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Chapter 9: Starships / Starship Combat

Moving

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 317
The pilot of a starship has a variety of actions (see page 324) that allow her to guide her starship through the cold vastness of space. Unlike in battles between characters, starships face a specific direction, and this determines their firing arcs and shield quadrants, as well as their direction of movement.

Speed

A starship’s speed is the number of hexes it typically moves in a round. It can instead move fewer hexes than this amount, as determined by the pilot. This movement is in a straight line in the direction the starship is facing, though a starship’s facing can be altered while it moves by making turns (see below). A starship’s maximum speed modifies Piloting checks for that starship.

SpeedPiloting Check Modifier
4 or less+2
6+1
8–10
12–1
14 or more–2

Turns

While moving, a starship can make turns, altering its forward movement direction, firing arcs, and shield quadrants. One turn changes a starship’s forward facing by 60 degrees, or one side of a hex. Every round in which a starship turns, it must move a certain number of hexes before each turn, determined by its maneuverability (see the table below). For example, a ship with average maneuverability making two turns in a round must move at least 2 hexes before its first turn, and at least 2 more hexes before its second turn. If a starship has perfect maneuverability (the distance between turns is 0), the ship can make two turns for each hex that it moves (allowing it to turn around a single point).

The number of turns per round a starship can take is limited only by its speed and maneuverability. Turns don’t count against a starship’s movement speed. If a ship with average maneuverability has a speed of 8, it can usually turn a total of four times during a single round.

A ship’s maneuverability also modifies Piloting checks for it.

ManeuverabilityDistance Between TurnsPiloting Check Modifier
Clumsy4–2
Poor3–1
Average20
Good1+1
Perfect0 (see above) +2

Moving Through Other Starships

Since the hexes in starship combat aren’t representative of three-dimensional distance, starships can move through hexes containing other starships, but they can’t end their movement there. If a starship moves through a hex containing an enemy starship, the enemy starship can fire any one of its direct-fire weapons from any arc at the moving starship, targeting its aft quadrant. This free attack doesn’t benefit from any bonuses or additional abilities from other actions taken aboard the enemy starship, such as divert or lock on. Any character currently in a gunner role can make this attack. If no one is designated as a gunner (often the case in starships with only one crew member), the enemy starship can’t make a free attack. A weapon used for this free attack can still be used as normal later in the round.

Stunts

Instead of ordinary movement, pilots can attempt stunts with their starships (see Stunt on page 324), pushing them beyond their design specifications to enact daring moves. Several stunts affect your starship’s Armor Class (AC) and Target Lock (TL).

Back Off

The starship moves up to half its speed in the direction of the aft edge without changing facing. It can’t take any turns during this movement. To perform this stunt, you must succeed at a Piloting check (DC = 10 + 1-1/2 times your starship’s tier). On a failed check, your starship moves backward only 1 hex. If you fail this check by 5 or more, your starship does not move at all and takes a –4 penalty to its AC and TL until the start of the next round.

Barrel Roll

The starship moves up to half its speed and flips along its central axis. For the next gunnery phase, the starship’s port shields and weapons function as if they were in the starboard firing arc and vice versa. The starship reverts to normal at the beginning of the next round. To perform this stunt, your starship must be Large or smaller and you must succeed at a Piloting check (DC = 10 + 1-1/2 times your starship’s tier). On a failed check, the starship moves half its speed but doesn’t roll. If you fail by 5 or more, your starship moves half its speed, doesn’t roll, and takes a –4 penalty to its AC and TL until the start of the next round.

Evade

The ship moves up to its speed and can turn as normal, but it gains a +2 circumstance bonus to its AC and TL until the start of the next round. To perform this stunt, you must succeed at a Piloting check (DC = 10 + 1-1/2 times your starship’s tier). If you fail, the starship moves as normal. If you fail the check by 5 or more, the starship moves as normal, but it also takes a –2 penalty to its AC and TL until the start of the next round.

Flip And Burn

The ship moves forward up to half its speed (without turning) and rotates 180 degrees to face the aft edge at the end of the movement. To perform this stunt, you must succeed at a Piloting check (DC = 15 + 1-1/2 times your ship’s tier). If you fail this check, your starship moves forward half its speed but doesn’t rotate.

Flyby

The ship moves as normal, but it can move through 1 hex occupied by an enemy starship without provoking a free attack (as described in Moving through Other Starships). During the following gunnery phase, you can select one arc of your starship’s weapons to fire at the enemy vessel as if the vessel were in close range (treat the range as 1 hex), against any quadrant of the enemy starship. To perform this stunt, you must succeed at a Piloting check (DC = 15 + 1-1/2 times the tier of the enemy starship). If you fail this check, your starship still moves as described above, but you follow the normal rules for attacking (based on your starship’s final position and distance), and the movement provokes a free attack from that starship as normal.

Slide

The starship moves up to its speed in the direction of either the forward-port or forward-starboard edge without changing its facing. To perform this stunt, you must succeed at a Piloting check (DC = 10 + 1-1/2 times your ship’s tier). If you fail this check, the ship moves forward up to half its speed and can’t make any turns.

Turn In Place

The ship does not move but instead can turn to face any direction. If the ship has a maneuverability of clumsy, it takes a –4 penalty to its AC and TL until the start of the next round. If it has a maneuverability of poor, it instead takes a –2 penalty to its AC and TL until the start of the next round. Ships with a maneuverability of average or better do not take a penalty. This stunt doesn’t require a skill check.