Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pulp Age: Space Battles

Space combat in the Pulp Age and Pulp Space Opera settings are dangerous affairs. Rather than the dogfights depicted in Star Wars, spaceship against spaceship combat is more like submarine warfare. Its more about long distance battles, often seen as mere blips on a screen for most gunners. However closer engagements do indeed occur, and are suitably terrifying.
For more information on these rules, check out the Grit and Vigor roleplaying game by John Stater. Its a fun game, and an entertaining read. Check it out.

Space battles are best handled on either a ship vs. ship basis, or a fleet vs. fleet basis, to keep things simple. The rules are essentially the same as for dogfights and naval battles. Each ship captain (or each fleet commander) makes a Spacemanship task check. The faster ship enjoys a +2 bonus to this task check. The captain that beats his target number by the most (or fails by the least) has the advantage, and can either close with his enemy or increase the distance between them.
If the ship with the advantage beats his opponent’s task check by five or more, he may make a full attack while his opponent may only make a partial attack. Otherwise, both vessels can make a full attack.
For our purposes, a full attack uses all the vessel’s ship-to-ship weapons on turrets, and half of its non-turreted ship-to-ship weapons. A partial attack only permits the vessel to use its forward or rear weapons.
The character on board a vessel with the best Gunnery skill makes the Gunnery task check to fire the weapons. Follow the normal rules for firing artillery (see Tools: Artillery).
Each ship deducts damage from its hit points, and makes a roll on the following table. If the ship has lost less than 25% of its hit points, roll 1d6. If it has lost 25-49% of its hit points, roll 1d8. If it has lost 50-74% of its hit points, roll 1d10. If it has lost 75-99% of its hit points, roll 1d12.

If a ship’s hit points are reduced to 0, it explodes in 1d6 turns. People aboard the ship have to either make their way to a lifepod or die instantly when the ship explodes.
Many ships can enter planetary atmospheres, but are clumsy (-2 to Maneuver) as they are built for space. While a spaceship is in an atmosphere, it is vulnerable to aircraft. Aircraft in the air can attack a ship each round, and in turn can be targeted by the ship’s weapons aboard. Use the normal rules for attacking vehicles to resolve attacks against aircraft, and attacks by aircraft.

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I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan