So one thing that I have been thinking about is using probes as recon platforms, and not lousy weapons. A lot of settings have such things and some plain rely on them. I know you can hand-wave recon drones/probes etc as being part of a ships ECM, but I wanted something that would add a little granularity to a game, especially in a setting with things like FLARES and ESCORT, but no ships that work like the SCOUT ability is written in the rules. So here is my first go at Probes as "Tactical Intelligence/Recce" systems rather than weapons.
Probes may be used to improve an attacking ship’s ability to target a foe. Probes are launched at the same time that a ship makes its other attacks. A ship may not launch probes when cloaked.
First, declare how many probes are being launched, and remove that number of probes from the ship. For each probe launched, select a target hex within 12 hexes of the launching ship. Place a “PROBE” marker face down in the target hex. Up to five probe markers may occupy a single hex.
During the end phase, remove all face up probe markers, and flip all face down probe markers to face up.
Probes have two effects. First, if the launching ship has line of sight to a face up probe marker and the probe has line of sight to a target ship the launching ship may attack the target so long as all other criteria (range, etc…) for an attack are met. The second, if the face up probe is 4 hexes or less from a targeted ship, the launching ship gets +1 to all of its attacks against that target so long as all other criteria (range, etc…) for an attack are met.
When a ship is selected to make its attacks, it may target any probe markers.
Attacks against probe markers incur a -1 penalty.
If the weapon is also accurate or repeating, a further -2 penalty is applied.
If the weapon is catastrophic or triple damage, a further -3 penalty is applied.
Each hit against a probe marker destroys the probe.
Weapons with catastrophic, diffuse, double damage, scatter, and triple damage traits loose these abilites when attacking probe markers.
The Universal Game of Starship Combat
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Cool! Now if I could just tune my probes to home in on the subspace disturbances caused by a cloaked starship...
Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.
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