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[FATE] Starships


Starblazer Adventures is coming out at some point in the murky future.
I want it.
I'll get it.
I dont want to wait.
I must. :mad:

So, I'll take a stab at this major component to sort of prep, with you're help.

Already some have thoughts:

I've envisioned a scale system, based off of powers of two or powers of 10- something 10 meters long might be scale +1, 100 meters +2, 1000 meters +3, etc. This might work well for starships in something like the Culture, where the biggest ships are measured in hundreds of kilometers, and would be scale +5.

Alternatively, you could declare human size (about 2 meters) scale 0, and every doubling is +1 to scale. 4m, 8m (big ground vehicle), 16m (fighter size), 32m (millenium falcon), and so on. This would be a useful scaling system if you had a smaller range of vessel sizes, from modern cars up to modern aircraft carriers, maybe.

Yet again, a really simple scale might be small starcraft (+1), capital ships (+2), starbase (+3). Planes and cars are already in SotC, and don't use scale rules, so they're obviously human-scale.
If what matters for SotC vehicles is their speed and toughness, I think for spaceships we prioritize their speed and size (check out the opening scene of Star Wars)

Speed is easy as it's been covered in SotC already, unlike size. I'm of a design mind for DanMcS's third suggestion here, but I think a little more granularity would be better. This website gives excellent reference for comparisons. Going by the Description Ladder we can grade a number of ship sizes but without the need for precise geometric progression (eww, numbers).

Average size would be the smallest in the neighborhood of 10m, an SUV to a Rebel AllianceA-Wing -- the starfighter category.Cars/trucks are Mediocre and humans we can tuck away at Poor size for reference.
Fair would be the next step: The Falcon, A Boeing 747, The Serenity from Firefly you're general tens of meters range.
Good can represent the lower hundreds of meters for your Klingon Birds of Prey, Rebel Aliiance Blockade runners, and THE Space Battleship Yamato/Argo (265m).
Great is your half kilometer monsters - some icons live here: Moya from Farscape, The Battlestar Galactica, Sovereign class NCC-1701-E Enterprise.
Superb are the 1 to a few klicks mamas: The SDF-1, Imperial Star Destroyer, Babylon 5 Vorlon Cruiser.
Fantastic scale, we dont see a whole lot of it as it composes the general "We're F'ed!" category: Borg Cubes, Death Star, Independance Day Mothership (without Norton Anti-Virus) -- generally we need not worry about this scale until story arch conclusions. The basic five are expansive enough.

What to do with the scale? It should probably apply as a modifier to the vehicle's Might, for one thing, when it's attempting to do human-sized lifting. So an Average (+1) Might starship with scale +5 would roll +6 to start for lifting things, if it ever came up.

Then you could layer on some complexity in a fight- characters get the difference in scale as a modifier when attacking a vehicle- so if it's 5 scales bigger than you, you get a +5. But because damage in SotC is tied directly to the result of your attack, you'd then have to do something like give all scaled vessels a bonus to their stress boxes, maybe 2 per scale, or else reduce damage applied by a smaller target to a larger, and increase damage a larger deals to a smaller...
Might I dont think we need to worry about so much. Bigger ships can carry alot more than smaller ones and their tractor beams mack the little ladies.

What does concern me is interaction across scales. Same scale stuff doesnt need special mods. My idea is this: size difference bonuses the smaller ships accuracy and evasion, but doubles the damage dealt and halves the damage taken of the larger ship per difference.

So, The Falcon (Fair size) against a Star Destroyer (Superb) gets +3 to hit and to evade it's fire, but the damage shifts it deals are divided by 6 (2 x 3) to effect the Destroyer's stress and if the Imps hit the Falcon by 1 shift it'll take 6 shifts of damage!

This way we can also do away with the bigger ships having tons of stress to be kept up with in combat. All stock ships of each size get let's say 3 or 4 stress, automatically size adjusted, and start with Average speed.

A starship should probably have more attributes than top speed and stress. A ship might need ratings in Alertness (sensors), Athletics (acceleration), Endurance, Guns, Might, and even Academics or Science depending on the computer system available to it- a Culture Mind is smarter than any people you'll ever meet. If it's smart it will need social skills. Maybe one player should just play the ship.
I'm thinking we can use the improvements on pg 213 of SotC. We'll just need some new areas of enchancement for those not covered already: shields, hyperdrives, cloaking device. Each can be taken multiple times to increase capability.

This is starting to look like maybe a starship needs to be a character of its own, which seems pretty rules-heavy for a bolt-on to Fate.
I say we take a page from FATE Fudge Edition and let ships have aspects. Each aspect provides 4 slots that we use to buy design improvements like intrinsic extras.

And that's what I got so far ...
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Validated User
I had a thought about a ship's engines rating.

Might is how much stuff a ship can move.
Athletics is basically acceleration and maneuverability.
Endurance is (among other things) how long it can fly.

Sum the three and get an "engines" rating- a ship with engines 10 can choose to have high acceleration but not move much mass and not for long, or low acceleration for the long haul...

Maybe there's something there, if you're trying to build a ship-building system. Like, every stunt a player kicks in towards the group's ship provides X ship-building points, each ship-building point is good for some ship skills. Or something.

Another thing:
Stress tracks: health is physical/capabilities.
Composure/Electronics is the alternate, representing electronic warfare, sensors, and software attacks- you might assault a ship by throwing viruses at it as well as kinetic missiles. Social conflict for ships! Deceit/Intimidation/Rapport vs Resolve/Empathy/Deceit?

Deceit: ECM
Intimidation: Jamming
Rapport: Hostile software

Resolve: system security
Empathy: some other system security? This isn't going to map out directly. Should ships have the same skills as a PC, or a separate set of "ship skills"?


Loves Sci-fi RPGs
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Empathy: some other system security? This isn't going to map out directly. Should ships have the same skills as a PC, or a separate set of "ship skills"?
I'd do this:

Empathy: Sensors.
Rapport: Communications
Intimidation: hostile software


Three Generous Legends
Concept first, then conversion
While I must confess that I am not familiar with "Starblazer Adventures", I think you are going about this the wrong way. You should try to state your intended goal or concept behind the design you want to see before we try to convert it into game mechanics.

Therefore; what kind of starship do you want? Star Wars alike where size of great importance. Star Trek, where technology is. Generic, where there can be a multitude of options. Sentient/living, ohhhh.

Type out in one or two sentences the 'feel' you'd want for these starships.



Ah, I see, Dan. You're talking about ships as pools of party ability. Hadn't considered that, over even wildly imagined it.

I'm thinking of a building system very much based off of SotC.

Let's take a Average sized ship frame, with Average speed. It'll cost Superb Resources, which may vary per setting given tech level and takes 6 days to build by SotC crafting rules (pg. 213). It automatically does all the stuff you need a starship to do: enter orbit, move in space, sustain your life for hours or days, detect things, let ya radio Houston. Fits the most basic definition of spaceship.

We need an "Alliance starfighter". An aspect with four slots and a point of Refresh. Two slots are spent on Weapons: one allows you to use Guns to attack and another to give you +1 stress dealt when you hit -- basically you've got dual laser cannons. A third slot we choose concussion missles, which work like weapons but their damage is one scale higher than your size and lets say you get 3 of attacks like this per battle (three missles) since it's a small fighter. The fourth slot is spent of Reinforced Systems: Engineering gets a +1 to repair and maintain the ship.

We want something more special, the "Fastest Fighter in the Fleet". That's an aspect, so we gain 4 design slots and a point of Refresh. We spend all four on Revved Up Engines stunt, for a new speed of Superb.

We also want an "Advanced Interceptor". Four more slots. Two spent on Sensor Jammer stunt: the first allows an Computer skill check as a supplemental action to place "Weak Target Profile" on your ship -- tagged to make you harder to hit; the second give +1 to this skill check. Another slot is spent on Shields, to give you a bonus allowable Mild consequence "Shields Blown". The fourth is spent for Sharpened Control: giving you +1 to Piloting rolls. And, another point of Refresh.

We end up with a decent approximation of a ...

Rebel Alliance A-Wing fighter
Average size (+1)
Speed Superb
Aspects - Alliance Starfighter, Fastest Fighter in the Fleet, Advanced Interceptor
FATE pts - 3
Features - Dual laser cannons, +1 stress to targets hit
Concussion Missiles, Fair damage size, 3 missles
Reinforced Systems, Engineering +1 to repair/maintain
Sensor Jammer, Computers +1 to gain a "Weak Target Profile" aspect via Manuever
Sharpend Controls, Piloting +1
Stress - O O O
Consequences - Mild Shields Blown O
Mild O
Moderate O
Severe O
Taken Out O

Very simple. The prototype would be Legenday +9 difficulty to make and take 11 days (likely much longer to get the skill bonus) with the most advanced shipyard you've got. Once the design is proven the cost could settle down to Epic.

Improvements would differ setting to setting as NkeNy points out.
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Three Generous Legends
Hmmm... let assume the Star Wars setting. The time frame is right after "The Empire Strikes Back" (After the The battle of Hoth) We are constructing an "A-Wing Interceptor". Now during this timeframe there are two essential 'basic' starting points for starfighters. One is the TIE fighter, the other the Z-95 Headhunter.

We'll be working with the Z-95 because it has shields. The stat line is as follows --> Z-95 Headhunter (Starfighter), Average, [_][_][_], Armed, Shields[1]. This means it is a Z-95, class of Starfighter, Average speed, three boxes of stress damage, it is armed (guns skill to shoot), and has 1 level of armor. (that is roll-up prevention).

Speed Table is:
- Foot
- Ground Vehicle
- Capital Starship
- Freighters
- Starfighters

Lets assume 1 level of 'Prototype' Improvement. This gives us 3 upgrades to play with. So I made the following:

RZ-1 A-wing interceptor(Starfighter), Superb, [_][_], Armed, Shields[1]
1. Futurization: Oversized Engines --> increase Speed by 4. Decrease Stress by 1. +1 Difficulty to repair/maintain.
2. Additional Capability: Hyperdrive --> Access to hyperspace.
3. Upgrade: Autoblasters and Concussion Missiles --> +2 Stress vs Starfighters

NOTE: The only thing this seems to be missing would be the improved sensors the A-wing is reputed the sport. *shrug* I guess it would be possible to stick a "Craftsmanship: Sensors" in there somewhere.

Done. Certainly not the most crunchy of conversions, but certainly very functional. Now add some innate rules to how Starships all operate. Energy management and the sort and you'll have a plenty interesting system. Of course porting the SotC vehicle rules directly to star wars isn't all that fair. Vehicles in SotC are meant to go out with a boom, whereas in Star Wars going out will mean a long cold wait. It is probably very appropriate to increase their survivability in some manner. (this begs for consequences)
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Three Generous Legends
TIE-Fighter(Starfighter), Good, [_][_], Armed.

TIE/In interceptor, Superb, [_][_], Armed
1. Craftsmanship: Exceptional maneuverability due to P-s5.6 twin ion engines --> Pilot+1
2. Upgrade: T-s9a targeting computer and multiple blasters --> +2 Stress vs Starfighters
3. Speculative Science: Unique power-plants, exceptional miniaturization , and effective power efficiency. --> +2 speed, Considered as having an +1 level powerplant. (whatever that means! :) )
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An old favorite ...

Defiant Class escort cruiser, United Federation of Planets
Good size (+3)
Speed Good (Upgrade, 1 pts)
Aspects - Fast Attack vessel, Tough Little ship, Overpowered for her size
FATE Pts. - 3
Features -
Pulse Phaser Cannons, Armed & Upgraded - +2 stress damage (2pts.)
Proton Torpedos, Armed - Great damage size (1 pt)
Quantum Tropedos, Armed & Upgrade - Superb damage size (2pts.)
Reinforced Hull, Armored - stress doesnt roll up (1pt)
Ablative armor, Rugged - Stress +2 (1pt)
High yield Deflector, Rugged - Two more Mild consequences (2pts)
Warp Drive, Additional Capability - FTL (1pt)
Transporter, Additional Capability - Instant teleportation (1 pt)
Stress - O O O O O O
Consequences - Shields Weakened O Shields Lost O Mild O Moderate O Severe O
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Three Generous Legends
Excellent, now just come up with a robust 'Energy Management' ruleset and a good measurement of 'Sensors' and your good to go. I particularly enjoy the notion of 'everyone' adding to building a larger ship. Thats just very cool.

Also allows players to take on different roles aboard the ship.
- Commander (The ship itself and major aspects)
- Engineer (Engines, Warp drive, crew)
- Security/Military Officer (Minions, weapon systems, and such)
- Medlab (Medical/laboratory Facilities, assistants, etc)

etc. Awsome!
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