A Primer for Starship (and Vehicle) Combat

This is a work in progress

Basics
To hit: starships add their intelligence bonus, not the dex bonus of the pilot or the ship to the base attack of the gunner. This represents the ship’s targeting computer. In ship profiles, the skill of the ships crew determines the Base Attack Bonus (BAB) of the gunner. All of the math is already included for NPC ships. Starships have no facing, that is they can shoot any gun at anyone they have line of sight to.

So BAB + ship’s INT bonus +1d20.

Most ships have a pretty low Reflex defense and a staggeringly high Fort defense. This is because the ship’s size affects its Reflex defense and most ships are colossal or larger, which gives them a -10 to Reflex, pilot checks, and initiative. This has the side affect of making pilot DCs a lot more difficult than would normally be assumed. It isn’t unusual for very skilled low level characters to have a net negative modifier to their pilot checks, which is something to keep in mind when assigning DCs. Ship fort defenses are based off their strength (which is always enormous), not their con.

To Damage: All ships have hit points and Damage Resistance (DR), and most ships have a Shield Rating (SR). Hit points and DR work normally, but SR is defined in the combat section, not the vehicle section. Damage hits SR first, then DR, then hit points. If the damage is enough to go over the SR, the SR rating drops by 5. Shield rating can be recovered by spending 3 swift actions and a successful DC 20 Mechanics check.

Most vehicle weapons have multipliers in their damage statistic and any bonuses to damage the ships weapon receives are added before the rolled result is multiplied. so a + 2 bonus to damage would look like this on an x-wing 6d10 + 2×2, not 6d10x2 + 2.

Vehicular Combat
This feat is absolutely essential for anyone who wants to play a pilot. As noted above, Ships have pretty low Reflex Defenses. This is fine for capital ships, but it means that any decent pilot can blow away the smaller ships. Vehicular combat fixes that by letting you dodge. It also lets the pilot shoot without having to spend a feat on Heavy Weapons (no one starts with Heavy Weapon proficiency). Vehicular Combat is so useful it seems almost broken, but really it’s just fixing the gap between standard personal combat and ship combat.

Unusual Modifiers
It’s noted above that ships suffer a penalty due to their size. Their are no vehicles smaller than Large, and no ships smaller than Huge, so every time the pilot skill is used it will suffer a negative penalty. This is sometimes offset by the ship’s dex bonus, but often it is not. This means that if you require the crews of capital ships to make checks for takeoff/landing, they will fail over 50% of the time. The Modifiers are (from page 166 Core):

Large (landspeeder): -1
Huge (Tie fighter): -2
Gargantuan (X-wing): -5
Colossal and bigger: -10

Ships that are Colossal (frigate) size or larger (basically the capital ships of Star Wars) suffer a -20 to hit anything smaller than Colossal, unless the gunner is shooting a point defense weapon. Point defense weapons are noted as such in Vehicle stat blocks.

NPC ships and PC ships large enough to have an NPC crew are given a crew rating that shows what their BAB and skill check modifier is. All modifiers are already calculated for you in stat blocks, but it is sometimes useful to know the actual bonuses since some talents and situations can increase or decrease crew quality. The info is in the insert on page 174 of the Core.

Combat Actions:

Characters fulfill roles in starship combat, and while a character can take the responsibility of more than one role, pilot, gunner, and commander, for example, only one character can fill a role at one time. You can switch roles from round to round provided no other character has taken that role since your last turn. More than one person can be a gunner, provided there are enough guns to shoot.

Pilot:
Reactions:
Avoid Collision DC 15 Pilot
Negate Hit (must have Vehicular Combat. 1/round. DC= opponents attack roll result)
Swift Actions:
Aim
Full Stop (only if you haven’t moved this turn)
Increase Vehicle Speed (DC 20 pilot check; failure means -1 on the condition track, success is a + 1 to speed and an additional + 1 for every 5 points over the DC)
Move Actions:
Move up to your vehicles speed, but cannot reenter a square you just left
Standard Actions:
Aid Another (Attack roll) DC 10 Attack vs. Reflex
Aid Another (Recharge Shields) DC 10 Mechanics
Aid Another (Reroute Power) DC 10 Mechanics
Attack Run (basically a charge with a vehicle)
Dogfight (see page 171 Core; a Dogfight can be started as an Attack of Opportunity)
Attack (The Pilot can attack only with pilot-operated weapons, but gets a + 2 bonus if he is trained in the pilot skill)
Fight Defensively (pretty much the same as the character scale version)
Full-Round Actions:
All-Out Movement (This is pretty much the same thing as a character scale Run, with similar restrictions)
Full Attack (only if the vehicle has already been brought to a Full Stop)
Ram (Pilot check -10 vs. targets Reflex)

Copilot
Standard Actions:
Aid Another (Pilot) DC 10 Pilot
Aid Another (Recharge Shields) DC 10 Mechanics
Aid Another (Reroute Power) DC 10 Mechanics

Gunner
Swift Action:
Aim
Standard Actions:
Aid Another (Attack) DC 10 Attack vs. Reflex
Aid Another (Recharge Shields) DC 10 Mechanics
Aid Another (Reroute Power) DC 10 Mechanics
Attack
Full-Round Actions
Full Attack

Commander
Standard Actions:
Aid Another (Attack) DC 10 Knowledge (Tactics)
Aid Another (Recharge Shields) DC 10 Mechanics
Aid Another (Reroute Power) DC 10 Mechanics
Aid Another (Use Computer) DC 10 Use Computer (only the Commander can aid on these checks, more on that later)

System Operator
Starships of the Galaxy adds two new uses for the Use Computer skill on a starship (Use Communications and Use Sensors), and it is heavily implied that they are exclusive to the System Operator, but it isn’t actually stated. I put them here for completeness.
Reaction
Use Communications (respond to hail)
Use Sensors (First Attempt to Identify Ship) DC 10 size and shields DC 15 make and model
Use Sensors (Avoid Surprise) exactly like a perception check at character scale
Use Sensors (Notice Targets (in line of sight)) as above
Swift Actions:
Use Communications (Hail) DC 5 or DC 0 if same IFF encryption
Raise or Lower Shields
Recharge Shields (3 swift) DC 20 Mechanics increase shields by + 5 up to max
Move Actions:
Use Communications (establish secure communications) DC sets difficulty to intercept
Use Sensors (Further Attempts to Identify Ship) see above
Standard Actions:
Use Communications (Eavesdrop) DC 20 or establish secure communications DC. + 10 to DC for encrypted systems. Failure by 10 or less might give you their protocols
Use Sensors (Notice Hidden Targets) exactly like perception check at character scale
Aid Another (Reroute Power) DC 10 Mechanics
Aid Another (Attack) DC 10 Use Computer
Full-Round:
Use Sensors to search for hidden weapons or compartments

Engineer
Swift
Reroute Power (3 swift) DC 20 Mechanics moves vehicle +1 on the condition track
Standard
Aid Another (Recharge Shields) DC 10 Mechanics

The collision rules require careful reading and use of the errata to make any sense. They are to starship combat what grappling is to melee.

Advanced Rules

A Primer for Starship (and Vehicle) Combat

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