New GM Question: Ship Combat

Hello everyone! I’ve been lurking the forums for a couple of weeks now -just got the Start Set and Core Rulebook 2 weeks ago.

In general, I’m a new GM to tabletops, but the Rulebook has definitely been helpful in getting me up and running. Being a lifetime Trek fan, I am super excited to delve into this and I’ve assembled a crew to start on some adventures.

However, I’m still working to get a firm grasp of the rules and the combat flow, specifically ship combat, where keeping track of rounds seems important. My primary question right now: How do rounds work when the enemy ship has a larger scale than players?

I.E., they are in an Intrepid class ship and there are four player characters at present. What happens if they go against a Romulan Warbird? Looking at the rules, the Warbird would get 6 turns in each round, but how would that turn order work? Does the Warbird get to take multiple turns in a row without spending threat to account for those 6 turns in the round? Would I create 2 support crew members in this instance to balance out the turn trade each round so each side gets 6 turns per round? Or, do player characters get to elect 2 people who get bonus turns each round?

Actually, I suppose the same question applies to land-based combat, though I’m not sure if rounds are quite as important there. But, if there are 8 Cardassians and just 4 people on an away mission, how does the round flow? Do you figure each player gets 2 turns per round, or do you just figure only half the Cardassians get to act per round?

I’m sure I’ll have some more questions on proper structuring of tasks in the future (looking at extended tasks), but for now this would be immensely helpful in getting the flow right for combat. I appreciate any insight. Thanks!

I will use the examples you gave to attempt to help you with my explanation from how I understand the rules to work. With ground combat, it would be (unless you spend threat to go first, or threat/momentum is spent to retain ‘initiative’) Player, Cardassian, Player, Cardassian, Player, Cardassian, Player, Cardassian, Cardassian, Cardassian, Cardassian, Cardassian, end of first round. Repeat.

As for ship combat, it would be much the same way, however it is recommended that you take the roles into account for enemy NPC vessels. For example: (Again, unless threat/momentum is spent to retain ‘initiative’ or threat to allow NPC to go first) Player, Warbird Helmsman, Player, Warbird Tactical Officer, Player, Warbird Engineer, Player, Warbird Captain, Warbird Science Officer, Warbird XO, end of first round. Repeat.

One reason it is suggested to do it this way is to avoid accidentally having half the actions of the ship being the same action. For example, move, move, fire, move, fire, repair. (Granted, some of that is still possible with using an alternate station for the override action.)


You could ask yourself the question (in regard to land combat): Are all 8 Cardassians major/ minor npc’s or can some count as “crew (security?) support.”


1 Cardassian is a major npc

3 Cardassians are minor npc’s

4 Cardassians are crew support

Combat could proceed like this:

The 4 Cardassian crew support count as an “Advantage,” for the Cardassians

Combat Round:

Player 1

Cadassian major npc

Player 2

Cardassian minor npc 1

Player 3

Cardassian minor npc 2

Player 4

Cardassian minor npc 3

Once all major/ minor npc’s are dispensed, it’s up to the GM to decide how to proceed but crew support is not supposed to be allowed to do anything that takes a difficulty 1 or higher to do. But I might bend this rule just making them “one hit and you’re out” guys with bad to hits. Or they could surrender…

These are my interpretation of the rules and how they could work, anyway.

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Awesome! Thank you both @SSiron and @NervePinch.

That definitely helps and makes a lot of sense.

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Supporting Cast (and minor NPCs) can be used as traits to reduce their TN’s to hit.

A 3 man team can shoot: 2xTraits, 1 shoots (TN2 -1 per trait NPC=1 shooter)
A 5 man team gets to throw 4d20 (2xTraits, 2xHelp, 1x Shoot)

Or each Notable and major is helped constantly by the minors in either trait or helper mode.

Both of these approaches are both perfectly fine, and completely dependent on what sort of feel you want to give. There is certainly room for both methods.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you go with the support version (in personal combat at least), then you can still narrate as it being 3 phaser/disrupter bursts even if it’s only mechanically one shot.

Hey Aramis,

Just wondering if you can point to me where in the book this is?

[quote=“NervePinch, post:7, topic:7155, full:true”]

yep - p134 ¶2

Further, uncontrolled characters can be treated as an Advantage, to allow a Task to be attempted which would otherwise be impossible (for activities that would require
multiple people), or to reduce the Difficulty of a Task — simply providing an extra pair of hands and an extra set of senses can be valuable.

In my post I mentioned support being used as advantage which is what that quote states. In yours you mention it can be used as a trait and I was wondering where you got that?

Advantages are a subset of traits.
Page 76:

An Advantage is a Trait which is inherently positive or beneficial, and which will never have a detrimental effect to its owners. Advantages can make an activity possible that wasn’t possible before, reduce the Difficulty of a Task (see Tasks, below), or cancel out a Complication (below), preventing either from influencing the scene.