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SW D6 1E Starship Combat

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The rules for Starship start on page 61 of the core rulebook.

The rules are very simple.  They're a version of ground combat (it is played in combat rounds, and actions are played out in segments).  And, they work best with a very descriptive GM who knows how to excite players with excellent Star Wars narrative.

 

1.  Like ground combat, the combat round starts with the GM describing the scene to the players.

2.  Also like ground combat, players react and describe what they want to do in the round.  This is the Piloting segment.

3.  Range between two ships is determined by rolling dice in the Speed segment.

4.  The rest of the combat is played out in Fire Segments where the characters' actions are rolled.

 

RANGE:  Is either Short, Medium, or Long.  These range categories are arbitrary and have no actual distance associated with them (so they scale very easily, from starfighters to Star Destroyers!).

Pilots in a starfighter combat are either trying to increase range to get away from an enemy, or to close range in order to better damage or maybe board a target.  The GM determines the opening range for the combat.

 

 

Starfighter Example:

(Piloting Segment)

GM:  The Millennium Falcon has just exited hyperspace in an un-charted asteroid field.  "As you clear the debris, there's a blip on your scanner!  Beep-beep-beep!"

Player 1/Han:  "Chewy, focus sensors."

Player 2/Chewbacca:  "Rrraaaoowwwwllll...."  He tightens the beam, gets a lock, then shifts the display over to where Han can see it.

Han:  "Oh, great.  It's a TIE fighter.

Player 3/Luke:   "Uh?  A TIE.....?"

Han:  "It's a single person fighter.  No hyperdrive.  Twin Ion Engine propulsion.  Very quick, and very dangerous in large numbers.  This one though seems to be the only one around.  Probably on deep system patrol.  It sees us.  It's heading for that small moon."

Player 4/Ben:  "That's no moon.  It's a space station."

Han:  "Hold on.  I think I can get him before he gets there."

GM:  "The ship immediately flips on its side and arcs toward the fighter.  The fighter, in reaction, starts to twirl, rotating in a zig-zag-hard-to-hit defensive pattern."

NOTE 1:  Notice how sensors are used in 1E.  No dice rolls unless the GM specifically calls for one (Starship Piloting is the skill used for any sensors roll when needed).  Sensors are a narrative tool for the GM in 1E.  If the GM wants to have a pilot roll Starship Piloting to see if he can punch through some interference and grab a better reading with the ship's sensors, then, of course, he can do that.  But, normally, targets are either detected, or they're not.  And, sensor information is described to the players as color when the GM narrates the scene.

For information on Sensors, see page 9 of the Sourcebook.

NOTE 2:  The D6 Star Wars game is about experiencing thrilling stories in the Star Wars universe.  It's not about rolling dice and figuring out game rules.  The GM should be very comfortable with the rules, but as I've shown here, keep your combats exciting through narrative.  Tell a **** good story!

 

(Speed Segment)

We start at Medium range, as the TIE zips around an asteroid into clear space.  The Falcon follows.  Obviously, the TIE is trying to increase range, and the Falcon is trying to close range on the fighter.

This is called the Speed Segment because we roll the ship's Speed Code to determine range.

Falcon has Speed 4D.  Roll = 9.

TIE has Speed 5D. Roll = 11.

The TIE Fighter won that toss, so we start the round with range increased by one category.  We started at Medium Range, and now the TIE if zipping out into clear space, pulling away from the Falcon.  Range is Long.

 

Speed Segment Options.

If both ships want to close range, then automatically start the combat round at one range closer.  No dice roll needed.  The two ships cannot close any closer than Short Range.

If both ships are trying to run from each other, then start the combat at one range category farther apart.  No dice roll needed.  If a ship is at greater than Long Range from the other, then the combat ceases.  Go back to roleplaying in rounds.  The combat is over.

As you can see, the Speed Segment is based on the capability of the vessel--the ship's Speed Code.  Pilots can, but are not required, to enhance this roll by using their Starship Piloting skill.  Using the skill means rolling it and adding the result to the Speed Code throw.  This counts as a skill use, though, and any other actions taken by the pilot during the round are subject to the multiple action rule.

So, instead of rolling just the Falcon's Speed Code above, Han could have also rolled his Starship Piloting 3D+1 skill and added that result.  Let's say Han rolled a 19.  He adds this to the 9 he rolled above to get a total of 28 for the Speed Segment.

If Starship Piloting is going to be used for this option, then the player needs to consider any other actions the pilot may take in the combat because the multiple action penalty must be applied to this Starship Piloting roll.

A pilot can also do nothing, and this may be forced on the character because of ionized controls.  See page 62 of the rulebook.

 

Fire Segment One.

We're at Long Range, given the results of the Speed Segment.  Now, we fire weapons.

Weapons can only be fired if they heave a gunner.

To fire a weapon, roll the weapon's Fire Control Code and the gunner's Starship Gunnery skill.

Luke crawls into into one of the Falcon's turrets to operate the quad lasers.  Fire Control is 3D.  Luke's Starship Gunnery skill is 4D+1.  Difficulty for Long range is 20.

1.  Roll any Evasion attempts.

2.  Roll any Shield attempts.

3.  Roll attacker's Gunnery attack. 

 

Fire Segment One Options.

Evasion - this is a reaction skill, used as Dodge is used in ground combat.  Like Dodge, Evasion is applied to each enemy attacker in that one fire segment.

To evade, a defender rolls his ship's Maneuver Code and adds that to a Starship Piloting roll.  Remember penalties for the multiple action rule on Starship Piloting.

The TIE pilot did not use his Starship Piloting of 2D in the Speed Segment, and he doesn't plan on firing at the Falcon (since the TIE is running from the Falcon).  So, the TIE pilot rolls 2D for his skill plus another 2D for his TIE's maneuver code.  He gets a total of 8.  This increased the Falcon fire difficulty to 28.  Note how you will want to roll this before the enemy makes his attack roll.

Angle a Deflector Shield - this is also a reaction skill.  Unlike Evasion, Shield rolls are only applied to a single attack.  Shield rolls are subject to the multiple action rule.  It is easier to angle a deflector shield when the enemy is farther away.

If the Shield roll is successful, then the ship's Shield code is added to the ship's Hull code when damage is determined (thus, shields act as armor for the ship).

 

 

 

 

 

SPACE COMBAT PLAYS LIKE THIS...

1.  Piloting Segment.  GM describes the scene and notes opening Range.

2.  Pilots indicate whether they are trying to close distance or increase range from target, and they indicate whether they will enhance the Speed Segment with maneuvers.  Gunners declare how many shots will be taken and what weapon they will use.

3.  Speed Segment, where pilots roll the ship's Speed Code.  Optionally, pilots can roll their Starship Piloting skill to enhance the ship's Speed total.  The winning toss determines the new Range for this combat round.

4.  Fire Segment One, where gunners use Starship Gunnery to attack targets.

4a. - Evasion.  Optionally, defenders can use Evasion to increase the difficulty for gunners to hit the ship.  This is a reaction roll.  Roll Starship Piloting and add total to Range Difficulty for gunners firing at the ship for the entire segment.

4b. - Shields.  Optionally, defenders can angle deflector shields.  This is a reaction roll.  Roll Starship Shields vs. a target number based on range.  If successful, the ship's Shield code is added to the ship's Hull code when damage is rolled.

4c. - Gunnery.  Gunners fire their weapons.  Use Starship Gunnery skill + Weapon's Fire Control code vs. target number based on Range.

4d. - Damage.  Roll Damage as necessary.

 

5.  Fire Segment Two:  And so on.

 

 

 

A HELPING HAND

You can see how a single pilot in a starfighter can get overwhelmed with multiple action penalties.  Co-pilots and/or gunners go a long way to help take some of the burden off the pilot.  Don't forget about droids, especially when it comes to starship repair.

An X-Wing can be considered a two-person craft if the astromech has the right skills to help the pilot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by player3412539

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Let's run through a simple example....

 

1.  Piloting Segment.  GM describes the scene and notes opening Range.

2.  Pilots indicate whether they are trying to close distance or increase range from target, and they indicate whether they will enhance the Speed Segment with maneuvers.  Gunners declare how many shots will be taken and what weapon they will use.

3.  Speed Segment, where pilots roll the ship's Speed Code.  Optionally, pilots can roll their Starship Piloting skill to enhance the ship's Speed total.  The winning toss determines the new Range for this combat round.

4.  Fire Segment One, where gunners use Starship Gunnery to attack targets.

4a. - Evasion.  Optionally, defenders can use Evasion to increase the difficulty for gunners to hit the ship.  This is a reaction roll.  Roll Starship Piloting and add total to Range Difficulty for gunners firing at the ship for the entire segment.

4b. - Shields.  Optionally, defenders can angle deflector shields.  This is a reaction roll.  Roll Starship Shields vs. a target number based on range.  If successful, the ship's Shield code is added to the ship's Hull code when damage is rolled.

4c. - Gunnery.  Gunners fire their weapons.  Use Starship Gunnery skill + Weapon's Fire Control code vs. target number based on Range.

4d. - Damage.  Roll Damage as necessary.

 

5.  Fire Segment Two:  And so on.

 

 

- Piloting Segment -

GM:  "Your X-Wing glides through space.  You're between Yavin and it's fourth moon, where the secret Rebel base is located.  You're on patrol, and you know that it is imperative that you keep ANY Imperial eyes from looking at Yavin IV.

"Your X-Wing is fitted with extra-sensitive sensors that also have longer range.  You can't see through the gas giant, but you'd swear that the sensors were tuned so high that you can see past the curvature of the planet's horizon.

"A ping immediately attracts your attention, and although it's not necessary, your R2 unit alerts you to a sensor target.  The droid's words scroll across another display.

"Your black gloved hand reaches the filter switch, and you adjust the sensors.  Your FST's are delivering passive scan data, but you don't have enough information to determine the bogey.  You change to view the DER report*.  You've got it.  Two ships.   One much bigger than the other.  The big one disappears from the scope as you watch.  Your guess is that it's a system sweeper.  They jump into systems, launch a scout, and jump to another system.  It will backtrack to pick up its scout in several hours time, and you will have to inform Yavin base of that fact.  But, for now, you can't go hot and use the comm.  Not even on tight beam.  That scout would have enhanced sensors, too.

"You tell R2-U7 to shut down everything possible to make your X-Wing's signature lower.  You've been using Yavin IV's magnetic field to mask your vessel.  Instead of bee lining for the scout, you curve around in the field of the planet and use the world as background.  That will help mask your X-Wing further, and R2 reports that the ship's engines are baffled at maximum.

"In position, you power down the ship.  Minimal life support and passive sensor packages only.  You wait.  And, you watch the scout.

"You wait.  And, you wait.  Then, you see the scout closing on the moon behind you.

"Keep it quiet, R2.  Here we go.

"Your engines flare.  There's nothing you can do about that.  Range is Long.  What do you want to do?"

 

(*For information on FST's and DER's, check out page 9 of the Sourcebook.  This type of detail in your descriptions will make the game come alive for your players.)

 

Player Abbus:  "He'll pick me up as soon as I go live.  I'm going to slam the throttle all the way forward and nail that grid-mutter.  Increase range.  Two laser cannon shots.  And, I'll coax as much juice as I can out of the engine by using my Starship Piloting skill."

GM:  "As you accelerate, you see pull a horseshoe and begin to run."

 

 

- Speed Segment -

TIE Speed Code:  5D

TIE Starship Piloting:  6D

X-Wing Speed Code:  4D

Abbus Starship Piloting:  6D

 

TIE Speed = 5D/25 + 6D/20 = 45

X-Wing Speed = 4D/19 + 4D/15 = 34

 

GM:  "That little sucker can move!  He's now beyond Long Range, so the combat is over.  But, your enhanced sensors may be able to track him if you go hot and use active sensors."

Abbus:  "I'm going hot anyway!  We can't let that eyeball get its information out system.  It saw me, and that's enough.  (In character)  YT Alpha this is Breaker Seven.  One contact bearing 247 at 352 in zone 3.  Scramble."

Abbus:  "That should get some help, and maybe Yavin base can use their more powerful sensors to lock onto this guy and transmit the info to the X-Wings in the sky."

 

GM:  "Good idea.  And, it works!  The base happened to be on the near side.  (As Yavin Base) This it YT Alpha.  The Dogs are on the Wall, and the pack is headed your way.  Bogey located.  Transmitting....now."

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Second Starship Combat

- Piloting Segment -

GM:  "Your scope lights up, and you've got a vector on the scout.  Sneaky little Imperial.  Instead of heading behind the gas giant or back to his system entry point to await his pick up, he has doubled back to your left, angling to put Yavin IV between you and it.  Unfortunately, the X-Wing squadron has launched from the polar region to your relative right on the other side of the moon.  That means, if you want to catch him before Yavin Base loses him on the scanner--he may go into the atmosphere and fly nap-o-the-earth, then its up to you.  You're at Long Range.  If you lose him this time, though, you've lost him."

Abbus:  "I'm hitting the after burners.  (In character) R2, give me all you've got!  This is all about speed.  No shots.  Let's just get some range on this guy.  I'll do all I can from the cockpit.

GM:  Like last time, you are trying to close range, and the TIE is trying to lose you by increasing range.  Again, if the TIE wins, then you've lost him.  He's down in the atmosphere of Yavin IV, on the far side of the planet from the base.  They are about to lose their lock on the scout because of the planet's horizon.  He gets down there, and his mother ship will have time to return.  The Rebels may be evacuating the base before the day is out.  You don't want to fail.

Abbus:  "May the Force be with me."

 

- Speed Segment -

TIE - Increase Range - Uses Piloting - No Gunnery.

TIE Speed = 5D/14 + 6D/20 = 34

 

Abbus - Close Range - Uses Piloting - No Gunnery.

X-Wing Speed = 4D/19 + 6D/19 = 38

 

GM:  "You did it!  Imagine your R2 unit trilling with excitement in your helmet speakers.  You bear down on the TIE scout.  Range is now Medium!

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Second Starship Combat

Combat Round Two

- Piloting Segment -

GM:  "You did it!  Imagine your R2 unit trilling with excitement in your helmet speakers.  You bear down on the TIE scout.  Range is now Medium!

Abbus:  "OK, it's clobberin' time.  Ready R2?  Close range using Pilot.  Two shots.

 

- Speed Segment -

TIE - Increase Range - Pilot - No Gunnery.

Abbus - Close Rnage - Pilot - 2 Gunnery shots.

 

TIE - Increase Range - Uses Piloting - No Gunnery.

TIE Speed = 5D/16 + 6D/25 = 41

 

Abbus - Close Range - Uses Piloting - No Gunnery.

X-Wing Speed = 4D/17 + 4D/12 = 29

 

GM:  "Range is now Long."

Abbus:  "Scram!  This guy is fast."

 

- Fire Segment One -

X-Wing Laser Cannons:  3D Fire Control

Abbus Starship Gunnery:  4D.  (-2D for multiple actions = 2D)

 

TIE will Evade.  -1D for multiple actions.  TIE Maneuver 2D.  Starship Piloting 6D.

2D/5 + 5D/16 = +21 to range

 

Abbus fires:  Starship Gunnery 2D.  Fire Control 3D.  Long Range = 20.  Target = 41.

2D/3 + 3D/11 = 14

 

GM:  "Your attack is not even close!"

 

 

- Fire Segment Two -

X-Wing Laser Cannons:  3D Fire Control

Abbus Starship Gunnery:  4D.  (-2D for multiple actions = 2D)

 

TIE will Evade.  -2D for multiple actions.  TIE Maneuver 2D.  Starship Piloting 6D.

2D/12 + 4D/12 = +24 to range.  Target is 44 to hit.

 

Abbus fires:  Starship Gunnery 2D.  Fire Control 3D.  Long Range = 20.  Target = 41.

2D/8 + 3D/6 = 14

GM:  "Again, your laser fire fly past where he was, not where he is.  Range is Long.  Next round...

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SUMMARY

There are three basic parts to the narrative starship combat system provided in the core rulebook.

 

1.  The GM describes the scene and provides the starting Range.

Players react to this by describing what they will do in the round.

This is called the Piloting Segment.

 

2.  Next, we roll to adjust range for this combat round.  Range can increase, decrease, or stay the same.  Range cannot be shorter than Short Range.  And, if range expands beyond Long Range, then the combat is over.

In order to do this, Roll the Speed Codes for the vessels involved in the combat.  The higher roll decides the effect on the starting Range--does it increase, decrease, or stay the same?

Pilots can optionally roll their Starship Piloting skill to enhance the performance of their vessel.  This roll is added to the Speed code roll.  But, this is also a skill use and counts against multiple actions.

This is called the Speed Segment.

 

3.  Next are one or more segments to resolve fire between vessels.  Attackers announced their attacks in the Piloting Segment.  Here, the attacks are rolled.

But first, defenders can try to Evade fire.  This is done by rolling the ship's Maneuverability code and adding that to the range difficulty number.  Optionally, defenders can use their Starship Piloting skill to enhance evasion.  This is a reaction skill.  Roll the Starship Piloting skill and add that to the total of the Maneuverability code total.  All of that is added to the range difficulty (as Dodge is used on ground combat).

Another option defenders have is to use shields against incoming fire.  This is a reaction roll.  This is done by shield operators rolling their Starship Shields skill against a target number that is based on range to the attacker.  If successful, the the ship's Shield code is added to the Hull code when rolling for damage against the ship.  In effect, successfully angling a deflector shield is akin to armor protecting the ship.  A new shield roll must be made against each individual attack during the segment.

After any Evasion or Shield angling is established, the attacker may roll his attack.  This is accomplished by rolling Starship Gunnery plus the Fire Control code for that weapon against a target number based on range.  If the defender uses Evasion, then the range number is increased.  

Damage is rolled for successful hits by rolling the weapon's damage code against the hull code of the ship.  If a character successfully angled a deflector shield, then the hull code is increased by the amount of the Shield code.

This is called a Fire Segment, and each weapon usage is addressed in its own Fire Segment.

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Multiple Ship Combat

This is covered on page 64 of the core rules.  

Ship combat in 1E SW can be quite dangerous.  One starfighter against several others usually means that the single ship will be destroyed.  So, these situations will probably not come up very often.  Smart players will have their characters surrender, or evade and try to make range to end the combat and disappear from the area.  Remember how the Falcon does a lot of running away from TIEs in the Star Wars movies.

The method for using multiple ships has the PC focusing on one target, and that is played out normally as described above.  The other ships can basically do what they want.

The example in the book has the Falcon approaching three TIE fighters.  All three TIEs are at Long Range.  The Falcon engages with one TIE and goes through the segments with that one TIE fighter.  Of the two TIEs left, one increases range (and does so automatically, going beyond Long and leaving the area) to leave the combat.  The last TIE closes range to attack the Falcon (closes to Medium Range).

With the first TIE, the Falcon wins the Speed segment and fight that ship at Medium range.

The GM keeps playing the segments as normal with the one TIE the Falcon is engaged with, but the other TIE that chose to take on the Falcon can do whatever it wants--probably fire at the Falcon at medium range.

 

If you've got multiple ships on both sides--say, a squadron of X-Wings vs. a squadron of TIEs--then just separate the battle into individual dogfights.  The GM will basically run one space combat for each space craft on the players' side.  If this results in one ship versus two or more, use the Multiple Ship Combat procedure described above.

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Other Ways to Play Starship Combat

 

The Rules Companion has a chapter devoted to capital ship combat.  

 

There is a board wargame called Star Warriors, designed to provided detailed, hex board base, space combats for 1E Star Wars.

 

Use capital ship combat as a narrative tool.  Usually, in the SW universe, the capital ships just go broadsides and start pounding at each other.  Think of the opening of Revenge of the Sith.  For this, you only need to have the ships trading punches each fire combat segment.  You can otherwise use the narrative space combat rules to narrate what is happening between the capital vessels.

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