RAW Question: Starship Combat Breaches from Damage

Thank you. I was struggling with starship combat damage a bit because my expectation that torpedoes are real shipkillers (as indicated by their Threat cost) didn’t seem borne out by the relative damage values between them and energy weapons. It is now clear that the High Yield quality is effectively at least another five points of resistance ignoring damage.

Thanks again.

Yes, torpedoes are also the equivalent of setting your phasers to kill. Even though they have a fairly low damage level compared to energy weapons on larger ships (not factored by the scale of the ship), they can sometimes pack more of a punch.

Example: A scale 4 ship with a Security of 2 deals a minimum of 6 CD of damage with Phasers and only 5 with standard torpedoes, make 1 attack with phasers, and dealing just enough damage to deal 5 points after resistance, and you only score 1 breach, regardless of the amount of damage absorbed by shields. One attack with a Torpedo doing the same amount of damage, and you double the amount of breaches suffered by the opposing ship. Depending on the scale of the ship, that could damage or disable a system in one attack.

The High Yield combined with the comparatively low damage matches the mechanics that seem to happen in a lot of Star Trek games where once the shields drop, torpedoes become super deadly.

In this case, the dynamic is being reflected in the fact that as long as the shields are down and you cause a point of damage with torpedoes, you’re doing a minimum of 2 breaches each time.

Torpedoes seem weaker because they sometimes have fewer dice than energy weapons, but they can cause an amazing amount of breaches. Firing High Yield torpedoes in a salvo can theoretically cause 6 breaches!

I will have to keep this in mind when I am GMing. I can’t remember off the top of my head if it specifically mentions this, but it seems logical to me to require spending threat in order to fire torpedoes at player ships.

Opposing forces (Raiders, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians/Dominion) may not be as stingy with torpedoes as the Federation might be, but firing them often at the player’s ship would be very problematic for them.

There are game reports of smaller vessels destroying Romulan D’deridex-class vessels with a single salvo…

If it helps on the original question, the basic system for causing breaches is exactly the same as for wounds in personal combat (except for the 2nd wound kills rule) and breakthroughs in extended tasks. If you’ve got the hang of one of these, it should be easy to handle the others - you only have to worry about extras like the High Yield option.

I can’t remember off the top of my head if it specifically mentions this, but it seems logical to me to require spending threat in order to fire torpedoes at player ships.

You are correct. GM’s Spend Threat whenever performing an action where the PCs would add to threat. If the GM has no Threat then they cannot fire torpedoes

Pg 281 Threat Spends sidebar

Non-Player Character Threat Spends. For any action or choice where a Player Character would add one or more points to Threat, a Non-Player Character performing that same action or choice must spend the equivalent number of points of Threat.

Pg 231 Torpedos

However, firing torpedoes can be considered to escalate hostilities, so attacking with torpedoes immediately adds 1 to Threat.

:slight_smile: Like I said in my post, it’s logical, and makes sense that you’d have to spend threat for torpedoing the player ship. They are the ‘heroes’ in the game, and blowing them out of the water (so to speak) with relative ease every ship combat encounter would be too overpowering and detrimental to the overall story. An occasional one here and there to ‘raise the stakes’ might be okay, though…

I’m mighty tempted to use NPC rules for starship damage for the players. I very much prefer the more chaotic feel of the movies when it comes to that; I like the feeling of more mortality. Anyone else try this?

Imo the standard rules are deadly enough. And when I (accidentally) kill sometimes one of their beloved sidekicks (“Jim, he is dead!”), it is enough to remind them of the dangers of space combat.

I agree with MR. Think of it this way, if you want to make it more ‘lethal’ for ship combat, have them face 2 ships one to two scale below them in an area or situation where they can not simply jump to warp. For example, when tasked with defending civilian cargo ships.

Using the following ship as the player ship for the following example: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1r3h3TUgw6Vb77dur_ZL2k1JoGyY-Hhox
Enemies for this scenario: 2 Jem’Hadar Attack Ships. (p 264/265 of core book)

If there are 4 players, you should have at minimum 8 threat (possibly more if this is not at the start of the mission). Spend 1 threat to have the Jem’Hadar go first, signifying a well-executed ambush, and have one ship enter an attack maneuver, spend 2 more threat to keep the initiative. Have the second Attack Ship fire a Phased Polaron Beam at them, targeting their weapons (spend 1 threat to purchase additional D20 for attack.)

I just rolled this out, 4 dice for the attack (2 for the crew firing, 1 for ship, 1 purchased) with a difficulty of 3 at medium range. Oddly enough, I rolled a 5, 6, and 7 for the crew, and a 5 for the ship. That is 4 successes which would give you one threat back and hits the weapons system of the ship dealing 8 CD of damage to the weapons. Rolling those dice, I got 3 effects, a 2, 1, 1, with 2 blank. Spend the threat you just earned to reroll the two blanks, get a 1 and another blank. That’s 8 damage with 3 effects of Piercing 2 to the weapons system. I believe that negates their resistance, which causes a breach to the weapons and drops their shields down to 9 (4 without Advanced Shields). That is just the opening volley, so to speak. Both Attack ships still have 4 more actions in the turn, and the ship that hasn’t fired yet is setting up for an attack against the ship, which will most likely be a close range Disruptor Cannon strafing run.

If you had 3 Jem’Hadar ships instead of 2, you could have 2 attack from medium range from different sides, while the third made the strafing run, with all of them aiming for the weapons first, then engines. If all else failed, one ship would make a suicide run at the player ship. It was a common tactic of Jem’Hadar.

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The way I make combat feel like the stakes are higher is by using a casualty system. If you’re having numbers of injured and dead crew reported every time you take a breach, it immediately becomes more desirable to stop taking damage.

Using NPC ship rules, you can destroy a players ship in 2 or 3 rounds depending on scale, without them really feeling the pain from the breaches (systems damage only really started to be a problem when you’re at the damaged level. Using npc rules, the ship would already be half destroyed for a single system to be damaged.)

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This are exactly my feelings!
For example take the Voyager. I am not sure, but iirc it posses a crew of something around 200 to 250?! And remember they use some quarters as school and kindergarten. Now imagine a breach just one deck above or below the kindergarten. Or the mom of one kid is an engineer, and was hurt by an energy feedback of a hit. Imo much interested as roleplaying hook, then just blow up the Voyager.

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Voyager had approximately 160 crew and passengers, and that included the crew from the Maquis ship and civilian personnel on board. Regular crew compliment for an Intrepid class is approximately 140.

Also, according to the game-mastering section, “NPC vessels can make use of the full damage rules”. With more than one NPC enemy vessel it is recommended to use the Quick Damage Rules, which is ship scale equals the number of breaches needed to completely destroy the ship regardless of which system was hit.

If you want to make combat more ‘lethal’, use the full starship damage rules that you use with the player ship. That would make encounters with more than one ship of equal scale very problematic and dangerous. (Not to mention take longer.) If that is how you would like to run it, I would suggest a modified version.

Minor NPC vessels use the Quick Damage Rules (Scale+ Breaches = Destroyed), while Notable NPC ships can take a little more than that in punishment, and Major NPC vessels use the full starship damage rules.

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Sorry to necro, but this thread seems like a better home for this question.

RAW states that extra Communications Breaches past Destroyed go to Computers, and similarly extra Computers Breaches go to Comms. (Weapons and Sensors have the same relationship.)

Q forbid, if both systems are Destroyed and you take a Breach to those systems, what happens? No extra effects, i.e. you’re effectively hitting scrap metal at this point? Or should it jump to the Engines and further us towards a Warp Core Breach?

Each of the Systems is paired with another for this effect - Engines and Structure have the same relationship (because if you frag a ship’s hull enough, it’ll eventually damage the engines, and if you blast the engines bad enough, the ship’s integrity suffers). If both systems in a pair are completely gone, you’re just hitting scrap metal, to no further effect.

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I would like to hear more about this - how do you determine the number of injuries or deaths?

I have a roll table. Its relatively random, but has a higher probability of lower numbers of casualties. It also separates injuries and deaths, which can be useful if you have a Medical officer who is struggling to find something that fits their character in a more drawn out conflict.

This has recently provided a source of in character trauma, with the crew having had 20-odd members of the crew. Its been fun!

I suspect that my GM sort of wings it on such rolls, but our last starship combat caused the death of 6 members of the engineering team and our captain is having all the angsts.

I wish it were something formal and structured. Given the class of the ship, we know about how large the crew it. For each breach, I would consider the number of crew potentially in that space. So if were a weapons hit, I would guess at five or six crew for each weapon, say 3 per phaser cannon, 5 for a TOS phaser, 5-8 for TG era. I think you get the idea. I then roll one or two, potentially more D6, D8 or D10 if it strikes me as a very serious hit. If I wish to ramp up the tension I could spend a threat to increase the die type. I assume about 1/3 of the resulting number are killed outright, and the remainder wounded to varying degrees. Since all Starfleet personnel have at least First Aid (Medical one), they are capable of doing some triage to sort casualties. I assume medical personnel are assigned to dressing stations, as on a real warship, with one of the medical team being a Medical 3, another a Medical 2 and a few regular crew to do the grunt work of moving patients to their receiving stations based on severity of injuries. If I have a Chief Medical Officer, I assume that character is receiving the worst cases in sickbay. I have been a paramedic for several decades, so triage is something I know a little about. I have a system for treating patients in mass casualty situations. It is amazing to me to watch non-medically trained folks work through the variations I have built into the system - they can become quite stressed. Anyhow, I use those RPG dice I have collected over the years to effect.

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