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1  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: Fiasco expressions of interest on: July 27, 2014, 06:30:29 AM
I'm in, if you'll have me.
2  Community / License to Improvise / Re: STORMSURGE - Warstrider Gaming for Mastercraft on: July 20, 2014, 02:57:04 PM
A bit of explanation and reasoning, if I may. Ignore if you do not care for design wank.

Artillery has a lot of bang for the buck, with high damage and range for low design points. This is chiefly balanced by the new Indirect quality. I originally futzed around with concepts like applying damage the round after the weapon is fired, but only if the target hasn't moved since then, but letting the player secretly pick another square to target as an attempt to lead the shot, and maybe it should just target squares instead of striders to begin with, and...and...and no. I looked at 2.0's Hangtime Rules, which are cool for when you have an AH-64 send a Hellfire at a skyscraper and your agents have two rounds to kill the big bad, shoot out the windows and dive out the other side with their gadget wingsuits. However, in a game where multiple striders are gonna be slinging this stuff at each other every round, we need less bookkeeping. Anything that starts in a round should be resolved in that round, because otherwise we have a big spreadsheet of arty fire coming down next round while everyone moves from under it, and it just turns into a huge round of whack-a-mole with high explosives. Besides, missiles and sniper cannons at extreme range don't suffer from hang time either - projectile velocity is just not A Thing except for armor-piercing effects or attack bonuses, and it would feel weird to just slap Arty with it.

So, go back to step one. What do I want as game effect? Make it suck at hitting moving targets. Bam, make an effect that only applies to moving targets - but you need something that you can resolve at time of the attack roll, so you don't get attacks rolled and then the other player decides to move and we have to recalculate again. In short, action->result. So instead, we look back at the round before, which is information that we actually have at the time we roll the attack. It may not make as much intuitive sense, but it's vastly easier to play with. Okay, so we have a penalty condition, what's the penalty? Auto-misses are lame. Some kind of numerical penalty...and it's harder to lead targets at long range - wait a minute, we have range penalties already. Make those worse! Double, no, triple them! There, arty now sucks at engaging moving targets while still being good against stationary stuff. (You may notice auto-mortars and the fastgun don't have a range penalty at effective range, meaning they actually don't experience any suck against moving targets. Deliberate - they can be depressed to be useful as short-range direct fire assault guns. Nasty little trick and a good reason why you don't want to try to rush a strider armed with them.)

Now, whenever you run into something that's a categorical limit of the tech, you try to beat it. People don't like living with the fact that arty sucks against anything that can dodge. Turns out, in the real world, there's long been attempts to make artillery smarter than just shooting big dumb shells into the air and hoping the math holds out. Excalibur and Copperhead are artillery rounds with guidance fins and laser seekers. Would the future figure out how to mass-produce and field those guys? Yeah, they sure would. Enter longguns, the ideal rear-echelon weapon - reach and punch of a missile, but much cheaper to field. You just need to make sure your target stays put or painted.

Speaking of painted...kind of a death sentence, isn't it? If you pull it off, your allies will just rain death on your target lock before it gets a chance to respond. The best you can do against it is to have a smokescreen up, but who has time to lay down smokescreens all the time? Enter the fastgun. Laser warning sensors are a thing even now, as are systems like Boomerang that can locate shooters in seconds. Put all that into a spritely little cannon on a fast mount with semi-automatic targeting algorithms, and you have a "MAKE LASER GO AWAY" button. It's short range, and it's weak, and it doesn't deal well with a moving target at all, but it's also fairly cheap, and it makes you think twice about parking either your arty or your spotter in one place. Plus, you never know what the next weapon with Vengeance looks like...

Okay, but what if you don't want the fancy? What if you need a strider that can blast something stationary to hell, and doesn't care about trying to catch some zippy little strider? Enter the auto-mortar. Heavy firepower on the cheap, the auto-mortar exists to stomp on poor defenseless fortifications. A strider will move, or try to shoot down the shells with its AMS, but once you free a weapon system from having to account for countermeasures, well, it turns out you can pack in quite a lot of boom. And even AMS isn't that great an idea what with multiple armored projectiles incoming, so it's much better to move. And that's true for all of these - artillery forces enemy striders to be on the move, actively hunting down scouts who provide target designation.

TLD;DR: Artillery - because war isn't fair.

(P.S.: I've looked into statting strategic missile weaponry and other WMD delivery systems, but with the lack of sensible uses in tactical combat, that's probably best built as gear that just sucks up design points, core slots and power with no concrete game effect beyond "Fuck you and your entire zip code". Once I've got those worked out, we're gonna build us some Metal Gears. Stay tuned.)
3  Community / License to Improvise / Re: STORMSURGE - Warstrider Gaming for Mastercraft on: July 20, 2014, 05:21:04 AM
Your wish is my command, milady.

---

Missile Weapons

Automortar: Short-range, rapid-fire artillery designed to blanket an area with explosive shells. (5 points of damage per shell. Armor 2.)
Fastgun: Autoloading, semi-autonomous light artillery designed for counterbattery fire. (Armor 2.)
Longgun: “Classic” artillery offers long range and terminal guidance options. (Armor 4.)

Missile Weapons
Automortar-3 (10): 15 (explosive), Indirect, Halt, 4/8/12, 0/-4/-8, -/-, C, -, 7
Automortar-5 (5): 25 (explosive), Indirect, Halt, 4/8/12, 0/-4/-8, -/-, C, -, 11
Fastgun (40): 4 (explosive), Indirect, Vengeance, 6/10/14, 0/-4/-8, -/-, A/C, -, 4
Longgun/10 (25): 10 (explosive), Indirect, Guided, Halt, 12/24/40, -2/-4/-8, -/-, C, -, 7
Longgun/15 (15): 15 (explosive), Indirect, Guided, Halt, 15/30/50, -2/-4/-8, -/-, C, -, 11
Longgun/20 (10): 20 (explosive), Indirect, Guided, Halt, 18/36/60, -2/-4/-8, -/-, C, -, 14

Weapon Qualities

Indirect: This weapon is designed to fly in a ballistic arc with significant lag between firing and impact. Its range penalty is tripled when attacking a target that has moved in the previous round.
Vengeance: Once per round when an opponent paints or attacks you, you gain a free attack with this weapon against him, suffering a -4 penalty to your attack roll.

---

Being that they're missile weapons, the attack roll uses Int, while they're legit targets for AMS. I think that works nicely for our purposes.

Feel free to steal, tinker or disregard. Smiley
4  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: STORMSURGE: Around the Campfire [OOC and open feedback] on: June 23, 2014, 09:46:14 AM
One more poke, dying to know the outcome of the Recon/Infiltrator trial.
5  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: STORMSURGE: Early 2046 (Turn 5) [Dossiers sent] on: June 18, 2014, 09:45:36 AM
When It Rains, It Pours
Nate on Monaco and the latest warstrider trials

Lunch today is shepherd's pie ala wife - I might be out of the hospital now, but old Nate's still not at a 100%, with my left arm in a cast and the approximate hearing of a 80-year old grindcore drummer. Thanks for all the well-wishes, everyone.

So, Monaco. What can I say? While I was laid up, the papers went over every known detail with a fine-toothed comb, and what I'm left with is just what happened to me. Well, I got my Zeus ridealong. All credit for my survival goes to Lieutenant Aiden O'Doul, who managed to hold his ground and give a feckin' good account of himself despite having me bouncing around the back of the cockpit screaming one thing or another. That this and Guy deVore's heroics in a Persephone didn't shoot ACE's stock price up through the ceiling is a damn crime. I owe you guys a round or two - call me when you're back in the EU, we'll make it happen.

But the gears of war keep turning, and there's new developments on the strider front, so let's get straight to the biscuits. JDF and Hawaii ordered a missile defense strider, so Phoenix and Mihini Nui jumped at it. Phoenix brought us the Stryker, an interesting design - amphibious for island warfare, good sensors and a strong EW suite, with a dual-rack interceptor AMS system. I'm not sure what the hammer/machinegun combo weapon arm is supposed to achieve on an AA strider, but Phoenix does like its unconventional weapon loadouts. On the other hand, the Taumahi (a Kokiri refit, if you're keeping score at home) foregoes a fancier electronics load, skipping EW, battlelink and even long-range sensors. For that, you get a faster strider with thicker armor and a pared down weapons load. Missiles better beware, though, as the Taumahi packs an extended-capacity interceptor AMS plus a ballistic active defense system and AA laser emitters. Though I'd give the Stryker the nod as a more rounded coastal defense strider, you can't argue with the sheer amount of defensive systems on the Taumahi, and while I don't know the details, I'd put some money on that swinging the vote towards it.

The competition for a Recon slash Infiltrator strider for Pacifica has been a wild one, and we still don't have final results, but just looking at the competitors gets Nate's heart all aflutter. First off, you have ACE with their Black Falcon, a stealthy medium hoverer that seems tailor-made for the Infiltrator role - with a personnel carrier module and additional space for power armor, one of these can shuttle a good amount of unpleasantness behind enemy lines. Respectable firepower, too, you know I like that. And then we have something I never thought I'd see - a surprise from Eurowalker. The Cougar's a brick, yes, but it's a flying brick - Eurowalker trying their hand at the rarely-seen VTOL design. It doesn't pack the same punch as the Black Falcon, but just take a look at those electronics - top-shelf sensors, respectable EW, battlelink, deployable repeaters, this baby has it all. With just a single Spearhead launcher, the Cougar won't be sticking around for a slugmatch, but when it comes to battlefield awareness I think you'd be hard-pressed to find its equal, let alone in this weight class. Dúnadan, then, goes the other way again, trying to maximize firepower with minimum RCS - you ask me, that strider's built for raids, not recon, though it certainly has a very good sensor load. Tell you the truth folks, I honestly can't figure out which one of those will be picked - there's good arguments to be made for each one, and Pacifica will just have to decide what they want - flexible stealth deployment of troops, a sensor picket or a stealthy guntruck.

Finally, the mercs are still after a tech demonstrator - and Spacebourne demonstrates that it's easy to win when you're the only one in the running. Which isn't a dig on the Rampart - it's a big one on tracks, right up Spacebourne's alley, and they put it all to good use with a weapons load that presents a whole buffet of battlefield options, not to mention ample space for troops and MAPs. Forward fire base on tracks? Check. I wouldn't put it up against a dedicated battle strider in this weight class, but as an area control / deterrence strider, I can see a lot of merc companies digging for their checkbooks to at least get one on the roster - it seems ideally suited to be the core of a strike force, covering whatever niche its smaller buddies won't.

And what's on the horizon? Atlantis wants an "Urban Intervention" strider, which seems like the police strider trials after the gloves come off - the heavy missile load is clearly meant to deal with strider raids first and demonstrators maybe fifth. Sovereign Australis, as ever conscious of its long supply tail, needs an Armed Cargo strider. Considering the speed requirements, I wouldn't put that past a good VTOL design, but they want a cannon, too, so maybe something wheeled, while we're chatting about not-technically-strider designs that seem to be making a big comeback this year. And finally, the EU is obviously reacting to Monaco - I can't honestly say they're over-reacting - with Omega. Big strider, big guns, no hiding. They obviously expect something that'll go toe to toe with the worst the terrorists are throwing at us, so here's Nate's homework assignment: figure out which of our favorites has the means to build this monster for the EU. Feel free to write in with your answers.

Power stride and ready to ride,
Nate Gasczensky
6  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: STORMSURGE: Around the Campfire [OOC and open feedback] on: June 17, 2014, 04:27:07 PM
How are the trials coming?
7  Community / License to Improvise / Re: STORMSURGE - Warstrider Gaming for Mastercraft on: June 17, 2014, 03:14:29 PM
I can deal with Cougar's rotors becoming more vulnerable, the Zombie's there to a) show off the new hotness and b) protect the pilot and sensor platform. So, yeah, I think that's a good solution. So, make the flying brick even brickier in the core, or consider a system upgrade...hm.
8  Community / License to Improvise / Re: STORMSURGE - Warstrider Gaming for Mastercraft on: June 17, 2014, 01:52:07 PM
I think the rules right now don't bear that out - the slab protects legs, not other modes of transport. I'm having trouble seeing how a slab of armor can protect rotors without impacting their aerodynamic performance.

As for raising armor limit on rotors - maybe that kinda thing should be dealt with by using Armored Actuators? Maybe rename that to Armored Drive, so it covers all kinds of drive systems being specifically hardened against becoming totally disabled.
9  Community / License to Improvise / Re: STORMSURGE - Warstrider Gaming for Mastercraft on: June 17, 2014, 07:10:06 AM
So in other words, my little Cougar is way broken, having more than three times the allowed armor on its rotors. Are we grandfathering that or should I redistribute to make it legal?
10  Community / License to Improvise / Re: STORMSURGE - Warstrider Gaming for Mastercraft on: June 17, 2014, 06:32:02 AM
Assault VTOL!

So what is the armor limit? Didn't see that in Step 4.
11  Community / License to Improvise / Re: STORMSURGE - Warstrider Gaming for Mastercraft on: June 13, 2014, 04:11:34 PM
Probably make ramming something that needs an opposed Ride check to hit - and the consequence of missing is ramming into the terrain - you get up to full speed like that, you won't stop on a dime if your target dodges away. Basically, the rammer always takes damage, it's just a question of what else does, too.
12  Community / License to Improvise / Re: STORMSURGE - Warstrider Gaming for Mastercraft on: June 13, 2014, 01:17:48 PM
See, that's why I was trying to keep it simple...
13  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: STORMSURGE: Early 2046 (Turn 5) [Dossiers sent] on: June 12, 2014, 05:03:02 PM
But will they sell? Neat prototypes are one thing, getting buyers for them quite another. (Also, I probably should have called it Lynx to highlight the sensor platform thing, but eh, Cougar's more American.)
14  Community / License to Improvise / Re: STORMSURGE - Warstrider Gaming for Mastercraft on: June 12, 2014, 05:00:52 PM
A thought about another vehicular hybrid option:

Wheeled (Scout/Light/Medium classes ONLY): Wheeled combat chassis boast fast speed over even ground without the large design compromises of Rotorwings, but suffer in maneuverability and rough terrain. (-1 Handling, Road Warrior: Speed doubled in settled areas, but reduced to 2 over difficult terrain.)

I'm seeing this covering both stuff like armed super-heavy motorcycles in the Scout class as well as more traditional 6x6 or 8x8 military armored vehicle conversions analogous to their heavier tracked counterparts.
15  Community / Play-by-Post / Re: STORMSURGE: Early 2046 (Turn 5) [Dossiers sent] on: June 12, 2014, 04:30:57 PM
(click to show/hide)

Eurowalker Cougar - Rotorwing Light Class
Features: Ruggedized, Cockpit Comforts, Zombie, Advanced Sensors

Power Plant: 3/7
Speed/Handling: 10/3 (Air-Cav, crab)
Armor: 100

Core: 41
Tail: 41
Main rotors: 9
Tail rotors: 9

Load Out
Core: Sensors III (IV through Advanced Sensors), Turret: Spearhead launcher, Paint Laser

Gear
EW II, Flares, Fronds, Storage (Sleeper, free via Cockpit Comforts), Network Node, Turret I

EDIT: Added a note to Sensors.

EDIT 2: Revised armor distribution. Spent the 2 points this freed on a Network Node and a Turret.
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