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  1. ...Seriously. The D6 system is fine for space/vehicle combat in Space Opera, Pulp Space, and other settings where the Rule of Cool is more important than the Laws of Physics. For hard sf...honestly, I'm not sure I can manage it. Not without roughly doubling the length of the rulebook. Another reason I am not thrilled with the idea of making hard sf space combat rules can be summed up in two words: Ken Burnside. Ad Astra Games' Attack Vector: Tactical is the definitive 3D space combat game and has become the gold standard by which all others are measured. Not only am I unsure that I could make something half as good, I don't really want to try. In my SW games back in the day, Space combat was always glossed over or ignored completely. In fact, the reason my wife (one of the best DMs I've ever seen) is loath to play sf games is that space combat does not interest her and most of the characters she wants to play have little to do when the blaster bolts fly in the Black. This got me thinking...even though I design spacecraft and they are an integral part of my Black Desert setting, do I need to make rules for space combat, with all the hex maps and other nonsense? I started to wonder if I could, maybe, have space combats fought in the Character Scale. Bear with me. I will explain. First of all, I have no problem with big space combats; I just never thought they worked well in a character-based RPG. They make for great board games, but in the context of an RPG I feel that they interrupt game flow and take away from the main focus - the Players. It's understandable; after all games like Star Wars wouldn't be complete if you couldn't take an X-Wing into a dogfight with a couple of TIEs. But in a hard sf game, combat in space is dangerous as hell. It's hard to manoeuvre, hard to stop, and you only have a few minute's worth of fuel. If you run out of fuel, you still keep on flying...right out of the Solar System. If you get hit, you're probably done for. I could do this in The Black Desert, because it is not a visualised setting. There are no movies or television series that I have to pay service to. I can describe space combat as it would truly be; too fast to react to and too deadly to ignore. Think about it, the part where the opposing rockets are in close range of one another is less than one average gaming round. In an eye blink, its all over. Even hard sf usually fudges a little here, as narrating an epic battle like this: “...the two opposing wings met and passed in less than a second, there was a flash of light, and (roll, roll) you're dead. Good game, everybody!” Is absolutely no fun for all of the Players whose dead characters didn't get to roll. In its proper place (like in AT:V), the milder version of Newtonian space combat is really fun. But one of the most frustrating experiences for a Player in an sf RPG campaign that I have observed is, like I said, to have their bad ass character that has almost no skill in pilot or repair, look on helplessly as the ship is blown out from under them and they cannot fight back. So, I thought it would be interesting to make a set of space combat rules that kept the focus of the action inside the spacecraft, where the characters are and give them things to do that have an important impact on their survival. Now, the quoted example above is lame, this is granted. However, if the focus is on the characters, then preceding that snippet are several dramatic scenes where characters can earn their XP by getting their spacecraft braced for battle. They will be struggling to get everything on their ship ready, optimising the engines and lasers, hoping that if the ship is hit their station is not in the section that decompresses and that kind of stuff. How is this different from other helpless situations? For one thing, everyone that performs successful actions increase the chances that the ship will survive. For another, since manoeuvrability is not a tactical consideration at these speeds and with these weapons, everyone is helpless. After the “flash of light”part, the fun really begins. All of the characters will have to struggle in a deadly melee combat with the hazards of space itself. The Pilot will have to try to change vector and find a course that lets them land the rocket before the fuel is used up, The Engineer will have to get the engines back on line, or shut down to prevent a meltdown, and everyone else will be performing Damage Control. You will have disabled systems, decompressed compartments, possible radiation zones, flooding, fires and any other dangerous (and high XP) condition a GM can imagine. Even better, all the desperate running from one disaster to another will be in zero gravity. Sure, it's not a chasing a squadron of Vulture Droids in and out of Star Destroyer formations, but it will be exciting. And a Player need never depend solely on the skill of the Pilot or the stats of their ship to survive. If this hasn't painted a sharp enough picture for you, don't worry. As the idea continues to evolve, I'll add details, mechanics, and scenarios from GM and Player perspectives. The main thing I want to know at this stage is: does this sound interesting to you? Do you want to know more? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for your replies! RocketDad
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