Throughout the Star Wars saga, space battles have determined the fate of entire worlds and altered the course of galactic history. They set the scene for heroes to meet their destinies, putting victory and glory- or death and defeat- within the range of a turbolaser cannon.
Main Article: Introduction
The cold stillness of space is shattered by the chaos of dozens of turbolasers discharging at once. An Imperial Star Destroyer fires broadsides at a Nebulon-B Frigate, the two passing one another in opposite directions like oceangoing ships passing through the night. In between exchanges of heavy weapons fire, a trio of TIE Fighters twists between glowing laser bolts while two X-Wing Fighters mimic their movements, swirling around in a deadly dance. A Corellian Corvette, leaking atmosphere and listing heavily, slams into the bridge of the Star Destroyer, setting off a chain reaction that destroys both vessels.
Sounds exciting? It does. Want it in your Star Wars campaign? You should.
That is what Starships of the Galaxy is all about. This section is designed to give Gamemasters and players everything they need to inject space combat, on both small and large scales, into any Star Wars Roleplaying Game campaign. This section contains new options for heroes looking to make their mark on the galaxy from the cockpit of a Starfighter and features information for Gamemasters to help make this happen. Whether you are simply looking for some new ships to throw into the mix or want to make Space Combat a larger part of your campaign, this section provides everything you need to enhance your Star Wars Starship-based experience.
Temp Article: Starship Adventures
The very title of the Star Wars setting makes it clear- most adventures are going to take place at least partially in space. Whether they're running past an enemy blockade of a planet, escaping Star Destroyers through an asteroid field, or fighting epic space battles to decide the fate of the galaxy, Star Wars heroes are going to end up in space. This chapter provides advice on adding Starship Scale encounters to a game and rules for heroes to go beyond being part-time pilots and fighter jockeys.
See Also: Starship Basics
This section covers some of the basics of Starships and Space Travel, giving players and Gamemasters a sense of how Space Travel and Starships work in the Star Wars universe. Gamemasters should feel free to use as much or as little of this material as they like; though this section includes information on established protocols and traditions of the Star Wars universe, none of these features are so integral to the central themes of Star Wars that they cannot be ignored if so desired.
As a general rule, your abilities affect starship combat in a similar way to how they would act in character combat. New talents, skills, and feats affect starships specifically. These abilities can be found in the following articles:
Main Article: Starship Combat
Starship Combat in the Star Wars universe is fast-paced and frantic: Starfighters clash in a void littered with obstacles and debris, Capital Ships fire broadsides at one another, and Space Transports run blockades while evading pursuit. All of these scenes are examples of the kind of excitement that Starship Combat generates.
The rules set for Starship Combat presented in Vehicle Combat works for fast and cinematic battles, but some players and Gamemasters might wish to add additional depth to their starship encounters. This section presents new rules as well as guidelines for including additional mechanics and options for Starship Combat.
Main Article: Starship Maneuvers
The Starship Maneuvers system provides new options for any character acting as a Pilot or Gunner during a Starship Scale encounter. Similar to the system for using Force Powers, the Starship Maneuvers system allows characters to perform incredible stunts or make use of advanced tactics in order to gain the upper hand in Starship Scale combat. Except for Starship Maneuvers used by Gunners, only Pilots of Starfighters and Airspeeders may make use of the mechanics in this section- Capital Ships and Space Transports are too large and cumbersome. (However, the Combat Thrusters Starship Modification may be used on Space Transports to circumvent this restriction).
Main Article: Starship Hazards
Another key element of good Starship Combat encounters is creating combat areas that are interesting. Certainly, encounters involving two groups of ships engaging one another in open space can be fun, but adding a certain element of environmental challenge to the encounter makes it that much more memorable. For example, The Millennium Falcon's daring escape from the forces of the Empire is made far more interesting by the fact that it flees through an asteroid belt wrought with peril, and Obi-Wan's dogfight with Jango Fett in Slave I is made more exciting by the hazards found in the ring of Geonosis. Just as in Character Combat, adding terrain features to space battles creates more lively combat sequences that require creativity and tactical thinking on the parts of the heroes.
Main Article: Starship Modifications
As soon as heroes get their hands on a Starship, they want to modify it. The desire for faster hyperdrives, more weapons, better shields, and possibly even some space for smuggled goods generally comes even before the first payment to a Hutt loan shark is due. Modifying a Starship gives players a sense of ownership that makes them more connected to a campaign, and it serves other useful purposes as well.
Heroes who want to improve a Starship have a built-in reason to take risks to earn credits (Or the help- and use of the repair bay- of a grateful military group). Although Star Wars focuses on heroic action-adventure rather than the act of cobbling together credits for tinkering with a ship, many characters are simply more motivated if they know there's a material reward on the line. Furthermore, a Starship acts as a good base of operations, allowing heroes to have a place that seems like home even as they gallivant across the galaxy. Finally, as the heroes gain levels, a better-equipped ship prepares them for greater challenges.
A Gamemaster should find these rules also useful for enhancing Starships flown by friends and foes of the heroes as well as for creating new Starships to represent the thousands of different models of spacecraft found throughout the galaxy. Though designing a new model of Starship is a lengthy process, it gives you a completely new class of Starship from which you can build yet more variants.
Main Article: Starship Codex
This chapter features new Starships from a variety of ears and locales. Each Starship has its own entry, with a complete stat block and image of the Starship. Many entries describe variants or famous individual ships, to further expand the usefulness of entries.
Additionally, some Space Transports have deckplans included in their entries. These ships are among the most suitable vessels for heroes to use as a base of operations and means of transport, and the deckplans are designed to leat Gamemasters use the ships as an adventuring locale as well as a means of transport.
Main Article: Tactical Fire
A number of Capital Ships have a Tactical Fire option, an alternative ability that allows them to function more like commanders than like individual ships. Each Tactical Fire option produces an "Aura" around the ship that affects the battlefield, replacing all of the Capital Ship's normal attacks in a given round. When engaged in combat against other Capital Ships, a Capital Ship is better off using it's normal attacks because they have the greatest chance of dealing the most damage.
Main Article: Focused Fire
All Capital Ships have the ability to focus their weapons on a large area of space, allowing the vessel to make a Starship Scale Area Attack. Essentially, Focused Fire creates dangerous "Terrain" in space by filling large areas of the battlefield with a hail of weapons fire. Much like the Tactical Fire option, this allows Gamemasters to use Capital Ships in a new way without making the ship into a direct combatant. A Colossal (Frigate) size ship can attack a single square with Focused Fire, a Colossal (Cruiser) size ship can attack a 2x2-square area, and a Colossal (Station) ship can attack a 3x3-square area.