Archive for the Intercept Category

Intercept 3.5.1

Posted in Design system, Intercept, Rules, Traveller on June 17, 2020 by Anders Backman

Mayday

In consequence of inventing machines, man will be consumed by them – Jules Verne

So, once again there is a new version of Intercept; the rulebook, the design system and all of its ready made designs. So what has changed then one may wonder? Too many changes to count but let’s just briefly mention a few.

Traveller skills

All task rolls are now assumed to be used with Traveller skills as DM. This means that all target numbers have been changed to match, the game plays as before, just easier to integrate with the Traveller rpg. I am assuming Mongoose version of Traveller here which means that it will also work with Classic Traveller, Megatraveller and TNE, Cepheus engine will of course also work. I assume a skill level for a task is 2 for civilians and 3 for Scouts and Navy, wary as you see fit.

Pilot rolls are still made against the ships Size and the Pilot default table still uses the ships Size but modified with the skill of the Pilot.

Pilot default 352

Armor

Ships Armor was too high for high TL designs because of a bug I had missed in the design system. All armor values have been updated for all designs, the SDB Dragon class is still built like a tank but a little bit easier to kill for example.

Missile to hit and damage

Missiles are now more affected by their relative vector, their attack vector as it is called. Their to hit chances vary more and their PEN and DAM vary more by attack vector, you have been warned. I have also extended the max relative vector out to 10+ squares per turn for very hard to hit (and defend against) and a truly devastating damage.

Missile attack vector 351

Well, that is all folks, until next time. I’m thinking about maybe writing a thing on custom missiles, lots of interesting things to do there, to surprise your opponents. Keep the solar wind to your back side.

 

Small update to Social class and tasks

Posted in Intercept on April 14, 2020 by Anders Backman

If God was perfect when he created everything the first time around, why did he have to wipe out nearly everything by the flood?

The version uploaded yesterday had an ugly text spillover that I had missed. Download the current version to have one less page and better looking document, sorry about that.

Also, after studying the statistics of the LBB Supplement 1001 Characters I realized that a normal skill level is closer to 2 than 3 so the default task difficulties will be

  • 5+ for Easy tasks
  • 8+ for normal tasks
  • 11+ for hard tasks

This also matches the Mongoose system and the Classic Traveller system perfectly, read more here. Thanks to the guy on the Facebook Traveller RPG group for pointing this out to me.

Now, back to watching court room documentaries on NetFlix while writing my Crime & Punishment rules system for Traveller.

Deterministic Pilot task

Posted in Intercept, Rules on March 5, 2020 by Anders Backman

John Boyd was dubbed “Forty Second Boyd” for his standing bet as an instructor pilot that beginning from a position of disadvantage, he could defeat any opposing pilot in air combat maneuvering in less than 40 seconds.

John Boyd said that a pilot going into aerial combat must know two things: the position of the enemy and the velocity of the enemy. Given the velocity of an enemy, a pilot is able to decide what the enemy is capable of doing. When a pilot knows what maneuvers the enemy can perform, he can then decide how to counter any of the other pilot’s actions. 

Deterministic rules

In order to capture the feel of space combat being a contest of wits between two veteran commanders, like a game of chess, I have added variants of the rules where no luck is involved at all. Movement, initiative, sensors, attack, defense and damage are all governed by deterministic rules. Pages 44-45 of the rulebook hold the various deterministic rules but this blog post will focus on one particular section; the Deterministic Pilot task and initiative determination.

The Pilot default table was discussed here and these rules are somewhat similar. You look up your ships Size on a table after having modified the row used by computer pool use, Pilot skill, damage etc. The table gives you the steps of turning allowed this turn if you didn’t turn at all the previous turn. The Usable steps of turning is the value from the table minus half the number of steps you used the last turn.

 

Usable steps of turning

Look up modified Size, subtract used steps from last turn / 2 (round up)
Highest number of Usable steps of turning win Initiative
A ship has a certain number of steps each turn, based on ship Size, Pilot skill
and Crew damage. Subtract the used number of steps / 2 from the previous turn
(rounded up). A good way to handle this is to write down the turn number / used steps of turn for each ship, so you don’t have to remember how many steps was used the last turn.

Deterministic Pilot task 1

Initiative

Untracked ships win Initiative over tracked ships as usual but higher Useable
steps of turning is used instead of the Pilot task or Pilot default.
Initiative is determined as follows (in order of priority):
1 Untracked ships have higher Initiative
2 Higher Useable steps of turning have higher Initiative
3 Higher Ship tactics have higher Initiative
4 Higher crew station have higher Initiative (Bridge > Full > Limited)
5 Break ties with player A wins on even, B on odd turns, note on DataCard.

Deterministic Pilot task 2

Pilot task result

Whenever the rules call for the Pilot task result (Very Good, Good, Fair, Miss, Bad or Very Bad) determine the degree of success or failure from the above chart. Pilot task results are used when Aerobraking, landing, ramming and docking. The Pilot task result is not used to determine initiative; for example two ships, one with 4 steps of turning to use and the other with 5  both have a Fair Pilot task result but the ship with 5 steps win over the one with 4.

The Deterministic usable steps of turning go very well together with the Deterministic hitlocation rules as these make maneuvering even more critical. Feel free to mix and match whatever Deterministic rules you like, as long as both players agree upon their use before the game starts. Although I have taken care to make them as balanced as possible there’s no guarantee that the balance will remain the same, you have been warned!

Pilot duel example

The next post will cover a mock duel between two trader captains using the deterministic pilot task presented above.

There’s only one course of action
Left for me to take
I’ve tried every switch selection
That might control this state
I think for my protection
I better make it straight
Into Ejection
Better tell Base
Ejection
That I think it’s a case
For Ejection
Explode into Space
Ejection
Protect my Face
Ejection

Ejection – Hawkwind

 

 

Pilot default

Posted in Intercept on February 6, 2020 by Anders Backman

Bildresultat för Dogfight me 109 shot down

Pulling up into his blind spot I watched his plane grow larger and larger in my sight. But this German pilot was not content to fly straight and level. Before I could open fire his plane slewed to the right, and seeing me on his tail, he jerked back on the stick into the only defensive maneuver his plane could make. I banked my 47 over to the right and pulled back on the stick, striving to get him once more into my ring sight. The violent maneuver applied terrific G’s to my body, and I started to black out as the blood rushed from my head. Fighting every second to overcome this blackness about me, I pulled back on the stick, further and further, so that the enemy would just show at the bottom of my ring sight to allow for the correct deflection.

We were both flying in a tight circle. Just a little more and I’ll have him. Pressing the [trigger] I waited expectantly for the 109 to explode. I’ve hit his wing. A section two-feet long broke loose from the right wing as the machine gun cut like a machete through it. Too low, a little more rudder and the bullets will find his cockpit. I could see occasional strikes further up the wing, but it was too late. The 109, sensing that I was inside him on the turn, slunk into a nearby cloud. Straightening my plane, I climbed over the top of the bank, and poised on the other side, waiting for him to appear. But the 109 did not appear, and not wishing to tempt the gods of fate further, I pushed my stick forward, entered the protective cover of the clouds, and headed home.

Unknown World war 2 pilot

In Intercept no task is rolled more than the Pilot task. It affects how much your ship may turn but most importantly it also determine the Initiative or the order things are done in the game, high initiative move last and attack first and as damage is inflicted directly the losing initiative may not get a chance to fire back.

As the target number to beat is your ship Size a Pilot task roll will inevitably reveal your ship’s Size to your opponent (and your Pilot skill). For this reason Intercept gave Untracked ships an automatic task result of Fair with 4 steps of turning each turn, enough to turn in any direction without revealing the Size.

Flying really large ships such as 60 000 dTon cruiser with Size 12 and getting an automatic Fair result made them much more maneuverable when Untracked than when Tracked and some players may also feel that Tracked ships are way too unpredictable in how much one can maneuver from turn to turn because of the required Pilot task rolls every turn.

Pilot Defaults

 

So, what to do? In the current rulebook I have added something called Pilot defaults which list four Pilot task results, one for each turn out of four for each ship Size.

A Size 7 ship use the series 3(M) 3(M) 3(M) 3(M), which means the ship may turn 3 steps and the Pilot task result is considered a Miss for all 4 turns of each hour.

A Size 8 ship use the series 3(M) 3(M) 3(M) 2(B), which means the ship may turn 3 steps and the Pilot task result is considered a Miss for turns 1-3 but turn 4 it can only do 2 steps of turning and the Pilot result is then treated as Bad.

Note that rolling the Pilot task will on the average give you more steps and better results but may also give you worse results, the decision is up to you what to use. Ships with computer dice to use on the Pilot task roll will have even better chances of beating the Pilot default of course.

Pilot task rolls are done in A/B order as usual but each ship must now decide weather to roll a Pilot task or use Pilot default, this is true regardless if you are tracked or not. This completely replaces the untracked automatic 4 steps rule mentioned above; if you want to hide your Size you use Pilot defaults.

When two ships are equal in Size, Ship tactics and crew stations, and both tracked the following might ensue;
First turn.
Player A must decide weather to roll Pilot or use a Pilot default. Player B will then probably roll because he would automatically lose if not. On B turns the tables are turned and A player is more likely to roll.

The huge battle cruiser with its Size 12 have Pilot defaults of 2(B) 1(VB) 2(B) 1(VB) so untracked large ships are now just as slow and lumbering as when tracked. Mission accomplished!

The Deterministic rules on page 44-45 does not allow Pilot defaults, instead you always use a similar table where both Pilot skill and Computer pool dice are taken into account, as are the amount of turning you did the previous turn. Feel free to use this instead but then you need to note the number of used steps of turning each turn.

Well, that is all for now, next up will be a post on how PEN and ARM work in the 2020 rules. Carry on and remember that the speed of light limit is not just a good idea, it’s the law!