Thursday, July 15, 2021

Dark Nebula - Revised and Expanded Naval Budgets

Public Domain Art
Following comments I received on my original Trillion Credits Squadron Dark Nebula post, I have decided to revise this setting's naval budgets. First, all previous naval expenditure would be peacetime; the major powers (Solomani, Aslan, and Mizahni) began war preparation only recently. Second, I calculated 10-year naval budgets, as per Trillion Credits Squadron, for existing fleets.

I assumed that Government 7 has an average peacetime government multiplier of 1, and that all Aslan worlds, regardless of government, have a peacetime government multiplier of 1.1, warrior culture that they are.


So... What Are we talking about? How much budget for existing fleets do the various naval powers of the Dark Nebula have?

The powers' naval fleet worth is:

Maadin Confederation: Existing fleet worth Cr64,068,662,375,000.

Fastness Mutual Defense Pact (Mizah): Existing fleet worth Cr3,619,558,500,000.

Aslan Hierate: Existing fleet worth Cr44,861,676,750,000.


The independent world naval worth is:

Kindara Existing fleet worth Cr248,625,000,000.

Mir Existing fleet worth Cr20,400,000,000.

Enjiwa Existing fleet worth Cr132,000,000,000.

Rim Existing fleet worth Cr2,200,000,000,000.

Godoro Existing fleet worth Cr235,125,000,000.

Dno Existing fleet worth Cr19,337,500,000.

Drax Existing fleet worth Cr6,412,500,000.

Salan Existing fleet worth Cr277,875,000,000.

Irbev Existing fleet worth Cr2,565,000,000.

Kapros Existing fleet worth Cr24,500,000,000.


---


My initial concept for such procurement budget's distribution is as follows:

10% maintenance and overhead.

15% troop transports (depending on available Expeditionary Troops).

15% logistics ships/tankers.

20% System Defense Boats (SDBs) and Monitors (15% for Aslan).

40% offensive squadrons (45% for Aslan).

This assumes that the budget is after overhead and salaries/maintenance costs of past years.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Dark Nebula Troop Strength Calculation


To complement my
naval budget calculations, I calculated ground and expeditionary troop strengths for each world in the Dark Nebula. For this, I used the Troops In The Fifth Frontier War (History), article by Marc Miller, published in JTAS #10. That article gives troop strengths, in battalions, per population and tech level.

I have made a slight modification to the rules, noting that any world with at least population 4 (at least 10,000 inhabitants) has at least one defense battalion. I also renamed regular troops into "Defense Troops", and mobile troops into "Expeditionary Troops", and added troop strength in divisions as well.


The worlds with significant troop numbers (i.e., at least one division) are:
Kindara - 6 defense divisions, 1 understrength expeditionary division
Amani - 1 defense division
Vaxt (Aslan) - 80 defense divisions, 8 expeditionary divisions
Mir - 1 understrength defense division
Kuzu (Aslan) - 480 defense divisions, 20 expeditionary divisions
Blatta (Aslan) - 480 defense divisions, 20 expeditionary divisions
Enjiwa - 6 defense divisions, 1 understrength expeditionary division
Rim - 80 defense divisions, 8 expeditionary divisions
Godoro - 8 defense divisions, 1 expeditionary division
Dno - 1 understrength defense division
Drax - 1 defense division
Taanga - 8 defense divisions, 1 expeditionary division
Simba - 1 defense division
Mizah - 48 defense divisions, 5 expeditionary divisions
Gazzain (Solomani) - 80 defense divisions, 8 expeditionary divisions
Salan - 6 defense divisions, 1 understrength expeditionary division
Maadin (Solomani) - 480 defense divisions, 20 expeditionary divisions
Mechane (Solomani) - 480 defense divisions, 20 expeditionary divisions
Kamat (Solomani) - 6 defense divisions, 1 understrength expeditionary division
Bulan - 12 defense divisions, 1 expeditionary division

What do we learn from here?
Solomani (Maadin Confederation) and Aslan have equivalent expeditionary troops (48 divisions each, polity-wide). These are grossly insufficient for conquering Population 9 worlds (i.e., billions of inhabitants), but can conquer less populated worlds.

The Maadin Confederation has as many expeditionary troops as Mizah has defense troops. A ground invasion is possible, though this will be a difficult battle, as both are of the same tech level. Also note that even if it achieves orbital superiority over Mizah, the Confederation is unlikely to use heavy orbital bombardment, as they are interested in Mizahni infrastructure. This makes a total Confederation invasion of Mizah unlikely; a limited war to force Mizah to sign a non-aggression pact permitting free passage and refueling of Maadini ships on their way to fight the Aslan is much more likely. An alternative would be to encourage an insurrection on Mizah, then arrive to "intervene" and enthrone the rebels - another conspiracy ripe for players to get involved in!

Dark Nebula - Trillion Credits Squadron naval budget calculations

(Art by Jeff Kazmierski, used with permission)

I'm back to work on my Dark Nebula, variant-OTU (variant of the Official Traveller Universe) setting, published under Far Future Enterprises' Fair Use License in my Darkest Stars fanzine for Classic Traveller.

Today, I will start doing the math of the various fleets in this setting. Obviously, only polities with a Starport-A can produce their own navy, though well-off worlds with other starports can purchase ships for a local navy.

The three worlds with Starport-A's in this setting are Maadin (Maadin 0702), Mizah (Maadin 0304), and Kuzu (Kuzu 0207). This gives us the three naval powers of this setting - the Maadin Confederation, Mizah, and the Aslan Hierate, respectively. To improve its defenses against both Aslan and Confederation aggression, however, Mizah has entered a mutual defense pact with the other 5 Fastness worlds. While Maadinite media calls it a protection racket, this pact results from the Fastness worlds preferring indirect Mizahni leadership over direct Confederation control.

I will use the old Trillion Credits Squadron booklet to determine naval strengths. I took the liberty to roll each world's population multipliers.

The three powers have navies (obviously), as well as any independent world with a population digit of 5 or greater and TL8+.

The aforementioned Trillion Credits Squadron assumes a baseline Cr500 tax money per citizen per annum going to the naval budget. This is modified by a government modifier, which is further modified by whether the world is at peace or at war. I assume that due to the current political situations, all three powers - but not the independent worlds - are investing war-level budgets in their navies. All three powers anticipate war in the near future and prepare for it in earnest.

Note that the warlike Aslan have a wartime government multiplier of 1.5, regardless of Aslan government type.

Also note that I assume that balkanized worlds under Maadin rule have a wartime government multiplier of 1.3. Independent balkanized worlds have a peacetime government multiplier of 1.

SEE THE MATH HERE!

Surprise! This back-of-the-envelope math produced BIG naval budgets even for such local powers!

The powers' naval budgets are:

Maadin Confederation: population of approx. 15,160,916,000 citizens; naval budget Cr8,161,622,277,500! (That's 8.1 trillion credits!).

Fastness Mutual Defense Pact (Mizah): population of approx. 983,615,000 subjects; naval budget Cr533,622,950,000.

Aslan Hierate: population of approx. 10,810,570,000 Aslan; naval budget Cr6,117,501,375,000.


The independent world naval budgets are:

Kindara Cr24,862,500,000

Mir Cr2,040,000,000

Enjiwa Cr13,200,000,000

Rim Cr220,000,000,000

Godoro Cr23,512,500,000

Dno Cr1,933,750,000

Drax Cr641,250,000

Salan Cr27,787,500,000

Irbev Cr256,500,000

Kapros Cr$2,450,000,000

---

Big ship universe it is! However, the navies still cannot be everywhere at once, as Aslan invest in large carriers and Solomani in large battleships, as well as massive troop/invasion ships.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

More damage system thoughts

I have been thinking more about my proposed damage system, as well as receiving feedback for its original version. So, here is a variant for you to consider.
Ordinary handguns, knives, spears, etc. have 2d6 Penetration Dice. Rifles, light machine guns, big-ass pistols, long/bastard swords, etc. have 3d6. Sniper rifles, medium machine guns, grenade blasts, and broadswords have 4d6. Really heavy stuff such as RPG-7s and big lasers have  5d6.

Once you hit a target, you roll the penetration dice: 1-7, light wound; 8-11, severe wound; 12-16, mortal wound; or 16+ insta-kill.

Armor reduces the number of Penetration Dice you have. Light armor reduces by one die; heavy armor by two dice; powered armor by three dice.

A critical hit (let's say, a natural 12 on the 2d6 attack roll) adds one Penetration Die.

2 light wounds become a serious wound. 2 serious wounds become a mortal wound. Being wounded again when mortally wounded kills you.

So, the probabilities of the various wound levels, once a hit is made, are (I hope I got the math right this time...):


Pistol vs. unarmored target:

58% light wound

39% serious wound

3% mortal wound

No insta-kill without crit.


Rifle vs. unarmored target:

16% light wound

46% serious wound

36% mortal wound

2% insta-kill


With light armor (-1 Penetration Die):

Pistol:

100% light wound unless on a crit, in which case 58% light wound, 39% serious wound, 3% mortal wound

Rifle:

58% light wound

39% serious wound

3% mortal wound

No insta-kill without crit.


With heavy armor (-2 Penetration Dice):

Pistol:

No damage without crit, in which case light wound.

Rifle:

100% light wound unless on a crit, in which case 58% light wound, 39% serious wound, 3% mortal wound


Now, let's factor in the to-hit chance: 8+ on 2d6 + attacker skill - target skill and assume equal skills, per shot fired (42% to-hit chance):

Unarmored/Pistol:

58% miss

24% light wound

17% serious wound

1% mortal wound

No insta-kill without crit.

Unarmored/Rifle:

58% miss

7% light wound

19% serious wound

15% mortal wound

1% insta-kill


With light armor:

Pistol:

58% miss

42% light wound unless on a crit

Rifle:

58% miss

24% light wound

17% serious wound

1% mortal wound

No insta-kill without crit.


With heavy armor:

Pistol:

No damage without crit.

Rifle:

58% miss

42% light wound

Of course, chances are way higher if you're more skilled than your target!


What do you think of it now?

A damage system I was thinking about for gritty RPG combat

I have been thinking about a gritty penetration-based, hit-point-less damage system for grittier RPG combat. The came to me when thinking about my Cepheus Atom rules, where you have "hit-point-equivalents" (Endurance and Lifeblood), but, in practice, you have wound levels based on these "hit points": Uninjured, Lightly Injured, Seriously Injured, and Dead. So, why should I use the wound levels directly, instead of going through the "hit points"?

So...

Let's use Cepheus Light vehicle damage as an inspiration. Weapons have Penetration Dice. Ordinary handguns, knives, spears, etc. have 1d6. Rifles, light machine guns, big-ass pistols, long/bastard swords, etc. have 2d6. Sniper rifles, medium machine guns, grenade blasts, and broadswords have 3d6. Really heavy stuff such as RPG-7s and big lasers have 4d6.

Once you hit a target, you roll the penetration dice: 1-2 no damage; 3-5 light wound; 6-8 to severe wound; 9-11 mortally wound; or 12+ insta-kill.

Armor is a penalty to the penetration roll. Light armor is -3, heavy armor is -6, powered armor is -9.

A critical hit (let's say, a natural 12 on the 2d6 attack roll) adds one Penetration Die.

So, the probabilities of the various wound levels, once a hit is made, are (I hope I got the math right...):


Pistol vs. unarmored target:

33% flesh wound (no game effect)

50% light wound

17% serious wound

No mortal wound or insta-kill without crit.


Rifle vs. unarmored target:

8% flesh wound

33% light wound

42% serious wound

15% mortal wound

2% insta-kill


With light armor (-3 to the roll):

Pistol:

85% flesh wound

16% light wound

No serious+ wounds without crit.

Rifle:

27% flesh wound

56% light wound

15% serious wound

2% mortal wound


With heavy armor (-6 to the roll):

Pistol:

No damage unless on a crit.

Rifle:

73% flesh wound

25% light wound

2% serious wound


Now, let's factor in the to-hit chance: 8+ on 2d6 + attacker skill - target skill and assume equal skills, per shot fired:

Unarmored/Pistol:

71% miss or flesh wound (no game-relevant damage)

21% light wound

7% serious wound

Unarmored/Rifle:

61% miss or flesh wound (no game-relevant damage)

14% light wound

17% serious wound

6% mortal wound

1% insta-kill


With (common) light armor:

Pistol:

93% miss or flesh wound

7% light wound

Rifle:

69% miss or flesh wound

23% light wound

6% serious wound

1% mortal wound


What do you think of this system? Is it too lethal? Does it "feel" well in play?

Sunday, August 16, 2020

[OSE] Geckofolk race-class


After trying out Old School Essentials (OSE) for several sessions, I've grown very fond of that ruleset. Therefore, I've turned some of my creative energies towards OSE. As a huge fan of lizards of all kinds, I've decided to open my way to this with a... Gecko. Geckofolk, to be exact. So, without further ado, here is that race-class. I designed this class with The Welsh Piper LLC's BX Options: Class Builder, a book which I recommend to anyone interested in OSE.





Geckofolk

Requirement: Dexterity 9+

Prime requisite: Dexterity

Hit Dice: 1d6

Maximum level: 9

Armor: Any appropriate to size, but without shields

Weapons: Any appropriate to size

Languages: Alignment, Common, Gecko-speak

From the far deserts come the Geckofolk - small-bodied hunters who resemble humanoid fan-fingered geckos. A gecko-person weighs approximately 30kg (60 pounds) and stands around 120cm tall (4 feet) not including the tail, which may reach 60cm (2 feet) in length. Geckofolk have a yellowish to grey skin of fine scales, and large, bulbous eyes with slit pupils. "Fans" with adhesion pads adore their fingers and toes, allowing them to climb almost any surface, and even walk on overhand horizontal surfaces. Their native tongue is typified by chirps and tongue-clicks, and in Common or their Alignment Language, they speak with a squeaky voice.

Geckofolk are hunters. While they eat fruits, especially sweet ones, their primary diet is composed of prey - anything from rodents to massive reptile beasts. They patiently lie in wait, usually as a group of their tribe's hunters, for the prey to come - and leap upon it in the most opportune moment, striking with speed and without mercy.

When playing a gecko-person, be patient. Wait. Think first. Contemplate your options. The world can wait. Never act rashly. But when it is time to act - act decisively and at lightning speed, with well-calculated precision.

Prime Requisite: a gecko-person with at least 13 in Dexterity gains a +5% bonus to experience.

Combat: geckofolk may wear any type of armor, but it must be tailored to their small size. They may not use shields, but may use any weapon appropriate for their stature (as determined by the Referee). They may not use long-bows or other two-handed weapons.

Backstab: When attacking an unaware opponent from behind, a gecko-person receives a +4 bonus to hit and doubles any damage dealt.

Gecko-Climb: geckofolk can readily climb almost any wall or walk on any ceiling at half their movement speed, and cling to walls ceilings effortlessly.

Hiding: geckofolk are adept at stealth and ambushing their foes. In rocky or desert settings, they have a 90% chance to successfully hide. In dungeons or urban settings, geckofolk can hide in shadows or behind cover, with a 2-in-6 chance of success.

Infravision: geckofolk may see in the dark to a distance of up to 30 feet.

Sniping: when attacking an unaware opponent with a missile weapon, a gecko-person receives a +4 bonus to hit and doubles any damage dealt.

Stronghold: any time the Gecko-person desires (and has sufficient money), they may build a stronghold - a hideout for a new geckofolk tribe. Such hideouts are typically located in the deserts or among dry mountains, but the hidden nooks and crannies of colder, wetter cities also serve them well.

Your Tail May be Shed! Geckofolk with a full tail may shed their tail to automatically avoid one physical attack (melee or missile), or gain a +4 bonus to a single saving throw against a physical threat (such as a breath weapon). A tail takes a month to regrow, given a good food supply.


D: Death/poison; W: Wands; P: Paralysis/petrify; B: Breath attacks; S: Spells/rods.staves.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Trying Out Old School Essentials (OSE)



Played Old School Essentials (OSE) for the first time last night (as a player) through Roll20. Playing The Bonesmith the Lawful Cleric from the OSE Rogues Gallery. Setting is dark and at least partially weird. Using ascending AC.

Migrated from Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. OSE is more to my taste than AS&SH, at least in terms of rules and book layout/formatting.

The rules work perfectly and naturally. Effortlessly. Almost no need to reference the books once character sheets were ready (a few minutes' work). Only time we (players) looked into the book was to check how the Sleep spell works in this specific ruleset (it changes slightly between OSR games).

Fought some bandits and some wolves. Combat is fast and brutal. Though we spent most of the session role-playing and exploring, with the Referee rolling a few dice here and there (for random encounters, as far as I recall).

All in all, one of the best OSR rulesets I played!