Archives of Nethys

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Chapter 2: Starship Combat / Additional Starship Options

Crew Locations

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 48
While the exact location of each of a starship’s crew members typically has little bearing on starship combat, you still might want to know where on your ship various characters are in case of an on-board threat like a mutiny or when using other subsystems presented in this book, such as boarding (page 40) or hull ruptures (page 50).
A starship’s bridge is the most common location for the officers on a ship. With small crews, the officers often switch positions, trading off as needed. This practice is called flexing, and it allows a small crew to double up on positions when they need to do so before returning to their original roles. In addition to the combat stations on the bridge, there are also stations scattered throughout the ship, sometimes even within crew quarters. Proximity alarms usually offer sufficient warning for officers to make it to a combat station, no matter where they are on a ship.
Common locations during starship combat are described below, organized by officer role.
Captain: Captains generally monitor combat from the ship’s bridge, where they can taunt the enemy or coordinate actions with allied starships via the ship’s communications, listen to updates, and decide where their help is most needed. Good captains often take the time to know their ships inside and out, so outside of combat, they may help secure items in the hold, perform safety inspections of major equipment, or just get to know their ship and crew.
Chief Mate: Chief mates travel all over the ship, hauling heavy loads, ripping open access panels to recalibrate machinery, and assisting other crew in getting the job done. If someone has to get to a specific location on the ship fast, it’s usually the chief mate who rushes to do what needs doing. They might not know all the science behind what they’re doing, but they know the equipment and how to operate it. They are equally at home in the engine room or the bowels of a ship’s maintenance tunnels, as well as on the bridge.
Engineer: Engineers work with the power core, the Drift engines, tech labs, gunnery stations, robotic maintenance bays, and more. Like the chief mate, they might travel anywhere and everywhere on the ship. Although it’s common for them to monitor the ship’s status from an engineering room, they are also frequently on the bridge. During ship combats, they track multiple ship systems for signs of damage. Depending on what needs attention and how badly, the engineer may send automated repair bots or physically travel to a site for delicate repair work on a touchy mechanism.
Gunner: Gunners are usually found on the bridge, where they can most easily coordinate with other crew members or ask the pilot to arrange prime facing for a tricky shot. Gunnery can be done from any station on the ship, however, even within a holographic amusement chamber or the privacy of crew quarters. Most stations can provide access to all of the ship’s weapons, no matter the facing, so gunners can switch weapons easily without running from station to station.
Magic Officer: If an arcane laboratory is available, a magic officer usually operates from there, as the mystical boost provided by the laboratory greatly facilitates the officer’s work. On ships without a dedicated arcane laboratory, a magic officer likely joins the rest of the crew on the bridge. If space is limited and resources are tight, the magic officer makes do; they may use a cargo bay or even the galley, ship’s mess, or crew quarters.
Pilot: Pilots usually work from the ship’s bridge. Although it’s technically possible to pilot from any station on the ship, pilots feel most comfortable with the full set of controls and expansive view screens offered by the bridge. When off-duty, they may use simulators in a holographic amusement chamber.
Science Officer: Although science officers primarily serve on the bridge, where they can offer a stream of data and assistance to other crew members, many science officers are also backup engineers, flexing between the roles as needed. As such, they can also be found anywhere an engineer can. Out of combat, they may also be found working with dedicated systems such as science labs, mobile information networks, surveying sensors, or high-capacity comm arrays.