Internal damage


Internal damage is actually the last big topic I'll have to cover in WCTO - everything else is just paperwork. I'm still undecided about how damage to internal components and subsystems should be resolved. These are a few ideas I've had so far:

How to determine when a ship takes internal damage?
  • Assign a "Hull Integrity" value to each individual ship. Every time the damage points of an attack exceed this value, some subsystem is damaged.
  • Simply set a fixed amount of "Hull Integrity" for each class of ship (light/medium/heavy fighter, bomber, transport, corvette, capship, dreadnought?).
  • Do away with the current "Hull Points" system altogether and introduce "Armor" for each ship plus "Core Hull Points" - oh, yeah, and armor plating should be able to be reduced to shreds during continued attacks... Which would probably require something like a "Hull Integrity" value as well. (Definitely the most work-intensive solution!)

How to determine how much internal damage a ship takes?
  • Create "Damage Cards." Draw a random card from the pile to see what subsystem(s) is/are damaged. (If you a draw a damage card with a subsystem the ship doesn't have, it qualifies as "no internal damage.")
  • Roll for damage. This could take a while... (It's why I'd currently favor damage cards.)
  • Internal damage comes in the standard flavors of lightly/medium/heavily damaged and destroyed. Destroyed subsystems cannot be repaired inflight.

That's still not the end of the day: I'd have to assign some kind of repair value for each ship to see how fast internal damage can be repaired. And I'd have to think of a way how internal damage can be easily recorded on the ship sheet. Probably just use a separate damage sheet.
(I'd rather not think of how to implement it in the Flash GUI we're currently using. I mean, I've been down that road before with another game of mine, and it gets really nasty with all those additional rules...)

Well, so much for my free time for today... Just thought I'd let you know that I've not stopped thinking about WCTO and completing its rules. ;)
Whatever the rules will be, make sure the acceleration absorbers are the first thing to get damaged. :)

I wouldn't add Core strength, even if it's featured in the WC games, too much hassle and it's already hard enough to kill a fighter.

How about this:
each time the armour is hit, there's a chance a system (or all systems have that chance) will go down. The % will be the percentage of lost armour (that's a bit how Armada did it). So if a Sartha suffers 7 hull point damage (total, not necessarily in the attack that triggered the chance), there's a 50% chance that one randomly chosen system is damaged or all systems have a 50% chance of being damaged.
So you only have to keep track of the armour damage which you already do.

This can lead to some random results of course, fixed damage thresholds like your first option might work better.

As to how damage is taken:
Why don't you make a table' and use a d100: 01-20%: shield generator, 21%-50%: acceleration absorbers, 51-70%: shield generator, ...? It flows more with the game than cards I'd think.

I am also unsure whether I like the idea of "if you don't have the internal component chosen, you suffer no internal damage" or not. Really unsure. But probably won't make much of a difference. Except jump drive, I cannot think of a component unique to a fighter. Turrets of course.

Personally, I'd vote for including "light/medium/heavy damage and destroyed" (maybe skip the "medium damage step) but I'm not the one who has to make all the bookkeeping.
Maybe you could assign the damage based on the hex face?

Against the rear quad would decrease speed or turn rate
Against either flank would decrease either armament or turn rate
Against the front would decrease either armament or shield strength...

Applying damage
Armament: 1d6 to decrease refire, at zero refire, the weapon is destroyed
Turn Rate: if damage is indicated, -1
Speed: if damage is indicated, -1 to speed, -2 to AB speed
Shield Damage: if damage is indicated, -1 to either recharge rate or max shield strength or both

You'd apply a damage marker to the stat in question. Would that work?
I like the approach with the different hex faces affecting different components. In a first draft, I also put each subsystem into a category (external, internal and core), so external components would be damaged first.
Maybe a combination of Mekt-Hakkikt's percentage system and the hex faces would work, i.e.:

% of damage done to the ship's Hull Points = probabilty in % that any given subsystem is damaged/destroyed

External components (hex face-dependent): probability +30%
Internal components (hex face-dependent): probabilty unchanged
Core components (not hex face-dependent; core = midship): probabilty -30%

(The 30% could also be 10%, 25%, 50% or anything else.)
What I like is that all systems could be damaged with a single shot, but that's at the same time also what I don't like. (Imagine a Broadsword being hit by one laser shot, and by sheer luck of dice all or most of its systems go down). Even worse: It's a major pain in the neck to check all subsystems in question everytime a ship's armor gets scratched - even if it's done only once per game turn.

That involves a bit too much dice-rolling and math for my taste (and players would need an extra d100 for it), but somehow I like the idea. If you have any suggestions how we could refine this a bit more, I'd be glad to hear them! I'd really like to incorporate internal damage sooner than later.
Maybe you could introduce something related to a concussive force. As in, lasers aren't going to rattle the ship, just affect the exterior (or interior through heat translation). So, if there is armour left, then the laser isn't going to really affect any internal components. Similarly for like weapons.

But, missiles (or anything else that goes boom or some sort of significant force) will rattle the ship and have the possibility of affecting internal components regardless. This could be linked to armour and/or core and/or something else to have things going wrong at a faster rate as the ship becomes more vulnerable.

Though the above will yield an equation to tune, I think it would also yield the greatest realism. Also, given scripting languages today, it'd be trivial to make some program (javascript, Python, etc) so that people don't have to deal with the complexity. But, even if not, there's always calculators.

I do like the idea of hex face deciding which systems would be affect should that happen as well. So, I'll put my vote in for that one too.
I left the quadrant thing out deliberately because it seemed too complicated for me but if you want to implement it, then you'll basically have it exactly the way Armada does it (the Playtester's guide explains it rather well).

As for implementing concussive force: while it sounds like a neat idea I feel that it's unnecessary realism and makes missiles too powerful. Remember, Kilrathi ships have very few chaff pods and few guided missiles.
I'd also discard the concussive force idea in Wing Commander - AFAIK, laser cannons were able to rip a ship apart in every WC game. And Mekt-Hakkikt's got a point: It would weaken Kilrathi ships even more.

Maybe I'll just have to include a "basic component damage" rule and a really complex one to get everyone satisfied... ;)