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Old 04-15-2018, 01:50 AM   #11
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Missile shield vs. ramming: two questions

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
The missile shield design switch from Spaceships 3 seems essential here, to stop large warships from being missile bait. But what about ramming? A couple things are unclear to me. First, if your RoF is higher than the number of ramming ships, do you get one hit per ramming ship, or one hit per point of RoF, which can be divided freely among attacking ships? I can't quite tell from the wording of the rule ("Beam weapons that are assigned to point defense may therefore automatically hit a number of incoming ballistic weapons (or ramming spacecraft) up to their maximum rate of fire.")
I would say one hit per ROF divided up however you want. But roll damage after assigning targets.

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Second, would it be reasonable to use the "missile shield" rules not just for beams but also missiles?
Unless the incoming targets have ECM or are programed/guided to evade and they are far enough away I would say yes.
But there should probably be a minimum firing distance.
They key here though is t specifies beams, not guns as usable for the option. Presumably because the beams move so fast the missiles are effectively standing still. Point Defense missiles have terminal guidance so might be able to make up for that, especially if not dealing with ECM or evasive tactics.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:56 AM   #12
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Missile shield vs. ramming: two questions

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
One issue here is that VRF beams have 1/100ths of the output of regular beams, so those won't be 1GJ VRF beams, they'll be 10 MJ VRF beams. So those guns won't be very useful against a well-armored drone. Devote most of your front hull to hardened nanocomposite, and it will be difficult to impossible to so much as scratch the drone.

As for the big gun, that can be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. The big gun might have a range of 50,000 miles. With TL10 or TL11 drives they can easily travel at speeds in excess of 25 MPS. At that speed, the big ship will have less than one hundred 20-second turns to destroy incoming drones. So 100+ drones will overwhelm the big gun. They'll add up to a mere 1% of the tonnage of the monster ship.

Look at the Nightgaunt dogfight drone in Spaceships 8 to see now this is done in detail. If you tone down the armament, you can give them a fifth front armor system for extra protection against the little guns.
For the moderate-weight 'big ship' classes, RF is more suitable than VRF for anti-strike-craft duty.

VRF beams at 10 MJ are still good against (unarmored) missiles and shells, but 100 MJ is much more the thing for punching big ugly holes in small but somewhat hardened vessels. (Even there, against SM+5 or +6 with hardened armor a laser won't cut it.)
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:07 AM   #13
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Missile shield vs. ramming: two questions

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It's an SM +4 bot with a spinal particle beam and 6g worth of high thrust water fusion torches. If you can extrapolate how SM +4 works, you can probably fill in the gaps yourself.
6 armour components on the front for a AKV. I guess that SM 4 hardened nanocomposite armour has dDR of 5 per system, so six of that is dDR 30. 2ddice × 5 ought to mess them up.

2 fusion torches on the rear gives 0.5 gee times 2 for high thrust times 3 for water which is 6.0 gee.

1 control room in the midships core.

11 tanks of water giving 15 divided by 2 for high-thrust divided by 3 for water = 2.5 mi/sec each. Total 27.5 mi/sec of delta-vee. Takes each one 7272 seconds to cross the range of a range X laser. Perhaps a better design for this purpose would be to dump the high-thrust and the water for 1 gee at six times the delta-vee, and take a run-up from outside range.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:18 AM   #14
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Missile shield vs. ramming: two questions

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6 armour components on the front for a AKV. I guess that SM 4 hardened nanocomposite armour has dDR of 5 per system, so six of that is dDR 30. 2ddice × 5 ought to mess them up.

2 fusion torches on the rear gives 0.5 gee times 2 for high thrust times 3 for water which is 6.0 gee.

1 control room in the midships hull.

11 tanks of water giving 15 divided by 2 for high-thrust divided by 3 for water = 2.5 mi/sec each. Total 27.5 mi/sec of delta-vee. Takes each one 7272 seconds to cross the range of a range X laser. Perhaps a better design for this purpose would be to dump the high-thrust and the water for 1 gee at six times the delta-vee, and take a run-up from outside range.
You can't have 6 armor components on the front when you're armed with a spinal (or lesser fixed) weapon, only 5. The Nightgaunt only has 4, and the control room is in the front hull (core)...as usual for the worked designs in the Spaceships series there seem to be some dubious choices made.

You also left out power generation when filling in, there.

The 6G may make sense for a dogfight drone intended for heavy tactical maneuvering, as opposed to a relatively simple attack run. Whether that role is plausible in space is questionable, to be sure.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Missile shield vs. ramming: two questions

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Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
Look at the Nightgaunt dogfight drone in Spaceships 8 to see now this is done in detail. If you tone down the armament, you can give them a fifth front armor system for extra protection against the little guns.
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You can't have 6 armor components on the front when you're armed with a spinal (or lesser fixed) weapon, only 5.
Indeed, but a KKV designed for ramming doesn't need a spinal (or lesser fixed) weapon.

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You also left out power generation when filling in, there.
Yes, but a KKV doesn't have any powered systems.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:57 AM   #16
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Missile shield vs. ramming: two questions

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Indeed, but a KKV designed for ramming doesn't need a spinal (or lesser fixed) weapon.



Yes, but a KKV doesn't have any powered systems.
Sure, if you're building a big hardened missile rather than an AKV or drone.

Which you can do, but seems to come a little out of left field here.
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Old 04-15-2018, 03:21 AM   #17
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Missile shield vs. ramming: two questions

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Sure, if you're building a big hardened missile rather than an AKV or drone.

Which you can do, but seems to come a little out of left field here.
Isn't that what Michael Thayne is fretting about? Isn't ramming the whole issue of the thread?



I can't discuss the Nightgaunt because I don't have Spaceships 4. I'll leave you to it.
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Old 04-15-2018, 05:22 AM   #18
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Missile shield vs. ramming: two questions

Wouldn't it be possible for a force shield to be deployed so that a high velocity ramming vehical struck it at a 45° angle or better? It might also be possible for better than 5° angle. Explosive missiles would have unchanged effects as would beams but kinetic effects (such as plain vanilla hard to spot space junk when travelling at speed) would be defused more efficiently. To further tie it in to the OP a larger mass ship would have benefits in soaking up the kinetic energy.
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Old 04-15-2018, 05:40 AM   #19
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Missile shield vs. ramming: two questions

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I'm trying to figure out how to build a space combat paradigm where large warships make logical sense, as opposed to being the result of mindless aping of naval warfare. Not that we don't want to ape naval warfare, we just want to do so in a thoughtful way. Here "large" = SM+9 at a minimum, or ideally SM+10 or higher.

The basic problem here is that cost scales with volume, while damage, armor, and HP scale with length. The main thing that large warships have going for them is that (1) they can potentially have enough DR to be immune to beam attacks from smaller ships (2) they can have beam weapons powerful enough to penetrate such armor on enemy craft. Unfortunately, this logic doesn't apply so much to kinetic attacks, because kinetic attacks can do incredible amounts of damage, especially when using the tactical combat rules where you aren't arbitrarily limited to a scale-based velocity.

The missile shield design switch from Spaceships 3 seems essential here, to stop large warships from being missile bait. But what about ramming? A couple things are unclear to me. First, if your RoF is higher than the number of ramming ships, do you get one hit per ramming ship, or one hit per point of RoF, which can be divided freely among attacking ships? I can't quite tell from the wording of the rule ("Beam weapons that are assigned to point defense may therefore automatically hit a number of incoming ballistic weapons (or ramming spacecraft) up to their maximum rate of fire.")

Second, would it be reasonable to use the "missile shield" rules not just for beams but also missiles? It seems like this could be extremely helpful, because (1) dedicated suicide drones can have very heavy frontal armor, enough to bypass point-defense guns designed for unarmored missiles and (2) by the standard rules, a point-defense gunner has a minimum 5% miss chance. Point (2) means an SM+10 warship (weighing in at 10,000 tons) can easily be destroyed by a swarm of a dozen or so SM+4 drones (10 tons each).
It is always good to remember that game rules are only an approximation and that people in the setting make decisions based on their reality not the rules. The 'machine gun vs. HMS Victory' problem is a classic example.

There is a post from David Pulver around 2008 talking about how he might scale HP to better represent the properties of large vehicles in WW II and the Falklands. I think that your thoughts about force screens are on the right track: settings with many big ships, such as Star Trek or the Schlockverse, usually have some kind of 'force field' technology, and that can allow big ships with big power plants to shrug off attacks.

(Similarly, I don't know whether Spaceships assumes the kinds of armour arrangements which specialists talk about- many thin spaced plates and things like that- or the intuitive 'great solid hard masses' which 90% of gamers will envision).
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Old 04-15-2018, 06:03 AM   #20
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Default Re: [Spaceships] Missile shield vs. ramming: two questions

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I think that your thoughts about force screens are on the right track: settings with many big ships, such as Star Trek or the Schlockverse, usually have some kind of 'force field' technology, and that can allow big ships with big power plants to shrug off attacks.
The OP didn't actually express a thought about force screens: the "Missile Shield" setting switch to which he referred is an optional rule regarding defensive fire by beam weapons against ballistic warheads and ramming ships. It's in GURPS Spaceships 3 on page 35.
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