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Shields
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:08 pm    Post subject: Shields Reply with quote

Before this discussion goes into House Rule territory, I wanted to discuss interpretations of RAW. There seems to be a little contradiction in the Shield rules...

On R&E p.53, the authors wrote:
Starship Shields
Time Taken: One round.

Starship shields is the skill used to operate shields on all starfighter-scale ships. The difficulty of the roll is determined by how many fire arcs the character is trying to raise shields over (front, left, right, back). See the chapter on "Space Travel and Combat" has more details on using this skill.

Starship shields can be used to bring up shields — a "reaction skill" — to block enemy fire.


On R&E p.126-127, the authors wrote:
Energy shields are normally activated only in combat, and must cover specific fire arcs to be effective in combat.

Using shields is a "reaction skill." Each starship has a certain number of dice in shields. When a pilot uses shields, the shield dice must be split up among the four fire arcs: front, back, left and right.

The difficulty to deploy shields depends upon how many fire arcs are being covered:

• One fire arc: Easy
• Two fire arcs: Moderate
• Three fire arcs: Difficult
• Four fire arcs: Very Difficult

If the ship takes any hits from that side in combat, the ship gets to add those shield dice to its hull code to resist damage.

    Example: Rhen is behind the controls of a modified YT-1300 transport with a hull code of 4D and 2D in shields. She is being attacked by three TIE fighters, which are closing in from the back.

    She decides to activate the ship's shields, placing all 2D to cover the back fire arc. She makes her Easy starship shields roll — if any shots come in from the back of the YT-1300 and hit the ship, she rolls 6D to defend against damage.

    A few rounds later, the TIE fighters have maneuvered around her. Rhen is being attacked from both the front and back. She decides to split the shields, placing 1D in the front and 1D in the back. Because she is trying to cover two fire arcs, her starship shields difficulty is Moderate. If she makes the roll, any attack that hits the front or the back is resisted by 5D (4D for hull code and ID for the shield), but any attacks from the side are resisted by just the ship's hull code of 4D.


It says that using shields is a reaction skill. There is no doubt that it sometimes can be. If you are suddenly being shot at from a different fire arc than you were previously and you want to shift the shield arc coverage to protect the new arc, you can react to see if the shield die or dice can be applied to hull rolls to resist damage. But what are the full intentions of RAW?

Can you set the shields to certain fire arcs before being shot at, and if the roll is successful for the number of arcs, then the shields are set for the declared arcs whenever the attacks come? Meaning you just have to roll when first establishing or reallocating shield coverage to arcs. Meaning that Shields can be both an action and also reaction skill. Meaning when when you get attacked in a round after you set the shields, the shields still apply with the last setting, until shield protection is reallocated again. Meaning if you fail the roll to set the shields in advance of an attack, you can try again next round and keep trying actively before being attacked, until success or the attack comes and it becomes reactively.

I ask because the example makes it seem like she is turning on the shields preemptively before even being fired at, allocating it all to the back because that is the arc the TIEs are in. If so then the Starship Shields skill can be but isn't always a reaction skill.

If not and it is purely a reaction skill, then it would seem that you can't move shield actively, and you can only roll to shift shields when being attacked from different arcs than your previous roll applied to.

I'm of the 'both action and reaction' interpretation, but I thought I would ask how others may have interpreted it since Starship Shields is labeled as a "reaction skill". How do you interpret RAW?
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never thought that the Shield RAW was well done or a good representation of how shields function in the SWU. I have some thoughts, but I'll keep my peace for a bit since this is an Official Rules post.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
I've never thought that the Shield RAW was well done or a good representation of how shields function in the SWU. I have some thoughts, but I'll keep my peace for a bit since this is an Official Rules post.

Last night I searched up old threads discussing shields and skimmed a lot of your ideas. I don't at all mind this discussion going to house rules because that's what we do here. I just wanted to hear what other people thought the intention of RAW was first.

Reaction only, or reaction and action with a shield arc setting applying until changed?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you that it can be either / or, depending on the circumstances. The question would then be what sorts of penalties are incurred by bringing the shields up as a reaction rather than preemptively. Maybe bringing them up the round before an incoming attack gets the Preparation bonus?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It also begs the question, can Shields be used as a Full Reaction? And if so, what would be the utility of doing so? Not that it would be hard, so long as there is a dedicated shield operator performing no other function, but what sort of benefit would be gained for doing so?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
I agree with you that it can be either / or, depending on the circumstances.

Thanks. Another related question is, can you pre-set your ship's shields to have a default allocation so that is the one that comes up automatically when you first turn on your shields, and then only have to roll to shift them? See below...

CRMcNeill wrote:
The question would then be what sorts of penalties are incurred by bringing the shields up as a reaction rather than preemptively.

I don't know if there should be any penalties beyond MAPs. Even with it being a less than explicit 'action' skill in RAW, it was explicitly intended on being able to be used reactively. Your shields are set for certain arcs, but suddenly an attack comes in from a different arc that makes you want to reallocate, and you react to shift them in time before an attack hits. You are affected by whatever else you've done in the round before that, and whatever else you do after is further MAPped. Doing it proactively in advance of being attacked likely means less actions and thus less MAPs, so MAPs would seem to cover the difference between action and reaction...

CRMcNeill wrote:
Maybe bringing them up the round before an incoming attack gets the Preparation bonus?

I think Preparation bonus can apply, but your question is worded as if you roll shields for attacks. My interpretation from RAW was that you can roll to shift the shield dice arc allocation successfully, with or without respect to specific attacks. Success means the new allocation is set. Failure means the shield dice stay allocated as they were before. The only time specific attacks matter is when rolling shields as a reaction, to see if you shift the shields successfully in time to apply to that attack. Otherwise, the shield operator is shifting the shields, and the shields help resist damage as appropriate at the time the attacks hit.

For example, your ship is being chase by a pirate ship through an asteroid field, and the pilot suspects they are being herded to an ambush by a second pirate ship. The 2D shields are currently set to 1D front and 1D back and have been for several rounds. Then the second pirate ship comes out from behind an asteroid but not in time to cut you off, so just joins the first pirate ship in pursuit of you. The shield operator thinks it is wise to shift both Ds to the back arc and rolls to do so but fails. If a pirate ship attack hit after the failure, 1D of shield dice currently in the back arc still applies because that is the current setting when the attack hits. If the shield operator had succeeded in shifting the shields before any pirate attacks hit, then 2D would apply for the ship to resist damage. This works equally whether shifting shield dice allocation by action or reaction. Initiative and reaction rules apply to order actions. The shield roll is just to shift the shields, and whenever you are successful in a round is when it applies to any attacks after that, until you lose shield dice or reallocate again. This is the only way I have been able to make sense out of RAW's shield rules.

CRMcNeill wrote:
It also begs the question, can Shields be used as a Full Reaction? And if so, what would be the utility of doing so? Not that it would be hard, so long as there is a dedicated shield operator performing no other function, but what sort of benefit would be gained for doing so?

In my interpretation, using the shields skill as a reaction is just to see if you can make a shift occur before the specific attack you are reacting to comes.

Since the shield rolls themselves aren't applying directly to any specific attacks, I can't see how Full Reaction would apply. Preparation, yes. If you take twice as long to set the shields as an action (not reaction) then you get the preparation bonus. But Full Reaction, no.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Another related question is, can you pre-set your ship's shields to have a default allocation so that is the one that comes up automatically when you first turn on your shields, and then only have to roll to shift them?

That seems logical. Of course, from there, one could also extrapolate other "speed" settings for fast shield activation...

I'm pretty much in agreement with you on everything else, but as I said above, I'm not a huge fan of the RAW Shield mechanics anyway. I've got another House Rule idea, though, so I can either post it here or start another post in the House Rule section...
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:58 am    Post subject: Re: Shields Reply with quote

Whill wrote:

I ask because the example makes it seem like she is turning on the shields preemptively before even being fired at, allocating it all to the back because that is the arc the TIEs are in. If so then the Starship Shields skill can be but isn't always a reaction skill.

If not and it is purely a reaction skill, then it would seem that you can't move shield actively, and you can only roll to shift shields when being attacked from different arcs than your previous roll applied to.

I'm of the 'both action and reaction' interpretation, but I thought I would ask how others may have interpreted it since Starship Shields is labeled as a "reaction skill". How do you interpret RAW?


I've always seen it as being both. Set as you are entering combat, but if more than 1 arc's being covered the shield D value is split. OR as a reaction to 'shift over' what arc you want covered.

CRMcNeill wrote:
I agree with you that it can be either / or, depending on the circumstances. The question would then be what sorts of penalties are incurred by bringing the shields up as a reaction rather than preemptively. Maybe bringing them up the round before an incoming attack gets the Preparation bonus?


If you pre-emptively bring them up your bonus is that you don't have to worry about MAPS..
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me it makes zero sense that you could not set your shileds beforehand, maybe even a set default configuration.

As the shiled arc is under attack, it may be overwhelmed and thus we hear the move quotes " full power to aft defelctors" indicting that there is already shileds there but they have to be increased in power.

This is where i see shields being a reaction skill, moving around as needed the "boost" in power on the already set shields.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mamatried wrote:
To me it makes zero sense that you could not set your shileds beforehand, maybe even a set default configuration.

As the shiled arc is under attack, it may be overwhelmed and thus we hear the move quotes " full power to aft defelctors" indicting that there is already shileds there but they have to be increased in power.

This is where i see shields being a reaction skill, moving around as needed the "boost" in power on the already set shields.


For that 'full power' to me that's more like allocating all your die to that one arc, leaving all others blind.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They do state things like full power to aft deflector shield, indicating to me that the shield is there, and that the shiled officer is simply boosting whatever arch is needed.

I am not sure to emulate this in the game, but to me backup shields could be an option as to how the sields are by default, and then the "sield rating" is how it boosted to any one/more arch, with possibly the shield skill allowing for both speed in allocating the shields, but also in boosting the shiled D for a short duration.

You succeed the difficulty by 10 and add +1D to the shileds at that arch, (maybe at a cost of reducing the other archs with a total 1D)
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, without a clear idea from the films of how shields function, it's tough to say exactly how they should work. The one scene where we can see someone actively controlling shields, Chewie seems to be steering the shields in time with strafing runs from the TIE Fighters. What would be an effective rule based on that image?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Well, without a clear idea from the films of how shields function, it's tough to say exactly how they should work. The one scene where we can see someone actively controlling shields, Chewie seems to be steering the shields in time with strafing runs from the TIE Fighters. What would be an effective rule based on that image?


The question is this; is chewie actually controlling the shileds, or diverting power to the shileds in that arch by using skill rolls to basically "follow" the TIE attacks, for max sheld efficency.

I would still arguen the shields cover all arches by default and pwer si diverted to shields in the arch or arches attacked to maximize the shield there.

....Diverting power to rear deflector shields vs put uf shield to rear we are under attack.

We see ships and basters "crash" into larger capital ships, and we can see clarely that they explode a "fair" distance away, in fact we see shileds as a "shroud" arond ships.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Based on what is seen on the screen, the shield is being steered in time with a moving arrow icon that, based on the circumstances, is most likely a TIE Fighter. It's tough to see how it could possibly be interpreted as a power gauge.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Based on what is seen on the screen, the shield is being steered in time with a moving arrow icon that, based on the circumstances, is most likely a TIE Fighter. It's tough to see how it could possibly be interpreted as a power gauge.


I just watched the battle of endor, space battle on youtube.

We see many instances of "forcefields" surrounding the capital ships, with fiters attacking from multiple archs, and most explotions are not touching the hull, indicating a force field type shield.
It would make sense that a shiled generator can be controlled and tuned to adjust the force field to be stronger in fron, in the rear etc, even with skill "follow an attacker", but we see all the time how blasts curve aroind ships as they explode and does impact the other ship's hull.

I doubt even capital ships have 100+ people detail controlling shileds for each single attacker, but i do think they have a dozen, some boosing archs as needed, other following up with more skill to when needed follow attackers.

Lets say the controls to apply more power to the rear is moving a lever to the rear, adjusting the power to the left then requires a follow up to the left.

We do not see one fighter attack all 4 archs then a 5th going with nt non arch. we see ships ebing attacked for mulitple archs at the same time.

And the best example is Anakin when he uses the shields on the fighter inside the droid ship before he goes, we see a force field surround the entire ship ( I even think we see this on the naboo criuser too)

making me think chewie "only" adjusted the power to where ti was most needed.
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