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Cenematic Starship Combat in PD d20
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CCfan
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 6:55 pm    Post subject: Cenematic Starship Combat in PD d20 Reply with quote

I've read through the PD d20 core book and am rather dissapointed that you basically need Star Fleet Battles to do starship combat because, although the book gives cenematic combat suggestions, it doesn't give ship stats. I really don't want to buy Star Fleet Battles because I don't like war games, and I've already dropped a good bit of money on DP. Has anyone run cenematic combat? Does anyone have any suggestions for ship stats, ie, Hit Points, BAB, AC, DR, and weapons damage for various ships?
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, you could use Federation Commander for the "cinematic"-type combat system.
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junior
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given the context of the statement, I doubt FC is considered a viable option either.

Razz

For starship combat, I recommend keeping the following items in mind (with props to WEG's Star Wars game, and R. Talsorian's Mekton - the latter actually begins the relevant essay with "Why this is Mekton and not Starfleet Battles" Razz )


In an RPG, starships tend to become props. Use them that way. Treat them that way. Keep them as abstracted as you can get away with. The exact number of hit points on a starship doesn't really matter that much because your players are never going to kill one with a phaser rifle. Starships last as long as the GM says they do, take the exact amount of damage that the GM says they do, and blow up when the GM says they do. In fact, Mekton encourages GMs (in cinematic games) to be particularly liberal in blowing up any and all ships involved in a space battle - except for ships that are important to the plot (such as, for instance, the ship that the players happen to be on).

Dying because your shuttle just happened to get too close to a hostile Klingon D7 is a particularly lousy and disappointing way to go.

Now even with all of the above, it is helpful to know just how many phasers a D7 has in it's wing arcs. And with that in mind, I have a couple of recommendations.

1.) Grab the "First Missions" packet. It's available for download on the front page of the Federation Commander website. It'll give you a better idea of just how much damage a photon torpedo does, and just how much more maneuverable a D7 is when compared to a Federation CA. You don't have to use the rules in your game. But it'll let you understand what all of that stuff on the ship displays actually does.
2.) Check out the various booster packs that are available. They should have everything ranging from frigates to command cruisers. The next collection of boosters will even have some of the more exotic dreadnoughts. You won't have any battleships (nearly all of which were conjectural anyway), the normal dreadnoughts, or heavy battlecruisers. But you should have access to everything else. Twenty bucks will get you a decent sized collection of Federation ships and either Klingon or Romulan vessels (at $10 per booster).
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Bolo_MK_XL
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually for use with PD -- wouldnt the SSD for use for the Intruder scenario be more appropriate --
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Mazza
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could also give the Star Fleet Battle Force card game a go as it is quick. May not suit your needs though.

As you're using the d20 System, you could give WotC's d20 Future book a go or the starship combat system from WotC's Star Wars RPG a go. You'd have to make up your own statistics though, and I don't really like either system because they tend to require a really big map to play on and end up reducing most of the player characters to people who just roll a dice from time to time.

Depending on the mixture of roles in your group, SFB or FC might work better than you think. My players, none of whom were wargamers, didn't find SFB over whelming in my last PD campaign because they had the task of controlling their ship split up between them. The engineer would handle power allocation, the helmsman would move the ship about and shoot, and the captain would sit there feeling important giving orders. Very Happy Of course, I had to run the enemy ships all by myself so that might be a problem if you're the GM and you don't want to learn how to play SFB.

One thing I do suggest though if you do use SFB, and maybe FC too although I've not personally played it so I am not sure, is that you wrap up the battle sooner than you would in a full-blown SFB game. Whether than means you just multiply all the damage done by a factor of two, or whether that means that you just blow up the less important ships when it is clear that they're beaten rather than drag the fight out to the bitter end. I don't suggest doing that to the player's ship though - it's cinematic for them to battle out until the bitter end. Very Happy When the enemy's reactors are crippled, for instance, I tend to declare that they're having a warp core breach and have them blow up or otherwise end the combat, since the result is pretty much a foregone conclusion and you want to keep things moving.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't really know how an RPG game with five or six people in "the group" runs starship combat with crews of 400 people, but then....

I have two guys working on RPG starship combat based on the "gunboats and workboats" (about the smallest thing in SFB, these have crews of 5-30 depending on type). One for GURPS and one for d20.

And some work has been done on "adventure scale Federation commander" which doubles the number of boxes on a squadron scale card. Useless for frigates, impossible for cruisers, but really spiffy for gunboats.
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junior
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Adventure Scale"?

New Convention event -

How many Fleet Scale frigates does it take to kill the Adventure Scale Battleship (on a two page display)?

Or Adventure Scale Juggernaut?

Wink
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Mazza
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Cole wrote:
I don't really know how an RPG game with five or six people in "the group" runs starship combat with crews of 400 people, but then....


In my own games of both Prime Directive and various canon Trek RPGs, we've always incorporated starship combat pretty successfully. Having a small group of player characters is no problem at all - the player characters generally take on the most important roles on the ship in my games (the captain, chief engineer, helmsman, etc). They all get assigned their particular tasks, which works a lot better in Prime Directive than in canon Trek RPGs I might add, because in Prime Directive I have always used SFB rather than the "native" ship combat system, and SFB gives all the players plenty to do, whereas the latest offering by Decipher, say, gives nobody but the captain very much to do.

The other 395 people or so on the ship are NPCs doing their task more or less invisibly, much as they do on the TV show! Very Happy

To the original poster: Recognising that you said you don't want to buy SFB and assuming you don't want to give FC a go, since you're using the d20 version of Prime Directive, you could use the spaceship design and combat system from d20 Future (which admittedly is for d20 Modern rather than the basic d20 System but it should all be pretty much interchangeable if you're just using part of it). Alternatively you could use the combat system from another d20 game like Star Wars. You would have to homebrew your own stats for the ships but either of those systems (both of which are quite similar) would do the trick. Not as well as SFB does in my opinion, since once again it tends to shift the focus to the captain, but maybe that is more cinematic (for the player playing the captain anyway!).
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Repok
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While it may not be SFU, it is D20. If you can find an original copy of the Frist Edition Star Wars D20, it had an excellent way of doing abstracted, character based starship combat, using two tracking pages divided into quadrants.

This, of course, is if you don't want to do the hex-based thing. Stay away from the 2nd Ed of the SW RPG spaceship combat, it has all the math and complexity of SFU stuff, but without the clean rules or actual playtesting.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might comment that....

1. You can download FIRST MISSIONS and the communiques and play a heck of a lot of Fed Commander for free.

2. We have a deal with Starmada to do a version of SFU for that rules set.

3. We have a deal with Silent Death to do a version of SFU for that rules set, too.
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Mazza
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my latest GURPS Prime Directive campaign (which started last weekend), we moved to using Federation Commander, using the GURPS rules to do the sort of techwank stuff you see on the small screen in Trek which isn't covered in the rules (e.g. lots of Electronics Operations type rolls).

It worked brilliantly - players still all had enough to do without the complexity of SFB. I highly suggest anyone who just assumes that Federation Commander would be too complex for a "cinematic" combat system gives the game a go using First Missions. My players, only one of whom had played FC before, and one other who had played SFB before years and years ago and never very much, had the hang of things well and truly by the end of turn one.
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TriOpticon
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Cole wrote:
2. We have a deal with Starmada to do a version of SFU for that rules set.

3. We have a deal with Silent Death to do a version of SFU for that rules set, too.
Any Full Thrust deals?
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not at this time, but maybe next year. I have more deals in the works than I can keep track of, and if they all produce products this year it will exceed the capability of the printing equipment anyway.
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Dan Ibekwe
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SFB/FC meets Squadron Strike in 3D!

(Blisses out)
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Sgt_G
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back in 2006, I created a topic "Using Fed Cmdr in PD", hoping that people would post some ideas of how to make it work. Sadly, the discussion went off-topic and died out without any real "work" done. {sigh} Hopefully, this topic gets some good ideas posted.
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