For Savage Worlds
Last week, I posted about using Savage Worlds’ Quick Combat for dogfights between starships. Let’s run an example to see how it works in practice…
The PCs are the crew of an armed scoutship – Arion (Ace, Piloting d10), Coriander (Attractive, Persuasion d10) and Dmitri (Shooting d6). While trying to run a blockade around a restricted planet, they have encountered a star patrol gunboat. The gunboat is more heavily armed and armoured, and much bigger than the scoutship; the GM rules that the PCs are completely outclassed, giving them a -4 modifier. However, the scoutship has a tactical advantage as the PCs have specified finding a suitable meteorite and following it down to the planet to mask them from the defenders’ sensors, so the GM awards them a +2 modifer for this. Overall, then, they are rolling at -2.
GM: OK, you’re following the meteor down, but you know that at some point the defenders will be able to see you. Give me some skill rolls and tell me what you’re doing.
Dmitri: I’m in the turret. The second that gunboat notices us, I’m going to blast it with our lasers. And I rolled… 5. Ouch, we’re at -2 you say? Then that’s a 3, I failed.
GM: Do you want to use a benny to reroll that?
Dmitri: Nah, I only have one left, I want to keep that in case I get Incapacitated later.
GM: OK, a failure for you then. Cori?
Coriander: They’ll probably hail us first. I’ll move to the comms workstation and once they spot us I’ll try to confuse them with Persuasion. I rolled a 7, +2 for Attractive is 9, -2 for modifiers is 7. Success but no raise.
GM: Why should I let you count Attractive on a radio link?
Coriander: This is the far future, surely it’s a video link by now?
GM: OK, I’ll allow that. Arion?
Arion: I’ll dodge, obviously, using Ace and Piloting. If we get hit I’ll use Ace to soak damage on the ship. I roll… 5, plus two for Ace is 7, minus two for the situation is 5, a success.
GM: Here’s what happens then: You get into the outer atmosphere OK, but as the meteor starts to heat up and gets buffeted by re-entry, it unexpectedly breaks up. Arion has to dodge some of the debris, and that gives away your position to the nearest gunboat.
Dmitri: Wait, nearest gunboat? There’s more than one?
GM: Of course. Meanwhile the gunboat hails you: “Unidentified ship, identify yourself and state your purpose or we will open fire. We are authorised to use deadly force.”
Coriander: That’s where I come in. I say: “Hello boys, this is the regular courier vessel from Arcturus 7 with this month’s mail from home and two tons of choc ices and beer for the mess hall. Is Eddie with you?”
GM (rolling reaction dice): A 5, Neutral, and Coriander rolled a success so that shifts up to Friendly. “Oh wow,” the gunboat says, “Choc ices? Hey baby, there are some dangerous choc-ice munchers down there, you need an escort?”
Coriander: See, I’ve still got it.
GM: Aaaand that’s when Dmitri opens up on them with the laser turret. The gunboat returns fire immediately, it must have some sort of preprogrammed response to being shot at, and it rakes your turret with disruptor fire. Dmitri, you failed your roll so you take a Wound, you want to soak that?
Dmitri: Umm, no thanks, I have more Wounds left than bennies.
GM: OK then, Arion, because one of the crew took a wound so does the ship, you want to soak that?
Arion: Damn’ right I do. Not MY SHIP, you don’t. What am I rolling?
GM: Piloting. There’s a -2 on the roll but your Ace edge cancels that out. Don’t forget this costs you a benny.
Arion: OK, that’s a 6 – success, so I soak one Wound on the ship, right?
GM: Yes. The turret is damaged – that’s how Dmitri got hurt – but still functional, and your repairbots will have it fixed in a couple of hours.
Dmitri: A little help here? There’s a hole in my spacesuit and blood coming out.
GM: At least one of you succeeded, so you win the encounter and escape. Your ships flash past each other, and you’re gone into a thunderstorm before the gunboat can recover; Dmitri, your laser fire seems to have disabled its manoeuvring thrusters. The charge of damaging a star patrol gunboat will be added to your rap sheet.
Dmitri: I’m still wounded. You guys like this ship more than me.
Arion: Well, obviously, it’s more useful… Wait, did you say a thunderstorm?
As you can see, Quick Combat doesn’t cover allocation of Wounds to vehicles so we need some way of doing that, and while not perfect, wounding the ship every time one of the PCs gets wounded is fast and easy. The PCs can always soak their own wounds if they don’t want the ship damaged, and edges like Common Bond can also help. Ace is a good backstop though.
Notice that I don’t need any stats at all for either ship or any of the ship-scale weapons. Good, eh?
Damn, I miss those characters. I should bring them back.