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Chapter 4: Running Starship Campaigns / Space Hazards / Stellar Phenomenon

Damaging Zones

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 135
Some areas of space are actively damaging to starships. These damaging zones can represent hazards such as electrically charged nebulae, hull-eating bacteria, or the chaotic corona near the surface of a star. Depending on the nature of the damaging zone, it might encompass part or all of the combat grid, in a variety of shapes and sizes.

At the end of each round of starship combat, all starships in a damaging zone take damage from the hazard, distributed evenly across all quadrants. As a crew action during the helm phase, a science officer can align the starship’s shields to specifically protect against the active hazard (DC = 10 + 1-1/2 × the starship’s tier), negating any damage to shielded quadrants; quadrants with depleted shields can’t be protected in this way. In general, damaging zones should deal at most roughly 1d6 damage per tier of the PCs’ starship each round.

Hull-Eating Bacteria: While several massive species have adapted to the void of space, bacteria and other microparasites have also adapted to interstellar life by feeding off one of the most readily available substances: starship hulls. Infestations can last for decades as the tiny creatures feed on the remnants of derelict ships and debris fields. In areas with hull-eating bacteria and similar threats, unshielded quadrants of a starship’s hull each take between 1d6 and 7d6 damage per round, ignoring DT. Once a quadrant of a ship has been exposed, it continues to take damage each round at the end of the engineering phase, even if shields are later restored to that quadrant. As a crew action during the engineering phase, a starship’s engineer can vent plasma, superheat the hull, or perform a similar action to destroy the infestation (DC = 10 + 1-1/2 × the starship’s tier).

Proton Storm: Stars can emit streams of high-intensity protons capable of ripping starships apart. To represent a proton storm, draw multiple parallel lines throughout the combat grid, 5 to 10 hexes long and 3 to 5 hexes apart. Starships can fly through these marked areas, and the lines don’t block starship attacks, though tracking weapons that would fly through a proton storm are immediately destroyed. However, the storms represent significant danger: the protons have such high energy that they bypass starship shields. Each time a starship flies through or ends its movement in a marked hex, it takes damage directly to its Hull Points equal to 1d6 + an additional 1d6 for every 2 tiers of the starship.

Star Corona: Flying near a star without specific protection is never a good idea. If unprotected, a starship can take between 1d6 and 20d6 damage each round from the heat given off by a star’s corona, depending on the intensity of the star and the distance to the star’s surface. Some stars also discharge radiation that bypasses normal defenses and can affect the crew on board (see Radiation below).