4 Person Squadron needs to be APL 6 to have a functional HQ ship


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I love the idea of a squadron, and having an HQ ship in order to facilitate them to fly around the Galaxy.
However the number cruncher is trying to figure out how lower level characters can even manage this without a lot of GM handwaving.

HQ Ships can be either a Heavy Freighter, or a Carrier. And the BP cost for them goes down to just 10%! Cool. Low level, lets assume Heavy Freighter then.

BP Cost: 4 for the frame.

So other expenses... well 4 person squadron needs 4x Shuttle Bays. That's fine since they also get the 10% cost, so they cost 1 BP each, total of 8 now.

Now lets get a power core in there! Needs one to do anything. Cheapest Core for a Large ship is the Core Arcus Ultra at 15 BP. Owch. 23 BP spend. Now, assuming we want the thing to move, add in the cheapest thrusters, so 4 BP on L4 thrusters, 4 BP, 27 total.

We probably want to also let it go into the drift, so the party can actually go on trips together, so a signal Basic is gonna cost 8 more BP (4 for size x 2 for basic), 35 BP total.

These last two are actually optional, but in theory you'd want to be able to see a little bit outside instead of just looking out the windows, so 1 BP for cut-rate sensors and 2 BP for basic shields to keep the rocks and bugs off those windows, rounds it out to 38 BP to build a HQ ship for 4 people that's bare minimum functional.

Problem is, that HQ ships only get 25% of normal BP. With 25% of the normal BP, this HQ ship needs to be Teir 6 in order to even get this stuff (155 BP x .25 = 38.75). And since the HQ ship is the same teir as the Squad ships, with a 4 person squad to have teir 6 ships you need an APL of 9.

tl:dr HQ ships are really impractical as written. It's good they're optional, as they're very useless for low level play.

Please do correct me if I'm wrong or missing something somewhere, because I'd love HQ ships to be practical.


While the rest of the your math looks correct at a glance, you were wrong about one point. The HQ Ship's tier is equal to the squadron's tier, not the tier of the squadron's starships.

Quote:
The squadron’s tier is equal to the PCs’ average party level (APL)
Quote:
The HQ’s effective tier equals the squadron tier, and it gains only 25% the number of starship Build Points normally granted to a starship of its tier.

The squadron tier, and the tier of the HQ ship, is your party's APL. This is not the same as the tier of the ships in the squadron, which are adjusted based on how many there are. However, this still only reduces it to APL 6 with your numbers.

If I were running a squadron game, I would consider ignoring the budget reduction and designing the HQ ship myself, limiting its combat functionality as appropriate for its role.


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I originally thought its tier is = to the APL, but then when I re-read it I must have mis-interpreted it, even thought I had it right the first time. I must have conflated the "Starship tier" and the "Squadron tier", so thank you for the correction.

Still, level 6 before you can create even a functional ship at all with the current HQ rules without GM fiat.


I was wandering how viable the HQ ship was going to be. I mean even at tier 7 you only get 45 BP. I feel this it too steep of a price. I do understand the reasoning. The problem is in out group we have 2-3 people (out of 5) that really want their own ship. By doing this this leaves the others in a useless ship in combat.

I feel you should get the base ship and the hangers needed for free. Maybe have the HQ be a science officer based ship. Where it’s primary function is to help scan enemy ships and coordinate them.

I haven’t stated one out so I don’t know if putting a weapon on HQ is doable. Something with some special property that could aid the starships.


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Micheal Smith wrote:

I was wandering how viable the HQ ship was going to be. I mean even at tier 7 you only get 45 BP. I feel this it too steep of a price. I do understand the reasoning. The problem is in out group we have 2-3 people (out of 5) that really want their own ship. By doing this this leaves the others in a useless ship in combat.

I feel you should get the base ship and the hangers needed for free. Maybe have the HQ be a science officer based ship. Where it’s primary function is to help scan enemy ships and coordinate them.

I haven’t stated one out so I don’t know if putting a weapon on HQ is doable. Something with some special property that could aid the starships.

You can have a couple of two-person ships. The main flight dude and then a support person to do those engineering checks and help out otherwise.

Unless one of their 'demands' are that they must be alone in there.


Lethallin wrote:
Micheal Smith wrote:

I was wandering how viable the HQ ship was going to be. I mean even at tier 7 you only get 45 BP. I feel this it too steep of a price. I do understand the reasoning. The problem is in out group we have 2-3 people (out of 5) that really want their own ship. By doing this this leaves the others in a useless ship in combat.

I feel you should get the base ship and the hangers needed for free. Maybe have the HQ be a science officer based ship. Where it’s primary function is to help scan enemy ships and coordinate them.

I haven’t stated one out so I don’t know if putting a weapon on HQ is doable. Something with some special property that could aid the starships.

You can have a couple of two-person ships. The main flight dude and then a support person to do those engineering checks and help out otherwise.

Unless one of their 'demands' are that they must be alone in there.

True. An the ones that want to solo can get a VI with gunnery. Throw a point weapon and the VI can shoot down tracking weapons and fire linked weapons up front.


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Micheal Smith wrote:
I feel you should get the base ship and the hangers needed for free.

The HQ *is* free. ("An HQ... increases the number of Build Points available by accommodating some of the expansion bay facilities (like a medical bay or tech lab) that the smaller starships might otherwise have installed.")

Micheal Smith wrote:
I haven’t stated one out so I don’t know if putting a weapon on HQ is doable. Something with some special property that could aid the starships.

Weapon-wise, HQs are only allowed to have a single turret with a mount for a light weapon. That aside, they generally won't have enough BP to add armor or shields. So they're not really viable in combat. (Which is as it should be, because they're free!)

Micheal Smith wrote:
I was wandering how viable the HQ ship was going to be. I mean even at tier 7 you only get 45 BP. I feel this it too steep of a price. I do understand the reasoning. The problem is in out group we have 2-3 people (out of 5) that really want their own ship. By doing this this leaves the others in a useless ship in combat.

Hrmm. You could just let them decide how many (non-HQ) ships they want, and use the 2-12 table to determine their tier. (On this approach, the ship manned by multiple players wouldn't get any more BP than the individually manned ones, but it would get more officer actions, and so would be more effective.)

Alternatively, you do something like that, but bump up the tier of the ship manned by multiple players by 1, and bump down the tier of the individually-manned ships by 1. (E.g., make the shared ship APL-1 tier, and the individual ships APL-3 tier.)


Porridge wrote:
Micheal Smith wrote:
I feel you should get the base ship and the hangers needed for free.

The HQ *is* free. ("An HQ... increases the number of Build Points available by accommodating some of the expansion bay facilities (like a medical bay or tech lab) that the smaller starships might otherwise have installed.")

Micheal Smith wrote:
I haven’t stated one out so I don’t know if putting a weapon on HQ is doable. Something with some special property that could aid the starships.

Weapon-wise, HQs are only allowed to have a single turret with a mount for a light weapon. That aside, they generally won't have enough BP to add armor or shields. So they're not really viable in combat. (Which is as it should be, because they're free!)

Micheal Smith wrote:
I was wandering how viable the HQ ship was going to be. I mean even at tier 7 you only get 45 BP. I feel this it too steep of a price. I do understand the reasoning. The problem is in out group we have 2-3 people (out of 5) that really want their own ship. By doing this this leaves the others in a useless ship in combat.

Hrmm. You could just let them decide how many (non-HQ) ships they want, and use the 2-12 table to determine their tier. (On this approach, the ship manned by multiple players wouldn't get any more BP than the individually manned ones, but it would get more officer actions, and so would be more effective.)

Alternatively, you do something like that, but bump up the tier of the ship manned by multiple players by 1, and bump down the tier of the individually-manned ships by 1. (E.g., make the shared ship APL-1 tier, and the individual ships APL-3 tier.)

You completely missed the points I made.

Firstly the HQ isn't free. It is an option you can elect to take. It's just and add on. You are still required to pay the BP for the frame then you have to spend the BP to house ALL the ships. So you can have one but still having to pay for one. 45 BP isn't a lot to spend to give the ship the basic requirements.

Here is the minimum ship you can build
Legend: Normal (HQ)

Frame: Bulk Freighter - 55 BP (5.5 BP)
Shuttle Bay 4 BP (1 BP) each
2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ships (2, 3, 4, 5, 6 BP)

Power Core: Nova Light 15 BP *Assuming it can power everything
Thrusters: H4 - 4 BP

That leaves just 15 BP left to add armor, shields, etc. So using the med lab as the example the provided it could do that's another 8 BP. Leaving 7 BP. No security... No way to be truly defended in combat. With your alternative method that's something that isn't written. We use the rules as they are written. So that doesn't work. We are then forced to make an additional ship so the people who don't want and individual ship have a viable ship. Thus weakening the other ships. Seems like a poor design. What about tiers below this?

This means you can't even get an HQ prior to 4th level. Because having a hanger bay requires a Gargantuan ship. Which is a minimum of 51 points just to get the hanger bay, base frame, power core and thrusters. 8th level to grab that. Ultimately sounds a bit backwards because then you are forced to grab a tiny ship. So you can go from having a small ship to that of a tiny. That is a step backwards. Remember this is just the minimum spent BP to make it functional. If sensors are required you need to add another 2 BP the cost to make it work.

Now I don't know how much more powerful you will be with having 2-6 tiny ships vs 1 ship in the party.

Keep in mind with solo pilots you are restricted to what. you can do compared to multiple people. VI helps but how much will that truly help or make overpowered. This is all just written on paper.

If we are to get a HQ. We should have all the tools needed given to us to do so, meaning the minimum components to make the ship useful and functional (Base frame, thrusters, power core, maybe sensors, and all the required hanger/shuttle bays needed. We should get a free ship with the capabilities to house the ships and not SPEND the BP. Spending a resource makes something not free. How are the tiny ships supposed to scan other ships and figure that information out? Knowledge is power. Knowing where to be and where to strike is important. And can help underpowered ships defeat more powerful. The stunts and the new actions help with this.


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Micheal Smith wrote:
Firstly the HQ isn't free. It is an option you can elect to take. It's just and add on. You are still required to pay the BP for the frame then you have to spend the BP to house ALL the ships. So you can have one but still having to pay for one.

So I think we're understanding this section differently. First let me make sure I'm understanding how you're reading things correctly (and vice versa).

As I'm reading it, the party decides how many combat ships they want, and then uses table 2-12 to determine what tier those ships are. And that, in turn, determines how much BP they get to use to build each ship. They can also get a free optional HQ ship in addition to this, though there are severe constraints on how good it can be. (It gets a quarter of the BP a ship of tier = APL would get, can only mount one weapon, etc.)

As you're reading it(?), if the party adopts the optional HQ ship, it isn't free. Instead the party has to pay the BP cost of that ship, presumably by deducting it from the BP used to build the combat ships? (Is that an accurate description of how you're reading things?)

Second, let me spell out why I'm reading things the way I do. Here's the relevant text:

SOM p54 wrote:

Design the HQ (Optional): Many squadrons consist of starships too small or claustrophobic for long-term use. Instead, these starships regularly dock within a larger flagship that serves as the team’s headquarters (HQ). The HQ is primarily a utility vessel built with the heavy freighter or carrier base frame. The HQ’s effective tier equals the squadron tier, and it gains only 25% the number of starship Build Points normally granted to a starship of its tier. However, the cost of its base frame and any hanger bay or shuttle bay expansion bays is only 10% the normal cost (minimum 1 each). The HQ must be outfitted with enough hanger bays or expansion bays to accommodate the entire squadron. The HQ can combine three shuttle bays to accommodate a single Medium starship. In addition, the HQ’s minimum crew is reduced to four, and it loses all weapon mounts except a single turret with a mount for a light weapon.

An HQ is a good fit for a squadron piloted by independent adventurers, giving them a place to retire between encounters and interact face-to-face. It increases the squadron’s number of Build Points available by accommodating some of the expansion bay facilities (like a medical bay or tech lab) that the smaller starships might otherwise have installed. However, it’s also an added complication. If an HQ isn’t a good fit for your group or campaign, it’s entirely possible to do without one. Alternatively, in a game where the PCs are part of a larger organization like a military or commercial expedition, there could be a much larger ship nearby that serves as their HQ but is run by NPCs.

The text isn't as clear about this as I'd remembered. But let me describe why I take from this that the HQ ship is supposed to be free.

Part of the text reads: "It [the HQ ship option] increases the squadron’s number of Build Points available by accommodating some of the expansion bay facilities (like a medical bay or tech lab) that the smaller starships might otherwise have installed."

If the HQ is an optional free ship, as I read it, then this passage makes sense. Having an HQ ship effectively gives the players extra BP to use on non-combat related things like medical bays and tech labs.

On the alternative reading, where you have to deduct BP from the combat ships to pay for the HQ ship, this passage doesn't seem to make sense. For adding an HQ ship doesn't do anything to increase the squadron's BP. (Installing a med bay or a tech lab in the HQ ship isn't any cheaper then installing it on one of the combat ships. And the party also has to pay BP for the HQ ship's frame, power core, and so on. So the squadron would be better off installing med bays, etc, in the individual squadron ships, and forgoing an HQ ship.)

There are also some more tangential reasons for thinking that the HQ ship is supposed to be free:

Some more tangential reasons:

  • The text puts very strict constraints on what the HQ ship can be like - it gets 1/4 of the BP of a normal ship of that tier, can only have one weapon, and so on.

    If the HQ is an optional free ship, then this makes sense. You don't want to skew the effective power of the squadron by allowing parties to get a free ship that could further swing battles in the parties favor.

    On the alternative reading, where the BP cost of the HQ ship is deducted from what the rest of the squadron gets, these limitations don't seem to make much sense. If you have to pay for anything you put in the HQ ships (such as multiple guns, etc) why impose artificial constraints on how many weapons the HQ ship can have? Why restrict how much BP can be spent on an HQ ship?

  • One of the options the section introduces is the Unification Matrix system, which allows the squadron ships to merge into a (separately built) larger ship, or for that larger ship to split into smaller ships. The cost for having this system is 10% of the composite ship's total BP.

    On my understanding of things, there are clear pros and cons to going with an HQ ship versus a Unification Matrix. The latter gives you a much better big ship to play with, but it costs BP. The former gives you a much lower power big ship, but is free.

    On the alternative reading, where the BP cost of the HQ ships is deducted from what the rest of the squadron gets, it looks like it's strictly worse to get an HQ ship rather than a Unification Matrix. For the Unification Matrix gives you an almost full BP budget to spend on a larger ship that can house things like Medical Bays, Tech Labs, etc. And it costs only 10% of the that ship's BP cost. The HQ ships, by contrast, is a severely limited ship, whose entire cost (on this reading) has to be deducted from the rest of the squadron.

  • Anyway, that's why I understand this section as saying that the HQ ship to be free. But if you read this the other way, maybe post about this in the rules section. I'll join you in hitting the FAQ button, and maybe a dev can chip in on which reading they intended!

    _____

    Micheal Smith wrote:
    This means you can't even get an HQ prior to 4th level.

    Just to be clear, I agree with the OP (and you) that the HQ ship rules don't seem to allow you to have an HQ ship at low levels. (Which is too bad.) But I was taking that to be orthogonal to the question of whether having an HQ ship was free or not.


    Let me see if I have this right. The party decides to go squadron. Lets say they're level 7 and 5 pcs, 4 want to do the individual little ships and the last pc will run the hq.

    They look up on the table how many points each individual combat ship gets for 4 level 7s. Each pc builds their own fighter with those points.

    Then to build the hq ship they get 180/4=45 points. Heavy freighter costs 40/10=4 points, same with the hangers. Then you buy thrusters, sensors, pcu, drift drive, etc., using the remaining 37 points. So 4 for thrusters, 8 for drift, 1 for terrible sensors, and because we're up to 180 power we need a 20 build point pcu. 37-33=4 points left over for anything else.

    That sound about right?


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    Telok wrote:

    Let me see if I have this right. The party decides to go squadron. Lets say they're level 7 and 5 pcs, 4 want to do the individual little ships and the last pc will run the hq.

    They look up on the table how many points each individual combat ship gets for 4 level 7s. Each pc builds their own fighter with those points.

    Then to build the hq ship they get 180/4=45 points. Heavy freighter costs 40/10=4 points, same with the hangers. Then you buy thrusters, sensors, pcu, drift drive, etc., using the remaining 37 points. So 4 for thrusters, 8 for drift, 1 for terrible sensors, and because we're up to 180 power we need a 20 build point pcu. 37-33=4 points left over for anything else.

    That sound about right?

    Yeah, as I'm reading it, that's right.

    The only quibble I'd make with your example is that it's pretty clear the HQ ship isn't supposed to be playing a combat role, and so it isn't something one of the 5 PCs should be "manning" during starship combat. (That would effectively force one PC to sit out starship combats, which is no fun.) Rather, all 5 PCs should be playing a role in one of the combat ships. And the HQ ship is supposed to be run by the ship's computer, or an NPC, or something like that.


    Telok wrote:

    Let me see if I have this right. The party decides to go squadron. Lets say they're level 7 and 5 pcs, 4 want to do the individual little ships and the last pc will run the hq.

    They look up on the table how many points each individual combat ship gets for 4 level 7s. Each pc builds their own fighter with those points.

    Then to build the hq ship they get 180/4=45 points. Heavy freighter costs 40/10=4 points, same with the hangers. Then you buy thrusters, sensors, pcu, drift drive, etc., using the remaining 37 points. So 4 for thrusters, 8 for drift, 1 for terrible sensors, and because we're up to 180 power we need a 20 build point pcu. 37-33=4 points left over for anything else.

    That sound about right?

    Except that you cannot do that. You cannot use a Heavy Freighter as an HQ option. It can't support the hanger or shuttle bays.

    CRB pg 299 wrote:

    A hangar bay can be installed only in a Gargantuan or larger starship...

    CRB pg 299 wrote:

    A shuttle bay can be installed only in a Huge or larger...

    So the minimum frame you can acquire is a BULK FREIGHTER.Which means the earliest you can acquire an HQ is 4th level as I already stated.

    So then we decide to exclude the whole fact that our HQ ship can't be "Stolen" or "Destroyed". So until you get more BP at higher levels you have to choose to I add some security to help defend my ship from being stolen while in the battle or even when we are docked.


    Porridge wrote:
    Micheal Smith wrote:
    Firstly the HQ isn't free. It is an option you can elect to take. It's just and add on. You are still required to pay the BP for the frame then you have to spend the BP to house ALL the ships. So you can have one but still having to pay for one.

    So I think we're understanding this section differently. First let me make sure I'm understanding how you're reading things correctly (and vice versa).

    As I'm reading it, the party decides how many combat ships they want, and then uses table 2-12 to determine what tier those ships are. And that, in turn, determines how much BP they get to use to build each ship. They can also get a free optional HQ ship in addition to this, though there are severe constraints on how good it can be. (It gets a quarter of the BP a ship of tier = APL would get, can only mount one weapon, etc.)

    As you're reading it(?), if the party adopts the optional HQ ship, it isn't free. Instead the party has to pay the BP cost of that ship, presumably by deducting it from the BP used to build the combat ships? (Is that an accurate description of how you're reading things?)

    Not at all. I say it isn't free because you are still having to spend some sort of resource to build it. The option is free and in no way truly penalizes the pc for taking that option.

    Now continuing with

    Porridge wrote:

    Part of the text reads: "It [the HQ ship option] increases the squadron’s number of Build Points available by accommodating some of the expansion bay facilities (like a medical bay or tech lab) that the smaller starships might otherwise have installed."

    If the HQ is an optional free ship, as I read it, then this passage makes sense. Having an HQ ship effectively gives the players extra BP to use on non-combat related things like medical bays and tech labs.

    The problem with that is until higher levels you don't even get those options. Some people I have talked to require you to have sensors, because they are the "EYES AND EARS". So looking at minimum build points assuming a party of 6.

    You are looking at spending 39 BP (Frame, Thrusters, Power Core, 6 Shuttle Bays, Cut Rate Sensors, Med Bay). This leaves 6 BP for everything else. You can only get 1 more Expansion Bay. Each shuttle bay takes 2 slots.
    Now we could look an assume that the Hanger bay could accommodate bigger ships. But again you are force to take the Carrier. Which makes it you can acquire this till 10th level. We can only guess that each small ship would take the place of 2 Tiny ships. Each hanger bay then takes on 4 small ships. So a second hanger bay, taking 8/10 slots. 1 for med. You eventually want to get to medium ship.

    What about crew for these HQ ships? We just say you have the required people to do so? Why would they? Do it for free? Seems like a way to just get around the rules to give the players something for free. You need a min of 20 crew for Bulk Freighter. 75 for Carrier.

    With all of this you are then force to have one of your combat ships to take on better sensors (if you wish to conserve BP for everything else) Which takes points away for COMBAT purposes.

    The unification matrix is cool, but defeats the whole purpose of each person being able to use their own ship and do what they want. And defeats the purpose of having multiple starships for combat. You say let's have 5 starships. But hey we need to combine because we are too weak and have 1 bigger ship. Why not just stay with the 1 bigger ship to begin with?

    Let me clarify my position more. My issue with HQ option is until higher levels your HQ ships is useless all around other than to house the ships. Either forcing you to cheap out on non combat things till higher levels or force the combat ships to do so. I feel that the HQ option is weak till higher levels and shouldn't be used till then. I think 25% is too steep. I am fine with 1 weapon mount on the HQ. Through a VI have a pilot and they can get some support based weapons. Maybe a weapon to help penetrate shields faster ECM etc...


    Micheal Smith wrote:


    So the minimum frame you can acquire is a BULK FREIGHTER.Which means the earliest you can acquire an HQ is 4th level as I already stated.

    Ah, quite right, my mistake. It looks like the whole squadron thing is intended as maybe a level 10ish and higher thing. But instead of putting an actual level limit on it they just made it go from unworkable to terrible at the lower levels.

    I mean, I suppose if you want to run it as a defenseless hulk while the pcs are out in space combat (or adventuring since huge ships can't land, spring for another bay and a shuttle or figure out how to cram your huge+ power armor into a tiny fighter) that could work. But that could turn almost all the space combats into "defend the helpless ship" and you still need to figure out what's going on with npc crew.

    Ug, that's raising the specter of those large npc crews and how to handle the heavy radiation and other "wound the crew" weapons.


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    Micheal Smith wrote:

    Not at all. I say it isn't free because you are still having to spend some sort of resource to build it. The option is free and in no way truly penalizes the pc for taking that option.

    ...The problem with that is until higher levels you don't even get those options.

    Ah, I see. We were just talking past one another. (I thought you meant something different by "free".)

    As I noted above, I completely agree that it's too bad the HQ ship rules don't allow you to construct a HQ ship at lower levels!

    Micheal Smith wrote:
    What about crew for these HQ ships? We just say you have the required people to do so? Why would they? Do it for free? Seems like a way to just get around the rules to give the players something for free. You need a min of 20 crew for Bulk Freighter. 75 for Carrier.

    Technically, the HQ ship rules reduce the minimum crew to 4. But your point still holds - the rules seem to assume that you have at least 4 NPC lackeys (who man the HQ ship during combat), or that during combat you power down the HQ ship or leave it on autopilot or something.


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    Porridge wrote:
    Micheal Smith wrote:

    Not at all. I say it isn't free because you are still having to spend some sort of resource to build it. The option is free and in no way truly penalizes the pc for taking that option.

    ...The problem with that is until higher levels you don't even get those options.

    Ah, I see. We were just talking past one another. (I thought you meant something different by "free".)

    As I noted above, I completely agree that it's too bad the HQ ship rules don't allow you to construct a HQ ship at lower levels!

    Micheal Smith wrote:
    What about crew for these HQ ships? We just say you have the required people to do so? Why would they? Do it for free? Seems like a way to just get around the rules to give the players something for free. You need a min of 20 crew for Bulk Freighter. 75 for Carrier.
    Technically, the HQ ship rules reduce the minimum crew to 4. But your point still holds - the rules seem to assume that you have at least 4 NPC lackeys (who man the HQ ship during combat), or that during combat you power down the HQ ship or leave it on autopilot or something.

    I tend to assume the combat ships will have drift drives of their own, and the HQ stays way back when visiting new systems. You only bring the HQ up when you know the system is reasonably safe.


    Garretmander wrote:
    I tend to assume the combat ships will have drift drives of their own, and the HQ stays way back when visiting new systems. You only bring the HQ up when you know the system is reasonably safe.

    Would that not essentially make it nothing but a set of floating expansion bays waiting for a bunch of random space goblins to hijack it?

    Having thought about it, is there any absolute requirement that the hq ship have docking bays? Because then you could use launch tubes and external expansion bays to work from a smaller hq frame.


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    Micheal Smith wrote:
    Telok wrote:

    Let me see if I have this right. The party decides to go squadron. Lets say they're level 7 and 5 pcs, 4 want to do the individual little ships and the last pc will run the hq.

    They look up on the table how many points each individual combat ship gets for 4 level 7s. Each pc builds their own fighter with those points.

    Then to build the hq ship they get 180/4=45 points. Heavy freighter costs 40/10=4 points, same with the hangers. Then you buy thrusters, sensors, pcu, drift drive, etc., using the remaining 37 points. So 4 for thrusters, 8 for drift, 1 for terrible sensors, and because we're up to 180 power we need a 20 build point pcu. 37-33=4 points left over for anything else.

    That sound about right?

    Except that you cannot do that. You cannot use a Heavy Freighter as an HQ option. It can't support the hanger or shuttle bays.

    CRB pg 299 wrote:

    A hangar bay can be installed only in a Gargantuan or larger starship...

    CRB pg 299 wrote:

    A shuttle bay can be installed only in a Huge or larger...

    So the minimum frame you can acquire is a BULK FREIGHTER.Which means the earliest you can acquire an HQ is 4th level as I already stated.

    The solution to that problem is launch tubes, from the Pact Worlds book page 153. "Designed to fit on Medium and large vessels", they allow the launch and retrieval of tiny ships (we're all in fighters anyway, right?).

    They are 5BP and 2 expansion bays each, for one fighter, but you don't actually need one for every PC ship. As long as your fighters are drift-capable, you only need to have one or two docked at a time, with the other PCs staying in their fighters while one or two on the HQ ship use the tech lab etc. Even if the GM rules that you can't sleep in your fighter as it has no crew quarters, you can do a 3 or 4 shift rotation to sleep in shifts during downtime, which also means someone is out there on fighter perimeter at all times for when space encounters show up.

    Quote:
    So then we decide to exclude the whole fact that our HQ ship can't be "Stolen" or "Destroyed". So until you get more BP at higher levels you have to choose to I add some security to help defend my ship from being stolen while in the battle or even when we are docked.

    When docked, leaving someone to guard the ship is also an option. Either PCs (half of my party never want to do much shopping/investigation, and happily stay with the ship while in dock) or NPCs (since apparently the HQ ship has/needs NPC crew? My Starship Operations manual doesn't arrive until next week, I'm just going by what you've said in the thread.)

    As for vulnerability in battle, it could be left behind in the drift if the fighters are all drift capable, as Garretmander suggests (this is also very Xwing, which is what I think of when we're talking about PCs in individual fighters. Start in your HQ, then jump to your target, do a raid/recon then return to base).
    Another option is leaving the HQ ship a good distance behind in realspace (or driftspace when you're all travelling through drift), with the fighters ahead to look for trouble or attack the target. (sensors and weapon ranges aren't particularly long in hexes, especially compared to fighter speeds). If the enemy only detect incoming fighters on the sensors, why would they assume an HQ ship even exists behind if the fighters could have drift engines? Even if they do, they have to get past your fighter screen which gives you good shots on them as they have disadvantageous facings etc.)

    Some GMs/APs may dictate you have to come out of drift right at the combat zone and can't plot a course to come in early, but even then you have some options as you can use the rules for flying within the same system in realspace (planet to planet, or planet to moon).

    Another option is to have your HQ ship not have drift engines, and instead effectively act as a fixed base while the drift-capable fighters go out on mission (the Babylon 5 game - a GM could even use the HQ ship stats to represent the PCs squadron's 'docking bay' area, and have it be part of a large space station or mothership for campaign purposes - the bit you spent HQ BPs on is your personal docking space, tech lab etc. and the rest is campaign setting you're not authorised to use without paying credits, rolling social skills etc.)

    The 'base' still HQ ship also works well with the the cloaking device from the Nearspace book, which is otherwise useless as you break cloak if you move or fight. An HQ ship launching fighters before combat begins isn't fighting in my book, and even if your GM rules otherwise, the cloak still lets the HQ ship launch fighters out of combat and use the cloak to be safe when left behind for the fighters to go on missions.

    So, maths. At a sensible minimum, for an HQ ship with launch tubes, you can have:

    Explorer frame (12BP), one set of set of launch tubes (5 BP), M4 thrusters (2BP), cut-rate sensors (1BP), pulse gray as minimum powercore for a ship that size (10BP). So we're down to 30BP minimum, or 36 if you add a drift engine (you're already forced to have a powercore that can handle the PCU minimum for drift.)

    This version of course has no weapons, armour, countermeasures or shields (The CRB page 302 says "almost every ship has simple navigational shielding", so you don't need to worry about dying from space dust), and relies on its PC fighters to protect it. But it is something to upgrade from, with 2 free expansion bays (and upgrading to a transport for a 5th bay isn't too expensive either). Don't know how the maths for HQ ships works exactly as I don't have SOM yet, but hope this lower minimum at least reduces the minimum tier problem a tad.

    Arguments could be made to go even lower than 30BP, but the above definitely works without needing a friendly GM.

    (If you do have a friendly GM.... I'd argue that you don't need thrusters at all for a 'space station' type ship but the rules imply you must pick them. I'd also argue that you don't need sensors at all if you don't move and have a fighter with sensors outside most of the time, and the rules do list sensors as optional.
    Then there's the grey area of whether the launch tube wording "Designed to fit on Medium and large vessels" actually bans them from being on small vessels or is just flavour text - if you can put them on small vessels then shuttles with their 3 expansion bays are only 6BP, and can fit a smaller cheaper powercore too. Come to mention it, powercores also have the wording they are "designed for" the sizes on the table - can they not be modified to fit a cheaper smaller powercore on a larger frame? Isn't that what mechanics, ysoki and space goblins are for? Your mileage/GM may vary)


    Whats the point of a HQ ship without drift? That only works when you never leave the system and even in that case the squadron ships would need to operate alone for weeks. If you leave the system this might even be a month or more. And when your ship can operate alone for that long why do you need a HQ?

    Scarab Sages

    Alangriffith wrote:
    Micheal Smith wrote:
    Telok wrote:

    Let me see if I have this right. The party decides to go squadron. Lets say they're level 7 and 5 pcs, 4 want to do the individual little ships and the last pc will run the hq.

    They look up on the table how many points each individual combat ship gets for 4 level 7s. Each pc builds their own fighter with those points.

    Then to build the hq ship they get 180/4=45 points. Heavy freighter costs 40/10=4 points, same with the hangers. Then you buy thrusters, sensors, pcu, drift drive, etc., using the remaining 37 points. So 4 for thrusters, 8 for drift, 1 for terrible sensors, and because we're up to 180 power we need a 20 build point pcu. 37-33=4 points left over for anything else.

    That sound about right?

    Except that you cannot do that. You cannot use a Heavy Freighter as an HQ option. It can't support the hanger or shuttle bays.

    CRB pg 299 wrote:

    A hangar bay can be installed only in a Gargantuan or larger starship...

    CRB pg 299 wrote:

    A shuttle bay can be installed only in a Huge or larger...

    So the minimum frame you can acquire is a BULK FREIGHTER.Which means the earliest you can acquire an HQ is 4th level as I already stated.

    The solution to that problem is launch tubes, from the Pact Worlds book page 153. "Designed to fit on Medium and large vessels", they allow the launch and retrieval of tiny ships (we're all in fighters anyway, right?).

    They are 5BP and 2 expansion bays each, for one fighter, but you don't actually need one for every PC ship. As long as your fighters are drift-capable, you only need to have one or two docked at a time, with the other PCs staying in their fighters while one or two on the HQ ship use the tech lab etc. Even if the GM rules that you can't sleep in your fighter as it has no crew quarters, you can do a 3 or 4 shift rotation to sleep in shifts during downtime, which also means someone is out there on fighter perimeter at all times for when space encounters show up....

    I feel compelled to point out I have on many occasions slept in the car for numerous reasons its not the most comfortable but its doable.


    Leaving the HQ behind and all of those instructions I feel is just completely absurd. That ultimately defeats the whole purpose of the HQ. If I leave it docked then jump, why even have it?

    Every party I have been with, no one wanted to stay back to just guard the ship. Seems really lame not to have PC’s accompanying the group.

    Also leaving it behind in space and going forward is another lame idea. You can’t control what happens. What attacks and when. You also don’t have the ability to sleep and travel for multiple days/weeks. I view the tiny fighers as just being a cramp cockpit like we see in fighter jets.

    My calculations didn’t even account for a drift drive. Forcing combat ships in this sense to do so seems really out of place. THe HQ ships is supposed to handle everything outside of Combat. If you are not in combat then the HQ should be with you.

    Launch tubes. Well this just adds more complications to the whole thing. What kind of actions is it to leave the HQ during combat? Launch tunes can only have 1 tiny ship and takes up 2 slots for 5 BP.

    Maybe the HQ ship is intended to work as you all suggest and not move. Maybe you are too jump to your locations. If this to be true then the HQ ship would never truly needed to be added. Because we could just add make one ship a bit weaker in combat to accommodate the med lab and all of that. So just fine somewhere to land and take care of that stuff.


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    Porridge wrote:
    Micheal Smith wrote:

    Not at all. I say it isn't free because you are still having to spend some sort of resource to build it. The option is free and in no way truly penalizes the pc for taking that option.

    ...The problem with that is until higher levels you don't even get those options.

    Ah, I see. We were just talking past one another. (I thought you meant something different by "free".)

    As I noted above, I completely agree that it's too bad the HQ ship rules don't allow you to construct a HQ ship at lower levels!

    Micheal Smith wrote:
    What about crew for these HQ ships? We just say you have the required people to do so? Why would they? Do it for free? Seems like a way to just get around the rules to give the players something for free. You need a min of 20 crew for Bulk Freighter. 75 for Carrier.
    Technically, the HQ ship rules reduce the minimum crew to 4. But your point still holds - the rules seem to assume that you have at least 4 NPC lackeys (who man the HQ ship during combat), or that during combat you power down the HQ ship or leave it on autopilot or something.

    Glad to see us on the same page or getting there.


    It's literally just a free base ship for holding expansion bays, downtime, and getting out of the cockpits of your tiny/small combat ships.

    It's not meant to be brought into combat, it's not meant to survive level appropriate enemies in combat.

    So you don't get into the situation where the HQ is in combat.

    When you are ambushed, you must assume the GM isn't out to get you and won't deliberately blow up your base ship.

    Similarly, when you leave the ship to do things planetside, you take some precautions, and assume the GM won't be out to get you by having a tribe of space goblins steal your ship everytime you leave it unguarded.

    It's literally there for the role play of expansion bays & the like, nothing else.


    Garretmander wrote:

    It's literally just a free base ship for holding expansion bays, downtime, and getting out of the cockpits of your tiny/small combat ships.

    It's not meant to be brought into combat, it's not meant to survive level appropriate enemies in combat.

    So you don't get into the situation where the HQ is in combat.

    When you are ambushed, you must assume the GM isn't out to get you and won't deliberately blow up your base ship.

    Similarly, when you leave the ship to do things planetside, you take some precautions, and assume the GM won't be out to get you by having a tribe of space goblins steal your ship everytime you leave it unguarded.

    It's literally there for the role play of expansion bays & the like, nothing else.

    I can’t even right now. If you get ambushed that happens. That happens all the time now. By car isn’t mean to be in combat. But if someone try’s an steal it or blow me up in it. Things like this happen. Doesn’t mean the GM is trying to deliberately blow up you HQ. Don’t get in that situation. Right. Get real man. Nothing to say you don’t get attacked right outside of EOX or even in the atmosphere. Then what? We did everything you said but uh-oh.

    Please name one time where an HQ stars somewhere never really moves and the combat ships make the jump? Also thinking you can make a jump for weeks in a tiny fighter is absurd.

    By saying it isn’t combat related and never able to see combat is absurd and unrealistic.

    You would be better off taking more combat focused ships and making one less combat oriented but having combat options, be like the last line and giving that ship those options. You at least would have a full BP for the tier to spend. Everyone would be better off doing a small ship at minimum. Everyone have a drift drive. One have the med lab an others. Another ship having more powerful sensors. Everyone has crew quarters. Again making the HQ a useless option. I have stated out several ships and made them combat oriented and would easily be able to do this.

    The HQ option at lower levels is a complete and utter waste. Tier 8+ is when you would be best doing the Squadron and have an HQ.

    Another reason why leaving HQ behind is absurd. Let’s say we jump 21 days to our next spot. We leave the HQ behind because we don’t want anything to happen to it, Well crap we need a med bay or a tech lab. Guess what we have to jum another 21 days to get it. Seems useless to have that then.


    So from levels 1 to 8, you could be a squadron and the GM would provide the HQ.

    But from levels 8+, you could have a squadron and the PCs are now able to design their own HQ (using the optional rules.)


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    Micheal Smith wrote:
    The HQ option at lower levels is a complete and utter waste.

    It's literally a free ship on top of your squadron.

    You could asteroid drop it on the first pirate base you come across, and it would be worth the investment (zero). Technically, then you should get a free one next level, or however your GM adjucates new ships.

    I just don't get what you want out of this ship. Yes, you can't build a functional ship before level 8 or so. No, this doesn't shut down entire campaigns. If you're playing with this option, the GM is making it work for those early levels.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Toxicsyn wrote:

    So from levels 1 to 8, you could be a squadron and the GM would provide the HQ.

    But from levels 8+, you could have a squadron and the PCs are now able to design their own HQ (using the optional rules.)

    This is likely to be my solution.

    Make them an HQ ship and allow minor modifications based on what they want, but eventually give them the reigns of it once they actually have the BP to make something.


    Garretmander wrote:
    Micheal Smith wrote:
    The HQ option at lower levels is a complete and utter waste.

    It's literally a free ship on top of your squadron.

    You could asteroid drop it on the first pirate base you come across, and it would be worth the investment (zero). Technically, then you should get a free one next level, or however your GM adjucates new ships.

    I just don't get what you want out of this ship. Yes, you can't build a functional ship before level 8 or so. No, this doesn't shut down entire campaigns. If you're playing with this option, the GM is making it work for those early levels.

    Garretmander wrote:
    Micheal Smith wrote:
    The HQ option at lower levels is a complete and utter waste.

    It's literally a free ship on top of your squadron.

    You could asteroid drop it on the first pirate base you come across, and it would be worth the investment (zero). Technically, then you should get a free one next level, or however your GM adjucates new ships.

    I just don't get what you want out of this ship. Yes, you can't build a functional ship before level 8 or so. No, this doesn't shut down entire campaigns. If you're playing with this option, the GM is making it work for those early levels.

    You are missing the whole point I have been making. you don't get a free ship. If you followed along before. You get a free option to get a ship that you still pay resources for. Which you barely can do. I shouldn't have to "asteroid drop" coming on the first pirate base. You didn't solve what happens when you get attacked out of nowhere? You severely limit what the GM can do if you wanna play that game. Well I can't attack you ever when you are at the HQ because we may blow it up.

    The point being made is until maybe about 8th level it I a complete and utter waste. All the things you suggested are just complete and utter nonsense and defeat the purpose of the ship.

    You are better off doing away with it and custom designing each ship to follow the priorities:
    1. Combat (the sole purpose of the squadron)
    2. Each ship specializes in a secondary role (Sensors, Scouting, think of non expansion bay roles)

    One of these ships doesn't follow these priorities
    1. Non combat based roles with expansion bays
    2. Combat


    Lethallin wrote:
    Toxicsyn wrote:

    So from levels 1 to 8, you could be a squadron and the GM would provide the HQ.

    But from levels 8+, you could have a squadron and the PCs are now able to design their own HQ (using the optional rules.)

    This is likely to be my solution.

    Make them an HQ ship and allow minor modifications based on what they want, but eventually give them the reigns of it once they actually have the BP to make something.

    You would probably be better off using my suggestion. See post directly above with the specialized ships. I am not sure how APL and starship combat works. Starship wombat hasn't come up a lot with our groups and it has really been awhile since I have seen anything.

    I feel 10+ you could safely go away from my specialized role starships concept and implement a decent HQ.

    Using the grey cloaking device would be the best. So you could cloak then move and remain hidden.


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    Micheal Smith wrote:
    You are missing the whole point I have been making. you don't get a free ship. If you followed along before. You get a free option to get a ship that you still pay resources for.

    This is the part I'm getting confused by. What resources are you spending?

    Say, your average player level is 10. You're building a squadron with an HQ. The squadron's tier is 10.

    Your squad consist of three starships, two fighters & a shuttle with a gunner. Each of these three ship's tier is 8. Each gets a tier 8 ship's BP to spend and equip.

    The HQ's tier is 10, except for three important bits. 1) it only get's 1/4 the BP of an actual tier 10 ship, 2) Base Frame, hangars and shuttle bays only cost 1/10 the price for this ship, and 3) it can only ever have a light turret mount.

    Those BP are extra on top of the squadron's BP. That 67 BP is entirely extra. A normal squad without an HQ doesn't get that BP to spend. This is why I'm calling it free.


    Ok, there's a way to test this. Build the 4 pc squadron with the HQ ship by the rules given and run them through the existing AP space combats for apl 4+. Treat the npcs as being willing to frag the HQ if given the opportunity, like not having a good shot at the fighters or with a tracking weapon pointed that way that wouldn't otherwise be fired.

    Do the tests, check the results, then make decisions with more information.


    Garretmander wrote:
    Micheal Smith wrote:
    You are missing the whole point I have been making. you don't get a free ship. If you followed along before. You get a free option to get a ship that you still pay resources for.

    This is the part I'm getting confused by. What resources are you spending?

    Say, your average player level is 10. You're building a squadron with an HQ. The squadron's tier is 10.

    Your squad consist of three starships, two fighters & a shuttle with a gunner. Each of these three ship's tier is 8. Each gets a tier 8 ship's BP to spend and equip.

    The HQ's tier is 10, except for three important bits. 1) it only get's 1/4 the BP of an actual tier 10 ship, 2) Base Frame, hangars and shuttle bays only cost 1/10 the price for this ship, and 3) it can only ever have a light turret mount.

    Those BP are extra on top of the squadron's BP. That 67 BP is entirely extra. A normal squad without an HQ doesn't get that BP to spend. This is why I'm calling it free.

    You are still spending BP for the HQ. It’s irrelevant where they came from you are still spending something to build that Star Ship. As soon as you spend something for anything it isn’t free. You should get a basic starship for free, everything need to make it free then spend the remaining points. The option to have an HQ is free because doesn’t cost anything to add on the HQ. If I was given an HQ with the minimum requirements to do so, that’s a different story. The fact that you HAVE to spend BP to have a slot for each ship isn’t free. 25% of the BP isn’t enough at lower levels. You want the HQ to do non combat stuff but it can’t even do that reliably.

    AGAIN. Leaving it behind defeats the whole purpose. If I jump and it takes more that several weeks, we leave it behind as you suggest, then I don’t have my non combat tools available. Why is this so hard to understand?

    You still are better off till about 10th level not taking the HQ ship because the HQ ship is useless. With me previous build it can’t even travel to do the noncombat stuff. Just building the squadron ships to have specialized roles is still the better option at lower builds. It is more than doable and you have 1 less ship to worry about and everything else is good to go. With the specialized build I proposed You could build 1 medium ship to handle all the bays and have launch tubes and still have a decently built combative starship.

    AGAIN how viable is the HQ? Not really viable till higher levels. You just don’t have the BP to do so. Then you have to have people man the starship. A lot of people overlook the complement. The minimum number of people. Unless your GM just cheeses and says you can have these people for free because I am too lazy to care. I see a lot of that going on Completely takes the experience away.


    Micheal Smith wrote:


    You should get a basic starship for free, everything need to make it free then spend the remaining points.

    As I understand it from what is posted here that is what happens?

    You get extra BP you can only use for the HQ ship.
    Or is that not hiw it works and the BP for the HQ come out of the same pool as the BP for the personal starships?

    That the HQ ship does not have all needed components until higher level is a different issue.


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    Ixal wrote:
    Micheal Smith wrote:


    You should get a basic starship for free, everything need to make it free then spend the remaining points.

    As I understand it from what is posted here that is what happens?

    You get extra BP you can only use for the HQ ship.
    Or is that not hiw it works and the BP for the HQ come out of the same pool as the BP for the personal starships?

    That the HQ ship does not have all needed components until higher level is a different issue.

    nope, that's exactly how it works. You get a completely free, additional pool of BP that you can only spend on the HQ. Hence why I keep calling the HQ free. I honestly don't understand the argument otherwise.

    Yes, I agree the ship is nonexistant before 4, and probably not even mobile before 8, but I don't have a problem with that.

    A campaign running an HQ/squad setup probably doesn't leave the first planet until 4, and leaving near space can be delayed until level 10. The HQ is a higher level only type of ship, not a level 1-20 kind of option.


    Garretmander wrote:
    Ixal wrote:
    Micheal Smith wrote:


    You should get a basic starship for free, everything need to make it free then spend the remaining points.

    As I understand it from what is posted here that is what happens?

    You get extra BP you can only use for the HQ ship.
    Or is that not hiw it works and the BP for the HQ come out of the same pool as the BP for the personal starships?

    That the HQ ship does not have all needed components until higher level is a different issue.

    nope, that's exactly how it works. You get a completely free, additional pool of BP that you can only spend on the HQ. Hence why I keep calling the HQ free. I honestly don't understand the argument otherwise.

    Yes, I agree the ship is nonexistant before 4, and probably not even mobile before 8, but I don't have a problem with that.

    A campaign running an HQ/squad setup probably doesn't leave the first planet until 4, and leaving near space can be delayed until level 10. The HQ is a higher level only type of ship, not a level 1-20 kind of option.

    You don’t understand Free. You get a pool of point to spend on a Starship. THATS NOT FREE, Free is the wrong word in this instance. We have moved passed this. Well except you. You still have to SPEND BP to build a starship. The option is free. YOU GET A FREE OPTION to build another starship at 25%. The HQ ship isn’t free the ability to build one is. The fact you are still going on about this blows my mind.

    T\he option is a waste. An will always be a waste. After 10th level there is no need for HQ because you shouldn’t be building anything smaller than a medium ship with everyone having their own med labs etc... So BP, is useless at lower levels and at higher levels There is no need for it. Once your squadron starship hits about Tier 7 you don’t need an HQ to handle the non combat.

    So back to the original argument I brought up. How viable is the HQ? It is viable after 8+. Then even then its not needed. Again the option is one that has no appeal and no true viability. The fact that isn’t viable at all levels is unacceptable.


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    You get bonus BP that you do not recieve if you don't select the HQ, it can be spent on nothing else. You only get the 25% BP tier X ship if you select it. If you do not select it, you get nothing instead. It is entirely built of bonus BP.

    If I told you I would buy you a car, plus gas insurance and maintenance for 20 years, but my budget for the initial price was only $30,000, you wouldn't consider that a free car for you?

    Besides the squad + HQ option is pretty obviously intended to be for the space fighter fantasy, if that is desired, not a bunch of millennium falcons flying around. Though it can be used for that, and if you do use it for that, obviously the HQ dimishes sharply in usefulness... It's still a bonus ship that you don't have to pay for out of your squadron's budget.

    Micheal Smith wrote:
    The fact that isn’t viable at all levels is unacceptable.

    I disagree with this statement.


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    Sounds like a squadron can get a bonus HQ if they want for no cost. The complaint seems to be that the bonus HQ is not good enough. Is there a reason they you are forced to have one? If you do not like it, just skip it? It costs nothing.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Yeah, gonna have to say. The HQ ship option *absolutely* is free. It costs the party nothing in exchange. They still get the same number of BP to build their squadron as if they didn't take an HQ, or if they operated out of a GM-controlled HQ ( which note, is totally an option! ).

    Sure, it might not be especially viable at low level, but honestly? Not everything *should* be built around low level. If your party of PCs can't afford a useful HQ ship of their own at level 1, it might well just mean that the concept you are imagining is not a level 1 party concept.


    There is clearly a need for some sort of restriction on how the HQ ship is built to prevent it from simply being another set of guns for PCs to use. However, there is not any inherent reason that this restriction needs to include quartering the ship's BP budget specifically. That it is not possible to make a functional HQ ship at low levels does not inherently mean that a squadron and HQ set-up is not a low-level concept; it means it is not mechanically supported at low levels. These are not the same thing, unless you are willing to argue that having a squadron at all was an entirely inappropriate idea for Starfinder until SOM gave more extensive rules.

    Barely supported, yes. But conceptually inappropriate? I think that's a much harder argument.

    What makes a squadron and HQ ship arrangement conceptually inappropriate for low level play? What precisely is justifying the assumption, for instance, that such an arrangement wouldn't need to worry about leaving a planet until level 4?


    Hithesius wrote:

    There is clearly a need for some sort of restriction on how the HQ ship is built to prevent it from simply being another set of guns for PCs to use. However, there is not any inherent reason that this restriction needs to include quartering the ship's BP budget specifically. That it is not possible to make a functional HQ ship at low levels does not inherently mean that a squadron and HQ set-up is not a low-level concept; it means it is not mechanically supported at low levels. These are not the same thing, unless you are willing to argue that having a squadron at all was an entirely inappropriate idea for Starfinder until SOM gave more extensive rules.

    Barely supported, yes. But conceptually inappropriate? I think that's a much harder argument.

    What makes a squadron and HQ ship arrangement conceptually inappropriate for low level play? What precisely is justifying the assumption, for instance, that such an arrangement wouldn't need to worry about leaving a planet until level 4?

    Nothing, see the recommendation for an NPC run HQ until you get to a high enough level for it to be workable. Hell, the NPC HQ could just be built as a tier 10 HQ, and by the time the PCs get near that level, they take control of the ship.


    So there's no conceptual issue with running a squadron and HQ ship at any given level, and there's no conceptual issue with running a player-controlled HQ ship at higher level. I don't see any indication in the squadron rules section that the HQ ship is not intended to function at low levels. It is suggested that the GM can provide one on their own, yes, and as you've observed, this could get around the budget issue at low levels. But this alternative is explicitly presented as a matter of what works best for the campaign, rather than a way to work within the limitations of the system as it is written. There is no acknowledgement at all that the HQ ship is impossible to build at low levels, and certainly no explanation that it's anything more than a purely mechanical limitation.

    What is the conceptual issue with a player-controlled HQ ship at low levels? Why, conceptually, should this only become possible somewhere between a quarter and halfway through the game's level range? If I run a campaign and let the players be functionally independent agents as they usually are, what conceptual problems will I encounter by giving them a squadron and an HQ ship of their own design, at the tiers the system says are appropriate, and at low levels, that would not also be present if I give them only a single ship, or run at a higher level?

    Are there any that actually warrant it being mechanically impossible? Because I don't see them.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Hithesius wrote:

    There is clearly a need for some sort of restriction on how the HQ ship is built to prevent it from simply being another set of guns for PCs to use. However, there is not any inherent reason that this restriction needs to include quartering the ship's BP budget specifically. That it is not possible to make a functional HQ ship at low levels does not inherently mean that a squadron and HQ set-up is not a low-level concept; it means it is not mechanically supported at low levels. These are not the same thing, unless you are willing to argue that having a squadron at all was an entirely inappropriate idea for Starfinder until SOM gave more extensive rules.

    Barely supported, yes. But conceptually inappropriate? I think that's a much harder argument.

    What makes a squadron and HQ ship arrangement conceptually inappropriate for low level play? What precisely is justifying the assumption, for instance, that such an arrangement wouldn't need to worry about leaving a planet until level 4?

    Who said it would be about leaving a planet versus being stationary? The issue is with the PCs owning and controlling, not only their individual squadron of ships beholden to no one but themselves, but also an extra ship on top of that to serve as a mobile base and implicitly with crew to operate it on their behalf. This is a level of both resources and independence that is, to put it bluntly, not really compatible with the idea that the PCs are a bunch of level 1 beginning adventurers. Its no different than level 1 PCs not being suited for commanding a Gargantuan exploration vessel seeking out new life in distant star systems with their crew of 200 red shirts.

    Does this mean that a bunch of level 1 PCs can't really do a game whose premise is "You have your own ship and own fleet, beholden to no one"? Yes. And? It just means that if you want to do that game, you shouldn't be using level 1 characters, anymore than if you wanted to do a "War heroes of the fight against the Swarm come home to find their home planet in ruins" game, or a "You are AbadarCorps elite troubleshooting team, receiving orders directly from the CEO" game.


    Metaphysician wrote:
    Hithesius wrote:

    There is clearly a need for some sort of restriction on how the HQ ship is built to prevent it from simply being another set of guns for PCs to use. However, there is not any inherent reason that this restriction needs to include quartering the ship's BP budget specifically. That it is not possible to make a functional HQ ship at low levels does not inherently mean that a squadron and HQ set-up is not a low-level concept; it means it is not mechanically supported at low levels. These are not the same thing, unless you are willing to argue that having a squadron at all was an entirely inappropriate idea for Starfinder until SOM gave more extensive rules.

    Barely supported, yes. But conceptually inappropriate? I think that's a much harder argument.

    What makes a squadron and HQ ship arrangement conceptually inappropriate for low level play? What precisely is justifying the assumption, for instance, that such an arrangement wouldn't need to worry about leaving a planet until level 4?

    Who said it would be about leaving a planet versus being stationary? The issue is with the PCs owning and controlling, not only their individual squadron of ships beholden to no one but themselves, but also an extra ship on top of that to serve as a mobile base and implicitly with crew to operate it on their behalf. This is a level of both resources and independence that is, to put it bluntly, not really compatible with the idea that the PCs are a bunch of level 1 beginning adventurers. Its no different than level 1 PCs not being suited for commanding a Gargantuan exploration vessel seeking out new life in distant star systems with their crew of 200 red shirts.

    Does this mean that a bunch of level 1 PCs can't really do a game whose premise is "You have your own ship and own fleet, beholden to no one"? Yes. And? It just means that if you want to do that game, you shouldn't be using level 1 characters, anymore than if you wanted to do a "War heroes of the fight against the...

    And even still, you probably can do that sort of adventure with this set of rules, it's just that the first several levels are your PCs trying to scrape together enough spare parts to make their derelict HQ mobile again.


    Garretmander is the one who first brought up a squadron not going anywhere until a higher level, but on rereading that post it appears to be more of a statement on the mechanical outcome of the current system rather than a justification for it. I'll cede that point.

    However, I don't really see the problem with the PCs having a squadron and HQ conceptually. PCs are not expected to start out as elites who stand out as the best of the best, but they are generally expected to have reasonable connections and resources. Against the Aeon Throne and Dawn of Flame both appear to start with the assumption that your level 1 party effectively owns a ship and perform various jobs with it, and I really don't see it as much of a stretch to say the PCs could own a larger, more specialized, less combat-capable ship with smaller, lower tier craft at the same level. The HQ won't be great. The ships it's carrying won't be great. But I think it's entirely within the realm of plausibility with a little work.

    An HQ and squadron can imply more resources, yes, but I think they mostly imply different resources, and suggest additional narrative hooks and trade-offs to manage. Such an arrangement will not be suitable for a lot of campaigns, but starting with a single ship that the party has complete access to also isn't suitable for a lot of campaign ideas.

    I'm still not seeing the conceptual problems that actually warrant mechanically disallowing this.


    Best thing I would recommend.. try it out in your SF campaign. See the results for yourself and give feedback.

    For example, low-level squadron with their own HQ. Hey guys, the Vesk blew up the Gilear again.


    Are the BP costs for squadrons calculated differently than otherwise?
    If not then there might be a problem with party sizes. The cost of the HQ ship goes up with the size of the party for hangar spaces, but the BP stay the same as it is based on average level.
    Granted because of the reduction it gets those are only 1 or 2 points but as the HQ also recieves so few points it might make 1 level difference before it is functional.

    And functional means in this case being able to move, including drift travel as the ability to do so seems to be the default assumption in SF.


    Porridge wrote:
    Micheal Smith wrote:
    I feel you should get the base ship and the hangers needed for free.

    The HQ *is* free. ("An HQ... increases the number of Build Points available by accommodating some of the expansion bay facilities (like a medical bay or tech lab) that the smaller starships might otherwise have installed.")

    Micheal Smith wrote:
    I haven’t stated one out so I don’t know if putting a weapon on HQ is doable. Something with some special property that could aid the starships.

    Weapon-wise, HQs are only allowed to have a single turret with a mount for a light weapon. That aside, they generally won't have enough BP to add armor or shields. So they're not really viable in combat. (Which is as it should be, because they're free!)

    Micheal Smith wrote:
    I was wandering how viable the HQ ship was going to be. I mean even at tier 7 you only get 45 BP. I feel this it too steep of a price. I do understand the reasoning. The problem is in out group we have 2-3 people (out of 5) that really want their own ship. By doing this this leaves the others in a useless ship in combat.

    Your HQ ship is basically a small escort carrier. Big hauler ship with sleeping areas/med bays and some cargo but mostly just a place to refuel/rearm the parasite ships and their crews. You would want to probably devote more into shields than weapons let your fighters do their job.

    Hrmm. You could just let them decide how many (non-HQ) ships they want, and use the 2-12 table to determine their tier. (On this approach, the ship manned by multiple players wouldn't get any more BP than the individually manned ones, but it would get more officer actions, and so would be more effective.)

    Alternatively, you do something like that, but bump up the tier of the ship manned by multiple players by 1, and bump down the tier of the individually-manned ships by 1. (E.g., make the shared ship APL-1 tier, and the individual ships APL-3 tier.)


    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Garretmander wrote:
    Metaphysician wrote:
    Hithesius wrote:

    There is clearly a need for some sort of restriction on how the HQ ship is built to prevent it from simply being another set of guns for PCs to use. However, there is not any inherent reason that this restriction needs to include quartering the ship's BP budget specifically. That it is not possible to make a functional HQ ship at low levels does not inherently mean that a squadron and HQ set-up is not a low-level concept; it means it is not mechanically supported at low levels. These are not the same thing, unless you are willing to argue that having a squadron at all was an entirely inappropriate idea for Starfinder until SOM gave more extensive rules.

    Barely supported, yes. But conceptually inappropriate? I think that's a much harder argument.

    What makes a squadron and HQ ship arrangement conceptually inappropriate for low level play? What precisely is justifying the assumption, for instance, that such an arrangement wouldn't need to worry about leaving a planet until level 4?

    Who said it would be about leaving a planet versus being stationary? The issue is with the PCs owning and controlling, not only their individual squadron of ships beholden to no one but themselves, but also an extra ship on top of that to serve as a mobile base and implicitly with crew to operate it on their behalf. This is a level of both resources and independence that is, to put it bluntly, not really compatible with the idea that the PCs are a bunch of level 1 beginning adventurers. Its no different than level 1 PCs not being suited for commanding a Gargantuan exploration vessel seeking out new life in distant star systems with their crew of 200 red shirts.

    Does this mean that a bunch of level 1 PCs can't really do a game whose premise is "You have your own ship and own fleet, beholden to no one"? Yes. And? It just means that if you want to do that game, you shouldn't be using level 1 characters, anymore than if you wanted to do a "War

    ...

    Or alternatively, you are working under an NPC unit commander of some kind, using a carrier ship of some kind that is, coincidentally, leveled appropriately for around the level where the PCs would be expected to achieve full independence. ;)


    Honestly in reading the smaller ship rules it really allows you to do a lot more adventures with characters working off a big colony ship BSG style. This way each player gets to customize their own ship or a couple could share to have more of a feeling of ownership and pretty common kind of trope of elite pathfinders/scouts working off a larger expeditionary platform.

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