This question came up in a starship battle yesterday. The Conn Officer recently got Multi-Tasking from the Command Division book. He performs an Override in order to fire the ship’s Phaser Arrays. Multi-Tasking says he can use the Conn Discipline in place of Security to fire. The player argues that:
Because he’s using Conn to fire, he should be allowed to use Conn Focuses.
The Conn Officer has Helm Operations as a Focus, and that should apply to the attack.
Is his reasoning correct? I don’t see #1 explicitly stated, and #2 seems like anything he does on the bridge with Override would allow the use of that Focus.
Focuses do not apply to any specific Discipline - there’s not really such a thing as “Conn Focuses” so much as “Focuses which are more likely to be used with Conn than with another Discipline”.
Which Focus applies to a Task is determined independently of which Discipline is used.
Thanks. So I’d rule that Helm Operations (which I see more as maneuvering) may not apply to firing phasers. Is that how others see it, or am I being too harsh?
I do not think that is harsh. IMO Helm is as you say about ship movements. The character may have other talents that may apply, but as a GM I would not allow it.
And I say this as a both a GM in one game & a Conn officer player in another thinking of taking this talent.
Yeah, helm operation is literally a focus for operating the standard helm systems. The player would need a focus in something like shipboard tactical systems to be able to apply it. If they were particularly clever, they could word a focus to cover helm and weapons in combat, perhaps something like ‘ship to ship combat’ but that would be up to the GM to rule if it was too general or not
But you possible could argument:
Through this helm operation the ship gets a better angle for targeting critical systems. But most likely this will count as assistant?!
Not at all. Helm Operations should never apply to an attack. Oh boy, players will try anything! lol
Conn is about moving a ship, but helm operation gives the pilot a ‘feeling’, how a capital ship response and helps the pilot to find the right spot/angle/path for something.
With Conn the any pilot could make a looping (Yes, I know not the correct name in space fighting), but helm operation allow him to make the looping as tight as possible, because he ‘feels’ the response of the ship. And this allows him to be at the optimal spot in optimal angle for maximum damage.
I would allow it, but I think it depends on interpretation, game situation and the description of the player.
Helm operation is being discussed as a focus and in this example you are essentially describing the Attack Pattern task, which I would certainly allow the focus to apply, however actually firing the weapons? No. No Helm system is being used to fire the weapons only the overridden Tactical systems, thus no benefit from Helm Operation.
As @mattcapiche suggested, a focus like “Ship to Ship” combat could reasonable be argued to apply to either Conn tasks or Tactical tasks.
All that description is fine for manoeuvring a ship into an attack position… but that isn’t firing the weapons. There are different actions and options for “move the ship into just the right position”, and using that same reasoning to justify using Helm Ops on an attack (other than ramming) seems to devalue that and the idea of ship combat being collaborative rather than just everyone finding differently-named ways to fire the big guns.
Hm, I am not really convincing, but as you are most likely more in line with the intention of the rules, I accept, that I am maybe wrong.
So… one of my characters focuses (foci?) in ‘Pushing the red button’ would apply in the above example!
No, because on a spaceship this is always the self-destruction button!
Remember the Spaceball 1!
There was a second red button on the bridge for an override!
I think that would be simulated by the Attack Pattern task, rather than a Focus. They could use their focus on that task, which would help with the Diff of the attack task. So do the helm task with Focus to make the attack roll test easier, which doesn’t have a Focus. I would also encourage them to see how a Value might apply instead. Much more effective than a test with Focus. Otherwise, I agree with the general advice here, “Helm Operation” is not a Focus you can apply when making starship attacks.
I’ve been thinking about an appropriate focus for a starship combat focused conn or security officer and I think that the TNG Tech Manual has given me (and the OPs Conn player) a good solution. That sounds general but it actually has technical meaning in the TNG:TM. Here’s the quote (it’s long … sorry but I’m a trektech geek):
“The actual number of variables involved in spacecraft defense can be staggering and would quickly overwhelm any manual efforts to adequately protect a starship. While ship-to-ship operations may seem as simple as pointing and shooting, computers and semiautonomous weapon systems are the accepted standards, driven by the realities of the spaceflight regime. In the total Starfleet history of armed spacecraft, over 3,500 unique spacecraft combat maneuvers (SCMs) have been recorded, too numerous to present more than a tiny fraction in detail (see descriptions following). Since combat conditions can change within seconds, high-speed calculations and tactical choices will also change rapidly. General result-oriented firing and movement orders from command personnel are translated by the main computers and scripted into “trees” of possible sequences, along with a prioritization of the best paths for the current time and influenced by the predictions of Threat assessment routines. As with the navigation system, which is directly linked to the tactical system within the main computers, phaser algorithms take two distinct forms, baseline code and self-rewritable code. Both code types cover all known advantages and weaknesses of Threat vessels, including simulated adversaries used for training purposes, and analysis routines for new Threat types. The rewritable symbolic code performs primarily high-speed autonomic functions related to the defense of the Enterprise, quickly reacting to danger from outside and repairing internal damage. Only 10% of the rewritable code is needed for weapon fire control routines; they are fairly straightforward and are complicated only by firing sequences, precise timings, and unusual targeting requirements. All stored rewritable code is routinely transferred to Starfleet Headquarters and remote sites by secure means for high-level analysis.”
Sternbach, Rick; Okuda, Michael. Star Trek: The Next Generation: Technical Manual (Kindle Locations 3083-3096). Simon & Schuster, Inc… Kindle Edition.
So I’ve been thinking of a focus called “Spacecraft Combat Maneuver”. This represents the character routinely spending spare time diving into the SCM database and running simulations, running scenarios, and reviewing the SCM’s they’d never looked at before all in an effort to improve their ability to operate the ship in a fight.
A Conn character would, by necessity, become more familiar with Tactical’s controls and procedures during this process. Tactical would be vice versa.
Anyway. I think it’s cool. Hope it may be helpful.
Multi-tasking is the crux of the question. The player is temporarily taking over for another PC to get an extra shot, I suspect. The helmsman is busy looking after his job, and now takes over another function. She/He is inherently less capable in this role because of divide attention. I am in a profession in which mutli-tasking is a prerequisite. It ain’t for the feint hearted. There should be a degradation in ability for the helm to fire weapons as an extra action.
There is - taking an additional task in your turn costs 2 Momentum and adds +1 to the difficulty of the second task. If you’re attempting a task from a different station than your own, that requires the Override task, which itself adds +1 Difficulty (you can operate any part of a starship from any station - you can fly a Galaxy-class from a PADD while walking down a hallway - but the layout of Ops isn’t suited to firing torpedoes like the Tactical station is).
The Multi-Tasking talent allows a character with a high Conn to make use of the Override task more efficiently than normal (letting them use their Conn discipline instead of whatever would normally be used), but otherwise doesn’t remove the penalty for Override (though it combines nicely with the Attack Run talent, in a combination that works excellently for fighter pilot type characters)
Right, and I agree, I think there should be. Cheers!