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Flak Turbolasers
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:24 pm    Post subject: Flak Turbolasers Reply with quote

So, as I discussed here and here, I've finally found a technobabble method by which a turbolaser bolt can be made to fracture on itself at a relatively predictable distance. Short version, the cannon uses an energy choke (possibly gravitic in nature) to fractionally reduce the speed of the leading portion of a turbolaser bolt, which in turn causes the main body of the turbolaser bolt to overrun and disrupt upon itself, eventually fracturing into a cloud/blast of blaster energy that disperses over a wider area. While this is relatively ineffective against capital ships, it would allow turbolasers to be much more effective against starfighters, in much the same way the dual-purpose cannon on modern naval warships can be used in both anti-surface and anti-air targets.

While it relies on similar tech, the flak turbolaser (or alternately, the flak firing mode for turbolasers and ion cannon) is sufficiently different that, IMO, it deserves its own topic. I have also come up with a sufficiently realistic sounding acronym for Flak (which is derived from the real-world German word for "aircraft defense cannon") that I feel I can justify keeping the term. As mentioned in the 2nd of the above links, the acronym is Fractional Lag Accretion Kinetics" (I had originally used Kinesis, but that is apparently a biology term, not a physics one).

At this point, I have some basic ideas as to how this would work stats-wise, but I'm wondering whether it should be a separate weapon system, or if it should be an alternate firing mode available to extant turbolasers and ion cannon.

Thoughts and impressions?
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say separate weapon system myself. BUT precidence for it being both, exists via Battle star galactica, in that many of their flak batteries could be retro fitted with different ammo for cap ship vs cap ship battles..
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the first question to answer is why, if this is more effective against starfighters, would a standard turbo laser even be used in the first place. In the empire, Palpatine has the authority to get whatever he wants essentially for free (or, at the cost of slave labor, to be more precise).

Having drastically reduced range might be justification, but since starfighters essentially engage capital ships at what is effectively point blank range (relative to distances from the capital ship), it seems a bit of a moot point.

Perhaps the trade off could be having a charge up or cool down time between shots?

Maybe the damage could be reduced in exchange for a greater chance of hitting? In other words, maybe the flak round hits oftendue to "spread," but lacks the total intensity of a typical laser blast.

Otherwise, it seems like we are just redifining what a turbo laser is, rather than creating an additional option.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
I'd say separate weapon system myself. BUT precedent for it being both, exists via Battle star galactica, in that many of their flak batteries could be retro fitted with different ammo for cap ship vs cap ship battles..

Per the source material, it's said that turbolasers in general can be set to do this, but that most ship captains avoid it to reduce wear and tear on their gun barrels. Theoretically, a turbolaser could be overbuilt to eliminate the wear-and-tear issue, but its stats wouldn't really be distinguishable from a standard turbolaser. The main drawback seems to be the long-term issues with the cannon wearing out, and there isn't really a way to represent that. If anything, the deciding factor would seem to be whether or not the captain is ballsy enough to order his guns to fire in this mode.
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CRMcNeill
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Location: Redding System, California Sector, on the I-5 Hyperspace Route.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
I think the first question to answer is why, if this is more effective against starfighters, would a standard turbo laser even be used in the first place. In the empire, Palpatine has the authority to get whatever he wants essentially for free (or, at the cost of slave labor, to be more precise).

I think it's important to distinguish that, while the Empire has massive amounts of funding available for its various military projects, those funds are not infinite, and that there will be bureaucratic oversight of military procurement and spending. The source material makes the point that all turbolasers can fire in this mode, but that most captains avoid doing so because of the long-term issues of wear-and-tear on the gun barrels. In other words, if they do it too much, they have to answer to the Naval Armaments Bureau as to why the ship's turbolasers need barrel replacement after two years when regulations specify replacing the barrels every three years. As such, this would be a method only used by particularly ballsy or well-connected captains who either have the political clout to get left alone by the NAB, or are sufficiently bureaucracy-savy to get around it.

Quote:
Having drastically reduced range might be justification, but since starfighters essentially engage capital ships at what is effectively point blank range (relative to distances from the capital ship), it seems a bit of a moot point.

Mostly, I'm thinking layered defense, with flak-mode turbolasers providing long-range fire, supplemented by laser cannon in-close.

Quote:
Maybe the damage could be reduced in exchange for a greater chance of hitting? In other words, maybe the flak round hits often due to "spread," but lacks the total intensity of a typical laser blast.

Pretty much. Essentially a 2D shift from Damage to Fire Control, but with no increase in Rate of Fire. Under my Scale system, a Frigate-Scale Turbolaser (+10D) would effectively become Walker-Scale (+8D). Still not great on its own against starfighters, but much more effective when used in mass-fire mode against a starfighter attack.

The variable grav-choke on the barrel would control how much of the initial portion of the beam gets retarded, which in turn affects how quickly the beam fractures. This would be tied into the fire control system, which would use automatic range-finders to determine the appropriate setting to make the blast come apart as close to a targeted starfighter as possible.
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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: Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
garhkal wrote:
I'd say separate weapon system myself. BUT precedent for it being both, exists via Battle star galactica, in that many of their flak batteries could be retro fitted with different ammo for cap ship vs cap ship battles..

Per the source material, it's said that turbolasers in general can be set to do this, but that most ship captains avoid it to reduce wear and tear on their gun barrels. Theoretically, a turbolaser could be overbuilt to eliminate the wear-and-tear issue, but its stats wouldn't really be distinguishable from a standard turbolaser. The main drawback seems to be the long-term issues with the cannon wearing out, and there isn't really a way to represent that. If anything, the deciding factor would seem to be whether or not the captain is ballsy enough to order his guns to fire in this mode.


Perhaps each die in the damage range, gets counted as a wild die, to represent that wear and tear, much like with jury rigging.. If all or most are 1's the gun burns out.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That makes breakdowns way more common than the source material makes it out to be.

Besides, PCs generally aren't going to be on the operating end of this stuff, they'll be on the receiving end, with the guns breaking down or being taken out of service once the PCs are dead or long gone. I don't really feel like adding yet another potential mishap for GMs to keep track of all to trade -2D Damage for +2D Fire Control on an NPC ship.

And if that doesn't work for you, g, just think about all the fun you'll get to have throwing flak-capable ISDs at your player characters.
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Bren
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the acronym.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bren wrote:
I like the acronym.

I'm rather proud of it myself. Reverse engineering a technobabble acronym can be quite challenging; I spent a while looking through a thesaurus for words that start with 'A' when I was thinking it up. And of course, using "accretion" is what made me think the barrel choke was gravity-based, too...

Another one I'm proud of is my explanation for Subspace Comms, where "Subspace" is a contraction of Hyperwave Spatial Subduction Resonance Transceiver, which effectively bounces comm signals off the dimensional "ceiling" that separates realspace and hyperspace. It doesn't penetrate into hyperspace, but it does create a "vibration" that propagates instantaneously in all directions, with the range limited only by the broadcast power of the transceiver.
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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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