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ugavine

Starship Combat - evasive maneuvers?

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I might be missing something obvious. 

But are there any difficulty levels to evasive maneuvers in starship combat?

 

 

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This is best understood by looking at a semantic decision of the designers… 

Maneuvers: Always have no roll. Spend your maneuver and it's automatic. If it requires a roll, it's an action, not a maneuver.

Evasive Maneuvers: You upgrade everyone else's difficulty to hit you (one purple becomes red), at the price of all your to-hits having a purple become a red, too.

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So if I'm reading this right Evasive Maneuver acts like a Maneuver (meaning no rolling), but any one who rolls to hit your ship or the enemy ship (from the Evasively Maneuvering ship) has 1 Purple Difficulty Die become a Red Challenge Die?

Example:

The Pilot of the Krayt Fang makes an Evasive Maneuver from the 2 incoming TIE/LN Starfighter (Minion) who for an action shoots with its Forward Mounted Laser Cannons , this means the Dice Pool for the shot is 2 Green Ability Dice, 1 Yellow Proficency Die, 1 Purple Dificulty Die, 1 Red Challenge Die and 1 Black Setback Die (for the Krayt Fang's 1 Defence)

The Gunner (Lowhhrick) returns fire on the 2 TIE/LN Starfighter (Minion) with their Turret Mounted Medium Laser Cannon, Their Dice Pool would be 2 Green Ability Dice, 1 Yellow Proficency Die, 1 Purple Dificulty Die, 1 Red Challenge Die (with no Black Setback Die since the TIE/LN Starfighter has 0 Defence)

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I've looked at Evasive Manuvers and Stay on Target not as tests but as "stances" that you get into, like getting into cover.

 

The difficulty caused by being evasive is accounted for as you have to upgrade a difficulty die to a challenge die when you're trying to shoot as well. The reverse for Stay on Target.

 

I mean how you're reading it Demonic is exactly how I'm reading it.

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Thanks guys, think I understand now.

 

I just hope the full rulebook comes out with more actions for the pilot to do.  My biggets gripe with D20 & Saga was how poor Starship combat was in that the pilot skill did not effect the ships defense.  I'd like the pilot to have some way of affecting combat.

 

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ugavine said:

Thanks guys, think I understand now.

 

I just hope the full rulebook comes out with more actions for the pilot to do.  My biggets gripe with D20 & Saga was how poor Starship combat was in that the pilot skill did not effect the ships defense.  I'd like the pilot to have some way of affecting combat.

 

The problem isn't pilot actions, it's non-pilot maneuvers! Pretty much, gunners just aim and shoot, and non-gunners do damage control, and cheer on the gunners.

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I had this issue when I ran the adventure for the first time recently.

 

When it came to the fight with the TIE fighters, the pilot character found himself with nothing to do, which seems counter-intuitive in a battle.

 

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Yeah I like that the starship combat is abstract but it does not really matter what your pilot skill is in combat.

Pilot skill should have an impact when you take evasive manuevers. As it is now it doesn't matter if it's Jar-Jar piloting an old YT or Wedge in an X-Wing with a top-of-the-line R2. They both get the same benefit. I'd like to see the pilot skill matter more for this manuver. I think when you take evasive manuevers you should upgrade to be hit (and to hit) by a number of dice up to your pilot skill (your choice). Then an expensive pilot talent called Starfighter Pilot or something could be leveled to overcome some of the upgrades to your own to hit penalty (but not that of gunners).

There is also a problem with Gain the Advantage. It requires an action so this favors a ship with separate gunners--the pilot takes the action and the gunners get the benefit that round and the next. In single pilot ships/minon groups they would have to wait a round to get the benefit and forfeit the attack(s) that round. So you could have a situation when a less agile YT gets to take the Gain the Advantage action and still attack twice in the same round and a group of three minion TIEs (acting as one for the Gain the Advantage pilot skill check) get no attacks in the same round. And the YT gunners get to aim too. Seems like the TIEs should benefit more from using their superior manuverability to gain the advantage. But I do like that this favors the PCs even if it's not realistic.

Single pilots have to spend strain to aim when they take an almost-necessary other manuver where this is a no brainer for gunners who have no other manuver option. But it should be easier to aim when you are in control of the ship. I'd like to see a talent for pilots to be able to aim as a second action without strain on the ship (but still have personal strain) or just not let gunners aim since they are not in control of the ship.

Finally if your target is moving faster than you it should upgrade the difficulty one or so. Range should probably matter too but I'm ok with keeping that simple.

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I think the Pilot should get an evade action.

 

My idea would be to give the pilot an acton with the difficulty 1 difficulty die per ship pilot is defending from.

Any successes he can either share amongst gunners or Mech doing repair as bonus successes or grant an enemy ship an additional Setback die (only an extra 1 setback per enemy ship).

Would have to playtest it to see if that works though.

 

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It is possible I am remembering incorrectly, but I do believe that the pilot had available 2 manuevers and 1 action.

Unfortunately, I am now forgetting their names.

Maneuvers:

Evasive Maneuvers - Upgrade Difficulty once for enemies shooting at you and for your gunners returning fire.

Stay On Target - Upgrade Ability once for your gunners but also for enemies firing at you.

 

As maneuvers neither of these require a roll nor do they have a difficulty. You simply select one.

 

Actions:

Gain The Advantage - Remove the penalty from your maneuver until the end of your next turn.

 

As an action, Gain the Advantage does require a roll and does have a difficulty. If the pilot succeeds on this roll each turn it means that the negative affect of the current maneuver does not apply until the end of their next turn. So, if they are using the Evasive Maneuvers maneuver then their gunners do not suffer an increased difficulty, only the enemeis do. If they are using Stay On Target then the enemies do not gain the increased ability die on their rolls to attack.

This means, the pilot does have something to do each turn of combat. First, they must choose the ship tactics effectively. Does the pilot want to give their gunner's a better chance of hitting or the enemies a worse one? Additionally, their pilot skill does come into play in attempting to mitigate the negative effects of the tactics being employed.

The Mechanic role did have rather more limited options. Basically, they could attempt getting the part installed and the better they did that the sooner the ship could get the heck outta there. as I read it, once the roll to install succeeded then the mechanic didn't need to continue making rolls for that. Instead, they had only one option really: Damage Control. Of course, this is a handy thing to have as it could remove strain and damage from the ship systems, keeping you fighting longer but it did really limit them.

Really, in general, all the roles really had very limited options. They all had something to do each turn but it was pretty much set what they were going to do aside from the pilot who had the choice of which maneuver to activate but even that is somewhat limited choice really.. and I am not quite sure (as I haven't reread the rules with this in mind) how Gain The Advantage works if the pilot takes on strain to activate both Evasive Maneuvers and Stay On Target, or if that is even an option.

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I can see my players not liking this too much. Han in the cockpit or Aunt Beru have pretty much the same piloting ability in combat. There isnt even a system of opposed rolls (which would have made sense for Gain The Advantage).  

Unless every single combat is peppered with terrain and features.  Open space combat looks like a drag. 

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newbiedm said:

I can see my players not liking this too much. Han in the cockpit or Aunt Beru have pretty much the same piloting ability in combat. There isnt even a system of opposed rolls (which would have made sense for Gain The Advantage).  

Unless every single combat is peppered with terrain and features.  Open space combat looks like a drag. 

 

How is "you basically roll every round to either gain the advantage or negate the other's guy's advantage" with the difficulty being based on the relative speeds not making a difference?

 

Also: It's Star Wars, there is always some nice feature in the area that allows the player to raise the stakes by going into the atmosphere or some asteroid or whatever so that being the better pilot makes a LOT more of a difference than out in open space. Afterall, if it is truly open space, there is only so many "special tricks" that help you out.

 

As a GM I would certainly be on board with one of the players spending a destiny point to happen to spot some handy feature if I didn't include it beforehand.

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Also: Don't forget the Talent tree, that offers a few very interesting options for a more experienced pilot.

 

Afterall, a dogfight is pretty much always about "making maneuvres harder and harder, until the other guy fails making the one's necessary to follow you"

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newbiedm said:

I can see my players not liking this too much. Han in the cockpit or Aunt Beru have pretty much the same piloting ability in combat. There isnt even a system of opposed rolls (which would have made sense for Gain The Advantage).  

Unless every single combat is peppered with terrain and features.  Open space combat looks like a drag. 

This was very much the same problem D20 & Saga had.  And precisely why I'm hoping for somethign much more for Edge of the Empire.  Starships and vehicles are a very important part of Star Wars, so the gaming experience with them should also be important and fun.

 

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newbiedm said:

Because the ship's speeds are dictating the dificulty, not really my skill as a pilot. 

This makes reasonable sense. The ships speed dictates the difficult, or some other external factor, that's pretty standard. Your Pilot skill then dictates your ability to overcome this difficulty, just as it should be. If your piloting skill is high and related stat is high then you get a better dice pool for overcoming said difficulty and succeeding at your Gain The Advantage or whichever other action you are undertaking.

I still don't see that your pilot skill makes no difference. It's just not the ONLY factor, which is how it should be. If Aunt Beru is in the pilot seat with a 1 agility and 0 pilot skill she gets 1 ability dice with 3 difficulty dice (in the Krayt Fang vs Tie Fighter scenario). That is not a very good chance of success at all. Meanwhile, with Pash in the Pilot seat he has Agility 3, Pilot 2  and so he gets 2 Proficiency dice and 1 Ability die vs the same 3 difficulty. Much better chance of success. Oh, and add in the setback die for having a -1 handling… but if Pash has Skill Jockey selected as a trait he can ignore that.

So, I would definitely say, your piloting skill and related talents can make a huge difference in space combat.

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I just read that Gain the Advantage cancels penalties for the pilot so it's not really going to do the PC gunners on a YT any good anyway. That really leaves the only pilot roll a few cases where the pilot needs to cancel Gain the Advantage. And with 3 TIEs I'd rather aim, attack, and spend from the destiny pool than waste an action on Gain the Advantage anyway if I'm trying to get my PCs' attention. It's pretty easy to hit the YT anyway without wasting actions.

I'm just not seeing where Pilot skill helps you with defense or maneuvering. A maneuver anyone can take is better than having a pilot skill of 5. I think Pilots will be dissappointed unless the GM does some work beyond what's in the rules to force in some Pilot rolls. Gunnery is way more important.

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Actually, it says on page 27 of the Beginner's Game Adventure Book that the pilot and everyone on the pilot's ship get the benefit against the targeted enemy if the Pilot check succeeds.

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usgrandprix said:

I just read that Gain the Advantage cancels penalties for the pilot so it's not really going to do the PC gunners on a YT any good anyway. That really leaves the only pilot roll a few cases where the pilot needs to cancel Gain the Advantage. And with 3 TIEs I'd rather aim, attack, and spend from the destiny pool than waste an action on Gain the Advantage anyway if I'm trying to get my PCs' attention. It's pretty easy to hit the YT anyway without wasting actions.

I'm just not seeing where Pilot skill helps you with defense or maneuvering. A maneuver anyone can take is better than having a pilot skill of 5. I think Pilots will be dissappointed unless the GM does some work beyond what's in the rules to force in some Pilot rolls. Gunnery is way more important.

 

Everyone can take that maneuvre, but only a good pilot can remove the drawbacks associated with that maneuvre reliably. (Succeed at "Gain the Advantage").

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It's basically the idea of "Everyone can swerve around randomly and wildly, but only a skilled pilot can do it in a way that still gives his gunners some good shots".

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Rumbleweed said:

Actually, it says on page 27 of the Beginner's Game Adventure Book that the pilot and everyone on the pilot's ship get the benefit against the targeted enemy if the Pilot check succeeds.

OK thanks. I've kept the adventure book closed becasue I'm playing in it soon. Good to know, though. The beta book also only mentions the pilot, fwiw.

I think Gain the Advantage is a good action. But it's not opposed by skill or anything so you can do it pretty reliably with a few ranks in pilot. So no need to get Pilot past rank ~3 since you never really use that skill anywhere else.

Thinking on it I guess if you get extra adavantage/triumph on your Gain the Advantage roll it could be interpreted to give you more defense, but that's a little counter to what the action is.

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usgrandprix said:

Rumbleweed said:

 

Actually, it says on page 27 of the Beginner's Game Adventure Book that the pilot and everyone on the pilot's ship get the benefit against the targeted enemy if the Pilot check succeeds.

 

 

OK thanks. I've kept the adventure book closed becasue I'm playing in it soon. Good to know, though. The beta book also only mentions the pilot, fwiw.

I think Gain the Advantage is a good action. But it's not opposed by skill or anything so you can do it pretty reliably with a few ranks in pilot. So no need to get Pilot past rank ~3 since you never really use that skill anywhere else.

Thinking on it I guess if you get extra adavantage/triumph on your Gain the Advantage roll it could be interpreted to give you more defense, but that's a little counter to what the action is.

 

Well, that is correct if you are faced with a ship that is at you speed, but facing a faster ship will soon have the difficulty at 4 Dice and if he happens to gain the advantage over you first then you have a difficulty of five dice right there … Doesn't sound like something I'd like to face with just three dice of my own.

Also being a good pilot is not just in the skill but also in Talents like Full Throttle or Skilled Jockey.

 

And rolling lots of advantages can help you by either boosting one of your gunners (giving them a good shot), boosting a repair attempt (keeping the ship steady so the tools don't fly around) or just plain giving your opponent that you are gaining an advantage on some set back dice for his next attempt.

 

And that doesn't even include stuff like "finding some Asteroid field to play hide and seek in" or weaving in and out of "high traffic" of a busy space port to add piles of setback dice or upgrade difficulties due to the bigger complications because you know that YOU can still make it, but the other guy can't.

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To be clear I see it more as a question of degrees here.

I still see:

Anyone can do Evasive Manuvers. Pilot skill doesn't matter.

Anyone can do Stay on target. Pilot skill doesn't matter.

TIE minions/single-pilot ships would be wasteful to do Gain the Advantage because of the wasted attack. Pilot skill doesn't matter if you are not taking this action.

In this case PCs will not be trying to cancel Gain the Advantage. Pilot skill doesn't matter if you are not taking this action.

On a spectrum I'd rather see a Pilot's skill matter more for defense becasue as it is now most of the stuff you can do without it. Maybe you should not be able to do Evasive Manuevers or Stay on Target unless you have a few ranks in Pilot?

Here's an example. If you are in a YT and one PC has Gunnery 3, Pilot 4, Agility 4, maybe even Skilled Jockey--a pilot through and through. A second PC has no Pilot skill (never pilots), Agility 3, Gunnery 1, no pilot talents but a shooting talent or two--clearly not a pilot but can hold his own in the guns. They are facing 4 TIE Interceptors that are not minions and their hyperdrive is out. Who would your PCs have flying the ship and who would be shooting? I'm thinking the Pilot 4 would be a waste in the pilot seat, though RP and point-buy wise he should be there. The non-pilot could still do Evasive Manuevers and Stay on Target.  

I'd rather see rules where the Pilot PC in this situation would be salivating about using his skill to make some moves in the Pilot seat and the capable gunner would be doing what he's spent points on.

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usgrandprix said:

Here's an example. If you are in a YT and one PC has Gunnery 3, Pilot 4, Agility 4, maybe even Skilled Jockey--a pilot through and through. A second PC has no Pilot skill (never pilots), Agility 3, Gunnery 1, no pilot talents but a shooting talent or two--clearly not a pilot but can hold his own in the guns. They are facing 4 TIE Interceptors that are not minions and their hyperdrive is out. Who would your PCs have flying the ship and who would be shooting? I'm thinking the Pilot 4 would be a waste in the pilot seat, though RP and point-buy wise he should be there. The non-pilot could still do Evasive Manuevers and Stay on Target.  

I'd rather see rules where the Pilot PC in this situation would be salivating about using his skill to make some moves in the Pilot seat and the capable gunner would be doing what he's spent points on.

 

Allright, let's go with your example of "Player A is a SUPER-Pilot and a VERY good Gunner" and "Player B is a terribly pilot and a halfway competent gunner". For the record I do think it is a pretty unfair example.

Let's say the Tie interceptors are using evasice maneuvre and the YT is also using evasive maneuvres. In both examples the Tie fighter shoots against 2 red Challenge dice to hit the YT (2 upgrades from both evasives), so let's disregard that bit.

 

Player A as the Pilot:

4 Proficiency dice vs 3 Difficulty dice (the setback from the YTs poor handling is cancelled by skilled jockey):

Should result in gaining the advantage most rounds.

Player B shoots 2 Ability dice and 1 Ability die and a boost for an aim against 2 purple difficulty dice. Should hit more often then not, possibly better if there are fitting talents. Also would NEVER get a despair result ruining his day.

 

Player B as Pilot

3 Ability dice vs 3 Difficulty dice + 1 setback die

Will make less than half the gain advantage rolls.

So most of the time Player B will shoot 1 ability die and 3 proficiency dice vs 2 Challenge dice … he should hit rather reliably, BUT he has a pretty decent chance of rolling at least 1 Despair result every once in a while

 

So … I'd say it's kinda even, but A as the pilot seems more reliable.

 

BUT: 

Let's just look at the Krayt Fang … it has 2 guns … So if I have your superpilot along with two of those mediocre gunners I will definitely want him in the Pilots seat, because this way I will reliably get two hits every round on those ties from my not too great gunners, because they sure wouldn't reliably hit 2 Challenge dice.

 

And this is just a super isolated example in the middle of nowhere without anything else to do but evade and shoot one another ….

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