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07-23-2018, 08:10 PM   #2
mlangsdorf

Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Re: [Spaceships] I'm closing on nothing, and 4 other confusions.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by weevis I'm trying to understand how the Basic Space Combat system in Spaceships works. IS THERE “NON-BONUS” ACCELERATION THAT MATTERS? (...in a setting where there is no reaction mass.) p. SS54 says “All maneuvers except Drifts provide the option to accelerate.” This seems to mean that if you can’t get an acceleration bonus then you can’t accelerate at all? There is no “non-bonus” acceleration? I think the meaning would be that you can accelerate but it doesn’t matter, as acceleration is “enough acceleration for a long enough period to achieve a significant position change.”
You imply below that you're using the Standard Combat scale with 20-second turns, so so the typical engagement range is 200 to 20,000 miles. If ships are 15,000 miles apart at no relative velocity, 40Gs for 20 seconds changes their position by not quite 50 miles - so it's not enough acceleration for long enough to achieve a significant position change.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by weevis But unless you have limited fuel -- in my setting there is not limited fuel -- tracking acceleration only seems to matter if it gets a “acceleration bonus.” Is that right? I think my confusion is with the word “bonus" since I don't understand the "non-bonus."
If you don't provide enough acceleration for long enough, your position doesn't change enough to matter. You may be accelerating some, but compared to the vast distances and speeds of the encounter, your position change isn't noticeable. You're basically drifting.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by weevis There do seem to be some minor gameplay implications. In the text for “Retreat” p. SS56 -- in that instance the wording is just “if you accelerated.” If I take that to mean did you accelerate *at* *all* this turn, and therefore I take it to mean both bonus and non-bonus acceleration, I should then always choose not to accelerate if I receive no bonus. The consequence of non-bonus acceleration is bad for me -- I don’t get to control my facing. So I should either go 50G for the bonus, or turn off the engines. Am I understanding the rules correctly?
There are two conditions that let you choose the Retreat maneuver: you accelerate out of an an Evasive maneuver, which necessarily puts your rear hull to anyone who isn't maneuvering for a different shot, or you retreated last turn and chose not to continue accelerating, in which case you're basically in a controlled drift away from the engagement and can turn back to face anyone who is still trying to Close with you and prevent you from escaping.

If you don't significantly accelerate away from the engagement by using enough acceleration to qualify for the acceleration bonus, then you're really in a controlled drift. Retreat is a hard burn to break contact; just changing your position by 50 miles - when your opponent can can trivially copy your maneuver and match your new velocity - is not sufficient.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by weevis FAILED CLOSING MANEUVER? What is your ship doing if you fail an attempt at closing (bottom of p. 55)? I think this is just a naming issue: at first I thought that the answer was “just flying around without a particular status.”
You're Neutral to everyone. See SS1 p 57. "Use this column to calculate range if your vessel failed to succeed with a Closing Maneuver this turn."

Quote:
 Originally Posted by weevis I’M GOING SO FAST I HAVE TO TAKE EVASIVE ACTION Since your acceleration bonus “may not exceed +3” to take a “Hold Course” maneuver (p. 56), if you really turn on those engines (above +3), it seems like the only maneuver you can choose is either Evasive Action or Closing. If there is nothing I want to close with I guess I must take evasive action? Maybe it is simulating the fact that the acceleration alone gives you the Evasive Action bonuses even if you are trying to fly in a straight line? Again, just making sure I understand how the rules work here.
You're adding velocity and changing position a lot. You're either moving into engagement (Closing) or you're moving away from it (Evasive Action). There isn't an option where you go really fast in place.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by weevis CLOSING ON NOTHING Under the Ambush rules on p. 55, it states that you can use an Ambush closing strategy if your target performed “a Closing maneuver on its last turn, but only if your vessel was not yet Detected.” This can’t mean I can perform a closing maneuver on an undetected ship, can it? The rules for “Closing” don’t actually say that the target must be detected, but I still presume this text there means my target was CLOSING WITH SOMEONE ELSE. Right?
Sure, what's the problem?

By way of example: A Jovian Pathfinder is desperately taking Evasive Actions as it tries to not to get overwhelmed by a CEGA Cerebrus' vastly superior firepower. The Cerebrus pilot is taking Closing maneuvers to try to set up an advantaged attack vector in order to hit the nimble spacecraft. As the two pass a nearby asteroid, the Jovian Vindicator that was hiding behind enters the combat by choosing a Closing Ambush maneuver. The Cerebrus is at -6 on the Quick Contest because the Vindicator was undetected; the Vindicator succeeds by 11 and chooses to achieve a collision course so it can deploy a plasma lance.

Does that make sense? The Vindicator could choose a Closing Ambush maneuver because the Cerebrus was Closing in on the Pathfinder.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by weevis But... The Maneuver Modifiers list says -6 if “in a quick contest of skill with a target that you have not detected.” I think you can only *be* in a quick contest if you are attempting a closing maneuver, so I guess it is OK to close on nothing? Really not sure about this one.
If someone else ambushes you, you're probably at -6 on the quick contest of skill, because you haven't detected them. If you're trying to close with another vessel, you've obviously detected them.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by weevis CRITICAL HITS DON’T AFFECT POINT DEFENSE? From vanilla GURPS combat I’m used to critical hits doing something on an attack roll: “In all cases, the target gets no active defense against the attack.” says p. B556. But in spaceship combat under “Successful Attacks” in the “Ballistic Attack Roll” section on p. SS60 it says, “Critical success means the target cannot dodge.” I don't see other effects. Earlier in the “Beam” section it said “as usual, critical success means the target cannot dodge.” I’m confused by this, and the *as usual*: wouldn’t the usual behavior be no active defense at all?
Point Defense is actually a Wait maneuver performed by the target vessel, not a defense.

Critical hits sometimes get benefits that aren't really benefits. In melee combat, if you attack someone while you're invisible, they can't defend against your attack. If you critically hit them, they still can't defend against your attack. It's the same situation as getting a critical hit in spaceship combat against a space station.
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