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Fire Control & The Law of Diminishing Returns
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:25 pm    Post subject: Fire Control & The Law of Diminishing Returns Reply with quote

As I'm doing stats for some of the monster ships, I'm struck by the ridiculous numbers. Under the RAW, simple math practically guarantees a hit if you coordinate enough cannon to fire on the same target.

I'm interested in inserting some sort of cap, some point at which it becomes less efficient to throw more guns at the problem than it does to increase the fire control of individual weapons. If nothing else, when engaging a single target,a centralized fire control computer should only be able to handle the input of so many weapons before the data load exceeds its processing capability.

I've done this on one stat already, my version of the Torpedo Sphere, where I placed an arbitrary maximum on the number of proton torpedo tubes that could be fired at a single target other than a planetary shield.

I've also considered placing a cap of 1 or 2 on the number of Laser Cannon that can shoot at a starfighter or light freighter if it is in the same SU as the capital ship.

I don't have any real solution in mind at the moment, but I'd like to hear your ideas.
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Random_Axe
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By example, According to 2eR&E, a Star Destroyer has up to 20 turbolaser cannons to bear on a front or side facing, and you appear to think that is too many to be allowed to be coordinated on a single target.

What is your desired max? I would think the limiting factor would be the scale-difference of the target, not the range (same SU). A smaller freighter can have a maximum effective number of Cap-scale weapons coordinated on it, while another Cap-scale Rebel ship should be able to have all available weapons pointed at it.

What do you think of this. Have a maximum number of 3 Cap-scale cannons able to coordinate their targeting sensors on a single starship-scale freighter or fighter; said three cannons would be spread out across the attacking surface area of the Destroyer so that they could get the maximum benefit of independent sensor-triangulation on the fighter. But if you really wanted that fighter DEAD, then your Imperial captain could mobilize six trio's of cannons on that ship-facing against that fighter. Each trio would have the minimum coordination benefit of +1D, but there would be six coordinated shots that the fighter would have to dodge, at a mounting rate of difficulty.

If a trio bonus of +1D is not enough for you, then double it with 6 coordinated cannons, times three coordinated batteries.

Against the Cap-scale opponent, you can coordinate half your available cannons on a single facing, for that according targeting benefit.
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Random_Axe
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the other part of the Cap Ship armament that I wanted to mention. Sure the Destroyer has 20 cannons in a particular facing, but those 20 are split up between the upper hull surface and the anterior surface. So in reality only half of the available weapons on any particular facing of any particular ship, can be brought to bear. This is a built-in limitation that you can utilize.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't really have a desired maximum at the moment, just a vague concept that I'm trying to sort out.
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Raven Redstar
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about limiting the number that can be combined to current Fire control rating as a cap. 3D+2 Fire Control? 3D+2 is the maximum coordination bonus that can be gained from combined action.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raven Redstar wrote:
What about limiting the number that can be combined to current Fire control rating as a cap. 3D+2 Fire Control? 3D+2 is the maximum coordination bonus that can be gained from combined action.

That's nicely symmetrical, especially since Fire Control is the only hard number that stats have to tell us how effective the fire control systems actually are. There's no reason it couldn't be applied to the coordination system "upstream" from the fire control systems at each weapon mount, too.

It'd also add punch to ships like the Lancer; with their 4D Fire Control, their coordination systems would be able to easily coordinate all the firepower in an arc with computing power to spare.

It also adds impetus to the larger ships to use Barrage Fire method to saturate a fighter's general position with fire in the hopes of getting a lucky hit.

I'm not committing to anything right away, but this has promise...
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hows about rather than go with current combined fire rules, use an alternate?..

The sparks group does it thusly..
2 coordinated +1d
4 +2d
6 +3d
10 +4d
15 +5d
25 +6d
40 +7d
60 +8d
100 +9d
150 +10d
250 +11d
400 +12d
600 +13d
1000 +14d
1500 +15d (the max)!!

So right there, you have a max # of things that can coordinate in an arc, limited to how many weaponry are in said arc..
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use the x2 = +1D method, which progresses at a similar rate. The problem comes in when ships have so many cannon that the bonus gets astronomical. For instance, my version of the Executor has 150 3D/4D Laser Cannon per Fire Arc. Even using the x2=1D method, all of those cannon firing at a single target would generate a +7D coordination bonus, which practically guarantees a hit of some kind, depending on how the bonus is allocated.
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"No set of rules can cover every situation. It's expected that you will make up new rules to suit the needs of your game." - The Star Wars Roleplaying Game, 2R&E, pg. 69, WEG, 1996.

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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

True, but i can't see 150 guns shooting at just ONE target, of smaller scale.. However, i can't see an easy way to come up with a hard n fast rule on this right now..
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
I don't really have a desired maximum at the moment, just a vague concept that I'm trying to sort out.


As for reasoning, it may be helpful to consider that not every gun in the same "arc" will be able to angle on a given target.

One of the vehicles we used in the army was called an ASV (armored security vehicle). It had a .50 cal twin-linked with a Mk19. The two weapons could be fired at the same target simultaneously as long as they were within a specific range threshold. For example, because the weapons are more or less parallel, they cannot both hit the same target at very close range, because they cannot be angled toward each other enough to do so (albeit, the explosion of the grenade would "make up" for this... but, we're talking about lasers, ultimately, so the point is apt). Furthermore, at very distal targets, the lasers would eventually cross each other, vectoring away from each other (and thus away from the target).

You may, therefore, find it helpful to base your solution on the inherent range of the weapons in question (or, at least factor the intended engagement range of the weapon's design into your equation).

Basically, the maneuverability of the weapon turrets or other systems could be a limiting factor (as mentioned above: using fire control as a standard, or at least a guideline).

You might also use scale as a factor. The biggest problem here, though, is that there is only one scale step from starfighter to capitol (though this is probably going to be added to your own scale system, I imagine?)

Here is some counterpoint for consideration, however:

Suppose you did not limit the number of weapons that could fire "at" the target, but rather you limit the number than can actually hit the target. Imagine the difference: X-wing flies at star destroyer, three or four cannons shoot (combined fire). X-wing dodges due to scale modifier overcoming combined fire action.

Now, imagine all 20 turbo lasers fire. Only 3 or 4 can take credit for the hit, but all those other lasers in coming limit his options for evasive maneuvers. If he dodges out of the way of the few that actually locked on/targeted him, he still could maneuver right into one that was "suppressing" him.

In this case, you could rule that when combining fire, you can take a maximum of +X on damage. The rest has to be taken on the attack roll itself. If the attack roll is high enough, then the combined damage is rolled. Otherwise, only one laser hits. If the dodge roll is high enough, the pilot expertly maneuvers through that round of fire... I left out actual difficulty values pending further discussion of the concept.
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Bren
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
I use the x2 = +1D method, which progresses at a similar rate. The problem comes in when ships have so many cannon that the bonus gets astronomical. For instance, my version of the Executor has 150 3D/4D Laser Cannon per Fire Arc. Even using the x2=1D method, all of those cannon firing at a single target would generate a +7D coordination bonus, which practically guarantees a hit of some kind, depending on how the bonus is allocated.
Is attacking an Executor something that happens often enough in your campaign to use it as a test case for your combined fire rules?

I see the Executor as being like the Death Star in that if you try to apply the regular rules you end up with something that is too unwieldy arithmetically as well as something where the heroes will and should lose. Had the Death Star-I launched all it's fighters they could have formed a solid wall of over 7,000 TIEs that would have physically blocked Red and Gold Squadrons from ever reaching the thermal exhaust port in the Death Star trench. End of the Yavin-4 Moon. End of Rebel Base. End of Rebellion. End of Star Wars franchise after one movie.

So instead of that the author waved a narrative wand (Imperial overconfidence) and only had 0.17825312% of the available TIE fighters show up and had the overwhelming majority of the 10,000 turbolasers and 2,600 ion cannon either be unable to come to bear or to miss.

If we restrict ourselves to smaller ships like Imperial Star Destroyers we end up with a smaller number of weapons of each type per firing arc. For ISDs the maximum number of weapons appear in the forward firing arc. (WEG stats listed below.) Using the +1D/factor of 2 method we get combined action bonuses of approximately +4D+1 for 20 weapons in the firing arc; +3D+1 for 10 weapons in the firing arc; and +2D+1 for 6 weapons in the firing arc.

If we assume that the approaching vessel is a Rebel X-wing then the pilot gets +3D for maneuverability and +6D for the scale difference. I then compare that to the fire control bonus plus the combined action bonus for the firing arc with the most weapons that can come to bear to get a net bonus/penalty to hit the X-wing when all weapons in a firing arc are targeting just that one ship.

ISD
Crew Skill: Astrogation 4D, capital ship gunnery 4D+2, capital ship piloting 5D+1, capital ship shields 4D+1, sensors 4D
60 Turbolaser Batteries Net modifier to hit: -2
Fire Arc: 20 front, 20 left, 20 right
Fire Control: 4D
Damage: 5D
60 Ion Cannons Net modifier to hit: -2D
Fire Arc: 20 front, 15 left, 15 right, 10 back
Fire Control: 2D+2
Damage: 3D
10 Tractor Beam Projectors Net modifier to hit: -(2D+2)
Fire Arc: 6 front, 2 left, 2 right
Fire Control: 4D
Damage: 6D

ISD II
Crew Skill: Astrogation 4D, capital ship gunnery 4D+2, capital ship piloting 5D+1, capital ship shields 4D+1, sensors 4D
50 Heavy Turbolaser Batteries Net modifier to hit: -(4D+2)
Fire Arc: 20 front, 15 left, 15 right
Fire Control: 0D
Damage: 10D
50 Heavy Turbolaser Cannons Net modifier to hit: -(3D+2)
Fire Arc: 20 front, 10 left, 10 right, 10 back
Fire Control: 1D
Damage: 7D
20 Ion Cannons Net modifier to hit: -(1D+2)
Fire Arc: 10 front, 5 left, 5 right
Fire Control: 4D
Damage: 4D
10 Tractor Beam Projectors Net modifier to hit: -(2D+2)
Fire Arc: 6 front, 2 left, 2 right
Fire Control: 4D
Damage: 6D

Note also that Starfighter Piloting for experienced pilots (Rebel or Imperial) exceeds the average 4D+2 gunnery skill of a Stardestroyer crew person by at least 1D. This difference would also add to the difficulty to hit or chance to dodge a shot.

One optional rule I use for situations like this where capital scale guns are trying to interdict or destroy approaching starfighters is use the scaling rules in reverse to lower damage while increasing the chance to hit. Typically I do this when there are multiple weapons like a quad gun mount, but the same method could be used here with the assumption that turbolaser batteries may consist of multiple cannon in each battery or in the case of single cannon that the gun can somehow create some sort of barrage or flack effect. This method can be used to cancel out the negative modifiers at the cost of decreasing the damage that is done. Due to the difference in scale this method can allow a capital ship to hit a starfighter but at the same time reduce the damage such that a hit doesn't vaporize the fighter but possibly only damages it or destroys it after allowing the pilot to eject before their ship is destroyed.
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Bren
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
As for reasoning, it may be helpful to consider that not every gun in the same "arc" will be able to angle on a given target...

For example, because the weapons are more or less parallel, they cannot both hit the same target at very close range, because they cannot be angled toward each other enough to do so...

Furthermore, at very distal targets, the lasers would eventually cross each other, vectoring away from each other (and thus away from the target).
This is similar to some of the discussion in the Rogue Squadron novels where pilots discuss how they have the Quad Lasers on their X-wing zeroed. This is also reminiscent of the way real world fighters zeroed in their MGs to cross at a certain distance. That distance then being the point of maximum firepower.

Presumably capital ship weapons are capable of being adjusted during combat so while I can see a small ship getting close enough to a large ship so that some weapons can't come to bear I don't see how a ship could be too far away for the guns to bear. (They could be out of range, but that is a different issue.) If the ship is still in range all the guns should be able to realign to target a vessel at ranges beyond very close range.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At this point, I'm leaning more towards some rule limiting how many guns can be combined if a fighter or space transport gets in close enough to skim the larger ship's hull, which basically happens in all three of the first films: the Death Star attack, the attack run on the Avenger and the Battle of Endor.

Based on what we see in the films, there has to be a point where, no matter how many guns a ship has in a given fire arc, a small ship is just too close to bring them all to bear at once. So it doesn't really matter if the Death Star has 5,000 turbolasers in a given arc if only two or three of them can bear on a target at any given time. And it becomes even more consequential if you can disable enough of them in a specific area to create a dead zone where no defensive weaponry can come to bear at all. I'm pretty sure that was one of the reasons for all the strafing runs during the opening phases of the Battle of Yavin.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And no, I almost never feature an Executor or other, similarly large ship in my games (apart from providing an ominous presence) because they are just too powerful. Most often, PCs operate in either a single space transport or a small group of ships, and going against a ship with the ability to put out that much firepower is statistically suicidal.

Yet in the films, it just so happens that ships that get in close enough do actually manage to get "under" the guns. That's something I'd like to duplicate for the game, but it needs to establish parameters for Difficulty levels and the like.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:

Suppose you did not limit the number of weapons that could fire "at" the target, but rather you limit the number than can actually hit the target. Imagine the difference: X-wing flies at star destroyer, three or four cannons shoot (combined fire). X-wing dodges due to scale modifier overcoming combined fire action.

Now, imagine all 20 turbo lasers fire. Only 3 or 4 can take credit for the hit, but all those other lasers in coming limit his options for evasive maneuvers. If he dodges out of the way of the few that actually locked on/targeted him, he still could maneuver right into one that was "suppressing" him.

In this case, you could rule that when combining fire, you can take a maximum of +X on damage. The rest has to be taken on the attack roll itself. If the attack roll is high enough, then the combined damage is rolled. Otherwise, only one laser hits. If the dodge roll is high enough, the pilot expertly maneuvers through that round of fire... I left out actual difficulty values pending further discussion of the concept.


Suppression fire.. I like it. And we've talked about that a little a while back.

Quote:
Based on what we see in the films, there has to be a point where, no matter how many guns a ship has in a given fire arc, a small ship is just too close to bring them all to bear at once. So it doesn't really matter if the Death Star has 5,000 turbolasers in a given arc if only two or three of them can bear on a target at any given time. And it becomes even more consequential if you can disable enough of them in a specific area to create a dead zone where no defensive weaponry can come to bear at all. I'm pretty sure that was one of the reasons for all the strafing runs during the opening phases of the Battle of Yavin.


That i can see. If you get in P/B range (skin skimming) you can only have say 1/4 or 1/6th the weaponry at any one time firing on you. BUT TILL then you still have to face the full fire arc's wrath of weaponry!

Until then, the guns can form a flak barage like screen..
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