Combat Test: Sun Dog vs. Tiger Frigate (Second Space Combat)

In this combat test, I try to teach myself the basic space combat system in GURPS Spaceships by putting the Sun Dog, my barely-armed player ship, against what I’m guessing is a pretty standard Navy patrol ship that they might encounter. I’m using the Tiger, a SM+9 craft on p. 18 of GURPS Spaceships 3. The goal for my player ship is that it is relatively survivable. I would expect the player ship to lose this combat, but I just want to see how it breaks down. Since this is my second-ever space combat, I have no idea what I am doing, really.

A minor note: If I understand these rules (and I may not), it seems crazy not to move the point defense VRF gun from rear section to middle section of the default Tiger design so that it always bears on its target. I’m worrying these designs might have some problems.

Takeaways

This combat took 60 seconds (3 turns). The Tiger landed 2 anti-particle beam hits and 4 UV Laser hits and this destroyed the player ship. True, one hit was (un)lucky and got the player’s reactor, but still the player ship probably cannot run away fast enough to avoid total destruction. The “heavy” shields on the player ship were basically taken down in the first anti-particle beam hit, and the armor did not do much against beams. Looks like we’ll need some rules tweaking to make the player ship more survivable.

The reactor hit made me think: in the future it seems like I should always put the control room and reactor in central hull sections so they cannot be hit directly. Why doesn’t every design do this?

The biggest new takeaway: If I wanted to destroy the player’s ship every game, this combat system would handle it well. No, I’m serious — I really like how the combat system handled the destruction of ship systems. It was very cinematic. One crewman on the player ship was blown out to space, another was electrocuted, one acquired the “hard of hearing” disadvantage from explosive decompression. Interestingly, anti-particle beams condemned two people on the player ship to a slow death from radiation poisoning, even though they survived the initial attack. Those “scatter” radiation effects on GURPS Spaceships p. 63 are NO JOKE.

I also realized (perhaps I am slow) that the missile launcher that was so powerful in the last combat is useless in this combat because the high rate-of-fire point defense laser will ensure that the player ship will never land a hit on the Tiger (and the player ship will run out of missiles). A high RoF point defense laser seems like an essential investment out here.

Combat Test

Sundog-class pirate freighter vs. Tiger-class patrol ship

Standard Combat Scale, 20-second turns

Vessels begin in Neutral situation, at long range

Both vessels are in open space (e.g., at a jump point) and begin with no velocity.  They detect each at long range and turn hostile after communicating.

For convenience, I assume everyone has a skill of 12 at everything.

  • Turn #1
    • Tiger
      • Captain rolls Space Tactics (Offensive): success: -1 enemy dodge
      • Captain rolls Motivate Gunner at -4 (multitasking): success: +1 gunnery
      • Engineer allocates power: +1 power, powers up Heavy Force Screen (+100 dDR).  All systems powered.
      • Navigator rolls Tactical Navigation: success: +1 piloting
      • Sensor operator rolls Engineering Analysis (at -6 for turn length): fails
      • Pilot accelerates at 150G (+2 acceleration bonus to piloting)
      • Pilot Holds Course. (Closing maneuver illegal on first turn). No roll required.
      • Antiparticle beam is “short” range and target is not in range: Gunner Waits (Aim and Attack)
      • X-Ray Laser (x2) gunner rolls for Aim and Attack
        1. Modifiers: size +9, sAcc +1, range -12, attacking streamlined front hull -1 (total -3): miss
      • UV Laser (rear) does not face target: Gunner Waits (Point Defense)
    • Sundog
      • Captain rolls Space Tactics (Defensive): fails
      • Captain rolls Motivate Gunner at -4 (multitasking): fails
      • Engineer rolls Increase Power: Success: +1 power, powers up Heavy Force Screen (+100 dDR)
      • Navigator rolls Tactical Navigation: success: +1 piloting
      • Sensor operator rolls Engineering Analysis (at -6 for turn length): fails
      • Pilot accelerates at 100G (+2 acceleration bonus to piloting) to 24 mps
      • Pilot takes Evasive Action, rear hull facing enemy (+2 avoid closing next turn)
      • UV Laser not in range: Gunner Waits (Point Defense)
      • Launcher (conventional missile) at long range (half damage): Gunner rolls for Aim and Attack
        • Attack modifiers: target size +9, sAcc +3, attacking streamlined front hull -1, relative velocity (10 mps) -6 (total +5): success
        • Tiger UV Laser fires 200 shots (RoF 200) in Point Defense: motivated gunner +1, range 0 (point blank), rapid fire +8 (total +9): success. Missile destroyed.
  • Turn #2
    • Tiger
      • Captain rolls Space Tactics (Offensive): success -1 enemy dodge
      • Captain rolls Motivate Gunner at -4 (multitasking): fails
      • Engineer rolls Increase Power: success: +1 power, powers up Heavy Force Screen (+100 dDR). All systems powered.
      • Navigator rolls Tactical Navigation: success: +1 piloting
      • Sensor operator rolls Engineering Analysis (at -6 for turn length): success: reveals Sundog rear sections 1, 3-6.
      • Pilot accelerates at 150G (+2 acceleration bonus to piloting) – to 36mps
      • Pilot rolls for Dedicated Closing maneuver: (skill contest) Tiger: +3 dedicated (dodging will be forbidden), -1 handling, +2 acceleration (+4 total). Sundog: +2 acceleration, +2 evasive action, -1 handling (+3 total). Tiger succeeds and achieves Attack Vector. Range of engagement changes to Short.
      • UV Laser gunner Waits (Point Defense)
      • Antiparticle beam gunner rolls for Aim and Attack
        • Attack modifiers: size +9, sAcc -3, GJ +1, close range -4, fixed mount +2, attacking streamlined rear hull -1 (total +4): success
        • Sundog pilot rolls dodge: skill 6, handling -1, tactical navigation +1, evasive action +1 (total 7): fails
        • 4dx10 dDam: 190 dDam cr exp sur rad (3)
        • Sundog Shields absorb 190 dDam, 10 dDam shield remaining
      •  X-Ray Laser Gunner rolls for Aim and Attack
        • Attack modifiers: size +9, GJ +1, close range -4, attacking streamlined rear hull -1 (total +5): success (2 hits)
        • Sundog pilot rolls dodge: skill 6, handling -1, tactical navigation +1, evasive action +1 (total 7): fails (2 hits remain)
        • 1st hit (4dx5): 95 dDam.
          • Sundog shields regenerate +19 to 29. Sundog shields absorb 29 dDam. Sundog Shields are down. Remaining 66 dDam.
          • Hardened armor reduces X-Ray Laser’s armor divisor from 5 to 3.
          • Armor absorbs (60/3) 20 dDam. 46 dDam penetrating damage remaining.
          • Hit location (rear, 3): Reactor. Reactor disabled. Ship dHP reduced to (100-46): 54.
        • 2nd hit (4dx5): 85 dDam
          • Sundog shields are down (no reactor)
          • Hardened armor reduces X-Ray Laser’s armor divisor from 5 to 3.
          • Armor absorbs (60/3) 20 dDam. 65 dDam penetrating damage remaining.
          • Ship dHP reduced to -11. Roll vs HT to avoid total destruction: success.
          • Hit location (rear, 2): Armor. Armor destroyed.
          • Damage above 50% of Ship dHP: one additional system damaged: (rear, 6): Engine #2. Engine #2 disabled.
    • Sundog
      • Captain rolls to motivate Comms Officer: success (+1 Comms)
      • Engineer forms damage control party (2 people).
      • Damage control party moves from Engine Room to Reactor. Gravity is offline, person #1 (Engineer) rolls vs. Free Fall: succeeds. Person #2 rolls vs. Free Fall: succeeds. (requires 2 turns, 50% complete)
      • Comms officer opens frequency to Tiger: rolls against Fast Talk: surrenders, begs for life: (+1 motivated): fails
      • Ship enters uncontrolled drift at 24 mps, no acceleration (reactor is down), rear facing opponent.
  • Turn #3
    • Tiger
      • Captain rolls Motivate Gunner: success
      • Engineer rolls Increase Power: success: +1 power, powers up Heavy Force Screen (+100 dDR). All systems powered.
      • Navigator rolls Tactical Navigation: fails.
      • Sensor operator rolls Engineering Analysis (at -6 for turn length): fails
      • Pilot decelerates at 150G (+2 acceleration bonus to piloting) – to 24mps (matches speed to target).
      • Pilot rolls for Dedicated Closing maneuver: (no skill contest as target vessel is uncontrolled) Tiger: +3 dedicated (dodging will be forbidden), -1 handling, +2 acceleration (+4 total): Success. Tiger achieves Attack Vector.
      • UV Laser gunner Waits (Point Defense)
      • Anti-particle beam gunner rolls for Aim and Attack
        • Attack modifiers: size +9, sAcc -3, GJ +1, close range -4, fixed mount +2, motivated +1, attacking streamlined rear hull -1 (total +5): success
        • Sundog may not dodge (no power).
        • 4dx10 dDam: 140 dDam cr exp sur rad (3)
        • Sundog has no shields (no power).
        • Hardened armor reduces Antiparticle Beam’s armor divisor from 3 to 2.
        • Rear Armor absorbs (30/2) 15 dDam (1 armor section destroyed). 125 dDam penetrating damage remaining.
        • Hit location (rear, 4): Engine Room: Damage above 50% dHP: Engine Room Destroyed.
        • There is a terrible explosion (exp)! Electrical systems experience a surge (sur)!
        • Ship dHP reduced from -11 to -136. Passes -100 threshold: Roll vs HT to avoid total destruction: success. The hull groans horribly but the ship holds together.
        • Sundog Crew in compartment receive 1250 rads of radiation (rad) and must roll against HT: success (x2). Both crew receive terminal radiation sickness.
          • Crew immediately receive radiation burns on exposed skin not protected by clothing.
          • In 12 hours, each crewman receives -5 HP of internal injury and acquires attribute “nauseated”
          • In 28 hours, lose -1 DX, IQ, and FP. Acquire Hemophilia disadvantage.
          • In 36 hours, lose all body hair and acquire “susceptible to disease” and roll daily for additional HP loss until death (p. B436)
        • Sundog Engine Room suffers a hull breach.
          • Compartment has a hole to space that is 12 yards wide
          • Emergency bulkheads seal off the rear section of the ship
          • All compartments and systems in the rear third of the ship (rear 1-6) lose atmosphere.
        • Sundog Engine Room suffers explosive decompression.
          • Crew were not wearing Vacc Suits
          • Crew rolls vs. HT to avoid decompression sickness: succeeds. (x2)
          • Crew rolls vs. HT+2 to avoid eye damage: succeeds. (x2)
          • Crew rolls vs. HT-1 to avoid hearing damage. Crewman #1 (Engineer) succeeds. Crewman #2 fails: acquires “hard of hearing” attribute.
          • Crew takes 1d decompression damage: -1 HP (each)
        • Casualty roll (modifier +1, section destroyed): Damage control party crew #1 (Engineer) takes (2d-1) lethal electrical damage: -11HP
        • Casualty roll (modifier +1, section destroyed): Damage control party crew #2 is blown outside the spacecraft but takes no additional damage (rolls 1)
        • Damage inflicted above 50% of Ship dHP: one additional system damaged: (rear, 1): Armor section (rear, 1) disabled.
      • X-Ray Laser Gunner rolls for Aim and Attack
        • Attack modifiers: size +9, GJ +1, close range -4, attacking streamlined rear hull -1, motivated +1 (total +6): success (2 hits)
        • Sundog may not dodge (no power).
        • Sundog has no shields (no power).
        • 1st hit (4dx5): 65 dDam burn(2)
          • Hardened armor reduces X-Ray Laser’s armor divisor from 5 to 3.
          • Rear Armor absorbs (30/3) 10 dDam (1 armor section destroyed): 55 dDam.
          • Ship dHP reduced from -136 to -191.
          • Hit location (rear, 6): Engine #2. Engine #2 was previously disabled. It is now destroyed.
          • Damage above 50% of Ship dHP: one additional system damaged: (rear, 3): Reactor. Reactor was previously disabled. It is now destroyed.
          • Burning damage (burn) starts fire but vacuum prevents fire.
        • 2nd hit (4dx5): 75 dDam burn(2)
          • Hardened armor reduces X-Ray Laser’s armor divisor from 5 to 3.
          • Rear Armor absorbs (30/3) 10 dDam (1 armor section destroyed): 65 dDam penetrates
          • Ship dHP reduced from -191 to -256. Passes -200 threshold: Roll vs HT to avoid total destruction: fails. Ship destroyed.
      • Sundog is destroyed.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s