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APPENDIX XXII: The Dreaded Missile System “E” and other Missile Musings

By: Fireangel


Anyone who has played Leviathan for any length of time will come to one inescapable conclusion; the Type E Missile system is just too powerful.

To remind y’all of why, let me just start by posting the Missile System Table from the Construction section of the Leviathan rulebook (pp. 41):

Missile
Type
Range Damage Shots Tons BF Cost
(in Talents)
A
8 50 2 2,000 300 100,000,000
B
10 50 1 1,500 200 50,000,000
C
10 100 1 3,000 400 100,000,000
D
15 100 3 10,000 1,000 300,000,000
E
15 150 3 15,000 1,500 450,000,000
F
10 100 2 7,000 800 200,000,000
G
10 50 3 6,000 600 150,000,000

Remember that in the standard rules, this full damage is done to each of the sides of a ship in the struck hex if the attack hits and is reduced by the shield factor if the roll misses. Turret fire can reduce the overall damage, but that is not the point; under the standard construction rules, you could build a destroyer-class ship with a Type E missile system and little else. Such a ship could easily dominate the battlefield; two such destroyers could easily wipe out a full-size battleship in a single turn.

Simple solution: modify the construction rules to prohibit destroyers from mounting them; no canon destroyer mounts either a Type D or Type E system, so this requires zero retcon. Why “D”? I’ll get to that shortly.

Frigates are in the same boat, but here we have the Hermes, with its Type E battery, and the Indomitable with its Type D, as the sole canonical examples of Frigates with these systems, so they could be explained away or retconned as light cruisers, experimental platforms or dead-end classes.

As we can see from the table, there seems to be little rhyme or reason to the lettering scheme, but this is not necessarily the case; if we assume that these are in chronological order, they start making sense.

Let’s look at the table. Yes, the table. Looking at the dates on which ship classes were introduced does not help because those statistics are based on their “current” (6832 AD) configuration, after countless overhauls and block redesigns.

So back to the table; the tons, BF and cost is clearly based on the other qualities of the launcher, so let’s concern ourselves with the range, damage and shots first. The Type A system stands alone at the 8-hex range bracket. Along with its other statistics, this leads to the conclusion that this system is a holdover from a previous generation of shipbuilding.

What do I mean? Renegade Legion takes a somewhat more realistic approach to shipbuilding than some other games, such as Battletech’s Aerotech/Battlespace; this means that there is a relatively high turnover for ships and ship classes, with older ships being replaced by newer classes and models ships that remain in service routinely get upgrades that change their performance, in some cases dramatically. Look at it this way: Trajan’s Terran Revolution revolution took place in 6573, 259 years before the “current” year of 6832. As comparison, the US Revolutionary War took place in 1776, 238 years before 2014. Despite being considered borderline obsolete, a “modern” Syracuse cruiser is undoubtedly vastly more advanced and capable than the ones that first left their slips in 6574, few of which, by the way, might still be in active service, being replaced “in the line” by newer ships of the same basic class or wholly upgraded rebuilds.

More evidence? Sure; let’s look at the Type B and compare; except for the range, the Type A should be superior to the Type B, but if we assume a chronological progression, it is more advanced. Comparing it to the 3-shot Type G, we can see that the weight progression does not really match, particularly when we also look at the Type C and Type F comparison. Yes, the difference is very small, but there is a difference. There is also no single-shot version of the Type A, which should be slightly lighter, more compact and cheaper than the Type B; this is telling, since it suggests that this hypothetical Type AA, apart from range, actually has the same statistics as the Type B.

We can surmise that prior to the introduction of the Type B, the Type A was the top-of-the-line system of that relative size, with the Type AA being its little brother. Once the Type B is introduced, during Trajan’s era, the Type AA is phased out in favor of the newer-tech B.

As technology progressed, the Type C was developed as the replacement of the Type A; a 2-shot, 50-damage, range 10 system; this can be easily seen in its stats; everything is double the Type B. However, at some point it was realized that it was more desireable to launch all the missiles in one massive volley; the better to deal with the newer cruisers and battleships coming online. Since a 2-shot, 50-damage system is still desireable, designers turned to the Type A, which is lighter and more compact than the Type C; upgrades to the guidance and launch system’s hardware and software would easily put the missiles on par with the larger range-10 missiles, though their fuel supply would remain limited to range-8.

The Type D system is clearly the first successful range-15 system, and clearly incorporates some form of reloading technology; we know this because the two canon range-15 systems are both 3-shot systems and we have no examples of single- or double-shot systems at this range.

How can this happen?

Let’s look more closely at the Type D and compare it to the Type C: damage per volley is the same, so we can assume that each volley has the same number of missiles, meaning triple the missiles. It also has triple the cost and little over triple the weight, but is little over two and a half times the volume in BF; a significant gain in compactness, particularly when we look at the significant gain in range. Applying some logic and a degree of speculation, we can assume that the Type started development as a three-shot version of the range-10, 100 damage Type C launcher, but at some point during the development process the new range-15 missiles were developed, offering additional capability for reduced bulk.

The Type E system is clearly a 50% larger Type D system; 150% damage, number of missile, tons, BF and cost in Talents.

This increases the likelihood of there being range-10 versions of the Type D and Type E launchers which have more BF requirements than the range-15 versions.

The Type F launcher is clearly the functional doubling of the Type C launcher. Remember how the Type C was supposed to be the doubling of the Type B? There is a reason why they left it “as is” instead of having a “flip-switch 1x100 or 2x50” single launcher and it has to do with that fine balance between a missile swarm, the target’s countermeasures, the swarm’s counter-countermeasures, and so forth; to ensure that twice as many missiles hit the target, more than twice must be launched; some are radar decoys, others IR decoys, others attracting point defense fire and some even targeting incoming anti-missile fire. Now double the Type C and you get… pretty much the Type F; the extra thousand tons can go into targeting and reloading equipment.

But of course, research doesn't just go “poof”… a 100-damage volley is overkill for corvettes, escorts and most destroyers, so by tweaking the technology, cut the number of launchers by a bit, simplify targeting and reloading systems and you end up with the Type G system; a “downgraded” Type F, that swaps raw power for better endurance.

So let’s look at our “filled-in” improved Missile Systems table:

Missile
Type
Range Damage Shots Tons BF Cost
(in Talents)
Ship
Prohibitions
AA
10 50 1 1,500 200 50,000,000
A
8 50 2 2,000 300 100,000,000 DE
B
10 50 1 1,500 200 50,000,000
C
10 100 1 3,000 400 100,000,000 DE
DD
10 100 3 10,000 1,000 300,000,000 DE,DD
D
15 100 3 10,000 1,000 300,000,000 DE,DD,FF
EE
10 150 3 15,000 1,500 450,000,000 DE,DD
E
15 150 3 15,000 1,500 450,000,000 DE,DD,FF
F
10 100 2 7,000 800 200,000,000 DE
G
10 50 3 6,000 600 150,000,000 DE
“DE” is Destroyer Escort, provided that it is constructed using Leviathan rules and not Interceptor rules.
Corvettes have only 125 BF, so they can’t mount any of the systems present.

Yes, I am fully aware that the AA, DD and EE systems are not lighter or more compact than their improved-range counterparts; this reflects their lack of general availability; they don’t make or use them simply because better versions exist; any savings would be taken up by their custom-built nature.

Note that I prohibit smaller ships from mounting the range-15 missiles and their range-10 counterparts; this is primarily a game balance issue. By the same token, I strongly recommend that missile damage be restricted to one ship facing only. Type DD and Type EE are mountable on frigates (to keep the Hermes and Intomitable classes canonical – just double the letter and consider the canon versions to be one-off failed prototypes), but their actual use is discouraged.

So what’s beyond Type G systems? 50-damage, range-15 launchers… single-shot or “two-barrel” range-15 launchers (all restricted to cruisers and battleships, of course), maybe even a BB-only range-20 single-shot 20-pointer or a range-5 "modern” single-shot 150-pointer system for Destroyers. … Naturally, these are still under development…

On the other hand, we could see "older generation" systems delivering reduced damage to more modern designs (i.e.: a 50-point, range-8 Raj-era launcher works just fine against its contemporary ship's armor, but delivers 40 points against Terran Conquest era ships and 30 points against current [post-Trajan] ships), possibly with additional vulnerability to shielding and point-defense turrets... maybe even with shorter ranges; I'd suggest a few range-4, 6 and 8 "old-school" systems.

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