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The Pernicious PPD.
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wedge_hammersteel
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Joined: 27 Sep 2008
Posts: 579
Location: Lafayette, LA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:46 am    Post subject: The Pernicious PPD. Reply with quote

During our gaming session tonight, I played an ISC Command Cruiser against a Federation Battlecruiser and an Orion Heavy Battlecruiser.

I had hoped that the Fed would have joined me in trouncing the Orion but it didnt work out that way and I had to attend to the Fed's desire for battle. The PPDs followed by plasmas kept him away but he didnt take much damage.

I then headed away from the fight to re-arm everything and the Fed came back to the center of the map.

The Orion had thought about disengaging but decided to rejoin the battle and he took it for granted that the Fed would join him in attacking me.

Again, the Fed was opportunistic and pounded the Orion pretty good from up close.

The Fed then headed away from the battle to re-arm the photons and to get some distance from my PPDs and plasmas which I used to finish off the Orion.

As our session ended, I was heading away to rearm and the Fed was heading back in to egage me.

It was one of our more enjoyable sessions.

Even from the 11-15 range, my PPDs hit for all 4 pulses every time. Statistically, the odds seemed to be heavily in my favor for this.

When alternately used with the plasmas, it was a nice combination.

I like the PPD more than the photon. Unless you let the Fed get close to you.
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mjwest
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Joined: 08 Oct 2006
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Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, with the updated PPD rules in the RRB, I do admit you are practically guaranteed to hit with at least one pulse, you still only have a 2-8 chance out of 12 (72%) chance to hit with all four pulses.
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Hod K'el
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Joined: 21 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:05 pm    Post subject: PPD's Reply with quote

Trust me...he hit and he hit hard with BOTH PPD's! Twice!

But I learned that my next outing with a OBCH will be with 1 PPD and 1 Hellbore in my option mounts.

Now you will have to excuse me while I go file my fangs!
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Dan Ibekwe
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Location: Manchester UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mjwest wrote:
Well, with the updated PPD rules in the RRB, I do admit you are practically guaranteed to hit with at least one pulse, you still only have a 2-8 chance out of 12 (72%) chance to hit with all four pulses.


Only 72%?

Perhaps I've missed something, but that sounds rather good odds to me.

What would the odds be of hitting with four out of four Photons, Disruptors or Hellbores at that range?

I'm still worried about the PPD in FC. In SFB there are a lot of things the target can do to mitigate it's effects, in FC they're all gone.
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wedge_hammersteel
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think he means that with one impulse you are pretty much guaranteed a hit and to hit with all 4 pulses your chances are still high at 72 %.
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan Ibekwe wrote:
mjwest wrote:
Well, with the updated PPD rules in the RRB, I do admit you are practically guaranteed to hit with at least one pulse, you still only have a 2-8 chance out of 12 (72%) chance to hit with all four pulses.


Only 72%?

Perhaps I've missed something, but that sounds rather good odds to me.

What would the odds be of hitting with four out of four Photons, Disruptors or Hellbores at that range?

I'm still worried about the PPD in FC. In SFB there are a lot of things the target can do to mitigate it's effects, in FC they're all gone.


Unless I'm missing something thats 4 pulses of a PPD, ie. 1 shot from one weapon, so the better analogy would be what are your chances of hitting with 1 photon, hellbore etc.
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, PPDs are pretty brutal. They're meant to be IMO. The scenario you played was highly non-historical, and possibly therefore not balanced.

Historically, only the core ships of an ISC echelon ever mounted PPDs, the rest mounted plasma torpedoes. When War And Peace comes out, I'd expect to see deployment restrictions on them similar to Tholian webcasters, or hellbores on Orions/WYNs - something like only 1 PPD ship for at least 3 ships.

Edit: the probability of hitting with all four pulses with four PPD shots is 26%. The ISC player got lucky to do that.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the PPD turns out to still be too powerful as-is, might it be worth splitting each pulse into a separate volley?

That would give options for a defending ship with some power to spare, but echo a kind of 'mizia' effect if more than one pulse hits the enemy hull.

They aren't supposed to hit all at once in the original game system, anyway.
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Scoutdad
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gary: The PPDs are supposed to be powerful, but controlling that power goes back to what Terry was proposing: a limit on the number of PPD armed ships in any one battle.

Not every ship in battle is going to be a PPD ship and the rules should reflect that. I could get behind 1 of every "full" 3 ships may have PPDs.

Note: I said every full 3 ships, so a force of 1 or 2 could not have a PPD armed ship and a force of 5 ships could only have one ship with PPDs.

This rule would even solve the Fed Comm tournament issue... before it becomes an issue. A Squadron of 3 or 4 ISC ships, all armed with PPDs would likely be a better combo than anything else currently available.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve wasn't too keen on the idea of making each pulse a separate volley. That is not a definitive, "No," just that he didn't like it or see a need for it.

If the PPD is still too powerful, I would likely just see some adjustments on the to-hit probability. Like the person (who I forget - sorry) who suggested using the base to-hit number for hitting with ONE pulse. To get more than one you have to beat the to-hit number. (Same idea as now, but you are going in the opposite direction.) I just think that is too harsh, though.

On the bigger picture, you need to remember that the PPD is supposed to be a bad-@$$ weapon. It is supposed to hit hard and make its opponents fear it. But, it is supposed to also be used within the context of a fleet, not as a maxed-out combat ship. As Terry says, I expect that there will be a deployment restriction rule for PPD armed ships, and I expect that there will be limits in the tournament rules, too. (Probably just one PPD ship in the force.)
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the way I see it is that making each PPD shot a separate volley gives it two tricks that makes it even more of a headache than it would be as a single volley.


For one, a ship might be able to try and reinforce against the separate volleys, but that power has to come from somewhere. The firing ship would have a ready-made way of either forcing the enemy ship to give up a significant chunk of its remaining power reserves for that turn, or take the hits and bear the consequences.

Plus, if you get through the enemy shields (or fire through a down shield), you can use those separate volleys for some directed targeting on, say, table 6... and thus be able to perform the kind of weapons-stripping that ISC echelons are, from what I gather, notorious for.

(It's hard for the ships of the 'aggressor empires' ships to fight each other if you take their toys away, after all.)

Wouldn't that be something to watch out for, even in a 1-in-3 formation?

The PPD is not supposed to be yet another brute-force weapon. For the ISC, it's supposed to have a somewhat more refined purpose, as 'a heavy weapon that matched its altruistic proclivities', or so Y2 puts it.

With separate volleys, and the healthy use of directed damage, it can fulfil this purpose in FC.



Oh, and as an aside, I'd suggest that the 1 in 3 rule be weighed so that you'd still be able to have 1 ship by itself armed with a PPD.

The Star Cruiser is a ship which would have been sent on long-range patrols by itself, both before and after the PPD was developed.

If you take away the ability of an ISC player to field a lone CA (as opposed to a CAT) you'd be altering that.


Maybe have it so that, after the first ship, you can only take another PPD-armed ship for every 2 (or 3) other ships?

You'd still get the ratio, but not get in the way of the lone-patrolling CA dynamic.

(That echoes how size class 3 ships are deployed in Magellanic fleets over in SFB. After your flagship, you need to take 3 SC4 ships before you can have another cruiser. This keeps the fleets in their historical perspective, but still permits lone cruiser patrols.)
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PPD ships are larger expensive ships ships with usually fewer heavy weapons than the enemy has heavy weapons. The command cruiser in one of the communiques weighed in and a massive 220 points and only had 2 PPDs, 2 Pl-S and 8 ph1 as its main weapons. You can get a Hydran heavy dreadnaught (with change) for that with 4 hellbores and 6 fusions and 10 ph1 and more power and shields, or somewhere bewtween a fed BC and a DN, or a Selt DN with 6 PC and 16! ph1.
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While the PPD in FC may not perfectly match how things work in SFB or the history, I think that's a perfectly OK choice to make if it speeds up play and simplifies things. Under FC rules, the main element and splash elements are each separate volleys. If each pulse is a separate volley, you actually have up to 12(!) volleys to resolve. One die roll, three volleys, is the easiest way to do it. If the ISC want to be all peaceful and altruistic, they can just fire plasma bolts and phaser-1s as directed targeting against weapons after the PPD has ground away the target's shields. So the player can get the same result as SFB, just not the same way.
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mojo jojo
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Joined: 23 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If PPD is too powerful, how about a compromise between SFB and FC?

1) First determine the number of pulses that hit.

2) Half rounded up of those pulses get applied immediately.

3) The remainder would be placed on the target ship as a counter and would be applied in the next impulse. The damage would be applied to whatever range and facing shield is at the time of the next impulse. If the PPD is no longer facing the target ship or if it's less than 4 hexes away, no damage is done.

Example:

ISC CA hits a Klingon D7 in impulse 3 4 times at 12 hexes range on its 1 shield. 2 of the pulses hit immediately and do range 12 damage to the 1 shield. A counter would be placed on the D7 until impulse 4 marking the remaining 2 pulses. Let's say that at impulse 4, the range is 6 and the facing shield is 3. The D7 now takes 2 pulses at range 6 damage at the 3 shield.

If the CA turned away so the D7 is no longer in a firing arc or if range closed to less than 4 hexes, no damage would be done by the 2nd set of pulses.

The rationale for this rule (besides making the PPD more reasonable in power level) is that it more matches the flavor of the original PPD, gives the defensive ship some chance at countermeasures, and allows overloads without being overpowering. Plus it's not that big a fudge to translate the 4 impulses of SFB PPD to 2 impulses of FC PPD.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plus it's not too complex, either. Nice idea, Mojo, I like it Smile You could use spare energy tokens as already provided in the FC sets - not that our group uses them for power anyway....
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