Thursday, March 10, 2011

Starship Weapons

I've often noticed some oddities in the game statistics for the weapons we see mounted on Starships in the Star Wars movies. Namely, the damage ratings we see for the various laser cannons. For instance, a standard 'laser cannon' has a damage rating of 4D. A 'dual' laser cannon (sometimes listed as two 'fire-linked' laser cannons) does 5D. Damage, while a quad laser cannon does 6D. If you think about it, this seems odd. I mean, 'logically', shouldn't a 'dual' laser cannon do twice the damage of a single? But obviously this is not the case or intention in the game. Why is this so?

Well, in part it may have something to do with the fact that SOME cannons (such as those on the X-Wing or Falcon) don't fire simultaneously, they alternate- thus providing an increased rate of fire- presumably without overheating or overtaxing the systems providing power to the weapons- i.e. the weapons don't all fire at once, but they do cycle rapidly from weapon to weapon, allowing one set to cool/recharge while the other set fires. But when we look at the TIE fighter, this doesn't seem to be the case. Rather, BOTH cannons seem to fire simultaneously at a rapid rate. So, umm, yeah. That KIND of blows that theory- unless you want to believe that maybe the 'dual' cannons both fire at a lower overall power, but combine to inflict more damage than would a single cannon, while still reducing the overall draw on the ship's power systems. Ummmm, yeah. Guess that will have to work, because I have no other explanation.

In the old X-Wing and TIE fighter games, you could actually select your mode of fire with multiple-barrel systems. I.e. an X-Wing could fire a high-speed, low damage mode where each of its four lasers fired in turn OR it could fire a medium speed, medium damage mode, where two cannons alternated off with the other two OR it could fire in a low speed, high damage mode, where all four cannons fired at once. The first mode gave you a greater chance of hitting (you could spray away, keeping up a constant but low-impact stream of damage) the latter made it harder to hit (you could only fire one shot every second or so) but did more damage if it hit. Even dual-cannon craft could switch modes between alternating fire and both cannons at once.

Why do I bring any of this up, you ask? Well, because I am STILL working on 'standardizing' the weapons of the Star Wars RPG- trying to apply a single kind of logic to both personal and vehicle scale weapons. But trying that leap between 'player scale' and 'vehicle scale' is still problematic, especially when it comes to automatic weapons- which I could count just about every type of vehicle weapon as. At least the ones shown on fighters in the movies. They generally don't fire a single shot per trigger pull, but rather a spray of shots. But to have fighters follow the 'autofire' rules I have come up with would be cumbersome in the extreme. And this has all brought me around to the point where I am probably going to revamp and simplify my autofire rules so it will work for both characters AND vehicles.

In fact, I am now beginning to see part of the 'fire-control' bonus to hit that vehicle weapons have is actually due to the fact that they fire a burst rather than a single shot.

Anyway, as you can probably tell, this is a rambling post mostly following stream of consciousness. I'll cut it off here to avoid causing any more confusion, but if anyone has any ideas on this matter, I'd be glad to hear them. Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. I'd say alternating-fire being the culprit is a safe bet. I'm interested to see what you come up with!