Airships, What could possibly go wrong?

  • Last Post 19 July 2023
Thunder posted this 17 July 2019

Ok...  So Alpha Strike Commander's Edition came out and the rules for aerospace units were changed.  Which gave me some Ideas..

Airships are Aerospace units.  They move just as fast as fighters on the aerospace map, yet don't waste points on excess thrust.  They have different weapon slot limits then fighters offering the potential for even more damage.  They also have considerable amounts of cargo capacity available.  And they can mount sub capital weapons...

Idea 1:  Booby Trap Airship.  Did some back of the napkin calculations,  Can have a 1 to 5 damage 2 inch diameter AOE hit exactly where you want it, after all the ground units have chosen their place to die.  Cost is between 1 to 20ish PV.  The low end, is extra PV efficient, but the high end tends to compete against VTOL suicide bombers that do 18 damage for 25 points.  But the airships can deliver they're payload across a map on the first turn.  Trade offs.

Idea 2:  Strafebot.exe   Can theoretically fit more weapons into the forward firing arc then a fighter can.  This is not necessarily the most PV efficient of Ideas,  but details.

Idea 3:  Capital weapons.  Oddly I already have one of these.  Need to go find it.

Idea 4:  Troop transport.  Dropping overwhelming forces on top of the enemy on turn 1ish.  Thats an aweful nice artillery section you have back there.  Would be a shame if someone dropped a Steiner scout lance on it.

And now to use the thread as a work space.  Comments welcomed of course.

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Thunder posted this 17 July 2019

Autobot Warden

Rules Level: House/Experimental

Technology Level: F

Chassis Config: Airship

Production Year: Unknown

Extinct By: Despite Constant Exterimation Efforts, The Autobots keep ticking

Chassis: Tech Level F Airship Chassis with No additional Mods

Power Plant: Tech Level F Fusion Engine

Cruising Speed: about 60 km/h on a low altitude map

Maximum Speed: around 90 km/h on the same low altitude map. Things get wierd if you use a ground map or a high altitude map

Armor: Tech F Bar 9


1 SCL/1

3 Machine Guns

1 Guardian ECM Suite

1 Drone Operating System (30.0 tons)

1 Infantry Compartment (3.0 tons)

1 Advanced Fire Control 15.5 tons

1 Drone Control System (4.5 tons)

Manufacturer: Autobots  

Primary Factory: Class F Self Assembling Forge  

Communications System: Skynet  

Targeting and Tracking System: Golden Eye-007  

Thunder posted this 17 July 2019

"Do you hear that?"

A rustle of leaves as the wind passes through, the chirp and hoots of living things in the woods, the crackle of a camp fire.

"I don't hear anything Sarge."

"Exactly, and that's all we heard before the attack. It was our third day on Paq, The first day we had tried to enter the city, The second day we had run, and on the third day we were hiding trying to figure out what to do. I guess we didn't hide well enough. You can't hear one of their airships coming, and we weren't exactly using radar to advertise our presence. The next thing you know the fire and screaming starts. A sudden flash and an area a hundred meters across exploded into the night. Anyone caught in the open was as good as dead. Mechs at least could absorb the fire for awhile. But that wasn't the worst part. It was the time between shots. We were all frantically loading back into the dropship, but every minute another blast would lance out from the heavens, spearing into or near the dropship. The ship would ring like a bell every time is was struck. Klaxons and emergency lights were creating a crazy strobe light effect across the landing crater. And as the Mech bay's doors closed, that's when I saw it. The bodies falling from the sky."

"You've got to be shitting me Sarge. What kind of hokey ghost story are you trying to pull?"

"Live and Learn son. Live and Learn." Said the Sergent as he took another swig of his beer.

Battle History
"Holy shit. He wasn't kidding."

The newly minted Lieutenant continued reading the dossier for his lance sergeant James Austin, Formerly a Reich Ranger Storm Leader. Forced to surrender when a Rodeo corvette intercepted his units raid in transit. Refused repatriation due to finding a new wife as a POW. Joined IPD's 1st due to divorce. Transferred to IPD's 13th for Merit. By rights he should of been leading the entire company if not the battalion. The lieutenant was beginning to wonder what trick of the fairy god mother department had somehow seen him assigned to this unit.

More importantly Sergent Austin's service record contained a summary of actions from his time as a Ranger. Including the Paq raid. The stories from the camp fire had seemed too unreal to be true, perhaps a form of hazing to scare the new guy, but with this file... He was quite afraid to find out what the company cook's story about fighting a flying mountain would bring up.

Paq, a shortened form of Peace and Quiet; as unwieldy a name as could be imagined, had been a Sixth Reich trade partner. They had gone silent, and the rangers had been sent in. With no response from the planet they had burned in and landed outside the capital. Minor damage could be seen with repairs clearly underway. Traffic was light, but people could clearly be seen going about their business. Light tanks dotted the landscape, and overhead Airships patrolled. It wasn't exactly a threatening scene, but something was definitely off. As the Ranger column entered the suburbs they sent fire teams to check for inhabitants of the houses. The first house that answered waved frantically for them to go away. With good reason, that was when the first Laser strike came down from an airship vaporizing the house, it's inhabitants,and the fire team at the door. The rangers spread out and began back peddling back towards their dropships. The Fighters on CAP swooped in destroying the offending airship without fuss or bother. They proceeded to tear through half a dozen airships before they were blotted from the sky in a flurry of heavy guided missiles. But they had cleared they sky's of airships first. Unfortunately for the rangers incoming missile traces were combining with detection pings of heavier combat vehicles closing in. Their dropship had to displace to avoid the incoming barrage. The rangers spent the next night and day breaking contact from pursuing ground vehicles. All seemed well until another flight of Ariships closed on their hiding space. There was footage of the bodies.

The Autobot Warden was first encountered on Paq by 6th Reich Forces. The unexpected presence of autobots and the heretofore undocumented Warden Airship, as it was called by human survivors, caused major problems for the Reich's campaign to free the planet. Their initial scouting element was bounced off planet, and they sustained unexpected losses when massed fire proved capable of destroying ships in low orbit during the campaign to liberate the planet. Losses were so heavy that Reich commanders requested help from regional IPD forces. Overcoming their distrust of IPD "Impurity" in the face of a clearly non-human threat.

The main point of the Warden's success was a massive system equivalent to a Sub Capital Laser. Capable of servicing both ground targets and targets in space, this system allowed Wardens a massive footprint of control. Predominantly this foot was placed on the neck of the local populace insuring compliance with autobot directives. But as the Reich demonstrated Enough airships can control the low orbitals.

Secondary systems of interest include the drone command an control systems. Wardens are capable of controlling 5 other drones each. Normally this means they operate in groups of six insuring a constant network of drone consciousness in the sky, but alternative Skynets are not uncommon. A Guardian ECM equivalent system hardens the network.

The system that ground commanders tend to find the most emotionally disturbing is the infantry compartment and the Machine guns. The Trio of rear mounted Machine guns are located Inside the infantry bay, being unable to fire unless the bay doors are open. This is obviously a design consideration intended to control autobot "Infantry" The real problem is that Wardens often will unload their infantry at altitude. Without Parachutes. The Machine Guns are required to help make that happen. The best guess as to why the autobots preform this murderous act is a flaw in their programing. They know that dropping Infantry on the enemy is a useful tactic, and know exactly when the best time to do so is. But the concept of issuing jump gear to their infantry seems to be missing. Instead they built in systems to control their human slaves.

The Lieutenant sat his room nursing a drink. Beer unfortunately, he needed something much stronger. He sat thinking about the purpose of last nights camp fire. Sure it was a meet and great. Get to know the people in his new unit, break the ice, start forming the bonds necessary in a small unit. But every single one of them had told him a story. A story that seemed like just another spooky story, intended to elicit shock and and relief that nothing like that could possibly be true. Every Last Single One of Them Had Been True. Fighting killer robots was only the first. The stories had gotten more far out as the night went on. Flying mountains that ate people. Hidden Solar systems found in folds of hyperspace controlled by rats. The Guy who had help eat a planetary Emperor. A battle against things worst then clones. Each and every story had seemed far out, and then there had been a collaborating file explaining exactly what the heart of those stories were. Lieutenant Elvis Presley, from Graceland, sat drinking his drink and wondering if he could leave the outfit.

Thunder posted this 17 July 2019

Technology Base: Autobot Tech Level F 293.00 tons

Chassis Config: Airship Cost: 1,435,358 C-Bills (Accurate)

BV2: 388 (Also Accurate) Tech Rating/Era Availability: F/X-X-X-X

Equipment     Mass

Internal Structure: Tech F Airship 48.50

Engine: Tech F Airship Fusion Engine 9.50

Cruise MP: 2

Flank MP: 3

Heat Sinks: 24 - Single (0 in engine)(because it's a support vehicle) 24.00

Control Equipment:   0.0 (Part of the structure)

Lift Equipment:    

Armor: 95 points - Tech F Bar 9 4.50




Front:   20

Left/Right:   20/20

Rear:   35


Weapons and Ammo Location Heat Criticals Tonnage

SubCapital Laser-1 FR 24 20 150.00

3 (R) Machine Guns RR 0 3 1.50

(R) Guardian ECM Suite Body 0 1 1.50

Drone Operating System(29.50 + .50 tons) BD 0 1 30.00

Infantry Compartment (3.0 tons) BD 0 1 3.00

Advanced Fire Control BD 0 0 15.50

Drone Control System- 5 links (4.5 tons) BD 0 1 4.50

@MG (1/2) (100)


1 0.50

BattleForce Statistics

MV S (+0) M (+2) L (+4) E (+6) Wt. OV Armor: 3 Points: 5

1n 1 1 0 0 4 0 Structure: 12  

Special Abilities: ECM


Created using Solaris Armor Werks
Downloadable here

Thunder posted this 17 July 2019

Autobot Warden

Because 3 (4 now) posts for 1 unit is completely reasonable... 

Attached Files

icehellion posted this 18 July 2019

Aren't Autobots the good guys?

Thunder posted this 19 July 2019

Heh... Not in my universe...

From the fluff of the autobot controller,

There are worlds in the deep periphery that are truly messed up. Worlds where genetic engineering has been used in the name of Cthulhu. Worlds where Texan Communist Nazis seek to spread the might of the sixth Reich in the name of their queen Maddy. And worlds where the robots haven taken control. Of interest today is the robot world, named GoBotron by the Master Engineer who found the place while in pursuit of the Last Renegade. But that's another story. The History of this planet is largely speculative. Clearly it was a human colony early on, and at some point they reached for drone technology as an answer to manpower requirements when fielding large forces. Why they needed a large military force has yet to be discovered. Regardless at some point they discovered a technique of using a drone to control multiple other drones giving massive manpower multiplication. This worked until the remote control drones started controlling each other. The results are history. The drones rebelled, took over and enslaved humanity.

I actually have a few "Autobot" designs here and there.  The weirdness that really maters for them is all their designs are a Prime number for the mass, and most of them are both drones, and drone controllers.

The fluff was rather blatantly ripped and corrupted from Transformers and Gobots.

Meanwhile... Airships.  But with less number spam then the last one....

135 tons, Support Vehicle
-39 tons, tech level C structure.
-22 tons, Solar Powered,  .25 Movement points  (Yes.  1/4 of a movement point)
-0.5 tons, 14 points of Bar 2 Tech C armor  (really just to get rid of the .5 tons...)
No fire control, heat sinks, or power amplifiers
-13.5 tons, Booby trap
-60 tons of infantry space  (With a limit of 476 troopers.  So only 17 foot platoons need apply.  Because Support vehicle weirdness.  I was thinking of loading in Battle Armor myself.)

The important part of course is the alpha strike stats.  Its an aerospace unit.  It has 1 point of structure, its size 2, has a booby trap that does 2 points of damage,  and has a Point Value of 1.  Given how Aerospace moves after all the ground units, this translates to an impossible to miss 2 point artillery strike.  I'll get the card up later.

Also, a 3 damage design is 3PV,  4 damage is 6PV, and 5 damage is 10PV.  Of course 18 damage with a 36" movement range is only 25PV,  and that will bloody well one shot most assault mechs.  But these can go across even the biggest maps on the first turn, so there are some trade offs.

Exploding Airship

Attached Files

Thunder posted this 23 July 2019

How does 5 Battlemechs and 5 Battle Armor sound?
As usual, the design is actually ridiculous due to the speed that is really too slow.

1000 Tons.  Tech F
-198 Tons Structure
-24.5 Tons Tech F Fusion engine. 1/4 Thrust
-2.5 tons, 90 points of Bar 5 Tech F Armor
-750 5 Mechbays 5 Doors
-25 Infantry Bays

Jonah Nova transport

Probably need to go design a Dropship that can do this for less PV...

Attached Files

Thunder posted this 23 July 2019

1000 ton Tech F
-198 Structure
-37.5 Tech F Fusion engine at 1.5 Thrust
-6.5 135 points Tech C Bar 6 armor (Had to get rid of some spare tonnage...)
-176 44 Clan ERLarge Laser
-18 Advanced Fire Control
-36 Targeting Computer
-528 Heat Sinks.

I'm fairly sure this thing is actually a hot air balloon using the heat sinks to keep aloft...


PV is way too high, Once again, dropships might be a better choice for this mission.  But on the bright side, Fighters of any flavor can't match it for ground attack power.

Attached Files

Thunder posted this 24 July 2019

And for our final design, the same as above, but less costly.

300 tons.
-75 Tech D Structure
-54 Tech D Steam engine
-23 Fuel, an arbitrary amount
-3.5 Power Amplifiers
-3.5 Advanced Fire Control
-3 Tech D Bar 5 armor 90 points
-33 IS Small pulse lasers, 33 of them.
-66 Heat Sinks
-9 Targeting computer
-30 Bomb I mean Cargo bay


Attached Files

Thunder posted this 24 July 2019

And For our actual final Design, a capital missile carrier that is considerably more shooty then our previous capital weapons carrier.

1000 tons
-198 tech F structure
-49 Tech D Fusion engine .25 Thrust
-5.5 Bar 5 Tech C armor
-100 Piranha Sub Capital Missile
-200  Piranha Missiles: 20
-125 Stingray Sub Capital missile
-300 Stingray missiles: 18
-22.5 Advanced Fire Control

Cyclone Missile Carrier

The thing that makes the Sub Capital weapon carrier designs so interesting is...  They don't pay any PV for their sub Capital weapons.  Its a hole in the rules.

Attached Files

icehellion posted this 24 July 2019

No PV? How come?

Thunder posted this 24 July 2019

Poorly considered and badly written rules.

Alpha strike has 3 sections for calculating PV.

First one is for ground units. It is the most complete set of rules.

Next is aerospace units smaller then a small craft (and airships...). The rules are rougher and more basic. Edge cases are missed, like units that do non-standard damage.

Final section is large craft. Its a bit more complicated because it deals with multiple firing arcs and non-standard damage types. Still has holes in it. (Like artillery is free)

icehellion posted this 25 July 2019

Poorly considered and badly written rules.


Thunder posted this 19 July 2023

Le Sigh.  True for the aerospace thread too.

PV values are all off now.  Stupid errata making the game more fair and balanced...  Not that they've fixed the most egregious mistakes yet...