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Old 09-06-2015, 12:19 PM   #30
weevis's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: 3.165, -3.048, -0.0818
Default Re: GURPS Starships line errata (and some observations)

I really enjoy the Spaceships series, but I mostly use the pre-defined ships as inspiration, or as rarely-consulted NPC ships. I tried messing around with the space combat system using the example ships (before ultimately abandoning it) and I remember immediately running into some of Weby's observations. Thanks Weby for sharing these.

Maybe someone has already mentioned it but here is one thing that is not errata but is close: I remember that I was often surprised by the placement of systems in the example ships, especially because there is no cost to moving things around. In many SS example ships placement doesn't seem to have been done with the Spaceships combat system in mind.

If you use the SS combat system, the two [core] locations are important because those systems can't be hit directly unless damage spreads from another system. Yet sometimes these ships have things like force screens in the core. If you have only one reactor and the reactor is hit, everything else stops working. I'd put that reactor in the core!

On some ships the central hull core system is not even used. Seems odd -- you'll often be going toward or away from things, making the central core the least exposed location on the entire ship.

If you're in an non-combatant ship and you expect you might have to jump away, I would not put the FTL drive and reactors in the rear section! While you are running away to the jump point, or while you're running away as the FTL engines charge, you will be sad when they take enemy fire and blow up, preventing your escape.

Since turrets mounted on the central hull can fire at any target regardless of facing, (SS p. 26), I don't see any reason why you would mount turrets anywhere else. IIRC some merchants in the Spaceships series like to put turrets on the front, making them defenseless when fleeing from pirates. e.g., they can't even try to shoot down missiles that are chasing them.

Speaking of missiles: Even though some of the example ships in the Spaceships series mount the extremely-lethal missiles of the SS rules, the ship designers seem unevenly worried about them. Sometimes a weapons system that appears to be intended for missile defense is present but most often it is not. But the Space combat rules about point defense seem to be urging me to ALWAYS equip an obsolete (since damage doesn't matter in missile defense) very rapid fire turret of some kind in the central section to use as a point defense weapon.

Then it occurred to me: Maybe these were all just all supposed to be NPC ships meant to blow up more regularly and satisfyingly than the one the adventurers are using?
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