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Star Vessels Too Dang Fast!
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warrenss2
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:57 am    Post subject: Star Vessels Too Dang Fast! Reply with quote

Okay... I like to use miniatures a lot. I think it adds much enjoyment and visual impact to the game.

But let's say I'm running a Star Wars/Star Trek/Battlestar Galactica game. Speeds into the hundreds or even thousands make it rather difficult to keep ship miniatures even remotely on the table.

The above is an extreme example, but I'm thinking about slowing them down. Smaller thinly shelled weak weaponed ships move and accelerate faster than the lumbering laviatans that have armor yards thick and bristle super deadly firepower per square inch. (Think the Falcon against a Super Star Destroyer)

Fighters - Light armor for faster speeds... Interceptors - 12 inches movement.
Regular fighter - 10 inches.
Heavy or Bomber fighters - 8 inches.
etc...

Frigates - 6
Crusiers - 5
Dreadnoughts - 4
The BIG Boys - 3?

Civilian ships would be slow because they don't have the military upgrades to increase the ship's speed... Maybe 4... 5 max?

All this would lead to keeping the miniatures on the table in good fashion. It would also lead to a lot of the tactics you see on various TV shows and movies... namely Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. "Send fighters out to capture that Corrilian Freighter. It's too fast for our Star Destoryer to catch."

The trade offs would be like this:
Lighter craft would have less armor and firepower but depend on their high speed to be able to evade damage. The heavier craft might be slow but they're better protected and have more firepower with greater ranges.

Anyone already done this?
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The One
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd be tempted to just use the Chase rules for the majority of the combats. That already handles relative speeds and keeps things abstract enough without losing the tactical ideas.

If you do want to keep things focused with minatures, the speeds you've selected are fine, a little more granula than the speeds in the book, but otherwise fine
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Reef
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For starships, I was really impressed wth TAG's 'Daring Tales of the Spacelanes Starships'. Runs the gamut from small unarmed shuttles, all the way up to huge dreadnaughts. Has rules for shields and 'hyperspace'.

And it's on sale now for $2.79. Add in the free supplement for Fighter Swarms and this is exactly what I'd be using if I ever get around to running a Star Wars-y space combat game.

On a quick glance, it seems Fighters top out at 10, so it pretty much agrees with you. Smile

Not to sound like a shill, but I just love this to death. It solved a personal bugaboo of mine. Designing starships, I always struggled on how to balance Toughness versus weapons, fighters versus cap ships, etc. And this handed it to me on a plate Smile.
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Enno
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you ever think about rescaling?

The speed values are based on the usual 2 yards per inch. Why don't you define it as 200 yards per inch or 100 or 50, depending on the amount of detail you want?

As mentioned before, most conflicts will be resolved as Chases anyhow. Makes the whole thing easier and faster...

Plotting a course on a battlemap is so 1980th Traveller.
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SeeleyOne
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where does one obtain the Fighter Swarm supplement?
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Reef
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SeeleyOne wrote:
Where does one obtain the Fighter Swarm supplement?


It's on TAG's website.

Direct link is: http://tripleacegames.com/Downloads/DaringTalesSpaceLanes/TAG31075F.pdf
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warrenss2
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enno wrote:
Did you ever think about rescaling?... Plotting a course on a battlemap is so 1980th Traveller.
This is what I'm planning on doing. We all used to play wargames with miniatures so we like our little ships and plotting moement, etc... And we LOVE Traveller (back when it was those little booklets).

@ Reef - I'm going to have to check out Daring Tales of the Spacelanes Starships. I like Paul's Toolkits and have been meaning to buy some of those different types of adventures... especially the Spacelanes & pulp ones.
And thanks for the Fighter link!!

@ The One - The current chase rules a okay and have a place in the game, but like I said, we love to see the ships on the table. I guess it because of way too much Star Fleet Battles, Full Thrust, and Starmada. Laughing
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Utgardloki
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking at the rules on pages 82-83, it looks like the Chase rules are what you want. Although they seem more appropriate for small craft battles such as x-wings vs tie fighters, and less appropriate for large ship battles such as in Star Trek.

The chase rules also seem a bit abstract and general, being designed to handle such a wide range of situations. I'd look at the Traveller rules, where ship position is abstracted according to range categories, with piloting rolls being needed to maneuver into the range you want.

I might might also make a distinction between big ships and little ships, with the big ships moving every other round or every third round, while the little ships move every round.
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VonDan
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah slow it all down


In some modern military sci fi even with the vastness of space the great distances, speed and wide turn ratio make a space combat take hours and is more akin to the age of sale as both ships try to get in optimal position to deploy broad side weapons after first rounds of long distance missile fire .

In one book the captain fired off a missile and then went to have tea and take a nap as impact would not be for 4 hours
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Maine
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It can all depend on the setting and technologies available. Consider the encounters - specifically the kinds of encounters the players will be involved in. For the most part, you can hand wave nearly everything that is not directly affected by player decisions. Simply consider the rules of your universe and use those as a guideline.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter

Star Trek
- Ships are not subject to the rules of inertia. Acceleration and top speed is only limited by the energy and output of the ships engines.
- FTL is easy - anything with a warp engine can jump to warp speed instantly. Chases and encounter at warp speed is possible.
- Weapons are highly accurate, instant hit energy beams, or fast moving tracking projectiles with guidance systems
- Shields are common on many things
- Small craft are not very effective combatants, and generally lack warp speed ability

Star Wars
- Large ships are slow, small ships are fast.
- Faster than Light speed travel is the primary mode of fast travel, which is available on most craft (even TIE Fighters could be equipped with them, though it was not standard). It requires time to compute a safe jump, but otherwise can be activated instantly; it is subject to gravity well restrictions. Once at FTL a ship cannot be intercepted.
- Weapons are blasts of energy that have a travel time (not beams)
- Shields are common on many things but not all (e.g, TIE Fighters have no Shields, though TIE Advanced do)
- Star Wars combat is more akin to WW2 naval fleet combat... if they had warp travel for fast escape

Aliens (Based on expanded universe stuff)
- Ships are large and slow, and are basically flying guns; the Sulaco is a giant rail-gun. Ships are dark and use anti-radar technology to avoid detection, and generally form a 'wall of guns' pointed at the enemy
- FTL travel is not well fleshed out or explained.
- "Aliens" universe space combat is best likened to Navy SEALs in black rafts hunting each other on the open sea in the dead of night on a new moon, using cross bows

Battlestar Galactica and Wing Commander
- Ships are big and slow, fighter craft are fast. Inertia applies, and skilled pilots can use it (cut engines, flipping the craft around and drift backwards to shoot at your targets)
- FTL travel is via jumping, which is an instant transit to a distant location, but requires a lot of energy, time to calculate the jump, and time to spin up the drive
- All weapons are projectile hard rounds, flak, guided missile, and dumb torpedoes, and include nuclear warheads
- Small craft are highly effective, and the primary means of combat
- Boarding actions are viable due to duration of conflicts
- Like Star Wars, space combat is similar to WW2 naval fleet combat

Firefly
- Inertia applies. The ratio of engine power to mass of craft determines speed, thus large craft tend to be slower but this is not always the case.
- There is no FTL travel. The entire thing takes place in a single solar system with many habitable planets and moons.
- Most ships are not armed. Weapons tend to be projectile weapons, large Alliance ships may have coherent energy weapons, but this is not well covered.
- Ship travel and combat is similar to WW1 or Civil War Ironclads.

Honor Harrington 'Honorverse'
- Inertia applies, but only limited amounts.
- Ships can travel near the speed of light, or jump to lightspeed.
- Small craft are not effective against large craft
- Weapons are lasers mounted in broadsides, and missiles
- Ship combat is very much like Age of Sail sailing ships
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sablemage
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reef wrote:
SeeleyOne wrote:
Where does one obtain the Fighter Swarm supplement?


It's on TAG's website.

Direct link is: http://tripleacegames.com/Downloads/DaringTalesSpaceLanes/TAG31075F.pdf


Thanks Reef! That looks good, I may have to get the ships book proper now... Very Happy
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Virgobrown72
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is something I addressed by rescaling. It was in a manner of speeds relative to other types of vehicles in the same class. For space vehicles, slow vehicles moved 4 spaces, average speed vehicles moved 6 spaces, above average 8, fast vehicles 10 inches, and rediculously fast 12 inches. I had to reclass weapon ranges, but this works for me and my group. YMMV...
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warrenss2
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How do you figure out the proper scale of ranges, Virgo.

I can intuitively do if for speeds, but range leaves me scratching my nugget in befuddlement.

After reading Daring Tales in the Space Lanes: Pulp Rules and the Fighter Swarms AND jasales thread I'm going to get the Starships of the Galaxy rules and look them over.

I'm also going to have to take another look at those chase rules.
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farik
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

warrenss2 wrote:
How do you figure out the proper scale of ranges, Virgo.

I can intuitively do if for speeds, but range leaves me scratching my nugget in befuddlement.

After reading Daring Tales in the Space Lanes: Pulp Rules and the Fighter Swarms AND jasales thread I'm going to get the Starships of the Galaxy rules and look them over.

I'm also going to have to take another look at those chase rules.


I would just fine the lowest common denominator for movement then divide all inch measurements by that same number, SO if the slowest ship has acceleration 3 than divide all ship and weapon measurements by 3. Acceleration 3 becomes 1, top speed 15 becomes 5, ranges 5/10/20 become 2/3/7.
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Virgobrown72
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
How do you figure out the proper scale of ranges, Virgo.

I can intuitively do if for speeds, but range leaves me scratching my nugget in befuddlement.


I beleive I did it by deciding that any weapon that had a beginning range of up to 75 inches was changed to 12 inches, up to 100 inches was changed to 24 inches, and anything over 100 inches was converted over to 48 inches. Also, some blast templates were taken down one level for scale.

Not super accurate, but cinematic and FFF all the same!!! Wink
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warrenss2
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay. I got Daring Tales of the Space Lanes Pulp Rules, Fighters, Starships, Hazards and Sector 1.

Got some reading to do before I go out and buy the adventures.
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I routinely scale down ranges for my space combats. While I'm at it, I go ahead and put things on hexes, rather than dealing with turn templates and all that.



What would have otherwise been ranges measured in 10s, 20s or whatever get scaled down to ships moving just one square, two, or maybe four if it's REALLY fast. (Thank goodness for Slipstream and its pocket-dimension "atmosphere in space" weirdness, so I can justify a top speed for rocketships. ;D ) I don't bother with the penalties to hit things for every 5" of movement; Slipstream ships are resilient enough without me having to pile round after round of miss-miss-miss-miss-miss because of massive penalties to hit when EVERYTHING is zipping around at high speeds.

The thing is, for this it works best if I go ahead and have the "compressed" ranges and speeds figured out and written down ahead of time, so we're not doing the calculations on the fly. Due to the way things are divided, I might end up with odd situations where a weapon's range is measured as 1/3/5, because that's just the way it rounded off. If I'm consistent across the board, however, it all works out more-or-less.

If I want a Star-Wars-style unrealistically-dense asteroid field, I just put a single marker in a hex to say "this is an asteroid field!" and count it for cover for any ship in there, and ask for a Piloting check from any pilot venturing in there, lest he careen into a space-rock -- rather than having separate markers for each and every asteroid.

Now, on the other hand, if I were going for super-realism for my space battles, I shouldn't bother with miniatures anyway. Any ships armed with energy weapons with attacks that travel at the speed of light could engage each other at such distances that the crew on one ship couldn't even see the other with the unaided eye, and it'd likely be computer-guided to boot. Victory likely goes to he who finds a target and shoots first. No fun whatsoever. Sad So I'm sticking with "space opera" and "retro-sci-fi" for my space battles. (For the more quasi-realistic sci-fi, I'll consider spaceships and space stations to be stages for fighting off xenomorph invasions, or plot devices to get from Planet A to Planet B.)

For Pirates RPG, while I don't go with a hex map, I go with the standard naval scale there, which I think amounts roughly to dividing everything down by a factor of 10 or 20 (I forget which at the moment, and it hardly matters which, just so long as I'm internally consistent).

For road wars, I use a few Micro Machines (and off-brand clones), WizKids Mechwarrior vehicles (bikes, mostly) and troop mini-figures, and some MB "Thunder Alley" road-warrior-type mini plastic vehicle markers to represent the vehicles, with some Hot Wheels/Matchbox road segments or similar, and again things are scaled down by some major factor of 10 or 20 or so. The main difference between this and a Pirates RPG battle is that in a naval battle I assume each "naval round" represents several minutes (so we have time to reload those cannons and maneuver around -- or else scale-wise we'd have to assume our galleons and sloops are faster than modern speedboats), whereas for the road wars I assume it's the typical "1 round = about 6 seconds" time scale. Anyone caught on foot isn't going to be covering much of the battleground in the scope of an engagement.

Actually, for that matter, sometimes even when I'm using 25-32mm scale miniatures, when there's an outdoors engagement going on with people widely spread out with long-range weapons, I'll sometimes declare that we're working with "half scale" or "quarter scale." This might happen in a scenario when someone in the group has a sniper rifle and the heroes set up an ambush and want to start picking off the zombies at maximum range, for instance.

All ranges and Paces are either halved or quartered, accordingly, so instead of 1" = 1 square, it's .5" or .25" = 1 square. This means my minis are disproportionate in scale, and the buildings and vehicles are often rather small compared to the figures, but it gets the job done, and I'm less likely to run out of table space. The trouble is that if the action all compresses on a very small area and people get involved in melee combat, I might have to "zoom in" on the action, as the active area gets terribly crowded.
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warrenss2
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just want to use my various miniatures and we love the additional visual element to the game.

I really like the Star Wars type combat. Small agile fighters and such that can be very elusive to the HUGE SHIP'S massive fire power, but one hit could do them in. Likewise the smaller vessel would have to get VERY luck to really do damage to the larger ships (I do recall a tumbling fighter smacking into the bridge of a certain Leviathan type and causing it to crash). So far I like what I saw when I skimmed over Starships of the Galaxy & the Space Pulp rules. I would use hexes out of habit on this game. I like the idea of a bunch of asteroids - got those too. Natural sponges torn into smaller chunks. No painting necessary & light to tote around.

I wanted to run a Pirates of the Spanish Main game, but my players wanted to do a fantasy type, so we compromised with 50F. But I have a lot of the WizKids ships that we used in our favorite sailing age miniatures game and plan on using them. Like you, I wouldn't use hexes for that game either.

But I'm going to have to scale the ranges down on both these games. Probably use your 10 or 20 factor. I'll have to test that out to see which works better for us..

I'm liking a lot of the shiney ideas in this thread.

This is twice I've seen you mention Road Wars and I've seen it on your website. What is it and where can it be found?
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IanPScheffler
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I generally just scale things way down from the start. Vehicle silliness is one of the few parts of Savage Worlds that I really don't like at all. Character combat is so simple and fast... and then ships are handled like that?

I did a Traveller setting game using Savage World's rules and I simply treated ships as if they were on player character scale. My ships often had toughness scores in the 5-12 range based on their "Vigor" scores and their armor. Obviously, weapon damage was scaled to match. Civilian lasers tended to have pistol stats while military grade had rifle stats, etc. Missiles used the simple little evasion blerb that was listed in the Deluxe book, I believe I had missile damage at about 2d10.

I got the idea to handle ships as characters from the original Cortex System RPG generic blue softcover. It is very similar to Savage Worlds except where SW went the tactical route, Cortex went narative. It is an excellent little game and a fun read. Sadly, it died a quick death and is now out of print as far as I can tell.
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Virgobrown72
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I generally just scale things way down from the start. Vehicle silliness is one of the few parts of Savage Worlds that I really don't like at all. Character combat is so simple and fast... and then ships are handled like that?


I concur. It's the only part of the game I feel is a little clunky... Confused
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