I'd like to hear some comments on a few archeotech ship components I'm planning on adding to my game. The campaign centers around the rogue trader's quest to recover his dynasty's lost ships and restore his family's wealth. I'd like to have the ships he finds have one ore two really interesting and impressive components, but the components currently available are mostly just more powerful versions of standard components.
In my opinion, a ship fully outfitted with archeotech components should be about twice as powerful as a modern imperial ship of the same class. Not just because its weapons do more damage, but because relics from the dark age of technology can do things that other ships just can't do.
So, tell me what you think:
Broadside Macro Turrets (2 power, 6 space, cruiser only)
An expensive and wasteful attempt to fix the fie arcs of early grand cruisers before the Imperium simply abandoned grand cruisers all together. This modification allows one non-broadside weapon on each side of the grand cruiser to fire into the forward arc, as well as the arc it can normally fire into.
Forward Arc: One non-broadside weapon in a Port and Starboard slot may also fire forward. Against an enemy who isn't aware of the weapons ability to fire forward, the ship gains a +10 bonus to BS when firing the weapon.
Teleportarium Launch Bay (9 power, 9 space, strength 3, cruisers and transports with 75+ space)
Not seen on naval vessels since the time the Emperor battle his enemies beside his sons, this launch bay can actually get small craft into and out of the ship via gargantuan teleportariums. Considered dangerous in the extreme by modern savants and wasteful by most naval captains and rogue traders, the ability to put fighters or bombers directly into combat with another ship makes for a devastating surprise. Because most of this component is internal, this launch bay does not require a weapon slot.
No landing strips required: Up to three squadrons can be launched via teleportation and automatically appear anywhere withing 5VU from this ship. However, even with homing beacons in every squadron, squadrons can only be teleported back if they are within 1VU. Launching a squadron this way requires a successful tech-use (+0) roll with a -5 penalty for every squadron after the first, and an additional -5 if any squadron is carrying torpedo bombers is loaded with void torpedoes. Failure results in the squadrons being displaced a number of VUs away from the target location, with the direction of the displacement determined by a roll on the scatter table.
Limited land strips when required: If this component looses power for any reason, each squadron takes two turns to be recovered, and only one squadron can be in the process of recovering on any given turn.
Anywhere in an instant: Any bonus achievement points a squadron earns are doubled.
Inertial Damping Capacitors (4 power, space 2)
The pattern for this system is long sought by the priests of mars. Massive banks of capacitors sit ready to discharge into enhanced inertial dampers to allow a ship to perform maneuvers that would normally break a ship in half. This makes for a nasty surprise when a ship suddenly spins around to chase an attacker.
Inertialess turn: When activated, a pilot may attempt to turn his ship by any ammount at any point is his normal movement with a difficult (-10) pilot check. If the check fails, the ship moves its full normal movement, then faces a direction determined by rolling on the scatter diagram. Once used, this system requires two turns to recharge.
Teleportatium Artillery (2 power, 2 space, strength 1)
Another ancient and feared weapon from the dark age of technology. This weapon is one of the few weapons that does not require a weapon slot. This relic sends powerful artillery shells through the warp to appear next to enemy ships. In ancient times, torpedoes would be hurled into the warp, exiting next to enemy vessels and immediately attacking. Since the Emporer's Internment in the golden throne, those few ships lucky enough to mount one of these devices and have a crewman who knows how to use it (or even what it is), use it to place macro shells in front of enemy ships in hopes that the enemy will run into it. Particularly strange or powerful ordinance seems to be trickier than conventional ordinance. Whether this problem existed when the weapon was created is not known.
Cheap shots: When used to fire standard cheap macro shells, make a challenging (+0) tech use test to place the ordinance in front of any opponent within 5 VU. If the test fails, then the macro-shell is off target and is not likely to hurt anything. Otherwise, the target takes 1d10+1 damage that ignores void shields like a torpedo.
Warp Torpedoes: The scariest use for this weapon is to teleport torpedoes around the battle space. If the ship has some spare torpedoes, then whoever is manning this weapon may make a challenging (+0) tech-use test to place the torpedo (or volley) anywhere within 5 VU. If they appear next to a ship, then they attack normally. Otherwise they start moving on the next turn of the firing ship, acting as normal torpedoes from that point on. However, unless the tech-use test to fire the torpedoes succeeded by at least two degrees, the direction they travel is determined by a roll on the scatter table. The tech-use test to fire the torpedoes suffers a -5 for every void torpedo in the volley.
Cogitator Control Link: A ship may mount this component up to the number of turrets the stock ship comes with. Any more cannot be managed by the ship's core cogitator. When more than one is fired in a given turn, the firer may group the torpedoes however he wishes, allowing the available strength of the weapons to be added together as higher-strength volleys or salvos.
Small Craft Storage Bays (1 power, 2 space)
Each small craft storage bay increases the number of squadrons it's parent ship can hold by 2, however, it has no launch capability on its own.
Under-barrel Launch Bays (2 power, 4 space, strength 1)
These little known, and less often used, launch bays are small enough to include on any large ship without drastically impacting its fighting capacity. These launch bays are mounted under the standard port and starboard weapon slots, so long as the weapon they are mounted under is not a broadside weapon or another launch bay.
Small Bay: Each of these launch bays only holds two squadrons.
Cramped Construction: These launch bays are mounted in port and/or starboard weapon slots that already contain a weapon. The weapon mounted with an under-barrel launch bay is minimally inconvenienced by this, and suffers a -10 to any BS rolls to fire. Also, during a turn that a squadron is launched or recovered, the arc that the squadron launch or recovered from does not benefit form any turrets, and the fore and aft arcs lose one point of turret rating.
Something else I'd like for my campaign is archeotech small craft. I could just use the published imperial small craft and assign a higher bonus, however, I'd much rather have more interesting features. So if anyone has any ideas for ancient imperial fighters/bombers/assault boats, please share your ideas here.
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I had considered an arched structure ("roll bar") that would grant a grand cruiser one Dorsal mount by placing abutments on one Port and one Starboard mount (making them unable to mount weapons). This component could only be mounted once per vessel, and it could not be mounted to any vessel that already has a Dorsal mount. I hadn't figured out a good name for the component, nor the exact Space (possibly 4 Space?) or SP (possibly 2 SP?). This component would also degrade the vessel's Manoeuvrability (by -3 or -5, not too sure). This would not be an archeotech component, but fulfills much the same purpose as your turret idea. I was thinking of restricting it to grand cruisers, but it might work out for cruisers too as a precursor to battlecruisers.
Couple of immediate thoughts:
Broadside Macro Turrets: Get rid of the surprise bonus, unless you'd grant it in similar situations from non-archaeotech. Like for example a Q-Ship with a hidden prow battery
Teleport Launch Bays: I'd include an accidental mishap rule, requiring all launches and landings to take some kind of - relatively easy - test. Even Dark Age of Technology teleport tech wasn't wholly safe, so there should be a chance of a squadron getting lost in the Warp
Teleport Artillery: A lot of rules for one component … I'd consider just using it for macrocannon or torpedoes
For the broadside turrets, I feel their should be some bonus if an opponent has to dodge more attacks over a 30-minute round than they expected, but I don't know any other way than a minot bonus (I say minor because in the game I"m running, the characters so rarely miss that +10 isn't really meaningful, and I assume most groups have a master gunner with similarly high results). I'm open for suggestions on something else though (remember, this bonus only last until an opponent knows about it).
How's this for rewording the Warp Artilery (renamed from teleporterium artilery)?
Replace the long descriptions of the torpedoe and macro shell abilities with the following:
Warp Ordinance: This frightening system may be used to deploy torpedoes or minefields anywhere within 5vu. When used to deploy a mine field, use the rules on pages 38-39 of Battlefleet Koronus, except that the tech-use test is at -20, and failure results in the minefield appearing around the ship. If used to deploy torpedoes, they appear anywhere withing 5vu with a challenging tech-use (-0) test and act normally as if their movement ended at the location they appeared, however, if the tech-use test doesn't have 2 degrees of success, the direction the torpedoes start moving on the following turn is determined by a random roll on the scatter diagram. This component has storage for 3 torpedoes or one minefield, however, it can deploy ordinance from other components if the ordinance is available.
For the teleportatium launch bays, adding 1d5 corruption and insanity points for a failed tech-use test for deployment seems reasonable. Being pulled back through the warp for less than 1vu for recovery shouldn't have a real chance for failure, but taveling 5vu away seems like the risk should be real.
Repalce the No Landign Strip Required ability with the following:
No landing strips required: Up to three squadrons can be launched via teleportation and automatically appear anywhere withing 5VU of the ship. However, even with homing beacons in every squadron, squadrons can only be teleported back if they are within 1VU. Launching a squadron this way requires a successful tech-use (+0) roll with a -5 penalty for every squadron after the first, and an additional -5 if any squadron is carrying torpedo bombers is loaded with void torpedoes. Failure results in squadron being scattered and any crew member in the scattered squadron gains 1d5 corruption and insanity points. Scattered squadrons take three strategic turns to regroup at the original target location before trying to continue their mission.
Teleportarium Artillery sounds much the same as Yuvath weaponry. Just let them find and try to adapt that. Of course, that's heretical warp technology, and tends to generate Inquisition curiosity in the Rogue Trader's vessel, but that's part of the fun of the game.
I just love putting warp technology in the game and tempting the players with its power. Of course there's always a catch, much the same as with Halo Artifacts. The players in our game got wary after a few became self-propelled warp zombies.
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