Chapter 52: Space Vehicles

studiostoks illustration stock image. modified HM
Going my Milky Way?

Space vehicles is essentially a subset of vehicles. Although many times more sexy, and useful, than vehicles, spacecraft are nothing more than a means of getting from one place to another. Spacecraft have the ability to exit planetary atmospheres, and sail off into the wild black yonder. The spaceships are able to do this because of specially sealed hulls, super powerful engines, and highly specialized drives that cover enormous distances in one action.

The spacecraft generated in this chapter can vary from a garbage outcasts of 1000 planet armadas to the priceless result of some race trying to escape its gravity well. Ships can be found, stolen, rented, lent or inherited by the expedition. The ships can be used to achieve a specific campaign goal, or just to expand campaign horizons. Either way access to a spaceship increases the level of fantasy to galactic proportions.

The introduction of a spaceship will occur whenever the ref sees fit. The campaign could start with a launch countdown, or could end with a glorious escape from one’s own hideous planet. Most likely spaceships will come and go. Expeditions will exchange the technology for adventure, and occasionally their hides for technology.

Nomenclature

To avoid confusion EXP uses the following descriptors for kinds of space vehicles. Any kind of vehicle that functions exatmo is a space vehicle. Exatmo is EXP for exterior to atmosphere.

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

The Build

The spacecraft are neither accurate in detail, nor in aerospace specifications. The ship design system creates random spacecruisers that have the basic necessities of space travel: a hull, drives, computers, and life support. The design of the ship layouts, both external, and internal, are left to the ref, or players. The integral sections of ship generation are listed here: hull, drives, fuel, computers, defences, attacks, required crew, and cargo allotment. The space vehicle generation system has many other incidentals that appear along the way.

Space Vehicle Build Checklist

What you need to cover to construct a space vehicle.
1Hull
2Drives
3Fuel
4Computer
5Defences
6Attacks
7Crew
8Cargo Space
9Special Stuff
10EXPS
11Value
Tom Corbett Space Cadet Adventure: Danger In Deep Space By Carey Rockwell, Tech adviser Willy Ley. Illustrator Louis Glanzman Gosset and Dunlap 1953
Different sized space vehicles.

1) Hull

This is the first basic assumption about space vehicles is that they have hulls. For spaceships that never experience planetary gravities, any sort of shape—that the drives don’t tear apart—would be acceptable. However some of the spacecraft in this chapter are designed for operation in and out of the atmosphere, and the way to assure the safety of the shipboard components is to contain them within an airtight hull. This hull is sealed off from the vacuum of outer space, often called exatmo. The hull has three basic factors: size, composition, and strength.

Size

The hull size determines the amount of internal equipment that the ship will be able to support. Roll once on Table 52.1: Hull Size. How much space a tonne displaces can be considered irrelevant, if all the ships are created on the same system.

Table 52.1 Hull Size

Determine the moderate sized space vehicle size for the artifact.
Die Roll (1d100)DisplacementDice
Die RollDisplacementDice
01-102-82d4
11-303-183d6
31-504-404d10
51-8040-4004d10 times 10
81-90401-1400400 plus 1d1000
91-951500-60001000 plus (5d10 times 1000)
96-996000-360006d6 times 1000
00Ref's Own Table

Composition

A roll on Table 52.2: Hull Composition will determine what the spacecraft’s hull has been manufactured from. Most ships will be composed of metal, plastic, and ceramic alloys. Some hulls sport smart metal, organic steel (organalloy), both of which repair themselves and require no refitting.

Table 52.2 Hull Composition

Determine what the space vehicle's is composed of.
Die RollCompositionComment
Die RollCompositionComment
01-90Hull MetalCeramics, alloys, plastix. Requires maintenance.
91-99Smart MetalOrganic Steel, Organalloy. Self maintaining.
00Ref's Own Table

Strength

Hull strength is represents the hull’s ability to prevent damage to the ship’s interior components. This aspect of the hull is so similar to an armour rating that the hull is actually given an armour rating. Roll on Table 52.3: Hull Strength to determine the ship’s AR. The ref must consider several additional features about spaceship hulls. These are airlocks, cargolocks, and datalocks (hardpoints).

Table 52.3 Hull Strength

Determination of hull strength measured in armour rating (AR).
Die Roll (1d100)Armour Rating
Die RollArmour Rating
01-10800
11-30900
31-601000
61-801100
81-901500
91-952000
96-992500
00Ref's Own Table

Airlocks

An airlock allows passengers, and small cargo, to enter/exit the ship whether the ship is in, or out of, an atmosphere. An airlock takes up no space inside the ship, but requires 5 tonnes of cargo space. The airlock is free to be located anywhere on the space vehicle. A ship can have 1 airlock for every 5 tonnes of unallotted cargo space. So a ship with a 15 tonne cargo hold could support 3 airlocks anywhere on its hull. Ships with less than 5 tonnes of cargo space cannot have an airlock. This doesn’t mean the ship cannot be entered; it only means that the ship can only be entered while in atmosphere.

Cargo locks

A larger ship may prefer a cargo lock. The cargo access sizes represent the amount of cargo which can be moved through the opening at one time. For instance a 50 tonne cargo lock on a 2000 tonne cargo hold could move 50 tonnes of cargo per hour, day, or whatever. A cargolock is not pressurized, and only allows access to the cargo bay while the ship is inatmo. A cargo lock will only be found on larger space vehicles with at least 50 tonnes of cargo space.

Cargo airlocks are enormous airlocks that are found on gigantic space vehicles. The cargo airlock can be used while exatmo to move cargo or smaller space vehicles into and out of the cargo hold without depressurization. A cargo airlock requires at least 500 tonnes of cargo space.

Datalocks

Datalocks are also called hardpoints. Datalocks are electronic accesses to the exterior of the hull. A datalock is required for every single external contraption that requires exatmo access (guns, missiles, viewers etc). A ship will have 10 datalocks per level of computer.

Special

The hulls of a space vehicle can be altered to the needs and whims of the players. Extravagance costs extra. Space vehicles may have double hulls, so attacks must penetrate two armour ratings before damage can be inflicted. A hull could also be streamlined to decrease atmospheric fuel consumption by one half. These are campaign based alterations that are up to the referee.

2) Drives

Like any vehicle a space vehicle needs engines to travel from one point to another. Spacecraft are not near so provincial as to call their power sources engines. The term drive is applied to the combined power source and propulsion system.

Types

The space vehicles have three different types of drives, which may, or may not, found on the space vehicle. The inatmo drive is for in atmospheric maneuvering. A space vehicle that does not have an inatmo drive cannot enter an atmosphere. All ships have an exatmo (exterior to atmosphere drive). This is the drive that maneuvers the ship in the vacuum of space. The exatmo drives are unimaginably fast, however they are no match for the vastness of space. Special drives technomagically fling the starship immediately across space. Therefore avoiding generational starships, or degenerative cryosuspension. Special drives make space travel more efficient and more fun.

Table 52.4 Drive Types

Die Roll (1d100)Drive TypesComment
Die Roll (1d100)DrivesComment
01-15ExatmoSpacecruiser
16-30Exatmo, InatmoSpaceship
31-60Exatmo, SpecialStarcruiser
61-90Exatmo, Inatmo, SpecialStarship
91-00SpecialJump Ship

Exatmo

Exatmo drives will be one of two types: fusion or gravetics. Both are equally efficient at moving the ship around in outer space. Neither will function within the atmosphere, but a fusion drive used within the atmosphere has special effects. The velocity, and power level of the drives are described under drive level in this chapter.

If used inatmo a fusion drive will have the effect of a thermonuclear explosion on the surrounding atmosphere. Sadistic personas that wish to use the fusion drives as a weapon should be discouraged first by the cruelty of such an action, and second by those dangers that are presented to the ship. A description of these dangers is left to the referee, but a few examples are: a nuclear attack to the ship; probability of a fuel blowout; accidental grounding; etc.

Inatmo

These are the in-atmospheric drives of the ship. No spacecraft can enter into an atmosphere safely, without inatmo drives. Roll on Table 52.5: Inatmo Drive Type to determine what drive type the space vehicle has. All of the inatmo drives function equally well, and all can move about safely within the atmosphere, and gravity-well, of any planet.

Table 52.5 Inatmo Drive Type

Determine how the space vehicle moves within an atmosphere.
Die Roll (1d8) Inatmo Drive
Die RollInatmo Drive
1-31)Anti Grav
42)Balloons
53)Chutes
64)Jets
75)Props
8Ref's Own Table

1) Antigrav: Nothing more than anti-gravity units which suspend, and maneuver, the ship above the planet’s surface.

2) Balloons; Once in the atmosphere, balloons will automatically billow out, and fill themselves with a computerized mixture of gases. The ship is maneuvered about by altering the buoyancy of the various balloons.

3) Chutes: This spaceship ejects an enormous collection of kites, and parachutes, which computers control to maneuver the ship—while fuel supplies last. The spaceship can employ prevailing winds to lift off.

4) Jets: A multitude of fuel burning jets maneuver the ship in atmosphere. They act like retro rockets that can maneuver a ship within the atmosphere.

5) Props: Large airscrews, located about the ship operate at various power levels to attain maneuverability.

Special

Special drives are the stuff of all science fiction space operas. Even spacecraft that can manage the speed of light, would still require decades to travel from one star to the next. This would obviously make for a lack of variety in space faring role-play. Because of the logistics of 2000 year space flights, science fiction authors have invented many types of special drives. These drives allow them to tell stories that move from planet to planet, and still have less than a hundred main characters. The most famous of these magical drives are listed on Table 52.6: Special Drive Type.

Table 52.6 Special Drive Type

Fantastical devices for traveling from star to star and back again.
Die Roll (1d100) Special Drive
Die RolSpecial Drive
01-261)Bloater
27-342)FTL
35-423)Hyper
43-444)Psi Flip
45-705)Time Slip
71-746)Transmat
75-997)Warp Drive
00Ref's Own Table

1) Bloater: : A bloater drive expands the ship, and its contents by increasing the space between its molecules. The expansion continues until entire planets, and stars, can pass between the molecules without danger. This “bloating” continues until the destination point is near the ship’s hull. The ship then begins to deflate around its new destination point, arriving there without moving.

2) FTL: Faster than light travel plays havoc with many paradoxes. All such minor problems aside, FTL travel is a rather efficient way to get from point A to point B, and then from point A to point B again as the light catches up (many decades later).

3) Hyper: Also known as “jump” drives. anything that is hyper does more than anything else in the same amount of time. So the hyperdrive covers light years faster than a non-hyper drive would. 

4) Psi-Flip: The most fantastical of all the special drives, the psi-flip transports the ship, and contents to the location thought of by the controller. Only the most precise mental image can be translated into motion. This requires at least an 18 MSTR, or a specially mutated persona. Once the mind pilot has convinced her mind that she is actually somewhere else, the psi-flip drive sets out to correct the present reality. Also known as a mind flip drive.

5) Time-Slip: Another one of the mystically bizarre space travel devices is the time slip. This drive system drops its payload into time limbo (whatever that is). Once in this reference it scans through past/future time frames until it finds one where the stars and planets of the universe are better aligned for for its travel purposes. The drive then re-enters the original space time, but at its desired location.

6) Transmat: A transmat is also known as a probability drive. It depends on the probability that at least one of the electrons of one of the drive’s molecules will be on an extreme orbital somewhere near the desired location. Once this occurs it is just a matter (no pun intended) of reorienting the rest of the ship’s molecular parts with the vagrant orbital electron particle.

7) Warp: Warp drives operate under the premise that the sp_a,ge between two points can be folded up, and that the ship can pass through the fold traveling only a fraction of the previously required distance, but covering an enormous distance.

Size

The size of a ship’s drives are determined in part by a die roll, and in part by the size of the hull. Each of the three drive types will occupy 1-10% of the ship’s hull space. Thus a spaceship with an inatmo, and an exatmo drive would roll 1d10 for each. Let’s say a 100 tonne ship’s inatmo drive occupies 8% of the hull, and its exatmo drive occupies 4% of hull space. The inatmo drive weighs 8 tonnes, and the exatmo drive weighs 4 tonnes. The entire drive system for this ship occupies 12 tonnes of hull space.

Drive Level of Performance): The d10 roll made to determine the size of the various drives also determines their performance level. The more hull that the drive occupies the better its performance is. So the d10 roll not only determines what fraction of a spacecraft’s hull is filled with drives, but it indicates how fast, and/or powerful, the drives are.

Table 52.7 Drive Level and Size

Drive size (Tonnes) and performance are determined by the space vehicle hull size.
Drive TypeDrive Level (1d10)Drive Size (tonnes)Comments
TypeLevelSizeComments
Inatmo1-10Level % of Hull Size1 Mach per level
1 G gravity well per level
Exatmo1-10Level % of Hull Size0.1C per Level
1 G orbit per level
Special1-10Level % of Hull Size20 Light Years per Level

Inatmo Drive Level: For each level of inatmo drive the space vehicle can travel 1 mach in atmosphere, and can maintain maneuvers in up to 1 gravity. An inatmo drive like the one above (8%) would be considered a level 8 drive for that ship. The inatmo drive could operate in an 8g gravity well, and travel up to mach 8 in the atmosphere. A level 8 drive could generally out power, but not necessarily outmaneuver, a level 7 drive.

Exatmo Drive Level: The exatmo drives also have their drive level determined by the d10 size roll. A exatmo drive can travel at 1/10 the speed of light per drive level. The space vehicle can maintain an orbit around a planet with 1 gravity per drive level. An exatmo drive which occupies 4% of hull space would be capable of maintaining a forced orbital around a 4 g planet, and travel in a vacuum at speeds up to 4/10 the speed of light.

Special Drive Level: Special drives are also rated with levels 1 through 10, depending on their % of occupied hull space. The special drives are what turn insurmountable distances into science fiction pulp. All of the special drives function identically, and each is capable of covering twenty light years per level per day of game time. So a starship with level 6 special drive could travel 120 light years in one day’s jump, slip, warp or whatever. This one day’s travel is considered one “use” of a special drive, no communication can reach the ship, and the trip cannot be aborted safely.

The special drives can be subject to alterations by the campaign’s referee. The time required for a use could be changed from one day to one week, and the distance travelled could be changed from light years to astronomical units, or parsecs.

Budding physicists may wish to consider are problems like the paradoxes of the special drives, and the exponential power requirements of such systems. For the most part these considerations are left to the improvisational talents of the referee (read cop out).

3) Fuel

Fuel may seem like a trivial issue for a gallant expedition out to save the universe, but even the most magnanimous cause must pay attention to fuel consumption. As with all rules that risk pedantic note keeping fuel can be ignored to make game play more fun and the story telling more interesting.

Type

To determine the fuel type, roll on Table 52.8, Fuel Type. If more information about the fuel types is required refer to chapter 54, Vehicles. A space-vehicle will have one fuel type, and one fuel compartment that is accessed by each of the drives as their needs see fit. The different drive types have different fuel capacity requirements, and cliFFerent rates of consumption.

Table 52.8 Fuel Type

Determine the fuel type for the space vehicle.
Die Roll (d100) Type
Die RollType
01-201)Gas
21-402)Liquid
41-653)Solid
66-754)Plasmoid
76-855)Nuclear
86-906)Solar
91-957)Magnetic
96-998)Broadcast
00Ref's Own Table

Amount

To compute what fraction of hull space is occupied by fuel storage, use Table 52.9: Amount of Fuel. Each % of hull capacity that is devoted to fuel storage is equal to one month worth of fuel. Thus a space vehicle that runs on solid fuels with the following fuel storage allotments: 8% inatmo, 9% exatmo, and 3% special, would have 20 months of fuel. In a 100 tonne space vehicle the 20 months worth of fuel would occupy 20 tonnes of hull space.

Table 52.9 Fuel Storage

The amount of fuel stored on the space vehicle, and hence range, is determined by hull size.
Drive TypeStorage LevelFuel Storage (Tonnes)Comments
Drive TypeStorage LevelFuel StorageComments
Inatmo1-10 (1d10)Level % of Hull Size1 Month per level
Exatmo1-10 (1d10)Level % of Hull Size1 Month per level
Special1-6 (1d6)Level % of Hull Size1 Month per level

Range

Fuel consumption must be converted to a standard unit, because one tonne of fuel won’t meet the same requirements from one ship to another. Another problem is that some fuel types represent fuel storage, while others represent self contained power plants, collecting cells, or magnets. So a space vehicle with a fuel storage of 5% Inatmo and 10% exatmo would have 15 months of fuel to consume regardless of the size of the vehicle or its drives. The fuel is interchangeable and inatmo or exatmo usage drains the same stores. The conversion to a time of fuel use turned out to be the easiest way to keep track of fuel consumption.

Under no circumstances will a special drive be able to operate with less than one month of fuel available.

Refuelling is left to the design of the referee. Some fuel types maybe innocuous materials which are easily obtained from the local gas giant, or water planet, but others may require professional installation work. Several problems of fuelling are left to the imagination of the referee (read cop-out): does broadcast power work off of radio waves? If complications with fuel are arising the referee should none afraid-to consult the sphincter dice described in chapter 16, Special Rolls.

Table 52.10 Fuel Consumption

Examples of how much fuel is used by the difference drive types.
Drive TypeGame TimeFuel Supply Used
Drive TypeGame TimeFuel Used
TRAVEL
InatmoMinuteDay
ExatmoHourDay
SpecialOne UseMonth
COMBAT
InatmoUnitDay
ExatmoUnitWeek

4) Computer

A ship’s computers are it’s most important asset. The special hulls, and drives, that make space travel possible would not be manageable without the electronic overview of the ship’s computers.

Level

Computer Level = 1-10 (1d10)

The bigger the ship, the larger a computer that is needed. The level of a computer, like that of all other major spaceship systems, is determined randomly on a d10. The higher the level of the computer the more complicated the software it can manage. The die roll also represents the percentage of hull capacity that is occupied by the computer. So a 200 tonne starship with a level 4 computer would have 8 tonnes of computer equipment on board. The 8 tonnes of computer includes all the wiring, transducers, terminals, and interfaces, as well as memory and processor.

A computer requires life support, and will be stored within the computer center (bridge). All of the ship’s functions are maintained in this section, and all personnel requiring computer access will operate there. This is essentially called the bridge. Interaction with the ship’s computer is entirely decided by the referee. It is assumed that there is tremendous artificial intelligence potential in a ship’s computer. The expedition may interact with the computer via terminals, or voice interaction. The ship’s computer is intended to be user friendly and relevant software will be accessible by any relevant personas. A personality for the ship’s computer is recommended.

All ships require a computer and crew. The required crew is listed in the space vehicle crew section of this chapter. Crew members can only be replaced by computer software, and in some cases only by computer software and a robot.

Software

A starship’s computer only comes equipped with the basic components necessary to operate the ship, and the computer requires the constant attention of the ship’s personnel to operate.

There is no limit to the amount of software that a ship’s computer can handle, but there is a limit to its effectiveness. The effectiveness of software is determined by the computer level of the space vehicle. The referee is free to present the software in any fashion that she sees fit. Software may appear as hardware that attaches itself to the ship’s computer, or the referee may force mechanics to make high DD performance table rolls to down load the software. Any attempts at programming a space vehicle’s computer should start at DD20 plus the computer level,. The DD should be adjusted upwards depending on difficulty of the maneuver.

All additional software is considered a luxury, and is determined randomly. The referee goes down the software list rolling once for each program . The chance of having a program in the ship’s computer depends on the computer’s level, and the complexity of the program. The chance is multiplied by the computer level. Thus a level 3 computer would have a 60% chance of an astrogation program.

Crew

Crew replacement software is devoted to reducing the number of personnel that are required to operate the space vehicle. If such essential personnel is still present the software will be devoted to assisting them in their task. This topic is also discussed under space vehicle crew in this chapter.

For example, medical software will have the knowledge and interfaces for operating medical equipment, an will be able to advise a veterinarian on the proper medical procedures. This bonus is represented as a -1 DD on the performance table per computer level. So a medical program being run by a level 6 computer will would reduce vet PT rolls by 6DD. This bonus is the same for any other class related programming. To earn the the PT roll bonus the activity must be taking place on the space vehicle, or while in direct communication with it.

Table 52.11 Crew Replacement Software

A space vehicle will not function without crew software to replace them. Computer level (1-10) times base value determines chance of software being onboard. Check for each software title.
TitleBaseComments
TitleBaseComments
Astrogation20Replaces astrogator
Gunnery10Replaces one gunner.
Mechanical5Mechanical updates.
Mechanicalized2Replaces Mechanic.
Medical5Operates medical equipment.
Medicalized2Replaces Veterinarian
Pilot 3Non-Pilot may pilot shipt
Relations5Equals a relations bot

Defensive

Defensive software devoted to protecting and disguising the space vehicle. Offensive software is very rare, since only the least sane of entities will engage in combat in such a hostile environment as outer space. The software will operate on its own, or assist mercenaries, or mechanics, in carrying out the described maneuvers. There is a DD bonus equal to the computer’s level.

Table 52.12 Defensive Software

Software to assist the space vehicle's computer in defensive situations. Computer level (1-10) times base value determines chance of software being onboard. Check for each software title.
TitleBaseComments
TitleBaseComments
Anti Hijack20On ship tactics.
Anomaly8Hide in exatmo.
Armada10Appear as an armada.
Brig50Control doors from bridge.
Cammo3Hide on planetary surface (from exatmo).
Gun Control5Airlock gun control (not the guns themselves).
Maneuvers20Fancy evasive maneuvers.
Mimic3Appear as another ship type.
Surveillance20Eavesdropping.

Miscellaneous

 This software can be virtually anything that can be imagined for a ship’s computer. If the software is relevant to a personas PT roll she can earn a DD bonus of +1 per computer level. For instance a nothing making a general performance table roll to successfully cater a fancy dinner would earn a DD bonus if etiquette, diplomacy, or entertainment programs were on board. Many of the software devices list a class in which they will assist. If this is the case any persona of that class will earn a DD bonus equal to the spacevehicle’s computer level when working within its environment.

Table 52.13 Miscellaneous Software

Random software applications to assist running a space vehicle. Computer level (1-10) times base value determines chance of software being onboard. Check for each software title.
TitleBaseComment
TitleBaseComment
Administration10Maintain personnel records etc. (Nothing)
Advisor5Give good sagely advice.
Anomaly2Hide in exatmo
Anti-hijack5Ship tactics enhancement
Appraisals5Estimate value of anything. (Nothing)
Armada2Appear to be an armada.
Astrogation2Replaces an astrogator.
Banking5Manage a banking system. (Nothing)
Bio Assayer2Tissue analysis. (Bio and Vet)
Book Reader12Reads Little Golden Books. (Mech)
Brig10Turn rooms into jails.
Cammo1Hide on planetary surface (from exatmo).
Chapel5Assists meditation. (Knite)
Communications30Monitor any communications. (Mech and Spie)
Decoder2Breaks codes. (Spie)
Detectors25Find stuff from exatmo on surface. (Mech, Bio, Nomad)
Diplomacy4Say nothing kindly.
Entertainment10Entertains guests.
Etiquette15Interstellar etiquette. (Nothing)
Forensics2Crime investigation. (Spie, Bio, Vet)
Fuel Control10Add 50% to fuel. (Mech)
Gun Control1Airlock guns. (Merc)
Gunnery2Replaces all gunners. (Merc)
History1Pedantic git.
Industrial5Manage a plant.
Law5Applies Empire law. (Nothing)
Library10All class class computer.
Maneuvers4Fancy evasive maneuvers.
Mapping15Map planets, not space. (Nomad, Bio)
Mechanical10Detailed mechanical status. (Mech)
Mechanicalized2Self maintaining.
Medical10Runs medical equipment.
Medicalized2Replaces vet.
Mimic1Appear as a different ship.
Navigation5Calculates star path.
Piloting2Replaces pilot.
Print Out10Dot matrix paper print outs. (Mechanic)
Printer4Glorious technicolor holo prints.
Programming1/2Programs computers as a mechanic.
Relations2Operates as a relations bot. (Nothing)
Robot1/2Operates as a robot.
Surveillance5Eavesdropping. (Spie)
Translation15*#&@&^= self explanatory.
Weapons4Controls ordinance.
Weaponifaction
2Can manipulate weapons.
Weather Push1Can create rain or snow on surface.
Xenobiology3Alien ID assist. (Biol)

Value

The value of software purchased for the ship’s computer is determined as follows: (1 000 000/ chance of software) x computer level. Thus an astrogation program for a level 6 computer would have a value of 300 000.

5) Defences

A ship’s defences are composed of both the ship’s computer, and machinery within the hull of the ship. For instance life support is considered a defence, and it consists of a sealed hull, air generators, air cleaners, and the pumps necessary to move the air throughout the space vehicle. There are various types of defences available, and these are listed in order of increasing protection on Table 52.14: Defences. How these defences function in combat is described in Chapter 38: Space Vehicle Combat. Refer to the Defences Table to determine what type of protection the ship has. Each type of defence is checked once as the referee goes down the list.

All space vehicles will automatically have life support, gravity, and armour to protect the space vehicle and its contents. More involved defences are dependant on the roll of deci dice. A space vehicle with a level 5 computer would have a 15% chance of electronic counter measures, 10% chance of shields, and a 5% chance of guns and active defences. These defences are detailed in the paragraphs following the table.

Table 52.15 Defences

Determine what kind of hard defences the space vehicle has on board. Not software. Computer level (1-10) times base value determines chance of defence being onboard. Check for each defence.
 DefenceBase
DefenceBase
1) Life SupportAuto
2)Gravity ControlAuto
3)ArmourAuto
4)ECM4
5)Shields3
6)Guns2
7)Active Defences1

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.

6) Attacks

A ship may have attacks for a variety of reasons: they are pirate scum; they need to defend against pirate scum; the weapons are left over from an age of warfare; etc. The attacks that a ship has are determined randomly, on Table 52.15: Attacks. All space vehicles can be used to forcibly board another space vehicle. The referee goes down the list rolling once for each attack type. So a space vehicle with computer level 4 would have a 20% chance of ramming, a 16% chance of ECM, etc. The attack types are described in the paragraphs following the table.

Table 52.16 Attacks

Determine the offence capabilities of the space vehicle. Computer level (1-10) times base value determines chance of attack being onboard. Check for each type of attack.
 AttackBase
AttackBase
1) BoardingAuto
2)Ramming5
3)ECM4
4)Grenades3
5)Bombs2
6)Artillary1
7)Naval Artillery1/2

1) 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.

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) 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.

4) Grenades

In space vehicle combat grenades explosives delivered by either missile or mine. 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.

A space vehicle will have 1-10 grenades per tonne of ship. So a 100 tonne displacement vessel would have 100 to 1000 grenades. The mini-missiles and mini-mines are mutually integrated, and every grenade can be deployed as either.  For grenade attributes see Chapter 45: Grenades and Aerosols.

Table 52.16.4 Spacer Grenade Type

Determine the grenade type that can be tossed at target space vehicles.
Die Roll
(1d100)
 Base Weapon
Die RollBase Weapon
01-051)Big Bertha
06-083)Corrosive
09-114)Cryoblast
12-145) Energy Drain
15-176)Energy
18-248)Fragmentation
25-279)Fusion
28-3010)Gas
31-3311)Gravruptor
34-3612) Magnetic Disrupter
3714)Molecular Disrupter
38-4015)Multiple Explosive
41-4316)Napalm
44-4818)Pyrotechnic
49-5119)Radiation
52-5520)Sky Lighter
56-5821)Torc
59-6222)Anti Lazer
6325)Catabolic Dismodulator
64-6626)Demagnetizer
67-6929)Foam
70-7233)Matter Detector
73-7534)Mistor
76-7835)Molecular Diffusion
79-8237)Paint
83-8539)Poison
86-9040)Repellent
91-9341)Siren
94-9742)Smoke
98-9943)Web
00Ref's Own Table

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.

Mini-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.

Mini-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.

5) Bombs

Bombs are lethal attack weapons. Bombs need only explode near the ship’s hull to inflict damage to the contents within. Bombs are delivered by either missiles or mines. A space vehicle will have a minimum of 2 bombs and an additional 2 bombs per 500 tonnes of hull displacement. Bombs are detailed in Chapter 44: Bombs.

Table 52.16.5 Spacer Bomb Type

Determine the bomb type that can be tossed at target space vehicles.
Die Roll
(1d100)
 Bomb Type
Die RollBomb Type
01-051)Grand Slam
06-082)Corrosive Bomb
09-113)Polar Bomb
12-144)Black Out Bomb
15-175) Lazer Bomb
18-246)Bomb
25-277)Nuclear Device
28-308)Nerve Bomb
31-339)Grav Bomb
34-3610)Junk Yard
3711)Disintigrater
38-4012)Jumping Jack
41-4313)Immolater
44-4814)Diversionizer
49-5115)Neutron Bomb
52-5516)Sky Breaker
56-5817)Torc Bomb
59-6218)Diffuser Bomb
6319)Dismodulator
64-6620)EMP Bomb
67-6921)Foam Bomb
70-7222)Tracker Bomb
73-7523)Cover Bomb
76-7824)Diffusion Bomb
79-8225)Paint Bomb
83-8526)Toxin Bomb
86-9027)Bug Bomb
91-9328)Sound Bomb
94-9729)Cloud Maker
98-9930)Sticky Bomb
00Ref's Own Table

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.

6) 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. 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. There will be 0-1 additional artillery pieces for every 750 tonnes of ship. Artillery is detailed in Chapter 43: Artillery.

Table 52.16.6 Spacer Artillery Type

Terrestrial artillery for targeting enemy space vehicles.
Die Roll (1d100) Artillery
Die RollArtillery
011)Annihilator
022)Beehive
03-103)Howitzer
11-134)Glacier Gun
145)Disintegrator
15-186)Electron Cannon
19-227)Fission Artillery
23-268)Howglizter
27-309)Howblitzer
3110)Nuk-O-Matic
32-3511)Mag Cannon
36-3912)Whale Gun
40-4313)Grav Cannon
44-4714)Garbage Can On
48-5815)Lazer Cannon
5916)Miscellaneator
60-6317)Immolator
64-6718)Plasma Cannon
68-7119)Plastifier
7220)Muck Maker
73-7621)Radiator
77-8022)Slotto Cannon
81-8423)Sotto Cannon
85-8824)Rock On Cannon
89-9225)Whale Stunner
93-9626)Mod Cannon
97-9927)Water Cannon
00Ref's Own Table

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.

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 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.

Generating naval artillery: Roll on the spacer artillery above. Naval artillery is different from regular artillery in several respects, it inflicts 3 times more damage, and has 100 times the range. Use Naval Artillery Table for guidance.

Table 52.16.7 Naval Artillery

Specialized massive artillery built for space vehicles and designed to destroy space vehicles.
Type:Once per combat turn.
Range:Minimum 1/10 artillery range.
Maximum 100 times artillery range.
Area of Effect:30 times area of effect or
50 hexes radius.
Damage:3 times artillery damage
Magazine: 1
Wate:Integrated into vessel
Malfunction:Same as artillery.
EXPS:Same as artillery
Value:Same as artillery.

Table 52.16.7.a Example Naval Artillery: Howitzer

Demonstrating the extremes that naval artillery goes to.
Type:Once per turn
Range:120 000 h (1200h)
Area of Effect:50 h radius
Damage:1200-14 400 (12d12 time 100)
Magazine: 1
Wate:Integrated into vessel
Malfunction:15
EXPS:400
Value:50000 (100)

7) Crew

Spaceships vary in size from small craft to city sized leviathans. They can have fantastic drives that flit across the stars, and computers that weigh tonnes. Yet by far the most important element is the crew. This definitely does not limit the referee from designing self thinking spacecraft, or robot maintained vessels, but the space vehicles are still nothing more than vehicles. The ships do not instinctively migrate from star to star. Crew, and cargo, are the crux of space travel. This section deals with the crew.

The crew of a spaceship can be aliens, anthro, or robots. What each ship must have is an essential skeleton crew to maintain each system. The essential crew on any ship consists of the 1) pilot, 2) astrogator, and  3) engineer (mechanic). There are several other crew members that are essential when certain conditions arise on the ship. These examples are just basic ones, and hopefully the ref can think up others to hopelessly clutter the ship with referee personas.

Pilot

The pilot is the overseer of all the ship’s functions. She is responsible for the execution of planetary maneuvers, star system maneuvers, combat maneuvers, ship procedures, and general ship authority. All of these tasks require the intimate cooperation of the ship’s computer, and the pilot. Without a pilot the ship is essentially grounded, orbiting space junk, or stuck in deep space. No ship can, unless having a mind of its own, be activated without a pilot.

Pilots can be qualified in any of the following ways: a mechanic with piloting skill, and a level (EXPS) equal to 10 minus the space vehicle’s computer level; a nothing with commercial pilot skill; or a referee persona specifically trained by some school, or college. An additional pilot (co pilot) will be required for every 10 000 tonnes of displacement.

Astrogator

The pilot seems to know everything, but the complexities of the special drives are a case of their own. The astrogator is responsible for safe programming of the ship’s computer with the co-ordinates, and precautions, that are prerequisite of the special drives.

Without an astrogator the chance of special drive failure is increased 200 times. Normally the cumulative errors of the computer, and the astrogator result in a 1 in 1000 chance of a special drive error (42 on kilodice). When such an error occurs, the crew may find itself stranded in deep space, out of time sequence, or whatever other mishap the special drives may provoke. When used by a self proclaimed astrogator a roll less than 200 on kilodice will indicate special drive failure.

A qualified astrogator is a mechanic with navigation skill; a nothing trained in astrogation; or some other qualified referee persona. To replace an astrogator, the computer must have special astrogation software. This special software will guide the special drives with only a 2 in 1000 chance of failure.  If the space vehicle has a special drive level 8 or higher a second astrogator will be required. 

Mechanic

Considering that a ship can have tonnes of drives, enormous amounts of hull, and complicated airlocks there must be a lot which can go wrong. It is the responsibility of the ship’s mechanic to monitor the computer’s maintenance programs, to program repairs, and to occasionally pick up the wrench herself

Without a mechanic things simply start to go amiss. Even with a mechanic on board there is a daily 1 in 1000 chance that a ship will have some malfunction that will completely cripple the spacecraft. Such a breakdown will require 1-6 days of intensive work by the mechanic to repair the damage. If there is no mechanic monitoring the computer’s maintenance software, the daily chance of a crippling malfunction is doubled, until in about 10 days the spaceship simply gives up. To replace a mechanic, would require mechanical software programs, and a maintenance bot. An additional mechanic is required for every 9 000 tonnes of hull displacement

Gunner

Gunners are needed to operate any of the combat equipment: artillery, naval artillery, mines, active defences, missiles, and shields. A gunner is easily replaced by a gunnery program whether this program is used for mines, shields or artillery doesn’t matter. None of the listed equipment will function without a gunner, or a software replacement. A qualified gunner is any mercenary with extraplanetary vehicle skill. Combat robots of any type can replace a gunner without the need of a gunnery program. Combat robots can operate one active combat device for every 4 points of intelligence.

Doctor

A veterinarian is required whenever luxury guests (those travelling in cabins) are on board. Guests without proper medical attention are almost certain to have some ailment become acute while in deep space. A vet can only be replaced by medical software combined with a medical bot.

Steward

Another crew member required on guest laden starships is a ship’s steward. The steward changes linen, washes clothes, and generally makes space travel bearable for guests. Without a steward, guests will certainly be in bad temper, and may even rebel during the trip. A qualified steward is any Nothing with a steward-like skill. A steward can be replaced by a relations bot, a domestic bot, or a hobbot.

Administrator

One optional crew member which may be actively shunned by the personas, is the ship’s administrator. The ship’s administrator will arrange docking papers, interpret cartage laws, balance accounts, designate cargo allotments, and will generally be the ship’s legal advisor. Without a ship’s administrator the personas will be forced to involve themselves with such shipping inanities. The ship’s administrator is any nothing, and can be replaced by an analog bot, a transport bot, or a relations bot.

Diplomat

The last optional crew member to be noted is the diplomat. The diplomat is trained at being excruciatingly polite, even to the most horrific of alien species. A diplomat will attempt to keep the crew, the guests, (and especially the personas) from offending rarely encountered cultures. A diplomat can only be replaced by etiquette or library programs, and a relations bot.

8) Cargo Allotment

Cargo is any tonnage that is not occupied by drives, fuel, or computers. The cargo allotment cannot be immediately counted as cargo space, there are several other space vehicle features which occupy hull space. These are: cold storage, work spaces, cabins, and corridors. The remaining space is cargo space, it indicates how much goods can be transported, and what type of hull access is allowed.

Cold Storage

Cold storage is for cryogenic suspension of organic material less than 250 kg in wate. The freezers will maintain life, with no drain on life support, and will continue to function after life support has failed. Cold storage will work until the cold storage box itself is destroyed. Each cold storage space occupies one half tonne of hull space.

Work Spaces

Work spaces are even more mandatory than the essential crew.  One half tonne of hull space must be allotted to every member of the working crew.

Cabins

Cabins are somewhat of a luxury, but it is impossible to have guests (other than in cold storage) without cabin space. Each cabin requires one tonne of hull space, and can comfortably house two passengers.

Corridors

Corridors only apply to main passageways that connect cabins. Utility corridors use no significant amount of hull space. Cabin corridors require 200 kg of hull space per map hex (2 meters) of passage.

Calculation

All remaining cargo space is honest to goodness cargo space. A ship may have one airlock per 5 tonnes of cargo space, a cargo lock (in atmosphere only) requires 50 to 500 tonnes of cargo space, a cargo airlock requires 500 to 5000 tonnes of cargo space.

Let’s walk through an example 100 tonne space cruiser. Exatmo drive level 10. Fuel storage level 5. Computer level 4. Carries 20 passengers 16 in cold storage 4 in Cabins. A pilot, mechanic, doctor,  and steward. No robots. This leaves about 63 tonnes cargo space in the vessel. This would allow for a cargolock and multiple airlocks. The locks do not take up space, however the space cruiser cannot have a cargo airlock. 60 tonnes is about two 21st century urban dump trucks full of stuff.

Table 52.17 Calculate Cargo Space

How much tonnage can the hold hold
Space OccupierTonnageCargo Space (Tonnes)
Total Cargo63 tonnes
Exatmo Drive 1010 tonnes90
Fuel for 5 months5 tonnes85
Computer level 44 tonnes81
16 Cold Storage8 tonnes73
4 Guest Cabins4 tonnes69
4 Work Spaces2 tonnes67
2 Crew Cabins2 tonnes65
10 hexes Corridor 2 tonnes63

9) Special Stuff

There is some equipment and architecture that is specific to spaceships, and should be covered here.

External Drives

The nature of external drives are self explanatory. Either the exatmo, the inatmo or both drives have been constructed on the exterior of the hull. This innovation allows hull space that was previously occupied by drives to be converted to cargo space. The drawback of this system is that the drive units are subject to attack during combat. External drives can either be accessed directly through the hull, or via an airlock. Special drives can never be external.

Vac Suits

A spacecraft will have one civilian vac suit per crew member, and one civilian vac suit per state room. There is a 10% chance that there will be an industrial vac suit. If the spacevehicle has external drives, cargo airlocks, or any other excuse for the mechanic to exit the ship an industrial vac suit will always be supplied. For more information about vac suits refer to Chapter 42: Armour.

Gravity Couches

Gravity couches are chairs specially designed to save the body from damage during high-g maneuvers. They are composed of force absorbing materials, and restraining belts. Grav couches are only needed when the starship’s gravity system has failed. Passengers and crew not in gray couches during high-g maneuvers will almost certainly be killed. Grav couches are optional.

Emergency Response

Most space vehicles will have some form of automated emergency equipment. Fire fighting is carried out by the ship. Minor air leaks will be repaired by the ship. In the event of uncontrollable depressurization, raging fire, or radiation hazards the ship may automatically contain the problem by closing off bulkheads.

Other emergency procedures are left to the work of the crew, or their robotic replacements. Such emergency procedures are: major hull repair; radiation clean up; and safety of passengers. Passengers are especially susceptible to depressurization, but it is up to them to get into the vac suits or life bloats.

Life Bloat 

A life bloat will maintain 4 passengers (up to 250 kg in wate each) in cryogenic suspension for an indefinite length of time. The cryogenic suspension will begin when the balloon-like life bloat is subject to exatmo. There will be one life bloat for every four luxury passengers.

Sick Bay

The sick bay is primarily the vet’s place of operation, and personal respite. A sick bay can hold four patients per tonne of cargo space. Any major medical system will be found in this section of the ship. All ships with vets will have a sick bay. There is a 20% chance that ships without vets will have a sick bay in waiting.

Food Machine

The food machine will generate nutritionally balanced meals for several different races. The palatability of such foodstuffs is determined by the referee. Most food machines maintain algae-like, or fungal, cultures containing the basic heterotrophic food groups. One tonne of machine is required for every 10 eaters supported. Because of their potential for comic relief all ships will have a food machine. Food machines are also known as compu-cooks, and auto chefs.

Robots

Robots are actually a fairly common occurrence on starships. This is only if the presence of robots is suitable to the referee’s milieu. The robots may be on board to replace crew, to aid crew, or even as guests. There is a 5% chance of a random robot being on the spaceship for whatever reason the ref desires. If one robot is cruising through the ship’s halls, there is a 5% chance of a second robot, and so on.

In addition to these colourful mechanical passengers there are robots which are designed to replace the functions of various crew members. The referee rolls once for each bot type on Table 52.18: Ship Robots. The chance of a ship sporting a particular robotic replacement depends on the level of the space vehicle’s computer, what sort of software the computer supports, plus what ever adjustments are appropriate for that type of robot. The chance of a ship with a level 5 computer, and 50 tonnes of cargo space having an Data Analyzer (robot type D) is 10%.

A ship may have a whole host of robots, and the relevant ones should be prepared to the last detail as a referee persona hots. Insane robots on a space ship could add to the mysteries of a campaign, or scenario.

Table 52.18 Spacer Robots

An extension of the space vehicle computer. Usually not referee personas. Computer level (1-10) times base value determines chance of robot type being onboard. Check for each type of robot.
 TypeBaseComment
Type BaseComment
C)Combat1/2+2 per Attack Level
D)Data Analyzer (analog)1+1 per 10 tonnes cargo
I)Industrial--+10 per Cargo Lock
M)Maintenance3Double if Maintenance Software
V)Veterinarian2Double if Luxury passengers.
S)Social (relations)4Double if etiquette Software
T)Transport2--

10) EXPS

The EXPS value of a spacecraft is impossible to assess. The general award that is granted for an earned spaceship is one complete level of experience. Nothings are automatically propelled to zero level of their desired class. The problems do not arise when awarding the experience level, but when determining whether a ship is an earned one or not. An earned space vehicle is one in working condition, and successfully controlled by the personas on board.

11) Value

A space vehicle’s value depends on several basic components: hull, drives, computer, etc. The exact value of a ship will probably always be in dispute. Wear and tear may have reduced a ship to worthlessness in one culture, while another will pay dearly for anything that can get into orbit. To determine the general value of a space vehicle refer to Table 52.17,Basic Ship Value. The hull value is multiplied by the armour rating of the hull. So a 100 tonne ship with an AR of 700 would have a base value of 70 000 000. If the same ship had a level 5 special drive it would be worth an additional 125 000 000. Space vehicles are very valuable.

Table 52.19 Space Vehicle Value

Get out the calculator! What's a calculator you ask?
ComponentValue
ComponentValue
Hull, Metal1000 per tonne times AR
Hull, Smart5000 per tonne times AR
Drive, Inatmo10 000 per tonne times level
Drive, Exatmo100 000 per tonne times level squared
Drive, Special1 000 000 per tonne per level cubed
Fuel25 000 per month
Computer900 000 per level squared
Defences100 000 per defence
Attacks100 000 per attack
Cargo Space1000 per tonne
Add special equipmentlikely contributes nothing.
Name: Benett, Léon Dates: 1839-1917 Country: France ILLUSTRATION Subject: Science & technology Technique: Wood engraving Engraver: Ladmiral, Jules, Marie, René Format: Portrait (taller) Source: University of California Libraries, the Internet Archive BOOK Title: The clipper of the clouds Author(s): Verne, Jules Publisher: London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, Limited, 1887
Malfunctioning INATMO drive.

12) Operational Costs

The only operational costs of a spaceship are the crew’s wages, and the fuel. The frequency of repairs is detailed under the ship’s mechanic in this chapter. Repairs carried out by the mechanic cost nothing, and are completed properly. Replacing drives, upgrading computers, etc. cost the amount listed under value for the particular device. The cost of the part will include installation and labour.

General refitting is necessary for alloy hulls. Refitting will be required after extended travels of any sort, or after any combat engagement. Refusal to regularly refit a ship will increase the cost of further refitting, and increase the chance of a mechanical failure. The refitting will cost between 0.01% and 0.1% (rolled on a d10) of the ship’s total value. If the refitting costs were .05% of the ship’s value then a space vehicle with a value of 500 000 000 would cost 250 000 to refit.