One of the inspirations for Sword of Terra has been the starship battles in Star Wars. Towards that end, I’ve recently been thinking about how ships from the Star Wars universe would be represented using Sword of Terra’s mechanics. In order to be able to represent ships from Star Wars, there are several technologies that need new rules. (If you’re not familiar with the mechanics for Sword of Terra, you can read a basic overview here or download the beta pdf)
In Sword of Terra, I don’t have any mechanics for shields and ships rely only on evasion and armor plating for protection. Deflector shields are a big part of ship battles in the Star Wars though, so they would need some representation in the rules.
A ship with shields will have 1 or more shield points for each of its 4 sides as well as a shield rating reflecting how powerful the defensive field is. When an attack hits the ship, it rolls against the shield rating rather than the armor rating as long as there are remaining shield points for the side that is hit. If the damage roll beats the shield rating, then a shield point is lost. These shield points can be regenerated at a rate determined by the ship’s shield generator.
To balance the increased durability provided by shields, ships should in general have fewer hull points and threshold values should be either greatly reduced or eliminated since shields effectively fill the same role.
Finally, I would either add a damage table entry for damaging/destroying a ship’s shield generator or list the generator as a system that can be targeted when the Weapon or System Destroyed result is rolled.
In Star Wars, ion weapons are essentially stun weapons on a starship scale that use an ionic pulse to overload a target’s electronic systems. For Sword of Terra, the most straight forward way to represent ion weapons is to have them not inflict damage in the form of hull points but instead to always trigger a roll on the damage effect table. Against a ship with active shields, an ion weapon would still deal damage in the form of shield points.
Tractor beams allow a ship in Star Wars to effectively pull smaller vessels towards it for capture. For Sword of Terra, a tractor beam has a strength rating in place of a normal weapon’s power rating that represents the attractive force of the beam. A tractor beam’s strength must be greater than or equal to the target’s base number of hull points in order to affect the target. In addition, a ship cannot mount a tractor beam with a strength rating higher than half its own number of hull points. When a tractor beam hits an eligible target, the attacker may move the target up to 2″ towards itself and the target cannot move on its next turn other than to change facing.
Issues of Scale
A final issue presented by the Star Wars universe is the vast range of ship sizes. A game used for Star Wars naval battles needs to handle ships ranging from a one man TIE fighter to a 19 km long super star destroyer or the Death Star II with a diameter of 900 km. This vast range of ship sizes means that hull points can’t be a linear scale, but instead need to be something more like a square root based scale where each successive hull point adds more and more size to a ship. This system would give roughly the following number of hull points for some notable ship designs:
- YT-1300 Light Freighter – 2
- CR90 Corvette – 3
- Acclamator-class Assault Ship – 7
- Venator-class Star Destroyer – 9
- Imperial-class Star Destroyer – 10
- Executor-class Super Star Destroyer – 35
- Death Star – 100
- Death Star II – 245
What Do You Think?
Do these mechanics seem like they fit the Star Wars setting? Do you think the Sword of Terra rules would be good to use for Star Wars naval battles? Which Star Wars ships would you like to see represented as Sword of Terra stat blocks?