Starship combat houserules: losing with style


Homebrew


Under the official rules, starship combat is all-in. There is no real option for escaping a scenario if you find that you bit off more than you could handle or if the dice aren't in your favor today.

1) Typically, starship speeds are within 2-8 points. More often closer to the 2.
2) Short range weapons can fire 5 hexes without penalty. Long range weapons can fire 20 hexes. Most weapons can fire 10 times that far, but take heavy penalties to do so.

So if a starship starts losing a fight and wants to leave, and has a speed 4 points higher than their opponent's ship, it will take them:
1 to 2 rounds to get out of the first range increment of the short range weapon.
5 rounds to get out of the first range increment of the long range weapon.
12 rounds to get out of the maximum range of a short range weapon.
50 rounds to get out of the maximum range of a long range weapon.

And contrary to what the flavor text for the Pact Worlds ship "Atech Immortal" says, escaping to the drift probably wouldn't work. First you have to power off your thrusters for a minute before transitioning (we don't actually know how many rounds that is though). Second, (making an interpretation here) the pursuing ship could just jump to the drift at the same point and continue the chase.

My thought for this is to use a variation of the rules for vehicles. The listed speed for a starship is its tactical speed. The speed that it goes when it is doing combat manouvers and taking aim at other ships and such. Starships would also have a 'full speed' that is something like 10 times that speed. If two ships take off at full speed, then we could use a variation of the rules for vehicle chases. Especially the rules for escaping the chase.

So, thoughts? Especially, how could this be abused?

I would probably want to prevent accurate firing of weapons while at full speed against things that are not going that fast. Two ships in a chase could shoot at each other because the relative speeds are similar and the flight paths are reasonably predictable since they are not in tactical speed.


If an attempt to escape is being made, wouldn't the logical choice be to convert to a chase instead?


What is it that you want to avoid with these house-rules?

Is it that you want to give the PCs a chance to escape if they are in deeper than they thought? Do you want to introduce exciting chase scenes?

Bear in mind that what applies to the PCs would apply to the ships they are fighting. Do you want enemy ships to escape as easily as the PCs might be able to.

Perhaps a suggestion is to introduce the concept (maybe by example) that fights are not to the death. Once the crew determines it is unlikely to win then they would do their best to escape. The easiest way to do this is to allow escape into the Drift as a valid option.

Sovereign Court

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xris wrote:

What is it that you want to avoid with these house-rules?

Is it that you want to give the PCs a chance to escape if they are in deeper than they thought? Do you want to introduce exciting chase scenes?

Bear in mind that what applies to the PCs would apply to the ships they are fighting. Do you want enemy ships to escape as easily as the PCs might be able to.

Perhaps a suggestion is to introduce the concept (maybe by example) that fights are not to the death. Once the crew determines it is unlikely to win then they would do their best to escape. The easiest way to do this is to allow escape into the Drift as a valid option.

I'm guessing, by giving both PCs and enemies a chance to escape, you can have combats against more serious enemies. Right now, if an enemy is equal strength to the PCs (i.e. 50% chance to win a fight to the end), that's a problem in your scenario because what if the PCs lose? TPK? Loss of an expensive starship that you never recover, crippling the party for the rest of the campaign? Deus Ex Machina rescue? Conveniently finding a new and better ship?

So a lot of scenarios are instead written with enemies almost guaranteed to lose. Which makes the starship battle feel like a waste of time.

Escape mechanics could help here. If you have to retreat, that's a setback in your adventure but not the end of it.


Ascalaphus wrote:

I'm guessing, by giving both PCs and enemies a chance to escape, you can have combats against more serious enemies. Right now, if an enemy is equal strength to the PCs (i.e. 50% chance to win a fight to the end), that's a problem in your scenario because what if the PCs lose? TPK? Loss of an expensive starship that you never recover, crippling the party for the rest of the campaign? Deus Ex Machina rescue? Conveniently finding a new and better ship?

So a lot of scenarios are instead written with enemies almost guaranteed to lose. Which makes the starship battle feel like a waste of time.

Escape mechanics could help here. If you have to retreat, that's a setback in your adventure but not the end of it.

Good points you raise here. I can see that it would make battles less interesting.

How damaging (to a scenario) would it be if the enemy was able to escape 9 times out of 10 instead of getting destroyed? Would it make battles even less interesting?

Allowing escape into the Drift would seem the easiest, and maybe most realistic, method to consider.

While there are a number of possible outcomes to a battle, such as surrender, evacuate, it does still leave similar problems if it's the PCs doing this. How do they escape, how do they find a new ship. In a sandbox game this could be fine but for an Adventure Path it's not so easy.

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Most of the starship combats I've seen so far were enemies trying to prevent us from getting to a planet where we'd have the actual adventure. If you somehow fail the combat, some deus ex machina happens that docks you some scenario rewards but you're able to get to the planet anyway. Laaaame.

Since plundering the enemy ship is pretty much never in the cards (think of the WBL implications), defeating or chasing away is often equally good. If the enemy's goal was to block your path, your path is clear either way.

It's kinda the same on the "we're done on this planet, now we want to leave" front. Except in that case the party might decide to try to flee themselves, instead of defeating/chasing off the enemy.

So we're looking for game mechanics where you can challenge an enemy ship trying to leave.

We want the things you do to an enemy to defeat them in combat (dealing hull damage, crippling systems) to be a bit related to what you do to chase a fleeing ship, but not too much. Otherwise a damaged-in-combat doesn't stand a chance of escaping. I think the current damage system is adequate for that; it takes quite a bit of luck/effort to disable propulsion/power core specifically.

We want ship speed to matter, but not absolutely. A ship with a speed 2 better than the enemy shouldn't be able to escape by default, but one with speed 6 better should be impossible to catch. The vehicle speed rules say that if your speed is 50 higher than opponents, you get a reduced penalty on attempts to do two pilot actions per round. This seems suitable for porting to starship chases as well. Speed matters but doesn't outright decide things.

The vehicle chase rules expect a chase to be a running combat, which continues until either the prey escapes (by being far enough ahead), all vehicles on one team are defeated. There's no way to force the prey to "come to a stop and fight" apart from dealing enough crits to their engines. This also seems suitable enough.

Chase zones are a bit of a problem. Vehicle chases aren't supposed to happen on a blank featureless plain, you should be entering zones with special effects much of the time. But space is big and mostly empty. Also, space isn't really a straight line, you can go in many directions. Of course, chase zones don't actually need to be strictly equal size. 80% of a solar system could actually be just a few zones during which everyone just races along, but that asteroid field or the more heavily traffic around a planet can count as multiple zones.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Chase zones are a bit of a problem. Vehicle chases aren't supposed to happen on a blank featureless plain, you should be entering zones with special effects much of the time. But space is big and mostly empty. Also, space isn't really a straight line, you can go in many directions. Of course, chase zones don't actually need to be strictly equal size. 80% of a solar system could actually be just a few zones during which everyone just races along, but that asteroid field or the more heavily traffic around a planet can count as multiple zones.

One note: Chase zones are about distance, not a straight line.

And open space isn't a great place for a chase, but something like a nebula or asteroid field would be more interesting.

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Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Chase zones are a bit of a problem. Vehicle chases aren't supposed to happen on a blank featureless plain, you should be entering zones with special effects much of the time. But space is big and mostly empty. Also, space isn't really a straight line, you can go in many directions. Of course, chase zones don't actually need to be strictly equal size. 80% of a solar system could actually be just a few zones during which everyone just races along, but that asteroid field or the more heavily traffic around a planet can count as multiple zones.

One note: Chase zones are about distance, not a straight line.

And open space isn't a great place for a chase, but something like a nebula or asteroid field would be more interesting.

Well precise distance matters more in vehicle chases because everyone's guns have wildly different ranges. Starship guns are much more uniform so you could make the size of a chase zone more abstract and just have a table of [gun range] x [# chase zones distance] which says what penalty you're shooting at.

Abstract chase zones make sense to me. Dense complicated areas require more braking and turning so you can't go as fast and don't get as clear a line of fire.

You could generalize it to "short range takes a -4 per chase zone difference. medium a -2 per zone, and long a -1 per chase zone difference". We're not looking for a 100% faithful match, we're looking for easy to apply mechanics because the rules for a chase should always make it possible to actually run a chase fast.


Ascalaphus wrote:

I'm guessing, by giving both PCs and enemies a chance to escape, you can have combats against more serious enemies. Right now, if an enemy is equal strength to the PCs (i.e. 50% chance to win a fight to the end), that's a problem in your scenario because what if the PCs lose? TPK? Loss of an expensive starship that you never recover, crippling the party for the rest of the campaign? Deus Ex Machina rescue? Conveniently finding a new and better ship?

So a lot of scenarios are instead written with enemies almost guaranteed to lose. Which makes the starship battle feel like a waste of time.

Escape mechanics could help here. If you have to retreat, that's a setback in your adventure but not the end of it.

Exactly. So far, all of the ship combats that we have run have been cakewalks because I am too hesitant to give something actually challenging. The penalty for losing is too high.

xris wrote:
What is it that you want to avoid with these house-rules?

First and primarily, TPK. That is never good.

I also want it to be possible for enemies to be able to escape - but not have it be practically guaranteed. We are playing with a bounty hunter character. I don't want it to be that if the quarry gets to a starship he is as good as gone. There should be a decent possibility of preventing escape too. Same goes for the players. I still want there to be an actual risk of losing the fight and having serious consequences: capture, trying to survive in space in a crippled ship, hoping that someone notices the distress signal being broadcast, death. Things like that.


breithauptclan wrote:
xris wrote:
What is it that you want to avoid with these house-rules?

First and primarily, TPK. That is never good.

I also want it to be possible for enemies to be able to escape - but not have it be practically guaranteed. We are playing with a bounty hunter character. I don't want it to be that if the quarry gets to a starship he is as good as gone. There should be a decent possibility of preventing escape too. Same goes for the players. I still want there to be an actual risk of losing the fight and having serious consequences: capture, trying to survive in space in a crippled ship, hoping that someone notices the distress signal being broadcast, death. Things like that.

Agree, TPKs are not a good thing.

How about allowing your players some weird science that allows them to jump into the Drift to escape? Mind, I've often found players rarely run away from a fight and will just stand battling until it gets to a TPK.

Escaping into the Drift could be the mechanism to survive but also introduce serious consequences without actually losing. They might not be able to navigate to where they want to go, they might need to squander valuable resources to fix the ship while in the Drift, they could encounter a minor threat from mutant space goats.

Not sure what you mean concerning your bounty hunter. Do you mean if his target is on a ship then it is too easy for they target to die? Why not suggest to the players that attacking a ship just to capture one person isn't a good idea and they need to wait until the target is planetside.


You don't need any weird science that allows jumping into the Drift to escape, you just set space combat rounds at a 30s+ duration. The existence of Drift Shadow Projectors implies this can't be too far off.


30 seconds per combat round sounds about right. I usually think of it as about 15 seconds per round, so we aren't too far off.

But am I missing something? Is there something in the description of the drift that says that two ships entering the drift from the same location would end up in different areas?

If not, why wouldn't the persuing ship just follow the ship into the drift and continue the attack there?


breithauptclan wrote:

30 seconds per combat round sounds about right. I usually think of it as about 15 seconds per round, so we aren't too far off.

But am I missing something? Is there something in the description of the drift that says that two ships entering the drift from the same location would end up in different areas?

If not, why wouldn't the persuing ship just follow the ship into the drift and continue the attack there?

Given that the travel time itself is randomized (you could make a trip in one day, and then have the return trip take six because the Drift is just like that), I'd say it's pretty clear that the Drift isn't consistent enough to follow someone into. The book does state that the Drift isn't about straight-line distance and that travelling through it is more about the challenge of correctly targeting the jump; how is someone going to follow you if they don't know where you're targeting?


Also, from dead suns 4 of 6 article on the drift itself:

Not actually a spoiler, just an AP article:
This variation means that
two ships can’t exit the Drift onto exactly the same point in
Material Plane space, nor can a ship exit directly into a solid
object—a great fear of early explorers. On the other hand, it is
also impossible for anyone to fortify and thus control specifc
jump points within the Drift, and someone attempting to
guard a planet from invasion would need to mine every inch
of space around the world, as ships might reasonably appear
anywhere in its vicinity.
All of this is useful for individual ships, but adds
complications for ships attempting to travel to the same place
and arrive at the same time, let alone the same formation. In
these situations, multiple ships can couple their ships’ Drift
engines to one another so that they efectively become a
single entity for purposes of travel time and arrival position.
The downside of this method is that it forces all the ships
to use the worst Drift engine rating of the group, though
some militaries have crafted specifc jumpships capable of
circumventing this restriction and moving an entire armada
quickly and coherently.

So, it's not impossible to follow someone into the drift, but it's not a guarantee nor is it likely to just continue the combat - more likely it will take many minutes, or possibly hours to reacquire a target. Your PCs or fleeing targets might take shelter on a convenient slice of another plane while another ship searches for them.


breithauptclan wrote:
But am I missing something? Is there something in the description of the drift that says that two ships entering the drift from the same location would end up in different areas?

I suspect this has been purposely left vague such that it becomes the GMs choice as to what happens.

I don't see any issue allowing escaping into the Drift as a practical option. It should be easy to come up with reasons why this is so, the exact point in time you enter the Drift, the strength of your Drift engine "field", the direction your ship was moving (even if at 0 speed, there would be some small velocity). Soon after you pop into the Drift, you can then exit and reappear light minutes away from your entry point, well out of range of the enemy ship's previous location.


Since tactical/“normal” speeds don’t change in the Drift (a higher Drift rating doesn’t multiply your combat speed), ships must appear at different starting locations, have different exit locations, or both depending on the actual travel time they roll (and divide, if their rating is greater than 1). So it’s pretty unlikely two ships enter at the same point.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My own rule of thumb is, a ship can try to pursue another ship into the Drift, but they basically have to do so *immediately* in order to have much hope of success. Like, if they can get to the same hex in a single space combat round, then immediately stop maneuvering and fire up the Drift Drive? They'll enter the Drift "near" enough to actually continue pursuit there ( or at least can make some kind of skill roll to do so ).

Any longer than that, and the most someone could do is make sensor checks to try to identify the ship's intended destination system. Which might allow strategic pursuit, but it also might be a waste of time ( you'll have no idea whether you'll get there before or after your quarry, and if they jump again you basically could only pick up the trail again by blind luck ).


OK. I'm liking it. If the pursued ship is far enough away, then they can jump to the drift without the pursuing ship being able to follow them directly.

Which means that I don't have to have something at the end of the chase that they are racing to. There doesn't have to be a planet or a nebula or an asteroid field or a group of their friends that they have to get to to escape. They just have to get far enough away. Which is good since space is huge and mostly empty. Having there always seeming to be something nearby to run to starts stretching things a bit too much.

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Another idea is that science officers can try to lock on to another ship's drift engine, so that they can follow them. If the enemy's got a lock on you then jumping won't shake them. So you have to run the chase for a bit longer until the science officer can realign the drift engine to unlock.


breithauptclan wrote:


So if a starship starts losing a fight and wants to leave, and has a speed 4 points higher than their opponent's ship, it will take them:
1 to 2 rounds to get out of the first range increment of the short range weapon.
5 rounds to get out of the first range increment of the long range weapon.
12 rounds to get out of the maximum range of a short range weapon.
50 rounds to get out of the maximum range of a long range weapon.

You forget a few variables:

- If you face the enemy starship at the beginning of a round, and if you win the Piloting roll, you should get away from nearly 20 squares unless the enemy ship has perfect maneuvrability.
- You can pay a RP to get +50% speed on your ship, the enemy ship can't. If you just want to run away, you can burn the RPs of all characters with 6 ranks in Piloting and stay at this speed for 20 rounds easily.
- Most of the time, PC ships are quite fast because they are quite small (and often very well equiped for a ship of their size).
- You can repair shields. So, at long distance, the shields will be replenished before being hit again.

If you want a house rule to get away, I would just say that, once at 0 hit points, most of the PC ship systems are disabled, but not the engine, drift engine and shields. And they have another full hull hit points before being blown up. Playing the chase knowing that a failure is a TPK can be stressfull but awesome.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Another idea is that science officers can try to lock on to another ship's drift engine, so that they can follow them. If the enemy's got a lock on you then jumping won't shake them. So you have to run the chase for a bit longer until the science officer can realign the drift engine to unlock.

It's a nice idea to link the escape attempt to a skill roll.

This could be built on. For example, if you make the DC, then you arrive a defined random distance away from the target (for example, say 5d10 hexes) and for every 5 you make the DC by then you get to remove a d10 from the roll.

The question I have is what would be a "good" random distance? It could be any number of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, etc. For a spaceship chase scene, what would make a good initial gap? 10 hexes, 15, 20, 25? Not sure the Vehicle Chase zones would cover a spaceship chase that well. Since you are on a hex grid already, might as well make use of it.

You might also want to consider how quickly it takes to enter the Drift and how quick it can be left. An obvious escape tactic would be to enter and leave the Drift a number of times in quick succession.


Another option, instead of making running away easier; is making boarding more common. If your PC's ship is wrecked, the enemy boards in an attempt to kill or capture the PC's and then repair and claim the ship themselves. Afterall; starships and their parts are expensive, you don't want to just scrap one right?

So losing a starship combat can lead to a traditional combat encounter. With knowledge that this can happen, parties could then organize their ships in such a way as to be more defensible during boarding defenses.

There are plenty of alternatives to "you lose the combat, you die"


AtlasSniperman wrote:
Another option, instead of making running away easier; is making boarding more common.

I got an issue with my DM once. We had won a ship combat, and I was starting to "handle" the crew: Asking them to surrender by getting through the airlock unarmed, and if they fail to do so, blow the ship to pieces. And I got issues with the DM telling me I should board the ship. Board the ship? Why the hell would I take risks when I have won the fight.

If you face intelligent creatures (that the PCs are supposed to be) you ask them to surrender and any kind of resistance will meet a heavy nuclear missile response.

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Another option is to do some research into 16th-19th century naval "honorable combat" traditions and figure out what kind of outcomes you could have for fights other than total destruction of defeated ships. Taking ships captive, even recruiting the (skilled, valuable) crew could be options.

Setback for the PCs, will totally derail a tightly railroaded plot, but not the end of the campaign and with opportunities for dramatic escapes and recapturing of ships.

Go read Hornblower :)


Ascalaphus wrote:

Another option is to do some research into 16th-19th century naval "honorable combat" traditions and figure out what kind of outcomes you could have for fights other than total destruction of defeated ships. Taking ships captive, even recruiting the (skilled, valuable) crew could be options.

Setback for the PCs, will totally derail a tightly railroaded plot, but not the end of the campaign and with opportunities for dramatic escapes and recapturing of ships.

Go read Hornblower :)

Have you read any of the Honor Harrington books? I haven't read Hornblower, but I've been told the Honor Harrington series reads like Hornblower in space.


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The author explicitly stated that they tried to make the honorverse mirror the Hornblower series; including a certain character's fate in a certain battle.

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Pantshandshake wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

Another option is to do some research into 16th-19th century naval "honorable combat" traditions and figure out what kind of outcomes you could have for fights other than total destruction of defeated ships. Taking ships captive, even recruiting the (skilled, valuable) crew could be options.

Setback for the PCs, will totally derail a tightly railroaded plot, but not the end of the campaign and with opportunities for dramatic escapes and recapturing of ships.

Go read Hornblower :)

Have you read any of the Honor Harrington books? I haven't read Hornblower, but I've been told the Honor Harrington series reads like Hornblower in space.

I haven't, but they sound interesting.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Another idea is that science officers can try to lock on to another ship's drift engine, so that they can follow them. If the enemy's got a lock on you then jumping won't shake them. So you have to run the chase for a bit longer until the science officer can realign the drift engine to unlock.

Nice. I like it. I think I will try it without first. But this is a great option to make it a little bit harder to flee if it turns out that it is too easy.


SuperBidi wrote:


- If you face the enemy starship at the beginning of a round, and if you win the Piloting roll, you should get away from nearly 20 squares unless the enemy ship has perfect maneuvrability.

Yeah. If circumstances are right, a fleeing ship can get a good head start.

SuperBidi wrote:


- You can pay a RP to get +50% speed on your ship, the enemy ship can't. If you just want to run away, you can burn the RPs of all characters with 6 ranks in Piloting and stay at this speed for 20 rounds easily.

Disagree here. I allow NPC enemies to have the same things that PC players do. So after L6 when the RP actions come online, the NPCs should have some RPs to use to fuel them.

Similarly, all of my NPC enemies (at least the humaniod-ish, intelligent ones or ones with class grafts) technically have stamina points. I don't generally track stamina points - just the overall HP of the enemy as normal. But if an enemy were to survive the combat against the PCs, they could very likely recover their stamina portion of their health with a 10 minute rest. Though I would have to actually decide how much of their health is stamina at that point... But it doesn't come up very often.

SuperBidi wrote:


- Most of the time, PC ships are quite fast because they are quite small (and often very well equiped for a ship of their size).

No argument here. For a comparable weight class of ship, the PCs ship generally outfights any single other ship available. Other than a custom built NPC ship built by the GM and following the same rules as the PCs do.

SuperBidi wrote:


- You can repair shields. So, at long distance, the shields will be replenished before being hit again.

I'm thinking you are meaning the mechanic ability to divert power to shields, yes? Yeah. At long range, when the range penalties start adding up, the ships probably get hit infrequently enough that the recharge of the shields each round results in a net gain in the long term.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Pantshandshake wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

Another option is to do some research into 16th-19th century naval "honorable combat" traditions and figure out what kind of outcomes you could have for fights other than total destruction of defeated ships. Taking ships captive, even recruiting the (skilled, valuable) crew could be options.

Setback for the PCs, will totally derail a tightly railroaded plot, but not the end of the campaign and with opportunities for dramatic escapes and recapturing of ships.

Go read Hornblower :)

Have you read any of the Honor Harrington books? I haven't read Hornblower, but I've been told the Honor Harrington series reads like Hornblower in space.
I haven't, but they sound interesting.

I read quite a few of them... then after a certain point, found myself rooting for the 'bad' guys and generally disappointed in the plot direction.

I'd still recommend reading them. Just buy one at a time.

breithauptclan wrote:
No argument here. For a comparable weight class of ship, the PCs ship generally outfights any single other ship available. Other than a custom built NPC ship built by the GM and following the same rules as the PCs do.

Also keep in mind that a PC medium ship has a chance at killing a NPC dreadnought. Tier 15+ NPC ships are never medium sized. Past a certain level, the PCs ship is a completely ridiculous super ship.

breithauptclan wrote:
I'm thinking you are meaning the mechanic ability to divert power to shields, yes? Yeah. At long range, when the range penalties start adding up, the ships probably get hit infrequently enough that the recharge of the shields each round results in a net gain in the long term.

That's an engineering action, recover 5% shields, and the science officer can distribute good shields into damaged sectors. That action is how my PCs in a tier 3 ship managed to defeat a tier '6' NPC ship .


Garretmander wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
No argument here. For a comparable weight class of ship, the PCs ship generally outfights any single other ship available. Other than a custom built NPC ship built by the GM and following the same rules as the PCs do.

Also keep in mind that a PC medium ship has a chance at killing a NPC dreadnought. Tier 15+ NPC ships are never medium sized. Past a certain level, the PCs ship is a completely ridiculous super ship.

Oh yeah. Definitely agree here. PC ships vs. pre-built example ships in the CRB is a no contest situation. Story might be a bit different against an NPC completely ridiculous super ship that was custom built by a rival clan of NPC adventurers.

Garretmander wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
I'm thinking you are meaning the mechanic ability to divert power to shields, yes? Yeah. At long range, when the range penalties start adding up, the ships probably get hit infrequently enough that the recharge of the shields each round results in a net gain in the long term.
That's an engineering action, recover 5% shields, and the science officer can distribute good shields into damaged sectors. That action is how my PCs in a tier 3 ship managed to defeat a tier '6' NPC ship .

Yes. I was clarifying to make sure SuperBidi wasn't thinking of the out of combat recharging of shields. It is an unlikely interpretation of what he wrote, but I thought I should check.


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OK. Here is first draft of my proposed houserules for blending the vehicle chase rules with starship combat. I decided that I don't need to change the speed of the ships. Which is good since that means that I don't need to change things for tracking weapons.

Relative positioning
create zones as in vehicle chase
Each zone is about 10 hex grids in length.

Being Ahead
You get the normal +2 bonus to piloting checks for being ahead. Same as in vehicle chases.

Phases

  • Engineering
  • Piloting
  • Science
  • Gunnery
  • chase movement

Piloting
* At the start of the piloting phase, make the piloting roll-off check as normal. Pilots that roll higher can place their ship to the left or right of other ships in the same zone that roll lower.
* Engage and break free have been removed. Characters are not going to be moving from one starship to another during the chase.
* Evade, keep pace, and slow down actions are the same.
* Speed up and double maneuver work the same, but require that an engineer has used an action to divert power to thrusters during the engineering phase of this round.
(You trigger the rule to take only a -2 penalty to the double maneuver action if your ship's modified speed is at least 4 points higher than all opponent ships.)
* Trick instead uses the stunt maneuvers of the standard starship combat.

Stunts
* Barrel roll - as normal
* Evade - as normal
* Flyby - can only be performed against a ship in the same zone.
* Slide - Allows you to use your port or starboard weapons against ships in zones ahead or behind your ship. Does not change the arc that your ship takes damage on.
* Back off, flip and burn, and turn in place do not work in starship chases.
* Additional tricks may be added by the GM based on the features of space that are being moved through.

Science officer
Actions are as normal for starship combat.

Gunnery and combat
Range:

Short range weapons
* attack in the same zone without penalty.
* one zone away applies a -4 penalty.
* two zones away applies a -6 penalty.
* cannot be used farther than that.

Medium range weapons
* attack up to one zone away without penalty.
* two zones away applies a -2 penalty.
* three zones away applies a -6 penalty.
* cannot be used farther than that.

Long range weapons
* attack up to two zones away without penalty.
* applies a cumulative -2 penalty for every 2 zones.
* Maximum range is 20 zones.

Weapon arc:

* Ships in zones behind the ship that they are attacking attack with their forward arc and damage the aft arc of the other ship.
* Ships in zones ahead of the ship that they are attacking attack with their aft arc and damage the forward arc of the other ship.
* Ships in the same zone attack with their port or starboard arcs against the port or starboard arcs of the target ship depending on the placement of the ships in the zone.

Ending the chase
If a ship is 3 zones behind all other ships in the chase, then a science officer must make a sensors check (as a free action during the engineering phase) to detect the other ships and continue the chase. Apply the same range penalties for the range of the sensors as is used in combat. If the sensors check fails, then the ship cannot continue persuit. The ship can follow allied ships even if it cannot detect any enemy ships.

A ship can attempt to jump to or from the drift during a chase. Turning off the thrusters causes the same effect as taking the Slow Down action each round. Jumping to the drift takes 4 rounds. If an enemy ship is in the same zone before the jump happens, they can also start a jump into the drift and will arrive in the drift at approximately the same location as the first ship (within 10 hex grid radius). If no other ship is in the same zone, then ships that start a jump to or from the drift from the same location at a later time will end up in a different location from the first ship and will be unable to continue the chase.

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