Thursday, June 08, 2006

Book 2 Detection and Ship Tactics

On the face of it, detection's simple in book 2. If a target is within detection range, it's detected. Detection range can vary based on the quality of the sensors, and certain countermeasures by the target.

-----------------(15 bands)--(8 bands)----(2 bands)

------------------60 bands)--(30 bands)----(8 bands)

Any ship can track a detected target to 900,000km. (9000mm,90 bands)
Planetary masses and stars completely conceal a ship from detection.

I interpret Book 2's "Maintaining complete silence" as "not transmitting radio and not running power plants;" a ship maintaining complete silence cannot maneuver or fire lasers, cannot jump, cannot communicate with other ships, and cannot guide missiles actively. Passive ordnance may be launched without breaking silence, but reveal the launching ship the movement phase following launch.

Who Gets to be Intruder?

The "Intruder" in book 2 combat moves first, fires first, and overall enjoys an advantage. It stands to reason that whichever ship sees the other first may naturally be the intruder.

If only one ship detects the other, it may avoid the encounter, or it may begin space combat as the intruder. As long as the intruder does nothing to reveal its position, it will remain undetected.

What About Ties? Houserule
Loosely based on book 1 surprise: If both ships detect each other, each must roll 1D, adding the ship’s Navigator’s skill to the roll. The higher roll is the Intruder.

An undetected ship will be detected:
1) If any action it takes causes it to fall within the other ship’s sensor range:
a. by movement of either ships, or
b. causing its detection range to expand by breaking complete silence.

The following are more house-ruley, but still based on Book 2 rationales:

2) A ship outside normal detection range may fire its lasers and remain undetected UNLESS the target has a Return Fire program active.

3)An undetected ship may launch passively guided ordnance without being detected. If the ordnance's vector can be traced back to the ship's present position, however, it will be detected.

An example: A (T)Patrol Cruiser approaches a world under power, around which an (A) Free Trader is orbiting and maintaining silence. The type A will detect the type T first, because the T can can only detect a silent, orbiting target at a range of 75,000km, while the A detect a normal-running ship at a range of 150,000km. Therefore the type A will be the intruder in this encounter.

If the type A wishes to remain undetected, it cannot operate its power plant, and so cannot maneuver or use lasers. It may launch a missile undetected, however. When the missile moves, its vector can be traced to its point of origin - but since the type A is in orbit, its vector will have taken it away from where it was when the missile began movement. The type T will see that a missile has originated from planetary orbit, but not knowing the direction in which the type A was moving, it will be unable to target the launching vessel. The type T will have to close within 75,000km to do that, which may prove difficult while evading the missile salvo streaking towards it.

The Type A's captain will likely cross his fingers and hope that his missiles keep the T busy long enough for his orbit to take him behind the planet, at which point he'll either land, or make a run for 100D.


Blogger KenHR said...

Good stuff in both of these posts (and I saw you hashing out the problems on the ct-starships list...good discussion over there). Your solutions seem pretty much in keeping with books 1-3.

With regard to sensors, one of the more prolific posters on CotI has been refining his own house rules. The latest thread is here:;f=44;t=000392

A little too much for my tastes, but good if you want to place an emphasis on gear and equipment.

5:41 AM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...

WJP has a lot of good ideas, and if he's able to keep all that in mind while he's actually running a game, bless'im I say. Me, I wanna stay simple.

Ct-starships is such a fantastic resource. It was such a revelation to learn about the pulse laser rule: I hadn't known about the edition differences prior to finding ct-s.

I'm always interested in finding reasons for Navigators to be on shipboard, so I was happy to find an area here (the detection tiebreaker roll) to employ one.

Outside these rules, o'course, if a PC ship navigator says "I'm concentrating all of my scan on backtracking that incoming missile" I'd let him roll on it, 'pending on the range.

6:55 AM  
Blogger KenHR said...

I do love reading WJP's posts, because he obviously loves the game and puts a lot of thought into his house rules, but yeah, I'm with you: I'd never be able to keep track of it all. Maybe if CT was a straight-up wargame I'd employ his ideas, but I'm slowly coming around to the idea that combat, etc. is all window-dressing for playing out an adventure. No need to get any more detailed than the rules already are.

I like the idea of incorporating skills into ship combat a bit more. Enhances the RP-ing aspect of the game a lot more. I'll be watching for more ideas I can pinch for my game! :-)

7:15 AM  

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