September 2011

Ask Admiral Growler (Continued)

     Andy Vancil asked: A Kzinti MSR (movement cost 1, Speed 12) has tractored a Lyran SR (movement cost 1, Speed 30). Later, it also tractors a Lyran PF (movement cost 1/5, Speed 30). Am I correct in reading (G7.373) that the following are true:
     O. The MSR and SR calculate their pseudo speeds based on the combined movement cost of all three units (2+1/5) and are now moving Speed 5 and Speed 13, respectively (as neither is using impulse power to move).
     O. The PF also calculates its pseudo speed based on the combined movement cost (and so is now Speed 2) but does not get to actually move the linkage.
     O. When the PF has movement called for, it still accumulates hexes toward satisfying its Turn Mode even though it does not move. It could turn if its Turn Mode is satisfied.
     The third one is where I am unclear.
     And just to add to the conundrum: This mess was taking place in an asteroid field. If one of the ships is pushed into an asteroid hex, what is the effective speed for purposes of asteroid damage? Eighteen points or twenty points? Or do we use the "net effective vector" thing? (Not that it matters in this particular case as both speeds use the same damage column, but if the speeds were different, it could matter.)
     ANSWER: Effective speed is used for asteroid damage, and effective speed is defined as the actual speed the combined mass is moving across the board (C2.412). Effective speed would be the combined pseudo speeds of the two ships as the PF's pseudo speed is not affecting the effective speed (G7.373). If the two ships are heading in such a manner (essentially head-to-head or stern-to-stern) that their pseudo speeds are partly canceling out, then net effective vector exception of (C1.451) would be used.
    Exception: There is a special case when two (or more) units are linked by tractor beams. In such cases, the units roll for damage when one of them moves the combination, but use the "net effective vector speed" instead of the effective speed. To calculate this, assume that the ships spent an entire 32-impulse turn moving in the directions they are and linked by tractor as they are. Calculate the distance each ship would cover in such a hypothetical game turn and use that as the "net effective vector speed". Ships trying to pull each other in opposition directions would have a NEV speed of zero.
    The PF would be able to turn (assuming its turn mode was satisfied) when it was called on to move (and its movement even if not actually done due to the tractor situation) still counts towards satisfying its Turn Mode as provided by (G7.373).
    Andy Vancil asks: If a fighter has executed a tractor breakaway (G7.55), and then uses an Emergency Deceleration before it has moved the three hexes, is it released from the restriction of being required to move straight three hexes before it can turn? Are there any restrictions on Tactical Maneuvers two impulses after it decelerates?
     ANSWER: I have to say that announcing Emergency Deceleration is not an option. There are only two allowed caveats to get out of a breakaway situation:
     You are tractored again, requiring you to do another breakaway;
     You are crippled.
     There is no "voluntary" cessation of the requirement, not even over a turn break.
     Executing the breakaway maneuver commits the fighter to moving straight for its next three movements at its maximum speed irrespective of anything else the pilot might like to do.
     Note that fighter breakaway is already a major change in operations. The fighter might have decelerated on the immediately previous impulse from its maximum speed, but is not caught by its acceleration limits (C12.342).
     Michael Lui asked: Ummm, for that Stupid Tractor Antics in an Asteroid Field question: Would you subtract any damage the enemy ship took from the damage you took if you are pushing him ahead of you (sort of like following a plasma torpedo through an asteroid field, especially if it is a PF)?
     ANSWER: Read rule  (P3.236): "Units (drones, shuttles, ships) held in tractor beams cannot lead other units through or themselves be led through an asteroid field, whether the tractor is applied by an ally or an enemy. Ships that have tractored other ships, or have been tractored by other ships, cannot lead other units, or be led by other units through an asteroid field. This applies whether the tractored ship is an ally or an enemy, or is moving under its own power or not." Short answer: "No, sorry."
     Ron Brimeyer asked: A Romulan FireHawk has an Archeo-Tholian cruiser in tractor at Range Zero (he pulled the Archeo-Tholian cruiser into his hex last turn). The Archeo-Tholian cruiser entered from direction C. We are against a tournament barrier, direction E and F. Can the Romulan move the Archeo-Tholian cruiser in any direction? Or just direction B, C, or D? If he can rotate to direction E or F does this break tractor?
     ANSWER: Read rule (G7.715). If two ships are of equal size, there is no rotation, although a ship maintaining a tractor link can pull the other ship one hex closer (or into the same hex if already adjacent) or push it one hex further away. The relative orientation of the two ships relative to the map directions will remain fixed, i.e., if one ship is in direction B from the other, any rotation will maintain that general facing at all times (Tactical Maneuvers, turns, or HETs, might change the relative shield facings).
     Ted Fay asked: Ship A (size class 2, initially Speed 31) tractors ship B (size class 3 initially Speed Zero). The pseudo speed for the group is determined to be nineteen, although obviously ship A is doing all the moving.
     A fast (Speed-32) ECM drone is targeted on ship B.
     Does the ECM drone assume the pseudo speed of ship B (19), or does the ECM drone assume the practical speed of ship B(0), causing the ECM drone to yo-yo between Speed 32 and Speed Zero? (The yo-yo would happen because the ECM drone assumes Speed Zero when it is in ship B's hex, and then assumes Speed 32 when ship B is dragged out of the hex, whereupon the drone catches up.)
     Relevant rules: (C2.413), (G7.36), and (FD9.111).
     The confusion here is that this rule simply states that the ECM drone assumes the "speed" of the target, which could be interpreted as "pseudo speed", "practical speed", "effective speed", or "maneuver rate".
     ANSWER: The ECM drone is targeted on ship B, and moves with ship B when ship B moves. This is all effectively handled by the Order of Precedence. Ship B will move, or not move, as a result of ship A moving or not moving. Such movement will take place when ships move. The drone will then "seek its target", moving when seeking weapons move. In simple terms players simply move the ship and the drone at the same time and would do so in this case. By rule (F2.411) ECM drones (FD9.0) adopt station-keeping (C1.3224) on their targets. ECM drones escorting other drones do impact the target of the drones, but unless they have an explosive module on board, they will do no damage to it, even if the target is another drone (FD1.562) or a shuttle.