Thursday, September 29, 2016

Starfighter Tactics

Spaceships 4 already includes several maneuvers, which encourages starfighter pilots to hav their own unique approach to combat.  We can expand this out further, including techniques for gunnery and torpedos and tactics to create complete schools for starfighter pilots to follow!

As with military combat tactics, I don't recommend treating these as complete martial arts (though if I were, I'd make them work like gun-based martial arts, in that gaining style familiarity gives you cross-specialization with all appropriate starfighters).  Instead, use this as inspiration for creating standard/simple mook pilots, and to expand the Fighter Ace template.



Space Combat Techniques

Piloting (Starcraft)

Aggressive Maneuverving (SS4 31)

Ambush Maneuver (SS4 31)

Evasive Maneuvering (SS4 31)

Escape Maneuver (SS4 31)

Reversal Maneuver (SS4 31)

Stunt (Hard)
Default: Prerequisite Skill
Prerequisite: Pilot (Starship); May not exceed prerequisite skill by more than +4.
This technique can absorb penalties gained while stunting. Final skill cannot exceed prerequisite skill.

Hiding (Hard)
Default: Prerequisite Skill
Prerequisite: Pilot (Starship); May not exceed prerequisite skill by more than +5.
This technique can absorb penalties gained while Hiding. Final skill cannot exceed prerequisite skill.

Gunnery (Beams) or Artillery (Guided Missile)

Targeted Attack (Vehicular Hit Location)

Fast Firing (Hard)
Default: Prerequisite Skill -4
Prerequisite: Gunnery (Beams); May not exceed prerequisite skill.
Allow you to up to double the RoF of a single turret battery or combined fixed batteries. Recoil is increased by 1. This is possible not because the character is squeezing more shots out of his weapon, because he's taking less time to aim, hence the reduced accuracy.

Quick Salvo (Hard)
Default: Prerequisite Skill -6
Prerequisite: Gunnery (Beams) or Artillery (Guided Missile); May not exceed prerequisite skill.
You may take a second gunnery action this turn, each action uses a different turret or fixed weapon battery, and you benefit from Cockpit Multitasking and none of the weapons involved require access to dedicated turret controls.

Precision Firing
Default: Prerequisite Skill -3
Prerequisite: Gunnery (Beams); May not exceed prerequisite skill.
Removes up to 3 points of penalty for attacking ships one category size smaller than you.

Point Defense (Average)
Default: Prerequisite Skill
Prerequisite: Gunnery (Beams); May not exceed prerequiste +4.
For Point Defense Attacks against missiles.

Distracting Fire (Hard)
Default: Prerequisite Skill
Prerequisite: Gunnery (Beams); May not exceed prerequisite skill+4.
You may make a ranged feint with your beam weapons vs your opponent's Pilot skill. This only reduces your opponent's dodge.

ECCM (Hard)
Default: Prerequisite Skill
Prerequisite: Artillery (Guided Missile); May not exceed prerequiste +6.
Used to remove penalties from ECM systems.

Reacquire Target (Hard)
Default: Prerequisite Skill-5
Prerequisite: Artillery (Guided Missile); May not exceed prerequiste +6.
After firing your attack using this manuever, if the attack misses, you may attack again next turn using the same missile and manuever. This second attack does not count against your maneuvers that turn, as the missile itself is doing the attacking. If your opponent is unfamiliar with this attack method, at the GM's discretion, apply a -2 to attempts to dodge.

Sidewinding (Hard)
Default: Prerequisite Skill-6
Prerequisite: Artillery (Guided Missile)-6; May not exceed prerequiste.
You've mastered the art of firing locked missiles in a deceptive manner, arcing them around your target to hit from unexpected angels. This makes it difficult to dodge and hit, applying a -2 to both dodge and to point defense.

Skipjacking (Hard)
Default: Prerequisite Skill-4
Prerequisite: Artillery (Guided Missile); May not exceed prerequiste.
You've learned to fire your missile in such a way that its boosters ignite in an unpredictable “skipping” fashion. Thus, while it's course is obvious, intercepting the missiles with blaster fire becomes difficult: Apply a -2 to point defense.

Tactics (Space)

Ambush Tactics (Average)
Default: Prerequisite Skill
Prerequisite: Tactics; May not exceed prerequiste+4.
When your character makes an ambush, he may roll Ambush Tactics in place of Pilot when attempting to Close.

Offensive Tactics (Average)
Default: Prerequisite Skill
Prerequisite: Tactics; May not exceed prerequiste+4.
When a character makes an offensive Space Tactics Task, he may roll Offensive Tactics.

Defensive Tactics (Average)
Default: Prerequisite Skill
Prerequisite: Tactics; May not exceed prerequiste+4.
When a character makes an defensive Space Tactics Task, he may roll Defensive Tactics.

Perks Revisited

Corvette Switchboard: You may use the Cockpit Multitasking rules while piloting a corvette, provided the GM agrees that such tasks are reasonably done from the cockpit.

Duct Tape Savant: You may always attempt to jury-rig repairs to a starship during a 20-second turn, and you may ignore up to -2 points worth of penalties while doing so.

Equipment Bond: Toolkits, Vehicles, Ships

Feel of the Ship: You can judge the state of a ship just by feeling how it flies. You always know its state (its HP, what system is damaged and how) even if no computer system can tell you that information. The GM may require you to roll Pilot(Starship) at some penalty to uncover truly unusual things, such as detecting the presence of a hyperspace tracer by the fact that the ship is just a touch heavier on one side.

Fishbed Flier: If the "Heavy" optional rule is in effect, you may ignore it. SM +6 fighters, SM +9 corvettes, etc, do not get the -1 Handling when you fly them.

Formation Flier: While in formation or entering formation, you may substitute the best piloting roll in the formation for your own. You may also grant any Ranged Feint bonuses you have to any member of your formation, or accept them from another member.

Intuitive Starfighter: When it comes to calculating multitasking penalties, ignore any Piloting or Gunnery (Beams) tasks, provided you are able to use Cockpit Multitasking.

Light-Jumper: You may ignore up to -2 in time taken modifiers for either plotting your hyperspace route, or for jumping to light speed quickly.

Mark of the Ace: Whenever you defeat an enemy ship using Gunner (Beams), you may make a free Intimidation roll against all survivors.

Maverick: Increase your stability by 2 for the purposes of determining whether a failed Pilot roll resulted in a mere Uncontrolled Drift or a Crash.

Old Space Hand: Gain +1 to DX or HT to resist personal disasters associated with space and spaceships, including space sickness, resisting radiation or vacuum and buckling down during a high-G dodge. If using the Casualties table from GURPS Spaceships, apply instead a -1.

Sacrificial Dodge: If Sacrificial Dodge is not a standard option, you may still make a sacrificial dodge for an ally in formation, even against beam weapon attacks.

Soar like a Leaf: You may use the "Light" optional rule even if it isn't standard to your campaign. SM +4 fighters, SM+7 corvettes, etc, gain +1 handling.

Smooth Jump: Requires Navigation (Hyperspace)-16. You never have to roll Navigation (Hyperspace) for travel not directly related to adventure: Milk runs and bringing the characters to their homeworld is safe; travelling through a hyperstorm to a lost world or escaping from battle is not.

Smuggler Lane: Requires Area Knowledge (Region of space)-16. Choose one route between two systems in the region of space that you're familiar with. Ignore the standard Navigation (Hyperspace) difficulty for that route: for you, it's always -0. Other navigational modifiers (Hyperstorms, time taken) still apply.

Standard Operating Procedure: Calibrations: You always maintain your ship. The GM never needs to ask if you did, or see you do so in game, nor can he penalize you for lack of maintenance unless you have been unable to access your ship for a long time (such as being in prison), and even then should be lenient ("Hey, those back-up power-convertors are still working!")

Standard Operating Procedure: Primed to Go: You always keep your ship primed and ready to move at an instant's notice. Unless the GM has a very explicit reason for doing so (your ship has been heavily damaged, or the port authorities impounded it due to unpaid docking fees), you can always start your ship at an instant's notice. This specifically includes in space combat: Your ship may depart the hangar bay on the first turn you're allowed to act.

Wing Commander: When it comes to calculating multitasking penalties, ignore any Leadership or Tactics tasks, provided you are able to use Cockpit Multitasking.

Starfighter Styles

All space combat styles are heavily influenced by what vehicle they're using. Be sure to adjust any final signature moves to the specifics of the chosen vehicles.

Maverick Piloting

The maverick pilot focuses first and foremost on tactical dominance. He seeks to destroy all enemy fighters in his space and then might focus on bigger fish. For offense, he relies on superior skill and flashy, dangerous maneuvers to catch his opponents off guard, and similarly relies on superior skill and agile piloting to keep himself alive, especially when his daring maneuvers go wrong! The Maverick pilot favors small, nimble fighters like the Typhoon class starfighter or, perhaps, the Starhawk.

Skills: Artillery (Guided Missile), Gunnery (Beams), Piloting (Starship)
Techniques: Aggressive Maneuvering, Reversal Maneuver, Stunt, Distracting Fire, Reacquire Target, Sidewinding, Quick Salvo (Any), Fast Firing (Gunner (Beams))
Perks: Equipment Bond (Starfighter), Feel of the Ship, Intuitive Starfighter, Mark of the Ace, Maverick, Soar like a Leaf
Optional Advantages: Enhanced Dodge (Vehicular) [5/level]
Optional Skills: Intimidation

Signature Moves

Dash'n'Dazzle: Make a Stunt (-4). If you fail by 5 or less, go into an uncontrolled drift this turn. If you fail by more than 5, your engines are disabled or you crash into the nearest object (asteroid etc). If you succeed, make a Close (Aggressive Maneuver) with Pilot at +1 (+2 from Stunt, -1 from multitasking). Make a full RoF attack on a single target (Gunner (Beams) + RoF bonus, -1 from multitasking). You may defend normally. Note: To make this into a true trademark move, you must specify how much acceleration is applied.

Tail Burner: After missing an initial Reacquire Target roll; Make a Closing maneuver (Aggressuve Maneuvering) with Pilot at -1. Make a Ranged Feint (Distracting Fire) at Gunner (Beams)-1. Make a free Reacquire Target attack. Your opponent defends at a penalty equal to your Distracting Fire Margin of Victory, with an additional -2 if they've never faced a reacquire target before.

Kickstop: Cut all acceleration. Make a Stunt (-4). If you fail by 5 or less, go into an uncontrolled drift this turn. If you fail by more than 5, your engines are disabled or you crash into the nearest object (asteroid etc). If you succeed, make a Reversal (Reversal Maneuver) with Pilot at -1 and using your opponent's Acceleration Bonus. If you succeed, you are Advantaged. Make a full RoF attack on a single target (Gunner (Beams) + RoF bonus -1 for multitasking). You may defend normally.

Rock'n'Roll: Make a Dedicated (+3) Closing Maneuver (Aggressive Maneuvering) with Pilot at +1. Make a Fast-Firing (-4) Quick Salvo (-6) Beam Weapons (-10 + RoF -2 for Multitasking) and Artillery (Guided Missile) (-6 for quick salvo and -2 for multitasking). You may not defend.

Starfighter Academy Training

In contrast to the hot-dogging of Maverick Piloting, characters with Starfighter Academy Training fly “by the book.” They excel at flying in formation, and need to know that their allies will support them as they take on some rather chancy maneuvers. Starfighter Academic Training involves a heavy focus on tactics and outsmarting your opponent, as well as setting up a wingman to get the kill, or to save his hide at the last moment.

Skills: Artillery (Guided Missile), Gunnery (Beams), Piloting (Starship), Savoir-Faire (Military), Tactics (Space)
Techniques: Aggressive Maneuvering, Defensive Tactics, Distracting Fire, Evasive Maneuvering, Escape Maneuver, Offensive Tactics
Perks: Formation Flier, Sacrificial Dodge, Standard Operating Procedure (Calibrations or Primed to Go), Wing Commander,
Optional Advantages: Military Rank
Optional Skills: Leadership

Signature Moves

Strafing Shuffle: Preferred when outnumbered, the strafing shuffle buys a little extra time while attempting to gain the upper hand on your opponent by spreading some distracting blaster fire near their opponents while swapping positions with one another. While in formation, engage in Defensive Tactics against a single target (Tactics -2 for multitasking). Close (Aggressive Maneuvering -2 for multitasking) and make a Distracting Fire roll (Gunner (Beams) -2 for multitasking). If tactics roll is successful, defend at +1 against specified targets.

Wingman Weave: If a particular wing is adept at working with one another, they can use one another's positioning and fire to push an opponent “into the box” and set the target up for their opponent to eliminate. While in formation, engage in Offensive Tactics against a single target (Tactics -2 for multitasking). Close (Aggressive Maneuvering -2 for multitasking) and make a Distracting Fire roll (Gunner (Beams) -2 for multitasking). Apply feint bonuses to wingman. Requires Formation Flier. If tactics roll is successful, opponent defends at -1.

Guillotine Gambit: This dangerous tactic relies on sheer numbers to improve survivability and lethality. The wing weaves out and then suddenly pounces as one on a vulnerable target. During the attack, they're very vulnerable to counter fire. While in formation, engage in Offensive Tactics (-2 from multitasking) against a single target and direct all wingmen to focus on a single target. Make a Dedicated (+3) Close (Aggressive Maneuvering +3 from Dedicated -2 from Multitasking) and then opens fire on the target (Gunner (Beam Weapons-2 from multitasking)). If tactics roll is successful, opponent defends at -1.

Defensive Split: Upon encountering a formation, the Academy formation splits into two. One formation, the one pursued by the enemy formation, becomes the “bait” formation and engages in the Defensive Split (Bait) signature move. It makes a defensive tactics roll against the pursuing formation (-1 from multitasking) and engages in evasive maneuvering (-1 from multitasking). The second formation, the one not pursued, becomes the “hunter” formation and engages in the Defensive Split (Hunter) signature move. It engages in offensive tactics roll against the enemy formation (-2 from multitasking) and engages in a dedicated (+2) close (-2 from multitasking) and makes a Gunner (Beams) attack (-2 from multitasking) when it has sufficient advantage to attack.

Bombardier Tactics

The most vulnerable fighter aces are those who make bombing runs on capital ships. This particular style focuses on a defensive, cautious approach to removing enemy ships. First, the pilot makes a defensive approach, then cleans the enemy ship of defensive fire, and then takes his careful shot to destroy some precious part of the enemy ship, and then makes his escape. The style is similar to Starfighter Academic Training, with a similar focus on space tactics, and is typically flown in formation.

Skills: Artillery (Guided Missile), Gunnery (Beams), Piloting (Starship), Tactics (Space)
Techniques: Aggressive Maneuvering, Defensive Tactics, ECCM, Evasive Maneuvering, Offensive Tactics, Skipjacking, Targetted Attack (Torpedo/Any), Targetted Attack (Any/Armor Gap (Engines)), Targetted Attack (Any/Armor Gap (Turret)),
Perks: Equipment Bond (Starfighter), Feel of the Ship, Fishbed Flier, Standard Operating Procedure (Calibrations or Primed to Go), Wing Commander,

Signature Moves

Cautious Approach: Engage in Defensive Tactics (-2 multitasking) against your target. Make a closing maneuver (Aggressive Maneuvering -2 from multitasking). Take a Wait (Point Defense) gunnery action (-2 from multitasking). If tactics roll is successful, defend at +1 against specified targets.

Expose Target: Engage in Defensive Tactics (-2 multitasking) against your target. Make a closing maneuver (Aggressive Maneuvering -2 from multitasking). Make a targetted attack for enemy turrets (Gunner (Beams) -10 for targetted turret armor gaps, -2 for multitasking). If tactics roll is successful, defend at +1 against specified targets.

Torpedo Run: Engage in Offensive Tactics (-2 multitasking) against your target. Make a closing maneuver (Aggressive Maneuvering -2 from multitasking). Make a Skipjacking (-4) Artillery (Guided Missile) attack with a torpedo against a specific location (-5), -2 from multitasking (Artillery (Guided Missile -11). If tactics roll is successful, Opponent defends at -1, and your torpedo is at -2 against point defense..


Complete Pass: Engage in Defensive Tactics (-1 multitasking) against your target. Make a evading maneuver (Evasive Maneuvering -1 from multitasking). If tactics roll is successful, defend at +1 against specified targets.
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