Starship Combat

Space combat is handled similarly to individual combat. Starship combat is broken into Strategic Rounds, which equates to roughly 30 minutes of actual time. During each Strategic Round, each ship must make one Manoeuvre Action and may make one Shooting Action during its turn. Each of these Actions must be performed by a separate Explorer. Any Explorers who did not perform either Action may perform an Extended Action instead. These Action may be performed in any order desired.

Manoeuvre Actions

In space combat, the distance between ships and the distance a ship moves on its Strategic Turn is measured in Void-Units (VUs). The actual distance of a Void-Unit is deliberately abstract but typically represents roughly 10,000 kilometers.

When a starship takes its Manoeuvre Action, it chooses to move directly forward a number of VUs equal to its Speed value or half its Speed value. This is the default action of a starship — since starships are huge vessels with immense momentum, they do not have the option of simply not moving.

Once the starship has moved forward by its Speed value or half its Speed value, it may turn. Transports, raiders, frigates, and other ships of equivalent size can turn up to 90 degrees to the left or right (or port and starboard). Unless otherwise stated, all other ships may turn up to 45 degrees instead. This default movement does not require any Skill Test, but a ship’s helmsman can attempt the following Manoeuvres to modify the vessel’s movement.

Adjust Bearing
This is used to decrease the distance a starship must move before it can turn. First, the ship decides if it is moving half its Speed value or its full Speed value. Then, the helmsman makes a Challenging (+0) Pilot (Space Craft) + Manoeuvrability Test. On a success, the starship may turn after moving one VU less than its Speed value. For every degree of success, it may turn after moving one less VU. A starship must move at least one VU before turning. Once the starship has turned, it must move the remaining distance so its complete movement is equal to its half or full Speed value.

Adjust Speed
This is used to adjust the distance a starship is required to move. First, the ship decides if it is moving half its Speed value or its full Speed value. Then, the helmsman makes a Challenging (+0) Pilot (Space Craft) + Manoeuvrability Test. On a success, he may increase or decrease the number of VUs his ship moves by one. For every degree of success, he may increase or decrease that number by an additional one. The starship may not move less than 0 VUs forward (the starship may come to a stop using its retro-thrusters, but cannot move in reverse). The starship may not move double or more its Speed value using this Manoeuvre (only Flank Speed allows that).

Adjust Speed & Bearing
This is used when a starship wants to turn earlier while moving more slowly or quickly. First, the ship decides if it is moving half its Speed value or its full Speed value. Then, the helmsman makes a Hard (–20) Pilot (Space Craft) + Manoeuvrability Test. On a success, he may increase or decrease the number of VUs his ship moves by 1, and may turn after moving one VU less than its Speed Value (as above). Likewise, every degree of success awards the benefits of Adjust Speed and Adjust Bearing. However, the limitations of both Manoeuvre Actions apply.

Come to New Heading
This is used to make radical course changes. The helmsman makes a Difficult (–10) Pilot (Space Craft) + Manoeuvrability Test. Success means the starship may turn when it has moved half its Speed value, then turn again when it has moved its full Speed value. The ship suffers –20 to any Ballistic Skill Tests to fire its weapons during this turn.

Disengage
This gives the starship a chance to flee the battle by making a radical course change and shutting off its systems, attempting to hide amongst the vastness of the void. This Manoeuvre may not be performed if the starship is within 8 VUs of any enemy. The helmsman makes a Challenging (+ 0) Pilot (Space Craft) + Manoeuvrability Test against an opposed Challenging (+0) Detection + Scrutiny Test from opponents within 20 VUs. Provided their number of successes is greater than the successes of each enemy ship, the ship leaves combat, and may not renter it. Whether it succeeds or fails, the ship may not fire any weapons this turn. Once a starship has successfully disengaged from combat, it may not reengage its opponents unless the GM specifically allows otherwise. Additionally, the Disengage Manoeuvre cannot be used to initiate a Stern Chase. This is because the disengaging ship is shutting down all non-essential systems, including its engines, scanners, and weapons, and doing its best to pretend it isn’t there. It will remain that way for several hours or even days, before restarting its systems (hoping that everyone else has already left the area).

Evasive Manoeuvres
This is used to help avoid enemy fire. The helmsman makes a Difficult (–10) Pilot (Space Craft) + Manoeuvrability Test. Success (and every subsequent degree of success) imposes a –10 penalty to all shooting directed against the starship until the beginning of its next Turn. The starship suffers the same penalty to its own shooting during this time.

Extended Actions

Extended Actions are only available to characters who have not taken part in Manoeuvre or Shooting Actions this turn.

Active Augury
The character makes a Challenging (+0) Scrutiny + Detection Test to scan the area surrounding the ship. If the scan is successful, the GM should reveal basic (and important) information about celestial bodies, phenomena, and ships within 20 VUs of the vessel. If there is a vessel on Silent Running within scan range, it is immediately detected. For every degree of success, the character can extend the range of his scan by five VUs.

Aid the Machine Spirit
The character must make a Challenging (+0) Tech-Use Test to commune with the craft’s machine spirit and aid it in its calculations. On a success, the character may add +5 to the ship’s Manoeuvrability or Detection for the remainder of the turn. For every two additional degrees of success, the character may add an additional +5 to the same system.

Disinformation
The character makes a Difficult (–10) Deceive or Blather Test. If he succeeds, he can increase the crew’s Morale by 1d5 for every degree of success for the duration of the combat.

Emergency Repairs
The character makes a Difficult (–10) Tech-Use Test to direct and aid repair crews. If he succeeds, he repairs one unpowered, damaged, or depressurized Component. Repairs normally take 1d5 turns, however, this can be reduced by one turn per degree of success, to a minimum of one turn. Emergency Repairs cannot fix destroyed Components.

Flank Speed
The character must make a Challenging (+ 0) Tech-Use Test to nurse the ship’s engines and push them to their limits. Success means the ship may move an additional VU this turn. Every degree of success allows an additional VU of movement. Failure by 2 or more degrees means the ship immediately suffers an Engines Crippled critical hit as the engines are strained too hard.

Focused Augury
The character makes a Challenging (+ 0) Scrutiny + Detection Test to scan a particular ship within extreme range of his vessel. A successful scan reveals a number of Components aboard the enemy ship.
• Basic Success: All Essential Components except Auger Arrays and Void Shields
• One Degree of Success: All Weapon Components
• Two Degrees of Success: Auger Arrays, Void Shields, and any combat related Components
• Three Degrees of Success: All Components aboard the target ship

Hail the Enemy
This action is unique as it can be performed by characters who have participated in Manoeuvre Actions or Shooting Actions during the turn. The character contacts one enemy ship using his ship’s vox systems. He may use Interaction Skills to accomplish certain goals, such as the Intimidation Skill to convince an opponent to surrender. The exact details of how this works is left up to the GM.

Hit and Run
This allows a character to raid an enemy ship, sabotage it, then retreat. The character makes a Challenging (+ 0) Pilot (Space Craft) Test, attempting to reach one enemy ship within 5 VUs in a boarding craft, accompanied by a team of raiders. This test can be modified by the target vessel’s Turret Rating. If he fails the test, he is forced to return to his ship. If he fails by four or more degrees, his craft is shot down. The character either survives stranded in a crippled craft or is killed at the GM’s discretion. If he succeeds, he must make an opposed Ordinary (+10) Command Test against the commander of troops aboard the enemy ship. If he succeeds, roll 1d5 on the Critical Hit chart twice and select one result to apply to the enemy ship, plus 1 point of damage to Hull Integrity for every degree of success. If he fails, his force is forced to retreat back to his boarding craft, unsuccessful in causing mayhem.

Hold Fast!
The character must have Air of Authority (or a similar Talent at the GM’s discretion) and make a Challenging (+ 0) Willpower Test. If he succeeds, he inspires the crew and reduces any damage to Morale by 1, plus 1 for every degree of success to a minimum of 1. Hold Fast! may only cancel out Morale damage suffered during the previous turn.

Jam Communications
The character makes a Difficult (–10) Tech-Use Test, targeting a ship within long range of his vessel. If he succeeds, that ship is unable to use vox-transmitters or other technologies to communicate with other ships. Psychic communicators—such as an astropath—are unaffected.

Lock on Target
The character makes a Challenging (+ 0) Scrutiny + Detection Test to use the ship’s augers and calculate exact firing solutions on an enemy vessel. If successful, he adds a +5 bonus to the Ballistic Skill Test to fire one Weapon Component during this turn. Every two additional degrees of success ad an additional +5 to the same Test.

Prepare to Repel Borders!
This character must make a Challenging (+ 0) Command Test in order to organise and arm a portion of the crew. If he succeeds, he may add +10 to any opposed Command Test he performs against enemy borders during subsequent turns of combat, plus an additional +5 for every degree of success. Although the character is not required to make additional tests on subsequent turns, he will be occupied rallying the defenders for as long as he wants to maintain the bonus.

Put Your Backs Into It!
The character makes a Challenging (+0) Intimidate or Charm Test. If he succeeds, he can choose to add +5 to a Ballistic Skill Test to fire a Weapon Component, an Emergency Repairs Action, or an attempt to put out a fire made during this turn. He may aid an additional Ballistic Skill Test, Emergency Repairs Action, or firefighting attempt for every three degrees of success.

Triage
The character makes a Difficult (–10) Medicae Test. If he succeeds, he reduces any damage to Crew Population by 1, plus 1 for every degree of success to a minimum of 1. Triage may only cancel Crew Population damage suffered during the previous Turn.

Shooting Actions

Each Weapon Component (both macrobatteries and lances) aboard a starship has the following statistics:
Strength: This is the maximum number of hits a macrobattery can land on an enemy ship.
Damage: This is the Damage each hit deals.
Crit Rating: This is the number of successes the shot must have to score a critical hit on the target.
Range: This is the range of the weapon. Starship weapons may be fired at targets no farther away than twice the weapon’s range.

When firing a Weapon Component, the character directing the fire makes a Ballistic Skill Test, adding in any appropriate modifiers. Characters may direct the fire of more than one Weapon Component (either macro-batteries or lances). Different Weapon Components may be fired by different characters if the party chooses. A ship’s weapons may be directed against multiple targets.

Firing arcs – front (fore), port (left), starboard (right), and rear (aft)- determine which direction a Weapon Component may fire. Firing arcs extend in a 90 degree arc from the centre of the vessel. Dorsal-mounted weapons may fire to the fore, port, and starboard. Prow-mounted weapons on transports, raiders, and frigates may fire to the fore while prow weapons on light cruisers, cruisers, or larger vessels may fire to the fore, port, and starboard. Port weapons can fire to the port firing arc; Starboard weapons to the starboard firing arc. Keel weapons may fire in any direction.

When firing at a target further away than the range of the weapon (up to the maximum of twice the range), the shot suffers a –10 penalty to the Ballistic Skill Test. However, when firing at a target at half the range, the shot gains a +10 bonus to the Ballistic Skill Test.

When firing a macrobattery, a successful roll scores one hit, plus an additional hit for each degree of success, to a maximum of the macrobattery’s strength. After the ship calculates the amount of hits it has scored, apply the effects of the defender’s void shields (see below). Once the final number of hits has been determined, roll the weapon’s indicated Damage once for each hit, adding the totals together. The final total is the amount of damage dealt to the target. Multiple macrobattery Components may be fired at a single target and the total damage added together. However, only a single Critical Hit is possible from such a barrage.

When firing a lance, a character makes a Ballistic Skill Test with any appropriate modifiers. A successful roll scores one hit, plus one additional hit for every three degrees of success. Unlike macrobatteries, the damage from each lance hit is never combined. Each damage total is resolved against the target’s defences separately. However, when resolving a lance hit against the target, ignore the target’s armour, but not void shields. Lances deal damage directly to Hull Integrity.

When firing a weapon, if the character rolls a number of successes equal to the weapon’s Crit Rating, the shot has caused a Critical Hit. If the shot does not do any damage to Hull Integrity, inflict 1 automatic point of damage. Then roll 1d5 on the Critical Hit chart and apply the result to the target.

Damage and Defences

There are two principle defences for starships: void shields and armour.

Whenever a ship chooses to fire on another ship during its turn, the target ship’s void shields (assuming it has any) will cancel a number of incoming hits equal to the strength of the shields. In other words, if a ship has one void shield, after an attacker determines the total number of hits going against the ship, that number of hits is reduced by one. It does not matter if the hits are from lances or macrobatteries.

Once void shields have been taken into account, and the damage for the remaining hits is rolled and added together, it is compared to the target’s Armour. The Armour value is subtracted from the damage total. If the result is zero or less, the target’s Armour has successfully protected the vessel. If the result is more than zero, the target loses that many points of Hull Integrity.

Hull Integrity can be considered similar to a ship’s Wounds. It is a measure of how tough the vessel is, and how much damage it can take before being blown open. For every point of Hull Integrity a ship loses, it loses 1 Crew Population and 1 Morale as well.

When a ship reaches 0 Hull Integrity, it becomes Crippled. Apply a –10 penalty to its Manoeuvrability and Detection, and reduce its Speed to half. In addition, reduce the strength of all weapon Components by half (round up). A ship will remain Crippled (and continue to suffer these effects) until it has regained at least 1 Hull Integrity. When a Crippled ship takes damage past its Armour, it takes a Critical Hit. Compare the value of the damage that exceeded the Armour to the Critical Hit chart. The ship suffers this Critical Hit result.

The following is the Critical Hit chart for ships, and should be used when a weapon’s attack roll has met its Crit Rating, or when a crippled ship takes damage.

Critical Hits

Roll Result
1 Holed: A lucky hit has wrenched open the ship’s hull, exposing it to space. The attacker selects one Component (only choosing ones he knows of ) that is not the bridge or plasma/warp drives. Emergency bulkheads slam into place to seal off the compartments, but this Component is depressurized.
2 Internal Damage: The force of the hit ruptures bulkheads and smashes machinery. The attacker selects one Component (only choosing ones he knows of ) that is not the bridge or plasma/warp drives. This Component is damaged.
3 Sensors damaged: The ship’s auspex arrays have been knocked out, leaving the vessel blind. Until the damage is repaired, all shooting tests suffer a –30 to hit, and all sensory tests to detect anything beyond the ship’s immediate engagement range automatically fail. Additionally, as the arrays are located outside the hull, any repairs must be attempted in the void.
4 Thrusters damaged: The ship’s manoeuvring thrusters are smashed, venting randomly and leaking fuel. Roll 1d10. On a 1-7, the ship can still manoeuvre, albeit slowly. Reduce the ship’s Manoeuvrability bonus by –20. On an 8–10, the thrusters are completely damaged. The ship cannot turn. This damage can be repaired.
5 Fire!: Alarms scream through the hull as hungry flames roar though passageways and compartments. The blaze must be contained before it devours the entire ship! The attacker selects one Component (only choosing ones he knows of ) that is not the bridge or plasma/warp drive—this Component is now on fire. The fire follows all the rules for shipboard fires.
6 Engines Crippled: Something pierces the immense drive tubes in the ship’s stern, bleeding plasma into the void and leaving the vessel drifting in space. Roll 1d10. on a 1-7, the plasma drives are still usable, though heavily damaged. Reduce the ship’s Speed by half. On an 8–10, the drives are completely wrecked. Reduce the ship’s Speed to 1. This damage can be repaired.
7 Surly Techsprites: Something has jarred and shocked the ship’s machine spirits, awakening their anger. Massive electrical surges knock out systems across the ship. Roll 1d10 for every Component. On a 4 or higher, the Component now counts as unpowered. Each Component must be repaired individually before it can receive power again. Morale takes 1d5 damage from the spooky atmosphere.
8 Decapitation: A lucky hit strikes the ship’s bridge, sending shrapnel scything across the compartment and opening it to space! All crewmembers on the bridge must make a Dodge reaction or be hit by shrapnel doing 2d10 Explosive damage. If the damage result is 12 or higher, the bridge Component is also depressurized. If the damage result is 16 or higher, the Component is damaged.
9–10 Hull Breach: The hull of the ship is ripped asunder by tremendous force, opening compartments to the void and doing massive structural damage. The attacker selects 1d5 Components (only choosing ones he knows of, and not including the bridge). Roll a d10 for each; on a 1-7 the Component is damaged and depressurized. On an 8–10 the Component is destroyed, and all crew inside are killed. Instead of rolling for Crew Population and Morale damage separately, the ship reduces both of its current values by half.
11 Catastrophic Damage: A succession of powerful blows and explosions rip through the ship, causing horrendous damage. Roll 1d10. On a 1-7, the ship is hulked. On a 8-9, the ship’s plasma drive explodes. On a 10, the ship’s warp drive explodes instead (if the ship does not have a warp drive, it suffers a plasma drive explosion).
Space Hulk Catastrophic damage leaves the ship a drifting, smouldering wreck. Uncontrolled fires burn in some compartments, others are open to space, and the rest are choked with the dead and dying. Roll 1d10 for each Component. On a 1–2, it is miraculously untouched, but is unpowered. On a 3-7, it is depressurized and damaged. On a 9–10, it is completely destroyed, and all crew inside are killed. Reduce Crew Population to 1d10.
Plasma Drive Explosion The starship’s plasma drive explodes in a single, cataclysmic explosion. All starships within 1d10 VUs of the stricken craft must make a Hard (–20) Pilot (Space Craft) + Manoeuvrability Test or be struck by the flaming debris of the destroyed vessel. Treat this as 1d5 macrobattery hits doing 1d10+4 damage each, that void shields and armour will protect against normally.
Warp Drive Explosion The starship’s warp drive overloads and explodes, rending a seething hole in space, a maelstrom into the realm of chaos. Any starship within 2d10 VUs of the stricken craft must make a Hard (–20) Pilot (Space Craft) + Manoeuvrability Test or be struck by the chaos-storm, taking the equivalent of one lance strike doing 1d10 damage that void shields will not protect against. Additionally, every starship within 1d5 VUs of the stricken vessel must make a second Challenging (+ 0) Pilot (Space Craft) + Manoeuvrability Test, or be sucked into the rift. What happens next is up to the GM, but should be suitably horrible. Mass possessions and manifesting daemons are the norm, while the crew frantically tries to activate the Geller Field. The survival of those onboard the ship should by no means be guaranteed.

Starship Combat

Rogue Trader: Pride and Profit Lonewalker