Sunday, January 26, 2014

NGR Starship combat for 60's sci-fi

NGR already scales very well for starship combat,  but this is about making a very specific type of genre.  There would be no fighter craft for instance.  It would be two starships (or more) blasting each other to bits with beam weapons and torpedos.

So we'd start by establishing a ship scale versus human scale, we'll say something massive like 200.  That is one point of damage to a ship is 200 to a person.  Then everything just shrinks to this new normal (size mod).

So each ship has stats like a living combatant.

They have a (hull) strength
They have a (systems) health score
They have an agility (maneuverability) score
They have an awareness (sensors) score
and if they have a ships compu-tor they have an intelligence score (and probably spirit if it comes up)
The ship doesn't have a luck score, but the captain does.

They also then have inventory (with a maximum based on the (hull) strength, just like a person)

This could include armour,  but also weapons, engines, cargo bays (treat like a backpack) and the like.

The most important items are power generation (and then a backup and maybe even emergency power if the ship is well stocked).   These power generators provide the equivalent of a "mana pool" for any scientician on board.   That is especially important as "shields" would be variants the "Bubble of Protection"  spell (aka a scientific principle).  That is important because if someone knows the exact variant used with a ship's shields they can "reverse polarity" and take down the shields (the trope of knowing the shield frequency).

Other things are important as well:  Weapons allow for attacking, engines allow for faster movement, tractor beams (a type of weapon) would allow for a ship to make "grapple" attacks.  A deflector dish would be an essential component for "scienticians" as it would be a ship scale "science box".

Games involves groups of people though,  and if there is only one ship involved (unlike say a fighter squadron) then there needs to be something for everyone to do.   As such there would be several positions in the ship, all of whom have different choices and responsibilities round to round.

1.) The Captain
   The captain has the least to actually do, but that is offset by having everyone else refer to the player as "Captain".  The captain is the only one who can use their luck points for the ship as a whole.  If they have leadership, the ability will transfer even to PC's.

2.) The Helm
    The helm makes the decisions (ultimately, even if disobeying orders) about movement and defending the ship.   They also make any stealth checks to keep the ship hidden. An important note is that if the Helm makes the ship "Defend itself" every station on the ship must use an action to "defend itself" (much like riding a horse).  Probably one of the most active roles. Parkour and Guard would both be useful skills.

3.) Comms/Sensors
    The Comm officer controls scanners (making spot checks) as well as ship to ship communications (appeals) and possibly hacking (scientician power).  Most bard and rogue powers are useful as well.

4.)  Weapons
      The Weapons officer makes the attack rolls and picks which weapon or weapons to fire. Pretty obvious role, and while somewhat limited also possibly one of the most sought after (who doesn't like exploding things?)   An important note is that "disarming" can still happen in ship to ship combat, that is how you would take enemy ship components/inventory offline.  Most warrior powers are great, but so are some scientician powers.

5.) Engineering
       The Engineering post is responsible for using SCIENCE! and for repairing damaged/disarmed components of the ship.  Scientician and Rogue powers are really useful.

Anyone else (like a doctor) would be interacting with the crew more than the ship itself.


  1. Would Fighters simply be weapons attacks in Human-scale:

    ^ Medium Proton Fighter Squadron 1d8


    1. For this particular genre I would assume that fighters are largely not present (such as if running a TOS game). If I were to include fighters I would put them as a smaller size modifier (say 1/10th or 20th the size of a full ship) and be single person ships (Same modifier, just one crew position holding all points).

      This would mean that barring a big gun (like a large bomb) the fighters would be stuck either hoping for a lucky shot or making "disarm" attacks (ie: Knocking systems off-line) which would very closely mirror what I was looking for.