Noble Armada

Noble Armada – Gatling Lasers

Continuing my series about FASA Games 3rd edition of Noble Armada, I thought I would add something that I found in my notes that got left out of the Core Book. As I was doing some research for the game and doing some writing for an upcoming book I found, much to my embarrassment, that I forgot to add the rules for Gatling Lasers into the book. As I am no longer an employee of FASA Games, I have to mention that these rules are for use with Noble Armada 3rd Edition, but cannot be considered official.

If you’ve ever faced off against a Hawkwood or al-Malik fleet, you probably have been looking for a clarification on how these are supposed to work and fleets with missiles, rockets, and torpedoes probably felt a bit overpowered. Certainly, this came up when I ran demo games, but none of the ships used in the demos were equipped with gatling lasers. 

Gatling lasers are meant to be a counter to fleets with lots of rockets, missiles, torpedoes, and fighters. While they list damage, normal torpedoes, missiles, and rockets are destroyed when hit with a gatling laser. The two damage that a gatling laser does is enough to destroy a light fighter, and severely damage a heavy fighter/bomber.

Using Gatling Lasers Against Missiles and Torpedoes

Missiles and torpedoes, with their think machine guidance systems often spread themselves out for maneuverability against incoming fire. Missiles are more agile and have a -2 penalty to being targeted by gatling lasers. A gatling laser gets one attack against each missile and  torpedo that enters its range and firing. If a ship has more than one gatling laser in that firing arc, each gatling laser may make an attempt to fire at the missile.

Using Gatling Lasers Against Rockets and Fighters

Even though each rocket launcher is an individual weapon system on a ship, because they are dumb weapons they are fired in clusters at their target. This clustering gives them some protection from gatling lasers. Treat all rockets as a single group, and the gatling laser destroys as many rockets as it does damage, usually two.

A gatling laser also only gets one attack against a fighter wing, rather than being able to target every fighter in the wing once.

Example One: Thorn, a Decados Mantis-Class Frigate has outfitted its starboard firing arc with a single gatling laser emplacement in anticipation of fighting Hawkwood forces. In one round of combat it is target by a destroyer which successfully targets it with three missiles against the starboard arc. When the missiles reach four centimeters from the ship, the gatling laser gunner begins firing. A single gatling laser attack would be made against each missile. Later in the round a frigate targets the Thorn with two more missiles. The Thorn would be able to target each of those missiles when they entered firing range as well.

Example Two: Thorn encounters a Hawkwood Destroyer outfitted with an array of rocket launchers. Six rockets are inbound. The gatling laser on the Thorn hits, but only destroys two of the rockets.

Example Three: As Thorn advances, it encounters a wing of fighters speeding for the fleet’s galliots. As it passes within range of the gatling laser, the guns light up the fighter wing, successfully hitting. One of the fighters is destroyed.

Gatling Lasers and Activation

The rules on firing on each target only apply once per activation. If the ship is activated while a target the gatling laser has already fired upon is still in range, the gatling laser may fire on it again. For example, if in Example One above, the missiles had been just short of being able to hit the Thorn on the first round, if Thorn was able to Activate before the next Fighter Phase, it could target any remaining missiles.

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