"Off-Map" General Powers

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"Off-Map" General Powers

Postby Voin » Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:58 pm

I'm not sure how familiar you all are with the Command and Conquer franchise of real-time strategy games, so I'll try to make this as genericly applicable to wargaming in general as I can.

One of the staples of the series is "General Powers" and "superweapons". These are powerful abilities (bomb/artillery/missile strikes, nukes, EMPs, orbital cannons, area spying, rapid surprise troop deployment, area buffs/debuffs, etc) that are not deployed by any particular unit (though a Command HQ or superweapon structure is often requisite, and sometimes a unit may need to laser-designate the strike), but are used as strategic weapons by the commander (you), usually affecting a wide area.

Of course the caveat is that these abilities tend to be hugely expensive (essentially being your Manhattan Project), the superweapon structures become instant fire magnets to the enemy, there is a long cooldown before being able to use the ability again, and often you can only build one of a kind at a time.

When they were used, they added an interesting element of wide-area strategy, arms race, brinksmanship, deterence, and first-strike readiness to the games, since you wanted to be able to neutralize your enemy's superweapons before they got a chance to use them on you (knocking out their electrical power was a popular alternative to attacking the weapon itself).

Plus, there's nothing quite like the "oh crap" :shock: moment when you hear "Warning: Nuclear Silo detected!"

So I was wondering if anyone had any experience or ideas on how to implement such a concept with Brikwars.

I was thinking maybe something with SN dice, and the bigger the ability, the longer the cooldown. I know of course one can just build and pay for big-ass explosives and cannons the regular way, but it'd be interesting to see the community's thoughts on the more esoteric abilities.

This can also be useful for fantasy-themed conflicts with battle-mages and warpriests calling down hellfire and divine strikes.
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby Battlegrinder » Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:59 pm

I've thinking about working up rules for this kind of thing, but they seem to be hard to balance, not to mention that most of the traditional support powers are either useless (like revealing the fog of war) or would be better served by using the points to just build a weapon to do it (like using an on field artillery gun in place of an artillery support power). Though if a single vehicle/unit/structure can call in multiple powers, that versatility might be worth the points. The key issue I see between CnC and Brikwars is that it would be much harder to counter the use of these powers, and given the short length of brikwars battles, the use of those powers would be disproportionately powerful compared to how they work in longer CnC matchs.

Also, If I didn't point out that Generals powers were only in 'CnC' Generals, and that the term used in the rest of the series is "support powers", I'd have to turn in my CnC fan card.
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby Voin » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:08 pm

Battlegrinder wrote:I've thinking about working up rules for this kind of thing, but they seem to be hard to balance, not to mention that most of the traditional support powers are either useless (like revealing the fog of war) or would be better served by using the points to just build a weapon to do it (like using an on field artillery gun in place of an artillery support power). Though if a single vehicle/unit/structure can call in multiple powers, that versatility might be worth the points. The key issue I see between CnC and Brikwars is that it would be much harder to counter the use of these powers, and given the short length of brikwars battles, the use of those powers would be disproportionately powerful compared to how they work in longer CnC matchs.

Also, If I didn't point out that Generals powers were only in 'CnC' Generals, and that the term used in the rest of the series is "support powers", I'd have to turn in my CnC fan card.


Those are some good points - food for though that I'll have to take into consideration. I'm thinking these are better suited to Brikwars games with a broader, more strategic scale.

And yeah, originally I had titled the post with the more generic "Commander Powers".
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby AZKAMAT » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:58 pm

It's probably one of those elements of the game that Mike will never add in (difficulty of balancing the weapon, plus the lack of awesome and story telling potential that "Cheese from Above" has in a game where all splosions are imaginary.)

Nothing stops anyone from making home rules about them, though, here are my preferences for them: Preset number of times you can call in the support/whatever, pre determined content of the strike (How many shells/paratroopers/teleporting Piltogg zombies), and pattern of the strike (what shape shells/bombs/Zeus's lightning bolts fall in).

One thing I'd like to brainstorm on is how to implement airstrikes that don't use plastic bases (I.e. either a system of super fast 1-turn airstrikes or a system that uses less parts and eats up less space than a baseplate for a giant gunship or air superiority fighter).
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby IVhorseman » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:52 am

Well you could certainly buy them ahead of time in a CP or Unit Inches budget, just like reserve forces.
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby stubby » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:03 am

AZKAMAT wrote:It's probably one of those elements of the game that Mike will never add in (difficulty of balancing the weapon, plus the lack of awesome and story telling potential that "Cheese from Above" has in a game where all splosions are imaginary.)

We had cheese from above in earlier editions. The catch was that they had a high Use rating and any missed shot inches were multiplied x4, making them extra funny. So they were kind of like off-map Launchers on steroids.
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby Battlegrinder » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:12 pm

Having given it some thought, I've come up with a few ways that setting up a support power would be more effective than building an on-field system.

6. Giving units abilities that they normally couldn't, or are so situational that it would be cheaper to give to them at one point via power rather than buying them all with it. EX: the classic Nod wide area stealth field, giving a blasting to the handful of commandos who fight their way to the bunker door, rather than to the whole squad or to only one guy who would then have to be protected.

7. Reinforcement. Most battles I play have reserve units enter from their player's side of the battlefield. Using support powers, you could pay a little more to have them teleport in, or arrive via drop pod, etc, trading CP for tactical advantages.

8. Something that can't neatly be handled via SN dice. For example, you could use SN dice to permanently mind control a squad of your enemies men (and, indeed, should do so at least once. The expression on their face when you seize control of their hero's bodyguard squad is priceless), but stating out a "double agent" support power might be more thematic or cheaper. As could setting up a missile jamming field, or a teleport denial shield, or any number of other effect that are tricky to set up via SN dice.
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby AZKAMAT » Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:17 pm

stubby wrote:We had cheese from above in earlier editions. The catch was that they had a high Use rating and any missed shot inches were multiplied x4, making them extra funny. So they were kind of like off-map Launchers on steroids.


Who rolled for the use?
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby stubby » Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:31 pm

Huh. Good question. Whoever called it in, I guess.
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby AZKAMAT » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:04 pm

stubby wrote:Huh. Good question. Whoever called it in, I guess.


Well I can picture what that would lead to.

"Lord Vader, we need to you stop bisecting those rebel scum with your lightsaber and talk on this walkie-talkie with fleet command."

You know I actually did devise a system of rules for spotting targets and relaying them to friendlies. Can I start a discussion thread about them in "The Rulebook" section or should I just stick to Bonus Material?
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby stubby » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:53 pm

AZKAMAT wrote:"Lord Vader, we need to you stop bisecting those rebel scum with your lightsaber and talk on this walkie-talkie with fleet command."

Sounds good to me, why not?

AZKAMAT wrote:You know I actually did devise a system of rules for spotting targets and relaying them to friendlies. Can I start a discussion thread about them in "The Rulebook" section or should I just stick to Bonus Material?

We have that already, it's Scouts.
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby AZKAMAT » Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:50 pm

stubby wrote:
AZKAMAT wrote:"Lord Vader, we need to you stop bisecting those rebel scum with your lightsaber and talk on this walkie-talkie with fleet command."

Sounds good to me, why not?

We have that already, it's Scouts.


The implication I intended was that heroes (with presumably the highest skill in most games) would be distracted from feats of ossum to do something rather mundane (being the RTO guy). But nevermind.

Oh yeah, I forgot about that thing with the Scout. *hasn't read 2010 in about a year, goes and reviews it now* Oh, that's how that works. The one I devised uses spotting tools (binocs, pirate telescope, those tech-optic thingies in a lot of SW boxes) in combination with radios to relay enemy positions to other units, ideally inaccurate and far-away launchers. Tomorrow if I have time I'll write a full description of them in their own thread in this section.
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby IVhorseman » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:05 pm

Who says your hero needs to do it?

And how are your dudes different than scouts?
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby Battlegrinder » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:28 pm

I kinda like the idea of using scouts to spot for long range artillery, since that's A) in line with how real artillery works, and B) gives your opponent a fair shot at forestalling incoming artillery by knocking out the forward observer. That last bit is really important for me, since my artillery weapons would probably be beating worthy if not for that aspect.
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Re: "Off-Map" General Powers

Postby Zupponn » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:09 pm

AZKAMAT wrote:
stubby wrote:
AZKAMAT wrote:"Lord Vader, we need to you stop bisecting those rebel scum with your lightsaber and talk on this walkie-talkie with fleet command."

Sounds good to me, why not?

We have that already, it's Scouts.


The implication I intended was that heroes (with presumably the highest skill in most games) would be distracted from feats of ossum to do something rather mundane (being the RTO guy). But nevermind.

I find that pretty funny, so why not roll with it?
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