I have too many on going projects

That are all at about 33% to 50% complete. I need to choose one and finish it.

I think that I’m going to make finishing the basic rules for “Edge of Imperial Space” my primary project, then tie the rest of them to it and Traveller. This also means, alas, that I’m going to have to give up the Foreven License for a lot of stuff. Which means I’m going to need to come up with a back story that is the 3I back story with enough of the serial numbers filed off that it’s not really the 3rd Imperium any more.

Latest weird idea.

My Sunday afternoon game, (at Top Deck Games, in Tulsa OK) is a D&D 5th EdSpelljammer” campaign.   I’ve got a wild idea on making it into a “Pirates of Drinax” game, using D&D 5 as the rule set.

This increases my  ‘To Do’ list a bit past the ‘make the next adventure’.

Things that will need converting to D&D5

  1. Vargr
  2. Aslan
  3. Traveller Space Combat and Ships
  4. Traveller worlds to Spelljammer worlds

Vargr and Aslan will not be that hard, the 5ed DMG has stuff for making races, and Vargr, at least, are fairly simple.  A space combat game sort of like ‘Mayday‘ is something I’ve been wanting to do a version of using Mongoose Traveller as the base for a while.  Doing it with ‘Fantasy’ options will sort of fit into the whole ‘Sector from Hell’ project.

Well, I think I’ve got some marching orders for a while.

 

Mongoose Traveller, Space Combat, Part II

On The Traveller Mailing List (tml@simplelists.com, subscribe by going Here if you are not a member. Go on, do it. If you are reading this you need to be on the list. I’ll wait) the viability of small combat craft got brought up as a reply to my statement about not liking masses of massive ships, with the Classic Traveller High Guard rules about size of ship vs power of weapons as an example of why you want big ships.

This is not about Classic Traveller, so it’s rules are only slightly important here, and only where they differ from Mongoose Traveller do they get brought up.  I haven’t gotten to High Guard yet, so the difference between it and CT High Guard combat hasn’t been a subject, yet.

Yes, I know Fighters in Traveller is flame bait subject, but I’m going to look at it any way.

I agree, 10 dTon fighters are damn close to useless, other than against smaller (say sub 400 dTon or so) and lightly armored space ships.  No arguments there. On the other hand, I think a 50 dTon Honor Harrington style LAC can be made that will as difficult to damage with non “capital” weapons (read a bay weapons or bigger) and that will be a threat, if only for a single volley or so, against major ships (i.e. not another small craft),  A 50 dTon LAC style craft could carry, for example 1 Torpedo and one laser (for use as point defense or vs smaller targets), which would make it a threat, if only for a single volley, against most ships.  A basic non-nuke torpedo does 4d6 damage, which, is going to penetrate most armor on an average roll, and all armor on a just slightly over average roll, just using rules as written.

Page 99 of High Guard has a 40 dTon, armor 10, 10G torpedo boat that carries 2 torpedoes. It’s fairly close to the HH style LAC as it stands, but isn’t self escorting and can be hurt by a laser or a missile. Maybe.  If they roll real high on damage.

Armor is very important in space combat in Mongoose Traveller and is fairly cheap, both in tonnage and credits.   With Rules As Written, 6 points of armor makes you invulnerable to a pulse lasers (or beam lasers if you apply the High Guard changes) and 12 points makes you beam laser (or a pulse laser with HG changes)1 lasers proof. Not going to stop a Particle Beam or a Meson weapon, but you are using turret sized lasers and non-nuke missile? I laugh at you and call you a silly person.

In MTU, I use the personal level combat rule that the effect of the to hit roll (the amount over 8 rolled, after modifiers) is applied as damage on that attack. Any effect over 6 means that 1 point of damage gets through, regardless of armor. This makes good and lucky (defined as skill level 4 and rolling a to hit of 12) gunner gets +8 damage, which against an armor 6 craft is going to do at least 3 points of damage and could do 8, assuming it’s only a 1d6 weapon, which translate to either 1 single hit, or 2 single hits, which, could, in theory, blow a fighter out of space. On the other hand, if you roll a 7 on location both times, all you did was reduce the armor by a total of 2 points.  Of course that will make the next hit do more damage. You want 6’s or 8’s if you want to kill it. Other non 7 results will result in possible “mission kills” I’ll grant, but not that expanding ball of plasma.

As my project for the day, during breaks from “Project Clean the House” I am going to design a 50 dTon LAC that is “self escorting”, an 30 dTon torpedo boat (which might no be as easy, despite 30 dTon being a sweet spot in small craft design and a 2,000 dTon 4G Jump 3 ship. The 2K ton ship would be a “Light Cruiser” in a Large Ship Traveller game, but would be a “Battle Ship” in a Small Ship Traveller game.

My Traveller Universe is a “Small Ship” game. Capital (i.e. ships over 2Ktons) are very, very rare, even in the Imperial Navy. Mongoose Traveller’s “Barrage” based combat doesn’t make this a bad as it could be. Granted it does eliminate spinal weapons, but a “large bay” comes damn close for a smaller ship. Not having capital ships also cuts down on the 9 to 37 (!) pages of tiny type ship’s maps.

Rant. Mongoose needs to stop doing that. The maps, for large ships, are too small to read and damn near useless for a ‘dungeon’ map, and in some books, just plain ugly due to the software used to draw them. Waste of book pages, In My Arrogant Opinion

1They reversed which one does 1d6 vs 2d6 in High Guard, but made pulse lasers have a -2 DM to hit. Why? I don’t freaking know.

Mongoose Traveller Core Rulebook MGP 3800 Part 8 Spaceship Combat

Spaceship Combat

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. No Vector Movement.

Wither this is a good thing a or a bad thing depends. I think it’s a bad thing. Vector movement was an important part of Classic Traveller Space combat. Have no fear, it comes back as an alternate in High Guard

Really, the space ship rules and the non character generation rules in High Guard should be taken as a whole, which I will do, post my High Guard post(s)

So, if no vector movement, what do we have instead? Well, a band based system that used the thrust of the ship to determine how long it takes to go up or down one band. This works fine, assuming 2 ships, because, after 2 points makes a line. With 3 or more, life gets ugly. Ugly enough as to almost be unplayable, giving the fact that the bands aren’t the same size. Making tactical movements is really, really tricky. As I said, Vector movement, The One True Movement System For Traveller Space, comes back in High Guard, but as it stands, ick.

All that being said, the TMB space combat system really does work well for 2 ships. The postion of all the members of the crew needs to be determined, but that’s sort of a given assuming you have a full crew.

Steps in combat are

  1. Set up.
  2. Manoeuvre
  3. Combat
  4. Ship’s Action

Set up

This is just the find range, find where every one is located at, determine initiative, like the set up in damn near all modern role playing games.

Manoeuvre

This is some what simplified, given the lack of vector movement, it’s just a matter of deciding how many of your thrust points you want to apply towards changing range bands (and if going up or down the scale) and how many you are keeping to dodge and like that with.

Combat

Combat is very much like personal combat, as far a rules mechanics go, in that you roll 2 dice, plus modifiers based on weapon type vs range and the skill of the gunner to get 8+ to hit, armor reduces damage and the target can take reactions to coming under fire to modify your chance of a hit. The number of reactions depends on the number of thrust points the target ship has left after the manoeuvre phase. On of the possible actions that uses a thrust point is “line up a shot”, which makes a pilot check part of a task train for taking the shot. It’s not quite clear if this applies to all shots that turn or just to one, but I rule it’s for all shots, based on the wording “his gunners”, not “a gunner”, but I can see why some one might think it only applies a single shot. Not a game killer either way.
Beam weapons are done per each, not per turret. Missiles, at least in the no vector version, have a turn until impact based on their range, or, if you want to be crazy, they are a thrust 5 ship. Gah. Tracking that many on the band based system? Ouch.

There is a “quick boarding actions” chart, in case you don’t want to do a normal Traveller combat to solve the assault.

Ship Action Phase

In this phase you may attempt to repair damage systems, get (or break) a sensor lock, attempts to increase your initiative or change positions with in the ship.

Damage

Damage is tracked via the same system as vehicles, in that there is two types of damage points, hull and structure, and you don’t take structure damage, in general, until you are out of hull points. The total amount of damage a hit does is cross referenced against a chart which reduces it to “single, double or triple” hits against a given system on the ship. The effects of single etc hits is listed per system. Stronger hits might do multiple single etc hits, as an example, 37-40 points of damage is going to do a triple, a double and a single hit. Each of these hits would be rolled on the target chart to determine what got kissed.

The chapter ends with a shadow text block explaining that a starship class weapon does 50x damage, so if you roll 6, you are doing 300 damage on the personal/vehicle damage levels.

Next up, Psionics!