex than per-hit damage soak. I'd have to try it out, but something about it feels a bit off.

 

No, you reduce simply the damage of non-Lance weapons by 1 or 2 and record it as such on your ship's sheet. Thunderstrike becomes 1d10, Sunsear 1d10+1, etc.

 

Alex

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Then any NPC crew that doesn't have a Rating at the very least equal to that of the PC gunner will get out-paced in damage and pretty quickly destroyed; the problem with combining fire is that it's so multiplicative in favour of high skills and teamwork. The original math there is also based on which is better at killing an AV20 ship, but the knock-on benefit of the math-hammer rules is that it means that even if the NPCs (Or players that have an aversion to optimising for combat) only score a hit or two, they can do SOME damage to the enemy vessel. Stripping away damage from macrocannon damage will even it out slightly, but since players will typically be capping the Strength, you'll still see ships hulked in a couple of salvoes.

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Then any NPC crew that doesn't have a Rating at the very least equal to that of the PC gunner will get out-paced in damage and pretty quickly destroyed;

 

Unless they have better armour/weapons, etc. Yes. Where is the problem with that? That is exactly the same in personal combat. For comparison, consider the Troop/Elite/Master-tiers in DW.

 

the problem with combining fire is that it's so multiplicative in favour of high skills and teamwork. The original math there is also based on which is better at killing an AV20 ship, but the knock-on benefit of the math-hammer rules is that it means that even if the NPCs (Or players that have an aversion to optimising for combat) only score a hit or two, they can do SOME damage to the enemy vessel. Stripping away damage from macrocannon damage will even it out slightly, but since players will typically be capping the Strength, you'll still see ships hulked in a couple of salvoes.

 

First of all, ships become more durable. That's a side-effect I am quite okay with. Secondly, either give enemies skills that are a match for players or compensate by numbers/gear/gimmicks. That is the rule with all combat encounter design, no?

 

Yeah, no-name NPCs with a carbon-copy ship of the PCs should be at a disadvantage. Another Rogue Trader? Give him the crew he needs to be a challenge.

 

I fail to see the problem.

 

Alex

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Meh.  I like the (IMO simpler) solution of just adding 12 damage to macros and applying armour on a per-hit basis, and that's what I'm running in my upcoming RT game.  It makes stacking DoS less amazing, but still powerful, which means that stacking DoS on a macrobattery is going to be equivalent to stacking DoS on a short burst from a Bolter.  This means that ship combat is actually brought in-line to the relevant challenge level of ground combat, which is appropriate.

 

Huh.  And tt actually kind of unifies the ground/space combat firing systems. Cool. Works for me.

 

My thoughts on pure lances vs. combined salvoes- pure lance shouldn't be as effective.  Lances are supposed to be a secondary weapon- a powerful and effective one, but secondary nonetheless.

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My thoughts on pure lances vs. combined salvoes- pure lance shouldn't be as effective. Lances are supposed to be a secondary weapon- a powerful and effective one, but secondary nonetheless.

Traditional (BFG) tactics are to use macrocanons to overload shields and lances as the big hammers to cause the actual damage. So yeah...

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Yeah, pure lances aren't very effective against any ship with any void shielding though. (Also wasn't the exact purpose to weaken macros?) Also, I prefer playing closer to the original RT system than doing a whole revamp which has its own issues. Reducing non-lance weapon damage by 1 seems to be accurate enough. And I don't think it gets more simpler than that either.

 

And actually one of the reasons I have not adopted the burst-firing mechanic for melee that later games introduce is because I exactly want the variety in my games instead of unified but tiring old same mechanic everywhere. But there's no accounting for taste, of course.

 

Alex

Edited by ak-73

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