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Shuttle Craft.... Crafting (and other ships)

Hey folks - I’m running a session tonight where my players may try to cobble together some kind of shuttle craft. I don’t recall if there are rules for this anywhere? Or if anyone knows of any good homebrew rules for this sort of thing?

Obviously I can just re-skin one of the pre-built shuttles, but it would be more dynamic if I had a system whereby their rolls/actions/choices have an impact on the abilities of the finished ship.

I recall something in the Operations Division supplement and something in the Delta Quadrant sourcebook. But all I found is an engineering talent on construction in the first and some Delta Flyer Variant in the second.

But that’s where I would start.

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In my campaign, the crew is non-Starfleet and has to create new stuff they need. In one episode, they constructed a new shuttle, similar to the Delta Flyer. I came up with rules for designing such a shuttle:

HOW TO BUILD A SHUTTLE

These are rules to build a custom shuttle. There are several phases where one or more players can roll. Not every character is suited for every phase, so I suggest having at most one lead in each phase plus one or two assistants. Each Complication during only one of the phases means that there is a design or construction flaw in the craft which remains undetected until it is exploited in the future by the GM. As always, you can pay two Momentum to remove a Complication.

The rolls are not particularly difficult because it is not really fun to make the players fail here. It really comes down to how much Momentum can they generate to enhance their shuttle further and how many Complications show up that the GM can exploit in the future.

1. Planning Phase

The Planning Phase determines the shuttle’s Scale and provides a basic Spaceframe. The intended Scale determines the Difficulty of the Task rolls for the upcoming phases. Difficulty is equal to Scale. There is no roll in this phase. Good designers and engineers can expand upon the Spaceframe in the later phases.

2. Design Phase

Roll: Reason/Insight + Conn/Engineering/Science

The Design Phase determines the nature and the profile of the ship. This is somewhat similar to selecting a Mission Profile for a starship. Is it a highly maneuverable flyer, a sluggish cargo scow or a surveillance vessel? The score in the Departments reflects the vessel’s profile.

Success means you have successfully designed a small craft. Create your vessel like this:

  • Assign the following scores to the shuttle’s Systems:
    • 8
    • 8
    • 7
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
  • Assign a score of 1 to two of the following Departments: Security, Engineering, Science. The Conn Department already has a score of 1, all other Departments have a score of 0.
  • Gain a Talent.
  • Gain a Weapon.
  • If this is a completely new or custom design, gain the Prototype Trait.

Complications in this phase mean that the vessel has a design flaw which is represented by either a Trait or a special rule chosen by the GM (e.g. it could be more difficult to repair the shuttle in space).

Momentum Spends:

  • Enhance Department: For 2 points of Momentum, increase a Department score (Conn, Security, Engineering or Science) by +1 (to a maximum of 2). Repeatable 1 time.
  • Enhance Firepower : For 1 point of Momentum, gain an additional Weapon or a Tractor Beam (or both for 2 Momentum) if the ship’s Security score is at least 1.

3. Construction Phase

Roll: Control + Conn/Engineering

After the ship is designed, it needs to be constructed by replicating materials or using existing ones. This is every engineer’s dream. And a good engineer can even enhance the ship’s systems further by using better materials or tweaking the safety specifications a little bit.

Success means that the vessel could be constructed according to the designed specifications. Complications in this phase mean that there are construction flaws somewhere in the shuttle which the GM may exploit at a later time or in future missions.

Momentum Spends:

  • Enhance System: For 2 point of Momentum, increase 1 System score by +1. No System may be increased by more than one. Repeatable 3 times.

4. Test Phase

Roll: Control/Daring + Conn

How does the design and the construction hold up under the scrutiny of an actual pilot? Does the vessel perform as you anticipated or do changes have to be made? Maybe some fine-tuning is required or the well-designed ship reveals some hidden perks.

Success means that the vessel held up to the specifications and the rigorous testing of the pilot. Complications mean that the shuttle has to be adjusted, reducing one of its System scores by 1 for each Complication.

Momentum Spends:

  • Discover Flaw: For 1 point of Momentum, discover a Complication that was created in the Construction Phase (but not the Design Phase) and remove it. Repeatable once for each such Complication.
  • Hidden Talent: For 2 points of Momentum, gain a Talent. Repeatable once.