Starship combat plays an integral role to any Fantasy Sci-Fi Role Playing game. Star Wars has massive battles as part of it plethora of story-telling tools. Unfortunately, no company who has held the Star Wars RPG License has ever done Star Wars Starship Combat justice. Wizards of the Coast made an effort with the Star Wars Miniatures Starship Battles game, and Fantasy Flight Games have certainly hit the mark with their X-Wing Miniatures game, however both systems were not compatible with their RPG counterparts. West End Games was no different. As long time players of the Star Wars RPG D6 iteration, we decided to make our own rules. This is what we came up with. For the record, the system uses a version of D6 Prime which was used for the Hercules & Zena Role Playing Game.
Welcome young Pilots. My name is Wing Commander Bakki Romilar of Dragon Squadron. Today I intend to teach you all a few things about Starfighter piloting which should make the task of piloting a lot easier than the methods you are currently using.
When we look back at some of the campaigns that have been executed by the Rebellion, such as the Battles of Yavin, Refrax, and Endor, we see that a major advantage that the Rebellion has against the Empire is its skilled pilots and robust ships. Without either of them, we could not have saved Yavin, nor taken Black Ice at Refrax, nor won the final battle at Endor.
In Star Wars: The Role-Playing Game: Revised and Expanded, the rules for starfighter combat uses the imagination of the player for the placement and movement of ships during play. The rules are simple, but consequently make the location of the ships very difficult to visualize. Because of this, myself and my team from Dragon Squadron set about to change that. The result was something quick, simple, and visually appealing, yet able to capture the feel of the dogfights from the Star Wars movies.
THETOOLS OF THETRADE
To play the game using the below rules, you will need a few tools.
The Galoob Micro-machines are a must, as they help show the ships in their respective positions on the board. Counters also work.
Second you will need a large number ‘flying-stands’. The Micro-Machine stands provided in the Galoob packs are good, but when you glue the Hexagonal Template underneath the stand, we found you can have a few problems. We suggest the bases available through Games Workshop. This is excellent, as the bases are bigger than the required Hexagonal Template, and give enough surface area to glue the Hex Template to. The larger Flying-Bases’ are also excellent for Capital Scale ships.
The next things you will need are some large sheets of Hexagon paper. These are available at any good gaming store, or can be readily found on the web (but this may require a lot of cut and pasting). The sheets must be filled with hexagons of the size shown in diagram A. These sheets will be later cut up into board sections, and base-templates which will be glued to the miniature stands.
First thing is to turn your sheets into game boards. A good board section might be 30 cm by 30cms, although we found that the best type of sheet is A3. Get a few of these board sections done, as these will be your playing field or your game board. We found that cutting these sheets to the size you want, and then gluing them to a piece of cardboard is the best. You can also laminate, or place adhesive plastic to protect your game board surface.
After completing your game boards, the next thing that the hex-sheets are used for is the fighter base templates’. Cut each hex out. Each hex is then affixed to the bottom of the flying base. Once the hex-shape is affixed to the base, a coloured triangle should be placed on the bottom as has been done with the hexagon in the diagram at the right. You can add symbols, numbers or whatever you like to the base to give it that personal feel.
Once that has been completed, you then affix your Galoob Micro-Machine to the top of the figure stand with the front of the ship facing where the red triangle is facing.
Now you’re ready to play.
These rules use a version of the D6 Prime System which was originally used in the Hercules and Xena: Role Playing Game by West End Games. We decided to use this system for speed and simplicity, so that the action is not lost while adding up large numbers of dice. In essence, adding up the dice is replaced by adding up successes.
To use the D6 Prime System, use the same statistics that you would normally use, except the pips are removed:
Example: A character with 5D+2 Space Transports would use only five dice in the D6 Prime System.
ROLLINGUSING D6 PRIME
The D6 Prime System is easy to adapt, and far easier to use. When you roll a dice, the roll of a 1 or a 2 is a fail, and the roll of a three or more is a success.
The Wild Die is also included in the D6 Prime System, and as a result, one of the dice is a different colour. The Wild Die still works in the same way as in the Revised and Expanded rules. The roll of a 1 on the wild die results in the Wild Die being taken away, as well as one other of the rolled successes. If a 6 is rolled on the Wild Die however, another roll of the Wild Die is made. If the roll is a 6 again, keep rolling until you roll something other than a 6. If the roll of the second or any subsequent Wild Dice is a 1 or a 2, it is a fail, and the roll stops. If the roll is a 3 or more, treat as a success.
Character points and Force Points work in exactly the same way that they do in the standard rules. If a character spends one character point, the skill roll gains an additional die. A character which uses a Force Point doubles his or her skill total.
Primarily, the ship statistics are exactly the same as those from the Revised and Expanded rules. The only addition is that of the Turn Number. This number is the number of Hex Facing turns able to be made during a ship’s movement. The ship’s Move score is the number of Hexes a ship can move in a round.
The only other changes are to the ship’s die codes. All Pips are removed, as there are no pips in the D6 Prime System.
To make things easier, a Starfighter Record sheet has been provided at the appendix of this section.
There are still four types of movement, as in Revised and Expanded. They are Cautious, Cruising, Fast and All-Out. In these rules, the first three do not require skill checks to be made, providing that the movement is in Moderate terrain or easier. All-Out still requires a skill check to be made because it is taking the ship to it maximum limits.
Cautious movement does not count as an action, and are a number of hexes equal to half of the ship’s Move rating.
Cruising, and Fast are deemed to be one action. Cruising is the ship’s Move rating, and Fast is double its Move rating. A Full Evade can only be performed if cruising, but not at a Fast speed or greater.
All-Out movement is also deemed to be one action. All-Out movement is four times the ship’s Move rating, and the ship cannot perform any other type of action at this speed. This includes firing weapons with gunners. All-Out movement is also two difficulties greater than the terrain that is being flown through.
The Turn Number Characteristic
As previously mentioned, all ships have a new characteristic called – the Turn Number. This is calculated using the ship’s Maneuverability Code. A turn number is allocated to each of the ship’s movement types of Cautious, Cruising, Fast and All-Out, and are listed on the ship’s record sheet.
All ships’ Cautious Movement is recorded as an “A”. This means that the ship can turn as many times as it likes during its movement. Cruising movement is the ship’s Maneuverability Code +1, Fast is the ship’s Maneuverability Code, and All-Out is the ship’s Maneuverability Code –1. In effect, some ships may have a turn number of zero. This means that a ship must travel a number of Hexes in a straight line, unless the pilot performs a manoeuvre to increase the ship’s turn number (see below).
When moving, a ship may make as many turns equal to its turn number. To make a turn, the ship turns in the same way as in diagram B. In other words, a ship may turn a number of hex facings equal to its turn number. These turns can be taken in the same hex, or may be taken at different points along the ship’s movement. During this movement, a ship may make as many turns in a Hex as it is able. If a character wishes to increase the turn number of a vehicle during the Movement Phase, to increase the ships turn number (see below), a maneuver roll must be made. It should also be noted that when a ship turns, it does not cost any movement points.
The rules for terrain are those used in the main rule book. Very Easy, Easy, and Moderate terrain is not increased in difficulty for Cautious, Cruising and Fast movement, but are increased one level for All-Out movement. As a rule of thumb, a battle in open space will usually be of Easy type terrain.
In some cases however, terrain may be so difficult, that any type of movement through it requires skill checks. These types of terrain are those which have a difficulty of Difficult or greater. If moving at Cautious speed in this type of terrain, the difficulty is reduced one level. If moving at a Cruise speed in this type of terrain, the difficulty is equal to the terrain difficulty. If performing a Fast movement in this type of terrain it is one level higher than the difficulty of the terrain. And finally when performing an All-Out movement, the difficulty is 2 levels higher than the difficulty of the terrain.
In this system, there are 5 ship types: Starfighter, Small Capital Ship, Large Capital Ship, Star Destroyer, and Space Station. These are represented by 5 different types of template as shown below:
Small Capital Ship
Large Capital Ship
Like Dragon Squadron has in the past, the characters in your campaign will want to take on the might of the Imperial Navy, and not just fighters, but large capital ships such as Carrack Cruisers, Nebulon-B Frigates and even Star Destroyers. So that you can experience this, the rules for Capital Scale ships have been included.
As shown, there are 4 template types above that of the Starfighter Type (1 hex). Each template has its own limitations.
A Small Capital Scale ship (2 hexes) is usually capital ships of Corvette class or smaller. Such ships of this type are Corellian Corvettes, Customs Corvettes, and System Patrol Craft.
A Large Capital Scale ship (3 Hexes) is usually a capital ship of Frigate or Cruiser scale. Such ships of this type are Escort Carriers, Interdictor Cruisers, Dreadnaughts and Nebulon-B Frigates.
Using this system, there are 3 types of Capital Ship:
» Corvette » Frigate » Cruiser
These scale types will be shown on the ship’s statistics. To signify the three scales, a new scale chart was required which is shown in the table to the right. This is not to be confused with the 3 types of ship templates. The template type will be shown on the ship’s statistics.
Capital Ship Turn Numbers and Turning
Large and Small Capital Scale ship’s turn numbers are also calculated differently than to those of the star-fighters. The turn number for all capital scale ships when at Cruising speed, is its Maneuverability. When at Cautious (or half move) the turn number is (Maneuverability +1). When a capital ship is able to move at Fast speed, its turn number is turn number of (Maneuverability -1). Some smaller capital scale ships can move at All-Out speed. When this occurs, their turn number is always 0.
When a Capital scale ship turns, it would seem ridiculous to have the first hex of the ship be the hex it turns from. As a result, each template turns slightly differently. The Small Capital Scale ship (2 hexes) turns from the front, as normal. The Large Capital Scale ship turns from the centre Hex. The Star Destroyer Scale also turns from the centre hex which is the hex directly below the forward hex. Space Platforms also turn from the centre hex.
Capital Ship Movement
As there are 3 scales of capital ship, there are also limitations to the movement of these types. The reason we incorporated this is that fighters should be able to easily outrun the larger capital scale ships.
In this regard, Corvette scale capital ships can travel at All-Out movement, Frigate scale capital ship can move at a maximum of Fast, and a Cruiser scale capital ship can move at a maximum of Cruise speed.
Shields and Hull
Using the Star Wars RPG: Revised and Expanded Rules, Capital Scale ships can be easily destroyed by using a Force Point, and an unlucky roll by the Gamemaster. The players in the Chronicles thought this was rather pointless and needed to be addressed (after all, they needed to keep the Dragon’s Lair in once piece as well). As a result, we decided to give a capital ship a value to both its shields and its hull.
These values were based on information we obtained from the X-Wing versus TIE Fighter computer Game. Consequently, each pip of hull or shields represents 100 points. Therefore a ship with 2D in shields and 3D in hull would now have a Shield Rating: 600; Hull Rating: 900.
Firing at Capital Scale Ships
Since the system changed the hull and shield rating of capital ships, the amount of damage a fighter scale ship would do against a capital scale target needed to be adjusted.
When weapons are used against a capital ship, each success of damage does 10 points to the shields of a ship. Scale modification to this dice roll must still be taken into account. Also take into consideration the addition of dice for Accurate Shooting (see below):
Example: An X-Wing starfighter fires its Laser Cannons at a Carrack Cruiser (Cruiser Scale +6D) and hits with 6 successes (4 more than required). The X-Wing’s Damage is 6, plus its extra 2 for a good shot, giving a total of 8. Since this is a Cruiser scale ship, the damage is reduced by 6 (for scale) to a 2. He had better make it count.
Each fighter’s damage is rolled separately, and is cumulative against the target. Once the total of the damage equals the capital ship’s shields, the shields are deemed to be inoperable, and are down, unless a specific characteristic allows the ship to repair or redeem its shields (ie. Mon Cal cruiser) Any further damage is against the hull of the ship.
Capital Ship Versus Capital Ship
When a capital ship fires at another capital ship, use the above method and reduce the damage due to the new scale chart.
Ion Cannons ignore the effects of shields. When calculating the amount of damage a capital ship has taken from Ion Cannons, keep a separate note of the ship’s hull rating, as Ion Cannons do not cause hull damage, but rather damage to shipboard systems. When a ship reaches Controls dead due to ion cannons, the shields are automatically reduced to zero, no matter what the current total.
Because of the way that the rules have been created, it was necessary to examine each type of weapon. As a result, the following table was produced. The weapons are of the scale of the ship to which they belong:
Now that you’ve learned how to move, we must examine how to shoot.
Ship Facings and Ranges
Each ship has the same statistics for its weapons as it did in Revised and Expanded. The range of a weapon is the number Hexes away that a ship can fire at a target. Each ship now has a Hex-Facing. As a result, each ship now has a fire-arc. Weapons that have an arc in front or rear have firing arcs as in the diagram to the right. Ships that have weapons that fire to the sides are usually either turret mounted weapons or are on Capital Ships. These weapons can fire from whichever position the player controlling the ship wishes, providing it is declared before the player rolls any dice.
In the Star Wars Role Playing Game Revised and Expanded, there appears to be 3 different types of missile weapons that can be fired from both capital ships and starfighters. The rules also mention that missile weapons are harder to hit against a target depending on their speed. After much consultation, the Chronicles team decided that it was too complex, and needed reworking. As a result, and to simplify matters, we firstly standardized the weapons into 3 types:
We then examined the damage and fire control of each system.
Since the proton torpedo is the more potent of the three, we left its damage at 9D, or using our system, 9. Its fire control averaged at 2D (or 2), so we left it unchanged. The number of proton torpedoes a ship carried was extrapolated by using the Starlog’s Star Wars Technical Journals.
The Concussion missile was the next, and most dangerous issue. In the Essential Guide to Weapons, it discusses concussion missiles, and mentions that there are 2 types. The first is the larger of the two, and is usually fitted to TIE Bombers and freighters such as the Millennium Falcon. The second is the miniaturized version which is fitted to such ships as the Z-95 Headhunter and the Alliance A-Wing. The two variations then were represented in this way:
Concussion Missile (Standard) » Fire Control: 3D » Damage: 9D » Range: 1/3/7 Concussion Missiles (Miniaturized) » Fire Control: 1D » Damage: 6D » Range: 1/3/7
As mentioned previously, the rules specifically state that a missile weapon is harder to hit a moving target. To even things out, a proton torpedo has the added difficulty of the target’s Maneuverability, but the concussion missile does not suffer the same disadvantage.
Example 1: An X-Wing is firing a proton Torpedo at a TIE fighter with 2D Maneuverability. The pilot is at –2D to hit the target. Example 2: An A-Wing is firing a concussion missile at a TIE Interceptor with Maneuverability of 3D. The pilot suffers no penalty.
To further simplify matters, this system does not deal with shield arcs, or moving shields. Rather than have a character roll shields and maneuvering dice, this system deems that the character is always going to be using his or her shields. As a result, when evading incoming fire, modify the roll by an additional -1D. If the ship has had its shields destroyed, or it simply does not have any shields, do not take this adjustment into consideration.
Starship Combat is run in three sequences, Initiative, Declaration, and Actions.
Each “side” (usually the character with the higher Perception or Tactics: Starfighter Combat skill) rolls for Initiative. This roll is rolled using the standard method used in the Star Wars RPG: Revised and Expanded rule book. The loosing side must declare first – in the case of a tie, the players always win.
Characters on each side must declare in order of ascending Maneuverability, what they are doing that round. In the case of pilots, the first action will always be a movement. To declare this, a character must declare if a movement is to accelerate, to remain at a constant speed, or to decelerate. Force Points must be declared at this time. Once the loosing side has declared, the winning side must declare their actions in the same manner.
A variation of declaration, which is used by Dragon Squadron, is declaring in Flights. If playing in a campaign where there are multiple fighters (i.e. Dragon Squadron with 12 fighters), break the squadron up into Flights of 4 fighters. Each Flight should have a leader, and all declaration is performed at the leader’s Maneuverability. This is not exactly what was intended according to the above rules, but this declaration process enables those characters in command to show initiative, and gives them the feel of being in charge of a flight.
Actions are broken down into Phases. Phase one is called the Movement Phase, and the second and subsequent phases are called the Firing Phases. Movement occurs in ascending order of the ship’s Maneuverability code. Movement for both sides always occurs first, before any other actions can be taken. If two ships have an equal Maneuverability, the pilot with the lower Dexterity moves first. If two ships have an equal Maneuverability code, and have the same Dexterity attribute, the ship which belongs to side which lost initiative moves first. In the case where the two ships are on the same side, randomly determine which ship moves first.
Gunners may act at the end of the Movement Phase, prior to the Firing Phase, unless a character has declared a snap fire (see below). Pilots using guns may not fire during the Movement Phase, nor may they declare a Snap Fire, as the firing is deemed to be their second action. Once all movement and gunner actions are completed, the combat may move to the first Firing Phase. After each ship has fired, the combat may move into the second Phase, and so on. Firing occurs in descending Dexterity order. Calculate damage once a hit has been scored.
Characters may perform special actions during either of their phases.
INCREASINGTURNNUMBERS: In the Movement Phase, characters may attempt to increase their ship’s turn number. This is especially helpful if your ship has a low turn number, and you need to turn around fast (i.e. as you’re about to run into the side of a space station). When a character wishes to perform this sort of action, they must declare how much they wish to increase their turn number by. Once this has been declared a movement roll is made at the difficulty of the terrain to which the ship is travelling in, plus 2 additional successes per increase of the turn number by 1.
Example: X-Wing has a turn number of 3 at Fast Speed. The pilot wishes to increase that turn number to 5. The terrain is Easy (2 successes). The pilot will need 6 successes – 2 for the terrain plus 4 for the increase of turn number by 2.
ACCURATESHOOTING: When a gunner or pilot fires a weapon, the shot may be a better hit than normal, and hence do more damage. This is especially true when a character is an expert marksman, and knows exactly where the weak spot of a ship is. To represent this, each time that a ship has been hit, compare the roll to the difficulty required. For every 2 additional successes above what was required, add a die to the damage of the ship’s weapon for that hit.
SNAPFIRING (Gunners Only): This enables the gunner to fire at any point during the Movement Phase of combat. When a character performs this action, half the weapons Fire Control (rounded down). This means that the character can fire out of phase.
HARDBREAKING and FULLTHROTTLE: During a turn, a character may wish to change a declared acceleration, deceleration, or remain constant to another type. When this happens, a character may perform such an action, but a difficulty check is required at twice the difficulty of the movement that the character is about to perform.