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Fire Linking: A discussion

Hellstormer, my co administrator recently put the below at the bottom of his fantastic write up for the BY-Wing Ugly. Rather than keep the conversation there, I wanted to move it to the Editorials, so we could have a proper talk about it. I'll not make my own comments here, but I'll leave them for the comments section.


In the Star Wars Rulebook Revised & Expanded, the fire-linking rules are stated to be the same as the rules for "Combined Actions" (described on page 82-83). The rule states +1D for every three people combining actions, so effectively +1 pip per person. Or in the case of fire-linking, per weapon. However, this is contradicted on page 127 in a breakdown of the X-Wing's fire-linked laser cannons. The breakdown states that four characters working together in "Combined Actions" receive a bonus of +1D+2 (whereas the rules said earlier this would be +1 pip per person, therefor +1D total for three extra people). This breakdown then states that the X-Wing's laser cannons, if fired separately, are reduced -1D+2 for 4D+1 damage. By the rules as written, the X-Wing's laser cannons would be 5D as heavy laser cannons shown in Galaxy Guide 6 Tramp Freighter. But by the breakdown example, the X-Wing's laser cannons would be more like medium laser cannons (3D to 4D). Because of this contradiction, I have always gone by the X-Wing breakdown example when fire-linking weapons and modifying ships, vehicles, etc, giving +1D for the first added weapon. This is because the +1D gives the player some extra punch to their modified weapons without seeming too weak, making the effort feel worth while. "Dual" or "twin" weapons usually recieve this treatment by me when figuring them out, as some I have come across seem to be standard "light", "medium" or "heavy" weapons, but with +1D damage. Any additional weapons added to the fire-link beyond the first is still only +1 pip.


Comments made about this Article!

17/Jan/2018 23:18:12 Posted by Freddy

I've always taken firelinking as +1 pip to Fire Control or Damage per weapon added. So when I'm doing Capital Ships with Batteries of 10 weapons, thats an additional 3D+1 I can split between the two.

The X-Wing I've always taken as a mistake, as for 3 extra weapons, you get 1D+2, or 5 pips, which doesn't divide nicely by 3.

However, Hellstormers idea that the first extra weapon adds 1D, then after that they add 1 pip, works pretty well, and the twin Ion and Laser Cannons on the Y-Wing and A-Wing work very well under this rule.

My question is, does this carry over to the Combined Actions rule? So the two Stormtroopers manning a E-Web get a bonus 1D to damage or to hit?

18/Jan/2018 07:16:10 Posted by hellstormer1

When it comes to combined actions, or any rule in any game, most people tend to take the safe bet and go with "Rules As Written", a.k.a. RAW (40K gets a lot of RAW that unintentionally breaks the game between editions on occasion, if anyone is familiar with that). Problem with that is, sometimes RAW doesn't work, and you need a fix, a work-around, a change....home brewed rules.

For "combined actions" and whether bonuses are given for working together on a task, IMO, it depends on the task and some common sense. If several character are using a non-combat skill to do something, I'd say sure, use combine actions rules to get this done. For combat, it gets a little sticky. I've been privy for a while now to the idea that ranged weapons like blasters dhouldn't get a bonus to damage when combining actions, or even when using character points or Force point. By RAW, technically you should be able to (if something in the rulebook contradicts that, let me know). But then this leads to the unbalancing factors the D6 RPG is known for.

IMO, in melee combat a character has more control over what they can do, so they get bonuses from their spent points. Characters combining actions in melee combat can get better damage too, as they could "flank" an enemy, trick them, and deliver more damage to whichever side gets exposed during the move. Combing actions to cause more damage in melee combat can work.

For ranged combat, looking at the example mentioned above with 2 stormtroopers and an E-web, do they get bonuses to damage? That's a straight no, and here's why. You have 2 characters, but only one weapon. Since combined actions and fire-linking go hand-in-hand, you need 2 E-webs, not 1, to go with those stormtroopers. They may be able to combine actions to better hot the target, but there's no grounds there for improving damage. RAW may say otherwise, but if I am your GM, I'm adding at least a little common sense to the scenario, that's not flying with me. However, I would still leave the door open for players to explain to me how it could work. A lot of people give weak responses, and get pouty when they don't get there way, but on the other hand I've seen some players get creative and imaginative, and come up with some really good explanations on how improbable
ideas like this could work. But this usually involves tactical thinking and maneuvering, which I like quite a bit, and I've pulled a few off myself.

Going back to the stormtroopers and ranged weapons, a better, much simpler, way of applying the idea of combined actions for improving damage would be 2 stormtroopers, each having their own identical blaster rifles, and combining actions to improve damage. This would be much more plausible and doable. This way, a squad of stormtroopers could combine actions to unleash a hail of blaster fire with insane damage.

In the case of the E-web, one of these two troopers is a spotter, nothing more.

For the X-Wing example, on one side it could be a mistake. And if the X-Wing's laser cannons were listed as "heavy" laser cannons, connecting with the info in Galaxy Guide 6 Tramp Freighters [GG6] (something I use a lot when trying to figure out baselines and standards for starship weapons), I definitely would have gone that route in my perspective on the system.

But instead, we have this X-Wing "typo" that contradicts the RAW. And because it is stated in the final version of the D6 rulebook, it can technically count as a RAW itself, depending on the perspective (not to mention the Revised & Expanded rulebook was meant to change and improve a lot of the rules anyways). Using the "+1D First" method actually winds up explaining a lot of things when it comes to weapons on many vehicles throughout the Star Wars D6 system. Especially the starships (starfighters/transports/capital ships).

If not, if going by the RAW without the X-Wing breakdown, then all of these previously unexplained typos and mistakes have less explanation and don't add up. Without something to explain these inconsistencies, I feel like the system begins to break down hard.

Like, for example, a starfighter here has 2 fire-linked medium laser cannons, a starfighter there only has one, another has three or four, no "light", "medium" or "heavy" mentioned, and yet they all do the same damage (usually 4D or 5D), and if they are the same type of laser cannon instead of showing pips to represent the firelinking, these weapons almost always have a round die code. It almost feels like the writer took the easy way out instead of looking their stuff up. Or worse, they didn't have any source to look up at all.

[Hold up, a side note before moving on. I just looked at a PDF of GG6, which lists "light" and "heavy" laser cannons (2D and 5D), but doesn't mention "Medium" ones. So I also opened up the Star Wars Sourcebook and looked through the equipment cost charts there on page 100, where it does list a "Medium" laser cannon, but the laser cannons are 4D, 5D and 6D, respectively, and some have symbols beside them that say they're speeder scale. I almost want to say maybe I'm looking at it wrong, that maybe these really are speeder scale weapons. But then I look at the prices for the "speeder" weapons in the Star Wars Sourcebook, and their prices are ridiculously much higher than those in GG6. Now keep that in mind....]

So, after that little aside, I'm going to close what I was saying, or intended to say, and go with this instead. This system has no consistency. What counts as standards and baselines gets contradicted from book to book, and there really are typos in almost all of them. I have been using GG6 as a reference for some time, but the Star Wars Sourcebook is pretty different, and I'm starting to second guess myself a little.

But not enough to shake my perspective. I think my view on fire-linking is valid, and even has stated words to validate it. As for it being a typo, no one knows. It "could" be a typo or mistake, but there's no errata that says so, and as far as I know none of the original creators behind the system has ever come forward and offered explanations on it. Maybe there's an article somewhere where they did, but I wouldn't even know where to start looking.

Therefor, the opinion of the X-Wing breakdown being a mistake is just that. An opinion. Open to interpretation. Nothing more. That's cold to say, yes, but I care about my viewpoint just as much as other people care about there's. As a matter of fact, I'd even claim I care about my viewpoint much more fiercely. This discussion may seem little and small, but since 2001 I've encountered people who go so far as to insult, belittle, and outright intimidate me on this. And not just about one simple rule in an RPG game, but in everything when I tended to disagree with them.

Years of that. Tends to make a person difficult to be around or talk to. All over disagreements. That said, while I tend to snap at people on occasion, even in the comments here, I try to make notes in my write-ups for "GMs/players", reminding them that if they don't like the write-up as it is....just change it.

Most of the best RPG rulebooks out there, Dungeons & Dragons included (as of 3.5 edition at least), always have a note somewhere in the front of the book, in the foreword or something that states this. Letting readers know that they can change anything they want to in the rules if they disagree with the rules.

When I make notes like this fire-linking stuff in my write-ups, it's to explain my viewpoint, my perspective, my way of thinking when I write up the thing I'm posting here. I guess you could say its something like a workflow journal or something, but smaller and lighter. I do that as a courtesy in case anyone is ever interested to know such details. It doesn't mean the reader has to go by what I think, and they can change whatever they like.

Everything in this system is open to interpretation, and there are many opinions. I have mine, and it has served me well. I get the feeling that the inclusion of my note on fire-linking stirred something up or maybe cause some hurt feelings. That was never the intention. I just wanted to add a note explaining my thoughts on how I did the write-up, as questions on fire-linking pop sometimes, and because when I think about Star Wars D6, that particular tidbit is always on my mind.

18/Jan/2018 07:24:35 Posted by hellstormer1

Maybe that was too much.

18/Jan/2018 17:42:21 Posted by Freddy

Well, you did go over the image size for the background ;)

Anyway, I put this here to debate it, because although I've always gone by the book (1 pip per person), I think this alternate ruling makes a lot of sense, and makes sense of a lot of starships in the rules (I'm thinking of the Y-Wing especially), and wanted to see what other people thought.

Basically as long as you're having fun, then you're playing the game right, and I think this rule interpretation can make the game more fun.

18/Jan/2018 17:44:08 Posted by Freddy

Also, just as a note, this means 10 gun batteries now add 4D, which is a nice round number to add :)

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