Player > Starships > Other
Many other systems have requirements that must be met before they can be installed on a ship. Frequently, these requirements demand a certain amount of power or a specific starship size or tier. Some systems are so standardized that the different types available are simply referred to by their mark (mk), expressing the typical bonus provided.
Armor protects a ship from direct-fire weapons (see Type on page 303), deflecting their energy and preventing damage to critical ship systems. It grants an armor bonus to a ship’s AC. Armor’s cost depends on the bonus it grants and the ship’s size category (for the purpose of this calculation, Tiny = 1, Small = 2, Medium = 3, Large = 4, etc.). Armor is a passive system and does not require any PCU to remain functional. It provides protection primarily through mass, which can affect a ship’s maneuverability (making it harder to turn) and make it easier for opponents using tracking weapons to lock on to the ship— these effects are listed in the Special column of the table below.
A computer system functions in many ways as a ship’s brain.
Most computers aboard starships have at least a rudimentary
artificial personality, and while they can’t fully perform the
duties of a crew member, they can assist crew members in
various tasks. However, many spacefarers claim that over time, a
starship’s computers can develop temperaments and personality
quirks that set them apart from identical computers in other
ships. A starship has a basic computer of a tier equal to half the
starship’s tier (minimum 1); see the Computers skill on page 137
and Computers on page 213 for more information about how a
starship computer can be hacked or upgraded. Which upgrades
a crew can purchase for its starship computer is determined by
the GM; some upgrades can be purchased with Build Points (see
While a starship’s computer is responsible for operating and managing a wide variety of starship systems at any given point in time, only a starship with an integrated control module (ICM) can aid the crew in starship combat (the basic computer listed on the table below is the only option that lacks an ICM). In general, an ICM adds a flat circumstance bonus to one or more starship combat checks, decided just before the check is attempted. An ICM has a number of nodes; each node grants its bonus to one starship combat check per round. Multiple nodes allow an ICM to influence multiple starship combat checks in a round, but they do not allow a computer to add multiple bonuses to the same starship combat check.
The cost of an ICM for the starship’s computer is equal to the bonus it grants squared, multiplied by its number of nodes. ICMs can be purchased only with Build Points, not with credits.
Most starships larger than Tiny have places where their crew can eat, sleep, and bathe during long journeys through space. These quarters can range from hammocks strung between cargo containers to cozy chambers with custom furnishings and private bathrooms. Crew quarters consume a negligible amount of PCU, though amenities in fancier quarters require an operational power core to function.
Defensive countermeasures systems protect a ship from tracking weapons such as missiles, and they make it difficult for enemies using sensors to get a solid reading on the ship. They do this via a complicated suite of electronic sensors and broadcasting equipment that’s designed to jam enemy sensors and create false readings. These systems grant a bonus to a ship’s TL (see page 320); the bonus, PCU usage, and cost are listed in the table below.
These engines let you travel to and from the Drift (see page 290).
The better the engine rating, the faster you can reach distant
destinations. Drift engines have a PCU requirement and a
maximum frame size. The cost in Build Points is based on the
starship’s size category (for the purposes of this calculation,
Tiny = 1, Small = 2, Medium = 3, Large = 4, and so on). See the
table below for the statistics of the various Drift engines.
For a starship to engage its Drift engines to either enter or exit the Drift, it must remain stationary with its conventional thrusters turned off for 1 minute.
Most starships have room within their hull for one or more
expansion bays, each of which can be converted to function in
a wide variety of roles. Unfilled, these bays are simply storage
space (and count as cargo holds), and for many large transport
vessels, they remain this way. If a starship’s bays are instead
used for guest quarters, the ship can serve as a transport
vessel for soldiers, travelers, or refugees. If its bays are filled
with medical bays and guest quarters, the ship becomes a
The following options are available for most ships that have available expansion bays. If an option requires multiple bays, this is noted in its description; if it must consume PCU to function, the amount is listed in the table on page 300. An entire expansion bay must be used for a single purpose, even if it gives you multiple instances of that option. For example, if you select escape pods, that expansion bay gains all six escape pods—you can’t combine three escape pods and one life boat. The PCU requirement and the Build Point costs of the expansion bay options can be found on page 300.
The additions below help to prevent unwanted scoundrels from absconding with a starship. Security systems require an operational power core to function, but they consume a negligible amount of PCU. The cost of each option is listed in the table below.
Sensors function as a starship’s eyes and ears, allowing a
crew to see what’s in the space around the ship, whether
planetary bodies, other ships, a dangerous asteroid field, or
some monstrosity from the depths of space. Sensors are a
combination of video cameras, multispectrum scanners, radar
arrays, signal interceptors, and optical telescopes. In starship
combat, short-range sensors have a range of 5 hexes, mediumrange
sensors have a range of 10 hexes, and long-range sensors
have a range of 20 hexes. All sensors have a skill modifier that
applies to any skill used in conjunction with them. Sensors
require an operational power core to function, but they consume
a negligible amount of PCU.
Sensors operate in two modes: passive or active. In passive mode, sensors automatically scan the ship’s surroundings. Passive sensors detect visible or unhidden objects in a 360-degree field around the ship at a range of up to twice the sensors’ range category while in space or in the Drift (no skill check required), though local conditions may affect their range. However, gravitational forces and atmospheric conditions limit starship sensors to a range of 250 feet on most planets, and their range might be further limited by terrain, at the GM’s discretion.
Active sensors are far more discerning, and they are required if the science officer wishes to scan enemy vessels and learn details about them during starship combat (see page 325). The modifier listed in the table below applies to some checks attempted by the science officer in starship combat as specified in the science officer’s actions (see page 324). Active sensors can discern information about a target up to five times the sensors’ range away from the ship, but such checks take a penalty of –2 for each range increment beyond the first to the target. For example, if short-range sensors (range = 5 hexes) were used against a target 12 hexes away, the check would take a –4 penalty.
Outside of starship combat, a crew member can use sensors to scan a planet the starship is orbiting, attempting a Computers check (applying the sensors’ modifier) to learn basic information about the planet’s composition and atmosphere. The DC for this check is usually 15, but it can be altered at the GM’s discretion to account for mitigating factors or complications. A crew member can also use the starship’s active sensors to attempt Perception checks to examine the surrounding area as if she were standing outside the starship, using her own senses (such as darkvision), but adding the sensors’ modifier as a circumstance bonus to the check.
While almost every ship has simple navigational shielding to
prevent damage from tiny bits of debris, this protection does
little to stop a starship from being damaged by lasers, missiles,
and larger impacts. To defend against such threats, a ship has
energy shields. Projectors mounted around the ship create a
barrier that absorbs damage from attacks. Each attack reduces
the number of Shield Points (SP) in a given arc until that arc’s
shields are depleted, after which point all further damage in
that arc reduces the ship’s Hull Points. See Damage on page
304 for more information. Shield Points regenerate over
time and can eventually be used again, but this regeneration
occurs only when the ship is not in combat or otherwise taking
damage. Shields must be attached to a functional power core
in order to regenerate; the rate of regeneration is listed in the
The value listed under Total SP in the table below is the total number of Shield Points provided to the ship. At the start of combat, when the starship’s crew takes up battle stations and the shields are activated, the Shield Points must be divided up between the four quadrants of the ship. No quadrant can be assigned less than 10% of the total number of Shield Points available at the start of combat, or available at the time the shields are balanced again using the balance science officer action (see page 324).
The table also lists rate of regeneration, PCU needed, and cost.
Whether the PCs are in the Vast or near a Pact Worlds planet,
space is a dangerous place, plagued with hostile aliens, raiders,
and worse. As a result, most ships protect themselves with a
variety of weapons, ranging from laser cannons to solar torpedoes.
Weapons must be installed on special mounts on a ship, specified in the ship’s base frame (see page 294). These mounts are designed for optimal firing and are placed so that they can be easily tied into the ship’s power and control systems. They also prevent the weapon from affecting the course or speed of a ship when fired.