The largest of the combat scales in WCRPG is the capital ship-scale. As one might expect, capital ships fight on this scale, though many space vehicles (particularly fightercraft and transports) may also conduct combat actions on this scale of combat.
Unlike the other two scales of combat, opportunities for cross-scale combat involving the capital ship-scale are far and few between; the few capital ships that may enter atmosphere are considered air vehicles in that environment and the few vehicles that can seriously challenge a capital ship in space will often use the capital ship-scale, not the vehicle-scale. Because of this, the range increment for the capital ship-scale is somewhat more ambiguous. Officially, capital ships use a range increment of one megameter (1,000 kilometers); GMs can decrease this if necessary (if the plot deals with a nascent starfaring culture, etc.). As with the other combat scales, combatants on the capital ship-scale may withdraw from combat if they are greater than fifteen range increments from all hostile combatants.
Capital Ship-scale Actions
A capital ship may perform two standard actions or one full-round action per round as well as any number of free actions. As with vehicles, a capital ship's actions are dependent upon its crew for their execution; while other crewmembers may make suggestions, it is ultimately the ship's captain that decides what it will do. The crewmember that ultimately performs any ordered action will be the one that is most appropriate to the situation (firing weapons would be done by a gunner, hailing other craft is done by the ship's chief communications officer, etc.).
A ship's captain may choose to give orders during a round of combat; this is a free action. They may also choose to belay any outstanding orders given in previous rounds; this is a standard action. If giving orders, the captain must declare a target crewmember, give a specific order to that crewmember, declare a specific target of the target if necessary and declare when they would like the order to be carried out if necessary. If belaying orders, the captain need only talk to the crewmember performing the action; if that crewmember is carrying out more than one order, the captain will need to indicate which of them to belay. A captain may not belay an order that has already been carried out. Giving and belaying orders is an automatic action that requires no Skill Check though Shaken crewmembers must Rallied before the captain may issue them any orders.
A captain may choose to rally Shaken crewmembers; this is a standard action. This action requires the captain to make a successful Leadership Check; the result of the Check must also succeed against the target's Willpower Save. If successful, the affected crewmember is no longer Shaken; any associated penalties end immediately. A captain may attempt to rally multiple crewmembers simultaneously. The Leadership Check has critical potential; in the event of a critical success, the crewmember(s) will no longer be Shaken regardless of whether or not the specific result would have been sufficient for a successful Check and immediately experience the same benefits as a successful Inspire action (see below).
A captain may choose to try to inspire confidence in a non-Shaken crewmember; this is a standard action. This action requires the captain to make a successful Inspire Check; the result of the Check must also succeed against the target's Willpower Save. If successful, the affected crewmember will not become Shaken if otherwise indicated to do so for a number of rounds equal to the degree of success divided by ten (round up). Further, during that time, that crewmember may add the same amount to the DC of all die rolls they perform. A captain may only attempt to Inspire one crewmember at a time.
Crewmembers can be ordered to ready an action for later use; this is similar to how actions are readied on the character- and vehicle-scales (i.e. the crewmember prepares an action to perform in the event that some condition takes place between the time they ready the action and the ship's next turn). If the conditions for the action's activation are fulfilled, the crewmember performs the readied action at once; this delays any action the current combatant may be taking until the readied action is resolved. If the readied action is executed, the ship involved loses one of its action phases during the next round; it may lose its entire turn if two readied standard actions or a single full-round readied action is executed. Readied actions are only good for one round; if the conditions needed for their execution do not come about before the ship's next turn, the captain must either order the crewmember to renew the ready action or declare a different action.
A ship's captain may to order the crew to stand-by as a standard action. By doing so, they declare that the ship will do nothing during the course of that action phase; game-play proceeds to the ship's next action phase or to the next combatant's first action phase as applicable. There will probably be few occasions in combat where a captain decides to just sit back and watch but sometimes it may simply be necessary...
Use Skill or Ability
A captain may order a crewmember to use any one of their natural abilities or make Skill Checks as a standard action during a combat round; the captain simply declares which ability/Skill the crewmember is to use and a target if appropriate. This is a general "catch-all" action that may be used for any purpose not explicitly mentioned elsewhere.
Any member of a ship's crew may choose to speak to any other crewmember during a combat phase; this is a free action. Combatants may speak to one another at any time for any reason, though what they might want to speak about is totally up to the players and the GM. It is important that communicator and receiver speak the same language, to make sure all messages sent between them are understood clearly; this is particularly important when insulting an opponent. A Translate Check is required when communicating parties do not speak the same language; failure of the Check prevents them from speaking meaningfully to one another.
A ship's captain can order the crew to abandon ship; this is a special action that may be initiated as a standard action but takes a number of rounds to complete. Usually this order is only given if the ship becomes critically damaged with little hope of recovery and the lives of the crew would be placed in greater danger by remaining aboard. Once an order to abandon ship is given, it cannot be belayed. Crewmembers launch from emergency escape vehicles (EEVs) in order to get away from their vessel; each EEV carries one crewmember. 1d% EEV are launched each round until all crewmembers have left the ship or all pods have been expended. Once launched, they can be targeted by enemy combatants for one round using the same statistics as Heavy Ordnance. The ship may continue combat operations (eventually taking an undermanned penalty) until enough EEVs have been launched that only the ship's PC officers are left aboard; they may do as they wish from there.
A captain may give the order for their ship to be scuttled during a combat phase; this is a special action. The order to scuttle a ship is usually given in situations wherein its capture by hostile forces is both imminent and likely. At least two other senior officers must concur with the order; if not, the order is automatically belayed and all crewmembers become Shaken. Scuttling is a standard action; the amount of time required before it takes effect is set by the ship's captain and it may be belayed at any point prior to that time. Once the scuttle order has been given, the countdown to self-destruct begins immediately; the captain has the option of declaring a subsequent Abandon Ship action or forcing the crew to stay aboard until the ship scuttles itself. If the latter option is selected, the entire crew becomes Shaken and Leadership Checks must be made every round to prevent the crew from jumping ship. Once the allotted time has elapsed, a d% roll is made; if the result is greater than or equal to the amount of Core Damage the ship has sustained, it will instantly explode. Otherwise, the scuttle action fails; the computer will retain the order to self-destruct and carry it out once it has regained sufficient functionality (this very situation arises in the novel False Colors). Sufficient functionality is regained when the ship's Core Damage drops to a value less than or equal to the d% roll for scuttling.
Change Alert Status
A captain may change the alert status of their ship during a combat round; this is a standard action. There are three alert statuses aboard capital ships. The lowest alert level is Condition Three, the normal peacetime operating state out of spacedock. Except for any navigational screens, the ship's Shields are lowered and its weapons are disarmed. Condition Two (also known as Yellow Alert) is the next highest alert status. In addition to bringing extra off-duty personnel on duty, the ship’s Shields are set to full outboard active while its weapons systems remain disarmed. Condition One (also known as Red Alert, Battle Stations or Action Stations) is the highest alert status on a capital ship. All crewmembers are at their duty stations, the Shields are raised and the weapons are armed. If a change in alert status causes the ship's weapons to be armed or Shields to be raised, one point of fuel is spent; all weapons are immediately considered charged. Lowering shields and/or disarming weapons has no fuel cost. For most combat situations, the ship will probably want to stay at Condition One.
Launch/Retrieve Small Craft
If a ship carries any child craft, its captain may order the launch or retrieval of that craft; this is a special action that may take a number of rounds to complete. The parent capital ship may launch one craft every five rounds (minimum) per Carrier Systems Module installed (i.e. a ship with two Carrier Systems Modules installed could launch two child craft at once, wait five rounds, launch another two craft and so forth). The ship may only retrieve one child craft at a time per Carrier Systems Module installed, again waiting a minimum five rounds between retrievals. Launched child craft enter combat at Range Zero from the parent ship. Launching child craft into combat introduces new combatants and may change the scale of battle from capital ship-scale to mixed-scale (for more on mixed-scale combat, see Chapter 9.5).
A ship's captain may order its pilot to begin "jinking" during a combat round; this is a move action. Jinking gives the ship a -10 circumstantial HD bonus but inflicts a -10 circumstantial DC penalty to all Marksmanship and Ballistics Checks made to fire the ship's weapons as well as a -1 penalty to its movement for one full round. Jinking must be the first declared action of a ship's combat round; it cannot be the second.
A ship's captain may order its pilot to ram an enemy combatant during a combat round; this is a special combined move and attack action. To ram another combatant, a ship must move directly towards the target and must be able to reach Range Zero. The ram attempt provokes an Opportunity Attack from the opposing ship, at a +10 HD penalty to the ramming ship. Once at Range Zero, the ramming ship’s pilot makes a Starship Piloting Check at a +10 circumstantial DC bonus as an attack roll. The Check must also succeed against the target's EHD as like a normal attack action (see below). If the attempt succeeds, the GM must roll xd10x10 where x is the Size Class of the smaller of the two combatants and apply the result as damage to both ships. The ramming ship may not make any further movement actions that round.
If a ship is within Range Zero of another combatant at the beginning of its turn, its captain may order its pilot to attempt to dock with it; this is a move action that can be used to transfer personnel, transfer cargo or for boarding actions. The Pilot must simply succeed at a Starship Piloting Check if the target is "willing" to dock; the target's HD is subtracted from the result of the Check otherwise. If the Check fails, a second Starship Piloting Check is needed to avoid a collision (standard ramming damage applies in the event of failure). If the first Check succeeds, the ship successfully docks with the other combatant. If attempting to dock with an active, hostile combatant, this action provokes an Opportunity Attack.
A ship's captain may order a crewmember to move or manipulate any object exterior to the ship during a combat round; this is a move action and requires the ship to be equipped with such devices as grappling arms, tow cables or tractor beams. This action may be used to pick up items including cargo previously jettisoned by another combatant; such items may be placed in the ship's cargo hold if it has sufficient available space. This action may also be used to manipulate an object without picking it up. If there are multiple items in the ship's vicinity that can be manipulated, the captain must specify which item they wish to affect. Manipulation of objects can have various effects; sometimes these effects can end a combat action immediately (such as what happens when an item is rigged to explode when it is handled).
A ship’s captain may order a gunner to target a specific area on an enemy combatant (such as a phase shield projector or the target's bridge); this is a standard action. To target a specific area of an enemy combatant, the gunner must perform a Targeting Check; the result of this Check must not only be sufficient for a success but must also succeed against target's HD after adjusting for range (-1 per range increment); note that this is always against the target's HD rating. If successful, any subsequent damage inflicted by weapons fired by the gunner will automatically inflict systems damage to the specific system targeted. The amount of systems damage inflicted depends upon whether or not the combatant's defenses are still functioning prior before damage is resolved; if the target has Shields still up, the total amount of damage is divided by one hundred and applied as systems damage (round down). If the shields are down but there is still Armor, the damage is divided by ten instead. If all defenses are gone, the system takes the full brunt of the damage. Each point of damage inflicted on the system in this manner counts as 1% damage and a subsequent check for malfunction is required. A system may not sustain more than 100% damage in this manner; if the system reaches 100% damage, any further applicable systems damage is lost. Likewise, no excessive damage hits may be applied as the result of a targeting action. A targeting lock is lost if the gunner fires on another combatant, if they are later ordered to target a new system on the same target, or if the targeted system is destroyed. NOTE: If gridded combat is being used, only the arc impacted by the weapon is considered for purposes of the amount of additional damage inflicted (i.e. if a ship's defenses are completely down in a combat arc and the weapon impacts that arc, the system takes full damage even if the remaining three arcs have sustained no damage at all).
A ship's captain may order a crewmember to use the ship’s sensors on a specified target during a combat round; this is a standard action. This action may be used to update the ship’s information on other combatants (including their current damage level). This usually involves a standard Technology Check; the Check must succeed in order to find out any substantial information about the target. Failed Checks will utilize the table in Chapter 3.8 to determine any specific information gathered.
A captain may order an engineer to attempt to repair any damage their ship has sustained during the course of a combat round; this is a special action. A captain may order repairs at any time; repairs require the engineer to spend a number of minutes equal to the ship's Size Class on the repairs, during which time they are not available to perform any other work. To make a repair attempt, the crewmember must make a successful Check after the prescribed amount of time is complete; the Skill that must be Checked is solely dependent upon which system is being repaired (for details, see Chapter 3.11.). If the Check is successful, they may roll 1d10; the result is indicates the percentile amount of damage to the system that is immediately repaired (with zero counting as ten in this case). If the system had malfunctioned, the engineer may make a Damage Control Check to bring it back on-line after successfully repairing some of the damage to it; if successful, the system comes back on line immediately. Armor and Core Damage may not be repaired in combat.
A ship's captain may order a communications officer to attempt to open communications with another ship, combatant or non-combatant during a combat round; this is a standard action. Hailing requires a Translate Check; this Check automatically succeeds if the target craft is operated by members of the same species as the hailing craft. All capital ships receive a +30 DC bonus to their Translate Check for purposes of hailing. If successful, the crew of the hailing ship may talk freely to the targeted party.
A ship's captain may order a communications officer to attempt to jam another combatant’s communications during the course of a round; this is as a standard action. Jamming a target combatant’s communications requires a successful Distress Check; if the check is successful, all of the target combatant’s electronic communications are jammed for one round (note that this will not affect any spoken communication). As a side effect, if any combatant in the combat zone launches a Friend-or-Foe missile during the course of a round, any jamming will cause an automatic critical miss; the weapon will inflict damage on the firing craft as if its Communications system had malfunctioned (see below).
A ship's captain may order a communications officer to attempt to send a distress signal and summon help during the course of a combat round; this is a standard action. Sending a distress call in combat requires a Distress Check with a -5 DC modifier applied for every active enemy combatant. If the Check is successful, the GM may roll d%; the result is the amount of time that will pass before friendly forces arrive in rounds; the number and type of friendly forces that arrive should be commensurate with the degree of success of the Check. Once the new forces arrive, the GM must integrate them into the current combat situation.
A captain may order a crewmember to attempt to jury-rig a system during a combat round; this is a full-round action. Jury-rigging requires a successful Damage Control Check with a DC penalty equal to the amount of damage the system has received. If the Check is successful, its functionality is restored but no actual damage is repaired. Should the ship receive any amount of damage on subsequent rounds, however, it will automatically malfunction until more permanent repairs can take place.
A ship's captain may order a medical crewmember to examine and begin treating another crewmember during a combat round; this is a special action. A captain may order a medic heal any crewmember at any time; the crewmember uses the Assisted Healing rules in Chapter 9.2 for the attempt with unfavorable conditions applying due to combat. While being treated, neither the medic nor their intended patient is available to perform other duties. If the patient's HP falls below zero as a result of a botched Treatment Check under combat conditions, the medic is allowed to make an immediate resuscitation attempt, again with unfavorable conditions applying due to combat.
A ship's captain may order an Engineer to refocus the ship's shields; this is a standard action. Re-balancing the shields requires two successful Defenses Checks in a row; if both checks are successful, the craft's captain may re-assign the craft's SHP among its defense arcs as they wish. If either check fails, the SHP mains exactly as it already is in all defense arcs. The Checks have critical potential: in the event of a critical failure, the Shield system will take 1d% damage in addition to normal failure effects.
A ship's captain may order its pilot to attempt to "tail" its current target; this is a special action. In order to attempt this action, the ship must be located somewhere within the target's aft defense arc and must have a current heading within twenty degrees on either side of the target's current heading; if these conditions are met, the ship's pilot may make a Starship Piloting Check which is opposed by a Starship Piloting Check performed by the target's pilot. If the target's pilot has the higher degree of success, the tailing attempt fails; otherwise the tailing ship may move immediately after the target has moved and prior to it making any subsequent actions during the next round.
All combatants may recharge a single discharged (fired) Gun hardpoint and regain SHP at the end of a combat round. The GM will select one Gun hardpoint to recharge, giving preference to Guns over Missiles and racks over turrets. The ship’s crew need not wait for all of their Guns to recharge before firing again. For each ship in turn, the GM will then add 10% of its maximum hit points plus its Chief Engineer's Defenses Skill score to all defense arcs up to its normal maximum SHP. Finally, if a Gun uses the last shot available in its magazine, a fuel unit may be expended to reload it. Certain accessories may be used to increase a ship's Gun and Shield recharge rates.
Move Action Rules
A ship’s pilot may be ordered by its captain to change the ship's position during a combat round; perhaps unsurprisingly, this is a move action. Movement changes a combatant's range to all other combatants. As with other forms of combat, ships receive a number of "movement points" equal to their Combat Speed ratings.
Movement on the ship-scale may or may not require a Starship Piloting Check. All ships may move Straight Ahead or make a single 45-degree turn per move action without requiring a Check provided their Engines aren't damaged. Moves that involve more advanced maneuvers (lateral movements, tighter turns or subsequent turning) will require at least one successful Starship Piloting Check; the final number of successful Checks required depends upon what maneuvers are being performed and whether or not the ship has any Engine Damage (the amount of Engine damage is subtracted from the DC of the Checks). If any Check fails during the course of movement, the ship may make whatever movements it successfully completed up to the point where the failure takes place, at which point it stops moving. Additionally, if the result of any Check is greater than the amount of Engine damage the ship has sustained, the Engines malfunction at that point; the ship may make whatever movements it successfully completed up to that point. Advanced maneuvers usually have a minimum Engine Class requirement; if the combatant does not fulfill this requirement, it cannot perform the maneuver (note that this automatically disqualifies some larger ships from performing certain moves). Ships with 100% Engine damage or malfunctioning Engines cannot move at all.
If a ship is carrying a total number of personnel (crew and passengers combined) greater than 120% of the normal amount allowed by its design, it is overcrowded and takes a -5 DC penalty on all piloting Checks for each whole multiple (rounded up) of its complement (for example, if a ship is hauling between three and four times its normal complement, it takes a -15 DC penalty to its piloting Checks).
Maneuvers take one movement point to perform apiece. The exception to this rule is the snap turn. Snap turns take no movement points to execute and can be a handy way of for a skilled pilot to extend the capabilities of their ship. Naturally, snap turns require a greater number of successful Checks and require have a higher minimum Engine Class requirement.
Advanced maneuvers give a ship's pilot a bonus to their Combat Maneuvers and Evasive Maneuvers Skill scores that lasts until their next turn; these bonuses accumulate with each advanced maneuver performed during the course of the combatant's movement. If the combatant is targeted at any time up until its next turn, the total bonus applies. The price for this bonus is a (smaller) penalty to the Marksmanship and Ballistics Checks of all gunners riding in the ship, which applies through the ship's next two actions; fancy maneuvering makes a ship harder to hit but also makes it a little harder for its occupants to aim accurately.
The Starship Piloting Checks for movement have critical potential. In the event of any critical success, the maneuver automatically succeeds and any Marksmanship and Ballistics penalties associated with the maneuver are nullified; the ship's pilot is able to pull off their maneuvers while allowing the gunners to maintain their aim/target locks). In the event of any critical failure, the ship may not move from its original location; the GM changes the ship's present heading to a new, random one. Additionally, the ship takes d% Engine damage; if the Engines had any level of damage in the first place, they are destroyed (100% damage) instead.
|Number of Successful
Starship Piloting Checks
Ballistics DC Penalty
|Full Ahead||First Class||0||0||0||Ship moves one space forward.|
|Forward Slip||Second Class||2||-5||-1||Ship moves diagonally forward and does not change orientation.|
|Full Amidships||Third Class||3||-10||-2||Ship moves one space port or starboard and does not change orientation.|
|Aft Slip||Fourth Class||4||-5||-1||Ship moves one space diagonally backward and does not change orientation.|
|Full Reverse||Third Class||2||-5||0||Ship moves one space backward and does not change orientation.|
|45-degree Turn||First Class||0||0||0||Ship turns 45-degrees port or starboard in place.|
|45-degree Snap Turn||Sixth Class||2||-5||-2||Ship turns 45-degrees port or starboard in place.|
|90-degree Turn||Third Class||1||-15||-3||Ship turns 90-degrees port or starboard in place.|
|90-degree Snap Turn||Seventh Class||4||-20||-4||Ship turns 90-degrees port or starboard in place.|
|135-degree Turn||Fourth Class||2||-25||-5||Ship turns 135-degrees port or starboard in place.|
|135-degree Snap Turn||Eighth Class||6||-30||-6||Ship turns 135-degrees port or starboard in place.|
|180-degree Turn||Fifth Class||3||-35||-8||Ship turns 180-degrees port or starboard in place.|
|180-degree Snap Turn||Ninth Class||8||-40||-10||Ship turns 180-degrees port or starboard in place.|
NPC combatants move in relation to their present target based on a comparison of their SI to that of their current target. Should the target have a lower SI, the NPC combatant will move towards it and vice versa. NPC combatants will keep their movements limited to 45-degree turns and forward movement as a general rule. Any of these rules may be overridden at the GM's discretion.
If combat is not being conducted on a grid, a move action simply changes the range rolled to the current target (note that for purposes of the alternative range determination system indicated in Chapter 9.1, it is the original rolled range that determines what die type will be rolled in the next round, not the final amount indicted after the combatant moves). In the event that a combatant's final range to target is sixteen range increments or greater, their SI should be compared with the opposing group's Composite Strength Index (CSI); if the combatant's SI is less than one-fourth of the opposing group's CSI, they may immediately withdraw from combat if they so choose.
Combat in Asteroid Fields and Minefields
Capital ships will go out of their way to avoid asteroids and minefields like the plague. Nevertheless, there are situations wherein a capital ship may have to fight in an asteroid field or minefield, such as what may happen when the only route to its destination involves travel to a jump point in the middle of an asteroid field and there enemy ships waiting in ambush nearby.
In WCRPG, a GM that would like to stage a combat situation in one of these areas may set locations of particularly dense clusters of asteroids/mines with the risk of a collision occurring if a craft attempts to fly near or through one of them; alternatively, they may assume a collision risk every time a craft moves in the area. Use of clusters is not recommended with non-gridded combat.
If there is the potential for a ship to collide with an asteroid or detonate a mine as the result of a move action, the craft's pilot must make an immediate Starship Piloting Check with the Size Class of their craft subtracted from the Check's DC. If the Check fails, a collision occurs. Mines will inflict an amount of damage equal to any of the mine weapons listed in Chapter 6.2.3 at the GM's discretion; the Mk-I Porcupine is recommended for most situations. Asteroids will cause an amount of damage equal to ten times the result of (5+1d5) times the craft's maximum speed during the round. In both cases, the damage is multiplied by the result of a 1d10 roll, signifying multiple collisions with these very hazardous objects.
Attack Action Rules
A ship's captain may decide to attack an opposing combatant during a combat round; perhaps unsurprisingly, this is an attack action and probably the most common type of action that occurs in combat. Firing on another combatant requires the ship to be at Condition One, its batteries to be charged with enough energy for at least one weapons volley and the declaration of a valid target. NPC combatants will target the enemy combatant with the next lowest Initiative Check value or the enemy combatant with the overall highest Initiative Check value if no opponents with lower values exist; the GM may override this general rule at their discretion.
Before any attempt to attack a target is made, it must be within range of at least one of the ship's offensive weaponry options, it must be within a firing arc that corresponds with that weapon and it must be ready to use. If these conditions are met by more than one weapon simultaneously, any number of them may be fired at the indicated target. Should a ship have multiple valid targets, it may fire at any number of them; the captain must specify what weapons will be fire at specific targets.
To be "in range", an attacking ship need only be as close to the target as the indicated number of range increments. Most forms of ordnance (such as mines, missiles and torpedoes) have two range increments listed; the first of these is an optimal range value and the second is the normal maximum range. There are additional penalties involved for firing ordnance outside of optimal range, as will be discussed momentarily.
As with vehicles, capital ships in WCRPG use a system of relative bearings to determine if a target is within a particular weapon's firing arc. As with vehicles, GMs may either use specific bearing data or override that information and simply say a weapon may fire into the corresponding major firing arc. Capital ships may utilize the same set of pre-designated relative bearings as discussed for vehicles in Chapter 6.2.3. In addition to their firing arcs, all capital ships have four defense arcs corresponding to the Shields and Armor that cover specific quarters (namely the fore, aft, port and starboard quarters). The four defense arcs correspond to the major firing arcs; when combined with their corresponding defense arcs, these are sometimes referred to as combat arcs. As is probably obvious from the bearing information on these arcs, the boundaries of a given combat arc are always set diagonal to the ship’s bow (front) and perpendicular to one another such that when dealing with a physical grid the arc boundaries are along the grid's diagonals when the ship is on an orthogonal heading, and vice versa.
To determine if a combatant is within a given firing arc, the GM can draw or visualize a straight line between the attacking ship and its target. They may then either determine the exact bearing angle utilizing the calculator images in Chapter 6.2.3 if a physical grid is being used or simply put a best guess at it if an abstract grid is being used. Any weapon that falls into any pre-designated arc corresponding to the determined bearing angle may be utilized. In a similar manner, the defense arc that will sustain any damage inflicted upon the ship can be determined by determining the bearing angle to the attacker. Most of the time, determining what arcs will be involved in the current attack action will be fairly straightforward. It may happen, though, that either the firing ship or the target will be "straddling" the boundaries between two combat arcs. In this case, the GM should give preference to either the forward or aft firing arc, whichever one is involved. An attacker may attack a target if another combatant (friendly or not) is in the way.
All weapons hardpoints to be utilized must be charged prior to firing. A gunner may fire as many of the available hardpoints as they wish; they do not have to fire all hardpoints at once unless specifically ordered to do so by the ship's captain. Some pieces of ordnance also require that a target be locked before they can be fired at an opponent. Locking simply requires that the target be kept in the weapon's firing arc for the prescribed number of rounds. Locking is automatic (no Check is required) unless the firing craft has Sensor damage; in that case, a successful Technology Check is required to maintain a lock during the course of a round.
If the conditions for firing a weapon are all fulfilled and an attack is allowed, a final "to hit" number must be determined; this is referred to as the effective hit difficulty (EHD). EHD is determined through a series of quick calculations. This begins by subtracting the score of the Combat Maneuvers Skill of the attacking craft's pilot from the score of the Evasive Maneuvers Skill of the target craft's pilot; this represents any low-level sparring going on between the two combatants (remember that during a surprise round the Evasive Maneuvers Skill of the target is ignored). The difference is subtracted from the target's applicable HD rating; this is its BHD if a blast weapon is being utilized, its FHD if they are surprised and its normal HD in all other cases. Specializations of the indicated Skills may be used if applicable. Effects from any onboard equipment (such as an active cloaking device) modify EHD as well. Finally, one point per range increment is subtracted from the target's effective HD. If the weapon to be fired is a piece of ordnance and the attacker is outside its optimal range, the range penalty is increased to five points per range increment. For example, a Venture-class Corvette is firing its guns at a Ralari-class Destroyer, which has an HD of 36 and is four range increments away. The Venture's Pilot has a Combat Maneuvers specialization in "Kilrathi Destroyers", with a combined Skill and specialization DC of 84. The Ralari Pilot's Evasive Maneuvers DC is 25. In this case, 45 points would be added to the Ralari's HD and four points would be subtracted from it for range, so its EHD is 91 (25 - 84 = -59; 36 - -59 - 4 = 36 + 59 - 4 = 91).
Once the effective HD is determined, the attacking ship's gunner will perform an attack roll; this is a Skill Check that depends on the weapon being used. If Guns are being used, the attack roll is a Marksmanship Check. If Ordnance is being used, the attack roll is a Ballistics Check. The number of Checks that must be performed equal the specific number of weapons being fired (i.e. if a ship is firing two Mass Drivers, the gunner will need to make two Marksmanship Checks). To be fully successful, the result of the Check must be equal to or lower than the target's EHD and must be sufficient for a successful Check of the indicated Skill. If the result of the roll is insufficient to overcome the EHD the attack fails regardless of whether or not the Skill Check succeeds. If the result of the Check is insufficient for a successful Skill Check but is sufficient against the target's EHD, a single hit with the weapon will be scored and will inflict the amount of damage indicated by the weapon type. How the damage affects the target will depend on how much damage is inflicted and in which of the target's defense arcs the weapon hits (see Resolving Damage, below). If the Check is fully successful, there is the possibility that the weapon will hit the target more than once; if the weapon fired has a re-fire rate greater than one, the target will sustain one additional hit for every five points in the degree of success of the Skill Check up to the maximum amount of shots that the weapon can fire in a single round. Capital ships may make spoofing attempts for light ordnance in the same manner as vehicles; for details, see Chapter 9.3.
Player groups may feel that the weapons installed aboard craft from the WC3 era (roughly 2669) and later do not inflict significant amounts of damage quickly enough for good role-playing; the statistics indicated for these craft are correct based upon all available data. If they so choose, GMs may multiply any damage inflicted by these craft; a general multiplier of between five and ten times is recommended.
Attack rolls have critical potential. In the event of a critical success (a critical hit), a hit occurs whether or not the roll succeeded against the EHD. Should the Check be fully successful in this case, the weapon inflicts double the full amount of damage for all applicable hits regardless of range. In addition to the extra damage points, one system takes damage regardless of the condition of the ship’s defenses. The GM must roll to determine which system is affected as normal (see Resolving Damage, below) and roll d% for the amount of damage inflicted on the system (with 00 counting as 100 in this case).
In the event of a critical failure (a critical miss), what happens depends on the specific result. On any result other than 99, the weapon malfunctions; it causes half-damage to the firing craft and is rendered unusable, though it may be repaired as with any other system malfunction. The resultant damage is applied as armor damage against all defense arcs; if there is insufficient armor in a defense arc, the damage is passed on as systems damage as normal. If the result is a 99, the weapon fires but inadvertently hits a friendly target by mistake; such "blue-on-blue" incidents can be quite costly. Another Check is made against the friendly combatant's HD. If the Check is successful, double the normal full amount of damage is applied to the friendly target; the normal amount of damage is applied otherwise. Any critical results on this subsequent Check are ignored. The friendly combatant affected is the friendly ship with the next lowest Initiative Check value, or (if no such ship exists) the friendly ship with the highest Initiative Check value. If there are no other friendly ships available, the attacking ship hits itself with its own weapon. A critical miss result automatically overrides any hit result that may have otherwise arisen (for targets with particularly high HD values).
Heavy Ordnance (which includes weapons such as torpedoes and capship missiles) is handled somewhat differently from other forms of weaponry. Except where noted, all pieces of heavy ordnance behave as vehicles in their own right; since they are almost always used on capital ships, their usage is considered a form of mixed-scale combat. For information on how heavy ordnance is used in combat, see Chapter 9.5.
As previously mentioned, ships have four defense arcs; these are concurrent with the major firing arcs. Each defense arc has its own SHP and AHP count; damage to one arc does not affect either count in another arc. Ships initially receive the full indicated amount of SHP and AHP in all defense arcs based upon their design; for purposes of calculating changes to their SI in combat, the arc with the lowest overall count is used.
Upon taking a successful weapons hit, a target will take damage in the defense arc corresponding to the relative bearing to the attacking craft; damage involves a reduction of the ship's SHP, AHP, and/or systems damage if it is severe enough. If a ship is hit by a weapon to which it is resistant, the amount of damage is automatically reduced by the indicated amount prior to its application; it is possible for a ship to take no damage from a hit in this event. Likewise, if a ship has an overall damage reduction, the amount of damage is reduced by the amount indicated prior to its application. A ship will always suffer shield damage first provided that it has shields installed and that they are functioning at the time of the hit. For every point of damage inflicted, one point is subtracted from the corresponding defense arc’s shield hit points. If the shield hit points are reduced to zero and there additional damage is indicated, it is applied against the arc's armor hit points in the same manner. Points subtracted from Shields and Armor are also subtracted from the ship’s strength index, which in turn lowers the composite strength index of the ship's combat group. SI is only adjusted for the combat arc with the lowest combined amount of SHP and AHP; should a ship have sustained a lesser amount of damage in a different combat arc, SI is not adjusted.
If a ship's Armor Hit Points are reduced to zero in a defense arc, any further damage is applied as Core Damage. Unlike Shields and Armor, there are no individual defense arcs for Core Damage; at that point the damage is eating into the very heart of the craft. Ships sustain Core Damage at a rate determined by their Size Class. To determine how much Core Damage a craft has sustained, the GM must take the amount of applicable excess damage, divide it by the craft's Size Class and truncate any remainder. Ships sustain Core Damage in terms of a percentage, with the craft being completely destroyed once Core Damage reaches 100% (though it may break apart sooner as will be discussed shortly). When a ship is destroyed, any occupants still aboard are automatically killed.
A ship with Core Damage has structural fatigue and is in serious danger of flying apart at its seams. When a ship sustains Core Damage, a Structural Integrity Check must be performed; the DC of this Check is 100 minus the total amount of Core Damage. If the Check fails, the ship breaks up; it is considered destroyed at that point with the same penalties as if it had sustained 100% Core Damage.
Any time a ship sustains Core Damage and survives its Structural Integrity Check, it will pick up an acquired flaw. The GM will roll d% and refer to the capital ship Flaws by d% chart in Chapter 7.2, referencing the "acquired flaw" column; they must record the flaw on the ship's record sheet and its effects begin immediately. If the flaw indicates damage to a system that is unavailable, the effect is ignored and no additional Core Damage occurs.
GMs may apply the same set of rules for destroyed capital ship-scale pirate and transport ships as they appear in Chapter 9.3; the only difference is that a destroyed pirate capital ship will use the same set of rules for destroyed transports and destroyed large transport ships will use the exact result of a 1d10 roll (with zero equal to ten and ignoring the table) to determine the number of types of commodities ejected.
Provided the ship survives its Structural Integrity Check, excess damage may also inflict systems damage upon it, reducing one or more of its capabilities; injuries to crewmembers (including PCs) are considered part of systems damage. For every 5% of Core Damage it sustains, the ship is inflicted with one instance of systems damage. When an instance of systems damage is indicated, 1d10 is rolled; the result determines which system takes the damage:
- 0: Shields – Shield damage affects the craft's shield emitters. If the Shields malfunction, they will no longer regenerate. Shield damage has no effect on a craft's current or maximum SHP, only its recharge rate.
- 1: Guns – Gun damage determines whether or not the ship can fire any Gun weaponry. If the ship has no Guns, it cannot take Gun Damage. Malfunctioning Guns cannot fire.
- 2: Ordnance – Ordnance damage is the same as Gun Damage except in regards to ordnance (missiles, mines, torpedoes, etc.). If a specific ordnance mount on the craft is destroyed, it immediately sustains an additional amount of excess damage equal to the damage potential of the ordnance in question due to its detonation. This will require renewed checks for Core Damage.
- 3: Radar – Radar damage affects how well a combatant can track its target. Malfunctioning radar systems give a -25 HD bonus to any combatant the craft fires upon; the craft also may not launch any ordnance that requires a lock.
- 4: Communications – Communications damage limits how well a craft may communicate with other combatants. If its communications system malfunctions, a craft may not hail other craft, cannot send distress signals and cannot jam enemy transmissions. Further, if the craft attempts to use Friend-or-Foe Missiles, an automatic critical miss will occur; the craft will sustain damage from its own weaponry; this will require renewed checks for Core Damage.
- 5: Engines – Engine damage affects how well a ship can maneuver. If a craft's Engines are damaged, the amount of damage is subtracted from the DC of any move action Checks. Should the engines malfunction, the craft cannot move; its pilot cannot apply their Combat Maneuvers or Evasive Maneuvers Skills prior to any attack rolls made by or against the craft.
- 6: Flight Deck – Damage to the ship's flight deck (if it has one) can be very serious and may even ultimately prove fatal should the ship either not have fighters deployed prior to the damage occurring or have a large number of auxiliary craft low on fuel and armament at the time the damage occurs. Each point of damage to the flight deck increases the time required to turn around auxiliary craft (either launch or land) by one round. Flight operations are not possible at all on a "malfunctioning" flight deck.
- 7: Crew Damage – This roll indicates that one or more of the ship’s "redshirt" NPC specialists has been injured or killed. If there are no "mission critical" NPCs aboard the ship, the GM must roll 1d% and halve the result (round up). The result determines the number of redshirts that die instantly. If there are mission critical NPCs aboard (a commanding general, a politician, the rival crime boss's kid, etc.), the GM must select a player to roll 1d10 for the involved character(s) while they roll for non-critical NPCs; the lowest throw takes the damage. Mission critical NPCs sustain damage like PCs (see Officer Damage, below) while non-critical NPCs take damage as indicated above. This kind of damage never applies to PCs; if there are no NPCs aboard, treat this roll as Officer Damage.
- 8: Officer Damage – This roll indicates that one of the ship's PC crewmembers or NPC officers has taken Lethal Damage. To determine which character sustains damage, all players with characters currently aboard the affected craft roll 1d10. For any NPC officers, the GM may either perform the roll themselves or assign one of the players to perform it. Lowest throw takes the damage; in the event of a tie for low throw, the affected players must re-roll until there is a clear result. The unfortunate character must roll d% and halve the result (rounding up); the final result is the amount of Lethal Damage they sustain. If an officer is killed, the Captain may pick any crewmember (including themselves) to assume their duties. Any officer that takes damage in this manner automatically becomes Shaken unless they are the captain.
- 9: Life-Support System – Life-Support system damage renders parts of the ship temporarily uninhabitable due to lack of heat, oxygen and/or gravity or the loss of the ability to protect the craft's occupants from the exterior environment. A malfunction of this system is not instantaneously fatal but unless swift action is taken in an attempt to restore the system, death for all of the crew is inevitable. Life-Support System failure has a number of ongoing environmental effects that are discussed in detail in Chapter 12.3.
Every instance of systems damage inflicts 25% damage to the affected system or one Wound to the affected character. A Damage Control Check (or any applicable specialization) may be performed by an Engineer in an attempt to mitigate the damage; the degree of success of the Check divided by ten (rounded down) is subtracted from the percentage of points of systems damage inflicted on the ship (i.e. a degree of success of 36 would reduce the amount of systems damage by 3%).
If a system has been damaged, there is the chance that it may malfunction whenever the afflicted ship attempts to utilize it. To determine if a malfunction occurs, an engineer must perform a Damage Control Check; the DC of the Check in this case is 100 plus the engineer's Damage Control Skill score minus the total amount of damage the system has sustained. If the Check fails, the system malfunctions; any penalties that occur as the result of a malfunction take effect immediately. Sensors, Communications and Life-Support should be checked at the beginning of the ship’s turn, Engines when it attempts a move action, the Flight Deck whenever an auxiliary craft attempts to launch or land, any weapons systems when it attempts an attack action, and Shields when it attempts to recharge Shields. The Damage Control Check has critical potential: in the event of critical success, 5% damage is immediately removed from the system. In the event of a critical failure, the system malfunctions and takes an additional d% damage up to the 100% damage maximum. Once a system has malfunctioned, it will remain non-operational until it can be repaired unless an engineer can jury-rig it. A system is destroyed once it has sustained 100% damage, at which point a malfunction is automatic.
If a system is indicated to sustain further damage after it’s already been destroyed or if the system does not exist on the craft in the first place, the craft takes additional Core Damage. This starts at 10% the first time one of these excessive damage hits occur and increase by 10% for each subsequent occurrence (20% for the second time, 30% for the third time, and 40% for the fourth time; since Core Damage is cumulative, the craft should be at 100% Core Damage when a fourth instance of excessive damage occurs). Excessive damage hits are cumulative; if a system has sustained two excessive hits during a round and sustains damage again on a subsequent round, it counts as the third excessive hit. Core Damage taken through excessive damage hits does not prompt another Structural Integrity Check but the ship may still explode if it reaches 100% Core Damage in this manner.
Finally, any time a ship takes Core Damage and survives its Structural Integrity Check, all crewmembers (except the captain) must perform a Willpower Save; any crewmember that fails this Check becomes Shaken.
The following is an example of how damage is applied to capital ships. A Ralatha-class Destroyer sustains 6,000 points of damage from three torpedoes slamming into its portside damage arc. The Ralatha has Phase Shields and 5,000 AHP in each arc. The Ralatha might as well not have any shields; the torpedoes can pass right through them and so all 6,000 damage points are passed on to its Armor. The Armor absorbs 5,000 points of damage, leaving no Armor in the portside arc and passing 1,000 points on to excess damage. Since a Ralatha is a Size Class 22 craft, every full 22 points of excess damage turns into 1% Core Damage; the ship takes 45% Core Damage.
Since has Core Damage, a Structural Integrity Check must be performed. The DC of the Check is 55 (100 - 45 = 55); the ship's Engineer rolls a 34, which is good enough for a success.
Since the ship survived its Structural Integrity Check, d% is rolled for an acquired flaw. Unfortunately, the result is 78 - an FTL system overload. The ship immediately sustains 80% Engine Damage and an additional d% Core Damage. The d% is rolled for resultant Core Damage; the result is 85, bringing the total amount of Core Damage to 130%. The ship subsequently explodes in a massive, fiery ball. Score one for the good guys...
Since the ship sustained 130% Core Damage, a total of the 26 instances of systems damage occur (130/5 = 26). Since the ship blew up, however, rolling them out is academic; dead is pretty much dead.
Miscellaneous Terms and Definitions
Shaken: A Shaken crewmember has had a traumatic, frightening experience, psychologically stunning them and making them ineffective. A Shaken crewmember will not follow any orders given to them by their captain; any attempt to make them do so wastes the action. While Shaken, a crewmember is at a -30 penalty to all Checks except Saves. A Shaken crewmember can "snap out of it" with a successful Willpower Save.
Undermanned Penalty: A ship that has less than 90% of its crew requirement aboard is considered undermanned and takes an Undermanned Penalty. Ships that are suffering from an Undermanned Penalty must succeed at every Check it requires twice in a row for as long as it remains undermanned.
Opportunity Attack: An Opportunity Attack usually occurs in special situations wherein an opposing combatant is about to do something particularly nasty to its target; it allows the target to make a single strike at its oncoming attacker. Opportunity Attacks are free actions conducted by the target during its attacker's turn. The target must itself target the attacking combatant but is otherwise free do whatever they wish within the bounds of a standard attack action. Any weapon utilized during an Opportunity Attack is considered discharged should the target's turn be later in the order of battle.