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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Traveller Tuesday: 2e High Guard Screens

I've been complaining a lot about something the nonsensical things Mongoose has done with 2e. But sometimes Mongoose gets things right, in which case I embrace my fully heretical anture and not only cherry-pick the bits I like, but then I graft them onto my own game.

I have an example of each in today's article.
My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.
So in 2e High Guard *, meson screens and nuclear dampers are now 10 dtons, instead of the previous 20 dtons from 1e High Guard -- which was itself a correction from 1e Core where they were 50 dtons.
Dropping screens from 50 dtons was something I approved of, because I couldn't see them taking the volume of a bay weapon while only reducing damage by 2d6, and 20 dtons seemed much more reasonable. But dropping them to 10 dtons seems questionable to me. Sure, it's unlikely to be an issue for player character ships, because the cost is exorbitant and they need to be stacked in order to be truly effective. But the big problem is with Navy ships -- mainly capital ships, but perhaps with escorts in the 1k to 3k range -- who have both the money and the space to give tens or hundreds of dtons to shields.
In 1e, the number of screens a ship could carry was limited. For non-capital ships, that limitation was based upon power plant performance; for capital ships, the limitation was this table:
But with 2e ships construction rules, which were designed as a unified system spanning small craft to dreadnaughts, all shields displace 10 dtons, with the only limitation being available volume and the power available. It worries me to think that a 2e capital ship could have enough power and dtonnage available to power sufficient number of screens as to make it essentially unkillable outside of spinal mounts. 

(For the record, I'm not fond of meson screen dtonnage in 1e, either. Nuclear dampers seem fine, starting out at regular size and increasing, but meson screens starting at 50 dtons is not only a waste of a bay, but also a challenge to logic. If screens for ships of 100 up to 2,999 dtons all displace 20 tons, and if nuclear dampers for ships 3k to 7.5k dtons are 20, why then are meson screens 50? Personally, I'd peg meson screen size to nuclear damper size while keeping the price difference.)

However, the 1e rules for Black Globes were asinine. Check out this table:
Now go back to the previous table, and see that per rules, a ship carrying a TL15 Black Globe device -- a shield derived from Ancient technology -- could only mount 3 of them. Not only does this do a disservice to black globes, which are supposed to be OMG ANCIENT TECH!, but 1) renders half the flicker chart completely unnecessary and 2) it says that BGGs for capships actually weigh less (10 to 30 dtons) than they do for non-cap ships (50 dtons)!

In this case, the 2e changes make sense. BGGs are back to being 50 dtons, and given their benefits I am completely comfortable with them taking up a bay's worth of space. In fact, I wonder if they ought to displace more volume, using the numbers from 1e meson screens instead.

But look! Using these rules, BGGs are actually useful  in combat! They have drawbacks, sure, but this chart balances those against the gains while not making BGGs useless (I'm looking at you, 2 measly points of armor per 10% flicker rate).
I like this, so I'm going to use it in my game. And that's what it means to be a Fully Heretical GM:  I can cut and graft as I see fit.

* Which, after nearly 10 months of development and six months after 2e Core came out, was finally published a few days after I mentioned their lateness in this article.

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