Chapter 38: Space Vehicle Combat

A spacecraft is a rare and expensive piece of technology, and combat in outer space is very deadly. The speeds are incredible. The weapons can be formidable, and the threat to organic life is total. EXP approaches space vehicle combat from the approach that it is to be avoided. Since space vehicles are such valuable and amazing artifacts they personas involved are inclined to “take them over” rather than destroy them. The space vehicle combat system for EXP represents small skirmishes in which solitary battling star-vehicles tend to wound each other into submission. This does not mean that the campaign cannot have battling imperial armadas deploying weapons that vaporize kilometer long battle cruisers. EXP is more role playing oriented, and  colossal battles that can instantly incinerate an entire can be part of the story, but usually not part of the campaign. The referee will find it safest to keep fragile expeditions on the periphery of such campaign shaking events. 

spacecombat.355

Smaller one on one space vehicle battles are more fun for the players because they can be more intimately involved. Since the space vehicle artifacts are unimaginably valuable most combat will end in the expedition being boarded or the expedition boarding a defeated vessel. This space vehicle combat is not appropriate for gigantic fleet battles. There are other games that do that much better than this more intimate space vehicle combat system.

Space vehicles are generated in Chapter 52: Space Vehicles. It is recommended that the referee and players be familiar with this chapter before embarking on space vehicle combat.  

The procedure for space vehicle combat is very similar to other methods of determining lethal combat. There are turns, initiative, to hit rolls, damage rolls, and effects of damage. For the most part the computers are running the show in space vehicle combat. The players can make some basic decisions, but the execution and success of the combat is a battle of the ships. The space-vehicle computers make the maneuver decisions, generate ECM signals, and direct missiles. The organics onboard merely wait while the ship spins to put as much hull between its integral components, and incoming attacks. 

Escape:  Surprisingly space vehicle combat can be easily avoided by running away using the space vehicles special drives. There are no penalties for disengaging an attacking ship. Escape is immediately available to most space vehicles, and combat is more of an accepted decision for both ships involved. Unless the ship’s special drives have been damaged most ships can safely jump, bloat or warp away from space vehicle combat.

Turns: Combat turns are significantly longer in space vehicle combat. Each round of space vehicle combat is one minute (30 units) in length.  So while the ships are tilting wildly at half the speed of light, launching missiles, charging force fields the personas can choose to do 30 units worth of shenanigans each turn of space vehicle combat. Each turn takes a minute regardless of how much the space vehicles and their crews get done.  There are lots of things that each space vehicle combatant can do during each space combat turn. The order of their action is listed on Table 38.1: Space-vehicle Attack Order. This table is mostly for the convenience of keeping track of attacks, and they are arranged in order of potential damage to the target space-vehicle. Not all space-vehicles will have every attack listed. Initiative should be rolled for every attack. For instance one ship may get to use its grenade missiles first, while the other may get to use its artillery first.

Ranges: The ranges at which space vehicle combat takes place are quite variable, but on an astronomical scale they are miniscule. It is expected that battling space vehicles will be within tens of kilometers of each other. Tens of kilometers is an insignificant distance at exatmo drive speeds. Specific ranges are not kept track of once combat starts. Avoidance maneuvers are under the control of the ship’s computer. And whether a ship is running away or trying to ram is taken into account with the way weapons and defences work.

Victory Conditions

The victory conditions of space vehicle combat are rather unique. The victory conditions of lethal personal combat are simple by comparison, you have won when the opponent is unconscious, or dead. With space vehicles though the decision of victory is bit more complicated. Starships don’t die, and  in EXP they do not get vaporized into nothingness. The goal of space vehicle combat is to gain control of the target ship, not destroy it. When a space vehicle has lost a battle it usually just stops working, its crew and cargo are intact, but the ship ceases to engage in combat.

There are 4 main victory conditions in space vehicle combat. They all involve the inability of the ship to function any further. A space vehicle battle can be lost by: running out of fuel, a severely damaged gravity system, destruction of the exatmo drive, or loss of control of bridge. In the end loss of control of the bridge means that the attacking party has won control of the space vehicle.

Out of Fuel: Running out of fuel may seem to be the least graceful way to lose a battle, but once a ship is out of fuel it can no longer maintain combat maneuvers. When a ship is out of fuel, it stops spinning, and goes hurtling off into space (or into the nearest sun), and is a sitting target for any further attacks. Loss of fuel is no threat to life support or gravity, it just indicates that there no longer enough fuel to operate the drives at combat capacity. When a ship is out of fuel it is subject to the desires of its opponent- automatic boarding, or automatic hits. The out of fuel space vehicle may not be controlled by the opposition yet, but the exatmo battle is certainly over.

Loss of Gravity: The gravity control system is the most important part of the space vehicle’s life support system. Even a persona in an exatmo suit would be crushed instantly by the gravitational forces created by exatmo combat maneuvers. The gravity system cannot support combat movement if it is functioning at less than 30% of its full capacity. Even using the exatmo drives for none combat activity will be dangerous if the ship’s gravity is less than 10%. If the space vehicle cannot engage in combat movement, it is at the mercy of its opponents. The ship may move normally, and unless it can use its special drives to outrun its opponent, the spacecraft is essentially a sitting duck. Both gravity and fuel system damage can cripple a ship, but the ship isn’t truly taken over until its crew no longer commands the bridge. Taking over the ship’s command centers is determined by boarding, and personal combat.

Exatmo Drive Destroyed: Clearly if the drives are dead the space vehicle is unable to engage in space combat. In combat the exatmo drives are powerful units that swing the ship madly around, deflecting kinetic attacks, and aligning weapons. If the exatmo drives are out of commission the space vehicle has come in second place in the space combat.

Loss of Control of Bridge: This is the final step in all the pathways of losing space vehicle combat. If the bridge is destroyed the ship can no longer engage in combat. If the bridge (command center) is not destroyed but the space vehicle is unable to battle, the space vehicle can be automatically boarded and the bridge taken by force.

Combat

There are many ways to attack space vehicles. There are missiles, ramming, mines, and artillery. The cycle each turn is initiative, attack, defence, damage location and effect of damage. This cycle continues until one of the space vehicles escapes with it’s special drives or a victory condition is met. There are seven basic types of attacks listed on Table 38.1: Space Vehicle Attacks. All of these attacks can be carried out each combat turn. Which ever space vehicle wins initiative gets to attack first. There is no waited initiative in space combat (Chapter 33: Initiative). So if a space vehicle has three attacks boarding, ramming and artillery all 3 can be used in the same turn, but only in the order ramming, artillery and then boarding. If the target vessel has artillery as well then initiative must be rolled.

Initiative: Is used when both combatants have the attack order as decided by Table 38.2: Attack, Defend, Counter Attack an initiative roll must be made. Which ever space vehicle wins initiative then it gets to use its attack first. What ever damage is delivered to the target ship is accounted for before it can attack, and possibly the target ship may be unable to return an attack. Regardless of the initiative roll defences (primarily ECM or active defences) are used to thwart the attack. For example, if one ship has 3) Artillery and the other has 4) Grenades. The ship with artillery will automatically attack first, and the defending ship will automatically get to use it’s 4) ECM for defence. If both the ships had 4) Grenades an initiative roll would decide who gets to attack first.

Initiative = 1d20 plus computer level plus pilot skill level

Mutual Boarding: If two ships are trying to board each other they will be automatically successful. Since the goal of both ships is to connect airlocks.  ECM will recognize that both ships want to connect to each other and it will happen automatically. Counter attacks such as mines, or missiles may still be deployed. If both ships are attempting to board each other but wish to connect via different airlocks then the boarding attack commences as usual. For example a space vehicle with multiple airlocks may want to attach to another space vehicle with a specific airlock. If the pilot wants a specific airlock then regular boarding attacks will apply. For example a ship with multiple airlocks may wish to board at the airlock full of space marines, instead of the one near the bridge.

Mutual Ramming: Why ever this would happen who knows, but if either of the attacking ships is successful in ramming the other ship will automatically be successful. If both ships fail their ramming attack the dance will continue.

Table 38.1 Attack Defend Counter Attack

The structure of a combat turn in space vehicle combat.
OrderAttackAuto DefenceCounter Attack
OrderAttackAuto DefenceCounter Attack
1) ECMECM--
2)RammingECMMines, Artillery
3)ArtilleryECM, Shields, Active--
4)BoardingECMMines, Artillery
5)GrenadesECM, Shields, Active--
6)BombsECM, Active, Shields--
7)Naval Artillery----

Attacking

There are two kinds of attacks in space-vehicle combat, those that require a to hit roll, and those that have a percentage chance of success. Any defensive rolls which may stop the attack, such as active defenses or ECM, are rolled by the defender at the same time,,Specialized defences are listed in this chapter tinder DEFENCES.

To Hit Roll Attacks: When attacks require a to hit roll the attacker makes ‘kilodie roll, and attempts to roll higher than the target’s armour rating. Any bonuses to hit are added to the die roll, and any defensive bonuses (ECM, etc.) are added to the armour rating of the target. This is in all respects identical to lethal personal combat in that a to hit roll higher than the target’s AR damages the opponent, and a to hit roll less than the target’s armour rating has no effect.

Percent Chance Attacks: Attacks that have a percentage chance of success are rolled by the attacking player. A deci-die (1d100) roll less than the percent chance of success indicates that the attack was successful and has damaged the target space vehicle. The types of attacks are detailed in this chapter under attacks. It will become obvious that some of the attack types were designed not with realism in mind, but the with the fun of the players in mind. These unrealistic attacks are included to ensure that space-vehicle combat doesn’t become a dice rolling duel between RP micro chips.

Table 38.2 Space Vehicle Attacks

The types of space vehicle attacks in their order of priority.
1) Electronic Counter Measures (ECM)
2)Ramming
3)Artillery
4)Boarding
5)Grenade Missiles and Mines
6)Bomb Missile and Mines
7)Naval Artillery

1) ECM

ECM is the abbreviation for electronic counter-measures. This is the battle for control over the electromagnetic spectrum. In space vehicle combat, ECM is the battle for control over the electronic components of the target ship. Attack ECM can be used to confuse the target ship’s defences with false data, to control an essential component of the target ship, or be used as defensive instead of attack. The pilot must choose between Attack Assist, Control Attack or Defense for her ECM each turn. An ECM attack unit is still an ECM unit and can be used to defend instead. One unit cannot do both.

Assist

When ECM is being used to assist its own ship’s attacks it will attempt to deceive the target by creating inaccurate or false data for the target ship to deal with. This may be done by making single attacks appear as multiple attacks, altering the apparent course of incoming attacks, or by confusing the estimated time of arrival of an attack. All such falsified data will increase the chance of success of a ship’s attack.

To hit roll attacks receive a bonus of +150 to hit per computer level. Percent attacks receive a bonus of +3% of success per computer level. Thus a space vehicle with a level 2 computer making a to hit roll attack (missiles) assisted by ECM, would get +300 on the to hit roll. The same space vehicle would enjoy a bonus of +6% for success with percent attacks (ramming) when being assisted by ECM.

Control

When ECM is used to manipulate a ship’s onboard systems, play is far more interesting because player input is required. The chance of successfully controlling another ship’s systems is 8% per level of the attacking spacecraft’s computer. If an ECM Control Attack should fail, it cannot be re-attempted during this combat session. At first glance the range of effects of the ECM Control Attacks seems quite limited, in reality the number of targets is virtually limitless. If an attempt to reduce drive effectiveness fails, the ECM Control Attack can try to alter the ship’s gravity in the next turn. The pilot can choose to use control attacks until something clicks.

ECM Control Attack Percent Chance = 8% per computer level

If control ECM is successful the targeted component is reduced in capacity. This effect will last until the targeted ship’s own ECM breaks the attack ECM, the target ship uses its special drives, or the attacking ship ceases its attack. An ECM unit is completely occupied while controlling another ship’s components. Some of the most common ECM controls are described here, however, the referee should be prepared to improvise. When improvising the ref should remember that a successful ECM attack will not destroy a ship, it merely reduces a particular component’s effectiveness, and increases the ship’s vulnerability to other attacks.

Table 38.3 Example ECM Control Attacks

The impact that an electronic countermeasures attack can have on a target. This list is not exhaustive.
Control Attack EffectDescription
Control AttackEffectDescription
ComputerDrop 0-3 levels (1d4-1)Get info, slow down, confuse.
DrivesDrop 1-4 levels (1d4)Decrease, range, or speed.
FuelDrop 1-6 months (1d6)Cut access, drain, confust gauges.
GravityMess with g forces.Does not turn off gravity life support. Increase gravity, decrease gravity.
RobotsOh oh.Control a robot
AirlocksControl them.Lock personas in or out.
Life SupportMess with comfort.Does not turn off life support. May make it hot or cold.

2) Ramming

Ramming is a method of boarding a target space vehicle where all caution has been thrown to the solar wind. A space cruiser capable of ramming will have a specialized airlock which can attach to any part of the target ship’s hull. Once attached the invading party may breech the hull, airlock, or whatever to gain entry into the ship. In procedure, ramming is similar to boarding except that ramming is accompanied with lots of crunching and scraping noises. Ramming, requires skill and brute force. There is a 12% chance per computer level that a ramming ship will attach to, or damage, a target ship.

Table 38.4 Checklist for Ramming

The steps for preparing to ram another space vehicle.
1)Determine number of ram attempts
2)Determine chance of success.
3)Assess Damage Location on target.
4)Extent of Damage to target vessel (max Major).
5)Damage (one level less) to ramming vessel.
6)Lash and board 0-3 (1d4-1) turns
7)Target ship counter attacks.

Attempts: When a ship does not want to be rammed it can make avoidance maneuvers using it’s exatmo drives and pilot skill. If the below equation is positive the attacking space vehicle gets that many attempts to ram. If the result is negative. The attacking ship gets one chance to ram, but subtracts negative number from the Percent Chance Attack. So if the attackers drive, computer and pilot level were 7 and the defender’s exatmo drives and pilot level were 11  the ramming ship would get 1 chance at 8% per computer level for success. If the attacker’s total was 11 and the target’s total was 7 the attacker would get 4 chances to ram. Only one attempt to ram can be made per turn. And the number of attempts is the number allowed for that entire battle.

Attacker’s (drive + computer +pilot level) less Defender’s (drives + pilot level)

Chance per attempt: Basically the ramming vessel’s chance of being successful is dependent on the attacker’s computer level and pilot level. A space vehicle with a level 3 computer and a level 2 pilot would have a 39% chance of a successful ram.

12% (plus pilot level) per computer level of attacker

Smash or Lash: A successful ram means that the attacker has successfully made gnarly contact with the target vessel, and this will damage  the target ship. A successful ram will get one damage roll on the target vessel. The attacker must determine a hit location (Table 38.4: Space Vehicle Damage Location) and the extent of damage (Table 38.5: Extent of Space Vehicle Damage).  The extent of damage from the ram cannot exceed major damage. Ramming will also damage  the attacking ship. Smashing the target may be the extent of the attack. The pilot must decide whether to lash on and breech the hull or not. Hull breach success is automatic and takes 0-3 (1d4-1) combat turns. The Damage Location Roll also indicates where the attacking ship will breech the hull. I.e., if the ram damaged the target ships drives, the boarding party will enter the ship at the drives.

3) Artillery

The purpose of ship artillery is to damage the target ship so that it ceases to function. This goal is achieved by penetrating the hull, and delivering the artillery’s destructive force to the internal components of the ship. The amount and type of artillery is determined in Chapter 52: Space Vehicles. Although artillery cannot be fired exatmo into the atmosphere it can be used freely when the vessel is within an atmosphere. Ship artillery has the same ranges, damages, and effects as the artillery it is modelled after. The difference is in the amount of ammunition the fixed gun has access to. Energy based weapons can fire as long as the ship has fuel to maneuver with, and artillery requiring ammo will have 100 times the regular supply.

Hitting with artillery: Artillery requires a to hit roll to damage it’s target. The artillery weapon must score a hit against the target spaceship’s armour rating. This means that the attacker must make a kilodie roll higher than her target’s AR. The target ship’s armour rating which includes hull strength and ECM may prove impenetrable to many artillery attacks.

The artillery’s to hit roll  is adjusted by the attacking ship’s computer level. A gunnery program will fire the artillery automatically, with a bonus of +50 per level of ship’s computer. If the artillery is being fired by a skilled gunner persona, there is a bonus of +100 to hit per level of ship’s computer. The organic firing bonus is mostly due to the unpredictability of an organic life form firing a weapon. This bonus only applies to skilled personas, because a ship’s artillery cannot be fired without gunnery skill.

4) Boarding

Boarding is similar to congenial airlock attachment, except that during combat, boarding will result in the forceful connection to undesiring airlocks. Boarding can only be used to force airlocks together while exatmo (exterior to atmosphere). Once connected the attacking crew will breech the airlock of the target ship and then board. This method of attack is used because it preserves the target space vehicle, hostages, cargo, and is a lot more fun.

Attempts: When a ship does not want to be boarded it can make avoidance maneuvers using it’s exatmo drives and pilot skill. If the below equation is positive the attacking space vehicle gets that many attempts to board. If the result is negative the attacking ship get’s only one chance to board, but subtracts negative number from the percent chance attack. So if the attacker’s drive, computer and pilot level were 7 and the defender’s drives and pilot level were 9  the boarding ship would get 1 chance at 2% per computer level for success. If the attacker’s total was 11 and the target’s total was 7 the attacker would get 4 chances to board. Only one attempt to ram can be made per turn. And the number of attempts is the number allowed for that entire battle.

Attacker’s (drive + computer +pilot level) less Defender’s (drives + pilot level)

Chance per attempt: Basically the boarding vessel’s chance of being successful is dependent on the attacker’s computer level and pilot level. A space vehicle with a level 3 computer and a level 2 pilot would have a 18% chance of a successful board.

4% (plus pilot level) per computer level of attacker

Success: Even though boarding requires manual breaching of the airlock, and good old personal combat, the lining,tit),of the two airlocks requires tactical maneuvering (exatmo on combat spin) by the ship’s computer. There is a 4% chance per level of computer of successfully docking with another ship. Dice Dice are rolled against this chance by the player whose persona is the pilot. A ship may attempt to board once each turn (30 units).

Once Connected: Once connected to the target ship there are a few options. The attacking vessel can stay docked, and the boarding party can work on opening the air lock. If the target ship is still attempting to dislodge the attacker,
 combat fuel consumption must be maintained. However, combat fuel consumption is the only requirement to remain attached. Once a ship has been boarded, it cannot forcefully detach from its attacker. The only recourse that the target ship has is to continue maneuvering at combat fuel consumption, and hope that the boarding ship runs out of fuel. They would most likely give up long before that occurs. Usually a boarded ship will be resigned to its fate, and will open the airlock to avoid damage. If the victim is being impolite, the the airlock may need to be breached. Airlock breaching is left for the referee to run with her players. It is recommended that mechanics and spies be more proficient at airlock opening than dumb old mercenaries.

5) Grenades

In space vehicle combat grenades explosives delivered by either missile or mine. The type and number of grenades is determined in Chapter 52: Space Vehicles. The intent of the grenade is to explode against the hull in an attempt to damage the internal mechanisms of the ship. Grenade attacks in space vehicle combat, need to make a to hit roll before any damage can be inflicted. If a grenade doesn’t penetrate the ship’s armour it will explode harmlessly on the ship’s hull.

Any persona caught on the outside of the hull, but within the area of effect of the grenade will be affected as if a normal grenade attack was made. The grenade attacks are not thrown by paw from the ship’s airlock, they are delivered by one of two different methods: mini missiles, or mini mines. The two delivery systems are given the diminutive titles because their full-fledged counterparts missiles, and mines contain bombs as opposed to grenades.

Hitting with grenades: The grenade must hit the ship.  A grenade has contacted the ship if a kilo die roll is 500 or higher, however the roll must be higher than the ship’s armour rating to inflict damage. Grenades that only contact the ship’s hull are of interest because they will damage targets caught outside the ship’s hull, and they also count as damage which lowers the spaceship’s defence shields.

When a grenade has penetrated the ship’s armour, the attacker rolls extent of damage to determine the effectiveness of the attack, and the ref rolls the hit location. It is worth noting that starships with certain combinations of defences may be immune to grenade attacks.

Missiles

Mini-missiles are the more frequent of the two delivery types. Mini-missiles are ineffective when they are fired at a fleeing spaceship whose exatmo drives are 3 or more levels higher than the exatmo drives of the attacking ship. Even though a faster ship can outrun mini-missiles they receive a chance to hit if the faster ship is trying to board or ram the missile firing ship. A ship can control 3 mini-missiles per level of computer at one time. When used inatmo the mini-missiles cannot be outrun, and they can be used against any surface or atmospheric target. Although the mini-missiles function excellently inatmo they cannot survive the hazards of entering an atmosphere.

Mines

Mini-mines are grenades which are dumped in the path of starships in the hope that they will explode for damage. Grenades can be dumped in the path of a ship’s orbit, dumped in the path of a pursuing ship, or jettisoned against the hull of a boarding or ramming ship. Mini-mines are inactive mini-missiles, they do not chase targets, and they can only be dumped. The mini-mines are still useful because ECM cannot affect them, they move too slow to be affected by shields, and they cannot be avoided unless they are visually detected. The ability to detect the tiny camouflaged mini-mines requires a bizarre AWE (kilodie) roll. Mini mines can be dumped at a rate of 5 mines per unit per level of computer. Mini-mines, like mini-missiles, cannot survive the rigors of entry into an atmosphere but can be used to bomb targets inatmo.

6) Bombs

Bombs are lethal attack weapons. Bombs need only explode near the ship’s hull to inflict damage to the contents within. The number and type of bomb is determined in Chapter 52: Space Vehicles. Bombs are delivered by either missiles or mines.

Hitting with bombs: Bombs have to make a roll to hit against the armour rating of the target starship. If this attack fails the bomb still has a 20% chance per level of the attacking ship’s computer of a successful attack. So a bomb used in space combat has both a to hit roll attack and a percent chance attack. If the to hit roll attack is successful then the ship’s shields cannot absorb the attack. If the bomb is damaging the ship by its secondary, percentage roll attack, then the target’s shields can be used. The effectiveness of a bomb should be immediately obvious. If a bomb scores a successful to hit roll attack, the hit location will be randomly determined, and the extent of damage rolled. Usually the damage adjustor of a bomb will automatically destroy the location hit. If a bomb is used against a boarding or ramming target, the attacking ship will suffer a secondary attack from their own weapon (20% chance per level of ship’s computer of inflicting damage).

Missiles

Missiles can be used against any detectable target, and no ship can outrun a missile (as opposed to a mini-missile). A missile will take 1 combat turn per level difference between the two ship’s exatmo drives before it arrives. So if a faster ship fires on a slower ship the missile will hit the same turn it is fired, but if a ship with a level 4 exatmo drive were firing on a starcruiser with a level 8 exatmo drive, the missile would arrive in 4 combat turns (4 minutes). This gives the target ship 4 turns to buckle down. Missiles cannot function inatmo. An attacking ship can only control one missile per level of ship’s computer.

Mines

A ship may dump one mine per level of ship’s computer per unit. The mines have no drive components, and are discarded into the flight paths of target starships. Such mines may only be used against orbiting, pursuing, boarding, ramming, or  unaware targets. This bomb mine delivery method has some advantages over its missile counterpart. First the mines are virtually undetectable, and defensive ECM cannot be used against them. A mine can only be visually detected by an improbable (d100) AWE attribute roll. Mines are hardy enough to be deployed in atmosphere, or while in orbit to be used as fierce surface attack weapons.

7) Naval Artillery

Naval artillery has only one purpose in mind, to destroy the target ship. Naval artillery is not used to soften or assist in the taking over of the target vessel. The destruction is accomplished by the sheer force of the weapon. One use of naval artillery exhausts a whole day’s worth of fuel. The naval artillery cannot be idly used, it requires a gunnery program, and two gunners. Without this complement, the ship cannot fire its naval artillery. Naval artillery is different from regular artillery in several respects, it inflicts 3 times more damage, and has 100 times the range. Naval artillery can only be fired exatmo. Hitting with naval artillery: When the naval artillery fires, it receives +200 to hit per level of ship’s computer. If a to hit roll is successful the naval artillery will inflict 2 damage rolls. If the attack roll misses, there is a 5% chance per level of computer of still scoring a hit. The percent change to hit only scores 1 damage roll though. If the naval artillery scores on the to hit roll the attack cannot be absorbed by the target’s shields. Only the near miss attack, the percent chance attack, can be absorbed by the shields.

Defences

Defences are not solely devised for combat. A space-vehicle’s defences both defend against attacks, and the hostile environment of outer space. How the defences operate, and what happens when they breakdown is detailed in the following paragraphs.

Table 38.5 Space Vehicle Defences

Order of space vehicle defence from most important to most external.
1) Life Support
2)Gravity Control
3)Armour
4)ECM
5)Shields
6)Guns
7)Active Defences

1) Life Support

The purpose of life support is to maintain a comfortable environment for the organic, and delicate inorganic, contents of the ship. Life support is entirely self contained, and is virtually impossible to tamper with. The life support system will function completely unknown to the players, until something goes wrong.

Life support will not malfunction unless it is subject to a direct attack. Control ECM attacks can manipulate life support, but cannot turn it off or harm personas by controlling it.  The life support system is intimately protected by the both the hull and gravity system onboard the vessel. Both the 3) Armour and 2) Gravity System must be destroyed before life support can be affected. A system is considered destroyed once it reaches less than 10% of full capacity. So combat will usually be decided long before the life support system is damaged.

If the life support system should be destroyed the ship will suffer complete decompression. Decompression will kill all organic materials (personas), and destroy all delicate inorganic devices (computers, robots, toys). A partially damaged life support system will maintain a fraction of atmosphere proportional to its amount of damage. A fully operational life support system taking major damage (60% of previous performance) would only have 60% of the atmosphere that it previously had. This thin atmosphere will make it more difficult to work, and stay conscious. Frequent damage system shock rolls should be required in thin atmospheres. The effect of vacuum, and thin atmosphere, on personas is detailed in Chapter 19: Special Terrain.

2) Gravity System

A starship’s gravity system usually maintains a constant attraction of 1 gravity throughout the entire ship. This includes walkways, workspaces, cargo holds, cabins, etc. The gravity can be adjusted between 0.5  and 1.5 gravities. This is controlled by the ship’s computer, and is uniform throughout the whole ship. The gravity system maintains a comfortable working gravity regardless of whether the ship is making combat maneuvers near light speed, or banking inatmo at mach 8. Almost any maneuver performed by a space vehicle would destroy all organic materials (personas), and destroy all delicate inorganic devices (computers, robots, toys) without a functioning gravity system.

The gravity system can be manipulated by control attack ECM, but the gravity cannot be incapacitated, crushing the crew inside the ship, but it can be adjusted to be very annoying. Zero gravity means weightlessness, and not destruction of the gravity system.

Gravity is disabled if the system is functioning at less than 30% of its full capacity. If the gravity system should become disabled, the space vehicle will be immediately incapacitated. Combat movement will be impossible due to the lethal nature of high gravity combat spin maneuvers.  A ship with a disabled gravity system would immediately drop out of combat. A space vehicle unable to do combat maneuvers cannot avoid boarding, or ramming and attacks have substantial bonuses to be successful. Regular exatmo travel is also impossible as the accelerations of even pedestrian exatmo would squish the contents.  The ship will also not be able to maneuver inatmo. The vessel may be able to lift off, and land, but it cannot undertake atmospheric travel.

3) Armour

The armour is the spaceship’s hull. The hull is the containment and physical defence system of the ship. The hull contains the essential components of the ship, plays an important role in ship gravity, and helps contain the atmosphere created by the life support system. The hull also defends against both hostile environments and attacks. The star cruiser’s hull is the last line of defence. When an attack evades ECM, shields, and active defences the personas must hope that the hull will absorb, or deflect the incoming attack. Because of the spins and flips that the spaceship makes in combat movement, it is most likely that an unsuccessful attack has been deflected.

Damage to the interior of the ship does not necessarily indicate hull damage. When in combat the ship’s exatmo drives set it into combat maneuvers which consist of violent spinning, and direction changing. Such actions are intended to help armour deflect physical attacks. It is this motion which primarily causes a hit to be in a random location. Power surges, from one point to another, can also account for random damage locations.

Only when ‘hull’ is rolled on the Space Vehicle Damage Location table is the hull harmed. The bulkhead where the damage is found is determined by rolling on the table again. If ‘computers’ were rolled, the hull near the computer has been damaged. The roll on the Extent of Damage table will indicate the loss of atmosphere suffered by that section of the ship. The effect may vary from no noticeable loss of atmosphere (trivial) to explosive decompression (destroyed). The difference between loss of atmosphere from hull penetration and loss of atmosphere from damaged life support is that the hull damage will only affect the damaged location.

4) ECM

Defensive electronic countermeasures (ECM) deceptively manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum to defend the ship. The more powerful the ship’s computer level the more effective the electronic counter measures. If any personas have skill in ECM they can add that skill level to the computer level used for the ECM. So if a mechanic has ECM level 2 and the computer level is 3 then the ECM will function as a level 5 computer when using ECM. Defensive ECM can be used as attack ECM with all the same abilities as described for attack ECM, however a single ECM unit cannot be used simultaneously for attack and defence.

Defensive ECM is not subjected to initiative rolls. If ECM is available for an attack it will always be part of the defense of the ship. However if the ECM is used to break control or as attack ECM it will not be available.

Armour Rating

Most often defensive ECM will be used to make the ship harder to hit. This is done by creating false images of velocity, trajectory, rotation, size, etc. All of this electronic tom-foolery results in a +200 bonus to the ship’s armour rating per level of computer. So when defensive ECM is being employed, all to hit roll attack rolls are less likely to hit.

Breaking Control

Defensive ECM is especially important when the ship is under attack from control ECM. Defensive ECM can identify whether a ship’s component is actually malfunctioning, or whether it is malfunctioning due to control ECM. Defensive ECM will use the ship’s computer to re-route communications channels, and alter security, to defend against control ECM attacks. For example, if a control ECM attack had reduced the effectiveness of the ship’s drives defensive ECM could be used to break off this control. This would restore the drives to their normal power level. The chance of success is 15% per computer level.

Camouflage

Defensive ECM can be used to hide the ship electromagnetically. ECM will make the ship blend in with the background, or appear as some anomaly other than a spaceship. This aspect of ECM will not hide the ship from a visual inspection, but it will deceive another ship’s sensors. this deception has a 9% chance per computer level of being successful.

Damaged

When ECM is damaged its effectiveness is reduced by the percentage indicated on the Extent of Damage table. For example, ECM at 50% efficiency could only offer +100 per computer level to the ship’s AR.

5) Shields

The defence shields protect the hull from energy and kinetic attacks. They do so by distributing the attacking force across the entire hull, which effectively dampers the damage. The shields are ready to go at all times but every unit that they are used the fuel consumption is doubled. It requires at least one unit of use to absorb an attack. The defence shields will defend the ship against inhospitable atmospheres and attacks, however they have no effect against boarding, ramming, ECM, or contact mines. The shields can absorb 100 HPS of damage for every level of exatmo drive. Therefore a ship with a level 4 drive could absorb 400 HPs of damage from missiles, artillery, and naval artillery attacks. So an energy attack that should inflict 429 HPS of damage attack against such a ship would only inflict 29 HPS if the shields were up. Shields render many weapons ineffectual. This HPS absorption ability is available for every single attack. So 3 separate attacks in one combat turn would each be absorbed for the total shield defence.

If a space vehicle has shields it has added another layer to the life support defensive cascade. So before life support can be damaged shields, armour and gravity must be destroyed.

When a ship’s exatmo drives are damaged, the shields are immediately affected. Direct damage to the shields will reduce their effectiveness by the percentage indicated on the Extent of Damage table.

6) Guns

A gun does not sound like an entirely defensive device, but occasionally the best defence is a good offence. In the perspective of ship to ship combat a mere gun would be an ineffectual weapon, however when defending the ship against intruders a gun mounted in the ship’s airlock can be most effective. If the player has rolled ‘guns’ as part of her vessel’s defence each airlock will be mounted with an automated gun rolled from Chapter 46: Guns. The guns can be fired both outside of, or inside of, the airlock whether inatmo, or exatmo. The gun cannot fire both inside of and outside of the airlock simultaneously. The gun can be fired remotely, via visual link from the bridge, or it can be left to the control of a gun program in the software of the computer. A particularly effective gun could be used on an attacking ship if it were in the process of boarding or ramming.

The gun has an unlimited supply of ammo. The to hit rolls are adjusted with a BNP (if fired manually from the bridge), or no adjustment at all (if fired by a program). A gun will be most effective when controlled remotely by a mercenary. The gun can be knocked out of commission by scoring damage rolls. The gun’s AR is the same as the AR of the hull. Manipulation of the gun by mechanics should be, at least, a DD 20 maneuver.

7) Active

Active defences are used against incoming weapons. An active defence may fire missiles, waves of shrapnel, energy blasts, lazer matrices, or crystalline discharges in an attempt to dissipate, prematurely detonate, or destroy incoming attacks. Regardless of the active defence chosen, all will function equally: lazer arrays are as effective as anti-missiles which are as effective as energy waves.  Active defences can be used against grenades, bombs, or artillery, but they have no effect against boarding, ramming, ECM, or naval artillery. Active defences cannot be used unless there is a definite incoming attack. Whenever an incoming attack is identified, the active defence has an 8% chance per level of computer of stopping the attack cold. An attack intercepted by active defences does no damage what-so-ever. A ship can attempt to thwart 1 attack per level of computer per unit.

So a level 3 computer, combined with active defences would have a 24% chance of stopping, at most, 3 missile attacks per unit. The same ship could make 3 active defence attempts against 1 missile. A ship will have 100 disposable charges for every 50 tonnes of ship. When these supplies are exhausted no further active defences can be made. If a persona with gunnery skill is assigned to the active defences she can add her skill level to the computer level to improve the chance of blocking the attack. ECM cannot be used to boost the percent chance of success of active defences.

If a ship is trying to ram a target ship the target ship may release mines to damage the attacking ship. If the attacking ship has any active defence charges left for that turn they may be used to counter attack the mines or missiles.

If a ship’s computer is damaged the deployment of active defences becomes less efficient, and the active defences will reflect this. Direct damage of the active defences will reduce the efficiency in proportion to the extent of damage roll. Active defences will automatically get an attempt to stop an attack directed at them unless their charges are depleted.
Active defences are not fooled by deceptive attack ECM, however, the active defences can be affected by control ECM, and their percent chance of success reduced accordingly.

Space Vehicle Damage

When an attack is successful, either by rolling over the target ship’s AR (to hit roll attack), or rolling under a designated percentage (percent chance attack), the target ship has been damaged. Although the space-vehicles do not have hit points, the HPS damage rolled for an attack is important. Whenever a ship is damaged, the successful attacker rolls both a hit location, and extent of damage. The hit location determines what system of the ship has been damaged. The hit location is determined randomly, just like persona hit location, on Table 38.6: Space Vehicle Hit Location. Table 38.7: Extent of Damage indicates how severely the spaceship part was damaged.

Space vehicle weapons inflict damage in HPS, but space vehicles do not have hit points. The more dangerous a weapon is the more HPS damage the weapon inflicts, however a stronger weapon is only more likely to

Hulls and Damage: Damage to a component within the interior of a ship does not mean that the hull has been punctured. Damage can be conducted directly through the hull, and power surges originating from another part of the ship can have the same effect. During combat the space ship is also constantly spinning, missiles come in from random directions, and the hit location is hardly predictable. The armour rating of the hull enlists all such properties into its value. Only when the hull itself is damaged (hit location 1) Hull) can the ship’s contents be exposed to decompression.

Personas and Damage: Ship to ship combat is very lethal. Personas are tiny fleas perched on battling elephants that can be squashed at any moment. Players must be aware that personas can be killed in an instant during space vehicle combat. If a hit is delivered to any part of the ship where personas are found, they can be sure to take damage. If the attack generates damage, the personas will take damage if they are working in a hit location area. If a persona is in the cargo hold when it is damaged they will take area of effect damage. If a mechanic is working on the drives they could be damaged by a hit to the drives. The damage is area of effect damage and armour rating of the persona does not help. If the number of hit points in damage is less than the hull’s armour rating divided by ten then the persona will take no damage. Damage from attacks like bombs or naval artillery will almost certainly annihilate any persona caught in the hit location.

Persona Damage = Attack HPS Damage minus  Hull AR divided by 10

So if a full missile delivering a bomb were to hit the crew’s quarters it would damage every persona in the crew’s quarters at that moment. The exploding bomb generates 110 HPS of damage. This damage will increase the extent of damage to the crew’s quarters and will also have an area of effect blast in that entire ship location. If the ship’s hull had an armour rating of 800 each persona would take 30 HPS damage. As you can imagine attacks like naval artillery can send an entire expedition off to roll a whole new set of personas.

Assessing Damage: If the ship has no damage assessment program (defensive ECM or some software), the crew will be unaware as to the location of damage on their ship. They will immediately notice that their exatmo drives are sucking, or that their computer is now a lot dumber, however they may have no idea that their cargo hold has been destroyed. Also attackers will have no idea what kind of damage was wrought upon the target ship if a hit is scored. When damaging a target ship the players cannot know what they have damaged without using their ECM to probe the target ship

Damage Location

Damage location for starships is very similar to hit location for robots, vehicles, and personas. The damage location must be rolled for every successful attack.

Before damage location can be fully understood, a certain aspect of combat movement should be emphasized, this is that the ships in combat are spinning. When starships go into combat they spin precariously, end over end, around and around, or any other combination necessary to reduce damage or avoid an attack. The ship’s computer is attempting to deflect attacks, reduce exposed surface area, and put as much hull as possible between attacks and integral components. As described earlier the ship’s gravity system must be properly functioning, or the occupants will certainly be killed.

The combat movement prevents attackers from aiming at specific components of the target ship, and like other combat systems in EXP the hit location in determined randomly. When the ship is in combat movement misses will have no effect, and hits will be on random locations. Use the Space Vehicle Damage Location Table to determine where a hit has landed. If a target ship is not in combat movement it is essentially a sitting duck. An attacker’s successful to hit roll will be a hit on any desired component, and a miss will be a random hit. These are two of several victory conditions: disabled combat movement (exatmo drive), or disabled ship’s gravity. In rare occasions a referee may allow a highly skilled gunner to move up and down the hit location table depending on how much damage was rolled. This can only be done for artillery and mini-missiles.

Missing Damage Locations: If the damage location roll has indicated a space vehicle part that the ship doesn’t have then the attacker rolls again. For instance if the player rolls 22, indicating damage to the ship’s special drives, but the ship has no special drives then the attacker rolls again. If The damage location is one that the attacker has already destroyed (functioning at less than 1% capacity) then the hit has landed on an ineffectual area. The effects of hitting various space vehicle systems is discussed under Extent of Damage.

Table 38.6 Space Vehicle Damage Location

Damage report!
Die Roll (1d100)Damage Location
Die RollDamage Location
01-111) Hull
2) Drives
12-152a) Inatmo
16-192b) Exatmo
20-232b) Special
3) Fuel
24-283a) Inatmo
29-333b) Exatmo
34-383c) Special
39-433d) Amount
44-483e) Consumption
4) Computer
494a) Level
50-514b) Bot Control
52-534c) Software
54-605) Cargo
61-626) Crew
7) Defences
7a) Life Support
637b) Gravity System
64-677c) Armour
68-717d) ECM
72-757e) Shields
76-797f) Guns
80-817g) Active Defences
8) Attacks
82-838a) ECM
84-868b) Ramming
87-898c) Artillery
90-928d) Boarding
93-958e) Grenades
96-988f) Bombs
998g) Naval Artillery
00Ref's Own Table

Extent of Damage

The Extent of Damage Table is used to determine how badly a system has been damaged by a successful attack. The extent of damage roll is increased by 1 percentage point for every hit point of damage. So an attack inflicting 30 HPS of damage would add 30 to its extent of damage roll. Because of this many space weapons, if not all, will destroy whatever they hit.

The extent of damage roll usually reduces the performance levels of onboard equipment, however, accuracies, control factors (bots) and cargo can be damaged also. The Extent of Damage table yields the severity of damage inflicted by an attack. If components are repeatedly damaged they may cease to function without being completely destroyed. A more detailed explanation of equipment damage in Chapter 21: Equipment Damage will be of assistance.

Table 38.7 Extent of Space Vehicle Damage

How badly is it broke?
Die Roll (1d100)Damage Descriptor% of Previous Performance
Die RollDamage% Previous
01-10Trivial100
11-60Minor90
61-90Major60
91-99Critical30
00Destroyed1

Effect of Damage: Whenever an onboard system is damaged anything can happen. The component may be trivially damaged, where there is no reduction in efficiency, or the component may be critically damaged where there is a reduction to 30% of previous performance. If a ship with a level 6 exatmo drive were to have its exatmo drive critically damaged it would be reduced to a level 2 exatmo drive until repaired. If the exatmo drive were destroyed (less than 10% function), it would cease to function. The space vehicle would be knocked out of combat, and the vessel would be stranded in space.

Destroyed Systems: Space vehicle systems are considered destroyed once reduced to 10% of its full performance. From a practical standpoint the mechanism may become useless long before it reaches 10%. The effects of a disabled, or destroyed, mechanism are detailed under Effects of Space Vehicle Damage in this chapter.

Cumulative Destruction: The damaging effects of successful attacks are cumulative, and a system can be destroyed over several attacks. If a device were to take major damage (60% performance), and then major damage (60% reduction) again its effective level of function would be 36%. A further critical damage (30% performance) would reduce the part to 11% of its previous performance. At this point even trivial damage (90% performance) would disable the mechanism.

Instantaneous Destruction: If something is destroyed  by a single attack (0% previous performance) the device is considered damaged beyond repair. The effects of instantaneous destruction are cataclysmic. A destroyed hull would explosively decompress, a destroyed drive will melt down, fuel could explode, etc. There is no chance for repair, and replacement parts will be required.

Modifying For Fun: If the referee and players find that this extent of damage adjustment is destroying their space vehicles too quickly then modify it to have more fun. Eliminate the HPS Extent of Damage modification.  Allow the vessel’s AR to reduce the extent of damage. Regardless of what ruling the referee uses to reduce the damage effect of the attack it should be done only to keep the game fun for everyone. If a rule gets in the way of having fun then change it.

Effects of Space Vehicle Damage

1) Hull: The hull is an integral component of the life support system and it helps contain the atmosphere that is created by the life support system. It is a barrier from exatmo and a container for it’s organic and delicate inorganic cargo. The hull is also the substrate for the gravity system.  The hull cannot be damaged before the ship’s 7c) Defences, Armour has been destroyed. It would be unlikely that a space vehicle would still be in combat by the time it’s hull is under attack. A hit to the hull requires a roll on the extent of damage table, and another roll on the hit location table. If the hull is destroyed (<10% function) it will have been penetrated. A hit location then determines which part of the space vessel has been exposed to exatmo. For example if the hull is destroyed and the attacker rolls cargo on the damage location table then the cargo hold will be exposed to explosive decompression. Typically this will destroy all organic and delicate inorganic occupants. The decompression will be limited to that area. See Chapter 19: Special Terrain for the effects of exatmo on personas.

This location is considered off limits and destroyed unless the penetration in the hull can be repaired. If the hull hole is repaired then the life support and gravity systems will replenish the location, although it will still be damaged.

If attacks continue on a space vessel with a penetrated hull further hits to the hull the whole process of hull destruction will be repeated. If the hull is destroyed again then another location will be decompressed.

2a) Drives, Inatmo: Simply reduce the drive level of the in atmosphere drive by the percentage indicated. A ship with a destroyed inatmo drive cannot enter the atmosphere of a planet, or leave the atmosphere of a planet. Planet bound, or stuck in orbit until repaired.

2b) Drives, Exatmo: A damaged exatmo drive will have its drive level reduced by the percentage indicated. This will affect defence shields, and the ability to evade boarding. These are the ship’s combat drives, and without them it cannot maintain combat spin. If the drive is destroyed this is a victory condition. The ship will be able to maintain combat spin until the drive is destroyed. If the exatmo drives are destroyed, even instantly, the ship will simply stop spinning and start floating towards the nearest star.

2c) Drives, Special: Simply reduce the drive level of the in special drive by the percentage indicated. A destroyed special drive will keep the space vehicle from making any long voyages. Space combat cannot occur during special drive travel, so it is unlikely that they will be damaged at that time. If the special drives are injured while traveling in the special mode, the referee can do whatever she wants.

3a, 3b, 3c) Fuel: Inatmo, Exatmo, Special: Damage to drive fuel means that the fuel storage has been damaged, and fuel may be floating in space, or batteries may be leaking. The fuel level for the particular drive has been reduced by the indicated percentage. So if the inatmo fuel (10 months storage) takes major damage (60%), then it is reduced to 6 months storage. If the exatmo drive can no longer access it’s fuel storage then the exatmo drive will cease to function. This would be a victory condition. The inatmo drive can draw fuel from the main storage tanks even if its storage is reduced to zero. Only the inatmo drive will be able to redirect fuel from the other fuel stores. If a ship has lost all its fuel from this damage format see fuel, amount below.

3d)  Fuel, Amount: The space-vehicle’s total fuel storage is damaged. The total amount of fuel is reduced by the indicated amount. Destruction of fuel is a victory condition as the target ship can no longer maintain its combat spin.

3e) Fuel, Consumption: Has the same effect as destroying fuel storage, but this is damage to the mechanism that distributes the fuel. The fuel is still present, but the drives cannot access it. The amount of fuel that the space-vehicle has access to is reduced by the designated percentage. Destroying fuel consumption is a victory condition, unless the device can be repaired.

4a) Computer, Level: The hit damaged the ship’s computer, and the computer’s level is reduced accordingly. This damage is not necessarily a direct hit, and it can be delivered to computer via a power surge from elsewhere on the ship. Reduction of a ship’s computer is most devastating as it effects the success of all attacks and defences.

4b) Computer, Bot Control: Lose control of robots by percentage indicated. This damage could be expressed by increasing the bot’s control factors by the opposite of the percentage indicated. E.g., a minor damage would give the bot a control factor of 10%. Instantly destroying bot control could send a command surge to the robots destroying them also. Generally damaging bot control will cause them to become more self aware and harder to control by the ship. For example a bot that is doing gunnery control or healing the sick will have it’s effectiveness reduced by that percentage. If bot control is destroyed the robots may go feral having developed self awareness.

4c) Computer, Software: Lose software amount indicated by percentage damage. This does not affect computer level or ECM, only extra software packages that come in addition to the ship’s computer. The software packages could be reduced in effectiveness by the given percentage. Which software packages, and how many, should be randomly determined. For example, the vessel may lose it’s translations software, or it’s astrogation, or it’s gunnery program.

5) Cargo: Cargo storage area, cargo locks, and carried cargo are damaged by the indicated percentage. This could affect the value of cargo, the effectiveness of cargo openings, or the amount of cargo. In passenger liners this could be the passenger area.

6) Crew: Crew’s quarters, and all crew presently within it. This is the expedition killer of space vehicle combat. If it sustains damage the amount of space will be reduced, and the function of any crew facilities (toilets, food production, entertainment systems) will be reduced accordingly. Area of effect damage will also be delivered to any personas in the crew area.

7a) Defences, Life Support: Cannot be damaged unless the hull and gravity have been destroyed already. If both the hull and the gravity have been destroyed life support could be attacked. This will usually be done by accident as destroying life support will destroy everything on the ship. An attack on life support will reduce the atmosphere of the entire ship by the given percentage. Destroying life support is not considered a victory condition since gravity must be destroyed first. Intentionally destroying the life support of a space vehicle is to destroy it utterly.

A fully operational life support system taking major damage (60% of previous performance) would only have 60% of the atmosphere that it previously had. This thin atmosphere will make it more difficult to work, and stay conscious. Frequent damage system shock rolls should be required in thin atmospheres. The effect of vacuum, and thin atmosphere, on personas is detailed in Chapter 19: Special Terrain.

7b) Defences, gravity: Gravity cannot be damaged unless he ship’s armour is destroyed. If the hull is destroyed then gravity cannot be affected. Damaging gravity is a victory condition. The

7c) Defences, armour: The armour rating of the ship is reduced by the amount indicated. This cannot be reduced below an armour rating of 400. Armour damage is different from 1) Hull damage. The hull is the barrier between the life support and exatmo, the hull is the substrate that the gravity system attaches to. Armour (Armour Rating) is a combination of the inherent hull strength, any special combat hardening of the hull, alterations to he hull during combat, and the computer’s ability to avoid being hit. Armour rating is a complete system The damage involves both structural damage to the hull, and it’s finer interfaces with the computer. Damaging armour does not involve depressurization, but it does involve reduced ability to avoid hits by injuring external combat sensors, retro rockets, and deflecting surfaces etc.

Let’s consider a ship with an Armour Rating of 800 taking major damage.  There are two ways to calculate the extent of damage to the armour rating. The simple way is to simply multiply 800 times 60% and reduce the new Armour Rating (AR) to 480. The lowest a space vehicle’s armour rating can get is 400. The more complicated method is to subtract 400 from the Armour Rating, and multiply the result by 60%. This result is added to the minimum Armour Rating of 400. So a vessel with an Armour Rating of 800 and major damage would have a new AR of 640.  Destroyed armour is reduced to an armour rating of 400.

7d) Defences. ECM: Defensive ECM becomes reduced by the percentage indicated by the extent of damage. ECM is a bit more resilient than other space vehicle systems. Damaged defensive ECM can still function fully as attack ECM. If the space vessel has two ECM systems the attack ECM can replace the damaged defensive ECM, and the Attack ECM can be switched to Defensive ECM. So the only way to damage Defensive ECM is to damage each of the space vehicle’s Defensive ECM.

7e) Defences. Shields: The shields are reduced by the percentage indicated on the extent of damage roll. Shields are immune to damage bonuses on the Extent of Damage Table. So an attack that does 50 HPS Damage would increase the Extent of Damage roll by 50 (added to the 1d100). However shields are immune to this. If a shield could absorb 400 HPS damage and has sustained major damage (60%) it would only be able to absorb 240 HPS per attack until repaired.

7f) Defences, Guns: This is the airlock defence gun. The gun will have it’s range and HPS damage reduced by the extent of damage indicated. So an airlock gun that sustained major damage (60%) would have it’s range reduced by 60% and each damage attack would be reduced by 60%. So if the gun used to fire 100 hexes outside the airlock it would be reduced to 60 hexes, and every damage roll would be multiplied by 0.6. A destroyed defence gun simply stops working.

7g) Defences, Active: Active defences can look after themselves. Regardless of what they have been up to the active defence will get one chance to stop the attack from causing damage. So a space vehicle with a computer level of 3 would have a 24% chance (3 times 8) of protecting the Active Defence. If the incoming attack is immune to active defences (like some bombs or mines) the active defence can still protect itself, but some other space vehicle system will be damaged. Depleted active defences cannot defend themselves. If the defence fails then the active defences are damaged the same as any other of the space vehicle’s systems. The referee can reduce the number of active defense charges remaining, or reduce the effectiveness of the remaining charges.

8a) Attacks, ECM: Attack ECM becomes reduced by the percentage indicated by the extent of damage. ECM is a bit more resilient than other space vehicle systems. Damaged attack ECM can still function fully as defensive ECM. If the space vessel has two ECM systems the defensive ECM can replace the damaged attack ECM, and the defensive ECM can be switched to attack ECM. So the only way to damage attack ECM is to damage each of the space vehicle’s ECM systems.

8b) Attacks, Ramming: The chance of ramming is reduced by the percentage indicated by the extent of damage. This is an injury to the physical plant of the space vessel as well as the sensors, and machinery necessary for ramming. Normally this attack has a percent chance of success based on 12%. With major damage the base chance is reduced to 7%. If the Attacks, Ramming system is destroyed this space vehicle may no longer ram. Damage to ramming does not affect boarding.

8c) Attacks, Artillery: The artillery will have it’s range and HPS damage reduced by the extent of damage indicated. So an artillery system has sustained major damage (60%) would have it’s range reduced by 60% and the damage of each damage attack would be reduced by 60%. So if the artillery used to have 500 hexes range it would be reduced to 300 hexes. If the artillery’s area of effect had a radius of 20 hexes it would be reduced to 12 hexes.  Every damage roll would be multiplied by 0.6. A destroyed artillery gun simply stops working. If an artillery piece is destroyed in a single attack there is a chance that there will be an onboard explosion. This should be determined by Sphincter Dice. Detonated artillery will act as if the space vehicle had shot itself once (using it’s pre damaged attributes).

8 d) Attacks, Boarding: The chance of boarding is reduced by the percentage indicated by the extent of damage. This is an injury to the physical plant of the space vessel as well as the sensors, and machinery necessary for boarding. Normally this attack has a percent chance of success based on 4%. After sustaining  major damage the base chance is reduced to 3%. If the attack boarding system is destroyed this space vehicle may no longer board as an attack. If the boarding attack is destroyed in a single attack the airlock is also destroyed and can no longer be used. Damage to boarding does not affect ramming.

8e) Attacks, Grenades: The percent chance success of grenade attacks are reduced by the amount indicated by degree of damage. Regardless of the to hit roll made for either the mini-missile or the mini-mine delivering the grenade there is a chance of failure of the attack depending on the degree of damage. For example if the attacking ship were to launch 4 mini-missiles at a target ship and the grenade attack system had sustained major damage (60% of previous function) there would only be a 60%  chance of being allowed a to hit roll with the grenade attack. If the cumulative extent of damage is less than 10% the grenade attack system is destroyed and no longer works. If the grenade system suffers instantaneous destruction a Sphincter Dice check must be made to see if a mini-mine or mini-missile scores an automatic hit for damage on its own space vehicle.

8f) Attacks, Bombs: The Bomb delivery system is hardened to combat and is difficult to destroy. There are no damage bonuses awarded on the Extent of Damage Table for bomb delivery system. The percent chance success of bomb attacks are reduced by the amount indicated by degree of damage. Regardless of the to hit roll made for either the missile or the mine delivering the bomb there is a chance of failure of the attack depending on the degree of damage. For example if the attacking ship were to launch 4 missiles at a target ship and the bomb attack system had sustained major damage (60% of previous function) there would only be a 60%  chance of being allowed a to hit roll with the bomb attack. If the cumulative extent of damage is less than 10% the bomb attack system is destroyed and no longer works. If the bomb system suffers instantaneous destruction a Sphincter Dice check must be made to see if the a mine or missile scores an automatic hit for damage on its own space vehicle.  Ouch!

8g) Attacks, Naval Artillery: The naval artillery is very hardened to combat and is very difficult to destroy. There are no damage bonuses awarded on the Extent of Damage Table for naval artillery. When damaged naval artillery will only have it’s to hit bonus reduced by the extent of damage indicated. Range and damage amount will be unaffected. So while a naval artillery system can have it’s targeting destroyed it’s power and range is unaffected.  So if a naval artillery system has sustained major damage (60%) would have a to hit bonus of +120. If a naval artillery piece is destroyed in a single attack there is a chance that there will be an onboard explosion. This should be determined by Sphincter Dice. Detonated naval artillery will act as if the space vehicle had shot itself once.

Ref’s Own Table: If the ship has any device that it acquired through an ‘other’ roll will be hit by the attack, or the attacker can choose the equipment damaged. Drama and excitement.

policecraft.368

Odds and Sods of Space Vehicle Combat

As described earlier space vehicles are considered valuable artifacts that any self respecting pirate would not destroy and would much prefer to take control of and fly away with. This may not be the case in galactic wide battles of adversarial armadas. This combat system is not designed for such large scale events.

Life Support: Life support is not just for the organic, and delicate inorganic occupants of the space vehicle. Life support also keeps the ship’s computer alive, and destroying life support destroys the ship utterly. Why would a computer on a space vehicle not be hardened to exatmo. Well it is! Before the life support can be wiped out many other systems must fail on board (read destroyed by combat). The ship’s armour must be destroyed (this is not the hull). Next the hull must be destroyed. Next the gravity system must be destroyed. By this point the space vehicle will be a complete mess. Only once Armour, Hull, and gravity must be at less than 10%. The ship will be dropped out of combat maneuvers and barely ‘alive.’

Table 38.8 Order of Life Support Destruction

Life support is damaged last, and a series of other defences must be destroyed first.
Destruction SequenceBefore Damaging... Must Be DestroyedEffect
Destruction SequenceSafe until...This is destroyedEffect
First7e) ShieldsNothingMust have shields to destroy. Cannot protect armour.
Second7c) Armour 7e) Shields (<10% function)Physical and maneuvering protective layer is destroyed.
Third1) Hull7c) Armour (AR 400)
Localized decompressions.
Fourth7b) Gravity1) Hull (<10% function)No combat or exatmo, or inatmo accelerations.
Last7a) Life Support7b) Gravity (<10% function)Death to all organic and delicate inorganics include the space vehicle.

Nomenclature: Just to avoid confusion EXP uses the following descriptions of space vehicles.

Table 38.9 Nomenclature of Space Vehicles

The type of space vehicle denotes it's function.
Space Vehicle TypeExatmo DriveInatmo Drive Special Drive
Space Vehicle TypeExatmoInatmoSpecial
Space CruiserYESNONO
Space ShipYESYESNO
Star CruiserYESNOYES
Star ShipYESYESYES
Jump ShipNONOYES
PlaneNOYESNO

Crew and Combat: In general crew will increase the computer level of the attack or defence by one level per skill level. So the benefits of a pilot are already included in evasive or attack maneuvers. While most everything is interpreted and run by computers the personas may add their skill level to improve to hit roll chances, and percent chance successes. Let’s say a mechanic has artillery skill level 2. If the ship’s computer were level 3 then an artillery attack would enjoy to hit level bonuses as if it were a level 5 computer. If a group of personas wish to work together they must create a research team and be successful before they can combine their skill levels. For example a mercenary with bomb skill 2 and a mechanic with missile skill 2 would not automatically get plus 4 added to the computer. They must win performance table rolls as a research team before they could boost the computer level by 4. Research teams are discussed in Chapter 14: Performance Rolls.