Rules Addendum - ACM
Per the Robotech Role-Playing Game rulebook, page 28, Pilot Jet rolls are made to simulate air combat maneuvering (ACM). Pilot Veritech is the equivalent of Jet, but one must have the skill in order to fly the VTs. Unfortunately, the rulebook mentions negatives to strike/dodge for certain maneuvers, but doesn’t give a sequence for how the rolls are to be made. So, in the interest of clarifying, here is my proposed addendum to the rules. Some of these ideas were borrowed from other Palladium system users who came across similar issues when playing their respective games.
These will slow combat down a little, but will also add a little realism – additionally, XP gain will go up because of the additional skill checks.
Attack – Plane and Guardian modes
- Pilot VT skill check to get into position (can’t shoot stuff behind you)
- Player/GM declares what weapon system will be used.
- Weapons Systems skill check to lock – per the rules, this skill gives a +2 to strike. I propose that without a lock, you do not receive this bonus, instead getting a -2 strike penalty. Additionally, you lose the guided missile bonus without a lock. Note: the rules state you can lock onto multiple targets for each attack. This was illustrated in the series and video games – in the games, one could fire missiles randomly, but they didn’t track targets. IRL, pilots encounter the same issue. Video games that have auto-aim or aim-assist would be similar to your vehicle having a lock. It increases the probability of a hit, but does not guarantee. Considering: firing missiles without a lock will also have a probability they go for another target.
- d20 to strike: A successful lock allows the +2 bonus. PC bonuses apply.
Defense – Plane and Guardian modes
- Read Sensory Equipment skill check to determine accurate nature of attack. Considering:+1 to Parry or Dodge for successful roll.
- Player must declare whether they are attempting to parry or dodge. Parry requires an available decoy.
- Pilot VT skill check to avoid attack – pilots can perform any of the evasive/dodge maneuvers noted on page 28. A dodge will utilize either the evasive action or tilt/dodge maneuvers. A failed roll will still give half the vehicle bonuses.
- d20 to parry/dodge: A successful parry against missile attacks/volleys will use 1 decoy. VTs will carry 20 decoys, 10 in the root of each vertical tail section. Entanglements are not possible. PC bonuses apply.
- d20 to roll with the blow. PC bonuses apply.
Using these skill checks do not cost an additional attack, however they do take up an attack if failed. Piloting, sensor, and weapon skill rolls are considered simultaneous – i.e., it does not take an attack to get into position, another to lock, etc. They are considered one fluid motion.
Attack example: you attempted to get into a good firing position, failed your piloting roll, and were unable to point your plane in the correct direction. You are still able to fire snapshots with -2 strike penalty, and no missile bonuses. You use one attack.
Attack example: you are in position, but the target’s erratic maneuvering won’t allow you to get a lock (failed weapon systems roll). That’s time you used up waiting for that shot – think Maverick when he was trying to lock Viper and Jester used that time to sneak behind him. You are still able to fire snapshots, with the -2 strike penalty, and no missile bonuses. You use one attack.
Attack example: you made both pilot and weapon sensor skill checks. You get the +2 weapon system strike bonus, plus missile bonuses, if applicable. You use one attack.
Attack example: you failed both pilot and weapons sensor skill checks. You get a -2 weapon system strike penalty, and lose the missile bonuses, if applicable. Missiles have a % chance of hitting another target. You use one attack.
Note: in the attacker role, regardless of whether you make the skill rolls or not, it will use up an attack – so fire anyway, especially if the attack is an energy weapon.
Defense example: you are in the middle of a furball, hear the warning growl of a lock, successfully make the read sensory equipment skill roll, and can determine the direction of the attack. This would let you know which direction to move the plane to avoid. Making this roll gives a +1 to dodge/parry.
Defense example: same scenario, but you fail the read sensory equipment system skill check and are unable to determine which of the 50 missiles flying in the air is actually locked onto you. You successfully roll against your Pilot VT (tilt dodge, -35%) and are still able to dodge (d20) with the full vehicle bonus (+4 or +6, depending upon mode). A dodge uses one attack, and you have a -2 to strike next attack.
Defense example: same scenario, failed both read sensory equipment skill check and pilot skill check. Player chooses to pop decoys (d20 parry), with half vehicle bonus (+2 or +4, depending upon mode) and beats attackers roll. Parries do not use an attack.
We have a section of skills for a reason. Just because a character may have a PP of 18, does not necessarily translate to them being a good pilot, no matter how many tightropes they can walk or 3 pointers they can shoot.
Lastly, modern planes carry far more than 20 decoys, but pilots usually deploy multiple chaff/flares at a time. The 20 decoys simulates this defensive deployment tactic. Decoys are located in the tail/backpack section – if a tail is lost, then the available number of decoys is halved. If both sections are disabled/destroyed, then the player will not be able to use decoys.
I tried to cover all the bases – we may come across scenarios I didn’t cover, but I think this is a realistic starting point.