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Month Index: February, 1995

From:     Michael Sandy <mehawk@?????.?????.com>
Date:     Wed, 1 Feb 95 21:41 PST
Subject:  Re: Non-magical weapons and tactics for space
The problem with using ships for ramming isn't the cost of the ship,
unfortunately.  To have a reasonable chance of success the pilot must
be very good, preferably using a major helm.  Good pilots, because they
are high level mages, priests, psionicists or whatever are often more
valuable than the whole rest of the crew of even a fairly large ship.

My idea of a true nasty ship is an Elven Flitter with a major Helm, and
a permanent Prismatic Sphere cast about the ship.  Nigh invulnerable, hard
to hit, can't be boarded, and disintigrates everything that crosses the
sphere, or that the sphere crosses!  Put your best pilot on _that_ ship...

In order to ram with an inferior ship and inferior pilot you need either
large number, great tactics, magic, decpetion or some combination.  In a
battle where everybody fights in close formation for maximum support, with
missile weapons and magic, having expendable ships with some one shot
spells to increase speed might enable a ram before they can loosen their
formation enough to dodge, and they may even be under orders to maintain
formation at all times.

Ships which are designed to ram should have as many magics available for
increasing speed and maneuverability as possible, further, once you've
determined to throw away a Helm, you may as well throw a fairly heavy
ship that can take a few hits while closing. It may also be a little too
heavy to cut free of whatever unfortunate ship you collide with.

If the enemy fleet is in such close formation as to share atmospheres,
send a ship that can move with something large burning on its bow, or
perhpas somewhere where it won't block Helms vision and sail it into
the enemy fleet to foul their air.  This is something especially to
deter pursuit as it limits their range.

In general, if you win a battle by asphyxiating your opponent there are
ways to salvage.  In some cases it is as simple as selling its location to
a salvage company.  A salvage company can include Hurwaeti, whatever the
race is that can purify air with a fog cloud type ability.  It could
bring an air ship, (essentially an inflated balloon full of clean air.)

Care should be taken to look over the wreck with infravision.  There may
be hot spots just waiting for fresh air to explode in your face.

One fighter/mage in Salvage armor, (Girdle of giant strength, necklace of
adaption) should be enough to retrieve any ship with an intact helm.  When
taking a ship by asphyxiation, the enemy crew often jumps into space away
from the flames, hoping their pocket of clear air lasts longer than the
battle, depending on the nature of the enemy of course!

In some areas it may be considered uncivilized or barbaric to deliberately
try to suffocate an enemy in space, it is more proper to board and fight
hand to hand, or something.  Others see it as a cheap way of taking out
an immobilized or less mobile ship without losing crew and time boarding it.
After all, the damaged ship you leave behind might get fixed by its crew and
seek vengeance.

I'd like to see some ideas for Helm powered weaponry.  If the magic is powerful
enough to move a ship, it is powerful enough to power a weapon.

Do Gnome make hydraulicly powered flamethrowers of napalm?  How about a variant
on Reverse Gravity or Telekinesis to make a fixed mount autocannon, sort a.
How about five ships flying in formation with heavy chains connecting each
pair (with a quick release lever.)  Or two ships towing something heavy, taking
a hard tack _away_ from each other, releasing the object at the last moment.


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