Small Craft progression

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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby Crucis on Sun 25 Nov 2012 18:28

AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:Personally, I don't like that role for smct either. I limited unrestricted kamikaze use to races similar to the Bugs and Rigellians in my campaigns. To be expendable and suicide are very different terms. The crew of a smct, fighter or gunboat knows that their survival rate in combat isn't terribly high. That doesn't make them want to throw their lives away on suicide runs.

Also, I refuse to let players have unmanned suicide smct in my campaigns. This is Starfire, not SFB.


Alexei, the problem that I have is that at lower TL's in 3E, if someone's using mass kamikaze attacks with smallcraft, there's always going to be someone who will use assault shuttles as primitive fighters as a counter to kamikaze smallcraft. And it all just goes down hill from there.

Honestly, I'm strongly tempted to change things so that smallcraft do no damage as kamikazes by themselves, saying that they'd just be bugs (pardon the pun) on the windshield of a starship's MUCH more powerful drive field. It'd be only the bombs that they'd be carrying as cargo that would make them into a "weapon". Having said that, I don't know if such a ruling would do any good. It's not as if all those cutters, shuttles, or assault shuttles couldn't just stock up on "bombs" and do the same thing.

I suppose one thing that could make such a tactic less attractive is change the anti-smallcraft to-hit modifier on the fighter kill tables from +1 to +2, though perhaps for point defense systems only.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Sun 25 Nov 2012 19:16

I guess I'm lucky that in my campaigns, we didn't have anyone resort to mass kamikaze attacks by smct. At low TL's my players tended to limit their smct to survey ships as they weren't required on anything smaller than a CL. Even then none of my players had racial modifiers that would entice them to use suicide tactics. We tended to feel that the kamikaze using races in the fiction were the exceptions not the rule. Even the Khanate, who preferred smaller units, tended to avoid suicide runs unless the situation was dire. The most notable cases where the Khanate even considered using ramming tactics for their smaller ships were scenarios 30.01.06 and 30.01.25. In both of those cases, it was either attempt to ram with a crippled smaller ship or potentially lose valuable shipyards.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Sun 25 Nov 2012 19:35

Crucis wrote:Honestly, I'm strongly tempted to change things so that smallcraft do no damage as kamikazes by themselves, saying that they'd just be bugs (pardon the pun) on the windshield of a starship's MUCH more powerful drive field.


I agree with this.

Crucis wrote:t'd be only the bombs that they'd be carrying as cargo that would make them into a "weapon". Having said that, I don't know if such a ruling would do any good.


This I'm not so sure about at lower TL's. The nuclear warheads used in missiles are inherently "safe," Even when a Mg is destroyed, the warheads stored in it don't blow up unless they are antimatter based and the Mg lacks CRAM. Stuffing nukes on a shuttle shouldn't make them more likely to explode when the shuttle is destroyed, wether by enemy fire or impact on a DF.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby Crucis on Sun 25 Nov 2012 20:16

AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:
Crucis wrote:t'd be only the bombs that they'd be carrying as cargo that would make them into a "weapon". Having said that, I don't know if such a ruling would do any good.


This I'm not so sure about at lower TL's. The nuclear warheads used in missiles are inherently "safe," Even when a Mg is destroyed, the warheads stored in it don't blow up unless they are antimatter based and the Mg lacks CRAM. Stuffing nukes on a shuttle shouldn't make them more likely to explode when the shuttle is destroyed, whether by enemy fire or impact on a DF.


Of course, but that doesn't mean that one couldn't rig those nukes to go off on contact with the drive field or in very close proximity, which in "reality" is probably what's done.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby Cralis on Sun 25 Nov 2012 20:27

AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:The nuclear warheads used in missiles are inherently "safe," Even when a Mg is destroyed, the warheads stored in it don't blow up unless they are antimatter based and the Mg lacks CRAM. Stuffing nukes on a shuttle shouldn't make them more likely to explode when the shuttle is destroyed, wether by enemy fire or impact on a DF.


From the SDS point of view, this caused a TREMENDOUS amount of grief with boarding pods. If the nuke is "safe", and can "safely" be carried through a drive-field, then what prevents small craft from depositing nukes directly on the hull of a ship and automatically doing triple damage?

For that matter, if you can "board" an enemy ship with a boarding pod, why not a remotely detonated nuke?

The SDS decided that there must be some quantum effect that makes a nuke inert when it crosses through a drive-field without some sort of "synchronization" that is only possible with friendly ships. This means friendly smcft, squadrons, etc. can let a nuke out of its drive-field, but enemy nukes can never come through.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby Crucis on Sun 25 Nov 2012 20:43

Cralis wrote:
AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:The nuclear warheads used in missiles are inherently "safe," Even when a Mg is destroyed, the warheads stored in it don't blow up unless they are antimatter based and the Mg lacks CRAM. Stuffing nukes on a shuttle shouldn't make them more likely to explode when the shuttle is destroyed, wether by enemy fire or impact on a DF.


From the SDS point of view, this caused a TREMENDOUS amount of grief with boarding pods. If the nuke is "safe", and can "safely" be carried through a drive-field, then what prevents small craft from depositing nukes directly on the hull of a ship and automatically doing triple damage?

For that matter, if you can "board" an enemy ship with a boarding pod, why not a remotely detonated nuke?

The SDS decided that there must be some quantum effect that makes a nuke inert when it crosses through a drive-field without some sort of "synchronization" that is only possible with friendly ships. This means friendly smcft, squadrons, etc. can let a nuke out of its drive-field, but enemy nukes can never come through.


Crap, I asked the same thing when the boarding party from the Enterprise boarded that Borg cube in ST:TNG.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby Cralis on Sun 25 Nov 2012 23:26

Hey now, ST:NG is "progressive" and doesn't need nukes.

Oh wait, antimatter. Yeah, my bad. But seriously, I wondered the same thing. Ditto for about every fifth episode.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby tmul4050 on Mon 26 Nov 2012 07:51

Aren't suicide attacks allowed in last ditch defense situations, like defending your home system. I seem to remember that somewhere. If ships are allowed to ram why not sml craft. Making a rule against it seems ..... like overkill. Its already difficult to be able to ram enemy vessels. Also fighters and gunboats are small craft of a sort. aside the bugs, both thebans and rigillians used suicide tactics when things got desperate, and I think the khanate did too on occasion (not sure of that). It wasn't a tactic that worked though. Its also probably not cost effective for unarmed small craft.

I don't think any of the ISW3 or theban scenarios mentioned small craft suicide attacks but they may have happened, but not in large numbers and none successfully.

Just an aside, but consider what would happen if a planet was hit by objects the size of small craft, moving at a signigifant fraction of the speed of light. Add nukes/antimatter. Multiply by a hundread or so :mrgreen: . Just to note it is already canon that an object can move that fast in an atmosphere (the federations anti vehicle weapons do that. BTW as someone that know a little physics :geek: I always cringed a bit when those weapons were mentioned. Why they didnt kill the launcher crew always baffled me :? ).
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby Crucis on Mon 26 Nov 2012 10:43

tmul4050 wrote:Aren't suicide attacks allowed in last ditch defense situations, like defending your home system. I seem to remember that somewhere. If ships are allowed to ram why not sml craft. Making a rule against it seems ..... like overkill.


It may seem like overkill to you, but in some player campaigns, it became a standard tactic for sufficiently militant races. The problem then became that the best defense against suicide smallcraft was armed smallcraft, starting with assault shuttles and progressing into a demand for something better. This is not the course I want to see the game taking.




Its already difficult to be able to ram enemy vessels. Also fighters and gunboats are small craft of a sort. aside the bugs, both thebans and rigillians used suicide tactics when things got desperate, and I think the khanate did too on occasion (not sure of that). It wasn't a tactic that worked though. Its also probably not cost effective for unarmed small craft.


It may not seem cost effective, but in some games where one player's empire had boatloads of money to burn, cost effectiveness wasn't necessarily the issue. It could be a costly but effective combat tactic at lower TL's against enemies that had no counter to it, other than assault shuttles (with their point defense) It might not be cost effective vs other of one's own weapons, but it may be cost effective for the damage it produces on the enemy. And because you have one one enemy using a tactic, kamikaze smallcraft, where the best defense is armed smallcraft, you end up with both a profusion of both kamikaze smallcraft and armed smallcraft to defend against the kamikazes at lowish TL's. And this increases the pressure to introduce more armed smallcraft sooner. All of which are bad things in my book.


I want to try to get away from unarmed smallcraft being used combat drones and battle maps being littered with them. And I want to get away from armed supposedly non-combatant smallcraft. And quite frankly, over the years I've heard very few people defending the tactic, including those that used it.

Besides, just because a tactic was used in the Canon History does not mean that it's the best thing for the game. Think boarding actions.
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Re: Small Craft progression

Postby AlexeiTimoshenko on Mon 26 Nov 2012 18:13

I'm going to make nuclear warheads and bombs effectively tamper proof in my next campaign. The trigger for warheads will be speed based. Smct just don't move fast enough to set off the warhead. For bombs meant to be used against ground based targets, the trigger will be altitude based. Perhaps a talented electronics genius (Sir Horace Harkness?) could alter the trigger, but the average techs couldn't handle the job.
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