I haven’t tried out the Fringe Space ship combat rules yet, so let’s imagine for a moment that encountering the cutter last episode had turned into a fight – picture it as a combat simulation for Arion to hone his skills and while away the long nights in hyperspace. As I’m new to this part of the THW rules system you get a didactic post with little narrative voice this time.
Arion is flying a stock trader, which has Thrust 3, Firepower 2, and Hull 3. The minimum crew is 3, and there are only two crewmembers aboard, so Arion is at -1 Rep. However, even reduced to Rep 4, he still has Ace and Steely Eyes, so he will count +1d6 and +2 successes on the Dogfight table, and +1 success on the Taking Control table. Although the rules are slightly ambiguous on this point, I decide that as Arion has an effective Rep of 4, he begins with 4 bonus dice.
The opposition is a Star Navy cutter, which has Thrust 3, Firepower 4 and Hull 4. We’ll assume a full crew. Her captain has Rep 3 and Rage, giving him +1d6 on the Taking Control table. He thus has 3 bonus dice.
Each captain rolls 1d6, Arion getting 3 and the Navy captain getting 5. Navy therefore draws the first chance card. There appear to be 11 of these (the ones in orange type on p. 100) so shuffle and draw – Asteroid, opposing ship loses one success on the Dogfight table to dodge an asteroid. The Navy will play this as soon as possible, as per the rules for NPCs (p. 49).
We begin on the Dogfight Table, and there are only two ships so who fights who is obvious. Each captain rolls Rep dice, looking for successes; Arion gets 2422 = 3 successes, +1 for being an Ace, +1 for having Steely Eyes, -1 because of the Asteroid card which the Navy plays as soon as possible, i.e. now. Total, 4 successes. The Navy meanwhile rolls 263 = 2 successes.
We move to the Taking Control table, with Arion counting +2d6 as he scored two more successes, and again both captains roll Rep. Arion gets a modified 5 successes (2 from dice, +1 Ace, +2 from successes on Dogfight table), Navy 2 successes (1 from dice, +1 for being military). Arion lines up a shot and we move to the Fire table.
Arion scored 3 more successes than the Navy, so now rolls 3d6 vs the Dolphin’s Firepower (2); 252 = 2 hits, which I allocate against the enemy Hull (no witnesses!) reducing it to 2.
The Navy now go to the Continue On table to see whether they fancy dancing some more with somebody this good. Navy rolls 2d6, -2d6 for the two Hull hits taken, +1d6 for being military, so 1d6 overall. They roll a 4, and pass 0d6. This means they run for it.
Each side now rolls 1d6 + Thrust; Arion gets 4 + 3 = 7, and Navy gets 4 + 3 = 7. Since the Navy’s total is not greater than that of all pursuing ships, they surrender.
Since I declared this as a simulation up front, there are no Rep dice, positive or negative. Had this been a real fight, Arion would have got two increasing Rep d6, one for firing at an enemy and causing damage (though you can only claim that once per month) and one for destroying or capturing an enemy ship.
Even as a novice, this is a very quick and simple combat system – you’ll notice that for a one-on-one dogfight no counters or models are necessary, although I would want to use them if there were more than one ship on a side.
I don’t like the chance cards and won’t use them again. That’s just me, probably, I’m going off drawing cards in general at the moment (which bodes ill for Savage Worlds, but that’s another story).
Life is good when you’re a Steely-Eyed Ace. Especially when the opposition has a rubbish captain.