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Old 01-27-2018, 11:03 PM   #1
safisher
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Default Grav Pong

How do you assess damage or skill penalties for grav pong, that is using grav plates to repel boarders?
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: Grav Pong

I use UT79 "Crossing a Gravity Gradient", and B434 "Gravity and Acceleration", plus falling rules is a long corridor suddenly turns into a long shaft. B350 "Different Gravity" will probably also apply. This assumes what I call 'standard' grav plates - ones that can only change the amount of gravity they produce over the course of a few 1/10ths of a second and can only readjust once per second or so. For characters with good stats, assuming the gravity doesn't completely reverse or pull them down a 'shaft' it's mostly just a nuisance.

If the plates were able to vary their effect extremely rapidly and were fairly strong, I'd treat it like a graviton beam (UT129), and set an amount of damage everyone inside the field would take each turn. Unless really powerful the damage would be fairly low (possibly only 1 HP/turn), but when added to a high base field so people can't easily get out of it, quite dangerous nonetheless.
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Old 01-29-2018, 11:23 AM   #3
safisher
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Default Re: Grav Pong

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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
I use UT79 "Crossing a Gravity Gradient"
I was looking for that text and forgot it was in UT! I did find the detailed free fall article in Pyramid, though. I hadn't thought about the gravitron gun. I was really wondering how fast the plates can shift. If you "fall" down a long corridor, say 15-20 yards, your enemy could then turn around and make you fall the other direction. Several of those would kill you pretty dead, unless you are in heavy armor. Also, it is assumed the max is 2g or 6g?
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Old 01-30-2018, 01:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: Grav Pong

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I was looking for that text and forgot it was in UT! I did find the detailed free fall article in Pyramid, though. I hadn't thought about the gravitron gun. I was really wondering how fast the plates can shift. If you "fall" down a long corridor, say 15-20 yards, your enemy could then turn around and make you fall the other direction. Several of those would kill you pretty dead, unless you are in heavy armor. Also, it is assumed the max is 2g or 6g?
UT reckons the maximum is normally 1G. Traveller is all over the place, from what I recall. TNE was something like TL-9G. In my Traveller game I use GURPS' TLs, and map Traveller ones onto them:

TTL GTL
9 9
10 9
11 9
12 10
13 10
14 11
15 11

GTL12 is for ancients and suchlike. For grav plates I assume a maximum of 2G at TL9, +2G per TL above that. That's positive and negative, and if there's a contragrav system as well, that can bring the 'base gravity' down to zero. Thus if you're in a nice Imperial TL11 ship when Virus decides you need to go, you get slammed into the ceiling at -6G, then the floor at +6G, then the ceiling, and then (I assume minimal sideways adjustment - just enough to dampen minor thruster acceleration, etc.) the grav compensation goes off, as do the grav plates, and the main drive comes on at 6Gs, and down the hallway you go...

My players don't take the grav-chutes, or even the lifts. Ever. They also avoid long corridors in ships and stations that are even remotely suspect. Funny, that.
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Old 01-30-2018, 07:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Grav Pong

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My players don't take the grav-chutes, or even the lifts. Ever. They also avoid long corridors in ships and stations that are even remotely suspect. Funny, that.
Wear a grav belt.

If grav pong were actually a popular tactic -- or even if it's not -- then grav belts probably have inertial sensors (your TL8 smartphone has one; they're neither big nor expensive) and their own "station keeping" mode that would counter external gravity fluctuations. Set it for 1G net and walk down the corridor regardless of what the grav plates do.
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Old 01-30-2018, 07:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Grav Pong

In general the way boarders are going to prevent grav pong is by disabling the grav plates before entering a segment, and/or disabling ship's power so everything shuts off.
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Old 01-31-2018, 06:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: Grav Pong

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Wear a grav belt.

If grav pong were actually a popular tactic -- or even if it's not -- then grav belts probably have inertial sensors (your TL8 smartphone has one; they're neither big nor expensive) and their own "station keeping" mode that would counter external gravity fluctuations. Set it for 1G net and walk down the corridor regardless of what the grav plates do.
That'd work vs the gave plates, but most likely not on the end of the corridor coming at you with 6G acceleration. Mostly my players go with the 'fry the plates, get to the power system, kill the power' method. That just leaves the locally powered anti-boarding emplacements, and any robots the ship/station has converted to meat-killers. Oh, and any nasty little traps that've been set, like where when the grav plates die the claymores go off and the nerve gas is deployed. Hope you had a properly armoured vacc suit (and that you get out of the gassed areas before the robots with the armour-openers get there).

Virus makes for the nicest SF dungeon crawls.
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Old 01-31-2018, 06:33 PM   #8
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That'd work vs the gave plates, but most likely not on the end of the corridor coming at you with 6G acceleration.
Why not? (Assuming your grav belt could handle 6 Gs, that is. There's no doubt some cheap consumer models that only do one or two G, just meant for those quick runs to the flying grocery store above the corner.) The belt doesn't care which way is supposed to be down. Tell it to hold position, or accelerate no more than 1G in any direction, or 0.1 G in any direction.

It's only a little harder to solve the problem of the ship turning the grav plates off, then accelerating at 6G. You're not moving, so an inertial sensor won't help. A boarding belt designed to handle that would need some way to sense its position relative to the walls, like radar / ladar or optical flow. (Ultrasound would work, too, but you can't count on their being an atmosphere.)
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Old 01-31-2018, 06:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Grav Pong

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It's only a little harder to solve the problem of the ship turning the grav plates off, then accelerating at 6G.
If they have the ability to do that, how did you board them in the first place? For practical purposes, boarding actions are only going to happen on disabled or non-resisting targets.
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Old 02-01-2018, 07:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: Grav Pong

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If they have the ability to do that, how did you board them in the first place?
A good question, but I think one of the scenarios the OP is using is one that involves deception, not straight-up combat. He mentioned Virus, for example. So (presumably) he has in mind a scenario where the murderous infected computer wants to kill all humans, in this case by pretending to be passive and then surprising them with the long "fall" down the corridor.

You could imagine human PCs trying the same thing rather than take a chance on a battle where the pirate ship has them outgunned, so they'd rather take their chances with a trap, personal combat, and even counter-boarding. A sufficiently paranoid pirate might stand off and disable the power plant just to be sure, but that's cutting down on the value of their prize, not to mention their ability to just fly away with it. Some pirates might prefer to disable the ship and loot only the cargo, some pirates might just slag the ship regardless to make sure everyone's dead and can't report them, settling for whatever's left -- but safe, and some might be greedy and try to have it all.
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