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Chapter 3: Starships / Reading Starship Stat Blocks

Understanding Starships

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 78
Each starship is described using a basic stat block that includes information about how it moves, how many people it can support, its structural integrity, and more. When reading a starship stat block, use the key below to help understand its capabilities. Additionally, rules content from this book is marked in stat blocks with an asterisk (*).

Name and Tier: This is the designation of the starship and its power level. Starships of different tiers vary to a greater degree in terms of their power and abilities than monsters whose Challenge Rating (CR) differs by a similar amount.

Size Category and Frame: This describes the overall size of the vessel, which provides a modifier to its Armor Class and Target Lock (see below). This entry also notes the base frame of the starship (Core Rulebook 294).

Speed: This is the number of hexes the starship can move using most pilot actions.

Maneuverability: A starship’s maneuverability is rated as clumsy, poor, average, good, or perfect. This is generally tied to the mass and size of the starship, and it both indicates how agile the starship is in space and determines the minimum number of hexes it must move before it can turn (Core Rulebook 319).

Drift: This is the starship’s Drift engine rating. When determining how long it takes the starship to travel to a location through the Drift, divide the die roll by this number (Core Rulebook 291). If this entry is absent, the starship can’t travel into the Drift.

Armor Class (AC): This value is used when determining whether direct-fire weapons (Core Rulebook 303) hit the starship. AC is calculated based on the ship’s size, maneuverability, and physical armor, as well as its pilot’s ranks in the Piloting skill.

Target Lock (TL): This value is used when determining whether tracking weapons (Core Rulebook 303) hit the starship. TL is calculated based on the starship’s size, maneuverability, and defensive countermeasures (Core Rulebook 298), as well as its pilot’s ranks in the Piloting skill.

Hull Points (HP): This is the total amount of damage the starship can take before it ceases operation. A starship with 0 HP isn’t destroyed, though many of its systems no longer function and it is no longer a threat to enemies.

Damage Threshold (DT): If an attack deals less damage than this value, that damage isn’t counted against the ship’s total Hull Points. Only Huge or larger ships have a Damage Threshold, and it comes into play only when such a starship’s shields are depleted (Core Rulebook 320).

Critical Threshold (CT): Whenever the starship has lost a total number of Hull Points equal to a multiple of this value, one of its systems takes critical damage (Core Rulebook 321). This value is always one-fifth of the starship’s maximum HP.

Shields: This lists the ship’s shield system and Shield Points (SP), which represent the amount of damage the ship’s shields can take before they become depleted. SP are assigned to particular quadrants (forward, port, starboard, or aft). These quadrants correspond in orientation to the starship firing arcs (see Attacks below).

Attacks: A starship has four firing arcs: forward, port, starboard, and aft, illustrated on page 318 of the Core Rulebook. Most nonturret weapons can fire only in the firing arc where they’re mounted; turret weapons can be fired in any arc. A ship’s attack entries lists the various weapons mounted on the ship that can fire in each of the arcs. Each weapon also lists its damage, range, and other special properties.

Power Core: This lists a starship’s power core or cores (Core Rulebook 296) and the power core units (PCU) it produces.

Drift Engine: The starship’s Drift engine, if any, is listed here.

Systems: This entry lists a starship’s major systems, such as armor, defensive countermeasures, sensors, and weapons (Core Rulebook 297).

Expansion Bays: This entry lists any expansion bays: cargo spaces that can be used for specialized functions (Core Rulebook 298).

Modifiers: This entry lists the bonuses (or penalties) to certain skill checks during starship combat resulting from a starship’s speed and maneuverability, as well as from some starship systems.

Complement: This section lists the total size of the crew that can fit aboard the ship.

Crew: This section lists those filling various roles in starship combat (Core Rulebook 316), as well as their modifiers to skills used during starship combat and number of ranks in those skills. Any modifiers listed earlier in the stat block are accounted for here. In general, NPC crew member levels and their number of skill ranks are equal to their starship’s tier (minimum 1). Typically, one crew member is exceptionally talented with one skill, for which their modifier is equal to 9 + 1-1/2 × their level. For all other crew skills, the officer NPCs’ modifiers are 4 + 1-1/2 × their level. The gunnery check modifier for an NPC starship of tier 9 or lower is equal to the starship’s tier plus the highest ability score modifier for an NPC of a CR equivalent to the starship’s tier (using the combatant array on page 129 of Alien Archive). For an NPC starship of tier 10 or higher, use the same calculation but substitute the second-highest ability score modifier instead. The table below provides these calculated values.

Table 3-1: Starship Crew Modifiers


If a starship has teams that support officers by filling roles, this entry also lists the number and size of these teams. This section is listed only for ships under the GM’s control—PCs can perform their own actions aboard starships they control.

Special Abilities: Any unique actions or qualities a starship has due to its crew or equipment are listed here.