Monday, September 28, 2015

Vehicles in Cypher System Notes: The Night Craft from Numenera

Okay, so I got my PDF copy of "Numenera: Into the Night" over the weekend. The ship combat rules are the same as the vehicle combat rules in Cypher System. These rules are still wildly abstract, and (in my opinion) make better "Called Shot" rules than a basic underlying combat system (I'll possibly post a rant on this later). My attempts to adapt character style (HP, special abilities, design and modification, etc.) combat to vehicles shall continue.

(While normally I use my own artwork, the majority of the post is about the Nightcraft in Numenera: Into the Night", so I use an image of it from the Kickstarter campaign.)

Regarding the Nightcraft:

The description of the Nightcraft actually fits well with my post on A Matter of Scale as a Size Class 8 ship, 160' or roughly the size of a mid-size airliner or strategic bomber. By comparison the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars is 113' long (Size 7), while "Serenity" from the series Firefly is roughly 270 feet in length (well in to size 9). Making the Nightcraft a Size Class 8 vessel places it in an appropriate size-class for a single-party exploration vehicle with some room to haul limited cargo for loot or speculative trade.

Now since the description of the Nightcraft doesn't mention sizes, how did I decide it's a size 8? From the weapon description.

The weapon on the Nightcraft does 12 points of damage, which on a Size-class 8 vehicle would be a Medium weapon. The 20-mile range of the weapon is close to a size-class 8 long range (slightly over 1/2 mile) with Effort modification of range used 5 times. It would normally work out to 16 miles, but the 4-mile difference is within the margin of error of Cypher's pretty coarse measuring system. Making the vessel smaller (size 6 or 7) means 20 miles is outside the longest possible range, where making it larger (size 9 or 10) would mean the weapon inflicts more damage or is a Light weapon and has a to-hit modification not in it's description.

This actually clarifies some ideas I've had about weapon use and ranges. First is treating weapon use as a character. "Medium" weapons are one-handed (minimum) for human characters, so a vehicle can only attack with two Medium weapons in one action (provided necessary abilities or crew). The Nightcraft has a single Size 8 Medium weapon, so as a 'basic' vehicle design it doesn't require any special rules to shoehorn it back in to a uniform ruleset. 

The other is a rule about weapon ranges in a vacuum, rating atmospheres on a 0-10 scale, 0 being total vacuum, 10 being nearly liquid. Earth or similar atmospheres are a comfortable 5. A space weapon (like the one on the Nightcraft) has it's range halved for each increased level of atmospheric density (bringing it in line with the Size 8 Long range), where a land-based weapon has it's range doubled for each decrease in atmosphere density.

I welcome comments on these ideas (or any of my posts).