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Chapter 2: Starship Combat / Squadron Combat

Building A Squadron

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 54
Use these guidelines to design a squadron. Except where noted, building squadron ships is identical to building a single starship.

Conceptualize: Start by deciding how many starships are in the party’s squadron and who is most likely to operate them. Usually, the number of starships shouldn’t exceed the number of PCs, though the PCs could recruit NPC pilots to expand their squadron.

Determine Squadron Tier and Assign Starship Tiers: The squadron’s tier is equal to the PCs’ average party level (APL), which is determined by totaling the PCs’ levels and dividing by the number of PCs. The number of starships and the squadron’s tier determine the individual starships’ tiers, per Table 2–12.

Table 2–12: Squadron Starship Tier

2 APL – 1
3 APL – 2
4 APL – 3
5 APL – 4
6 APL – 5

Build Starships: The PCs design their squadron starships following the design rules on pages 293–305 of the Core Rulebook. Because of the minimum crew requirements for larger starships, squadron starships are almost always Medium or smaller. A Tiny squadron starship always has capacity for an escape pod expansion bay, even though the starship would otherwise lack expansion bay space.

The GM may elect to build one, some, or all of the starships in advance if the campaign requires that PCs operate standard-issue ships or premade vessels (such as in a military campaign with standardized starships).

Design the HQ (Optional): Many squadrons consist of starships too small or claustrophobic for long-term use. Instead, these starships regularly dock within a larger flagship that serves as the team’s headquarters (HQ). The HQ is primarily a utility vessel built with the heavy freighter or carrier base frame. The HQ’s effective tier equals the squadron tier, and it gains only 25% the number of starship Build Points normally granted to a starship of its tier. However, the cost of its base frame and any hanger bay or shuttle bay expansion bays is only 10% the normal cost (minimum 1 each). The HQ must be outfitted with enough hanger bays or expansion bays to accommodate the entire squadron. The HQ can combine three shuttle bays to accommodate a single Medium starship. In addition, the HQ’s minimum crew is reduced to four, and it loses all weapon mounts except a single turret with a mount for a light weapon.

An HQ is a good fit for a squadron piloted by independent adventurers, giving them a place to retire between encounters and interact face-to-face. It increases the squadron’s number of Build Points available by accommodating some of the expansion bay facilities (like a medical bay or tech lab) that the smaller starships might otherwise have installed. However, it’s also an added complication. If an HQ isn’t a good fit for your group or campaign, it’s entirely possible to do without one. Alternatively, in a game where the PCs are part of a larger organization like a military or commercial expedition, there could be a much larger ship nearby that serves as their HQ but is run by NPCs.

Details: After performing the earlier steps, the PCs should devise unifying details for the squadron, such as a visual design common to the starships or a squadron name.