4.0.0 Movement

 

Movement, of ships or fleets in Fire On The Suns is conducted using faster-than-light (FTL) and real space engines. While warp drive is the standard game drive system, warp drive is not the only type of FTL drive available. The speeds of most drive types are rated in “warp factors” (WF). Each warp factor allows a ship to move a specific number of sections each turn.

If a ship attempts to move faster than its cruise speed in FTL the ship may begin to suffer increased wear and tear on its drive system which may result in breakdowns. In real space speed is limited due to drive interactions with local particles and gas that cause incoming gas and/or particles to radiate as much energy as can be produced by thrust.

 

Movement Table:

Warp Factor           Sections Moved/Turn

1                              1/2

2                              1

3                              2

4                              4

5                              8

6                              16

7                              32

8                              64

9                              128

10                            256

11                            512

12                            1024

13                            2048

14                            4096

15                            8192

16                            16384

17                            32768

18                            65536

19                            131072

20                            262144

 

Warp Factor 20 is the maximum possible FTL speed. Real space drive speeds are limited by the number of engines a ship has onboard. A speed/thrust of 29 hexes per turn (97% c) is the maximum real space speed.

 

4.1.0 Breakdowns:

Movement at rates above cruise speed and especially at maximum rates for a player's drive technology imply some risk to the ship moving at such high speeds. The risk factor is called a “breakdown chance” and is based off the time the ship is moving at its maximum rate of speed. Breakdown chances are calculated as follows,

 

Tech Generation      FTL Cruise    FTL Max

0 Gen                              WF 1               WF 2

Engine Blowout Chance=40% per section traveled above cruise speed

1st Gen                           WF 3               WF 4

Engine Blowout Chance=2% per section traveled above cruise speed

2nd Gen                         WF 5               WF 6

Engine Blowout Chance=1% per section traveled above cruise speed

3rd Gen                          WF 7               WF 8

Engine Blowout Chance=1% per section traveled above cruise speed

Example: A 2nd Gen ship is traveling at its maximum rate of WF 6 for 50% of its movement during the turn. The remainder of the turn it is traveling at its cruise speed which implies no risk. At WF 6 for half of the turn the ship would have a chance for a breakdown chance of 1% per section traveled. At WF 6 the ship travels 16 sections per turn. Fifty percent of 16 is 8. The GM could roll dice 8 times or could roll for the ship once for an 8% total chance of a breakdown. Assuming the ship did not suffer a breakdown the ship would travel 8 (50% of WF 6) +4 (50% of WF 5) sections for a total of 12 sections.

 

Breakdowns which occur are rolled on the standard ship critical hit table (unless rolling for a bio-ship in which case the roll should be made on the bio-ship critical hit table). Breakdowns can be catastrophic and can result in the complete destruction of the ship and everything aboard it.

 

4.2.0 Plotting Starship Movement

All ships must have their movement speed plotted for them for each week of each turn. If a ship remains in a Section during a week of a turn, no WF designation is necessary. The following is an example of how movement should be plotted,

 

1st Fleet

Start: 410x420/50

Orders: WF 5 to 410x420/46, 410x420/46 to 410x420/24, 410x420/24 to 410x420/14, Patrol

End: 410x420/14

 

 

That's the plan, anyway. Note that it requires the 1st Fleet 8 weeks to travel from its start position to its destination along a curved route shown by the green arrows.

 

Players may also set Reaction or Patrol "zones" that ships or fleets may attempt to cover, as follows,

 

 

In this example, the red circle is placed to indicate the Reaction zone for 2nd Fleet (at the center of the circle). Note that 1st Fleet moves through 2nd Fleet's reaction zone, but as 2nd Fleet is friendly, it would not trigger a reaction by 2nd Fleet. Also, 2nd Fleet may have a reaction zone into unexplored areas outside of its empire's comgrid, but, unless 2nd Fleet actually possessed very long-ranged (VLR) scanners (normally installed only at colonies), it could not detect enemy units moving in any areas outside of its empire's comgrid (the area denoted by the tan shaded sections (Note: Each empire will have its own VLR scanner range and comgrid color designated by the GM)).

 

Fire On The Suns does not have a set of specific orders that players need to use or memorize with 3 exceptions - colonize, map, and survey. Some orders and other terms must be very carefully entered in very specific areas on the player’s orders spreadsheet, however. Instead, orders may be given for individual ships (as shown in the example) or for groups of ships (usually called squadrons or task forces) or for entire fleets. Orders should be written out in plain English. Contingency orders may also be written for any ship, squadron, task force, or fleet.

 

In the following example, 2nd Fleet's imperial comgrid detects an enemy moving into the friendly empire within 2nd Fleet's reaction zone, triggering 2nd Fleet's reaction,

 

 

2nd Fleet begins to react as soon as the enemy 3rd Fleet enters it's imperial comgrid and is detected. The enemy fleet is moving at WF6. Reaction movement is always at the highest speed available to the reacting ships so 2nd Fleet begins moving at WF6 as well. WF 6 is 2 sections per week traveled so 2nd Fleet moves from 410x420/73 to 410x420/63 to 410x420/54 while the enemy fleet, detected as soon as it enters section 410x420/43, moves to 410x420/44. 2nd Fleet intercepts the enemy 3rd Fleet in section 410x420/55 and has the option of intercepting the enemy fleet in deep space, the outer reaches of the colonized system, or nearer to the colony itself (helpful if the colony has orbital defenses).

 

In the following example, 1st Fleet changes its planned course (due to contingency orders) to assist 2nd Fleet in the interception of the enemy 3rd Fleet. Note that 1st Fleet can arrive at the colony well in advance of 2nd Fleet or the enemy if it has contingency orders which allow it to a) reaction move, or b) move at higher than cruise speeds if needed.

 

 

4.3.0 Starship Endurance & Maintenance

There are no maintenance cost requirements for ships, bases, or ground forces in Fire On The Suns. There are, however, supply requirements that do not directly involve RP expenditure. These requirements reflect the costs for fuel, the costs for repairs and maintenance, and the costs of such mundane things as crew payrolls, canned air, etc.

 

4.3.1 Starship Supply and Endurance Limits

Starships, among other units, have certain supply requirements. These may be food, maintenance parts, fuel, and various sundries, but for game purposes, all such items are lumped together. Starships may also require resupply of munitions such as missiles.

 

Units inside friendly territory get the supplies they need automatically, and the munitions they need with nothing more needing to be done than building and paying for the missiles on the part of the player. A ship is in friendly territory for supply purposes if it is within the empire's “control range” of

 

(a) one of the empire's colonies or one it has captured,

(b) a section with units with both a VLRS (Very Long Range Sensor) and a deployed communications center or,

(c) one of (a) or (b) of another empire with which the empire has Refueling rights.

 

Ships that are not within friendly space as defined above in a given turn, are out of supply unless they are provided with supplies in some other manner. Ships that are out of supply do not automatically get missile reloads that the player pays for and suffer additional effects due to the lack of food, maintenance parts, fuel, and/or other non-munition expendables.

Ships outside of friendly space may be provided with the supplies they would receive automatically inside friendly space by cargo bays of supplies transported from friendly space to them. A ship requires 1 cargo bay of supplies per turn. There is no RP cost for these supplies themselves; that is figured into the economy already. Each group of 6 gunboats or 8 fighters counts as one ship for this purpose. Thus, in order for a ship with 8 fighters (counting as 2 ships) onboard to remain outside friendly space for 4 turns without suffering out-of-supply effects that ship and fighter group would require 8 cargo bays worth of supply (2 ship equivalents times 4 turns supply=8 cargo bays worth of supply), either internally or through some fleet train freighters (which would themselves also require cargo bays for their own supplies). Gunboat cargo bay spaces have ˝ the capacity of ship cargo bay spaces and so count as 1/2 of a cargo bay each for supply purposes. Fighter cargo bay spaces have 1/8th the capacity of ship cargo bay spaces and so count as 1/8 th of a cargo bay each for supply purposes.

Without supply provided to units outside friendly space, the units are out of supply. The consequences of being out of supply may or may not become dire for starships and their crews. The consequences of being out of supply are as follows,

 

1) On the 1st turn out of supply, a ship (or ships) will automatically be forced to reduce its speed to cruise rate, maximum.

2) On the 2nd turn out of supply, a ship (or ships) will automatically suffer 5% crew casualties (crew members down sick due to malnutrition or one reason or another).

3) On the 3rd turn out of supply, a ship (or ships) will automatically suffer 10% total crew casualties (33% of these are dead due to starvation) plus 1 random critical hit.

4) On the 4th turn out of supply, a ship (or ships) will automatically suffer 25% total crew casualties (33% of these are dead due to starvation and mutiny) plus 2 random critical hits.

5) On the 5th turn out of supply, a ship (or ships) will automatically suffer 50% total crew casualties – i.e., half the original full crew is out of commission - (33% of these are dead due to starvation and mutiny) plus 3 random critical hits plus all surviving crew will be counted and a random roll will be made. The result is the percentage of the crews onboard the ship (or onboard all ships in a fleet) which mutiny. The crews are divided into mutineers and loyalists and an action is run between the 2 forces in the Battle Engine. If the mutineers win, the fleet and its ships have been captured and the fleet is removed from the game (the mutineers space the loyalists and become pirates). If the loyalists win, the fleet continues on its mission (probably to be destroyed the very next turn unless it gets back in supply immediately).

6) On the 6th turn out of supply, a ship (or ships) will automatically be destroyed or forever lost.

 

Note that gunboats and fighters pull supplies from tenders, carriers, or freighters designed to supply their needs. Gunboats and fighters may suffer out of supply effects even if they have access to a tender, carrier, or freighter if the ship they are operating from is out of supply itself. If a tender, carrier, or freighter is in supply, a gunboat or fighter suffers the effects of being out of supply only if the attendant ship has insufficient cargo by access to adequately supply the gunboat or fighter. In case of any confusion, the GM should rule that the supply status rank is as follows – starship first, gunboat second, fighter last.

 

Any munitions to be used to replenish expended magazines and missile launchers to ships outside friendly space must also be accounted for by cargo bays full of such munitions from friendly space. Missiles, unlike non-munition supplies, are not free; the player must still build them and pay for them. Missiles are stored in cargo bays according to their RP costs and the capacity of the cargo bays. The only effect of being out of missiles is that the unit is out of missiles and so cannot fire them.

 

These rules mean that fleets operating outside friendly territory will either require significant fleet trains or designs that include more cargo space and (typically) fewer missiles, fighters, and gunboats.

 

4.4.0 Towing and Tugs

Units with maglinks and/or tractor beams may tow other friendly units, or in some situations enemy units which have surrendered or which have been crippled or otherwise rendered unable to resist the tow. The maglinks and/or tractor beams must have sufficient strength to tow the units undertow. Non-tugs towing any unit may not move faster than cruising speed. For each 100% increase in the hull total of the units under tow over the hull size of the towing unit, cruising WF drops by 1. For instance, a hull-6 frigate with WF 5/7 drives would be limited to WF 5 towing one other hull-6 frigate; limited to WF 4 towing two, and so on down to WF 1 if towing five hull-6 frigates, or two hull-15 cruisers. (This assumes the frigate has sufficient tractor beams or maglinks for all these towed units.)

 

Tugs are starships built specifically for towing units. Tug modifications cost a tug a 25% unit surcharge. Tugs have two towing advantages over non-tugs for towing purposes. First, they may tow up to their hull size in hull size points at maximum speeds, and up to 200% of their base hull before falling below normal cruising speed. Second, tugs may include as equipment tug reinforcements . These increase the effective base hull size of the tug for purposes of maximum speed while towing other units. Each tug reinforcement occupies 1 equipment space, costs 1 point (3.33 RPs), and increases effective hull size for towing by +5 points. A hull-6 tug with 5 tug reinforcements would have an effective hull size of 31 for determination of towing capacity. Assuming tractor beams or maglinks in sufficient number and strength are also installed and WF 5/7 warp drive, it could tow 31 hull points of units at WF 7, 62 at WF 5, 93 at WF 4, and so on. (It is unlikely that it will have the tractor beams or the need to max out its towing capacity down to WF 1).

 

Towing may not be used on standard bases. Mobile bases are specifically reinforced for being towed (this is the chief advantage of mobile bases). Gunboats or fighters under tow do not count against the hull total for speed purposes for starship tugs.

 

Gunboat tugs cannot tow starships or bases at all. They may be used to tow gunboats or fighters. Towed gunboats limit gunboat tug speed just as towed starships limit starship tug speed

 

 

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