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Cloaking Devices = SWU Submarines?
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plus like some sub films have gone over, even crew noises can be detected! (such as Barkman's fart in Down periscope).
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Plus like some sub films have gone over, even crew noises can be detected! (such as Barkman's fart in Down periscope).

I think that's taking the analogy a bit too far, but there are other ways the concept can be applied...
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pel wrote:
WWII boats (subs are boats, ships are targets) primarily operated on the surface under diesel power (we didn't have the German snorkel technology yet) and only submerged to attack, evade detection, or escape an attack. While submerged the boats operated on battery power with greatly reduced speed and endurance.

I'm thinking something along the lines of the Baffled Drive from Pirates & Privateers, but with a twist. The Baffled Drive requires highly specialized fuel to operate, but I'm thinking of making it hydrogen based, then equipping cloaked ships with a hydrogen "snorkel" (see my Mag-Scoop concept), so that they can only move a certain amount of SUs while cloaked. Possible explanations could include the "drive heat" of a standard ion drive being more easily detectable, or the cloaking device having the effect of "catching" normal drive exhaust within the cloak and "cooking" the ship.


Quote:
No new sensors are needed. Just increase the searcher's Sensors difficulty to find the cloaked ship. Passive sonar (listening only) was common, but active sonar (one ping only) less so. Remember that active sensors have a greatly reduced range from passive ones so if the pursuer gets close enough and goes active, the gig is probably up anyway. Also, CGT's could level the playing field and as cloaks become more prevalent, the Empire could refit dedicated hunters with those sensors or something equivalent.

I'm on the fence here...

Another facet of a WWII "feel" would be that not every ship has the sensors able to detect a sub / cloaked ship. The idea behind equating subs and cloaked ships is that standard sensors would be useless because the cloaked ship isn't "there" to be detected, so just using Passive sensors doesn't really seem to work.

Quote:
While the ship is cloaked, I suggest a top speed of 20-25%% of maximum and then only for short duration before auxiliary power (the battery) is depleted, and no energy weapons or shields (torpedoes and missiles only). A cruising speed of 10% maximum should provide several hours of endurance to evade. You're basically limited by your battery capacity vs. speed and life support. Total EMCON is the rule and even a minor power or atmosphere leak (caused by damage or neglected maintenance) could leave a trail for pursuers to track the ship.

Alternately, as I suggested with the Baffled Drive above, just give the Baffled Drive a different base Space, with a limit on how many SUs it can cover before it has to recharge its fuel tanks.

Another possibility that occured to me is allowing the cloaked ship to essentially dial the effectiveness of the cloak as an analogy for depth. Say, for example, that the cloak works by modifying the Difficulty of opposing sensors - up to a max of, say, +40 - then the ship could modify the strength of the cloak by dialing down the Difficulty modifier. However, this works both ways, in that if the cloaked ship "shallows" too much, they risk being detected.

The main issue I'm running into is how to best represent the blind-flying aspect of it, as in how to best represent the increased Difficulty of moving blind in real space, with the attendant possibility of colliding with other objects (asteroids, ships running silent, etc).
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Pel
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:

I'm thinking something along the lines of the Baffled Drive from Pirates & Privateers, but with a twist. The Baffled Drive requires highly specialized fuel to operate, but I'm thinking of making it hydrogen based, then equipping cloaked ships with a hydrogen "snorkel" (see my Mag-Scoop concept), so that they can only move a certain amount of SUs while cloaked. Possible explanations could include the "drive heat" of a standard ion drive being more easily detectable, or the cloaking device having the effect of "catching" normal drive exhaust within the cloak and "cooking" the ship.


Ok, that could work.

Quote:

I'm on the fence here...

Another facet of a WWII "feel" would be that not every ship has the sensors able to detect a sub / cloaked ship. The idea behind equating subs and cloaked ships is that standard sensors would be useless because the cloaked ship isn't "there" to be detected, so just using Passive sensors doesn't really seem to work.


One minor clarification: passive sonar absolutely works. It's the primary sensor subs use while submerged since going active (pinging) works just like radar, but announces the submarine's presence and rough location to anyone around. Surface ships use it too, just in a more limited capacity. You also can't use passive and active sonars at the same time, as the active pings drown out the passive listening. The best analogy I've heard is imagine two assassins in a completely dark room, each armed with a gun and a flashlight.

Quote:

Another possibility that occured to me is allowing the cloaked ship to essentially dial the effectiveness of the cloak as an analogy for depth. Say, for example, that the cloak works by modifying the Difficulty of opposing sensors - up to a max of, say, +40 - then the ship could modify the strength of the cloak by dialing down the Difficulty modifier. However, this works both ways, in that if the cloaked ship "shallows" too much, they risk being detected.

The main issue I'm running into is how to best represent the blind-flying aspect of it, as in how to best represent the increased Difficulty of moving blind in real space, with the attendant possibility of colliding with other objects (asteroids, ships running silent, etc).


You could combine those last two points. Instead of a depth analogy, maybe use proximity to the target. The players must then balance target distance (to minimize reaction time for the target) against being proximity detected. To use a "periscope" just have a modified probe droid or sensor pod tethered to the cloaked ship. Just like a real periscope, the more you use it, the greater the likelihood of it being detected either visually or on radar.


Regardless of what you go with, this sounds like an intriguing campaign. Please keep us posted!
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Whill
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is slightly on topic, but the PC ship of the next campaign will be a Mon Cala freighter that has an submarine mode. I was actually thinking of letting it eventually be equipped with an underwater "cloaking device" which is not just silent but also resistant to being found with Star Wars sensor tech, just designed to operate underwater. Most planets capable of supporting life have oceans so there would be plenty of hiding places.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
This is slightly on topic, but the PC ship of the next campaign will be a Mon Cala freighter that has an submarine mode. I was actually thinking of letting it eventually be equipped with an underwater "cloaking device" which is not just silent but also resistant to being found with Star Wars sensor tech, just designed to operate underwater. Most planets capable of supporting life have oceans so there would be plenty of hiding places.

I recall discussing this in another topic somewhere. Being able to hide a PC ship underwater like this would be very useful under a lot of circumstances. As far as the tech goes, I'm picturing something like the Sensor Mask being the less-capable "little brother" of the cloaking device. Where the Cloaking Device literally bends light and energy around the ship (as well as absorbing and/or redirecting energy generated by the ship itself), the Sensor Mask absorbs and neutralizes some energy signals while actually projecting some energy on certain frequencies to make the masked ship's sensor signature appear as something other than what it actually is.

For the purposes of your game, a Deepwater-Class Freighter (submersible) could be equipped with a Sensor Mask and do exactly what you describe.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deepwater-class, that's the one. The sensor mask makes sense.
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Pel
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Sensor Mask might also solve a lot of the problems inherent with cloaking technology. Granted, your ship isn't invisible, but you can actually see the target and the Mask is probably more readily available than a full cloak.

Speaking of the Mon Cal freighter, has anyone worked with sensor degredation under water before? I'd think the environment would make it similar to hiding in a nebula, especially if you flew or landed near volcanic vents to mask the heat and power signatures.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pel wrote:
The Sensor Mask might also solve a lot of the problems inherent with cloaking technology. Granted, your ship isn't invisible, but you can actually see the target and the Mask is probably more readily available than a full cloak.

But the Cloaking Device and Sensor Mask are distinct pieces of tech within the EU, therefore there must be some sort of advantage to the Cloaking Device - despite the vessel size limitations - that make it preferable to Sensor Masks. My initial thought is that the Cloaking Device provides much more reliable coverage than the Sensor Mask, in that the Mask's cover tends to fluctuate up and down. This is borne out by the use of a dice bonus to Stealth with Sensor Masks, as opposed to a flat Difficulty modifier to opposing sensors.

Quote:
Speaking of the Mon Cal freighter, has anyone worked with sensor degradation under water before? I'd think the environment would make it similar to hiding in a nebula, especially if you flew or landed near volcanic vents to mask the heat and power signatures.

There's nothing I'm aware of that officially addresses that, but considering the nature of sensors in deep space vs underwater, it would be appropriate to require a completely separate sensor module for sonar or something, just because the differences in the environmental medium are so huge.
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Raven Redstar
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone actually remember any official rules for operating cloaking technology in one of the WEG books?

I would imagine they have something for the double blind hybridium tech in the Thrawn sourcebooks, but does it actually have any mechanics?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raven Redstar wrote:
Does anyone actually remember any official rules for operating cloaking technology in one of the WEG books?

I would imagine they have something for the double blind hybridium tech in the Thrawn sourcebooks, but does it actually have any mechanics?

No. There were only ever a bare-bones description in a couple of the sourcebooks, with nothing as to how it actually worked.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, here's some of my initial thoughts...

For the in-game effect of the Cloaking Device, I'm thinking of giving it a flat modifier of +30 to the Difficulty of opposing sensors to detect the cloaked ship. This reflects the more reliably consistent coverage I mentioned above, and is roughly equivalent to a +8D Stealth bonus, but without the possibility of a Wild Dice failure.

A major negative aspect for the cloaked ship is the double blind effect, which will affect both piloting and targeting. The closest the RAW gets to this is equating the Concealment provided by Complete Darkness to a -4D penalty to hit. So I'm thinking of applying a -4D penalty to all Piloting and Gunnery rolls made while the ship is cloaked. However, it may be more realistic to apply a sliding scale based on how long it's been since the ship cloaked (i.e. its last reliable view of its surroundings).

I'm also liking more and more the idea of allowing the ship to "dial" the effectiveness of the cloak, as an equivalent to a sub changing its depth, especially regarding the effectiveness of tethered sensor pods (the equivalent of periscopes). So a ship running with the Cloak at maximum effectiveness) would have to dial down the Cloak's modifier to, say, +15 or +20 to be able to deploy a sensor pod and get a look at its surroundings.

Tied into this would be the potential for energy and projectile weapons to disrupt the cloak at the moment of firing, perhaps creating a very noticeable energy spike on opposing sensors that highlights the ship's location (ala a launch transient). It could even be that a ship with an active cloak has to redirect all of its available energy away from its energy weapons to keep the cloak up. One key aspect of this would be that projectile weapons (proton torpedoes, missiles, etc) would cause a much smaller disruption.

So, the bare bones version would look something like this...
    -A cloak-equipped ship will generally run uncloaked until the cloaking device is absolutely necessary to remain undetected.

    -Once the cloak is engaged, any Piloting rolls are made at increased Difficulty, either at a -4D penalty, or at some lower value that slopes up over time, such as -1D per round under full cloak.

    -The ship can reset the base modifier by "shallowing" (dialing down the cloak's effectiveness) and extending a passive sensor pod to take a snapshot of its surroundings, but risks detection by nearby ships, due to both the dialed-down cloak and the sensor pod itself (which must be uncloaked to be effective).

    -When actually firing weapons, there is a "launch transient" due to a momentary disruption in the cloak. This transient is lessened when firing projectile weapons.

    -The ImpSB specifically mentions that CGTs can detect cloaked ships, but that CGTs are expensive and almost all in Imperial hands. This would seem to be at odds with WEG's other material (the SWSB in particular), since WEG's description of hyperspace necessitates that all ships must have some form of gravity or mass detection capability in order for the hyperdrive safety cut-out to work. I haven't quite wrapped my head around this one, so I'm not entirely sure whether the sonar-equivalent will be a CGT array or something else (I'm leaning towards something else, as the CGTs would seem to have no active search capability).

    -The ImpSB and SWSB contradict themselves a little; where the SWSB describes cloaks as bending EM energy around the ship, the ImpSB describes the cloak more along the lines of the Orbital Nightcloak, in that it draws energy in but allows nothing out. As a result, how cloaking devices ultimately end up being defined is going to be a matter of personal choice. I'm going with the SWSB version, supplemented by the ImpSB version where it doesn't conflict.
That's where my mind is going at the moment. Just wanted to get it written down for public consumption. More to follow.
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Raven Redstar
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like these rules for the double blind Hibridium cloaking technology.

What about the few examples of Stygium one way cloaking technology that they use on ships like The Scimitar ?
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raven Redstar wrote:
I like these rules for the double blind Hibridium cloaking technology.

What about the few examples of Stygium one way cloaking technology that they use on ships like The Scimitar ?

That's actually pretty simple, since it doesn't have the double blind effect. All it would require is a straight bonus or modifier to stealth, perhaps with a restriction on firing weapons. Basically, it would be just like a Sensor Mask, except waaaaaay more effective.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:

-The ImpSB specifically mentions that CGTs can detect cloaked ships, but that CGTs are expensive and almost all in Imperial hands. This would seem to be at odds with WEG's other material (the SWSB in particular), since WEG's description of hyperspace necessitates that all ships must have some form of gravity or mass detection capability in order for the hyperdrive safety cut-out to work. I haven't quite wrapped my head around this one, so I'm not entirely sure whether the sonar-equivalent will be a CGT array or something else (I'm leaning towards something else, as the CGTs would seem to have no active search capability).

The CGT is a precision instrument specifically meant to detect cloaked ships by their mass. The hypedrive cut-out probably works on similar principles, but IMO it's looks for big mass shadows (planets, large ships, heavy asteroids, etc.). Also, it's just a cut-out, a safety override for the hyperdrive that dumps you into normal space upon detecting a potential collision with a mass shadow. The cut-out probably doesn't give bearing and distance to the shadow, it just trips when it senses one. Equating the two is ingenious, but for the purposes of the game I'd say it's most likely impractical as the two systems (fire control and hyperdrive) were never meant to work together
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