Noble Armada Preview: Shields
This week’s preview is a brief overview on how shields work in Noble Armada. Traditionally in Fading Suns shields are activated when a certain threshold of incoming energy is detected. The same principle is in effect for energy shields in Noble Armada, except the shields are always being taxed as a ship moves through space, by dust, micrometeorites, and other debris. The faster a ship is traveling, the more energy goes into protecting it and in turn lowering the availability of shields to detect and defend incoming attacks. Mechanically, energy shields work much differently than in Fading Suns, below I will discuss a few of those differences.
Each ship mounts multiple shield generators on each one of its four arcs that can be quickly energized as needed for defense. Since overloaded shields suffer from burnout and take some time to be brought back online, captains try to only energize the shields they need and try to keep some in reserve for emergencies. A ship with an exposed arc may even suffer damage while it is moving.
Shields also have shield ratings and a shield rank. The shield rating provides the base starting number for resolving the shield activation roll. Practically all Known World ships have a shield rating of 17. For those familiar with older versions of Noble Armada, shields would become unavailable the faster this ship moved. That dynamic still remains but the shields are still active, but less capable of blocking incoming fire. The faster the ship is going, the greater the reduction of the TN for the shield activation roll. The shield rank is for more powerful shields or those specially tuned by Merchant League engineers to have a better profile and will be affected less by speed than the standard shields.
The shield activation roll is where it all comes together. Once the final target number is determined, a d20 is rolled for each shield activated to get a number of victory points (VP) using the same system as in the Fading Suns RPG. Each VP generated blocks a hit. Once a shield is used, it doesn’t become available to be used again until next time the ship is activated. Most ships have four shields on each arc (fore, aft, port, and starboard) so they do have some defense, but once all of them are activated and unavailable for defense the ship is in serious trouble.
For example, a Reaper-class raider has two shields on its front arc and has 3 incoming medium laser hits from an enemy. The ship is moving at flank speed so has a -10 penalty to its base shield rating of 17, meaning that each activated shield will have a TN of 7. The player decides to activate one shieldsand will need roll 1 d20 to generate VP. Each VP is a blocked laser hit. Any excess VP are lost and the ship now has only one available shield on its forward arc to protect against any other ships that can fire on it.