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Re: [FT] WotW 2: EMP Weapons

From: "Oerjan Ohlson" <oerjan.ohlson@t...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 20:41:02 +0100
Subject: Re: [FT] WotW 2: EMP Weapons

Slowly catching up with this thread:

Bell, Brian K wrote:

>Ion Pulse Weapon (IPW)
>Damage: None
>Effect: Roll dice as for a beam weapon [same number of dice as >class
of weapon; -1 per 12mu out]. The roll equals the maximum >number of
systems that can be damaged by this IPW attack. 
>Screens/Shrouds/etc. effect the roll as they would a beam weapon >
>Roll a threshold check until the number of system potentially >damaged
are damage by the IPW attack or every system has been >checked under
this attack.

[I've already posted some comments to this in another post]

IME the above mechanics work fine on their own; no need to have a
specified order in which to check for systems - unless of course your
opponent is dishonest enough that you can't trust him even in normal
threshold checks (in which case I wouldn't want to play against him
anyway!). Sure, the defender is going to check for the least important
systems first - but unless the ship is already badly damaged, he isn't
all that likely to actually lose the first few systems he checks for.

Of course the value of the weapon goes down if the defender chooses
freely instead of sticking to Brian's list, but that's "only" a matter
of adjusting the Mass or Cost of the weapon appropriately.

>As with a Wave Gun, a ship may not be screened in the arc through
>which it fires a IPW (but other arcs may be screened).

I *don't* like this. Don't like it for the WG/NC either, though.

>Stealing the idea from Noam:
>IPW may be fired in PDS mode with a range of 6mu by de-focusing >the
pulse. Any fighters in the arc of effect may not attack this round >and
loose 1 point of endurance. Missiles/Pods/Plasma are effected >the same
as if a number of PDS equal to the class of the IPW had >fired at them.

Which means that a single IPW can work as a potentially infinite number
of PDSs, each with its own private ADFC. The potential risk to friendly
ships is far, far smaller than the potential benefit.


Charles Taylor wrote:

>EMP Missile Salvoes (EMP-SM)

[snip - I've already discussed this with Charles both on- and off-list,
though it was some time ago]

>We need to decide whether Phalon Vapour shrouds have the effect of
>level-2 screens against these or not, the PSB (water/ice mist) would
>seem to imply not, but it might be better if they did work.

Keep it simple. The rules say that "A deployed shroud acts like a
level-2 screen against all energy weapon attacks, ...", so unless you
describe the EMP pulse as not being energy <g> or the SM-EMP rule is
*very* emphatic that the shrouds don't work against it they should work
against it. (And even if the rule *is* very emphatic many of the
players will miss that and count shrouds as level-2 screens anyway...)
>On the subject, I'm not totally happy with the EMP missile in More
>Thrust, how about this revision?
>Roll 1d6 - target screen level (as in MT, p.3)
>1 or less = No effect
>2-3 = Roll threshold for everything, KO on roll of 6
>4-5 = Roll threshold for everything, KO on roll of 5+
>6 = roll threshold for everything, KO on roll of 4+

Argh. First he balances the SM-EMP against the *old* MTM-EMP, then he
wants to make the MTM-EMP weaker... <g> 
But yes, both EMP missile types should use the same table. The MTM
balance is bound to change anyway if they're re-worked as a fighter/SM
crossbreed :-/

>If MT-EMP Missiles impact at the same time as EMP-salvoes, treat >the
MT-EMP missile as 1d6 extra EMP-salvo missiles.

Sounds reasonable.

>Some general thoughts on 'EMP' class weapons.
>In general, these appear to fall into two main groups:
>Those that cause blanket threshold checks (like the More Thrust EMP
>Those that cause a limited number of threshold checks (like the Ion
>Cannon and the Scrambler Pulse).
>The 'problem' with the first group is that they are difficult to
>balance, consider, a typical EMP attack will have, on average, similar
>effects on both a corvette and a battleship (ok, this is not totally
>true, the MT EMP missile is affected by screens, which on average
>means that it has less effect on the larger vessels that tend to carry

In relative terms, the big screened ship suffers less from an MTM-EMP
hit than the small unscreened one does. However, in *absolute* terms -
ie., the number of weapons knocked out and thus the effect on the
battle - the big screened ship is likely to lose *more* than the
corvette. As I noted in another of today's posts this is one of the
very few FT game mechanics which puts a restriction on effective ship
>Which reminds me, if we descide that, in general, screens protect
>against EMP weapons we must be careful not to upset the >screen/armour
balance, as armour does _not_ protect against EMP.

Not a big worry. Remember, the subject which sparked off the entire
WotW idea was Karls' complaint that so many new weapons *ignore*
screens that the screens are becoming obsolete <g>

>I think the only reasonable way to attempt to balance 'Blanket
>Threshold weapons' (like the MT EMP Missile) is to balance them
>against Capital Ships (say an 'average' 200 or more MASS SDN) - >which
is probably what they are likely to be fired at anyway :-).

See my previous comments about how

>Hmm.. - lets use a FB1 Komarov for an example - 88 hull = 22 hull >per
row - to do a Threshold (6) requires 22 damage - thats the >equivalent
of 27.5 beam dice or about 6.3 dice where roll=damage.

Should be *37.7* beam dice. A Komarov has level-2 screens...

Robertson, Brendan wrote:

>Just had another thought.
>Dean's "Ion Cannon"  weapon is StarWars inspired, so what about >the
>Hits force thresholds against only the screens/vapour shrouds.  If
>there are no active screens, then a core systems threshold against
>the bridge is made; if the bridge goes down, it looses the opportunity
>to fire this turn, but autorepairs at the end of turn.

As long as you only use it in Star Wars-universe battles, fine. In an
"open-tech" setting this is just as unbalancing as the kinetic shields,
and for much the same reasons (see Noam's web page if you haven't

Apart from the above, I think Noam has already voiced most of my
thoughts - whether intentionally or not I don't know <g>


Oerjan Ohlson

"Life is like a sewer.
  What you get out of it, depends on what you put into it."

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