Can Characters with character scale weapons damage starships?

Is there an official way within the rules to resolve characters shooting at small Scale 1 Vehicles like cars or shuttlecraft?

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I would like to know too.
For the moment my ruling is: No you can’t because the SFX Team doesn’t have a damage shuttle stage set at the actor size.


I mean, yes, I’m sure? I just don’t know the rules well enough to actually point out how. You might need to create some weapons with a special trait that allows it to damage scale 1 craft though

Resistance dice (per the cover and concealment rules) might be a good way to go. So the attack and damage roll are done normally, but the shuttle has extra effect dice to reduce damage from a small weapon. So it can hit and theoretically do damage, it’s just much less likely to do said damage based on the amount of resistance dice.

You could also increase difficulty or complication range. It all depends on what the GM decides narratively. In terms of actually hitting, that may not be too hard, for a person who is a good shot. So normal difficulty would make sense, unless the shuttle is flying by at high speed. But the increased difficulty causes what might be a normal hit to not “succeed,” and the GM may describe the effect as such (the shot hits but the shuttle’s powerful shields negate the attack). Increased complications if a player charges the phaser to max power to actually do damage (either from the phaser itself overloading, or the powerful shot hitting something it shouldn’t).

Then again, phasers are extremely powerful, so you could just play it all normally.

Thinking back to the original TNG tech manuals, a phaser type-2 on maximum setting can vaporise several cubic metres of rock per shot. Given that I’d say for energy weapons on maximum settings (and that definitely requires Threat), just apply damage normally - IF the shields are down. If they’re up, then the shot would do nothing.

That said normal damage dice would almost certainly be too much - maybe one point per Effect rolled? And apply resistance?

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A phaser rifle (type 3 phaser) is supposed to be able to damage small craft from what I remember reading and phasers have a “safety feature” in them that prevents them from blasting holes in spacecraft from a PDF writer’s guide I read for either TNG or Voyager when they are used in a ship.

Normal damage would be too much as suggested.

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So basically I house rule this now. I use the 2d20 SRD vehicle rules for ordinary vehicles, ground cars, trucks, hover bikes etc. I then house rule for Star Trek Adventures; in this way. Scale 1 or 2 small scraft will double their Stress dice against characters, and characters half (round down) their Stress Dice against Scale 1 or 2 craft. Scale 3 or higher will automatically cause disintegration to any characters hit, and are immune to the attacks of characters weapons.

It is worth noting that as early as the Original Series, ship-based phasers were used to stun people en masse on the surface of a planet. So it might be useful to note that there can be exceptions to that rule (for example, when someone specifies “No disintegrations.”)

I want to say that in my games there’s no stun setting for starships weapons.
I don’t say that they can’t do this but they have to make a task for that, and since stunning people en masse is scenario disrupting i have advised my player that there could be consequences, the complication range will be high (in case of complication people could die from overpower, people in buildings can be protected as can be people underground, people driving or piloting can crash, people can fall…)


Forgot to say that threat spending will assure there will be consequences.

I just watched a video of the TOS ship-based stun, and Kirk orders it in a “1 block radius” from his position. So it can be pinpointed to be more accurate than the “en masse” I mentioned, but I generally agree with the idea that for gameplay, it’s such a large thing to do that it should be considered carefully by both players and GMs.

(Unless you’re an engineer in STO, and you just call down orbital strikes every 2 minutes :stuck_out_tongue: )

Worth noting that the designer’s notes for Commander’s Edition Star Fleet Battles stated that the concept of area stun from orbit was so ridiculous that they’d decided to ignore it out right. As I recall, their argument was that the huge amount of energy coming through the atmosphere would raise the temperature enough to trigger the formation of violent weather patterns, which would cause an unpredictable amount of fatalities, negating any benefit of using stun in the first place.


That’s a good point, but I believe in that episode it wasn’t a quite flip of the switch. Kirk ordered it and then it took a while to set it up.

For mass stun - it makes no sense. To stun a human, tasers use a couple hundred watts. Due to the r^2 law (which will only get worse as it passes through several miles of atmosphere) that’s going to dissipate pretty quickly in terms of radius - but much higher and it’s going to kill rather than stun. Which is to say, even if the stun setting works differently to a taser, the fact is that you can’t shoot such a wide ranging beam and expect to only stun. Either the centre is low enough to stun but not kill, then the edges will be too low to be effective, or it’s higher enough to be effective everywhere but people at the epicentre will surely die.

You need targeted beams to stun. That episode used it in typical Star Trek fashion of a one-off Deus Ex Machina.

Personally, I’d be very reluctant to allow it. It’s just too easy to resolve situations if it’s available - mass civil war? No problem, stun them all! Pre warp civilisation in danger of discovering your away team? Stun them all! - as well as being unrealistic. Do what you want for your table, of course, but I’d only ever allow it if it were life-or-death for characters whose death would make the game objectively worse and the party (and myself) can’t think of a more reasonable solution.

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I’m okay with starships being capable of mass stunning large areas, given the scope and scale of technologies/technobabble the shows have provided us with over the years (and without the need to go particularly crazy with our explanations either).

I do believe only the most cavalier, or desperate Starfleet Officer would risk using it unless their only other option was an equally indiscriminate use of lethal force (Though I do feel cavalier is an apt criticism of Kirk’s command style, I too would pass off this use as a convenient one-off Deus Ex Machina rather than intended demonstration of a character flaw).

Assuming most general environmental effects could be compensated for (and I personally would… mostly), my biggest concern would be the risk of injury and death. Even a closely observed person suddenly losing consciousness is at risk of collaterally harm, never mind an entire block’s worth of people, most of whom are now beyond immediate aid. Are there automobiles? Heavy equipment? Industrial processes requiring monitoring? Kids playing in the park, climbing, and swinging? Laborers striding across scaffolding or a skyscraper’s super structure? What about more fragile or susceptible lifeforms? This just to name a few potential complications/consequences.

Given all the potential risks to such a imprecise, indiscriminate, and haphazard method, that likely can’t even be guaranteed to affect those individuals that it was intended to neutralize, I just don’t see it being a common or even acceptable tool for a Starfleet Officer to use, and thus not likely to see use in one of my games. I wouldn’t disallow it, but I would want to make all this clear to my players before they committed.

Villains on the other hand… :smiling_imp: