Archive for the Intercept Category

System travel maps

Posted in Intercept, Traveller on August 31, 2020 by Anders Backman

Traveller in system travel times

In Traveller system travel (ie planet to planet) usually consist of the referee deciding the distance between the planets and then use the formulae or tables to calculate the travel time – boring!

What if one could actually Travel the distance using vector movement, possibly taking detours as to not get too close to the sun, perhaps detecting an emergency broadcast and having to change course to reach the vessel in distress, or maybe that old clunker of a maneuver drive gives out midway and you will have to repair during a couple of days and thus you miss the estimated arrival time pissing certain people off etc etc? I’m not saying this should be done all the time, just that whenever the referee wishes to spice things up with actually travelling the distance you could do it.

System maps

I have created two maps for you to download and print. At the top of each map there’s a line telling what the scale is and there are grey orbit lines for each Traveller planetary orbit. The referee has to decide where along these orbits the planets currently are. Your ship will move on the map using vector movement, each square is 1 G of thrust, diagonals count as 1.5 but any fractions are dropped when the total thrust for the turn has been counted (a ship thrusting 3 squares diagonally is 4.5 squares but the fraction is dropped so only 4G are required), freshen up on vector movement here if you are unsure. You do not need to worry about facing and turning of course when using the system travel maps, 12 hours or more per turn is ample time for even the largest ships to turn however they like, landings are simply the process of moving your ship unto a planet square (drawn there by the referee) and in the next turn brake off the speed to zero. On these scales there are no real gravity effects, not even from the sun as getting so close to the sun would melt your ship anyway.

There are two maps, one for the inner system covering orbits from 0.2 AU to 1.6 AU or from Mercury to Mars in our solar system. Each square is 0.1 Au or 15 million km and each turn will be 12 hours long, 1G is 1 square. The outer system map cover orbits from 1 AU to 20 AU or from Earth orbit out to Neptune. Each square on that map is 1 AU or 150 million km and each turn is two days (48 hours) long, 1G is still 1 square. I will make a third map with even larger distances, 10 AU per square and turns of a week each but that will have to wait until I see a need for it.

Flying too close to the sun, Icarus or Sunshine style, is a real danger but rules for that will have to wait until the next post. There I will add rules for heat damage both during Intercept combat and the system travel maps. That post will also cover the annoying tendency of jury-rig repairs breaking down, how to do real repairs and what can be made within the ship and what need a starport visit.

Well, that is all folks, until next time, don’t fly too close to the sun or learn why so many space crew get the nickname Fry…

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