Star Wars Vehicle Design Rules v2

Two Imperial Star Destroyers and a pair of TIE...

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Here we have a somewhat revised version of Editorial0’s Star Wars vehicle design rules, tweaked for clarity.

This system provides a generic but effective way to generate vessels in Star Wars (d6) or any d6 game, not that anybody ever played one except Star Wars. The rules are abstract to some degree: your character may obsess over the difference between Slayne-Korpril mk 6.2 engine (Starfighter remod) versus customized Sluys Bumblebee 9’th generation model made under contract by Varynis corporation. You, however, pick what the vehicle actually does.

There are trade-offs. Even the Millennium Falcon doesn’t have the best of everything. Nobody can fit all the weapons, engines, and defenses on the vehicle they would like. They have to pick what matters most.

Steps 1-4 are required. However, everything else is optional.

Stage 1: Hull Size

Hulls come rated in size categories. These are particularly important in determining the overall cargo and passenger space inside the vehicle and especially the energy output of the power plant. Each size within a range corresponds to a specific vehicle scale, which makes Hull size very important in combat.

Size Scale Modifier Base Hull Example
1-3 Speeder 2D 2D Snowspeeder, Swoop
4-5 Starfighter 4D 3D AT-ST, X-Wing
6-7 Starship 6D 4D YT-1300, AT-AT, Light Cruiser
8-10 Small Capship 9D 5D Corellian Corvette, Nebulon-B Frigate
11-14 Large Capship 12D 6D Star Destroyer, Mon Cal. Star Cruiser
15-? Titanic Vessel 24D 10D Death Star

For now, don’t worry about how many people you can fit into the ship or similar worries. Assume it has bunkrooms for the crew and enough space for its primary purpose. You can check the Passenger Slots options later for a more detailed system.

Stage 2: Life Support

Every Vehicle has a Life Support option, at least as a primary pick. Choose whichever is most appropriate for free. You can have more than one, in fact. Extras are called Add-ons. They’re not required, but they are fun.

Note that Open and Unsealed vehicles don’t get any price break. There’s a simple reason for this: if sea or space travel is normal in a game, it’s also commonplace and required. Thus any reasonable player vehicle needs that capability. On the other hand, players might acquire or be stuck with an airplane or sailing ship and have to deal with its limitations. You can save on Power by choosing an expensive Add-on first (getting it for free) and then tossing on Space. That’s fine. But you may want to upgrade a vehicle, and in the case of Open and Unsealed, you get no special bonus for doing it this way. You’re making a clunky upgrade to an existing vehicle, not making your awesome spacecraft into a personal showpiece.

  • Open: Open vehicles have no life support and offer no protection whatsoever from the elements. The pilot and any passengers, droid or biological, have no protection from damage and no defense against whatever dangers may be present.
    • As an Add-on, it lets the vehicle almost totally collapse, granting a +1d6+2 Coolness bonus on relevant social checks, for 30 Power. Yes, it’s expensive. Turning your starship into a personal ATV is like that.
  • Unsealed: Unsealed vehicles offer only minimal protection, but this is often more than enough for simple ground vehicles which don’t or can’t get into very dangerous conditions. They do help protect against crashes.
    • As an Add-on, it gives the vehicle collapsible section granting a +1d6 Coolness bonus on relevant social checks for 15 Power.
  • Pressurized: Pressurized vehicles have a sealed cockpit or passenger hold set to a comfortable air pressure. They are immune to normal atmospheric toxins, ignore most gas attacks, and stabilize thin or thick breathable atmospheres. Most air-travelling vehicles
    • As an Add-on, it costs 10 Power.
  • Seaworthy: Seaworthy vehicles can easily cross bodies of water without damaging exposed components or sinking. This is not necessary for repulsorcraft or other flying vehicles, as long as they don’t actually try to land in water.
    • As an Add-on, it costs 10 Power.
  • Submarine: Submarine vehicles are fully environmentally sealed and resistant against crushing force. They will not leak easily and can dive to considerable depths without a problem.
    • As an Add-on, it costs 20 Power. It’s mildly expensive because it’s not all that common and grants a number of unique options and tricks.
  • Spaceworthy: Spaceworthy vehicles can easily travel without an atmosphere, and will not be damaged by the lack of pressure and atmosphere found in deep space conditions. They are resistant to all common space dangers, including the radiation found in planetary orbit or deep space, common nebular conditions, and micro-meteorites. They carry enough life support for any reasonable number of passengers indefinitely.
    • As an Add-on, it costs 10 Power. It’s cheap because if it’s in common use, it’s almost required.

Stage 3: Base Power

Each vehicle also starts with a base Power.

  • Junker vehicles have 75 Power
  • Cheap vehicles have 100 Power
  • Average vehicles have 125 Power
  • Good vehicles have 150 Power
  • Excellent vehicles have 175 Power
  • Legendary vehicles 200 Power

You can buy up to average vehicles most places, good anywhere middle-class and up, excellent from high-end dealers. Legendary vehicles cannot be bought: you have earn the legend the hard way.

Most mass-produced government-issue military gear is Cheap or Average, while an old or beat-up unit owned by a smuggler who enjoys performing maintenance and upgrading parts can easily be Excellent, and a spare freighter scrounged up struggling rebellion is Junker.

It’s possible to refit a vehicle, and the cost is basically dependant on the game. If money is important and resources tight, then improvement becomes costly – the characters have to work for it. If playing more adventurous games, just hand the players really good vehicles if they like, or let them pay 20 XP to upgrade one step.

Stage 4: Power Plant

Power Plants form the base of a vehicle’s operational capabilities. The more powerful the power plant, the more and more powerful devices the ship can use. This gives you the more Power available to use on gadgets and gear.

Power Plants require a certain level of technical skill to operate, which is why they’re separate from the Base Power listing. This is the benefit out get for having a skilled operator who knows his craft inside and out. On the upside, you get the best skill of several options. Use your best skill from the appropriate piloting skill or Power Plants.

Even if your vehicle doesn’t use a power plant, assume something else fits. Whether you’re taking a Chariot around or sailing a yacht, it’s the same bonus.

Type Bonus Skill Requirement
Cheap -10 +0
Decent +0 +1d6
Standard +10 +2d6
Good +20 +3d6
Excellent +30 +4d6
Amazing +40 +5d6

Thus, a Legendary vehicle with an Amazing power plant has 240 power. Of course, only something like the Millennium Falcon – and then maybe only after Han became an important Rebellion figure – would have this level of goodies.

Stage 5: Engines

Now decide your Atmospheric and Space Move.

Move Power
1 1
2 2
3 4
4 6
5 9
6 13
7 17
8 22
9 27
10 33
11 39

Vehicles which can only operate in Atmosphere (or under water) work a bit differently. Take the Move rating chosen above. Multiply it by ten minus the Base Hull Number (ignore the die code portion; just take the number). This is your Atmospheric Move.

Atmospheric Move and Space Move work on different scales. Space Vehicles calculate their atmospheric Move with the table on page 113 of Star Wars Roleplaying Game 2nd Edition revised.

Atmospheric Move = Space Move x [10-Base Hull]

If you have 0 or negative move, your ship is very slow and isn’t designed to casually land, or even enter atmosphere in most cases. You are considered to have a -2d6 penalty on maneuverability, making you a sitting duck.

Stage 6: Maneuverability

Most Ships have a maneuverability bonus or penalty.

Scale Initial Maneuverability
Character 4D
Speeder 3D
Starfighter 2D
Starship 1D
Small Capship 0D
Large Capship -1D
Titanic Vessel -3D

If you want to purchase a higher value, use the table following table.

Maneuverability Power
“+1” 1
“+2” 3
+1D 6
+1D +1 8
+1D+2 10
+2D 12
+2D +1 16
+2D +2 20
+3D 24

Stage 7: Hyperdrive

Whether you calling it using “Jumpgates” or “Riding the Dragon”, you can now determine your long-term movement modifier.

Multiplier Power
X15 3
X10 4
X5 7
X4 10
X3 14
X2.5 17
X2 21
X1.5 25
X1 30
X0.9 35
X0.75 41
X0.60 47
X0.45 54
X0.30 62
X0.20 71
X0.10 81

A class-x2 or x3 Hyperdrive is fairly common in Star Wars for short-range civilian craft. Most traders and military vehicles have a class-x1 Hyperdrive. The Millennium Falcon has a class-x0.45 Hyperdive. You also get a backup Hyperdrive at X15 for free.

Hyperdrives may or may not be important in a game. If your Game Master doesn’t want to worry about the hassle, just ignore this step. Hyperdrive speed never made any difference in the movies, after all.

Stage 8: Shields

Unlike Hull rating, shields must be deliberately placed at each attack angle: front, rear, left and right. However, you only buy total rating, and can vary the shields out of combat or in-combat with a Shields check. Each sector covers a three-dimensional arc, so only four angles are needed. Some alien species divide their shield space differently, but the end result is the same.

Ships may purchase Ray shields, which are good against lasers, blasters, and ion cannons, and Concussion shields, which are strong against physical impacts, photon torpedoes, and concussion missiles.

Many smaller starships and starfighters carry a combination shield, which protects against both. However, such shields are less effective, acting at 1d6 less than the numerical rating bought.

Shields of 1D are normal for most fighters with shields. Even Large Capships rarely go above 3D. Only top of the line military vessels buy the full 4D.

Shield Strength Power
“+1” 1
“+2” 2
1D 3
1D +1 5
1D+2 8
2D 11
2D +1 15
2D +2 20
3D 25
3D+1 30
3D+2 36
4D 42

Stage 9: Weapons

The necessity of carrying lethal weaponry is a sad reality in many parts of the galaxy. Pirates, slavers, Sith, and warlords all make unpatrolled spacelanes a menace for the unarmed. Thus, capital ships have some defensive weaponry. The few exceptions are vessels such as bulk cruisers or droid ships, or those meant for short hauls in safe areas.

Many vessels also have more than one weapons system, so that they can fire more than once against each enemy, or split their attacks against multiple foes, or to have varied attacks against different targets. Each of these is bought separately.

However, you don’t have to purchase this for each individual weapon. That is, your ship may have fifty turbolasers and a hundred ion cannons. But you only buy one turbolaser attack and one ion cannon attack, or even only one attack total! Remember, you’re purchasing capabilities, not weapons.

In Star Wars, this mostly means you have a variety of weapons. This also neatly explains why the Death Star was vulnerable to fighters. They evidently put most of their points into weaponry do they could do damage even above their 24D base scale (a planet would be at least 36D). Thus, they stripped defenses and fire control thinking it wouldn’t matter! Then, they couldn’t use their firepower on the high-maneuverability fighters of the Alliance.

Damage Power
1D 2
1D +1 4
1D+2 6
2D 8
2D +1 11
2D +2 15
3D 20
3D+1 23
3D+2 26
4D 30
4D+1 36
4D+2 42
5D 50
5D+1 53
5D+2 56

Each weapons system must have a chosen fire arc. Normally these are Front, Right, Left, and rear. Odd designs might use different ones, like top and bottom.

I’m not quite sure what this means when you’re only purchasing an overall capability per weapons type. I’ll see if I can get some additional clarification here.

Weapon Types

Laser/Blaster/Ion Basic Stats
Torpedos Anti-Capship, Ammo, Slow
Missiles Anti-Fighter, Ammo, Slow
Bombs Ammo, Bomb
Mine Inaccurate,
Projectile No Penetration, Ammo
  • Ammo: The weapon runs out of ammunition in 1d6 shots and must then be reloaded.
  • Anti-Capship: The weapon can’t be targeted except against capital ships. Against others is has -2d6 fire control.
  • Anti-Fighter: The weapon does full damage only against fightercraft. Against others it has -1d6 damage.
  • Bomb: These items can’t be targeted outside of a gravity well. They need to be placed or dropped onto the ground.
  • No Penetration: Concussion shields are more effective against this weapon, which loses 1d6 power against them.
  • Slow: The weapon takes 1d3 rounds to impact, giving defenders time to use defenses.

You may wonder why anyone would take Projectile weaponry, since it’s not very useful. In Star Wars, most projectile weapons use the Laser/Blaster/Ion class because you’re firing semi-liquid and/or super-heated bullets of ultradense death. It’s there because the players might be stuck with old or cheap weaponry and have to compensate, or just do their best and muddle through.

Each Weapon system comes with a base Fire Control of -1D6. This is a penalty assigned to ranged attacks owing to the presence of jamming, moving ships, and the long ranges expected in normal space combat.

Fire Control Power
“-1D” 0
“-2” 2
“-1” 4
“0” 6
“+1” 8
“+2” 10
1D 12
1D +1 14
1D+2 16
2D 18
2D +1 20
2D +2 22
3D 24
3D+1 26
3D+2 28
4D 30

Stage 9: Tools, Options, and Extras

Here is a list of some fun things to include in your design. First on our list is the Passenger Berth listing, because many of the extras here use these.

Passenger Slots and Berths (Spartan, Ordinary, Comfortable, Luxurious)

Passenger Berths don’t take Power, but rather use up Passenger Slots. Each size category gets a certain number of slots, and most vehicle designers don’t like pushing things to the absolute maximum. These include supplies for 1 person for one month per berth. As mentioned above, you don’t need to worry about basic crew accommodations.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer formula for determining how many Passenger Slots you get. The following table gives some guidelines, but there’s just a huge difference between different kinds of ships in the same class. Freighters would have plenty of space for these if someone wanted to retrofit them in, but a troop transport or hotel ship would have them built in. Many warships don’t have lots of Passenger Slots. Ultimately, it’s a judgment call.

Size Class Passenger Slots
1-3 Speeder 1
4-5 Starfighter 2
6-7 Starship 5-25
8-10 Small Capship 100-1,000
11-14 Large Capship 1,000-10,000
15-? Titanic Vessel How many ya want?
  • Spartan quarters are extremely basic. Starfighters with hyperdrive capability often have an awkward way to relieve bodily functions, and a little snack to eat or drink. Other ships have tiny bunks, which soldiers might even share. Takes 1 Slot.
  • Ordinary berths are unexceptional, but decent. They include a small bed, a little heating pad for cooking or access to a central cafeteria, and some kind of bathing facility. Takes 2 Slots.
  • Comfortable rooms are nice and have space to stretch out. Facilities are complete, clean, and may have droid service. A good traveler’s room would be a Comfortable berth. Takes 3 Slots.
  • Luxurious quarters are fantastic. They are the epitome of service and comfort, a fine and relaxing place for any wealthy ship-owner or tourist. Nobility and royalty wouldn’t feel out of place in these lovely rooms. Takes 5 slots and up, up up!

Other bits and pieces include:

  • Central Droid Command: Rarely used now, but common in the Clone Wars, A CDC system enabled centralized control over hundreds or thousands of droids simultaneously. It requires a Comm System. The advantage is that all droids cooperating on a task gain a +2 bonus to all skill and or attribute rolls. They do not gain this bonus to resisting or inflicting damage, or for any action taken alone. It inflicts a -2 penalty to initiative rolls, as the droids are slowed by waiting for instructions. Costs 20 power.
  • Comm System: Common in most vehicles, it’s a large planetary-range receiver/transmitter array. Comm systems may be upgraded with solar-system scale range, sector-scale range, and galactic network capability at a cost of 25 Power per category increase. This is rare – most people just find a nearby network node.
  • Cloaking Device: Cloaking devices create a warping field effect around the shields which totally blocks all sensors, because the ship simply isn’t there to EM effects. The only sign it leaves is a very slight distortion. Note that the ship needs special internal cooling to prevent overheating, and it is just as blind to the outside world. Requires 100 Power.
  • Escape Pods: Common in most vehicles, it’s an escape system should the ship be fatally compromised. Escape pods have consumables for a month, can send out automated distress beacons, and can even land safely on nearby planetoids. These cost a grand total of 5 Power.
  • Extra Armor: Some military ships enjoy layering on the armor and improving the hull structure. This gives the vessel a tougher Hull rating. Requires 75 Power per 1 Hull die. Most ships with this have low maneuverability and sublight speed.
  • Long Range Capability: Devote a few passenger slots (see Passenger Berth, below). Each one grants an extra month of supplies for 5 people (supplies are compact ). This includes rations and water recycling for very long voyages – if characters want gourmet meals and fine wines, they’ll need many more slots.
  • Landing Gear: This actually doesn’t cost anything, but many ships simply don’t have it built in. Very few capital ships have it apart from troop transports.
  • Medical Suite (Medical Kits, Infirmary, Bacta Tank, Full Surgical)
  • A Medical Suite costs no Power, but it does require Passenger Slots (see Passenger Berth, below). If used by a competent doctor or programmed droid, they grant bonuses to First Aid and Medicine checks. In all cases, a kit can be grabbed within 1d6 rounds or the character rushed to the infirmary within 2d6 rounds. Higher levels include all previous equipment, so you stack both the kits and medical rooms.
Medical Kits (Base Hull) in Passenger Slots
Infirmary (Base Hull x2) in Passenger Slots
Bacta Tanks (Base Hull x5)
Full Surgical (Base Hull x10) in Passenger Slots

*Medical Kits grant a +2 to First Aid.

*Infirmaries grant a +2 to First Aid and Medicine as well as providing the ability to isolate and decontaminate the sick. It has common medicines and methods to help most alien species.

*Bacta tanks let any character who reaches it even slightly alive survive indefinitely, although if the wounds aren’t healed they will still die.

*Full Surgical bays have almost everything to keep someone alive, even up to replacing whole body parts. They have virtually any useful medical device or substance imaginable, although very rare items might have to be ordered.

  • Repair Bay: Repair Bays enable you to make repairs to any on-board vehicles. It comes complete with full facilities and machinery to manufacture almost any part which could go wrong. Treat as a Medical Suite but for repairs instead, with equivalent facilities for damaged droids and vehicles.
  • Secret Compartments: If you even needed to hide some items the local authorities think is very naughty, you need a secret compartment. The base DC to find a compartment is usually 15. Takes 1 Passenger Slot per cubic meter, plus 1 Slot for every 1d6 penalty on the enemy’s check to locate them.
  • Security: Security grants bonuses to ships defenders in every area it might be invaded, physical and electronic. Treat this as a Medical Suite, but granting bonuses on all attack rolls to ship’s defenders. If you want automated guns and so forth, buy droids (and dedicated Passenger Slots for them).
  • Shield Reserves (1D through 6D): Reserves of shield energy cost 15 Power per reserve die.
  • Starfighter Bay: Treat as a Passenger Berth using 5 Slots per fighter.

2 Responses

  1. […] Vehicle Design Rules V2: Above rules revised and then edited for clarity […]

  2. […] her from using it as she sees fit.  This ship has been built using the Ship Building Guide posted here.  As always, such things require GM approval before entering […]

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