Spaceship boarding


General Discussion

Sovereign Court

So, is there any way to board enemy ship at this moment? Didn't find any information about it, but the idea seems obvious and may be nice to play out. Probably, there can be usage of boarding pods or you may just break into immobilized ship in spacesuits.

I know, this can be added as homerule, but what about sfs, because I am sure there WILL be in-space combat when you can't just destroy enemy ship(prisoners or valuable cargo aboard or the crew has important information). What do you think?


Boarding an active combatant ship is something they said they were specifically avoiding (at least for now) because too many people would just ignore the space combat rules in favor of making it a dungeon run. A derelict, disabled, or otherwise non-struggling ship I wouldn't imagine would need specific rules, just dock and do your thing.

Dark Archive

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Makes me think of the board game Battlestations. They had boarding missiles.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, boarding a disabled ship doesn't need any special rules. Its just a scenario. Boarding an active ship? Is not supported and basically impossible, or at least requires that the GM specifically allow it based on circumstances.

Also, don't forget that space combat usually *doesn't* end in a ship exploding into a cloud of plasma. 0 HP is not "explosion", 0 HP is "ship is non-functional and adrift". Under most circumstances, anybody not killed as a side effect of the combat will still be alive, until life support and emergency systems give out.


Small ship+ramming rules+a grapple check(engaging docking clamps)+a much larger ship+entry combat= hostile boarding. Mind you unless you have a stealth craft the larger ship will know what your trying to do and stop you from trying to latch onto thier ship or get into thier hanger. They can do a maneuver that would detach your spaceship. Since you ran into their ship or broke into their docking Bay you know exactly where you are so you've got to figure out a way to leave your ship and not get shot to death. But after you survive that you can turn it into an objective Dungeon Crawl. The objective would be to turn off/destroy their power.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Problem is, we don't have ramming rules. That said, I like your broad outline, though I'd probably require either "Assault Clamps" as some kind of ship gear, or else the whole "lock onto ship" part would be at a considerable penalty/be impossible.


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There is tractorbeams in starfinder


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'd say it would at least require tractorbeam, difficult acrobatics check to get to their ship and a hacking roll to open the airlock (or hangar) doors.

The ramming option also sounds viable but I'd require the ship to be built for that (not just get clamps but reinforce the hull etc), since normally it would also damage the ramming ship. Some kind of boarding missile -like approach, like a tiny custom ship with a pointy head built to penetrate the armors and allow you to go in through there.


I'd make full on 'Take over the entire ship' boarding not an option but I'd allow hit and run/sabotage an option, with it being heavy on disabling systems on the enemy ship if you have a shuttle bay. Something for the Soldier to do very happily in combat.


Ilike the idea of having a small is ship that can ram a random part of a ship and unload a party while having enough time to have cover as the enemy crew scrambles to get to the breachto ummm... something word here the boarders.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There is the issue that boarding is hilarious dangerous and unbalanced, yes. Big ships worth using these kind of assault boats on, have big crews, presumably well-equipped ones. And even if your assault boat is loaded down with a few dozen fully armed marines ready for heavy combat? They are still vastly outnumbered, against an enemy that is likely just as well armed, on their home turf.

Which is to say, I don't really see "small vs big" boarding to really be that useful, *unless* your boarding team is. . . basically, a group of high level PCs or equivalent. Somebody who can basically go Super Hero on the situation.

That said, something to consider is the opposite boarding situation: big vs small, where a large ship is taking control of a smaller one, and dropping a ton of troops into it. This is more concerning, since PCs will typically be piloting small ships.


Heh, imagine how tedious things would get if you tried to combine starship combat rounds with normal scale combat rounds.

Ok so between this engineering and this pilot turn lets run an internal ship combat!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah. There's a reason they've done their best to split the two apart, so they do not happen simultaneously.


Well, my thought is - especially for the Corpse Fleet- an Assualt torpedo-

Once shields are down they fire a torpedo into the enemy craft that is designed to penetrate the hull and allow Necrons err I mean undead troops aboard.


I think boarding actions maybe covered in the final part of dead suns going by the synopsis.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I think that those boarding actions might be the same as the one existing SFS example and the existing dead suns examples. Disable, then board, or threaten destruction, lock weapons, then board a non-resisting ship.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If you're looking for some cool ideas on ship to ship boarding action, I highly recommend reading the Red Rising book series (particularly book 2). They got some cool tech and strategies.


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Shinigami02 wrote:
Boarding an active combatant ship is something they said they were specifically avoiding (at least for now) because too many people would just ignore the space combat rules in favor of making it a dungeon run. A derelict, disabled, or otherwise non-struggling ship I wouldn't imagine would need specific rules, just dock and do your thing.

If people don't enjoy spaceship combat, giving them alternatives sounds like a very good idea.

Grand Lodge

They gave us interior layouts of an awful lot of ships for there not to be a planned boarding ruleset in the future...


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cheesedoodler wrote:
They gave us interior layouts of an awful lot of ships for there not to be a planned boarding ruleset in the future...

Not necessarily. Or rather, you can board a ship *after* its been defeated in battle, or surrendered. Doesn't necessarily require the existence of rules for boarding a mobile, active, hostile space craft.


johnlocke90 wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
Boarding an active combatant ship is something they said they were specifically avoiding (at least for now) because too many people would just ignore the space combat rules in favor of making it a dungeon run. A derelict, disabled, or otherwise non-struggling ship I wouldn't imagine would need specific rules, just dock and do your thing.
If people don't enjoy spaceship combat, giving them alternatives sounds like a very good idea.

As a player that has had my party barely survive the 1st space battle encounter of Deadsuns because of a string of lucky rolls on our part and unlucky rolls on theirs, and lost the second battle in a incredibly long drawn out annoying space combat...yeah I'd like an alternative where my melee Solarion can actually contribute.

Or at least an alternative for some sort of strength based check to be done during ship combat. With an Envoy in the party I don't have much option on what I can do. I can't really contribute effectively to space combat unless I invest my limited skill points into skills that really don't match the RP of the character at all. Which I don't mind my character not being good at space combat, but it does drag down the whole party with no other options. Yeah...I feel like my character drags down the party.

If there was at least a caveat of "you can hire NPC crew who have this level of skill bonus to operate your starship for you if you desire".

And just as an analogous situation, in Skull and Shackles my party did a couple of ship to ship combats before we decided they weren't especially fun. Every combat then became, sail directly at them and begin boarding. Which was vastly more effective and fun since everyone could contribute for things they were built around.


Claxon wrote:
yeah I'd like an alternative where my melee Solarion can actually contribute.

Get a second turret gun installed on the ship. Now the main gunner can take care of both of them while you cover one of the arcs.

The only difference between you two will be your low or nonexistent Dex modifier.


The Ragi wrote:
Claxon wrote:
yeah I'd like an alternative where my melee Solarion can actually contribute.

Get a second turret gun installed on the ship. Now the main gunner can take care of both of them while you cover one of the arcs.

The only difference between you two will be your low or nonexistent Dex modifier.

Which makes me pretty worthless as a gunner. With BAB of 3 alone, I can't hit for s%&~.

Of course I can't do anything else either, and that's the problem.

Because we also have a Mystic, who is in a similar boat to my Solarion. And despite the 3/4 BAB, they have ranks in piloting to be a gunner and Dex to actually back it up.

Currently we have a pilot with lots of focus on being the pilot. We have an envoy, who has invested in diplomacy and intimidate. Neither the mystic or I have have skills relevant to space combat, as neither of us even have any space combat associated skills as class skills besides ones that are already covered.

It's a problem that the only role a melee Solarion can realistically cover is captain.


Claxon wrote:

Which makes me pretty worthless as a gunner. With BAB of 3 alone, I can't hit for s+%~.

Because we also have a Mystic, who is in a similar boat to my Solarion. And despite the 3/4 BAB, they have ranks in piloting to be a gunner and Dex to actually back it up.

With your BAB, plus computer bonuses (all CPU bonuses should go to gunners first, and the rest of the party can fight for what's left), you should have at least +4 to gunnery checks.

If your buddy pumped up his dex to the max, he should be at most +8.

So he takes 2 guns for a +4/+4 while you take one gun with your +4.

Even Steven.

If you got a Captain, ask him to rotate his Encourage between you and the main gunner.


Claxon wrote:

As a player that has had my party barely survive the 1st space battle encounter of Deadsuns because of a string of lucky rolls on our part and unlucky rolls on theirs, and lost the second battle in a incredibly long drawn out annoying space combat...yeah I'd like an alternative where my melee Solarion can actually contribute.

With an Envoy in the party I don't have much option on what I can do. I can't really contribute effectively to space combat unless I invest my limited skill points into skills that really don't match the RP of the character at all. Which I don't mind my character not being good at space combat, but it does drag down the whole party with no other options. Yeah...I feel like my character drags down the party.

I've noticed and felt this myself. I was a Solarian in SFS for a bit, before giving up on it, and had an awful time in the two space combats I participated in. Then playing Dead Suns in my home game our Solarian was useless in the first starship combat of the second book. It was immensely tedious, maneuvering ourselves into position, do encouraging, boosting weapons, just to miss and have to do it all again round after round.


The Ragi wrote:
So he takes 2 guns for a +4/+4 while you take one gun with your +4.

Or to optimize, he takes one gun with his +8, which is plenty for the two combats mentioned, while you hog the captain's favor for a steady +6. I'm guessing the captain can get a diplomacy DC 15 pretty easily (he should have at least a +9 in that skill).

When upgrading the ship, try to argue for a mk 2 duonode for both gunners, or a mk 3 mononode for yourself (that'd be dreamy).

And upgrade the turret guns to heavy weapons as soon as possible - a couple of particle beams really speed things up. I love the idea of putting at least one missile launcher on top of the ship, but the risk of the enemy having point weapons annoys me to no end.

But man, a Heavy antimatter missile launcher is juicy.


The Ragi wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Which makes me pretty worthless as a gunner. With BAB of 3 alone, I can't hit for s+%~.

Because we also have a Mystic, who is in a similar boat to my Solarion. And despite the 3/4 BAB, they have ranks in piloting to be a gunner and Dex to actually back it up.

With your BAB, plus computer bonuses (all CPU bonuses should go to gunners first, and the rest of the party can fight for what's left), you should have at least +4 to gunnery checks.

If your buddy pumped up his dex to the max, he should be at most +8.

So he takes 2 guns for a +4/+4 while you take one gun with your +4.

Even Steven.

If you got a Captain, ask him to rotate his Encourage between you and the main gunner.

Sorry, I may not have made this clear.

I don't want to be a back-up gunner. Or back up anything for that matter.

The ship needs an engineer or a science officer. Not two gunners. In a 4 person party you can't afford to have two people doing the same thing. Also, why should they focus resources just to make my solarion competent when they could make the mystic good.

Again, I don't care that my PC isn't good at space combat, but I do care that the party effectively is only working with 3 people during space combat and that I (as a player, not PC) can't contribute.

I don't care how unrealistic it is, they needed a role for melee focused characters to be able to take during space combat.

Edit: I am however going to suggest that since the ship can house 6 characters, and we only have 4 players that we "hire" 2 NPCs for their space combat skills and that during space combat I simply play one of those characters.


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Claxon wrote:
The Ragi wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Which makes me pretty worthless as a gunner. With BAB of 3 alone, I can't hit for s+%~.

Because we also have a Mystic, who is in a similar boat to my Solarion. And despite the 3/4 BAB, they have ranks in piloting to be a gunner and Dex to actually back it up.

With your BAB, plus computer bonuses (all CPU bonuses should go to gunners first, and the rest of the party can fight for what's left), you should have at least +4 to gunnery checks.

If your buddy pumped up his dex to the max, he should be at most +8.

So he takes 2 guns for a +4/+4 while you take one gun with your +4.

Even Steven.

If you got a Captain, ask him to rotate his Encourage between you and the main gunner.

Sorry, I may not have made this clear.

I don't want to be a back-up gunner. Or back up anything for that matter.

The ship needs an engineer or a science officer. Not two gunners. In a 4 person party you can't afford to have two people doing the same thing. Also, why should they focus resources just to make my solarion competent when they could make the mystic good.

Again, I don't care that my PC isn't good at space combat, but I do care that the party effectively is only working with 3 people during space combat and that I (as a player, not PC) can't contribute.

I don't care how unrealistic it is, they needed a role for melee focused characters to be able to take during space combat.

Edit: I am however going to suggest that since the ship can house 6 characters, and we only have 4 players that we "hire" 2 NPCs for their space combat skills and that during space combat I simply play one of those characters.

Well you kinda limited yourself by purposely not building for a role. I told all my PCs to build with a ship roll in mind from the beginning to avoid just this and everyone has greatly benefited from it. No one is bored and all generally enjoy space combat. The game tells you from the get go your going to have a ship and not building with a role in mind kinda means your choosing to hamstring yourself. I think there is way to much focus on " I has to be super leet at one thing!" rather than building to cover the basis. Sure you might have one less skill point somewhere else or slightly less super leet attributes in another but in the end you have more fun by not completely sucking at one important aspect of the game.

Im not saying this was purposeful on your part. Maybe the importance of building for a role wasn't empathized enough but the obsession with super optimal often leads to this kinda thing. My party has mechanic pilot, operative gunner, Soldier engineer, Envoy captain, & Mystic Healer Science officer & they worked it out among themselves who would fit what roll best before we even began.


Claxon wrote:

Sorry, I may not have made this clear.

I don't want to be a back-up gunner. Or back up anything for that matter.

The ship needs an engineer or a science officer. Not two gunners. In a 4 person party you can't afford to have two people doing the same thing. Also, why should they focus resources just to make my solarion competent when they could make the mystic good.

Again, I don't care that my PC isn't good at space combat, but I do care that the party effectively is only working with 3 people during space combat and that I (as a player, not PC) can't contribute.

I don't care how unrealistic it is, they needed a role for melee focused characters to be able to take during space combat.

Edit: I am however going to suggest that since the ship can house 6 characters, and we only have 4 players that we "hire" 2 NPCs for their space combat skills and that during space combat I simply play one of those characters.

Sorry also, I thought you wanted an actual solution, but I guess that’s not the case.

Every ship needs as much gunners as it can possibly take. Your 4 man party would be best served starting with 3 gunners and 1 pilot, doing the most damage possible in the shortest amount of time - once your shields go down then you can move people up to S.O. and Engineer to fix the ship around.

You can encourage, divert or scan as much as want, but the only thing that will speed starship combat up is raw damage. Anything else just drags it on and on.

As a secondary gunner you'd contribute more to the party than anybody else, except the primary gunner.


Vexies wrote:
Well you kinda limited yourself by purposely not building for a role.

Not quite.

I built a melee Solarion, and informed everyone I was doing so prior to everyone but the ysoki mechanic character informing everyone they wanted to be the pilot. So I initially built my character with diplomacy and intimidate, and would have been suited for a role as captain. And then we had Envoy, who had a bigger charisma bonus and was subsequently better at diplomacy and intimidate, so I got edged out.

I do find the idea that I should have to build my character around space combat kind of egregious, instead of space combat having suitable roles for most character builds. The fact that there is no strength based related space combat ability is my major gripe.

Quote:
I think there is way to much focus on " I has to be super leet at one thing!" rather than building to cover the basis. Sure you might have one less skill point somewhere else or slightly less super leet attributes in another but in the end you have more fun by not completely sucking at one important aspect of the game.

I'm not even asking to be "super leet". The baseline for success in space combat is basically full ranks, class skill, and a positive attribute bonus (early on). Otherwise your chances of success are bad. And your chances of success actually decrease as you level up, but that's another problem of its own.


The Ragi wrote:

Sorry also, I thought you wanted an actual solution, but I guess that’s not the case.

Every ship needs as much gunners as it can possibly take. Your 4 man party would be best served starting with 3 gunners and 1 pilot, doing the most damage possible in the shortest amount of time - once your shields go down then you can move people up to S.O. and Engineer to fix the ship around.

You can encourage, divert or scan as much as want, but the only thing that will speed starship combat up is raw damage. Anything else just drags it on and on.

As a secondary gunner you'd contribute more to the party than anybody else, except the primary gunner.

Sorry, it's sounds a lot like you want to deride me than listen to what I'm stating is a problem.

You're solution isn't a solution.

Yes, if you could have anything you wanted you would want one person to man each weapon individual in space combat...after you have the other roles filled. Without an engineer or a science officer you will lose in space combat because you wont be able to recharge or balance shields.

Your strategy is what we attempted our first combat, and nearly caused us to lose. Only by luck of the enemy going on a string of bad rolls and failures to hit did we survive. All out offense isn't a good strategy in my (albeit limited) experience.


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

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Claxon wrote:

Sorry, it's sounds a lot like you want to deride me than listen to what I'm stating is a problem.

You're solution isn't a solution.

Yes, if you could have anything you wanted you would want one person to man each weapon individual in space combat...after you have the other roles filled. Without an engineer or a science officer you will lose in space combat because you wont be able to recharge or balance shields.

Your strategy is what we attempted our first combat, and nearly caused us to lose. Only by luck of the enemy going on a string of bad rolls and failures to hit did we survive. All out offense isn't a good strategy in my (albeit limited) experience.

Ok man, never mind then.

NPC up.

I'm done hijacking.


Just to clarify, no hard feelings.

I was just attempting to express:

1) That I agree that spaceship combat can feel tedious and boring, especially if you play a strength melee build and aren't competent at it.

1b) I shouldn't have to build my character around space combat to be useful. A melee solarion should be able to contribute on something in their wheelhouse besides diplomacy/intimidate as their is a high liklihood of an Envoy being present in a party.

1c) Intimidate and diplomacy are the only class skills that Solarions get that apply to space combat.

2) Allowing for some sort of boarding action to be performed where in character could attempt to physically sabotage the enemy ship could be interesting. And would give strength based characters something to do.

3) It would also be nice if we had some sort of rules for:
"I want to ram them, rip open a hole in their hull, kill them, and take their stuff. We're space pirates!"

Shadow Lodge

A second gunner is NOT a back up gunner

It is a second gunner. Something you almost need to get through the shields while they're down. Otherwise the regeneration rate of the other ships shields is as high as the damage you're doing to them and space ship

combat

draaaaaaaaaags

ooooooooon and oooooon and oooon...

You don't need a captain. You don't need a science officer after they ditched the idea that you restore the shields equally and need to rebalance them. I mean, rebalancing is NICE but not neccesary. If your ship isn't damaged you don't need an engineer

So for a 4 man party your loadout is

Round 1: science officer, pilot, gunner gunner
Round 2, engineer pilot gunner gunner


Wait wait, when did they decide you don't need to restore shields equally with engineering?

Because if that's true then the ideal load out would be pilot, engineer, and two gunners.

I agree that captain isn't actually necessary, but its the one thing my character would have been good at. And the thing the envoy wanted to focus on, because of the word "captain".


In the FAQ

http://paizo.com/starfinder/faq#v5748eaic9vwv

When an engineer diverts power to shields (page 323), what do the rules mean when they say "...putting any excess Shield Points in the forward quadrant"?

The last sentence of that action should instead read, "You can distribute the restored Shield Points across the shield's four quadrants as you see fit."

We have five players, and while we've only done a few starship combats, we are firing two guns around usually and one position floats between science and engineering.

Claxon - I get what you're saying. I agree that ship combat is an uphill battle for some classes to be useful at. You have to go out of your way, and accept the fact that you'll be suboptimal compared to someone built for the role.

But when you say "I shouldn't have to build my character around space combat to be useful", it sort of like me saying "I shouldn't have to build my character around melee combat to be effective at melee combat" and I can't go along with that.

Something that's not obvious at first is that characters should plan for starship combat at character creation. Not just for themselves, but among the party. Just like you want some party diversity in balance so you don't have four healers, you want some diversity in the starship roles. Solarians share an issue with some other classes in that the things they could do in ship combat aren't naturally supported by their likely stat choices.

So some classes will not be "the best" at the role. That's no different than regular combat - not every character is going to be as optimal at full on combat as another.

If you can't be happy without being awesome at something in all situations, you're probably not going to be happy with this. But it's the nature of game balance. I also know that doesn't make it any better.


Quote:
But when you say "I shouldn't have to build my character around space combat to be useful", it sort of like me saying "I shouldn't have to build my character around melee combat to be effective at melee combat" and I can't go along with that.

I would generally agree with your premise, except that space combat is supposed to be a fun mini-game on the side, not the main game.

And as you note, there is overlap between Solarions and Envoy, and the only role easily supported for Solarions is captain, a role that isn't essential.

I feel that Solarions just so disadvantaged when it comes to starship combat...that I've decided to abandon the class. It's simply a bad class for collaborative play that include Starship combat.

Instead I'll be switching to a Soldier, be able to pickup Engineer skill, and have an okay dex bonus to act as a backup gunner when it's advantageous to do so.

Also, I can be happy without being awesome, the problem with the Solarion is that they aren't at all effective in Space Combat without really devoting a significant portion of character design around it. And to me that's an inherent problem.

Which I've solved. The answer is "Don't play a Solarion".

Acquisitives

Claxon wrote:

I would generally agree with your premise, except that space combat is supposed to be a fun mini-game on the side, not the main game.

And as you note, there is overlap between Solarions and Envoy, and the only role easily supported for Solarions is captain, a role that isn't essential.

I feel that Solarions just so disadvantaged when it comes to starship combat...that I've decided to abandon the class. It's simply a bad class for collaborative play that include Starship combat.

Instead I'll be switching to a Soldier, be able to pickup Engineer skill, and have an okay dex bonus to act as a backup gunner when it's advantageous to do so.

Also, I can be happy without being awesome, the problem with the Solarion is that they aren't at all effective in Space Combat without really devoting a significant portion of character design around it. And to me that's an inherent problem.

Which I've solved. The answer is "Don't play a Solarion".

A different solution I noticed with my Envoy. Is that the sheer number of skills ranks the Envoy gets, means they can dump points into Piloting every level, and act as back-up gunner. (I say this, with a Diplomacy and Intimidate focused Envoy.) So you could have just spoken to the Envoy player and went "hey... you want to show how awesome of a captain you are, by blowing up your enemies... right?" (But then, i play an Envoy because I like the support role of it.. .Part of support, in my mind, is doing what is best for the party. Sometimes that means taking off my captain's hat during combat. [I only play SFS, so unexpected party make-up happens often enough.])


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

For that matter, you could use your solarian bonus class skills on engineering and computers and be ok, but not great at trying to handle the unmanned engineering and science stations when not shooting, especially if you use one feat for skill synergy on both of them.


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So, silly question time:

Once you saw what your other party members were building, why didn't you point out to your GM "I built my character to be a captain, and now we have a second captain"? And then either request that you be granted niche protection, since you picked first, or else approved a rearrangement of your skill picks so that you could cover one of the other roles?


While definitely 3PP, I released over a month ago, Starships, Stations and Salvage Guide by Edward Moyer which includes Ramming Prow and Boarding Holds, as well as specialized boarding craft that are essentially flying ramming prows with 2 boarders inside that pierce the hulls of ships whose shields are down in the arc these small ships are striking.

Ramming prows cost a percentage of the base frame increased for reinforced decks and bulkheads to withstand ramming other ships, the prow takes 75% of the damage of a ram. Then the rams open apart to expose an open breach that gets sealed and boarders can enter an opposing starship.

Of course it's 3PP so certainly "official", but we've got rules to accommodate such a scenario.


Metaphysician wrote:

So, silly question time:

Once you saw what your other party members were building, why didn't you point out to your GM "I built my character to be a captain, and now we have a second captain"? And then either request that you be granted niche protection, since you picked first, or else approved a rearrangement of your skill picks so that you could cover one of the other roles?

Because I don't like to get confrontational with friends.

I tend to get...overly confrontational easily.So I try to avoid situations where I'm likely to let my temper get the better of me.


Metaphysician wrote:

There is the issue that boarding is hilarious dangerous and unbalanced, yes. Big ships worth using these kind of assault boats on, have big crews, presumably well-equipped ones. And even if your assault boat is loaded down with a few dozen fully armed marines ready for heavy combat? They are still vastly outnumbered, against an enemy that is likely just as well armed, on their home turf.

Which is to say, I don't really see "small vs big" boarding to really be that useful, *unless* your boarding team is. . . basically, a group of high level PCs or equivalent. Somebody who can basically go Super Hero on the situation.

I think you're comparing apples to oranges here. A capital ship may have a lot of crew, but crew have assigned jobs on a ship and they can't all drop everything to repel boarders. (Or, if they do, that boarding action has already succeeded in its mission by neutralizing the capital ship and taking it out of the larger fight). Plus a dedicated troop transport can carry more marines than a larger ship designed for ship to ship combat. And ship crew aren't equivalent to marines skilled close combat. If their were rules for boarding, it is easy to imagine twenty Soldiers and Solarians overwhelming fifty Envoys and Mechanics whose attention is divided between repelling boarders and participating in an ongoing space battle.

Acquisitives

Tarynt Essrog wrote:


I think you're comparing apples to oranges here. A capital ship may have a lot of crew, but crew have assigned jobs on a ship and they can't all drop everything to repel boarders. (Or, if they do, that boarding action has already succeeded in its mission by neutralizing the capital ship and taking it out of the larger fight). Plus a dedicated troop transport can carry more marines than a larger ship designed for ship to ship combat. And ship crew aren't equivalent to marines skilled close combat. If their were rules for boarding, it is easy to imagine twenty Soldiers and Solarians overwhelming fifty Envoys and Mechanics whose attention is divided between repelling boarders and participating in an ongoing space battle.

A boarding crew of marines has the advantage of combat skill there. Yet they will be arriving in a small cramped space, perfect for a few grenades to actually earn their keep for once. Furthermore, any space-craft built by even a slightly competent designer will have closable and seal-able bulk-heads at regular intervals. (Should deploy automatically once the hull is breached too.) These bulkheads will take a concerted effort to get past, all the while the more-skilled-at-spaceship-combat envoy/mechanic crew will be wailing away upon the ship with the lesser crew. (numerically, and for the sake of most balanced argument, out-skilled now.) Furthermore, the ammo of the boarders is far more limited than that of the defenders. Add the existence of automated defense lasers in the ship. (which I have seen in at least one scenario... in a ship too small for 25, better yet 50.)

Tl;DR The boarding process is far more dangerous than at first appearance, and most useful after having disabled the enemy ship.


I'm not familiar with internal defense rules. Do they use up Build Points? But yeah, I'll buy that some ships will have countermeasures against borders. I don't buy the assumptions that all or most ships are going to divert resources away from their main systems and spend points on anti-personnel systems unless the rules say that they are included in the cost of the hull.

The cramped environment will give an advantage to defenders, but grenades are what attackers will use to mitigate that advantage. Ammo won't be a factor because a boarding action will succeed or fail before most weapons need to be reloaded. (I would expect both sides to be relying more heavily on melee weapons that ranged weapons because of the close quarters).

The abilities of the ship that deployed the boarders is only relevant as far as it needs to survive long enough to deploy said boarders. After that, it will either escape or perish; but that won't effect the hand to hand fighting going on inside the target ship.

Historically, boarding action depended on a combination of stealth and speed. Boarders needed to overwhelm the defenders before they realized what was happening or at least before they could organize an effective defense. It could very well turn into a race to see how much ground the marines could cover before the crew got the doors and hatches closed. And then I guess the marines would be scrambling to cut through or blow open the doors while the captain was reassigning crew (that wasn't already cut off) from their regular stations to set up a layered defense between the breach and the bridge.

There's a lot of room to swing the advantages back and forth between boarders and crew depending on how the GM sets the DC to do stuff like breach the hull, cut through doors, identify what is going on inside the rest of the ship from the bridge. Maybe it wouldn't be feasible in your game the way you run it. But there is definitely room in the rules for a handful of elite marines with superior firepower to clear a path through a capital ship against a typical ship crew.

Acquisitives

Tarynt Essrog wrote:

I'm not familiar with internal defense rules. Do they use up Build Points? But yeah, I'll buy that some ships will have countermeasures against borders. I don't buy the assumptions that all or most ships are going to divert resources away from their main systems and spend points on anti-personnel systems unless the rules say that they are included in the cost of the hull.

The cramped environment will give an advantage to defenders, but grenades are what attackers will use to mitigate that advantage. Ammo won't be a factor because a boarding action will succeed or fail before most weapons need to be reloaded. (I would expect both sides to be relying more heavily on melee weapons that ranged weapons because of the close quarters).

The abilities of the ship that deployed the boarders is only relevant as far as it needs to survive long enough to deploy said boarders. After that, it will either escape or perish; but that won't effect the hand to hand fighting going on inside the target ship.

Historically, boarding action depended on a combination of stealth and speed. Boarders needed to overwhelm the defenders before they realized what was happening or at least before they could organize an effective defense. It could very well turn into a race to see how much ground the marines could cover before the crew got the doors and hatches closed. And then I guess the marines would be scrambling to cut through or blow open the doors while the captain was reassigning crew (that wasn't already cut off) from their regular stations to set up a layered defense between the breach and the bridge.

There's a lot of room to swing the advantages back and forth between boarders and crew depending on how the GM sets the DC to do stuff like breach the hull, cut through doors, identify what is going on inside the rest of the ship from the bridge. Maybe it wouldn't be feasible in your game the way you run it. But there is definitely room in the rules for a handful of elite marines with superior firepower to clear a path...

Looking through the rules closely, I tracked down the closest I can get to internal defense rules. Being a turret specifically near boarding ramps in order to deter wildlife from entering and exiting the ship. It does cost build points. 5+item level of the weapon.

If we were to assume that would be the cost of a turret anywhere in the ship, then I can agree they'd likely only exist on military or exploration vessels, and probably only near important rooms. The bulkheads I mentioned before, however, would be something that comes as part of standard construction regardless of intention. They would lock down in a section immediately upon hull damage, to prevent spacing one's crew and stuff due to rogue meteors and the like. Further, most bulk-heads would have sensors in them to detect if another object has punctured them, to then trigger the next set of bulk-heads, for the exact same reason.

I'm not saying there would be a bulkhead every ten feet, but it would be between every room and at every intersection. It wouldn't take more than two or three to be broken through, or forcibly bypassed via hacking, for anyone watching the status of the ship to notice something fishy. (the doors being damaged would should bring up status warnings to the bridge as well. If again, only because of rogue space debris.)

Now, after all of the above, I never once argued that a team of elite marines couldn't cut through a standard ships crew. I am instead only arguing that, in most cases, an elite team is going to be sent after prizes worth the cost of their skills... Which have the higher chance of actually having anti-boarding measures in place... Or simply be the Starfinder equivalent of an old-fashioned Spanish Treasure Galleon. Plus those elite marines would need to get the experience to get there. Which means a lot of failed and thus dead marines along the way.

Of course, all these statements are simply made from the point of view or gritty verisimilitude. (Which, admittedly, Starfinder likes to ignore for the sake of fun.) If a GM runs it different than simple assumptions based off real-world trends in space-ship and station design. Then all arguments are invalidated, as it comes down to GM fiat.

TL;DR I agree boarding is entirely possible. I just argue that it should be much harder than shown in most sci-fi films. However, every GM will run it there own way.


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So, a couple question:

1. How is a boarding action in open space supposed to even approach being "stealthy"? Unless the attacking ship somehow has a ridiculously good cloaking device, such that its undetectable even after attaching to the target? Target ship is going to know people are trying to board it.

2. Why does a large ship not have plenty of excess crew with which to fight off boarders? Why would it have exactly the number needed to run its systems, and no more? Such would be a recipe for disaster even without boarding. Maybe a small tramp freighter runs with a skeleton crew, but anything not designed to be run by a single PC party is going to have plenty of extra warm bodies. . . and in the case of a military ship, actual marines on top of that.

3. Why are the defending forces rushing forth into a kill zone around the boarding point, to be casually grenaded? They have the defensive advantage, they should be making the boarders come to them. The boarding force can toss as many grenades as they want into the very next room, it won't do a thing if the defending forces are hunkered back at the next defensible position.

Basically, a lot of these ideas for how boarding "would totally work" require some very dubious assumptions about the nature of your target. Sure, if a big freighter is being run by a minimal crew that don't pay any attention, sure, you might have a milk run boarding the thing. This isn't especially relevant to stuff that PCs might do, either on the attack or the defense.


If your party is better at regular battle than starship battle, boarding would be a great way to just bypass the second one.

They'll probably toss it in the starship book, with ramming rules.

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