Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Threat Axis Aleph - Basic Patrol Craft

So, I managed to finish the first of my ships.  Here she is, the "Basic Patrol Craft".  Link is to a PDF on Google drive

Basic Patrol Craft

I'm envisioning this as a converted merchant ship, with weapons shoehorned in wherever they fit.  This is less Starship Enterprise, and more "Lean out the cockpit of a biplane with a rifle" at this point.

I expect the Small Laser to be almost useful, and the firing arcs cannot be the best.  But this is the first one, we'll see what comes in the next generation.

Armor is present, but not too thick.  In a one on one battle against itself, I think two good hits will result in internal damage.  That seems right for this ship.

The Basic Patrol Craft type is present in all four star fleets of the Aleph Cluster.  From the P-1 of the Strategic Space Command, the Flower class of the Royal Army of Rosaria, the "Small Border Patrol Craft" of the Gresham Democratic Republic, to the Seabird Class patrol craft of New Grand Ronde.  This small craft serves where others are too large, or otherwise too busy.

- Starships of the Aleph Cluster

Monday, August 22, 2016

Threat Axis Aleph - Basic Weapons for the setting

Squadron Strike.  I want to do more with it, but I keep getting bogged down in minutia.

Sure, there's the various bundled campaign settings (and I await the Traveller PDF with baited breath...).  My problem is I want to build and bash.  I want a game that fills the niche that Classic Battletech and Starfire have left.  I want to build and bash my own ships.

The "problem" is that SS is not just a spaceship game.  Ken Burnside included a large spreadsheet to build and bash with.

But it's not a build and bash game.  You need to design weapon systems before you can design ships to bash with.

But it's not a weapons and ship design game, you need to establish the campaign setting before you can start designing weapon systems to put in your ships to bash with.

But you need to design the UNIVERSE before you design the campaign setting to design the weapon systems that go into the ships you are bashing with.

This is not a game, it's a toolkit to design the universe, create an innovative setting, craft interesting weapons, and put them into fun ships to bash with.  This is power.  The problem I have is that I end up with option overload, and I don't get beyond "I have an idea" and then I lock up on "How do I do the detail I don't care about yet...".

So, for Threat Axis Aleph, I am going to do this in several steps.  Step 1 is to create a small subset of simple weapons, and put them into two ships.  I'll start designing scenarios and playing SS at this point.  Step 2 will be to design one new ship for each of my four star-nations.  I'll use the simple weapons to start with.  Step 3 will be, design new weapons for each star nation, based on the experiences to that point.  Step 4 will start making new ships with those weapons... And so on.

I've decided to constrain myself by creating weapons based on my old favorite, Classic Battletech.  I'll use the small, medium, and large laser, and the PPC.

Btech used 2d6 to roll to hit, and had 4 range bands, Short Medium and Long.  The SS Spreadsheet I am using[Note 1] has room for seven range bands.  SS also uses 1d10 to hit.

Short range, was a 4+ to hit, Medium range a 6+ to hit, and long range a 8+ to hit on 2d6.  Initially, I was just going to use those numbers, but I remembered, the odds are different.  I looked up someone's table of probable percentages on the 'net, and specified 2+, 4+ and 7+ to hit on 1d10.  I rounded a little, but it should have the simple flavor of what I wanted.  The PPC has a "myopic" zone within 3 hexes, so I simply estimated the die modifier from Btech, and used the appropriate D10 approximation.

Damage was simple.  Small Laser - 1 point,  Medium Laser - 3 points, Large Laser - 8 points, PPC - 10 points.

SS has a mechanic for "Penetration".  Once you hit my ship, you roll 2D10, and take the lowest number thrown.  Compare that number to the PEN value for the weapon.  You ADD the lowest of pen value, or the result from your "2d10-" roll, to the basic damage of that weapon.  This can add in some variability in weapon damage.

I have a personal dislike of variable weapon damage.  This goes back to Btech, and my ability to hit with a missile salvo, and then roll the minimum damage value for that hit!  So for SS, I've chosen to set the PEN to ZERO.  This has the side effect of making it unnecessary to roll the PEN dice in SS.  This should speed the game up a bit.  A simplification that is totally allowed within the rules!

So, here are the simple weapons that all four nations start with in Threat Axis Aleph...

Small Laser
0-1 hexes, 2+ to hit, 1 point damage
2 hexes, 4+ to hit, 1 point damage
3 hexes, 7+ to hit, 1 point damage

Medium Laser
0-3 hexes, 2+ to hit, 3 points damage
4-6 hexes, 4+ to hit, 3 points damage
7-9 hexes, 7+ to hit, 3 points damage

Large Laser
0-5 hexes, 2+ to hit, 8 points damage
6-10 hexes, 4+ to hit, 8 points damage
11-15 hexes, 7+ to hit, 8 points damage

Particle Projection Cannon
Same hex - can't hit or damage
1 hex, 6+ to hit, 10 points damage
2 hexes, 4+ to hit, 10 points damage
3 hexes, 3+ to hit, 10 points damage
4-6 hexes, 2+ to hit, 10 points damage
7-12 hexes, 4+ to hit, 10 points damage
13-18 hexes, 7+ to hit, 10 points damage

Now, back to the spreadsheet, to design a small patrol boat, and a medium sized warship.

[Note 1] I am using an outdated version of the spreadsheet.  I don't have excel, so I am limited to the last version ported to libreOffice.  This is sub-optimal, but I don't want to not play with this until I get a box with excel installed.  I'll try to keep my description as generic as possible, so it should work on the latest spreadsheet.  Barring some massive change to the sheet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lizard Brain

After a week off, we are back this week.

We lost some time getting character backgrounds.  Some interesting stuff for me to use there.

Then, we rejoined our merry adventurers in the Broken Crown Inn.  After the pie (Some of the best.  The skunk lard made it oh-so-flakey!).  our band had rested the night.

In the morning the fighter persuaded them to travel east hunting bandits.  The traveled east on the caravan road.  The first day was wet, and uneventful.  The night passed with no events.  But once they had been traveling for the morning, they found footprints.  Humanoid footprints.  They followed them, and came upon three lizard folk.  There was a moment of mutual "Hey! Get 'em!" and combat was joined.  The thief was wounded bloodily, but survived.  The lizard folk did not.

And that's where we ended up.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Before you can have pie...

Still not done with the characters for the Kid's DnD game, but we ventured fourth anyways. 

Nestled along the jungle-draped Green Serpent River, is the town of Copperford.  The Green Serpent River runs into the Derfang Forest, but few wish to venture into that fey-infested area.

The Green Serpent Valley is the domain of William the Thin.  He makes his home in the keep in the town of Copperford.

Alya the elven Druid, Skular the dwarven Barbarian, Alex the human Fighter, Mako the tiefling Sorcerer, and Kayla the halfling Rogue are our party.

They were in the Broken Crown Inn, the home of the best pies in the area.  The proprietor, one Kieth Silverhorn the half-elven, was lamenting his lack of good lard for making pies.  He told our heroes that they needed to go find him some "Dire Skunks" to make into lard for the pies.

Our heroes ventured out past the palisade walls of Copperford in search of dire skunks.  After much nature crafting, they found a batch of four skunks.  The skunks were turned into pre-lard rather quickly.  Alex and Skular found a fifth skunk, and made short work of it as well.

They returned to The Broken Crown to collect their bounty of 10 silver per skunk, and a share of the best pie in town.

We'll do more later, but that was about all the attention the kids had tonight.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Collaborative worlbuilding with kids.

I have been asked to run a 5E Dungeons and Dragons game for the kids.  This opportunity has given me a chance to try out something I saw on the internet.

Here's the post by The Chatty DM - The Index Card Method Codex, Part 1

So, before I start working up anything for this game, I wanted to make sure I had buy in from the kids.  Ages range from 10 to 17, both boys and girls.  I think it will work better if I make THEM build the world, rather than me building some idea I think is neat, and then having to force them to like it.

We sat down last night, and followed The Chatty DM's idea.  Each player in turn was asked to give me one thing about the world.  I did three trips around the circle.  Here are our results.  I am using "Player N" because, Kids, Internet. Bleh.

Player 1:
The Ascension of Sivdur the Black Star. 
The Inquisitors of the Holy Iron.
The Khaordan Wastes

Player 2:
Audricul, Temple to Animals
Talking Animals of Derfang Forest
Mystical Misty the Magic Item Merchant

Player 3:
Rena the Mercenary
The Prometheus Company of Mercenaries
The Kingdom of Caterina

Player 4:
Assassin Sandcats of the Derfang Forest
Undead Squid
The War of Calamari

Player 5:
The Abandoned Derfang Keep
The Derfang Shift
Shakul, Old King of Derfang

Player 6:
The Goliath Stronghold
The Hundred-Year Flood
The Resurgence of Andromeda

And that's my card deck for the Setting Stack.  Next task is to make some characters, and have the players give me more content.  Among my challenges is the age range.  The oldest wants a grim dark world of grimth and dark.  The youngest would be more at home in a world of anthropomorphic animals that are written for a Saturday morning timeslot on TV.

This won't be boring.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Squadron Strike - Threat Axis Aleph

The following Polities are involved at this time, in Threat Axis Aleph

1. The United Systems of Aries
A republic.

2. The Kingdom of Rosaria
Theoretically, a constitutional monarchy.  In reality the Kingdom is a corporate state.

3. The Gresham Democratic Republic
Stalinists.  In Space

4. "The People"
An oligarchy.  This world colonized from Northwest Coast people (Salish, Chinook, Confederated tribes of the Grand Ronde).

Here's the node map of the area

More details, but I now have a map, and this gives me a start for a Squadron Strike environment.  Solo only so far, but I'll start by recruiting players for tactical games, rather than starting a campaign cold.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Shipyard capacities, Aragon vs Burbank

I'd been worrying about the relative shipyard capacities of the Vice-Royalty of Aragon, and the People's Republic of Burbank.  Mainly because Aragon has a nice high-population and high tech world (Jarandilla) that would make an awesome industrial complex...

Except it's a class C starport, and cannot build it's own small craft or starships.  oopsie.

This made me worry about whether the Vice-Royalty could hold off the revolutionary hordes.  Then I ran some numbers.  Now I wonder why the Vice-Royalty hasn't smashed them to crap.  Here's what I saw...

Shipyards of Aragon 4.6 million tons of starship a month.

Santander - C - 60 tons / month Pax and War
Aragon - B - 4,600,000 tons / month Pax, 4,800,000 tons / month War
Valladolid - A - 5,750 tons / month Pax, 6,000 tons / month war
Salmanca - 8 - 2.3 tons / month pax, 2.4 tons / month war

Jarandilla - E - No shipyards, but could be 36,000,000 tons / month pax, 45,000,000 tons / month war.

Shipyards of Burbank  0.87 million tons of starship a month

Downey - F - 1.5 tons / month, 4.5 tons month
Claremont - E - 72,000 tons / month pax, 90,000 tons / month war
Palmdale - D - 220 tons / month pax, 240 tons / month war
Commerce - D - 990 tons / month pax, 1080 tons / month war
Portola Valley - C - 77 tons / month pax, 84 tons / month war
Burbank - C - 11,000 tons / month pax, 12,000 tons / month war
Alameda - B - 4400 tons / month pax, 4800 tons / month war
Alhambra - 9 - 11,500 tons / month pax, 12,000 tons / month war
Wilsonia - 7 - 770,000 tons / month pax, 840,000 tons / month war

So, in other words, Burbank is out-produced MORE than 4 to 1.  And get a load of the greatest shipyard...At Wilsonia.  Pumping out 770,000 displacement tons of Tech Level SEVEN goodies (1Kton max ship size, J-0 M-2).   That almost doesn't count in a High Guard / TCS scenario.  Wilsonia's big craft will have to hitch rides on someone else's carriers to get to the party.

I think I know why Jarandilla has no starship yards.  The war ended (or started...) with a massive suicide raid that smashed the yards there, and forced a peace deal.  Otherwise 36 million tons of warship a month, all at TL 14.  Burbank's space navy would be swamped.

An interesting setup I've got here.