Saturday, January 22, 2022

Ultra-Tech Firepower: Big Guns Never Tire



Bigger in fact does seem to be better when it comes to the future of main battle tank guns. Rheinmetall already has a 130mm tank gun model it's shopping around and the US is even looking into the possibility of going up to a massive 140mm gun in some of it's next generation MBT concepts. While the safe money is on the 130mm seeing wide spread adoption, it's not only already is a working model at this point but also it's  largely based on it's already successful RH-120 line of tank guns (and it being the cheaper options doesn't hurt either) making it easier to retrain crews to use and maintain it. The 140mm , while still in development at this point, does still have some advantages in its favor do its larger warhead giving it some more flexibility in munitions and it's greater penetration power will help keep it at over match capacity even against advancements in armor technology.

Well, if you want to seriously up the dakka quotient in your game, follow me after the jump.

Sa-bow indexed!

Tank identified, Twelve-hundred-up! On target!  Fire!

Round away!

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Now You're Shunting With Power








Welp, Star Wars Squadrons came out a while ago and it's kinda great. It not only brings us a much needed spiritual successor to the classic X-Wing/TIE Fighter PC space simulators from the 90's but shows some small degree of proof that EA can actually make a good game that isn't a thinly veiled guise to violate your wallet, intelligence, dignity, and probably you personally if they could figure out a way.   

The game also brings back the ability to shunt power from one system to another letting you prioritize  one system while taking a hit to others. This was an amazing game play feature that defined the original game. It let you adjust the ship you were were flying to not only be better able to take on the current challenge but also to suit your personal preference.  Need to chase down that pesky TIE? You can risk lowering your shields to up your speed. Need to get close to a capitol ship? You can trade firepower to up your shields to better survive the barrage of incoming turbo-lasers. It even made replaying mission more interesting as you could try out different power settings and see what works or purposely gimp yourself for extra challenge. It was also very true to the source material as angling your deflector shield and having an astromech droid divert power were a common troupe.  

Now while Spaceships already has a design switch option that allows you to angle your force screen (GURPS Spaceships, pg. 32), it doesn't have an option to simulate shunting power from one system to power up another one. Of course this is not without good reason as this does add a good deal of paper work to keep tract of and some extra math while designing ship. However if you're not afraid of a little extra crunch (and if you're following this blog there's a good chance you're up to the challenge, do you even crunch bro?) and want to add a little more more variety for the space jockeys in your sci-fi campaign to play around with then I give you a new design switch option: Power Shunting.


Power Shunting   

Many sci-fi series depict the heroes carefully husbanding power from one system to another in a critical moment, boosting its effectiveness at the expense of one that is less important in the current situation. This design switch lets you simulate that troupe. You can only shunt power between high-energy systems and must have at least two usable power points available. All powered system start at level 0, which is the baseline power level. Pick a system you want to boost and select a level you want to boost it to from level 1 up to level 4. Multiply that system's effects or stats by the amount shown in the column that the system you are boosting falls under. You then have to drop another system down to a negative level equal to the level you raised the boosted system to, from level  -1 to level -4,  and multiply its effects and stats by the amount shown in its corresponding column. If you have three or more boost compatible high energy systems plus enough power points to power them all and you boost a system two or more levels you can choose to spread the drained levels across them rather than just lowering the level of one system.   

If you have more high-energy systems then power points to use on them all, you can also use a power shunt to provide some level of power to these systems. For every level you drop a powered system, raise the unpowered one up one level treating level -4 as being unpowered.   

Different kinds of systems are affected in different ways when feed more power. There are three ways a system can be boosted. Systems are either affected in a linear way, by the square root of the increase in power, or by the cube root of the increase. Though there are some systems that can be affected in more than one way, for example increasing the engine power of a craft in atmosphere will increase its thrust linearly but it's top speed will only increase by the square root of it.

Because of this the shunting chart shown below is broken down into three columns with each one corresponding to one of the ways a system can be affected by a power shunt.

Power Shunt Chart
Power Level: This column shows the range of settings you can set a systems power level to; from a level of -4 up to a level of +4 with a power level of 0 being the normal operating level for a given system. Each level represents an power increase or decrease of 25% with a level of +4 being a doubling of power and a level of -4 being no power.

Colum 1: Square Root
These systems are affected by the square root of the set power level.

-Kinetic energy weapons or beam weapons if you are using the square root of destruction optional rule (Alternate Spaceships, Pyramid 3-24 Alternate GURPS, pg. 9).

-Top speed of jet and ornithopter powered aircraft.

Column 2: Cube Root
These systems are affected by the cube root of the set power level.  

-Beam weapons if you are using the standard rules.

-Top speed for helicopters and surface water and underwater craft.

Column 3: Linear
These systems are affected by a one to one increase in the set power level.  

- Contragravity lifters.

-For any types of propulsion and FTL systems not covered in other columns.


-Factory and Mining/Refinery output.
Power Level       Square Root      Cube Root        Linear    
-4                       ×0                      ×0                      ×0
-3                       ×0.5                   ×0.6                   ×0.25

-2                       ×7                      ×0.8                   ×0.5
-1                       ×0.9                   ×0.9                   ×0.75
0                        ×1                      ×1                      ×1
+1                      ×1.12                 ×1.1                   ×1.25

+2                      ×1.22                 ×1.14                 ×1.5
+3                      ×1.32                 ×1.21                 ×1.75
+4                      ×1.4                   ×1.25                 ×2         

On a sheet or paper or spreadsheet write down the power level column as you see above and set up a different column for each high powered system that can be power shunted then under them multiply their base effects by the multipliers under the column the column that corresponds to the given system.

For Example: Let's say you have a SM +5 space fighter that has two linear systems, a hot TL 11 reactionless thruster and a TL 11 deflector screen and one cube root system, a 10MJ major battery. It's stats would be be affected as below:

Power Level      Hot  Reactionless    Deflector Screen     Major Battery       
-4                       0                                      0                            0                     
-3                       0.5G                                5 dDR                    2d+2 (2)
-2                       1G                                  10 dDR                    3d+1 (2)                  
-1                       1.5G                               15 dDR                    3d+2 (2)                 
0                        2G                                   20 dDR                    4d (2)                      
+1                      2.5G                               25 dDR                     4d+2 (2) 
+2                      3G                                  30 dDR                     4d+2 (2)                
+3                      3.5G                               35 dDR                      5d-1 (2)                
+4                      4G                                  40 dDR                      5d (2)             

Longer Term Effect
While in most combat situations keeping track of how long you shunt extra power into a system is not needed; however if you are doing this during a long chase or similar situations you do risk straining or even blowing out a system if you run it a higher output then i';s normally rated for for too long.

You can run most systems for a minute or get off 10 shots in succession (at a weapons full ROF) without any issues but for every minute or 10 shots afterwards you need to make a HT roll. On  success the system is fine.  On a failure, the systems safeties kick in and shut the system down for 1d minutes per minute/10 shots the system was used. On a failure of 5 or more the system is damaged in the shut down procedure and will not work again until repaired (see Damage Control, GURPS Spaceships pg. 64). On a critical failure the power was too much for the system to handle and it blew out completely. It is a total wash and needs to be replaced.

If you let the system rest for 30 seconds per minute/10 shots it is boosted it cools back down to normal uses and can be used for 1 minute/10 shots without needing a HT check again.

Hotshotting and Power Shunting
If used, these rules also replace the normal hotshot rules (GURPS Ultra-Tech pg. 133). It is assumed that the more robust power supplies as well as the fact that the weapon can tap into the vehicle's cooling system allows it to fire at a higher output far more safely then you could with a small arm.