Members | Sign In
Modiphius > STAR TREK: ADVENTURES
avatar

Cloaking Power Drain

posted May 29, 2018 20:24:32 by TonyPi
So in a Living Campaign module, a Romulan Warbird de-cloaked at the beginning of combat. A player wanted to know if there is any Power expenditure penalty to the Warbird because it came in with cloak. Or should it start with full power because the encounter was written that way? Thanks.
Contributor to Continuing Mission at continuingmissionsta.wordpress.com. F&SF author.
page   1
11 replies
avatar
erikfilean said May 29, 2018 20:43:31
Honestly, I'd rule that there is a Power expenditure penalty - not just because of a strict application of rules, but because the player was savvy enough to ask the question.
avatar
SteveHanson said May 30, 2018 02:01:24
On the show, it take a second or so for the ship to become visible and then they have to raise shields and power weapons. So...yeah. That's nothing official just my opinion.
Forum Moderator

To his friend a man
a friend shall prove,
To him and the friend of his friend;
But never a man
shall friendship make
With one of his foeman's friends.
--Havamal
avatar
Elijah said May 30, 2018 10:28:24
So, in the rules it says that cloaking has a cost of 3 Power I believe, the rules are in the CRB. But if you Cloak a ship and the scene changes, then the Power resets to Full but the ship is still cloaked. So, if the Warbird was cloaked at the start of the scene there should be no penalty to Power, according to the rules.
avatar
SteveHanson said May 30, 2018 17:20:45

Technically speaking, the GM can set the starting Power of an npc ship to whatever they wish at the start of a scene, as it's not "on screen" until the GM introduces it, so it could have done any number of actions prior to appearing.

In short, NPC ships don't need to be tracked as strictly as the PCs' ship, because they're getting less screen time. It's an abstraction, not a simulation. "A Warbird decloaks" is a situation used to introduce a new threat to the story from nowhere, rather than an action taken by an opposing force (as it would be in a wargame). For all intents and purposes, only the PCs stuff continues between scenes, and everything else a tool for the GM.

And, at the very least, "they have less power" helps soften the blow of "A Warbird just decloaked and is charging weapons".
Forum Moderator

To his friend a man
a friend shall prove,
To him and the friend of his friend;
But never a man
shall friendship make
With one of his foeman's friends.
--Havamal
avatar
PatricHenson said May 30, 2018 23:17:35
If it were the PC's ship I'd make them take 3 Power from the next scene's budget to keep it going, but for NPCs, Steve hit the nail on the head.
"Lease and pong life. Prosp long and liver."
—Varek of Sulkin'
avatar
MasterZelgadis said Jun 05, 2018 12:26:43
I'd also say, there is not a power drain as a must. First was already mentioned: Between the scenes the power restores to maximum. And second: I don't think there should be an ongoing power cost to keep cloaked, because on the other hand there are systems like shields and weapons that don't consume power while cloaked.
avatar
jonrcrew said Jun 05, 2018 14:52:08
@MasterZelgadis: Good analysis, but weapons do consume Power from the reserve when used, so they're outside the ship's "core systems" and wouldn't count as "not consuming power". Shields would count, however.

Looking at the wording of the cloak option: "Operating the device requires a Control + Engineering Task... This Task has a Power requirement of 3." This could be read to mean that activating the cloak costs 3 Power, but maintaining it costs nothing (possibly because it uses the core systems power for the shields). Since Power does not automatically refresh during a Scene, then this would seem fair, as most ships have just used half their total Power for one Task.

I don't think I would penalise a ship starting with its cloak active, player or otherwise. If nothing else, it can be assumed that the engineering staff have been hoarding as much power as possible prior to decloaking.

I'd be interested to see the official position though :)
avatar
MasterZelgadis said Jun 06, 2018 05:17:46
@jon: Firing a phaser draws power from the reserve, I would say just having them online and running would consume a fair amount of energy
avatar
jonrcrew said Jun 06, 2018 08:39:00
I have to say I would disagree on that!

But that's ok... :)
avatar
Shran said Jun 06, 2018 09:41:09
I would also say that beginning a scene while cloaked does not change your power. You just start at max power as normal. You could of course compare which systems are offline while cloaked and try to compare power consumption, but for simplicity I'd say a cloaked ship begins a scene with full power.

Jumping ot warp for example also costs power, but I would assume that a ship that begins a scene by dropping out of warp starts with full power.

I always see the Power stat as more like "auxiliary power" or "battery power". It is a separate supply that is being tapped when using a device that requires a lot of power. After a few minutes (i.e. after the scene), the warp core can adjust for the additional power drain and refills the batteries, thus Power is always restored to maximum, no matter what devices are running.
avatar
Nathan.Dowdell said Jun 06, 2018 14:39:08
Power being mainly "reserve" is largely true for the rules as written, which assume that most "always on" functions are already accounted for - the ship's Power score is a discretionary fund, rather than an absolute total.

Still, it's also a useful factor for balance and imposing interesting choices upon the situation; I often have Power spent from going to Warp carry over into the subsequent scene, to give the choice of "how quick do we get there" vs "how prepared are we for trouble when we arrive" (in that regard, I also have the Conn officer make a D0 Task to 'start' the scene, essentially giving the PCs the potential for an edge and/or complications as they enter a new situation).

Also, for reference, Steve's last response to this thread was my answer to the question - I wasn't able to access the forum at the time, so I couldn't post directly.
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
Login below to reply: