Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Psi Wars: Spaceships -- Simplified Space Combat 1.1

Simplified Space Opera Combat

Turns are 20 seconds long.
There are four categories of ship worth paying attention to:

Fighter SM+4 to SM+6
Corvette SM +7 to SM +9
Capital SM +10 to SM +12
Dreadnought SM +13 or larger

Action During Combat

Use the Cockpit Multitasking rules (SS4 33).
Command applies to squadron leaders and applies to everyone in their formation. Ignore it for minor NPC formations or NPC warships that are commanded by non-named NPCs.
Engineering applies to fighters only if they have a robot in an engineering room. Ignore it for NPC ships
Navigation: Ignore it (unless you're jumping to Hyperspace)
Sensor Tasks: Ignore it.
Piloting: See Piloting below.
Gunnery: As normal.
Communications: Ignore it. It never costs anything to communicate, unless someone is jamming you.

Space Movement

Use the Airplane-Style dogfighting rules (SS4 p33). Every 25gs of acceleration give +1 to your acceleration bonus. Ignore MPS unless you're worried about long-term endurance for some reason. Assume ships have enough fuel to keep accelerating throughout the battle.

  • Neutral Range is Short (-8)
  • Engaged Range is Close (-4)
  • "Hugging" is Point-Blank (-0)

Close: Brings you into Close range with a target (Engagement is automatic). If you succeed in the contest by 10+, you may also become Advantaged or go straight into a collision (not hugging). If you are already Engaged and you succeed at the pilot contest, you may move closer (for a ram) or hugging (if at least two size categories larger than you), or you may become advantaged. All other rules apply as normal. Use Airplane-Style Dogfighting (SS4 p33): You may not close one someone who closed on you and is sufficiently advantaged that they have your rear facing them.
  • Dedicated: As normal
  • Ambush: As normal
  • Stunt: As per Action 2 p33: You may elect to make a second Pilot roll at a penalty of between -2 to -10. If you succeed, gain +1 to your closing roll per -2 you applied. If you fail, you go into an uncontrolled drift if you failed by less than your stability, or your engines you crash if you fail by more.

Evasive Action: Ignore the rule that states all engagement is broken. You may attempt to break engagement and go to Neutral range. Lose any advantaged status you had, and roll a contest similar to Closing, doubling your acceleration bonus. Success put you at neutral range. Success is automatic if your opponent was in an Uncontrolled drift. Apply the +1 to dodge as normal.
  • Hiding: You may attempt to “hide” as part of an evasive move if you're in a nebula or an asteroid field or have a lucky break. As Action 2 p 32, except “Close” is -10, and “Short” is -5. Hiding is impossible at point-blank.
  • Stunt Escape: As Action 2 p34: Use a Lucky Break or Scenery to stunt. If your opponent does not make an equivalent stunt, you Escape back to Short Range automatically.

Hold Course: Unchanged

Retreat: To retreat, you must have nobody Engaged with you. Otherwise, make the contest normally.

Uncontrolled Drift: Unchanged.

Advantaged Status: If you are Engaged, further successful Closed contests give you advantaged status. You may follow the standard rules for Advantage or, if you already face their rear, you may gain a cumulative +1 to hit with all shots, to a maximum of +4.

Weapons Fire

Simplified Beam Weapon Fire:
  • SM: +3 per size category larger than you or -3 per size category smaller than you (for secondary or tertiary batteries or any weapons fired by a fighter) or -6 per size category (for spinal weapons, or major medium batteries from Corvette-class ships and larger)
  • Space Range: -8 for neutral, -4 for engaged, -0 for hugging.
  • Spinal or Fixed: +2
  • Target: -1 for streamlined front or rear. -5 for specific location. -10 for armor weakpoint or armor gap (against partially exposed systems).
  • Multitasking: As normal (use cockpit multitasking for fighters)
  • Point Defense: +0
  • Rate of Fire: As normal
All other rules are the same.

Missile fire
Missile attacks are two part. The rules for targeting are as follows: Roll Artillery (Guided) with the following modifiers
  • SM: +3 per size modifier difference
  • ECM: -2 per ECM system. +2 if you have a functioning Tactical Array.
  • Target: -1 for streamlined front or rear. -5 for specific location. -10 for armor weakpoint or armor gap (against partially exposed systems).
  • Multitasking: As normal (use cockpit multitasking for fighters)
  • Rate of Fire: As normal
Success gives you a lock and you may fire. From then on, the missile (controlled by the player that fired it) has 5 turns to close and strike the target. A missile begins at the range of the attacker to the target (if the attacker is hugging the target, the missile may attempt to strike immediately). It uses the normal closing rules using its own skill of 15 plus its own handling+acc modifier: It always makes dedicated close attempts, and it only stunts to keep up with a stunt evasion. If a missile is dodged, it returns to neutral range and must attempt to close again.

The roll for the missile to hit is made with its skill of 15 and the following modifiers:
  • SM: +3 per category size difference
  • ECM: -2 per ECM system. +2 if the attacker still has a functioning tactical array.
  • Target: The same as the attacker chose to lock onto when he fired.
  • ROF: For salvos only.

Use the normal rules, but apply the following optional rule for named NPCs and PCs: A collision cannot destroy your ship. Apply damage normally to the system struck, but at most, destroy it. Additional damage is lost. Furthermore, if damage would have been enough to destroy your ship, your engines are automatically disabled. You are in an uncontrolled drift.

Apply all normal rules, but apply ECM for missiles only.


Unchanged except that attacks to armor gaps require half the necessary damage to disable or destroy, and armor gaps go away if the system is destroyed. Damage achieved via an armor gap cannot exceed the amount of damage necessary to destroy a system. Excess damage is lost. Systems with armor gaps include:
  • Defensive ECM
  • All Enhanced Arrays
  • Jet Engines
  • Ram Scoops
  • All Reaction and Reactionless Engines
  • Robot Arms
  • All Weapon Systems.
Flesh Wound: The “Flesh Wound” rule can apply to ships! Spend a character point to reduce damage to your ship to 10% of your HP. That means that one system was disabled, but you suffered no further damage. Whew!

Action Aboard


Special Rules

Formation: As per the usual rules, but with the following additions: Advantaged status (and bonus to attack) apply to all ships in the same formation. Stunts performed by the squadron leader must be matched by the stunts of the other characters in formation, or they break formation. Use the sacrificial dodge rules on SS 4 p31.
For other special rules, see Large Space Battes and Environmental Effects, both in SS 4.

Designing Ships

We have a limited selection of ships available to us from the SS series, and we may need to expand that. Some design guidelines:
  • Hyperdrives: Hyperdrives cast a hyperspace shadow. This halves the acceleration a capital ship is capable of, and halves the reaction-based acceleration a corvette-class ship is capable of making. Hyperdrives on fighter-class vessels are too small to cast a shadow, but are also less efficient, and have 1/10th the speed/range as larger hyperdrives.
  • Reactionless Engines: Reactionless Engines are a function of interacting with your hyperspace shadow. Fighters cannot cast a hyperspace shadow, thus may not mount reactionless drives. Larger vessels may, but halve the speeds of all reactionless engines (and halve them again for capital-class ships, because capital-class ships cast heavy hyperspace shadows).
  • Force Screens: All force screens may be adjustable for free. Treat adjusting the force screens as an engineering action (possible without having an engine room, for fighters) that requires no roll.
All ships can have armor (typically Light Alloy, Nanocomposite, or Diamondoid), cargo holds, contragravity lifters, control rooms, defensive ecm, Engine Rooms, Enhanced Arrays (often tactical), External Clamps, Force Screens, Fuel Tanks, Habitats (but never total: Ships carry supplies and need to make stops), Hangar Bays, Open Space, Passenger Seating, Super Fusion Power Plants, Super Fusion Torch engines, Super Reactionless Engines, Star Drives (Hyperdrive), and the followiung weapon systems: Improved UV, Improved Plasma, Anti-particle, X-ray, Tractor and improved EM disruptors (SS 7 p19). For missiles, use those noted below.


Fighters should typically have between 150 and 250 Gs of acceleration from Super Fusion Torch engines. They need at least 450 mps of fuel, but don't bother to track more than this except for “long range” fighters, which are more of a setting/background concern. Fighters have shorter (1/10th) range with Hyperdrives, so they should be rare.

Fighters typically armor themselves with Nanocomposite or Diamondoid armor, hardened. A fighter typically deals 4d(5) damage with its lasers, so should not have more than about 35 DR or it will be invulnerable to other fighters. For ships with a single missile system: A light fighter with a missile bay can carry 3 light missiles or one light torpedo. A medium fighter can carry 7 light missiles or three medium torpedoes. A heavy fighter can carry 20 light missiles or 10 light torpedos. Don't worry about whether or not a ship can actually fire 20cm missiles: All fighters with Major batteries can load light missiles.

Fighters typically have between 1-3 defensive ECM systems.


Corvettes should typically have between 50 and 100 Gs of acceleration from Super Reactionless engines.

Corvettes typically armor themselves with Nanocomposite or Diamondoid armor, hardened. A Corvette typically deals 3dx5d(5) damage with its lasers, so should not have more than about 150 DR or it will be invulnerable to other Corvettes. Corvettes can mount Medium missiles and torpedoes in Major batteries, or Light missiles or Torpedoes in Secondary batteries. Numbers of missiles aren't important.

Corvettes typically have 0-1 defensive ECM systems.

Capital and Larger

Capital ships should typically have between 25 and 75 Gs of acceleration from Super Reactionless engines.

Capital ships typically armor themselves with Nanocomposite or Diamondoid armor, hardened. There's no upper limit to armor or damage from Capital class ships. A capital class ship can mount heavy torpedoes or missiles in a major battery (and Dreadnoughts can mount them in Medium batteries). A capital class ship can mount medium missiles and torpedos in a medium battery (a dreadnought can mount them in a secondary battery). A capital class ship can mount light missiles in a tertriary battery. Numbers of missiles aren't important.

Capital ships rarely have Defensive ECM systems.

Simplified Missile Table

Missile Type Cost Mass Closing Rolls Attack Rolls Damage
Light Missile (20 cm) $125k
Light Torpedo (20 cm) $200k
Medium Missile (40 cm) $2M
Medium Torpedo(40 cm) $3M
Heavy Missile (80 cm) $30M
Heavy Torpedo (80 cm) $40M

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