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Old 04-24-2019, 05:18 PM   #1
jason taylor
 
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Default Do Meson Weapons have Limitations?

They seem to a point like a super wave motion gun. Yet almost everyone continues to field particle beams, fusion and plasma weapons, lasers and missiles long after they have the capacity for them, even in capital ships. What is the point?

If the missiles on the Tigress are a counterinsurgency module shouldn't they be deployable battledrones or sensors or "warsats" to coin an interesting phrase? If they are only shipkillers shouldn't it be an all big gun load out? If they are defense, does a Tigress really need defense missiles (lasers, whatevers) and will it get to a range where that is relevant?

Or do they try to maximize the killing capacity by using missiles and lasers as a shield of an attack and Meson guns as a foundation of something rather like a diekplous or periplous?

This has bothered me for some time and it makes it look like the whole concept of Meson weapons is overthrowing the system.


*Combat satellites
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: Do Meson Weapons have Limitations?

They have limitations, but what those limitations are depends on your edition of the game. In practice, the reason to want a mix of weapons is to force ship designers to invest in both armor and meson screens.
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Do Meson Weapons have Limitations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
They have limitations, but what those limitations are depends on your edition of the game. In practice, the reason to want a mix of weapons is to force ship designers to invest in both armor and meson screens.
Can you give an idea?
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Do Meson Weapons have Limitations?

Looking it up in Starships, it appears that Meson Screens will neutralize Mesons but not other forms of attack.
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Old 04-24-2019, 10:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: Do Meson Weapons have Limitations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason taylor View Post
Looking it up in Starships, it appears that Meson Screens will neutralize Mesons but not other forms of attack.
Meson Screens in GURPS TRAVELLER are laughable when compared against their CT counterparts.

A long time back, I created my own versions for the Meson Gun analogs from CT's HIGH GUARD. It was based on the following:

1) use the rules as given in converting GURPS VEHICLES rules for use with weapons in Traveller

2) Volumes given in CT for each type of Spinal Mount

3) the rules given in Mayday

4) The premise that just as Meson Spinal mounts do MULTIPLES of damage depending on the hull size vs the Weapon classification (ie the higher the letter value of the spinal mount, the more critical hits and actual hits it secured against the target ship.

All of those factors hinted at the idea that the Spinal mounts, like lasers, had a high rate of fire that permitted them multiple hits.

If you look at the original CT rules, Meson Screens could protect in TOTAL against incoming hits. GURPS TRAVELLER rules make it such that you can't protect in total, against any meson shot.

The reason my work was "disallowed" was that it didn't meet the criteria of needing a minimum energy input at the "higher" Tech levels. I largely accepted that until I realized that I had missed one minor detail...

"Meson Bay Weapons"

By definition - those weapons are smaller than spinal mounts, and in CT, used far less energy than did the spinals. However, it wasn't worth the time to argue.

If you want to try your hand at having more "CT like" Meson weapons, and having Meson screens that were on par with that in CT - I would suggest doing what I did...

1) determine the volumes the weapons actually used in CT
2) Use the RoF rules to get the odds of securing a hit in the same ball park as their CT counterparts (ie the 2d6 odds of getting a hit in CT)

I doubt that the work I posted survived (I think it was posted back in the day of the Pyramid boards rather then here at the Forums).
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Old 04-24-2019, 11:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Do Meson Weapons have Limitations?

In CT, meson screens were more like a defense bonus than damage resistance; you rolled a check against the screen, if it failed the attack failed, if it succeeded the attack did full damage. By comparison, armor didn't make weapons miss, it caused them to do less damage.

Other than that, PA weapons in CT were way more accurate than meson. A PA weapon could manage a base to-hit of 0+ (which became 6+ against an agility 6 target). Best base to-hit for a meson weapon was 4+.
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:45 AM   #7
hal
 
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Default Re: Do Meson Weapons have Limitations?

Running the numbers and converting to GURPS TRAVELLER Tech levels:

Meson Bay first appears in the latter part of TL 10 (ie Late TL 10). The bay attack value was such that ANY kind of meson screen stopped it. TL 11 has the bay do better damage and has a better chance of hitting, but any meson screen at all will defeat it. By the time TL 12 hits, Meson Bays can barely penetrate the weakest Meson Screen or second weakest (they were rated 1 to 9).

Meson Screens by the by, arrive Mid-TL 10 (level 1) and by late TL 10, can be had as high as level 3. By TL 11, they can go as high as 6. By TL 12, they could go as high as 9. Note that the energy requirements for the Meson Screen were VERY high...

Back to the Screens vs Spinal Mounts...

In the beginning, when Mesons were first introduced, they came in two sizes - Large (8000 dTons displacement weapons) and Medium (5,000) This occurs during the late portion of TL 9. Those two Meson weapons were called A and B spinals. By the start of TL 10 (early TL 10) we have Spinals C, D and K weighing in at 2000, 5,000 and 8,000 dTons respectively. Then we had Late TL 10 with E, F, L, and P - at 1,000 then 2,000, then 5,000 and 8,000 dTons. By the start of TL 11, we have G, H, M, and Q (1,000/2,000/4,000/7,0000) . Note that the Large and Medium spinal mounts are now discounted in volume by roughly 20% for the medium, and 12.5% for the large. With the advent of TL 12, we have J, N, R, and T (1,000/2,000/5,000/7,000).

By TL 12 - the best "Large" meson spinal generally could penetrate the best Meson Screen by some 72% of the time.

In all of this, keep in mind that I'm comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges in the sense that if the attacking ship's computer was the same "complexity" as the defending ship's computer, there was no benefit or disadvantage involved. If there was any edge for one side or the other (ie they had a better computer type than the other had), then the odds were skewed in favor of the ship with the better computer by a +1 per difference in computer type (remember, a +1 bonus in 2d6 is better than a +1 bonus in 3d6).

In a way, Meson screens were like a "Dodge" in GURPS in the sense that you either deflected the entirety of the damage away or you didn't. It wasn't really a function of "hit points of damage" vs DR of defender.

Putting this into perspective? A J type spinal mount needed to roll an adjusted 9+ on 2d6 to penetrate the meson screen. Looking at the info above, a J spinal mount is a small TL 12 meson spinal mount. It had a roughly 27% chance of penetrating a meson screen 8 or 9 in the original rules. In GURPS numbers, that Is like having to roll a Defensive "block" with the skill of a base 12 or less.

In all? I would largely recommend that you stick with Destroyer class ships or smaller when trying to simulate starship battles using GURPS. The largest meson spinal mount possible was a 1,000 dTons - which meant that the ship it was mounted upon, had to be larger than a 3,000 dTon hull or even a 5,000 dTon hull. This means that in general, the battles between Destroyers and smaller craft will use the standard lasers and other type weapons. If the Destroyers DID carry Meson bay weapons, they were at least, not the deadly spinal mount versions. With the exception of the TL 12 100 dTon meson bay, a type 1 meson screen protected 100% against bay weapon mesons.

Hope this gives you a little background on what the original premise behind the Meson weapons were in Classic Traveller by GDW versus how GURPS treats them in GURPS TRAVELLER.

It is my "opinion" that GURPS TRAVELLER should have gone a different route where it came to the Meson weapon - but hey, I never had to worry about it as a GM because I avoided Capital Ships in GURPS TRAVELLER like the Plague. The worst ship the player characters ever had to deal with were the 5,000 dTON destroyers. Granted, those destroyers were armed with Heavy Lasers (greater range and damage than standard lasers) - but hey, they were either naval officer characters firing those weapons, or were potential victims and knew never to annoy those ships.

;)
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