Savage Worlds space combat play-test

Game Master ZenFox42


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Girl Human | A: +0/+12 |D: +0 |T:+22 |F: +9||R:+7|W:+15(MS11)| HeroPt: 2 |Init: |Conditions: flying
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Whenever I'm in a ship I tend to like The Stargazer.

(How about we keep suggesting names until one gets two votes.=)


If we don't hit this turn, I'll second Target Practice!

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Girl Human | A: +0/+12 |D: +0 |T:+22 |F: +9||R:+7|W:+15(MS11)| HeroPt: 2 |Init: |Conditions: flying
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How about:
Leviathan.
The Trident.
USS Exterminator.

I can do this alllll day.


So, I ruled that Damage rolls don't Ace in this system because I was too afraid that a ship could get one-shotted too easily (like that roll of mine which had both a d8 and a d6 Ace). But without them, you can barely get past the ship's Toughness, let alone inflict a Wound.

Ideas? Maybe damage can Ace, but put a cap on the max number of Wounds per damage roll (like maybe, 2)?

...<time passes>...I like the idea of a max of 2 Wounds, because it would take 2 consecutive shots with 2 Raises to Wreck the ship, and the Engineer will probably have at least one chance to Repair at least 1 Wound in-between them, which sounds pretty balanced.

What do you all think?


Erebasto - consider that if you take a shot without Lining Up, you're at a -2 to hit. But to get rid of that -2, you have to make a *contested* roll (which has a low chance of success, as you've seen), AND THEN make another roll (but without the -2). It's your call, but it might be easier to just take the -2 each time.

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ZenFox42 wrote:


...<time passes>...I like the idea of a max of 2 Wounds, because it would take 2 consecutive shots with 2 Raises to Wreck the ship, and the Engineer will probably have at least one chance to Repair at least 1 Wound in-between them, which sounds pretty balanced.

What do you all think?

Yes, in sw sci-fi they have compartments which does the same thing.


I'm fine with a maximum of one extra wound.

I'll consider not using line up the shot.


Male? Human
Quick Stats:
Base Reaction: +2 (if Belter or Martian)/-2 (pirate) Mods: -2 (Social Stigma-Belter) DR: 105/75 (skull & torso/Else), HP: 15/15, FP: 12/12, HT: 12, Dodge: 9, Will: 10, Fright Check: 10, Basic Speed: 6.5, Basic Move: 6, Perception: 13, Vision: 15, Hearing: 13, Favored Attack: Guns (Rifle/TL10)16, Favored Defense: Dodge 9

That seems fair. I do have some other ideas I want to throw out there.

1. Maybe have raises scale, the first one is still 4 above the target number, but the next is 6 or 8 above that, and the next is 8 or 12 above that. It makes golden bb's still possible, but much less likely.

2. Some ships are ruggedized to limit damage. Ruggedized ships can only suffer up to two wounds on any one hit. This allows for more durable military or mercenary vessels while still having eggshell civilian designs that still feel like eggshells when flown by wildcards.

3. Embrace the carnage. Roll with the rules as written. Sometimes you just have a really, really bad day, and if they manage to get enough damage to cause shaken + three wounds, well, then today must be that day.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.


Since there seems to be a precedent for a maximum of 2 Wounds thru both Compartments and Ruggedizing, I'm going to go with that.

Belter, the problem with scaling Raises is it takes too long (for me, anyway) to calculate the number of Raises. With "+4 per Raise", it's much simpler (I've got a program on my calculator that does it for me).

In future games (but not these play-tests), I will allow for more flimsy ships that can take more than 2 Wounds.

Thanks all for the feedback! That's what this play-test is all about!

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SWADE gives.larger targets more wounds.


Also, Target Practice. ;)


So...that discussion on raises for damage?

Not so theoretical with that graviton beam shot! :D


A heads up. I'll be at a con for most of today and playing D&D for most of tomorrow.


Atlas2112 wrote:
SWADE gives larger targets more wounds.

So, going by the SF Companion's crew size, your ship would be a Size 8, which according to SWADE would get +2 Wounds, for a total of 5.

Hmmm...I'll have to think about that some. Thanks for the heads-up!


I'm considering adding some new actions to the previously posted list (the first two we've already used in this combat) :

Piloting
• Turn in Place (Free Action, no roll) – while not moving, the ship can turn to face any direction
• Start/stop engines (Free Action, no roll) – while engines are off, no Piloting roll and the ship drops back 4 RI/round

Sensors
• Detect ship’s status (Free Action, no roll) : sensors can always detect a target’s weapons and shield status and number of Wounds.

Comments?


This is really trivial, but 3 out of the 4 skill names are also the names of the posts in the ship (Pilot, Gunner, Engineer). I'm tired of calling the guy with the Sensors skill "the Sensors guy". Starfinder calls him the Science Officer. Any other suggestions for what to call him?


Male? Human
Quick Stats:
Base Reaction: +2 (if Belter or Martian)/-2 (pirate) Mods: -2 (Social Stigma-Belter) DR: 105/75 (skull & torso/Else), HP: 15/15, FP: 12/12, HT: 12, Dodge: 9, Will: 10, Fright Check: 10, Basic Speed: 6.5, Basic Move: 6, Perception: 13, Vision: 15, Hearing: 13, Favored Attack: Guns (Rifle/TL10)16, Favored Defense: Dodge 9

Electronic Warfare Officer would also work.

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Girl Human | A: +0/+12 |D: +0 |T:+22 |F: +9||R:+7|W:+15(MS11)| HeroPt: 2 |Init: |Conditions: flying
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The person at a sensors station might also be in charge of communications, and so might be the Communication Officer or just "Comms".


Electronic Warfare Officer sounds good, but it's an awful lot to type.

While one of the Sensors actions does involve Comms, to me Comms doesn't imply Sensors.

What about "Ops"? I found one description on-line : Ops "is responsible for the evaluation and dissemination of combat and operational information required for the ship to fulfill its assigned mission." Since most of that information would come from sensors, it kind of makes sense.


Ops gets my vote.


Male Probably human Computer Scientist 1/ Character Synthesizer 20/ Crazy 99

Electronic warfare officer was s often shortened to EWO, but Ops also works.


Ok, so we've had 7 rounds and neither ship is Wounded. I realize the enemy ship is getting a Wild die, but looking over the rolls it hasn't been helping all that much (several Aces were on the Piloting die).

The basic ships' Toughness is slightly less than the weapons' average damage (with Aces), so at least Shaken should be happening pretty often, and Wounds shouldn't be that hard to get.

One problem is, with 3 shield pods each doing different things, it's easy to get :
+2/+4 to being hit
+2/+4 to Toughness
Soak 1 or 2 Wounds

Like, your ship is at RATN=8 right now, which means I have to roll a 12 or more just to get 1 Wound.

Also, *automatically* Soaking Wounds is a BIG DEAL. Any Pilot worth their title is going to have Ace, which allows them to Soak by spending a Benny, which seems fair.

What do you all think of getting rid of the higher bonuses on Raises, getting rid of the "Soak Wounds" option, and only being able to activate one pod at a time?

Any other suggestions as to how to make the battle get resolved faster?


Male? Human
Quick Stats:
Base Reaction: +2 (if Belter or Martian)/-2 (pirate) Mods: -2 (Social Stigma-Belter) DR: 105/75 (skull & torso/Else), HP: 15/15, FP: 12/12, HT: 12, Dodge: 9, Will: 10, Fright Check: 10, Basic Speed: 6.5, Basic Move: 6, Perception: 13, Vision: 15, Hearing: 13, Favored Attack: Guns (Rifle/TL10)16, Favored Defense: Dodge 9

I think another issue is that we're evenly matched, and there's not really anything we can do other than try hammering them into wreckage to shake them. The tactical equation is pretty simple. It mainly comes down to luck and resources. There's no obstacles for either of us to avoid or make use of. There's no way to change the environment to give them a disadvantage or force them to break off.

The biggest issue is that it feels like this is dragging on forever and it's getting dull, for me anyway. I think we have enough to see that having two identical ships duke it out isn't really that interesting. We could start making tweaks, but I don't know how useful that would be for testing. I think may resetting things and making the tweaks would be a better test so we're comparing apples to apples, not trying to rebuild the apples after they've been turned into apple salad.

That's my two cents anyway.


The playtest is doing its job: identifying potential areas for improvement.

I'm in favour of working out the changes, then rebooting.

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Girl Human | A: +0/+12 |D: +0 |T:+22 |F: +9||R:+7|W:+15(MS11)| HeroPt: 2 |Init: |Conditions: flying
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[to all]:[i][b]' '[b][i]

I'd just start with the last one of that. Yeah, the shields make for too much defense.

I'd either get rid of shields altogether, or go with the SW SF definition of shields, which is that they absorb a certain number of points of damage (so they don't have a toughness, but actual hitpoints) and they don't regenerate automatically. In SW SF the craft can shut down to get shield points back, but maybe modify that the the engineer can regen some shield points back. (It's not a lot though, only it's Size in points.)


Ok, but keep in mind I'd like to run 2 playtests to completion : 2 equally matched ships, and one that is less powerful than yours. So if we "reboot", we're going to start in the same situation.

Kara, by "the last one of that", do you mean only be able to activate one Shield Pod at a time?

My current thinking about the Shields is to only have Toughness shields (and +2 only), since 1 point of RATN increase is worth 2 points of Toughness, so if they're both available, it's a no-brainer as to which to choose. And Soaking a Wound is worth 4 points of Toughness, so they're out.

Regarding SF's shields, your ship is a Size 8, which means according to RAW the Shields can absorb 80 (!!!) points of damage before failing. Nope! Besides, keeping track of the current "hit points" of the shields just means more bookkeeping.


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ALL - please note, when you get Aces, please keep rolling them until they stop, even if you've already gotten the 1 Raise you need to change things (like, the extra d6 on Damage).

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Girl Human | A: +0/+12 |D: +0 |T:+22 |F: +9||R:+7|W:+15(MS11)| HeroPt: 2 |Init: |Conditions: flying
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He was able resist my sensors even after spilling his coke on his own sensors?


Ooops, I forgot his sensors were temporarily out-of-order. But...it doesn't matter, since you won anyway.


More thoughts...

The average damage (with Aces) of the 2d8 weapon is 10. Compared to your Toughness of 12 (14 with Shields), that's pretty low. 75% of the time, a 2d8 won't even Shaken the target.

What if we make the ships' Toughness 10, and 12 with Shields? Then at least 30% of the time a hit will result in at least a Shaken, and 15% of the time will result in 1 Wound.

All that ignores the extra 1d6 from getting a Raise on the Gunner roll, which can't be factored in easily.

<time passes...>

Now that I think about it, 2d8 is the typical damage done by a good melee fighter or good hand-held weapon. And usually that's against opponents whose Toughness is *far* less than 10 or 12. That's why person-to-person combats don't last very long. A 15% chance of 1 Wound per shot isn't really that good...

Either the ships' Toughness needs to come *way* down, or the weapon damage needs to go *way* up!

If the weapon is 3d8, the *average* damage is now 15, which Shakens the target even with a Toughness of 14 half the time. And now there's a 30% chance of 1 Wound even with Shields.

I think instead of changing the Toughness, all "2dX" damages should become "3dX", and all "3dX" damages should become "4dX".

Comments?


I'm inclined towards increased damage. Ships should be tougher than us fleshlings.

That said, those figures mean the weapons are not getting proportionally more powerful. +50% and +33% respectively. Maybe 4dx+3 instead?


Erebasto - I'm not sure what you're saying. Are you saying you think that being Shaken 50% of the time, and getting 1 Wound 30% of the time, isn't often enough?

4d8 (without +3) vs. Toughness 14 (ship+Shield) does 1 Wound *60%* of the time, which for an Extra ship is game over. That sounds too powerful to me.

Or are you suggesting something else?


On reflection, that does sound too strong. I withdraw my comment.

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Girl Human | A: +0/+12 |D: +0 |T:+22 |F: +9||R:+7|W:+15(MS11)| HeroPt: 2 |Init: |Conditions: flying
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ZenFox42 wrote:

The enemy Ops tries to help the Gunner :

[dice=Ops & Wild,-2 MAP,-1 Wound]d8-2-1; d6-2-1 No effect

And tries to repair the Wound :
[dice=Engineer & Wild, -2 MAP,-1 Wound]d8-2-1; d6-2-1 No effect

Whoa whoa whoa there, Tex!

It does what and what now?

So he bends over the console to do the SCIENCE on the bridge, and then...takes a turbolift down to the Bi-neural battle section to spray organic deck-sealant into raw vacuum?

Beseems it might could at least take a Run! action to change stations like that. Otherwise you're saying that shooting a gun with your right hand AND your left hand is the same complexity as sighting in an enemy ship going relativistic speeds AND balancing the sub-emissive transmuter with a multibeaming autoemulator.

Jus' sayin'. =)


Ok, I see what you're saying, but remember this is a *very* abstract system. Maybe all he had to do was push a button on the console next to him to try to have the ship re-route the primary whatsits coils to the secondary whatsits coils.

Odd, that the spellchecker didn't flag "whatsits"...


Y'know, I think part of the reason this is taking so long is that we're all rolling *really* good with our Soak rolls. I've lost track of the number of time 2 Wounds were Soaked, by both sides, which is pretty rare!


That sounds about right!

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Girl Human | A: +0/+12 |D: +0 |T:+22 |F: +9||R:+7|W:+15(MS11)| HeroPt: 2 |Init: |Conditions: flying
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GM youve got your pilot rolling d8 for both pilot and repair.


Yeah, I had Ops rolling d8 for repair also. They should be d6's, but my fingers are so used to typing "d8; d6" that it just happens automatically. Altho I'm aware of the problem, I don't know how to catch myself doing it. :(


<time passes>Oh, wait, I see I wasn't rolling wrong (completely). According to the rules, anyone can use their primary skill to aid another in their (different) primary skill. So if Ops wants to aid Gunner, they roll their d8 Ops skill, and within the story Ops is (for example) doing another sensor scan to get a more accurate fix on the target for the Gunner. That's why Bryce has been rolling his Engineering d8 to aid Belter.

However, when the enemy Ops rolls for Engineering to fix the ship, he's *should* be rolling d6's, since that's his secondary skill.

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Girl Human | A: +0/+12 |D: +0 |T:+22 |F: +9||R:+7|W:+15(MS11)| HeroPt: 2 |Init: |Conditions: flying
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So we've been at this a long time and neither ship has any wounds?

Anyone else think the whole 'repair' thing is dumb?

When I think of space combat I think of big, huge giant cuts into a really important parts of the ship that, if given a long long time, an entire trained crew -might- get sort of operable again, maybe.

That the ops guy can lean over and press a button seems kinda odd.

Also, this battle is quickly passing into "job" levels of entertaining, quirky quips aside.

Mind you, I think this is one reason that the test maybe could be done as it would be in a game, that is, wild cards against extras. Maybe 1 v 2 or something?


Male? Human
Quick Stats:
Base Reaction: +2 (if Belter or Martian)/-2 (pirate) Mods: -2 (Social Stigma-Belter) DR: 105/75 (skull & torso/Else), HP: 15/15, FP: 12/12, HT: 12, Dodge: 9, Will: 10, Fright Check: 10, Basic Speed: 6.5, Basic Move: 6, Perception: 13, Vision: 15, Hearing: 13, Favored Attack: Guns (Rifle/TL10)16, Favored Defense: Dodge 9

I agree. If there was something to do besides just wail on the other guy, then maybe this would be a more interesting test, but at the moment, you could just figure out the most optimal course of action for each station and run a script.

There's no interesting tactical choices to make other than do I go one shot, two, or do I aim at the weak spot.

I think the test itself may be flawed in this case.


I'm honestly not sure what else we could be doing that would be more effective.

Erebasto is only half-joking about trying ramming. ;)


Well, without Repairs it's just a question of who gets to 4+ Wounds first. Not saying that's bad, and in the heat of person-to-person combat, relatively little healing gets done during combat, so that might make sense. I still think I want to cap the Wounds at 2 per shot.

Regarding tactical choices, the SF Companion uses the SWD Chase rules, which only allows for Piloting Chase options, and Shooting one or more weapons based on Advantage. There are Shields, but they're assumed to be constantly on (and they absorb a HUGE amount of damage before going down!). So there's literally no Ops or Engineering choices, and Gunner is limited only to firing the guns. I think this system actually offers *more* tactical choices than the standard system.

That being said, want to scrap this combat and try fighting an Extra ship (still 3 Wounds, but no Wild die on their rolls)?


I'm up for a new combat, aye.

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Girl Human | A: +0/+12 |D: +0 |T:+22 |F: +9||R:+7|W:+15(MS11)| HeroPt: 2 |Init: |Conditions: flying
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1) Yes, new combat.

2) I was thinking about this, and we could try this system, but on top of a pre-existing SW SF skeleton.

Like, we try to re-enact the getaway scene from Star Wars.

We're in the Millenium Falcon flying away from 4 TIE fighters.

(Um, in this scenario, there should be 4 of us. ZenFox, would you mind playing Chewbacca? =))

The TIE fighters are extras, and they have the Edge where they can make both a Piloting and Gunnery roll without MAP, but they don't have the edge to make a soak roll.

stats:

TIE:

Size 6, Acc/TS 70/900, Climb 3, Toughness 22 (7), Crew 1, Cost $5.32M, Remaining Mods 3 Notes: AI, AMCM, Armor, Atmospheric, Deflector Screens, 4×Speed, Shields, Targeting System
Weapons: • Quad Linked Medium Lasers (Fixed)

Falcon:

Medium Starship: Size 8, Acc/TS 55/700, Climb 2, Toughness 25 (6), Crew 5, Cost $23.53M, Remaining Mods 4 Notes: AI, AMCM, Atmospheric, Deflector Screens, FTL Drive, Planetary Sensor Suite, Shields, 2×Speed, Targeting System
Weapons: •[2x] Dual Linked Heavy Lasers

3) A Word on Shields.

I disagree that shields are SO BIG that they can't be used. (I mean, they can't be used on TIE fighters because they don't have shields. That would just be silly!)

Shields have 10 x size. So on the falcon they'd absorb 80 points.

Medium dual lasers do 3d10, ave of ~20. So the falcon would absorb a lousy 4 shots before failing. That...hardly seems like Invulnerably. Also it allows....

4) Han, Luke, Chewbacca, and...ENGINEER LEIA!

The Falcon should have 4 slots: Gunner, Gunner, Pilot, and Special. The Special has both the Ops choice and the Engineer choice. The only engineer choice is to take an option and regenerate the shields. This adds [size] points back on. (It is also the only way to get points back on the shields.) 8 points is hardly a lot, but any less wouldn't even make it worth the action.

Ummmmmmmmmm, what do you think?


I'm cool with combining ops and engineering into a special role.


Male? Human
Quick Stats:
Base Reaction: +2 (if Belter or Martian)/-2 (pirate) Mods: -2 (Social Stigma-Belter) DR: 105/75 (skull & torso/Else), HP: 15/15, FP: 12/12, HT: 12, Dodge: 9, Will: 10, Fright Check: 10, Basic Speed: 6.5, Basic Move: 6, Perception: 13, Vision: 15, Hearing: 13, Favored Attack: Guns (Rifle/TL10)16, Favored Defense: Dodge 9

Cool with both of these things.


I'm ok with no healing of Wounds.

I'm ok with Ops and Engineering being combined into "Ops". It will have all the current Ops options, the current Engineering "divert power to a subsystem" and "Raise Shields" option, and the new "Regenerate Shields" option (which, just to be clear, over-writes the SF Companion's rule that "A craft may regenerate its Size in shield points if it makes no attacks in a round").

Actually, the "Regenerate Shields" option *could* be incorporated into the "divert power" option, which puts one other subsystem (Piloting, Gunner, Ops) at a -2 for that round, and I rather like having to have a trade-off - whatdayathink?

I'll play Ops, assuming Kara wants to be on a gun. Otherwise, I'll take the gun. Honestly, Ops has *way* more options than Gunner, but I'll take whatever Kara doesn't want.

I'm willing to try the Shields as written, since there are 4 Ties shooting per round so they should go down pretty quickly. But...

With the Toughness and weapon damages listed, the Falcon has an 80% chance of "Shaking" the Ties, and a 58% chance of Wounding them, per hit. However, the Ties have only an 18% chance of Shaking the Falcon, and only a 15% chance of Wounding it.

Now, with 4 Ties firing per round, that's a total of a 72% chance of Shaking the Falcon, and a 60% chance of Wounding it, same as the chances the Falcon has against the Ties (per shot), but the Falcon gets two shots per round. That, plus the high chances of Shaking and Wounding any given Tie, seems un-balanced.

The simple solution would be to give the Falcon only one gun (yeah, I know it has two in the movies). Not sure what to do about this - any ideas?

In addition, *ALL* those numbers for the Ties go down drastically if the Falcon has even 8 points of shields.

I'm guessing that the Ties will spend most of their shots trying to keep the Shields down to 0, while the Falcon just picks off the Ties.

Now I'm thinking that there shouldn't be *ANY* Shields!


I'm fine with a trade-off, and the rest of it.

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