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Shields
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Red 331
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:

Red 331 wrote:
I think that still leaves things a little open to interpretation if you fail the shields skill roll, in terms of if you still can benefit from the shields in their previous settings, or if the roll failure means that you can no longer utilize the shield benefits in ANY of the arcs until you make a successful roll to raise shields. I think I lean towards the latter, but I think you can argue either way given the opacity of the RAW.

If the last setting remains in effect until realigns them, then it is whatever the current setting in effect when the attacks hits that's is defending your ship, not you roll. The roll is to change the setting, not for any specific attacks. The reaction aspect of it just gives you a chance to change the setting before the attacks hits.


I think your interpretation is definitely one legitimate way to look at it, Whill. But I think there's enough gap in the RAW that you could interpret a failed shields roll as a failure to raise shields at all, resulting in no shields benefit until your next successful shields roll. In other words, by choosing to change the settings, you have to turn the shields "off" from their previous settings before attempting to raise them in their new configuration. That would be my "mean GM" interpretation, vs. your "nice GM" Smile But I reserve the right to change my opinion on that given my previous flip-flops on my interpretation of the rules!

But yes, I agree, once you have shields up, I like the interpretation of RAW that you don't have to bother rolling again to bring shields up unless and until you want to change the settings, and can just leave them in their current configuration, automatically gaining the shields benefit according to that configuration, until a change in settings is declared.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After some thought, I think making the Shields skill both an action and a reaction would included simply so there would be a clear path in the RAW for declaring Shield repositioning after the declaration of actions at the beginning of the round.

For instance, if four TIE fighters are attacking a light freighter, they would have to declare their Movement and Attack actions. However, if Shields are a reaction - and are specified by the RAW to be usable as such, the Shield Operator may simply wait until the incoming attacks have been declared before deciding how he wishes to reposition the shields to best defend against the attack.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
After some thought, I think making the Shields skill both an action and a reaction would included simply so there would be a clear path in the RAW for declaring Shield repositioning after the declaration of actions at the beginning of the round.

For instance, if four TIE fighters are attacking a light freighter, they would have to declare their Movement and Attack actions. However, if Shields are a reaction - and are specified by the RAW to be usable as such, the Shield Operator may simply wait until the incoming attacks have been declared before deciding how he wishes to reposition the shields to best defend against the attack.

Exactly.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill, I had a thought based on what you said over on the Power Rerouting topic
Whill wrote:
Take a look at the shield generators in GG6. It says it is nearly impossible to modify them and gives no rules for doing so. That's actually what I based the statement on about modifying aux power generators.

Earlier you mentioned 3D Shields in the same arc being more like three 1D shields layered over each other in an effect similar to spaced armor. This got me thinking about a statement somewhere in one of the X-Wing books where Coruscant's planetary shield was composed of two layers, with the outer layer being projected through micro-openings in the inner layer.

This, IMO, is a possible method of capping shield dice and/or explaining why it's so hard to modify them for greater strength. It's not that more power can't be shunted to the outer layers of stacked 2D or 3D value shields; it's that only so much power can be projected through the micro-openings on the inner layers of the shield, and that it is virtually impossible to increase that power level without impairing the integrity of the shields as a whole (i.e. any modifications almost instantly are counteracted by the law of diminishing returns).

At most, a single D of extra dice can be routed to the systems (Auxiliary Power) without running into overload / burnout / integrity issues. And extant ships with very powerful shield generators (the Gamma Assault Shuttle, the Executor, etc) are equipped with very large, power-hungry shield generation systems.

In fact, I was considering downgrading the Shields on the Executor to 4D, and this would give me a valid reason to do so...
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Whill, I had a thought based on what you said over on the Power Rerouting topic
Whill wrote:
Take a look at the shield generators in GG6. It says it is nearly impossible to modify them and gives no rules for doing so. That's actually what I based the statement on about modifying aux power generators.

Earlier you mentioned 3D Shields in the same arc being more like three 1D shields layered over each other in an effect similar to spaced armor. This got me thinking about a statement somewhere in one of the X-Wing books where Coruscant's planetary shield was composed of two layers, with the outer layer being projected through micro-openings in the inner layer.

This, IMO, is a possible method of capping shield dice and/or explaining why it's so hard to modify them for greater strength. It's not that more power can't be shunted to the outer layers of stacked 2D or 3D value shields; it's that only so much power can be projected through the micro-openings on the inner layers of the shield, and that it is virtually impossible to increase that power level without impairing the integrity of the shields as a whole (i.e. any modifications almost instantly are counteracted by the law of diminishing returns).

At most, a single D of extra dice can be routed to the systems (Auxiliary Power) without running into overload / burnout / integrity issues. And extant ships with very powerful shield generators (the Gamma Assault Shuttle, the Executor, etc) are equipped with very large, power-hungry shield generation systems.

In fact, I was considering downgrading the Shields on the Executor to 4D, and this would give me a valid reason to do so...

That sounds quite reasonable to me.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a Shields brainstorm, and since this was the most recent Shields topic, I figured I'd give it a bump, along with a few tweaks. This is mostly in line with the existing Shield rules, so it is still somewhat appropriate for the Official Rules section, but there are a few key differences...
    1). Ships may still use their Shields to cover multiple Fire Arcs, but rather than treating Shields as a Dice Pool, the ship's Shield Dice are penalized when trying to cover more than one arc per round:
      Fire Arcs Covered = Shields Skill Difficulty (Dice Penalty)
      One Arc = Easy (-0D)
      Two Arcs = Moderate (-1D)
      Three Arcs = Difficult (-2D)
      Four Arcs = Very Difficult (-3D)

    2). Shields may be activated normally, or may be used as a reaction skill in order to reposition the shields to cover the Fire Arcs that are under attack.

    3). Ships with Auxiliary Power dice available may transfer a maximum of 1D to Shields, even if the ship has more than 1D of Auxiliary Power available.

    4). In addition, Shield operators may "angle" the shields in order to provide a better defense against incoming attacks, but this can backfire, as a mistake can actually create exploitable openings in the shield coverage. In game terms, using the Base Difficulty (see #1) as a benchmark, the Shield's dice result is increased or decreased by 1 point for every 3 points by which the Shield Operator beat or missed the Difficulty number. In order to receive the Angling Bonus, the Shield Operator must re-roll Shields as a reaction to declared attacks every round.

    4). Shields may be treated normally, with the dice simply stacking with the ship's Hull dice in the appropriate Fire Arc, or as an alternative, Shields may be treated as Cover providing Protection only (not Concealment), which must be overcome separately in order to modify the damage roll (see the Cover and Protection rules in the rulebook).

So, as an example...
    let's assume a YT-1300 has 1D Shields, and the Shield Operator has Starship Shields 6D. In the opening round of an attack, four TIE fighters approach from the Rear Fire Arc and open fire. The Shield Operator declares that he is angling the Shields to defend the Rear Arc, and rolls 6D against Easy Difficulty and gets an 18 (beats the TD by 8 points). Because he successfully angled the Shields, the ship adds 1D+2 to any Hull rolls used to counter hits in the Rear Arc (1D for the Shields, and +2 for beating the Base Difficulty by at least 6 points).

    In the next round, the TIE Fighters have split into two wing-pairs, and are attacking from opposite sides. The Shield Operator declares he is going to split the Shields to cover the Left and Right Fire Arcs, rolling 6D against Moderate Difficulty. He gets lucky with his roll and gets a 19, for a +1 Angling Bonus (beat TD of 15 by 3 or more points), but because he was splitting the shields between two arcs, the Shields are penalized by -1D, so the ship only receives +1 of protection to the Left and Right Arcs.

    In the third round, the TIE Fighters are continuing attacking in pairs from opposite sides, and the YT's pilot has diverted 1D of Auxiliary Power to the ship's shields, giving the Shield Operator 2D of Shields to work with as a base. He declares he is going to split the Shields to cover the Left and Right Fire Arcs again, and rolls his 6D Shields skill against Moderate Difficulty. Unfortunately, he hits a Wild 1 and comes up with an 8, 7 points less than the TD. As such, the Shields provide only 1D-2 of protection in each arc (-2 for every 3 points by which the Shield Operator missed the Target Difficulty).

This is structured so that it's very similar to the RAW, with a few subtle changes to make things a bit more exciting for the Shield Operator, with the added possibility of making things a touch more complicated by treating Shields as Cover, and not just part of the Hull.
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Bren
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
4). In addition, Shield operators may "angle" the shields in order to provide a better defense against incoming attacks, but this can backfire, as a mistake can actually create exploitable openings in the shield coverage. In game terms, using the Base Difficulty (see #1) as a benchmark, the Shield's dice result is increased or decreased by 1 point for every 3 points by which the Shield Operator beat or missed the Difficulty number.
I like this. Good shield operators usually get a small bonus. Bad shield operators get nothing or even a small mallus.

CRMcNeill wrote:
Ships may still use their Shields to cover multiple Fire Arcs, but rather than treating Shields as a Dice Pool, the ship's Shield Dice are penalized when trying to cover more than one arc per round:
    Fire Arcs Covered = Shields Skill Difficulty (Dice Penalty)
    One Arc = Easy (-0D)
    Two Arcs = Moderate (-1D)
    Three Arcs = Difficult (-2D)
    Four Arcs = Very Difficult (-3D)
I don't like this.

Quote:
In the next round, the TIE Fighters have split into two wing-pairs, and are attacking from opposite sides. The Shield Operator declares he is going to split the Shields to cover the Left and Right Fire Arcs, rolling 6D against Moderate Difficulty. He gets lucky with his roll and gets a 19, for a +1 Angling Bonus (beat TD of 15 by 3 or more points), but because he was splitting the shields between two arcs, the Shields are penalized by -1D, so the ship only receives +1 of protection to the Left and Right Arcs.
So even with a 6D skill the total shield strength is reduced by 33% (1D to 2 pips). This is a great example of why I don't like this house rule.

As a side note, I'm a bit confused why some house rules are in the Official Rules section of the forum.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bren wrote:
I don't like this.

Any particulars? It's not really changed that much for ships with 2D of Shields or less (which is most PC ships).

Quote:
So even with a 6D skill the total shield strength is reduced by 33% (1D to 2 pips). This is a great example of why I don't like this house rule.

But under the RAW, a ship with 1D Shields - like the one in the example - attempting to cover two arcs at once could get, at most, +2 in one arc and +1 in the other. The idea is that a good shield operator can eke extra performance out of mediocre shield generators, but it's still more effective to buy better shields.

My main problem is that I've never really liked the idea of treating Shield Dice as a dice pool.

Quote:
As a side note, I'm a bit confused why some house rules are in the Official Rules section of the forum.

It's a common problem in the Official Rules section. Whill even specifically mentioned it in the OP.
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Bren
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Bren wrote:
I don't like this.

Any particulars? It's not really changed that much for ships with 2D of Shields or less (which is most PC ships).
My experience of PC ships is that shields generally are at most 2D and more often are less. If I had routinely seen shield strengths in the 3D-4D range, I might be less negative about your dice penalties.

Quote:
But under the RAW, a ship with 1D Shields - like the one in the example - attempting to cover two arcs at once could get, at most, +2 in one arc and +1 in the other. The idea is that a good shield operator can eke extra performance out of mediocre shield generators, but it's still more effective to buy better shields.
It may be more effective, I think it is more interesting for the shield operator for the roll to matter at least as much or more than the equipment upgrade that they purchased.

Quote:
My main problem is that I've never really liked the idea of treating Shield Dice as a dice pool.
I’ve had concerns as well. Mostly because the dice pool seems to have way too few dice in it e.g. see my earlier comment on the typical shield strengths of PC vessels.

And if one uses optional rules that allow extra damage for a good to-hit roll and apply that to starship weapons, the situation is even worse. Most starship weapons on smaller craft seem to have a +2D fire control that is added on to the to-hit roll. (Maneuver bonus may offset, but it is not unusual to have FC for some weapons higher than ship's maneuver bonus.) There is no equivalent to FC for shields, which means even if you give a small bonus to a good shield roll, the weapon damage bonus is likely to be higher.

From a cost-benefit analysis, spending CPs to increase starship shields has a lower utility than spending the points to increase starship gunnery (so you can shoot them first) or starship piloting. Piloting is your dodge and a successful dodge = NO damage, while a successful shield roll means you get a relatively small bonus added to the ship’s resistance.

I’d like to see a system where properly angling the shields can have a significant impact in combat. I haven’t thought of a good solution though.
I wonder if it would work to compare the starship shield roll to the damage roll.
  • If the shield roll exceeds the damage than all the damage is countered. I think that makes the shield roll too important/useful.

Or make take a tip from the 1E damage rules.
  1. If the starship shield roll (SSR) > 2x damage roll = no damage to the vessel
  2. If 2x damage > SSR > 1x damage = vessel takes ½ damage vs. the ships’s damage resistance
  3. If SSR < = 1x damage = apply all the damage vs. the ships’s damage resistance.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Bren wrote:
I'm a bit confused why some house rules are in the Official Rules section of the forum.

It's a common problem in the Official Rules section. Whill even specifically mentioned it in the OP.

I don't think of it as a problem per se, but it is a very common occurrence.

We're tinkerers. It is an axiom that official rules discussions always lead to house rules if they go long enough. CRM addressed his choice to post his ideas here when he bumped this thread...

Whill wrote:
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?
...
CRMcNeill wrote:
I had a Shields brainstorm, and since this was the most recent Shields topic, I figured I'd give it a bump, along with a few tweaks. This is mostly in line with the existing Shield rules, so it is still somewhat appropriate for the Official Rules section, but there are a few key differences...

Compared to a lot of what is posted here, CRM's shield house rule suggestion are only minor tweaks to RAW. The original purpose of the thread was to discuss the seeming contradiction in RAW and discern the intention of RAW: Is using the Shields skill reaction-only or are it action and reaction? In the original discussion most of us agreed that the intention of RAW was actually that it was actually both action and reaction, that you could set a shield-arc configuration and didn't have to roll again until changing configuration (whether actively or reactively). So the skill being labeled as a reaction skill was not really incorrect because it can be used as a reaction, but that was confusing because that's not explicit that you can also use the skill as an action. The only way the skill description and examples make sense is if the skill works both ways. Anyway, the original purpose of the thread was fairly satisfied and we are now on page 5 of this thread.

If discussions were strictly limited to Official Rules, they would be very short because RAW is fairly explicit and straight-forward. It's a key feature of the game system that we love. Occasionally there are misinterpretations and disagreements of how to interpret RAW, and RAW can be clarified. But RAW-only discussions normally don't need a whole lot of discussion.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bren wrote:
CRMcNeill wrote:
It's not really changed that much for ships with 2D of Shields or less (which is most PC ships).
My experience of PC ships is that shields generally are at most 2D and more often are less. If I had routinely seen shield strengths in the 3D-4D range, I might be less negative about your dice penalties.

But my penalties are effectively the same for a ship with shields in the 1D-2D range as they would be under the RAW. When you only have enough Shield strength to protect one or two arcs anyway, the Difficulty level is low enough that penalties aren't going to be a huge concern. I just didn't want to eliminate the possibility of consequences for poor rolls.

Quote:
It may be more effective, I think it is more interesting for the shield operator for the roll to matter at least as much or more than the equipment upgrade that they purchased.

Skill level should matter, but a YT-1300 shouldn't be able to fly as fast as an A-Wing just because its pilot rolled spectacularly well. Technology should still have limits, and that includes shields. A really good shield operator should be able to get additional protection out of his equipment, but should still have to work really hard to get equivalent performance out of superior equipment.

One possible method for getting better performance out of Shields without changing up the stats is to treat Shields like Protection (2R&E, page 94), with Shields providing a degree of damage reduction even if the attack beats the Shield's soak roll:
    1). A Shield provides Full Cover in its arc. Any attack in that arc must overcome the Shield to damage the ship behind it.

    2). Attacks are resolved first against just the Shield Dice in that arc. The Shield itself takes no damage unless the protected ship is struck for damage to its shield generator. Resolve the damage to the shield on the following chart:
      Damage > Shield = Damage Modifier
      0-3 = -4D
      4-8 = -3D
      9-12 = -2D
      13-15 = -1D
      16+ = -0D

    3). So, any attacks are rolled against the Shield Dice, then modified according to the chart, with the ship's Hull rolling to resist against the modified number, not the original attack.

So, say a TIE attacks a YT with 1D of Shields. His lasers hit the Shield and roll 5D Damage against 1D (plus any skill modifiers from the Shield Operator), for a result of 23-over-9 (+14). A +14 gets a Damage Reduction of -1D, so the GM rolls 1D for a result of 6, which is then subtracted from the original Damage roll (23) for a modified Damage roll of 17. The YT-1300 then rolls its 4D Hull against the modified Damage result and gets a 12, for Light Damage.

Not a great result for the YT, but RNGesus was on the side of the Empire for this one. Either way, it allows even 1D in Shields to have a Damage reduction effect even if it gets beaten by up to 15 points.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Quote:
It may be more effective, I think it is more interesting for the shield operator for the roll to matter at least as much or more than the equipment upgrade that they purchased.

Skill level should matter, but a YT-1300 shouldn't be able to fly as fast as an A-Wing just because its pilot rolled spectacularly well.
Presumably that's why the designers changed the rules from 1E (where good pilots can go faster) to 2E or 2R&E (where they mostly can't). I understand the rationale, but I remain unconvinced that the change with it's attendant increase in complexity makes the game better as opposed to simply different.

Quote:
One possible method for getting better performance out of Shields without changing up the stats is to treat Shields like Protection (2R&E, page 94)
This won't work for me.

Ignoring the wild die, the expected value for 5D-1D is 14, but while less than 50% there is still a reasonable chance of getting 16+ which would mean fairly often the 1D shield is killed the 1D shield does nothing to reduce the incoming damage. A 6D damage weapon has an expected value of 17.5 vs. a 1D shield and 14 vs a 2D shield. So we would expect that an X-wing usually would blast through 1D of shields with the shields having absolutely no effect. And while it isn't the most likely outcome, there is a reasonable possibility of killing a 2D shield.

I don't think we are going to agree on rules changes. You and I don't seem to want the same kind of outcome from a change in the shield rules. I have to say though that I'm a bit disappointed that you ignored the rules change I did propose. I didn't expect that you would love it, but silence isn't very helpful.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I have a lot going on in my life at the moment, and replying to an idea I'm not all that enthusiastic about requires a bit more time and energy than I currently have available. Just to give you an idea, in the last three days, I have driven 1,500 miles, made two deliveries and five pickups, totalling over 100,000 pounds. My interaction on this site is what fits into the unscheduled downtime; the post before this was written on my tablet at a diner across the street from a truck stop in southern Oregon. I'm sorry if you don't feel like I've given your suggestion the attention it deserves, but I only have so much time and energy available in a day, and some sacrifices must be made.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair enough. I'll prioritize my time accordingly.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Related thought...

A lot of ship systems provide bonuses to the operators' various skill rolls: Maneuverability to Piloting, Fire Control to Gunnery, and Sensor Mode Dice to Sensors. Has anyone ever used a shield system that provided a similar mechanism to shields, some form of Shield Operation Dice?
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