Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Gaming in the Universe of… Star Trek pt. 2

treklogo1Family review of the most recent Star Trek

This is a guest column written by Uncle Bear.
Part 1

Starship Combat Made Easy:
A major part of Star Trek is ship-to-ship combat. For undertaking a peaceful mission the Enterprise (any incarnation) got into an awful lot of fights. In a roleplaying game, grinding the action to a halt for ship-to-ship combat can be a drag.  Here’s how I’d do it, to keep things moving.

Treat each ship like a character. You need movement rate, the amount of damage the weapons do, and the amount of damage it can take. Give it a Piloting skill (computer navigation. auto pilot), a Ranged combat skill (target phasers and photon torpedos), a Perception skill (sensors) and some sort of Repair skill (to represent the engineering team). Divide “armor” into 4 sections: fore shields, aft shields, port side shields, starboard side shields.

Each player takes a role during combat. If you use any kind of miniatures to track ship positions, the Captain moves the mini. One player rolls Piloting, theirs or the ships whichever is higher, to execute the Captain’s maneuvers. One player rolls for attack using either their ranged combat skill or the ship’s, whichever is better. One
player tracks damage (“Forward shields are down!”) and rolls repairs, again using the better of their skill or the ship’s. Someone rolls Perception, theirs or the ship’s, to tell the Captain sensor readings.  If there are additional players, they can track things for the enemy ship, with the gamemaster acting as the enemy Captain.

On a successful hit, roll 1d10 for location: 1 for the bridge, 2-5 hull (“deck 7 has been breached!”), 6-7 left nacelle, 8-9 right nacelle, 10 engineering. If the position of the ship logically precludes a hit location from being struck, damage goes to the hull. As a general rule, two hits to the bridge, a nacelle, or engineering will disable it
(“Captain, she canna take another hit like that!”).

Obviously, this would have to be adapted to the system you’re using. But it gives everyone something to do, and should play fairly quickly. So long as one nacelle is still functioning, the ship can warp away. If hit points reach zero, the ship is destroyed and explodes with a massive special effects budget.

June 2, 2009 - Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG | , , ,


  1. Love the solution, Bear.

    Your idea of treating the ship like a character is very much like Something from Risus.

    A rule I came up with for Risus involves treating the ship as a character, and then using the PC’s dice to supplement the ship’s rolls (utilizing the ‘Teaming Up’ rule from Risus).

    Comment by Hank Harwell | June 2, 2009

  2. Berin proves why he is the Dire King. I am absolutely loving his Trek RPG suggestions.

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | June 2, 2009

  3. Actually, it reminds me a lot of the vehicle duel system in Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies. Very nice.

    Comment by adam | June 2, 2009

  4. These suggestions are pretty close in some respects to the way starship battles work in Star Wars Saga Edition. In that game, the designers tried to make starship combat and character-scale combat as alike as possible, and did a good job of it.

    Comment by Icosahedrophilia | June 2, 2009

  5. Uncle Bear, have you ever read the starship combat rules in the late, lamented Alternity game?

    Very much like this. Yet another way in which Alternity rocked.

    Comment by Kynn | June 3, 2009

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