Space Pirate

The latest entry in my series of beta scenarios is the “ship’s systems” scenario. In designing Starships, I made the decision to simplify the ships’ systems to focus on the movement mechanics. In this scenario, I add more complicated damage rules. As I expect this to slow the game down a touch, my recommendation is to reduce the size of the forces involved. In the example scenario, they’ve been limited to a single ship. (Insert usual warning about beta scenarios here.)

Background

In the lull after the Battle of Earth, Ismo Nyman and a crew of malcontents stole an unchristened destroyer from the Jamestown Highport orbiting Moultrie. They were successful for the simple reason that no one had tried it before.

Nyman’s objective is still subject to debate, but the conventional wisdom believes he was intending to become the first space pirate. Whatever his aim, the Moultrie Volunteers had to make an example of him.

M.S.S. Nemesis found Nyman first. As was the wont of the Moultrie Volunteers, she did not wait for back-up and engaged the pirate.

S4.1 Scenario Set-up

The battle is a Fleet Engagement between two opposing fleets of one to six ships each.

S4.2 Damage

A ship is still considered disabled when half its hull boxes are destroyed, but its systems are degraded when hull boxes are lost, rather than all at once when the ship reaches disabled. A player rolls on the damage table based on the number of hull boxes lost. The first hit halves the system’s rating, while the second hit reduces the rating to zero. (Missiles are an exception, and are unusable after the first hit.)

A destroyer rolls twice for every hit; a cruiser rolls once for every hit; and a behemoth rolls once for every second hit. Escorts continue to follow rule 8.2. (An escort commanded by Captain Sagese would be disabled with one hit, and all its systems reduced.)

D10 Roll     System Reduced
1-6          One weapons bank, chosen by the player with momentum
7-8          Engines, alternating between Overthrust and Thrust
9            Point Defense
10           Shields

S4.3 Jury Rig

Jury Rig returns any damaged system (whether at half rating or zero) to its full rating. Before a ship is disabled, its first Jury Rig order is free. (Liz Chen would have two free Jury Rig orders while her ship is able.)

S4.4 Expendables

Instead of using rule 6.3 to determine when a ship’s magazines empty, players track the remaining consumables.

Missiles and Mines: At the start of the game, roll one die for each ordinance entry. Any roll less than five is treated as a five. That’s the number of shots the system has before it runs out of ammunition.

Fighters: Any fighter(s) that rolls a one for any reason (either on initiative or in an attack) is lost. Remove the fighter(s) and reduce your fleet’s maximum fighter strength by that amount.

Shields: At the start of the game, roll two dice for each shield entry. That’s the number of distortions that can be inflicted on this ship before its chaff magazines empty and its shield rating is reduced to zero. (Self-inflicted distortions count towards this total.)

Point Defense: When a PD rolls a one, one of its components has overheated. Reduce this PD rating by one for the rest of the turn. A PD system can suffer multiple overheats.

S4.5 Officers

A ship may be crewed by more than one officer, depending on the ship’s type. A escort is limited to one officer; a destroyer, two; a cruiser, three; and a behemoth may be crewed by four.

Influence is still important: higher influence officers will command ships, while lesser officers will be subordinate to them. Arrange your ships by value as normal, and then assign officers evenly from the most valuable ship to the least.

Aftermath

Nemesis might have been outgunned by the newer vessel, but she was captained by Dirk P. Jones, who counted Liz Chen among his officers. The pirate vessel, on the other hand, had not finished its trails before Nyman had stolen it, and suffered for it.

The pirate vessel was destroyed, and Nemesis limped home — held together by Chen’s will more than anything else. It was Jones’ first victory during the “peaceful” post-war period, and served as the foundation for his well-deserved reputation.

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