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It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

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For those of us in Herodom that have The Ultimate Vehicle, have you found the Vehicle Combat Section lacking?

 

The more I read it and try to resolve Vehicle combat issues that pop up from time to time, the more I feel that it was made for multiperson vehicle combat.

 

You now, Star Destroyer or Millenium Falcon type combat. Not X-Wing to Tie-Fighter, or Viper to Raider dogfights.

 

Has anyone noticed this or is it just me?

 

If there are those with the same problem, how have you gotten around it or delt with it?

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

Most of the space combat rules are in Star Hero, but if I was running a simple dogfight between an x-wing and a tie-fighter I would probably use the simple dogfight rules.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

It's kind of hard to explain and the problems aren't usually obvious until I'm looking up something.

 

It just seems to me that the rules are gauged for RPing fights in large crafts, not single person fightercraft.

 

I haven't actually read through the Star Hero rules since I assumed that the TUv rules superseded those. I'll take a look through them.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

I don't recall much useful information from Star Hero regarding space combat. Truthfully, vehicle combat is just like regular combat, except with turn modes and multiple players per vehicle.

 

The main problem I have is finding a job for all the players on the ship. One time, there were too many players so I had the captain make his Teamwork rolls to coordinate multiple players jumping in and out of the weapons seat to take a shot. That was too funny, because of course that doesn't really make much sense. I'm sure more detail is always better though. If, for example, your weapons had firing arcs so you had to maneuver around to get the most possible firepower. As it stands in my campaign, all the turrets are 360 degrees so it's fairly bland. But, problems arise such as the ship doctor just hanging out until somebody gets hurt. Unless everyone has a job and really gets into the fight, try to keep it short and simple.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

Well, on a large ship, or one with multiple weapon systems I can see where you would be able to find something for all of your players to do. Especially if you have a lot of smaller craft attacking the larger one.

 

There'd always be a target available in the Arc of the weapons.

 

I just have the feeling that when Steve was writing Star Hero, he was thinking of things like Star Wars and Star Trek.

 

Shows that have, for the most part, large craft. Star Trek doesn't even HAVE fighter craft (that I'm aware of. Not a bit trekkie).

 

Again, I can't really name what the problems are because they don't become evident until my group and I are playing and we have to look something up.

 

I just don't think they are very well done for what they are trying to represent.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

I confess I'm not very familiar with the 5E vehicle combat rules. I always found the old dogfight/intercept rules (which I assume carried over in some form to 5E) to be weak abbreviations of combat, rather than a real combat system. I recall Star Hero being more complete than the core rules, but not satisfyingly so.

 

Personally I like to go tactical with ship combat, laying it out on a hex map. I run the ships as though they were ordinary Hero characters, which puts the players in a familiar combat mindset. It also captures the individuality of fighter combat. I also hand-roll additional piloting maneuvers and Martial Arts to add texture.

 

I do think the rules could use some robustness when it comes to fighter combat. What advantage do formations grant, for instance?

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

Some things don't need to be coded into the system...they stand on their own. Fighter formations typically fall into this category. If the combat system is detailed and tactically realistic, there's no need to give an advantage to them, because they're already advantageous with the system in place.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

Some things don't need to be coded into the system...they stand on their own. Fighter formations typically fall into this category. If the combat system is detailed and tactically realistic' date=' there's no need to give an advantage to them, because they're already advantageous with the system in place.[/quote']I agree. In the real world, fighters in formation don't automatically get better missile lock (OCV bonus) or force their opponents to expose their underside (DCV penalty).

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

So my question stands - what advantage does a formation give? De facto if you like?

 

Concentrated firepower. Thing about it -- 30 X-wings diving onto a Star Destroyer = 120 blaster cannon trained onto on small section of ship. In return, the Star Destroyer can only point so many guns into that section of space to shoot at the enemy. So the X-Wings get the defensive advantage of numbers. if enemy fighters are in the air you also get the ability for fighters to cover each other, more fighters = more eyes looking around.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

We've started doing what several of you hav already done. Just treated the Vehicle like a character (which is is) and gone from there.

 

We're working on Martial Arts, etc to be used with Dogfighting and a few other things to spice up the combats as well.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

I actually really like the dogfighting rules in Hero. Apparently so do others since I've seen them copied in at least 1 other major RPing game system.

 

I think the dogfighting rules simulate the actions of 3 dimensional fighting very well (or as well as an abstract rules set can). The only thing missing are actual maneuvers one can pull which would adjust skill rolls and OCV/DCV mods for the combat turn. I've considered researching such maneuvers for inclusion in my games. Thats certainly somthing I'd be willing to work on here.

 

I will admit, I was dissapointed in how TUV handled dogfighting...there absolutely no expansion on it at all, and I figured if any book would advance the dogfighting rules, it would be TUV.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

I think the dogfighting rules simulate the actions of 3 dimensional fighting very well (or as well as an abstract rules set can). The only thing missing are actual maneuvers one can pull which would adjust skill rolls and OCV/DCV mods for the combat turn. I've considered researching such maneuvers for inclusion in my games. Thats certainly somthing I'd be willing to work on here.
Now that I'd like to see.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

Captain Obvious' Quick and Dirty Mass Dogfight Rules:

 

Each pilot (or unit of pilots, if you want to mesh in the FH mass combat rules) selects a target. Everyone makes a Combat Piloting roll. Results between each attacker and his target are compared, in order of DEX, to see what position they maneuvered into over the course of the Turn, using the table in the main Dogfighting rules. Attack rolls are made as normal.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

So my question stands - what advantage does a formation give? De facto if you like?

 

Bomber formations allow for a wider coverage of bombs, so that they are bombing factories or ports, rather than burning wreckage. They keep bombers from accidentally bombing each other. Theoretically, they also allow interlocking fields of fire, so that enemy fighters flying between them get chopped to pieces by defensive gunnery.

 

Fighter formations allow rapid maneuvering, wide angle scanning for targets, and concentration of firepower, particularly with regard to defense, ie returning fire vs enemy attackers.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

I haven't tried throwing fighter type ships into the mix yet. I was hoping to give the players a couple of fighters that could dock with their main ship at some point. Then, the pilots could fly around independently while the less skilled could use the guns from the main ship.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

I wrote a Piloting Maneuvers article for Digital Hero (http://www.herogames.com/digitalHero/Samples/DH19.jsp) that adds Martial Maneuvers to ship to ship combat.

I really need to sit down, go back, and re-read through all my issues of DH...I keep forgetting about gems like this! :(

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

I'm definitely thinking of some kind of manuevers system. Here is what I have so far, I say we work out a good system that adjusts CV in a way that tries to reflect what the manuever will do.

 

Atmospheric Dogfighting Manuevers

Manuever......OCV....DCV....Phase....Notes

Jink..............N/A.....+3......1/2.......Dodge vs. All attacks, abort

You manuever side-to-side to avoid fire

Juke.............N/A.....+5......1/2.......-2 Piloting roll, Dodge vs. all, abort

You rapidly and erratically manuever to avoid fire

Roll...............+1......+2......1/2.......+1 Piloting roll

A simple sideways roll

Barrell Roll.......0.......+1......1/2.......+1 Piloting roll, can reverse tail, stall

AKA "Emmelman", you fly upwards and loop around behind your tail

Reverse B.R. ..+1......+2......1..........-2 Piloting roll, can reverse tail, stall

A more advanced manuever, you fly downwards and loop upwards

Overtake........+1......-1......1/2.......+1 Piloting roll

Full speed ahead

Undertake......+2......+1......1/2.......-2 Piloting roll, can reverse tail, stall

You slow down and let your tail pass you

Sideways S ...-1......+3.......1/2.......-2 Piloting roll, can reverse tail

An advanced manuever, you roll to the side then fly up and down behind

your tail

Dive .............+1.....+1.......1/2.......-1 Piloting roll, stall

You dive down from above towards your target

Feint Roll........-1.....+1.......1/2.......

You fake a roll and slow down to reverse tail

Corkscrew ......-1.....+2.......1/2.......-1 Piloting roll

You spin while diving or climbing, making for a harder target

Zero-G Dogfighting Manuevers

Manuever......OCV....DCV....Phase....Notes

Jink..............N/A.....+3......1/2.......Dodge vs. All attacks, abort

You manuever side-to-side to avoid fire

Juke.............N/A.....+5......1/2.......-2 Piloting roll, Dodge vs. all, abort

You rapidly and erratically manuever to avoid fire

Roll...............+1......+2......1/2........Manuever

A simple sideways roll

Barrell Roll.......0.......+1......1/2.......+1 Piloting roll, can reverse tail

AKA "Emmelman", you fly upwards and loop around behind your tail

Overtake........+1......-1......1/2.......+1 Piloting roll

Full speed ahead

Undertake......+2......+1......1/2.......-2 Piloting roll, can reverse tail

You slow down and let your tail pass you

Sideways S ...-1......+3.......1/2.......-2 Piloting roll, can reverse tail

An advanced manuever, you roll to the side then fly up and down behind

your tail

Feint Roll........-1.....+1.......1/2.......

You fake a roll and slow down to reverse tail

Strafe...........+2.......0.......1/2........-1 Piloting roll

You retain speed in one direction while facing/firing another

Orbit.............+1......+1......1/2.......Must be 2x speed of target to retain

You rotate around a slower-moving target

 

 

 

Manuevers adjust your OCV, DCV, and/or apply a bonus to piloting rolls made. These work just like normal Combat Manuevers -- any bonuses granted remain until you perform a different manuever.

 

Piloting Rolls: These manuevers use a modified version of the HERO Dogfighting Rules. Every phase pilots make a Combat Piloting roll. If they are engaged in a dogfight, this is a skill vs. skill roll. These rolls are made after the pilot declares his actions for the round. If he succeeds, he performs his action as normal. If he fails, he loses any CV adjustment from the manuever, and anyone attempting to tail this pilot succeeds (so long as they succeeded their skill check.) In atmospheric flight, the craft can even stall (GM's option) on some manuevers. A stalled craft is out of control, and falls at its maximum movement speed until a piloting roll succeeds (or it hits the ground and takes falling damage.) The piloting roll is adjusted by conditional modifiers (which I am looking for rules or a table covering these.)

 

In a skill vs. skill roll, both pilots can succeed, however the one who succeeds by the most gains the advantage. The winner of the roll automatically gains tail (is attacking from the target's rear) so long as they were intending to do so. Tail is broken if the winner was trying to do so. Tail is reversed if the winner was tailed and performed a manuever capable of doing so.

 

 

Well, I think I have a good idea, but I need serious help writing it up in any sensible way.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

I've never been happy with the way Hero handles vehicle combat, going all the way back to 3rd Ed. Having said that, I haven't actually played with Hero vehicle combat in a few years, so I too am having trouble coming up with specific examples.

 

The last time I ran space combat I used a modified version of the Full Thrust miniatures rules, similar to what they did for the B5 RPG. Yes, it's a "new" set of rules, but FT is a pretty easy system to learn. It allowed me to have multiple ships per fleet (some played by PCs, some by the GM), and still leave room for PCs (pilot skill rolls add to the ship's screens level, etc). And any PCs who didn't have much to do in the combat (like the medic and so forth) could just run other friendly ships.

 

BTW, the Full Thrust rules are available as a free pdf from: http://www.gtns.co.uk/store1/commerce.cgi?page=downloads.html&cart_id=8124431.15129

 

 

bigdamnhero

“Seasoned? That’s a hell of a thing to say to a man!â€

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

I've never been happy with the way Hero handles vehicle combat' date=' going all the way back to 3rd Ed. Having said that, I haven't actually played with Hero vehicle combat in a few years, so I too am having trouble coming up with specific examples. [/quote']

OK, so I re-read through the vehicle and space combat rules to re-acquaint myself with my objections. Some are problems with the space combat rules as written, others are problems with the spaceship design rules themselves:

 

  • Space ships act exactly like airplanes (or superheroes) in atmosphere: flight speed is *max* speed rather than acceleration per phase, not thrusting equals stopping, etc.
     
  • All vehicles have the same turning radius: motorcycles, semi trucks, fighter jets and spaceships.
     
  • By the rules as written, there is no reason why a 10-ton scout ship can’t carry the same weapons and equipment as a 2-billion-ton superdreadnaught. You could argue that common sense is a good enough reason, but that still leaves us with no guidelines for how to determine how much more the SDN can carry.
     
  • “Strength†– in terms of lifting capacity – is a function of engine size relative to ship’s mass; size only affects cargo volume…which the vehicle design rules don’t address.
     
  • No difference in range modifiers between most weapon systems.
     
  • Undefined scale (see http://www.herogames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=39695 thread).

 

I know they were trying to write rules that were generic enough to be useable in a variety of different settings, and I applaud that. And granted, many of these can be fixed by optional rules, house rules, and liberal amounts of handwavium. But the “core†system as written makes no sense at all. In order to kludge together something workable, I would’ve had to practically write my own rulebook to keep track of all the changes. Rather than go through all that work, I just decided to use someone else’s rules.

 

Don’t get me wrong: I think SH is a great book; this is the only section I was disappointed with. If you have fixes, I'd love to hear them.

 

 

bigdamnhero

“Your sister's not a cold-blooded murderer. She's never been a planner.â€

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

I'm definitely thinking of some kind of manuevers system. Here is what I have so far, I say we work out a good system that adjusts CV in a way that tries to reflect what the manuever will do.

Like I said, I've worked out a similar system using the custom Martial Arts section of UMA but using the same points system. If you haven't taken a look at it already it might be of interest to you. The system I developed is open ended to allow for modifications and expansions while still keeping it all balanced.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

No difference in range modifiers between most weapon systems.

I think if you look through TE and STK you'll find that ship weapon systems don't have range modifiers. That's left up to the targetting system that is purchased for the vessel. I believe in TE the standard targetting systems are written up as +4, +8 and +12 vs. Range Modifier but, of course, you can make them whatever you want.

 

As I understand it, the scale is 1" to 1", so a Dreadnaught wouldn't even fit on your standard battle mat. However, how much maneuvering and jinking is one of those ships going to do during a fight? Is it important to have them on the map at all? Capital ship to capital ship battles are basically slugfest where they hurl as much of their battery at each other as they can. range isn't really a factor considering the DCV penalties for size as well as the targetting system PSLs.

 

Obviously, fighter combat works better on a battle mat. Given the average SPDs and Flight of most fighters from TE, you can very easily dogfight at the 1" to 1" scale, or at least make it a 2 for 1.

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Re: It's almost 5AM and I'm thinking about Space Combat

 

As I don't subscribe to DH, I cannot comment on Ben's article there but I can comment on the posts of Kraven Kor and bigdamnhero...

 

A lot of what is possible is going to depend on how you care to design your ships. The best approximation of this that I ever saw was the "Spacemaster" system from Iron Crown which was so detailed that it was practically unplayable. Even then it ignored some fundamental issues like where can you direct thrust. If you're going to attempt to correctly represent zero-G combat then thrust is the end-all-be-all of combat. All motion is inertial which means once you start moving you move that way always. To change that motion you have to point the ship (and hence the weapons) in such a way that you can provide new acceleration that counters the existing motion. This leads to all sorts of fun things like the ability to fly one direction and fire an alpha-strike salvo in any direction you want as long as you are not accelerating.

 

In short, tailing is a non-existent concept in zero-G combat because it implies that you cannot turn weapons to face a target while fleeing which is flat out wrong.

 

The only time this might matter is if you feared a boarding action but then you have a simple question to answer... If they try to fly through your front arc and board then either they are so heavily armored that you are not hurting them anyway or they are doing exactly what you want them to because it means crawling up and giving you point-blank fire all the way.

 

This leads to one of two reactions from players. Either they miss the romantic dogfight that they envision from old Errol Flynn movies and they hate it or they relish the chance to think and learn something new. If your players fall into the former category then forget that this is zero-G, adopt the dogfighting rules and go for cinematic (See Star Wars for a classic example). If your players fall into the latter category then good luck because I have never seen a system that has correctly reflected this and you're on your own. Be ready to do a lot of vector calculus and remember that you can solve everything exactly because it really is as simple as vector addition and maybe some polar coordinates if you want to deal with weapon arcs. (Which reminds me... I *really* need to write a simple program to handle that.)

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