Silver Age Beyond
Firstly, In order to build a starship (Out of character) use the SAS Base System. I have moved most of the items that used to fill this loooong page into their own sections if they are part of the Starship Description. (Notice those are now links). :)
Starships are built to last, and many of the ships plying the jump gates in Emperor Chryselios’s time were actually built during the Second Republic – or even during the Diaspora in same cases. It takes a core of dedicated technicians to keep them running, but since Guild trade, noble power and Sectus influence all rely on space travel, these techies are well-paid. If they were to slack off on their jobs, vital information might not make it to its destination in time or important shipments might arrive too late to be of use. Most important shipboard positions are taken by hired guild members; freemen or serfs make up the bulk of the crew complement. The technical details of most starships are unknown to most people; all posthumans usually know about ships is that they go up and out through a jump gate and sometimes come back again. More advanced knowledge is usually confined to specialties: a ship pilot may know little about the engine or its needs, and a captain may not know how to fly the thing if the pilot has a seizure.
What is known by all is that these things can be broken fairly easily – a stray shot from a slug gun or blaster could foul up the life support system or blow a hole in a bulkhead. No matter how good the technician, it might take days to fix such problems, by which time all on board could be dead. Everyone is expected to be on their best behavior on a starship.
Describing Your Starship
In addition to the SAS Base System stats, the following traits apply to all spacecraft, from small planetary shuttles to huge jump-capable carriers and destroyers. To keep this from being a massive article, each item below links to a portion about Starships.
|Name:||The common name for the craft, eg. The Elena Genesis|
|Class:||The size and type of the vessel, eg. Medium Frigate, Light Fighter, Capitol Dreadnought, etc. This can also be described by the level of Awkward Size of the craft, from 1-8|
|Grade:||The three grades of ships are Void, Atmospheric and Lander. This determines whether the ship may enter atmospheres and land on planets (preferably at a spaceport) without difficulty. Atmospheric ships may enter upper atmospheres only; they cannot land on planets and must either dock in orbit or at a spacestation. Landers can land, etc.|
|Builder:||The guild, race or family that builds the majority of the craft.|
|Tech level:||Tech level of the craft. This represents the tech level of the design, not necessarily every piece of tech included in the ship. For instance, weapons and sensors may be higher tech than the ship itself.|
|Length:||Length of the ship from stern along the keel. Based on the Awkward Size level.|
|Width:||Width of the ship at it’s widest point. Based on the Awkward Size level.|
|Crew:||Minimum crew needed to operate the ship. This is based on the Starship Class of the ship. Without enough crew, penalties to pilot and manage the vessel may apply. Some use automation to handle these tasks, however this can be dangerous (and expensive).|
|Passengers:||Number of passengers the ship was designed to comfortably allow. This is based on the Starship Class of the ship. See chart below.|
|Cargo (Internal):||Cargo contained inside the ship, measured in metric tonnes. This is based on the Starship Class of the ship.|
|Cargo (external)||Cargo attached to the hull or cargo struts (metric tons). See Clamp, Magnetic and Fusion Bonding, below.|
|Speed:||The maximum speed the ship can attain in Hyperflight and the time it takes to reach the average jump gate (averages 7-15 billion kilometers away or 50-100 astronomical units). If the ship is Hyperflight capable, listing their Drive Rating, number of Jumps and speed separately.|
|Jumps:||This is the number of trips a ship can make to and from a jump gate before it needs to refuel (about 200 AU each jump). This is based on the Starship Class of the ship. Most ships do not have fusion generators; they store energy but cannot create it. Recharging a ship’s fusion stores requires a hook-up to a more powerful, stationary fusion generator, found in every starport and spacestation. The average cost is 300 falcons per jump. Those ships that do have generators usually have a higher number of jumps they can make, but even these eventually run down as more energy is used than is generated. There is a certain amount of fusion the generator requires to be able to create more energy; if this amount is used up, the generator will shut down and the ship will run only on it’s fusion stores (halve the number of jumps). Engineers usually regulate a ship’s energy needs well enough not to worry about losing power, but a surprise space assault will greatly tax a ship’s energy use. Ships which do not have jump drives will have a range (in AU) and Drive Rating listed instead, representing how far the ship can travel before it is out of fuel.|
|Supplies:||How much food, water, air, etc, the ship normally contains. Most ports have merchants who deal specifically in reprovisioning ship stores. Costs vary with crew size and amount of time the stores are intended to last. Figure one Falcon per passenger (including crewmembers) per week. Certain passengers may cost more, especially if they insist on their own staterooms and caviar with every meal.|
|Sensors:||Sensors are rated on a scale of 1-10 representing astronomical units, or 150 million kilometers each, and by type. Similar to the Sixth Sense power, but with greater range for starships. See Sensors, below.|
|Weaponry:||This is the standard or most common armament found on the craft. Mounts can fire in one direction only, while turrets allow 360 degrees of fire.|
|Maneuver:||A bonus or penalty applied to the pilot’s Piloting skill based on Starship Class.|
|Armor:||The armor rating of the ship’s hull. See BASE HEALTH in the SAS Base System.|
|Shields:||Type of Shield, if any.|
|Vitality:||The ‘shock value’ a ship can take before it suffers internal damage. Based on Starship Class|
|Cost:||The cost in Imperial Falcons, the coin of the Galactic imperium. Recall that outside currencies are generally valued at 1/4 of a Falcon. (1 Talon). Based on Starship Class|
|Description:||This is a general description of the craft and it’s common uses.|
|History:||Interesting historical facts about the craft.|
|Common Modifications:||This lists the most common modifications available for the craft. Time = the among of time it takes before a roll can be made (usually a mechanical or electrical check); Points = the total amount of successes over the target number required on a sustained roll for installation; Max = The total amount of that modification that can be made to the craft; Cost = Cost in Falcons.|
Combat between starships is handled is handled differently than combat between characters, (and on a larger scale). Rather than rolling ACV and DCV, (unless they are using the ship’s guns, in which case ACV + heavy weapons is rolled) character’s make skill rolls to effect the other ship. Players may take as many combat actions as there are guns to fire, (and beings or programs to run them) generally, however there can be only one pilot. Often a co-pilot/navigator will be present to take over if anything happens to the pilot, or run and monitor supplementary systems and pass orders to the crew though. Most commonly a dedicated Engineer will be in the engineering section, monitoring the volatile fusion core, engine output and shield generators (if available) and usually the Engineer has at least one assistant. It’s also not uncommon to have dedicated gunners on the gun-deck during combat. Non-essential crew usually either readies to assist with fire control, hunkers down in staterooms, or slips on a space suit if things look like they’re going badly. Melee types may arm up for potential boarding actions (or defense of them).
Ships cannot engage in combat anywhere near their maximum speeds, as they would be travelling far too fast to ever target another ship. Even with Accuracy x10 any speeds approaching the speed of light make it impossible to target. For this reason, most engagements take place near the planet of launch (before the ship has accelerated enough to avoid assault) or at the destination (as the ship slows down to maneuver its landing or entry into a jump gate). Certain ships have tractor beams which can force a target to slow down enough to engage it. (See Tractor Beams, below).
Pursuit can only take place between ships which can detect each other with their sensors. Pursuit is treated as a sustained action. Each pilot rolls a Piloting check, and must beat their target number by a set number of points in a series of sustained rolls. Whoever collects the required points first is the winner: the pursuer closes on his prey and combat begins, or the prey outdistances the pursuer, leaving sensor range. The amount of points above target needed depends on the situation; the usual amount is 10. As a general rule, the number should be no less than the pursuing ship’s Sensors rating.
The amount of points over target number can be adjusted by various factors: if the pursuer is close to the prey when the chase begins, he may have to accumulate less points than his prey; a chase through an asteroid field may increase the amount the pursuer must roll (in addition to requiring Piloting checks to avoid colliding with an asteroid); and a run through a nebula may interfere with both ship’s Sensors, dramatically decreasing the amount the prey needs to escape. In addition, the GM may award faster ships a bonus to each roll they make.
A Good Engineer: Sometimes a starship needs to give ‘er all she’s got to escape a battle or to start one. The ship’s engineer can temporarily tweak his engines to give his ship the extra oomph it needs.
Each turn, roll Mind + Mechanics and add half (round up) the points above the target number to the ship’s pursuit point total. However this is dangerous in the hungry Void, for it strains the engines past their safe operating limit. If a critical failure is rolled, the engines shut down, along with weapon systems and shields. The ship immediately begins to drift. The engines will remain down for at least one hour.
Starship Combat Actions
Once a ship has closed within fighting range of it’s prey (Less than one AU), it may fire it’s guns. If the other ship’s engines have been disabled or shut down, the attacker can attempt to board the ship. There are a number of actions that can be taken by pilots and crewmen:
Firing Guns (ACV): A pilot or gunner can fire one of the ship’s guns. Roll under Body and Heavy Weapons. On a successful hit, compare points above target to opposing Pilot’s dodge roll (if applicable). This takes an action to perform. Then check for damage percentage as per normal. Rather than adding the character’s ACV to the damage however, add any points above the target number to damage. Crits automatically cause a roll on the Internal Starship Damage table below.
- With a successful Mind + Architecture check beforehand. It is possible to target specific ships systems, at the same penalties as are normally afforded to called shots.
Dodge (DCV): A pilot can maneuver his ship to avoid enemy fire. Make a Piloting check and contest the number of points between gunner and pilot. This takes an action to perform.
Characters and Starship Scale
However these traits are on a much larger scale than similar character traits. In most instances, it makes sense that a character’s weapon or special attack will be largely incapable of harming many spacecraft, or do so little damage as not to matter. When dealing with character scale situations (characters at a spaceport shooting a docked ship with blasters), figure that each point of ship armor is worth 5 points of character damage. (This is not true once inside the ship, see the Starship Internal Damage table for more).
In addition, starship weapons do their normal damage X5 when directed against characters. For instance, a light laser cannon, which normally does 30 damage (at 100% damage), will do 90 damage (at 100% damage) against characters (plus any points above that gained by the gun operator’s ACV rating).
Internal Starship Damage
When fighting with firearms and special ranged attacks aboard a starship, missed shots will hit walls or doors behind the target. First, determine what substance the wall is made from, using High-Tech Substances. If any shot has punctured the wall; see below for effects.
When taking damage from external sources that penetrate the hull or cause critical damage (a critical hit by an opposing ship) roll 1d6 and then roll accordingly on the appropriate table:
|Starship internal Area Damage Effects||Roll 2d 10|
Bridge: Bridge shots may damage delicate controls.
|2-3||Internal communications: No communication between this section and other decks and sections except by personal squawker until repaired.|
|4-5||Damage degrades deck walls. If inner wall, roll again (below). If an outer hull wall takes armor point damage, it is breeched – automatic systems will seal the room within one turn; anyone still in it after the doors close is exposed to vacuum, unless they are in working spacesuits.|
|-||1-5||No effect except to degrade wall armor points.|
|-||6-10||Short circuit or mishap: GM determines effect|
|-||11-14||Door jams until repaired with Electrical Engineering.|
|-||15-16||Waste removal duct breached: Those within 10 m. sprayed with waste.|
|-||17-19||Electrical fire: Those within 5 m. suffer 20 electrical damage while it burns (4 rounds).|
|-||20||Bad electrical wire: Those within 10 m. suffer 20 electrical damage while it burns. Automatic fire control systems shut off all power (including lights and life support) to the section within one turn; power is restored 4 rounds later.|
|6-9||Piloting controls: -4 penalty on all piloting checks until repaired with a Electronics check -2 to target number.|
|10-11||Minor explosion in piloting: Those within 10 m. suffer 10 fire damage. Ship cannot be controlled until repaired with an Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering check. 25 points over the target number must be accumulated for each fix at one roll per round.|
|12||Major explosion in piloting: Those within 10 m. suffer 20 fire damage. Fire burns tor 4 rounds, heat damage to anyone within 10m. Ship cannot be controlled until repaired with an Electrical and Mechanical check. 30 points over the target number must be accumulated for each fix at one roll per round.|
|13-16||Sensors: Ship flies blind until repaired with an Electrical and Mechanical check.|
|17-18||Minor explosion in sensors: Those within 10 m. suffer 10 fire damage. Ship is blind until repaired with an Electronics check. 25 points over the target number must be accumulated for each fix at one roll per round.|
|19||Major explosion in sensors: Those within 10 ft. suffer 20 fire damage. Fire burns tor 4 rounds, dealing heat damage to anyone within 10 ft. Ship is blind until repaired with a Mechanical and Electrical check. 30 points over the target number must be accumulated for each fix at one roll per round.|
|20||Life support systems: No more breathable gas is pumped into the room, and smoke and other hazardous gasses fill the room until repaired with a Mechanical and Electrical check. 50 points over the target number must be accumulated for each fix at one roll per round.|
|2-3||Internal communications. See description in Bridge (above).|
|4-8||Damage degrades deck walls. See description in Bridge (above) tor possible effects.|
|9-12||Gun damaged: -4 penalty on all Heavy Weapons checks with that gun until repaired with a Mechanical and Electrical check. 25 points over the target number must be accumulated for each fix at one roll per round.|
|13-15||Gun destroyed: That gun cannot be used until repaired with Mechanical and Electrical check. 30 points over the target number must be accumulated for each fix at one roll per round.|
|16-18||Gun explosion: Those within 10m. of that gun suffer 20 fire damage. Gun is destroyed and cannot be repaired.|
|19||Chain reaction explosion: A gun explodes (as above) and causes an adjacent gun to explode on the following round. Those within 10 m. suffer 20 tire damage. Fire burns for 4 rounds, dealing 20 heat damage to anyone within 10 m. Guns cannot be repaired.|
|20||Life support systems. See description in Bridge (above).|
|2-3||Internal communications. See description in Bridge (above).|
|4-8||Damage degrades deck walls. See description in Bridge (above) for possible effects.|
|9-12||Engines damaged: Ship can only accelerate/decelerate at half its speed until repaired with a Mechanical and Electrical check. 25 points over the target number must be accumulated for each fix at one roll per round.|
|13-15||Engine explosion: Everyone in the engine room suffers 20 fire damage. Generator is damaged (as above). Ship cannot accelerate/decelerate until repaired with a Mechanical and Electrical check. 30 points over the target number must be accumulated for each fix at one roll per round.|
|16-19||Engine breech: Everyone in the engine room suffers 20 Fire damage and 10 Radiation damage tor every round thereafter. Automatic fire control systems signal that the room will be voided of air and pressure within one round. Anyone still in the engine room after the doors dies, unless they are in working spacesuits, are immune to vacuum and radiation. Ship cannot accelerate/decelerate until repaired with a Mechanical and Electrical check. 50 points over the target number must be accumulated for each fix at one roll per round.|
|20||Life support systems. See description in Bridge (above).|
Each starship requires a computer, from the minor computer of a shuttle to the more sophisticated, multitasking machines of a frigate. The ships ‘out in the galaxy’ are assumed to have computers capable of handling all their standard requirements; getting them to do anymore than that requires reprogramming work. Below is a list of some extra programs that are available. Any of the computers listed in the Items are available as Starship programs also.
|Gunnery:||There are a variety of computer programs which can aid under-manned ships, taking over gunnery positions. These automatic tracking systems have a target ‘ACV’ of 7, making them worse than most dedicated gunners, but better than an empty turret.||500 per gun.||1 major|
|Autopilot:||The ship can pilot itself. It must be given a destination to which it will plot the best course. Giving it extra parameters helps (i.e. you need to get there faster rather than safer). Alternately, some autopilots simply have emergency landing routines whereby they will choose the destination themselves (the closest, safest landing or orbit).||1000 falcons for one type, 1500 for both.||1 or 2 major|
|Combat Pilot:||A more advanced autopilot, this program can take over tight maneuvering. It is best for defensive maneuvers, but performs relatively well in offensive situations also. These programs have what amounts to a target ACV of 7 for attacking and DCV of 9 for dodging enemy fire.||3000||2 major|
|Mapping:||The computer can map and remember multiple star systems, storing many details on those systems. Proscribed routes (for worlds such as Odium or the Jith homeworld are more expensive, and hard to find.||2000, +200 per system||1 major + 1 minor per system|
|Data Analysis:||SEE LABS in SAS Base System||Lab Levels cost 2000 +200 per level||N/A|
|Jump routes:||The computer has preprogrammed jump routes within its memory. Beware however, for the Hornblower’s Guild consider this illegal. They will actively seek to destroy such memory and usually the machine with it, if not the ship’s crew also. While it is harder to steal jump route data than a jump key, it takes longer to access the data, potentially. Costs vary with the route, but the black market cost of such a thing for very common jump routes, such as Capital Secundus to Criticus still costs…||2500||2 major + 1 minor per route|
Please note: per pg. 36 of the SAS core rulebook, when attempting to access a computer built as an Item of Power, the character suffers a penalty to the Mind Stat check of -2 for each Level of the Item of Power.
Starship Life Support
Fortunately the SAS Base System covers this pretty well. It’s an Item of Power that makes air and protects against radiation, vacuum and a few other things. Standard life support systems would be built as follows:
|Starship System:||Life Support|
|IoP Level/Cost per lvl:||2/3 (6 pts)|
|Disabilities:||-3 Restriction (Life Support System; Static)|
|-1 Reduction (-1 per lvl ; Life Support System; Internal, only protects people within the Ship)|
|-1 Special Requirement (Life Support Systems; After 3 months, system has to be flushed, cleaned, and restocked)|
|-2 Burns Energy (2) 5 energy|
|Adaptation Level/cost per lvl:||5 Adaptation (Cold, Heat, Pressure, Radiation, Vacuum)/1|
|Special Defense/cost per lvl:||5 Adaptation (Oxygen x2, Disease, Poison)/1|
|Total Cost:||1 Point|
Starship Artificial Gravity
Using a variation of stolen Jith repulsor technology, artificial gravity is a standard feature in most Galactic Imperium ships. This does not mean that it works on all ships though, as the crews of poorly maintained ships often find themselves floating about after a severe shock to the ship. Artificial gravity is normally maintained by repulsor pads in the ceiling of ships, exerting a constant downward gravitic pressure on the passengers, just enough to mimic a comfortable level of gravity. This force can be altered for the preference of different races.
Horror stories abound about crews who were crushed by gravity systems. However this is not usually possible, as most systems are usually designed to go no higher than 2G’s. Some captains modify their ships, allowing them to raise gravity levels in some sections in retaliation for a boarding action, but these can malfunction and slay the ship’s crew. Some ancient ships have no artificial gravity and instead use forces of acceleration or centripetal rotation on long voyages to simulate gravity. In combat situations, these ships become very dangerous as quick maneuvers throw floating crew members into nearby walls.
|Item||Tech Level||Falcon Cost||BC||Gadgets|
|Jith Repulsor Plate||8||10,000||10||4 major per section (sections = level of Awkward Size)|
Starship Tractor Beams
Certain large ships still bear a wonder of Second Republic technology: a tractor beam. These repulsor rays can latch onto another ship and force that ship to slow it’s speed to match that of the beam emitter or halt the ship entirely (usually for a boarding action). The beam’s action is not immediate; it’s prey is slowly brought down. Each turn the beam subtracts from the prey’s speed until either the desired speed is attained or the ship comes to a halt, held steady by the beam’s powerful field. Most beams subtract 1% of the captured ship’s speed in the first instants of contact (enough to tax the target’s artificial gravity generators and throw the crew about when the beam first hits their ship) and up to 10% of speed each turn afterward.
The known tractor beams are Second Republic relics, and few of them can fit into a ship smaller than a frigate. Most beams were destroyed during the Fall of the Second Republic. The Primacy Wars left the Emperor and the Sectus with the lion’s share of the surviving snares. They are favorites of the Inquisition.
Well maintained ships usually have a compliment of escape pods for a full crew and passenger load, but with the less well maintained ships this is not always the case. There are relatively few manufacturers of life boats in the Galactic Imperium and among the various technologically savvy races of the galaxy, leaving many ships in the predicament of having less escape pods than needed, or none at all. Most military ships have a full compliment, as do most noble ships, but it is not uncommon for a freighter to only have enough room in it’s escape pods for half it’s crew. Some crews have taken to bolting landers to their starships to serve as life boats instead. This seldom works out, as most crews do not have time to power up the lander before the mother ship meets an untimely demise that takes the lander with it.
Escape pods are usually built in five-man increments, ranging from five-man escape pods to 20-man escape pods. These pods usually hold enough food for a full passenger load for two weeks, in addition to tents, a small handgun and an emergency beacon. This beacon has a range of about 20 AU and activates as soon as the escape pod is jettisoned from the mother ship. Most escape pods travel at 5% of the speed of light. Escape pods are considered to have a Vitality of 20 and 40 armor, with a Maneuverability of -4. They usually have a range of about 10 AU. Escape pods cannot be fitted with a jump drive.
An escape pod can be jettisoned within one combat round after every one has boarded. The escape pod, equipped with an emergency landing autopilot, then locates the nearest habitable area (it usually has radar sensors rated at 3 – which is 3 AU), usually another ship or a planet. The crew of the pod may refuse certain destination choices, such as an enemy ship. The escape pod’s computers look for the most basic life requirements, meaning that the planet it decides upon may be just marginally habitable. These computers of course are prone to failure in the Void. Some have been known to fly straight into a star or crash into another ship.