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Limited Jump Navcomputers
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:10 am    Post subject: Limited Jump Navcomputers Reply with quote

So, I had an idea on this today. Per the rules, ships with basic navcomputers can only have a limited number of jumps pre-programmed in, but in my experience, that requires the characters to know exactly where they are going in advance and get the jump coordinates programmed in from a remote source, which can put a crimp in a plot line (unless the GM decides to ignore it). Here is my alternate suggestion.

Suppose that a limited-use nav computer receives a course data update (much like plugging a GPS navigation system into a computer to receive updated map information). This update provides the nav computer with sufficient information to make any jump from its immediate area (say, within a specific sector) without any change in difficulty. However, because the data is limited in scope to the immediate area, any subsequent jumps increase in difficulty as the ship travels further and further away from the location where it receives the update. The limited number of jumps listed in the stats (3, 5, 10 or whatever) can be used to generate a sliding scale for how the Astrogation difficulty increases. To reset the difficulty back to base, all the ship has to do is plug in an appropriate local area update from a standard "no-limit" navcomputer.

Thoughts?
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griff
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the limilted jump navicomputers I would think that this would be from point A to point B and back. Now a jump from point C to point A and back would be another filling the two jump navicomputer. I always played that the navicomputer remember the last two jumps, only needing a very easy astrogation roll, for those last two jumps. If a new jump was calculated the navicomputer would dump the third out. Have to recalculate the dumped route at normal difficulty. So it would like this.

#1 point A to point B and back
#2 point A to point C and back
With point B to point C, point A to point B is dumped. A to C becomes #1 and B to C becomes #2.
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vanir
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have done a bit of work in this area in our group. We do try to work with RAW but it has to make sense so we can apply the rule to various situations.

We took it as RAW that a limited nav-computer stores a number of astrogation coordinates. Theoretically a sensor reading can provide current positioning data, passive sensor windows in a starship are inherently part-astronomical in nature, optics are listed among wikipedia starship sensor arrays.
That gives 2 destinations for a 2-jump limited nav-computer, plus the starting point. That means for a starfighter attack you can launch from a cruiser in a nearby system, have the target system programmed into the starfighters, plus another rendezvous system to meet up again with the cruisers for berthing, somewhere else again. A-wings can do this.
After that it defaults right to "no nav computer" difficulties. That's RAW as we see it, we tried several ideas and found it worked best like this. Simple, quick, works.

Now programming limited nav-computers is where we went directly into House rules, it's not covered in RAW.
Being familiar with contemporary military technologies I thought first: datalink course updates. Standard equipment in the interceptor squadrons of the superpowers, it all just gets transmitted by a friendly control station as a data update by wireless flight computer connection. All the really expensive fighters these days have the antennae and facilities for it, pretty much all Russian fighters have been using it since the 60s, the US more since the 80s.

Also by hardline data connections, like at hangar bays when refuelling, restocking and performing maintenance. The flight computer is connected via hardline and if necessary the nav computer can be updated.

This means, starfighters with limited nav computers or astromechs can be updated with stored jump coordinates either within radio range of cruisers or whenever docked at any hangar of standard class or better services.

Limited services and landing fields in particular may require manual reprogramming of the navcomputer, which means you'll need a datapad or PC with memsticks or internal memory containing charts to use.
One would have to impose specific rules for uploading charts to a nav computer as distinct from calculating a jump as part of the journey into hyperspace. You might have a minimum elapsed time of 1hr as opposed to 1min for actually jumping, to program the navcomputer with star charts to be used for making actual jumps.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the lack of friendly control stations might be an issue in the SWU. For starfighters operating independent of a regular base, its worth considering upgrading to a full navcomputer like the one on the Y-Wing Longprobe.
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds similar to a houserule we've used.
What we did was get rid of the limited number of jumps and instead increased the difficulty by (15-Jumps). So you can get anywhere with a limited drive, but you will probably have to spend extra time to get the difficulty down.

We also used the reverse to allow for superior navicomps.
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DougRed4
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How would you deal with starfighters from an older era that have this restriction?

In my campaign, our group has two Jedi Starfighters (each a Star Saber XC-01), and each says "Can store coordinates for 2 hyperspace jumps".

Each of these ships is thousands of years old, so it would probably be difficult for them to get wireless (or the equivalent) signals from more modern technology.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

atgxtg wrote:
That sounds similar to a houserule we've used.
What we did was get rid of the limited number of jumps and instead increased the difficulty by (15-Jumps). So you can get anywhere with a limited drive, but you will probably have to spend extra time to get the difficulty down.

We also used the reverse to allow for superior navicomps.


I thought something similar. It's typical WEG to have such an all or nothing approach, in that you either have a nav computer (which is capable of calculating any possible jump you can imagine) or you don't. I like the idea of varying grades of nav computers to counter varying difficulties for jumps...
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crmcneill wrote:


I thought something similar. It's typical WEG to have such an all or nothing approach, in that you either have a nav computer (which is capable of calculating any possible jump you can imagine) or you don't. I like the idea of varying grades of nav computers to counter varying difficulties for jumps...


So do I. Plus I can see two other reasons for the alternate approach.

Firs off, I don't really believe that Luke used Instinctive Astrogation to get to Dagobah, or that every time someone did a jump in a fighter on-screen they happened to have pre-programmed the jump.

Secondly, I find it hard to believe that the Empire couldn't capture a fighter here or there and get access to the astromech's jumps and use it to find a rebel base or rendezvous point. It is such an obvious weakness, and I could see the Empire ionizing a ship to try and capture the astromech.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

atgxtg wrote:
That sounds similar to a houserule we've used.
What we did was get rid of the limited number of jumps and instead increased the difficulty by (15-Jumps). So you can get anywhere with a limited drive, but you will probably have to spend extra time to get the difficulty down.

We also used the reverse to allow for superior navicomps.


So does this mean that Astromechs now have an internal navcomputer? If so, what is their difficulty modifier?
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They should still need to have jumps pre-programmed in, which is what their astrogation is for.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
They should still need to have jumps pre-programmed in, which is what their astrogation is for.


Nah, I like atgxtg's version, with preprogrammed jumps as an option to speed things up.
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DougRed4
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

atgxtg wrote:
Secondly, I find it hard to believe that the Empire couldn't capture a fighter here or there and get access to the astromech's jumps and use it to find a rebel base or rendezvous point. It is such an obvious weakness, and I could see the Empire ionizing a ship to try and capture the astromech.


That does make sense. If such a tactic became common, the Rebellion would have to come up with some way to swiftly perform a memory wipe, at least of the calculations (or something similar).
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DougRed4 wrote:


That does make sense. If such a tactic became common, the Rebellion would have to come up with some way to swiftly perform a memory wipe, at least of the calculations (or something similar).


Yeah, think about it. If you were chasing down a group of rebels, in a universe with FTL travel and limited FTL communication, then grabbing a rebel astromech and extracting what 5 or 10 jumps it has in it's memory would greatly simplify hunting down said rebels.

Finding a rebel base would be easy. In fact, the rebels would pretty much have to send a ship with a navcomputer to another system to feed astrogation data to the fighters going out or coming back. If just one asatromech falls into Imperial hands an entire rebel base (or mother-ship) get's caught. It's a nightmare for the rebels. So they would have to coodinate jumps to and from a thirdl system.


But, if the astromechs can do the full calculations themselves and the store them, the rebels get back some much needed mobility.



But then, the Empire doesn't think the way I do. I'd have launched more TIEs at Yavin, and used more grenades against the Ewoks at Endor. The Empire might just be too stupid to try and extract astrogation data.
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Leon The Lion
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

atgxtg wrote:
But then, the Empire doesn't think the way I do. I'd have launched more TIEs at Yavin, and used more grenades against the Ewoks at Endor. The Empire might just be too stupid to try and extract astrogation data.

Or mabe purging an astromech's hyperjump buffer does not actually require a lengthy and complicated memory wipe of the whole droid brain, but can be done as quickly and simply as deleting data from a modern flash drive. The moment the Rebels see Imperials in persuit, their astromechs just execute "format C:", or whatever drive the nav data is stored on, and that's the end of it. The only way to capture Rebel hyperjump data would be then to get them by complete surprise, hitting the droid with an ion weapon to disable it and prevent it from deleting the data - which by itself may pose a risk of deleting or at least damaging it.
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jmanski
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or the calculations are encrypted and only the fighter can decode them. Wipe out the code and they're useless.

There are ways to protect information like that.

But I, too, am torn on this subject. Maybe an R2 can perform calculations within a small area and take more time.
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