Stars - Ship Combat / Maneuvers


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System Maneuvers

CL-Drive ships typically arrive in system at the outer rim to allow proper identification procedures. Jumping directly to a near orbit position is a good way to get shot down by planetary defenses. Initiating a CL-Drive jump requires a minimum distance from all gravity wells, generally beyond the outermost planetary orbit.

In system ships maneuver between orbital bodies using gravity drive. Acceleration limits on this technology mean traversing the full diameter of a typical star system takes several days.

Why YES I do, in fact, use quite a bit of handwavium!

Maneuver Costs

Action Time Fuel Description
Move cargo (25 t) 2 H 0 U Load/Unload 25 t of cargo.
Land / Take off 2 H 2 U Planetary orbit to ground or vice versa.
Orbital Transfer 12 H 1 U Move from one orbit to another in system.
Rapid Orbital Transfer 6 H 2 U Move from one orbit to another in system.
Direct Orbital Burn 2 H 6 U Straight burn, point to point.
Combat Maneuvers 1 M 1 U One combat turn's worth of maneuvering.
Refuel 8 H 0 U Scoop / process full fuel load.
CL-Drive Jump 18.5 H / J 10 U / J System to system jumps.

Typical Trip

Assuming you've just jumped into a system...

Ship to Ship Combat

When ship vs. ship maneuvers are required the ship maneuver ratings and pilot skill determine the relative change in position and speed. The distance between ships is determined by Range, and the relative velocities determined by Deviation. Both these values are abstracted to Range and Deviation bands.

During combat unmanned systems are effectively OFF. The following systems require attention:

Station Location Skill Desc
Pilot Bridge Pilot Flies the ship
Comms Bridge, Eng Comms Maintains internal / external communications channels
Sensors Bridge, Eng Sensors Obtains / maintains sensor locks
Engineering Eng Engineering Maintains ship's power and systems
Weapons Bridge Gunner Fires weapons
ECM Bridge Gunner Operates ECM systems
Defenses Bridge, Eng Gunner Maintains shield / armor energy / polymorphic compound balance

Any control station can be configured to manage up to three combat systems, though location limits the available configurations. A bridge control station could be configured to run Pilot, Comms and Sensors for example.

Each character can manage up to three combat systems, termed primary, secondary, and tertiary. The following penalties apply when managing multiple systems:

Weapons systems are a special case. Each weapon counts as a separate system. Identical weapon types can be gang-linked and operated as a single system, but all linked weapons must fire at the same target.

Initial Conditions

Initial Range:: 10+1d4, Deviation: 1d10 - 1d10

Sensor TN: 9+ to determine initial sensor lock on opposing ship(s). Initial sensor readings suffer a +- 1d4 Range / Deviation error. Each additional success reduces sensor error.

Ship combat is divided into phases:

Maneuver Phase

Each ship pilot makes a Maneuver check based on Pilot + ship maneuver rating TN: 7+. The result determines the value of the maneuver. Each pilot also declares their desired Range and Deviation. The results of this phase are applied in the Maneuver Updates phase below.

Engineering Phase

TN: 7+ to maintain ship's power. Failure causes one random ship system to shut down. Additional successes return shut down systems to active state.

Comm Phase

TN: 7+ to maintain internal communications. Failure causes communications loss to a randomly determined station / external channel. Additional successes bring up lost stations / channels.

Sensor Phase

If sensor lock is established, TN: 7+ to retain. Each additional success on this check reduces Range or Deviation error. Failing this check loses sensor lock.

If sensor lock is not established, TN: 9+ to establish. Each additional success on this check reduces error.

A sensor lock consists of Range, Deviation, and Strength, a value between 1 (worst) and 10 (best) which determines the reliability of the reading.

ECM Phase

ECM targets declared: Gunner vs. TN: 7+ (8+ for missiles). Note that active missiles may also be targeted. Each success applies a randomization to the target's sensor lock Range or Deviation.

Maneuver Update

Results of Maneuver, Sensor, and ECM Phases applied to each ship's position and any existing sensor locks.

Missiles in flight inherit the sensor lock of the firing ship at the time they were fired. They suffer the effects of ECM if targeted by enemy systems, but they gain the equivalent of two successes on Sensors due to homing systems.

Counter Fire Phase

Attacks vs. incoming missiles if applicable: Gunner vs. TN: 8+. Any missile that is struck by enemy fire is automatically destroyed.

Missile Hit Phase

Damage for missiles fired last round are resolved, based on the missile's current sensor lock. See: Damage Application.

Weapons Fire

Each available weapons system can be fired. Gunner TN: 7+. Note that missile damage is resolved during Missile Hit Phase NEXT round. Each additional success adds one to total damage done and negates two points of sensor error. Damage for all weapons fire is applied. See: Damage Application.

Damage Control

Engineering can attempt damage control actions to negate any damage effects. Engineering or Mechanic, depending on affected system, TN: 7+. Each success negates one point of damage. Note that extreme damage cannot be addressed by Damage Control. See: Damage Application.

Table of Deviation cost vs. Range

Each band of Deviation costs the listed number of Maneuver points at the given Range.

Range / Deviation Cost Table
Range Deviation Cost
1-3 1
4-6 2
7-8 3
9+ 4

Damage Application

Weapon and Defense damage ratings are indicated in D6. To determine damage done, for each successful attack:

Damage Effect Repair
1 Minor efficiency loss Damage control or field repair
2 Major efficiency loss Damage control or field repair
3-4 System shut down Damage control for temporary fix, field repair required
5-8 Major system damage Field repair required for temporary fix, dock time required
9+ Critical system damage Better hope there's a dock nearby


Ships using CL-Drive travel many times the speed of light within a self-contained bubble of warp space. Vessels within warp space travel at a constant speed of 3.2 light years in 18.5 hours, the minimum distance/duration possible in a single jump. This interval is commonly termed 1 jump. Using CL-Drive is like firing a gun, the destination is determined solely by the initial launch conditions. Vessels within warp space are completely cut off from normal space, isolated and alone within their own warp bubble. The largest and most efficient CL-Drives to date have reached Jump 5 capability. Almost all commercial systems fall into the Jump 1 to Jump 3 category however.

The CL-Drive jump process is somewhat time consuming, involving the following steps:

  1. Destination Calculations - The exact destination must be calculated, and adjustments made for the vessel's current course and speed. Course / speed changes will increase the time requirement. Time: 5 minutes.
  2. Mass Determination - The vessel's exact mass must be calculated to determine warp bubble configuration. Mass changes of more than a few kilograms require a recalculation. Time: 1 minute.
  3. Fuel Balancing - The exact fuel charge for the CL-Drive spike reactor is loaded. Changes to destination or mass will require rebalancing. Time: 5 minutes.
  4. Ignition - The spike reactor is fired, CL-Drive begins charging. Note that the spike reactor energy signature disrupts all communications and non-hardened ship's systems while it runs. Time: 1 minute.
  5. Jump - The fully charged CL-Drive initiates warp. Time: instant.
  6. Post-Jump Purge - Once the jump is complete, the spike reactor must be purged before another jump can be attempted. Time: 30 minutes.
  7. Refuel Scoop - If a gas giant is available, refueling requires four to eight hours to scoop and refine fuel once low orbit has been established.

It is possible for an observer to project the destination of a CL-drive ship, provided accurate sensor readings of their warp signature are available. At best the destination system can be determined.