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Chapter 9: Starships / Starship Combat

Rounds and Phases

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 317
Like combat between characters, starship combat occurs over a number of rounds until one side flees, surrenders, or is otherwise defeated. Unlike rounds in combat between characters, a round of starship combat doesn’t correlate to a specific amount of time. Each round of starship combat is divided up into three phases, resolved in order. Each character aboard a starship typically acts in only one of these phases, depending on her role on the starship.

1. Engineering

The engineers on all ships (if present) each take an action to repair the starships’ systems or give them a boost. These actions occur simultaneously, so they can be resolved in any order.

2. Helm

Each starship’s pilot attempts a Piloting check. The pilot with the lowest result must move his starship first, followed by the next lowest, until all starships have moved. This check is repeated each round during the helm phase, so the order of movement can change from round to round. If a starship has no one in the pilot role, that starship acts as if its pilot had rolled a 0. If there is a tie, the pilot with fewer ranks in the Piloting skill must move his starship first. If there is still a tie, the two pilots in question should each roll another Piloting check and compare the results; the pilot with the lowest result moves first.

As they move their starships, pilots can attempt additional skill checks to perform dangerous maneuvers or push their vessels beyond their specifications.

Also during this phase, any character taking on the role of science officer can use the starship’s systems to scan vessels or target foes. Science officers must act immediately before or after their starship’s pilot, but they can jointly decide the order they act.

3. Gunnery

During the gunnery phase, gunners fire their starships’ weapons. Starships fire in the same order in which their pilots acted during that round’s helm phase, but the effects of damage are not taken into account until the end of the phase, meaning that all starships can fire, even if they take enough damage to be disabled or destroyed during this phase.

Once all of the phases have been resolved, if there are still combatants engaged in the fight, the next round begins, starting with a new engineering phase.