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Sturn

How long to power up a starship?

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I believe I saw this somewhere, but can't recall now. Perhaps it was in another Star Wars RPG? A fan supplement?

 

Is there a previous statement somewhere of how many turns it takes to start up a vehicle (especially a starship) from a completely off/cold state? If not, suggestions? 1 turn or Action per 2 silhouette? Maneuvers instead of Actions? Perhaps a rolled Pilot or Mechanics Action to quick start a vehicle?

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I believe I saw this somewhere, but can't recall now. Perhaps it was in another Star Wars RPG? A fan supplement?

 

Is there a previous statement somewhere of how many turns it takes to start up a vehicle (especially a starship) from a completely off/cold state? If not, suggestions? 1 turn or Action per 2 silhouette? Maneuvers instead of Actions? Perhaps a rolled Pilot or Mechanics Action to quick start a vehicle?

 

Rey was able to start the Falcon, which hadn't flown "in years" and was under tarps, in seconds. Granted she had some difficulty taking off, but that's still pretty impressive for somebody who'd never flown before.

 

I'd say roll a Piloting check; Success means you can take off that round, Failure means it takes two.

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I believe I saw this somewhere, but can't recall now. Perhaps it was in another Star Wars RPG? A fan supplement?

 

Is there a previous statement somewhere of how many turns it takes to start up a vehicle (especially a starship) from a completely off/cold state? If not, suggestions? 1 turn or Action per 2 silhouette? Maneuvers instead of Actions? Perhaps a rolled Pilot or Mechanics Action to quick start a vehicle?

If in structured play under duress I'd say it's a Pilot check, so an Action.  If it's not structured play, but there is some environmental issue or whatever, a Pilot check.  If it's not structured and no big deal, then obviously just a hand wave.  I think overall if time or circumstance is an issue, then I'd call for a check.

 

I read the Skill(s) and the use of extra successes I found interesting, and worthy of a dev question.  Extra successes lead to ideas on how to modify one's ship to make it more effective, wtf does that mean?

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There are so many instances of characters saying things like "R2, keep the ship ready to go".  If it only takes a round to get going, they'd never say things like that.  Even in TFA it does take some work getting the Falcon going.  So for me, if the ship is "cold" I would say it takes a few rounds, possibly shortened by a good Mechanics roll.  If it's "hot" you can just take off.

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This has come up enough times in my campaigns (both D6 and Edge) that I made a houserule for it.

 

Base time to start a freighter-sized ship that has been completely powered down is 6 rounds. That means just flipping a few switches and 6 rounds later it's automatically good to go, no check needed. Now, if someone wants it to go faster (and let's face it, sometimes you want that very much) you can make an Average: Piloting (space) check. A single success takes it down to 5 rounds, two successes means 4 rounds, and so on. A Triumph lets you fire it up in a single round. Threat can cause some system strain, representing damage from all the safety features you're bypassing along the way.

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That's what I was gonna recommend, with Threats delaying it further and perhaps a Despair meaning there is a problem.

 

Eh, I'd use Threats and Advantage for things like grinding against buildings and ships or blasting stormtroopers back with thruster wash.

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Remember the Pilot/ Driver talent that lets this happen in 1 round (I think)

 

If you're referring to "Let's Ride" it actually allows you to mount or dismount an animal, vehicle, or weapon station as an incidental. So it's not really quickstarting the ship so much as it is flying into the pilot's seat.

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I like the simple idea that the number of rounds it takes to power up (or power down) a starship is equal to its silhouette. I think that's a great starting point. Then add in a Mechanics or Pilot check to speed up the process with threat maybe causing system strain and Despair causing something to breakdown needing a repair roll. Not perfect for every type of ship but quick. 

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I like the simple idea that the number of rounds it takes to power up (or power down) a starship is equal to its silhouette.

 

Using Silhouette is a good baseline, but personally I'd at least double it.  Then you could spend system strain to cut the time down on a 1:1 basis (strain:rounds), and still give room for mechanics/pilot to cut even further.  If you just use raw Silhouette it very quickly becomes meaningless (any capable pilot/mechanic would be able to cut off a couple rounds, and use strain to cover the rest, so there might as well not be a mechanic for it.

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Using Silhouette is a good baseline, but personally I'd at least double it.  Then you could spend system strain to cut the time down on a 1:1 basis (strain:rounds), and still give room for mechanics/pilot to cut even further.  If you just use raw Silhouette it very quickly becomes meaningless (any capable pilot/mechanic would be able to cut off a couple rounds, and use strain to cover the rest, so there might as well not be a mechanic for it.

Double Silhouette for the base minimum amount of time, and then if you want to speed that up, then you need to roll a Mechanics check with difficulty equal to Silhouette, or maybe Silhouette minus one. Then you could spend two Advantage to speed it up by one round, and keep spending two more Advantage for an additional round each time.

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Whatever you come up with it needs to be possible to start up a silhouette 2 vehicle in a single Maneuver even if such is done only with a great die roll. The heroes jumped on the scout trooper bikes on Endor and quickly took off. That looked like a single Maneuver to me, but I guess you could say it was an Action.

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If anything you should look at the start up time being the Silhouette amount squared. The larger and more complex the vehicle, the start up routine becomes exponentially more complicated.

 

A modern Navy frigate or destroyer takes several hours to flash up just engines. The latest combat systems even longer.

 

You would counter act this timing though as the larger vessels, say anything that does not land on a planet, would never be completely cold, unless they are in complete drydock refit, relying solely on the stations power and services. You could easiliy justify that once a Star Destroyers reactor goes online, it NEVER shutsdown.

 

But in terms of say, stealing a CR90 Corvette from a spaceport, or from inside a Star Destroyer (Which is a story thread I am working on) it would take quite a bit of time to start up, probably 20 min to an hour at a rush, especially if your short handed and unfamiliar with the system (not everyone in the Star Wars galaxy would have a Degree in astromechanical engineering)

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Squared seems more "realistic", but might only be suitable on the higher end.  At a certain point it drifts into narrative time, because you're not going to account for each round.  Also, large ships presumably have engineering departments, or captains capable of rallying the effort.  Plus, a ship is rarely "cold".

 

The main purpose of having a mechanic for this (IMHO) is to keep the players anxious and feeling the pressure of time (similar to the common "how many turns to hyperspace" question), and also to maybe have a showcase for their skills.

 

So with that in mind:

All ships:  if they are hot or kept "ready" by your party's R2-equivalent, you can take off in the minimum amount of time, no check required.  If a check is required, each additional Success reduces the time by 1, Failure increases by 1, Threat can be used to impose system Strain, and a Despair can be used to roll a critical.  Can spend System Strain to decrease time to the minimum.

 

Sil 2:  1 round, as an action.  If the situation is precarious, a failed Piloting roll might stall progress by 1 round per 2 net failures.

Sil 3:  base 4 rounds.  This can be reduced to a minimum of 1 with an Average Piloting or Mechanics check.

Sil 4:  base 6 rounds.  This can be reduced to a minimum of 2 with an Average Piloting or Mechanics check.

Sil 5:  base 10 rounds.  This can be reduced to a minimum of 3 with an Average Mechanics check (using a crew), or a Hard Leadership check.

Sil 6+:  base Sil * 3.  This can be reduced by 1/2, to a minimum of 5, with an Average Mechanics check (using a crew), or a Hard Leadership check.  Note: these ships are rarely cold.  However, unless already in space, even getting moving from rest can take Sil * 2, with a minimum of 5.

 

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Side note:  thinking of all this I really would like to revamp the entire vehicle system.  I'd like to come up with a template for starship design that is based on the components:  power plant, weapons, shield generator, hyperdrive, etc.  This would end up with a system of energy pooling and energy draw, so you could, say, reroute power from the engines to the guns, or vice versa, with expected mechanical effects.  But it's too big a task for me right now :(

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-----------

Side note:  thinking of all this I really would like to revamp the entire vehicle system.  I'd like to come up with a template for starship design that is based on the components:  power plant, weapons, shield generator, hyperdrive, etc.  This would end up with a system of energy pooling and energy draw, so you could, say, reroute power from the engines to the guns, or vice versa, with expected mechanical effects.  But it's too big a task for me right now :(

 

Yes. This. Please. Now.

 

Happy to help...

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This would end up with a system of energy pooling and energy draw, so you could, say, reroute power from the engines to the guns, or vice versa, with expected mechanical effects.  But it's too big a task for me right now :(

 

Since this is a narrative system, wouldn't this be simple enough to do with just adding some new Mechanics/Computer/Pilot actions? Reroute engine power to weapons? Simple Computer (Mechanics?) action reduces Speed by 1 for 3 rounds, but gives +1 damage to a certain weapon type. A Despair might short the weapon out. 

Edited by Sturn

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This would end up with a system of energy pooling and energy draw, so you could, say, reroute power from the engines to the guns, or vice versa, with expected mechanical effects.  But it's too big a task for me right now :(

 

Since this is a narrative system, wouldn't this be simple enough to do with just adding some new Mechanics/Computer/Pilot actions? Reroute engine power to weapons? Simple Computer (Mechanics?) action reduces Speed by 1 for 3 rounds, but gives +1 damage to a certain weapon type. A Despair might short the weapon out. 

 

Yes, but the foundation of a  good narrative system (so that the actions are balanced) is solid mechanics behind the scenes.  The ideal would be a template that could be used by the GM to generate ship stats, and then the player would be presented with a very distilled and simplified set of options similar to what you described.  But if you just slap on options then there's no balance.   Plus, then you'd have a template for engineers to work with to design their own ships, and give a little more flavour than the current variations on a theme (which honestly seem a bit random).

 

And since I'm feeling a bit rantish...I think the current starship mechanics leave a lot to be desired.  Before I go off entirely, I *have* been able to make great use of them (or adaptations of them, like Emperor Norton's) for chases and other short, high drama escapades...they do that job admirably, mostly because nobody has time to think too much about the options before the scene is over. But you can't really do a dogfight, there are too many anomalies.

 

First is terrain.  It's great for chases, but the rule here is that SPEED KILLS.  I don't care how good a pilot you are, flying the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field is going up against RRPP (at a minimum), and that can get deadly.  You have to make your piloting roll to "make progress", which means if you go too fast you either crash or you don't get where you're going.  So if you want to get somewhere you have to slow down.  But that leaves you more vulnerable, plus, if you don't go speed 4 you can't Gain the Advantage (the only really useful maneuver), therefore...

 

To dogfight you have to use Gain the Advantage, in a place where there is no terrain.  But at those speeds you're popping in and out of Close range, maybe out to Medium, and most sensors don't work that far.  Plus, if you can get to Medium range, why hang around?  Just make a beeline in open space, even at slower speeds, and you're gone.

 

Terrain is the glue that makes a chase work, because you have to slow down to speed up.  This keeps the ships together because they can't pop out of sight (barring double-triumphs, etc).  But you can't go fast enough to dogfight effectively.

 

The whole thing needs reworking.  The weirdest thing is Speed.  It means nothing but affects everything in the worst way.  Honestly, if you wanted to go all-narrative, Speed should be ditched entirely.  Watch any TCW/Rebels/movie...once the ships are in dogfight mode, nobody can get away until they hit hyperspace or the other guy dies.  They never just run away even from supposedly slow capital ships.  Gain the Advantage should be pilot vs pilot, and the ship quality of Handling is a perfect stat for that kind of thing, probably the only one required.

 

Speed isn't even necessary in chases.  After all, speed has no role at personal scale, it all comes down to various Athletics (or other) checks.  Another means to tweak difficulties would be required for space chases, but that shouldn't be too hard.  Again, Handling is about all you need from a ship stat point of view.

 

</rant>

 

These are things I'd like to fix...too much work and house renos lately, but maybe it will start a discussion.

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