Starfinder Starship Combat Tutorial


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

For those looking for a starship combat tutorial of two low-level starships going one-on-one (the 4 PCs in one ship against a single NPC starship), we have posted a tutorial around an hour and a half in length. We through nearly all the rules and should be a nice primer for anyone wanting to learn the basics of low-level starship combat.

You can listen to the combat tutorial here:

http://rollforcombat.com/podcast/011-spaceship/

And you can view the images for the combat and the starship sheet here (search for "Episode 011 - Hippocampus Stats" if you can't find it):

https://discord.gg/2yy4vAG

Silver Crusade

Dotting because I'm at work.

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Also if you have any questions I would be happy to answer them. I ran starship combat at GenCon for a full day and have now run it a few times for my home groups as well. Definitely getting the hang of it and have verified a few rules since then.


This seems like a good podcast to tune into. So far my group is still working through out first couple of sessions. So far, the biggest issue is needing to consult the CRB to see what actions we can take. I've found this post on imgur of someone that created handy-dandy role cards that help you figure out what actions you can take.


Can anyone give a detailed tutorial of just tracking weapons? There are one aspect of ship combat that I have yet to grasp completely.


baggageboy wrote:
Can anyone give a detailed tutorial of just tracking weapons? There are one aspect of ship combat that I have yet to grasp completely.

Let me give this a try:

- Gunner makes a gunnery check against the target's TL value, including penalties for range increments. If the check passes than place a Tracked Weapon marker/die/mini/scrap of paper on the map at your ship's location.

- Move the tracked weapon a number of hexes equal to its speed rating. If it reaches the target's hex in this step, remove it from the board and roll damage for the weapon.

- If the Tracked weapon does not reach its target in the round it was fired, leave it on the map and wait until the next round's gunnery phase. In this new gunnery phase roll a new gunnery check but do not include range increment penalties. If the check passes move the weapon a number of hexes up to its speed rating towards it's target. roll damage if it reaches it.

- This continues every round until a roll against TL is failed at which point the Tracked weapon is removed from play without rolling any damage.

Please note: Tracked weapons have limited uses in battle due to the Limited Fire weapon quality, it seems to be each one can be used 5 times in any given combat as the general rule. They recharge all shots after 10 minutes outside of combat, ie. you do not have to worry about buying and tracking your stockpile of nuclear missiles, assume you have spares laying around or that the launcher is capable of manufacturing new WMDs from random space debris at no cost to you.

Please note: There is no mechanic to change targets once fired.

Please note: It is not specified what modifiers Tracked weapons use on subsequent rounds, i would assume they use the same modifiers as they did when first rolled and i would not count that as an action on the gunner's part in any other rounds once the Tracked weapons were used... but you may find some tables where the gunner has to dedicate every round to guiding missiles until they hit.

Please note: Despite how guided missiles tend to work in the real world and what you may believe since they are specifically NOT "Direct Fire" Tracked weapons must still follow normal arc rules and can only be used against targets in their arcs.

Lastly, if the target has a Point weapon in the arc that the Tracked weapon arrives in, or a Point weapon in it's Turret arc than it can make a gunnery check (with special rules for modifier and DC) to negate the tracked weapon.

Also, i am basing this off the online SRD rules so those last few points may be addressed somewhere in the CRB that i dont remember.


Torbyne wrote:
Please note: It is not specified what modifiers Tracked weapons use on subsequent rounds, i would assume they use the same modifiers as they did when first rolled

You're pretty much correct. For the initial attack:

CRB pg 320, Gunnery Check wrote:
Gunnery Check = 1d20 + the gunner’s base attack bonus or the gunner’s ranks in the Piloting skill + the gunner’s Dexterity modifier + bonuses from computer systems + bonuses from the captain and science officers + range penalty

For later rounds:

Quote:
attempt a new gunnery check at the start of the next gunnery phase to determine whether the projectile continues to move toward the target; you don’t receive any bonuses from computer systems or actions by your fellow crew members from previous rounds or the current round, but you can take penalties, such as from an enemy science officer’s improve countermeasures action

So on later rounds you've got:

Gunnery Check = 1d20 + the gunner’s base attack bonus or the gunner’s ranks in the Piloting skill + the gunner’s Dexterity modifier + range penalty + any other penalties


Andy Brown wrote:
Torbyne wrote:
Please note: It is not specified what modifiers Tracked weapons use on subsequent rounds, i would assume they use the same modifiers as they did when first rolled

You're pretty much correct. For the initial attack:

CRB pg 320, Gunnery Check wrote:
Gunnery Check = 1d20 + the gunner’s base attack bonus or the gunner’s ranks in the Piloting skill + the gunner’s Dexterity modifier + bonuses from computer systems + bonuses from the captain and science officers + range penalty

For later rounds:

Quote:
attempt a new gunnery check at the start of the next gunnery phase to determine whether the projectile continues to move toward the target; you don’t receive any bonuses from computer systems or actions by your fellow crew members from previous rounds or the current round, but you can take penalties, such as from an enemy science officer’s improve countermeasures action

So on later rounds you've got:

Gunnery Check = 1d20 + the gunner’s base attack bonus or the gunner’s ranks in the Piloting skill + the gunner’s Dexterity modifier + range penalty + any other penalties

I assume the secondary gunnery chekcs don't count as the gunner's actions for that round, yeah?


I would say they don't count against the gunner


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Eh, while missile launchers in real life *can* be direction-agnostic, they don't have to be. Its perfectly reasonable that a missile system in Starfinder either has the launchers or the targeting systems in a particular quadrant. Systems that can drop the missile and have it go whichever way would be what you have if the missiles are on a turret mount.


Metaphysician wrote:
Eh, while missile launchers in real life *can* be direction-agnostic, they don't have to be. Its perfectly reasonable that a missile system in Starfinder either has the launchers or the targeting systems in a particular quadrant. Systems that can drop the missile and have it go whichever way would be what you have if the missiles are on a turret mount.

Its an old school hold over to have missiles be directional, modern weapon development is trending towards either vertical launch and flip towards target or a launch in any direction but with the range and networked sensors available it will just turn around and go where ever. heck, even when fired dead on many anti-ship missiles will fly to way points or make weird turns to come in from unexpected angles or to avoid obstacles. The only missile systems, in a naval sense anways, that are on turrets these days are the "oh crap, get there now!" interceptor missiles, the ones to shoot down fast flyers and inbound missiles, even then there is a push to make those into launch and flip systems that just go through the process *really* fast. Starfinder missiles seem to have crazy tracking and maneuverability like real world modern missiles which makes it odd to me that they are directionally locked like systems were 30-40 years ago. Minor point really but its a thing.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Stonesnake wrote:

For those looking for a starship combat tutorial of two low-level starships going one-on-one (the 4 PCs in one ship against a single NPC starship), we have posted a tutorial around an hour and a half in length. We through nearly all the rules and should be a nice primer for anyone wanting to learn the basics of low-level starship combat.

You can listen to the combat tutorial here:

http://rollforcombat.com/podcast/011-spaceship/

And you can view the images for the combat and the starship sheet here (search for "Episode 011 - Hippocampus Stats" if you can't find it):

https://discord.gg/2yy4vAG

In general, I like the game, but I've come to the conclusion that I hate the firing/shield arcs in spaceship combat. Two primary reasons for this:

1) You're operating on a hex map in space combat. It makes zero sense, therefore, to have ship oriented to a square grid (with 4 sides). The ships should have 6 shields and 6 potential firing arcs (though most weapons should be able to fire in 2 adjacent arcs (e.g. Fwd and Rt Front).

2) If you're going to have only 4 arcs, then the way the arcs are divided is strange. The Port and Starboard arcs each cover 1/3 of the ship, whereas the Front and Rear arcs cover only 1/6 of the ship each. It is, therefore, insipid to have so many ship designs where the main weapons have arcs of Forward and Aft and, thus, have EXTREMELY limited firing options. This tendency contributes to the sometimes slow pay of starship combat. Rather than the way they're divided now (along the 4 (corners) of a square ship marker), the arcs should be divided down the LF, RF, LR, and RR hex sides. This would, at least make all 4 arcs similarly sized, covering 1/4 of the ship.

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