Monday, April 4, 2016

Psi Wars: Alternate Spaceships

In the last few weeks, I've established a framework for spaceship combat in Psi Wars, and since we're mostly concerned with combat (rather than the logistics of long-term interstellar flight, or the discovery of new worlds, etc), this should be sufficient for our space needs.  I've also established what ships work, and that you can simply use ships straight out of the GURPS Spaceships line, provided they are TL 11^.

Even so, the closer you look at the ships, the more problems you'll find.  I've already adjusted the Typhoon in the last playtest (though it was an off-the-cuff adjustment that resulted in a few mistakes), but what about other ships?  How well do they work with the Psi Wars model?  And how much variety do we have?  If everyone is fine constantly flying Starhawks vs Typhoons, we won't have a problem, and that matches how real-world fighter combat actually works as the difference between fighter craft is more subtle than you can easily catch in Spaceships system. In reality, different models of starfighters would largely look the same, but one might offer a +1 to Electronics Operations skills, another might boost your Electrician but have problems with Pilot under specific circumstances and so on.  In practice, I find players expect ships to be substantially different, not the difference between an F-15 and an F-15e, but the difference between a Tie-Fighter and a Tie-Interceptor.

Moreover, not every ship first perfectly well into the Psi-Wars universe.  While making adjustments for variety, we could also make adjustments to better fit our intended model, both for combat and spacecraft.

The following week will include a rather complete discussion of all the various ships I recommend you use, notes, and alternate versions of each ship.  Below, I have included a summary of ships that might be particularly pertinent to players.  This is not an exhaustive list (that will come over the next week), just a quick reference for players who want a heads-up on what ships they might want to get for their characters or their group.

A quick further note: I work all of this stuff out in advance, and that means I often go back and rewrite something, or develop one system that impacts another system.  The release order is usually sensibly organized rather than chronological.  It makes the most sense, of course, to release alternate ships after I have discussed ship, but I've also worked out economics and how players might afford shisp.  I'll discuss that system later, but you'll see references to that here already.  Don't worry about that if it confuses you.  We'll come back to that.

Fighter Craft

Starfighters suit Fighter Aces or characters who want their own ship, rather than sharing a ship with other characters.

The Typhoon: Found on SS4 page 11.  A stripped-down fighter that works well as a mook ship. Affordable with a standard Ship budget, or a 1-point Signature Ship.
  • Typhoon Alpha: A fixed version of the Typhoon.  Even cheaper, and a 1-point Signature Ship.
  • Typhoon Beta: A heavy "bomber" version of the Typhoon.  A 1-point Signature Ship.
  • Typhoon Delta: An elite typhoon, more suitable for player-characters. A 1-point Signature Ship.
  • Typhoon Omega: A special-ops elite Typhoon, also suitable for player-characters. A 1-point Signature Ship.
The Starhawk: Found on SS4 page 12.  The golden standard for PC-worthy starfighters that works great as-written.  A 1-point Signature Ship.
  • Starhawk Regal: An obsolete model from a previous war.  A 1-point Signature Ship.
  • Starhawk Nova: An experimental, next-gen Starhawk that makes a few compromises in favor of superior defense and offense.  A 2-point Signature Ship.
The Wyvern: Found on SS4 page 13.  A fine heavy fighter-bomber, it has a few assumptions that make for an odd ship in Psi-Wars. A 3-point Signature Ship (and suitable for 2 characters).
  • Wyvern X: A wyvern modified to more closely match the assumptions of a Starhawk (thus resembling a "Y-Wing fighter" of Star Wars).  A 3-point Signature Ship
  • Wyvern Zero: A wyvern modified for greater long-term endurance, a sort of "mini-corvette." A 3-point Signature Ship.

Corvettes

Corvettes are typically beyond the budget of a single character, but might serve an entire party well.  Particularly wealthy characters might afford their own vessel.

Renegade: Found on SS3 page 20. The Renegade Corsair is just an Anthem-class Tramp Freighter with additional firepower.  It easily fall into the price range of a typical group, though they might find is survivability disappointing. A 7-point Signature Ship.
  • Renegade Marauder: A fully militarized model of a Renegade, that should provide sufficient survivability for a group. A 13-point Signature Ship.
  • Renegade Partisan: A stealthier version of the Renegade Corsair, it hides its true identity behind Dynamic Chameleon technology and hidden weapon batteries.  Perfect for spies! A 13-point Signature Ship.
Dark Horse: Found on SS2 page 7. A heroic tramp-freighter, ideal for smugglers!  It works fine as written, though note that you should choose between an Engine Room or an FTL-engine (it's listed with both).  A 10-point Signature Ship.  
  • Dark Horse Racer: An explicitly speedier version with smuggler compartments, for the character who wants the fastest ship in the galaxy.  An 11-point Signature Ship.
Taj-Mahal: Found on SS 2 page 16. An elegant ship for a more elegant age.  Ideal for senators and space princesses.  A 17-point Signature Ship.
  • Taj-Mahal Black: A Taj-Mahal with hidden weapon batteries, buried electronics and shielded cargo-space, for the discerning spy who wants to appear to be a senator or a space princess.  A  13-point Signature Ship.
Nugget: Found on SS 6 page 20, the Nugget, a prospector ship, makes for a fine lone-man corvette out of the box.  A 3-point Signature Ship.
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