Weapon/Defence Archive: Defences: Screens and Shields

[General Note] -[Genre Note] -[Damage Shield] -[Globular Shield] -[Gravitic Shield] -[Holofield] -[Kinetic Shield] -[Matter/Energy Shield] -[Pinpoint Shield] - [Ranged Damage Shield] - [Shield Projector] -[Void Shield]


'Protect against anything' and perhaps 'protect against kinetics' defence systems would weaken weapons like K-Guns - making them overpriced. In the case of a specific 'kinetic' defence system, this could possibly be handled by raising the cost. But there is no real solution for an equally effective defence except upping the cost to the point that it is a 'Jack of all trades, master of none'.

Alternatively, especially for 'homebrew' campaigns, the cost of Kinetic- based weapons could be reduced by -1 point per MASS to represent the reduction of effectiveness due to the introduction of 'universal' or kinetic defences (other than buying lots of Hull Integrity).

Where a ship mounts more than one 'Screen' or 'Shield' type defensive system, it should be a general rule that only one such defensive system nay be active on any given turn. Which such system is active should be chosen and written down during Phase 1) WRITE ORDERS. If a system does not obey this restriction, it will be so mentioned in its description.


Full Thrust uses a 'model' where ships are reasonably durable, and screens just provide additional defence. In some Science Fiction settings, the screens or shields are ALL the defence, once they are gone, the ship (however big) has about 1 hull box, yet other settings are between these 2 examples.


[Noam Izenberg] (NIFT-Midbar Ghostworks) WOTW #10

This is a generic 'damage absorption' type shield, i.e. it can absorb a certain amount of damage each turn. Once the Damage Shield has absorbed all of the damage it can in a turn, the remainder is applied normally. The effectiveness of Damage Shields tends to degrade as they absorb damage, and should they be overwhelmed (the damage taken in a turn exceeds their absorption capacity), then they burn out.

Each Damage Shield is represented by a system icon, representing the Damage Shield Generator, and a row of 'shield boxes' representing the Damage Shield's absorption capacity, or 'shield points'. A Damage Shield cannot have more than 6 shield points, however, a ship may mount more than one Damage Shield Generator.

As a ship carrying one or more Damage Shield Generators takes damage, the damage is initially marked off the shield points, note that all the shield points of one generator should be marked off before proceeding to the next.

Should any of the Damage Shield Generators have its absorption capacity exceeded, then it has 'burned out' and is considered damaged. At the end of the turn (Phase 10), for each Damage Shield Generator that has absorbed damage, roll 1D6, and subtract the number of shield points that were marked off, this will determine the number of shield points that 'regenerate', and can be un-marked.

Damage Shield Generators must make threshold checks due to damage just like other systems, a Damage Shield Generator that has been damaged, either due to a threshold check, or due to having its absorption capacity exceeded, may be repaired using damage control parties, as usual. A repaired Damage Shield Generator will come back on line with only one shield point, and can begin 'regenerating' immediately.

A Damage Shield Generator requires 2% of the ship's MASS per shield point, but with a MINIMUM of 1 MASS per shield point. A Damage Shield Generator costs 3 points per MASS.

ICON:    DS Generator shield pointshield pointshield pointshield pointshield pointshield point   (Shield Generator and row of shield points)


[Noam?] Damage Shield is like a more complex/flexible version of the Shield Projector. [WotW #10] Simplified the way thresholds and shield burnout and regeneration are handled - see Noam's original below:

Noam Izenberg's Original:
Mass is 2% ship mass per shield point (1 mass per point minimum). Cost is 3 points per Mass.
Each shield point has its own box on the SSD + 1 box for the generator. When damage is taken from any source over one turn, it is applied to the damage shield first, until the shield has absorbed as many points as it has boxes. Each box that absorbs damage rolls a threshold at the current level, and burns out if it fails (i.e. that box cannot absorb damage on subsequent turns until/unless repaired). If the Shield is overwhelmed (damage received is greater than number of functioning shield boxes), then the generator also takes a threshold check. When a normal threshold due to damage is called for, each shield box AND the generator take another threshold roll.


[Bif Smith] (GZG-L 1-Feb-2001)  WOTW #10

The Globular Shield is a force barrier that provides protection to the carrying ship when it is active. However, there is a disadvantage, while active, the Globular Shield prevents the carrying ship from taking most types of action.

During Phase 1) WRITE ORDERS, the written orders should include whether the Globular Shield is active or inactive. A Globular Shield has a rating, which is the maximum amount of damage it can deflect each turn while it is active. When it is active, the carrying ship cannot use thrust, any weapons, engage its FTL drive, or launch/recover fighters. In fact, the carrying ship cannot engage its FTL drive until 2D6 turns after the Globular Shield was last activated. However, use of an active Globular Shield does not prevent the carrying ship from using sensors or ECM.

If the Globular Shield takes more damage than its rating in one turn, the generators will overload, and must make a threshold check or be damaged, and inoperable. A Globular Shield damaged in this way can be repaired using Damage Control Parties. If it is repaired, the Globular Shield can be re-activated at half it`s original rating, and can regenerate as normal from there.

Optional Rule: If the Globular Shield is overloaded then it collapses, doing a number of beam dice of damage equal to its current rating to the carrying ship. This damage is counted as internal damage.

The Globular Shield requires 3× its rating in MASS. It has a points cost of 4× its MASS.

Alternatively (Noam Izenberg):
The Globular Shield requires 1% of the ship's MASS × its rating (rounded up). It has a points cost of 4× its MASS.

ICON (example):     Globular Shield  (Rating 3)


[Noam] Has some similarity to Damage Shield.
[Oerjan] Conceptually similar to the Phalon vapour glands, but the Globular Shield gets better the more of it you can carry (i.e., the bigger your own ship is). Still, considering its size and penalties it probably isn't too much of a problem - eg., replacing the normal screens on a Komarov-class SDN with Globular Shields gives the Komarov 7 "free" DP per turn - equivalent to the average damage its normal screens save from 21 beam dice - but only if the ship doesn't manoeuvre or fire. All in all I'd say this potentially very powerful, but so loaded-down with restrictions that it becomes virtually useless.
[Charles] The notes on repairing an overloaded Globular Shield includes a mention of regeneration, however, there is no mention of regeneration in the main description, the shield just absorbs 1 DP per rating each turn.


[Noam Izenberg] (NIFT-Midbar Ghostworks)

A Gravitic Shield is a defensive system that functions by using a gravity field to deflect attacks. It will defend against particle or matter-based weapons only (i.e. pulse torpedoes, missiles, Sa'Vas'Ku pods and railguns/k-guns). A ship may carry any number of Gravitic Shields, capacity permitting, but if more than two are active in a turn, the additional active Gravitic Shields (after the first two) have no further effect. While the Gravitic Shield is active, the defended ship cannot fire any of the weapons the Gravitic Shield defends against.

Alternatively, but only in games using the cinematic movement system, instead of preventing the use of certain weapons fire while the Gravitic Shield is active, the rating of the defending ship's main drive is halved on any turn that the Gravitic Shield is active.

During Phase 1) WRITE ORDERS, the written orders should include whether the Gravitic Shield is active or inactive. While active, any damage inflicted by Pulse Torpedoes, Lance Pods or Missiles (Salvo or MT), will be reduced by 2 DP per 1D6 of damage for every level of Gravitic Shield active on the defended ship, (remembering the maximum of two EFFECTIVE active Gravitic Shields). Kra'Vak fighters attacking the defended ship will have any attack rolls of '4' negated if any levels of Gravitic Shield are active, and will only inflict 1 DP on rolls of '6' if two (or more) Gravitic Shields are active. Energy weapons (such as Beam Batteries, Stinger Nodes, Plasma Bolts and Pulsars) are unaffected by the Gravitic Shield.

The Gravitic Shield requires 5% of the ship's total MASS for a level-1 Gravitic Shield, and 10% of the ship's total MASS for a level-2 Gravitic Shield, but with a MINIMUM requirement of 3 MASS per level. Additional levels can be purchased, at an extra requirement of 5% of the ship's total MASS each (minimum of 3 each), but have no additional effect apart from acting as backup systems. A Gravitic Shield costs 3 points per MASS required.

ICON:    Gravitic Shield


[Noam] The firing/thrust restrictions are an attempt to balance the Gravitic Shield against the Screen, since kinetic weapon defences are not balanced in the Full Thrust rule set (See the General Note on Screens and Shields above).
[Charles] -2 DP per 1D6 seems overly effective, I suggest using the same mechanism as screens against plasma bolts; level-1 negates rolls of 6, while level-2 negates rolls of 5+. The screen is described as being effective against railguns/k-guns, but no details are given. Also, the optional, thrust-based penalty, I'd prefer the penalty be related to the level of Gravitic Shield active, say reduce the thrust by one–quarter or one–third if 1 level is active, and reduce it by one–half or two–thirds if two levels are active. Alternatively, this system could be combined with the Kinetic Shield.


[GZG-L] (List Discussion) WotW #7

This system is found in the Defences: E.C.M. Systems section.


[Brendan Robertson] (FT-List 30-Jan-01)

The Kinetic Shield is a defensive field that absorbs or deflects some of the kinetic energy of an attack, thus it can defend against weapons such as Pulse Torpedoes, Submunitions Packs, Kinetic Guns, and Multiple Kinetic Penetrator Packs. It provides no defence against energy weapons such as Beam Batteries, Stinger Nodes, Pulsars, or Plasma Bolts, neither does it defend against Scatterguns.

If a ship defended by a Kinetic Shield is attacked by Pulse Torpedoes or Lance Pods, then the damage of each hit is reduced by 1 DP per level of the Kinetic Shield. Likewise, K-gun attacks also have their damage reduced by a like amount (applied after the die is rolled to see if the damage is doubled). Against Submunitions Packs and MKP packs, the 'beam' dice rolled for these weapons treat the Kinetic Shield as a 'screen' for the purposes of determining damage reduction (level-1 negates rolls of '4', level-2 negates rolls of '4', and reduces the effect of rolls of '6' to 1 DP, re-rolls, if applicable, are not affected). No other weapons are affected by the Kinetic Shield.

The Kinetic Shield requires 5% of the ship's total MASS for a level-1 Kinetic Shield, and 10% of the ship's total MASS for a level-2 Kinetic Shield, but with a MINIMUM requirement of 3 MASS per level. Additional levels can be purchased, at an extra requirement of 5% of the ship's total MASS each (minimum of 3 each), but have no additional effect apart from acting as backup systems. A Kinetic Shield costs 3 points per MASS required.

ICON:    Kinetic Shield


[Brendan] Not overly effective, but retrofitting into existing ships becomes easy. They shouldn't be allowed in one- off games against Kra'Vak, as it gives human ships a slight advantage. Should be all right for campaign or tournament play, where energy fleets can return the favour.
[Oerjan] As I've said on the list, if any form of Kinetic Shield is introduced then all weapons affected by it should immediately have their Damage/Mass ratios increased by 20%. Part of the balance between screen-skipping weapons and beam-style weapons is the very fact that screens degrade beams but not screen-skipping weapons; introducing a defence which degrades screen-skipping weapons but not beams stuffs that part of the game balance down the drain. (See General Note on Screens and Shields.)
[Charles] If we're going to allow such defences at all, I have some questions; why does it defend against Pulse Torpedoes, but not Plasma Bolts? (both are plasma-based, according to PSB), why does it defend against Submunitions Packs, but not larger missiles?, and why DOESN'T it defend against Scatterguns (a kinetic energy weapon)? I think this and the Gravitic Shield should be combined into a single system.


[Noam Izenberg] (NIFT-Midbar Ghostworks)  WOTW #10

The Matter/Energy Shield is a defence system that absorbs the damage of incoming attacks. It consists of a central Shield Generator, and one or more Shield Emitters that actually project the Shield.

The ME Shield acts as a screen against beam-type weapons (Beam Batteries, Pulsars, etc.), with a level of screen equal to half of the level of the ME Shield Generator. Other weapons have their damage reduced by a number of DP equal to the level of the ME Shield for each die of damage.

However, the FULL damage of every attack is applied to the ME Shield itself (e.g. a level-2 ME Shield prevents a beam roll of '4' from damaging the ship, but the shield counts as having taken that point of damage. Similarly, a roll of '6' against the ME Shield causes 2 DP to the hull and 2 DP to the ME Shield), this 'Shield Damage' is tracked for each emitter. If a ME Shield emitter receives more damage than its level from a single source (weapon, not ship), it must make a threshold check at the current threshold level.

The Matter/Energy Shield Generator requires 5% of the ship's total MASS for each level of the Shield, but with a MINIMUM requirement of 3 MASS per level. The ME Shield Emitters require 1 MASS if they cover one fire arc, 2 MASS if they cover three fire arcs, and 3 MASS if they cover all six fire arcs. A Matter/Energy Shield system costs 3 points per MASS required for both generator and emitter(s).

1 arc Emitters (level–4 Generator with 6× 1–arc emitters) 1 arc Emitters
3-arc Emitters (level–4 Generator with 2× 3–arc emitters) 3-arc Emitters
6-arc Emitter (level–4 Generator with 1× 6–arc emitter) 6-arc Emitter

Note: complete are coverage by ME Shield Emitters is not required, but will probably be the usual case.


[WotW #10] The following points were raised;

  1. It applies to various genres.
  2. Using Screens vs. Plasma Bolt example, for weapons that to straight 1 or more D6 damage, a level 2 or 3 ME Shield should negate rolls of 6, and a level 4+ should negate rolls of 5&6. Vs. K-guns, subtract half the ME Shield level from the K-Gun class ONLY for the dice roll to determine if damage doubles (0 or less counts as 1)
  3. Considering that people tend to resolve entire ship attacks by rolling all beam dice at once, the fact this system requires keeping track of individual weapon rolls could slow play significantly.


[Bif Smith] (GZG-L 1-Feb-2001)  WOTW #10

The Pinpoint Shield is a defence system that uses a number of small, fast moving 'Force Shields' to intercept incoming attacks. By utilising all Shield at once, it can also block some of the damage of an area effect attack, such as a Plasma Bolt.

An undamaged Pinpoint Shield has an 'absorption capacity' of 20 Damage Points, every point of damage that it blocks are subtracted from these. To block a directed attack (Beam Battery fire, etc. ), roll 1D6+2, the Pinpoint Shield will successfully block the attack if the result of this dice is greater than the die roll of the attack. Every subsequent use of the Pinpoint Shield after the first in a turn reduces this die roll by -1 (i.e. the first interception attempt rolls 1D6+2, the second is 1D6+1, the third 1D6, the fourth 1D6-1, etc.).

If the ship carrying the Pinpoint Shield is attacked by an area effect weapon, the Shield automatically absorbs some of the damage:

Against missiles (Salvo or MT), the Pinpoint Shield rolls a 1D6 after Point Defence has been resolved, to see how many of the remaining missiles are stopped. Each missile that is stopped applies its damage to the Pinpoint Shield, for example, if 3 missiles are stopped, but the 2nd missile pushes absorbed damage to or past 20 DP, the third missile still goes through).

Pinpoint Shields can regenerate at the rate of 1D6+1 DP per turn, during Phase 10) TURN END. With the Pinpoint Shields in use, normal screens are inoperable. Multiple Pinpoint Shield systems can be mounted in a ship, and used together or separately.

The Pinpoint Shield requires 40 MASS, and costs 120 points.

ICON:    Pinpoint Shield


[Noam] Has some similarity to Damage Shield. Perhaps should be buyable in smaller units, say 10 MASS for 5 DP absorption.
[Charles] This system is a bit unwieldy and slow. A simpler alternative is: A ship can have any number of Pinpoint Screens (MASS allowing). Each Pinpoint Screen can intercept 1 attack each turn on a roll of 5+ on 1D6. Against fighters or missiles (either salvo or MT), roll a beam die for the number of attacks intercepted. K-gun shots are easier to intercept than beams with this system, on a roll of 4+, but are not totally blocked, a successful block will reduce the K-gun damage by 1 class (thus an intercepted K-3 scores damage as a K-2).


[Noam Izenberg] WOTW #10

This is an expansion of the Damage Shield as a combined offense/defense weapon with some similarities to the Expanding Sphere Generator from SFB.

The Ranged Damage Shield follows the same general rules as the Damage Shield, but costs 3% mass per shield point. The Shield can be "ship only, "or set at various ranges.  For "ship only," the RDS behaves just like a damage shield with one addition - Fighters and missiles attempting to attack the ship take hits until the damage capacity is saturated. For example, an RDS ship with 6 shield points is invulnerable to single standard 6-figher groups or 6-missile salvoes if it takes no other damage in the turn.

If the RDS is projected at range, the shield covers a circle of a given radius around the projecting ship. Effective points are reduced by 1 for every 1" radius. For example, a 6-point RDS is effectively 5 points at 1 MU, 3 points at 3MU and 1 point at 5 MU. Any ship, fiend or foe, that begins but does not end, or ends but does not begin the turn inside this radius takes damage from the shield. The thorny problem of ships passing through the range during meovement is ignored for now.

Damage from the RDS incurred during movement is applied at the end of the movement phase, including thresholds. Each point inflicted by the RDS is marked on the shield as if it were incoming damage, so a projected 3 point RDS can inflict only 3 points of damage before going down. An RDS that has exceeded its capacity in offensive action does not threshold. If more than one ship that could be damaged by the RDS in a turn, use the following rules to determine the target:
1) Furthest target from the projecting ship at the start of the turn
2) (if equidistant) Largest target from the projecting ship at the start of the turn
3) Closest target from the projecting ship at the end of the turn
4) (if equidistant) Largest target from the projecting ship at the end of the turn

ICON:    DS Generator shield pointshield pointshield pointshield pointshield pointshield point   (Shield Generator and row of shield points) + box for projected range.


[Brian Bell] (GZG-L 4-Jun-2001)   WOTW #10

A Shield Projector is a defensive system that projects a 'shield' that absorbs a certain amount of damage each turn.

Each round a shield will absorb the first 3 damage points that the ship would have taken. Any damage after this is taken at full value. Unless the shield projector is damaged (i.e. by a failed threshold check or a needle beam attack), it can absorb this amount of damage each round.

The Shield Projector requires 5% of the ship's total MASS, but with a MINIMUM requirement of 1 MASS. A Shield Projector system has a points costs of 3 points per MASS required.

ICON (example):    Shield Projector

[Noam] Has some similarity to Damage Shield. If you up the MASS to 2% per shield point, you have a scalable system that is less complex (threshold ony with ship threshold, all or nothing capacity) but more powerful (no"burnout", no recharge).


[Tom Beliech/Corye Seale] (Corye's web page)  WOTW #10

A Void Shield is a defence that acts like 'virtual armour', it protects like armour, but it can be repaired by Damage control Parties.

For defensive purposes, the Void Shield boxes are treated just like normal armour boxes, including the rules for penetrating damage. However, when Damage Control Parties are allocated to damaged systems, one or more can be allocated to one or more destroyed Void Shield boxes. Each such box requires 1 successful damage control roll to repair, using the normal damage control rules.

As an option, Layered Void Shields may be allowed, these function exactly like Phalon 'Shell' Armour (Fleet Book 2, page 35), except that they can be repaired using Damage Control Parties.

Void Shield boxes take 1 MASS each, and cost 4 points per box. If using Layered Void Shields, then the points cost is 4 × layer number (i.e. twice that of an equivalent Phalon 'Shell' Armour box).

ICON:    Void Shield Void Shield Void Shield Void Shield  Void Shield


[Oerjan] Extremely useful for capital ships since they have DCPs to spare; far less so for cruisers and smaller.
[Charles] We could make the required MASS a percentage of the total ship MASS (i.e. 2%/point, minimum of 1 MASS). or we could remove the regeneration dependence on damage control - make each box regenerate on roll of 6 on a D6.

Small WDA Title - Weapon/Defence Archive main page
NIFT - NIFT Home Page
New Israel FlagNew Israel Homepage

Last Update May 2, 2003, NRI