View Full Version : Ionization in atmosphere.

Talonne Hauk
26 March 2002, 07:34 PM
I was running a combat between my players freighter and 3 TIE's. They were in atmosphere, transitioning to space. One of my players was manning the Ion gun, and he scored a hit. He then argued that ionization in atmosphere should do more damage than ionization on space, due to conductivity of the atmosphere. I had to admit that made sense, so I ruled that the TIE was out of it for that round, and the other two players made their hits from their quads, blew up their respective TIE's, and the heroes made their escape vector. Much fanfare, and the curtain drops.
Now, has anyone else run into a similar situation in their games, and if so, could you tell me what was ruled and how it was resolved? Or am I a bonehead for allowing an Ion gun to work in the atmosphere in the first place? And should I post a poll to that effect?:p

Chris Curtis
26 March 2002, 08:11 PM
Well, this is certainly one of those cases where you should do whatever is best for your campaign. It sounds like you've already done so by ruling that ion weapons work better within an atmosphere. No problem there. If it works for you, then there's nothing wrong with it.

My own personal take on it would be to just leave it as is. I.e. ion cannons work neither better, nor worse in an atmosphere when compared to space. Just seems easier that way, and I'm certainly not convinced that the "conductivity" of air would help much. Yes, air is obviously more conductive than a vaccuum, but air is actually a pretty good insulator compared to most things we actually use as conductors.

Random Axe
27 March 2002, 07:04 AM
Truth is, Ion cannons work anywhere, but neither worse nor better in space or atmosphere. Trouble is, now you've made a precedent for your future adventures by this ruling.

Two options: Either 1) you talk to your players and admit you boned it, your ruling was wrong and here's the REAL scoop on these weapons in your campaign. Chances are they'll accept this and no more problems. Or 2) if this comes up again, any bonuses that the players might expect by an Ion cannon in the atmosphere are neutralized or compensated by certain "atmospheric properties" in this particular planet, or perhaps they're at an altitude where it doesn't apply, or other particular reasons.

That however is a lot of work for you to keep coming up with exceptions and excuses. I would advise to just come out with it, say you've reconsidered the idea and have decided as a GM that there is no difference for that weapon in different spaces.

Emperor Xanderich II
27 March 2002, 09:15 AM
Realistically, the atmosphere would actually make the effectes of the ion cannon less. This would be because the 'power' of the ion beam would disapate as it travelled through the atmosphere.

But SW is not the real world, so if you can think of a reason why, in your campaign, the ion cannons were more effective then go for it!

27 March 2002, 11:23 AM
Not sure quite how this is related, since I'm not entirely up to speed with the technical specifications of SW equipment...

You know how ships use repulsorlift engines in the atmosphere, and never turn on their ion engines until they reach space? (I think :? )

Emporer Xandarich once turned em on whilst we were hovering above an Imperial facility we were supposed to be attacking. Burned and melted about five floors of imps :p

Anyway, my point is that if ion engines and ion guns are in some way are connected, you bearing in mind that ion engines aren't used in the atmosphere... well, I guess ion guns would work better :) I don't think that they should perform worse, otherwise those big planetary ion guns (think they're called Speizoc, but not sure) wouldn't work very well. :)

Emperor Xanderich II
28 March 2002, 11:50 AM
I don't think there is any real connection between ion engines and ino cannons, other than in perhaps the way they work. An ion cannon is effective against all electrical systems regardless of whether they are ion engine, repulsor lift, gun control of toilet facilities!:o

28 March 2002, 03:42 PM
One thing to remember is the real effect of an Ion Canon in an atmosphere. Gravity! You 'stun' a ships engines and pretty much gonna plummit. So if the players start getting cocky with Ion Guns use 'em back.

"Ships controls are ionised! We're gonna crash! Quick get to the escape pod."
"We can't!"
"Because the door release is ionised!!!" :D

Talonne Hauk
28 March 2002, 10:31 PM
Man, now that's just plain evil... I LOVE IT!!!!!!!:D

Ash DuQuennes
29 March 2002, 11:54 AM
A slight hijack, but I have a variant I have allowed my players to use regarding ships, shields, ionization and atmosphere.

Any ship transitioning from space to atmosphere at attack speed or greater creates its own "ionization effect" as its shields (essentially a density-enhanced electromagnetic field with a mega-capacitor/energy sink, at least as I see 'em) impact upon and interact with the ionsphere.

This doesn't physically harm the target vessel, but plays hob with their own sensor (fire control included) and communications, and any pursuer attempting to get a sensor or target lock on the pursued vessel. Any missiles or torpedoes that have a lock on a target, and are closing, automatically lose their lock.

At Attack speeds (total speed for all moves 10+ for d6), the DMs are -2D/-4, and at Ramming speeds (total speed for all moves 16+ for d6) -4D/-8.

It also entails a Piloting Skill check, as the proper atmospheric entry angle must be maintained to keep the vessel from going out of control. Standard penalties for failed pilot rolls apply.

Skill Check Difficulties:

At Attack speeds: 16+ for d6 and 15+ for d20.
At Ramming: 21+ for d6 and 20+ for d20.

If the pilot fails the check, the GM can choose or randomly roll to determine if they go out of control "up" into space or "down" into the atmosphere.

Ships with atmospheric streamlining reduce the difficulty class by one level (X- and Y-Wings wouldn't be considered atmospherically streamlined, but the J-27 and Naboo N-1 could be. GM's call.)