#TravellerRPG Ship Combat (Unintended Part II)

In my ship combat example from earlier, I stated that Channing M’rrfeld’s Pinnace had 8 Hull Points. Unfortunately, I was looking at the late-Oct version of the High Guard Beta document and not the December update. Using the December playtest document, the Pinnace has 16 Hull Points. So the battle continues….

When we last left Channing, his Pinnace had suffered 13 damage points in the Attack Step of Round 1. Although a devastating hit, it does not automatically trigger a Critical Hit because the Effect of the attack was less than 6 (p. 158). However, the Sustained Damage rule (p. 158) applies a Severity 1 critical hit for every 10% (rounded up) of the starting hull. (The rules just say “starting hull;” I assume they mean Hull Points not tons.) Every 10% of the starting Hull Points is 1.6, rounded up to 2, meaning the 13 damage caused 6.5 (rounded down?) or 6x Severity 1 Critical Hits. Rolling on the Critical Hits Location table (p. 158) yields the following:

  • M-Drive (Control checks at DM -1)
  • Power Plant (Thrust -1, Power -10%)
  • Armor – Reroll Fuel (Leak – lose 1D tons (roll 6) per hour – but the Pinnace only has 1 ton of fuel to start with)
  • Armor – Reroll J-Drive – Reroll Weapon (Suffer Bane when used)
  • Armor – Reroll Hull (see next hit)
  • Hull (this makes the Critical Hit Severity 2 – suffer 2D damage – roll 10)

Attack Step Summary: Channing’s Pinnace has suffered at total of 23 Hull Points damage, reducing it to zero Hull Points and a total, inoperable, unrepairable wreck (again). Even if the Hull damage had been avoided, the ship has lost maneuverability (M-Drive and Power Plant critical hits) and is out of fuel. (Interestingly, the Core Rulebook does not specifically state what happens with no fuel. One can “assume” the Power Plant doesn’t work based on the statement, “Fuel is required for both the jump drive and power plant” found on p. 145.) If, by some miracle, those critical hits had been avoided then any attacks by Channing will still suffer a Bane. Channing needs his Vacc Suit and a rescue….

Post Battle Comment: Even with the “extended” play based on a (few) additional Hull Points, it still seems that space combat in this Second Edition of the Mongoose Traveller RPG (MgT2.0) is VERY deadly. Most importantly, the fact I had to refer to playtest documents to game out even this simple scenario using the “Core Rulebook” and Common Spacecraft is intensely dissatisfying. A Core Rulebook should be playable BY ITSELF and not rely on external references. This is a clear FAILURE on Mongoose Publishing’s part.

I also question if the system will appeal to today’s gamers. I come from a sorta old-school of roleplaying games and as a long-time Traveller RPG player I am used to the “wargame-like” nature of the combat system. That said, these days I also enjoy a more narrative style of game like Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars RPG series, Firefly (Cortex Plus), Mindjammer or Diaspora  (FATE Core), not to mention older systems like the Battlestar Galactica RPG (Cortex Classic) or something using the Savage Worlds engine. In a previous post I talked about how the Boon/Bane mechanic gives MgT2.0 a more narrative feel; the question in my mind remains, “Is it enough?”

#TravellerRPG Ship Combat (Mongoose 2nd Edition)

Continuing my exploration of the new Mongoose Traveller RPG 2nd Edition (MgT2.0), today I experimented with ship combat. Using my previously generated character, Channing M’rrfeld, I laid out a simple scenario where Channing, in his Pinnace now outfitted with a Beam Laser in a fixed mount, is being pursued by a Light Fighter (p. 189). The Light Fighter mounts a Pulse Laser that has a maximum range of Long (p. 159) so this seems a good range to start the combat.

Before moving into Space Combat (Chapter 8, p. 155), I resolved Sensor actions (p. 150). This requires an Electronics (Sensors) check. Channing does not have this skill so he automatically suffers a DM -3 (Skills and Tasks, p. 56). His Pinnace outfitted with only Basic Sensors giving him a further DM -4 (p. 190). The Light Fighter is radiating using Radar/Lidar which gives him a DM +2 for counter detection (p. 151). With a roll 0f 8 and a final DM -5, Channing fails to detect the fighter (though he likely knows he is being radiated). The Light Fighter pilot has Electronics 0 (no unskilled DM) and is using Military Grade Sensors with DM 0 (p. 188) against a target running with its transponder on (DM +4, p. 146). The fighter pilot rolls 7 with a DM +4 and successful detects the Pinnace. At Long Range he has Minimal Sensor Detail (p. 150) which gives him the basic outline of the target. We now move to the Space Combat system.

Initiative: The first step in Space Combat is to determine Initiative (p. 155). Though Channing has not detected the fighter, he does know he was radiated by something so he is not surprised (p. 154). Channing possesses the skill Tactics (Naval) 1 which allows him to make a check to influence his Initiative. His roll gives him Effect +1. He will also use his Pilot (Small Craft) 1 skill and add his Thrust 5 from the Pinnace. His roll of 10 gives him a final Initiative number of 17. The Light Fighter has only Pilot (Small Craft) 1 and Thrust 6, which added to a roll of 7 gives a final Initiative number of 14.

Maneuver Step: Channing hedges his bets and spends 4 thrust on movement (p. 155) and reserves 1 thrust for Combat Maneuvering (p. 156). The fighter, trying to close range, spends all 6 points for movement. Assuming the fighter is in a stern chase, this closes the range by 2 points, meaning there are 8 more thrust points needed to change the range from Long to Medium (p. 156).

Attack Step: Channing has not detected the fighter so he cannot attack. The fighter attacks. This requires a roll of 2D + Gunner + DEX DM. Assume the fighter pilot has Gunner 0 and a DEX DM +1. He is also using Fire Control/1 in his Ships Computer meaning the fighter can conduct one automated attack with DM 0 OR grant a DM +1 to the Gunner – the fighter pilot decides to let the computer handle the attack (p. 151). Other Common Modifiers (p. 156) are Using a Pulse Laser +2, Long Range -2. Channing can react (p. 160) and try Evasive Action (Pilot) which gives the fighter pilot a DM -1 (Channing’s Pilot (Small Craft) rating). Final DM is -1. The pilot,s attack roll is 12, making his Effect +3. Pulse Lasers roll 2D for damage (roll 10) to which the Effect of the attack is added (p. 158). The result is 13 points of damage. Channing’s Pinnace has 8 Hull Points (not found in the Core Rulebook…had to reference the High Guard Beta document – FOUL!). This reduces Channing to zero Hull, meaning his Pinnace is wrecked, totally inoperable, and beyond repair (p. 158). Channing now finds himself without power or life support….

Actions Step: Given the Pinnace is “beyond repair,” none of the Actions in the Actions Step (p. 160) seem to apply. Let’s hope Channing already has a Vacc Suit on or his future will be very short!

After Action Comment: That’s it? One shot from a light fighter totally wrecks a small craft? No chance to even get into Close Range Combat (p. 162)? The out-of-combat Sensors detection is cumbersome with so many modifiers spread around the book, some in the Encounters and Sensors section and others in the Space Combat chapter. The same goes for the attack modifiers with some found in Spacecraft Operations and others in Space Combat. Finally, the fact that Hull Points are not defined in the Core Rulebook is a clear foul – to use the Core Collection of ships should NOT require purchase of High Guard!

In retrospect, the fact that the fighter had a sensor detection and Channing only had limited awareness of the threat would of made the attack roll a good candidate to use the Boon mechanic (p. 59). This could of represented the “advantage” the fighter had with its detection. Not that it would of made much of a difference….

RPG Thursday – Combat Action (Battlestar Galactica RPG)

Courtesy StarWraith 3d

“DRADIS Contact! Looks to be a single Basestar!”

Adama glanced at the XO who was already lifting the ships intercom. “Launch Alert Vipers,” the XO ordered into the handset. “Mr. Gaeta, start plotting a combat jump out of here.”

Initiative Rolls –Basestar 16/Starbuck 11/Raider 9/Galactica 6

Combat FTL Jump – Complex Action (Hard 55) – 30 seconds. Gaeta’s initial roll to start the process is 19.

Courtesy bruce-domain.blogspot

Starbuck rocketed down the launch tube. Once clear, she looked for her wingman. “Galactica, where is my new rook?”

“Launch tube failure,” stated flight control. “Working on it.”

Starbuck moves to Skirmish Range from Galactica.

In the CIC Adama poured over the DRADIS display. “Why is he hanging out there?”

Cylon Basestar has launched a single Raider with nuclear payload but this is not detectable by Galactica using Long-Range DRADIS. Raider starts movement to Short-Range DRADIS band.

“Galactica, this is Starbuck; on CAP. Where is my wingman?”

Starbuck has moved to Capital Range from Galactica. Raider continues to Short-Range DRADIS band.

Starbuck had the Raider on her DRADIS now. “Galactica, this guy’s alone! Going in hot!”

In CIC a sensor operator spoke up. “Nucleonics detected on inbound Raider.”

“Just a single bird,” the XO said as he looked towards Adama. “Don’t make sense.”

Starbuck twisted her Viper to get an attack angle on the Raider. “Going straight in, are you?”

Raider moves to Capital Range. Starbuck attempts to close to Skirmish Range with Raider. Raider does not oppose. Starbuck and Raider move to Skirmish Range relative to each other and Capital Range relative to Galactica. 

Starbuck mashed down the trigger for her guns. Rounds flew out across the void between her and the Raider. The Raider was dodging, but Starbuck was too good. As her rounds connected she let out a whoop, but at just that moment the Raider turned and fired back. Starbuck didn’t even think as she threw her Viper into a violent roll.

Starbuck attacks the Raider using Vehicle AGL + Pilot Skill + Traits = D10 + D12 + D4(Dogfighter) + D10(Talented) = 22. Raider spends ACTION to DODGE – D12+D6= 8. Starbuck hits! Damage = 22-8+2D8=14+8=22 (11 STUN/11 Wound). Raider suffers Loss of Integrity (-2 Attribute Step to all actions) and must roll to see if it is Disabled. Endurance Roll versus Average (7) Difficulty; Raider rolls 7 and passes. The Raider attack on Starbuck is rolled at D12+D6 modified to D8+D6 due to Loss of Integrity. Raider rolls 5. Starbuck rolls for Innate Defense (D10+D4) = 8 (Multiple Action -1 Skill Step accumulated) – Raider misses.

Starbuck continued to twist and turn as she tried to get a bead on the Raider. The Raider in turn looked to be trying to desperately evade Starbuck’s guns.

Starbuck chooses to remain at Skirmish Range (NO ACTION) Raider interrupts movement to try and evade (ACTION). Opposed rolls see Starbuck D8+D12=20 vs. Raider (D12+D2)+D6=14 – RANGE STAYS AT SKIRMISH.

Courtesy myopera.com

The Raider passed through Starbuck’s gun sight.  Grinning like a predator feline from the ancient texts, her finger mashed the trigger hard.

Starbuck attacks Raider (ACTION); Raider DODGES (ACTION #2 for the Combat Turn). Starbuck’s  attack Roll is 26 vs. Raider’s Dodge…which it BOTCHES. Raider breaks up after damage and hard maneuvers. RAIDER DESTROYED.

Everyone in the CIC breathed a sigh of relief. Only Adama didn’t seem happy. The Basestar was still out there. Adama spoke up, “Get Starbuck home, now! Once she’s aboard activate PDS.”  He glanced over at Gaeta who was still furiously calculating the FTL jump.

Gaeta continues to plot FTL Jump. New roll is 20 + 19 from before meaning 39 of the 55 points needed have been achieved.

“Basestar is closing,” reported a DRADIS operator. The XO was already on the horn to engineering. “Give us all she’s got!”

The Basestar is closing and Galactica is trying to evade. Basestar has speed advantage on Galactica. Though the Old Girl tries, the Basestar is just too fast and the range closes to Short-Range DRADIS and eventually Capital Range.

Courtesy allmystery.de

“Missile launch!” The DRADIS operator shouted out. “Nucleonics!” shouted another.

Basestar launches 6 Spacecraft-Scale Short-Range DRADIS Nuclear Missiles (D12+D8) followed by 20 Spacecraft Scale Capital Range Missiles (D10).

“Weapons free,” intoned the XO. Galactica’s railguns launched their own barrage of projectiles at the Basestar.

Galactica’s gunners are a bit off for none hit the Basestar on the initial salvo.

Galactica and the Basestar traded shots. Adama smiled as the PDS stopped all the nuclear missiles, but frowned when two of the other missiles got though. Galactica shook with the impact, but kept on fighting.

PDS shoots down all 6 nuclear missiles but only stops 18 of the 20 conventional warheads. Damage is light with 2 STUN 2 WOUND to Galactica. Meanwhile the Basestar launches another salvo of 20 conventional warheads. Galactica’s railguns finally connect and bring devastation to the Basestar scoring heavy damage – 40 STUN 40 WOUND –  forcing the Basestar to roll an Endurance Check and Disabled Check – both of which it passes. 

Courtesy kunal.kundaje.net

“More missiles coming,” spoke the XO over the noise. “Bet they got more nukes in there too.”

PDS takes on another salvo of conventional missiles and only one gets through. Galactica now has a total of 6 STUN 6 WOUND. The Basestar starts to move off but not before spitting out 14 nuclear missiles. It then fails its Disabled roll and suffers a System Crash – it is Dead in Space.

Adama and the XO watched the PDS as it engaged the nuclear missiles. After a few moments, Adama realized that none of the missiles survived the defensive hail of fire. Gaeta shouted from the FTL console. “Jump plotted, ready to jump!” He was poised to turn the key.

Gaeta continues to plot FTL Jump. New roll of 16+39=55 – SUCCESS. Jump is plotted and ready to execute.

Adama considered the situation for just a moment. The Basestar was dead in space but Galactica was also hurt. Should he stay and finish the Basestar? He quickly drove that thought from his mind; the fleet needed them back. “Jump,” he ordered.

Courtesy ign.com