Multiple use of Overide Task increasing the difficulty penalty

Hi Folks,

I’ll try to keep it simple but can expand if further detail is required. Id like to clarify if I have the follow scenario correct regarding difficulty increase.

The scene consists of a 5 player crew covering the following: Tactical, Science, Engineering, Medical, and the Captain. All are their relevant stations on the Bridge and engaged in space combat.

Tactical officer fire phasers at Difficulty X. hits, does and dmg, etc.

NPC ship takes its turn.

Now let’s say the science officer wanted to also fire phasers. He would have to use the Override Task (p.221 Core Rule Book) to carry out the Fire Weapon Task (p.223 Core Rule book) of the tactical station.

Q.1 Assuming nothing has changed tactically this action would be at Difficulty X +1 as he had to override the tactical station– Is this correct?

NPC has another turn and we’re back to the bridge crew.

Q.2 Can the engineering officer on his turn now also use the Override Task, and carry out a Fire Weapon Task and, if so, at what increased difficulty?

The book suggests this would be Difficulty X + 1 again as override just increase difficulty by +1 BUT our GM is under the impression he has read that this would go up to +2, and if another player tried it on their turn +3 and so on.

The only place I can find anything like it is under the NPC Crew rules (p.225 Core Rule Books) which says after the first task each task is +1, then +2, then +3 etc but that’s for the NPCS.

It seems a small thing and, whilst it is not the end of the world, I would love to know if this is the case. Has there been an Errata to the Override action or has there been an official post regarding this?

Thanks in advance for any input.

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Incorrect, in my understanding of the rules regarding space combat.

Yes, the Override task increases the difficulty of the task being attempted by +1. However, in your example, they are utilizing the Override to access a ‘station’ that has already been used. For example, each time you want to fire weapons, each subsequent shot increases in difficulty by +1.

So, in your example, Firing weapons, normally a difficulty 2 for energy weapons is increased by +1 for override, and an additional +1 for being fired a second time during the turn, for a cumulative increase of +2.

However, at the moment I haven’t slept in over 30 hours, and am having difficulty finding exactly where it states this. I think it might be under the Swift Task momentum spend, or something. I apologize, my brain is fried at the moment. I need to remember not to answer posts in this state, but I keep forgetting.

So, to deal with specific questions:

Yes, this is correct.

They could, and at the same +1 Difficulty.

In summary: Override’s difficulty increase is not cumulative. It’s always +1.

Also note that the difficulty increase for multiple actions from the same station is for NPCs only (and also not cumulative), to simulate a crew at different stations: PCs get an equivalent penalty from using Override or Swift Task and actually being a crew at different stations.

To follow up on this, how does this interact with the Direct task? Obviously it’s the same character taking the same action a second time, but it is also using a one off use of the direct ability.

Seems like a combat heavy ship would be able to just crew up on characters with a good control/sec rating and be able to spam the attack action? I would say that feels weighted against the GM being able to suitably threaten a PC ship, but obviously a lot of that is down to them being the Heroes of the “Show”

The Direct task suffers no specific penalties or difficulty increases, even for a repeated task from a single station… but Direct is also 1/scene. If you’ve got a CO and an XO on the bridge, that’s two uses of Direct for the entire fight.

Yes, a PC ship can punch above their weight. This is by design. But the GM may send multiple ships, which allows one unmodified attack per ship if they want to get maximum attacks, or simply suck up the difficulty increase and attack with everything…

But honestly, that overlooks the utility of other actions a crew can take. A scan for weakness before a torpedo salvo can be devastating. Replenishing shields or power is a necessary part of staying alive and active in a protracted fight. Moving can make a big difference in a fight: if the enemy has cannons and you’ve got arrays, you’ll want to move to keep some distance to minimise their hit chance and maximise yours.

Plus, any GM with a little sense will establish objectives for any combat other than “make the enemy explode”, which may require skillsets other than “push the phase button”.

This is contrary to the rules as written. Unless there has been errata elsewhere, Direct specifically states that it is available to only one character on each side (which I take to be PCs & NPCs).

I find this easiest to consider the “cost” and remember that no character may perform more than 2 Tasks in a given round.

Source of Task Cost
Direct 1 of the Commanding Officer’s Tasks
Swift Task 2 Momentum, +1 Difficulty
Surge of Activity Determination with Applicable Value

Two different contexts. Page 173 is Direct in personal combat - one person gets to Direct, and they only do so once per scene. Page 222 is Direct in ship combat, where it’s part of the Commander role (which may be occupied by up to two characters, such as a CO and XO in a Picard/Riker or Janeway/Chakotay dynamic), and where it can be used up to once per scene by each character who has access to it (which is stated in the corebook and marked in bold).

Well evidently I’ve missed that. I’ve been playing and running with the idea that there was only 1 Direct in ship combat.

There’s only a practical difference if the ship has a dedicated XO in a second command position, which is something I only really recommend with big groups anyway.


We don’t have a very large group, Modiphius-Nathan, but I think our crew greatly benefits from having a XO. It also creates great roleplaying scenes between the XO and the Captain.

Agreed - the CO/XO dichotomy is great fun. It also usually leaves a senior officer when one player or the other has to be absent.

It’s all well and good throwing multiple ships at the group, but if they are able to oneshot something like a jemhadar fighter with a torpedo, and then make that attack 3 times before passing initiative (attack, swift task, quick to action+direct), for an unchanging average difficulty, it can push a set up way beyond what would be appropriate numbers cinematically.

On the XO point however, I do agree with Nathan. I find the best way to handle this position is to have a head of department doubling up in the role of XO (Spock/ T’Pol esc) as this gives that character something else to do for the majority of the game.

@mattcapiche - the odds on that aren’t great… the odds of PCs doing so are why I’m considering a 6 threat per player per turn spend limit…

Typical PC’s in ships other than warships are likely to miss unless they start with a pile of momentum…

Using a fairly typical 10+4 pc and ship 8+2…

nS+ 2p1s 3p1s 4p1s 5p1s
12+ 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
11+ 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.04%
10+ 0.0% 0.0% 0.01% 0.35%
9+ 0.0% 0.0% 0.2% 1.66%
8+ 0.0% 0.08% 1.31% 5.66%
7+ 0.0% 0.88% 5.28% 14.72%
6+ 0.4% 4.64% 15.13% 30.36%
5+ 3.6% 15.36% 32.8% 51.1%
4+ 15.2% 35.68% 55.96% 72.09%
3+ 39.2% 61.92% 77.98% 87.96%
2+ 69.6% 84.64% 92.57% 96.51%
1+ 92.0% 96.8% 98.72% 99.48%
0+ 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

The odds are that, given those three shots, even maxing the dice, but without Determination A fairly competent PC is 87.96% * 72.09% * 72.09%… roughly 45%…
But remember as well -

  1. the surviving NPC ships can do similar, but with worse odds.
  2. PC’s are the protagonists… being able to do the nifty is de rigeur
  3. STA isn’t a balanced wargame. (tho’, with a “no threat” restriction, it can be used nicely as a fairly playable but vague one.)

While I prefer more wargamey ship combat, STA’s ship combat makes a reasonably playable introductory wargame… just by adding a hex-grid.