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Running space combat with a map (in Roll20 or another)
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LUZ-TAK
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 11:11 am    Post subject: Running space combat with a map (in Roll20 or another) Reply with quote

Hello there! When I played tabletop, all space combat and action ws "theater of the mind" stuff and it worked all right. But now I'm gamemastering on Roll20, and I'm having second thoughts.

With my current campaign running on Roll20, I ran a ground combat scene with my players to learn the ropes of the system, and it just "felt" wrong and disconnected, just a bunch of rolls to hit and dodge. Next session, we dialed back and replayed the scene, now using a map and tokens, and the fight played way better: players got more involved, they used terrain to their advantage, made tactical decisions, etc.

I am concerned the same might happen with the combat scene I am planning to run. Just using descriptions might feel “empty” or “too-little”. But then again, I had tons of ground combat experience using a map and tokens, but none running a space combat scene before.

Has anyone tried it? Any tips or hints on how to do it properly?
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Whill
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see your dilemma. Space is 3D, and it is really difficult to faithfully represent this outside of theater of the mind. So the only way I've known some gamers to make it work with a physical representation is by handwaving space to only be 2D, which I just can't bring myself to do. But I haven't played the game online so I'm afraid I can't help. Sorry.
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LUZ-TAK
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the 3d/2D aspect of the issue is not such a big problem. I was not really asking how to solve that particular issue.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LUZ-TAK wrote:
I think the 3d/2D aspect of the issue is not such a big problem. I was not really asking how to solve that particular issue.

Roger that. Making space combat 2D is a problem for some, but isn't for everyone.
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LUZ-TAK
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right now Im stuck trying to get Roll20 to give me a larger grid...
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MrNexx
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might take a look at Savage Worlds: Adventure Edition's chase rules. I'll try to convert them a bit, here.

You put out 9 cards. The person in the rear is on card 1; everyone else is somewhere along the line. Each card represents some range increment... in Star Wars, you might make these a few space range units each -- like, one card might be 3 space units, so 9 cards back would be 27 space units. Are you one card behind them? Then you're in short range for a lot of starfighter weapons; if you're 2 cards back, you're likely in medium range.

Once per turn, the driver/pilot can make a Change Position action. If they succeed, they move 1 card in the way they want; converting this to d6, I'd allow them to take a -1D MAP to try and move two cards, instead. The GM should give a bonus based on relative speed (I would go with a penalty to the slower vehicle equal to the difference between the speeds they're traveling at).

The Pilot can, in addition to (or instead of) their Change Position action, can make actions to Dodge, Flee (if they're 4 or more cards ahead), Hold Steady (to make shooting easier). Savage Worlds also includes some special effects based on the cards dealt and so on. Gunners can shoot during their turn, and so on. I'd probably apply a penalty to any shooting based on the number of Dodges taken, as if they were MAPs.
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Dredwulf60
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2020 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I game on Roll 20.

The way I handle space battles is broken down to 2 parts.

Part 1

There's the map that shows relative positions. This is useful if you need to keep track of several groups of ships.

I make this the hex map. Each hex is 10 space areas or so. I have some house rules for movement on this map, but without getting into them, it's just a way to track where the ships are.

Part 2

There's the space dogfighting.

Once two ships enter dogfighting range, say, adjacent hexes, then they are in typically dogfighting each other. They generally stay within that general area of the map until one or the other is defeated or runs.

I handle the dogfights mostly in 'theater of the mind' but backed up by positional tokens, mainly to show which ship is in a tailing position, or whether they are on approaching headings, etc.

This relative position with each other helps to visualize and good piloting rolls can see ships go from being tailed, to neutral position jockeying for advantage, to being the tailing aggressor and back again.

Meanwhile, other ships on the map might be closing in on the dogfight and may get added in when they 'get there', while ships that successfully break contact and are not pursued might leave the dogfight and put distance on the map.
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LUZ-TAK
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2020 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dredwulf60 wrote:
I game on Roll 20.

The way I handle space battles is broken down to 2 parts.

Part 1

There's the map that shows relative positions. This is useful if you need to keep track of several groups of ships.

I make this the hex map. Each hex is 10 space areas or so. I have some house rules for movement on this map, but without getting into them, it's just a way to track where the ships are.

Part 2

There's the space dogfighting.

Once two ships enter dogfighting range, say, adjacent hexes, then they are in typically dogfighting each other. They generally stay within that general area of the map until one or the other is defeated or runs.

I handle the dogfights mostly in 'theater of the mind' but backed up by positional tokens, mainly to show which ship is in a tailing position, or whether they are on approaching headings, etc.

This relative position with each other helps to visualize and good piloting rolls can see ships go from being tailed, to neutral position jockeying for advantage, to being the tailing aggressor and back again.

Meanwhile, other ships on the map might be closing in on the dogfight and may get added in when they 'get there', while ships that successfully break contact and are not pursued might leave the dogfight and put distance on the map.


Thank you for this!

I was planning on doing something very similar, but having each square being 1 space... I prepared a 115x115 grid on roll 20 for it. (you can read about my plans for the spacefight here: https://rancorpit.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=201476#201476 check the second part of the post)

Making each square or hex 10 space areas would reduce the map size, but many weapons and sensor ranges are les than 10 space. I plan to describe each 1 space square as several hundred meters wide, and as you having the dogfight happen inside. Different "small" ships can share the same square with no crashes.

I remember once reading about dogfight rules, about engaging and leaving one. They are not in the REUP book as far as I recall, and I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to introduce optional rules just yet. This is going to be the very first space combat of my campaign after all and a way to learn the rules of space action. Where can I find the dogfigt rules anyway?
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LUZ-TAK
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2020 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just checked the Star Warriors manual and it's not the ruleset I remember. Maybe it was a D20 material?

Edited: this looks like it: https://swse.fandom.com/wiki/Pilot_(Vehicle_Combat)#Dogfight

Seems would be easy to adapto to D6.
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Dredwulf60
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2020 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LUZ-TAK wrote:


I was planning on doing something very similar, but having each square being 1 space... I prepared a 115x115 grid on roll 20 for it. (you can read about my plans for the spacefight here: https://rancorpit.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=201476#201476 check the second part of the post)

Making each square or hex 10 space areas would reduce the map size, but many weapons and sensor ranges are les than 10 space


You work it however YOU want. But just a caution, I find that when the map is a 1 hex to 1 space-area scale...the players tend to want to fight ON that map.
They try to keep their distance and it turns from an exciting space battle to something more akin to a ponderous...space-chess.

For me, the map is just a way to see how long it takes to close the distance. For example...finish up dogfighting these 2 TIE fighters and jump to lightspeed before those other 10 TIES get here!

Some weapons are really long range and can engage even at the 10 space areas per hex scale. That's where you get those ships standing off and its the players ships trying to close the distance and get into the close-up fight before the 'sniper' picks them off...

Or trying to hold off a wave of attackers before they can close in and swarm.

But that's just my mileage speaking.

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Dredwulf60
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2020 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my starfighter/ dogfight rules if you want to use them, or use some of them...or use none of them.
May be a bit more crunchy than you like.
Anything that doesn't make sense....means its probably tied to some other house rule of mine.

Also,
CRMcNeil has some detailed starfighter combat rules as well on here.

------------------



–--------------------------------------------------------------
Close Engagement /DOGFIGHTING

Positions:

Head On
Both fighters are traveling toward each other. Their flight paths are within a 90 degree front arc of the other. Usually this position doesn’t last long, as they soon pass by each other.



Tailing

One craft is chasing the other, and is roughly within 90 degrees rear arc of the target craft.



Oblique:
One craft is approaching the other, from the side, top or bottom. Situation is summarized as any time the craft are closing with one another and they are not in a head-on or tailing position.



Neutral
Both craft are moving in the same or opposite directions. Summarized as any time the craft are not closing with each other, and neither is in the tailing position. Characterized by the fact that neither is in a position to fire on the other with forward axis weapons.
The fluid dynamics of shifting from one situation to another is what makes up a classic dogfight.



RESOLVING the POSITIONS

Head-on:

Determine distance and speed, to find range and rate of closure.
Initial range in a fight is often determined by sensor detection range.
Missiles fired in a head-on position have only half their guidance. (Round down).
Both craft attack as normal, and evade as normal, until they pass by each other.

After passing each other, both craft may continue to fly away from each other and leave the close engagement.
Both may attempt to turn, in which case the pilots make a roll to see how tightly they can turn 180 or one can make a run, or both can run.

Both try to Turn:
Both pilots roll their pilot + maneuver dice.
If both achieve higher than a 10 they are moved into the neutral position.
If both achieve higher than a 20 they are moved back into a Head-on position.
If one achieves a higher category than the other, he moves into an oblique advantage.
If one achieves two categories higher than the other, he moves into a tailing position.

One tries to run:
If only one pilot attempts a turn, and the other runs, the turning pilot makes a Pilot +Maneuver roll, The fleeing pilot rolls his speed test.
Speed test is: 1D6 per space speed rating of the craft, plus the pilot’d DEX as a pip bonus.
-----Running pilot wins:
If the running pilot wins, apply the difference in the scores to the speed test chart to see how many boxes ahead to place him.

----- Turning pilot wins:
The turning pilot is now has the advantage in a tailing position. Range 3D6.

Both try to run:
Both pilots continue away from each other at speed. They have left dogfighting engagement. Return to hex map movement or attempt sensor-range re-engagement.

Oblique:
From the oblique position, the pilot with the advantage can make a single attack before both craft automatically slip into a Neutral position.
The pilot with the advantage can give up this free attack, in favor of attempting to move into an even more advantageous Tailingposition:
Both craft make pilot+ maneuver rolls.

----- Advantaged pilot rolls higher: he moves into a Tailing position.

----- Defending pilot rolls higher: they both move into a Neutral position.



Tailing:
Once in a tailing position, the pilot with the advantage can attack the defender with a bonus dependent on his range.

Initial range: If he just moved into a tail from an oblique position, he is 3D6 space areas away.

The attack:
The attacker rolls Starship gunnery + Fire control dice.
If the target is in the point blank range band (1/2 the short band) the attacker has a +15 to hit.
If the target is within the short range band, the attacker has a +10 to hit.
If the target is in within the medium range band, the attacker has a +5 to hit.
If the target is in the long range band, the attacker has +0 to hit.
The dodge:
The target can evade these attacks by rolling Pilot+ Maneuver dice. (The Defender does not lose dice for evading multiple attacks from one attacker.)
The shake:

After the attack phase the defending pilot can make a maneuver to try to shake the tail:
He rolls his Pilot skill+Maneuver dice, and adds a bonus based on range:
(Generally the closer the tail is, the more accurate his fire, but the easier he is to shake.)
Craft distance --- Bonus to pilot maneuver roll to shake
1 areas --- +8
2-3 areas --- +6
4-7 areas --- +4
8-15 areas--- +2
16+areas --- +1

The aggressor must roll his own pilot+ maneuver and match this roll to maintain the tailing position.
--If he matches the target’s roll but not the bonus, he moves into an oblique position.
--If he matches the target’s roll with the bonus, he maintains the tailing position may increase or decrease his range by up to his space speed rating and make an attack.
--If he fails to match the target’s roll, then he moves into a neutral position.

Neutral:
In a neutral position relationship, both pilots can maneuvering for advantage, or one can attempt to run or both can attempt to run.
Both maneuvering:
Both make Pilot+maneuver rolls. The higher moves into an advantaged Oblique position. (see above)

One tries to run:
The fleeing pilot rolls his speed test: Speed test is: 1D6 per space speed rating of the craft, plus the pilot’s DEX as a pip bonus.
and the maneuvering pilot rolls his: Pilot +Maneuver roll.

Running pilot wins:
If the running pilot wins, apply the difference in the scores to the speed test chart to see how many boxes ahead to place him.

Maneuvering pilot wins:
The turning pilot is now has the advantage in a tailing position. Range 3D6.
Both try to run:
Both pilots continue away from each other at speed. They have left dogfighting engagement. Return to hex map movement or attempt sensor-range re-engagement

NOTES:

Gunners in a dogfight:
After each position test a gunner can make one attack on a target within his arc of fire.
The target of the attack can make a free dodge attempt. (Pilot+ maneuver).

–-Forward arc weapons: Can only attack when the opponent is head-on or when tailing the opponent.
–-Side arc weapons: Can attack when the opponent is neutral position or oblique (advantaged or disadvantaged)
–-Rear arc weapons: Can attack when the opponent is tailing or when the opponent has an oblique advantage.

Turrets:
Turrets will have the characteristics of each arc them encompass.

Wild ‘1’ rolls:
On a speed test: Check wear on the sublight drive and powerplant
On maneuvering: Check wear on the sublight drive and Stabilizers.
On an attack roll: Check wear on the weapon system
On a soak roll: Check wear on shields (if applicable) and seals

[/u]
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LUZ-TAK wrote:
Right now Im stuck trying to get Roll20 to give me a larger grid...

I think hex maps show some promise, and are conceptually better fitted to a D6 system, but doing so would require making some pretty fundamental changes to the game rules and the game stats. The big issue would be how to translate everything from four fire arcs into six. However, this wouldn't be a huge issue for combat involving starfighters and space transports; it's just the big ships where recalculating fire arcs for dozens or hundreds of weapons on a capital ship could get out of hand.
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