Capital Weapons on Dropships

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"Inner Sphere dropships ahead, Star Commodore."
Star Commodore Dorian Hazen grimaced, but small enough so that the bridge crew could not notice.  His mind immediately began racing through the tactical possibilities, even without the advantage of specific data, and his grimace turned into an outright frown.  This was the third time that month that the Inner Sphere had conducted a raid on Sudeten.  The third raid that his Fredasa-class warship Falcon Rising had intercepted.  Although his warship, with the help of other Jade Falcon ships in the system, had driven back the other two raids, this time he found himself facing the enemy alone, with his fighters either destroyed or still on planet mopping up from the previous raids.  Although a realist amongst a Clan of traditionalists, he forced his frown away and took on the air of a true Jade Falcon officer.


The sensor officer piped up.  "A group of 4 dropships are inbound from a pirate point approximately 1.6 days out from the planet.  Dropships are Fortress-class and appear to have Federated Commonwealth markings."
Star Commodore Hazen gave a minor start at the mention of Federated Commonwealth ships.  As with most Jade Falcon officers, he knew of the split between the Lyran Alliance and Federated Commonwealth of 2 years back.  He also knew of the animosity between the two realms, and that Prince Victor still laid claim to the worlds of the Alliance.  Federated Commonwealth ships in this space, he mused, would likely be part of the Kell Hounds flotilla, or aligned with the bandit Wolves-in-Exile.  Any way it went, he expected it to be an interesting fight.
"Plan an intercept course.  Helm, prepare to bring us around for a broadside.  Master-at-arms, call Battle Stations.  Gunnery crews to stand by."  Knowing that the Fortress does not normally carry fighters, "Sensor control, are there any fighter carriers or fighters?"

"No fighters deployed.  Sensors now confirm that the dropships are Fortress-class."  The sensor control officer gave a brief pause as the Battle Stations alarm sounded.  "Sir, the dropships are not heading towards the planet.  They are vectoring straight in at us."

Star Commodore Hazen paused at that comment.  That the dropships were heading for him and not the planet meant one of two things.  Either they were on a specific mission to capture or kill his warship, an unlikely proposition given that they had no apparent fighters, or they were acting as a screen for another force that WAS heading towards the planet."

"That will be their death then.  Estimated time to contact?"
"Contact in 1 minute, sir."

"Very well.  We will teach these Inner Sphere surats the errors of their folly."

"Star Commodore, an anomaly has been detected with the dropships.  I will show one on the secondary screen."
One of the secondary bridge screens lit up, with the image of one of the Fortresses that were inbound.  It appeared as a standard Fortress, with the exception of a large bore in the nose instead of the standard nose weaponry.
Star Commodore Hazen studied the display with interest.  The bore was too large to be any sort of standard weapon, and did not appear to be the Fortress's usual Long Tom artillery piece.  It was known that dropships could not carry naval weaponry, so presumably, he thought, these Fortresses were refitted with the new Heavy Gauss Rifles he had heard about recently.

"Helm, start bringing us around.  Gunnery crews prepare to fire."

Suddenly, bright plumes of light and energy lit up from the four Fortresses, with 3 of the 4 beams connecting with the left side of the Falcon Rising, while the 4th beam did a glancing, but damaging shot to the Falcon Rising's engine.  Alarms lit up all over the bridge as the shockwave of the impacts sent the bridge crew flying.

"Freebirth!  What in Kerensky's name was that???"

The sensor officer, picking himself back up to his station with a gash to his forehead, looked at his screen.  "Traces leftover indicate that those are Naval PPCs, Star Commodore."

"Impossible!  No Dropship can carry Naval weapons, not even our Clan Dropships."

"Those were Naval PPCs, sir.  Damage profile confirms it."

"Freebirth!  Helm, get us out of here.  We need to get back to Wotan to warn Khan Marthe."

"Engines are damaged, Star Commodore.  We have lost acceleration."

"The Fortresses are firing again!"

Game Notes:

These rules allow Dropships to carry standard Naval Capital weaponry, in addition to Capital Missiles, which are normally allowed.  For the purposes of the following rules, Capital Missiles are considered normal weapons.

During construction, Dropships are allowed to carry Capital weapons normally reserved for Warships and Space Stations, although some design concessions must be made:

To accomodate the "recoil effect" of naval weapons, the Dropship must add 20% to its normal structural mass.  For example, a 10,000 ton spheroid dropship carrying a Capital weapon, with a Structural Integrity of 10, would have a structural mass of 240 tons, instead of the standard 200 tons.  This also adds 20% to the structural cost (120,000 C-bills per SI point instead of 100,000).

Carrying Capital weapons other than missiles also requires a more robust engine and power plant than the standard.  To reflect this, add 0.5 percent to the "Percentage of Total Mass per Thrust Point".  For example, Inner Sphere dropship engines would weigh 7 percent per thrust point, while Clan dropship engines would weigh 6.6 percent per thrust point.  Fuel efficiency is not affected, and Heat Sinks are calculated normally.

Capital weapons may only be mounted in the Nose of Dropships, and this severely limits the ability to carry other weapons in the nose, and to fire weapons.  Dropships may carry Capital weapons up to 30% of their mass, and may carry any number of Capital weapons as long as the weight limit is not exceeded.  For example, a 10,000 dropship may carry up to 3,000 tons of Capital weaponry, which may take the form of a Light NPPC and two NL/35s.  Ammunition for Naval Gauss Rifles or Naval Autocannon does not count toward this limit.

Carrying Capital weapons taxes the fire control computers without adding additional fire control.  To reflect this, Capital weapons require fire control equal to 5% of the Capital weapon mass.  Mounting standard weapons in the nose in addition to the Capital weapons also requires additional fire control equal to 20% of the mass of all non-Capital weapons (excluding ammo) mounted.  This is in addition to any fire-control required from exceeding the 12-weapon limit (see Weapon Limits, pg. 47 of AT2).  Also, in any turn that the Dropship fires its Capital weaponry, it may not fire any other weapons.

The additional fire control needed quadruples the cost of the Fire Control Computer (400,000 instead of 100,000) and Gunnery Control (40,000 per arc instead of 10,000).

For crew requirements, Capital Weapons require 2 crewmembers per weapon instead of the standard 1.

Unless modified by above, all other normal rules apply.

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Page last modified 31 December, 2003