Fixing System Damage
Rather than repairing hull points, engineers can spend a week to fix a single damaged system (successful skill check required); all such checks are made at a -2 penalty if done in space. Crew injuries cannot be “repaired” though new crew can be hired and PCs healed with time and medical attention.
Damaged jump-drives are notoriously tricky to fix outside of first class repair facilities; once damaged, any successful jump is likely to burn out the drive until it can be jury-rigged again (a failed mechanics roll after any jump indicates the drive is unavailable the rest of the session).
Multiple Ship Combat (Fighter Wings)
Fighter pilots are trained to work together in coordination; when deployed as a “wing” they are treated as a single entity rather than separate ships. The lead (“wing commander”) ship is the only one that makes skill checks while the rest of the wing provides cover and support. Damage is split evenly between all ships, in effect treating the wing as a single fighter (piloted by the wing commander) with 15 hull points. When the wing’s hull points have fallen below 10, one ship has been destroyed (if the ship is controlled by a player character or important NPC, make the usual roll on the critical chart, but the fighter is forced to leave the wing regardless). When the hull points of the wing fall below 5, the second wingman is likewise eliminated and only the wing commander remains.
As long as there are at least two ships remaining in the wing, the commander receives a +2 on damage rolls (from 1D6 up to 1D6+2). This reflects the wing commander’s greater ability to concentrate in the heat of battle with the cover of her wingman.
Boarding Actions and Ramming
Any Dead in the Water ship can automatically be grappled and boarded by another ship. Some ships may sustain so much damage they decide to surrender and allow their opponents to board; this is generally done by first “powering down” all essential systems (in effect, purposefully rendering the ship Dead in the Water). Once a ship has been restrained, it cannot “power up” unless the grappling ship allows.
Ship that have powered down (by choice or not) can be towed by any ship not more than one class smaller than itself. Towing a ship is only possible for intra-system travel; it cannot “jump” the powered down ship using its jump drive. However, a powered down ship can be docked inside a vessel that is at least two ship classes greater than itself (for example, a small ship could be docked within any frigate or larger class of ship), and while docked can be carried via jump drive to a destination.
If a ship moves into the same SU space as another, it may attempt to make a ramming attack during the piloting phase of a combat round. Such an attack is done in place of any other piloting action and requires a successful skill check to accomplish; if successful, the ramming ship is unable to shoot in the gunnery phase. Both vessels do damage to each other; the amount of damage inflicted is a number of D6s equal to the opponent’s ship class (for example, a destroyer will do 5D6 damage to any ship with which it collides). In addition, the smaller vessel must make a number of rolls on the critical hit chart equal to the difference between its ship rating and its opponent’s; the larger ship makes just one critical hit roll but ignores any result of 7 or 8. If the colliding ships are the same size, both make a single roll on the critical hit table.
Trying to board a ship that has not powered down is usually a matter of landing a smaller ship on it – a tricky maneuver at best, requiring both careful timing and luck. Assuming the boarding craft is at least three classes smaller than its target, it can attempt to land by first entering the SU of the larger ship and then making a piloting roll at a -2 penalty. However, if the larger ship wins initiative for the round and enters the space of the smaller vessel, it will generally make a ramming attack on the boarders’ vessel…and attempt a gunnery attack if the ramming attempt fails! Once landed and grappled it takes D6 rounds for a boarding party to cut its way in using the proper tools.
As stated in the X-Plorers rulebook, damage inflicted by starship weaponry against a normal, surface target should be multiplied by 10; however, attempting to target individual humanoids is only generally possible while a ship is at rest (on a landing platform or similar). Similarly, damage from personal weapons (including all weapons listed in Chapter 2) should be divided by 10, rounding all fractions down, when attacking starships. Starships are made of especially durable materials (including force screens) and receive a +2 bonus to Armor Class when attacked by non-starship weapons; this bonus is increased to +4 if targeted while in atmospheric flight (surface and personal weapons can’t usually target a ship in space).
The importance of space combat in the KWN setting cannot be under-stated: the extremely powerful weapons available to starships allow for surface bombardment capable of reducing whole civilizations to rubble in a matter of hours or minutes. The only thing standing between galactic liberty and total capitulation to such foes as the Kloane Empire is the defensive action of the heroic Star Knights; often, their mere presence is enough to deter or delay the imperial forces. Starships are unable to commence surface bombardment when engaged in space-to-space attacks; defensive resistance can give planets the time they need to evacuate their citizens or seek shelter deep underground.
[to be continued]
[Kloane War Knights is copyright 2013 by Jonathan Becker and Running Beagle Games. The X-Plorers rpg is copyright 2009, Dave Bezio & Grey Area Games. The X-Plorers trademark is used under the X-Plorers Trademark License]