News: Clark has announced that he has started to post old LoS content (in the Media Gallery section), and will be posting more plus new content!

Author Topic: Plasma Grenades  (Read 3361 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline sergeant_hastp

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Succubot
  • ***
  • Posts: 110
Plasma Grenades
« on: April 11, 2011, 03:11:53 AM »
As far as improvements go,

I would say the one thing that bothered me the most about Legions of Steel (Moreso even in Planetstorm) was the game system mechanic for the Plasma Grenade.

I have discussed it in the past with Clark, and I am aware of the game balance issue.

I say go ahead and give them a higher point cost, but make them actually effective.

Pros and Cons of the plasma grenade: 

Pros- you have a large area of effect, so accuracy isn't that important.  You have a 1 in 6 chance of killing any figure regardless of armour.

Cons - you have a 5 in 6 chance of not killing the weakest, most fragile figures in the game.  The ones that tend to gang up on you.  The ones you want to have a wide area of effect to take out as many as possible at once.

Bottom line for me...I'd rather plasma grenades NOT ignore general modifiers.  I don't care about not being able to take out the big guys with the grenade...that's what the TOWs are for.  What I do want is to be able to clear the area of Gremlins, Runaways and pesky Fantasian grunts.  It just *feels* right.




Offline Clark

  • Overlord
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • *****
  • Posts: 491
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2011, 05:05:11 AM »
Throw a K-pulse into a room full of Gremlins, and you have a lot of dead Gremlins.

We came up with an internal rule that k-pulse warheads could not fit into the grenade launcher delivery system, but maybe we shoukd revisit that.

Offline Kindred

  • Overlord
  • Trade Count: (2)
  • *****
  • Posts: 157
    • Turtle Shell Productions
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2011, 09:55:24 AM »
actually, "realistically", I can see the plasma grenade being a "minion killer" while maintaining the aspect of being what it is.

What about something like this:

It creates a brief burst of plasma centered on the grenade location. This plasma quickly eats through the armour of standard figures and then crisps whatever is under that armour, circuitry or flesh. Models with heavier armour, however can usually withstand the burst, although it does a real number on their armour. The GM for any model that is hit within the area of effect of a plasma grenade is permanently reduced by 1.


Offline bobloblah

  • Trade Count: (4)
  • Mk III Assault Fiend
  • ****
  • Posts: 316
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2011, 11:16:23 AM »
I think that the trouble with those kinds of effects are that they become tedious to track on multiple different figures over the course of the game. LoS/PS is already a bit counter heavy - I don't think adding to that is necessarily a good idea.
Best Regards,
Bobloblah

Offline Kindred

  • Overlord
  • Trade Count: (2)
  • *****
  • Posts: 157
    • Turtle Shell Productions
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2011, 11:26:41 AM »
nah....    what you do it start using "cards" like WarMachine does...     that way, the card can be marked up with a we erase marker for each modification to the base profile.

something like this...

Offline bobloblah

  • Trade Count: (4)
  • Mk III Assault Fiend
  • ****
  • Posts: 316
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2011, 12:46:46 PM »
Yeah, I've done that with Warmachine before...dunno...I'm not sure I like it better. It takes up space and there's a lot of back and forth between the cards and the table, trying to keep track of everything. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that tracking on data cards is bad...I just don't particularly like either solution that much. I think if I had to choose between the two, I'd still choose counters. If I could choose anything, I'd probably go for states (Fired, Cover -1, Surpressing, etc.) built-in to the bases, a-la Mage Knight or Monsterpocalypse. Unfortunately, that's pretty resource intensive for the producer (i.e. Clark), so I'm not going to hold my breath.
Best Regards,
Bobloblah

Offline SgtHulka

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Predator
  • **
  • Posts: 78
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2011, 12:59:47 PM »
I totally agree; I hated plasma grenades. For exactly the reason you describe.

As far as improvements go,

I would say the one thing that bothered me the most about Legions of Steel (Moreso even in Planetstorm) was the game system mechanic for the Plasma Grenade.

I have discussed it in the past with Clark, and I am aware of the game balance issue.

I say go ahead and give them a higher point cost, but make them actually effective.

Pros and Cons of the plasma grenade: 

Pros- you have a large area of effect, so accuracy isn't that important.  You have a 1 in 6 chance of killing any figure regardless of armour.

Cons - you have a 5 in 6 chance of not killing the weakest, most fragile figures in the game.  The ones that tend to gang up on you.  The ones you want to have a wide area of effect to take out as many as possible at once.

Bottom line for me...I'd rather plasma grenades NOT ignore general modifiers.  I don't care about not being able to take out the big guys with the grenade...that's what the TOWs are for.  What I do want is to be able to clear the area of Gremlins, Runaways and pesky Fantasian grunts.  It just *feels* right.

Arfiel

  • Guest
  • Trade Count: (0)
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2011, 01:50:21 PM »
I have to agree. Tossing a standard grenade into a room full of gremlins and having most of them walk out seemed to fail on the realism scale.

Offline Clark

  • Overlord
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • *****
  • Posts: 491
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2011, 06:07:15 PM »
The concept of the plasma grenade was that it threw off a limited number of fragments into the burst area. The chances of getting nailed by one of the fragments was slim (ie. 1 in 6) but if one nailed you it could chew through any PBA armour.  The plasma fragments are so nasty that the GL, AGL, calliope, etc could be used in an anti-vehicle role because it has the same kill number but light vehicles add their GM.  It is a general purpose weapon but you have to rely on saturation. A UNE section has 4 launchers; an assault section effectively has 10. No other army has that sort of organic indirect firepower in their line section, although a Black Empire Storm Guard comes close to the PI section.   The other armies rely on dedicated fire support figures and units.

Taking the sickest of the sick - the FROG BAP - there is a tremendous advantage in range/accuracy but the net effect is to have 8 dice @ 6+ with a 4" AOE. That is roughly the same as the UNE Assault section, but at a cost of 253 UPV leaving enough points to get a party of Oths or Paache to engage with direct fire, out numbered and outgunned.

Anyways, the plas-g problem is one of tactics and doctrine. It wasn't designed (from my POV as well as the in-game fiction) to be a "say hello to my little friend" blow-'em-up-with-one-shot device but rather as part of the unit so that 4 or 8 figs can all blast an area to pin or kill an advancing enemy that is out of LOS/LOF.

That being said, those tactics are useless underground. Perhaps local commanders could opt for the mini-plas (same kill number but uses GM due to having more but less deadly fragments). That would actually lower the UPV by 25% of the grenade value.  Alternatively, we go for mini-k-pulse or simply upgrade technology so the launchers can deliver the k-pulse. 

Offline sergeant_hastp

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Succubot
  • ***
  • Posts: 110
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2011, 09:02:03 PM »
Quote
Anyways, the plas-g problem is one of tactics and doctrine. It wasn't designed (from my POV as well as the in-game fiction) to be a "say hello to my little friend" blow-'em-up-with-one-shot device but rather as part of the unit so that 4 or 8 figs can all blast an area to pin or kill an advancing enemy that is out of LOS/LOF.

For me the plasma grenade breaks down the allegory that seems to be present with everything else in the UNE arsenal.

What real world weapon is employed in the way you describe?

Hand grenades are K-Pulse.  I get that.

TOW-7 are M72s.  Check.

FTGs are Smoke grenades.  No prob. 

The Plasma grenades used by the grenadiers I had assumed should be stand-ins for the M203.  But M203's 40 mm grenades have a pretty small kill radius and are pretty explicitly meant to maim or kill lightly armoured infantry, or to be put through windows etc.  And though they 'can' be fired in salvos to deny an area to targets to unseen targets...that's not standard doctrine in the CF AFAIK.  Someone from the US or UK can comment from their end.

The auto grenade launcher as seen on the Heavy Assault trooper and Assault Support Platform, I had assumed to be the stand in for the Mark 19...though if that were the case, it should be firing grenades at a ROF more akin to the Calliope.

Which brings us to the Calliope.  It looks like a helicopter style rocket pod...but in practice I've kind of thought of it acting like a 60mm mortar...but a mortar barrage, even a light one, seems like it should be more deadly to lightly armored troops advancing in the open than the plasma grenades seem to be.

Anyways...I'd be perfectly happy with eliminating the ability for plasma grenades to even damage light vehicles, and reducing their effectiveness against heavy armored infantry...in return for making them the bane of light-skinned targets.

Quote
The concept of the plasma grenade was that it threw off a limited number of fragments into the burst area. The chances of getting nailed by one of the fragments was slim (ie. 1 in 6) but if one nailed you it could chew through any PBA armour.  The plasma fragments are so nasty that the GL, AGL, calliope, etc could be used in an anti-vehicle role because it has the same kill number but light vehicles add their GM.

With all respect, plasma grenades don't exist, so this initial concept as described, should be no bar to re-writing the way they work in the game.  If the pre-existing fluff must not be altered, for some reason, then please advance the storyline so that plasma grenades as described were retired and replaced with a workable K-pulse delivery system, or an improved Plasma warhead that delivers a more comprehensive spread of fragments.  Like pineapple grenade to M67.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 01:19:20 AM by sergeant_hastp »

Offline Clark

  • Overlord
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • *****
  • Posts: 491
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2011, 10:53:27 PM »
Powered infantry introduced a paradigm shift in futuristic warfare. In 20th century wars, artillery accounted for 80% of casualties. The 20th century saw the development of the APC and then the IFV/MICV to convey troops into combat while protecting them from shrapnel. Similarly, most 20th century body armour is useless against direct fire.

With PBA we have individual soldiers armoured as well as previous APCs. AOE weapons generally can't take out PI with the same ease as NPI.   That is the game changer that does not allow the plas-g to have the uhmph of a 40mm.

That is a defensibly logical justification. From a game balance POV, the emphasis should be on mamoeuver and fire wherever possible rather than artillery barrages whether petite or grand.

Even with the Fantasians and their K2Shaw batteries, the deadliness is cut down.


Offline Clark

  • Overlord
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • *****
  • Posts: 491
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2011, 11:17:12 PM »
Take a peak at the draft NPI rules. The plas-g isn't affected but AOE weapons get an order of magnitude boost in deadliness.

I appreciate the fact that we are just making things up here, but certain logical consequences follow and one is that future AOE weapons won't be as deadly against PI as they were against NPI. And as I mentioned there is a conscious bias in favour of direct fire weapons and against AOE/IF weapons for no other reason than to make the game more interesting.

Once we get LOS and Planetstorm out there then the next project is (tentatively titled) LOS: Soldados Open Gaming System where, among other things, we can generate a pure, modern skirmish system.

Truth be told, LOS is a sci fi game because the genre is more forgiving, reality-wise.   Stalingrad was conceived as the ultimate FIBUA experience and a realistic take on the LOS system, but that became Marco's baby and I can't really comment on it.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 11:22:30 PM by Clark »

Offline sergeant_hastp

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Succubot
  • ***
  • Posts: 110
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2011, 12:21:22 AM »


Quote
That is a defensibly logical justification. From a game balance POV, the emphasis should be on mamoeuver and fire wherever possible rather than artillery barrages whether petite or grand.

Clark,

We have had this exact same discussion before.  About 5 years ago or so. 

For the benefit of 3rd parties who may be reading (and not to be an argumentative dick) it's as simple as making up a futuristic area of effect weapon that does to powered body armour, what fragments of HE driven steel does to flesh and blood.

You have the 'RAM' laser that does to powered armour what full metal jacket bullets do to flesh and blood.

I do not see the disconnect from an in-universe point of view.  Forgive me for saying so, but earlier in the thread you advocated the proper use of the plasma grenade as what amounts to a 'petite' artillery barrage.  But as quoted above, that is not the emphasis of the game, so I take it that is the reason why plasma grenades function poorly?  To discourage their use in favour of fire and maneuver?

To sum it up,
When I played this game as a commander of UNE forces, I rarely encountered a situation where I would see the benefit of using the Plasma Grenade.  At all.  It was almost always better to move or use direct fire, or simply to do nothing and cover.

When getting swarmed by high numbers of fragile enemies, (thanks Grendel) the temptation was there to use them, and sometimes I gave in.  And it was usually a mistake. (unless I unloaded with a calliope)

If I played this game in the future, as UNE I would like a more effective weapon, for my PI grenadiers, or I would get permission from my opponent to remove the plasma grenade option from my figures in return for a UPV savings, or I would figure out what the point cost would be to make the Plasmas function as K-pulses.

End of story for me.

:)


Offline Clark

  • Overlord
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • *****
  • Posts: 491
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2011, 05:14:59 AM »
I agree that there should be a change, but I wanted to explain why the plas-g works the way it does. If players don't use it that way then they need another option. If the concern is swarm tactics then they need a grenade that uses GMs. Perhaps even something analagous to the cannister/flechette/buckshot loads they have for the M203.

All I'm saying is that game balance doesn't permit AOE weapons to work the way they do in real life. An M67 or V40 has a 9" kill radius. An M203 has a slightly smaller casualty radius. Artillery gets worse. The real katyusha takes out a 25" radius with over a ton of ordinance in the space of one to two turns. A 105mm has something like a 15" radius while a 155 mm would be 20" or so. That seems unworkable for a game designed to be played on a 48" x 96" surface.

Offline smokingwreckage

  • Trade Count: (1)
  • Mk III Assault Fiend
  • ****
  • Posts: 274
Re: Plasma Grenades
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2011, 06:05:44 AM »
As a quick aside, plasma grenades sucked alone, but fire six of them from a calliope and HOLY CRAP!