Assistance with house ruling Akira-class torpedoes

So I’m a new STA GM starting a new campaign focusing on an Akira class. For this campaign I am including a greater than average proportion of “tactical” missions to explore the boundaries of Starfleet’s role and thus expect to play heavily on the ships fighters and heavy torpedo armament. Looking at the way the game does starship combat I was considering a house rule for the Akira to emphasize the sheer number of tubes as follows:

Location Trait
“Torpedo Boat”
Allows the ship to fire its torpedo armament twice in a round without penalty (except for normal “double action” penalties if a single character launches both attacks).

Two questions:

  1. Do the experienced people around here think that will “break” starship combat? I’m primarily worried about making Akira too powerful.
  2. If too powerful would preventing the ship from using phasers during the same round be an adequate penalty?

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide!

Hi feld,

Congrats on the new campaign. I like the Akira class spaceframe; it’s pretty fierce. To me, the Torpedo Boat Trait could be a starship talent. I think that would be sweet.

However if you look at Pg. 258 in the core rulebook; under finishing touches, for a starship:

“1 tactical position 􏰋a ship may have a second tactical position, as a separate station, if it has a Security 􏰁epartment of 􏰕4 or higher􏰌)”

This will allow you to fire twice without spending 2 Momentum for SWIFT TASK or spending 1 Determination for an extra task.

If I may answer your questions;

  1. I don’t think it will break combat. My games stall when a space battle takes too long, so the more firepower, the better.
  2. While I don’t think it will break combat, torpedos do minimal damage to shields and phasers are essential to taking them out.

Consider renaming the Talent: RAPID FIRE TORPEDO LAUNCHER and It makes the Salvo option really devastating. My experience showed that multiple torpedos aren’t as effective as a really well placed shot.

I hope i added to the conversation. Thank you for the opportunity to reply


Awesome! Thanks for that. We do have the bridge setup with twin tactical consoles but I think I may just have a misunderstanding about how starship combat works. I thought there was a rule that said each weapon “type” on a ship (eg phasers and torps for Akira) could only attack once per turn but I cannot find any such rule upon inspection at this moment.

Your point about torps against shields is being addressed by the ship relying primarily on carried craft for shield dimpling…we’ll see how well that works for them :grinning:

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I wound suggest playing ship combat as intended at least once before using any house rules.

In any case, the Command Division book gives you some new Talents for starbases, including the Firebase talent. This talent reduces the cost of the Swift Task Momentum spend by 1 if the second Task is also an attack. I would adapt this for your ship.

However, I would not make it a free extra attack because that is boring and just adds unnecessary overhead. Also, attacking with Torpedoes adds 1 Threat (3 when firing a salvo), so making another attack free is a significant cost reduction, and arguably not in the spirit of the rules. Extra attacks should be a tactical decision, thus the Momentum cost.

Keep in mind that making a torpedo attack is not firing a single torpedo, it covers also firing salvos or several torpedos in rapid succession

There is already a Talent called Rapid-fire Torpedo Launcher.

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I agree with Shran that you should play a combat without house rules just to get a feel for how it plays out with your group. You can always have the ship given a quick refit in game to hand wave any changes you want to make later.

From my experience, torpedoes either barely scratch, or do an absolute tonne of damage. In most situations it isn’t difficult for a torpedo to do 3 breaches (5+ damage, dropping shields/shielded, high yield) from a single hit. Salvo can greatly increase upon that with its extra damage and the spread quality. If you’re using quantum torpedoes, 5 or 6 breaches isn’t too much of a stretch.

Being able to do that multiple times a turn without additional cost is a little mental!

And I believe the Akira comes with that one as default!

I really appreciate all this feedback. I have now changed my plan and will take advice of seeing how it plays with real players in our Episode Zero runs. I’ve done enough solitaire trials on my own to at least still be considering this house rule though so I thought getting experienced players’ thoughts now would be worth the effort. Please forgive me if you feel I’m not heeding your advice by continuing to ask about this idea.

However I’m going to persist because I think I’m communicating really badly to the forum here. First a few clarifications on my intent:

  1. I am NOT removing torpedo Threat cost. The whole point of this rule is to tempt the players to use torpedoes overmuch while using the disincentives already in the game to make them pay for doing it. That’s why I’m giving them the opportunity to (if they fire full salvoes) earn six threat in a round from torps alone. As Peter Parker’s dad said, “With great power comes great Threat.“
  2. One of my givens here is that I (unlike many fans I know) am using Akira as the model and designer portray it. The designer is on record as saying she carries something like 15 torpedo launchers. I’m not interested in wasting your time debating his statement or the exact number here … but it is important to realize that, rather than saying “Starfleet wouldn’t do that” I am taking it as given that they did and using it as a core theme in the campaign. Akira can put roughly four times the tubes on a given target as a Galaxy can…and can do so on a target anywhere in the sky. Those tubes might not be able to pulse ten torpedoes in a single launch like a Galaxy’s can. Regardless, that’s still a pretty radical change in Starfleet ship design philosophy. Akira looks a lot like a “Federation warship” and I want to play that up by making the ship (and my players) the focus of considerable Federation internal public and political controversy.
  3. Given that, I am concerned that the rules as written, even with the rapid fire torpedo launchers talent, do not differentiate Akira from other Federation ships sufficiently for the themes of my campaign. The dramatic tension of being on a ship that, for the first time in canon, carries a LOAD of shipkilling weapons and how far my players are willing to go to maintain Starfleet’s ethical codes in ship to ship situations is a key theme so I want it to feel different than just any old ship with the rapid fire torpedo talent.
  4. My play group is a little odd. I am an ex submarine officer with command training, most of my players are serving or retired military or intelligence folks, and we really want to kkexplore the way Starfleet ethics drive different (and I hope better) thought processes and challenges than the ones we’re familiar with in real life. The DS9 episode ‘Rules of Engagement’ is the best place in televised Trek to get a glimpse ofy inspiration here…specifically Siskos last chat with Worf at the end.

Now that I’ve (finally) hopefully explained why I’m looking at this, I have a rules question:

Forgive me if I missed it but do the rules as written state that you can only attack with a given weapon once per round?

Thanks for all your patience!

I appreciate your design choices for your campaign. It’s nice to give players powerful tools that they should not use. I have something similar in my campaign: A Betazoid crew member has a powerful psionic attack and can deal huge amounts of damage with it, but of course he knows it is wrong to use it.

I don’t think there is something like that in the rules (feel free to correct me). You are limited by the numbers of Tasks you can perform in a turn, but if you manage to perform more tasks (Momentum, Determination, Direct), you can also do more attacks (with the same weapon system).

My advice comes from a purely mechanical point of view. There is precedence for this, namely the Firebase talent, which you could adapt for the Akira class. However, having extra attacks is nice for D&D, but I find it boring here. Because it ultimately only deals more damage, but at the cost of the overhead of rolling an entirely new attack. If the tactical officer takes a Swift Task and gets Directed in the same round, she can already attack three times with torpedoes. A fourth attack does not really make the game more exciting in my opinion. It is kind of useful for a starbase if it attacks multiple targets at once, but we rarely see this in ships.

If you want the flavor of additional torpedo launchers, I would alternatively suggest to just add more Combat Dice at the cost of additional Threat (which you could pack into a custom talent). Maybe like this:

Torpedo Boat
Whenever the tactical officer buys additional dice for a torpedo attack using Threat, for each Threat added to the pool, you gain 1 bonus Momentum that can only be spent on Bonus Damage, increasing the damage of the attack by 1 per Momentum spent.

This is similar to the Klingon To Battle! talent.

Ok see my whole mechanics idea came from my bad understanding of the combat system in the game! My whole idea is moot. I thought I was allowing something that wasn’t possible (Attacking twice with the same “gun”) and was going to mechanically keep all the other penalties on taking multiple actions and lethal attacks. I’m wrong about that so I’m scrapping my rule and I’ll now try yours if I do anything at all. I didn’t even realize in my solitaire trials that Directed Action plus Swift Task meant they could already do three attacks in a turn (of course I would have said they couldn’t because of my misconception of the number of times a weapon could be used).

Thanks all, Shran in particular, for your patience!

Assuming you decide you need an additional talent to support the flavour of your Akira, another alternative to pure extra damage might be to make it easier to spread that damage around?

The way I understand your intention for the ship, they should be capable of striking multiple targets in quick succession, as well as striking a single target really hard. Looking at something similar to the modal charge options that phasers get (spread, intense, etc) requiring a minor action to set up your chosen option, might be a simple way of adding to the flavour?

Whatever you go with, be sure to run through several scenarios before applying it to make sure you aren’t making things more difficult for yourself further down the line. Good luck!