Water forces in BE

Hi everyone,

while skimming through my freshly bought copy of BE I noticed that there are no rules about navy. Not the Hammer navy but the one operatin on/under the surface of planet’s oceans. I searched the wiki and the forum and found nothing (except for one simple - even too simple - conversion of an airbus into a water bus).

Are there any specific rules for burning watercraft (especially millitary) in the Technology Burner? What skills do the characters need to use them? What tech traits would be needed to create a submarine? What kind of tech would be utilised by the watercraft in Iron Empires - turbines, anti-grav? What weaponry?

And a little bit offtopic - assuming that the water forces are part of Anvil, what lifepaths could be connected with them? Or maybe Hammer lps [maybe a little bit modified] would be more approperiate?

Given that anti-grav is widely available, I can’t see there being much of a seperation between wet navy and ground forces. I wouldn’t be surprised if vaccum capable vehicles would be also capable of submarine operation…

Though there was a discussion about submarine anti-invasion artillery… ocean is a wonderful heat sink, and submersable battle stations can use hundreds of meters of water as armour.

Yeah, surface warships combine the worst properties of a-grav, land, and space vehicles without any real payoff. Submarines are useful, of course, but really only as missile platforms (since you can’t really operate direct-fire weapons underwater).

Um, as for skills, I guess you could extend Pilot to cover smaller subs (and certainly submersible a-grav vehicles) as well. For really big subs, you might want another skill.

These are really only relevant if the main population or resource centers of your world are underwater. Otherwise, even if it’s an island world, flying vehicles just make more sense. They’re cheaper, faster, more survivable, and more versatile. Anvil is meant to be at least potentially an invasion force (even if only as a threat to keep your neighbors polite)

Well, the world I’m thinking about would be like… 97% ocean? So it would need not only submarines, but also surface ships. And, as far as I know, traditional ships could be much bigger and more solid than antigravs. And they could act as carriers, too.

As for the submarine weaponry - that’s an interesting thing, too. Energy weapons don’t work underwater, right? But still, there are for example torpedos…

Well, apparently, according to Chris, the most effective Hammer to Hammer weapon is something called a Q-Beam, a sort of meson cannon thing… wildly inaccurate, but devistating. It basically teleports high energy particles onto the target… the problem is, once you’ve gone outside it’s minimum range, Q-beams will affect the first matter they come in contact with… meaning that gas clouds are as good as armour. The upshot of this is it is entirely possible to fire a Q-beam from a planet into space, but the reverse is not true… this means that Q-beam equipped submersables are highly, highly effective combattants.

Really, the simplest thing to do for a world like this is just change the names of extant tech and lifepaths.

I’ve run a couple of water worlds, but we usually just use anti-grav vehicles for transport and military and everything else is color.

I had some beautiful images in my mind, including underwater struggles of silent and deadly submarines or amassed fleets of water crusiers and carriers with deadly antygravs (maybe even Hussars?) ready to launch… But Luke’s approach is probably better.

The problem with surface ships is that they can’t be heavily armored enough to resist fusor/fusion battery fire. That means that the moment they enter line-of-sight, they’re dead. They can’t really be made maneuverable enough to survive once in LOS, and there’s no nape-of-the-earth to hide in.

Submarines make a lot of sense if and only if it’s necessary to get past them to get to your targets. If your industry and population is on the surface (islands or floating habs), I can just land my IFVs on it. In that case, only missile/Q-beam subs make sense (your torpedo-armed hunter/killer subs can’t hit my flying IFVs and are only useful against your own forces). But if I need to get at your subsurface habitats, I need to bring something that can get down there, and my orbital fire and air support won’t help me, while your subs have a turkey shoot.

The downside, of course, is that your subs are useless on the offensive and present no potential threat to your neighbors.

Thomas, I didn’t mean to step on your vision. I’m just saying use the stats as is, but stick to your cool concepts!

luke - oh, sorry, I misunderstood you ^^" Though I’m still not sure which stats to use - the assault sleds? Armed versions of air buses (sticking to the idea from wiki)? I’ll have to think about it.

zabieru - as I mentioned, 98% of the surface is supposed to be underwater. This includes all the mines, almost all the factories, many underwater farms, labs, cities… So, the enemy would have to get underwater to lay hands on the most precious stuff. As for the surface ships - well, you’re probably right about the defencelessness of the ships (maybe the HI technology would provide some protection? Hyper-advanced reactive armour? Force fields?), but 1) the ships could fight with a huge distance between them, as they do in real modern naval warfare 2) they would still be useful as carriers - or are there antigrav vessels big and stable enough to replace them? From my past experiences with sci-fi, I envision antigravs as fast but extremally fragile things…
And as for the threat for neighbours - that’s probably true, but who says the ships would be the only forces on the planet? And don’t forget about Hammer…

I’m glad to hear that your vital resources are underwater, I think it suits your concepts. (Lest you think I’m slow, it is perfectly possible to have a water world where everything important floats on the surface, and until now you hadn’t said anything that ruled out the possibility in my mind).

“Fighting with a huge distance between” is smart until your opponent puts a ship in orbit. Then you’re boned. Or if they have missile subs. Then you’re boned too. (There are feasible antimissile defenses from low-index up, but they’re not even close to perfect, so you are still at risk from missile subs, while they’re not at much risk from you until they choose to open the engagement).

High index tech can provide defenses, but you run into another problem there: If the tech is small, why not mount it on a heavy a-grav sled? They’re faster and more versatile. If the tech is big and expensive, why put it on an immobile surface-bound hull instead of reserving it for more-versatile, more-useful, higher-prestige Hammer keels?

Iron Empires a-grav is relatively versatile. You’re right that it doesn’t extend to battleship weight classes (well, it does, that’s how spaceships land, but it doesn’t have combat maneuverability in that application), but it’s not just for fighters and speeder bikes either. A-grav tanks are common and awesome. It’s fusion-powered, so you don’t need to refuel or anything. You may still need some kind of tender, but it would be a strictly non-combat vessel, more akin to a land-based airfield in its battlefield role.

Of course, you could always rule out a-grav (either the world’s just lost the tech base to manufacture it, or maybe there’s a silly planetary anomaly, or just really really effective grav-seeking missiles) and then you’d need carriers again.

Well, I must admit that I imagined some kind of a giantic (spacecruiser-sized) naval behemoth going full ahead through the ocean… But yeah, that would be a waste of resources, probably. Still, the carriers would be useful - the antigrav pilots have to sleep, eat, receive mechanical and medical health somewhere, eh?

My concept for now is - on the surface, antigravs plus some carriers (not only for a-g, also for craft operating in higher parts of atmosphere) plus maybe come small, nimble destroyers capable of detecting and destroying incoming missles/light atmospheric craft/maybe subs + the really big guys underneath the surface with lots of missles & artillery plus some scout subs, maybe with boarding parties. Sounds reasonable enough?

Thomas, you do understand that burning up the world with the other players is part of playing the game, right?

Wanderer - yes, I do :smiley: But, as far as I know, there’s nothing wrong in burning worlds solo just for the sake of it if someone enjoys it. And this way I can find out what kind of world would I like to play in and how to use the World Burner.

Devious. Your players are in for a treat.

That sounds pretty sensible. You might also make your pickets/destroyers submersible at need. Obviously to act in an air/missile defense role they need to be surfaced, but the ability to submerge as well would not only allow them to lurk, but also allow them to put in to port at undersea facilities rather than needing vulnerable surface drydocks like the big guys.

A word of advice on world-burning, though: I would strongly caution you against dropping something like this on your players and then saying “But you can change anything you want.” Traditionally the GM has far more setting authority than the players, and even if you tell them that’s not the case here (as you should), if you show up with a whole finished world chances are they’ll just follow that lead. I find it’s better to spend the first part of the world-burning process acting as a moderator/facilitator until your players get the rhythm and understand that it’s their world just as much as yours. Once they’ve got the hang of it, you can step forward and contribute more.

In particular, for the first six or seven steps I make sure NOT to offer the first suggestion. I read off the options, then I wait for a player to speak up. I may weigh in with what I’d prefer later on, or suggest something that would represent some aspect of the world that’s been discussed (Atmosphere and Topology tend to be two sides of the same concept), but I don’t speak first.

That way, you’ll all create a world your players really care about, because it’s their world. They’ll fight much harder for that world, against you and also against each other.

Thanks for the advice, but I’m probably not going to use this thing in play*. I do it for fun and to test the burning mechanics, really. And I don’t think I’m going to be a GM anytime soon

  • Of course, if for any reason I would need some already established colour - or even a moreless burned world - I could use this one :smiley:

Maybe I’m oversimplifying this a little, but the Helm skill exists doesnt it? You could probably just reskin most of the Hammer paths to work as a water Navy.

Hell, a Hammer Cruiser could be given some downgrading of its speed and limitatios (cant leave the water) and then… BAMB! It’s a battleship.

Mind you, this is just a mechanical suggestion. I’m not really sure how to handle the logistics of such a world.