So the RP's been going on for a few years now, and we've had ups and downs with basically everything, including the fleet and space combat system. At first there were no limits, and we had me building five Valiance-esque ships (yes, that was a thing), fleets summoned out of thin air, meaningless naval engagements considering ships could be replaced with a snap or annihilated by some super ship. As time went on and the scope and scale of the RP came down a bit and things became more organized, we all decided that this was getting ridiculous. I think I was the one who first started the RP Fleets group (maybe we should revist that place and remodel it to fit in with the current RP?) and had us post all of our fleets there so that everyone else could provide feedback and ensure that no one got too crazy. As time went on more and more rules were created, until we come to the system we have now, with the 80 ship cap and, what, three fleets per faction? It sort of works, but at the same time, there are some problems with it. Some are personal, some are technical, and there's a very detailed description of my arguments against that system elsewhere (some of my main gripes include ships not being as meaningful when lost in a massive crowd, and the system devolving to the point where naval battles are won by whoever can come into the battle last). So my solution is an entirely new system that gives each faction a single unified fleet that can be composed of whatever ships its leaders desire (with a few exceptions). How will this work? How will it be implemented? Read on to find out.
Before we start, I'll be throwing around a few terms here and there; I'm not expecting all (or any) of these to be adopted, but these are just so we're all on the same page. It's mainly for me, and these terms don't line up at all with actual naval terms in either real life or in Star Wars lore..
Strikecraft: any ship less than 50 meters in width, length, or height.
Corvette: any ship between 50 and 200 meters in length, width, or height. Counts as one ship in a task force.
Frigate: any ship between 200 and 400 meters in length, width, or height. Counts as one ship in a task force.
Cruiser: any ship between 400 and 1000 meters in length, width, or height. Counts as one ship in a task force.
Destroyer: any ship between 1000 and 2000 meters in length, width, or height. Counts as two ships in a task force.
Battlecruiser: any ship between 2000 and 5000 meters in length, width, or height. Counts as five ships in a task force.
Dreadnaught: any ship between 5000 and 12000 meters in length, width, or height. Counts as ten ships in a task force.
Command and Control Ship: any ship of a length, width, or height or 12000 meters or greater. Can only be commanded by a character with the Commander IV skill.
Squadron: a task force consisting of ten ships or fewer.
Flotilla: a task force consisting of eleven to twenty ships.
Strike Force: a task force consisting of twenty-one to thirty ships.
Battlegroup: a task force consisting of thirty-one to forty ships.
Fleet: a task force consisting of more than forty ships.
The Hard Ship Cap
I've been rolling a few numbers around in my head, and I think that 60 is a good number to settle on for a faction's fleet size. Now, I am well-aware that 60 ships is hardly enough to spread throughout an Empire or a Federation. So I've taken Headhunter's suggestion, and I've decided that for every sector, in addition to a BASE of 60 ships, a faction will be able to add an additional 5 ships. The Empire, for example, has, I believe, 12 sectors. Thus, in addition to the 60 ship base, they would have an extra 60 ships, giving them a grand total of 120 ships in their fleet, to spread throughout their territory or use to conquer more as they please. Any faction, once created, may have a fleet of 60 ships plus 5 ships for however many sectors they control. If a faction loses a sector, the fleet may stay the same size, but no ships may be added to it.
When I first proposed this system six months ago, Ori`verda made a good point about finding the strongest capital ship and just filling up a fleet with those ships. He brought up the same point when I re-proposed the system, and I gave him the same response I gave him six months ago: a fleet composition designed to bring down capital ships would obliterate such a fleet. However, upon further thought, that sort of mentality assumes that we're operating under the "point-defenseless" trope. However, every big ship has more than its fair share of not only starfighters, but also interceptors; a good capital ship can take on a whole bunch of smaller ships, and there's no way of getting around that. So, I've decided to propose some limitations for fleet composition. There aren't any limitations on anything smaller than a destroyer, and after a lot of mulling, I decided that instead of a hard numerical cap on bigger ships, it would be a good idea to implement a percentage cap. It goes as follows:
Destroyers: destroyers may comprise 20% of a faction's fleet. A standard 60 ship fleet may have 12 destroyers. Consequently, conquering a sector allows a faction an additional destroyer in its fleet.
Battlecruisers: battlecruisers may comprise 10% of one's fleet. A standard 60 ship fleet may have 6 battlecruisers. Consequently, conquering two sectors allows a faction an additional battlecruiser in its fleet.
Dreadnaughts: dreadnaughts may comprise 5% of a faction's fleet. A standard 60 ship fleet may have 6 dreadnaughts. Consequently, conquering 4 sectors allows a faction an additional dreadnaught in its fleet.
Command and Control Ships: a faction may have a single command and control ship. No exceptions.
One thing that I hadn't thought about that Headhunter brought up was revising the skill system. Currently, the system is as such:
Commander I: one may command a starfighter wing or lead a battalion of men.
Commander II one may command half a battlegroup and half a legion, or a garrison force; battlegroups exclude dreadnaughts.
Commander III one may command a full fleet and a full legion, or a garrison force; fleet excludes dreadnaughts.
Commander IV one may command a full fleet, a full legion, a garrison force, and a dreadnaught.
It works as it is, despite the rather large jump from commanding a starfighter wing to ordering around half of a battlegroup. However, I think we'll need something else for the system I'm proposing, so I came up with something new. Each rank of the Commander skill allows one to impose authority over a task force of a certain size as follows:
Commander I: Allows one to command up to a squadron's worth of ships.
Commander II: allows one to command up to a flotilla's worth of ships.
Commander III: allows one to command up to a strike force's worth of ships.
Commander IV: allows one to command up to a battlegroup's worth of ships.
Commander V Prestige-class Warlord: allows one to command a fleet's worth of ships.
Probably my most hesitant aspect of this system to mess with is the issue of garrisons and defenses. As it is, faction leaders consulting GMs and detailing the defenses of each sector world under their control would be an insane amount of work. So I think we should steal from the current system, which assigns a security rating to a sector (low, medium, high). We'll implement the same system, just change up what those security ratings mean. Garrisons cannot have any ships larger than destroyers.
Low Security: space garrison consists of a squadron of ships, excluding destroyers; heavy defense platforms count as five ships. One light GTS weapon.
Medium Security: space garrison consists of a flotilla of ships, excluding destroyers; heavy defense platforms count as five ships. One heavy GTS weapon.
High Security: space garrison consists of a flotilla of ships, including destroyers; heavy defense platforms count as five ships. Two heavy GTS weapons.
This is easily the weakest portion of this system, and what probably needs the most work. At least in my opinion. Faction leaders may control NPC commanders in defense garrisons, and may continue to exert control over said defenses even after reinforcements arrive.
One more thing I want to do is overhaul the fleet movement system outlined in Fall of Empires. The current system allows a fleet to traverse five sectors in a single turn; based on the sector-divided galaxy map, that's almost half of the galaxy length-wise. The system Fleet Commander puts in place is as follows. If a system is attacked, reinforcements from the defending faction will arrive depending on their distance from the action:
One sector: two turns to arrive.
Two sectors: four turns to arrive.
Three sectors: six turns to arrive.
Basically, it takes two turns to traverse a sector. This puts more emphasis on commanding defense forces and holding out long enough for help to come, as well as for attackers to speed up the offensive to try to overwhelm defenses as quickly as possible.
One more aspect of the movement system is mobilization. Basically, it takes a turn for the nearest reinforcements to mobilize and depart to assist, unless said reinforcements were already mobilized for some reason. Acceptable reasons would be a prepared ambush for someone or a system currently under threat.
So there you all go. My proposal for a new fleet system. Looking at it, it sounds a bit more complicated than I think it is. And a word on independents: they aren't affected by the fleet system, but have to both have the correct character skills to command the amount of ships that they have and have a reasonable number of ships as decided by the GMs. Implementation would be pretty simple: basically anyone with major fleets would just delete what they've got and create one unified fleet based on however many ships they're allowed. Deciding the composition of the fleet is probably going to be the hardest part. Well, that and distribution. Once the fleets are put together, you'll all have to distribute the ships throughout your sectors yourselves. I don't think it'll really be that difficult, honestly. After all of that's done, it's just a matter of testing to see if the system works. No plans on how to do that, yet, but for the moment I'm just looking to implement the system. Then we can get around to testing it. I might have forgotten to add something or I might have messed something up, and if that's the case, sorry. Feel free to tear this apart. I won't be surprised if I end up reworking a lot of this, but I do think the framework's pretty solid. Good day!