Space Ship vs Military Ground Vehicle

Abub's picture
Abub
July 3, 2014 - 8:51am
Forgive me as I couldn't [find] an old topic with this in it. 

Planning a mission for my Space Fleet crew where they will land an assault scout in a hostile landing zone to deliver supplies and munitions to a pro-UPF rebellion along with a Land Fleet special forces trainer. 

I'm wondering how you might handle ground vehicles shooting or being shot at by a space craft?  Would you treat space vehicles as the same as air vehicles or are they a magnitude tougher (with equivelant weapons)?  In other words would you treat a d10 of laser battery damage as just one die on the vehicle damage chart?

I'm sure this has had to be discussed before. My apologies if I'm asking again. 
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Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 3, 2014 - 4:02pm
Yeah star ship weapons are on a order of magnitude far higher than existing vehicles weapons.

My opinion is that the existing AD rules on vehcile combat represent civilian issue armored vehicles. Straight up civilian vehciles should be easier to shoot up that what the rules reflect. Within the existing frame work of the AD rules I would roll 3d10 when an unarmored civilian vehicle is struck by std AD weapons and then add the number of dice of damage and consult the vehicle damage table. For full on military grade vehicles I would go with 1d10 plus the number of dice of damage done and consult the damage table.

For purposes of mixing KHs and AD weapons vs vehicles 1d10 of Khs damage equals 10d10 on the vehicle level. But i would also allow for military vessels that would be on the KHs level of damage- essentially you main battle tanks should probably do that much damage.

EDIT: of course I'm sort of ignoring the Dragon article "Tanks Again" with the above suggestions.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
July 3, 2014 - 5:57pm
The way I handle it is that a Laser Battery becomes a Heavy Laser when operating in atmosphere but with double the range and 30d10 points of damage.  A Pod Laser or Laser Pod Turrent becomes a heavy laser with double the range but doing the normal heavy laser damage of 20d10.

My justification is that the laser sysytem can't put out it's full power in the atmosphere becuase of interactions with the molecules in the atmosphere.  I.e. ionization reducing effectiveness/range, overheating in unexpected places, etc.

On the flip side, the KH Campaign book says that hull sections have 200+2d100 structure points.  So I just call it 300 and say that 300 structure points = 1 HP.  All attacks against ships are converted to structure points (1d10 damage= 5 structure points)  Any round that a ship takes more than 300 points in the round I would allow a roll on the damage table (treating hull hits as no effect) to allow an internal system to be hit.  I also have used the vehicle damage table to affect things like acceleration and maneuverablity of ships in the atmosphere but really would only consider this when the ship is specifically designed with atmospheric engines.  If it's relying on it's space engines, then AD weapons just really aren't going to do much.

If you want an example of this, read through this thread: http://starfrontiers.info/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=71 In it the PC's are flying a HS 2 ship designed as a spacecraft with atmospheric capabilities and I used the rules I mentioned above.  The actual assault begins toward the bottom of page 4 of that thread.
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Abub's picture
Abub
July 3, 2014 - 9:45pm
i have to think about how I want this scene to play out then... I was not going to bother giving ground assault vehicles of the enemy any special vehicle damage chart reducing armor and I was going to have the PC's in a military explorer... both the AVs and Explorer have cannons mounted on them but the explorer's cannon is a little bigger then the AVs (thier are multiple AVs chasing them).

I wanted to keep it simple so rather then worry about vehicle damage chart reducing armor i was just giving the cannons way lower damage values (4d10 for the bad guys and 7d10 for our UPF heroes).  I didn't want the exchanges to be one shot kills... like I wanted the scene to have them trading blows while manuevering terrain obsticles.

Sounds like I maybe should consider bothering with "Armor" like the explorer's natural toughness on both sides and upping the damage of the mounted cannons like a lot. 
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Malcadon's picture
Malcadon
July 4, 2014 - 1:18am
I never ran HK ship battle outside wargaming, and I'm not a fan of the system. (You'll think they would have rail guns and mass-drivers, as they are powerful and practical weapons, but no! Lasers and electric guns are high-tech and rad. And don't get me started on the "turning equals heading change" rule.)

If was was to run ground battles with a focus on vehicles, I would likely use a modified Battletech rules as a basis, if only because it is easier to work with. Explorers would be armored jeeps, and beyond the normal range of troops, tanks and aircraft (but no macha... KO, maybe some Protomech-sized Exo-frames), there would be fleets of landships (like that pic that is being debated on).

Given the magnitude of ship-mounted weapons, a single Frigate could wipe-out a ground force in short order. Torpedoes alone are nuclear missiles! Technically, they could do a lot more damage to forces on an Earth-like planet (do to all the mass that is kicked-up), then to anything out in the vacuum of space. I can see energy-based bombardments used for surgical strikes on ground forces (although, an atmosphere and/or geomagnetic field might hamper such weapons), while missiles (like rockets and torpedoes) have to deal with anti-missiles systems. If a torpedo does get through, it would totally vaporize a large area (1-3km vaporize, plus 5-10km getting air-blasted). I would rather have them as orbital artillery support.

Ascent's picture
Ascent
July 4, 2014 - 5:23am
I wouldn't do 30d10. From 10d10, I would do 1d10 x 10, 2d10 x 10, 3d10 x 10, etc. It's just not worth rolling so many dice. The roll is either week or strong.
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TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
July 4, 2014 - 8:26am
I agree that  I probably wouldn't actually roll 30d10.  I'd probably do 5 or 6 d10 times 6 or 5 respectively since I easily have that many d10's lying around and math isn't hard.  But that's the damage range I'd use.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
July 4, 2014 - 11:22pm
jedion357 wrote:
Straight up civilian vehciles should be easier to shoot up that what the rules reflect. 

So should the people. The fact that an average unarmored character has a good chance of surviving a point blank 20 round burst from a machine gun is laughable at best.

TerlObar wrote:

On the flip side, the KH Campaign book says that hull sections have 200+2d100 structure points.  So I just call it 300 and say that 300 structure points = 1 HP. 

FWIW that rule is accrued damage to create a man sized opening to pass through, rather than a compromise to hull integrity. A 1 hull point blast from a KH weapon will create far more damage, i.e. a much larger hole.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
July 4, 2014 - 11:30pm
Now there is a way via the canon rules to handle a landing in a heavy fire zone. Page 51 of the KH Campaign Book details planetary defenses. Granted, you probably want this encounter to be challenging but survivable...and those rules will pretty much guarantee a TPK. You could tailor those guidelines and make planetary weapons that don't cause the 10X damage as listed, rather something more para-military that a small force might get a hold of that could cause d5 points of hull damage and have a few of those spaced out for the party to contend with...along with a few ICM batteries as well to quell the AR system of the assault scout.
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Ascent's picture
Ascent
July 5, 2014 - 4:41am
I would simply make it harder to hit something with a barrage of cannon fire as in reality. It's guided missiles alone that have the accuracy that the rules reflect when firing at moving targets. Guided missiles should negate movement penalties, but non-guided weaponry should eat every penalty you can throw at them when firing at moving targets. While direct hits should be given damage bonuses.
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
July 5, 2014 - 6:27pm
Besides the Seeker missile which actually seems to be more of a WW2 torpedo that could end up targeting the firing ship, what weapon would you classify as a guided weapon in either AD or KHs?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Abub's picture
Abub
July 5, 2014 - 6:42pm
I was thinking... it is possible KH missles and torpedoes particularly might not be designed to fly in an atomphere as thier course correction in space would be based on manuevring thrusters and not control surfaces.  You would probably have to drop them like rocks overtop the target.
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Ascent's picture
Ascent
July 6, 2014 - 2:07am
jedion: I speak merely of the class of weapons, which the Seeker is one, (and the one to which I refer being in the rules), not any specific weapon. However, the Tanks a lot! article in Dragon Magazine features (remote-)guided missiles, which are clearly smaller than the seeker, as they are designed to be carried by small land vehicles. These would be the traditional fighter-loading missiles. The article features 4 sizes.

The Seeker has a "closest target" selecting computer. It is one type of guided missile and that is another type of targeting computer. (I mention several targeting computers in my Starflight article.) The guided missiles in Dragon would be remote-guided, and in my Starflight article, I provided smaller redeye (infrared-guided) missiles and (remote-)guided missiles. (By the way, no one has to use the size scale in that article for fighters. [Though it helps to at least understand it to get an idea of which weapon emplacement arrangment to use.] They can simply design vehicles according to the scant AD rules, as we are discussing here, if they prefer. The revised article in the wiki at starfrontiers.info would be best to reference.)
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
July 6, 2014 - 8:02am
Abub wrote:
I was thinking... it is possible KH missles and torpedoes particularly might not be designed to fly in an atomphere as thier course correction in space would be based on manuevring thrusters and not control surfaces.  You would probably have to drop them like rocks overtop the target.

I dont recall where I read it but there was mention of (IIRC sathar) vessels bombarding a planet from orbit with torpedoes.

I hope I'm not recalling something from Zeb's Guide...if so that can little tidbit can be easily ignored. Wink
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

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Abub's picture
Abub
July 7, 2014 - 8:50pm
well potentially from space a missle or torpedo could position itself so it falls straight down in the atmosphere like a rock while it is still in microgravity.  It would still have a terrible accuracy though I think.


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Abub's picture
Abub
July 7, 2014 - 8:58pm
hmm... come to think of it..,

there is no reason a space missle/torpedo would be cilindrical at all.

Robotech Neutron S missleRobotech Neutron S Missle



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Abub's picture
Abub
October 19, 2014 - 8:13pm
So my second session on this game ran a little less smoothly... they defeated basically all the stuff in space while temporarly losing thier laser battery and being down to one remaining rocket.  so that was cool...


but I failed to show them to thier rails I had planned this game to be rail-roady on.  They felt they needed to stand and fight to protect thier ship more than I wanted to have them do... my mistake was having them have to spend ten minutes preparing the scout to take off again.  I should have let them take off faster or had the planet's military take longer to get there.  Oh well lesson learned.

I'm feeling like I don't like the vehicle rules that much... specifically how you damage one.  The Space Ship damage chart you roll a percentile with the DTM and the result in a more varied result possiblilty from every roll.  Sometimes you takje hull damage... other times you take some system damage... with vehilcles it is next to impossible without a huge weapon to do a lot more than reduce the turning speed a little.  Seems to make vehicle fighting less interesting to me.  I'm letting my ship gunner use his specific targeting which helps alot if it isn't overpowered in this sinerio so that is bypassing the damage table a little.

Maybe I need to rethink the whole table for fighting a military tank like vehicle.  I guess in vehicle combat the magority of the time they wish "no effect" to be the result.  


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Abub's picture
Abub
November 3, 2014 - 8:50am
So I finished up my first adventure last night.  Admittedly the fact I had basically tanks fighting each other (an explorer with abedo suit armor paint and a heavy cannon on top and smaller armored cars similar to ferret armored vehicles) really made the vehicle rules not work extra bad.  

I think because they felt like they were not getting anywhere blasting away at the armored vehicles they basically decided to lose them by pulling a stunt and trying to skid to a near stop and dive off the dirt road into the jungle.  Well, they lost control on the stunt and the ferret like cars end up at extreem point blank range.  Sooo I gave them a bonus to the vehicle damage chart and the explorer gets damaged and stearing gets locked left.  They end up blowing up the explorer catching the armored cars totally by surprize and knocking out two of the four vehicles chasing them.  Basically by narative fiat.

Sooo... has anybody done any revamps for vehicles?  My players understood the reason, but still hated the "no effect" result from the vehicle damage table.  Because of range penaties it was hard enough for them to hit... and when they did they hated getting no effect.  

So, I could have just given the vehicles hit points or soemthing
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Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
November 3, 2014 - 2:22pm
Well did you just get bad rolls on the Vehicle Damage able? It's not until #23 and up that you see something; ex: jammed sterring, spin, roll, vehicle burning, etc.

Abub's picture
Abub
November 3, 2014 - 5:35pm
most average roles are luck to get -15 to turn rating... which I just don't like the turning system in general.  So I ended up doing most of the action in a narative approach instead of using a battlemat.  I think maybe it could have worked better if I had instead taking the -15m/t turn rating damage and made it a growing penalty on the driver's RS checks i was having them do every round.

Ahhh well... I was trying to put a retangle shaped peg through a square shaped hole anyways with them being in basically wheeled tanks.  Game and Learn.
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TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
November 3, 2014 - 7:44pm
I like to give vehicle structure points as well and all the damage done reduces that in addition to rolling on the damage table.  Then when a vehicle takes that number of points it just breaks down from being shot up.
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 4, 2014 - 4:39am
TerlObar wrote:
I like to give vehicle structure points as well and all the damage done reduces that in addition to rolling on the damage table.  Then when a vehicle takes that number of points it just breaks down from being shot up.


This is an excellant Idea! and allows small arms fire to stop a vehicle and makes it a worthwhile endeavor to shoot at a vehcile instead of finding out how much ammo you can waste in a futile exercise.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
November 4, 2014 - 6:56am
jedion357 wrote:
This is an excellant Idea! and allows small arms fire to stop a vehicle and makes it a worthwhile endeavor to shoot at a vehcile instead of finding out how much ammo you can waste in a futile exercise.
Exactly.  One of these days in my spare time I need to write this up as an actual rule set.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
November 4, 2014 - 9:38am
Abub wrote:
So, I could have just given the vehicles hit points or soemthing

Vehicles (and other inanimate objects) do have hit points, see pages 24-25 in the AD rules detailing "structure points". 
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

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Abub's picture
Abub
November 4, 2014 - 9:51am
Yes ... that works great... and it is so simple.

That would have made my session run much better.

But... my players... being players... jumped off the rails and it worked out good anyways.  In hindsight my adventure concept would have gotten tiring to actually play through... it was meant to be like a gauntlet of a vehicle chase combat.  The failed stunt worked out to make them win the day without going through the gauntler grinder.




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