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Author Topic: Aquarius and ASF  (Read 578 times)

Elmoth

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Aquarius and ASF
« on: 29 April 2021, 03:18:35 »
Hello,

I am designing a campaign setting for my players in the 3030 period (in the outworlds wastes). Being a total ignorant in the Aerospace part of the BTU I have a question for you.

I came across the Aquarius and Lyoness. They seem like an ultra-heeavy ASF pair, quite heavily armed and armoured. Would they be a good sole-fighter for a planet that has older designs still flying but has not come up with the more recent ASF developments? They seem heavily armed and armoured to me, so they might give any porate heavy ASF (or lighter) pause, I guess. The idea is that they cover the jumpships and the planet itself. Not someting that would stop a full blown invasion, but something to discourage pirate raids.

So, what are the drawbacks of the Aquarius besides operaional range (that cna be solved with a dropship acting as a carrier vessel)? I see them as specially good in staying power, so that they do not become slag as easily as lighter ships, but maybe I am missing something important here.

Thanks!
Xavi

AlphaMirage

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #1 on: 29 April 2021, 04:18:58 »
The small craft escorts were made pre-modern aerospace fighter. They don't really carry the same payload as an equivalent ASF but have greater thrust endurance. Unfortunately according to the initiative table in SO go last in any encounter with real fighters.

They would be best utilized in a planetary system with lots of small spread out bodies (gas giant and it's moons) assuming you didn't have access to decent aerospace fighters

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #2 on: 29 April 2021, 05:24:16 »
Their niche is that they can handle distances that aerofighters can't but don't require the investment of full on assault dropships.

Building on the whole "getting stuck for turn order", they're aerodyne hulls, which means they have the same big gaps where they can't shoot as aerofighters, but since they have to move before aerofighters, it's easier for the aerofighters to get into those gaps.

So you aren't going to want just one. You need multiple ships so they can cover each other's blind spot. If you've only got the one, you probably can't count on it coming back from a fight.

The small craft escorts were made pre-modern aerospace fighter.

The Aquarius and Lyonness both post date modern aerofighters.
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Elmoth

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #3 on: 29 April 2021, 09:12:16 »
So, if I have, say, 8 going against 12 fighters (mix of medium and heavy) would they perform well or should I consider another design (like a lightning Stingray or Corsair) as the only ASF of the planet?

I was centering in the big ones since I have this idea of the planet having old but sturdy designs that they keep repairing instead of having sacrificial ASF screens (that is how ASF seem to be regarded overall) but I might be approaching this wrong. I wanted them to have conventional aircraft, scorpions, striker-like wheeled vehicles (all are ICE designs) and then some heavy ASF for cover. Something that a strike (pirate) party can bypass with speed, but that puts pause to an invasion force. And so they contract the players to play rapid reaction force.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2021, 09:14:57 by Elmoth »

AlphaMirage

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #4 on: 29 April 2021, 09:45:58 »
ASF are only sacrificial in atmosphere when facing weapons fire from the ground, even in a dog fight with other ASF in atmo as long as they are not flying a low levels they stand a good chance of being fine. In space they are quite durable and a medium squadron can easily overwhelm most transports before their escorts could counter them particularly close to a planet where velocities are low.

If you wanted to use the Small Craft as stand off dropship interceptors (outside the planet-moon system) that would be a sound tactic. Small craft do go after dropships in the initiative order. Running the ASF out of fuel and reengaging while they are returning and the dropship is vulnerable would be difficult to counter with anything other than small craft of your own or an assault dropship.

Elmoth

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #5 on: 29 April 2021, 09:51:50 »
Ok. So run away from enemy ASF near the gas giants and then re-engage as they are dry and returning home before pounding the dropships. Sounds good. Thanks.

Weirdo

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #6 on: 29 April 2021, 10:02:08 »
Aquarius and Lyonnesse shuttles can beat fighters, but as others have said, they MUST operate in groups. A single craft going up against even a single ASF is pretty much dead unless the fighter pilot screws up. You need wing pairs so that they can cover the gaps in each other's firing arcs - give the fighters no good options for maneuvers, and then you can crush them under the sheer weight of your guns and armor.

For more reading, my suggestion would be to read the following threads:

The Tactical Essentials of Aerospace Fighter Combat - This focuses on fighters, but will also work for aerodyne shuttles - you just have to be utterly fanatical about following those rules. Fighters can afford to break loose on occasion, but Small Craft can NEVER do that.

"Fighter" of the Week article for the Aquarius - This is an in-depth breakdown of the Aquarius, plus advice for using it(and killing it).

"Fighter" of the Week article for the Lyonnesse - same as above, but for the Lyonnesse.
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Elmoth

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #7 on: 29 April 2021, 10:19:36 »
Good thanks. My players are found pounders, not air jocks. I only need to know it is possible, and how it is done in general. It is a background thing for the game, not a central one. Just a way to differentiate this periphery planet form others the characters (and players) are familiar with. Having aerodyne SC instead of ASF as the air (space) cover will certainly be a novelty for my group and make some eyebrows shot up.

Very informative. Thanks! I will make sure to cause a crisis when an Aquarius formation breaks up at a certain point of the story.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2021, 10:21:47 by Elmoth »

Weirdo

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #8 on: 29 April 2021, 10:46:17 »
Keep a camera handy so that you can immortalize the looks on their faces when they realize they're essentially facing Stalkers with more heat sinks, a LOT more armor, and capable of supersonic flight before triggering the afterburners. >:D
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PuppyLikesLaserPointers

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #9 on: 29 April 2021, 12:43:44 »
You need to know that, even without the turn order generally small craft is weaker than ASF. Even with the optimal settings they are barely had a fair fight against the same amount of bad ASFs. And it is almost impossible to beat the ASFs with optimal settings. If you want to use the small crafts to against ASFs, in the most times you need more SCs than the enemy ASFs.

What SC are better is more crews to alarm the others, and small quarters to rest. They may the transport between dropships or mobile sentry. But if you want a fight you need ASFs, not SCs.

Elmoth

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #10 on: 29 April 2021, 15:17:07 »
Really? That bad? So 2 flights of corsaris or lightning's will utterly destroy 2 flights of Aquarius?  Looking at the stats it seems that the Aquarius packs a punch if it goes agains t mediums and heavy fighters. Or the lights that usually protect dropships.

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #11 on: 29 April 2021, 15:23:53 »
It's not as dire as PLLP suggests. Aquarii mount heavy firepower and extremely heavy armor, which can compensate for the initiative issue with solid tactics.

If you want to level the playing field a bit, consider looking up the Advanced Initiative rules in StratOps, which turn initiative into a modified piloting skill roll. ASFs still have an edge there, but it's far from the auto-win they normally enjoy over Small Craft.
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PuppyLikesLaserPointers

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #12 on: 30 April 2021, 00:52:21 »
Sorry it is small craft in general. Aquaris is quite well armed and armored, make it very exceptional. After all it is designed to be deal with ASFs.

Elmoth

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #13 on: 01 May 2021, 07:22:13 »
So, specifically Aquarius can go toe to toe with ASF and come up on top if both parties play competently a true same skill level. Is that the case?
How many ASF can say 10 aquarius face and come up on top? For:
- stingrays/corsairs/lightnings
- stukas
- sabres and centurions
« Last Edit: 01 May 2021, 07:23:54 by Elmoth »

Daryk

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #14 on: 01 May 2021, 10:29:57 »
One other campaign consideration: Small Craft have crews, not just pilots.  That makes manning them expensive.  They also have better sensors.

Weirdo

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #15 on: 01 May 2021, 10:42:35 »
So, specifically Aquarius can go toe to toe with ASF and come up on top if both parties play competently a true same skill level. Is that the case?
How many ASF can say 10 aquarius face and come up on top? For:
- stingrays/corsairs/lightnings
- stukas
- sabres and centurions


Questions like this are what BV is for. You balance the BV and the fight might not bye perfectly even, but it should be interesting. Shift it by 20-30% in favor of the side your story needs to win and you should get your desired results without being an utter curb stomp.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
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Daryk

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #16 on: 01 May 2021, 10:48:14 »
If player skills are roughly equal, that could work.  But BV has never been able to balance that.

Weirdo

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #17 on: 01 May 2021, 11:47:19 »
I can't imagine any system that would, so that's hardly something to hold against BV.
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
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Daryk

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #18 on: 01 May 2021, 11:53:03 »
Exactly: no system can, so I have always seen the entire concept of BV as in vain.

PuppyLikesLaserPointers

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #19 on: 01 May 2021, 11:59:07 »
At least it is always better than nothing. Didn't you have seen the consequence of early Age of Sigmar?

Daryk

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #20 on: 01 May 2021, 12:00:04 »
No idea what that is, nor really any desire to further derail this thread.

PuppyLikesLaserPointers

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #21 on: 01 May 2021, 15:38:22 »
Anyway, without any point to compare, what you face is nothing but total chaos. While BV is far from perfect, but the rules to set the BV has some reason to do.

Still, BV is not something to be have the faith blindly. But generally, if you made two forces with same or similar BV they are expected to be work well against each others. So you may put the units to make the similar BV(or less than 50~75% if it is a RPG session rather than competitive games) then it may works well unless a side has a hard counter against the others. If you see some problems then you may fix it on the next encounter as well. The bind faith on BV is bad, but just ignore it is even worse than the blind faith.
« Last Edit: 01 May 2021, 15:54:06 by PuppyLikesLaserPointers »

Elmoth

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #22 on: 02 May 2021, 09:35:34 »
So, going by sarna's listed BV 2 for common designs (or benchmarks).
Aquarius 2510

Stuka 1794
Slayer 1747
Stingray 1268
Corsair 1190
Lightning 1057
Centurion 701
Sabre 574

Supposedly a quartet of Aquarius (BV 10040) can take on equal terms with:
5.6 Stukas
5.8 Slayers
7.9 Stingrays
8.4 Corsairs
9.5 Lightnings
14.3 Centurions
17.5 Sabres

LOL. Not the most balanced battles I would say, but so says BV. In general my idea is that the Aquarius would be facing similar numbers of ASF, so it is good. It means that they are the poket warships of ASF: they dominate their home system but have issues going abroad where the enemy has no collar limits to bring ASF of his own. And viceversa. That is the situation I was looking for, so all is good here. Thanks all for the help!

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #23 on: 04 May 2021, 17:15:45 »
As other's stated, the issue isn't firepower or armor, the issue is initiative.

They will always loose initiative so you have to plan for that & run several of them to cover their flanks/rears.

Using a typical Davion set up.

4 Heavy  (Stuka, T-Bird, Eagle)
+ 2 Medium  (Corsair, Lightning)

This should give you a single squadron that can counter 2 flights of Aquarius (4 Ships).

Baring some lucky shots out at range before the merge...... I feel the ASF will win, but they will be bloodied bad as they do.

I would point out that these things are strictly "Black Navy" ships,  designed to escort to the Jump Point or do short System Patrols.
I'd never field them in atmosphere or as ground support.
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Weirdo

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Re: Aquarius and ASF
« Reply #24 on: 04 May 2021, 18:00:05 »
If you want to level the playing field a bit, consider looking up the Advanced Initiative rules in StratOps, which turn initiative into a modified piloting skill roll. ASFs still have an edge there, but it's far from the auto-win they normally enjoy over Small Craft.

Just gonna bring this back as a suggestion...
"Thanks to Megamek, I can finally play BattleTech the way it was meant to be played--pantsless!"   -Neko Bijin
"It's just that the Hegemony had one answer to every naval problem. 'I kills it with my battleships.'" - Liam's Ghost
"...finally, giant space panties don't seem so strange." - Whistler
"Damn you, Weirdo... Damn you for being right!" - Paul
"...I was this many years old when I found out that licking a touchscreen in excitement is a bad idea." - JadeHellbringer
"We are the tribal elders. Weirdo is the mushroom specialist." - Worktroll

 

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