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Making Starship combat interesting for the PCs

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I ran my first game this evening - the Beginner Game adventure: Escape from Mos Shuuta. 

It went really well, the players really got into it and I surprised myself on being able to come up with things on the fly. 

What I could do with help on is how to make starship combat more interesting. The final combat between the Krayt Fang and the Tie Fighters was little more than a lot of dice rolling and was a bit anticlimactic.

Any advice would be appreciated.


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A few suggestions:

Have things happening on the ship that require player action to remedy/interact with.  For example,  the ship suffers some strain during an attack on or from a TIE.  Have that strain mean something has gone wrong that needs fixing.  An air line has cracked and is spewing high pressure air into the cockpit making it more difficult to pilot. (Add a Block die to the next piloting check)  A player (mechanic needs to fix it.) 

Add terrain.  Always add terrain.  There should be asteroids or a space station or a large freighter laden with massive containers of water headed for tatooine.  Piloting around and through it should be a challenge and something a skilled pilot can use to shake off TIEs.  

Maybe in this situation Teemo has contacted the PCs on the Comm.  Hes trying to coerce them into coming back "Or else"  This could lead to a tense social combat between Teemo and one of the PCs on the Comm.  

Always look at your PCs skills and try to think of ways you can add in a little something for each of them to do in any encounter.  Even if its not the focus or necessarily critical to the plot.  

Also try to come up with a few ideas on how you might spend or encourage spending of Triumphs and Despairs before hand.  

for example:  You go with the idea that there is a large freighter carrying pods of water in the path of the chase.  Your PC pilot fails his piloting check but gets a triumph.  So he glances off the freighter (Minor crit to the ship) BUT knocks a pod of water off that explodes in the path of a TIE fighter destroying it!

There are some really great podcasts that have covered this topic (and many others) extensively and really helped me when I got started.

  • The Order 66 podcast
  • Tales from the Hydian way

hope this helps!  

May the force be with you

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Open space is boring, not a lot of places to go, add Terrain as Zsavk said. There's a reason Han flew into that asteroid field, or X-wings needed to travel down a long narrow trench.

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