Jet Rpg (working title): Problems with BVR combat.

Started by Andy K, November 29, 2011, 09:30:37 PM

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Andy K

I've been working on a modern military role playing game with a large focus on the air-to-air combat. Now, I've looked around at many military RPGs in the past, but it seems they either focus on realism so much that at times they stray into war-gaming. My goal with this project of mine is to strike the balance between realism and the cinematic, as well as make air combat more accessible, so a player can play the game without knowing the differences between an F-15C and an F-15E.

The major influences to this project include, Ace Combat, Area 88 and The Sky Crawlers. While all of the above have beginnings in Japan, they give realism a fair amount of respect by not going too over-the-top.


The system is d10 based, if you're familiar with white wolf and counting successes, you'll be right at home, more or less. The combat boils down to opposed rolls with constant pools that never change combined with pools that refresh at a constant rate every action. So, for example, you could conserve your ammo by plucking only one die out of [guns] (a refreshing pool) and adding it to [piloting] ( a constant pool) for an attack, and have the same number of die to pull from next turn when your [guns] pool refreshes by one, or you could take all five dice out of your [guns] pool to try to shoot him down now, and, if you miss, be at an attacking disadvantage until it takes the five actions to refresh fully. There is also no separate damage roll, just a set damage per success for each sort of weapon. So if you score 5 successes, and your enemy scores 2 while trying to dodge, you deal (3 X weapon's damage per success).

The catch is, only certain pools can be rolled under certain situations. For example, you cannot make a guns attack while an enemy is tailing you, instead, you're stuck on the defensive, trying to maneuver away is an option, so is punching the afterburner, trying to jam the enemy aircraft or even attempting a risky high-g counter-maneuver, like a barrel roll or a pugachev's cobra.

In addition to opposed rolls, there's the rare roll where you add you current pool value, meaning rolling 1 d10 and adding the number of dots as a modifier, rather than extra dice. This is primarily used when determining initiative. So, for example, three planes engage each other. They each roll 1d10 and add their current pool value. The one with the highest number, including modifiers, takes position behind the other two, the second highest gets stuck in the middle, while the lowest roll is out in front, with two bandits behind him and nothing to shoot. The turn order then goes from most to least advantageous, so the fighter in the back would go first, then the middle, then the front.

In summary, the strengths of the system are:
A clean damage system with no unnecessary rolling.
A fast initiative system that simplifies the headache air combat.
A refreshing pool function that encourages player choice with every attack.


My main problem is representing  Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile combat, as I still want the long-range sniper plane to be a valid path to take for the player, but since missiles are limited, with only about five maximum per plane. The player often ends up to sacrifice his short-range effectiveness. With a system  that favors the attacker in close range, like this one, making BVR an option for a player requires more thought then just upping the damage on long-range missiles.

Any Ideas?


My first thought is that your initiative system seems to jump to close up dogfighting, and depending on how you trigger that system, could exclude BVR stuff entirely, as you jump streight to a plane on your tail.

So how do you decide when to roll initiative? What precedes that system kicking in?


  I think Joy's comments are right on the money.

  Also, if Guns are a refreshing pool, missiles should be as well. I think the only difference between a gun, a short range missile and a long range missile should be the required position (tailing, short range, long range, etc.). Otherwise, they should use the same dice mechanics.
  Does that make sense?
Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
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It might work to make the BVR attacks more about setting up the lock on and the movement vectors, and so the "damage" being done isn't actual shots fired, it's the maneuvers to get a clean shot off. Once you've gotten X damage across (hey you could have better systems have a better damage multiplier just like a regular weapon) there is a lock, and you can choose to fire or not, and that launches a duel of a sort between pilot and missile, and if they don't spot it coming in, or can't dump enough defensive  resources in the way, or have to pay attention to another attacker too much, they get nailed by a set damage based on the missile. (Or the missile could roll N dice with a multiplier, and the defensive rolls could subtract at that point.

Dave Cleaver

I like chance's idea where BVR attacks introduce a new "combatant" into the fray, though I think that perhaps they should be fired before combat (since they are BVR, the maneuvering and locking don't really seem to enter the equation yet). Then each fired missile must be shot down or actively avoided, while also dealing with the opponent's plane.