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Chapter 4: Running Starship Campaigns / Designing Starship Encounters / Hazards and Terrain in Space

Benefiting from Hazards

Source Starship Operations Manual pg. 138
Although PCs generally approach a hazard as an obstacle to overcome or avoid, clever players can sometimes use a hazard to their advantage. Unless there’s a compelling reason why enemy ships wouldn’t be affected by a particular hazard— such as a Corpse Fleet ship crewed by undead going through radiation—an area’s hazard affects the opposition just as much as it does the PCs. By using their starship’s sensors to perform a special scan action, the PCs may even be able to learn things about environmental hazards or terrain-like features that are unknown to the enemy.

Perhaps the PCs are about to fight several other ships, and there’s an asteroid field between them. With a special scan action and a successful Computers check, the PCs might identify abandoned ground defenses built into the surfaces of several asteroids. With additional actions and some clever computing, the science officer could potentially hack into these defenses and turn the weaponry against the enemy starships—all while the rest of the crew buy time while fending off the overwhelming foes! No matter the threat, consider ways that the PCs could interact with (or even counteract) hazards they unexpectedly encounter, and encourage creative problem solving.

PCs aren’t the only ones that can use such creative thinking, however—their enemies might do the same. If a hazard has a potential advantage that the PCs are able to learn about through scans or other actions, you should provide hints that this is possible, whether through narrative description or by granting opportunities for skill checks. If the PCs realize their options but choose not to act on any of them, an interesting twist might involve their enemies beating them to the punch and harnessing the power of a hazard against them!