New weapon idea?

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Re: New weapon idea?

Postby procyon on Sun 23 Jul 2017 02:38

Quick post with no details. Sorry.

We have played with 2 new types of weapon systems.

First is what we call a drive-rail, or pulse gun. Fires a small 'packet' of DF energy. We think of it as the 5" or 8" guns on WW II ships. We have it as a 2-3 HS weapon with a SRW like hit profile fixed at a single point of damage. Makes for a viable weapon on small escorts (EX/ES) and on system patrol ships that aren't main line combat vessels.

Second is our subspace emitter. Essentially a SRW that doesn't do damage, but causes a gen reduction in a target's sensors. Useful to blind LRW ships (missile queen hates them) or mess up a ship's ability to use precision weapons. Also can help to prevent scans or make bouys hard to detect for WP attackers.
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Re: New weapon idea?

Postby Vandervecken on Sun 23 Jul 2017 12:59

Toying with an Idea that I had for a my Methosian alien race I made up for 'Star Fleet Battles' and thought I might transfer the premises to Starfire. It is a Mega weapon !

It is an 11 HS item that can be activated at the end of a Combat Phase <not combat round> (It has it's own weapon sub-phase). It has only an effective range of 2 Hexes. It is a energy cord/filament that goes to the target hex and does a minor amount of damage. The weapon is more effective when there are more of the weapon firing. But here is the catch. Weapons firing from the same hex do not add to the damage, only weapons firing from other hexes. As the range of these cords is a maximum of 2, there is total of 19 (1+6+12) weapons that can be used per firing. Other weapon of this type cannot fire at that target hex from vessels that already had a vessel fire this weapon this combat round (as more than 1 cord/filament coming from a hex would be ineffective) this round but could fire at a different hex.

The main thing about damage in this attack is that it is an AREA effect weapon for damage. Yes, Starfire hexes are almost unbelievably huge, but this weapon has that kind of ability. And if you fire from the target hex, you will take the same damage as any enemy in the hex.

I see it as a mid-tech (maybe 6 levels higher) offshoot of the Forcebeam line of weaponry, and at 4 or 5 EL after receiving it, you get to research the 9 HS version.
It is a costly, big mount, and it depends on a completely different strategy than most weapons as you need to be spread out while near an enemy to be really effective.
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Re: New weapon idea?

Postby Cralis on Mon 24 Jul 2017 00:39

procyon wrote:First is what we call a drive-rail, or pulse gun. Fires a small 'packet' of DF energy. We think of it as the 5" or 8" guns on WW II ships. We have it as a 2-3 HS weapon with a SRW like hit profile fixed at a single point of damage. Makes for a viable weapon on small escorts (EX/ES) and on system patrol ships that aren't main line combat vessels.


Kind of like a mini-F? What kind of range are you thinking about? Pg is also 2-3 HS but it does a lot more damage...

Second is our subspace emitter. Essentially a SRW that doesn't do damage, but causes a gen reduction in a target's sensors. Useful to blind LRW ships (missile queen hates them) or mess up a ship's ability to use precision weapons. Also can help to prevent scans or make bouys hard to detect for WP attackers.


Use beam to-hit? What kind of range? Do you conceive this as effecting all sensors on the ship? Or just the sensors as it affects fire control? (meaning it can still use sensors without a reduction, but fire control treats it as reduced)

This is an interesting idea to me because it would make scout-like ships a more viable concept that has a tangible effect on combat.

Vandervecken wrote:It is a Mega weapon !


There are bigger Kh :lol:

It is an 11 HS item that can be activated at the end of a Combat Phase <not combat round> (It has it's own weapon sub-phase). It has only an effective range of 2 Hexes. It is a energy cord/filament that goes to the target hex and does a minor amount of damage. The weapon is more effective when there are more of the weapon firing. But here is the catch. Weapons firing from the same hex do not add to the damage, only weapons firing from other hexes. As the range of these cords is a maximum of 2, there is total of 19 (1+6+12) weapons that can be used per firing. Other weapon of this type cannot fire at that target hex from vessels that already had a vessel fire this weapon this combat round (as more than 1 cord/filament coming from a hex would be ineffective) this round but could fire at a different hex.


I'm curious, why do other ships firing from the same tH not boost the damage or effect? And this only affects the target tH, not the tH between the firing ships and the target tH?

I have to give you props, sir, the mechanics for this weapon are very interesting. But I have one fear: wouldn't this effectively shut down WP assaults?

The main thing about damage in this attack is that it is an AREA effect weapon for damage. Yes, Starfire hexes are almost unbelievably huge, but this weapon has that kind of ability. And if you fire from the target hex, you will take the same damage as any enemy in the hex.


Is there a to-hit roll? Or is the hit automatic? Given your description, I could see this as a chance of being hit by the filaments. Maybe more filaments means higher to-hit? Hmm....

I see it as a mid-tech (maybe 6 levels higher) offshoot of the Forcebeam line of weaponry, and at 4 or 5 EL after receiving it, you get to research the 9 HS version.

It is a costly, big mount, and it depends on a completely different strategy than most weapons as you need to be spread out while near an enemy to be really effective.


This sounds to me like a much higher SL than you describe. In SSF, Fa is at SL 0. This sounds to me like an interesting idea for a post-CTJ weapon.

But I agree it would be interesting to see a weapon that requires your forces to spread out instead of stacking up in the same tH.
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Re: New weapon idea?

Postby procyon on Mon 24 Jul 2017 06:54

For the pulse gun (P) we have used a range about one tH shorter than a laser (of the same gen) with the same 'To Hit', with nebula adding one to the effective range. It starts at 2.5 HS and drops to 2 Hs at Pe. What I forgot to say is we have also required it to use ammo - so it has 10 shots and can draw from Mg.
And you could look at it as a mini F. But we look at it as firing a munition that generates a small sheild 'bubble' that deposits energy into the target. Standard damage (like F) with no skipping.

ETA - We call it a drive rail as it uses the weapon to impart a short lived DF to the shield bubble that allows it to be fired at a target. A bit like K, but with an S wave front and instead of a big weapon imparting the DF component to a tiny munition - it is a tiny system using a large muntion to create the DF for the projectile.

The emitter uses the same weapon chart as the laser, but each point of damage reduces sensor gen by one step. Is generally 1 HS larger than the L. Multiple weapons don't stack. Td can actually be used to deflect/disrupt this attack (which combined with your tractor weapon would make Td very attractive). Nebula add 4 tH to effective range.

And I agree on the mega weapon making a WP assault nearly impossible if they just stack units around a WP.
It would also be devastating to small units. Versus FQ and GB - that may not be a big deal. But you could easily shut down all drones/cd trying to cross WP. Recon drones would become useless. I hesitate to think what it could do as a genocide weapon...
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Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: New weapon idea?

Postby Vandervecken on Mon 24 Jul 2017 22:02

procyon wrote:
And I agree on the mega weapon making a WP assault nearly impossible if they just stack units around a WP.
It would also be devastating to small units. Versus FQ and GB - that may not be a big deal. But you could easily shut down all drones/cd trying to cross WP. Recon drones would become useless. I hesitate to think what it could do as a genocide weapon...


As this weapon fires after ALL movement and after ALL other weapons fire; the spread out ships with this expensive weapon mounted, all need to survive to maximize damage to a single hex and all need to be within 2 hexes of the target hex (prime range for ALL SRW) That mitigates some of the issues. Make it a bit larger if you think 11 HS is too small, but the maint. needed to keep a single WP covered (Multi-hex coverage) would be enormous. And any SRW defenses of any kind could be collateral damage if the WP assaulter was smart.

P.S. - The cords/filaments don't do damage, It is only when/where they intersect that they have a devastating effect on normal space. So a single cord/filament would have no effect on anything.

P.P.S. - Go ahead and stack units around the hex; just make sure you have additional target hexes for each unit/vessel past the 1st in that stack and hope the attacker doesn't have the same weapon mounted in his assaulting fleet, eh?
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Re: New weapon idea?

Postby procyon on Mon 24 Jul 2017 22:25

I am just seeing it mounted on a bunch of BS and AF where the maint will be pretty cheap, and the large size will be less of a burden as these units tend to be larger with no need to use HS for engines.
So tons of passives, cheap maint, and the ability to hit multiple ships with a single weapon not much larger than a number of capital weapon mounts.
Making rings of these out to around 4 or 5 tH with a few mobile units to coordinate against an attack - and ships coming through are going to get savaged. The ships may be in great SRW range of the bases/AF, but are going to be at a healthy penalty to hit while the defenders have an area effect auto hit weapon in place.

I haven't tried it out on the table top - but it looks pretty devastating if properly employed around a WP. In deep space battles it would be less of a problem, but you eventually have to deal with the WP's.
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Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: New weapon idea?

Postby Vandervecken on Mon 24 Jul 2017 23:27

Thanks Procyon & Cralis - my simple idea can only get better with the focus with an eye of experience scrutinizing it.

How about a Maint. modification rule that any base or vessel mounting this weapon has a 15% (standard military) Maint. cost. As the Maint. for this weapon class is costly (tricky) to maintain.

Non-activated bases/vessels cannot fire it.

Remember - although everything in the hex is hit, the units, if big enough will survive Max HS of damage with 19 units firing is 75. Two weapons firing is only 2 HS of damage to everything in the hex. Scale the damage up from there.

Weapon arcs:
Normal Hull + Area Effect WPN | More than x4 | More than x 2.5 | x2.5 or less
Fast Hull + Area Effect WPN | More than x6 | More than x4 | x4 or less
Base + Area Effect WPN | More than x4 | N/A | N/A

Gravitational sources of Planetary size 1 or larger will warp each of the cords/filaments making them useless for 3 tactical hexes, gas giants for 8 hexes, and stars (and stellar mass objects) for 25 hexes. Asteroid populations would still be vulnerable in most cases.

Side note: per Procyon - "Making rings of these out to around 4 or 5 tH with a few mobile units to coordinate against an attack - and ships coming through are going to get savaged". How much more than any other WP defense with this many Bases defending it, I wonder. I have never tested this idea, but I wanted to offer an alternative nobody has offered up yet. With some tweaks, it just might be workable.
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Re: New weapon idea?

Postby southwestforests on Mon 24 Jul 2017 23:49

Thinking at 1am, which may or may not be a bright idea - could this weapon have specialty uses such as impeding target ships which one eventually intends to lasso and board?
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Re: New weapon idea?

Postby procyon on Tue 25 Jul 2017 01:30

Vandervecken wrote:Side note: per Procyon - "Making rings of these out to around 4 or 5 tH with a few mobile units to coordinate against an attack - and ships coming through are going to get savaged". How much more than any other WP defense with this many Bases defending it, I wonder. I have never tested this idea, but I wanted to offer an alternative nobody has offered up yet. With some tweaks, it just might be workable.


Piles of well armed bases make any WP assault a horrible proposition. But I feel this would make it considerably harder.

Here is why.

The 'usual' solution to heavy WP defenses are the (dread) simul-transit. Both attacker and defender are at substantial to hit penalties on the first round of the WP transit - and if you can just pack in enough ships (engineered for low transit size) then the bases have to start splitting up fire and may not have enough weapons to take down all the targets. Additional waves just increase the number of targets.

But that would change if the weapon can hit an unlimited amount of ships if they are in the same hex. I would gladly give up a weapon or two on a base (that will likely be focused on a single target) for one that will be able to hit a half dozen or more ships packed into a single hex (which they will have to be in to take advantage of escort formations or Dz). That base will still have plenty of other weapons to use to pound targets with to make sure nothing survives.

I would still have to try it out on the table top to be sure. But up to this point in our tests - every area effect (auto hit) weapon we have tried (that caused damage) has been a game breaker.

ETA
I guess I never gave an explanation of how the subspace emitter works. We simply say it is an extention of ECM and tractor technology. Where ECM modulates a vessel's DF to make it hard to target, the emitter simply 'fires' large amounts of oscilating and unsynchronized tractor and pressor (DF) beam fields to 'ripple' space near the target. Kind of like the 'ripple' you get from heat waves moving through air - but caused by the beam 'rippling' space itself near the target.
The Td works by being able to deflect the beam away from a vessel or being able to stabilize space - however you want to look at it.
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Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: New weapon idea?

Postby Cralis on Tue 25 Jul 2017 03:11

procyon wrote:For the pulse gun (P) we have used a range about one tH shorter than a laser (of the same gen) with the same 'To Hit', with nebula adding one to the effective range. It starts at 2.5 HS and drops to 2 Hs at Pe. What I forgot to say is we have also required it to use ammo - so it has 10 shots and can draw from Mg.
And you could look at it as a mini F. But we look at it as firing a munition that generates a small sheild 'bubble' that deposits energy into the target. Standard damage (like F) with no skipping.


I want to explore your idea in more detail. That means questions :lol:

Why base this on L range? Why not G? Or Pg? I'm just curious why you chose L as the base.

Why does nebula increase the range?

Why munitions? It would seem that being such a small weapon, doing so little damage, that it would be even less cost-effective with a munition limit. The only thing I can think here is that perhaps it's semi-guided in the same way that K is, which would explain why it doesn't have a higher ROF and thus why it doesn't do more damage as the range drops. Hmm... what msp size do you make the munition? 1/2 msp?

How effective do you see this against squadrons?

I think I really like the idea, although I think it is better defined as being similar to the forcebeam in nature, mostly because of how we've defined the physics behind shields (at least, pre-CTJ shields). No matter, I don't think that's important right now :)

ETA - We call it a drive rail as it uses the weapon to impart a short lived DF to the shield bubble that allows it to be fired at a target. A bit like K, but with an S wave front and instead of a big weapon imparting the DF component to a tiny munition - it is a tiny system using a large muntion to create the DF for the projectile.


Is this for the Pulse Gun or the emitter (below)? I think you are talking about the emitter, so the following paragraph takes that approach. If the above is not about the emitter, then the following paragraph does not apply:

Why would this weapon, defined as a "large munition with a DF" cause sensor degradation on the target when ADM, EDM, T, or even Kc or Kh does not have a similar effect? These all have "large DF"... While sensors does detect gravitic fields, it does not use DFs or any kind of active emissions in that function. To me this description doesn't really match up with the descriptions already in the rules. But I digress... in this case I'm willing to come up with a description later because there are a number of avenues we can take it.

The emitter uses the same weapon chart as the laser, but each point of damage reduces sensor gen by one step. Is generally 1 HS larger than the L. Multiple weapons don't stack. Td can actually be used to deflect/disrupt this attack (which combined with your tractor weapon would make Td very attractive). Nebula add 4 tH to effective range.


Ok, regardless of the explanation this is the meat of the... weapon? I'm hesitant to call it a weapon, even though it appears you intend for this to be fired, make a to-hit roll, and then apply the effect upon a successful hit. I like the basic idea of using the laser damage chart to determine the modifier.

My biggest concern is that if this is used in any large numbers it's going to dramatically reduce the speed of gameplay. If you've got dozens of these weapons firing at dozens of targets, you're going to be recording lots of sensor reductions and recalculating the detection results every single turn. This is a pretty powerful system. It literally disrupts everything about combat.

Because I don't see this as a DF-based system I can't see Td affecting it. Especially since (assuming your technical description) Td doesn't disrupt enemy Forcebeams, which would be very similar in nature. Admittedly though, I have to agree it would make Td much more attractive even with the...other system you mention. I'm going to shelve the Td suggestion along with the technical descriptive until later. I'm more concerned with the gameplay effect at the moment :o

What SL are you thinking? My initial thinking is that this should be a much larger system. Since it doesn't stack, if it's small then a single ship will be able to disrupt a number of other ship's ability to conduct combat. La is 4 HS, so even a destroyer could easily mount 3 or 4 weapons that size. Granted that even with the reduced sensor ranges, this ship would still be an easy target for the disrupted ships; I could see this being a huge advantage in key situations. Get 10 of these destroyers and you are disrupting up to 30 or 40 enemy ships all at once.

Would it be more powerful against squadrons? Descriptions aside, generally speaking a squadron should be more vulnerable to a system that can affect a large unit like this.

And again, what's with the nebula? :)

ETA
I guess I never gave an explanation of how the subspace emitter works. We simply say it is an extention of ECM and tractor technology. Where ECM modulates a vessel's DF to make it hard to target, the emitter simply 'fires' large amounts of oscilating and unsynchronized tractor and pressor (DF) beam fields to 'ripple' space near the target. Kind of like the 'ripple' you get from heat waves moving through air - but caused by the beam 'rippling' space itself near the target.
The Td works by being able to deflect the beam away from a vessel or being able to stabilize space - however you want to look at it.


Oooh. My gut feeling is that this could lead to all sorts of spin-off space-time weapons with far reaching effects.

But more importantly, the official definition of Engine Modulation (EM) is that it works by changing the shape of the DF to alter the refraction-like effect of a beam crossing the DF boundary. So instead of the DF boundary refracting the beam into the center of the perfectly spherical DF, the altered shape causes it to refract to an offset point where it will more likely miss the unit at the center of the DF. It really isn't what you describe above.

But let's assume the concept of creating this disruption in space to scramble sensors. Wouldn't the effect have to be tac hex sized or else a large unit wouldn't be affected by it for more than a few seconds at a time, given the speeds that ships move?

I see where you are going with this, even if I don't think it would be based on this technology. Nor would it be an early technology. What SL were you thinking of introducing this?

procyon wrote:And I agree on the mega weapon making a WP assault nearly impossible if they just stack units around a WP. It would also be devastating to small units. Versus FQ and GB - that may not be a big deal. But you could easily shut down all drones/cd trying to cross WP. Recon drones would become useless. I hesitate to think what it could do as a genocide weapon...


Yeah, that was my thinking as well. Though I could see a description that makes the filaments a form of tractor technology (VERY SORTA, I'm reaching here), and that perhaps they have a difficult or near impossible time connecting with small DF targets? Maybe they can't hit non-DF targets at all? (which gets rid of it as a genocide weapon)

Piles of well armed bases make any WP assault a horrible proposition. But I feel this would make it considerably harder.

Here is why.

The 'usual' solution to heavy WP defenses are the (dread) simul-transit. Both attacker and defender are at substantial to hit penalties on the first round of the WP transit - and if you can just pack in enough ships (engineered for low transit size) then the bases have to start splitting up fire and may not have enough weapons to take down all the targets. Additional waves just increase the number of targets.

But that would change if the weapon can hit an unlimited amount of ships if they are in the same hex. I would gladly give up a weapon or two on a base (that will likely be focused on a single target) for one that will be able to hit a half dozen or more ships packed into a single hex (which they will have to be in to take advantage of escort formations or Dz). That base will still have plenty of other weapons to use to pound targets with to make sure nothing survives.


I'd make it much larger so that this isn't giving up "a weapon or two" ... something on the order of 30-50 HS. Partially because, if we follow my post-CTJ logic, empires will be fielding 400+HS ships at that time.

But what if the weapon has a limited number of filaments? What if the number of weapons firing into the hex doesn't increase the damage, but rather increases the number of ships that can be affecting by the filaments? If we think of this like a tractor weapon, in most cases tractors from different ships cannot attach to the same target. Filaments may operate in the same way. I realize that I'm not defining this very well, but what do you think about this as a basic concept?

And maybe Td has a chance to block filaments :)

On the technical side, my biggest concern is figuring out where the tree/branch should connect and how to make spin-off techs not seem attractive.

I would still have to try it out on the table top to be sure. But up to this point in our tests - every area effect (auto hit) weapon we have tried (that caused damage) has been a game breaker.


Absolutely agreed. That has been my experience as well.
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