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Re: WP Stagnation

PostPosted: Fri 21 Dec 2012 03:51
by Crucis
procyon wrote:
Crucis wrote:From a Canon Historical perspective, I suppose that one could just say that this is a technology that was completely overlooked by the Alliance races, and they were forced down different tech paths, like SBMHAWKs, etc., because they didn't have the ultimate WP defense breaker, the Jump drive.


Anything you come up with will have to be missed by the Canon. Otherwise, if they knew about a good way to get around WP defenses - why didn't they use it?


True, of course. But some things are .... well, worse than others.


Crucis wrote:Well, I know one WP defense breaker that's 100% dead certain to work, I just want to be careful how I insert it into the game. That is, Jump drives. The old, familiar Alkelda Dawn jump drives.


These would work also. Again, only useful at a WP. Can't be used as a weapon.
Just a way around the carnage.


I agree. it does present a way to jump over the usual kill zone right on the WP. And it's just not a weapon.


As for the distance - that depends on the game you want.
tator93 would love to just be able to avoid the WP battle at all. When it comes to deep space battles with LRWs, she is hard to beat. She has dedicated all her time to perfecting her 'art' as it were.


I could see the really long range jump drive being a higher TL item, while the shorter range ones being lower TL items, relatively speaking.



I don't think that is a good game answer though. Especially if it will be introduced at earlier TLs.
If it just jumps in perhaps d6 or d10 hexes - that will make minefields significantly less powerful. They would have to be spread out a lot to cover that depth of hexes.
But it wouldn't make ships with SRWs useless. They will still be able to push in and hammer away.
It will likely make SRW assault ships more useful also. They will be able to jump in and be in range of a target or seek one out.


A d6 jump range is just too short for my taste. The problem I have with really short jump ranges is that jump carriers are going to be rather weak ships, except for the ships they carry, not unlike fighter carriers. And if jump ranges are that short, the jump carriers are pretty much toast.

OTOH (this just occurred to me), if jump drives weren't particularly large by themselves, there might be no need for jump carriers. Any ship could have a jump drive. I'm not a big fan of the jump carrier. In a WP system that has WP capacities, I'm of the belief that a loaded jump carrier's total size is equal to the size of the carrier PLUS the size of all its parasite ships. Which means that a loaded jump carrier tend to be VERY large.

Also, having to use jump carriers as opposed to each individual ship having its own jump drive seems to place the jump carrier using race at a significant disadvantage, since they're mostly useless in combat, they're big targets, and they'll cost a lot. Jump carriers would be costly ships that you'd need to have (if your warship's couldn't jump on their own) but would be extremely vulnerable in assault situations. Not a good combination if jump ranges are short. OTOH, if jump ranges are long, it's not quite as big a deal.



On a slightly more esoteric note, for these shortish jump ranges (short as in not interception hex range) I actually like the idea of using at least 2 dice in the range die roll. Reason? Because it creates a curved distribution that I envision as perhaps representing the curved space around the WP. So, at a minimum, I could see a 2d6 range, then a 2d10 range. Also the advantage of a 2 dice is that the min result is greater than 1. And the bell curve distribution of the results is centered around range 7 for 2d6 and 11 for 2d10.


All too often you need missile ships as the assault ships because the defenders will have positioned themselves beyond SRW range - so they can shower fire on the SRW minesweepers from beyond their ability to retaliate.


Worse, traditional minesweepers before AMBAM's rely heavily on point defense. If you start to shower minesweepers with missile volleys, they're stuck between having to use their PD against the mines or against the missiles, and it's usually a no-win situation. (It's also a great time to use fighter missiles.)




A short range jump drive would be a fair way to break up the WP stagnation without completely removing WPs as an important feature in the game.


For the most part that's true. But I also believe firmly in the concept that technology in 3E is often of a revolutionary nature. And I'm not quite certain how "revolutionary" the jump drive would be unless the jump range is great enough.

Re: WP Stagnation

PostPosted: Fri 21 Dec 2012 04:51
by procyon
If it is purely to get around WP defenses and open the battle up some - then doing away with the jump carrier would be a good thing. If your jump system is only 6HS in size or so - it would make it small enough to not completely cripple something the size of a CA or larger without still giving the non jump ship an edge in a deep space battle.
And if it doesn't need a carrier - it should definitely be short range.

Unless you want a different twist.

Perhaps the system will only be able to 'displace' a ship a certain distance based on its size.
Huge ships only move d6 away (the SD crowd or such)
Mid sized ships (CA to BB) can go 2d6 or so.
Smaller (DD or less) can go 2d10.

And then you could have a jump carrier that could go a long ways insystem (interception scale) - but the drive will be huge and take most of the ship making it worthless in combat. And then limit the size of the ships it can carry. It could then make a fair commerce threat - without invalidating WP defenses. But the defender would still need to pull ships from the WP (weakening that WP stagnation) to patrol the system to deal with the 'long range jump ships'.

Just another thought.

Editted for several typos.

Re: WP Stagnation

PostPosted: Fri 21 Dec 2012 05:07
by AlexeiTimoshenko
The lower TL SM based pods could fit within Canon. None of the races had heavy fixed wp defenses prior to ISW-3. The biggest bases stationed at a wp were the Gorm BS4's at Adam and there were only 2 at each wp. In addition, the Gorm didn't use MF's and until Adam hadn't used ships heavier than BC's, so the Khanate wouldn't have needed a new way to crack the defenses.

Arguably, the first race to have a need to develop pods would have been the Rigellians after Timor, but they had put all of their eggs so to speak in the fighter basket.

Re: WP Stagnation

PostPosted: Fri 21 Dec 2012 23:05
by Crucis
AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:The lower TL SM based pods could fit within Canon. None of the races had heavy fixed wp defenses prior to ISW-3. The biggest bases stationed at a wp were the Gorm BS4's at Adam and there were only 2 at each wp. In addition, the Gorm didn't use MF's and until Adam hadn't used ships heavier than BC's, so the Khanate wouldn't have needed a new way to crack the defenses.

Arguably, the first race to have a need to develop pods would have been the Rigellians after Timor, but they had put all of their eggs so to speak in the fighter basket.


Yes, Alexei, I agree that lower TL SM-based missile pods shouldn't be too offensive to the Canon History, so to speak.

That said, I also don't think that we should look at the tech progression as described in 3e/ISF and the Canon History and the final word on things either. After all, the Terrans were surprised by the Theban's X-ray Laser tech which was below the Terran's TL at the time.

Re: WP Stagnation

PostPosted: Sat 22 Dec 2012 03:53
by AlexeiTimoshenko
The same could be said about the Gorm developing the (XO) rack first. There is no reason to think that they or the Khanate hit on the idea of a low level pod very late in the GKW (post Adam) but didn't get it into production. They may have shared such an idea with the TFN during ISW-3, but as the Rigellians didn't have much in the way of fixed defenses, and thus use as a cheap attrition weapon, again it wasn't deployed to keep the tech out of enemy hands.

Re: WP Stagnation

PostPosted: Mon 24 Dec 2012 17:41
by PracticalM
An alternative to the jump drive is a system that is really large but allows for a temporary WP to be created some distance away from the natural WP. Perhaps it only lasts for a 1-2 turns and the WP is affected in some way. The temporary WP is two way so the enemy has incentive to pop in and try to destroy the ship that mounts the WP generator system. Always fun to try to destroy something big and expensive.

Re: WP Stagnation

PostPosted: Mon 24 Dec 2012 19:58
by AlexeiTimoshenko
I prefer the SM based pods to jump drives. The pods themselves are a logical extension of missile technology. The basic idea is for a race to find a way to increase salvo density after a units (XO) racks are used. Putting a wp capable drive on a pod would be another step in advancing missile tech.

Jump drives are tougher to balance. Make the jump too short and a ship is still vulnerable in a wp battle. Make the jump too long and it can negate wp's as a vital piece of terrain.

Re: WP Stagnation

PostPosted: Tue 25 Dec 2012 09:29
by Crucis
AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:I prefer the SM based pods to jump drives. The pods themselves are a logical extension of missile technology. The basic idea is for a race to find a way to increase salvo density after a units (XO) racks are used. Putting a wp capable drive on a pod would be another step in advancing missile tech.


Pods make sense. The trick with them is determining salvo size. Some have complained in the past about how SBMHAWK have an unlimited salvo size (well limited only by # of missiles and # of targets amongst which the missiles are divided).

That said, I don't know if I'll change it because if you make the salvos too small, it defeats the purpose of missile pods.


Jump drives are tougher to balance. Make the jump too short and a ship is still vulnerable in a wp battle. Make the jump too long and it can negate wp's as a vital piece of terrain.


Alexei, I guess that I do like Jump Drives because I think that it's best if nothing is assumed to be sacrosanct from technological advancement changing the nature of the battlefield. I worry that if jumps are too short, the system's not worth the trouble, though... As for "too long", that's probably more of a high TL ability (i.e. over TL12-13)...

Another thing about JD's is this... there are some people who don't like how Starfire devolves into a constant string of WP battles. And JD's can be a way to change that. But then again, some of those same people haven't always understood that WP's are, as you point out, a critical terrain feature ... a choke point. And historically, defenders will always see to defend chokepoints rather than fight in open space ... unless they have some pressing reasons to prefer open space to a WP battle site.

Re: WP Stagnation

PostPosted: Tue 25 Dec 2012 10:13
by AlexeiTimoshenko
Actually, I can think of several historical battles that effectively describe a wp battle. Thermopylae is an excellent example. The Spartans held off a far larger Persian army because they chose to fight at a choke point. Remagen bridge in WWII could be used as an example of neglecting to defend a known open wp.

I might not be opposed to technology that allows a player to make a short tactical jump in a system. Say something similar to what Honor Harrington did at the Battle of Manticore. What scares me about allowing wp jumps either multiple hexes in system or from multiple hexes away from the wp is being able to avoid the defenses on the other side of a defended system. Imagine under such a scenario the Bugs being able to transit from Centauris to Sol without having to fight through the wp defenses.

Re: WP Stagnation

PostPosted: Tue 25 Dec 2012 10:52
by Crucis
AlexeiTimoshenko wrote:Actually, I can think of several historical battles that effectively describe a wp battle. Thermopylae is an excellent example. The Spartans held off a far larger Persian army because they chose to fight at a choke point. Remagen bridge in WWII could be used as an example of neglecting to defend a known open wp.

I might not be opposed to technology that allows a player to make a short tactical jump in a system. Say something similar to what Honor Harrington did at the Battle of Manticore. What scares me about allowing wp jumps either multiple hexes in system or from multiple hexes away from the wp is being able to avoid the defenses on the other side of a defended system. Imagine under such a scenario the Bugs being able to transit from Centauris to Sol without having to fight through the wp defenses.


But in a very real sense, that's the point... to jump right over the kill zone around the WP. Jump Drives, particularly long ones, are meant to be "game changers", just like other tech like fighters and cap ship missiles, etc are.

And if you've read the most recent STARFIRE novels (Exodus and Extremis), you'll see some new tech in those that's also game changing, such as the Desai Drive. That's one of the feature of 3E, game changing tech every few TL's or so that force the player to change how he does things, rather than expect to do things the same way, whether it's TL2 or TL12.