Space Battles Discussion

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Space Battles Discussion

#1 Postby TyrantLobe » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:05 pm

Hey all,

I'm putting together a Star Wars campaign, and have come space battles in my planning. I'd like to keep the action moving in space battles (F!F!F!), rather than get too bogged down in rules and procedures. That would take away from the feel of Star Wars, to me. I recently bought the Sci-Fi Gear and World Builder Toolkits to help in this process, but I've come to a bit of a mental roadblock, and I'm looking for insight, opinion, info... whatever anyone ants to share.

Really, I'm just looking for the best way to run space battles, whether smaller engagements or large-scale battles. Here are my questions:

Do the Mass Battles rules in the SW Deluxe Edition work well for space battles?

Do the Chase rules work well for large battles or just smaller battles? Neither? How about in asteroid fields? :wink:

What about battles with larger goals? (Make an attack run down the trench to destroy the Death Star, etc.)

I'm sure this question has probably been asked a million times in a million ways, but trying to pull together varying opinions from across the interwebz can be tough.


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#2 Postby Wibbs » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:08 pm

I'd have a look at the space battle rules presented in Daring Tales of the Space Lanes, as I think these give a great balance between FFF and enough detail to keep things interesting. They also cover chases and asteroid fields.

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#3 Postby TyrantLobe » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:44 pm

Interesting. Hadn't seen that one before. Does the Starships of the Galaxy product have the rules?

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#4 Postby ValhallaGH » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:09 pm

The trick is to keep all the players involved. I ran a mass space battle that was much more fun than my various starship combats - because I kept everyone engaged, and used descriptions that fired their imaginations.

Two characters were directly involved, one as a fighter squadron leader and the other as the one-man Mandalorian boarding party. The other two players rolled for my two commanders, keeping the players involved even though the characters were not.

Then I could focus on awesome descriptions. How the Jedi led his squadron in a series of knife-cuts at the enemy fleet, blasting holes in defenses and distracting gunners from his fleet's big ships. How the bounty hunter led the boarding action of a capital ship, and managed to take control of the bridge and fire control single-handedly (the rest of the crew charged engineering). This inspired the Mandalorian to ram another ship, hopping into a life pod at the last minute, and shattering the enemy formation. Then the fighters came tearing in, smashing any attempt to restore order, and the big boys trundled into the breach and hammered the enemy to flinders.

It was a great time, and the single most successful space encounter I ran in that campaign.
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#5 Postby Reef » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:20 pm

TyrantLobe wrote:Interesting. Hadn't seen that one before. Does the Starships of the Galaxy product have the rules?

Yes, it's pretty much self-contained. There is a freebie web supplement for it on the TAG site for Fighter Swarms (definitely worth getting).

You might want to download the freebie Daring Tales of the Space Lanes guide though. If I was running Star Wars, I know I'd be using the setting rules therein.

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#6 Postby TyrantLobe » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:55 pm

Good advice Valhalla. I definitely want to keep the space encounters interesting. That sounds like it was a great scenario.

Thanks for the pointer to DTotSL stuff, Reef. I'm downloading them now.

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Check out Traveller?

#7 Postby Utgardloki » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:58 pm

When I was thinking about running a Battlestar Galactica campaign (without using the Battlestar Galactica RPG since I didn't have that book then), I came up with some ideas that ended up being close to the way that Traveller handles space battles, as described in the Mongoose Traveller book.

The essential component is that rather than keept rack of exactly where the spaceships were in relation to each other, you just tracked whether they were close, far, or at point blank range. I'm working off memory here, but when I read it, I decided that that was what I wanted to use.

I thought about using cardboard templates to keep track of which ships were close to or far from which other ships: two ship tokens on the same template would be in the same zone, and a piloting role would be needed to get away from or get closer to another ship that was not cooperating.

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#8 Postby Big Juju » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:23 am

Give this thread a read to see a more abstract way of handling space combat that keeps all of your players involved:
Check out my Savage Star Wars adventures:

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#9 Postby Archmage » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:46 am

In my Battlestar campaign we played little skirmishes on the tabletop using the normal vehicle combat rules. While players in fighters just played themselves I let players onboard the capitals make all the rolls for the crew or even man a single gun by themself. That as stated by others in this thread kept everyone occupied and tied to the action.
For bigger battles we used the chase rules, it worked most of the time since most of the time neither side wanted to flee :eek:
The new chase rules from SW:DL are even better suited for dogfights, abstract but dynamic given the different ranges.
As for the asteroid field I would make it an ongoing complication (regardless of the card suite drawn) forcing every pilot to make an additional piloting roll (penalty depending on the density of the field) or crashing into an obstacle. When a further complication comes up due to the action card make up something else (system malfunction, extrem dense micro asteroids etc.) for another roll or higher penalty.

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