Info for fighting stations?


Advice


So, after a bit of a debate with my friend, there seems to be a lack of knowledge on engaging stations? Like how many Tyrants it would take to blow up Absalom station or what if the PC's attacked a station, etc... I'm guessing for plot and rules you aren't supposed to fight or destroy stations.I would chalk it up that single single ship or small squad would be irrelevant to the station, and probably be wasted pretty quick by it's defenses.

However one of the players really doesn't like things having "plot armor" and thinks everything should be fightable to a degree. I disagree, as I believe not every foe you encounter (or create) should be something you are able to engage in hostilities with and get away with it. Perhaps a compromise would be doing the x10 rule like PC's vs Starships? Or should I just keep them 'invincible' because anyone who attacks a station without an armada backing them up is on a suicide mission in my opinion.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Tell them that while the Station may not be that powerful, the ever present 1000s of vessels in near orbit are.


This would be worse than attacking a military base and expecting to succeed or at least not get demolished.

I would let them do it. Then, when they are rolling up their next character, ask them if they still feel this way.


Well, the problem is "station" isn't really a defined term. Absalom station is essentially a small planet and would take an absolutely immense amount of firepower to take down.

On the other hand, something like Earth's International Space Station is much more manageable and could be taken out without much problem.


Absalom Station is not comparable to a planet. It's not even vaguely comparable to a dwarf planet. It's the size of a moderately large asteroid at best, and is still dwarfed by a large number of them. There's not any reason you couldn't have a ship larger than the station either, since Colossal ones start at nearly 3 miles long and have no upper limit. Similarly, without imposing some sort of limit that is not currently present, nothing save economics stops anyone from making a ship as heavily fortified, armed, and generally unassailable as even the most well protected stations.

Ultimately, it's an area where the rules are vague and likely inadequate. You could treat it as a high tier Colossal ship - perhaps even go beyond 20, and throw on whatever special rules you like - but mechanically I expect it's intended as setpiece rather than anything you can actively engage. The Armada would be a much more significant issue anyway, simply by way of sheer numbers.

I hope the lack of any guidelines for space stations, nevermind actual rules, is addressed at some point. But even if that is the case, I expect it won't be for some time. As it stands, anything involving Absalom or any other station will ultimately need to be brushed aside, homebrewed, or treated as a narrative event rather than something with strict mechanics.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
WhiteWeasel wrote:
However one of the players really doesn't like things having "plot armor" and thinks everything should be fightable to a degree. I disagree.

Editing your comment there.

You are the game master, your player is not the game master. Tell your player that this is the way things are and if he doesn't like it then he can run his own game. You are the GM. You are in charge. It is your game.


I'd have to agree with both sides of the argument at this point:

A) How stations (large or small) are treated in combat is not well defined at this point. I'd expect that will change whenever Paizo gets around to an advanced starship combat supplement

B) Really large stations, such as Absalom, represent something pretty titanic in scale, and most vessels that PCs could bring to bear on them would be insignificant.


Hithesius wrote:
Absalom Station is not comparable to a planet. It's not even vaguely comparable to a dwarf planet. It's the size of a moderately large asteroid at best, and is still dwarfed by a large number of them.

I agree. I almost lol'd when I saw that Absalom station has a mere 5 mile (8km) diameter. Absalom station would be pretty much the Amarr titan with the back half chopped off.

As for the topic of the station thing, I am going go for the invincible route. Attacking a station is and should be a very BAD idea. After all, it would be at least one of the scenarios below or any combination thereof.
A) The station has far more resources at it's disposal such as power supply and space for defenses and weapon arrays that will overwhelm the majority of ships that can be fielded. Example: Post Upgrade DS9
B) Stations would be so massive/powerful that bringing them down would be a long grueling siege that only large corporations and governments with fleets would be capable of fielding due to the logistics involved. Example: Any battle of significance in EVE online.
C) The inhabitants/allies of the stations won't take kindly to you treating it like a Bethesda softworks town and shooting the place up. Example: Same Bethesda town aggroing and everyone mobbing you plus static defenses.
D) Station for plot or practical reasons is too important to kill.

...And the list goes on. After thinking about it, I've settled on my stance. Unless the station is against a supremely dire threat (those yellow diamonds are destroyers by the way) stations on the scale of Absalom are going to be effectively invincible for purposes of normal combat. Perhaps I'll write up a dreadnought with 1000+ BP, extra weapon mounts and expansion bays with no engines or drift for smaller backwater stations of a couple thousand residents.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Eh, I can easily buy that *some* stations are assailable by naval combat. Not every outpost or settlement is going to be heavily armed and equipped for battle. The major, long-standing stations, though, nevermind something as central as Absalom Station? Yeah, they are mostly invincible. Too big, too much available power, too many advantageous defensive tradeoffs for not needing engines.

Note that this last one includes "a fixed station can have fixed standoff defenses". If you're not moving around constantly, you can set an orbit of outlying smaller defensive emplacements. Congratulations, before you can even get within range to try and attack the station, you have to get past a bunch of satellites that are basically power cores with heavy weapon turrets attached.


Tell the players that Absalom Station counts as having two Dreadnaughts as it's core. The six large projections are equal to Battleships. In addition there the equivalent of 6 Cruisers and 12 Destroyers. Treat each hex side as both front and rear arcs of a battleship, cruiser and two destroyers. Each ship equivalent acts and can be fired upon independent of any other however shields overlap so damaging even one requires massive firepower for long periods of time. All expansion bays are available for use as power core or fighter/ shuttle bays.


For smaller stations I would simply go with "immovable but very sturdy space ships" (well if they are build for defense, else ignore the 'very sturdy' part)
But if you want to fight absalom station... well bring a lot of backup, you will need it. Absalom station is probably extremely durable - if not additionally protected by a really sturdy energy shield.
Would have hundreds or thousands of weapons in every size.
Has an own fleet
And a lot of more or less independent people who would still help to defend the station.

Even if your players would lead an army into battle that IS capable of bringing the station down - it is not said that their own ship and the players themselves make it.

And in the very unlikely case they are successfull or pull an anakin skywalker and try to destroy the station from within...

...well nobody know what would happen if the starstone explodes...
(probably nothing all too healthy)


Seisho wrote:

For smaller stations I would simply go with "immovable but very sturdy space ships" (well if they are build for defense, else ignore the 'very sturdy' part)

But if you want to fight absalom station... well bring a lot of backup, you will need it. Absalom station is probably extremely durable - if not additionally protected by a really sturdy energy shield.
Would have hundreds or thousands of weapons in every size.
Has an own fleet
And a lot of more or less independent people who would still help to defend the station.

Even if your players would lead an army into battle that IS capable of bringing the station down - it is not said that their own ship and the players themselves make it.

And in the very unlikely case they are successfull or pull an anakin skywalker and try to destroy the station from within...

...well nobody know what would happen if the starstone explodes...
(probably nothing all too healthy)

I'd go with this, stations as "ships" that spend no BP on engines.

As for Absolom itself, it practically needs to be the most fortified point in the galaxy, since everyone can get there extremely quickly. There is no option for a line of defence farther out.


So to resolve this issue, I came up with a set of quick homebrew rules for smaller type stations.
-No Engines. If able to rotate at all, it would be at a fixed rate of one face per round and can be stopped/started in 1d4 rounds.
-No Drift
-Armor BP cost is halved. (Justification being that they have no need to use them fancy space-age composites so they just pile on a lot of cheaper materials with little regard to mass limits.)
-x2 Expansion bays. (After all, no drift or engines open up lot a space to be used, plus they are going to need a lot of docks to service a reasonable amount of ships.)
-Bonus to either to DT(+15) or HP(x2). Depending on station type. DT makes them shrug off swarms of tiny ships better, while more HP makes them spongy to all ship types. Justification being is no engines means no evasion bonus, so they are going to be hit by nearly any functioning gunner and hammered from afar. Like with the armor example above, they need to pile on the defenses, as being a static structure in 3d space is actually a pretty problematic weakness.

As for massive stations like Absalom, weeeeelllll, I think the Klingons are going to serve as a nice dramatization.


I'd let stations have sufficient engines to at least make trajectory changes - it means they're less likely to get caught up in a gravity well and they can (slowly) get out of the way of anything huge* coming at them, like an asteroid.

*The Expanse spoilers:
I wouldn't be surprised if industrious players try to emulate the Nauvoo maneuver.

Community / Forums / Starfinder / Advice / Info for fighting stations? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Advice