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Chapter 2: Starship Combat / Armada Combat

Running Armada Combat

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 62
As armada combat begins, the GM decides how far apart the armadas are from each other (3d6+5 hexes is a good default), and typically each armada can determine how its fleets are arranged so long as they maintain this distance from the enemy forces.

Rounds and Phases

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 62
As in starship combat, each round of armada combat is divided into three phases that don’t correspond to an exact amount of time: engineering, helm, and gunnery. Fleets perform specific actions in each phase, and officers can contribute only during certain phases based on their roles.

1. Engineering: During this phase, fleets prepare for their next maneuvers by repairing damage, restoring shields, and priming weapons. At the end of this phase, each fleet also automatically regains a limited number of SP based on their maximum SP values (see the table below).

Table 2–19: Shield Point Regeneration

1–5 1d4
5–10 1d6
11–15 1d8
16–20 1d10
20+ 1d12

2. Helm: During this phase, admirals match wits, and fleets maneuver across the battlefield. At the beginning of the phase, each admiral attempts a check. The armada whose admiral’s result was the lowest must choose tactics for and move half of their active fleets (rounded up) first, followed by the next lowest, until all armadas have moved half of their fleets (or waived those fleets’ movement). The process then repeats in that order, with each armada moving the remaining half of its fleets. If an armada has no admiral, it rolls only 1d6 for its check to determine the order in which it moves. If there is a tie, the admirals in question roll another check and compare the results, with the one who rolls lowest moving first.

3. Gunnery: During this phase, fleets fire their weapons. Except for free attacks or bonus attacks from the array special ability, each fleet can attack only once per round. Fleets attack in any order, but the effects of gunnery actions are all applied simultaneously at the end of the round, meaning all fleets can fire, even if they take enough damage to be disabled during the phase. After damage is applied, if there are still combatants engaged in the combat, the next round begins, starting with a new engineering phase.


Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 62
Fleets move and maneuver in much the same way as starships do in standard starship combat (Core Rulebook 317), including the rules for making turns, moving through other fleets (as though they were starships), and measuring firing arcs. Speed functions in the same way but does not provide a modifier to Piloting checks. A fleet can freely attempt one of the following stunts at the listed Piloting DCs as part of its movement: back off (DC = 10 + 1/4 × the fleet’s tier), flip and burn (DC = 15 + 1/4 × the fleet’s tier), flyby (DC = the enemy fleet’s AC), slide (DC = 10 + 1/4 × the fleet’s tier), or turn in place (no check). Any free attack performed during a flyby stunt deals half damage.


Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 62
When a fleet attacks another fleet, that action is resolved with a gunnery check during the gunnery phase. You make a fleet attack using the following procedure.

1. Range: Determine the range between the two fleets (counted in hexes). Attacks made against a target within a fleet’s short range take no penalty, whereas attacks beyond short range but within long range take a –2 penalty, and attacks beyond long range but shorter than extreme range take a –4 penalty. A starship can’t attack targets beyond its extreme range.

2. Gunnery Check: The fleet rolls a gunnery check and compares the result to the target’s AC. If the result equals or exceeds the target’s AC, the fleet hits and deals its listed damage. Otherwise, the attack misses or deals negligible damage.

Gunnery Check = 1d20 + fleet’s check modifier + officer bonus + range penalty
AC = 10 + fleet’s check modifier + officer bonus + shield bonus (front quadrant only)

3. Deal Damage: Apply damage from an attack to a fleet’s SP first, and any remaining damage to its HP. A fleet takes more or less damage from enemy fleets against which it’s weak or strong, respectively (page 58). If a fleet is reduced to 0 or fewer HP, it is disabled and floats in the direction it’s facing at half speed until repaired (after combat) or destroyed. If a fleet’s total HP damage exceeds twice its HP, it is destroyed.

Morale and Critical Damage

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 63
Incoming damage can devastate fleets’ group cohesion and equipment, represented by morale and critical damage, respectively.

Morale: When a fleet is reduced to half its maximum HP, it must attempt a morale check (DC = 10 + 1/2 × the opposing armada’s tier). If the fleet succeeds by 4 or less, it is unaffected. If it exceeds the DC by 5 or more, the fleet is emboldened and gains a +1 bonus to all checks until the end of the next round. If it fails by 4 or less, the fleet is shaken and takes a –1 penalty to all checks until the end of the next round. If it fails by 5 or more, the fleet is routed and attempts to flee combat by the safest route possible. A routed fleet can make attacks at a –2 penalty and continues to flee either until successfully rallied by an admiral or until it has fled for 3 rounds, at which point the fleet is disabled.

When a fleet is routed, any allied fleets within 2 hexes that have half of their HP or fewer remaining must also attempt a morale check with a DC equal to the routed fleet’s AC. A fleet that succeeds at its morale check does not need to attempt further morale checks until the end of the round.

Critical Damage: A fleet takes critical damage whenever a gunnery check results in a natural 20 on the die and the attack deals at least 1 damage to the fleet’s HP. It also takes critical damage when it’s reduced to half its maximum HP. When critical damage is scored, the attacking fleet should roll 1d6 on the table below to determine which system is disrupted.

Table 2–20: Critical Damage

1 Auxiliary System One of the fleet’s special abilities (selected at random) provides no benefits.
2 Communications The fleet gains no benefits from officers, and the fleet’s officers can’t affect other fleets.
3 Engines The fleet takes a –1 penalty to AC and speed.
4 Shields The fleet can’t regain SP.
5 Weapons Reduce all damage dealt by 1 per damage die.
6 Roll twice and apply both results, ignoring 6s and duplicate results.