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Is there a way to have Star Wars space combat make sense?
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I couldn't follow all the references. I assumed they were EU, but I don't follow it much.

I think TheFlatline has the gist of how to describe what happened to the Executor. The A-wing must have been piloted by a PC that burned all his elan to go out in a blaze of glory.
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Lokathor
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/1493.html
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Emerald
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

All that stuff about Corona Squadron damaging the engines and thereby crippling the Executor shows up only in the "Journey to The Force Awakens" (the handful of positively execrable books that laid the groundwork for the new-canon version of things), and even then they only show up in three places.

Two appearances were merely offhand mentions in different books. Their main appearance is in one of the young adult novels (which even in old-canon were on the bottom of the quality and canonicity totem pole, c.f. the Jedi Prince series Sick) that shoehorns them into having been involved in the important battles of ESB and RotJ and outshining Luke & Co. because of course they did; they could take out an AT-AT with snowspeeder cannons because they were just so much better at shooting weak points than the other pilots, and screw Luke's Force-assisted aim, so of course they could outfly all the other fighter squadrons to cripple a Star Destroyer by themselves. And note that they took out a normal Star Destroyer, the Subjugator, and the narrator in that video merely extrapolated that the same tactics could be used on a Super Star Destroyer as well.

So, speaking as the obsessive fan who will justify and mind-caulk any plot holes with obscure EU references when needed...yeah, that explanation is 100% retconned bullshit and unless there was a lot more damage inflicted than we saw onscreen, the Executor should have been able to transfer control to the backup bridge and keep on truckin' for quite a while even without its shields and fighter screen.


Last edited by Emerald on Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mechalich
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Emerald wrote:

So, speaking as the obsessive fan who will justify and mind-caulk any plot holes with obscure EU references when needed...yeah, that explanation is 100% retconned bullshit and unless there was a lot more damage inflicted than we saw onscreen, the Executor should have been able to transfer control to the backup bridge and keep on truckin' for quite a while even without its shields and fighter screen.


It's worth comparing the fate of the Executor to the fate of Razor's Kiss a vessel of the exact same class that suffered pretty much the exact same damage to the shields and bridge via a specific stealth attack stratagem.

That ship, essentially unmanned (since it was stolen out of drydock) nevertheless withstood considerable pounding during a prolonged engagement and a trooper took control of the auxiliary bridge and attempted to save the ship. Though this effort ultimately failed, it represents a benchmark of how durable such vessels were supposed to be.

The Executor was destroyed by gravity in a very peculiar circumstance (which of course, Kevin J. Anderson later repeated with the Knight Hammer because he made it his mission in life to poison the EU), due to proximity to the Death Star II that served to make things more exciting.

That's rather necessary - in a movie - because battleship on battleship combat is actually kind of a slog. At the Battle of Jutland - which is the best proxy of a battleship conflict that actually occurred - the British had a fire accuracy of 2.7% and the Germans 3.4%, and battleships could survive a number of hits. The battle involved over 9,000 shells being fired in a period of over an hour. The actual space combat sequences of the Battle of Endor add up to what? A few minutes maybe. Pretty sure Luke spends more time staring out the window looking at the battle than there are shots of it being fought.
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Emerald
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yep, the Razor's Kiss and the Iron Fist (which also died to the "focus-fire the shield generators with a handful of smaller ships, then pound it to pieces with capital ships" strategy) were exactly the comparison I was thinking of.

The big problem with the RotJ scene is that Admiral Ackbar says "Concentrate all fire on that Super Star Destroyer!" and then it immediately cuts to the A-Wings taking out the shield generators and hitting the bridge, then once again immediately cuts to it being destroyed, making the whole effort seem trivial.

The movie really should have cut back to the Endor battle for a while between Ackbar's order and the A-Wing attack run, with a line or two thrown in once it cuts back about how they've finally weakened the shields enough that attacks are starting to get through, and then shown 20-30 seconds of actual bombardment of the ship and lots of minor explosions between the bridge being destroyed and the Executor crashing. That gives the whole effort better pacing and makes it seem like an actual accomplishment, without either being a long boring slog on-screen or giving an impression of "Gee, if he'd ordered them to focus-fire it a few minutes ago it wouldn't have been a problem at all!"
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Mord
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mechalich wrote:
That's rather necessary - in a movie - because battleship on battleship combat is actually kind of a slog. At the Battle of Jutland - which is the best proxy of a battleship conflict that actually occurred - the British had a fire accuracy of 2.7% and the Germans 3.4%, and battleships could survive a number of hits. The battle involved over 9,000 shells being fired in a period of over an hour. The actual space combat sequences of the Battle of Endor add up to what? A few minutes maybe. Pretty sure Luke spends more time staring out the window looking at the battle than there are shots of it being fought.


The circumstances in the Battle of Jutland are worth elaborating on slightly: the two fleets were firing at each other at horizon distances, through thick fog, with WWI-era fire control and sighting technology. Additionally, several British battlecruisers were annihilated in a single hit to their magazines in the opening skirmishes of the battle, after which the British realized what was going on and got more cautious in their deployment.

I have no justification or defense for the way the Executor's demise was handled on-screen. If I had been writing Return of the Jedi, there would not have been a second Death Star at all, but rather a massive throw-down between the Rebel and Imperial fleets (probably in orbit over Kashyyyk), with the Executor being the big kahuna threat on the Imperial side. But no one came here to listen to my fanfic.


Last edited by Mord on Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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TheFlatline
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The problem with the argument that the Executor's engines were taken out is that there's 13 of them. Even if you only took out like 6 or 7, that's an awful long time to hammer on the engines. As an EU retcon it's pretty shitty. I'd just say that the aux controls didn't kick in in time to pull the SSD out of the Death Star 2's gravity well and leave it at that.
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TheFlatline
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Emerald wrote:
they could take out an AT-AT with snowspeeder cannons because they were just so much better at shooting weak points than the other pilots, and screw Luke's Force-assisted aim, so of course they could outfly all the other fighter squadrons to cripple a Star Destroyer by themselves.


In Rogue One they manage to hull a couple of AT-ATs with relatively lower-powered weaponry. In my head canon the Empire between Rogue One and ESB up-armored the AT-ATs prior to Hoth specifically because they got blown up by rebel craft. Similar to how we up-armored our Humvees.
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Mechalich
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mord wrote:
I have no justification or defense for the way the Executor's demise was handled on-screen. If I had been writing Return of the Jedi, there would not have been a second Death Star at all, but rather a massive throw-down between the Rebel and Imperial fleets (probably in orbit over Kashyyyk), with the Executor being the big kahuna threat on the Imperial side. But no one came here to listen to my fanfic.


Fleet throw-downs are cumbersome and somewhat difficult to portray, something I learned when I wrote one in a fanfic. You need to lay out the order of battle, understand the capabilities of the vessels and the commanders, and provide interesting tactical options that allow the battle to have interesting ebb and flow. It's a lot of setup for even a single giant fiery barrage. Also, since in Star Wars technological variation between two sides is likely to be limited, the chances of a decisive victory are small.

General fleet engagements of any significant size are quite rare throughout the Star Wars canon, EU and otherwise, and when they do occur tend not to be described in detail or be utterly awful (or part of the New Jedi Order books, but those don't count because the Yuuzhan Vong aren't playing by the same rules as everyone else). It's never been something the various creators, and certainly not Lucas have focused on. Few Star Wars authors have any experience writing military science fiction or military fantasy fiction of any kind with the exception of Stackpole - who very deliberately focused on starfighters.

Thematically this makes a lot of sense, the storytelling tradition Star Wars follows is about plucky underdog heroes who take on much stronger enemies and win through gumption, wit, camaraderie, and so on. It works much better at the human scale of the Kurosawa and Westerns chassis that it was built on, not with giant faceless ships.

For gaming purposes it's probably much more important to get correct the elements that matter for your players - ex. X-wings versus a Customs Corvette - and just keep the big stuff as background elements. That's what most of the Star Wars video game RPGs have long done, and it seems to work pretty well.
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Emerald
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

TheFlatline wrote:
Emerald wrote:
they could take out an AT-AT with snowspeeder cannons because they were just so much better at shooting weak points than the other pilots, and screw Luke's Force-assisted aim, so of course they could outfly all the other fighter squadrons to cripple a Star Destroyer by themselves.


In Rogue One they manage to hull a couple of AT-ATs with relatively lower-powered weaponry. In my head canon the Empire between Rogue One and ESB up-armored the AT-ATs prior to Hoth specifically because they got blown up by rebel craft. Similar to how we up-armored our Humvees.


That would make sense; there's also the fact that the AT-ATs in Rogue One were actually AT-ACTs, All-Terrain Armored Cargo Transports, and as vehicles not intended to get into the thick of combat they may have been a less-heavily-armored model than the AT-AT--a L-H-AT-ACT, if you will. Wink

But I was actually complaining as a side note about the way the Corona Squadron scene was handled, more than debating the actual snowspeeder vs. AT-AT performance. Spoilered for irrelevant tangent:

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

In Legend of Galactic Heroes they have a deathstar sort of laser:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM4tPmy-cJo

Instead of blowing up planets it's used to shoot down enemy fleets at extreme range. It also has some sort of stealth capability so enemies aren't sure when they're in its range.
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fbmf
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

DDMW, on page 5 wrote:

If the droids are right, Han faces odds of 3,720 to 1 to successfully navigate an asteroid field. Successfully surviving a direct run against a Star Destroyer are 725 to 1. In-universe, the odds of just those two scenes are approximately 1 in 2.7 MILLION tries.


725/1 are the odds of Luke surviving a night on Hoth with no shelter. We never get to find out the odds of surviving a direct assault on an ISD.

Game On,
fbmf
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

fbmf wrote:
DDMW, on page 5 wrote:

If the droids are right, Han faces odds of 3,720 to 1 to successfully navigate an asteroid field. Successfully surviving a direct run against a Star Destroyer are 725 to 1. In-universe, the odds of just those two scenes are approximately 1 in 2.7 MILLION tries.


725/1 are the odds of Luke surviving a night on Hoth with no shelter. We never get to find out the odds of surviving a direct assault on an ISD.

Game On,
fbmf


You're right. Han Solo interrupts C3PO before he can reveal the odds of 'successfully surviving an attack on an Imperial Star Destroyer'. The implication is still that there is an extremely small chance of survival - but yeah, the larger point is that the Rebels consistently overcome 'impossible' odds. That's true when the face the Imperial Fleet at the second Death Star.
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Mord
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mechalich wrote:
Fleet throw-downs are cumbersome and somewhat difficult to portray, something I learned when I wrote one in a fanfic. You need to lay out the order of battle, understand the capabilities of the vessels and the commanders, and provide interesting tactical options that allow the battle to have interesting ebb and flow. It's a lot of setup for even a single giant fiery barrage. Also, since in Star Wars technological variation between two sides is likely to be limited, the chances of a decisive victory are small.

General fleet engagements of any significant size are quite rare throughout the Star Wars canon, EU and otherwise, and when they do occur tend not to be described in detail or be utterly awful (or part of the New Jedi Order books, but those don't count because the Yuuzhan Vong aren't playing by the same rules as everyone else). It's never been something the various creators, and certainly not Lucas have focused on. Few Star Wars authors have any experience writing military science fiction or military fantasy fiction of any kind with the exception of Stackpole - who very deliberately focused on starfighters.

Thematically this makes a lot of sense, the storytelling tradition Star Wars follows is about plucky underdog heroes who take on much stronger enemies and win through gumption, wit, camaraderie, and so on. It works much better at the human scale of the Kurosawa and Westerns chassis that it was built on, not with giant faceless ships.

The Battle of Endor was still a major fleet engagement, just with the addition of the Death Star as a background "victory condition" element. If you consider the Rebel battle plan as discussed in the briefing, there actually wasn't any reason for them to bring their cruisers at all - if the Death Star was indeed defended only by the energy field and not the fleet, and was not itself operational, what were the cruisers supposed to do while the fighters flew into the structure? Not draw fire off the fighters, not tie up defenses, not do any meaningful damage... I mean, we saw the fighters jump to hyperspace independently of the other ships. Why the hell did they bring the floating targets if they didn't expect to be fighting a whole mess of Star Destroyers and the Executor?

The Rebels brought their fleet to Endor because George Lucas wanted to blow something up with the Death Star superlaser. (The Death Star was in the movie because George Lucas is and always has been creatively bankrupt.) Since the fleet was only there for the sake of the dramatic reveal of the superlaser, the film didn't focus much on the fleet battle as compared to the action on the ground, the action in the Throne Room, and the action inside the Death Star core (incidentally: bullshit that you could fly starfighters into the fucking reactor chamber and then survive the trip out). Even so, you can't deny that the battle was a thing that happened there. There's no reason a hypothetical alternate RotJ couldn't have had a major fleet battle as a background element even without a Death Star being present.

Mechalich wrote:
For gaming purposes it's probably much more important to get correct the elements that matter for your players - ex. X-wings versus a Customs Corvette - and just keep the big stuff as background elements. That's what most of the Star Wars video game RPGs have long done, and it seems to work pretty well.

That's true, but you shouldn't disregard the flip side of that coin - FFG does "X-Wing" but they also do "Armada." "X-Wing Versus TIE Fighter" has "Rebellion" (specifically the PC game, though the board game also speaks to my point here). "Battlefront" has "Force Commander." "Rogue Squadron" has "Empire At War."

The Star Wars IP has been used to great varying effect for games focusing on a variety of scales. RPGs as a class tend to be about individuals rather than large groups of people; about the only exception to this I can think of is Fire Emblem, which may or may not qualify as an RPG versus a tactical or strategy game. Tabletop RPGs that expand to include too many moving pieces tend to become miniatures wargames.
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Ed
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mechalich wrote:
Fleet throw-downs are cumbersome and somewhat difficult to portray, something I learned when I wrote one in a fanfic. You need to lay out the order of battle, understand the capabilities of the vessels and the commanders, and provide interesting tactical options that allow the battle to have interesting ebb and flow. It's a lot of setup for even a single giant fiery barrage.


I used to build campaigns for TIE Fighter--I had some decently regarded ones on AOL back in The Day--and this is 100% true even when you actually have an engine to play them through. One particular campaign I wrote (and I was like seven, so the story was not exactly impressive) involved the Empire trying to take advantage of a fracture in a local system's Rebel sympathizers in a way kind of like the "pirates" tour from the base game, where you'd plink at both sides but (in something that, as a kid, I was WAY too proud of) have to let certain ships escape, that sort of thing. To top it off, I wanted to build the biggest, multi-sided multi-stage, shitty-computer-crashingest (I took out minimum-spec machines and even some Collector's Edition-playing Pentiums when the third stage started and the Rebels partied in with a motley fleet of mid-caps) fleet action I could. I spent more time playing through it and doing nothing just to make sure that things failed correctly if the player didn't do anything than I spent actually making it balanced or fun (I remember it turning out okay, but then again, I was 7).

The closest real-world comparisons to these are already gigantic clusterfucks, we shouldn't really expect it to be less than that in fiction.


Last edited by Ed on Sun Jul 23, 2017 6:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

How much does a hyperdrive capable ship cost and is it a thing a middle class dude could afford like a car
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:
How much does a hyperdrive capable ship cost and is it a thing a middle class dude could afford like a car

This question's come up before. A ship costs about five used cars, so they might need to get a loan or something, but definitely doable.
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Mechalich
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The economics of Star Wars are a huge mess. No one can agree on even the most basic things, never mind huge issues like how supposedly ubiquitous labor droids affect work effort. There's all sorts of contradictory commentary floating around and way too much complexity (for instance differences in prices in the Core versus the Rim) to be incorporated into an RPG.

In the movies timeframe, ships are apparently relatively cheap. A small, civilian vessel bought used like the Millennium Falcon (which, by the time it shows up in New Hope is like 50 years old) wouldn't be that expensive. However, it has been stated several times that generally, without resorting to illegal measures like smuggling, it is extremely difficult for such ships to recoup their costs. So if a party buys a ship, it should be a constant drain on their credits - especially if they want to make it something other than completely helpless.
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Ed
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah - as far as canon goes (the Legends stuff, I stopped paying attention to the new stuff), the margins on small scale shipping is ass. That's why the Falcon is a "light freighter" instead of a "freighter", which mostly throws around big containers. Light freighters are smuggler toys and passenger vessels, though not too many at a time.

Does this make any sense? Of course not. Pretty much everybody except Zahn and the X-Wing guys never really asked...
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TheFlatline
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

angelfromanotherpin wrote:
OgreBattle wrote:
How much does a hyperdrive capable ship cost and is it a thing a middle class dude could afford like a car

This question's come up before. A ship costs about five used cars, so they might need to get a loan or something, but definitely doable.


George Lucas grew up in Modesto building hot rods and street racing.

His entire approach to ships and to Star Wars economics was basically built off of his recollection of his pre-college days. I mean, it's trivial for backwater yokels to be able to tinker on ships that fly faster than light speed and soup up ships that entire teams of scientists couldn't soup up.

American Graffiti takes place in 1962 so yeah. Figure Central California early 60's economics with spaceships and pew pew pew lasers.


Last edited by TheFlatline on Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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