• Welcome to the new COTI server. We've moved the Citizens to a new server. Please let us know in the COTI Website issue forum if you find any problems.

Conventional missiles vs Nukes


Yet another in a string of clueless questions about the rulz...

So what's the point of conventional missiles? A quick look at the documentation shows that a conventional missile barely does any damage to a ship. We're talking SI for most ships to be somewhere around 100-250 (the 100dton - 1,000dton range, IE most likely tonnage a ship will encounter), and a conventional missile does... 2d6 damage (if TL13... yippee). You can get that raised to 4d6 if you use a triple turret.

Meanwhile nukes add +5d6 on top of that AND radiation damage. Now that's good. Nukes should be dangerous. But what exactly is the point of a missile that has conventional armament?

Maybe it's late in the AM (it is) so I don't grok it right now and need some shut eye, but I'd really like to know. Is there some advantage I'm not seeing?

(and don't get me started on bomb-pumped missiles)
It has been a bugbear of mine ever since High Guard made missiles almost useless.
In CT, and especially with Special Supplement 3 Missiles, a missile could be a ship killer. The same it true in Mayday.

To get back to the CT feel of things I use the rules for nuclear missiles for conventional HE missiles (without the radiation extra hits), and have nukes use a d20 for damage and have a higher critical threat, 16.
Conventional Missiles are used because... The Imperium frowns upon the use of Nuclear munitions by civilians, corporations, member polities of the Imperium and any small states it can brow beat.

Other than that they are pretty useless.
I don't know how much nukes cost off the top of my head, but I imagine they're a bit more expensive than HE.
IMTU, there are only a few Imperial Laws, and most of them have to do with taxes, reciprocity of nobility, and the special status of the upper nobility/royalty.

But Imperial Law #1 is, higher even than the ones regarding attempts on the Emperor's life:

The use of holocaustic weaponry on sentient and sapient beings is forbidden within Imperial borders and is considered a formal act of war by the Imperium.
Now, I don't know about you, but I don't want the Imperium to declare war on me. The sight of an Imperial battle fleet dispersing from jump insertion to surround my possible escape routes isn't my idea of a good day.

The reason for the law is, quite simply, that holocaustic weapons (which includes fission, fusion, anti-matter, long-duration lethal chemical munitions, and biological agents) destroy worlds - slash - render them unusable.

Also note that the Imperium itself is, both technically and practically, not bound by Imperial Law. (Thus, the Imperial military is free to use holocaustic weapons on YOU.)

Finally, this law deters most beings from using nukes against living targets, but doesn't help outside Imperial borders. (The use of nukes to wipe out drones and missiles is perfectly fine.)
Nukes are better in every way pretty much. They do cost 10 times as much though, and have all the practical considerations that go along with carrying nukes arround. Depending on YTU this could be minor harrasment, all the way up to pre-emptive defense. Planetary defense scan your ship, find nukes, and immediately open fire with all weapons, as they assume that you could attack with them.

So the question becomes why do you use HE missiles, rather then other weapon systems.

1. Range. The next best (not including pure military toys from the Bay and Spinal cataloge) is the pulse laser at half the range. While it could take a while, shooting without effective return fire has certain clear advantages.

2. Power. EP's aren't free. Everything else costs power, and power is in short supply on most vessels.

3. SI isn't everything. A single SI damage is enough to roll on the damage tables. The damage tables include "Vessel Vaporised". That said most comparable weapons will do comparable damage.

4. Size. Missiles have a minimum sized turret requirement, and draw no power. This means that a triple turret system at 1 dTon + ammo is a lot smaller then a triple laser turret at 1 dTon + 4.5dTon extra powerplant + 3 dTon extra fuel storage. That 7.5 dTon is 150 missiles, or 50 volleys. IMTU missiles are often carried "on tree" only and have no extra ammo space allocated.

5. Capture. A ship pounded to death with nukes will be quite hot. If you want to claim something from the vessel (documents, technology) that becomes a little harder. From a piracy paradigm, you never use nukes on a target. What good is radioactive contraband?

(and don't get me started on bomb-pumped missiles)
A specific solution to a specific problem.
Originally posted by veltyen:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />(and don't get me started on bomb-pumped missiles)
A specific solution to a specific problem. </font>[/QUOTE]See, I thought BPL missiles were less laser and more "focused radiation from the nuke." It's like a nuke that explodes further out than usual, but the gamma and x-rays are focused in one direction (at your ship).

Maybe I'm mistaken.
BPL's are basically big laser warheads which are energised/lased by the nuclear explosion. They have no radioactive component per se (no glowing in the dark afterwards). While they may not actually do more damage than a direct nuke hit, their stand-off range is much higher, reducing the time it would be vulnerable to counter-fire. Because the energy is focused, you can actually have smaller bombs doing as much damage as a regular warhead 10x larger or more.
Of course being right next to a bpl as it lases, is probably not a good idea either.

As for the cost of a nuke vs a normal warhead, it shouldn't be 10x more expensive, try 100x or more. Being that in every version of the game nukes are usually considered a bad thing to be caught with by the Imperials, there should also be a criminal edge to both the purchasing and the price of such weapons.
What BPL's counter is nuclear dampers.

No point in firing nukes at the enemy if they bounce of the sides without igniting.

A BPL is the way to deliver some fraction of the energy of a nuke from outside damper range.
Dampers aren't 100% effective, fire more than one contact detonating nuke ;)
Or use a multi-nuke warhead, it carries both a fission and a laser initiated fusion warhead. The damper can only defend against one of them.

Or just use a kinetic kill missile in the first place...
They manipulate the strong nuclear force, which is the force that holds the nucleaus of an atom together:
Nuclear dampers are passive defensive devices which create an interference field in which the strong nuclear force can be manipulated. A series of nodes and anti-nodes are created, either to enhance or degrade the strong nuclear force.

Focussing a negative node on incoming nuclear warheads lowers the potential barriers around nuclei, thus suppressing the strong force; the warheads shed neutrons at very low energies and are rendered harmless after a short exposure. Both fission and fusion warheads are affected, as fusion warheads use a fission trigger to create the heat required for the fusion reaction.

Dampers may also be used to eliminate radioactive contamination from an area. The damper is focussed on the contamination and forces the radioactive particles to shed radiation until they are inert.

Nuclear dampers may be mounted in spaceships or on vehicles. A damper unit consists of three components: two separate damper projectors and a fire control system. Shipboard dampers are generally mounted as far apart as possible, and contain an integral fire control system for efficiency.

A further development of the nuclear damper is the damper box. This focusses a positive node on its contents, raising the potential barrier and preventing nuclear decay. Damper boxes are used to store collapsing rounds, allowing materials with short usable half-lives to be used as ammunition.