Babylon 5

Weapon/Defence Archive: Genre: Babylon 5

[Earth Alliance Railgun] -[Energy Mine (B5W)] -[Energy Mine (EFSB)] -[Fighters] -[Heavy Beam Weapon] -[Interceptor Arrays] -[Mimbari Jammer] -[Laser Weapons] -[Matter Cannon] -[Plasma Cannon] -[Pulse Cannon] -[Twin Array]


Bul-b5warsMany of these systems are conversions from Agents of Gaming’s (defunct as of November 2002) Babylon 5 Wars game. It is recommended that the Broadside Fire Arcs be used with these, as this matches the commonly used Babylon 5 Wars fire arcs. This is why many of the conversions fire through two arcs.

The spaceship combat system included in the Earthforce Sourcebook for The Babylon Project RPG was developed from Full Thrust 2 by Jon Tuffley, and includes several features that were later included in the Fleet Books. Systems described in the Earthforce Sourcebook can be used in Full Thrust, but unfortunately no MASS requirements or points costs are listed for them, however, several conversions exist on the WWW. A good place to start would be the TBP Ship Builders Guild, although many links from here are now dead. The TBP/ESFB and Full Thrust Support page is another good place to look.


[B5Wars conversion by Clint Kozell/Kelsey Seale] (Kelsey's web page)

This is functionally equivalent to a Class–3 Railgun, but it can fire through two arcs.

An Earth Alliance Railgun requires 7 MASS. It has a cost of 28 points.

(The original version had a MASS requirement of 6, and a cost of 24 points, the MASS and points cost were increased following a suggestion by Oerjan.

ICON:    Earth Alliance Railgun


[Oerjan] MASS 7 brings it better into line with the 2- arc K-2 and the 2-arc Pulse Torpedo Launcher, but MASS 6 is pretty close too. The "real" value is somewhere inbetween.
[Noam] Perhaps MASS 6, 30 pts or MASS 7, 21 pts. Just Use K-guns with different PSB.
[Oerjan] Mass 7 Cost 4× MASS is better (if a bit high).
[Charles] In B5 wars, the EA Railgun can fire through up to 6 arcs, depending on which ship it is mounted on, although 2 arcs is most common. Say MASS is 5, + 2 per additional arc over 1, cost is MASS ×4.


[B5Wars conversio Kelsey Seale] (Kelsey's web page)

Treat an Energy Mine as a Phalon Plasma Bolt Launcher (see Fleet Book 2, page 36) with the following alterations:

ICON:    Energy Mine


[Oerjan] 67% better range and 178% bigger area of effect is MUCH, MUCH more powerful than the narrower fire arc. If this is a single-shot disposable weapon, like an SMR, then the listed Mass could be OK (though I'm not sure about that); if it is multi-shot like a PBL (and the description indicates that it is) then it is vastly overpowered. Try MASS = 10× Class or more.
[Charles] From the range I'd say he was using a conversion of 1 Babylon 5 Wars hex = 1 Full Thrust mu, but in that case the diameter should be only 3 mu! Also, Babylon 5 Wars Energy Mines are only available in one size.


[Sean Penn's B5 Conversion] (Sam's website)

An energy mine is treated much like a salvo missile system, though it is somewhat more deadly. An energy mine has a range of 24 mu, and is fired during Phase 4) LAUNCH ORDNANCE of a turn. The mines automatically detonate immediately after Phase 6) ALLOCATE ORDNANCE AND FIGHTER ATTACKS – after all fighters have made any secondary moves. This provides fighters with a chance to escape the blast sphere of the mines, since any caught by the blast will almost definitely be destroyed.

When a mine detonates, it does 6D6 damage to all ships within 1 mu of the detonation point. This is straight damage, no rerolls (like Plasma Bolts). Fighter groups caught within this range loose an equal number of fighters. At this range, there is no chance that a fighter group will survive.

Each 1 mu beyond this, the damage is reduced by 1 die. Out to 6 mu, the damage is only 1D6. However, any MT Missiles within this area of effect are automatically destroyed.

Weapon System MASS Points Cost
Energy Mine Launcher 5 10
Energy Mine Magazine 4 per mine MASS ×5
Energy Mine Rack 6 30

ICON (example):     Energy Mine  (with 3–shot magazine)


[Noam] EM equipped ships run a real risk of running onto their own mines at moderate ship speeds. With such a high cost, the range should probably be increased. Cost could probably go down anyway.


[Lots of People] (various)

All Babylon 5 fighters are strictly non–FTL capable, like standard Full Thrust fighters, however, they can use a Jump Gate or an open Jump Point to enter hyperspace, and thus achieve interstellar travel. The simplest way to represent Babylon 5 Fighters in Full Thrust is to treat them as one of the standard Full Thrust fighter types, described in Fleet Book 2, page 4. Unless stated otherwise, Babylon 5 Fighter types do NOT possess atmospheric capability.

In this section, there will be a brief description of each fighter type, followed by one or more interpretations of the fighter in Full Thrust terms.


Sentri Fighter

The Centauri Sentri Fighter is the most common fighter fielded by the Centauri Republic.

Treat the Sentri as a Fast fighter, and it may well have atmospheric capability.


Starfury Fighter

The Earth Alliance Starfury is the most common fighter type in use by Earthforce, and one of the more distinctive fighters seen in Babylon 5.

DEAN GUNDBERG’S VERSION (Star Ranger's Crossover Web Page)
Treat the Starfury as a Multirole (Standard) fighter.

Treat the Starfury as a Heavy fighter.


Badger Fighter

The Earth Alliance Starfury Badger is a two–seater long–range version of the Starfury, it can also carry missiles.

CHARLES TAYLOR’S VERSION (Version 3.0 update)
Treat the Starfury Badger as a Heavy, Long–Range fighter, that can carry missiles, use the rules for Fighter Missile Racks. A group of 6 Badger fighters costs 42 points (7 points each), carrying missile racks increases the cost of the group to 48 points (8 per fighter).


Thunderbolt Fighter

The Earth Alliance Thunderbolt is a newer fighter deployed by Earthforce, it is larger than the Starfury, more heavily armed, and can carry small missiles. It also has atmospheric capability.

DEAN GUNDBERG’S VERSION (Star Ranger's Crossover Web Page)
Treat the Thunderbolt as a Multirole fighter that can also make one missile attack against a ship that is the same as the 'torpedo' attack of a Torpedo fighter.
A group of 6 Thunderbolt fighters costs 48 points (8 points each).

Treat the Thunderbolt as a Heavy, Attack fighter with an optional missile rack.
The missile attack is carried out as a submunitions attack and each of the two missiles does 1D3 (1D6/2) damage to the target. The Thunderbolt fires 2 missiles per turn for three turns.

A group of 6 Thunderbolt fighters costs 42 points (7 points each), carrying a full load of missiles increases the cost of the group to 78 points (13 per fighter).


Nial Fighter

The Minbari Nial is another distinctive Babylon 5 fighter design, and one of the most powerful fielded by the younger races.

Treat the Nial as a Fast, Long–Range fighter that engages fighters as if it were an Interceptor, and ships as if it were an Attack fighter. The Nial fires first in any fighter combat, except against the First Ones (aka. Ancients) which are resolved normally. Warrior caste Squadrons are Aces, Priest caste Squadrons are Standard and Worker caste Squadrons are Green (turkey).
A group of 6 Nial fighters costs 60 points (10 points each).


Frazi Fighter

The Narn Frazi Fighter is the most common fighter fielded by the Narn Regime.

Treat the Frazi as a Long–Range fighter.


Delta–V Fighter

The Raider Delta–V Fighter is the most common fighter fielded by Raiders and Pirates, the Babylon 5 Wars game also has the Gaim using a variant design of it.

CHARLES TAYLOR’S VERSION (Version 3.0 update)
Treat the Delta–V as a Multirole (Standard) fighter, that has atmospheric capability.


[Many People] (Many Places)

For a description of a generic form of this weapon, see the Weapons section. In Babylon 5, the Heavy Beam Systems used by the Mimbari have an additional capability, each beam projector can be used as a point defence system on any round that it is not being used as a beam projector.

ICON (Earthforce Sourcebook version):    Heavy Beam weapon


[Sean Penn's B5 Conversion] (Sam's website)

An Interceptor Array combines point defence capability with a limited directional energy shield. Each interceptor covers three consecutive arcs, and can be used in one of two modes each turn.

In offensive mode, the Interceptor Array can be used as a point defence system, shooting down attacking fighters. In this respect, it is treated exactly like a normal point defence system. It does not require a fire control, but it is limited to operating in its arc of fire.

In defensive mode, an Interceptor Array is treated as a level one screen generator, though only against a single attacking ship or fighter group. Two or more overlapping interceptors can be stacked to give the effect of a level two screen.

Each Interceptor Array requires 2 MASS, and has a cost of 10 points.

ICON:    Interceptor Array


[Oerjan] Way unbalanced, for the same reason the fixed- Mass Full Thrust 2 screens were unbalanced: Since the Interceptors are fixed-Mass, they become a very cheap way of providing level-2 screens for large ships (and one which allows for much improved multiple redundancy as well). Eg., an ESU Komarov could replace its level-2 screens (Mass 22, Cost 66) with 4 Interceptors (Mass 8, Cost 40), saving 14 Mass to carry extra weapons etc. Sure, it'll cost a bit more, but the extra cost is nowhere close to how much more powerful it becomes with another 14 Mass of weapons. Also, the PSB given seems to have little relevance for B5 - the Pulse Cannon the EFSB Interceptors defend against in the B5 universe fire relatively slow-moving plasma blobs, and the B5 Interceptors shoot down those blobs with smaller plasma blobs of its own. No "energy shield" involved.
[Charles] 4 Interceptor Arrays are not quite equivalent to a full level-2 screen, as each Interceptor Array only provides its "screening" effect against the attacks of a single ship or fighter group, which may be hard to keep track of. The "screening" effect comes from the E-Web defensive field generated by Interceptors in Babylon 5 Wars, which comes from an attempt by Babylonian Productions to 'explain away' a CGI glitch! In the Earthforce Sourcebook, Interceptors provided a screen- like defence against pulse weapons, which used the Full Thrust beam battery mechanic.
Anyway, for a system like this that can "switch-mode" between being a point defence system and a screen generator, I have two possibilities:

  1. Each Interceptor Array has a MASS equal to 5% of the total MASS of the ship. In defensive mode it acts as a screen generator, but only protects the arcs it faces through, while in offensive mode, it acts as a number of point defence systems equal to its MASS, but only through its arc of fire.
  2. Each Interceptor Array requires 1 MASS, in offensive mode it functions as a 3-arc PDS, while in defensive mode, it requires a number of Interceptor Arrays, all covering the same arcs, equal to 5% of the TMF of the ship to generate a level-1 screen, or twice that for a level 2 screen. For simplicity, ALL Interceptor Arrays on the same ship must be in the same mode.


[Sean Penn's B5 Conversion] (Sam's website)

Minbari Jamming systems prevent fire control lock–on by enemy ships. Ships can use multiple fire control systems to give themselves an increased chance of locking on however.

A Jamming System has a mass equal to 5% of hull mass, and a cost equal to the mass of the ship.

Any ship that tries to fire on a jamming vessel has to roll a 1D6 to lock–on if they are beyond 6 mu range. Up to 12 mu, they need 3+. Up to 24 mu, they need 4+. Out to 36 mu they need 5+. Any range beyond 36 mu needs a roll of 6 to lock on.

Multiple fire controls targeting Jamming ship give multiple rolls.

ICON:     Jammer


[Oerjan] Probability to get a shot off for varying numbers of FCSs:

1 2 3 4 5 Avg. Surv. Value
0–6 mu 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 0 0
6–12 mu 67% 89% 96% 99% 100% 84% 19% MASS ×2
12–24 mu 50% 75% 88% 94% 97% 71% 41% MASS ×6
24–36 mu 33% 56% 70% 80% 87% 54% 86% MASS ×15
>36 mu 17% 31% 42% 52% 60% 31% 226% MASS ×38

Note: The "average" is weighted by the percentage of the ships in my design archive which have that number of FCSs (on the 9th of February, 2001). The "Survivability boost" is roughly "how much more firepower does the enemy need to throw at the ship to kill it", though in this case it only applies fully if the enemy has no non-jamming targets to shoot at – otherwise he can shoot at some other target instead. The "Value" is a rough calculation of how good the system is at that range (screens = MASS ×3).

Therefore, MASS ×20 could work, or could be a bit high (as usual it's better if the cost is too high than if it is too low!). A ship with jammers and extreme-range weapons is dangerous if it has enough engines to keep the range open, but so is ANY fast ship with extreme- range weapons simply because they're so difficult to catch. Inside range 36 (where considerably more weapons are able to shoot at it) MASS ×20 would seem to make it somewhat overpriced, except that I assume that you need to dedicate FCSs to the intended target (ie., if you fail the lock-on roll you don't get to use that FCS to engage another target). The jammer-equipped fleet needs to keep the range open at all costs though! And, of course, this is another system which favours large ships (which can carry multiple FCSs)...

What does it do to missiles etc.? (I assume that missiles can't be jammed since they only acquire targets within 6mu anyway.) How does it interact with enhanced/superior sensors?]

[Charles] Could use Noam’s Stealth System instead.


[B5Wars conversion by Clint Kozell/Kelsey Seale] (Kelsey's web page)

All B5 Laser Weapons are 2 arc, except for the Mag Laser (Mag Gun ?) & Heavy Particle Cannon (HPC) which are 1 arc. Laser Weapons do not penetrate armour. Each level of screens possessed by the target reduces the chance for double damage by -1.

EXAMPLE: A Heavy Laser Cannon strikes a ship protected by a level–1 screen, it would normally inflict double damage (i.e. 8 Damage Points) on a roll of 4 or less on 1D6, but against this ship, it only inflicts double damage on a roll of 3 or less. If the target ship had level–2 screens, the Heavy Laser Cannon would only inflict double damage on a roll of 2 or less.

Babylon 5 Wars Name   Full Thrust Equivalent   MASS  Points Cost
Light Laser Cannon Class–2 K–gun 4 12
Medium Laser Cannon Class–3 K–gun 5 15
Heavy Laser Cannon Class–4 K–gun 8 24
Mag Laser Class–5 K–gun 10 30
Heavy Particle Cannon Class–6 K–gun 13 39
ICONS: Light Laser Cannon Medium Laser Heavy Laser Mag Gun Heavy Particle Cannon
  Light Laser Cannon Medium Laser Cannon Heavy Laser Cannon Mag Gun Heavy Particle Cannon


[Oerjan] Why would anyone use HPC, Lt. laser, Hvy Laser or P-torps? Difference between 1- and 2-arc weapons is not considered. Masses for the Medium and Heavy lasers are taken straight from the K3 and K4 (which are) ONE-arc weapons.
[Charles] Well, it is stated that these have NO armour penetration, and are mitigated by screens, although I'm not sure that is sufficient to warrant the reduced MASS requirement and points cost. I cannot find a "Mag Laser" in Babylon 5 Wars, although I have found a "Mag Gun" which is a railgun launched nuclear weapon! To more accurately represent this weapon, give it a secondary area of effect of 1 mu diameter, all ships, fighter groups, etc. in this area suffer 2 beam dice of damage, the MASS and points cost would, of course, have to be increased.


[Charles Taylor] (version 3.0 update)

This is functionally equivalent to a Class–2 Railgun, but with any number of arcs of fire.

A Matter Cannon requires 3 MASS, plus 1 MASS per additional arc of fire. It has a cost of 4 points per MASS.

ICON (example):     Matter Cannon  (2 arcs)


[B5Wars conversion by Clint Kozell/Kelsey Seale] (Kelsey's web page)

The Plasma Cannon fires a beam of high temperature plasma at the target, this inflicts substantial damage at close range, the the beam tends to dissipate with range, so the weapon is less effective at longer ranged.

Plasma Cannons use the same rules as for Beam Batteries, except that the number of beam dice rolled drops of rapidly with range. Screens and armour have their usual effect. The number of beam dice at each range band is as follows:

Weapon  MASS   Points 
Beam Dice at Range
 0–12 mu   12–24 mu   24–36 mu   36–48 mu 
Light Plasma Cannon (3-arc) 1 3 2
Light Plasma Cannon (6-arc) 2 6 2
Medium Plasma Cannon (3-arc) 5 15 4 1
Heavy Plasma Cannon (2-arc) 8 24 7 3 1
Mega Plasma Cannon (1-arc) 14 42 11 6 3 1
Fuser (1-arc) 19 57 16 9 4 1
Ranged Fuser (1-arc) 24 72 12 9 6 3

Note that the Light Plasma Cannon can function in an anti–fighter/anti–missile role as a Point Defence System, like a Phalon Pulsar Battery.

ICONS:    Light Plasma  (Light)    Medium Plasma  (Medium)    Heavy Plasma  (Heavy)    Mega Plasma  (Mega)    Fuser   (Fuser)    Ranged Fuser  (Ranged Fuser)


[Oerjan] Heavy looks OK. Effectively 2× B1 + 1× B2 + 1× B3, but without the B1’s PD dice and wide arcs. Medium is effectively 2× B1 (without the PD capability and with only 3 arcs) + 1× B2 (3 arc), so I wouldn't pay more than 4 MASS for it. In fact, I wouldn't pay more than THREE MASS for it unless it gets the PD firepower of 2× B1.
[Charles] For completeness, I’ve added the Light Plasma Cannon and the Mega Plasma Cannon using the same progressions, and the Fuser and Ranged Fusers using progessions based on those in Babylon 5 Wars. As the number of arcs of fire of a Plasma Cannon in Babylon 5 Wars can vary, I suggest the following amended MASS requirements:

Light Plasma Cannon 1 MASS (3-arc) or 2 MASS (6-arc)
Medium Plasma Cannon 2 MASS (1-arc), 3 MASS (3-arc) +1 MASS additional arc
Heavy Plasma Cannon 5 MASS, + 2 per additional arc
Mega Plasma Cannon 14 MASS, +4 per additional arc
Fuser 19 MASS, +5 per additional arc
Ranged Fuser 24 MASS, +6 per additional arc
All Plasma Cannons cost 3 points per MASS requirement.


[B5Wars conversion by Clint Kozell/Kelsey Seale] (Kelsey's web page)

The Pulse Cannons use the same game mechanics as the Pulse Torpedo Launcher (see Fleet Book 1, page 7), but with a few changes, as follows:

A Light Pulse Cannon is treated as a Pulse Torpedo Launcher, but with a much shorter range – its maximum range is only 18 mu. At 0–6 mu a hit is scored on 4+, at 6–12 mu on 5+ and at 12–18 mu on 6 only. Damage per hit is 1D6/2 (round up). A Light Pulse Cannon has a limited point defence capability, it makes the same roll to hit as close range (4+), and any hit kills 1D6/2 fighters.

A Light Pulse Cannon requires 2 MASS and covers 3 arcs of fire. It has a cost of 6 points.

A Medium Pulse Cannon is treated as a Pulse Torpedo Launcher, but with a shorter range – its maximum range is only 24 mu. At 0–6 mu a hit is scored on 3+, at 6–12 mu on 4+, at 12–18 mu on 5+ and at 18–24 mu on 6 only. Damage per hit is still 1D6. A Medium Pulse Cannon has a limited point defence capability, it makes the same roll to hit as close range (3+), and any hit kills 1D6/2 fighters.

A Medium Pulse Cannon requires 3 MASS, plus an additional 1 MASS for every extra fire arc after the first. It has a cost of 3 points per MASS.

A Heavy Pulse Cannon is treated as a Pulse Torpedo Launcher, but with the damage increased to 1D6+2 Damage Points per hit.

A Heavy Pulse Cannon requires 5 MASS, plus an additional 2 MASS for every extra fire arc after the first. It has a cost of 3 points per MASS.

ICONS:    Light Pulse Cannon  (Light)    Medium Pulse Cannon  (Medium)    Heavy Pulse Cannon  (Heavy)


[Oerjan] Heavy: Massively overpowered for 1 arc, overpowered for 2 arcs, slightly overpowered for 3 arcs. Medium and Light: What about targeting missiles and PBs? Light: Underpowered.
[Charles] I suggest the following MASS requirements for Pulse Cannons;

All assume a cost of 3 points per MASS.


[B5Wars conversion by Clint Kozell/Kelsey Seale] (Kelsey's web page)

From the WOTW #8 discussion the following version was decided upon:

The Twin Particle Array has the same range and damage as a Pulsar Battery that is permanently configured in Medium–range (M) mode. In other words, it inflicts two beam dice of damage with a range of 24 mu. Like the Pulsar Battery, it may also function as a single point defence system covering the same arcs, and it cannot perform both functions in the same turn.

OPTION: Instead of giving it the point defence capability outlined above, give it the point defence capability of TWO class–1 beam batteries (representing an array of two beams), but with no requirement for a functioning fire control system.

Corye Seale’s original was as outlined above, except that it had the point defence capability of TWO point defence systems.

The Twin Particle Array may have one, three, or six arcs of fire – the MASS requirement is 2, 3 or 4 MASS respectively according to the number of fire arcs chosen. The cost is 5 points per MASS used.

ICONS:    Twin Particle Array  (1-arc)    Twin Particle Array  (3-arc)    Twin Particle Array  (6-arc)

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Last Update December 21, 2002, NRI