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In My Traveller Universe Detail what parts of Traveller you do (or don't) use in your campaign.

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Old April 16th, 2019, 06:18 AM
Flattened Sphere Flattened Sphere is offline
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Default Unbreaking High Guard

Hi all ... I've not been around for a while.

Last time I was around, I engaged in a few discussions on just how Broken High Guard rules for starship construction and combat are, and what needs to be done to fix them.

I've been experimenting with a number of tweaks ... most of which fix one thing, only to break something else.

BUT ... I think I'm reaching a viable alternative set of workable rules. Purists won't like 'em. But I'll be happy to share them (once I've fully written them up) so that open-minded enthusiasts can give them a go and see how they like them.

Here are some of the key adjustments:

(1) end to the unlimited supply of missiles and sand canisters: you need to put in a magazine to hold them, and this takes up ship space

(2) restrictions on how much armour you can put on smaller ships (sliding scale, becoming more generous at higher TLs) so you don't have these 1000 ton ships that simply can't be touched by anything other than massed missile batteries or spinal weapons

(3) the "to hit" size modifiers become 0, +1, +2, +3 and +4 so that hits are more readily registered, making combats shorter and sharper, and meaning that encounters between small, agile ships with their weapons grouped into smaller batteries don't become total stalemates. I am also contemplating adjusting the agility DM, but need to see how this plays out first.

(4) spinal weapon potency adjusted. Instead of one roll to hit and penetrate and then umpteen rolls on the damage table if they do hit, they get umpteen attempts at a hit, and each hit that penetrates gets one roll. So instead of going turn after turn after turn and then landing a single crippling blow, they are doing steady work of degading the enemy.

(5) Failure to penetrate the meson screen doesn't kill the meson hit altogether - it just means the meson screen's factor is added as a DM to the damage roll. Failure to penetrate the configuration does kill it, however.

(6) Reduction in additional rolls for armour is one per two factors of armour, rather than one per factor, so those big particle accelerators aren't quite so impotent against heavily armoured ships

(7) Reduction of critical hits by over-size weapons is one per factor of armour, not one per two factors, but so that there will always be at least one critical hit. This makes hits by oversize weapons more survivable, whilst still ensuring that they make a nasty dent.

(8) Armour DOES reduce critical hits by oversize meson guns. The rationale is that these critical hits are the result of the additional shock of being shaken about by a massive blast (think depth charges and submarines), and armour is about improving the structural integrity of the ship. This logically would reduce the additional damage done by the shock of the blast, irrespective of whether the blast was inside or outside the ship.

(9) A requirement for additional life support supplies to be carried (and tonnage to be allocated to them) on ships intended for prolonged cruises away from their bases (or, alternatively, the provision of support ships to bring them these supplies); with rules of half rations and its effect on fighting efficiency when a ship finds its supplies running low for any reason.

(10) Command and control rules to give some greater prominence to the Fleet Tactics skill.

(11) "Fuel Tanks Shattered" and "Hangar/Boat deck destroyed" have been switched, so that Fuel Tanks Shattered is a critical hit result not a standard internal explosion result.

Additionally, I've tweaked a few of the tables to correct some anomalies that look like they were unintended.

Like I say, I don't think the total package will be to everyone's liking; but if you'd like to give it a whirl and would like a copy of my revised rules, let me know.
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Old April 16th, 2019, 11:25 AM
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Old April 16th, 2019, 03:43 PM
whartung whartung is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flattened Sphere View Post
(4) spinal weapon potency adjusted. Instead of one roll to hit and penetrate and then umpteen rolls on the damage table if they do hit, they get umpteen attempts at a hit, and each hit that penetrates gets one roll. So instead of going turn after turn after turn and then landing a single crippling blow, they are doing steady work of degading the enemy.
I guess I just have to fundamentally disagree with this.

I don't consider a spinal weapon to be a big hose that's slowly ablating the target ship over time. It's not a shotgun using birdshot against a bear. It's using a slug against a duck. It's the 16" gun off the New Jersey hitting a Destroyer. You're the bug, I'm the hammer. You can skitter about as fast as you like, and I will continue to come down on you. Eventually, I will hit you.

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(8) Armour DOES reduce critical hits by oversize meson guns. The rationale is that these critical hits are the result of the additional shock of being shaken about by a massive blast (think depth charges and submarines), and armour is about improving the structural integrity of the ship. This logically would reduce the additional damage done by the shock of the blast, irrespective of whether the blast was inside or outside the ship.
A nuclear weapon is a fast expanding ball of nasty energy. A meson blast is a pre-expanded ball of nasty energy.

Most attacks are a ball (or lance, in the case of a laser) of energy that detonates with expanding force, crushing and tearing through things, but consuming energy as it goes. That's not what a meson attack is. A meson attack is the closest that Traveller has to a Star Trek transporter beaming down in to solid rock. One moment, there are no particles. The next they're all intermixed. It's a trillion tiny explosions within a sphere (a rather large sphere in large meson gun case).

As it says in Striker. "Everything within the radius is destroyed." If a ship is penetrated with a meson gun, the mesons are interacting with the armor, with the air, with the water, with the fuel, with the people, consoles, wires, pipes, tubes, fried chicken, potatoes and gravy. All of it, at the same time. The armor is on fire, the air is on fire, you are on fire, your skin, your hair, your heart, your brain, all of you.

Big Mesons crit more against smaller ships because the meson radius is bigger, thus destroying more of the ship in one gulp.

Since you're trying to make mesons less effective it's ok to let the screen let some slip through. I wouldn't want them near me at all, personally, which is why I'm content on the screens stopping them wholesale.
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Old April 16th, 2019, 04:36 PM
Flattened Sphere Flattened Sphere is offline
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As I said Whartung - I don't think the whole package will be to everyone's liking, and that's fine.

What I'm trying to achieve is for HG starship combat to be a more enjoyable experience for players than it is at the moment. But there's room for more than one view on the question of what is enjoyable.
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Old April 16th, 2019, 06:15 PM
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I have more fixes for High Guard than you can shake a stick at, you have arrived at a couple I have used for long time.

My principle dislike is the need for statistical resolution for battles - I much prefer the idea of only one roll to hit and one roll to penetrate per weapon system rather than for every single battery bearing.

A logarithmic scale, which is what HG'79 appeared to be aiming for, could be arrived at.

This would solve several issues, such as AV15 on a 25t fighter being equivalent to AV 15 on a BB.

There is a pseudo-log scale built into the size mods for ships, it is just a matter of finding a way to use them. I have been mulling it over for decades now...

-2 0-99t weapon factors 1-4, individual rolls are fun
-1 100-1,999t weapon factors 1-9, bays, can still roll for individual weapon systems
0 2,000-19,999t multiple batteries, bays, spinal, getting to the limit of actually rolling the dice.
+1 20,000-74.999t too many batteries for anything but statistical resolution
+2 75,000t+ even worse
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Old April 17th, 2019, 12:08 AM
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As I mentioned elsewhere, tabletop gamining will evolve into two directions, dead simple rules, or technology based solutions aiding game play.
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Old April 17th, 2019, 05:13 AM
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It looks like you are trying to reduce a Fleet combat simulator to a ship combat simulator. While I don't have any specific objections to the change you are suggesting, I will comment that it will dramatically slow down play of the game in fleet actions.

I also would point out that maybe you need to look a bit at the rules in the 1st Edition of High Guard as they are cover some of the points you specifically mention.

I should point out at this point that my pet project is how to handle ship built under High Guard with in the Book 2 ship combat rules. Note my focus is on adventure scale ships. I have considered the 1000 dTon baseline ships as well and it becomes clear a different scaling factor would be needed to comfortably handle them.
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Old April 18th, 2019, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whartung View Post
I guess I just have to fundamentally disagree with this.

I don't consider a spinal weapon to be a big hose that's slowly ablating the target ship over time. It's not a shotgun using birdshot against a bear. It's using a slug against a duck. It's the 16" gun off the New Jersey hitting a Destroyer. You're the bug, I'm the hammer. You can skitter about as fast as you like, and I will continue to come down on you. Eventually, I will hit you.
I fully agree with you, tough the example I give (as told in other threads) about it as comparison is another:

to me, the Spinals are like the rams in Ironclads age: a potentially decisive weapon (usually one hit one kill), but difficult to use and dangerous to try to bring to bear while the less devastating (per hit) but more numerous artillery (secondaries, mostly missiles, in this casae) are still active.

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Originally Posted by whartung View Post
A nuclear weapon is a fast expanding ball of nasty energy. A meson blast is a pre-expanded ball of nasty energy.

Most attacks are a ball (or lance, in the case of a laser) of energy that detonates with expanding force, crushing and tearing through things, but consuming energy as it goes. That's not what a meson attack is. A meson attack is the closest that Traveller has to a Star Trek transporter beaming down in to solid rock. One moment, there are no particles. The next they're all intermixed. It's a trillion tiny explosions within a sphere (a rather large sphere in large meson gun case).

As it says in Striker. "Everything within the radius is destroyed." If a ship is penetrated with a meson gun, the mesons are interacting with the armor, with the air, with the water, with the fuel, with the people, consoles, wires, pipes, tubes, fried chicken, potatoes and gravy. All of it, at the same time. The armor is on fire, the air is on fire, you are on fire, your skin, your hair, your heart, your brain, all of you.

Big Mesons crit more against smaller ships because the meson radius is bigger, thus destroying more of the ship in one gulp.

Since you're trying to make mesons less effective it's ok to let the screen let some slip through. I wouldn't want them near me at all, personally, which is why I'm content on the screens stopping them wholesale.
While this is quite true in atmosphere, where the expanding air in the fireball and shock wave may be devastating, I guess those firballs will be less in vacuum. The shock produced by an explosión is dependant on the density of the médium (that's why torpedoes are quite more dangerous than artillery), and if the médium is vacuum only the direct exposition (and radiation) will affect your ship.

Of course, in the case of mesons, where the explosión is inside the ship, the own ship's atmosphere makes them so devastating, but i na sameller ship, if the "explosión sphere" is largr than the ship, only the part inside it is really relevant (expet, maybe, for radiation effects).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
My principle dislike is the need for statistical resolution for battles - I much prefer the idea of only one roll to hit and one roll to penetrate per weapon system rather than for every single battery bearing.
Fully agreed in your dislike for statistical resolution. That's why I like the MgT:HG (at least in 1E, I have not seen MgT2E:HG) barrage rules for the secondaries (though spinals on it are less devastating).

This does not mean I believe it to be a flawless system, as my long discussions in MgT forum clearly show...

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Originally Posted by Flattened Sphere View Post
(1) end to the unlimited supply of missiles and sand canisters: you need to put in a magazine to hold them, and this takes up ship space.
Fully agrees to here. For one battle match, the point you say about magazines taking space it's the main part of it; fro a more strategic campaign, the cost of those nukes (that I don't expect to be cheap) would be another important limiting factor, as a battle will be quite expensive, even if the ship's damages are minimal.
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Old April 18th, 2019, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Flattened Sphere View Post
(1) end to the unlimited supply of missiles and sand canisters: you need to put in a magazine to hold them, and this takes up ship space
Fully agrees to here. For one battle match, the point you say about magazines taking space it's the main part of it; fro a more strategic campaign, the cost of those nukes (that I don't expect to be cheap) would be another important limiting factor, as a battle will be quite expensive, even if the ship's damages are minimal.
While we're fixing broken things, let's bring up nuclear missiles. For all the worry about unlimited supplies, they don't do much. Something that one-hit kills a tank, no matter how heavily armored, barely attracts the notice of a capital ship, or a destroyer, or even a fighter (unless they're in large batteries, in which case they do the same damage that HE missiles would). You fire off a thousand missiles, you take out one weapon - maybe, if his armor isn't so thick that he shrugs it off. Cost-benefit analysis doesn't look good there, and not very realistic considering even the baby ones are delivering gamma energy equivalent to 6 tons of TNT to the point of impact. It's a bit of a logic fail when a 10-dTon tank is destroyed on impact by a single missile while a similarly armored 10 dTon fighter walks away with maybe a damaged turret - and maybe not that.

Some of that could be addressed with one of the fixes to the armor rules we discussed earlier, but it's still pretty obvious the nuke is anemic. They wanted to nerf it down enough that it wouldn't outclass dreadnoughts, but I think they took that a bit farther than needed.
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Comments made are for the purpose of offering alternative campaign settings for consideration. The writer acknowledges that Traveller is intended to emulate certain common science fiction tropes and that, in the course of emulating those tropes and providing a better playing experience, some liberties must be taken with science. No statement by the writer should be interpreted as constituting a criticism of the game on that basis ... except for that bit about Virus. Dude, really?!
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Old April 17th, 2019, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flattened Sphere View Post
(1) end to the unlimited supply of missiles and sand canisters: you need to put in a magazine to hold them, and this takes up ship space

I go one step further, you have to track on usage, each round of shot uses up X missiles, you have to pay for them, and you have to spend time loading if you exceed the normal fire rate. This last part is particularly important in terms of nukes.


Quote:
(2) restrictions on how much armour you can put on smaller ships (sliding scale, becoming more generous at higher TLs) so you don't have these 1000 ton ships that simply can't be touched by anything other than massed missile batteries or spinal weapons

I have a recent thread in The Fleet that goes into my take. Bottom line, armor is a real nice payoff but is exorbitant for small craft and painful for small shipe, whereas the bigger ships wlll tend to get most or max out and still have room for power, weapons and agility.


Quote:
(3) the "to hit" size modifiers become 0, +1, +2, +3 and +4 so that hits are more readily registered, making combats shorter and sharper, and meaning that encounters between small, agile ships with their weapons grouped into smaller batteries don't become total stalemates. I am also contemplating adjusting the agility DM, but need to see how this plays out first.

I'm not touching any of that except in terms of range, further away you are the less likely to hit and less damage done, conversely as the range drops down below 100,000km the more likely to hit and more damage.


Quote:
(4) spinal weapon potency adjusted. Instead of one roll to hit and penetrate and then umpteen rolls on the damage table if they do hit, they get umpteen attempts at a hit, and each hit that penetrates gets one roll. So instead of going turn after turn after turn and then landing a single crippling blow, they are doing steady work of degading the enemy.

I'm out to reduce the die rolling to a dull roar. As such I am going with a total tonnage of damage the shot does, split the damage and roll two times (three if small critical systems like computer or screens are hit), depending on the nature of the weapon it gets surface and then possible internal/overall, two overalls, internal then overall (meson), and radiation (which will expand the possible effects). So spinals are more likely to either miss, or blow the heck entirely out of a major system. In some cases they will break the integrity of the hull and the target ship isn't destroyed in a fireball, it loses major system control and can't accelerate much and eventually will break up into a debris cloud.


Quote:
(5) Failure to penetrate the meson screen doesn't kill the meson hit altogether - it just means the meson screen's factor is added as a DM to the damage roll. Failure to penetrate the configuration does kill it, however.

Eh, this is a taste thing- I looked at using a combination of the config and screen roll as a sort of armor, but ended up sticking with the rolls as is.


One of the things you have to remember when fiddling with HG is if you are going to fiddle with the combat system, you are also by extension messing with the economics of the ship building, and IMO you want to maintain the desirability and drawbacks of each system and not by accident back into only one perfect build design.


Quote:
(6) Reduction in additional rolls for armour is one per two factors of armour, rather than one per factor, so those big particle accelerators aren't quite so impotent against heavily armoured ships

I went with a different direction- the armor negates damage if it is equal or greater to the weapon factor. That means a lot of rolls don't have to be made since at X range Y weapon won't penetrate Z ship. This comes from tank and ship armor, it's pretty much bounce/a little spall/catastrophic penetration.


Quote:
(7) Reduction of critical hits by over-size weapons is one per factor of armour, not one per two factors, but so that there will always be at least one critical hit. This makes hits by oversize weapons more survivable, whilst still ensuring that they make a nasty dent.

One of the things I did was put critical hits in reach of everyone- if they can penetrate the armor/defenses. But critical hits aren't 'system destroyed', they are for the most part 'system disabled/damaged'. The idea is to create a lot more 'engineering drama'. The tables are redone of course and look more like the CT ship damage table.


Quote:
(8) Armour DOES reduce critical hits by oversize meson guns. The rationale is that these critical hits are the result of the additional shock of being shaken about by a massive blast (think depth charges and submarines), and armour is about improving the structural integrity of the ship. This logically would reduce the additional damage done by the shock of the blast, irrespective of whether the blast was inside or outside the ship.

I went at this CT/HG project about six different ways, and came up with one iteration where designers would spec different types of armor. For Meson Guns I came up with Nautilus armor, like that seashell the ship is heavily bulkheaded with the idea of limiting internal damage. I decided to go with the Striker version of MGs, the big internal nuke, so that didn't make the final cut.


Quote:
(9) A requirement for additional life support supplies to be carried (and tonnage to be allocated to them) on ships intended for prolonged cruises away from their bases (or, alternatively, the provision of support ships to bring them these supplies); with rules of half rations and its effect on fighting efficiency when a ship finds its supplies running low for any reason.

Good campaign stuff, but since I would be inclined to use the life support supply rules from Beltstrike, life support is pretty light on the cargo bay and lighter still with access to a planet with food air and water. The thing to really gig a ship on when away from base is maintenance/parts, and reloading those magazines.


Quote:
(10) Command and control rules to give some greater prominence to the Fleet Tactics skill.

I have a simple mechanism for that- the loser of the Fleet Tactics roll has to declare what their accels and course headings will be for all of his ships, and the target priorities. The winner then moves his ships and starts the firing order.


Between duels involving Ship Tactics same thing, except the winner also decides what systems get damaged in choice scenarios like weapons.



Quote:
Like I say, I don't think the total package will be to everyone's liking; but if you'd like to give it a whirl and would like a copy of my revised rules, let me know.

You could post them up in the files section for everyone to pull whenever they want to.
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