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Plasma Torpedoes are Broken (as in really bad)

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  • Plasma Torpedoes are Broken (as in really bad)

    Hey guys and gals,

    I was looking at the average damage values for plasma torpedoes and I realized that there are exactly zero circumstances where they are useful. (For clarity, the way the rules read as far as I can interpret them, plasma torps reduce the torpedo damage by 1 die and reduce the hull rating of the target ship by 1 category against that specific torpedo attack.)

    Because of the way they work, for ships 2d6 hull and larger they functionally do nothing different from normal torpedoes, dealing the same average damage. Damage and resistance are both reduced by 3.5 on average.
    (I have a basic mathematical proof that shows that the damage from both normal and plasma torps is identical, but I can't remember how to use spoiler tags to shrink text and don't want to clutter everything.)

    For ships smaller than 2d6 (i.e. 1d6, 1d3, 1), because torpedo damage is reduced by 3.5 damage on average whereas hull resistance is reduced by 1.5 (1d6->1d3), 1 (1d3->1), and 1 (1->0) on average respectively, the balance that held for larger hulls breaks and the plasma torpedoes are simply worse compared to normal torpedoes.

    For targeted attacks, for all ship sizes plasma torps deal less damage than normal torps. (I also have a proof for this.)

    Am I just reading the book wrong? Is there a typo that somehow resolves all of this? I really like the idea of plasma torpedoes but they serve literally no purpose as they currently exist.

  • #2
    I mean, probability is probability, and potential psychological factor aside, there's absolutely never a time you'd want to use plasma torps versus normal ones (as they're described in the book). It's also not as if plasma torps are some kind of middle step between rails and torps, since you need torps to have plasma torps anyway, so the long range railgun argument doesn't really hold any water. As it stands, mechanically speaking, it's just so much wasted ink on the page. I can't imagine that was Green Ronin's intent when they included them in the game and just want to know what they're supposed to be good at.

    If (for example) they guaranteed hull losses (and were balanced around that) they'd have a place in softening up larger targets' hulls; I could see them doing that based on the flavor text.

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    • #3
      Hm. I'm no probability wizard.

      But how could this be fixed? Keep damage on plasma torps as in the book, but ignore any 5 and 6 on all individual hull dice? or 6 and 1? or >3 or <4 ... It's a messy idea. I know.

      You could also halve the ship's hull, but then I guess that could be somewhat unbalancing as well...
      "The heart of the gambler's fallacy is a misconception of the fairness of the laws of chance. The gambler feels that the fairness of the coin entitles him to expect that any deviation in one direction will soon be cancelled by a corresponding deviation in the other. Even the fairest of coins, however, given the limitations of its memory and moral sense, cannot be as fair as the gambler expects it to be. This fallacy is not unique to gamblers. ... This expectation can be justified only by the belief that a random process is self-correcting. Idioms such as "errors cancel each other out" reflect the image of an active self-correcting process. Some familiar processes in nature obey such laws: a deviation from a stable equilibrium produces a force that restores the equilibrium. The laws of chance, in contrast, do not work that way: deviations are not cancelled as sampling proceeds, they are merely diluted." Kahneman and Tversky (1971)

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      • #4
        What is the plasma torps has a special stunt (2 or 3 point stunt) that effectively gives the targeted ship the Vulnerable Systems flaw? Alternatively, if the Drama dice result on the attack test is 3 or more, the targeted ship gains the flaw...?
        "The heart of the gambler's fallacy is a misconception of the fairness of the laws of chance. The gambler feels that the fairness of the coin entitles him to expect that any deviation in one direction will soon be cancelled by a corresponding deviation in the other. Even the fairest of coins, however, given the limitations of its memory and moral sense, cannot be as fair as the gambler expects it to be. This fallacy is not unique to gamblers. ... This expectation can be justified only by the belief that a random process is self-correcting. Idioms such as "errors cancel each other out" reflect the image of an active self-correcting process. Some familiar processes in nature obey such laws: a deviation from a stable equilibrium produces a force that restores the equilibrium. The laws of chance, in contrast, do not work that way: deviations are not cancelled as sampling proceeds, they are merely diluted." Kahneman and Tversky (1971)

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        • #5
          Old topic I know, but from reading the plasma torp description, it looks like they are designed for targetted attacks.
          • They count the hull of the target as one size lower (so 4d6 hull becomes 3d6)
          • Targetted attacks halve the hull of the target
          • Any damage beyond the specified loss is gone so the lower damage output is not really an issue
          It reads to me like you would mainly use plasma torps to snipe enemy ship systems and have a good chance to succeed.

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          • #6
            I have overlooked that titbit, or just not connected!

            Thanks!
            "The heart of the gambler's fallacy is a misconception of the fairness of the laws of chance. The gambler feels that the fairness of the coin entitles him to expect that any deviation in one direction will soon be cancelled by a corresponding deviation in the other. Even the fairest of coins, however, given the limitations of its memory and moral sense, cannot be as fair as the gambler expects it to be. This fallacy is not unique to gamblers. ... This expectation can be justified only by the belief that a random process is self-correcting. Idioms such as "errors cancel each other out" reflect the image of an active self-correcting process. Some familiar processes in nature obey such laws: a deviation from a stable equilibrium produces a force that restores the equilibrium. The laws of chance, in contrast, do not work that way: deviations are not cancelled as sampling proceeds, they are merely diluted." Kahneman and Tversky (1971)

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