FULL THRUST: New Weapons Systems - Babylon 5 Universe:

New Weapons Systems, System Enhancements, Rules Modifications for the Babylon 5 Universe.

WARNING: herein are tidbits of info that are spoilers for some episodes from Season 4 - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! This will continue to be updated as new info is gleaned from the show.

Table of Contents:


Weapons in the Babylon 5 universe

Energy Mine (cf. Babylon 5, "The Long Twilight Struggle", Narn cruiser weapon)

Acts as a 1-turn missile in most respects, except the launcher can only face in one direction:: forward, and may only be fired between '11 o'clock' and '1 o'clock'. This yields a 60-degree firing arc. Advanced forms of this might be turrent-mounted; to be discussed at a later date. Also, unlike missiles, the mine may not 'turn' or maneuver.

Life of the energy mine is 1 turn. Range is 50". Damage potential is 2d6, reduceable by screens and armor (energy mine does 2-12 pts damage, screens and armor reduce by 1 pt per level; point-defense cannot stop any). Explosion radius = 3". The firing ship may not target a particular ship. The ship may only fire in a particular direction between '11 o'clock' and '1 o'clock'.

To fire an energy mine, the firing ship must denote a targetted spot in range and arc. On a grid map this is easy: give the coordinates; without a grid map, on a free or open playing field, the range from the ship the mine will fire and the rough heading (eyeball through a firing template) must be written down ahead of time. If you want to get fancy and use a protractor, more power to you.

The Energy Mine Fire Declaration (and subsequent launch) occurs during the Missile Launch Phase (ie, before movement, but after orders are written). The Energy Mine Detonation takes place after all movement is complete, but prior to combat/weapons fire.

The Energy Mine should be denoted with an asterix '*' for each mine aboard. The Energy Mine launcher a rectangle capped with a shaded in triangle pointing forward. The Energy Mine launcher can only carry 2 Energy Mines. Only one may be fired per ship per turn. If a ship has more than one launcher, only one may be used per turn. Firing of an Energy Mine requires a dedicated Fire Control that has not been used for anything else that turn.

Launcher:
Mass = 4
Cost = 12

It is considered to be 'Bonehead Maneuver II' to fly your ship into your own exploding energy mine.


Heavy Beam Weapon (cf. ANFaW, AtSFoS, TLTS, Walkabout)

Similar to, but not exactly like, the Kra'Vak Railgun rules and system.

[Ed note: Season 3 episode Walkabout, without giving spoilers away, gave some more information as to how HBWs work in the B5 universe. The original HBW powering designs I had come up with are retained in this document, but are listed as being 'optional' in nature. The current rules have been altered to fit the new information (again, no spoilers given away with this info), but this primarily affects the power source for HBWs. Everything else (range, to hit chances, double damage potential, restricted arcs, etc) remains pretty much untouched (tweaked here and there, but untouched otherwise).]

[Ed note: the end of Season 4 allowed more info on HBWs, specifically their multiple roles of fire.]

Heavy Beam Weapons (HBWs)are the main 'heavy weapon' in the Babylon 5 universe. Most races have variations to these weapons. However, the Earth Force ships appear to be able to switch roles of their HBWs from 'standard battery' to 'HBW' and back again from one turn to the next. To reflect this, for EA ships, the HBWs may be fired in 'standard battery' mode, with the type of battery being simulated equivalent to the size of the HBW in question (eg, HBW-3 would fire as a standard A-battery). During the time it is firing as a 'standard battery' it may not (obviously) be used in HBW mode. The capacitor may continue to recharge, however.

EA HBWs cost their normal amount (see below) plus the equivalent battery cost.

HBWs require an energy charge before they can fire, similar to, but not exactly like, the Wave Gun in Full Thrust. There is only one charge capacitor for all HBWs on a given ship. It is not listed on the Ship Systems Display sheet, so cannot suffer Threshold Checks (optional: make something on the ship sheet represent a charge capacitor that can suffer Threshold Hits; once it is hit, HBWs may no longer fire - they have no where to draw energy from! And HBWs themselves may not hold a charge.). The capacity point of the capacitor is equal to twice the level of the largest HBW on board the ship. Thus if a ship mounts an HBW-3, the capacitor can carry up to 6 charge points. If the ship mounts 2 HBW-3s, the capacitor can still only hold a 6 point charge.

To charge a HBW roll 1d6 at the start of the turn, divide by 2 (round down; results less than 1 are 0), and note the result. This is how many charge points the capacitor has available that turn. The capacitor may hold a charge from turn to turn without penalty (with respect to lengths of standard scenarios; the capacitor cannot hold the charge indefinitely, and eventually will discharge - say, after 15 turns). As long as the capacitor is below it's maximum number of charge points allowed, one may charge the capacitor up at the beginning of the turn, up to the maximum number of points allowed (ie, you can only charge a capacitor rated '6' up to 6 points; you cannot charge it up to 8 and fire off an HBW-2 to suck out the two 'extra' charge points - they are automatically lost).

HBWs may fire during the same turn the capacitor is charging, and they may fire with a partially charged capacitor. HBWs draw upon this capacitor the number of points equal to the HBW Level to fire at full strength. Thus, an HBW-3 will draw 3 points of charge from the capacitor when it fires. HBWs cannot fire at a 'reduced level' (higher tech races such as the Minbari use a type of HBW that can, but most races do not have this kind of tech yet).

HBWs can use Jump Drive charge points to charge up with - but if this decision is made, the HBW charge roll is not made! The Jump Drive capacitor may shunt over to the HBW capacitor as many charge points as it has available, until the HBW capacitor is filled up. This happens after the charge roll for the Jump Drive capacitor has been rolled and the number recorded.

If the capacitor for HBWs is 'cold' (ie, offline, uncharged for 20 turns or more, etc), then it takes a full turn just to 'warm up' the capacitor. During this 'warm up' turn the capacitor may not be charged. Once the capacitor is 'warmed up', you may charge it in accordance to the rules above.

No more than 2 HBWs may fire at the same time (the Minbari and more advanced races are exempt from this, naturally).

The loss of an HBW through Threshold Checks will not cause feedback to the rest of the ship. The capacitor holds all the charge. But as it is not a ship system, it cannot cause feedback to the vessel.


The following sub-section is considered OPTIONAL and can be used in place of the capacitor rules above

The Heavy Beam Weapon (HBW) requires some power from the thrust engines. To fire the firing ship must allocate 1/2 of it's original thrust rating to each weapon it mounts and fires. The other half of the engine thrust (if any) may be used for maneuvering/acceleration/deceleration as the commander of the firing ship sees fit. It follows that if the firing ship has suffered drive damage (its current thrust rating is now 1/2 original thrust rating), it may either move/maneuver or fire the beam weapon, but not both. Also, if the ship mounts two beam weapons, and fires them both, it canNOT use its drive for movement or maneuvering. Having three beam weapons on board would be inefficient as the ship would not have the power per turn to fire more than two. The only reason would be to cover other arcs, or to have redundant systems to stave off threshold damage.

This optional rule drops the capacitor idea and introduces more thinking on how to manuever one's ship, and fire, too. It sets up interesting tactical situations, but is also limiting in nature.

End optional HBW power source sub-section


HBWs may only have a 1-arc field of fire. Beam weapons of Level-3 or greater may only be mounted to fire in the forward or aft arcs. Smaller beam weapons, those of Level-1 and Level-2, may be mounted to the port or starboard. For 1 extra Mass and 5 points these smaller HBWs may be fitted to fire into a single adjacent arc.

HBWs can be reduced by screens and armor. HBWs may not be reduced by defensive weaponry in 'intercept' mode. Nor may HBWs be used in 'interceptor' mode.

HBWs have a range of 40", and a 'to hit' roll similar to the Kra'Vak railguns, but with some modifiers: if the target ship is moving at a speed less than 6, apply a +1 to the roll. If the target ship is moving faster than speed 12, apply a -1 to the roll. If the target ship is travelling faster than speed 24, apply a -2, and so on in speed increments of 12. Enhanced Sensors (and Superior Sensors) will net the firing ship a +1 modifier, whereas each ECM package carried on a ship will net the firing ship a -1 modifier per ECM package on the target ship. A '1' will automatically miss; a '6' will automatically hit, whatever the modifiers.

Range To Target:       Base 'To Hit' Roll           Notes
----------------       ------------------           -----
  0" - 8"                     2
  8" - 16"                    3
 16" - 24"                    4               Max range for HBW-1
 24" - 32"                    5               Max range for HBW-2
 32" - 40"                    6               Max range for HBW-3
If an HBW hits, a second die roll is needed. On a 5 or 6 the HBW does double damage; otherwise it does normal damage. The damage an HBW does is equal to the 'size' or level of the weapon. (eg, an HBW-3 would do 3 points of base damage if it hits, 6 points if the second roll was a 5 or 6).

Beam Weapons of this type might be denoted with a triangle and level number:

          |              |
         / \            / \
        /HB3\          /HB2\
        -----          -----
Cost = 2x equivalent A/B/C-battery
Mass = beam level number + 1 (eg, HBW2 costs 3 Mass)
Mass of EA HBWs = beam level number + 1 + equivalent battery base cost

Escort-sized vessels cannot carry a HBW greater than Level 2, and can only carry one HBW of any level. Cruisers can carry up to one HBW-3, and a handful of HBW-2s and HBW-1s (room permitting). Capital Ships may carry up to two HBW-3s and any number of HBW-2s and HBW-1s. This applies only to the EA, Narn, Centauri, and League races; the Minbari, Shadows, and Vorlons have slightly different restrictions (or lack thereof ;-)


Minbari Beam Weapons - Neutron Cannons

Minbari Neutron Cannons (aka MBWs) are essentially the Heavy Beam Weapons above, but at higher tech levels and somewhat more efficient. The mass of Minbari Beam weapons is 1 less than their equivalent Heavy Beam Weapon above used by the less-advanced races (the Centauri, Narn, and Earth). Eg, Minbari beam weapons of a given class mass are the same as the standard Full Thrust batteries of the same class.

Minbari Beam weapons have increased mass per arc of fire. Add 1 Mass to the weapon system for each arc over the first one (free). The cost is upped by '3' for each additional arc.

Minbari Beam weapons recharge similar to HBWs, except you do not divide the die roll by 2. The die roll is taken at face value and applied to the capacitor. The capacity of the MBW capacitor on a Minbari ship is 3x the level of the heaviest neutron cannon mounted. Thus a Minbari Sharlin warcruiser mounts MBW-3s, the capacitor can hold up to 9 pts of power.

Minbari ships may fire as many MBWs as they desire in a given turn, within the power availability limits (ie, current capacitor charge).

Minbari Beam Weapons may be mounted only on Minbari ships. No one else may use them.

All Minbari Beam weapons may be used in anti-fighter or anti-missile mode.

Minbari Beam weapons may fire in more than one arc. However, either due to battle code, honor, or the design construction of Minbari ships, they do not fire to the rear arc.

Minbari Beam weapons cost double what the equivalent Heavy Beam Weapon costs.

Range and damage. Minbari Beam weapons have a range of 40", and a 'to hit' roll similar to the Kra'Vak railguns, but with some modifiers. If the target ship is moving at speed less than 6, apply a +1 to the roll. If the target ship is moving at a speed greater than 18, apply a -1 to the roll. If the target ship is travelling at a speed greater than 30 apply a -2, and so on and so forth in speed increments of 12.

Range To Target:       Base 'To Hit' Roll           Notes
----------------       ------------------           -----
  0" - 8"                     2
  8" - 16"                    3
 16" - 24"                    4               Max range for MBW-1
 24" - 32"                    5               Max range for MBW-2
 32" - 40"                    6               Max range for MBW-3
If an MBW hits, a second die roll is needed. On a 4, 5 or 6 the MBW does double damage; otherwise it does normal damage. The damage an Minbari Beam weapon does is equal to the 'size' or level of the weapon. (eg, an MBW-3 would do 3 points of base damage if it hits, 6 points if the second roll was a 4, 5 or 6).

          |              |
         / \            / \
        /MB3\          /MB2\
      ---------      ---------

      ^       ^      ^       ^
      |       |      |       |
      -----side arc-firing----
             indicators
When combined with a high-tech tracking system (Enhanced or Superior Sensors), the Minbari Beam weapon can double as a Needle Beam, identical in all respects to the Full Thrust rules for Needle Beams.

MBWs of any level may be used in anti-fighter/anti-missile mode. In this mode they all act as if they were MBW-1s (and may not be fired in any other mode for that turn). That is to say, MBW-3s and MBW-2s fire as MBW-1s when in anti-fighter/anti-missile mode. In conjunction with Superior Sensors, MBWs get a +1 to their to hit roll, and against fighters can score up to 3 'kills'. So vs fighters a 3 or 4 will score one hit, a 5 scores two hits, and on a 6 three hits are scored (yes, it is dangerous as a fighter to go up against a Minbari ship equipped with MBWs). Against missiles each MBW will only destroy 1 missile per shot, and will hit on a 4-6, a 3-6 with Superior Sensors.

MBWs in anti-fighter/missile mode may only fire in their currently designated arcs of fire.

MBWs cannot be used as PDAF/ADAFs can to intercept weapons fire from 'standard' batteries.


Minbari Stealth Technology

[rough notes]

In order to accurately reflect (as best as possible) the 'stealth' levels of Minbari tech, allow Minbari warships to carry inherent ECM packages. These, when activated (typically only during combat), add 12" to the effective range from the ship firing on the targetted Minbari vessel. Basically they move the Minbari vessel to the next range bracket for most weapons, and right out of range for others. True range is uneffected for some weapons (eg, waveguns, nova cannons).

Advanced (Enhanced/Superior) sensors will negate this stealth tech.


Minbari Defensive Systems

[rough notes]

The Minbari, being slightly elevated in their tech levels compared to most of the other races, long ago abandoned 'pulse' type weapons systems. Instead they use an energy-damping field which reduces or negates damage coming in from other sources, including pulse-type weapons. This may be reflected by the Screen rules in Full Thrust. In addition to the normal screen rules given in FT, these screens will reduce the damage of any weapon by 1 point per level of screening. This includes pulse torpedoes, HBWs, MBWs, etc. Typically Minbari Sharlin war cruisers are equipped with 2 levels of screens

Yes, this means that an MBW2 fired at a Minbari ship with 2 levels of screening is almost immune - but not totally. If the die roll gives 'double damage', the excess damage (beyond the first 2 pts) get through. You may have a chance...


PDAF/ADAF - interceptor mode (cf. Babylon 5, "The Fall Of Night", "Signs & Portents", "Severed Dreams")

Being that this is the Babylon-5 universe, there are no screens available (welllll, okay, there are, but not at the tech levels the Centauri, Narn, and EA have demonstrated ;-). At the same time, A/B/C-batteries are considered pulse cannons of some sort, and their discharges may be intercepted (to some limited degree). PDAF and ADAF systems may be used to intercept inbound weapons fire - but there is a catch. The targetted ship needs any combination of 2 PDAF/ADAF available to do this, and they must be dedicated to the role of interceptor (anti-fire/point-defense). They cannot be used in anti-fighter/anti-missile roles during the turn they are used in interceptor mode. You can switch back and forth between turns the roles the *DAFs will play, but this must be specified at the start of the turn. It is not necessary to direct *DAF fire against a particular ship's inbound weapons fire; as long as the *DAF are in interceptor mode, it's automatic against all fire levelled at that ship. Each pair of *DAF count as 1 level of screening. The targetted vessel may only use up to 2 pairs of *DAFs in this mode (eg, only up to 2 levels of screening); any further *DAF pairs used in interceptor mode are superfluous, but may take over if a *DAF system is destroyed during the course of a given turn.

*DAF pairs may be used to reduce weapons fire from fighters.

*DAF pairs offer limited protection against pulse torpedo hits. The first level of 'screening' has no effect against pulse torps. The second level of 'screening' will reduce the damage done by a pulse torp by 1 point; apply a -1 modifier to the damage die roll. There is no third level of 'screening' with the *DAF combination.

*DAFs may reduce HBWs by a slight bit. If there are 2 levels of *DAF up any HBW damage may be reduced by 1 point. 1 level of *DAF doesn't help (note: this is a more abstract rule to reflect the "...net-like energy web that reduces the severity, but does not deflect or absorb, beam type energy..." - George Johnsen, Co-Producer, Babylon 5).

*DAFs may be used to reduce the effective fire of Kra'Vak-like weapons. For each pair of *DAFs up in intercept mode, subtract 1 point of damage from each Kra-Vak-like weapon that successfully hits the target ship.

*DAFs cannot handle scattergun pellets, but can and do handle submunitions packs in the same way as beam weapons/batteries.


C-Batteries - interceptor mode

C-batteries are small enough and quick enough weapons systems to track enemy fighters, and also can operate - in pairs - in Interceptor Mode, as PDAF/ADAFs do. However, unlike PDAF/ADAF systems, C-Batteries do not have built-in FireCon systems. In order to function in 'interceptor mode', it is necessary to dedicate 1 FireCon to all C-Battery pairs operating in 'interceptor mode' (this is a total of 1 FireCon, not 1 FireCon per C-Batt pair). Because of this, C-batteries may not pair up with PDAF/ADAF systems in 'interceptor' mode.

A-Batteries and B-Batteries are generally too slow to track inbound weapons fire to operate in 'interceptor mode'. Their main function is purely anti-ship.


Blockade Mines (cf. "Matters of Honor")

In 'Matters of Honor' we witnessed the Centauri use small, weapon-firing, automated platforms - blockade mines.

Blockade Mines (BM) have a Mass of 2, can sustain 1 point of damage before being destroyed, and carry 1 Firecon and 1 C-battery, with 4-arc field of fire.

Blockade Mines may be deployed by freighter-like minelayers. The ship system for the minelayers is a circle with 'BM' inside:

                         ..
                        .  .
                        .BM.
                         ..
Minelayers can a maximum number of mines equal to 1/4 the Mass of the ship.

Blockade Mines may be set to target ships coming from a particular direction, target a certain Mass or Mass range of ships, or just about any number of parameters.


The Early Year Batteries: D-Batteries (Conjectural)

Almost never seen anymore, the D-battery was the most efficient close-in weapon of choice to the lower-tech races in the Babylon 5 Universe (re: the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, the Dilgar, and others). In those early years, the lower-tech races did not have nice, manly weapons like the A-battery. In fact, to them, the B-battery was pretty damned impressive in and of itself (though a few knew of the Centauri and the Minbari, who had seriously way more powerful weapons - just that the tech for those weapons systems was beyond their capabilities). In fact, before the Earth Alliance happened onto the scene, starship weapons were really inefficient (see also Co and Bo-batteries). In those days the smaller, lighter, shorter-ranged D-battery held more dominance on ships.

The D-battery is a small C-battery. It has a mass of 1. Against ships it does 1 die of damage, as per a C-battery, and has a maximum range of 6". It can double as a PDAF system, too. In fact, it's a glorified PDAF system that can do damage to starships (it was ultimately the D-battery from which the PDAF system sprang from). However, it costs double what a PDAF system costs, and to be used as in a PDAF mode, it requires a dedicated FireCon (as per the C-battery in PDAF mode rules). Except for the shorter range, it's practically identical to a C-battery. In the later years using a D-battery became cost-prohibitive for more advanced races, though some of the younger, lower-tech races still use them for anti-ship weapons systems (especially if they can't get their hands on B-batteries, or are low enough in the tech levels that even C-batteries have a mass of 2).

Early Dilgar ships used D-batteries along with everyone else, but as the Earth-Dilgar War began, the Dilgar improved upon their technologies enough to warrent dropping the D-battery from production, replacing it with PDAF systems and using the newer, lower-massed C- and B-batteries as new ships were produced (the Earth Force did not really drop using the D-battery until after the Earth-Dilgar War ended). It was the Dilgar and the Earthers who came up with nearly identical PDAF systems on their own at nearly the same time.

If these weapons systems show up in the 'contemporary' Babylon 5 Universe, they most often are in the use of Raiders.


The Early Year Batteries: Co- and Bo-Batteries (Conjectural)

The Co- and Bo-batteries in the early years of Babylon 5 (~30+ years before the series begins) were essentially the same as C- and B-batteries of Full Thrust, with the following alterations:

There are no Ao-batteries. A-batteries were developed shortly after the upgrade of Co- and Bo-batteries to C- and B-batteries.

Note that the mass increases of the Co- and Bo-batteries over their C- and B-battery counterparts in Full Thrust represent the bulkiness and inefficiencies in these systems. Ditto with the 25% reduction in ranges.


The Early Years Missiles (Conjectural, A Voice In The Wilderness Pt I)

Missiles of the Early Years (Earth-Dilgar War and earlier) operate in all respects like the More Thrust missiles with the following exceptions:

If these weapons systems show up in the 'contemporary' Babylon 5 Universe, they most often are in the use of Raiders.
A-batteries and B-batteries Reduced Fire

This will not likely be used often, but you can fire your A-batts and B-batts in a 'reduced fire' mode. Thus B-batteries can be fired as if they were B-batteries (normal) or C-batteries (reduced fire). A-batteries can be fired as if they were themselves normally (A-batts) or as if they were B-batteries or C-batteries (reduced mode). As A/B/C-batteries do not use a charge, this is not a power-saving option. One might use this optional rule when one is trying to hit a target, but not damage it severely (such as when one is attacking a freighter), or when one is trying to hide one's identity when using scanner rules (making the enemy believe you're carrying smaller weapons than what you really are and not giving away your true identity, for example).

Note: you cannot use A- or B-batteries in 'reduced fire mode' to simulate C-batteries and gain the C-battery special options! (ie, anti-fighter, anti-missile, 'intercept' modes) The tracking mechanisms of the A- and B-batteries is just not fast enough.


A-batteries in the B5 Universe

No major changes to the Full Thrust rules regarding A-batteries except that A-batteries now cost 4 Mass to mount, not 3.


Tactics

Ramming

In the B5 universe, ramming of ships is something that is very rare. For the most part, the ramming rules given in Full Thrust work just fine. But when you have a Narn-Centauri conflict, the Narn are more likely to ram than anyone else! To reflect this use the following modified rolls:

Yeah, while the Centauri hate the Narn, and many Minbari despise Earthers, and the League Of Non-Aligned Worlds might not be thrilled with each other all the time, the Narn hate and despise the Centauri with a passion.
The Bonehead Maneuver (cf. Matters of Honor)

WARNING:If you have not seen Season 3 episodes yet, reading this section further will introduce spoilers!

The Bonehead Maneuver was investigated by the Earth Force during the Earth-Minbari War, which was an attempt to open a jump point within an already opened jump point. The results were....catastrophic at best.

If a captain wishes to attempt the Bonehead Maneuver during the course of a scenario, a die roll must be met, with the following modifiers:

Assuming the Bonehead Maneuver attempt roll is successful the ship attempting to initiate the maneuver must be within 6" of the open jump point, and orders for the turn must include opening the new jump point. The next turn the juncture where the two jump points intersect becomes terribly unstable. Any ships withing 12" are immediately destroyed. The following turn an explosion resulting from the unstable jump point juncture destroys everything within 50", and does 20d6 damage to objects out to 100", 10d6 damage to anything 150" and 5d6 damage to anything 200". The damage is read off of the die rolls directly. If you do not like the 'instantly destroyed' aspect of this, apply a 40d6 damage roll to everything within 50". *grin*
The Vree

The Vree are a League Of Non-Aligned Worlds race, one of the few to stand with Babylon 5 in their time of need. Their ships are saucer-shaped, and come in a variety of sizes, up to medium or heavy cruiser sized.


The Brakiri

The Brakiri are members of the League Of Non-Aligned Worlds, also one of the few to stand with Babylon 5 in their time of need. Their ships are cool-looking, but we know nothing of their capabilities. Other than that they blow up real nice under Shadow slice-n-dice weapons...


The Vorlons

The Vorlons are a mysterious, secretive race of advanced power. Of all the known races they are the only ones who can take on the Shadows and have any reasonable chance of coming out alive.


Conjectural Shadow Rules
Ships and Fighters of Babylon 5

Starfuries - the Earth Alliance fighter

The Starfury is the workhorse fighter in the Earth Alliance. It is strong, durable, and incredibly agile. It was design with space combat in mind. However, because of this, Starfuries cannot enter atmospheres; they're space-bound ships exclusively. Kind of like mini-starships. They can transit/use jumpgates and can travel incredible distances (read: hours in normal space). Due to their versatility they perform many roles: from straight fighter, attack/assault, interceptor, bomber, etc.

Whatever the role, the Starfury is considered to be an Agile Fighter. This special 'ability' allows the Starfury to be able to fire in any direction, no matter its heading or facing in a given turn. This raises the point cost of the Starfury fighters by 3 per fighter.

Starfuries are not able to mount torps, and thus are not eligible for 'torp fighter' role.


Starfury 'Bombers' - Thunderbolts! (cf. Severed Dreams)

In 'Severed Dreams' we were shown a new Starfury: the Thunderbolt (there is some evidence we may have seen these as early as 'A Voice In The Wilderness, Part 2', but this is unconfirmed yet). A more advanced and heavier-appearing Starfury, the Thunderbolts have the capability of atmospheric maneuvering and can carry 'real' missiles (air-to-ground, anti-ship). This may be reflected by 'torp fighter' rules (substitute 'torp' for 'short-range missile'). Thunderbolts are also considered to be 'heavy' fighters.


Earth Force Omega-class 'Destroyers'

We know from a number of episodes, in particular 'Severed Dreams', that the Aggies carry a significant number of fighters, and have beam weaponry facing not only forward, but rearward, too. They also appear to have either Enhanced or Superior Sensor arrays ('Messages from Earth'). The forward beam weapon projector is coupled with a PDAF system used to knock down incoming fire, but the HBW itself cannot intercept attacks.

While the Omega-class ships have been referred to by JMS as destroyers and cruisers and lately ('A Late Delivery From Avalon') as carriers, it seems safe enough to say that the Omegas are carrier-based combat ships. Heavy carriers, judging by the weapons loadout and number of fighters they have.

The ship stats might look like this:

Mass = 90
Thrust = 2
Jump Engines = Yes
Damage Points = 45: 11/11/11/12
Fire Control (3)
Damage Control (3)
Weapons: 2xHBW-3 (F), 2xHBW-2(A), 4xC-battery (2xP/F/S, 2xP/A/S), 5xPDAF, 4xHanger Bays, 1xEnhanced Sensors

Earth Force Advanced Omega-class 'Destroyers'

These are Clarke's new, improved Omega Destroyers.....improved by using Shadow Tech! To simulate this, Omegas now mount a weapon system that is, for game purposes, identical to Minbari Beam Weapons above. However, their forward and aft heavy (level-3/2) MBWs may only be mounted in one firing arc: forward or aft. The 'side' MBWs (level-1) may have up to 3 firing arcs, typically P/A/S and P/F/S. As these now use Shadow Tech, the capacitor level is now greater: calculate the capacitor rating as you would for a normal HBW and double it (ie, 4x highest rated MBW). As the heaviest weapon an Advanced Omega carries is an MBW3, its capacitor is now 12. (note: it probably should be a 6x rating, giving it a capacitor of 18, but I'll wait until future episodes play out to see if this is a viable option or not). The capacitor recharges just like the Minbari ones do.

In addition, the new Omegas have Superior Sensors instead of Enhanced Sensors. And they now have armor, using Shadow 'Skin' (level-2 Kra'Vak armor, but also affects H/MBWs, pulse torps, et al as Minbari defensive screens do). But they only carry 3 hangar bays, not four. And no C-batts, and no PDAFs.

The semi-organic technology that is employed on the Advanced Omegas allows for a very limited regeneration of structural damage. Given enough time, yes, it will repair itself, but in the time frame of individual scenarios it takes quite a while. After a ship has been damaged, at the end of each turn roll 2d6. If both die come up with a '6', 1 pt of damage may be repaired. Limited, almost not worth it, but in the final analysis...you never know.

The ship stats might look like this:

Mass = 94
Thrust = 2
Jump Engines = Yes
Damage Points = 47: 11/12/12/12
Fire Control (3)
Damage Control (3)
Weapons: 2xMBW-3 (F), 2xMBW-2(A), 5xMBW-1 (3xP/F/S, 2xP/A/S), 3xHanger Bays, 1xSuperior Sensors, 1xIndividual ECM Suite
Level-2 Kra'Vak Armor

Earth Force Roosevelt/Hyperion Cruisers

The Hyperion Cruiser series was the workhorse of the Earth Force military after the Earth-Minbari War, and prior to the design and construction of the Omega-Class 'Destroyers'. As they are fairly common (especially the pre-refit design) you have a good chance of encountering one during any trip you take across Earth Alliance space.

EA Heavy cruisers come in two flavors of the same ship: the pre-refit Heavy Cruiser, and the post-refit Battlecruiser (Roosevelt-class). The pre-refit cruiser was more durable than the post-refit one, but the post-refit one came with a Heavy Beam Weapon, and was ever so slightly larger. Not the most efficient use of mass/space, but it worked.

Pre-refit Heavy Cruiser:

Mass = 36
Thrust = 4
Jump Engines = Yes
Damage Points = 18: 6/6/6
Fire Control (2)
Damage Control (2)
Weapons: 1xA-batt (F), 2xB-batt (F/P, F/S), 3xC-batt (2xS/A/P, S/F/P), 2xPDAF, 1xHanger Bay
Post-refit Battlecruiser (available after 2260):
Mass = 38
Thrust = 4
Jump Engines = Yes
Damage Points = 19: 4/4/4/5
Fire Control (3)
Damage Control (3)
Weapons: 1xHBW-2, 1xA-batt (F), 2xB-batt (F/P, F/S), 2xC-batt (P/A/S, P/F/S), 2xPDAF, 1xHanger Bay

The Drazi Sunhawk

The Drazi Sunhawk - what is it? It's not clear, from the limited capabilities we have seen over the course of Babylon 5, what exactly it is. It's definitely a combat ship. But is it a destroyer, a cruiser, or what? My take on this (and this is purely speculation!) is that it is either a destroyer or a light cruiser. Probably nothing heavier, hopefully nothing much lighter (the Drazi seem to be a more influential race in the League; being more powerful (if not by a lot) than the rest might lead one to believe they have a stronger, larger navy than many others in the League - well, it does me, anyway! ;-).

For arguements sake, let's give the Sunhawk the following stats:

Mass = 18
Thrust = 4
Jump Engines = No
Damage Points = 9: 4/5
Fire Control (2)
Damage Control (2)
Weapons = 2xB-batteries (F/P, F/S), 1xA-Battery (F), Launch Platform
Misc: Launch Platform has Mass 6 and can carry up to one Mass 4 Scoutship

The Vree Saucer Ships

The Vree ships appear to be saucer-shaped vessels, with gun turrets on top and bottom. As the Vree are a minor race (one of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds), we can probably safely assume that their navy is not altogether that large, or threatening. In this light let's assume that the Vree saucer ship "Deathwalker" is a light destroyer or heavy frigate (escort-sized) vessel:

Mass = 12
Thrust = 6
Jump Engines = No
Damage Points = 6: 3/3
Fire Control (1)
Damage Control (1)
Weapons = 4xB-battery (3-arc), 1xPDAF
The Vree have heavier ships, such as have been seen in the opening sequences of "Ship of Tears". These are probably medium or heavy cruiser-type saucer ships, and are way larger than Drazi Sunhawks:
Mass = 30
Thrust = 4
Jump Engines = Yes
Damage Points = 15
Fire Control (2)
Damage Control (2)
Weapons = 4xB-batt and 4xC-batt (1xF,1xP,1xA,1xS each), 3xPDAF

The Minbari Sharlin War Cruiser

Don't mess...

Mass = 90
Thrust = 4
Jump Engines = Yes
Damage Points = 45 (11/11/11/12)
Fire Control (3)
Damage Control (3)
Weapons = Screens (2 lvls), 1xMBW3, 2xMBW2, 4xHangar, 1xSuperior Sensor, 1xIndividual ECM Suite

Minbari Niall Fighter

Minbari Niall fighters are rather nasty little buggers (Agile), but not really that much more so than anyone else's fighters. They're just harder to hit, mainly (due to superior stealth/jamming technology). To reflect this, consider all Minbari fighters to be 'heavy' in nature, but otherwise are identical to basic Full Thrust fighters. They can be fitted to Interceptor mode, but the Minbari have abandoned the 'torp' version, considering their technology advantage over everyone else around to warrent no longer supporting this fighter type. They feel their Nialls are powerful enough to wipe out an enemy starship. And if the enemy proves to be too powerful for the Nialls, then there's always the Sharlin war cruisers...


Narn Frazi Fighter

Narn fighters aren't particularly outstanding other than their ability to take serious punishment and keep going. Consider them to be Heavy Fighters as standard. They cannot be Interceptors or Torp Fighters.


Centauri Sentry Fighter

Centauri Sentry fighters are fast, maneuverable suckers. They are great anti-fighter fighters (natural role = Interceptor) but can go anti-ship if necessary (may be refitted to standard FT fighter role). They do not carry heavy weapons (torps), nor are they particularly resilient (cannot be 'heavy'). However...they are *fast* (eg, they are Fast interceptors).


Pak'Ma'Ra Frigate

[rough notes]

A very agile-looking craft with upper and lower swept wings, each of four wingtips turned up. Nose of the craft has tentacles resembling a Pak'Ma'Ra face, plus there are four trailing tentacles off the rear of the ship. There are two tubes aligned along the spine on top of the ship. It is presumed that these are pulse-weapons of some sort (data found at: http://www.eskimo.com/~gronk/bab5/ghostimages.htm). This is also called an Interceptor. Propulsion appears to be similar to Drazi.

Mass = 12
Thrust = 6
Jump Engines = No
Damage Points = 6
Fire Control (1)
Damage Control (1)
Weapons = 4xB-batteries (F only)

Miscellaneous Entries

Aft-firing weapons and aft-fire arcs (cf. Severed Dreams)

As we saw in 'Severed Dreams', the Omega-class vessels (destroyers/cruisers/carriers - god knows what they are exactly!!) have aft-firing heavy beam weapons. In light of this, and given that the drive systems of ships in the Babylon 5 universe, there is no reason why there cannot be any aft-firing weapons. Ships apparently use either reaction drives or 'slide' along gravitational and magnetic field lines. There is no aft-distortion. However, in order to limit 'abusive ship designs' (ships in which all weapons have 4-arc of fire), no weapon may have more than 3 arcs of fire, period (if said weapon(s) not already under arc-restrictions).


What B5's batteries really are(?) (cf. )

There is some evidence that the batteries or ship/fighter weapons used in Babylon 5 are not plasma pulses, but rather hyper-speed, variable-ranged, 1-turn missiles. Unguided. But as this information comes to light, other information shows up to contradict it. So...who knows??


Jumpdrive Recharge (cf Revelations, The Long Twilight Struggle, The Fall Of Night, Walkabout)

(this really belongs in with the Jump Drive rules, but for now will reside here)

We have learned through various episodes here and there that Jump Drives need to recharge before they can be used again. The turn after a Jump Drive has been used begin rolling a die, divide by 3 (round down), and note the result. Keep track of the results from turn to turn, totalling them up. Once the total reaches '6', the Jump Drive has been fully recharged and is available for use. The Jump Drive capacitor can only hold 6 charge points at a time.

Note that any time you roll a '1' you will get '0' charge points for that turn. Just taking longer than you thought it would.

You can share charge points from the Jump Drives to the HBWs discussed above. This is a one-way sharing; HBW charge cannot be shunted to help charge the Jump Drive (the JD is a far more delicate instrument than the HBWs are).

If a Jumpdrive is hit/damaged/destroyed by any means (Threshold Check, Needle Beam attack), all accumulated points are immediately and irrevocably lost.


Telepaths and Combat (cf Walkabout, Ship Of Tears, Into The Fire)

(note: some of these rule/notes are very similar to Tom McCarthy's rules that he worked on some months previously; those familiar with them will likely spot similarities, and in some cases, downright identicalness)

This section gets a little rough. It's a bit complicated, but should work okay in play. Use them if and only if you want to add another level/facet of complexity to your game.

In the B5 universe there is a growing number of telepathic beings. While still rare or uncommon for most races, they are increasing in number, and in some very select incidences, actually have influence in combat. Most notable is when a Lesser Race goes up against a First Ones race.

Telepaths are represented on a ship display by an encircled 'T' and their skill level (eg, 'T6'). They can be killed in Threshold Checks, and Damage Control may not bring them back. Once gone, they are gone. They cannot be killed from a needle beam shot or EMP missile, or any other weapon which targets specific ship systems.

Teeps take up no mass, but cost 1000 pts straight up.

If you are not using a point system, and you are not playing Minbari or Centauri, then either the scenario will detail you a telepath (if at all), the gamemaster will assign them (if at all), or you can roll 1d6 four times - if you get four 1's in a row, you have a telepath on your ship.

If you are playing Minbari, a roll of 1-3 on 1d6 will give you a telepath on board. Centauri get one on a 1 on 1d6. You can decline having a telepath aboard your ship if you desire. This might be wise as your ship is automatically worth 5x it's value in any victory conditions a given scenario may have. You do not need to reveal to your opponent which ship(s) have telepaths on them.

Telepaths have a telepathic 'skill' level equivalent to 2d6 + racial modifiers. You can think of them loosely as being somewhat equivalent to the P-ratings given to human telepaths (ie, a P5 would be around a 6 or 7; I did it this way to keep things at a d6 level, rather than introduce d8s, d10s, etc)

Skill Level Racial Modifiers:

Human Minbari Centauri Narn League  Shadow/Vorlon Vessel  First Ones
 +0      +3      +2    -20    +0      +4 (+ racial)          +10
Until it is learned otherwise that some of the League races have stronger telepaths, they don't have any racial bonuses. Minbari, being an older race, have cultivated the telepathic gene in their people. The Centauri use them quite often, too, so their overall average strength would be higher than most.

As you can see...Narns do not have telepaths. Period. They may not engage in telepathic combat, not even at level '0' (this is reserved only for teeps)

And as you can see...First Ones are Major Teeps!

Racial Modifiers are cumulative when applicable (eg, a Shadow First One in a Shadow Vessel gets the +10 for being a First One and a +4 for the Shadow Vessel)

Telepathic Combat!

This is the part you were waiting for. ;-) In most actions telepaths play little or no role in a starship battle. But against some of the First Ones, or some of their minion ships (eg, Shadow Vessels) telepaths begin to be useful.

To enter telepathic combat, certain conditions must be met.

A telepath's strength is determined at the onset of combat. Take the telepath's skill level and add 1d6 to it: this is the strength of the telepath for that turn (this is obviously variable from turn to turn, and is meant to vaguely represent abstract telepathic combat conditions and an environment in flux). The attacker compares his/her telepathic strength to the defender's. If the attacker's is greater than the defenders, the attacker has 'stunned' the defending telepath. Each telepath loses 1 skill level at the end of this initial combat round.

Note: if a defending telepath is actively defending (see below for non-active defenses), then the telepath may not initiate ship-to-ship combat if they are in sole control of the vessel. If there are others in control, then this consideration is moot.

If the attacker is successful, they may 'press' the attack during subsequent turns, and it costs the attacker 1 skill level point to continue. Here the defender is trying to throw off the attacker's telepathic assault, and must also expend 1 skill level point in order to attempt it. Now the defender's new strength roll must exceed the attacker's new strength roll (strength rolls are made after the telepaths have paid their 1 skill level point to continue the combat)

If the attacker's strength level is equal to or less than the defender's during the initial attack above, the attack has failed this turn and may be re-initiated next turn. The two telepaths still need to spend their 1 skill level point for this combat round.

If an attacker fails an attack, or wishes to renew an attack, they must spend 1 skill point immediately. If the defender wishes to resist, they must spend one skill point immediately, too. You *can* attack/defend with a skill level of '0'. Your only hope is in the die roll.

If a defending telepath does not wish to actively defend, they do not roll the 1d6 addition to determine their strength level. Instead, their skill level is their strength level! Perform the attack and defense as outlined above. If the attacker wins, the defender is stunned (with results outlined below). If the attacker fails to stun the defender, the defender may continue about their merry way. But still must expend 1 point of skill level due to the combat.

Example:
A T6 is attacking a T8. The T6 rolls a '5'. The T8 rolls a '2'. 11 beats 10, so the attacker 'stuns' the defender. At the end of the turn both lose 1 skill level point, so the T6 becomes a T5, and the T8 becomes a T7. On the next turn the T6 (now T5) wishes to 'press' the attack, and the defender (T8, now T7) really doesn't want to be subjected to this. So each spends another skill point and reroll the d6s. The T6-now-4 rolls a '4'. The T8-now-6 rolls a '1'! The attacker maintains the assault. Next round the T6-now-4 wishes to press on yet with the attack (I don't know why), while the T8-now-6 really doesn't want this to continue (don't know why he's not dead yet, either, from other stuff). They both spend another skill point - the T6-now-a-T3, the T8-now-a-T5 - and reroll a d6. This time the T6-now-a-T3 rolls a '1'. The T8-now-a-T5 rolls a '4', and throws off the attack. If the attacker wishes to renew the attack, they new skill level (after point expenditures) would be T2, and the defender would be T4. Otherwise the defender may attempt to attack, or they both may bow out from combat.

Combat Results

Now, what is the effect of telepathic combat?? Well, against on of the lesser races (Minbari, Earth, Centauri, etc), not much with respect to starship combat. Telepathic combat is a whole 'nuther realm. But when a First Ones or a telepathic Servant is involved...the results could be significant!

If a Dark Servant or First One is defeated loses in telepathic combat (ie, is 'stunned', and/or is continuing to be 'stunned'), several things happen:

Basically...they're toast, unless they can throw off the attacker's assault.

A telepath reduced to '0' can be killed by a stronger telepath, but the attacking telepath must immediately expend 3 skill levels to do it, can do nothing else in a given turn, and then combat proceeds as outlined earlier. The 0-level teep may have a chance...but it won't be much of one.

One note: if a telepathic attacker attacks a target that has no telepathic inherency or abilities, the attack is considered wasted, and the telepath still expends a skill level point for trying.

Recovering from Combat.

Telepaths can recover 1 skill level per turn they are not involved in combat of some sort.


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